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

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Looper Gives Up First Runs

I thought that was a great game last night. Before the first pitch was even thrown, a Rockies lineup without Helton, Walker, and Wilson was great to see. The Gint threw for his first win as a major league starter, and topped it off with an RBI single. The new charlie hustle, Danny Garcia was two for three, with two RBIs and two doubles. One of his doubles was a single that he legged out for two. What's not to like about this guy? In the game Piazza put some more distance between himself and the rest of the pack for the all time record for most home runs by a catcher. I must say, seeing Piazza behind the plate makes me more comfortable than him at 1st base. I still stay he should play there only on day games after night games. I believe it is best for the team. It was a game where everyone got into the action, even Phillips. It is good to see that he is starting to turn it on and hit lines drives again. He is batting .204 and officially over the Jeter Junction. I have no reason to believe that he won't keep it going. On a sad note, Looper gave up his first runs. He may not have racked up many saves or seen many save opportunities, but he had his scoreless inning streak. He got himself into trouble in the 9th, but on a play that was not made by Wiggie, it did Looper in. It was a hit to the left of Wiggie, he made the stop, but unable to make the throw. It was a tough play, but one that could have been made. The official scorer gave a hit instead of the error and two runs ensued. Today Yates goes, the pen needs a rest and we need someone to go 8 innings. Lets see if Yates found his groove in his minor league start and can put a good game together.

On a side note, did anyone see Esix Snead run last night? He may be the fastest human being in existance.

There has been a Reyes sighting!

He went 1 for 2 with a stolen base. I cannot overstate the importance of that stolen base. The fact that Reyes felt well enough to let go is a tremendous thing. They'll give him a week to see some pitches and get back into the swing of things before he gets the call up. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with the Roster when he comes up, but most likely Garcia will be sent down. It's a shame too, going to miss his play.

Those Boone rumors are hopefully just that. I'm not sure I see the point in it if it is really true. If Boone will take a contract just for the remainder of the season, which is unlikely, then maybe. But I'm done seeing Yankee castoffs on my team.

This week I'll be do doing a piece on players that people and the media continually keep whining about that the Mets did not pick them up.

Also this week, I'll be looking at the RF situation next year and weigh out the options. I know it early, but who cares.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Jeter Junction?

After I wrote the Jeter piece this morning, I was reading Eric Neel on ESPN.COM. At the end of his article he asks, is Jeter a Hall of Famer? Go vote here. I said no, so did 72% of the intelligent baseball community who are not blinded by pinstripes.

Stormy Weathers

Stormy weather is threatening to ruin the game I'm supposed to go tonight after Stormy Weathers, who gave up 6 runs (only 3 earned), ruined the game yesterday. In light of that, I will not focus on the negative, but only the positive. Hmmm...the relief stunk, the starting pitching stunk, the Mets only had 1 hit in the last 4 innings when they needed a run, 23 men were left on base.....Oh...here is a positive. Mike Stanton preserves his 1.000 batting average. I know there are going to be games like this, but it still sucks.

So in order to make myself feel better, I'll just make fun of someone else.

Try opening your eyes! Maybe you'll hit the ball!

For 20+ years, Mario Mendoza has been the butt of many jokes and name lives on in infamy in the form of the Mendoza Line reference. The new millennium is in need of something with a little more pizzazz, a bit more reflective of our times. Let me think, what would be better..How about Jeter Junction! Sure, why not? 38 games into the season with arguably the best baseball player in baseball batting 2 spots behind him he has magically been able to hit .194 thus far. He has managed only 10 extra base hits, has .258 OBP %, .288 SLG %, .544 OPS, 15 RBIs, and scored measly 15 runs. I can hear all the Yankee fans now, "he'll turn it on when he needs to in October" or "it doesn't matter, he knows how to win". Save it. It is my opinion that the Yankees win those last 3 world series in '98, '99, & '00 with a chimpanzee at SS. Afterall, the Yankees actually had a higher winning % with him out of the lineup last year. But who cares about facts right? Maybe I am being to harsh on him and out of touch with reality, and maybe his $18,000,000 dollar a year salary is not over-paying him, but I do not think I am. Jeter has benefited from his surrounding greatly and I believe his is an slightly above average player playing in an atmosphere that has him pegged for future 'legend' status (if it is only in the mind of Yankee fans). I am not sure if bruised ego is a reason to go on the DL, but the Jeter should look into it before he continues to tarnish his status in Yankee history. I do not find it the least bit suprising that since A-Rod has joined the team, Jeter has never been the same. Jeter's Yankees have now become A-Rod's Yankees and it is only a matter of time before SS his A-Rod's too.

