Over Spilled Milk: Delgado to the Mets

Still scratching my head on the Prince Fielder signing, I decided to peruse through old posts to take my mind off of it. But what caught my eye was a post about another major left-handed first base bat that changed uniforms over six years ago. In late November 2005, the New York Mets, then under control of GM Omar Minaya, traded for Carlos Delgado to add more thump to their lineup.

This story also relates to this year as the deal dealt with the then named Florida Marlins, who were trying to clear payroll through a fire sale. Something completely opposite of this winter’s antics and possibly something we’ll see again in a couple years.

At the time I stated:

“Minaya got the power bopper that he wanted, Delgado reached 30 homers for the ninth consecutive season this past year and is an RBI machine.  Carlos also gives protection in the batting order to another Carlos….Beltran, last  year’s big signing.  Delgado’s bat is feared more than Cliff Floyd’s and the protection should improve Carlos Beltran’s statistics.

By grabbing Delgado and signing Billy Wagner Omar Minaya not only added a significant amount of payroll, but placed the Mets into serious contention to take the NL East division from the Braves for the first time in 14 years….” 

My last statement was correct as the Mets ended the following season with 97 wins, running away with the NL East crown. Delgado was a 3.0 win player, as figured by WAR, in 2006. Although he would come close to replicating that performance in 2008, he didn’t hit as well in 2007 and was injured for much of 2009. Overall, Delgado amassed a 7.2 WAR for his four seasons in a Mets uniform.

In return for Carlos, the Mets sent pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, first baseman Mike Jacobs, and third-baseman Grant Psomas to the Marlins.

At the time, Petit was the prize of the deal for the Marlins. He was the Mets’ top pitching prospect at the time. But the Mets’ farm system wasn’t exactly in its prime at the time and Petit was only projected to be a mid-rotation starter at best. He didn’t even turn into that though. After a mediocre 2006 season in the minors, Petit came up and pitched in 26.1 innings of ugly (9.57 ERA) relief late that season.

Then, on March 26, 2007 he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jorge Julio. He would spend parts of the next three seasons bouncing between the minors and majors and from starting to relief. He never posted an ERA below 4.00 during his stretches in the majors. In 2010 he was claimed off waivers by the Mariners, but hasn’t pitched in the bigs since.

As for Jacobs, most of his worth was wrapped up in his bat. Mike nabbed a 0.8 WAR for the 2006 season, but that was brought down by poor fielding statistics. He knocked in 20 home runs and 77 RBIs that season. His best season in a Marlins uniform could be considered by many his Carlos Pena-like 2008 season that showed him hitting .247/.299/.514 with 32 home runs and 93 RBIs, but his defense was putrid that season with a -16.4 UZR.

After that season Jacobs was traded to the Kansas City Royals for reliever Leo Nunez. Mike’s poor contact numbers would finally catch up with him in 2009 when he hit only .228 on the season. He would go on to bounce around to the Mets, Blue Jays, Mets (again), and ending up with the Rockies last season. He has tested positive for HGH and will be serving a suspension in relation to that violation, but the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed him to a minor league deal anyway.

Nunez would have some up and down seasons for the Marlins, but he has closed out 92 games for the Marlins in his four seasons there….in addition to getting a name change.

When acquired, Psomas had just put up a promising .301/.339/.517 season with 37 doubles and 20 home runs for two “A” levels in the Mets farm system. He would go on to have a decent season at High-A the next year, but it all fell apart when he saw advanced pitching at Double-A and higher. His strikeout rates shot up above 30% and his hitting overall fell apart. He was eventually released and signed on with an independent league team for the 2009 season, but hasn’t played professionally since.

Just by WAR alone, this deal was an upset by the Mets:

Mets:

6.9  Carlos Delgado

Marlins:

-0.9 Yusmeiro Petit
0.0  Mike Jacobs   
0.0  Grant Psomas
2.1  “Leo Nunez” – Juan Oviedo
-1.1  Jorge Julio 

That’s a net 0.1 WAR ladies and gentlemen. I’m not a big fan of defensive metrics and their impact on the overall WAR of a player, but regardless the Mets came out on the plus side of this deal.  Most of the Marlins’ worth came at the fleecing of Leo Nunez (or whoever he is) from the Royals for Jacobs, a mostly separate transaction.

Regardless of the prospects the Marlins received in return, the move was a salary dump through and through. It’s tough to judge who got the better end of things when that aspect is thrown into the mix. But Delgado was a still a good hitter when he was traded and should have nabbed more in the initial trade than what the Marlins received.

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