'What if ...' from a National League perspective

Continuing the long-running two-part series of 2006 what-ifs that started on Monday and concludes today …

Arnold: I know you're going to do an NL version of "what-if's" pretty soon and you're probably putting the finishing touches on it right now. But please, whatever you do, do not mention the Scott Kazmir deal. As a Mets fan, people don't realize that the trade was a necessary evil in order to force the complete restructuring of the Mets organizational structure. But at the same time, watching Kazmir succeed gives me heartburn. So for the sake of my doctor, do not mention Kazmir.

Rob: You got it, Arnold. I don't think it would add much to this column if I mentioned Kazmir, because Kazmir's been gone for a while and anyway, as you note, if Kazmir hadn't been traded for Victor Zambrano a lot of other things might be different, too. The Mets might have Kazmir, but not their 13½-game lead. So you're not going to Kazmir a Kazmir in my Kazmir today.