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

Thursday, May 27, 2004

2004 Draft

As the draft gets closer I’m reading a lot of different things. Baseball America has the Mets drafting Stephen Drew at number three with the Padres getting Jared Weaver and the Tigers taking Jeff Neimann. Jayson Stark had in his latest Rumblings & Grumblings article that the Padres will draft Jared Weaver, the Tigers drafting Justin Verlander, and the Mets taking Philip Humber.

Now, neither one is what I was expecting. I was sure that Verlander or Neimann would end up being drafted with Weaver as a long shot if he somehow did not get signed because he will be demanding too much money. Then Drew and Humber got thrown into the draft. I guess it really depends on which direction the Mets want to go.

Philip Humber combines with Jeff Neimann, Wade Townsend, and Josh Baker to make what many call the best college pitching staff ever. They have three pitchers likely to go into the first round and another to get chosen by the end of the second round. Humber is a guy who would be a safe pick and someone that will most likely be ready to pitch in the majors within a year or two. He will not cost as much as Drew, Weaver, or Neimann and would not have as high of a ceiling as a guy like Verlander, but is more refined.

I basically have no issues with Humber, Weaver, Neimann, or Verlander and obviously two of them will be available. The idea of them picking Drew does not make sense to me. They do not exactly have middle infield depth in their system, but with Reyes and Matsui, it does not exactly seem to be a need. Drew could be ready by the time Matsui leaves, but from what I read in various articles, scouts are not thrilled by him and call him a Todd Walker like player. Is that really worth a #3 pick? He may not even go until the end of the first round. When you pick this high, you go for the best available. There are no impact “can’t miss” position players like Mark Texeira, B.J. Upton, or Joe Mauer, so I say go with the drafts strengths. You can never have enough pitching and there are several college arms that will be able to make a big league contribution soon. It just does not make sense to not go in that direction since that is what is of the highest quality. It is so hard to project players in the baseball draft, it is probably the hardest sport to try and project stars, which is why you pick the best available talent and worry about the rest later.

Besides, doesn’t pitching win championships and not oft injured short stops rumored to have motivation problems?

When the Mets make their pick, it better be a pitcher, or else it would have been a wasted pick. The past two drafts, they had a mid-round pick. They got Kazmir and Milledge because they dropped down in the draft for whatever reason, but where legitimate top 10 pick talents. Now that they have the third pick, they might be the team that passes up on the top tier talent for whatever reason and allow the teams behind them to pick up better players. If Verlander is on the board when they pick, how do you pass up a guy with two plus pitches and routinely hits 99 mph on the gun?

Ultimately, I think they will go with pitching. The lack of impact position players really necessitates this move. I would personally love to see Weaver drop back for whatever reason, even though he does not project as #1 starter in some eyes. He could be in Shea 2005 with Peterson and Keppel with Kazmir and Pettit in the waiting for what would could be a devastating rotation and unbelievable success for a long time. Oakland has the big three, maybe we have the big five. I believe a good second baseman is more likely to be had than good young cheap pitching. Danny Garcia proved that he will at least be able to hold down that position and not be a detriment to the team if Matsui ends up not in Met uniform after his contract is up. With Reyes, Wright, Matsui/Garcia and Piazza/Phillips (and in the future Brazell, Bladergeon, Harper, and Davdison) I just do not see a specific need for Drew at this time since the infield looks set for the foreseeable future. For the most part, all of the pitchers I mentioned above will most likely not pan out into stars. Hitting is much easier to predict in the majors than pitching, which is why you can never have enough strong arms in the system.

Note to Duqette, the Defense is not Stronger

Defense, defense, defense.

I guess when they scouted Kaz they forgot to check out if can actually catch the ball. He is last in the majors for fielding % for shortstops with .954, second to last in the majors in zone rating for shortstops .788, and leads the majors in errors for shortstops with 10.

Ty Wigginton has a .727 zone rating and a .928 fielding %.

Overall the Mets are ranked 27th in fielding %, 24th in zone rating, and only two teams have committed more errors.

That is almost identical to the 2003 numbers. I am not going to sit here and say the Cameron has not helped, but even he has about fifteen people ahead of him in fielding % and seven more ahead of him in zone rating. There is no doubt centerfield is upgraded over last year, but shortstop is worse, piazza is a downgrade over Phillips, and rest remains about equal. That adds up to a worse defense in total in my book.

