Adam Rubin of the Daily News was kind enough to answer a few questions for Mets Merized Online. It’s been a hectic week as far as Mets news goes, and I wanted to get his thoughts on the Halladay situation, Carlos Beltran’s bone bruise, the shift in our top prospects, and other Mets concerns.
1. According to a report by Jon Heyman, Omar Minaya rejected a trade that would have landed Roy Halladay in exchange for prospects; F-Mart, Tejada, Niese and Parnell. I was actually shocked Omar turned it down, and felt the deal could save this season and set the Mets up for next season too. What are your thoughts?
If that were an actual, bona fide proposal for a yea or nay, then two GMs ought to be out of a job. An oft-injured outfielder, a hard-throwing reliever, a projected middle-of-the-rotation starter and a non-power-hitting, teenage middle infielder playing above his level? For Roy Halladay? Look at what the Mariners gave up for Erik Bedard. Erik Bedard! Even high-ranking Mets officials say the Blue Jays, at best, were just floating ideas to see how much they could get. The Mets don’t even believe Halladay will be traded. So why did this report come out? No doubt someone high up with the Mets said it. Reports usually aren’t fiction. I would suggest the probable reason is that the Mets could then say: A, “Look, we’re talking to teams.” And, B, “Look, there’s a big market for our guys.” A report that Omar Minaya is safe not coincidentally surfaced the same day. Think about whose interest that is in.
2. I get the sense that not even the Mets themselves know if they are buyers or sellers. Lets assume they are sellers… What players, if any, might we be able to move for prospects? Do we have anything a contending team might want from us?
The Mets are not renting players. If it helps them for 2010 and beyond, great, such as Francoeur-Church (although it’s highly debatable whether it achieved that). As for selling, the Mets wouldn’t do that. They can’t admit they’re out. And trade what? You need Bobby Parnell and Pedro Feliciano for 2010. In Parnell’s case, he’s an affordable, late-inning option on a team with a bloated payroll that needs young players to offset big contracts. In the latter case, have you seen how many lefthanded relievers the Mets have gone through this season trying to find someone competent to join with Feliciano?
3. It seems like there is so much controlled chaos surrounding the team this year. It’s been a season full of mixed messages, crossed signals, miscommunication, misdiagnosis, etc. Whenever someone in management speaks, they only tell us parts of the truth and we don’t get all of the facts until days or weeks later. Are the Mets in as big a mess off the field as they are on the field?
4. I appreciate all of your exclusive coverage on the Mets minor leagues. There seems to be a lot of debate as to who the Mets’ best prospects are lately. It looks like F-Mart has taken a tumble (again!), while Holt, Mejia and Flores have seen their stock rise. How do you currently rank the Mets Top 10 prospects?
Fortunately, Fernando may exceed the at-bat total (130 by Baseball America standards), so I’ll hopefully be absolved of ranking him if the magazine asks me again next offseason to do it. I wouldn’t commit to it this far out, but Jenrry Mejia is the guy scouts say is the most legit, so he’d probably be my No. 1 right now, followed by Wilmer Flores and then Brad Holt. Beyond that, I’ll still need to do a lot of research to get a legitimate top 10. Josh Thole probably has crept in there somewhere, although I’d like to see better power numbers. One scout said a Scott Hatteberg-type career would probably be the best case scenario.
5. Is there more to Carlos Beltran’s bone bruise than what has been reported by the Mets? It seems like it’s taking an awful long time for that bone bruise to heal.
It clearly was botched, whether the advice was sound and things unpredictably went wrong, or whether the original treatment course was just plain bad. The Mets knew a bone bruise existed, yet had a $119 million player injected with cortisone. A month later the bone bruise had doubled in size. Sources continue to tell me Beltran is privately upset. And whenever I get Mets officials ranting at me, I ask to point out what’s factually incorrect in my reporting. No one ever has a reply. Usually, the response is more about how the trainers should be off-limits from my scrutiny, since they’re not public people. More generally, there are clear problems with the way Hospital for Special Surgery recommendations are used. I had a conversation with an AL official on Monday who, unsolicited, said 29 of 30 teams would have placed Jose Reyes on the DL as far back as San Francisco, or at least L.A. You may remember that even in Boston, Omar Minaya was still calling Reyes day-to-day.
6. Is there a point where it would make more sense to simply shut down Jose Reyes, John Maine and Carlos Beltran for the season and make sure that they all show up healthy next spring?
I would argue that time is now.
7. Do you think the Mets will pick up the option on J.J. Putz if he proves to be healthy once he returns?
The option is for $9.1 million. I believe when the Mets acquired Putz last December, the intention fully was to pick that up, if only to trade him. Now, I don’t think that’s possible. It’s too big a gamble for a team that only has a net of about $30 million coming off the payroll and so many holes. That would be nearly a third of the net coming off for a luxury item.
8. Apparently, both Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel got assurances from Jeff Wilpon that their jobs are safe for now. Is that the sense you get from following the team and within Mets circles?
I seem to be the only one saying Omar Minaya is not safe. While I can’t say Omar is definitely out, my sources tell me Jeff Wilpon’s view is tipping and a three-year extension worth an estimated $1.1 million a year would not be an obstacle to making a change.
Adam, thanks again for your time. We look forward to reading more about the Mets each day in the Daily News and on your blog, Surfing The Mets.