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

Friday, July 30, 2004

Someone Make Deal Please

The trade deadline is winding down and nothing has happened. No major move, very, very boring. On a strange note, Gammons said that the White Sox are willing to just give the Mets a prospect to keep Benson away from the Twinkies. They do not have enough to pull off another deal themselves, but they can certainly make 1/3 of a deal. This was apparently close to happening last night, but fell through. I guess this will be interesting to monitor throughout the day. I am just torn about giving up Peterson for a guy who's career ERA is over 4.00. Maybe he has figured it out, but I do not think this a move the Mets need to make. I'd rather see them give Heilman a shot and see what they have there. They can make an unknown quantity a known quantity. Has Heilman improved? Let the Mets find out. Benson said he likes the Mets, so if he does, the Mets are the front runners to get him in the off-season. No need to trade away a quality arm when there is more pressing needs than the one they are about to trade for. Stand pat if you are not going to address you glaring bullpen problem. Maybe the Mets think this will really help? It might, but you have to score runs and the pen needs hold things down to win a game and that is something the Mets struggle to do consistantly. As of now, the Mets may be back in the driver's seat since the Pirates are still asking for Jason Kubel and the Twins will not trade him. However, the Braves are still lurking and are prepared to possibly offer Jose Capellan and Andy Marte. Marte was considered to be better than Wright prior to this year so this is an interesting offer that might garner some interest from Littlefield.

* * *

  • Leiter was vintage Leiter as he threw 27 pitches in the first inning. Leiter ended up going six innings giving up three his and walked two while K'ing only one.

    Five of the eight position players for the Mets had at least one hit by the 2nd inning. Cammy went deep twice. When Cammy goes deep, he goes on binges. However, the big story of the day has to be Eric "Last Guy Anyone Thought Would Hit for the Cycle" Valent did just that. He hit for the friggin' cycle. Someone just won a Lexus. I'm not sure, but I believe at start of every game I can hear Healy's annoying voice talk about someone winning a Lexus if a Met player hits for the cycle. Also, Ty's average is up to a healthy .285 and Wright picked up a few hits.

    I wish the Mets can face Rocky Biddle everyday.

  • Eric Neal from ESPN has a great outlook on the Randy Johnson trade in his new article.

    He says NO to the Dodgers, NO to the Angels, NO to anyone but the Bombers.

    That's weak. That's just a whorish glory grab. Why not go to work for Microsoft while you're at it? Why not jump in with Goliath and teach little David a lesson? Why not join the armada for a storm of the Falklands?

    Don't talk to me about the ring. He's got one. Don't talk to me about the trophy. He's got something more valuable.

    He's got a rep. He's a Yankee-killer. It's late October, 2001, and the Dynasty Boys are coming to town, and there's the Unit, looking like Yojimbo, standing tall, cutting down one pinstriped hitter after another.

  • Yankees plan to announce their plans for a $750,000,000 stadium. Now this is interesting, if the Yankees get funding, the Mets have to get some as well.

  • ESPN Power Rankings say this about the Expos.

    Don't be surprised if the 'Spos cath the Mets and escape the NL East basement by the end of the season.

    What he hell are they talking about? The Mets are 9.5 up on the Expos and 2.5 out of second place after playing really shitty. ESPN has such disdain for the Mets it actually clouds their common sense. They print non-sensical stuff about the Mets to just take jabs at them.

  • Why won't this go away? It has been well documented by bloggers that Zambrano has Leiter-esque pitch counts. There is no way this deal should get done. I finally feel like Kazmir is making some headway. Yeah, he is unproven and who knows what he'll end up being, but safety in numbers. The more good prospects you have, the more you a chance of one sticking. Besides, I feel like you can get a lot more for Kazmir.

  • Kazuo made is 22nd error.

  • Leiter is not the ERA leader...for now.

  • That Cameron thing was awesome. For anyone that doesn't know, some guy I guess was heckling Cameron. Cameron made the bet that if he hit two homeruns, the fan had to move. Cameron hit the two, but the fan did not hold up his end of the bargain. But hey, can you really trust a French Canadian?

  • Catching Up With the Newbies

    In case you were wondering what the draftees from 2004 were doing, wonder no more.

    The first # before the players name is their draft #.

    Gabriel Hernadez is the Mets highest draft pick off 2004 to lace them up for the organization. So far so good. He is 1 - 1 with a 1.17 ERA and 23 IP with 24 K's to only 4 BBs. His whip is .83 and his BAA is .188 as he is pitching for Gulf Coast Mets.

