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Baseball Analysis  Mike McCann / Minor Leagues

August 2004


By Mike McCann

If you follow minor league baseball closely, you often recognize the names of some minor league players that are mentioned in trade rumors.  Often times, these players are some of the best prospects that an organization has.  Right before the July 31 trade deadline, the rumors become more frequent and some of which actually become reality.  These trades have impacts in many different ways.

Today, teams are less likely to trade their top prospects for players to help with the stretch drive than a few years ago.  However, the Mets decided to make a run for it this year at the price of sacrificing their future.  They traded away their two best prospects in order to obtain players to help them out this year.  Since Scott Kazmir and Matt Peterson weren't helping the team out now, the Mets opted to include them in trades that brought them Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson from Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh respectively.  Both the Devil Rays and Pirates were out of the playoff hunt for this year, and they felt it was a good idea to trade away players who wouldn't be a part of their future plans for guys that could be.

Scott Kazmir was the Mets 1st round pick in 2002 (15th overall) and was considered their top prospect.  He did have some minor injury problems this season, but they should not hamper him in the future.  Matt Peterson was the Mets 2nd round pick in 2000 and also projects to have a future in the major leagues.  I really hope that you aren't a Binghamton Mets fan because your two top pitchers are now gone.  I'm sure it was great to have two great pitchers on your team for a while this season.  Binghamton is still in first place in the Northern Division of the Eastern League, but I'm thinking that it is going to be more difficult for them to keep on winning considering the players that they lost.

To the New York Mets, it isn't a big deal if Binghamton finishes in first place and are eventually crowned the 2004 Eastern League champions.  They are more concerned about the parent club making it to the playoffs.  I guess I can't really blame them since the major league club is what makes the money and the minor leagues are there to feed players to the majors.  But I'm sure to those in Binghamton, they have to be a little disappointed that those players are gone even if it means bringing in two good pitchers to the major league club.

Personally, I'm not sure if it was the right thing for the Mets to do.  They were hovering around .500 when the trade was made and I have to think that they thought they only needed a few more pieces to make a run for the division title this year.  And adding two pitchers like Benson and Zambrano has to help your team.  The reason that I'm not such a big fan of the trade is that I can't see them overcoming the Braves, Phillies and Marlins to win the NL East, or the wild card berth either.  The Mets aren't a bad team, but I don't think that they will wind up making the playoffs this season.  I think that they will most likely regret making the deals to trade away Kazmir and Peterson because they will eventually end up helping Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, respectively.

It's always a tough question for teams of whether or not they should mortgage the future for the present.  The Mets believe that this year could be it.  Many other teams were trying to make deadline deals, but refused to part with certain players for fear of making the team less competitive in the future.  But only time will tell on how the trades work out.

I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.

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