Rumored return of Cammy

DMZ · January 27, 2005 at 12:53 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

We keep getting requests to talk about the continued rumors, particularly the Seattle Times story that the M’s might bring back Cameron. We’ve talked about whether this is wise before (Jason: yes, Dave: maybe, me: no). But as to whether there’s any truth in the rumors: I don’t think so. Please remember that this story’s from the writer who refries the Griffey story once or twice an off-season, and there’s no chance there. The story essentially says “there are rumors that maybe something might happen and this one source says it makes sense”… but why?

Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that I love Cameron, and feel he was hugely unappreciated in his time here. But his contract is heavy and players with his offensive skill set don’t age well at all.

Meanwhile, the M’s have two guys who can perform as well for not that much money. I’m not a huge Randy Winn fan, and I think he’s likely to perform worse next year offensively, but he’s a good center fielder for the money. Jeremy Reed would be okay there, and then Winn plays LF, where he’s really good defensively.

There’s no need to trade for Cameron, and the Mariners are going to be better off spending that money elsewhere in 2006 onward.

Sure, it might happen. But even as Cameron’s big fan, I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the team, and I haven’t heard anything more than the vague rumors. I suspect that much of the noise on this is generated out of the NY press machine, capable of turning any speculation into rumor and then making that into a story. I don’t think there’s anything here.


43 Responses to “Rumored return of Cammy”

  1. Northsider on January 27th, 2005 1:00 pm

    Totally agree, bringing Cammey back would serve the club no purpose other than getting a few ladies excited to come to the Safe.

  2. Jim Thomsen on January 27th, 2005 1:04 pm

    Amen. How Finnigan’s editors can be so permissive with his slipshod sourcing is one of life’s enduring mysteries.

    Though, if for some reason there existed a chance to trade Winn or Ibanez straight up for Cameron, regardless of the few million in salary disparities, I’d do it.

  3. msb on January 27th, 2005 1:12 pm

    “I suspect that much of the noise on this is generated out of the NY press machine, capable of turning any speculation into rumor and then making that into a story.”

    hmm, maybe Finny’s new “baseball sources” work for the NY tabs….

  4. Brian Rust on January 27th, 2005 1:17 pm

    If he doesn’t get traded and moves to right field, at least the Mets come to town this year.

  5. RealRhino on January 27th, 2005 1:31 pm

    What are the skills sets that age well? I keep hearing one thing or another about this, but I thought the CW was that a power/speed skill set aged pretty well. Is that not Cammy? What is Cammy’s skill set?

  6. Steve Thornton on January 27th, 2005 1:33 pm

    I am also a huge Cammie booster in the past, but I don’t think we need him back. We have outfielders coming out of the woodwork.

    For what it’s worth, Baseball Prospectus has the 2005 Pecota projections out, and they have some suprises for M’s fans. I’m not supposed to “distribute” them to non-members, so I strongly encourage you to join BP and have a look for yourself.

    I will say though that according to Pecota, Cameron would be projected to be middle-of-the-pack among Seattle OFs. Suzuki is slated for a dropoff, but still our 3rd-best VORP, tops in the OF; Reed is predicted to make a huge step up, not to superstar status but to solid starter, in the Cameron range. Winn is right there as well. The biggest flop according to Pecota is going to be Ibanez.

    That means, if the projections pan out, our best OF will involve three center fielders, with Ibanez on the bench. That’s not how we’re likely to start the year, but could be the way we finish it. I don’t see where Cameron fits into that picture. We don’t need FOUR.

    The best case could be made for trading Cameron for Ibanez straight up, but I can’t imagine why anyone would make that trade. Cameron for Winn straight up is a wash, statistically, and also a very unlikely package. Cameron for some assemblage of players might make sense for the Mets, depending on who they are, but if one of them is not Winn or Ibanez it doesn’t do anything for us. All it does is keep Reed off the field, and I think that’s a mistake.

    The heartbreak of the Cameron story is what we got when we let him walk, which is nothing, and what we had to replace him with. But it’s stupid to think you can make up for past mistakes by simply retracing your steps.

    Though if you see a guy walking backwards away from the bar at Sunset Bowl, that might be me trying to do exactly that.

  7. Xteve X on January 27th, 2005 1:54 pm

    Bringing Cameron back would be pretty dumb in my opinion. Jeremy Reed deserves a shot in CF. I liked Cammy as much as anyone, but enough capitulation to the casual fan already. Dan Wilson and Jamie have one more go around. That should be enough to fulfill the housewife jean creaming factor.

  8. Evan on January 27th, 2005 2:05 pm

    If we could arrange a straight swap of Cameron for Spiezio, I’d be all over it.

    Here’s the thing: If we platoon Ibanez and Bucky at DH, that means we have a ready made 1B when Sexson’s arm falls off, so our outfield is basically set. That outfield is Ichiro, Reed, and Winn. Getting Cammy pretty much has to entail sending an OF to NY or moving Winn out of the regular starting 9.

