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Omar Minaya Trade Profile (Expos)

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.

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Not 100% sure if it was an Omar trade, but if so, you are missing on of the biggest ones in Javier Vazquez for Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera...despite Vazquez being pretty good then and now and some bad luck for Johnson and Rivera, BIG BIG win for Omar IMO...

Omar got a very nice package back despite having little-to-no leverage (as Vazquez was becoming pricey). Johnson is remarkably underrated and is one of the top hitters in the game, and Rivera is quite solid (even if not for the Nats).

In addition, that was the deal that got them Randy Choate, which eventually turned into John Patterson...

...this was the deal that would allow one to call Omar's tenure in Montreal a success...he turned one of his few assets into 3 of the 5 best players in the short history of the Nats (not to mention Vazquez' implosion in the Bronx).

You have Herges and Mota out of order in the first trade.

I think you may have understated just how bad the two Colon deals were a tiny bit but otherwise things sound about right unless the Vasquez deal needs to be included.

I'm still shocked Omar gave up 3 top 10 prospects from an org loaded with them to bring Colon in. The Nats chances were slim at best, Colon was already a worry for arm problems because of the amount of work on a headthrowing pitcher at such a young age, and I don't remember the competition being that fierce for him as he didn't have to be delt with 1.5 left of control. To give up your top Pos prospect, your top pitching prospect AND the guy eveyone said claimed was so toolsie he would be the best of the bunch rather quickly, is just nuts. I know it was only because of the pending sale or even possible contraction, but still a remarkably stupid move!

Then to turn around and get only throwaway prospects for him just 3 months later... Omar could have found a way to either cut the money elseware to keep Colon or held off until he got an offer involving atleast one prospect with a future ahead of him.

Great post and even better comments!

I think that you have to appreciate the conditions that he was working under. From what I have read, it seems that for a time everyonein the organization thought that les expos were going to fold. I think that reality plays a role in how a GM values prospects with regard to trades.

I can't wait to see the mets trade profile.

Pretty bad. I think people give him a lot of credit now for being the Mets GM but really he just has a huge payroll to work with. Even recently I think the Marlins and Royals trades he got the lesser end of but you can't take away the Seo deal for him. He seems to get a couple good ones but the majority of the trades he loses out on.

I actually missed two big ones, Vazquez and Michael Barrett. It was late last night. Let me add those.

Man I was missing some big stuff, it's updated now. I had missed one minor blunder in the Barrett deal but you can add two more very solid deals in Vazquez and Livan Hernandez.

Omar gets a very unfair wrap for Sizemore...they guy had a .699 OPS in Single-A when the traded him, was considered a substantial reach in the 3rd round/for $1 million bonus, and was nowhere near any top prospect list at that time.

well...
Sizemore was at only a .699OPS, but he was only 20YO and his power hadnt developed at all really which is normal as you start your pro career. What was very visible though was his other four tools ~ he had after all hit .293/.380/.376 & .286/.381/.335 with 16 & 32 steals (respectively), double digit doubles and great Def, showing what he would develop into as his training and body were developed. It didnt come as too big of a surprise to anyone that he went on to finish off that year hitting .343/.451/.483 with the Tribes SglA team in Kingston in 172AB. Thats quite a bit of play, obviously if Omar and the Expos didnt think he was much of a prospect they were horribly wrong and it took all of a couple days to show it. Of course Sizemore would go on to only have about 1.75 more years in the minors before getting the call and the rest is history...

But with the other 2 there was really no reason to even include a 3rd prospect and thats what makes this so much more of a boner deal for Omar... Lee/Phillips alone would have looked bad; with such a great toolsie guy included as a bonus it was just nuts.

Lee I think was ranked 5th in their system and was in the mist of a 7-2 3.23 105 SO in 86.1 IP tear across AA and would start 2003 as the 18th ranked prospect in baseball and
Phillips of course was was ranked in the top 15 in the preseason and was only hitting .327/.380/.506 in AA himself. He would start 2003 as the 7th prospect in all of baseball...

It is pretty rare for a guy about to make it to High-SingleA for the firt time to be in the Top100 Prospects ranking, on the teams rankings though he came in at either 10 or 11 from what I remember...

"Pretty bad. I think people give him a lot of credit now for being the Mets GM but really he just has a huge payroll to work with. Even recently I think the Marlins and Royals trades he got the lesser end of but you can't take away the Seo deal for him. He seems to get a couple good ones but the majority of the trades he loses out on."

Having a big payroll does not a good GM make. Many have failed to produce a competing team with a big payroll, let alone win anything. Jae Seo for Duaner, enough said. Petit and Jacobs for Delgado. Delgado is struggling now, but was a huge reason for the Mets run last year. Petit just got dealt straight up for Jorge Julio. Turned Benson into Maine and Julio, turned Julio into El duque. Turned Xavier Nady into Oliver Perez. Acquired Dave Williams for nothing. Got Mota for nothing. Brought in the 2 biggest free agents on the market in 04 when nobody wanted to be here, around the same time Henry Blanco rejected a mets offer with an extra year on it. Bradford and Oliver for crumbs, feliciano too. Joe Smith. Basically, Minaya took Kris Benson, a guy who had no value who everyone new we were dying to get rid of, and Xavier Nady, and turned them into 60 percent of the starting rotation. El Duque - 4-3, 2.78. Maine 9-4, 2.74. Perez 7-6, 3.14. Kris Benson, since being traded, has won exactly 11 games, with a 4.82 era. Maine and El Duque have combined for 28. Enough said.

As for the Marlins and Royals deal, Burgos is a 23 year old fireballer, who was handled as bad as could be by KC, and the Mets took a chance on him. Say what you want about Bannister, but when you have Pelfrey, Humber, Sosa, Park, Williams, Soler, Vargas, Bostick, and all these guys who can all probably do just as good as Bannister would have, why not take a chance on a guy who has the potential to be a lights out reliever one day. Lindstrom and Owens, same thing, to a team like Fla who uses cheap guys and could use all the bullpen help they could get, and dont have much money, they fit fine. But these two 27 year old career minor league relief pitchers had no future with the Mets. When you have a chance to trade 2 guys, who never had a chance of making your major league team for any kind of extended period, for two 23 year old left handed starters, and your pitching coach is Rick Peterson, you make the deal. Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens and Brian Bannister are your reasons why Omar hasnt done a good job. Going to have to do better then that. Trading away 3 players not in the future of the organization is hardly a cause for concern.

My man NRMax brought the light to you dark souls.

He just broke all of you down and turned you into dust balls in his pocket.

Thanks Bsox, and didnt we tell these kids about Oliver Perez?

"Thanks Bsox, and didnt we tell these kids about Oliver Perez?"

That we did.

Add to all this Ledee for nothing and SOSA cost us dirt.

As I've said time and time again:

Omar = Best GM in baseball.

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