Draft Update:
The good people at Baseball America are echoing concerns of Jeff Neimann's health. His elbow surgery is still showing it's effects. He still has his heater, but it is not as consitant. Registering 94-98 on some days and 91-94 the next. Questions about his build are hurting his status as he is 6-9 260. With a frame that large for a pitching there are doubts on his ability to keep healthy. With all that being said, Stephen Drew, who is the Shortstop for Florida State, (younger brother of JD Drew) has his stock rising. He is batting .338 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs and a 38-34 walk to strikeout ratio. The Tigers, Padres, and Mets are scouting Neimann and Drew (as well as Weaver & Verlander) heavily. With Neimann's stock dropping, Drew's has raised. However, JD was the probably one of the best college players in the history of the game, and I consider anything from his bloodline taking a chance. With the Mets bad luck of injuries, any Drew to put on the Mets uniform would be dangerous. Stephen Drew projects as a 2nd baseman, and the allure of having him play 2nd next to Reyes at short is appetizing. Afterall, someone as polished as Drew out of school would be ready in two years, when you know who's contract runs out. It will sure be tempting for the Mets, but I still say go for pitching. Guys like Verlander, Weaver, and Neimann aren't on the board a lot when you are picking. These guys are advanced pitchers close to major league ready. I could only hope the Mets will not be drafting 3rd for while, so they need to take advantage of that now.

**Note, there is much debate as to who the Mendoza line was named after. Was it Mario Mendoza or Minnie Mendoza? I say who cares, they both stunk.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Leit's Out

Leiter has been DL'd, Tyler Yates will most likely replace him. This is the main problem with 38 year old pitchers, you have to hope they do not break down. The Senator has been a fan favorite for years, but with Glavine, Trachs, and Seo coming back next year is there really a place for him in 2005? He is obviously still effective, since his ERA has been sharp, but he is only 1-2. The problem as I see it is that Al does not go deep into games anymore. He usually is around 100 pitches by the fifth and seemingly labors really hard for those five innings. If he could go into the 7th with the lead, he most likely would have a couple more W's. He missed a month last year and is now DL'd again this year. Peterson and Keppel will be making serious charges for the rotation in 2005. Throw into the mix Tyler Yates, and the need for an established front-line starter (Matt Morris or Freddy Garcia), that is leaves two spots for Yates, Seo, Peterson, and Keppel to battle for. Al is the only one coming out of contract and he has a 2 million dollar buyout if the Mets do not pick up the option. I think it might be time to put this horse out to pasture. He will be a year older next year and any commitment to him would be a risky one. He will most likely not be around when the real contention begins in 2006. I would rather have the bulk of the innings going Yates, Keppel, or Peterson in 2005 so they can get a lot of experience under their belt for a major push. Sad to say it, but I think this needs to Al's last year in a Met uniform. Although, with the Wilpon's propensity to sign players past their prime, anything is possible.

Art Howe, Strategic Genius or Raving Idiot?

Art Howe once again, took Piazza out of a tie game for no apparent reason. I do realize he was trying to get speed on the paths in hopes of stringing together two hits and taking the lead. Problem is, it didn't happen. You cannot take your best hitter out of the lineup when he leads off the 7th with a walk and would be due of for his turn at bat in the 9th inning. There is no way to rationalize that thought. If it was done in the 8th or 9th inning I could at least see a bit more logic (but not much more). The Mets might not have won, but their best foot would have been put forward. The conclusion is that Howe is a raving idiot.

Trachsel is becoming the ace of the staff. His ERA is down to 3.15 and if you take his one bad start out, he's in the top 10 in the league. That is pretty impressive and he is pitching some of the best ball in his career.