  9. dw on January 27th, 2005 2:27 pm

    We’re not getting Cammy, we’re not trading for Cammy, he left and he’s not coming back. That said, Frank Thomas would have never taken second on Cammy. I’m hoping that Reed is ready for the bigs come Opening Day, even if that eats into Bucky’s playing time.

    I’m looking at the PECOTA right now. The M’s hitting numbers seem conservative, and it seems that they’re overvaluing past performance and undervaluing career curve. One player is projected to rebound, while another is projected to do worse despite moving to a better hitter’s park. In both cases, conventional wisdom would disagree.

    The pitching projections, though, seem pretty spot on. I said the M’s would win 75 games this year, but I’ve been optimistic for a winning record. The PECOTA just took that optimism out back and did an Old Yeller on it.

  10. Adam T on January 27th, 2005 2:36 pm

    Would you guys acquire Cameron if we could dump Spiezio in the deal? (saw one answer above)

    Re: #8

    If Sexson’s arm does fall off Ibanez/Bucky can platoon at first base. Sure, it’s not a GG 1st baseman but with our new defensive infield they shouldn’t get too many balls in the dirt. Reese played last year throwing to Millar/Ortiz most of the season. Beltre threw to Green, Choi and Ventura(?).

    Also – please remember that Jeremy Reed is more suited for left field. I would rather have him in center than Winn (who is shaky at best) but all the “experts” I have come across have said that Reed is a major league left fielder.

  11. chris d on January 27th, 2005 2:41 pm

    From what I have read in NY papers Cammy does not seem to be as good defensively as previously. And he can only be less of a hitter as well. I say no way!!!

  12. chris d on January 27th, 2005 2:45 pm

    I would not acquire Cammy for Spezio because Cammy would block Choo from coming up. I like Reed in CF, Winn in LF for 2005 and Choo/Reed in LF or CF in 2006.If Cammy comes he hinders this and M’s don’t need his power any more. His power was his best[only] offensive skill.

  13. Change on January 27th, 2005 2:59 pm

    1. Cammy dropped off defensively due to injury.
    2. Winn and Reed are not CF’s they’re good LF’s.
    3. Losing Winn or Ibanez for Cammy would be good for the team. We’d lose a little offense (which we just hugely upgraded) for more defense (which we need) and an awesome clubhouse leader (which we need worse).
    4. Don’t forget that Cammy led the Mets in HR (30), RBI (76), Runs (76) and SB (22). Sure the Mets sucked, but they were better than the Mariners. He would have been amongst the leaders in most of those categories on the Mariners last year and would have led the team in HR’s and SB. That’s pretty good for only playing 140 games and most of those injured.
    5. His contract is not that bad, less than 5 million and if we ship out Ibanez or Spiezio for him it’s only a small increase in our payroll and we can afford it.

    There are lots of good reasons for bringing him back. Too bad it’s a baseless rumor.

  14. bilbo on January 27th, 2005 3:03 pm

    Bring Cammy back if you can move Spiezio in the deal. He only has two years on the contract so I am not worried about him blocking anybody. If Reed has a good spring, then move Winn (or Ibanez?) and prospects for a SP.

  15. Steve Thornton on January 27th, 2005 3:04 pm

    #10 – How’s that going to work? Including Spezio in ANY deal package makes that package LESS valuable, which means we have to put more in it. The Mets are not completely stupid. Any deal for Cameron is going to have to include one of our outfielders, which is not a net improvement, or it’s going to have to include some serious prospect talent, which is a really bad idea. We’re stuck with Spezio; he’s immovable unless we pay his salary, like we did for Cirillo.

    What is the MLB record for “most ex-third basemen being paid by a team to play for someone else” anyways?

    The only guy the Mets could possibly be interested in, aside from young guys we had better not give up, is Winn. Winn for Cameron is a tiny, tiny improvement for lots of $. I’ve said it before: Winn’s trade value is dramatically less than his actual value. Not that’s a superstar, but he’s a lot better than his raw Safeco numbers, and he’s a lot better than anything he’s going to bring in trade (unless we can rob someone else of THEIR prospects).

    If it was possible to somehow talk the Mets into Cammy for Ibanez, great. But I don’t see how they could close that deal.

    #12 — Choo is a good point. He projects to be about as good as Ibanez this year, at a tiny fraction of the cost; and AFTER this year, when it really matters (unless you really think the M’s are going to win it all this year) Choo, while obviously not a sure thing, is a potential treasure. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that Choo is part of the package the Mets are asking after in the Cammy sweepstakes. Which would be extradumb.

  16. Morisseau on January 27th, 2005 3:09 pm

    Nomo signs a minor-league deal with Tampa Bay. I, for one, would gladly swap Sele for Hideo.

  17. Evan on January 27th, 2005 3:18 pm

    I’d rather lose Winn than Ibanez in any deal at this point, as Ibanez is a much better platoon mate for Bucky at DH.

