Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Art Of The Deal

OK, let's say you're a GM and you had to choose one of two players:

Player A is an excellent defensive player, an average hitter, and would cost you cash and a very good minor leaguer in addition to his salary.

Player B is an excellent defensive player, an average hitter with the potential to be above average, and would cost you just his salary, probably slightly more than Player A.

If I were GM, I would choose Player B, largely because the cost:benefit ratio of acquiring him is less than that of Player A. We would still have the minor leaguer in our system and, regardless of whether he ever makes it to Shea, he would still be available for future trades.

The bottom line here is this: There was no reason to make this trade when a less costly option was still out there. Blade may not become a big time player but he's still a chip, a chip that could be used in the future to get something better than a replacement level defensive specialist. Furthermore, every chip you have serves as a buffer against your top prospects; the less you have, the more likely it is that you'll have to throw in a Yusmeiro Petit or a Lastings Milledge to get a deal done.

This has also been the Yankees problem the last few years, trading away every prospect they have for easily replaceable players. And their well has now run dry.

I got a ton of e-mail over at AA on Minky and Blade. We can argue until the cows come home over who is better Minky or Lee, but the bottom line is that Travis Lee was the better deal and Omar passed it up.


At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blade has had one good season (actually 1/2 a good season) at low-A ball which ended with him having surgery for a wrist injury.

Travis Lee missed most of last year due to a shoulder problem that required surgery.

Minky is healthy, one year older than Lee and a slightly better career OPS+. If the Mets wanted to take a chance, then sign Lee, but with Minky you have less downside.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we're overreacting here.

It's easy to over-analyze with all sorts of projections and stats infront of you---but I'll be frank in saying who cares about Ian Bladergroen?

Serioulsly. We're getting pissy over the fact that we dealt a guy who hit well in single-A ball for a former gold glove winner at first?

Power hitting first basemen with holes in their swing are a dime a dozen in the minor leagues. Not to mention the fact that this kid only cracked into the Mets top 10 prospect list after most of our real talent got called up the majors or was jettisoned in trades last year anwyway.

With Travis Lee, you get a better power-hitter who is still not a viable option to bat cleanup, but who raises question marks coming off of a torn labrum--not exactly a minor injury.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Johnny New York said...

I think Omar pulled this trade off because he had serious doubts about Lee's ability to play a full season due to his injury. The Mets were seriously hamstrung by their first base situation last year and certainly could not afford to have a rotational situation once more if Lee's shoulder acted up again. I have serious reservations about Minky as a hitter but he is a superlative defensive player and he should provide stability to a young infield. It sucks that we had to give up Blade but the fact remains that he is far more likely to turn into Craig Brazell than Jeff Bagwell. Wrist injuries are never good and its probable that the Mets wanted to use that chip before it was worthless.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did this deal actually happen? If so, I'm okay with it. Mink is a better bet than Travis Lee or John Olerud at this point. He's not a bad hitter, just a low-power first baseman. At least Shea Stadium won't be taking away that part of his game. He's actually had a couple of decent OBP seasons.

It's too bad we have to give up a prospect, but Mientkiewicz is the best option out there. He's the best defender and the least injury prone.

While you make a good point about the potential exposer of a Milledge or a Petit, it's not like we're trading Scott Kazmir here.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Patrick said...

I have to agree too much is being made of this.

Lee had 19 at-bats last season, the players statistically are remarkably similar, but stats do not necessarily tell all.

This was an issue of confidence and dependability for at least one season, and then options remain open for 2006.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger a2d said...

Who's to say Bladergroen doesn't bounce back, the holes in his swing become more pronounced against higher level pitching, and he becomes the next Jorge Toca? There's nothing, besides personal opinion, that says Travis Lee -- a guy who had 19 at bats last year -- is a better deal then Doug Mientkiewicz.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't we putting an emotional ball and chain on our leg with Mets prospects who have played nicely at Brooklyn and been traded ?

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnny New York, you got it exactly right. Omar made the right decision.

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rememeber Alex (the Great) Escobar, Jarrod Riggen and Lawton traded fro Roberto Alomar? All turned into nothing. A prospect is a suspect until he delivers.

At 11:37 PM, Blogger tonyfair said...

I just thought that it was a strong thing to critcize OM for the trade. It was a descent trade when you consider all the other options. I actually prefer the trade over the Delgado signing. He obviously didn't want to play in NY anyway. If we add Ordonez then that would be cool. I always thought that the Floyd for Ramirez trade would be great. I'll take Ramirez/Minky over Floyd/Delgado. Anybody know the diff. in $$$?

No - No - not ever Sosa.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Jay said...

"Minaya had options for first base besides Mientkiewicz. He could have signed John Olerud or Travis Lee, free agents known for their defense. But Minaya said the Mets passed on Lee because he missed almost all of last season with a shoulder injury."

So speaketh Omar in the NY Times today. So it was injury worries as to why he pulled the trigger. At least there's a reason.

I suppose you guys are right in that too much is being made of this, but I tell you, I couldn't believe the response this trade has generated. I especially can't believe the number of people who are so passionate about Minky.

If this was any indication at all, he's going to be very popular at Shea next year. Maybe all the Minnesota chest painters will show up. ;)

At 6:15 PM, Blogger kmex said...

Does anybody remember the last 1st baseman we got who did not play the year before because of injury? We need a 1st baseman now, you can not just say lets hold on so we can use this player in another trade in the future. Does anybody want to win this year or should we just keep trying to hold onto players for the future. When Met fans out there start understanding this then maybe you will understand the idea is to win now and not plan for a possible trade down the road.


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