Minaya Explains Mets' Inability To Swing Deal At Trade Deadline

A look at New York Mets' trade rumors as the MLB trade deadline approaches. See Amazin' Avenue for more.

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“We were just not able to find the right fit"

New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya was unable to swing a deal or deals that might have injected some life into the scuffling team before Saturday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

“You have to be careful in giving blue-chip prospects,” Minaya said. “And look, also, where you are in the standings.”

A couple things broke against the club: A shoulder injury reduced some of hard-throwing pitcher Jenrry Mejia’s luster. Jason Bay’s concussion forced Jeff Francoeur into the starting lineup for the next two weeks — Francoeur, mired in a second-half slump, still had some value on the market.

The players who interested teams, Minaya explained, were too precious to both the future and the present.

[Ike] Davis ranks second on the team in home runs. [Jon] Niese is an effective third starter. Josh Thole is the starting catcher. The potential of their future contributions outweighed the necessity of upgrades in the present.

Minaya might be right. Mets’ fans looking for a big move and 2010 pennant push might be disappointed, however.


Nothing Going On for Mets

It appears that it will be a quiet trade deadline for the New York Mets.


Buyers Or Sellers?

Amazin' Avenue looks at which side the Mets should be on as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.



Reports: Mets Unlikely To Get Any Help At Deadline

The New York Yankees are making a splash at the trade deadline, apparently acquiring Lance Berkman and being in the market for more help.

The New York Mets? They traded Mike Jacobs, but it doesn’t look like they are going to get much — if anything — else done at the deadline.

More likely, the Mets will continue their attempt to land a pitcher in the hours leading up to Saturday’s Deadline. But with Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt all sent to new teams, there is little that general manager Omar Minaya can do on that front. The market for relief pitching remains thin.

That leaves the Mets, most likely, in the unenviable position of hoping that their current group of players can be good enough. Competing with the Braves and the revamped Phillies — who on Thursday acquired Oswalt — has just become a more difficult challenge.

“My focus has to remain with the guys that we have in the clubhouse, and trying to get them to continue to fight and show the character that they’ve shown,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “That’s got to be my focus at this point — not what Omar is doing or what he can do or what he can’t do. I’ve got to make sure those guys are going to be ready to play.”

So, looks like the Mets will be on the outside looking in while the crosstown Yankees have all the fun.


Mets Send Mike Jacobs To Toronto Blue Jays

Mike Jacobs, buried in the Mets’ minor-league system, has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later.

With rookie Ike Davis having grabbed the first base job, there was no place for Jacobs with the Mets.


Moves The Mets Won't Make

Here a couple of New York Mets’ trade tidbits from Jon Heyman of SI.com.

— The Mets won’t trade outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis for Toronto reliever Scott Downs.

— They won’t swap outfielders with Kansas City.


Lilly, Myers Won't Be Mets

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets are pretty much out of the running for starting pitchers Ted Lilly and Brett Myers.


Looking For Overpriced, Underperforming Pitcher?

That sounds about right for the overpriced underperforming New York Mets.


Royals' Fans resigned to acquiring Francoeur

Folks in Kansas City seem resigned to the fact that Royals’ GM Dayton Moore wants Jeff Francoeur from the Mets, even if they are anything but happy about it.

— Here is how Royals Review summed up its annoyance at this potential deal.

It’s time. Let’s just go ahead and get it over with and move on to Plan B. Your GM can’t get over Jeff Francoeur until he’s gotten him, after all. Better still, your owner can’t realize he has to make a change until his GM just absolutely leaves no doubt.

Francoeur’s good and overpaid now, which makes it even better. He’s a better Moorean fit now. Well, he’s still a little young, but when you can snag one of the worst outfielders in the game for what’s left of a $5 million dollar salary. You do it. You do it every time. Assuming you’re incompetent. I mean, heck, it’s almost like he’s got better numbers than Mitch Maier. Almost.