    Aaron is currently playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones and is struggling a bit with bat. He is hitting .191 with no homers and eight RBIs in 20 games. Hitting was never his strong point, but he is widely regarded as having the best arm in the Mets minor league system and one of the best arms at the catching position in the minor overall. He is defensive minded player to say the least.

    Nick is currently playing for the GCL Mets. He is batting .257 but has show some power hitting five homeruns in 101 at bats. He is currently leading the team in TB and RBIs

    Ryan is currently a member of the Brooklyn Cyclones team. He is batting .268 and has not hit any homeruns. The major strength of his game is defense.

    Scott has pitched two games for the Brooklyn Cyclones and has 2.25 ERA in eight innings. He has a .192 BAA and a 1.13 WHIP in his small body of work

    Brahiam is batting .238 with no homeruns and six RBIs for the GCL Mets.

    Jeff's pro-career is off to a rocky start. He is 0 - 3 with a 9.95 ERA in eight games with the Cyclones. Opponents are tagging him to the tune of a .361 BAA and he as a .205 WHIP.

    Parris is playing for the GCL Mets. He is batting .250 with no homers and eight RBIs in 28 games.

    Kyle did not get to show too much, he got injured after only five game of pro ball. He was batting .167 in six at-bats and one RBI before he was injured.

    554 JAMES BURT 1B
    Jim is struggling for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He is batting .204 with no homers and five RIBS in 49 at-bats.

    Sean is holding his own on the GCL Mets squad. He is batting .273 with a very nice .375 OBP%. He was walked 16 times vs. 20 K's. He is fourth on the GCL Mets in RBIs.

    Caleb Stewart has the distinction of being the only 2004 draftee above short season ball. He did not do much in his short stint with the Cyclones, but was promoted after nine games. He is doing fairly well at Cap City hitting .316 with a .426 OBP and has two homers and four RBIs in 38 at-bats. He has also double the amount of walks than he has K's.

    Michael is on the Cyclone roster. He is doing pretty well with a 2.96 ERA in 7 games started. He has some control issues as he has walked 21 batters in 27.1 innings contributing to his 1.61 WHIP.

    704 BRYAN ZECH 2B
    Bryan has played 21 games for the Cyclones. He is batting .143 with five RBI's and one extra base hit in 63 at-bats.

    Jonathan is pitching for the GCL squad. He is 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA in six games (four games started). He has exhibited good control in only walking four batters to sixteen strikeouts. His WHIP is a respectable 1.26 while holding opponents to a .262 BAA.

    Rafael is playing for the K-Mets. He is batting .234 with one homerun and five RBIs. He is the only Mets 2004 draftee playing for the K-Mets.

    Bryant is on the GCL Mets. He is batting .250 with no homeruns and three RBIs

    Armand is off to a good start for the GCL Mets. He is batting .311 and has an OBP of .446. He has registered more walks than K's. He has no homeruns and seven RBIs.

    Michael has played for both the K-Mets and the Cyclones. He had a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings before being promoted to the Cyclones. He is currently 2-0 in five games (four started) with a 2.95 ERA.

    Blake is playing for GCL Mets. He is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA and .231 BAA to go along with 1.09 WHIP.

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Houston, We Have a Problem

    Ok, Reyes is not injured. He is day to day in fact and may not miss any time. After he got injured last night, I kept thinking "here we go again", but at the same time, I was glad the Mets had Mr. Insurance Policy himself Ty Wigginton. The Mets could have stood to sustain Reyes loss for a bit, but it would not have been fun. Reyes is on fire and the Mets need him in the lineup everday. Now that his injury is cleared up, here is the real problem. the real problem.

    This is what the Mets only scoring inning looked liked.

    -V Wilson walked
    -J Seo sacrificed to first, V Wilson to second.
    -J Reyes singled to deep right, V Wilson scored.
    -K Matsui singled to right, D Wright to second.
    -M Piazza walked, D Wright to third, K Matsui to second.
    -C Floyd hit by pitch, D Wright scored, K Matsui to third, M Piazza to second.
    -R Hidalgo walked, K Matsui scored, M Piazza to third, C Floyd to second.
    -T Wigginton struck out looking.
    -M Cameron walked, M Piazza scored, C Floyd to third, R Hidalgo to second.
    -V Wilson struck out.

    See a pattern? The Mets only scored because of the ineptitude of Montreal pitching. At this point the Mets are in danger of losing the series 3-1 to the Expos when they direly needed to take series 3-1 in their favor. Losing this series to the Expos is the equivalent of teeing off in golf and not making it past the woman's tees. That is unsettling to say the least. The Mets should have blown the game apart in that inning, but two K's killed them. Putting the ball in play is must. Poor execution despite the inning being gift wrapped to them. Let's see if Leit's out can work some magic against closer converted starter Rocky Biddle.