Games like last night are going to happen. Two errors are going to happen to lead to a big inning once in while. It is a long season. However, it does not make it easier to take. An area that was supposed to be our strength this year has become our weakness. In my book, Piazza should not have played first on Wednesday. He had Monday off, played first on Tuesday, and has today off as well, so he should have been catching yesterday. I firmly believe he is less of a liability at catcher. Also, with the Mets traveling to Florida, who is a running team, he does not figure to catch at all until next week anyway. I think he should still catch when he can and it will not affect his hitting, health, and stamina, which was last night. You may be thinking I am a Monday morning quarterback, but click here and read.

Bottom line is this, last night was tough one to swallow. 3-0 lead in the 7th inning, in a game that would have brought us to within one game of the Phillies and two games over .500, you have to not beat yourself. If they hit five homers, fine, they beat us. We beat ourselves and that is something that is not acceptable in this circumstance.

Insult to injury, Reyes’ back is still hurting as he maybe adjusting to his new running style (so they say). It is frustrating as a fan when you see a desperate need for him, and he just cannot seem to get better. He will most definitely be back, but it looks like later rather than sooner as his outlook for the Florida series when from long shot to not happening. This team may have more holes than just starting pitcher and right fielder. It will be tough to beat good teams in the playoffs when the infield defense will consist of Piazza, Matsui and Wigginton who are some of the worst stat wise in the league and the bullpen is wildly inconsistent. Piazza gets a free pass somewhat since he is learning on the job. Luckily Glavine is on the hill tomorrow. Four of his six wins came after a Met loss and has really came up big so far this season. Simply for morale reasons, the Mets need to stay above .500. That loss last night was the difference between having a slight buffer and having your back against the wall. I know everyone thinks it is early, but one reason why the Mets have been winning is because they believe they can. If they lose that, it will start to look like 2003 really quick.

P.S. Cameron needs to go on the DL, if he cannot swing the bat, he should not be in the lineup.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Good Bye Shea?

Jayson Stark seems to have some inside information.

The Yankees' next major acquisition? It could be the next Yankee Stadium. A source in New York City reports that the city is quietly moving ahead on plans to build new parks for both the Yankees (in the Bronx) and the Mets (in Queens) -- and could announce both before the end of this season.

They Must Be Smoking Some Good Stuff in Washington

John McGrath from the The Tribune News wrote and article about the Mets acquiring Freddy Garcia. He suggests it is as simple as trading David Wright combined with either Justin Huber or Mike Jacobs and then one of Craig 'Brozell' or Victor Diaz or Prentice Redman or Esix Snead thrown in for giggles. I'm not sure who Craig 'Brozell' is, he may be related to Craig Brazell, but I have not been able to confirm that. In my opinion, he writes the article in a condescending fashion and he then describes Mets as desperate and obviously implies that they dumb (they may be). I can safely say the Mets are not 'desperate' enough to trade away their top position prospect (and arguably their best overall prospect), possibly their best catching prospect in Huber, along with a another quality prospect for a half year rental. I am not too excited to see who the Mets part with if they do part with anyone, but mortgaging their future like that would effectively end 'the plan'. I do believe he is over estimating Garcia's worth as well. I should hope the Mets would have learned from past and make the wise decision to stay the course. I still maintain that if any pitching is picked up, it should be Benson. He will not cost a Wright, Peterson, or Kazmir and will keep us in line with our eyes on the future while improving our chances this year.

Movin' On Up

The Mets are now one game over .500 with last night's victory. Trachsel turned in another superb performance and the second straight shutout by Met pitchers. The generous strike zone sure did not hurt either. Piazza slammed another homerun, Cliff Floyd picked up a couple hits, and the Mets were aided by six base on balls which certainly came back to hurt the Phillies. Pat Burrel the Met killer was 0-3 with 3 K's and the 3-4-5 spots in the Phillies lineup managed only one hit and K'd six times. I do realize it was one game, but it was a statement game.

Wigginton's error in the 7th inning was just flat out ugly. As much as I have been against rushing David Wright, it is getting hard to ignore the fact that he may be able to help and has to be an upgrade all around over Wigginton at this point.

