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

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Movin' on Up

Kaz has been looking better and better lately. I know a lot of people have been on his case this year, including me, but I’ll give credit to him. He is playing good ball. He went 3 for 5 yesterday and ran the bases great yesterday. In the fifth inning, he read a bloop single by Piazza perfectly and went from first to third when most people would have been halfway to second. I do not want to get too excited about his play of late, but I kind of feel like a light bulb went on for him. He was making mental errors and that is something that can be corrected by just thinking more, keeping your head in the game. Also, Ted Robinson pointed out in the game that he looks much better from the right side. When they were replying his hit in the fifth, his head was down and his swing actually looked good. It looked like a textbook swing. It is also easy to lose his accomplishments this year because of the errors and the low batting average. He is on pace to walk 70 times (although he has slowed down on walks after the first few weeks), smack 46 doubles, steal 24 bases (they are coming more frequently and could top 30), and score 108 runs. He is showing flashea of him becoming the player they thought they would be getting when they first signed him.

As for last night’s game, if they were in little league, the game ball should have gone to Matsui. He scored two of the Mets first three runs (both times knocked in by Hidaglo), ran the bases well, and picked up three hits. He really sparked the team last night offensively en route to a 4-1 victory, which is what Duquette envisioned from the start. Now if Reyes can get it going, those two could terrorize opposing teams. Leiter was the other star of the game and pitching with vengeance after he decided he wanted to return for 2005. He went seven innings, surrendering one run on three miniscule hits. The Mets closed it back to within two games of first place with two more to play against the Phillies before they tackle Florida this weekend. Let's see what these 2004 Mets are made of.

  • On WFAN this weekend, I heard some caller make a comment about acquiring Benson. He was asking what are the possibilities for the Mets taking on an unwanted contract of Jason Kendall and basically pick up the two for basically nothing in a salary dump by the Pirates (NYFansites also wrote a bit about this the other day as well). The Pirates would clear a lot of money between the two players this year and do not have to worry about Kendall’s huge contract for the next couple of years. Now, I have mixed feelings about this. The only position that we can potentially upgrade at this point is catcher. With Wright looming in the minors, and Wiggie’s solid play, 3b is spoken for. The reasons I like this trade is because he is a career .300 hitter and has hit over .300 for six of his nine pro seasons. He is also an on base machine hovering around .390 for a career for his OBP. He is a legit hitter for sure and is a very solid fielding catcher. The reasons it is bad may out number the positives. He had 64 homeruns through his first eight major league seasons and only has two this year. The Mets have a few catching prospects between Hathaway, Huber, and Jacobs as well as Phillips, Wilson, and Piazza at the major league level. It pushes Piazza to first full time which has its negatives as well as its positives. This biggest problem is obvious. Money. He is due 10 million in 2005, 11 million in 2006, and 13 million in 2007. If he was picked up, they would also pick up 1.5 million in deferred salary as well as some of the signing bonus deferred. Now, if this was ever done, Pittsburgh would almost certainly be picking up some cash in the trade. Problem is, how much? They need to pick up almost half to make sense at this point. Paying Kendall 50 millions dollars over the next 3 ½ years is not the best move just to get Benson without giving much up. Taking 25 million would be too much when this is not a position of dire need in the organization. To me, this move would not be the best way to allocate money. Bad idea.

  • Jeff Duncan was demoted to AA Binghamton.

  • Norfolk beat Richmond 6-3 last night. Wright was 1 for 3 with his fifth homerun and three RBIs, Vance Wilson went 2 for 4, Vic Diaz went 2 for 4, and Heilman pitched six innings of one hit ball. Hopefully he does something to increase his trade value.

  • Capital City got blasted 15-4 by Asheville despite Lastings Milledge's big night. He went 4 for 5 with a solo homerun to bring his average up to .333. He may be the next Bomber pomoted to St. Lucie.

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  • What is going on with Placido Palonco’s cheeks. He looks like he is storing some acorns for winter in those puppies.

  • The Yankees official protest from this Sunday’s loss to the Mets has been denied. Suck it Torre.

  • Now there are rumblings that Beltran could be dealt yet again by the trading deadline a-la Ciff Floyd in 2002. That would certainly be interesting and if they do not make up some games in the central, that could become a reality.