Did Omar Really Decline the Blue Jays Offer of Roy Halladay?

July 21, 2009

It has been reported by Jon Heyman that the New York Mets declined the Toronto Blue Jays offer of Roy Halladay for Bobby Parnell and three minor leaguers including OF Fernando Martinez, LHP Jonathan Niese and SS RubenTejada.

Omar must be insane to turn down that deal.

Getting Halladay for those four guys would have been a coup for Minaya and might of kept him as Met GM past 2010, especially if he could spend the Wilpon money to sign him long term. First, the Mets have better prospects at the same positions than Tejada (in Wilmer Flores) and Niese (in Jennry Mejia and Brad Holt).

Thus, giving up needed future parts in Parnell and Martinez (currently hurt and out six weeks) for the best pitcher in baseball is steal.

As a reliever, Parnell is replaceable. The fragility of relievers makes almost all of them replaceable, and veteran relievers become available every year. It is just as easy to develop relievers, too.

I am one of the very few baseball guys who hates trading prospects for veterans, but we are talking about Roy Halladay. I am not sold yet on F-Mart, and I know he is only 20 years old, but to guarantee Halladay and Santana in your rotation for a year and a half, an organization needs to give up something of value.

And that value is in F-Mart and Parnell.

Having Halladay and Johan Santana for all of next season would be the best 1-2 punch since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling for the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. It makes the Mets exponentially better as the sum of both pitchers is likely greater than its parts.

Getting Halladay now wouldn’t necessarily help the Mets make the playoffs this season as they are still nine games out and ten out in the loss column. And with the Phillies on a hot streak right now, it would be very difficult to come from that far back even if Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado came back today.

That Halladay trade would, however, make the Mets prohibitive favorites for next year assuming all the MASH unit comes back healthy.

It is the only thing that can save Minaya after next year, and, if the story was true, it was a trade that Omar should have jumped all over. It is also the type of deal which would of cemented JP Ricciardi’s place in the annals of worst baseball GM’s in history, unless Ricciardi floated that idea to boost his take from another team.

Of course, no matter what Omar and JP agreed to, it is still up to King Roy. He wants to play for a winner, and the last time I checked, the Mets are not winners.

No way Halladay would even want to come here to play with the Mets. Even Julio Lugo is smart enough to see that…right?


Yankees Win Again and they are doing it with…Pitching and Defense?

July 21, 2009

It might be that the Yankees shouldn’t have anybody, especially their starting pitchers, attend next years All-Star Game.  Winners of four straight games since the Classic in St. Louis, including the last three by the score of 2-1. Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team won three straight 2-1 games was the 1987 Minnesota Twins.

With all the power hitters the Yankees have, it is the Yankees pitchers have been absolutely dominant in the second half with a total staff ERA of 1.25.

None of the four starters made the All-Star team. AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte all took it easy during the break, and it appears the rest has paid off. The Yankee starters have combined for 27 IP, allowing 20 hits, 5 ER’s, striking out 21, with a 1.67 ERA.

So it looks good for Sergio Mitre making his Yankee debut tomorrow night, who hasn’t pitched since June 12th.  

While eight of the eleven runs scored since the break have been the result of home runs (including two by the fully rested, non-All Star Alex Rodriguez), the defense has also been an important factor.

I was looking at the following numbers on two A.L. first basemen:

Player A    309 AB, 43 runs,  90 hits, 24 2b’s, 17 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 29 BB’s, 58 K’s, .291 BA, .349 OBP, .547 SLG, .896 OPS

Player B    343 AB,  58 runs, 96 hits, 24 2b’s, 23 HR’s, 67 RBI’s, 50 BB’s, 61 K’s, .280 BA, .381 OBP, .551 SLG, .932 OPS

Both have similar numbers, and although Player B has a few more HR’s, RBI’s and BB’s, both players OPS are relatively the same. But Player B (Mark Teixeira) makes $22 million this season, much more than the $600,000 his 2009 replacement (Kendry Morales) earns for the Anaheim Angels.