Joes Sherman seems to think trading for Randy Johnson is the answer. That is exactly what the Mets need. A 40 year old pitching to go along with their 2 other 38 year old guys and their 33 year old. In the process of doing that, losing a top pitching prospect in our own organization. While I do have my own concerns about Kazmir's health, he should only be traded for someone on the right side of 30 and that is not a 1/2 year rental. For example, Barry Zito is signed through 2006. That would be an acceptable casualty for me. Regardless, this is not our year. Trading away key minor leaguers for a guy over 40, no matter how effective he is, does not make sense in my book. Especially a pitcher who would then become the highest paid player on the team. We need to have as much financial flexibility possible to make a serious run at Ordonez or Beltran, though we most likely will not get either. The Mets right now are 2 games under .500. Duquette needs to not be delusional on what his team is capable of. They are playing good ball right now, despite a lot of injuries on the team. What this team needs more than a trade is for Cameron, Reyes, and Leiter to all be healthy for the 2nd half. They are not playing for this year, they should be playing towards 2005 and beyond. The Mets need to get out of that mentality to tade their prospects for veterans. They have stuggled in a lot of close a games to get to 2 under .500. I do not believe they are close to being one of the top 10 teams in the league. I do not believe trading the future away for a playoff run this year should even be up for discussion. What they have done thus far is nice, but they still have a long way to go. The temptation is there to think that one or two players might do it for you, but I liken this team to the Expos of 2002. So close, so they traded for Floyd and Colon, and in turn traded away Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Milton Bradely, and more. How bad do you think they want Sizemore, Lee, and Bradley? There are some times that you have to go for it, and sometimes you have to bite the bullet. This is one of those times where you bite the bullet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

No Love

I just could not let it go by without notice. While the fight for any sort of recognition in town with the Yankees is uphill battle, let's get real here.

The NY Daily News Sports Page has the Yankees a top their headlines. Extra Painful Loss is the article about the Yankees losing 1-0. Fine. I'm used to this, a Yankee loss is bigger news than a Met victory, even if that victory happened to come in the 9th, with two outs, and off one of the better closers in recent years. However, I do take extreme offense that the next story headline is FLUKE RULES CAN'T DAMAGE FINE WEEKEND. A story about fluke fishing beats the Mets exciting come from behind victory! I usually do not let this stuff get to me, but come on. Dating back to last Wednesday, the Mets beat Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens, and Matt Morris. The headline should be about the Mets taking 5 of 6 in 6 tough games.

Instead a flat ugly fish is deemed more important than the Mets making some noise.

In other notes:
Lastings Milledge will be reporting to the Captial City Bombers in Low A ball. This is good news, the Mets have been high on him of late and he will be pretty young in relation to the competion he will be facing. Hopefully he will live up the hype. The last outfielder we had come out of our system to make an impact in this town was Daryl Strawberry. Let us just hope he can keep out of trouble and not mess around with thirteen year old girls. He has to understand that if there is grass on the field, the ball is not necessarily in play.

A Good Night for Baseball

What a night of baseball. Randy Johnson throws a perfect game against the Braves! The icing on that cake is Met-killer Larry Jones (some know him as Chipper, I am not one of those people) struck out three times. In lesser news the Marlins got mauled. What does this add up to? I’m getting there. The Metropolitans managed a 2 out rally in the 9th inning to score 2 runs in ninth inning off ex-Met (and ex-generation K-er) Jason Isringhausen to win the ballgame. Once again Bottalico throws up goose eggs going two innings, lowering his ERA to a stellar 0.84. Although Botallico had some spectacular defense in the form of the re-born Jason Phillips who made an unbelievable diving catch on a failed bunt, then threw the ball to 1st to double up the runner off the bag at first. I really have to say, that I am really impressed with Botallico thus far. He reminds me of David Weathers, but good! (I still love Tacklebury though). The bullpen continues to shut the game down when they take over. Glavine didn’t have his best stuff, but kept the Mets in the game, which is all you can ask for. Good to see the Mets not giving up, smiling, and going out there and executing.

Did the Mets just win the World Series?

Here is what it all adds up to….2.5 games out of 1st place! Now, I am not delusional. If the Mets do climb into 1st place, they are going to have trouble keeping that spot because they simply lack depth and are involved in too many close games. It takes a toll on a team to play so many close games and always in pressure situations throughout the year. We are halfway through May and the Mets were ASSumed to be battling it out for last place. Granted, Montreal is only 5 games behind the Mets, but the fact is, the NL East was going to close. No team looks head and shoulders above the rest so far. This begs the question, are the Mets buyers or sellers?
Here is an excerpt from the NY Daily News:

