I hope this hasn't already been posted. I would love to trade Freel...
Wright shouldn't move for A-Rod
posted: Friday, November 9, 2007
It's not hard to understand the lure of Alex Rodriguez's siren song. Ten years from now, he might have outhomered Barry Bonds, approached Pete Rose's hit record and be regarded as one of the greatest players who ever lived. It's not hard to know why Scott Boras engaged the Mets in discussions; he wouldn't be representing Alex if he didn't try to get another New York team in on the last waltz.
But it is hard to understand what the Mets were thinking when they treated their best player as if he were Damion Easley. Move David Wright to second base? Puh-leaze. Not only did he win the Gold Glove at third this season, but he's never played second base, even going back to AAU ball when Ryan Zimmerman had to switch to second because Wright was the third baseman. Left field? Absurd. Wright is, along with Zimmerman, one of the two best defensive third basemen in the National League. And while A-Rod is very good, his range factor was below that of Miguel Cabrera.
Is Wright ever going to be a 50-home run hitter? Probably not, especially at Shea Stadium. But look at Wright's career offensive numbers compared to A-Rod's through age 24:
BA .308 .311
OBP .363 .388
SLG .551 .533
OPS .914 .921
HR 148 97
This is not about Wright vs. Rodriguez, because they are both great players, and Rodriguez at first base with Wright at third and Jose Reyes at short would be a spectacular combination. But Wright, at 24, accepted every responsibility when the Mets struggled down the stretch. While the majority of his teammates practically hid out and ducked under tables in the players' lounge, Wright was there to answer the tough questions. "I feel," he said one day, "that it is my responsibility."
Granted, Rodriguez was a Gold Glove shortstop who moved to third base, but he initiated the action to get out of Texas. And when the Yankees took a hard line in regards to his negotiations with the players associated, he had no choice but to move over in respect for Derek Jeter. This is different. Wright is the Mets' best player; he's not moving to another position. He and Willie Randolph were the two people who stood and accepted the harsh music down the stretch, and after seeing how Randolph was carved up, now Wright has read that he is fungible.
With Tom Glavine likely gone, the Mets need pitching -- starting and relieving. Their starters weren't as bad as some think. They were second in the National League in quality starts and fifth in starters' ERA (4.40). But unless Pedro Martinez stages a miracle comeback, they really don't have a starter who'd be a No. 3 on an American League contender.
They also need Wright, his talent, his extraordinary character, his leadership, his face on the franchise's banners for the next decade. Which is why Jeff Wilpon owes his best player, big-time.
Bud Selig's reaction to the general managers' proposal to implement instant replay for boundary calls on home runs was to say, "I will take it under advisement." Selig has opposed widespread use of instant replay because the pace of the game is already an issue, but using replay to check calls over walls and around foul poles might take less time than protracted arguments. Jimmie Lee Solomon of the commissioner's office let the GMs know that umpires will enforce speedup rules next season, from the 12 seconds pitchers are supposed to have between pitches to batters being forced to stay in the batters' box.
• Joe Girardi would love to be reunited with Miguel Cabrera, but if the Yankees stick to their pledge not to trade Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy, he will not end up in the Bronx. The Dodgers and Angels, in that order, have the best potential packages to satisfy the Marlins, but one of them may end up with A-Rod.
• Boston has offered Mike Lowell three years at well more than $30M, but the J.D. Drew $14M-per-year barrier is still a major problem. Boston would like to get Lowell done and move Coco Crisp for young pitching and/or catching (Minnesota has the pitching), but the Red Sox have to get Lowell signed or make a move for a third baseman. They can get Hank Blalock in a Crisp deal, but don't seem inclined, as of now. The Padres wouldn't discuss young third baseman Chase Headley for Crisp.
• Three different baseball people insisted that Tampa Bay rookie third baseman Evan Longoria will hit more than 30 homers next year based on what they saw in the Arizona Fall League.
• The Indians are only listening to offers for Cliff Lee, but right now they plan to keep him and go into spring training with seven starters, including Lee, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey.
• Some of the interesting names that came up during the GM meetings included A.J. Burnett (because he can opt out after the 2008 season), Ryan Freel, Jon Garland, Brian Fuentes, Dontrelle Willis, Noah Lowry, Ian Snell, Erik Bedard ("Hey, they didn't say no when we brought him up," says one baseball official), Joe Crede (the Johnny Damon talk doesn't go away), Troy Glaus and even Delmon Young, although it would take an offer that included someone like Hughes or Clay Buchholz to even begin discussions.
• The White Sox tried to interest Houston in a Ryan Sweeney-Chad Qualls deal before the 'Stros got Michael Bourn.
• Arizona is one of several teams that talked to Florida about Willis, but there is industry-wide concern about Dontrelle's ERA rising from 2.63 to 3.87 to 5.17 in three years, and right-handed hitters had a .913 OPS against him in 2007.
• Would the Yankees trade Phil Hughes in a deal for Johan Santana? If it were Hughes and Melky Cabrera, then they could sign Torii Hunter or Andruw Jones, and Santana would give the Yankees a great No. 1 starter. They would not trade Hughes in a deal for Jake Peavy, out of concern about the difference in lineups and ballparks between the NL West and AL East. Peavy got one out in the eighth inning the entire season.