But the Yankee fans don’t care about how much Teixeira earns if he keeps making the four-star defensive plays like he did Monday night and basically has all season long. The eighth-inning play Tex made on the hard ground ball hit by Nick Markakis and subsequent throw to home never would have been made by last season’s first baseman Jason Giambi.

Coupled with a great tag by Jose Molina, the Yankees cut the first of two runners down at the plate in the eighth. Molina’s on target toss to Pitcher Phil Coke covering home plate caught Brian Roberts trying to score on Coke’s wild pitch for the third out. Both Molina and Coke’s tag were placed right on the corner of the plate, letting both runners tag themselves out. Terrific defensive instincts by all players involved.

Also, the Derek Jeter range to his left critics have been very silent all season…and with good reason. Jeter’s range up the middle has been stellar all year, never more evidenced by the play he made up the middle on Melvin Mora in the top of the 4th.

The defensive upgrades has not only been assigned to the Yankee wealthier players. Young outfielders Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera have made highlight reel catches and have throw out important base runners. It is not uncommon to have both Gardner and Cabrera starting inthe same game or having them in late for defensive purposes.

Also, minor league call-ups SS Ramiro Pena and C Francisco Cervelli have showcased their talents, prompting talk that both could make the postseason Yankee rosters. In fact, the Yankee catchers Cervelli, Molina dn Jorge Posada have thrown out 37 steal attempts, most in the majors.

Pitching and defense wins championships. It is good to see that the Yankees hierarchy have noticed this factor, and the team has improved in both of those aspects of the game. The Yankees are now not only known just for having a potent lineup, but having the other two parts of the equation, too.


Mets Need To Give Up on Veterans in 2009

July 20, 2009

I am not saying the Mets should give up on the season. A team never gives up on a season ever, even when you are the Nationals. Always try an improve your game each day, play like you are in a pennant race and work hard.

This rationale applies primarily to younger players who are still looking to impress, and not really veterans. It does not exclude all veterans, however, as Gary Sheffield, Luis Castillo and others appear to go all out.

Sheffield has been very effective this season, hitting 10 home runs and, until recently tweaking his hamstring, was the Mets most potent bat in a putrid lineup. And Castillo is doing his usual high OBP act, touching first safely at a .388 clip, a full 20 points over his career mark. Despite the angst the Met fan has with him, Castillo is doing his job, and doing it well, almost worth his $6 million salary. Even with Jose Reyes completely healthy, I always thought Castillo was good enough to be the Mets leadoff man.

Sheffield and Castillo are likely looking to impress OTHER teams right now. Reason? Who really wants to play on a crappy team, in a crappy organization when you are advancing in age and near the end? And why do they want to deal with the fickle New York fans, who boo one day and cheer you the next? The money has been made, the HOF status (most are no’s) is secured. The idea is to get another ring.

Sheffield has one RING ALREADY (1997 Florida Marlins) and Castillo has been part of two championships (1997 and 2003 Marlins). Even though his only plate appearance in 2007 as a Boston Red Sox team member resulted in a sac bunt, Alex Cora has a ring, too. 

And what are the Mets thinking? After the dismal performance in Atlanta this past weekend, the Mets are now nine games out of first place, and ten in the loss column. Have the Mets noticed how well the first place Philadelphia Phillies are playing?

While it is very difficult to replace Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, JJ Putz, etc. on the walking wounded list, the team hasn’t really replaced any of those guys with a bona fide player, especially from their own system. Omar Minaya has continually rejected the notion that farm systems are consistent winners. Instead he would rather sign retreads from other teams, and the team has suffered from that notion.

It might have just gotten to the point where the nucleus or core players are going to get as far as they have. Perhaps 2006 was as good as it gets for this group of guys.

If that is the case, the teams needs to build for a sustainable run. When environmentalists talk about sustainability (like forestation), they mean replacing what is used with newer, younger versions of the same which grows into the products currently being used. Sustainability in baseball (or any team sport) is to continually replenish as you go.  