Special scout Al Goldis has been sent to watch Pirates ace Kris Benson, who is a free agent after the season. Goldis was in Houston over the weekend, but is said to be heading to Pittsburgh to eyeball Benson this week.
The Mets also have their sights on Freddy Garcia of the Mariners, and are continuing to closely monitor the status of the Rangers' Alfonso Soriano and the Royals' Carlos Beltran. Former hitting coach Dave Engle, who is now a scout in charge of the AL West, was in Texas over the weekend, and although he wasn't specifically there to watch Soriano, he will file a report on him.
But the Mets are trying to put many lines in the water and are looking all over baseball for something to juice up the team. General manager Jim Duquette and assistant GM John Ricco have made numerous calls to try and find a deal for a pitcher and a hitter, but at this point it's just
Of course, the Mets will be competing with the Yankees, Red Sox and several other teams for these players

What should the Mets do? Let’s face it, this is no World Series team. There are too many x-factors with an old staff and young guys who cannot seem to stay healthy. Just about every starter has been injured. The idea was to get younger and faster and bolster the team through the minor league system. With that being said, picking up Garcia, Soriano, and Especially Beltran will prove to be too costly and go against what the team is trying to work for, which is long sustained success. Those three players will undoubtedly be getting some teams in a bidding war for their services. However, Soriano’s team is in 2nd place and would have to fall off the side of the earth in order for him to shake loose. Those teams will surely demand very highly touted prospects like Kazmir, Peterson, and Wright. I doubt they will go for a Victor Diaz, Aaron Heilmann, and Royce Ring deal. Benson, however, may be had for a decent price. If they can somehow pry him from the Pirates for a Craig Brazell and Aaron Heilmann type deal, so be it. There are a somewhat respectable people in our system that are expendable. While I do believe that a WS appearance is out of the question, a trip the first round of the playoffs may not be.
My suggestion on which direction to go would be to try and acquire Benson. I do believe he can be had for B level prospects. Pirates got rid of lot of players last year and only received one impact player in Oliver Perez and one decent prospect in Jason Bay (Freddy Sanchez and Bobby Hill don’t thrill me). With that in mind, Aramis Ramirez and Brian Giles had much more trade value than Benson does. Using those trades as a measuring stick, Benson will be a reasonable and sound pick up that gives us a lot of depth down the stretch in our rotation. As for picking up a bat, Reyes will be just like picking up bat at the trading deadline. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. A lot of these close games we had over the first 34 games were without Reyes in there and only having Floyd for 6. One could reason that the Mets are at least 2.5 games better over the course of those first 34 games with a full lineup. Do they really need a big stick? They just got Floyd back who fits that bill, Phillips was struggling big time, and he looks to be coming around. With the addition of Reyes and the team coming to together, I think we may just be one quality starter from getting us to the playoffs. We just want to make some noise this season, the Mets don't have the bench depth and are a few more than 2 deadline moves away from winning the WS. I believe that even with Garcia and Beltran (can we really have 3 Garcia's on one team?), this team will have trouble making it deep into the playoffs, if they make them at all. If this team can manage to create a winning atmosphere, post a huge turnaround from last year, retain pitching depth in the minor leagues, and have a few impact position players on the horizon, we will be in much better shape to attract big names in the off season. 2004 is not the Mets year, but 2005 will begin what I hope to be long string of successful years if the Mets play their cards right. They will still be under 100 millions dollars giving them financial flexibility to do whatever is necessary to put them over the hump and have a solid foundation to build on. I just hope they do not get caught up with this idea that they are 1 or two players away.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Down on the Farm

Who does #2 work for?

With yesterday being an off-day, this is a good as time as any to take a look at some minor league players, more specifically, the pitching. With recent drafts and trades the Mets minor league pitching depth is as good as it's been in years and one of the deepest talent pools around the league today. I am going to run down my list of the top 8 pitchers the Mets system.

    Maverick, I'm going down!

    1) Matt Peterson gets the nod as the #1 pitching prospect in the system. He has done nothing but pitch lights out every step of his minor league career. He possess a mid 90's fastball and a excellent curveball. His curve is his bread and butter and may be the best in the entire system. In 2003, he pitched to the tune of a 1.71 ERA, almost a 3 to 1 K/BB ratio, and struck out more people (73) than he allowed hits (65) in St. Lucie. He earned a late season call up to AA where he got a taste of the competition he was to face this year. He held his own there as a 21 year old and was 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA. Since the '04 season began, he has pretty much dominated again. He appears to have the AA competition figured out. He is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and has increased his K/BB ratio to 4 to 1. At only 22 years old, he is definitely a very advanced pitching prospect. He has not gone unnoticed either. In an online chat with Baseball America staffers, they had stated that if Peterson continued his dominating numbers this year, he would have to be considered one of the best right handed prospects of the game. He has continued that trend and is has no doubt emerged as one of the top righties without a doubt.

