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

Monday, November 01, 2004

Matt Clement Should Be On Met's Radar

Matt Clement may not be a household name, but he has some great stuff and a live arm. In the right situation in the right town he could be a big name and an all-star. In 2004, Matt averaged a little over six innings per start and logged 181 innings in 30 starts. Clement had a K/9 of 9.45, a WHIP of 1.28 and a BAA of .229 which is great for a guy who pitches in a hitter's park half the time and in a division with Minute Maid Park and the offensive power-house Cardinals. Early in his career he had a bit of an attitude problem and did not have a grasp of how to pitch or control his pitches. He always had good stuff, but was posting some pretty astronomical ERAs during his first four seasons. He has since figured it out and possesses a lively mid-90's fastball with some movement as well as three other pitches. Most importantly for the jinxed Mets he has had a very injury free career thus far.

I know some people are skeptical about Clement being he is 30 years old right now and will be 31 next season, but the fact is that he has not logged many major league innings. He only has 1156.1 major league innings and has plenty of more miles on that arm of his. He is also going to presumably be a good value for any team that inks him. For better or for worse, people are in love with wins and losses when it comes to pitchers. Unfortunately for Matt, he was 9-13 due to piss poor run support from the Cubbies. Only Randy Johnson, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, Ben Sheets and Odalis Perez received less run support than Clement in the NL. When you look at the entire Major Leagues, Clement's 4.03 runs would be good for the ninth least runs a game in support for a starting pitcher. When it comes to contract time, those nine wins will mostly have a negative effect on his price tag. He could be a bargain for a such a talented arm. While speaking about being a bargain, Matt also should be a guy that would not cost any compensation draft picks since the Cubs are not likely to offer him arbitration. The Cubbies already have Prior, Zambrano (the real one), Maddux, and Wood on contract for 2005 with some lofty aspirations to land Beltran. The Cubbies will be looking to move a cheaper guy like Glendon Rusch, who performed admirably this past season, Ryan Dempster, Sergio Mitre, Angel Guzman, or some other prospect into the fifth spot instead of inking Clement for $6 to $7 million per year. I also like the fact that Matt has the ability to get both lefties and righties out. Over the past three years, Matt has held righties to a paltry .215 average in 1,146 at bats and lefties to a Jason Giambi-like .233 average in 1,026 at bats. This guy can flat out throw the ball.

The Mets were supposed to have picked up two guys this past trading deadline that threw in the mid 90's, but when they showed up, one guy had a tired arm and was sitting at 91/92 mph and the other topped out at 92 and headed to the DL. Even when those guys were throwing that hard, they were not strikeout pitchers. It is time the Mets got a strikeout pitcher so they can stop having their defense exploited. The Mets need a pitcher who can pick up his teammates by striking people out. Although some people would rather see the fifth spot in the rotation be awarded to Aaron Heilman or Ginter, I think Clement is going to be too big of a bargain to pass up with such a arm. Like Zambrano, I think Clement has the ability to be the Mets #1 starter. A little work with professor Rick could do wonders with him. Unlike Victor Zambrano, who can be fixed in 10 minutes, Matt does not need a lot more work. He is already successful and has shown flashes of being dominating. The numbers he could post at spacious Shea could send him to the top of the crop in terms of Major League pitchers. It just makes sense on a financial level and fits in with the idea that the Mets need to re-stock their farm system by trying not to lose draft picks via free agent signings. With Pavano garnering most of the attention and most likely headed to Boston if he even leaves the Marlins, which is sounding more unlikely by the day, and bigger names like Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe out there, the Mets just may find themselves in a war with a team like Cleveland, whom is the only team being vocal about an interest in Clement, vying for his services. I like those odds and I like the idea of Matt Clement at Shea. Whomever gets Clement is going to get a steal.

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  • At this point though, with the Mets seemingly a lock to bring back Al Leiter for the 2005 season, it looks like an extremely distant possibility the Mets will take advantage of some of the available pitchers this year. Intent on letting Leiter retire a Mets, he will get one more year at Shea. This is a problem for me and it is tough because I do like Al Leiter. At 39 years old, he is just not as reliable as they Mets would need him to be. He walked 97 batters while striking about 117 for a horrendous K/BB ratio of 1.21. With him being a year older it does not figure to get any better. If the Mets were smart, they'd figure out how to get younger in the rotation. Whether that is by moving Trachsel or by just walking away from Leiter, it has to be done. Both cannot be in the rotation next season. Shit, I'd even say let Benson walk in favor of Clement whom I believe is much better. I just do not see the Mets making the right move when it comes to the rotation. If they are going to go on the cheap by bringing back Leiter for $4M, they better spend to improve the lineup with a big bat and get someone at first base that resembles an actual first baseman. That is something the Mets have been missing since the days of John Olerud.