    * * *

  • Erickson was DFA'd.

    "He was on a short leash," Duquette said. Classic. I'm going to make an obvious guess and say they are going to check out Heilman in that spot. It is now or never for him, maybe he has figured it out.

  • Peterson got thrown out of his second game of the year. His message to the umps? "Don't squeeze my pitchers of I will unleash my fury." At least someone in the dugout is coaching.

  • Three way deal brewing? The Marlins have been enlisted by the Yankees to serve them up some prospect to send to Arizona. They are dangling Jose Contreras who the Marlins were interested in before. It is also said in this deal that Johnson prefers to go to Anaheim which is pretty opposite of most reports on ESPN saying Yankees or bust. I say let him rot in Arizona.

  • Padres stepping it up in the Finley pursuit. They are also interested in dealing Payton and Montreal may be an option.

  • The Cubs are still intereted in Garciaparra, but are not willing to give up Clement. Umm, they have to give up something.

  • As the Benson turns. Benson has two days to be moved at this point. The Pirates have upgraded their request to involved AAA outfielder Jason Kubel. I can't fault Littlefield for trying to get as much as he can for the much coveted pitcher, but he may be left with his piece in his hand and nothing to show for it.

  • The Phillies are interested in Kenny Lofton for centerfield now that Steve Finley is off the table for them and not coming East.

  • A lot of interest has start swirling about Mike Sweeney. Allan Baird was quoted as saying he would only trade him if he could get him into a Pennant race. The Angels, Athletics, Dodgers, Giants, and Padres are all teams that may be interested that fit that criteria.

  • The Expos have asked for Angel Guzman and Felix pie in a deal for Orlando Cabrera to the Cubs. The Cubs do not want to part with either and ESPN suggest that the Giants may end up with Cabrera.

  • Duqutte is pulling a 'Stand' Pat Gillick move by keeping all his veterans. I'd have to say this is a wise move.

  • Spencer looks like he'll be axed.

  • Mets still secretly interested in Benson?

  • Soler is close to being a Met. I for one am very interested to see if he is a Livan Hernandez or a Jose Contreras. I hope he suits up soon.

  • Floyd apologizes:

    "Let me make this clear. I love the game. I love the Mets and New York. I play the game as hard as I can, but people don't realize the grind the season is and the toll it can take on your body. I was speaking the other day out of frustration, nothing more."

    Enter damage control. It will be interesting to see if he is still a Met in 2005. He still has value and a manageable contract.

  • Mets not on Time Warner cable? This sounds bit like the Yankees and Cablevision. The Yankees set a precedent and took Cablevision to court and won and are now basic cable with Cablevision while the Mets and MSG are not somehow.

  • Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Hell Freezes Over, Glavine Registers a Win

    I wonder if hell actually has frozen over. Glavine pitched a game in which the Mets offense scored more runs than he surrendered, albeit one more run at the point he left the game. Glavine gets back to .500 and notches his eighth victory of the season even though he should have notched up his 14th victory (or something close to that) and been in the CY Young hunt. He had not won in over a month despite being the most consistent pitcher in the majors all year. On top of Glavine actually registering a win, Stanton managed not to blow a game. I guess miracles can happen.

    Reyes is still red hot. He picked up another two hits and his average for the month is up to .316. Oddly enough his OBP is .316. Yes, that is right, he appeared in 22 games this month and has yet to draw a walk. I'm not going moneyball on anyone, but just worth noting.

    Wigginton pulled his average up to .280 after an impressive game against his arch nemesis Zach Day.

    Cameron was the offensive star hitting his 18th homer of the year and driving in three of the Mets four runs. I'm sure Glavine will take Mikey out to dinner.

    The Mets are still three games under .500 and need to get on a little win streak (I know I’m stating the painfully obvious). Oh, and the Mets are back to 5 games out of first and 3.5 out of second place. I guess one positive is that as bad as the Mets have played, they are still strangely in it. To put it all in perspective, the Pirates have the same amount of wins and one less loss and are 15 games out of first. The fact that the Mets are still legitimately in it is noteworthy in itself.

    * * * *

  • Spencer clearly distraught over the fact that his buddy was traded was caught drinking and driving.

  • Words of wisdom from Peter Gammons:

    "The Mets are now essentially out of the buyers' market and are focused on next season."