Omar has never done that–ever. And to sustain his own career, he must begin the process of rebuilding. And you don’t rebuild by going after the Oakland A’s Matt Holliday or a scrap heap pickup like Julio Lugo. Why do the Mets need Julio Lugo? Just another idiot move by Minaya.

And why would Lugo even entertain going to the Mets? If the choice is between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals, there is no comparison. Possible cellar dweller or possible World Series contender? Hmmm…tough choice.

The Mets need to rid themselves of as many older veteran players as they can, and obtain (via trades of these veterans) as many younger players as they can.  This is the only way Omar can save his job.

When Sheffield gets healthy and playing again, trade for a younger version of him. While Sheff is more viable in the AL, he also has shown he is not Daniel Murphy in the outfield, and could also be moved to a NL squad. Likely suitors include the Minnesota Twins (to complement their LH heavy lineup), the San Francisco Giants (trade for AA 1B Brett Pill or High A OF Roger Kieschnick) or Atlanta Braves (Matt Diaz as your power righty bat – really?). Don’t know if the Braves would be interested in having Sheff back, but they do have a recent trading history with the Mets.

And if Mark Grudzielanek does not work out with the Twins, Castillo would be a great fit for them. How about Sheff and Castillo for maybe Delmon Young (still only 23), AAA 3B Danny Valencia and  AAA 2B Steven Tolleson?

You heard it hear first. The Minnesota Twins will win the AL Central this season.

The dire situation this year and the fact that the Mets have no young depth in AAA or AA (scouts universally agree the Mets system stinks), necessitate the need to get younger very quick. Not that the above deals are easily doable but the idea is to change direction, and move away from what has made the Met organization what it has become–a waste basket of has-beens, underachievers and failures.

That means trading the veterans needed by other teams down the stretch. Some thing the Mets are not used to doing, but a direction Minaya needs to begin taking.


Jesus Montero Needs Lots of Work Behind The Plate

July 16, 2009

Watching the AA All-Star Game, I was amused by all the talk regarding Jesus Montero and whether he will be part of a package Yankees GM Brian Cashman send to Toronto for Roy Halladay.

Cashman held court before the game started, answering questions about a variety of issues. Mostly the talk was about Halladay. Although he couldn’t mention Halladay by name, Cashman did say that the Yankees would seek to fill out its rotation internally. That means Sergio Mitre this weekend, and I am hopeful Mitre will get a decent shot at sticking around.

This means not one bad start and you’re out.

Cashman was asked if any players were untouchable and he said, “Nobody is untradeable, but some players are more tradeable than others.” This means that Montero COULD be used a chip for a trade, and Cashman thinks “Montero will be a catcher in the future.” But as Peter Abraham pointed out, the older Yankees like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada are having good to really good seasons, and at their advanced ages, who know what they produce next season or in 2011?

Maybe Halladay will provide the Yankees their last real chance at a title for those guys. Of the three, only Posada is signed past 2010.

While nobody is untouchable according to Cashman, it must be pointed out that if a trade is made for Halladay, the “youth movement” which Cashman has promoted could be considered a bust. In order to take complete control of baseball operations, Cashman vowed in 2005 to build the system to begin producing players so the Yankees did not have to go out and sign free agents.

That is why the trade was not made for Johan Santana before 2008. Why the Yankees have drafted projected first round talent in the mid-to-late rounds, and offered them big dollars to sign.

Still, not one impact player has been produced under the new Cashman regime. Some nice players have played well such as Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera and a couple bullpen arms, but Yankee fans want their Evan Longoria, their Jon Lester and their Chase Utley.

I would not want the Yankees to trade the entire farm for Halladay, but if a trade was made I would make sure Montero and Zach McAllister are not part of it. The hype for ZachMac hasn’t really started yet, but is warranted, while the projection of Montero as a major league ready bat, but not so ready defense is spot on–so far.

McAllister started last night’s All-Star game and Montero came on in the sixth inning to catch. When Jesus entered the game the score was 3-3. Check out the play by play.