    As for trading Spiezio for Cammy, Spiezio earns less, so we’d be taking on a net increase of about half of Cameron’s salary and the Mets would be saving money. If Cameron were available as a FA, would you sign him to a 2 year deal for half of what he currently earns? Because that’s what a Spiezio for Cameron deal basically is to the M’s.

    Now, if the Mets want a corner OF in addition, then we’d need to get some pitching back. Winn and Spiezio for Cameron and a pitcher. I think that makes our team better right now.

  18. Greg Pirkl on January 27th, 2005 3:28 pm

    1. Cameron is right handed and would be coming to a lineup with Beltre, Sexson, Boone, (possibly Bucky) that tilts way too much that way anyway.

    2. Cameron is making 6mil next year, Reed is making the minimum.

    3. Cameron SUCKS. Seriously the guy cannot hit when healthy, and he is coming off wrist surgery. He hit .231 last year with his usual 1:3.4 K:AB ratio and a stellar .319 OBP.

    Why take a left handed batting prospect out of the lineup for a guy who is a glorified 4th outfielder. He would be an improvement defensivly but Reed is not terrible and can learn to be better.

    If you must shore up the outfield defense late in games, keep Jamal Strong on the roster to play center in the seventh inning and move Reed to left then.

    It is a better option than keeping Willie “zero-tool” Bloomquist around year after year. A guy who is soaking up a bench spot by specializing in being a bad pinch-hitter, a non-threat to steal a base, and a below average fielder at 7 positions.

    That $6mill would be better spent anywhere else, rather than marginally improving defense in center.

    PS: Dan Wilson should be arrested for the money he is stealing from Seattle ticket buyers year after year. (cant wait to here the Rizzs chrous retort with:

    A–what a great game he calls
    B–how great he is defensively although he never throws anyone out.

  19. Steve Thornton on January 27th, 2005 3:31 pm

    #17 — The Mets wouldn’t do Winn + Spezio for Cammy alone; why would they throw in a pitcher? It would be US throwing in on that deal, AND paying Spezio’s 2005 salary.

    The Mets are not completely retarded.

  20. Todd on January 27th, 2005 3:33 pm

    I do not want to trade Winn or Ibanez for Cameron for another reason. If the M’s fall out of contention in ’05, a distinct possiblity, I would think that either Winn or Ibanez, due to a variety of factors, including salaries and no-trade clauses, would be more attractive to potential contenders than Cameron.

    If Cameron was the final piece of a puzzle, I might be for it, but I do not want to bring in an aging expensive player on a team that still might finish last in ’05.

  21. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 3:57 pm

    3. Cameron SUCKS. Seriously the guy cannot hit when healthy, and he is coming off wrist surgery. He hit .231 last year with his usual 1:3.4 K:AB ratio and a stellar .319 OBP.

    Did this argument require the “SUCKS”? I mean really now.

  22. JPWood on January 27th, 2005 4:06 pm

    I wouldn’t dump Frog for Cameron because Cammy isn’t what’s needed in Seattle now. Reed, Winn and Ibanez should do at least an average job in the OF, and if Reed can handle CF and allow Winn to roam LF for 130 games in 2005 and let Ibanez and Bucky handle the DH, I’d be very pleased.
    I certainly wouldn’t trade both Winn and Ibanez for Cameron simply to even out the salary calculation. Cameron’s declining defensive contribution would in no way replace Winn’s and Ibanez’s appreciable switch-hitting offensive contributions. All a like trade would do would be to free up a roster spot at a cost far greater than necessary. For example: Aaron Looper for another SS prospect.
    Finnegan here is being the mouthpiece for the message that both Winn and Ibanez are still on the trading block. And that’s about it.

  23. Adam T on January 27th, 2005 4:10 pm

    Re: #15

    Yes, the Mets are stupid. An example – they just let Al Leiter go and re-signed Kris Benson. Also, didn’t they trade that hot shot starter to Tampa Bay last season for Zambrano (Kazmir?).

    Re: #18

    Weighing too much on righties? How about our outfield with a possibility of 4 lefty hitters. What happens when we face Zito or Randy Johnson for that matter? Seems like a weak argument.

    Cameron Sucks? He just played with hurt wrists (& back?) and hit 30 home runs. While he was grinding out the season, he made Ibanez look silly for “pulling a Jr” 🙂

    If it’s a matter of dollar value, Spiezio + Winn/Ibanez = Cameron.
    If we were lucky enough to bring in Cameron without losing an OFer it only costs us $4million – not a lot considering we drew 2.9 million fans and lost 99 games.

    The Mets have been reported as wanting to shed some salary.

    Not bringing in a GG quality centerfielder because we have someone who MAY be ready in 2006 – although he didn’t even play in AAA last season – seems unreasonable as well.

  24. ChrisK on January 27th, 2005 4:18 pm

    IMHO, the fact that Finnigan’s “Is X player possibly, maybe, potentially coming back” stories are passed off as sports journalism makes a mockery of the profession. In this and his Griffey articles, Finny prefaces every claim with “it could be”, “there are rumblings that”, “are thought to be”, “it is uncertain that”, and so on. His only quote is from “a source”, and that source is merely speculating as well. How is this article more credible than something any of us could write?