  • Some great news from the NYPost:

    The Mets have expressed some early interest in free agent shortstop Chris Woodward, who hit .235 with one homer and 24 RBIs for Toronto this year and could be valuable in a reserve role.

    Don't be surprised also if the Mets look at Marlins free agent reliever Billy Koch. The hard-thrower enjoyed his best season with the A's in 2002 under pitching coach Rick Peterson's tutelage and could be a possible set-up man candidate.

    Chris Woodward? As far as I'm concerned Danny Garcia would do just as good a job if not better. Pointless move, although not that big of a deal. As for Kotch, I'd rather stay away from him. However, if he is going to be a cheap, low risk move, and it is a low enough salary the Mets would eat, then with a lack of bullpen options available in the free agent market this off-season it is not the worst thing.

  • From the Daily News:

    The Mets will have rotation insurance with Cuban defector Alay Soler, who impressed Tuesday in his Dominican Winter League debut, allowing one hit and striking out 10 in five innings for Leones del Escogido, including fanning the first six batters he faced.

    Maybe the Mets still can get their big three with Soler, Humber, and Petit?

  • Wally Backman is the new D-Back manager.

  • Troy Glaus is apparently uninterested in moving from 3rd base to 1st base. The Angles have also decided to let him walk and he would certainly be intriguing for a few reasons. If Beltre is too expensive for the Dodgers, they could go with the slightly less expensive and still young and talented Troy Glaus. As far as Beltre goes, who is on the market for an expensive 3rd baseman like him? Outside of the Dodgers, I'm not too sure there really are many teams that could afford him. The Mets should at least glance at both of these players and gauge their interested on moving to first base.

  • Joel Sherman attempts to scare the pants off Mets fans with this bit of info:

    Like how about Pedro Martinez in Flushing? An AL executive who speaks with Mets GM Omar Minaya said, "I bet they'll try. But if you were Pedro, why would you go to a bad club like the Mets?" Good point. But an NL GM said Martinez is going to have difficulty finding a three-year market at more than $30 million. If the Mets really are in go-for-it mode (which I personally think they should avoid), then would you rather spend $21 million over three years on Kris Benson or be the high bidder for Pedro?


    Like how about Shawn Green as a Met? The Dodgers want out of his contract and an NL GM said Green has grown disenchanted in L.A. The AL executive who confers with Minaya said the Met GM is determined to "make a splash," which is why you are hearing Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa. If those fall through, watch for Green.

    Joel Sherman suggests that the Mets may be taking a look at Pedro. Are they really that desperate to make a splash? This seems to be more of Omar's "outside of the box" thinking. Just think about a lineup of with Sosa and Martinez. Two expensive stars past their primes who are extreme primadonnas. What a cohesive group they would make the clubhouse.

  • Putting Kleenex and Baby Ruth's on the man's grave? Nothing is sacred anymore. Taunting and overweight guy with candy bars.

    "The Boston Red Sox are the greatest team in the history of baseball. Now, we're going to dominate the league."
    -Orlando Cabrera

    Easy Orlando, You may not even be in Boston any more.

    "Cliff Floyd and Manny in the same outfield?" yelled Kevin Millar, who played with Floyd for the Marlins. "I could be a defensive replacement."

  • The Boss wants a seasoned lefty? Well, You can take Tom Glavine and all his salary for Dioneer Navarro + another solid prospect and that would be fine with me. In that case, I'd take Leiter back for one year and the Mets can free up money and another rotation spot for a free agent or maybe in a long shot one of Billy Beane‚Äôs boys.

  • Baseball America's list of Minor League Free Agents is out. One name that interests me is Graham Koonce, a power hitting left-handed 1b from the Oakland Athletics farm system. He may be worth taking a flyer on. He is a bit old, but has hit 24, 34, and 22 homeruns in consecutive years. He does not hit for a high average, but he manages to sneak out quite a few walks. He had a career high of 133 in 2002 and followed that up with 98 in 2003. In 2004 his walks, homers, and average were down from 2003, but he is an extremely low risk, high reward player. Being that he'll be 30 next season, he should not have many suitors and could provide a contingency plan of sorts in case nothing works out for the Mets at first base for one year or until something better (cough, cough Kendry Morales, cough, cough) presents itself.


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