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A busy trade deadline for some, a quiet one for the Mets – and that’s ok

baseballsYesterday’s trade deadline was busier than I expected, with both the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers adding ace-level pitchers to their starting rotations and a total of 37 players changing teams.

The New York Mets’ only move? Optioning catcher Taylor Teagarden to the Las Vegas 51s.

I’m ok with that, though it became apparent through conversations with friends and acquaintances that not all Mets fans feel the same way.

The Mets are not in a pennant race, no matter how much SNY wants you to believe that they are. It’s silly to even look at the standings when your team’s record is still four games under the .500 mark, but let’s recognize that the Mets are in fourth place in the National League East, seven games behind the Washington Nationals. They are 5.5 games off the pace for the second wild card spot, with three teams between them and the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, who open the day in a virtual tie for it.

Does this mean Mets players should give up? Of course not – keep winning games, and you never know what might happen. But the odds are against them and this front office is smart enough to recognize that.

Former Mets GM Jim Duquette is still vilified for trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato (and Ty Wiggingon & Jose Bautista for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger) at the trade deadline in 2004. That Mets squad had a 49-54 record on July 31st and was in fourth place, eight games behind the Atlanta Braves and 8.5 games off the wild card pace with eight other teams in front of them.

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Trade deadline day: This had better be Oakland’s year

Jon Lester (Photo credit: Keith Allison)
Jon Lester (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The Oakland Athletics are certainly making all the moves to build a powerhouse playoff rotation this year, aren’t they?

Not content with picking up Jeff Samardzjia (and Jason Hammel) from the Cubs to go along with Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, Oakland has reportedly sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester (and Jonny Gomes.)

I’m pretty sure this will be the biggest “star power” deal of the day, but I agree with Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron that it will have far less of an impact for Oakland than the earlier Samardzjia trade.

Boston got the best possible return they could imagine for Lester, considering he’s a two month rental. And who knows, maybe they aren’t teasing their fan base – maybe they really will re-sign him during the off-season. (We can all be sure Lester won’t be staying in Oakland after October.)

Meanwhile, Baltimore is said to be interested in Bartolo Colon and Washington has reportedly inquired about Daniel Murphy. I expect both will still be Mets after 4 p.m. today, but you never know what might happen.

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Checking in with some quick post trade-deadline thoughts

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to express kind thoughts. Baseball has not been foremost in my thoughts for the past couple of days, but I did check in briefly to see who went where at the trade deadline yesterday. (Freddy – and any other Phllies fans who might be stopping by – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Hunter Pence trade.)

I was going to try to put together a few coherent thoughts about the Mets’ non-moves in July, but Mets Today’s Dan Chapwell did a better job than I’m likely to this morning, so I’m just going to quote and link his article: “Sandy Alderson: GM or Caretaker?

[T]he final third of the 2012 Mets’ season will be done playing out the string with a mixture of semi-prospects trying to establish themselves as Major Leaguers, a few star players looking for an exit and some marginal veterans as roster filler. Meanwhile they will continue to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Yes we are building for the future and no; we aren’t giving up on this season. So please buy tickets and merchandise. In reality they aren’t doing much of either. (But they do want you to spend your money). If they planned on contending, why didn’t they add a piece or two? If they are playing for 2013 and beyond, why not move some vets for chips?… I had hoped that the arrival of Alderson and his associates meant the dawn of a new age for the Mets. Instead, it’s Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss…

Is that completely fair to Alderson? No, not really… especially when we’re not sure how much autonomy he has, whether any teams were willing to move players early enough to have made a difference, or whether anybody was even offering a longshot prospect for a player like Scott Hairston.

But if the Mets are ever going to do anything more than tread water, they need a leader who’s not afraid to take risks. I’m beginning to think that might not be Sandy Alderson.

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Él no está aquí

Newark Bears pitching coach Jim Leyritz (center) talks to starter Casey Gaynor on Wednesday night (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

If it hasn’t already, the trade of Carlos Beltran should be finalized today. For nearly seven years he’s been a Met, and now he’s not. I’m happy for him – I think Beltran will have a chance to win that World Series ring that’s eluded him out in San Francisco. How perfect would it be to watch Beltran send the Phillies or the Yankees home unhappy in the playoffs this October?

I was beginning to doubt Sandy Alderson‘s negotiating strategy, but I was proven wrong again. I was afraid he’d lose the chance to get something of value for Beltran by holding out for a top prospect, but Alderson was able to get a young pitcher who is more highly regarded than anybody already in the Mets’ farm system. I’m feeling really positive about the 2013 Mets. (The jury is still out on next year’s team.)

I couldn’t take another night of listening to Gary and Keith speculate about Beltran’s future while watching Mike Pelfrey struggle through another game, so I went to watch Newark Bears on Wednesday instead. I’m sure Beltran was still very much topic of the evening, but Pelfrey pitched the fourth complete game of his career as the Mets defeated the Reds 8-2. Maybe I should skip watching a few more Mets games. 🙂

(In case anyone’s curious, the Bears battled back from a 4-1 deficit to beat the New York Federals 8-4.)

Will you be rooting for the San Francisco Giants in the playoffs this year?

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Mets’ Miami Misery

Sports stadium
Sun Life Stadium (photo credit: ucumari)

The Mets blew three leads on Friday night before finally beating the Florida Marlins 7-6… and that was the high point of the weekend.

Mike Pelfrey (5-9, 4.67) and Chris Volstad (5-8, 5.59) tried to outdo each other to see who was the worst pitcher in either team’s rotation. Volstad “won,” earning a ticket to Triple-A New Orleans for allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings. Pelfrey, despite surrendering four runs on five hits and four walks over six innings, remains on schedule to face Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

The Mets had a 2-0 lead on Saturday when Chris Capuano fell apart in the sixth inning. The third time through the batting order, Capuano allowed home runs to Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison to give Florida a 4-2 lead. D.J. Carrasco and Ryota Igarashi added to the misery, letting the Marlins have an 8-2 lead after eight. Even though Leo Nunez struggled to close the door, they won 8-4. At least Lucas Duda finally has his first major league home run of the season.

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