There is something going on with Cameron. We knew he would kill rallies, but this is getting silly. If his wrist hurts so much then put him on the DL. That is the excuse that keeps surfacing, but he is kept in for his defense. In my opinion, Jeff Duncan can play more than adequate defense and could not do much worse than Cameron has been at the plate of late. It is more important to have Cameron healthy than to appease Cameron and the fact that he has not been on the DL yet in his career. Maybe he is ok to play and is just slumping, but it certainly does not appear to be the case. If we are going to be in it for the rest of year, then we need to be running on all cylinders. Cameron batting .204 is certainly not running on all cylinders.

This teams looks like it may have chemistry. The problem with chemistry is that when you introduce another component, it may throw everything off. The Expos traded for Floyd back in 2002 and promptly traded him to the Red Sox when they felt that they were better off without him. I do think this team could stand to add another starter, but I really do not want to see any major moves made. I would rather take my chances with this lineup, or a slightly upgraded lineup than have any drastic changes and give up top tier talent from the farm system. Part of the reason that the Mets farm system is highly regarded is because it has a lot of impact players, and if you take away even one of those impact players, it drastically changes things. The bottom line is this. Is the team that we have really much better, in terms of overall skill level, than the 1999 and 2000 Met teams? Absolutely not.

I knew I should not have written anything about Reyes. I was conflicted as to whether I should have written anything and I jinxed it. Reyes sat out because of a sore back that he got from driving. That ranks up there with Sosa sneezing his way onto the DL.

1st Quarter Bullpen Report Card

The bullpen was something that I thought would be one of the strengths of the 2004 Mets. While I do not think it is horrible, it certainly is not good. The excuse can be made that they are overworked, they are. But for the most part, there is some dead weight.

Braden Looper: A+
You really cannot ask Looper to do any more than he has done. I still think the official scorer botched Wigginton's non-error that led to Looper's only two runs of the season. In my book, Looper still has a 0.00 ERA. The guy has only walked 3 people, which is a refreshing change over Benitez last year. Looper saws bats off like it is his job and has not allowed the long ball yet. For the record, Jack McKeon saying Benitez is more intimidating than Looper obviously was not into horror films. As Norm from the Shea Hot Corner pointed out on April 19th , Looper is a spitting image of Frankenstein. Now I do not know about you, but if Frankenstein is staring me down in the 9th inning, I would be a bit rattled. Looper has been a great pickup, Benitez in the 9th is but a distant memory.

Ricky Bottalico: A
Sure he has only pitched 11.1 innings, but for what was expected out of him and what the Mets are paying him, it is hard not to be extremely satisfied. He is among the few that instill some confidence in me when they come into the game. Ricky reminds me of Weathers back when I thought he could get people out.

Orber Moreno: B
He has pitched better than his ERA would dictate. He leads the bullpen in K's per nine innings and has a great K to BB ratio. Orber also joins Looper and Bottalico as the only two current bullpen members not to have given up a homer. I think he has the making of great set up guy for Looper and I think he will settle into the role by the end of the season. The thing that I really like about Moreno is even when he does not have his best stuff, he is still effective. There are times he is around 88 to 90 on his fastball and people are still swinging and missing. He kind of reminds me of Bartolo though, and he keep eating, they may be able to pass as twins.

Mike Stanton: C-
He just pitched himself out of a D by striking our Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded last night. Sure it would have been ball four, but in the stat books today, it looks like a big fat strike. He has actually pitched better of late, but has still walked 10 batters in 24.1 innings. That is too much. If it means something to you, he leads the team with 8 holds..it does not fool me. It just tells me he had too many opportunities. Somehow he only has 1 blown save, I think someone is lying. Stanton gets paid $3,000,000 on top of it all.

Dan Wheeler: C+
I may be biased to Wheeler because I think he was huge last year and one of the bright spots on the team. In reality, if you take the horrible game in Arizona out after he relieved BP Baldwin, he has actually had a good year to date and is a reliable long man. I certainly hope Wheeler will be around for a while, he attacks batters. He rarely finds himself behind hitters and has struck out 20 batters while only walking 4 in 24 innings. He has given up four homers on the year, but three of them were in that Arizona game. If not for that Arizona game, he would have a 2.78 era, but he did have the game, so he gets the C+.

John Franco: F
I still cannot figure out why he is here. I believe he serves no use and have no idea what Wilpon's love affair of him is all about. I do not think he even deserves real review. When Strickland comes back, Franco better be the odd-man out. He is clearly the least valuable of anyone in the pen.

