November 23, 2005

Mets Notes: Delgado, Wagner, and Nady, Oh My!

I don't typically write about sports, but being a Mets fan it has been hard to ignore the recent changes going on with my baseball team of choice. I have decided to pass some of them along to you. Hopefully I won't bore you to tears, or expose my lack of knowledge in this arena too badly. Onward my faithful readers, you have been warned.

In a story that began it's life prior to the 2005 season, the Mets want Carlos Delgado. The only difference is that this time they got him. Instead of signing him as a free agent, as would have happened last year, they traded for him, taking advantage of the latest sale being offered by the Florida Marlins. The deal sends first baseman Mike Jacobs and minor league pitching prospect Yusmerio Petit to the Marlins in exchange for Delgado and $7 million.

There are two sides to this deal, and I feel a little conflicted. I am a Mets fan, but not so hardcore that I track every deal made, but this one is big and caught my attention. On one hand, Delgado offers a strong offense and decent defense to the lineup. He is a proven offensive threat, last year he hit over 30 home runs, had over 100 RBIs, and had an average over .300. Those are good numbers by any stretch, add him to a lineup with Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran, and David Wright and you are going to be an offensive threat. On the other hand the Mets have given up a bright young player in Jacobs, who quickly became a Shea favorite when he exploded upon his call-up this past August. They also give up what I am told is (was) the Mets top minor league pitching prospect, and we all know how valuable young pitching can be. I must also admit that I had never heard of Petit prior to today's deal. In the end, I fall to the side of liking the trade, and hope that it pays off. I also wish Jacobs the best, perhaps he will bear the blue and orange again.

In an attempt to fill the closer hole left by the departing Braden Looper, the Mets are pursuing Phillie free agent Billy Wagner. In my opinion this is definitely a step up. Sad to say, but I did not find Looper to be any better than the man he replaced, Armando Benitez. Assuming Wagner can perform in New York, and some players can't, he would help shore up the Mets bullpen. Last year he had a 4-3 record, an ERA of 1.51, and 38 saves in 41 opportunities. He has been offered over $30 million for 3 years and an option for a 4th. He has not yet decided and is still taking offers, presumably from the Phillies, and rumored from the Red Sox and Braves. This potential deal is probably a few weeks off. On a last note, Wagner has been quoted as saying that his wife will be a big deciding factor on whether she wishes to move or not. Seems like a class act to me, I hope he makes the right (wink) decision.

One last deal to make mention of. Last week the Mets finalized a trade which sent outfielder Mike Cameron to San Diego in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Xavier Nady. This news saddened me. Ever since Cameron joined the Mets, I have been a fan. He played a great center field and delivered at the plate, then, when Carlos Beltran was acquired, he moved to right and did a good job there as well. Now he is gone. In his place they have acquired a younger talent with room to grow. Nady has exhibited some power potential, hitting 13 home runs last year, and given time could increase his offensive output. The has been rumors that the Mets may turn around and deal Nady again before spring training, but there is nothing concrete to those rumors.

The Mets have been a team in a constant state of flux. Ever since going to the World Series in 2000, which was won by the cross town rival Yankees, they have been heading in the wrong direction. Each year the team looks great on paper, has a decent start and collapses after the All Star break. Hopefully, this year will be different. They have a strong mix of young and veteran players with which to make a go. The Mets have David Wright and Jose Reyes emerging as major stars on the rise, Ramon Castro looks good behind the plate, and the outfield has Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran, combine them with the addition of Delgado and the team on paper keeps getting better. Only time will tell what the future holds.

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