Ex-Brave, impatient as hell, a pure out machine, out-sized reputation based on last generation’s methods, getting expensive, all of it. The perfect package. The only worry is that he’ll be overshadowed on the roster. It’ll be a tough choice to make for the apologists on that rare day when Yuni and Frenchy both make good plays in the same inning.

— The folks at Kings of Kauffman are not very happy, either.

— On the flip side, NY Baseball Digest doesn’t care what the Mets get from Kansas City for Francoeur, Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo. They see addition by subtraction.


Sun-Times: Lilly Deal Coming Soon

The Chicago Sun-Times says the Cubs are ready to strike while the iron is hot, looking to deal starting pitcher Ted Lilly after a stellar 7.1-inning effort in which he held Houston to one run.

The struggling New York Mets have shown the most interest in Lilly. The Detroit Tigers are also believed to be shifting their attention to Lilly after hitting a wall in their talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks centering on Haren. Scouts from several contenders, including the Mets, Tigers, Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers, were at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for Lilly’s start against right-hander Brett Myers, who is being shopped by the Astros. Myers has also drawn interest from the Mets.

Lilly would give the Mets three lefties in their rotation, and allow beleaguered manager Jerry Manuel to move Hisanori Takahashi to the bullpen.

Lilly might upgrade the rotation, but he can’t hit and that has been the Mets’ biggest problem of late.


Francoeur Could Be Gone By Weekend

The New York Post is reporting that the Mets could trade struggling right fielder Jeff Francoeur within the next couple of days.

According to an industry source, the team is trying to trade the right fielder, and could have a deal in place by the time the Mets finish their series in Los Angeles this weekend.

Francoeur would welcome a trade, according to a person friendly with the right fielder, if it gave him a chance to play every day.

With Carlos Beltran back and Angel Pagan having a good season, Francoeur (.243/8/42) is expendable.


Are The Mets Thinking About Adding More Bullpen Help?

The New York Mets have added veteran right-hander Chad Cordero to their bullpen. Now, reports are that the Mets are considering making runs at relievers Scott Downs and Octavio Dotel.

This is always Plan B. If you can’t find a starter you like, try to beef up the bullpen since you know it will be heavily taxed in a pennant race.


Harper: Jake Westbrook Is Right Fit For Mets

New York Daily News columnist John Harper says the New York Mets should be targeting Cleveland Indians’ right-hander Jake Westbrook in their search for starting pitching help.

From Harper.

I know, I know, that’s not exactly a name that makes Mets fans ecstatic. Personally, of the available pitchers in that category, I’d rather have Ted Lilly, Brett Myers, Ben Sheets or Jeremy Guthrie, but all indications are those pitchers’ teams are all looking for at least one top prospect in a trade.

None of them are worth Jenrry Mejia or Wilmer Flores, and there is doubt among baseball people about whether Fernando Martinez is highly regarded enough these days to get such a deal done.

The Indians, meanwhile, would trade the 33-year-old Westbrook in a minute for a mid-level prospect if the Mets would pick up most of what’s left on his $11 million contract this season.

Westbrook is 6-5 with a 4.67 ERA in 113 innings, and he pitched poorly against the Mets when they were in Cleveland a few weeks ago. That outing caused some Mets people to “jump ship” on him, according to one person in the organization who still thinks the righthanded sinkerballer is worth a shot.

“He’s a veteran with a reputation as a gamer,” the Mets person said, “so you have to think he’d be revitalized by getting out of Cleveland and getting into a pennant race. His sinker-slider type stuff would get a boost coming to the National League, too.”

This is actually not a horrible idea, as long as all you are looking for is back end of the rotation help.


The Definitive List of Available Pitchers

If the New York Mets want to acquire pitching help at the MLB trade deadline, Jon Heyman of SI recently put together the list GM Omar Minaya should be working from.

Not many surprise names on the list but it is a nice reference.


Mets Souring On Available Pitchers?

