Ainít no sucker like Jim Duquette

Posted by suwote on July 24th, 2019

Now that Scott Kazmir is off to a great start at 5-2 with a 2.94 ERA and Victor Zambrano has just undergone season-ending surgery, it might be a good time to review how Jim Duquette, the Mets GM at the time, broke every single rule of gambling.


When the Mets traded Scott Kazmir, their farm system was almost completely bare. The only true blue-chip pitching prospects at the time were Phil Humber, who has since undergone Tommy John surgery, and Alay Soler, a Cuban defector who just made it to the U.S. this season and is currently pitching at AA. This year the Mets are throwing out such retreads as Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez as they wait for Mike Pelfrey and the next wave of prospects to be ready. Do you think they would rather have sent out Jose Lima – or Scott Kazmir, to try and sweep their arch-rival Braves last week?


Right around the time of the trade in 2004, the Mets had just swept their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees, in an exciting three-game series. The Mets, who had been dead in this town since 2000, finally had some juice. They were close to first place and back on the back page. Of course, they still had a .500 record and not much talent. But Duquette, drunk on the city’s enthusiasm, wanted to “win now” no matter what the future cost.


You wouldn’t bet on a Falcons game without checking if Michael Vick was hurt, would you? Yet Mr. Duquette failed to adequately check into Victor Zambrano’s injury before the trade. Zambrano admitted he has been hurt the entire time he has been a member of the New York Mets. The week the trade was made, Zambrano skipped a start because of arm stiffness. Shouldn’t some alarms have gone off? Duquette blamed Tampa doctors for downplaying the injury, but you don’t need to be able to read medical charts to know something might be amiss.


Barbaro, who was such a good bet on Derby Day, might not be such a great bet for the Preakness. You won’t get enough in return. A lefty who throws 97 MPH has more value than a barely over .500 pitcher with control problems. Had Mr. Duquette waited until the off-season, he might have received Tim Hudson or Mark Mulder in return.


This is the one Mr. Duquette clearly missed. Tampa officials were said to be laughing to themselves when they realized what they were getting. Mr. Duquette should clearly have just walked away.

Next time you’re in Baltimore and you’re looking for someone to round out your poker game, look up Mr. Jim Duquette because there ain’t no sucker like the one who doesn’t know the rules.

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