At The End Of The Day
'Tis New Years Eve and baseball rumors should be heating up in the first week of January for the Metropolitans. Since I have no idea if I’ll be in any kind of shape to post tomorrow, I figured I’ll give Saturday’s post today too and if I’m alive I might resurface to throw some thoughts out there tomorrow anyway. Fun stuff, huh? JJ Cooper just had his chat wrap over at Baseball America on the Mets, and I'm sure 99% of you read it. It was informative overall but on thing really disturbed me.
Q: SAL from Middle Village asks:
I saw Evan Maclane pitch in the Cyclones playoff game last year and he looks he's got some potential. He looked like he had a nasty change up. Can you tell me more about him
A: J.J. Cooper: MacLane knows how to pitch, and yes, it's a very good changeup. Don't read anything in him being sent to Brooklyn, he was in the top 10 in ERA in the Sally League at the time of the transaction--the Mets like to make sure that the Brooklyn team is stocked with solid prospects.
Avkash from the now seemingly defunct Raindrops (maybe he's taking an extremely long hiatus?) had remarked on this demotion when it had happened. He pointed to the Wilpon's propensity to demote players who are clearly above their league in effort to put a good product on the field for the hometown Cyclones. One would think that the minor leagues should serve as a tool to further the development of your players with the ultimate goal of having these players from the farm either help you on the major league club as fast as possible or become the best they can be so they can maybe be traded to bolster the system in areas that are slim or bolster the major league club.
Evan MacLane was last seen pitching the playoffs on Sept. 3rd 2004 for the Brooklyn Cyclones (a game that Gabby Hernandez also pitched three scoreless innings with six K's and no walks...not bad for an 18 year old). I'm all for demoting someone if they need to go back to the previous level to work out some kinks, but he was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA, 67.2 IP, 6.6 K/B ratio, and .99 WHIP. Did this look like someone that should have gotten demoted? He just turned 22 and was actually 21 when he was pitching for the Cyclones. That is not exactly young for that league. He could have been starting in St. Lucie this season but will most likely start at Capital City at 22 years old. He may not spend too much time there and may mean nothing in long run, but there is definitely something a bit off in their organizational philosophy and how they run their system. You could make the argument that it was to get him into the playoff atmosphere and get some pressure experience, but the Cap City Bombers also made the playoffs.
I may be really nit picking here, but this is something that definitely should not happen at anytime. You want to drop him at the end of the season for playoff run when his team is not going to make the playoffs? Ok, I can see that, but to drop him that early in the year and waste any development time really gives off the impression that there are a lot of priorities out of whack. Maybe they know more than me and maybe they saw there were plenty of pitchers ahead of him in the food chain and thought he could stand to benefit from some more time with the Cyclones, but it really does not seem that way too me. I guess we should all cross our fingers that Wilpon lets Yunir Garcia, Scott Hyde, Amciorix Concepcion, and Caleb Stewart get the go ahead to be put on the Hagerstown Suns team instead of stacking the Brooklyn Squad. I know I may be taking it too far with some of those guys, but the fact that I can write it down without laughing and thinking there is a slight chance it could happen is just ridiculous.
I've already spoke about the Yankees and how they may actually have a limit in terms of this year's budget, but we'll find out soon if they really may have limit. The Randy Johnson deal has been like a bad case of the herpes, but we can finally stop reading about it and having it pop up daily (no I don't have herpes). The deal is just about done and will send Javier Vazquez, left-handed pitcher Brad Halsey, catching prospect Dioner Navarro, and $8.5 million to $9 million in exchange for the mullet toting left hander. Vazquez is due $10.5 million in 2005, $11.50 million in 2006, and $12.50 million in 2007. That basically means they are getting Javier for a Kris Benson-like $25.5 million over three years. Not bad at all on their end and gives them a great and affordable trading chip for anyone that is willing to give up a ton for him. I guess the D-Backs weren't too impressed with what they saw from Koyie Hill because now they have two catching prospects are major league ready unless they plan to spin Navarro and Vazquez to the Dodgers for Shawn Green.
The Yankees are going to give Randy a two year extension for $32 million dollars. The Yankees have $ 176.55 committed for 2005 before all of their recent activity and already have 2006 $137.00 before all of their recent activity. In 2005 they've added About one million with Felix Hernandez by paying part of Lofton's salary, they've added about another $1.2 million in the Stanton acquisition, they've added roughly $7,000,000 in 2005 and 2006 with Jaret Wright, $2 million in 2005 and 2006 with Tony Womack, $800,000 with John Flaherty, and I'm guessing about $5 million on Tino Martinez, and roughly $10 million in 2005 and 2006 with Carl Pavano, and adding Johnson is a wash for the most part since he has $6 million deferred (but the Yankees are picking up $9 million for Vazquez, which I'll leave out).
