Doug’s Dugout: Wilpon Could Give Green Light On Lee
In Doug’s Dugout today I talk about interleague play and the tab for Cliff Lee:
For anyone who thinks interleague play is for the birds, they never had the Birds of Baltimore on their schedule….or the Indians and Tigers. If the Mets can win the series against the Twins this weekend, after splitting six games with the mighty Yankees, an interleague record of 13-5 an accomplishment.
Taking 8-9, and battling back-their identity since May, in last night’s loss against Detroit means the Mets nearly ran the table so far against the American League, not named Yanks.
In fact, after winning last Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium 4-0, their 9th shutout of the season (the 10th, a 5-0 blanking of the Tigers on Wednesday) consecutive series victories against the defending World Series Champs was a live long shot.
Alas, not in the cards. But last Friday’s win in the Bronx, coupled with sweeps at Baltimore and Cleveland, bolstered the road record to a more respectable current 15-20. Before interleague play commenced the Mets had only EIGHT road wins all season.
Moreover, the Orioles and Indians are bottom feeders this year, but you can only play the teams on your schedule. Regardless if they are Juggernauts or tomato cans.
26-11 at Citi Field speaks for itself. The Mets have carved out a true home field advantage in the cavernous ballpark. Although the Twins have stumbled lately, they have two of the best players in the game-Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, a series win would be great for the Mets resume’.
It would be hard to part with Angel Pagan in a mid-season deal for Cliff Lee. However, with the imminent return of incumbent centerfielder Carlos Beltran, Mets fans have to ask themselves the following question:
Can you afford the luxury of a dynamic fourth outfielder, who can spell Beltran, and give Jeff Francoeur and Jason Bay time off during the dog days, and bypass the opportunity to obtain a bonafide frontline starter, even as a rental. Who happens to be a lefty…
…And can pitch on the big stage (see Game One at Yankee Stadium last fall) and will stick it to the Phillies at the same time.
Nevertheless, the trade deadline is weeks away. The price will only go down for the Mariners as the deadline approaches. The principles in a deadline blockbuster can change as swiftly as the wind currents at Citi Field.
But ponder this for dealing Pagan: You have a back-up roving outfielder, who is injury prone (and 29 on July 2nd) playing at a high level. Like the stock market you have to decide to sell high and possibly add one of the game’s best pitchers.
Add Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese to Lee and Johan Santana (a second half pitcher, but has his own woes on and off the golf course), and that should cop the Wild Card at the minimum. The Division title is up for grabs.
R.A. Dickey’s dancing knuckler would round out the rotation for the second half. The ship has sailed on John Maine and Ollie Perez.
Considering the Wilpons’ need the post-season to pay their nut, look for them to give the thumbs up in a deal for Lee. Even if it costs them Pagan and a passel of minor leaguers. After the failings of the past few seasons the pressure is enormous for the Mets to get to the post-season and advance.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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