A new report says the New York Mets are apparently not thrilled with the pitching options available on this year’s trade market.

Cliff Lee is a Texas Ranger and R.A. Dickey a revelation in New York. Because of those two factors, the Mets are less likely to trade for a pitcher than they were last month, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking. They do, however, retain some interest in Ted Lilly, Brett Myers, Jake Westbrook and—if he becomes significantly less expensive—Roy Oswalt.

The Mets also view the market for available relievers as underwhelming, and are not optimistic about adding high-impact bullpen help.

The Mets were enamored of Lee, but unwilling to part with Ike Davis, so Seattle sent its ace to Texas for first baseman Justin Smoak and other prospects. Beyond Lee, there is no starter that the Mets consider a hands-down difference-maker. Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese are obviously secure in their jobs at the top of the rotation, and the team believes that Dickey’s success—and, to a lesser extent, Hisanori Takahashi’s—has reduced significantly the need to make a trade. Dickey and Niese’s performances in San Francisco this week reiterated that the rotation is not the Mets most significant problem.

The Mets do, however, remain interested to some degree in several starters, and are still open to completing a deal. They have scouted Chicago lefthander Lilly, and have received reports that the Lilly’s velocity is down. Still, the 34-year-old struck out 10 Friday in a win over Philadelphia.

Could this just be a smokescreen by the Mets, hoping they can drive the market price down?


Olney: Mets Would Consider Brett Myers

ESPN’s Buster Olney says Brett Myers is on the list of pitchers the Mets are considering.

To which I say, that’s a joke, right? Brett Myers? Gotta do better than that if you are going to make a move, Omar Minaya.


Baseball Prospectus Assesses The Roy Oswalt Market

Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox and — surprisingly — the Boston Red Sox are listed as the Mets’ primary competition for Roy Oswalt, the veteran Houston Astro right-hander.

He needs to be traded this year, to really help his current employer, but it is a wonky situation for sure. The Astros are in dire straits as far as their farm system goes, and they lack impact talent at the major-league level capable of netting minor-league depth in a fire sale. In other words, they don’t even have what it takes to start the rebuilding phase they needed to start four years ago. In Oswalt they have an asset that could conceivably extract a good amount of talent from an acquiring team in return, but a huge roadblock apparently exists in the mind of owner Drayton McLane, who still values the righty as if this was the 2005 season.


Three Prospects For Oswalt?

New York Baseball Digest is floating the idea that the Houston Astros are asking the Mets for three top prospects in return for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt

I think it is obvious that starting pitching is a need for the Mets. Oswalt would be owed $16 million in 2011, plus whatever is left on his $16 million salary this season. That's a lot to swallow, plus having to give up three prospects.

If I was Omar Minaya, the Mets GM, I might pass on that one.


Which Starting Pitchers Might Be Available?

The New York Mets have Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana at the top of their starting rotation. They have gotten good first-half performances from several other pitchers, but to make a serious playoff run it’s likely they need an upgrade to the bottom half of their rotation.

Ted Lilly? Roy Oswalt? Fausto Carmona? Here is a look at the potential market for starting pitchers as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.


Olney: Mets In Middle Of Pack In Race For Lee

Buster Olyne of ESPN has put together an awesome assessment of what Seattle ace Cliff Lee could mean to the variety of contenders pursuing him.

More importantly for New York Mets fans, he rates the Twins, Reds and Rays as teams having a better shot at obtaining Lee from the Mariners.


Mets' Payroll Stretched To The Limit?

The New York Post is reporting that the New York Mets may have a difficult time swinging a major trade this month because they have serious financial issues.

Investment bankers who sell sports teams believe the Amazin’s owners, the Wilpon family, are so cash-strapped that they will have to sell the Flushing franchise if the team has a losing season or two and attendance falls.

There is growing evidence that the owners are in serious need of dough, and the team — saddled with roughly $700 million in debt — is not turning a profit.

