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

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

First Base Quandry

After the comment section from yesterday's post, I got to thinking. For most of the year I was just assuming that Mike Piazza would man first base with Phillips or Valent sneaking in there when he gets behind the dish or is taking a day off. However, in light of the recent hoopla surrounding his assumed migration back to full time catcher, I decided to look at the options for next year. There are definitely a few directions that the Mets may take.

Now it is not a foregone conclusion that Mike will be a full time catcher, but one thing is becoming apparent, he will not be splitting a substantial amount of time between the two positions. He is most likely going to catcher or first base with smidge of the other one thrown in. It is clear to me, he is less of a liability behind the dish than 1B. As Peter Gammons pointed out in his chat rap and something most of us already knew, the team's ERA is lower when he is behind the plate than any other catcher for the Mets over the past few years. His catcher ERA over the years was 3.87 in 2000, 4.05 in 2001, 3.84 in 2002, 3.97 in 2003 and 4.02 in 2004. His CERA was lower than the team ERA in every year but this year. Even with his low CS% he is still a more effective catcher than people give him credit for. He can always sit against teams like the Marlins or he can play first and hope nothing gets hit to him or no infielder bounces a throw over to him over to him.

Before I get into who is available, it must be taken into account what areas the Mets need to lay some cash out for. The Mets need to sign an outfielder or two (they may choose to bring back Hidalgo, dump Floyd, and sign someone else, just sign Hidaglo and keep Floyd, or keep Floyd and sign a someone besides Hidalgo), find someone to man first base, re-sign Benson, bring back Leiter or find another starter to replace him, and do an overhaul in the pen by bringing in 2 to 3 players. Now for who will be out there and who may be out there: (x = team option)

David Segui
Tony Clark
Eric Karros (I'm surprised he is not in Norfolk right now)
Brad Fullmer
Carlos Delgado
Greg Colbrunn
Richie Sexson
Robin Ventura
Julio Franco

x-Rafael Palmeiro
x-Travis Lee
x-Tino Martinez
x-J.T. Snow

Craig Brazell
Eric Valent

So as you can see, the pickings are very slim. There is only one really good decision out of the entire lot of them in Richie Sexson, and I gave my opinions on his situation yesterday. Delgado's risk is too large and the only name that I really like on the list in terms of return on the investment is J.T. Snow. He will not give you the power you would like from a corner infield position, but he will give you and OK bat with an excellent glove. However, the chances of J.T. Snow's option not being picked up is slim to none. He is a relative bargain and I know he is old, but it is not a permanent solution and would be a one or two year stopgap until something can be figured out. I have no idea what his option is for 2005, but if it is an exorbitant amount, it may be declined. It also may be declined if they are looking to snag one of the big time free agent first baseman in Delgado and Sexson, but he looks like he will be back in San Francisco. First base is not a position of strength in the off-season and the Mets are going to have a difficult time finding out who to plug there on a full time basis. If the Mets fail to bring in one of the big time guys, it may very well end up being a Valent or Brazell platoon much to the chagrin of many Met fans. The reality is there just is not the plethora of first baseman out there like there are outfielders, which clearly is a deep talent pool this year. Jim certainly has his work cut our for him this off-season to fill the many holes that he has and the shortage of available talent to do it will not help the situation.

* * *

  • School is in session. Jason Stark sheds some light on waivers and how they work. This has always been sort of a gray area for me, and if it was for you, then wonder no more.

  • I cannot take credit of this one. This showed up in Maxim Magazine's Found Porn section. For those of you who do not frequent the magazine, the Found Porn section features items that are in everyday life they have some innuendos behind it. This month some reader had sent in a baseball card. I still cannot believe this is the name this guy went by.

  • The Yankees have signed Shane Spencer to a minor league contract.

  • Gary Payton is threatening to quit after being traded from the Lakers to the Celtics.

    "It's about respect," Payton told the Press-Enterprise. "[The Lakers] didn't respect me. Why should I respect them? They used me so they could get other players," Payton said, adding that "Boston is going to lose out on this. They ain't going to get nothing."

    Raise your hand if you feel bad for him. No one? I didn't think so. You should have signed a no trade clause if you did not want to be traded. Just because someone does not want you, does not mean they do not respect you. They just think you lost a step and suck now. I just have hard time giving this guy any pity after the Lakers loaded up with geriatric stars to make a run an win the title. I just see no fun in that.

  • The Seattle Post Intelligencer Reporter give Ichiro some ink. It's easy to forget about Ichiro since he in the AL and on a bad team, but the he is the real deal Japanese player ulike a certain someone on the Mets team. It points out some of his accomplishments including breaking the record for the Most hits during the first four years of a players career with 840. The interesting part is that he did not just break it, he is going to shatter it. There is still plenty of baseball to come being that it was August 11th when he broke that record.

  • The New York Post points out Cameron's quest for 30/30. He is just slightly off the pace for stolen bases and is projected to swipe 27 bags. However, judging by the way he tried to swipe third on Sunday against Randy Johnson, I think he'll be giving himself the green light a bit more often in hot pursuit of this. He would be the first Met since 1991 to accomplish this. HoJo was the man who knocked in 38 homeruns and swiped 30 bags that year. HoJo accomplished that three times during his Met career.

  • Apparently I have no idea what I am talking about and the Mets could be held liable for tampering. The article does point out that Steinbrenner had done the same thing with Johnson in June and was not fined, but I guess the either the Yankees are above the law or the Diamondbacks are not cry babies like Kenny Williams. The bottom line is, Duquette's comments were on local radio station and they were vague and harmless. And the complaint about an anonymous source is utterly ridiculous. I mean, how many writers make up these anonymous sources. Shit, the other day Jason Stark made up a source when some anonymous scout said Fortunado, who is a 29 year old AAA reliever, projects to be a number #2 starter. The ridiculous part is, how many times do you here quotes or things said from front office people saying, "boy, I'd like to him on my team" or "who wouldn't want him on their team". Quit the crying.

  • I posted a Newsday link that had this before, but here it is again. In case anyone lost count, here is the breakdown.

    Since Jose Reyes made his major-league debut with the Mets on June 10, 2003, he has had a lengthy medical history:

    Aug. 31, 2003 - Injured left ankle sliding into second base.
    Sept. 5 - Placed on disabled list.
    March 14, 2004 - Strained right hamstring during spring training.
    April 4 - Placed on DL retroactive to March 26.
    April 30 - MRI revealed hamstring had not yet healed. Recovery also slowed by back pain.
    June 19 - Activated from 60-day DL.
    July 5-8 - Strained left shin.
    Aug. 10 - Aggravated the injury running out a triple.
    Aug. 13 - Placed on DL with a stress fracture of the left fibula.


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