A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The Rumor Mill Heats Up

Well, not really heats up. I guess you can say it is lukewarm.

Before I actually get to the rumors, the Mets continue to excel vs. better pitchers than guys with astronomical ERAs. Zack Grienke, while he gave up five runs, showed why everyone is so high on this 20 year old. Some stuff is just nasty and he does not overpower people. He consistently keeps changing speeds to make sure the hitter is off balance and pounds the strike zone. It's hard for a hitter to sit fastball when it comes in at every notch between 83 and 93. Zack was the only reason I watched the game yesterday. I could not bear to watch another bad game, so I was resigned to waiting until the Mets won before I watched them again.

However, I'm glad I did watch it. Glavine pitched a gem and may have gone the distance if it was not for shoddy defense..AGAIN! Kaz made two more errors. He is starting to run away with error lead for shortstops. Incidentally, shortstops are supposed to be the best glove on the diamond. Matsui should have only been charged with one, but he still made the bad plays. Nothing is routine for him, and most of his errors are on easy plays. I just do not get it. I do not want to bash him, but it is really perplexing as to what this guy's problem is. Fielding was the thing I expected to come easiest for him in the States. I figured his bat would take a while to come around, but that has just not been the case.

Anyway, back to Glavine. When the Mets first signed him, I was psyched. I laid out $250 to get a Glavine jersey for the '03 season. This guy does it all. He hits, fields, pitches, he does everything that a pitcher is supposed to do to win. When he really had an off year last year, it was huge disappointment for me since I was a big fan of the type of pitcher he was. Most people do not have the luxury of watching a future hall of famer on a consistant basis (yes, I know the Mets have two). He sure did not look like one last year most of the time. I buried the jersey in my closet as there was no way I was going to wear it. Sure enough, the '04 season came around. I wore it as many times as I could in the beginning of the year so I could get some mileage out of it in case he repeated the performance of last year so I did not feel like I completely wasted my money. He has not looked back since his first game in Atlanta. Astoundingly he has given up two or less earned runs in 10 of his 14 starts, while not giving up over four runs, earned or unearned, at any point this year. On top of that, he has gone seven or more innings nine times, while going at least six in every single game. If that were not enough, he is leading the entire league in ERA. Glavine has been the stopper for the Mets start after start. Five of his seven wins have come after Mets losses. He could easily have 11 wins at this point if the Mets were providing better run support. He has to be considered an early candidate for the Cy Young award and deservedly so. It has been simply amazing watching him so far this year and a treat for Mets fans.

Glavine must have been relieved to finally get some runs to work with. He Had a 3-0 lead in the fifth which is a luxury that he has not had much this year. The first two runs came courtesy of Mike Piazza's bat. Piazza took Grienke deep for a two run shot, which ended up being rather bizarre as Beltran awkwardly ran into the wall. He eventually left the game, but it was weird how he hit it. It was like he had no clue there was a big blue wall behind him. He actually jumped into it. Strangely enough the Mets scored five runs on five hits today, but only scored five runs on seventeen hits two days ago. Baseball can certainly be a funny game. Howe FINALLY flipped Floyd and Piazza around. I hope this is permanent, but with Howe you never know what he is going to do.

The Mets have six games coming up against the Tigers and the Indians. At this point, just taking four of six will not cut it. The Mets have twelve games in row in which they battle the Yankees, who have the best record in the AL, and the Reds, who are only two wins off the NL lead in wins. The Mets need to enter that stretch at .500. They have backed themselves up into a corner and need to respond. They need to feast on these teams while they can, before they put themselves into obscurity with a pounding against tougher opponents. Oh, did I forget to mention they have nine consecutive series against the NL East after that tough stretch? It is put up or shut up for the Mets. We will see what they are made of.

Now back to the rumors.

  • Nasty Rumor #1: Mets interested in Soriano? Can it get worse? If the Mets pull the trigger on this deal, I give up. Kazmir would almost certainly have to be a part of this deal. To me, wasting such a valuable chip on Soriano is a mistake. The Rangers are not interested in dealing with Soriano's arbitration and neither should the Mets. With Ordonez's contract talks being broken off, the Mets should key in on him. Getting Soriano to play right (I presume that is what they would be looking at him for) would only block them from getting the better player. A closer look at Soriano's road #'s tell a big story. Away from Arlington, he is batting .240. More disturbing, he is only on pace for 22 homeruns while playing half his games in a hitters park. Is this the same guy who hits close to 40 homeruns yearly? Yup, but without the Yankee lineup behind him he is a different hitter. While the Texas lineup is still solid, they are just not the same. Furthermore, in parks that are typically considered pitching parks, or neutral parks, he does not hit so well.

    Edison Field - .167
    U.S. Cellular - .154
    Comerica - .231
    Network Coliseum - .200 (most closely resembles Shea)
    Safeco - .273

    In fact, the only places he has respectable BAs is in Arlington, Yankee Stadium, and Kauffman Stadium (mostly due to very bad pitching I presume). Out of the 11 parks he has hit in so far, he has below a .232 average in 7 of them. Not good. Keep this guy off my team. Wasting such a valuable chip on Soriano in Kazmir is not intelligent. Shea would not be kind to him. I would expect a .275 average at best from him. This is the exact kind of mistake Phillips would have made. Please do not make a move to just make a move.