    Am I wrong in thinking that this is an example of bad journalism? Or am I being naive?

  25. Joshua Buergel on January 27th, 2005 4:33 pm

    Suzuki is slated for a dropoff, but still our 3rd-best VORP, tops in the OF

    I’m pretty sure Ichiro broke PECOTA. Note that PECOTA projects him for 164 games played in right, which is going to be a challenge, even for Ichiro! His other ratings just don’t make any sense given his career path. I wouldn’t pay the slightest attention to PECOTA’s projection, since I think something really did go haywire there beyond the difficulty of projecting a pretty singular talent like him.

  26. Paul Covert on January 27th, 2005 5:55 pm

    (1) I agree with not overcrowding the outfield; indeed, I’m surprised that Finnigan’s rumor did not include either Winn or Ibanez. (I’d suggest that Winn+Spiezio=Cameron would be a fair deal for both sides: the total salaries are roughly comparable, the outfielders’ overall performances likewise, Spiezio’s basically a throw-in to balance salary with some chance of rebounding to be a decent bench player, and New York has a true CF but could use a corner guy while Seattle has it the other way around. Not an overwhelming deal, but if the Mets would take it I’d see no reason why not. (I don’t think I’d throw in any of Spiezio’s salary, though, given the danger of the aging patterns hitting Cameron harder than average.)

    (2) For what it’s worth, Cameron batted .244/.331/.512 apart from his injury-ravaged May this year. Again, not an all-star performance, but decent enough for an excellent defensive CF.

  27. Paul Covert on January 27th, 2005 5:59 pm

    Upon further review: Oops, yes, I see that Finnigan did mention Winn (and Ibanez). I just seem to have mentally blocked it out until after hitting the reply button, probably because he started that part of the article with “reluctant… unless it is a trade for pitching.”

  28. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 7:31 pm

    Was that Mssr Wood of France? Wow.

  29. David Ross McFadden on January 27th, 2005 9:05 pm

    I for one , and it appears I am the only one, would welcome Mike Cameron back in Mariner blue in a heart beat. The team hasn’t been the same without him. Ibanez, Cameron, Suzuki. Sounds inspiring to me.

  30. Jerry on January 27th, 2005 9:10 pm

    You guys need to consider what the Met’s might want to do before you start talking about the pros and cons of a Spiezio and Ibanez for Cameron deal.

    I live in NY, so I end up reading a lot of the crap that gets published out here (by the way, if you think that Finnigan is bad, try reading the NY Post). Anyhow, a few things are pretty clear:

    -the Met’s are just as concerned about generating buzz and fan interest in the team as they are about building a well-rounded team. They are starting a Met’s-specific cable network, and want to really get the fanbase interested. Thus, Sammy Sosa and Magglio Ordonez are real possibilities. Really, I think that Sosa is the most likely. The Met’s will have to move either Cameron or Cliff Floyd (or both) to bring in Sosa. Thus, they are not going to be too interested in Ibanez or Winn. Maybe if they moved both Floyd and Cameron, which is a possibility. Rumor has it that Omar Minaya really likes Sosa, and their inability to sign Delgado should make that even more of a goal.

    -the Met’s biggest hole is their bullpen. The M’s have a glut of decent relievers. Thus, if the Met’s are going to take back a salary, it would make more sense for them to take someone like Villone or Shiggy. If not, they would probably be interested in the cheaper bullpen arms we have.

    -The Met’s might actually have some minimal degree of interest in Spiezio. Right now, their corner utility guys are Jason Phillips (who plays 1B and C) and Eric Valent. Valent isn’t a bad player, but Spiezio would give them a veteran, switch hitter who can help out at 1B and 3B, and maybe pinch hit. The Met’s might accept his salary to even out the finances of the trade, and hope that he has a turnaround.

    So, a trade like Spiezio and Villone would make more sense for the Met’s than Ibanez and Winn. If Spiezio was included, it would be nice for the M’s to try to get Eric Valent from the Met’s. He is a lefty hitter who can play 1B and the corner OF positions. Or something like Villone and Ibanez or Winn could work out for them if they were planning on trading Cliff Floyd to the Cubs for Sosa. This would give them an OF of Winn or Ibanez in LF, Beltran in CF, and Sosa in RF. This is not all that far fetched. If the Met’s traded for Sosa, I could see the Cubs then going after Magglio Ordonez to play RF, with Patterson in CF and Floyd in LF.

    Regardless of the specifics, I don’t think that a trade for Cameron would necessarily mean that Reed wouldn’t play. If the M’s did send Spiezio and Villone to NY for Cameron, they could still move Winn for a pitching prospect. This would be a lot worse for Bucky than Reed. However, from the recent posts on the M’s official team page, it doesn’t sound like Bucky’s recovery from knee surgery is going that well. Hargrove said some things in an interview that suggest that he isn’t prominent in the M’s plans for the beginning of the year anyhow.