Over the next four innings, the South squad stole four bases off Montero and he committed one passed ball. He showed decent, but not great, footwork on the throws.

The final two stolen bases directly led to the go-ahead run in the eighth and the insurance run in the top of the ninth. While most writers covering the game focused on Montero’s 2-2 night, I felt his defense was the most important aspect of the game. The runners stole at will and stole during key moments.

While Cashman said that he projects Montero to be a catcher down the line, his more ready part is his bat. His bat is major league ready now, but his defense lags behind at least to High A level. The Yankees have little patience for young players as it is, let alone someone who can’t play defense at the major league level just yet.

With Austin Romine in High A and playing really well, both offensively and defensively, he projects as the next full time catcher–not Montero.

Montero is a ready bat, similar to Miguel Cabrera when he came up to the Florida Marlins as a 20 year old. Montero will be the new Cabrera. His bat is that good.

And his bat will be needed soon in New York. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Eric Hinske will likely not be back next year, nor will Jose Molina. The Yankees will need more offense and Montero provides that. He needs to see the writing and put the needs of the team ahead of his.

He could play some catcher, but also some first base, some DH and some outfield. Just get that bat in the lineup every day possible.  

Montero is your homegrown stud, the Yankees’  Evan Longoria, their Jon Lester and the their Chase Utley.

It is just that his defense is not there yet.


Sergio Mitre to Start on Weekend

July 16, 2009

It hasn’t been determined which day he will go against the Detroit Tigers, but it appears that Sergio Mitre will get a start. The 28 year old Mitre, who was 3-1, 2.40 ERA in seven starts with AAA Scranton, was a former starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins in 2006 when Joe Girardi was the manager.

Mitre had Tommy John surgery in July 2008 and had been rehabbing in the minors. He also had served a 50 game ban for ingesting andro, a supplement made famous by Mark McGwire.

Mitre is 10-26 with a 5.36 ERA in 78 major league games with the Marlins and Chicago Cubs.

Since Mitre is not on the Yankees 40-man roster, the Yankees would have to release somebody. The Yankees love to stockpile pitchers on their 40 man and I don’t see any pitcher, even Brett Tomko, getting let go.

So, with the emergence of Francisco Cervelli, and a plethora of young signal callers coming up through the Yankee ranks such as Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Chase Weems and Kyle Higashioka, the released player will likely be AAA catcher Kevin Cash. 

The Yankees use the catcher position like a wild card. They have at least three catchers at each level and move them around like chess pieces. Although it is a position where an extra veteran is always good, extra catchers like Cash are expendable, especially when the Yankees still have veteran Chris Stewart at AAA.

The 40 man change situation is probably why Alfredo Aceves started the one game in Minnesota last week. Not having Mitre start there gave the Yankees more time to decide who they would release from the 40 man roster.

The thing to look out for on Mitre is that he is a strike thrower, or as they say now, “he pounds the zone.” In his 45 AAA innings, he allowed only five walks whiles triking out 35. His peripheral numbers were a .241 BAA, K:BB of 7:1 and GO/FO ratio of 2.96.

Look for Mitre to go Sunday against the Tigers and Justin Verlander. If Mitre struggles, I hope that the Yankees do not pull starts away from Mtre. The Yankees need some stability in the rotation and Mitre is just as good, if not better, than anybodythey have available right now.


Why Don’t Major League Baseball Teams Front-Load Contracts?

July 15, 2009

One of the possible deal breakers for trading Roy Halladay might not have anything to do with Halladay at all. It could come down to whether another team wants to take on Vernon Wells’ contract.

The sticking point is that Wells is owed $97.5 Million IN BASE SALARY ALONE over the next five years. He has commitments of at least $21 Million through 2014, when he will be 35 and definitely at the end production wise.

According to SI’s Jon Heyman, nobody wants to touch Wells’ contract and Tyler Hissey wrote the piece about Wells’ untradeable contract. Which got me thinking:

Why don’t these teams front-load their big contracts?

This is more sensible tactic to the back-loading process which goes on now. Why do teams continue to pay the players the most money per season when these are the years their production is in decline?

