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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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My Own Fantasy

As fans, we know very little about what's going on in the general manager's office. Beat reporters, pundits and rumormongers get what they can, but what they get isn't a tick-tock of phone records and meetings. It's a mix of honest-to-goodness facts, negotiating ploys, trial balloons, competing agendas, axes being ground, recycled tales, rumors and fantasies. Which isn't to disparage sportswriters — that's what you get when you're talking to lots of people who shouldn't be talking to you about fluid situations in which different people want different things to happen. And even the stuff you can trust is just a small part of what's actually going on. We never even find out about the vast majority of the exploratory calls, semi-serious proposals that may become serious-serious, back-up plans, or anything else.

Which is a roundabout way of saying it's silly to assume that the Mets, having patched up their bullpen, are done and will try to get by with the likes of Alex Cora and Freddy Garcia while large holes still remain at second base, in the outfield corners and in the rotation. First of all, it's a long way to April — remember at this time last year, Johan Santana was a Twin. (And the Mets were a bunch of September choke artists. Anyway.) Second of all, we have no idea what Omar Minaya and Co. are up to out at CitiField, besides making bag-on-head-quality sleeve patches. We don't know if the disconnect between Jeff Wilpon and Omar over Manny Ramirez (as reported by old Faith and Fear pal Danielle Sessa) is exactly what it seems to be, the stuff of misunderstanding, or part of a larger plan. We don't know how many teams Scott Boras really has calling about the services of Oliver Perez. We don't know how many years the Mets might give O.P. We don't know what's going on between the Mets and Ben Sheets. And there are other things going on about which we don't know enough to even lament not knowing more.

(By the way, though, I do know that giving Derek Lowe $15 million a year until he's 40 would have been nuts.)

Whatever's going on, I sure hope Omar is out there kicking tires.

The guy I can't get out of my head is Jake Peavy, the soon-to-be 28-year-old who's about the only thing the San Diego Padres have going for them. Sure, he plays in West Kamchatka, but even we've heard of him. Evil fastball and slider, pretty fair change-up and curve. Some injuries in his past, but nothing that's a Sheets-level flashing red light. Peavy's under contract through 2012 with a deal that escalates from $11 million this year to $17 million three years hence, with a $22 million option ($4 buyout) for 2013. By my thinking, he's worth that money.

The Padres need to cut payroll because of their owner's bitter, wallet-ravaging divorce. They need to rebuild, and Peavy's their best chance to do so in a hurry. They tried to trade their ace to the Braves, which didn't work. They may trade him to the Cubs, who have been stockpiling pieces but are in the midst of an ownership transition and don't have their house in order quite yet.

Before it imploded, the Braves' deal was going to send shortstop Yunel Escobar and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez west, along with either Charlie Morton or Jo-Jo Reyes (both pitchers) and either Blaine Boyer or one of two minor-league lefties. That's a pretty good prospect haul — just as the Cubs' offer would supposedly include pitcher Garrett Olson, stud prospect third-baseman Josh Vitters, and various pitchers from a pool including Kevin Hart and Sean Marshall.

It seems to me that the Mets could provide something comparable. How about Wilmer Flores, Nick Evans, Bobby Parnell and Brad Holt? That would be a blue-chip shortstop/third baseman, a guy who could play first or left in the bigs now, and two young pitchers with upside. Or how about Fernando Martinez, Reese Havens, Parnell and Dillon Gee? Or how about some combination of the two — pick F-Mart or Flores and we'll discuss the other pieces. You can argue whether or not those packages are comparable to what the Braves almost gave up and the Cubs might give up, but they're real value.

Why not try? Wouldn't Johan/Peavy/Maine/Pelfrey/Whoever make you feel pretty good about 2009?

I don't mean to disparage Oliver, or Randy Wolf, or Ben Sheets, or even Andy Pettitte — who'd be fine with me on a short-term deal, pinstripes and all. Except to say that the problem with Oliver or any of those guys is you're looking at more sixth-inning appearances by the bullpen, which was a big factor in the last two Met teams bleeding out catastrophically in September. (Which I guess is disparaging them after all, so never mind.)

As for the excuses, I'm not buying them.

