February 10, 2007
Are the METS planning a trade?
The free-agent acquisition of right-hander Chan Ho Park (formerly of the San Diego Padres) as of yesterday is a very curious one in my opinion if you’re a METS fan. Park definitely fits the definition of veteran pitcher who has enough experience to be dangerous which could mean disasterous if he fails in New York. He could also turn out to be great protection against one of the younger pitchers like Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber or even someone like Oliver Perez or John Maine if one or a few of them fail to live up to their potential this year.
Truthfully Park has been somewhat of an underachiever throughout most of his career despite his stuff and talent. His last great (and only great season) was in the days he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was an 18 game winner! But after his unfortunate signing with the Texas Rangers he became one of the worst busts in the history of free agent signings. His free agency (signing for 5 years for an ungodly sum of many millions to be their ace) resulted in almost 4 years of it spent on the disabled list more often than not until last season. Finally when he showed he could pitch and stay healthy long enough the Rangers finally found a team willing to unload this albatross and off he went limping to San DIego and back to the National League from whence he came.
A combination of numerous injuries (back and shoulder if I recall) and perhaps the fact that he just wasn’t ever going to cut it in the American League took what had been a very promising career and nearly ruined it completly. Park has been known to have very skittish confidence and probably should have resigned with the Dodgers while he had a good thing going years ago. Now he comes to the METS hoping to land the number 5 spot in the rotation. Our pitching coach Rick Peterson may really have his hands full dealing with the younger pitchers like Pelfrey, Humber, Alay Soler (if he’s in the mix again) plus the fragile ego of Park and the talented yet erratic Jose Sosa. Peterson’s proving to be a solid pitching coach but can he be a miracle worker? I guess only time will tell. If Peterson is he will be the second coming of now Baltimore Orioles pitching coach/former Atlanta Braves pitching coach who the METS tried to sign years ago, Leo Mazzone.
The three contract he signed this year will definitely prove to be worth the money if he reaches Mazzone status. With this group he may have his chance to do just that!
The METS have now assembled an interesting potpourri of veteran starters who could play significant roles in the success of this team in 2007. But it leads me to wonder between Aaron Sele, Jose Sosa and now Chan Ho Park could there be a trade around the corner for an ace star pitcher? I think there’s at least a remote possibility of this happening at some point this year.
With the METS prospect pitchers (Pelfrey, Humber and even Soler) and with prospects like Anderson Hernandez and Lastings Milledge along with one of the aforementioned middle-of-the-road starters one wonders if the METS will pull off a shocking trade try to land the ace they secretly covet (Dontrelle Willis maybe, Jon Garland, Chicago White Sox, Rich Hardin, Oakland A’s…etc.) You can’t blame me for good wishful thinking can you? Since it doesn’t look like the METS can possibly keep all of these pitchers it would seem at least somewhat likely to me that a blockbuster deal of some kind could come before the end of Spring Training. Or maybe sometime during the 2007 season around the time Pedro Martinez would be returning to the rotation in late July or early August.
SInce the METS already seem to have a very formidable bullpen especially when you consider that Duaner Sanchez will be back from his shoulder injury and Mota will be a regular contributor to the bullpen once he’s served his 50 game steroid suspension plus the acquistions of Scott Schoenweis and the trade for Jon Adkins there would not be much room left for sliding a veteran starter into the bullpen. Therefore a trade looks imminent unless the METS send Pelfrey or Humber back to triple-A for more experience.
In any event the quest for winning another division title (and hopefully getting to the World Series and dare I say winning it), fending off the likes of the Phillies, Marlins and yes those dreaded Atlanta Braves (the team that haunts the METS fans and serves as a perennial nightmare with 14 division titles in 15 years destroying the confidence and hopes of METS fans time after time after time) this division will most likely be a lot more competitive than it was in 2006 so our MET-TLE will be tested. But again being the optimist (yes, there actually are METS fans who fit that category) as I usually am I will put my faith in Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph to take us to the promised land this time since they’ve taken pretty far in two years already.
Let’s go M-E-T-S!!
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We’ll be on this Thursday, February 15th at 9PM.
That’s all until next time from FAN FOR LIFE (a.k.a. Steve Ferguson).