Trade for Diamondback outfielder a necessity
The Mets continue to play at a high level and are running away with the National League East. But it was easy to see that the team had some glaring weaknesses. Heading into the post season would have been risky with the corner outfield the way it was only a few days ago.
Leftfielder Cliff Floyd is on the Disabled List and appears to be winding down his tenure at Shea on a down year. He has been a gamer throughout, but he is having a bad season and injuries have been a big part of that. Rookie Lastings Milledge has shown flashes, but more than that, he has shown that he needs a full season at Triple-A before he is ready for 'the show.' Endy Chavez has had a nice season and has been a sparkplug off the bench. But that is where he is most effective, as a fourth outfielder. Veteran Michael Tucker was recently recalled from the minors and has looked OK, but he is not a starting outfielder at this point in his career.
The July 31st trading deadline cost the Mets their rightfielder when Xavier Nady was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Roberto Hernandez and disappointing starter Oliver Perez. This was a knee-jerk reaction (perhaps necessary) by Mets General Manager Omar Minaya due to the loss of set-up man Duaner Sanchez the night before in a traffic accident. At the time, the hope was that Milledge could step in and take over.
As long as a player passes through waivers and is not claimed, he can be acquired by August 31st and still be eligible for the post season roster. Minaya apparently had been working on a deal to bring outfielder Shawn Green to New York for some time. The hold up was having the Arizona Diamondbacks pick up a part of his remaining salary. He is signed through next season and has an option for 2008. Arizona paid approximately half of the remaining $12+ million on the deal. Green had to waive a no-trade clause to allow the deal to go through and the Mets sent Triple-A pitcher Evan MacLane to the D'Backs.
Green, 33, has seen his power number decline recently. He averaged 38 home runs and 112 RBI from 1998 to 2002. This season, he is hitting .282 with 22 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 51 RBI in 471 at-bats in Arizona.
He stepped right in for his Mets debut on Thursday evening at Shea, hitting sixth and playing right field. His third inning RBI single helped his new club to a 6-2 victory and a three-game sweep of the NL Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals, a possible playoff opponent. For the evening, Green also had a walk, a line-out and a strikeout.
He does not need to be the 'big bopper' on this team. He needs to be a strong left-handed presence at the middle/bottom end of the batting order, play a good right field and bring some experience to the table. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and David Wright are the big run producers for the Mets, and Green can be a nice complementary bat.
How much of a difference will Green make as far as helping this team reach the World Series and hopefully winning it? It will play out and we will see. But it was a shrewd move by Minaya to deal for a veteran player with more salary for a minor leaguer at this point in the season. His counterpart on the other side of town has made many similar moves such as this over the years. And it is hard to argue with the Yankees' October appearances.