For the Mets, the pressure has been building, injuries-taxing, and slumps growing ever so unbearable to watch. Don't worry Mets fans. There is hope yet.
With the ever increasingly large contracts created and purchased in free agency, it's been galling at best for the smaller market teams to make key acquisitions that can significantly improve their clubs success. However the shortcomings in free agency usually enable the less financially comfortable teams with something far more valuable. Those being draft picks.
With the picks that have been adding up, teams like Kansas City and Tampa Bay have been stocking their respective farm teams with many who have been labeled "the next superstar". That alone however doesn't balance out the need for fan participation and support. Teams still need the fans to go to the parks and that's why free agency is looked forward to so feverishly. There still has to be a balance.
While the Royals and Rays each have their wallets locked away, they realize that the times have changed so much to the point where they have to overspend even for marginal major league ready talent. (See KC Royals and Gil Meche.) More importantly, they realize that they have the chips that other teams want. Talented youth will take them a long way, and right now, one of the teams that should be seriously considering trading career long star-power for such young talent is the New York Mets.
When the Mets traded away extremely talented youth in the power arm of Henry Owens, the off-speed talents of Yusmeiro Petit, and the extremely talented and impressive Mike Jacobs, I was livid. The reason being exactly what you are seeing with the Mets. Power relief is an issue. Offense, defense, age and injuries are serious issues for the defending NL Eastern Champs but with a handful of moves, the Mets can be well on their way to winning their first World Series in over 20 years.
The outfield situation looks very bad. In an attempt to fill a hole left from the departure of Cliff Floyd, the Mets gambled on an aged star who has left his best days long ago. You see, Moises Alou and the DL go hand and hand. Even when he is off the DL, Alou doesn't play a good defensive game. He has no range, nor arm to make a positive difference for any team, let alone one in the hunt for October titles. Shawn Green is in the same boat when it comes to defense. Normally, when you can hit, but can't play defense, you are designated to the bench. After my suggested trades, this should not be a problem any longer.
There is an area from the infield that is lacking on both sides of the game. Defense is more than scooping up bad throws, it's placement , anticipation and the desire for the play to come to you that produce some of the best fielders in the game. Minaya must take into consideration the little production coming from the position, because no matter what team it is, if you don't produce, there will be changes. The Mets should not be exempt from this line of thinking. Moves must be made, and trade package that can make the biggest significant difference toward reaching the ultimate goal, includes one of the biggest stars in the game-Carlos Delgado.
There are many teams that will be willing to take their chances on a player of Delgado's caliber alone. Adding Alou and two top prospects to the deal, in Carlos Gomez and Mike Pelfrey, may very well be too much to ignore. Who do I suggest the Mets trade for? Two players in the form of Carl Crawford and Ty Wigginton. The need for both is apparent. Crawford is a true star left fielder who brings eerily similar skills as Reyes to the team. Rarely injured, and a true benefit to the team on both sides of the game, he would lock down the Mets outfield as the best in the majors.
In the exchange for Crawford/Wiggy, the Rays would get a power lefty who can DH or play first base, and who brings great chemistry to the team. Next is a veteran with a lot of offensive ability left in Alou. Also included is the outfield prospect who the Mets hint may grow to be better than Milledge (I don't buy it) in Carlos Gomez. Last they get yet another top prospect in Mike Pelfrey.
While Tampa Bay has Crawford signed for quite a few years, the thought of having Delgado, Alou, Pelfrey and Gomez may be too tempting to pass up. After all, they need to make an impact in their division, and this may be the recipe that can help them take advantage of the Yankees troubles this season and truly compete in their division for the long haul.
In Wigginton, the Mets get back a true gamer. He is as hard-nosed as they come and plays an excellent first base, while still providing more power than what we have seen from Delgado this year. He is a lot younger and plays many different positions very well. If you want to talk about chemistry, Ty will teach these kids how to play the game hard. He plays like every pitch and every base in his sight is his for the taking. These Mets don't play that way. They don't play with that fire that the late 80's teams had. They don't play like Ty.
The move shifts Green to the sorely skill depleted bench, while spending time at first in a platoon with Wiggy, Valentin and Franco. Valentin should be benched in favor of the young stud Ruben Gotay who has proven he can play at the major league level if given the chance.
The trade would do a lot of things. Something to look forward to is that it would clear up much needed financial restraints for Johan Santana in free agency come the winter. With Glavine likely out at the end of this year, the Mets will need a true ace to help Pedro solidify the rotation. A starting staff of Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Philip Humber/Jorge Sosa matches up great against any in baseball.
That may be something for the winter, but rest assured, Omar has his eye on the same thing. The question is will he be willing to make this trade to get it. I'm hoping he does.