This is the type of stuff that keeps the Mets from consistenly being an upper-echelon team. I guess we will know in a few weeks how much truth there is to this.


Cliff Lee Might Not Be On The Market

Is this report true? Or, just pre-trade deadline posturing? Probably more of the latter, in my opinion.

Anyway, here it is.

Despite the high volume of recent speculation surrounding Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee, a major league source with knowledge of the Mariners’ thinking said Wednesday that the team has not yet made its ace available.

“It is the same thing with (Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik) as it has been all along,” the source said. “He knows to contact teams when he’s ready to deal. He hasn’t done that yet, but that could change any minute.”


Report: Mets To Focus On Improving Pitching

The New York Daily News is reporting that pitching will be the priority for the New York Mets in the trade market.

Despite Luis Castillo’s slow recovery from bone bruises in his feet, the Mets do not plan to seek a second baseman in the trade market, according to a team source. Focused on pitching, the team is content to rely on organizational options in the infield.


Mets, Twins Front-Runners For Cliff Lee

At least, that is what the Seattle Times thinks.

I said a couple of days ago that the Twins, Rangers and Mets looked like the biggest suitors and you can now cross the boys from Texas off because a bankruptcy ruling on Tuesday makes it next to impossible for the Rangers to add significant payroll.

Better luck next time.

That leaves the Twins and Mets. The Twins have been seen as favorites because they have a blocked top catching prospect in Wilson Ramos that they could make a centerpiece to a deal along with a mid-to-back-end starting pitcher. Seattle has apparently let teams know that acquiring a good catching prospect is high on their priority list.

But the Mets have some pretty good young players of their own. Not catchers, mind you, but if the rumors coming out of New York are true, the M’s might have to ship Lee off to the Big Apple.

That’s because the rumors — and they are only rumors, but with some logic — say the Mets might offer top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia (photo above) and current major league outfielder Angel Pagan in a Lee swap. Wow, that one would be tough to decline.

Sure, that probably would be tough to decline. No one from New York has said they might actually be willing to do that, however. And why would they for a three-month rental?


Mets Willing To Chase Cliff Lee?

Reports indicate that the Mets might be willing to make a pitch for hotly sought after Seattle left-hander Cliff Lee.

The price will be high for whoever ends up with Lee, especially since lots of teams have interest in the former AL Cy Young winner.


Mejia To Minors As Trade Bait?

New York Baseball Digest wonders if sending Jenrry Mejia to the minors is a signal the New York Mets might be willing to dangle the 20-year-old right-hander as trade bait.

Remember, it takes a while to develop as a starter and Mejia isn’t close to mastering pitches that would allow him to navigate lineups multiple times. He was less than impressive coming out of the bullpen the last three months. That makes we think his real value to the organization is trade bait, not as a contributor at the big league level.

I suppose this is possible. I can’t see the logic in giving up on a young arm like this for a rental, though.


New York Mets' Trade Rumors

Buster Olney of ESPN is reporting that the New York Mets have had discussions with the Cleveland Indians about acquiring starting pitcher Fausto Carmona.

What is attractive about Carmona is that when he's throwing strikes, he can be dominant -- and he is throwing a lot more strikes this year after struggling in 2008 and 2009.

What is scary about Carmona is what could be called the Oliver Perez factor: He has shown he is capable of veering completely off course, and you do wonder how pitching in the high pressure of New York would impact him.

Another factor for the Mets is that Carmona is under contract beyond this year, unlike Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook or Ben Sheets, who are all eligible for free agency in the fall. Carmona is making $4.9 million this year and $6.1 million next year, and his contract contains $7 million and $9 million options for 2012 and 2013, respectively. If the Mets land Carmona and he responds well to New York, they could have a nice core of pitching intact for the next few years.

The Mets are getting terrific starting pitching from the guys behind Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana right now. I think they understand, though, that it isn't likely to last forever. If they truly want to contend for a playoff spot in the National League another starting pitcher is probably a must.

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