Hey, a trade: Brian Bannister for Ambiorix Burgos.
You know, Ambiorix Burgos. Yes, that Ambiorix Burgos. From the Royals.
What? Not up to speed on Kansas City's erstwhile closer? Me neither. Closer for the Royals is the baseball equivalent of Maytag repairman. And no, I can't pronounce it either — hard to believe he couldn't fit in on a team with Grudzielanek and Mientkiewicz.
Let's see…he's young, he throws hard, he's prone to wildness…in a bullpen that could use a little boost, he'll do. We'll see what Ambiorix Burgos does under the jacketed wing of Rick Peterson, away from the pressure of ninth innings and removed from the serenity of western Missouri. Until he lets in a run, couldn't hurt.
As for the other tradee, fate wasn't Brian Bannister's friend, at least not a dependable one. The Mets were just short enough on starting last spring so that he could emerge from the pack and win a slot. They scored (and he battled) just enough for him to keep him from losing. And he hit just enough to screw up his season. He never made it to May. The way he squirmed in and out of trouble, it's hard to imagine he would have made it to June unscathed.
Alas, he got hurt and, except for a couple of cameos late, fell out of the team picture by the time we clinched. When future triviots ask each other to name the 13 starting pitchers employed by the Mets in their division championship season of 2006, Brian Bannister will be a name you remember because you remember it or you completely forget after coming up with “Lima…Gonzalez…and, oh, whatshisname, that other one, the one who doubled and pulled his hamstring in San Francisco, he flirted with a no-hitter his first start, walked a lot of guys…yeah that's it! How many is that? Only twelve? Who am I forgetting?”
With Pelfrey, Humber and Perez loosening up, Bannister is the starter we could afford to trade for a 22-year-old, 98 miles-per-hour reliever, even if it's sad to lose a Cyclone. May an unexpected thrill ride await him in K.C.