Peavy won't come to New York. Pshaw — I get that he's a huntin'-and-fishin' guy, but for the money he'll make by the time he's done, Jake Peavy could bag deer from a low-flying Gulfstream. Besides, like it mattered that CC Sabathia was a big West Coast guy when Steinbrenner and Steinbrenner appeared in front of his house in the cab of a dumptruck full of money. (And didn't Mark Teixeira yearn to return to Maryland?) In New York Peavy would keep earning gobs of money with a change to earn googolglobs of money when he's still relatively young, and he'd have a shot at October. These two factors are the ones that motivate (in various proportions) most any athlete you've ever cheered or booed, and Greg's said everything else I needed to know on this score.

We'd be stripping the farm system bare. C'mon. I'm a sucker for prospects, but they're relentlessly overhyped here, and we're talking about Jake Peavy, a Cy Young winner in his prime — not, say, a converted infielder with a bad elbow who doesn't know how to pitch. Peavy is great today, and young enough to be great for a fair number of tomorrows. That's worth a good chunk of Met maybes and hopefullys.

There's no payroll flexibility. You make exceptions for the right players. Jake Peavy seems like one of them to me. (So would Manny Ramirez, for the right number of years. But that's another post.) Peavy would need to be compensated for his 10-5 rights resetting, but another no-trade and making that option guaranteed would probably do it.

It's not a big enough package. The Mets got Santana (going into his walk year, granted) for a fleet outfielder with potential and a trio of arms that were at best promising. What I've proposed is a better deal than that in terms of promise and big-league-ready personnel.

And remember a year ago. Who among us thought Santana wasn't going to the Yankees or the Red Sox? Why not Jake Peavy? Why not at least try? Sometimes you kick the tires and the dealer decides to come down a bit and throw in whitewalls. Sometimes you keep calling folks and they call you back. Sometimes good things happen.

13 comments to My Own Fantasy

  • Anonymous

    no argument here. peavey is THE pitcher i've been hoping the mets might snag throughout the offseason.
    maybe the best thing to say in favor of a deal getting done is that there has been nothing out there about peavey-to-mets at all. which is the below-the-radar profile of most real trades.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps I'm spending too much time on Metsblog, but it's a relief to see some perspective. Met fans are panicking that we haven't signed Manny, that Castillo is our 2B, that Tatis was a fluke, the Wilpons are cheap and/or broke… folks, relax! It's January! Could it be that just maybe the front office doesn't share their every thought and true intention with the public (and enemy GMs, and agents)?

  • Anonymous

    Certainly, Peavy would be nice. But do you really think Jeff Moorad would begin his tenure as the Padres new owner by moving the franchise's most valuable asset? Seems unlikely to me.

  • Anonymous

    Bring it on, the hell with it. Name the past 3 Met prospects that have actually made major long-term contributions to the Mets: David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Doc. Am I missing anyone in that 19-year stretch?
    Our farm system is always overhyped.

  • Anonymous

    My Brooklynite friend makes sense…

  • Anonymous

    Is it me, or have the Padres always had bizzarro ownership?
    To wit:
    – Ray (followed by Joan) Kroc
    – Tom Werner towing in Roseanne Barr and basically swapping franchises with Toronto
    – This guy whatsisname, getting divorced
    – Moorad, a former agent.

  • Anonymous

    D'oh — Fonzie. He's only the greatest second baseman we've ever had. I should really think these radical statements through before I post them.
    Though to be fair, Fonzie was never a highly touted prospect save for that classic 1995(?) Yearbook article that told us who would be in our 2000 lineup. If memory serves, Fonzie was our third baseman.

  • Anonymous

    That Kazmir kid is pretty good.

  • Anonymous

    “…long-term contributions to the Mets.”

  • Anonymous

    Nah, it's just you.
    Only kidding. It's the Padres. I remember Werner, after his fire sale pissed off their fans, wore a 1993 World Champion Padres cap in spring training '93, which seemed like an incredible affront to just about everything. They were the N.L. West version of us that year. And that's pretty bad.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, well, trading him brought back Victor Zambrano.
    What is that, chopped liver?

  • Anonymous

    Whaddaya suppose chopped liver says to other appetizers? “What am I, Victor Zambrano?”

  • Anonymous

    Peavy is a six inning pitcher. While i agree I would love to have him, the fact that OP/Sheets/Wolf don't last very long is not much of an argument