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Green for go(ne)

It's rare that there's a trade which everyone seems to like, but it appears this is the case with the Green deal. D'backs fans like it, because it frees up right field for Quentin. Mets fans like it, because they no longer have the torment of watching Lastings Milledge learn his way through the playoffs. It gives Green a chance for a World Series ring, so he's happy. Luis Gonzalez likes it, because it improves the chance of him staying in AZ next year. And Alberto Callaspo likes it, because otherwise, he'd be riding the bus with Tucson - Craig Counsell came back yesterday, but took Green's place on the roster instead of Callaspo's.

It's a little difficult to understand the Mets' fans enthusiasm, however. When your team must be paid enough cash to rebuild Lee Majors in order to take a player on board, this would seem to set alarm bells ringing. But as andrewinnewyork said, "Green gives someone that the very large Jewish populations of Queens and Brooklyn (and, who are we kidding, Manhattan) can root for. Much was made of how sitting out Yom Kippur on October 1 will not interfere with the postseason," and that is certainly a non-negligible point. But even beyond that, while there are some nay-sayers, here's a sample of comments from Mets Geek and Mets Blog:

  • "I like the Green trade a lot and will go out on a limb and say he'll hit 300-plus in a Met uniform the rest of the way."
  • "Seriously, very good trade."
  • "Green is a plus for this team. They needed another bat. Is he the Green of a couple of years ago, no, but he is still someone teams must respect."
  • "Couldn't be any happier right know. [sic] another great move by Omar."
  • "Not only am I happy to have Green, I hope he plays every day. This is a good trade for the Mets."
  • "I think its a really good deal... It gives them depth, he's still a good hitter."

And so on. It's amazing that fans can be apparently so pleased to get a player, when the fans of the team he's leaving are also happy to see him go - someone's probably going to be disappointed, and I think it's the Mets. There's no doubt that Chase is among the most hitter friendly parks in the NL this year, and this has boosted Green's figures. Here are his splits for the season:
Home: .288/.344/.449 = OPS .793
Road: .278/.353/.410 = OPS .763

The overall OPS, .778, ranks him fractionally below average for his position in the league (.786). Even that includes an insanely hot May, with a .983 OPS - the figures for the other months are .667, .798, .738 and, ah, .583. While the last figure may have been affected by all the uncertainty, when you move him from Chase to Shea, which has fractionally favoured pitchers the past three full seasons (Park Factor of 99), any hope of Green hitting .300 seems wildly optimistic.

And from what we've seen this year, Green won't make up for it with his glove, his speed not covering much ground and his handling of the corner in Chase leaving a good bit to be desired. We can look forward to an immediate gain there in Quentin, even if it takes a little while for Q's bat to become a consistent source of production. However, one thing I must say is, how professionally Green has conducted himself throughout, without anger or hissy fits when replaced by a rookie (unlike certain corner outfielders I could mention). I absolutely wish Green all the best in the future, and thank him for his services.

So, what are the implications for Arizona? Firstly, Quentin should be playing every day in right - though it appears from today's lineup that Quentin, Byrnes and Young will be juggling two lineup spots. I hope that Gonzalez also gets his fair portion of bench-time. The main upside is that we should not only improve team performance, we also saved ourselves about $6.5m, by replacing Green with Quentin. This is money which will hopefully be used to fill other needs. Starting pitching is the most obvious, but I'm reluctant to (over)spend on the free-agent arms market. A slugging left-fielder perhaps?

A mention of Evan MacLane is also in order. Though a throw-in, he is at least an interesting throw-in. According to Baseball Prospectus, "his assortment is your basic collection of lefty junk: slow fastballs, tumbling curves, and the occassional "gotcha" change." He's done amazingly well against Triple-A lefthanders, who are batting only .195 against him, but righties are at .311, which would suggest his future is perhaps as a LOOGY, unless that differential gets addressed.

All told, I'm very happy with the trade, though it's one that should a) have been done a long time ago, and b) never have been necessary - signing Green to a long-term contract extension was a dumb move to begin with. It'll be interesting to see how our rookie players perform in the last six weeks of the season, perhaps providing an idea of what we can expect from them in 2007. Depending on how results go, that may well be the most interesting aspect of the next month.