Stupid is as stupid does

. Saturday, December 1, 2007
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Apparently, the New York Mets hate keeping talented young homegrown players.

That's the only logical thought that entered my mind when I read that the team has traded 22-year-old outfielder Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for the pair of outfielder Ryan Church and catcher Brian Schneider.

Mets fans who thought it couldn't get any worse after the club traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano must be banging their heads against the wall right now. Shit, you guys are lucky you at least have David Wright and Jose Reyes at Third Base and Shortstop instead of Vinny Castila and Cesar Izturis, because I'm sure those deals were on the table at some point.

There's just so much wrong with this deal. Milledge is not without his faults, but he's still one of the most talented young outfielders in the game. A couple of years ago he was being dangled in talks for MANNY RAMIREZ. He has plus power potential and great defensive range.

There's certainly nothing wrong with Church, he's a decent enough player. He ranked 15th in OPS+ and 14th in OBP among 32 MLB left fielders last season, making him a little better than average. The problem is, his 2006 stat line of .272/.349/.464 with 15 HR's can probably be matched by Milledge this season, and for about a fraction of the cost.

Then there is Schneider, a catcher who most media outlets will tell you is "known for his defense", which essentially means he's fucking terrible. Well, he is. The guy barely belongs on a major league roster, and certainly doesn't deserve the $10 million he is owed over the next two years.

To make matters worse, the Mets already HAVE a catcher. The club just signed Johnny Estrada, who is a much better player than Schneider, meaning that getting him in this trade was completely useless.

If there's anything Mets fans can rest their hats on, it's that their team isn't the only team to make a dumb move thus far in the 2007 offseason.

This week, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced the signing of Center Fielder Torii Hunter to a five year, $90 million deal.

This is a bad signing. Don't believe me? Ask Torii Hunter:

"I would have signed for less," said Hunter, who had five-year offers, ranging from $70 million to $75 million, from the White Sox, Rangers and Royals, and the day before the Angels offer dined with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.

What if the Angels offered less than those other teams?

"I still would have taken it!" Hunter said.

When the guy that your team just signed to a huge contract is telling you that you overpaid him, I think it's safe to say that you've been fleeced.

It's not that Torii Hunter is a bad player, he's a very good one, but his .324 career OBP doesn't, in my opinion, warrant such a large contract. ESPECIALLY, one year after signing center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a deal for $50 million.

The players are similar in that they are excellent defenders that provide offensive punch. Now don't get me wrong, Hunter is a better offensive player than Matthews, I'm not even trying to argue against that, but he's not so much better that it was worth signing him to such an insane contract the year after you just signed Matthews.

Hunter is not going to provide the protection the Angels desperately need in their lineup around Vladimir Guerrero. They're going to get a very good everyday center fielder that will give them some pop in the lineup, but let's face it, he's 32. He's played on astroturf his entire career and as such, his best days are probably behind him. The most they could realistically hope for from him this year is a 20 HR season while hitting .270 or .280, decent enough numbers, but at his age and with his wear and tear, he won't be playing at a high level much longer.

I advocated the Dodgers signing Hunter on my first blog post, but the Angels got to him first when they should have been focused on getting Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera works much better for the Angels than he would have for the Dodgers, who would have had to give up 3 starting position players and a top prospect to get Cabrera.

The Angels, who aren't as dependent on their youngsters as the Dodgers are, reportedly have gotten the Marlins to accept a deal for Howie Kendrick, Ervin Santana and minor league pitcher Nick Adenhart with the snag coming on who the final prospect being sent over would be and whether or not the Marlins want Santana or outfielder Reggie Willits.

On the flip side, Hunter would have been a better grab for the Dodgers because their current center fielder Juan Pierre is completely and utterly worthless. Getting him would prevent the Dodgers from gutting their team to get Cabrera. The Angels can live without Howie Kendrick and Reggie Willits, who they depend on much less for offense than the Dodgers do with Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier/James Loney. The fact that Cabrera is fat and the Angels are in the American League, where he can DH, certainly doesn't hurt.

The winter meetings haven't even started and we've already gotten two bonehead moves (OK, one bonehead move. Getting Torii Hunter isn't a bonehead move, it's just not something I would have done if I were running the Angels). Point is, there's still plenty of time for GM's around the league to screw up. I can't wait to see what kind of ransom the Red Sox or Yankees give up for what could end up being one season of Johan Santana.


Jaena Rae said...

Why did you change your layout after I labored over it?!

Matt said...

I'm sorry. I saw this on another blog and liked it so I stole it. You can play around with this one if you want.