Friday, December 18, 2009

Recent Transactions Potpourri: Minaya Asleep At The Wheel?

These are not huge transactions, but they both are very, VERY significant for the Mets. In my opinion, both of these moves were far more relevant to the Mets interests than the Lackey signing, or the Halladay trade.

Both of these moves involved players who could have addressed the Mets needs - yet neither of them were linked in rumor to our team. Both of them are structured in ways that would have helped a team in the Mets' position.

Usually I defend Minaya -- but right now, I'm worried.

Nick Johnson signed with the Yankees

The Good:
- Nick has a career .402 on-base percentage. He's been even better recently, posting OBP's of .428, .415, and .426(!) the last three seasons.
- He's been rated as an above-average defensive first baseman for five out of the last seven years.
- He signed a contract which was short in length (one year) and small in value ($5.5 million).
- He is only 31.

The Bad:
- He doesn't hit for much power - only 8 home runs last season.
- He is injury prone, playing 131, 147, 0, 38, and 133 games in the last five years

That is a VERY reasonable contract for a VERY good hitter. He would have been a perfect fit on the Mets. Sure, he may have wanted more money to come here than to go to the Yankees, the team he came up through the minors with, but still.

His short contract would have been perfect for the Mets, if they think Ike Davis is the real deal. He won't insist on playing 150 games, as he's a veteran with a history of being injury prone and bouncing back and forth in the lineup. He's a perfect fit for Citifield itself as his value stems so much from his ability to work pitchers and get on base in front of the big boppers.

I think it would have been a complete dereliction of duty if Minaya was not in on negotiations with Nick Johnson at this price.

From 06-09, Johnson has hit 283/.426/.462 for an 887 OPS in 318 games.
From 06-09, Bay has hit .272/.371/.503 for an 874 OPS in 610 games.

Bay is probably a better bet because of his durability, but Johnson has been a BETTER hitter and BETTER defender when healthy. And I'd rather have Johnson for $5.5 million than commit five times the years and over TEN times the salary to Bay.

Mariners Trade Carlos Silva to Cubs for Milton Bradley

What can you say about Milton Bradley? He's a hitter. A great hitter. Over the last five years (on five different teams) he has hit .289/.390/.483 for a 873 OPS. He's hit 74 home runs and struck out only 360 times. Some believe he's a headache but when you are, on average, a three wins above average hitter, it's worth it.

The thing that makes this trade a master stroke for Seattle, is that they got rid of Carlos Silva. Silva is a disaster -- a worse pitcher than Oliver Perez with the exact same contract. How the Mariners were able to flip Silva for Bradley is a mystery to me, but congratulations to them.

Dave Cameron broke down the trade here. And he's right in saying Carlos Silva might find new life in the National League. But more importantly - where were the Mets on this?

For a team looking for offense, Bradley would have been a great fit. The Mets have more than enough personality and leadership in their clubhouse that Bradley would not have been a problem (if one even believes in things like that affecting a baseball club). Also -- we had just the bad contract to trade the Cubs!

Instead of the rumored Castillo-Bradley swap we heard about all winter, how about a Perez-Bradley swap? Perez is infinitely more talented than Carlos Silva. Does anyone think the Cubs would have said no if we offered them Perez for Bradley? Especially in light of this trade? I don't.

Right now, cash is going from the Mariners to the Cubs to compensate for Silva's uselessness -- but that doesn't change things. At the very least, the Mets NEEDED to be in on this negotiation. Where were they?


I'm not saying this is what I would have done, but if the Mets had signed Johnson and traded for Bradley, the lineup they could have put out there every day would have been phenomenal.

SS Reyes
1B Johnson
CF Beltran
3B Wright
RF Bradley
LF Pagan
C Blanco/Thole
2B Castillo

At this point, we'd only have added $5.5 million to the payroll because of the Johnson signing. We'd have the rest of our budget free -- as reported, in the neighborhood of $25-$30 million -- to address the rotation. And even if things didn't work out, Johnson would be gone in 2011 and Bradley in 2012.

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