Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 12, 2008
BASEBALL: Retroactively Forgiven

One of the things I've been thinking about with the Mets' trade for Johan Santana is that it has made me feel a lot better about the Milledge deal. Think about it - three of the major reasons to be upset about the Milledge trade were washed away in one sweep:

1. I'd been concerned that trading Milledge meant losing a key bargaining chip that was needed to upgrade the starting rotation. Obviously, the Mets were able to land the best pitcher in baseball without him.

2. The deal seemed like a win-now trade (Ryan Church is probably a better hitter than Milledge right now, but Milledge should surpass him by 2009 and has a much brighter future; Brian Schneider is also in his prime and not getting any better) without a real assurance that the team was doing what it takes to make a real win-now run. With Santana, the Mets are going for it big-time.

3. Bringing in a light-hitting defensive-stud catcher like Schneider would make more sense if the team had a top-flight starting rotation around which to build a superior defense. Now, with Santana-Pedro-Maine-Perez-El Duque/Pelfrey, they do.

I still think the Mets need to bring in one more bullpen arm (and Ruddy Lugo is not what I have in mind, although it's possible that El Duque or Pelfrey could help out in the pen), and the outfield is still thin, especially on potential everyday left fielders younger than Alou and older than Fernando Martinez. And the second base situation doesn't inspire tremendous confidence, although Castillo and Valentin may be able to keep their knees healthier if they split time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:15 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

How come all those people that commented on the Che flag never comment about the baseball stories? Seriously, where did those people come from?

Posted by: Tom at February 12, 2008 1:43 PM

The Milledge deal cheesed me pretty good (keeping the language clean for a fellow HCer's blog). The was no way Willie was ever going to play him, and Omar knew it. At least they got a catcher out of the deal too. Ryan Church will hopefully resemble the first two months of Derek Bell or Xavier Nady rather than, well Shawn Green.

This season will mark 25 years since the Mets developed a corner outfielder of any impact (for them, anyway). That's pretty awful.

I do like the rotation a lot now. The offense will just need to survive with potential black holes at first, second and the corners. Catcher, too.

Posted by: Zufall at February 12, 2008 2:45 PM

The Milledge trade was a bad move no matter how you parse it. The marginal theoretical "play for now" upgrade to Church consists of what, 1 win over the season? And youre right that Milledge is the better play from 2009 on. Schneider simply cannot hit, no way he fits a win now philosophy. But Santana Santana Santana, man they got him on the cheap, and he alone is definitely enough to vault them several wins forward.

Posted by: frank at February 12, 2008 3:27 PM

"The offense will just need to survive with potential black holes at first, second and the corners. Catcher, too."

I just don't get comments like this. Church had an OPS+ of 114 last season. The guy may not be an all star, but he's far from a black hole. And please, spare me the "he was a platoon players on the Nationals" argument. It's not like the Nats are a paragon of player development. Not to mention Jim Bowden seems to be collecting his old Reds OF.

If Alou is healthy he will hit just as good, if not better than most NL corner OFers.

Delgado, ok, with him, we need to wait and see,

Castillo: he is what he is. He's the perfect #2 hitter for this lineup and was actually pretty darn good for us down the stretch last year. And despite the claims that his D has slipped, he can still turn a gorgeous DP.

Lastly, what is the big deal about Milledge? Yes, the kid has a lot of talent, but the Mets really protected him last year. Let's face it, there is as good of a chance that he turns into Juan Encarnacion as Willie Mays. I personally liked the kid, but I wasn't enamored with him either. The fact is we acquired two players who are upgrades over their 2007 counterparts. And we still have FMart.

Ok, really last thing. Anyone remember the Roberto Kelly for Paul O'Neill trade? Is there any chance Minaya is reading this the right way?

Posted by: Keith at February 12, 2008 3:47 PM

Ok, I lied. One more thing. Everyone forgets to mention Castro when they talk about catcher. Willie is on record saying he is looking at around 60 games this season.

Posted by: Keith at February 12, 2008 3:50 PM

Delgado is relatively unlikely to regain his former status, but I think he has a fair shot at being better than last year. And even last year he was not really a black hole.

Alou is a way above average hitter when he plays, so that really depends on how much he's in the lineup. And I think Church is a competent, though unspectacular hitter.

They will be mediocre at best offensively at 2B, and probably not eve mediocre behind the plate. But overall, they should be a decent offensive team.

Posted by: Jerry at February 12, 2008 5:11 PM

Hey, my pessimism gets the better of me some times. I think Church should be OK, but can't count on Castillo, Alou or Delgado to bring it anymore. That's three over the hill guys in the line-up. Never good.

How many games did those guys rip the hearts out the opposition in last September? None?

I hope Martinez has the goods, but will Willie ever play him?

Posted by: Zufall at February 12, 2008 9:48 PM

There's a lot of hope thrown Martinez's way here in the comments, for a guy that, though just 18 and with a bright future, struggled last year in AA. Best case from him this year is a call-up in September.

And I still think a bigger concern than another left fielder is a back-up at first, based on delgado's deterioration last year.

But on the other hand -- look at the end of Crank's point 3 though -- a starting pitching murderer's row!

Posted by: Dhalp at February 12, 2008 10:07 PM

Well, Alou could well show up and be useless this year, but it's unfair to suggest that he choked down the stretch; with the hitting streak he was one of the game's hottest hitters the last six weeks of the season.

Posted by: The Crank at February 12, 2008 10:08 PM

Yeah, I don't see Fernando Martinez as a viable major league regular in 2009. If he tears it up in the minors you might try him to plug a hole but that's a desperation move.

Posted by: The Crank at February 12, 2008 10:13 PM

"There's a lot of hope thrown Martinez's way here in the comments, for a guy that, though just 18 and with a bright future, struggled last year in AA."

I don't know how you can gloss over the fact that he played in AA as a HS senior. And while you say "struggle" myself (and some analysts) would say he held his own. AND he had an injury.

Posted by: Keith at February 13, 2008 9:16 AM
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