While the Mets are deciding which middle-tier pitcher they should pursue, the Braves and Phillies have already improved from last season.
WAGNER: Now a happy Brave.
The Braves needed to address their bullpen, and have done that with the signings of Billy Wagner (I knew he wasn’t going to retire) and Takashi Saito. They’ve also offered arbitration to Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. The Braves need an outfield bat and are interested in Marlon Byrd.
The Philles have Cliff Lee coming back and are in on the Roy Halladay Sweepstakes. Yes, they have enough chips to get that done. The Phillies just upgraded to Placido Polanco at third base.
The Phillies’ bullpen was a huge reason they didn’t repeat. Fernando Rodney is a closer option. They are also considering John Smoltz and J.J. Putz in set-up roles.
Baseball America has ranked the Mets’ minor league system 20th in the majors, ahead of only Washington in the NL East. The Phillies are fourth, Braves seventh and Marlins ninth. The Nationals are at 26.
The Phillies are deep, meaning they have the chips to spend on a major league arm, such as Roy Halladay, if they chose. If Toronto goes outside the division, I’m still saying the Phillies will get him.
Baseball America did rank the prospects Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia among the top ten prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Despite horrid numbers, the scouts love Mejia’s arm strength. Still, he’s at least two years away. The Mets see Davis in 2011 and that’s conceivable. Scouts are saying he has 30 homer potential, but they don’t like his propensity for striking out, saying it will drag down the rest of his game.
In 1974, the Mets dealt reliever Tug McGraw to the Phillies in a six-player trade. Don Hahn and Dave Schneck also went to Philadelphia, and the Mets received Del Unser‚ John Stearns‚ and Mac Scarce.
Kind of think the Phillies might have won that deal.
Roy Halladay said he would waive his no-trade clause to pitch for the Yankees. He’d probably to the same to pitch for the Red Sox. Either way, that’s not encouraging news to the Mets if they were banking on the Blue Jays being reluctant to deal within the division.
The Blue Jays, it seems, are willing to deal with the Yankees and Red Sox. Throw in the Phillies, Dodgers and Angels, and there are five teams better than the Mets with the resources to make a trade. I was never banking on Halladay to begin with, but this should end that kind of talk.
If the Mets are going to add a pitcher, it will be a middle-tier arm, and FA is the way to go so they don’t have to give up prospects.
Halladay isn’t coming here, and neither is Lackey. The Mets will be lucky to get a guy like Jason Marquis.
The Manager of the Year for both leagues will be announced in about an hour. I’ve voted for this award several times and the criteria varies as it does this year.
Most often the award goes to a manager who leads an under achieving team into the playoffs or to a dramatic improvement. That’s the case this year with my choice, Jim Tracy of the Rockies. The Rockies entered the season ranked behind the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West, and in some circles behind Arizona.
But, the Rockies got hot in the second half, much like they did in 2007, and rolled into the playoffs. They lost to the Phillies, but that didn’t change the fact they had a surprising season.
Another variable is a lifetime achievement award when there’s no surprise winner. That would go to Mike Scioscia of the Angels, who always has his team playing alert, aggressive and fundamental baseball. OK, except for the ALCS this year, but the voting is done prior to the start of the playoffs.