Now the 2002 season comes down to the final week before the July 31 deadline and it has people wondering. What direction will Steve Phillips go?
The two prized jewels in the system are pitcher Aaron Heilman and shortstop Jose Reyes. Both are projected to be the core of a Metropolitan team, whether it be in 2003 or 2004. It brings up the question of whether it is worth it to trade these players in a deal when you are still four to five games out in the wildcard and your payroll is over 100 million.
Don't get me wrong, these players may not be traded. Though if they are, it could turn out next year or the following that one of these two could be added to the list of traded all-star caliber Met prospects.
Lets take a look a some of the deadline deals that have been made over the past few years and you make the call if they were worth it.
On the July 29, 1996 the Mets shipped Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino to the Cleveland Indians for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza. Sound like a good trade to you?
The Mets would finish 71-91 that season, twenty-five games back of the Atlanta Braves. Baerga was a huge bust, as he hit .193 the remainder of the season with his new club.
How about the excellent deal on July 31, 1999 when Steve Phillips traded Jason Isringhausen to the Oakland in a deal that brought reliever Billy Taylor to New York. In 13.1 innings the rest of the season with his new club, Taylor's ERA was 8.10 after giving up twelve earned runs.
Billy Beane is one of the best in the business and that trade shows you why. The Mets may have made the playoffs that year, but it wasn't because of Taylor. The next year he was gone and now he isn't even in baseball. Where's Izzy?
On July 25, 1999 the Mets sent Terrance Long to the west coast for Kenny Rogers. Sure, he would help the Mets down the stretch to make the playoffs, but he also was on the mound when the season was over. Ask a Mets' fan their memory of Kenny Rogers and they will tell you something along these lines. "He ruined the year when he walked in a run with the bases loaded in the 11th inning of the NLCS, the guy couldn't even throw strikes. That's sad."
It boggles my mind why Rogers would not want to go to the contending Cincinnati Reds. Maybe its because he is afraid of pressure and choking once again.
The Mets outfield would then go on to be one of the worst in the majors the next year and could have used Long's twenty homer potential and eighty plus RBIs manning centerfield.
Aaron Heilman has dominated every level in the system and now sits in Norfolk with the Mets AAA team. He is projected to be in the Mets rotation next April.
Jose Reyes is the best position prospect in the system and is on the fast track to the majors as the successor of good glove, "no stick" shortstop Rey Ordonez. Barring a trade of Ordonez whose contract runs through the end of the 2003 season, Reyes is scheduled to be the Mets shortstop during April of 2004.
The Mets have not had an everyday prospect who game up through the organization since Edgardo Alfonzo. Hopefully this time the front office will have some sense and give the young kids a shot.
Maybe that idea will get you the third world series ring in the franchise's forty year history and first since 1986. Worth a shot.
Writer Christopher Guy covers the Mets and is the football guru for NYFansOnly. E-mail him at NYMetsBelieve@aol.com.
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