  • Scott Kazmir made and appearance at #4 on the Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet.

    The Mets finally took the training wheels off of their prized arm, promoting Kazmir to Double-A in early July. He's responded by taking a perfect game into the eighth last Tuesday while compiling a 1.73 ERA in four starts.

    The did finally stopped babying him. The Mets were perpetuating rumors about his health by treating him with kid gloves. They let him go and he turns out some great games including an eight inning performance. I’m not sure he went eight at any point in his professional career until now.

    Yusmeiro Petit stops in at #14 on the list.

  • Tyler Clippard from Low Class A Battle Creek of the Yankees organization has stopped in as an honorable mention on the prospect hot sheet. The Yankees will no doubt start trying to sell him as the second coming of Nolan Ryan.

  • Anyone watch Shark Week on the discovery channel? Last night a guy was swimming with Great Whites for some reason. No cage, just a pole. Then he tries to ride them with his hand on to the dorsal fin. Um, not sure that is a good idea.

  • BP Brawling? In one of the more bizarre things to happen this year the Rangers and the Angels got into a bit shoving match prior to the game.

  • If you have not seen the movie Starsky & Hutch with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, see it. It is some funny shit.

  • Reports are that Johnson wants out, and wants out soon.

    According to Newsday, the Yankees would be willing to assume the contracts of little-used Roberto Alomar and the injured Matt Mantei, totaling nearly $8 million, and then eventually release them both. That's on top of the $22 million Johnson is owed through 2005, which the Yankees could absorb without blinking.

    Once again, if this move happens, the Yankees will be heralded brilliant baseball strategist with the ability to get anything done. But once again, the truth is it comes down to money. They do not have the prospects to get the deal done, so they'll just eat as much money as they can to make the deal sweater. Skill? Nope.

    According to his agent:

    "If you don't trade him to the Yankees, you're going to have one unhappy player," Meister said.

    If he said that, he's an asshole. This is a team he won the World Series with and became the face of an expansion team. He owes them a bit more than two or three B-level prospects. I'm sick of this overpaid crybaby ballplayers DEMANDING trades and agents orchestrating trades. The GMs no longer run the teams, the player and agents do. The inmates are running the asylum. I say fuck Johnson let him be "unhappy" in Arizona. Boo-hoo, he'll just have to make 16 million next year and play in mediocrity. If Arizona is smart, they do not make this deal. If Garagiola makes another bust blockbuster like the Sexson and Schilling deals, he in no way deserves to have a job. So far he is looking like a horrendous GM and has done a great job dismantling a team that is not as bad as they look.

  • Floyd wants out? He already said after this contract is up, he is done. The guy is only making $6.5 million per year and would be perfect DH/OF for a cash strapped AL team that needs an extra offensive boost. If Cliffy leaves, the Mets can survive it with a good amount of talent out there in the off-season. He may be one of the more valuable pieces despite his oft injured status. A move to DH would certainly strengthen his chances of remaining healthy a whole lot.

  • Glavine said it the best:

    "To be honest with you, I don't know who we are," pitcher Tom Glavine said before last night's 4-2 victory. "I really don't. That's what's frustrating for us and our fans and everybody else trying to assess this team. We've been a very streaky team all year long. When you sweep the Yankees, I'm sure there's a feeling of, 'Hey, you beat those guys. Here we go!'

    "Are we where we are because we're much better than people anticipated or because other teams haven't done what was expected of them. Probably a little of both."

  • Dollars and Cents

    I figure since so many people are starting to hear the fat lady singing, I’ll satiate their need for info for next year. Free agency 2004/2005 will be here before you know it.

    This was going to be called Dollars and Sense, but that was too corny.

    Below is the estimated Mets payroll for this year.  There were a few guesses in there like how much Cedeno is getting paid by the Mets this year, how much of Vaughn's contract are they on the hook for that insurance is not paying, how much of DeJean's contract are they paying for, etc.  I also wanted to take a look at what the payroll is shaping up to look like next year and what holes will the need to plug with that money.  I have a bad habit of looking ahead and at this point I think some others may be looking ahead too. 