David Weathers: D
Maybe all the miles may have caught up to him, maybe they have not. Weathers has been solid throughout his Met career, but he has not gotten the job done this year. There is no way to sugarcoat a 5.30 ERA. He is one guy I pull for more than any other, and I hate to see him struggle like this. It is hard to entrust him with a game at this point since he lets the leadoff guy on about 50% of the time and there is just no room for that.

Overall, I think we have a sufficient bullpen. Weathers will rebound, Stanton has been better over the last twenty games than he was in the first twenty games, Franco is actually getting people out, and Moreno is going to just get better. Strickland is due back sometime this summer and he should provide some boost to the pen as well. Lucky for the Mets, Stanton, Franco, and Weathers are all in the final year of their respective contracts, and I would hope they are not invited back. In 2005, I believe a very formidable bullpen can be formed between a combination of Looper, Moreno, Bottalico (he can serve as the resident crafty veteran that the Mets so dearly love), Wheeler, Strickland, Royce Ring, Grant Roberts, and Tyler Yates. I just hope the Mets can actually muster up the cajones and cut bait.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sometimes I wish I Was Smarter

As Vinny from The Yankees Mets and the Rest pointed out, Jaque Jones will most assuredly be on the Mets list of possible replacements. He is currently hitting .306 with 8 homers and just be turning 30 around opening day. He is a left-handed bat that can hit left handers as well as right handers. He is an all-around solid player that can turn in 20 homers 85 RBIs on a consistent basis. With Torii Hunter and Shannon Stewart as mainstays in the outfield for the Twins, Jones is seemingly the odd-man out. The Twins have depth in the outfield and several young guys ready to step in, namely Lew Ford who is already making quite an impression with the with the Twins. Stewart will be a relative bargain as well and already was the subject of many trade rumors prior the season. The other positive about him is that it does not make sense for the Twins to offer him arbitration in the fear that he may actually accept it. They would have quite an over crowding problem if he did accept arbitration, which makes him all the more interesting choice as he may not compromise future draft picks.

The Not So Hot Corner Outfield Spot

The thing that scares me more than the boogie man under my bed or my girlfriend saying "we need to talk" is the right field situation in 2005. It is anyone's guess as too who it may be out there in 2005...Beltran, Garcia/Spencer platoon, Burnitz, Micky Mouse, Pope John Paul, or Magglio. As early as it may be to talk about that, it does relate to an area that the Mets may be interested in strengthening prior to the trading deadline if they make the grave mistake of detouring from their plan. Carlos Beltran and Magglio Ordonez are obviously the prized possessions at the end of '04 season, but neither one really seems likely to end up at Shea. Here is my list of most likely options:

Carlos Beltran would be the best available person for the job. He will be 28 years old opening day 2005 and would fit the idea of younger, more athletic, and quality glove the Mets were preaching about this past off season. We can afford him, but the problem would be that we have Mike Cameron in center. Beltran would most likely not accept a move to right field since he should have more than enough offers that would actually include that in his 2005 job description. The option is always there to move Cameron to right, but that seems as likely as Steve Phillips getting re-hired as Mets GM for 2005. The thought of Matsui, Reyes, Beltran, Piazza and Floyd as the first five in my lineup is the equivalent of free buffalo wings and free beer for the rest of my life, it cannot get better than that. Especially since the top three batters would all be switch hitters with serious speed. Unfortunately, this is just a pipe dream unless Duquette can pull of some serious magic. The fact that Boras is his agent does not bode for us either. Boras and the Mets have had little to no working relationship in the past and we have no Boras clients on the team (not 100%, but pretty sure). While anything can happen, I would have to say this is a long shot.

Magglio Ordonez would be the second choice for the Mets. He will be 31 on opening day and still has plenty left in the tank. He is a perennial .300, 30 homer, 100 RBI guy that would drop quite nicely into the 3-hole in the batting order. The biggest obstacle with him would be the White Sox. He has made no secret that he wants to return to the White Sox and the White Sox have said they want him to return. The sticking point is adding a fifth year to his contract, which Magglio is 100% stuck on and the White Sox have been reluctant to give. The White Sox have Carlos Lee in the outfield and have three strong prospects in Jeremy Reed, Joe Borchard, and Ryan Sweeney for the outfield as well. In terms of their minor league system, the outfield is the deepest position in the system, which is why they would rather not have Magglio for the full five years. There is a chance that the contract talks will break down. It is my opinion that the White Sox could spend that $15,000,000 per year in other areas, more specifically pitching, especially since they have plenty of near ready major league outfielders that can step into right field. If the talks to wind down, I think the Mets have as good a chance as anyone to land him, but that is a huge IF. I do believe the White Sox will give in to that fifth year, and Magglio will be off the table.