  • Nasty Rumor #2 - This silly talk of Contreras for Freddy Garcia is persisting. Is that the best the Mariners can do? The Mets can send them Seo, Ginter, or Keppel plus some throw ins. Is that really worse than Contreras as the centerpiece? What is so attractive about a guy who has 6.75 ERA? Not only that, he is listed at 32. LISTED at 32, means he's few years older. He is not a spring chicken. Has anyone taken a close look at him? His skin looks like shoe leather. The guy is pushing 50. If this trade happens, it will defy logic.

  • Nasty Rumor #3 - The White Sox trading Magglio? They are in first place as of today, and they really do not have many current outfield options unless they bring up Reed or Borchard. If they make the playoffs, they will surely need him.

    "Unless there's a big change of heart, and a change of heart on both sides, then Magglio will walk in the off season," the source said. "Once he becomes a free agent, there's almost no chance that the Sox will get him back. They know that and they are preparing for that."

    While I think this is good news for the Metropolitans for this year’s off-season. I just cannot see them trading their franchise player and expect to win. The article alludes to the idea that if they Sox do well in his absence, then they might be willing to ship him off for reinforcements in the rotation. I can safely say, without Ordonez, they are sunk. They are holding their own without him, but are merely playing .500 ball. That will not get them to the promised land. Do not get me wrong, if the Mets can pull off a trade and sign him long term in the transaction, I say do it. However, that just seems nonsensical to make the deal. Who gets rid of their best player during a season in which you are holding first place by the skin of your teeth?

  • Rumor #4 - Beltran is officially for sale. Allard Baird has said it's on. The Marlins, according to the Sun-Sentential, are going to try and get into the mix for his services. My only confusion comes from where he will play. They have three outfielders. Lowell is at third, so Cabrera cannot move there. The only move that they can make is Connine or Lowell to first, which means Hee Seop Choi is the odd man out, and move Cabrera back to his natural position at third if it is vacated by Lowell. Maybe they can try and spin Choi for Beltran involving a third team, but this move makes little sense. The article also goes on to mention what little the Marlins have to offer. They do not have what the Royals are looking for, unless the want to part with Cabrera, which will not happen.

    It will be interesting to see what materializes over the next week or two. The article echoes the sentiments going around that the Royals are just not going to get the type of deal they believe they should get for him. There is interest out there, but most of the teams interested do not have the goods to make a big time offer. The teams that do have the pieces to make a good offer are going to be cautious not to overpay since there may not be a bidding war. On top of that, Beltran is not helping himself by keeping his average under .270. When the Expos went out and got Colon a two years back, the Indians got Milton Bradley, Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Brandon Phillips. That is the type of deal a team would present when they are desperate. A truly amazing job by the Indians. They got three top prospects and another talented major leaguer. In most other years, Beltran might have garnered a similar transaction. This year appears to be different, you do not get that desperate feeling from the teams (except the Mets). Not only that, Colon was on contract for the following year, and Beltran is most certainly going to leave and test free agency.

    On the Beltran note, I'm glad Howe spoke out.

    "Why would you ask that when it's not a possibility," Howe said, then added, "Even if we get Beltran, Cameron's our center fielder, point blank."

    Reporters are trying to start trouble, and making problems when there were not any. Instead of Cameron defending himself answering stupid questions, Howe should be the one talking. I am not saying that Cameron is not responsible for his stupid remarks, but he should have not been put in that position by the media looking to start trouble.

  • Rumor #5 - Uggie Urbina may yet again be used as a trading chip. If teams have learned one thing, if you want to get some prospects at the deadline, sign Urbina. The Rangers got Adrian Gonzalez from the swap last season, and now Gonzalez is their top prospect. At some point Uggie needs to sign with a good team so they may actually want to keep him for his entire contract. However, due to his ego and decision to price himself out of the market, he does it to himself. He would still be on permanent vacation had the Tigers not decided to reunite him with his boyfriend Pudge.

    I used to think the rumor mill was good. Sometimes it has some juicy stuff, but most of it is trash they pick up from local area newspapers that seemingly have very vivid imaginations.

  • Capital City remains on a tear as a team. They are sitting in first place and my favorite Bomber keeps the hits coming. Milledge is batting .315 after picking up two more hits in four at bats, while knocking in an RBI.

  • The David Wright-less B Mets won today. Neal Musser continues to impress with an eight inning effort and giving up only 1 run, while walking no one, and K'ing six. He is now 3.42 with a 6 - 2 record.

  • Norfolk won today as well with a few people starring in today's game. Victor Diaz continues to rake as he went 3 for 5 with a double and RBI, which brings his average up to .299. Prentice Redman said hello to AAA pitching by going 2 for 4 and knocked in a run. Jeremy Griffiths continues his resurgence after his six inning one run effort. He is now 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA.


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