  31. Jerry on January 27th, 2005 9:12 pm

    Why not Reef in LF, Cameron in CF, and Ichiro in RF? Ibanez is the DH, with Bucky off the bench. Bucky will get a fair amount of ABs, and could force his way into the lineup.

    Again, I don’t see the necessary correlation between Cameron coming and Reed being the odd man out.

  32. Bela Txadux on January 27th, 2005 9:39 pm

    The Ms are certainly fielding offers for Cameron from the Mets now in my view: they should say yes, and re-acquire him, but they shouldn’t stop there since they can get a pitcher out of it, too. I’ve said, Yea, for the return of Cammy before, but now that there is real possibility in play I’ll turn over a few more rocks on it.

    Are the Mets ‘stupid’ enough to trade Cameron, even without sweetening the deal? Subtract: Leiter and Kazimir; add: Benson and Pedro’s shoulder; that’s no confirmation that Wilpon is ‘smart.’ More to the point, the Mets have boxed themselves in on trading Cameron; it’s _going_ to happen, and they have no leverage at all in the deal. After Cammy didn’t hit a lick with a bad hand early in ’04, the NY press was all over him for the rest of the year. His teammates, specifically the pitchers and other outfielders, RAVED about his defense though (and we know why, don’t we?). After Cammy tore up his other wrist late in the season and didn’t hit a lick for the last month because of it while injuries dragged down his D also, the Mets fans got all over him, too. Cammy was openly being called a ‘failure’ by the end of the season, a guy ‘who can’t play in New York.’ Despite the fact that Cameron led the Mets in most offensive categories even though Shea is a tough place to hit, and even though Mike played hurt all year long when others didn’t, and gutted it out to the end of a miserable season—but who said New Yorkers valued any of those things, hey?? Wilpon is particularly sensitive to fan reaction of this sort. I thought that the Mets were going to move Cammy all along, but since he was their starter and their big sign _last_ year, it figured originally that they would need to get back plus talent for their own credibility. Well, Wilpon and Minaya have BOUGHT ‘credibility’ now in Pedro and Beltran, and they have nowhere to put Cameron who neither their fans nor the media want back. The trap door’s open on Mike, he just hasn’t had the boot applied to his dorsal side, although clearly Cammy knows it’s coming, and is ready to go, thank you.

    “Cameron to RF at Shea” is only being floated in the papers to try and preserve the Mets’ dealing position to me, but I don’t think any FO buys it. There was the earlier rumor of Cameron ‘to Oakland,’ which to me was Minaya trying to work up a bidding war with Seattle, the most obvious destination for Mike Cameron by far. Billy Beane can’t afford Mike’s salary, and effectively scotched THAT rumor, pronto. Ideally, when the Mets move Cameron—_when_, not if—they would save about half his salary, and get back a serviceable rightfielder. This is why we have the ‘Cameron for Ibanez’ rumor: it’s the Mets’ most favorable scenario with the only team in the game that might want Cameron enough on his present contract to give Minaya a little leverage. Raul’s best position actually _is_ right field: he has limited range, but runs good routes and has an above average arm, plus he has some lefthanded power. Now the Mets would never voluntarily propose a Cameron for Spezio swap as it doesn’t save them much money, and brings over a player with two years to go and a bad back who may never hit again: they fact that _this_ rumor has surfaced suggests to me that the Ms have, indeed, made a counteroffer to the Mets on a deal that brings Cameron home. Cameron for Spezio won’t happen, bad as NY wants to shed Cammy, but it could be part of a give and take on an eventual deal. The ‘rumors’ also mention the Ms wanting pitching back if they have to send over a player with real value for Cameron, so my guess is Bill Bavasi is looking to see what he can shake loose from the batty belfry that is the Mets front office in light of the Kazimir deal (attaboy, Bill). In considering what the shape of this deal might look like should the teams move forward, remember though that the Mets have no leverage, as I said, since they appear determined to move Mike. They will either have to get nothing back, and save the salaray, or take the equivalent back in salary but salvage at least one serviceable player out of the overall deal. Also keep in mind that the Ms seem primed to move either Winn or Ibanez given the way the hints and comments have shaped up over the first part of the offseason, it’s just that until the Mets popped up from the bushes the Ms didn’t have a match for either player that brought them back anything at all.

    Since Cameron is surely leaving NY, and since the best match _for the Mets_ to do a deal is certaily Seattle, should the Ms FO match up bodies and $$ and do the deal? Absolutely. Let’s break this down categorically; you can do the numbers, but they’ve been done before on this blog. On defense, Cameron, arguably the best CFer in the game, is better than any existing player in the Ms system. Ibanez is barely adequate in the leftfield; Reed is not a CFer, try though he might; Winn has been argured on this blog to be much better than he appears, but that said he isn’t remotely Cameron’s equal at any position in the outfield, not now, not in the future; Choo is projected to be a very good CFer—but hasn’t played an inning above AA. This is no argument.

