Omar Minaya has done so much wheeling and dealing through the years that I’ve decided to break up his trade profile into two parts – Expos and Mets. The vast difference between the two situations is another reason to separate the posts. Click here to Download new_york_mets_minaya.xls, an Excel file with Minaya’s entire trade history.
The 2002-04 Expos were owned by the other 29 baseball teams, with Minaya at the helm. It was a unique and bizarre situation. Probably a conflict of interest, too – Bud Selig did not allow the playoff-contending 2003 Expos to add September call-ups that year because it was deemed too expensive.
Anyway, Minaya made 25 trades in his three years as GM of the Expos. Let’s analyze some of the bigger deals.
- 3/23/02: Sent Guillermo Mota to the Dodgers for Matt Herges. Since Mota went on to have a couple of dominant seasons for L.A., we’ll give the advantage here to Dan Evans, then the Dodgers’ GM. Herges was later spun by Minaya to the Pirates for Chris Young. I still can’t credit Minaya though as he subsequently gave Young to John Hart and the Rangers for junk in April of ’04.
- 3/25/02: Sent Jason Bay and Jim Serrano to the Mets for Lou Collier. I’d dock some points from Minaya for this one or give Steve Phillips props, but no one respected Jason Bay in 2002. He was traded two more times before ending up a Pirate.
- 7/11/02: Sent Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd, and others to the Marlins for Cliff Floyd, Wilton Guerrero, Claudio Vargas, and cash. Floyd was quickly spun to Boston for Sun Woo Kim and Seung Song. Essentially Minaya gave up Pavano and Floyd for Vargas. Vargas never did much in Montreal, so I’ll give this one to Larry Beinfest and Mike Port (Red Sox GM at that time).
- 7/28/02: The big one: Acquired RHP Bartolo Colon and minor league RHP Tim Drew from Cleveland in exchange for 1B Lee Stevens, minor league SS Brandon Phillips, minor league LHP Cliff Lee and minor league OF Grady Sizemore. Even with the future of the franchise in question and a desire to win now, this was just too much to give up for Colon. You have to give this one to Mark Shapiro.
- 1/15/03: Big three-team deal: Acquired RHP Orlando Hernandez and RHP Rocky Biddle, INF/OF Jeff Liefer and an undisclosed amount of cash from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team trade involving the New York Yankees, while sending RHP Bartolo Colon and INF Jorge Nunez to the White Sox. I lack the full context of this deal, but it appears that MLB wanted Minaya to trade Colon because of his $6MM salary. I’m a little skeptical of that though because El Duque was paid $4.1MM in ’03. Biddle and Liefer were already looking like failed prospects at the time, so Kenny Williams won there. The Expos also missed the boat on El Duque, as he soon developed shoulder problems and needed rotator cuff surgery. He never pitched a game for Montreal and was non-tendered the following winter.
- 3/24/03: Traded RHP Jim Brower and a player to be named for RHP Livan Hernandez, catcher Edwards Guzman and cash. This is clear ownage of Brian Sabean, as Hernandez became the team’s ace and the premiere innings-eater in baseball for a three-year span.
- 12/4/03: Traded RHP Javier Vazquez for the Yankees’ 1B Nick Johnson, OF Juan Rivera and LHP Randy Choate. Just an awesome deal for Omar, maximizing the return for Vazquez. A huge bounty was expected though as Vazquez was 27 and coming off his career year. As you’ll later see, Choate became John Patterson. So that’s three bona fide solid big leaguers for Vazquez.
- 12/15/03: Traded C Michael Barrett to the A’s for minor league pitcher Jonathan Brett and a player to be named. You can dog Omar for this one, though Billy Beane turned around and sent Barrett to the Cubs for junk. Plus, Barrett had been terrible in ’03. Credit goes to Jim Hendry for recognizing his talent.
- 1/5/04: Minaya acquired two still-useful players from the Indians in Ryan Church and Maicer Izturis for reliever Scott Stewart. Stewart, a 28 year-old southpaw, had posted two fine seasons for the Expos but flamed out shortly thereafter. Perhaps not full revenge on Mark Shapiro for the Colon deal but it was a start.
- 3/25/04: Snagged John Patterson for Randy Choate. Patterson’s pretty messed up these days but you can’t deny the value of 198 innings of 3.13 ball in 2005. That’s more than Choate ever game the Diamondbacks; advantage Minaya.
- 7/18/04: Acquired RHP Jon Rauch and RHP Gary Majewski from the White Sox for OF Carl Everett and cash. Jurassic Carl was always pretty average for the White Sox, while the Nats’ are still enjoying the fine work of Rauch. Doesn’t top Kenny Williams’ Colon fleecing (ewww, gross) but it’s a start. And Majewski? Jim Bowden later used him as a major piece in order to acquire Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Wagner. Another fine move by Omar.
- 7/31/04: Another three-team blockbuster: Traded SS Orlando Cabrera to the Red Sox. Acquired SS Alex Gonzalez, minor league RHP Francis Beltran and minor league 3B Brendan Harris from the Cubs. Beltran never panned out, but Minaya saw something in Harris that many GMs missed. Harris found his way to Tampa Bay and is currently sixth in VORP among rookies this year.
Looking at this progression of trades, you can see Minaya kind of learning his way. He got burned quite a bit on his trades from 2002 through the Colon to the White Sox deal. But then Minaya went on a major winning streak and managed to acquire some talent for the Montreal/Washington franchise on his way out. Your thoughts, and did I misinterpret any of these trades? We’ll cover Omar’s Mets deals next time.