Okay, I admit it. I was having some fun yesterday, and I thank you for playing along. I wanted to see just how many feathers I could ruffle, and how much conversation and debate I could stir up with one post. Based on the comments, most of you — colleagues included — seem to think I have gone beyond delusions of grandeur straight to tight fitting jackets and rubber walls. Fair enough. I assure you, loyal readers, I was joking.
Maybe mixing humor with reality was a bit Andy Kaufman, but it was also a lot of fun to watch play out. And while most of what I said was tongue in cheek, behind every joke lies an ounce of truth. And behind every trade proposal from yesterday’s blog, lies an ounce of possibility for the Mets.
(Okay, maybe not the Kazmir deal. That was just ridiculous…)
But — now that we’re back to discussing reality — of all the pipe dream blogging I committed to the server 24 hours ago, two of my proposed maneuvers are very much within reach for the Mets, and would immediately help this team in 2008 and beyond.
1) Trading for Dan Haren
Not surprisingly, this is the deal most people agreed with. Though there was a joke subtly placed in my proposed Mets offer, only dedicated fans of the Amazins would have caught it.
Billy Beane is in love with Lastings Milledge. He has done everything short of spray painting it on an overpass near the Bay Bridge. Any deal involving the Mets and Athletics begins and ends with Milledge, and any deal not offering the young outfielder will be ignored by A’s brass. Though there are reports that Beane’s affection for Milledge has diminished since Lastings struggled out of the gate, I have no doubt that feelings would respawn quickly, should the right offer be made.
Likewise, Haren brings an awful lot to the table, at a relative bargain price. He is currently signed to a lowballed contract that pays him $4 million next year, $5.5 million in 2009, with a team option for 2010 worth $6.75 million. To the Mets, this is chump change, especially for a pitcher that would feast on National League hitters. The real cost for the Mets is going to be the loss of talent, and Beane, knowing just how threadbare the Mets rotation is, will expect a chunk of talent in return.
Milledge is a given, and as I said yesterday in one of my calmer moments, seems to be available to anyone with the right chips. The A’s will also expect pitching in return for Haren, so expect Aaron Heilman and/or John Maine to be included on the Oakland wish list, as well. However, unlike my sarcastic overpaying from yesterday, I don’t see the Mets depleting their rotation any further, just to obtain another arm. Maine stays, and a less proven guy like Pelfrey or Humber is more likely to be included.
Ideally, if it’s going to happen, I’d like to see the deal centered on Milledge, accompanied by perhaps a Kevin Mulvey or another prospect arm. But, I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen that way. Still, despite the losses, a trade of Milledge, Heilman and Pelfrey for Haren is too tempting to pass up, and Omar would probably agree.
Of course, if the price for Haren is too steep, perhaps a lesser offer for Haren’s pal Joe Blanton would be worth exploring. But that’s another topic for another time.
2. Sign Shawn Chacon
I caught some guff for this yesterday, but I don’t care. The Mets long relief/emergency starter role was a dead spot last year. Aaron Sele was a waste of cash and time, and the rotating cast of characters (Jason Vargas, Dave Williams, etc.) was about as effective as you’d expect them to be. Chacon didn’t have such a good time in New York a few years back with the Bombers, but he seems to have settled into a nice NL role, putting up solid numbers on a bad Pirates team. He isn’t going to bring a World Series to this team by himself, but shoring up a gaping hole in the bullpen would go a long way toward righting the 2007 ship.
Other than these moves, there is simply no shot of the Mets pulling off any of my other “proposals.” Octavio Dotel? It might happen, but only if Heilman is traded. Otherwise, he’s simply too expensive and fragile to be realistic. Tony Clark? Too expensive for a bench player, though that has never seemed to stop the Mets before. Erik Bedard? Not yet. Ramon Hernandez? Would love him, but the O’s won’t bite with anything less than an amazing (read: overblown) offer. Mike Cameron? No comment.
Realistically, the only way the Mets are going to bolster the rotation is to go out and overspend by tens of millions. Livan Hernandez is rumored to be “very interested” in playing for the Mets (just what we need, another Hernandez with a suspect birth certificate), and could be an okay addition to the team. Carlos Silva won’t come cheap, but he’s out there, and would be a nice runner up prize for the eventual losers in the Johan Santana sweepstakes. Other guys are available, but honestly, none of them warrant the ink or bandwidth right now.
I guess that’s why I felt the need to make stuff up.
Maybe yesterday was a lame experiment, but I’ve always held firm that baseball is arguably more fun in the offseason, when speculation and pipe dreams are the order of the day. Yesterday’s post brought about comments of anger, confusion, laughter and mockery. It was the largest reaction I’ve gotten to a piece in quite some time. Someone even emailed our boss directly, complimenting the post.
Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t so lame after all.
Again, thanks for playing along. It was fun, but for sanity’s sake, I likely won’t do it again. All the same, my inner Andy Kaufman thanks you.