So Long Daniel, Is Nick Next?

On Trading Nick

According to everyone everywhere, the Mets are interested in trading for Nick Johnson. They’re not the only team, but with the loss of Delgado and their need to make the playoffs before everyone gets too old and they have to lean on a pretty barren farm system, they may be the frontrunners. According to Yahoo, there are actually some names associated with this trade, other than Johnson and Omar Minaya. These names include Jon Niese, Mike Antonini, Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell.

Parnell is the only even slightly established major leaguer. He’s 24 and has pitched great so far. This year he’s had 19 2/3 relief innings, a 2.29 ERA, 22 H, 9 BB and 16 K. He was the Mets #5 prospect according to Baseball America. They like his “heavy” fastball alot, saying he may have 3 plus pitches, and mention that if the Mets didn’t sign K-Rod he’d be a good candidate for closer. Baseball Prospectus ranked him at #9, seeing him as more of a potential set-up man. Also, both mention his fastball tops out at 97 mph, although Yahoo said he hit 100 on the gun in Fenway last weekend.

Kunz, the other guy ranked in both, falls in at #10 for both BA and BP. He’s another reliever, saw the majors last year but didn’t suceed at all, and is 23 years old. BA likes his fastball, also approaching 97, with a great deal of sink (highest Groundout/Airout ratio in AA last year). They both see him as a potential setup man, not quite at the closer level.

Niese wasn’t ranked by BA, but BP put him as the Mets #5. He’s a 22 year old lefty starter with a nasty curveball that “can make hitters look foolish.” But they don’t see a great deal of upside with him, and think he’s nothing more than a #4 starter.

Mike Antonini, a 23 year old starter, isn’t ranked in the top 10/11 for either of these sites. He’s currently on the AA Binghamton Mets and isn’t wowing anyone with his 4.88 ERA. But he had a very nice 2008, with a 2.77 ERA, with 126 K and only 39 BB in 162 2/3 IP. Almost half of that time was in low-A ball, but he did well in high -A and AA. His best pitch is his changeup.

DCab DFA’d

Daniel Cabrera was designated for assignment yesterday and while it’s tough for any player to lose his job, Cabrera certainly didn’t do anything to warrant sticking around. His ERA of 5.85 was bad, and quite frankly could have been worse. In 40 IP, he had 16 K and 35 BB for a ratio worse than 1:2. He hasn’t started a game in over a week and a half, has only pitched 2/3 of an inning since then, and he still leads the NL in Walks. He leads all of MLB in Wild Pitches, with 10. And he never had his fastball. A guy who used to throw in the mid 90s was barely hitting the low 90s if even that much.

He’s off the team, never to bother Nats fans again with his punishment of the not-strike zone. His $2.6 M salary will be eaten like a meatball sub in front of Dmitri Young, and can be part of that money coming off that books for 2010 that I talked about yesterday. He’ll be replaced by Stammen in the rotation,who pitched ok yesterday – 3 ER in 5 IP. Stammen isn’t a top prospect but he throws strikes and pitches to contact – 5 K and only 3 BB in 11 1/3 IP. He’s kinda the opposite of what Cabrera was. Either way, he may not stick in the rotation that long, but may pitch well enough to find a role in the bullpen.

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