The Zionist Conspiracy
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Stupid Trades of the Week
1. All spring training, the Mets touted Scott Kazmir as their best prospect, and labeled him untouchable. They refused to discuss sending him to Texas for Alfonso Soriano. Fred Wilpon personally told Kazmir he was going nowhere and would be a Met.
A real Mets fan knew then and there that Kazmir would either blow out his elbow or be traded and star for another team.
After starting the season in A ball, Kazmir was promoted to Double A Binghamton, where he had a 1.73 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning.
Then suddenly late last week, rumors circulated that the Mets were down on Kazmir, and just like that, he was traded on Friday for Victor Zambrano, the mediocre and wild Tampa Bay pitcher who has a 6.48 ERA this season on grass.
Perhaps Jim ("Steve Phillips Without Hair") Duqeutte and Fred Wilpon forgot that Shea Stadium is a grass surface.
Wondering what soured the Mets on Kazmir? According to Jon Heyman in today's Newsday, Kazmir, who grew up in Texas, "scared the Mets by bragging this spring that he couldn't wait to get to New York to enjoy its 'fast-paced lifestyle.'"
Certain athletes love the New York City life and thrive playing here. Mark Messier, Keith Hernandez, Derek Jeter and Latrell Sprewell are a few names that come to mind.
As Kazmir told a Binghamton paper: "I'm heartbroken. I just went over to [manager Ken Oberkfell] and said, 'Did I do something? What did I do wrong?'"
If Wilpon had any misgivings about trading Kazmir, that statement surely eliminated them. An athlete who likes New York? Who actually wants to play for the Mets? No way. Wilpon prefers family men who are listless and humorless (those two eliminated Alex Rodriguez) who cannot wait to get out of town when the season ends. He's still nostalgic for Kevin McReynolds.
2. The Kazmir trade is bad enough, but trading three prospects and Ty Wigginton for Kris Benson, a long-time mediocre pitcher, is even worse. The Mets hope to sign Benson to a long-term deal which will cost between $7 million and $9 million a year, money that could be used to fill other needs. If they like Benson so much, they also could have waited for the offseason to sign him without giving up anything.
Even if the Mets led the NL East by 8 games, the deal would be a bad one, and it's insane in light of their being in 4th place, 8 back.
Wigginton was their best young player, makes little money and can't be a free agent for years. David Wright might be good soon, but a month in Triple A was not enough time. He was rushed to Shea, and is not ready yet. Jose Reyes dazzles at times, but it's only a matter of time before his next major injury. And Wigginton won't be around to play second base then. He's likely to be another Jeff Kent, though unlike Kent, Wigginton liked New York and was popular in the clubhouse.
The Mets also gave up three prospects to acquire Benson. Matt Peterson was probably their third best pitching prospect, after Kazmir and Phillip Humber. Justin Huber was supposed to be their catcher of the future. He has pop in his bat and is a patient hitter with a good on base percentage. The third prospect, Joselo Diaz, was purported to be the key player acquired for Jeremy Burnitz last year. Diaz walks too many batters, but averages more than a strikeout per inning in the minors and has a good fastball.
3. The Mets won't win with Duquette or Art Howe. They should replace both at season's end with Omar Minaya and (former Mets player and coach and current Triple A manager) John Stearns. Should but won't.
4. Despite all of this, I do have some good news. While my car insurance rates have actually increased, Time Warner has pulled the plug on all Mets games on cable. So except for the occasional Channel 11 game, I won't be able - against my better judgment - to watch this boring group of overpaid malconents (Cliff Floyd especially) continue to go through the motions.