Instead, front-load those deals where the player is getting most of his money during his prime years.  Most of the time when a team wants to lock up a real good young player, the player is signed either a year before or during his arbitration years. This saves headaches during the arbitration process and the team benefits by locking a player up during his first couple years of free agency.

Perfect examples are the Florida Marlins deal with Hanley Ramirez and the Tampa Bay deal with Evan Longoria, who was signed long term really early. The deals for David Wright and Jose Reyes of the New York Mets are other examples.

Unless these players deals are reworked (and Longoria’s likely will be redone – it is a steal for the Rays), all four players will become free agents for the first time during their peak years of 28-31, and if they hit the free agent market, many teams will vie for their services.

A team will have to sign them for 4 or 5 years in order to get them, while guaranteeing big money through the years of 32-37. Those early to mid-30’s years have historically see a gradual, but sometimes precipitous, drop in production. Only Reyes at 28 years of age when he hits free agency will be under 30, but with a game built on speed and with leg issues already, what will his 28 to 30 something years be like?

So instead of paying the player smaller amounts earlier in the contract when production is likely to be the highest, why not reverse the contract and pay them less in the later years?

What this process would do is to get the biggest bang for the buck.

For example, take Mark Teixeira’s New York Yankee contract.  Teixeira’s contract is for 8-years and $180 million. After the $5 million signing bonus is paid, Tex will receive $20 million this year and 2010, plus $22.5 million per season through 2016. At age 35 and 36 will Teixeira be as productive as his late 20’s seasons? Will he even be equivalent to his 162 games averages of 40 doubles, 37 HR’s, 121 RBI’s and .288/.378./540?

Before you say, “of course Teixeira will,” remember that Wells was coming off  a .303/.357./.542 season before he signed his mega-deal and was in his prime age of 27.

Why not pay Teixeira $35 million for the next four seasons (through age 33) and then $8.75 million in years 2013 through 2016? The last four salaries could also be gradually declined from a high of $15 million in 2013, to $10 million in 2014 and $5 million each in years 2015 and 2106. And he is still getting the most money of any team, and he is getting the money much more quickly.

There are benefits to this situation for both the team and the declining player.

POSITIVES

1) More flexibility – Lets say Player A is declining in production and said team has a young minor league stud they want to bring up, but Player A is making $22 million and has no trade value. If the contract was front loaded, the still viable player (but not worth $22 million) could go to a contending team and try to win a title.

An aging slugger would fit well with a hungry young team looking for a bat, but unwilling to pay a massive back ended salary. Example: any expensive bat would be a great fit in San Francisco.  Said bat would be easier to move with a reduced price.

From 1949-1953, the New York Yankees won five straight World Series titles, the only such team to do so. A key bat off the bench for those teams was Hall of Famer Johnny Mize. The Big Cat was past his prime, but still viable in certain situations. In fact, during the 1951 season Mize hit 25 homers in 305 plate appearances, and in the 1952 World Series, Mize hit .400 with three homers and six RBI’s in the Yankees victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Those were the only World Series Championships for Mize.

2) Adding a needed player – without being saddled with “dead money” for an aging player on the decline, a contending team could add some payroll. A team like Boston is going to ahve big money still to be paid to David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo and JD Drew, four aging players way past their prime and worth. Will a huge payroll guaranteed for next season, plus maybe having to re-sign Josh Beckett, will they have enough to add payroll this season or next if they need a player?

3) Value of compounding – why wouldn’t a player want most of his money up front? Why not have it your own accounts earning interest instead of the owner’s bank account? I always remember a former boss telling me that he always worked his taxes every year so he paid ” a little something” to the government every year, because he didn’t want to give Uncle Sam and “interest free loan every year.” 

Same concept here. Player A gets big money early, and value of compound interest works in his favor. Placing those big monthly checks in various guaranteed interest accounts sure would keep a ballplayer happy later in life.

There are some perceived negatives, too. Everything can’t be perfectly rosy in MLB, can they?