    Mike Piazza      $16,071,429
    Cliff Floyd         $6,500,000
    Kazuo Matsui   $5,066,667
    Roger Cedeno   $4,500,000
    Mike Cameron  $4,333,333
    Mo Vaughn        $4,291,667
    Richard Hidalgo $4,000,000
    Todd Zeile          $1,000,000
    Vance Wilson     $715,000
    Shane Spencer  $540,000
    Joe McEwiing    $500,000
    Jason Phillips     $318,000
    Ty Wigginton     $316,000
    Jose Reyes         $307,500
    Eric Valent         $300,000
    David Wright     $300,000
    Tom Glavine      $10,765,608
    Al Leiter             $10,295,600
    Steve Traschel  $5,000,000
    Mike Stanton     $3,000,000
    Braden Looper   $2,000,000
    John Franco       $1,100,000
    Scott Erickson    $700,000
    Scott Strickland $650,000
    Mike DeJean      $600,000
    Ricky Bottalico   $500,000 (guess)
    Jae Seo                $350,000 (guess)
    Orber Moreno    $317,500
    Dan Wheeler       $311,500

    By just subtracting the people who are not under contract for next year, I came down to the approximate figure of $ 67,000,000 for committed major league payroll including that bum Cedeno.  Give or take a few million, it is pretty close.   That does not include any buyouts either. 

    The main players from this year's team that will be either out of contract or their options will not be picked up are Leiter, Franco, DeJean, Erickson, Bottalico, Vaughn, Hidalgo, Zeile, and Spencer.  It is safe to assume Erickson, Zeile, and Vaughn will most certainly not be picked up in 2005.  That leaves Leiter, Franco, Bottalico, Hidalgo, DeJean and Spencer who would be on the Mets radar to be resigned.  Zeile has said he is done after this year, I'd have to believe him despite any desire for the Mets to have him return if Wigginton happens to be traded.   

    The Mets will be looking to fill two starting pitching holes , two bullpen holes, right field, and one bench spot.  If Ty or McEwing get moved, then there will obviously be another hole to fill, but right now, I'll pretend they are both here for the longhaul.  Besides, if McEwing was moved, then Danny Garcia would presumably replace his spot and assume the same type of role.  I have assumed Strickland will be in the bullpen so he fills one of the vacated spots or else they would be looking for three relievers.

    The first starting pitching hole may be filled by Leiter if he wants too return, which he said he would like to.  I could not see Met management turn him down if he was willing to give it another year and it makes sense in some capacity since your studs would most likely need another year of seasoning and he can bridge that gap next year so they will not be rushed.  I do have my apprehensions since his arm is in danger of falling off his body on any given pitch. That would really leave one spot in the rotation since it would appear that Seo would hold down the fifth spot in the rotation.  In 11 of his last 15 games he has not allowed more than three runs and has pitched really well in addition to being an offensive threat and threat on the basepaths. 

    The guys who are out there:
    Aaron Sele, Omar Daal, Orlando Hernandez, Esteban Loaiza, Pat Hentagen, Russ Ortiz, Matt Clement, Carl Pavano, Odalis Perez, Scott Erickson, Al Leiter, Kevin Millwood,Eric Milton, Kris Benson, Matt Morris, Ismael Valdez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Brad Radke

    The bullpen is really something that needs to upgraded badly.  This is the most glaring weakness and it needs to be addressed.  By biggest fear is that Franco wants to return and Wilpon lets him.  Franco should be cut right now.  He should not even be on the field.  If Franco has any pride, he should pack it up after this year.  He is just asking for further embarrassment if he returns.  Ideally he doesn't come back and Strickland is able to return which leaves two vacated spots. 

    The guys who are out there:
    Mike DeJean, Scott Williamson, Brad Radke, Eddie Guardado (mutual option, which will most likely be excercised), Ron Villone, Ricky Bottalico, John Franco, Rheal Cormier, Steve Kline, BJ Ryan, Felix Rodriguez, Bob Howry

    The right field spot is the position that has the biggest impact player that the Mets can get.  It is obvious who they should go for, but with Hidalgo's recent play, they Met management may decide to take the cheaper route and spend money elsewhere or just save the difference all together.   This upcoming free agent class is pretty deep in terms of solid outfielders with two superstars.  The Mets need a superstar and with Piazza's $15,000,000 coming off the books in '06, there should be no money excuses.  My fear is the Mets will once again shy away from the mega-stars as they usually do. The X-factor here is the recent developments with Cliff Floyd. His body hurts and he may want out. That may leave two vacated spots.

    The guys who are out there:
    Magglio Ordonez, Jermaine Dye, J.D. Drew, Carlos Beltran, Richard Hidalgo, Jacque Jones, Mouses Alou, Milton Bradley,

    Guys from Norfolk that may help: Victor Diaz, Prentice Redman

    The last bench spot would need to go to a backup outfielder.  With only Valent on the bench and a maybe guy in left who has a habit of getting hurt (if Ciffy stays), it would be taking a chance to only go with Valent and the idea that McEwing can play in the outfield if needed.  With all the alternatives out there, it would be nice to Spencer return.  There are not a plethora of choices in terms of a good outfield bat off the bench and Spencer has been good so far, so that is the best choice to make. 