That basically means the Yankees are at about $221 million with Carlos Beltran in 2005 and at $188 million in 2006 with a backup catcher needed as Flaherty's deal was only one year, a starter to replace Kevin Brown, relievers to replace Steve Karsay, Mike Stanton, Felix Hernandez, Tom Gordon, and Paul Quantril, a person to replace Tino Martinez or Bernie Williams, and a left fielder to replace Hideki Matsui as his contract will up (when I say replace, they can be replaced with themselves as well obviously). That is a whole lot of replacing to do in 2006 and their salaries add up to approximately $52.3 million if they have Beltran and $65.3 million if they do not have Beltran and need to replace Williams too. Not that I think this will happen, but if they replace every dollar for dollar that they are losing, they'd be at approximately $240.3 million in 2007. We all know they will not go on the cheap in their rotation and their bullpen so $220+ is pretty definite for 2006 if they sign Beltran. Even those numbers may make George think twice as it really may end up limiting any flexibility. Let's not forget they've been in the red for years now and lost over $20 million in 2003 alone. I do not think they forgot this is a 100+ win team that supposedly addressed their starting pitching problems and bullpen problems and can score runs with the best of them without Beltran. They may choose to pass on this or they may choose to put an offer out that is not even better than the alleged 6 year $86 million deal by the Astros because believe it or not, things could be getting tight in the Bronx.
Where he should go: Normally, I wouldn't advocate a team in decline like the Mets signing a "win now" player like Delgado. But the Mets, with the addition of Pedro Martinez and a full season of the incredible David Wright in the offing, figure to be true forces in the down-cycled NL East. That is, if they add another impact bat. Delgado is that bat, and the Mets badly need him.
True forces if they add another impact bat? I like the sound of that.
Yankee fan's predictions:
Beltran goes to the Yankees, Delgado to the Yankees (you can never have too many left handed batting first baseman), Perez to the Yankees (hey maybe the Yankees also like to carry six or seven starters on their 25 man MLB roster), Magglio to the Yankees (would look great of the fifth outfielder!), Millwoood to the Indians, and Lowe to the Yankees (he used to close before, so it would be good insurance if Rivera and Gordon land on the DL).
It mixes my love of the Simpsons and the Mets getting Carlos Beltran. Hmmmmm....Beltran..
One Yankees official, asked about the $119-million figure for Beltran, who hit .267 with 38 home runs, 104 RBIs and 42 stolen bases, characterized it as "very steep."
When the $119-million figure was mentioned to a Mets executive, he responded, "That's a big number and a lot of years. I haven't heard those numbers."
"We have to make sure he's committed to wanting to come," the Mets exec said. "We're not just going to throw numbers out there."
I know it's been written again and again, but Beltran is not worth what he is going to get. The bottom line is that the Mets already have payroll flexibility in the future and can take this gamble with a huge boon in money approaching with their network. To go into it with having two 22 year stars and a 29 year old star with a solid pitching staff and another 23 year old masher on the way is something to build around.
I've been over this a while ago when much less people were reading, but Carlos is not worth much more (if at all) than Miguel Tejada. They were both 28 when they were signing their mega contract and they were both playing a premium position. Carlos steals more bases and is a better fielder, but Miguel is a more accomplished hitter and a past MVP. When you take into account where Miguel was playing his home games, his numbers are far more impressive. How can the Mets or anyone for that matter justify over paying about $5 million per year? Easy, the Mets need to. Between their network, their need to get younger, and their need to start putting a face on this organization precludes any hang-ups of $5 million per year that will easily be made up by the Mets Network. If there was no Met Network on the horizon it would be hard to justify.
In four years, Carlos could look overpaid. Shea could make his numbers look pedestrian, but he could also get better and prove he is elite. But if he's still stealing bases, playing stellar defense with .275 average 25 homers and 90 RBIs, he's worth it. For me, the risk involved is not whether Carlos will be injured down the line, but the risk is will he be just top tier rather than elite. That is a risk that has less downside than injury risk because you know at worst he'll be more productive than most major leaguers and for me, he's worth it if he can bring some constancy to this team that badly needs it and could afford this luxury.