    It has further been argued on this blog that, AS OF RIGHT NOW, the offensive values of Ibanez, Winn, and Cameron are roughly equal, an assessment I would certainly call fair. Their skill mixes are quite different, though, as are their prospects for _continued_ offensive value. Of all the Ms outfielders, Ibanez is likely to plunge the worst and the fastest, just as his PECOTA for ’05 mentioned above suggests. Frankly, I expected Raul to fall off the edge of the earth last year, but he was the only Ms acquisition of that season who played better than I expected. All of the discussion here and in the paper regarding Raul’s value for the Ms going forward presumes that he comes back _at least as good_ as he was last year: that is quite unlikely to happen. The Ms should be considering moving Ibanez almost no matter what—except that with his present contract he has been untradeable until the Mets popped up from the grass handing out lit cigars and brandy. Randy Winn doesn’t walk, and doesn’t have homerun power; most of his offensive value is tied up in his streaky batting average, and if and when he loses even a little bit of bat speed his offensive value is going to drop like a rock. Kind of like Quinton McCracken, a rather similar player except Q had a bit more power. That said, Winn’s value is likely to hold up a bit better than the other guys over the next few years given his athleticism and that he’s the youngest, although the PECOTA mentioned for him above again says he’s going south in ’05. Between moving Winn and Ibanez, it’s Ibanez, as much as I’ve argued that the Ms should move Winn before. Cammy doesn’t hit for average, and Safeco kills him. That said, Mike has excellent plate discipline so he walks a bunch, and hits for good power, ‘old player’s skills’ that are likely to hold up even as age gets into his legs and cuts down his SBs and leg doubles. Cameron _will_ decline as the miles pile up, but his is more likely to retain his offensive value than either Ibanez or Winn. Of the three, there is no question in my mind that Cameron is the best player of the three, that two years from now he will _still_ be the best player of the three, he plays the most important defensive position on the field after SS much better than anyone else in the Ms system at any level, and he is the best match for the team an community as a person and player (although Winn and Ibanez both fit well, too).

    Reed? He’s proved nothing except that he deserves regular PT at the MLB level. With Winn and Ibanez on the team, he doesn’t project to start; if either of them departs in a deal for Cammy, Reed still doesn’t project to start—but that’s correct. Reed should be backing up LF and CF and hitting his way into a full-time gig if he can. He has more chance to improve than any of these other guys—put he hasn’t _proved_ much at all yet. Choo? He gave up plate discipline in AA ball to hit for more power, without particularly impressive results. There is no assurance given his package that he will even hit enough to hold down a major league job, and his high end is as another Randy Winn, but three years from now, say. Cameron doesn’t ‘block’ Choo, but the equation is wrong there anyway: Choo backs up Cameron as Choo shows that he can hit enough to earn the job. If three years from now Cammy’s legs and bat are gone and Choo shoves him aside, then it’s Choo’s job—but having Cameron playing 120+ games a year in CF for the next two-three years while backed up by Reed is the best talent utilization out of any roster than has Cameron on it. The big problem in the past with Cameron here is that because his D was so valuable, neithr Pinella nor Melvin could bring themselves to sit Mike down when he was slumping badly or nicked up. If Cammy comes back, Hargrove will face the same devil’s bargain, but hopefully he’ll chose the other way and let Mike sit against pitchers he can’t hit so save they guys legs in CF for the long haul. Unlike the previous managers, Hargrove will have potentially interesting back-ups for Mike.

    I think Cameron should come back, and not for sentiment but because he is the best player that the team could acquire for his position, and that this mean’s the team wins more. Simple as that.

    So back to the deal . . . The Mets would do Ibanez for Cameron, and that’s a reasonable deal—for them, but they have no leverage. The Ms would do Spezio for Cameron, and that’s a reasonable deal—for them, but the Mets, while batty, aren’t stone crazy about _that_ deal, either. Ibanez should be moved since he’s the least useful player and the one most likely to decline. And the Ms also would like to get back a useful arm. So make the deal something for everyone: Cameron and Heath Bell for Ibanez, Spezio, and Aaron Looper. It’s a wash on salary, but everybody gets their ‘most wanted guy.’ The Ms get a pitcher who might have some use whom the Mets don’t seem inclined to use, but send Aaron Looper, for whom they have no use, over into the system where his cuz already plays as a sop to the Mets. It’s complicated, but it’s balanced, and it solves everybody’s problems about where to put these guys to best use. —Sez me.

  33. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 10:02 pm

    Players with old-player skills don’t age better because they already have those skills. They age worse, as a group.

    The argument is not “simple as that” it’s about Cameron, age, decline, and his quite large salary through the life of his contract, including years where he’s not going to be as good while possibly blocking better, cheaper options.

  34. eponymous coward on January 27th, 2005 10:42 pm

    Why not Reef in LF, Cameron in CF, and Ichiro in RF? Ibanez is the DH, with Bucky off the bench. Bucky will get a fair amount of ABs, and could force his way into the lineup.

