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A Conversation with the Enemy

Every now and again we here at Talking Chop trade questions with a blogger from an opposing team. With the Braves headed to Shea I swapped some questions with Eric Simon of Amazin Avenue. Here are his answers to my questions about the Mets:

Q: Are you happy with your team's lack of any big trade at the deadline? Had you hoped that the team would acquire someone?

A: Well, they did acquire Luis Castillo from the Twins on the day before the deadline, so that's something. I am especially glad that the Mets didn't sell the farm for some mediocre starting pitcher with veteran presence. My contention all along was that the Mets would either (a) make small trades for spare parts or (b) make a gigantic trade that would improve the team this year and for years to come. Castillo falls into (a) for the most part; last year's rumored deal for Roy Oswalt would have fallen into (b).

Q: If there is one weakness that may ultimately cause the Mets to fall short of the playoffs this season, what is it, and what could they do (or have done) to address it before it's too late?

A: It might just be Willie Randolph's seeming inability to distinguish loyalty from production and proven veterans from talented youth. Case in point is Shawn Green, whose utter inability to provide even replacement level offense or defense in right field is crippling the Mets on a daily basis. Once Carlos Beltran returns from the disabled list the sensible thing to do would be to either cut Green loose or use him as a left-handed bat off the bench and to insert Lastings Milledge as the everyday rightfielder. Also to that end, starting Ramon Castro a few days a week instead of senselessly throwing at-bats away on Paul Lo Duca might be nice.

Q: How critical will Pedro returning be to your play down the stretch?

A: Should it happen this year, Pedro's return will be huge. The Mets are good enough to make the playoffs without him, but Pedro back in uniform would mean so much for so many reasons. The last time he was healthy, really in 2005, he was one of the five best pitchers in the league. If they get anything resembling that Pedro Martinez he could represent the biggest second-half acquisition of any team in the league. Too, I won't understate the impact of his return on the franchise itself. The Mets were a laughing stock when Omar Minaya took over at the end of the 2004 season, but the perception and the future of the organization changed dramatically the day Minaya signed Martinez to anchor this staff. Pedro's return is much-awaited, to say the least.

Q: Which team's jersey do you think Glavine will enter the Hall of Fame wearing?

A: It's going to be the Braves. Since the decision is out of his hands, Glavine's HOF bust will be adorned with Atlanta gear because he was a much better pitcher for a much longer period of time with the Braves. Most Mets' fans have finally accepted Glavine as one of their own; he was largely considered an ex-Brave-cum-mercenary for a little while there. Ultimately he will be remembered as a Brave, and will be rightfully enshrined as such. Given the choice, I think it's pretty clear that Glavine would go in as a Brave.

Q: What did the Mets fan base think of the Braves acquisitions?

A: I think the general consensus is that they substantially upgraded in the short-term but perhaps sacrificed too much in the long-term. A lot of the latter depends on whether Salty remains behind the dish in the future, but right now Mark Teixeira represents a colossal improvement over anything they had going at first base prior to the trade (Salty included). It's tough to see them hanging on to Teix after next season, but a year-and-a-half of an all star in his prime is a pretty good ROI nowadays.

You can check out my responses to Eric's questions at Amazin Avenue.

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