Tuesday, March 4, 2008

B-Rob Isn't the Only One

99% of Orioles related trade rumors right now pertain to Brian Roberts, but that could be changing. Two players who I didn't think we'd be able to get rid of - Jay Payton and Kevin Millar - could be gaining interest from the New York Mets.

The Mets are thinking playoffs right from the start, but that doesn't mean they don't have question marks. They are interested in a right-handed hitting outfielder who they can platoon with new left-handed hitting rightfielder, Ryan Church. The only backup outfielder they have who isn't a left-handed hitter is Angel Pagan, who is a switch hitter. He may be playing well this spring, but he's there fighting for a bench spot, not semi-regular time. There are other players available who would be a better fit, such as the Cubs' Matt Murton, but Payton could find himself in the center of the Mets' interest depending on what the Mets are looking to give up. Murton would most definitely take more.

Kevin Millar has been mentioned on some rumor websites as a possible solution as a back up outfielder, too, but that would be an adventure. He's pretty much limited to first base now. However, Millar is still an option for the Mets as a back up first baseman. Carlos Delgado is no spring chicken anymore - he turns 36 in June. He declined sharply last season, hitting .258/.333/.448 with 24 homeruns, down from .265/.361/.548 and 38 homeruns in 2006. This spring he's showing his age again, being bothered by an impingement in his hip. There is a void at first base behind Delgado, so picking up someone who can give him some additional days off and cover for him if he misses an extended period of time could be a good idea.

Now, if you paid attention during the Johan Santana trade rumors, you'll remember that the Mets don't have a very strong farm system, especially after the Santana trade. However, if they want to pursue Payton or Millar, I doubt it would cost much - as far as players are concerned. It would cost some money as they would probably have to pay the entirety of their contracts ($4.5 million for Payton & $2.75 million for Millar).

If I were Andy MacPhail, I might be interested in 25 year old middle infielder Anderson Hernandez. Orioles manager, Dave Trembley, keeps saying that the Orioles want to rebuild around pitching and defense. Hernandez fits that mold. He's a slick fielder with a strong arm who can play both shortstop and second base well. At the plate he's a switch hitter whose game revolves around spraying the ball around and using his above average speed. Hernandez and some low level/high upside prospects could be a workable deal.

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