Milton Bradley would register next on my list for most desirable people to land in right field at Shea in 2005. Although he has a bad reputation, I have not heard anything negative about him this year and sometimes you have to take a chance anyway. His numbers suffer a bit while he is a home in Dodger Stadium, but they are not too bad overall. Playing in LA really gives the Mets a good idea how he would fare in Flushing. He would be a lot cheaper than the aforementioned pair above, but not quite at the same talent level. He would surely be an upgrade and he would come with a high ceiling. Bradley has the tools to be a top tier player and showed that last year. It sure does not hurt to be the creator of Chutes & Ladders either. In the end, since I believe Beltran will remain in the AL and Magglio will be resigned to the White Sox, the Dodgers will have the inside track on Bradley. He will have been on the team for a year already and the Dodgers have the pockets to give him whatever he will be asking for. Since they will be devoid of options, the will give in. After all, they gave up their third best prospect in the system for him, they might as well keep in around for a few years.

The Shane Spencer/Karim Garcia platoon may rear its' ugly head in 2005. While I will be the first to say that two headed monster has impressed me a lot this year, especially with their hustle, they are not the long term solution. Flashing the occasional leather and running down the line like you are running from the cops will only get you so far. Karim has an abysmal .281 OBP% which is not acceptable in any form of a starting role. Furthermore, the reason he was brought here was to hit righties. He is batting .218 against righties with a .262 OBP% and is hitting .368 against lefties with a .400 OBP%. I do realize the ABs vs. left handed pitching is small, but the he has not done his job against righties to say the least. Continuing on this strange trend, Shane Spencer is hitting .214 with a .241 OBP% against lefties and is hitting .347 with a .392 OBP% against righties. I am not even going to try and get into analyzing this, but they are doing the exact opposite that there were brought here to do! By this reasoning, Spencer should platoon when a right-hander is on the mound and Garcia should platoon when a left-hander is on the mound. Either way you shake it, they would be welcome on the bench as outfield reserve players, but not my idea of the production that this Mets team needs from that right field spot.

Eric Valent has played himself into this mix. Although I cannot seriously count him as an option since he only has 4 at bats against lefties, all resulting in no hits. He would need to get some serious playing time versus lefties and prove himself in a bigger sample size. I do not think the Mets front office would be considering him very seriously at the end the year as a valid option, and I do think he is useful player, but more in reserve position. (At least the reserve outfield spots in '05 looks pretty good)

Victor Diaz is a long shot for this spot but is definitely a candidate none the less. He is a second baseman made outfielder that is a perennial batting champion in the minor leagues, but got off to a sluggish start this year. He is still batting under .270, but I do not anticipate that will be the case all year. He may not be able to field, but the guy can rake. He has a long way to prove that he is worth consideration, and those three walks in 40 games do not help either.

Craig Brazell can be thrown into the same long shot category that Victor Diaz is in. Like Victor Diaz, he has never seen a pitch he did not like. With organizations stressing players to work the count and getting on base with a free pass, he would be classified in the anti-Moneyball category as he has only walked 7 times in 41 games. His walk totals are the worst thing he has going for him, but he has major league power. He is currently on pace to hit over forty home runs in AAA. That is impressive enough to catch anyone's eye. Brazell for the most part plays first base, but can play a little outfield and may ultimately be better suited in left field if he did get the nod to play the outfield on a consistent basis.

With the exception of a trade out of the blue, I believe those will be the choices Duquette will be faced with to plug into right field. Some decisions better than others, but most will leave us around the same talent level that we have right now. I'm sure some other guys will be thrown into the mix, but after Geoff Jenkins and Garret Anderson extended their contracts with their current teams, it really hurt the talent pool. I guess the two year contract that Duquette refused to give Jose Guillen looks pretty appetizing at this point when presented with the likely options. Beltran will draw interest from the Yankees, Cubs, BoSox, Mets, and Dodgers. That is a bidding war we may not be able to win. As for Magglio, I believe our only serious competition if he does not sign with the Sox is the Dodgers. They want will most likely want him as bad as we do especially since they traded their right fielder of the future Franklin Gutierrez in order to get Milton Bradley. However, with the way that the Mets treat the superstar free agents, I'm sure we will hear some excuses as to whey they cannot make an offer to Beltran and Ordonez and we will be relegated to another year of the dynamic duo or something equivalent. Maybe I am being pessimistic, but the Mets front office has not exactly been kind to us and the big fish are going to be tough to land. I sure hope I am wrong though.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, predictions on who will be in the right field by Franco's tomato plants, post your comments.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Damn Kit Pellow

