The Mets are said to be in the thick of things in the hunt for Cliff Lee. The Seattle Times is reporting that the Mets and the Twins are the frontrunners thus far. Of course, the Yankees could always swoop in and piss everybody off, as they often do, but right now the Mets are right up there.
The rumor the Times is hearing is that the Mets could offer Jenrry Mejia and Angel Pagan for Lee. “Wow, that one would be tough to decline,” the paper says.
But not so fast. The New York Post reports its sources are saying that the Mets are “unlikely” to include Mejia in any deal. And the Daily News quotes “several senior Mets officials” who say Pagan is virtually untouchable. “With Carlos Beltran’s health so uncertain, the Mets cannot sacrifice Pagan. If Beltran comes back and lights the league on fire for two weeks, maybe that changes; as of now, Pagan isn’t going anywhere,” the News writes.
Both local tabloids say Ike Davis and Jon Niese are also going nowhere, which is a good thing. But if the Mets can get Lee for Pagan and Mejia, I say do it. Right now.
Pagan has certainly been a revelation this season. He has played beyond anyone’s expectations. But how good will he be in the long run? This might be his peak, and if it is, now is the perfect time to trade him. I think Pagan will be a solid major leaguer for several years to come, but he will never be a superstar or a game changer. Cliff Lee is both of those.
As far as Mejia, he does indeed have the potential to be a superstar. But there have been hundreds of prospects over the years who had the potential to be great, but couldn’t deliver for one reason or another. I don’t think Mejia will be added to that list. I think he will develop into a solid starter. Maybe he’ll be as good as Cliff Lee some day. But if the Mets can get THE Cliff Lee for Mejia, I would do it.
The Mets do have other top prospects that could land Lee — Ruben Tejada, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole and Wilmer Flores are the most familiar names. I would trade a couple of them for Lee.
It would be a shame, however, to trade a number of young players for Lee and just watch him walk away in free agency — especially if he doesn’t lead the Mets to the World Series.
That’s why I prefer to trade for Roy Oswalt. He’s signed for 2011 and 2012 at a reasonable $16 million per year (that includes a 2012 club option that I’m sure will have to be picked up in order for Oswalt to waive his no-trade clause). Lee will surely demand a 5-year deal at upwards of $20 million per year. Lee is excellent, but I’m not quite sure he’s worth that much. And with the Yankees making noise that they may get involved in the bidding for Lee, he’ll get that and maybe more. I’d much rather have Oswalt — whom I consider a better pitcher than Lee anyway — for fewer years and less money.
But if Oswalt is not available, I’d roll the dice and trade for Lee, with the hope that he’ll love the Mets so much, he’ll sign with them at a slightly lower rate. Don’t laugh, it worked with Mike Piazza.