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

Monday, July 26, 2004

Reality Sets In

     After yesterday's train wreck of a game, the mood has been decidedly different on WFAN and all around. Reality is setting in and people are now saying cut bait and start over. Sell off whatever pieces such as Al Lieter, Tom Glavine, Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza and move on. While the Mets are a flawed team and not an exceptionally strong one, let's face it, the NL East is not exactly full of flawless teams. In fact, name one team in National League that is not flawless. The Cardinals are the strongest team in the NL, and is anyone sold on their pitching staff getting deep into the playoffs? Look, the Mets have huge weaknesses and they are not what people would typically call a playoff caliber team, but this is not a typical year. The defense is horrendous and after three unearned runs and throwing an important game away it does nothing to assuage my feelings on that issue. It was a game that puts the Mets 3.5 games back and one under .500 or 5 back and three games under .500. Now they embark on a difficult road trip licking their wounds from a disastrous 3-7 home stand. Look, I like the idea of having Benson, but starting pitching is only a small part of the issue. They do contribute by not going too deep in game and wearing out the bullpen. However, errors and inefficient fielding adds to their not being able to go deep into games. Everyone feeds off each others inefficiencies and contributes to the overall state of the Mets. Nothing short of a sweep of the Expos for their four game set in Montreal would take the pain off of that home stand. The Mets are in danger of being behind in double digits very quickly. The Braves are hot, the Expos are playing good ball of late, and the Cardinals are the hottest team in the NL. If the Mets come in with their lethargic play for their road trip, it could get late really early. With the trade deadline right around the corner the Mets really picked a great time to turn into the bad news Bears. Duquette was insistent on buying and right now you have to wonder. You have to wonder if getting Benson is really of a paramount need. Is another reliever going to get it done? I would say probably not. If they get an effective reliever, you can bet he will be brought out nightly and worn down by the end of August, which by the way is another issue. It is not even August and the entire bullpen is worn down. On top of that, it is not even August and Mike Piazza is worn down. The Mets are not far away from being good. However, what they need is not available right now. This off season they can pick up whatever it is they need.

     Joel Sherman advocates cutting bait with the old guys and signing everyone and their mother in the off season. Problem is that there is no guarantee that you would be able to get all those players. To go into an off season assuming you can do that would be silly. Look, there is no need to spin anyone off right now. He muses that trading Glavine to Boston is good for an example. Glavine is extremely useful beyond 2004. If you are going to keep a lefty for the rotation in 2005, Glavine is most certainly the better choice over Leiter. Besides, with the 12 million per year coming to him, outside of the Yankees you would have a hard time finding anyone to flip that bill. As if that were not enough, the last thing the Mets need are any of their top three prospects. Their top three prospects are at SS, C, and 3B. The Yankees top three prospects are at 3B, 2B/3B, and C. Their really are not any trading partners that make sense for either of the Mets lefites. As for Cliffy, his salary is 6.5 per year for two more seasons after this. He may be the most attractive piece of trade bait on the team along with Richard Hidalgo at this point. However, is it really smart to trade a much valued left handed bat that you could not replace? Looking outside the box, trading Floyd's injury prone self is not the worst idea. Especially if you can bring in Magglio or Beltran and then get a Jacque Jones type in addition but that seems like a stretch. Floyd could always be traded if you did land those guys in the off season and will still have value due to his affordable contract. There is no reason to run into a fire sale with your big guys without a plan. The Mets are and will continue to infuse young talent with this older team. That is their prospective recipe for success. Duquette must be given more than 100 games to see that through to fruition. The Mets are on the right path and do have some kinks to work out, but they are not far away. The biggest obstacle the Mets have is getting the balls to bid adieu to some of their aging stars as their contracts run out and get the younger, top tier free agent talent to replace their roster spots. A fire sale would be a horrible move. Getting prospects that are going to take a few years to show any worth, if they ever do, would only push back the Mets being able to compete. I think they can compete in 2005 with the addition of four or five pieces this off season. There are more than five available options so it is only a matter of taking them.

* * *

  • I guess you can say Reyes is starting to feel really comfortable. He went 4 for 5 in the Mets disappointing loss bringing his average up to .261. Just like last year, he is turning into a multiple hit per game machine.

  • Wright's growing pains are continuing. He made another error in the field, albeit it was a bad hop more than a botched play and he is batting .188 with his 0 for 4 performance. I will say this, he just looks like a ball player. At bat and in the field, he looks fluid and smooth. It is easy to forget that he is 21 and has a long way to go, but that is the truth. To me, bringing Wright up now had is positives and negatives. I will skip the negatives and just mention that getting him over two months of major league service in 2004 will make him that much more of a better player in 2005. 2005 is a time when the Mets may need him more and he should be able to be an impact player from day one instead of going through his rookie growing pains during a campaign in which the Mets could be legitimate contenders.

  • DeJean threw four scoreless innings in two consecutive games. If eating innings is all he does, it is a good thing from my point of view.

  • Sherman gives us this tidbit from this article:

    Technically, even after this loss, Leiter was right; the Mets were still in the race. But here we are talking about them getting Pittsburgh's Kris Benson, and has anyone noticed the Pirates actually now have a better record than the Mets?

    The wildcard race is not exactly what the Mets are eyeing and the Pirates are not either. The Mets are also not chasing the Cardinals, but point well taken.

    Also, watching Jason Bay flourish over in Pittsburgh makes me wonder what the hell Steve Phillips was thinking trading Bay for Steven Reed. A top tier talent for mid level, middle reliever? I must be missing something.

  • Dave Kingman and Tommie Agee share the Met record for strikeouts in a season at 156. Mike Cameron is on pace to K 164 times. We could be watching Metropolitan history in the making this year. A Met record set before our very own eyes. When it gets closer, I'll start keeping the K countdown.

  • Bill Simmons' from ESPN's Page2 wrote and article on the dude who just won't lose at jeopardy. Pretty funny. Some funny quotes from Bill's wife on the JG (the nickname the affectionately refer to him by):

    "I hope he gets eaten by a tiger."

    "I can't even look at him anymore," the Sports Gal hissed last week. "His face is so punchable."

    Those are some priceless quotes.

    I'll have to give it to her, that face IS punchable though.

  • Schilling has some words about Puss-rod's actions here. Look, he can do what he wants, but I saw Nomar get plunked on Friday. You know what he did? Jogged to first. Get over it.

  • Steve Finley to the Marlins? According to ESPN, talks are heating up and the Marlins may be willing to move prized prospect Jason Stokes. The Marlins balked at giving the Mets Stokes for Benitez in 2003, and would only give up Adrian Gonzalez (who may be better in the long run anyway). Marlins are getting desperate for some more offense as the division is slipping away.

    Also, if the Marlins cannot land Finley, they may turn their attention to Danny Bautista of the Marlins.

  • A Benson deal is supposedly already in place. According to ESPN, the Pirates are prepared to accept a deal that does not include Ty Wigginton or Ryan Howard. The Twins are reportedly offering Doug Mientkiewcz, who is inked for 2005 and an option for 2006, and the Angels are offering Casey Kotchman. The only thing about the Angels is that if they are offering up Kotchman, they can him in package to get Johnson. If they are truly OK with dealing him, that is worth keeping an eye on.

    For what it is worth, I had a dream that Benson is going to the Twins. I'm not sure why I was dreaming about this, but it is disturbing. It means that I'm either a clairvoyant or I am overly interested in Kris Benson. Either way, some time off may be needed.


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