(Long Island, NY) Mets General Manager Omar Minaya had some potential deals on the table during the weekend of the Major League Baseball trading deadline. With a strong bullpen and top of the rotation, he was ready to pull the trigger to obtain a top flight starter that would have put them right up there as World Series favorites. Then it all crashed in on him.
Top set-up man Duaner Sanchez, who was having a career year, was involved in an automobile accident in Florida as a passenger in a taxi cab. He injured his right shoulder, which required season-ending surgery. Minaya had to quickly turn his attention to the bullpen with the deadline approaching approximately in 12 hours.
He was able to obtain the team’s best set-up man from last season, the ageless Roberto Hernandez (and struggling starter Oliver Perez) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for rightfielder Xavier Nady. In fairness to Minaya, the other GM’s involved in the possible deals for a starter were the ones to have cold feet.
A mentioned three-way trade between the Mets, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles had Lastings Milledge going to the O’s, shortstop Miguel Tejada landing in Houston, and Roy Oswalt joining the Mets rotation. The word was that either the ‘Stros or Orioles pulled out, killing the entire deal.
The Mets were also trying to obtain Jason Schmidt from San Francisco without having to give up Milledge or Aaron Heilman, who were both mentioned in the Barry Zito from Oakland A’s possible deal.
Regardless, the Mets are going to ride it out with what they have. Will their bullpen hold up, especially when you have to consider the shaky starting rotation? Pedro Martinez has been himself when healthy. Tom Glavine is 40 and has had moments when he has shown his age. Who is the number three if the playoffs started today? Orlando Hernandez has pitched better of late and October is when ‘El Duque’ has shined. Steve Traschel does not breed confidence, and John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and the rehabbing Brian Bannister are all rookies.
A key component to the Mets’ run is going to be Heilman. If he can be as effective as last season, the pen may be in good shape. Righthander Chad Bradford and lefthander Pedro Feliciano have looked good all year and with Hernandez and Heilman, the loss of Sanchez may not be a season killer after all.