Davidoff: Indians' success should encourage Mets

Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets Jose Reyes (7) of the New York Mets warms up before a game against the Houston Astros. (May 13, 2011) Photo Credit: MCT

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Imagine if the Mets trade Jose Reyes in July for a group of prospects. Then imagine those prospects don’t do much to excite Mets fans this year.

Or in 2012. Or in 2013.

Now shift your attention to the Midwest, where the Indians are finally getting some returns on their July 2008 trade of CC Sabathia to Milwaukee.

Cleveland is baseball’s biggest (positive) surprise so far, owning the best record in the American League, and two of the most important contributors have been first baseman Matt LaPorta (a .328 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage entering Saturday’s action) and centerfielder Michael Brantley (.372, .412). Both players came to the Indians in the Sabathia trade, although Brantley actually arrived in October 2008 as the player to be named later. Neither had distinguished himself prior to this season.

It had to be trying for the Indians to sit through the youngsters’ struggles as Sabathia propelled the Brewers to the playoffs, then signed a huge deal with the Yankees and won a World Series ring. Cleveland first-year general manager Chris Antonetti, previously the assistant GM to Mark Shapiro (now the team president), said it was the team’s job not to get caught up in that.

“I think you have to kind of separate it out and deal with the realities at hand,” Antonetti said Friday, in a telephone interview. “Our decision about CC wasn’t about was he a good pitcher or not and do we want to keep him. ...He was going to become a free agent at the end of the year. He was going to be with another team.

“The question for us was, how do we maximize the return for the organization? Do we allow him to become a free agent and get what turned out to be a second-round pick and a sandwich pick? Or do we trade for players that are further along in their development? And we chose the latter.

“We are cognizant any time you make trades, especially trades for prospects, that there’s a high degree of variability around them. You’re not always going to be successful. You do what you can to try to identify the right guys, and then provide them the opportunity to go and develop and give them the resources and support staff around them to put them in a position to help them be successful.”

It’s something to keep in mind if the Mets, as many expect, fall out of contention and deal some prized veterans for highly acclaimed youngsters.

Where’s the Birth Certificate?

The Yankees’ media guide lists Freddy Garcia’s birthday as Oct. 6, 1976. But the well-known website Baseball-Reference.com has Garcia being born on June 10, 1975. What’s up with that?

“There’s confusion because, in Venezuela, we say 10-6, instead of 6-10,” Garcia said, explaining that Venezuelans, like Europeans, list the day before the month. “I have my birthday on my passport and my residence card.”

Garcia couldn’t explain the year discrepancy.

I e-mailed Sean Forman, who owns Baseball-Reference.com, about this. Wrote Forman: “Garcia is a mess. I think we’ve changed it back and forth a few times. …We are looking into it, though.”

Carp a Good Catch

Remember Mike Carp? The former Mets prospect, traded to Seattle in the J.J. Putz deal, is lighting it up with the Mariners’ Triple-A Tacoma affiliate. Entering Saturday’s action, Carp _ who turns 25 next month _ had seven homers in 140 plate appearances, a .360 on-base percentage and a .541 slugging percentage.

The Mariners, despite fielding a feeble offense (12th in the AL in runs, entering Saturday), haven’t given Carp a shot. They should, but if they don’t, they should peddle Carp to another offense-starved team. He can play leftfield as well as first base.

 

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