NEGATIVES

1) Players egos – Players like the back loaded contracts because they keep the player within “the market value of the times. Later in Teixeira’s career he would still be making $22.5 million, probably similar money to another young first baseman just entering his prime earning seasons. Why would Teixeira want to earn significantly less than his younger counterpart? It is not market value.

The compensation is that a experienced veteran could be traded from a lower division squad into a pennant race with a more modest salary.

2) Willie Mays – aging players never want to admit they can’t perform anymore more. Most players end up going out on managements terms rather than their own. It was a sad sight to see Willie Mays a shell of his former self when he was with the Mets. For every Joe DiMaggio who bows out gracefully, there are many Willie Mays types.

Most players believe that getting old and slow won’t happen to them and would not look favorably on getting released for money concerns. You have to give credit to Ricciardi for releasing dead weight like BJ Ryan, but many more GM’s would just have Ryan occupying a roster spot and not contributing. With lower back end salaries, these players are more easily expendable when they decline.

Getting money back ended keeps the flow coming in when the player may not be playing anymore.

3) Smaller free agent market – a GM who starts talking about front loading contracts will undoubtedly get reprimanded by the Players Union, the word collusion will be bandied about and said GM will likely lose out on certain free agents.

The name of the game for GM’s is win now. What have you done for me lately is the new battle cry. GM’s can get fired if ownership is pressured by its fan base to start winning now. The GM might give in to the long term deal demands to just get that one piece he believes he needs to win a World Series. 

Unfortunately, that one piece almost never helps, and the escalation of salaries continues.

There are many benefits to front-loading contracts, both for the teams and the players. There would be more flexibility for the teams to deal, both getting that piece they need and in trading an aging star while the value is equivalent to his production. Managers would not have the pressure of having to play a veteran because he makes $20 million a year. The aging veteran could be the next Johnny Mize.

This scenario offers positives to both the current team in more roster flexibility, and a potential contender seeking to improve their team at an affordable salary. 

The players could even receive more money if they play the game right, all the while helping over-aggressive GM’s keep their dead money under control. So instead of Teixeira getting his money over eight years, with the last four at reduced rates, he could inform the Yankees he wants the $180 million (same market value) but now over, say, five or six years.

I don’t mean to pick on Teixeira nor am saying I think he will decline over his contract, but am using Tex as an example of a player who will get big dollars well after the so-called prime years.

But as egos take hold, the Players Union would pressure to see that front-loading did not happen and players would be more selective in choosing which teams they signed. The desire to win now for GM’s would further diminish the desire to change.  

It would take a maverick GM, someone secure in his position, maybe coming off of a recent World Series title or two. A GM who had built a good farm system so if a free agent or two decided to go elsewhere, the GM had enough resources to supplant a positional need with his own talent.


Roy Halladay to the New York Yankees?

July 14, 2009

Now that Roy Halladay confirmed last night at the All-Star festivities that he is, indeed, available and willing to be traded to a contender, the New York Yankees surely is a possible destination.

Widely considered the best pitcher in baseball (Derek Jeter said as much last night), Halladay has been seeking a trade to a contender to finally perform in meaningful games in August and September. Since Halladay is signed through 2010, a trade will give him two chances at the playoffs and a possible World Series.

According to many, including Jonathan Papelbon, a contender who secures Halladay’s services will certainly be viewed as the favorite to win a World Series.

What if the contender is the Yankees? Because they are in the same division, reports have the Blue Jays needing more from either the Yankees or Boston Red Sox in a trade. The Jays want major league read players, not Single-A level prospects with hype.

Some Yankee fans want to give up the kitchen sink for Halladay. Names speculated concerning the Yankees needing to trade include Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes (maybe both), AAA centerfielder Austin Jackson, AA catcher Jesus Montero and current major league relief pitcher Mark Melancon.

If I were the Jays I would take that haul right now, but the Yankees would be stupid to make that type of deal as there is a crack in the trading armor of Jays GM JP Ricciardi.

