Thursday, July 31, 2014
Joey's Soapbox: I'm Okay With Sandy Standing Pat
Hello, everyone! This is Joey Beartran. Today's trade deadline combined with my Studious Metsimus colleague having a fever has allowed me to get on my soapbox for the first time since Scott Atchison was still a Met. Needless to say, I've had a lot of things on my mind since my last soapbox rant, but today is not about ranting. In fact, it's about giving praise to Sandy Alderson.
You see, while teams like the Tigers have been trying to employ every Cy Young Award winner on the planet and the Red Sox have been involved in two blockbuster trades involving all their John/Jons (Beantown says goodbye to Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and John Lackey, while Yoenis Cespedes, Joe Kelly and Allen Craig are all shipping up to Boston), the Mets decided they're better off not forcing any deals. And that's just fine with me.
Ten years ago yesterday, then-general manager Jim Duquette pulled the trigger on two ill-advised deals, sending Ty Wigginton and Jose Bautista (yes, THAT Jose Bautista) to the Pirates for Jeff Keppinger, Kris Benson and Anna Benson. Duquette also sent Jose Diaz and former No. 1 draft pick Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.
Keppinger played just 33 games as a Met before being traded to Kansas City, while the Bensons combined for 14 wins, a 4.23 ERA, a sexy Santa and a whole lot of controversy. Meanwhile, Wigginton and Bautista have combined to produce 371 homers and 1,098 RBI since removing their "Property of the New York Mets" T-shirts.
Although the loss of Jose Diaz didn't hurt the Mets much, the loss of Scott Kazmir did. Kazmir has been wobbly at various points of his career, but he has still reached double digits in wins in seven seasons and is currently having the best year of his career, going 12-3 with a 2.37 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in his first year with the Oakland Athletics. He also earned his third All-Star selection in 2014. What legacy did Zambrano and Fortunato leave behind? Well, Zambrano failed to be "fixed in ten minutes" by pitching coach Rick Peterson and posted ten wins and a 4.42 ERA in three mostly uneventful seasons with the Mets. Meanwhile, Fortunato had a 7.06 ERA in 17 relief appearances, which is the sixth-highest ERA for a Mets pitcher with that many appearances.
Duquette made these deals while the Mets were four games under .500, seven games out of first place in the NL East and seven-and-a-half games out of the wild card spot. If those numbers look familiar, that's because this year's Mets are four games under .500, seven-and-a-half games out of first place in the division and six games out of the second wild card spot.
The 2004 Mets went 22-38 after their two trade deadline deals, finishing 25 games out of first and costing Jim Duquette his job. Ten years later, Sandy Alderson has decided to stand pat and continue with his plan, a plan that includes players like Lucas Duda, Jon Niese, Jacob deGrom, et al. Alderson has also finally handed over the keys to the bullpen to younger players like Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, a move that has the Mets steering in the right direction.
It is obvious that there are still some positions that could be improved, but there is no need to force anything now. Deals for a shortstop can be made in the winter, as can an upgrade to the outfield. After all, anything will be better than the Chris Young Experiment.
The Mets have players to trade. They just don't need to trade them now. They most certainly don't need a repeat of the 2004 trade deadline fiasco. At least the Mets had the funds then to buy their way out of that hole. They don't have those funds now. So it is wiser to be prudent now, especially with Matt Harvey coming back next season to bolster an already strong starting rotation.
I probably would have had more to rant about on my soapbox had Alderson pulled the trigger on a deal today. But he did not. And I think the Mets are better off because of it. The future is bright at Citi Field. It did not to get cloudy with an unnecessary trade. Bravo to Sandy Alderson for standing pat at this year's trade deadline.