It was revealed a few hours ago that the Mets were offered Cy Young winner Roy Halladay for a collection of Bobby Parnell, Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, and Ruben Tejada and Omar Minaya rejected the trade. Many seem to see this as a way of giving up, and it could appear that way. But let’s take a look at what we’re doing, not what we’re giving up, and what Omar must be thinking in rejecting the trade.
While F-Mart and Tejada will not be of any help for a 2009 push, Niese and Parnell would. Niese’s slot in the rotation is filled easily — and better — by Halladay, but Parnell’s spot could do us some harm. While I agree with Joe when he said that Bobby Parnell better not be a deal-breaker, losing him does cost us one of the few relief pitchers that have done well for us now and, salaries aside, we can’t afford to lose another setup man with Wagner and Putz already on the DL if we plan to make a push THIS season. If and when Wags or JJ make their return, then this trade can be made, because Bobby’s spot in the bullpen will be taken over by someone we can trust (at least, we hope we can trust). Until then, there would be a few options for the Mets should Omar change his mind. We can either try out some of our current or Minor League bullpen guys out in the setup role, we can try and trade for another relief pitcher, or we can go to Frankie and say “We may need you to start going 2 innings every time until we get some guys back. Whadduya say?”
But let’s snap back to reality. Omar has done this before, though it was in the off-season, and has still managed to get his man. Don’t forget, it was Omar who approached the Blue Jays, not the other way around. Very rarely is the first proposal the one that goes through. Let’s say Omar can persuade the Jays into dealing Halladay without Parnell in the mix. Bullpen-issue-that-would-have-been-created resolved. If Parnell’s the deal-breaker for the Mets because of what he brings to THIS year’s team, why not upgrade the offer while protecting Parnell? If we’re making a push for this year and that’s why Bobby Parnell is being protected, change Bobby to another pitching prospect, maybe even one valued higher, and let’s get this thing done.
Now, there’s another starting pitcher that I think the Mets should at least take a glance at, not instead of Halladay, but in addition too. The Mets could use 2 more starting pitchers, and while Halladay certainly takes care of 1 spot, there’s another hole that needs to be filled (with Maine’s status uncertain and being uncertain about which Ollie we’ll get each night). There have been reports, perhaps more like suggestions, floating about that the San Francisco Giants should release or trade once-coveted starting pitcher Barry Zito for scraps and just call it, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News put it, “a necessary write-off of a past mistake.” There was a time when Zito was the biggest name on the free agent market, and commanded a contract worth well over 100 million dollars. But now, his stock has fallen to the point where Wall Street traders can look to him and say, “See? It could be worse.”
Barry Zito is NOT the pitcher everyone thought he was when he hit the free agent market a few years ago. He may never sniff the top of a rotation again, much less another Cy Young Award. But, he could be available for next-to-nothing, we could likely get the Giants to eat a large portion of his contract, and he IS better than what we’ve got now sitting in the 5th slot of the rotation. And, he may just benefit from playing at Citi Field…hear me out…
Barry Zito is a fly-ball pitcher, which, while not beneficial in any park, is specifically dangerous when you play in a hitter-friendly ballpark. When Zito played for the A’s, he played his home games at what is considered a pitcher-friendly park. During that time, he was dominant as a part of one of the most lethal rotations in the game, also gaining from having 2 other Aces on the staff (Mulder/Hudson). Then, he moved to San Francisco and AT&T Park, rated by ESPN.com as the 9th-most hitter-friendly park in the Bigs, and he, and his ERA, blew up. Citi Field, however, ranked 25th on that list, or the 6th-best park for pitchers.
While I’m not suggesting that playing half of his games at Citi Field will turn back the clock for “Captain Quirk”, we could, and currently, do worse. If it means only some minor prospects head to the Bay Area and if the Wilpons are willing to add what could end up as a relatively-small salary (especially compared to Halladay), then it could make some sense.
Right now, we’ve got a rotation with an Ace in Johan, a solid #3 guy in Big Pelf, and 3 holes, currently being filled by Oliver Perez, Livan Hernandez, and Jon Niese. If we give up F-Mart, Niese, Mejia, Ruben Tejada, and a mid-level prospect, we could improve our rotation to Santana, Halladay, Pelfrey, Zito, Perez, without giving up ANYONE from our Major League roster (aside from Niese, who’s just an injury replacement). Plus, Halladay and Zito are both still relatively-young and signed for more than just this season, so we’re not giving up the future for 1 shot, we’re locking in a top-notch rotation for at least another year, and likely/hopefully longer.