Ricciardi has speculated that the winner of the Halladay sweepstakes might need to take the contract of Jays CF Vernon Wells. In December 2006, Ricciardi signed Wells to a seven-year $140 million contract. Since Wells immediately declined in production after signing the deal, the contract is an anchor both in terms of dollars and distance.

If Ricciardi insists that a team (such as the Yankees) take on Wells’ exhorbitant contract, then it is very possible the team taking that contract will not have to pay another ransom in terms of young talent.

With Yankees GM balking at paying up for Johan Santana a year and a half ago, I don’t see him giving up big prospects for Halladay. Not that “Doc” isn’t worth the dollar or prospect price. Overall he is much better than Santana, both in terms of pitching and temperament.

And I do not see the age being much of an issue either with Halladay. He is 32 now and unless he signs and extension, will be 34 when he comes up for free agency. His mechanics are perfect and he has not had a history of arm issues. He was on the DL in 2004 with shoulder soreness, but no problems since then. In terms of durability and style I rank him along with Derek Lowe, who is still going well at 36.

If Ricciardi insists on including Wells in the Halladay deal, the Yankees could be able to pull it off, as the excess money taken on will help save the oh-so-close to the major league prospects in Jackson and Montero. No way a team can take on TWO big salaries (Halladay and Wells) and give up a boatload of prospects, especially with no guarantee that Halladay will be around after 2010. I originally thought that Halladay would be traded, but that feeling is receding quite rapidly.

And all the rivalry teams mentioned as possible suitors such as Red Sox and Yankees, Phillies and Mets, Cardinals and Brewers, Dodgers and Giants, or Angels and Rangers would love to have Halladay, but don’t necessarily NEED Halladay.  All teams would probably be happy if he wasn’t traded at all, especially to their closest rival.

With the Blue Jays owner dying over the winter, the Jays likely need to cut salary and Wells is the biggest salary to dump. That is why Halladay needs to be dealt. The Jays can not afford Roy’s new expected salary and Wells’ monstrosity. You can throw in Alex Rios’ underperforming contract, too, but Halladay is the biggest marketable commodity.

The Yankees (or any team) should remove players from the table if Wells is included. The Blue Jays have no leverage in that type of situation, a situation the other teams can exploit by pulling back some of their prospects.


Mets Need to Emulate The San Francisco Giants by Using Their Youngsters

July 13, 2009

Congratualtions to Jonathan Sanchez of the San Francisco Giants on throwing the first no-hitter of the 2009 season.

Pulled from the rotation a few weeks agao, Sanchez was pressed into duty when Randy Johnson went on the disabled list. However, reports already have Sanchez heading out of town via a trade.

It led me thinking about how the Giants are currently leading the NL Wild Card race. The are doing it with pitching, pitching and more pitching. They have Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain as a potent 1-2 with Barry Zito, Randy Johnson (now Sanchez) and Ryan Sadowski, who was called up from AAA to replace Sanchez. The best hurlers right now for the Giants are the three younger, homegrown talents.

Similar to the Mets and CitiField, the Giants have a big ball park with a few quirks out in right field. They use their pitching and defense to help them win games.

To coincide with their deep pitching, the Giants young hitters are beginning to shine. Pablo Sandoval is their best young slugger, but other hitters such as first baseman Travis Ishikawa and RF Nate Schierholtz also have begun to hit as well. The hitters aren’t as talented as the young pitchers, but the Giants are on the right track.

Ishikawa and Schierholtz both have been given time to adjust and improve to major league pitching, and each has held their own. And new call up John Bowker (.347 BA, 17 HR’s, 63 RBI’s  in AAA) has already homered for the Giants.

With the taste of the playoffs going on right now for the Giants, they have entrusted their first serious run for October baseball at the hands of many young players. And as the Tampa Bay Rays have shown the last two seasons, major league baseball has turned into a young man’s game.

That is something the Mets need to emulate. They are now 6.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies  (another team using their homegrown players), and need to leapfrog both the Atlanta Braves (6.0 games out, more developed players) and the Florida Marlins (4.o games out) to get into second place.