    The guys who are out there:
    Karim Garcia, Shane Spencer, Raul Mondesi, Mary Cordova, BJ Surhoff, Rubin Sierra, David Delucci, Brian Jordan, John VanderWal, Will Cordero, Mark Sweeny, Todd Hollandsworth, Doug Glanville, Gerald Williams, Ray Lankford, Darren Bragg

    Once would have to figure that the Mets could spend about 27 to 30 million this off-season if they decided to open up the purse strings.  The Mets could put together an extremely competitive team that would be division favorites if they play their cards right.  Plus the Mets could stand to overspend with the amount of money coming off the books in '05 and again in '06.  Their payroll could still be under 100 million and still have one of the top teams in the league. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it turn out, but by my miscalculations you can have your cake and eat it too if you are the Mets management in 2005. You can bring in some big names and stay under 100 million in payroll.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Not Funny

    The wheels may have not fallen off the bus just yet, but they are hanging on by one lugnut and wobbling like hell. In fact one wheel is being held on with duct tape.

    The Mets scored ten runs, still lost by nine, John Franco gave up another two run blast and his ERA is 12.71 for the month of July (5.73 overall), Scott Erickson gave up seven earned runs in two innings, Wheeler gave up four earned runs in one inning, and Todd Zeile gave up five runs in one inning for a nifty 45.00 ERA. Yeah, Todd Zeile. I want to laugh about this game, but I just cannot. I wonder why the Mets catch so much shit from other people, I have to look no further than this game and how they have just completely shot themselves in the foot beginning with this last homestand. Just when they manage to be putting together a nice season, they turn it into a laugher in few weeks. They are now six games out and looking like a AAA ball club with the constant errors. The fact that Matsui cannot even catch a ball thrown or hit at him is an increasing concern. Maybe they will chip away, they have been down by six before, but they have never look this bad before. I do not care if the Expos are hot, the Mets should be beating this team. If they were playing bad against the Cardinals, I'd deal. But 19 runs from the worst offense in the majors and having the Expos beat you at home last series and looking like a joke in the opener in the Montreal series, I'm a bit concerned.

    On top of it all, why is it that the Mets cannot score when they are in close games, but score 10 when they are getting blown out. Hidalgo smacked two homeruns, every starter had at least one hit, and Wright hit a blast for his first major league homerun. I could be over reacting and this happens to every team once in while, but after the last week + of what has been taking place, one has to think this is the direction the Mets are going. Their bullpen just does not have the steam to help this team make a playoff push. Not that it is all their fault, they just will not have the steam. Even if the Mets start hitting slightly better, it will not matter. This bullpen and holding leads is like oil and water.

    My thing was always this. The Mets almost lost 100 games last year. Their main goal should have been to make .500 and make strides towards 2005. They were on track and then some due to a close division race. That was just an added bonus. If the Mets want to draw some serious interest from some big free agents, they need to make it look like this is a baseball club and not a circus. Right now, it looks like circus. The next three series are tough. A split on this one does not do them any good. If they lose this series with Montreal when Atlanta, Milwaukee, and St. Louis are on the horizon, things could start to look worse than this:

    * * * *

  • The Twinkies are expected to announce a Kris Benson for Doug Mientkiewicz deal.

  • The Mets have inquired about Victor Zambrano. The Devil Rays will be looking for pitching prospects in return. Zambrano is not worth any top prospects but for a mid-level you have to listen. My only problem is that he is on the books for next season too. The Mets need Clement or Pavano like a crack whore needs another hit, but I fear that they will once again take the cheaper road and feel confident with Zambrano as their only addition next year in the rotation. Glavine, Leiter (after he resigns), Trachs, Zambrano, and Seo just will not cut it.

  • Howe on Franco's ejection:

    "There's no way in the world Johnny was trying to hit the guy"

    Who really cares? Franco should never step foot on the field again. This is getting silly. Righties are batting a Helton like .333 with a .911 OPS. So basically everytime Franco faces a rightie, it is like one the best players in the league at the plate. He would make Rey Ordonez look like Mark McGwire at this point. Someone please put Mets fans out of the misery of having to watch Franco pitch just about everyday.