    2) Scott Kazmir stops in at #2 on my list. Consensus would be that Scott is the best prospect in the system and I have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe I do not have a clue, but it is my page. I do have reasoning behind my thought process as well. Kazmir is a guy that can register in the high 90's on the radar gun, has a devastating slider, and is developing an off speed pitch that would make this guy near un-hittable with three potential out-pitches. Problem is that if he has a long successful career as major leaguer starter, he would be the exception to the rule. He is listed at 6-1, but that seems to be a bit generous. He reminds people of Billy Wagner being from Texas, short for a pitchers able to throw close to 100 mph, and the fact that they are both lefties. Kazmir likes to reference Roy Oswalt (6'-0" 185 pounds) and Pedro Martinez (5'11" 180 pounds) when drawing comparisons. Those are two guys (Pedro not so much anymore) that could bring the heat mid to high 90's and are able to have sustained success in the majors. If Kazmir turns out even close to one of those two, the Mets would be in great shape. Problem is, he has not really gotten past 93 mph from spring to the limited playing time he has seen so far. There are whispers that he may have some elbow issues already. Lots of people still project him to be a closer, and anything is still possible. The plan for now is to have in start, which I agree with. In my opinion, there are more question marks surrounding Kazmir then with Peterson, hence my choice to flop the two of them. Also, if Kazmir does have an elbow injury, who knows what path that will lead him down. It could all be rumors, but he has had the abdominal pull for quite a bit now. I hope they are only being pre-cautionary, but it is still something worth noting on how gingerly the are treating him. Until he comes back and proves that getting shelled at St. Lucie (where is held his own last year) is an aberration, the jury is still out in my book in terms of his arms holding up.

    3) Bob Keppel is the 3rd guy on the list. Keppel is a 22 year old (soon to be 23) and is moving through the system very well. He is not as overpowering as the 1st two on the list, but has a low 90's fastball and does not necessarily have one overpowering pitch. He projects as more of middle of the rotation guy, which should fit in nicely behind the aforementioned two. He was 7-2 with a 3.04 ERA in Binghamton. He needs to work on this K/BB ration as it was less than 2-1 for the B-Mets. In 94 innings he walked 27 batters and striking out 46. He started '04 off with an injury but has pitched very well in two re-hab starts going 10 innings and only surrendering 1 run for St. Lucie. He should be at AAA shortly and may very well have an opportunity this year to pitch for the big club at some point with the 5th starter spot still up for grabs and Leiter having some tendonitis early on.

    4) Tyler Yates has stated his case for some more attention this year, so I guess I will listen and go ahead and put him 4th. His major league stint may have been short, but he showed flashes of what could be. He has four pitches, and two of which look like they can be above average. His fastball gets up to the mid 90's and this power slider is a tough pitch to hit when he is on. He began mixing in an off speed pitch at times, which can just confuse hitters when he gets control of his repertoire. My biggest issue with him is that he has hovered around a 4.00 ERA at all his stops in the minors. He is now 26 and is pretty old for a prospect. I do understand he lost a bout 1 1/2 years due to TJ surgery, but even before that he never posted a stellar ERA. That being said, he has the tools to pitch at a major league level. The hope is that he just has not put it all together yet. The Mets transformed him from reliever to starter and maybe thinking about making him a reliever again. Where he will end up will be based more on whether Keppel and Peterson move up the food chain fast enough that they are ready majors by 2005. In my opinion, having a guy come out of the pen that has plus stuff with 4 pitches could be tremendous (see Eric Gagne). The thought of 2005 Met games ending something like Moreno in the 7th, Yates in the 8th, and Looper in the 9th could esentially end the game in the 6th when we have the lead. That is something that I believe can be like Lidge, Dotel, and Wagner last year for the Astros. Just a devastating display of power arms out of the pen.

