Today’s column …


… is about the six-year anniversary of the Scott Kazmir-Victor Zambrano trade, and how it’s not quite as horrific as it once seemed.

That said, one point I didn’t address: While Kazmir hadn’t had the career many projected, he was a smokin’ hot chip in 2004. He could have brought in much more than Victor Zambrano. Much, much more.

16 thoughts on “Today’s column …”

  1. Normally enjoy your work, but this certainly doesn’t fall into that category. The trade is absolutely as bad as it looked. Looking at wins is a real weak argument, especially with Kazmir, because those Rays teams he pitched for were godawful. He led the AL in strikeouts one year, and we can all agree the AL, especially the AL East, is much tougher for a pitcher than the NL. He posted WHIPs below 1.40 for three years playing the Yankees and Red Sox three or four times each per season.

    Just because Kazmir flamed out six years after the trade doesn’t mean the Mets couldn’t have used him in their numerous playoff collapses.

  2. Was a bit shocked that you didn’t mention the “conference call heard round the world.”

    It’s a symptom of what makes the Mets organization what it is today: A bumbling, stumbling mediocrity led by a meddlesome owner’s son who won’t hire an experienced GM with full autonomy despite one of the highest payrolls in the game.

    May I suggest that as a future column? Namely, when might the Wilpons wake up and realize that they just aren’t very good at putting together an organization (and hopefully realizing they need to give the keys to Billy Beane or the like). Hey, even Jerry Jones’ ego relented and gave Bill Parcells full autonomy for a few years…

  3. “Just because Kazmir flamed out six years after the trade doesn’t mean the Mets couldn’t have used him in their numerous playoff collapses.”

    Exactly. Kazmir may not have helped in 04, but he definitely would have helped in 06 and 07. Kazmir may be a bust now that he’s broken down, but his boom period coincided with the Mets best chances since 2000.

    And weren’t the Wilpon’s the ones who essentially forced Duquette’s hand on that one?

  4. And remember Zambrano’s last appearance as a Met? He threw a pitch and then just darted off the mound into the dugout because he hurt himself. Pretty sure that was the last image of him in a Mets uniform. It makes me mad just thinking about it.

  5. Well, Jeff, even if we overlook the solid to above-average work Kazmir did for a few years for the Rays, it would still be a terrible trade. The key is trading value for value. To get a terrible pitcher for one of the best prospects of your organization (if not in baseball) at the time is abysmal and horrifically stupid regardless if the prospect busts.

    Look at it this way. If you have stocks that someone is willing to pay you $500,000 for, if you sell them for $0.25 you’re not vindicated when five years later the company goes out of business.

  6. “one point I didn’t address: While Kazmir hadn’t had the career many projected, he was a smokin’ hot chip in 2004. He could have brought in much more than Victor Zambrano. Much, much more.”

    Jeff, while you treat this point as a footnote, that point was, is and will always be THE main and only legit gripe any fan could have. The question never really was (or never should have been) “why did the Mets trade Kazmir” etc… The question always should have been “why did the Mets trade Kazmir . . . for Victor ‘the wrong’ Zambrano!”

  7. “I’m 63 and I’m Tired”
    by Robert A. Hall

    I’m 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.

    I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

    I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

    I’m tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

    I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.

    I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

    I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

    I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

    I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

    I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.

    I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

    I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military…. Those are the citizens we need.

    I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

    I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet.

    I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

    Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

    I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

    Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.

    Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who also served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

    1. this irks me: that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress (NOBODY EVER CRITICIZED BUSH FOR EXERCISING); that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his (KERRY SERVED IN NAM; HAD FUCKING METAL IN HIS LEG. CASE CLOSED); that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever (WHO EVER SAID HE’D BE THE BEST PREZ EVER? AND WASN’T HIS EXPERIENCE QUESTIONED 800 TIMES?).

  8. This trade *was* an absolute disaster for the Mets, and it doesn’t matter than Kazmir won’t make the HoF or be Ron Guidry.

    Kazmir, in his 6 years with the Rays, was worth close to 17 wins (above a replacement level player, ~2.8 wins/year) and was paid ~$11m.

    Zambrano, in his 3 years with the Mets was basically replacement level (.1 win total over the 3 years) and made $5m.

    In the Mets 2006 season (where they came a few plays from the WS), the top three pitchers were Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, and John Maine (and Oliver Perez at #4). Kazmir had a better season than ANY of them, in a tougher league, in a tougher park, on a crappy team. He could easily have been the difference between making the WS and not.

    Looking back doesn’t make this trade seem less awful, it just confirms how awful it was.

  9. “But after six years of being reminded of the blunder, it’s time to let him move on.”

    I think the fact that another Major League team hired Duquette to serve as General Manager suggests that he was allowed to move on…years ago.

    Perhaps Mets fans and people surrounding the team have not, but that’s really more of an indictment of Met Culture. All of the high-profile failure of the Cubs or Pre-2004 Red Sox without any of the romance.

    Woody, I think you accidentally wandered in from the comments section of a newspaper article.

  10. Jeff, not to detract from the main point of an interesting piece, but Piazza missed 94 games the year before, 2003, which was an utter disaster (66-95) from the start as opposed to a season that eventually spiraled into hopelessness the way 2004 did. In 2004, Piazza was healthy but woefully miscast at first base. Jason Philips was the great bespectacled hope behind the plate.

    Eric Valent did seem parachuted in from nowhere, but he did hit for the cycle one afternoon in Montreal. One out 162 ain’t bad.

  11. Jeff, Boston Globe Nick Cafardo made this exact same point last Sunday.

    It’s never a smart move to expand or agree with anything Nick Cafardo says.

  12. Read this article again in hopes that it might read a little better with a few days in between readings. Pointing to Kazmir 6 years later when he’s struggling and saying, “ya see, trade wuddn’t dat bad” is about as lazy an article as one could write. Not up to par with much of Jeff’s other pieces. Sorry.

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