  • Monday, July 26, 2004

    Reality Sets In

         After yesterday's train wreck of a game, the mood has been decidedly different on WFAN and all around. Reality is setting in and people are now saying cut bait and start over. Sell off whatever pieces such as Al Lieter, Tom Glavine, Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza and move on. While the Mets are a flawed team and not an exceptionally strong one, let's face it, the NL East is not exactly full of flawless teams. In fact, name one team in National League that is not flawless. The Cardinals are the strongest team in the NL, and is anyone sold on their pitching staff getting deep into the playoffs? Look, the Mets have huge weaknesses and they are not what people would typically call a playoff caliber team, but this is not a typical year. The defense is horrendous and after three unearned runs and throwing an important game away it does nothing to assuage my feelings on that issue. It was a game that puts the Mets 3.5 games back and one under .500 or 5 back and three games under .500. Now they embark on a difficult road trip licking their wounds from a disastrous 3-7 home stand. Look, I like the idea of having Benson, but starting pitching is only a small part of the issue. They do contribute by not going too deep in game and wearing out the bullpen. However, errors and inefficient fielding adds to their not being able to go deep into games. Everyone feeds off each others inefficiencies and contributes to the overall state of the Mets. Nothing short of a sweep of the Expos for their four game set in Montreal would take the pain off of that home stand. The Mets are in danger of being behind in double digits very quickly. The Braves are hot, the Expos are playing good ball of late, and the Cardinals are the hottest team in the NL. If the Mets come in with their lethargic play for their road trip, it could get late really early. With the trade deadline right around the corner the Mets really picked a great time to turn into the bad news Bears. Duquette was insistent on buying and right now you have to wonder. You have to wonder if getting Benson is really of a paramount need. Is another reliever going to get it done? I would say probably not. If they get an effective reliever, you can bet he will be brought out nightly and worn down by the end of August, which by the way is another issue. It is not even August and the entire bullpen is worn down. On top of that, it is not even August and Mike Piazza is worn down. The Mets are not far away from being good. However, what they need is not available right now. This off season they can pick up whatever it is they need.

         Joel Sherman advocates cutting bait with the old guys and signing everyone and their mother in the off season. Problem is that there is no guarantee that you would be able to get all those players. To go into an off season assuming you can do that would be silly. Look, there is no need to spin anyone off right now. He muses that trading Glavine to Boston is good for an example. Glavine is extremely useful beyond 2004. If you are going to keep a lefty for the rotation in 2005, Glavine is most certainly the better choice over Leiter. Besides, with the 12 million per year coming to him, outside of the Yankees you would have a hard time finding anyone to flip that bill. As if that were not enough, the last thing the Mets need are any of their top three prospects. Their top three prospects are at SS, C, and 3B. The Yankees top three prospects are at 3B, 2B/3B, and C. Their really are not any trading partners that make sense for either of the Mets lefites. As for Cliffy, his salary is 6.5 per year for two more seasons after this. He may be the most attractive piece of trade bait on the team along with Richard Hidalgo at this point. However, is it really smart to trade a much valued left handed bat that you could not replace? Looking outside the box, trading Floyd's injury prone self is not the worst idea. Especially if you can bring in Magglio or Beltran and then get a Jacque Jones type in addition but that seems like a stretch. Floyd could always be traded if you did land those guys in the off season and will still have value due to his affordable contract. There is no reason to run into a fire sale with your big guys without a plan. The Mets are and will continue to infuse young talent with this older team. That is their prospective recipe for success. Duquette must be given more than 100 games to see that through to fruition. The Mets are on the right path and do have some kinks to work out, but they are not far away. The biggest obstacle the Mets have is getting the balls to bid adieu to some of their aging stars as their contracts run out and get the younger, top tier free agent talent to replace their roster spots. A fire sale would be a horrible move. Getting prospects that are going to take a few years to show any worth, if they ever do, would only push back the Mets being able to compete. I think they can compete in 2005 with the addition of four or five pieces this off season. There are more than five available options so it is only a matter of taking them.

    * * *

  • I guess you can say Reyes is starting to feel really comfortable. He went 4 for 5 in the Mets disappointing loss bringing his average up to .261. Just like last year, he is turning into a multiple hit per game machine.

  • Wright's growing pains are continuing. He made another error in the field, albeit it was a bad hop more than a botched play and he is batting .188 with his 0 for 4 performance. I will say this, he just looks like a ball player. At bat and in the field, he looks fluid and smooth. It is easy to forget that he is 21 and has a long way to go, but that is the truth. To me, bringing Wright up now had is positives and negatives. I will skip the negatives and just mention that getting him over two months of major league service in 2004 will make him that much more of a better player in 2005. 2005 is a time when the Mets may need him more and he should be able to be an impact player from day one instead of going through his rookie growing pains during a campaign in which the Mets could be legitimate contenders.