    5) Aaron Heilmann begrudgingly makes my list at #5. The thing that Aaron Heilmann does best is frustrate the organization. He looks like a guy that can be a good back end of the rotation guy that will eat a lot of innings and anchor the back end of the staff with some stability. He has a very good career at Notre Dame, but has failed to show that same dominance at the minor league level. While he had a decent season at AAA last year, it was just that, decent. He exhibited nothing special. He can get his fastball in the low 90's but just does not have that killer instinct. In his stint in the majors last year, he got into 3-2 counts like he was actually getting paid to throw full counts. He continuously fell behind hitters and tried to pitch around people like they were all Barry Bonds. In '04, his ERA is over 4 at AAA. Not what you want out of a guy that is now getting rather old to be of a prospect status. Batters are also hitting over .300 against him, and his time is running out. He needs to figure it out soon, before he is cast off into no mans land.

    6) Jeremy Griffiths stops in at #6. He and Heilmann pretty much figure to be the same type of pitcher, end of the rotation guy. He is not as highly regarded as Heilmann but has put up better numbers in the last two years. He has a low 90's fastball with a curve that drops into the high 60's. Griffiths is going to be 27 when the 2005 season starts. That is the age when a player generally hits his prime. He had a nice season at AAA last year posting a 2.74 ERA and really was the best the Mets had in AAA. This year, he is doing slightly worse, but putting up decent numbers nonetheless. He is another one that is under the gun. He is not getting any younger and should be dominating AAA. Heck, Baldwin pitched better in AAA and we all know how good he is. With Keppel coming to AAA shortly, Yates' status with the team, and Peterson knocking on the door, Griffiths' relevance in with the major league club just keeps getting smaller. I think he may be a Jeff D'Amico guy in the long run if he can get a shot with someone, but getting the shot is going to prove to be his biggest obstacle.

    7) Yusmeiro Petit is a guy who at #7 who will not be there long. I am sure I will be able to move him past up past frick and frack to #5 very shortly. He is guy who does not have overpowering stuff, but keeps the ball in the stikezone and thows hard enough to be successful. He is only 19 years old and is having no problem handling the low A-ball completition. He is 4-1, with a 1.88 ERA, 48k's in 38.1 innings, 4-1 K/BB ratio, and a .163 BAA. He is knocking on the door for a bump up to St. Lucie. He is just flat out dominating so far this year and was named by Baseball America's analyst as a guy who is the sleeper in the entire organization. He has tremendous upside, and is going to start to become a more common name around the Mets organization this year.

    8) Jose Diaz is #8 on the list. He just has a cannon for an arm. A converted catcher acquired in the Jeromy Burnitz deal last year has as much upside and ability as anyone in the system. If he could actually harness his power and exhibit more control, he would be near unhittable. Even with walking about 1 guy per inning, he still manages to more than hold his own. With the exception of 1 bad start out of 7, he has just confused hitters. He has only allowed 14 hits in total, which is spectacular, and held opposing batters to .152 batting average so far. He was a reliever until this spring, when he impressed the coaches so much, they decided to give him a shot at starting. I'll give him the benefit of doubt. He has not been pitching for that long, and his control should get better. However, there are some people that just cannot figure out how to throw the ball over the plate consistently. If everyone could figure it out, we would have a bunch of Tom Glavine's out there, which is clearly not the case. His control could do him in. In no capacity, short relief, starting, or closing can a pitcher average 9 walks per 9 innings and be successful. We will just have to see how he develops over the course of the year and hope he starts to gain more accuracy.

    Honorable Mention:
    Matt Lindstom, Floyd Bannister, and Royce Ring

Monday, May 17, 2004

It's Monday, I have to work today, and I'm still happy?

First, I am ecstatic that Baldwin has finally been designated for assignment and has hopefully seen his last opportunity as a Met. Although I would expect him to clear waivers rather easily, I only hope the Mets just release him. We'll see though, I'd rather not give the Mets front office too much credit.

Secondly, Clemens did not get his eighth win this year at the expense of the Mets. If only we would have handed him his first loss, but I will still take this victory. Piazza, with first base open in the ninth inning and a man on second was pitched too. I was a bit surprised that he even got that many good pitches to look at, but I guess Christmas came early. He pounded a Dotel offering over the deepest part of the fence in right center with leadoff man extraordinaire on 2nd base, Eric Valent. That 2 run shot pushed the game into extra innings when Mr. Mario Mendoza incarnate, Jason Phillips, then pounded a 335 foot blast over the wall, which proved to be the winning run.

Hopefully, not lost in all that, was the pitching on the day. Ginter, got his first ML start. In that start he faced Roger Clemens, in a hitter's park, and against a hitting team that is also in first place. He surrendered 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings but managed to only give up 2 runs, only 1 being earned. He has done what Baldwin has failed to do. Give the team a chance.