    I doubt it. Dave Hansen got a grand total of 97 plate appearances in 4 months as a Mariner last year, and that was while a. Edgar, Spiezio and Olerud had the worst years of their career, and b. Hansen hit pretty well, and consider that c. Hansen could play 3B, which Bucky can’t.

    Bucky would be lucky to get 100 AB’s next year PH’ing and being the backup 1B/DH, assuming Ibanez and Sexson stay off the DL. While I’m sure in a sense he’ll be happy to be in a major league uniform if that happens, it’s typical of what happens to unlucky players like Bucky- they get buried for no good reason and bad luck, even when they are superior to other players in the majors (keep in mind that once, Raul Ibanez WAS Bucky Jacobsen, unable to buy major league playing time for love or money while the Mariners screwed around with Rickey Henderson and Brian Hunter).

  35. Bela Txadux on January 27th, 2005 10:45 pm

    I’ll grant that nothing is simple in this valuation, Derek, which is why we’ve all been going on for months regarding ‘what to do about Winn/Ibanez??’ The Ms already have salary locked up in guys who are no better than Cammy and arguably worse, but I think the salary issue is tertiary: the Ms have the $$$, so the question to me is, Who makes the team _best_. Cameron does, at this time. Cameron, Winn, and Ibanez are likely to decline, sure, but one has to argue that Winn will age much more slowly than Cammy for him so come out significantly ahead; for the two years all three players are signed for, it’s hard to argue that Cameron is a ‘worse’ option, and, I think, easy to argue that he’s a better one. If Cameron was signed for four, I’d _never_ make this argument—but that’s not the case.

    The Cameron ‘possibly block’s better options’ has to be shown. I’ve yet to hear any argument that shows Reed, Choo, or Snelling (yes I like him still), is a better option _in CF_ than Cameron over the next two years. Or ever. Frankly, I like Snelling the best of the three, he can flat out hit, but it’s an overturned ambulance blocking HIS path; he has to get in at least three solid months somewhere to re-establish a career path of any kind, so Reed has had the good fortune to surge past him. If someone will, please, show me that any of these system guys is likely to be significantly _better_ than Cameron in the next two years, then sure, let’s forget about Mike. I don’t think that case can be made, and certainly I haven’t heard it if so.

    To me, the only reason _not_ to trade for Cameron is if the Ms FO and ownership has already written off the ’05 season completely, in which case there is no case for making the team better in ’05 than it is now. I’m not going to be the one to make that case, because personally I think it’s inexcusable. Ergo, the FO should make the team as much better _now_ as they can without sending out high end prospects or loading the team down with long-term, dead-weight contracts. Cameron’s deal is not long term, nor is it significantly over the present market for anyone who figures to make the Ms better.

    On the issue of Eric Valent, Jerry, I’d love for him to come back in any deal for Cameron, yes. He’s cheap, undervalued, and a lefty stick off the bench. I would also say, though, that any players that the Mets might possibly acquire in shipping Cameron out shouldn’t be assumed to be staying in NY long enough to put a team cap on for a photo. As you point out, Wilpon and Minaya are trying to put famous faces on their incipient broadcasting network, so they may ship out un-famous former Ms for the Sammy’s of this world, sure. —That’s their problem.

  36. Bela Txadux on January 27th, 2005 10:52 pm

    I’ll also say that another reason why I’d not be crying if Raul (a good guy, but) gets dealt is that it means Bucky gets 400+ ABs. As of now, Hargrove, quite sensibly, is talking up Ibanez for DH in the press since Raul is a veteran lefty with some power who fits the park and has a track recrod. Grover has never seen Bucky, and so has no commitment to a big guy with a knee in physio. I’m a big Bucky believer, though. I’d put a $100 right now on Bucky over Winn, Ibanez, Reed _or_ Cammy for offensive value by the end of ’05 if the Big Guy can get a comparable number of ABs. —At DH. If Raul and Man Mountain are both on the roster in camp, Bucky (if he’s ready to go) will certainly open Hargrove’s eyes—while he writes Raul’s name on the line-up card for the next two months. If Raul goes, Bucky is likely to get the bulk of the DH time when and as his knee permits. And that is the outcome I want to see.

  37. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 10:54 pm

    To me, the only reason _not_ to trade for Cameron is if the Ms FO and ownership has already written off the ‘05 season completely, in which case there is no case for making the team better in ‘05 than it is now. I’m not going to be the one to make that case, because personally I think it’s inexcusable.

    It’s not the only reason. If they think that the gain in 05 is far outweighed by the risks of the contract and the probability that it’ll be a problem in 06 and so forth, that’s an entirely reasonable tradeoff to make.

