Unfounded Soriano Mets Rumor

Alright, here’s a new one.  I can’t really verify the source, but it still seems ripe for discussion.

Word is that the Mets could send Xavier Nady, John Maine, and Jeff Keppinger to the Nationals for Alfonso Soriano, Bill Bray, and Jason Bergmann.  Let’s discuss.

Could the Mets do without Nady?  Absolutely.  Wright doesn’t need much time off, and Franco can spell Delgado.  I’m of the opinion that Victor Diaz does not need a platoon partner in right field.  Nady would be more useful for Washington.  He could handle right field for three months while Jose Guillen is out, and Matt LeCroy could spend more time backing up Brian Schneider than Nick Johnson.  Plus, Nady could take over first base in 2007 if Johnson leaves via free agency.

I’m not sure that John Maine figures into the Mets’ rotation plans.  He didn’t make their depth chart, which goes eight-deep on starting pitchers.  Maine already has Triple A experience and could probably manage a mid-4 ERA pitching half his games in RFK.  That’d be a more adequate replacement for Brian Lawrence than some sort of Drese/Rauch experiment.

Jeff Keppinger has most certainly been passed by Anderson Hernandez on the Mets’ 2B depth chart, and so the Mets wouldn’t really need him even if they let Soriano walk after 2006.  Keppinger is probably best served as a utility man anyway, and he’d get a decent opportunity backing up Jose VidroBrendan Harris might already fill this role for the Nats, but he’s no sure thing.

To recap:  the Nationals would receive a borderline backup in Nady, a back-rotation starter in Maine, and a utility infielder in Keppinger.  It’s quantity over quality, but Bowden is between a rock and a hard place here with Soriano.

Speaking of which, Soriano would fit nicely into the Latino core Omar Minaya is building.  I don’t know whether the Mets would try to keep him long-term, but even a player with his flaws is a good pickup for the cost outlined here.

College product Bill Bray isn’t too far off from being a Major League setup man.  I’m not so sure Bowden would need to give him up in this deal.  It seems to tip the scales too far towards the Mets.

Likewise with Bergmann, who had a nice year last year and figured to slot into the Nats’ big league bullpen.  That’s two valuable relievers going to New York, and it seems like too much.

Admittedly the Nationals are giving up a lot of value for some questionable prospects.  On the other hand, Bowden’s trade for Soriano is Exhibit A that he is capable of making trades that do not favor the his team at all.

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