After Ginter left the game, the bullpen managed to throw up goose eggs for the remainder of the game. Looper was dangerously close to giving up his first earned run of the season, but got himself out of a jam that he created in Benitez-like fashion.

This upcoming week a couple of x-Mets from the '03 team come back into town. Both will get vastly different receptions. The first that will come back into town is Roger Cedeno. My guess is, that he will be wildly booed as usual. He has not been gone long enough for people to erase the horrible memory of him 'patrolling' the Mets outfield. The second will be Jeromy Burnitz. I do believe he will receive a much warmer reception as he left the Mets on a high note and was respected for his hustle.

38 games into the season, the Mets are 18-20 and 3 1/2 games out of first. At this point, the team has to be very happy with their position. They just faced the hardest stretch of pitchers on consecutive days that I can remember, and came out on top winning the majority of the games going an astounding 4-1 in those 5 games. Reyes has yet to play this year, and Floyd missed 28. When Reyes comes back, it will be just like picking up a star for the final stretch of season at the trading deadline. He is going to provide a huge spark when he comes back and energize this team. I do not think a surprise run at the NL East is out of the question. I guess we will just have wait. Afterall, these are the Mets, anything (bad or good) is possible.

2004 Amateur Draft:
With the draft coming up in about a month, the Mets have their sights on 1 of 3 players who seem to be head and shoulders above the rest. Luckily, the Mets have the third pick and are guaranteed to have a shot at one of them, unless some of them decide to return for their senior year, which is highly unlikley. The consensus top pick in the draft is erratic major leaguer Jeff Weaver's younger and just as risky brother Jared Weaver. He is a junior at Long Beach State where he is compiling a tremendous season. He is 13-0 with a 1.29 ERA, he has 163 k's versus and astounding 13 BB in 104.1 innings, and has held opponents to a .147 BA. The problems I see with him are as follows and in no particular order: His agent is Scott Boras, has a ego the size of his brother's ERA, and I see him as being a potential hot-head like his brother. He will most likely be off the board with the first pick going to Padres. The next guy is Justin Verlander, who is currenlty a Junior at Old Dominion. His stats are not as good as Weaver's but he plays on a bad team that gives him very little support. His ERA is 3.33, he owns a 6-4 record, K'd 135 people in 92 innings and has a .221 BAA. He has downright nasty stuff with a fastball that can touch 100 mph. He has plus stuff across the board and is guy you'd love to get into the hands of Rick Peterson. The third guy is Jeff Neiman, who is a junior at Rice. Prior to his arm surgery, he may have been the consensus favorite. When young pitchers go under the knife, they seem to scare everyone off. He has a 2.51 ERA, 67 K's in 57.1 innings, and has held batters to a .178 ERA. The guess is the Mets will be picking up any one of those three, which is win-win situation to me. They should all be able to get to the majors with relatively few minor league stops, and will add another strong pitching prospect to our system.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Baldwin? More like Bald-loss

How can someone so bad have the word 'win' in their name. I do happen to find it ironic. Also, how does a person with and ERA over 5 after a long career still have a chance to play. Leave it to the Mets to give him a shot. Even if he performed up to his career average. He basically does not give his team a chance to win anytime he takes the mound.

Maybe he shouldn't wear his hat so low.

"I can't describe how good I felt," Baldwin said after the Mets' 7-4 loss. "I just had bad pitch selection." Could have fooled us, you certainly didn't look good in the 1st when you walked two and hit another batter. Garcia bailed Baldwin out in a big way with a spectacular play.

Let us just hope this experiment with Baldwin is over. Leave it to the Mets to demote Yates (young and possible cog for the future) and replace him with a 32 year old BP pitcher. Some things never change. The Mets are just suckers for 'veteran presence'. Maybe I'm being to hard on Baldwin, afterall, he did lower his ERA from 27.00 to 15.00.

In the lone bright spot yesterday, Phillips laced two doubles into the gap. He is really too good to keep playing so badly.

Now today Piazza and Clemens face off. Piazza is hitting .533 (8-for-15) off Clemens with four homers. Hopefully Piazza will line one off his pudgy forehead. I'm actually excited to see Ginter pitch. I am eager to see what he does. If the Mets can pull this victory off, they will have went 4-3 this week. That would be a tremendous boost.