The Mets need to do it the way the other teams are; by getting younger and using better pitching in a bigger ballpark. The Jeff Francoeur trade was a step in the right direction in getting younger. Forget about the other big sluggers, who offer nothing but fly ball outs in spacious CitiField.

Let the young guys have at it, Omar! Bring up Jonathan Niese to replace Livan Hernandez and let Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans more playing time, but Evans was just sent down and replaced by Angel Pagan.

On the various radio shows I appear on as a baseball analyst, I have long documented how Omar Minaya’s moves as GM have always been about winning now, and not for the future.  Omar has systematically let the Mets minor league system fail as there were no top prospects to come up and help now and last season, when the team needed such players.

As a GM you can try and win now and still continue to build the farm system.

Now, if the Mets decide they are going to make a trade to get better players, they will have to further deplete the farm system. That is on Minaya’s head as the Mets did not have anyone to adequately replace Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, Maine and Oliver Perez.

Well…they actually performed better when Perez went down.

But you can’t say that the Mets traded a bunch of prospects for Johan Santana as the reason for their depleted base of ready young players, as only Carlos Gomez from that group would have stepped in for those injured players.

It is time for Minaya to reverse course and go with the youngsters and trade veterans for more young kids, specifically some better pitching. Give the kids time and lets see what they can do for a half season and into next year.

You aren’t catching the Phillies this season or maybe even next year, and that is a tough pill to swallow. Last time Minaya thought he could catch a powerful team ahead of him in the standings, he traded Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon. The Montreal Expos (also 6.0 games back at that time) only ended up 19 games behind the Atlanta Braves that season.

So Minaya needs to improve his current organization for the future…even if Minaya is not here to bask in the glow.


New York Mets Sign Angel Berroa

July 11, 2009

It is 3:30 pm and I just read on Pete Abraham’s blog that the Mets just signed Angel Berroa, recently released by the Yankees.

Back when Jose Reyes first got hurt, even before he went on the DL, I propsed a Yankee/Met trade to help out the Metsies. Carlos Delgado was already out and their starting rotation was shot.

I proposed the Yankees send Berroa (who was at AAA but had a good spring), Shelley Duncan and Brett Tomko for a good, but not great Mets prospect. Not talking Fernando Martinez or Wilmer Flores, but maybe Dillon Gee or Jonathan Niese.

Berroa has good pop and Shelley would have given them some RH power at first base/OF. Would have been good for both teams. Yanks didn’t need those three players, but the Mets could of used them at the time. Looks like they still do.

Anyway, Berroa is a Met and his signing is not a good indication that Jose Reyes is coming back to the Met lineup any time soon.


Hello all!!

July 11, 2009

A writer and aspiring talk show host who has attended New York Yankee games since 1971, and was at the last game in the original Yankee Stadium. Those tickets were courtesy of Yankee HOF shortstop Phil Rizzuto.

I played college baseball at Marietta (OH) College and appeared in the 1985 Division 3 College Baseball World Series. Much of my baseball knowledge comes from my father, but I have also gathered much useful information from all of my coaches.

I currently am a weekly guest on “The Shore Sports Report” every Friday at 5:30 PM EST. http://www.foxsports1310.com/shoresportsrpt.cfm

I am a fan of all sports but concentrate mainly on baseball and football.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

http://twitter.com/Joe_DelGrippo

My philosophy for teams is to let young players develop rather than going after big money free agents.

I would like to get an opportunity to work professionally in the sports business, either as a writer, baseball scout or sports talk radio host. I take pride in my deep knowledge of the game, and the research generated to back up my thoughts and ideas.

You can go here: http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo to see some of my longer pieces. Bleacher Report is a great site and if you haven’t been there yet, it woudl be wise to check it out.

The good people over there have selected me to be a Featured Columnist for their new New York Yankee page.

Also, I had written quite a bit on another site. Check out my prior baseball writings on my former blog at www.josephdelgrippo.com.

This site is for much smaller stuff but I will post feature articles written for other sites.