I have no idea why the Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. I'm hoping it's part of something bigger, where someone will be swapped due to that move being made, but I have no idea.
(A part of me thinks this deal is Omar Minaya's way of responding to the critics who accuse him of racism [or ethnicism, I guess] by acquiring only Hispanic players. I can imagine him saying, "You want some white players? Here are some white players. Guess what? They suck! Hispanic players are better. Do you see my point now?")
That said, there are some pieces to this off-season puzzle that I have firmly in my grasp, that I want to make sure I get out there, on what has turned out to be a quiet day baseball-wise.
First of all, and I haven't had a chance yet to mention this, Omar Minaya came out on Thursday to say that the Mets would not be trading Jose Reyes. Of course, the cynic in me wants to know when someone has ever told the truth in that situation, but I sort of believe it. So maybe Reyes is sticking around...or at least being held for a different blockbuster.
I don't think the Mets are getting Johan Santana. I'm not sure who is at this point, but it seems like the Twins want young pitchers that the Mets just don't have. I also wonder whether or not Santana is going to be traded this far before the trade deadline - by trading Matt Garza, the Twins left themselves a hole in their rotation - would they trade Santana too? Or if they did, they need a major-league ready pitcher, which the Mets can't offer....or the Twins don't want.
On that note, the Mets look to be kind of set for themselves in the young pitcher department, with Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey. I still think these guys will turn out to be solid, effective pitchers. Nothing spectacular, but they'll provide pitching depth. The problem with Pelfrey and Humber is that they are not going to land the Mets any big trading fish...because no one likes them as bait. They are the Mets' two best pitching prospects...but no one really thinks too highly of them.
Who do the Mets have that they could trade? The big name right now that would be part of a deal for a pitcher for the Mets is outfielder Carlos Gomez. He's speedy, and had a good start to his major league career with the Mets before breaking a bone in his hand. He is part of what the Mets imagine their outfield of the future to look like...but he might not be around for long. Also, it looks like the lefty-hitting Brian Schneider will stay a Met, to platoon with righty Ramon Castro...while Johnny Estrada will be shipped.
So if Santana is out of the question, who might the Mets land? This is where it gets good. How about Erik Bedard? If he's a Met come April, I'll be thrilled. I'd also be happy (but to a much lesser extent - you know how I feel about Erik Bedard) if the rumors about Dan Haren are true. He's a good pitcher. Joe Blanton is a big drop-off from those two names, and the Mets are also interested in him....but if you asked me which of the three would be most likely to be a Met in the spring, his name would come up.
One more thing - I'm not sure how I missed this, but I guess Rickey Henderson is no longer with the Mets. The Mets' record wasn't awful after he joined the team, but individuals, most notably Jose Reyes, saw their performances decrease after his arrival. The reason I noticed he's not coming back is that Tom Nieto, the Mets catching instructor, appears to be the front-runner for the job. Hmm...again, no Hall of Famer Gary Carter. Might he be in line for a catching instructor job?
That's where we're at right now. There's a lot going on on the hot stove - I'll do my best to keep updating through the winter...especially with the Winter Meetings just getting underway.