Glavine was sooooooooooo close to throwing the damn no hitter. He was down to the seven hole in the Rockies order with two outs in the eighth, when Kit Pellow doubled off the right field wall. I was really starting to believe this was going happen when it is all squashed with one swing. It is really hard to stay that upset since Glavine finished the game, throwing a one hit shutout for his first complete game in a Met uniform. Matsui set a new Met record for most leadoff home runs in a season with five, which is crazy since every single home run Matsui has hit was too leadoff the game. Kaz is batting .260 and seems to be picking up his hitting a bit and has a acceptable .337 OBP. Floyd is continuing to punish the ball and proving how much better the Mets are with him in the lineup.

Non-Met fans are probably wondering how we can be so happy with a .500 record, since that is the definition of mediocre, but we are. Only three games out with the next twelve games against Florida and Philadelphia, it should get very interesting. The Mets are up for a defining two weeks and will most likely dictate whether Duquette and Wilpon will be buyers or sellers.

And yes, the Mets are on the back pages despite a Yankee victory, it only took a brush with history to do it.

Minor Notes:
-Reyes went 0-5 and played all nine innings
-Wright went 2 for 3 with a homer continuing his torrid pace
-Victor Diaz went 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs and is seemingly heating up after a rather tepid start
-Matt Peterson got shelled for 9 runs (7 earned) and 2 innings. Despite that, his ERA is still only 3.54
-Aaron Heilman gave up for 5 runs in 7.1 innings yesterday. What is going on with him? Aaron is turning 26 this year and the Mets patience has to be wearing thin

1st Quarter Starting Rotation Report Card

Being that the 1st quarter is done and gone, added to the fact that I sadly have nothing better to do. I am going to do a first quarter report card for the Mets staff.

Overall Rotation: B

Al Leiter: B
How could a guy with a 2.52 ERA and a .210 BAA be only a B? Simple, in five of seven games started he only went 5.0 innings, 5.1 innings, 5.0 innings, 5.0 innings and 4.0 innings (granted he was injured in this one). For the most part he has been lights out when he pitches, but you need to go deeper in games to be a truly effective pitcher and help out the team. Due to a lack of support when he pitches and the bullpen’s failure to hold some leads, he is only 1-2. Furthermore, the Mets are only 2 and 5 when he pitches. This year Al seemingly labors too much and his K to BB ratio is 1.3, that is not too hot. Al also walks and average of 4.14 batters per nine innings. Believe me, I’ll still take Al in a big game, but his effectiveness is starting to slip. He needs to put in more innings and try not to have 100 pitches by the 5th. Overall, you have to be happy with a the 38 year old and just hope he can come back and be healthy for the rest of the season.

Tom Glavine: A+
What’s not too like about what he has done so far this season? He has not pitched less than 6 innings in any start and just flirted with a perfect game into the 7th and a no-no into the 8th on Sunday. His K to BB ratio is 2.71, his BAA is .193, his ERA is 2.13 (good for 5th in the NL, which is also good for 5th in the majors) and he is on pace for 22 wins. On top of that, he is batting .263 with 3 RBIs, 2 BB, and fields his position with the best of them. There really is nothing he does not do well and is quickly erasing the sub-par season he turned in last year.

Steve Traschsel: A
In nine games, he registered at least six innings eight times and over seven innings four times. Since his 1st game, which he got shelled by Atlanta, he has a 2.33 ERA and is as solid as they come. You know he is going to go out there and give you a quality start and keep you in the game nightly, all for the bargain price of five million dollars. Like Glavine, he takes his hitting seriously and is no easy out. He is batting .273 in 2004, which is better than I can say for at least 5 regular starters whom I will not name by names.

