Omar Cooking Up Something Big?

metslogo5I started out my previous column by admitting how wrong I was about where John Lackey would end up and how much money he would get. I noted that I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again. Well, I’m about to make another prediction that I hope turns out to be right — Omar Minaya is working on something big. And I don’t mean just Jason Bay.

Let me point out I have no knowledge of anything (wait, that didn’t come out right). What I mean is, I have not read any reports about a blockbuster involving the Mets, and of course I have no inside information. But I just get the feeling something is happening.

Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Minaya is not only trying to make the Mets better, he’s trying to save his job. He knows (or at least I hope he knows) that he can’t go into the season with this roster. It’s the same roster that lost 92 games last year. Hell, it’s virtually the same roster that collapsed in 2007 and 2008.  He’s got to do something, and it’s got to be big, to counteract the Phillies acquisition of Roy Halladay, as well as the perception that the Mets are cheap and won’t do what it takes to win.

Just signing Bay, Bengie Molina, and two of those increasingly unappealing second-tier free agent pitchers is not enough. They need to make a splash. And I have a proposal. How about sending Luis Castillo, Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell and a couple of high-level prospects to the Reds for Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo?

Why would the Reds trade perhaps their best player and a solid 2nd starter? One word — money. The Reds had a $73 million dollar payroll last season, and reports are that they want to stay steady or reduce it. The Reds have ten players under contract for 2010 at $67 million. That means the remaining 15 would have to total $6 million. It’s not going to happen. Plus, they have some good young players who will be making big bucks over the next few years — Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce — and the Reds need to save for the future.

arroyoArroyo (left) will make $12.25 milion in 2010, with an $11 million team option or a $2 million buyout for 2011. Phillips will earn nearly $7 million next year, $11 million the next, then a $12 option or a $1 million buyout for 2012. That a guaranteed $33.25 million for the two players.  It’s money the Reds would like to save, and money the Mets can afford to spend.

The Reds would have to take back at least one lousy contract — that’s where Castillo and his $12 million come in. Combined with the small salaries they would take on from the other players,  that still leaves the Reds with a $20 million savings.  As far as those other players, Pelfrey is a proven starter (although he took a big step backwards last season) who would do well in Cincinnati. Pelfrey keeps his sinkerball down, just what the bandbox that is Great American Ballpark calls for. Arroyo, in contrast, is a flyball pitcher who would fare very well in cavernous Citi Field (by the way, I also like Aaron Harang, who makes around the same amount of money as Arroyo, but I prefer Arroyo). The Reds would want at least one more major leaguer in return, hence Parnell, who is one of the few desirable young guys the Mets have, and a couple of high level prospects.

So that’s the trade. It’s not one of those deals fans propose on message boards where the Mets trade their crap for other team’s gold (how many times have I read “Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and low level prospects for Adrian Gonzalez?”). The Mets are actually giving up quality in Pelfrey, Parnell and good prospects. In return, the Mets get two very good players their current team can no longer afford. It’s win-win for both teams. I doubt Minaya is working on this exact deal, but he’s got to be working on something big. Doesn’t he?

10 thoughts on “Omar Cooking Up Something Big?

  • December 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm
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    I am thinking the same thing due to the fact that even as a loyal mets fan, I am not too excited about any of the free agents that were available this year. Since hitters are scared to come to citi field and hit too many long fly outs, FA hitters are difficult to sign with the history of late of the mets. I agree, I think Omar is up to something big via the trade route. Then he will sign the mid level pitchers he wanted all along. He needs a clear cut #2 starter period. He also needs some personality on this team. Your propsal would be interesting.

  • December 16, 2009 at 1:07 am
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    i like it a real two and three pitcher and when we get rid of castillo pick up orlando hudson a real 2 hitter

  • December 16, 2009 at 6:27 am
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    Interesting trade but I don’t see the Mets pulling the trigger. Mainly because I don’t think that Arroyo is an upgrade over Pelfrey and makes way more money. But if you change the trade and make it Parnell, Castillo, a prospect and cash for Phillips then maybe that would work. Or if you are forced to take Arroyo then it is someone other than Pelfrey in the trade then it could work. But as constituted the pitchers are a wash so it is about getting Phillips over Castillo…

  • December 16, 2009 at 10:51 am
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    Black Lion, if the Reds offered Arroyo straight up for Pelfrey I think Minaya would hurt himself rushing for the pen to ink that deal! Check out Arroyo’s stats. He is a solid innings eater, pitching over 200 innings every year since 2005. In addition he has won 14 and 15 games the last two years pitching in that band box on an awful team. As a matter of fact his ERA. last year was 3.98. He would make an ideal #2 guy for the Mets.

    As much as I hate Louie, Arroyo is key to that deal! Pitching, pitching, pitching!

  • December 16, 2009 at 11:36 am
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    Giving up on Pelfrey would be a big mistake. The problem with NY fans is that they have zero patience for you players. Pelfrey was rushed through the minors and has pitched in the majors for 2 years. Go to baseball reference and look up all of the great pitchers of the last 30 years virtually none of them were great in their second year (of course there are exceptions like Doc but he is very much an exception). Take a look at Halladay and Lee’s first few years or Kevin Brown who I think Pelfrey has the chance to become because they have similar stuff, the common theme between them is that like Pelfrey they are inconsistent. Pelfrey showed flashes of greatness the last two years but then followed it up with stinker. That is what all young pitchers do! Quality young starting pitching is the #1 premium in baseball, even small market teams trade them last. I hope Omar doesn’t agree with your trade

  • December 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm
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    I would give up Jon Niese,F. Martinez,,B. Parnell,L. Castillo and B. Holt for Phillips and Arroyo.

  • December 17, 2009 at 6:00 am
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    …and you vinman would be crazy! why not give them citi field too.

  • December 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm
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    The only big thing Minaya could cook up would be his resignation…..

    The Wilpons have to be the stupidest owners in the league……

  • December 18, 2009 at 8:28 pm
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    Hey BEREAL I took into consideration that Neise was hurt last year and who knows if he will ever be a starter. Martinez has been hurt in the minors and last year and his trade value is down. Hey Cincy may not even want him. Parnell you don’t know if can be a proven starter and we all want castillo out of town. Holt is not proven and you don’t know what you may get for him as well. At least you know what your getting in Phillips and Arroyo.

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