  • DeJean threw four scoreless innings in two consecutive games. If eating innings is all he does, it is a good thing from my point of view.

  • Sherman gives us this tidbit from this article:

    Technically, even after this loss, Leiter was right; the Mets were still in the race. But here we are talking about them getting Pittsburgh's Kris Benson, and has anyone noticed the Pirates actually now have a better record than the Mets?

    The wildcard race is not exactly what the Mets are eyeing and the Pirates are not either. The Mets are also not chasing the Cardinals, but point well taken.

    Also, watching Jason Bay flourish over in Pittsburgh makes me wonder what the hell Steve Phillips was thinking trading Bay for Steven Reed. A top tier talent for mid level, middle reliever? I must be missing something.

  • Dave Kingman and Tommie Agee share the Met record for strikeouts in a season at 156. Mike Cameron is on pace to K 164 times. We could be watching Metropolitan history in the making this year. A Met record set before our very own eyes. When it gets closer, I'll start keeping the K countdown.

  • Bill Simmons' from ESPN's Page2 wrote and article on the dude who just won't lose at jeopardy. Pretty funny. Some funny quotes from Bill's wife on the JG (the nickname the affectionately refer to him by):

    "I hope he gets eaten by a tiger."

    "I can't even look at him anymore," the Sports Gal hissed last week. "His face is so punchable."

    Those are some priceless quotes.

    I'll have to give it to her, that face IS punchable though.

  • Schilling has some words about Puss-rod's actions here. Look, he can do what he wants, but I saw Nomar get plunked on Friday. You know what he did? Jogged to first. Get over it.

  • Steve Finley to the Marlins? According to ESPN, talks are heating up and the Marlins may be willing to move prized prospect Jason Stokes. The Marlins balked at giving the Mets Stokes for Benitez in 2003, and would only give up Adrian Gonzalez (who may be better in the long run anyway). Marlins are getting desperate for some more offense as the division is slipping away.

    Also, if the Marlins cannot land Finley, they may turn their attention to Danny Bautista of the Marlins.

  • A Benson deal is supposedly already in place. According to ESPN, the Pirates are prepared to accept a deal that does not include Ty Wigginton or Ryan Howard. The Twins are reportedly offering Doug Mientkiewcz, who is inked for 2005 and an option for 2006, and the Angels are offering Casey Kotchman. The only thing about the Angels is that if they are offering up Kotchman, they can him in package to get Johnson. If they are truly OK with dealing him, that is worth keeping an eye on.

    For what it is worth, I had a dream that Benson is going to the Twins. I'm not sure why I was dreaming about this, but it is disturbing. It means that I'm either a clairvoyant or I am overly interested in Kris Benson. Either way, some time off may be needed.

  • Sunday, July 25, 2004

    The Baseball Off Season Just Got Longer

    I have to confess, not only do I like the Mets, but my favorite football team is the Miami Dolphins. So the news that Ricky Williams is going to retire at the ripe age of 27 is bad news for the organization and fans. He is leaving millions of dollars on the table but is apparently doing what he wants..

    "I have no idea what I'm going to do," he told the Herald. "Who knows? I just know it is going to be fun. Going to school again. Going to travel for the next six months. I'm halfway intelligent. I'll figure something out. I don't feel like I have to explain myself to anyone. All I end up doing anyway is giving rebuttals, and it is boring. I don't want to do it anymore. That's it. I don't want to do this anymore. If people really care about me, that would be enough for them."

    He wants to do other things, it is hard to fault him for that. However, anytime someone so loaded with talent and tremendous ability walks away from the game it is not something fans want to hear. He has always been eccentric, and this time is no different. Just like everyone thinks he is weird, he thinks everyone else is weird. For my own selfish personal reasons of trying to keep myself interested in the baseball off season, I hope the Dolphins can talk him into unretiring.

    * * *

  • That brawl between the Yanks and the BoSox was one of the best I saw. Varitek putting A-Rod in the hurt locking is on of the more classic moments of this year. Oh, the game wasn't too bad either with Mueller knocking in a two-run game winning homerun of Rivera in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

    "How's my glove taste Puss-rod?"

  • The Mets game featured a lot of firsts. Leiter throwing 117 pitches in 5 innings, Stanton blew a lead, they left 14 men on base, and Mets failed to give decent starting pitching any run support. Fantastic.

    "When I make mistakes, they are hitting it"
    - Mike Stanton

    Uh, ya think?

  • Wiggie to first and Piazza to catcher?