  38. msb on January 28th, 2005 8:46 am

    #32 “There was the earlier rumor of Cameron ‘to Oakland,’ which to me was Minaya trying to work up a bidding war with Seattle, the most obvious destination for Mike Cameron by far. Billy Beane can’t afford Mike’s salary, and effectively scotched THAT rumor, pronto.”

    well, that and the obstacle that is Cameron’s ‘no trade to Oakland’ clause….

    on KOMO last evening (before opining that the Yankees & Giants had most improved themselves in the offseason) Finnigan was saying the Ms would only do a trade if Cameron proved he was healthy in the spring, and if he was healthy the Mets wouldn’t want to move him (or other teams would want him too)

  39. Change on January 28th, 2005 10:44 am

    “Designated hitter/first baseman Bucky Jacobsen continues to recover from a serious knee injury that will cause him to take a cautious approach into Spring Training. “It would be unfair to expect him to be our DH at the start of the season,” Bavasi said.”

    Looks like we can just rule out the possibility of Bucky getting any significant playing time barring injury or trade. Damn I hate this team sometimes.

  40. Evan on January 28th, 2005 1:23 pm

    Luckily, Sexson’s arm could fall off at any moment, thus freeing up space for Bucky.

    See, there’s an upside to Richie’s injury risk!

  41. Evan on January 28th, 2005 3:55 pm

    One of the reason that I think makes me want Cameron back is that Cameron should have been expected, and according to PECOTA is still expected, to be a stronger offensive player than either Winn or Ibanez, and yet we made a conscious decision after 2003 that we would prefer to lose Cameron’s superior play, and instead use a player (whichever of Ibanez or Winn you want to use in the example) who’s demonstrably worse on both sides of the ball.

    The M’s have made bigger mistakes than this one in recent years, but this one was just so obvious, and the M’s management completely missed it. Mike Cameron, a better defender and a better hitter than either Winn or Ibanez, was let go, so we could instead use Winn or Ibanez, players we preferred, despite their being weaker players in all respects.

    Bringing back Cameron sort of undoes that horrible error, so even if it’s not the best available allocation of resources, at least it helps us exorcise that demon.

  42. Bela Txadux on January 28th, 2005 8:03 pm

    Regarding the decision whether or not to retain Cameron in the last offseason, aside from the fact that many in the FO were down on his prolonged slumps to begin with I suspect the reasoning was, “It’ll take $6M a year to sign him, and for that we can have two guys.” This was accurate in both respects. Mike signed for ~$6M per year. And the Ms spent the equivalent to immediately acquire two guys: Ibanez and Spezio. The FO might have _hoped_ to get more production for their money—but it didn’t turn out that way, and probably should not have been expected to do so. Now, the Ms may have a legitimate chance to trade Ibanez and Spezio FOR CAMERON. What beautiful symmetry, sez me. It would certainly make one of the most interesting trivia lines of recent years.

    On the subject of Cameron’s ‘no trade,’ it has been my observation in the last few years that teams have tended to treat player no-trade clauses as simply a bargaining point which can be re-purchased from a player at some future point, ususally by lining up a traded first and then seeing who will give the player a contract extension to waive the clause. At the very least, FOs have been quite willing to kick around deals without regard to such clauses until it comes time to talk to the player. The fact that Cameron had a clause regarding Oakland would not, in my view, prevent anyone from talking to anyone _initially_, and doesn’t change my view on why the Cammy to Oakland rumor floated to the top of the pool. I didn’t hear that Cameron went public to shoot it down, and as far as I can tell Beane was the one that said, I’m not your echo chamber. The basic point is that the Mets are all but certain to move Cameron, and realistically Seattle is their best partner in a deal at this time. Certainly, no team has been in a hurry to make their interest known.

  43. Bela Txadux on January 28th, 2005 8:17 pm

    Regarding the decision to let Cameron go in the ’03 offseason, aside from the fact that a cadre in the Ms FO was more than tired of Mike’s extended slumps I suspect the reasoning went something like, “It’ll take $6M a year to sign him, and for that we can get two guys.” This was correct in both respects. Cammy signed to the Mets for ~$6M a year. And for the same money the Ms signed two guys: Ibanez and Spezio. The FO may have hoped for increased production thereby—but we know it didn’t happen, and it should not have been expected to do so. Now in one of those strange twists, the Ms may have a legitimate opportunity to trade Ibanez and Spezio for Cameron, they guy they were supposed to replace. That’s what I call symmetry.

    Regarding Cameron’s no-trade to Oakland, as I have seen this done in recent years FOs have come to treat no-trades as simply bargaining points which can be re-purchased from a player if and when necessary, usually by the acquiring team giving the guy a contract extension to make him geek. Such clauses haven’t and won’t prevent any GM from discussing (or leaking the discussion of) any potential trade. I didn’t hear that Cameron publicly shot down an Oakland deal, but whether he did or not it wouldn’t prevent Minaya from attempting to work up a market for the guy. Oakland and Seattle were the other teams in for Cameron when he signed, and realistically Seattle is the only one in a position to acquire and pay Mike now, until and unless some other team steps forward, which no one seems to have done. Again, any noise from the Ms that ‘they want to see if Cameron is healthy’ should _not_ be read at face value, even if they mean exactly what they say: this is a bargaining move to get the Mets to improve their offer, or counter similar resistance by the Mets to taking on Spezio who’s injury issues were (and probably are) far more serious than Cammy’s.