Jae Seo: D+
Righties are batting .365 against him, his ERA is 5.30, he walks more people than he strikes out, and his velocity is down from last year. He does not give quality innings or go deep into games. After a tremendous and exciting rookie campaign where he participated in game which saw the minimum 27 batters faced he has failed to follow it up. While he is too young to give up on, one has to wonder what usefulness he serves in the future. His reported reluctance to add a curveball to his repertoire is somewhat perplexing. This is the only pitcher that has seemingly gone backwards in the grips of Rick Peterson. His constant cracked nail and blister problems are getting old quickly as well. Jae Seo is just lucky the Mets have so many question marks in the starting rotation, or he would be at Norfolk right now.

Tyler Yates: D
While he created a buzz in the spring training, that has quickly faded. His BAA is .317, he has a K to BB ratio of nearly 1. I realize he may be a work in progress, he has 4 good pitches, and he was a reliever in the past, but I just cannot seem to take many positives from his performances. Aside from two starts against the mighty Expos, he has routinely been torn apart. Yes, he is still young but his future in the starting rotation is a question to me. In his first inning pitched, he has only given up 2 runs on the year while holding the opposition to a .167 average. Yates also walks about 1 out of every 8 people in the first 3 innings and walks 1 out of ever 5 innings in the next three innings on average. If this is an experiment to be continued, it may be best done at AAA to gain some stamina. He does not appear ready for MLB competition at this point in a starting role. However, the Mets have little choice at this point when the alternative was James Baldwin. Unless the Mets want to give Heilmann or Griffiths another shot, Yates is the guy until Keppel or Peterson (less likely) is ready to contribute. It is my contention with the plethora of starting pitching and the # 3 pick in the 2004 draft, Yates' future in the rotation may not be the optimal path. He may be best suited for a set-up role at this point in order to be as effective as he can be and contribute the team. There will be plenty of bullpen jobs in 2005 to be had, and I would not mind seeing Yates in one of them. I have stated it before, a combo of Moreno, Yates, and Looper in 2005 could be devastating.

Matt Ginter: INC.
I will reserve judgment on Ginter as of yet. When he pitches, the Mets are 2-0 and he has kept the team in the game both times. As long as he continues to be effective in that capacity until we can sort this rotation out, I have no problem with him. Once Leiter returns he will most likely be kept in the rotation with Yates being sent down. At that point it is his to lose. If he can keep the Mets in the game for the most part, he should be just fine as the #5 starter.

Sunday, May 23, 2004


The Mets played their 14th 1-run game of the season. That is over 25% of their games decided by 1-run and 21 games decided by 2 games or less, which equates to almost 50% of their games. You can say what you want about the Mets, but you cannot say their games have not been interesting. Yesterday's game was great, despite a poor pitching performance by Yates. Matsui homered, Wiggie with the 2-run game winning homer, and Looper adding some excitement by letting Burnitz get a leadoff double then striking out two of the next three batters.

Today they go for the sweep and .500. Glavine vs. Estes today should be interesting. Despite a 6.31 ERA, Estes is 2nd in the league with 6 wins. I'm feeling a big game by Glavine.

The NYPost has an article on David Wright this morning, check it out. Wright actually lives close to the Norfolk Tides and watched them growing up in the area. In the article he was questioned as to who was the best player he saw on the Tides, he responded with Rey Ordonez. That comment alone speaks volumes in regards to the level we raised our talent to in the organization. Many more impact players than we had in the past.

The NYPost also has an article about our pitching. While it overall has been good, the depth has not been what it originally was thought to be. With Roberts, Baldwin, Erickson, Yates, Seo, Heilmann, and Grifiths, it was to be believed we would not have any 4th or 5th starter problems. Think again.

Jose Reyes went three for five in his 2nd rehab start on this go around of rehab starts. I am pretending that it did not happen as I do not want to get overly optimistic that he actually is coming back. I will believe it when he is actually in the lineup.

Someone needs to step up from the starting rotation and go seven or eight innings. We are going to have no arms left in the bullpen by the end of the year. They are all going to be dead if they keep it up at this rate. Duquette should look at trading for Kris Benson for that reason alone. His 4.62 ERA tells me that he will not be expensive and will not cost anything but B-Level prospects. He also has not pitched less than five innings this year, and not less than six innings in five outings out of eight. He may not be Randy Johnson, but he will help the team this year without impacting our 'rebuilding' phase and help us play 'meaningful games' this year. So as Duquette said, the Mets can play for this year and still rebuild. As much as that is contradicting, I believe it.