You probably heard about this report from AOL Fanhouse that the Rays are looking to clear payroll in order to go after big chips like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez. Ed Price names the pitching-hungry Angels as a potential suitor for the 25-year-old. But don't the Mets make just as much sense here? Dismiss, just for a moment, the fact that we are rapidly approaching the five-year anniversary of our "Black Friday." Forget that we are even talking about the same guy. I know it's hard, scratch that, impossible, to separate the emotions of that fateful day, but this is the exact type of deal where Omar can buy-low without looking completely and totally irrational.
Please forgive me. Maybe it's the unadulterated boredom of an off-day, perhaps it's hearing that Omar still thinks the Mets are buyers, it could even be something more logical like hearing John Maine could miss the rest of the season, but for whatever reason, I woke up this morning thinking that a trade for Scott Kazmir would be a good idea.
We all know that Kazmir isn't the same pitcher right now -- he really hasn't been for the past two seasons. Whether by injury or faulty mechanics, his velocity has suffered, and in turn, his strikeout rate has fallen off a cliff while his walk rate has increased each of the past three seasons. At least he's incorporated his slider again, but with the noticeable drop in velocity, the pitch has turned into a mere frisbee. Kazmir has become increasingly hittable, with opposing batters making contact 81.6% of the time in 2009, down from a brilliant 73.9% in 2006.
As you can see, there's lots of reasons why this deal shouldn't happen. Kazmir is a huge risk, with serious questions about his durability. He hasn't completed seven innings in a start since last June 21 (a span of 26 regular season starts, 32 if you count the postseason). Imagine the immense pressure of Omar righting a tremendous wrong, only to see Kazmir shrink down the stretch. Then, there's the more practical concern that the last thing the Mets need is another lefty (Kazmir would make three, Jon Niese potentially four) in the rotation, and an erratic one at that. After all, the Mets already have one incredibly frustrating southpaw on the payroll.
So why should the Mets do this? Because. That's why. Because somewhere in that left arm Kazmir possesses ace-type stuff. Because the Mets are one of only a few franchises that can take on this sort of financial risk. Kazmir is being paid a reasonable $6 million this year and $22.5 million through 2011. Chump change, even for the reportedly strapped Wilpons. Now, Kazmir can't hit a home run or be a replacement level shortstop. I freely admit that the deal wouldn't do much to ensure a Mets run this season. But what it would do is give the Mets a potential long-term ace to complement Johan Santana. What more could you ask for at the trade deadline?
You know what I'm saying, Omar?