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

Saturday, August 14, 2004

More Saturday Tidbits

Danny Garcia was the star of the night knocking in a career high of four RBIs in the Mets 10-6 victory over the hapless D-Backs. The first three batters in the order picked up two hits while Cameron has already tied his career high in homeruns by knocking his 25th homerun last night off knuckleballer Steve Sparks. He did it in only 106 games and it took 150 games to reach that plateau as a member of the Mariners in 2001 and 158 games to reach that mark in 2002. Hidalgo also blasted a mammoth homerun in the game that was no doubter off the bat deep into the opposing team's bullpen.

Kris Benson pitched better than his stats in my opinion, and despite giving up six earned runs in seven innings, he registered his first Met win. By the good will of God, Stanton managed to not blow anything and pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two in the process. As for Mike Dejean, he pitched the final inning and kept it scoreless. He took only eight pitches to close it out. He now has a 1.72 ERA is becoming one of my favorites out of the pen

* * *

  • According to Mets Notes, Mets 8th round pick Neil Jamison has said "screw you Mets" and decided to be a Dirt Bag for another year.

  • Benson's contract talks are leading towards a deal worth about $8,000,000 per year. Is this overpaying for a guy who has a career 4.31 ERA and sub .500 record?

  • Newsday goes over Jose's medial history here.

  • Contreras finally beats the Red Sox....but as a member of the White Sox.

  • Lawrence Rocca exposes the Wilpon's here. It is pretty good article, but not one that will make you feel good after you read.

  • 19-year old Jeff fucking Francis will be making his major league debut on August 25th at Turner Field. That is absolutely crazy that this lefty is only 19 and will make is start against one of the leagues best teams. He has oodles of talent and should be fun to watch. Good luck to him pitching in Coors in his career.

  • Jae Seo went six innings for AAA Norfolk. He gave up four hits, K'd four, walked no one and surrendered no runs. He has yet to give up a run in AAA and hopefully this stint at AAA will do for him as it did for Steve Trachsel a few years back. Unfortunately, the Tides lost anyway 2-0 to the Yankee's AAA affiliate.

  • Jeff Keppinger keeps on hitting. He went 2 for 4 last night for Binghamton in their 7-6 victory over New Hampshire. He is now batting .364 and added two doubles and three RBIs last night. Jeff Duncan also went 3 for 4 in that game batting 3rd for the B-Mets.

  • Scott Kazmir went six innings surrendering only two hits and he K'd seven in the Biscuits 1-0 loss to Hunstville. He now has a 1.50 ERA since moving over to the Biscuits from the B-Mets. This pitching performance is notable since Huntsville has super prospects Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder.

  • Caleb Stewart continues to put out nice numbers for the Cap City Bombers. In their 6-5 victory over Lake County he went 3 for 3 with four RBIs. He is now batting .301.

  • Ambiorix Concepcion got a nice write up in the paper the other day and continues to show why he did. He went 3 for 3 with two doubles and run score in Brooklyn's 5-3 loss to New Jersey. Evan MacLane pitched well going five innings and surrendering one run and striking out seven.

  • Jose is not the only young phenom having problems staying on the field.

  • I guess my idea of getting Scott Williamson for the 2005 season is a bad one. There are concerns about his ligament and is seeking second opinion. Not too good. Time to think of a better option for 2005. BJ Ryan may be the best available option, but I'm sure he'll cost draft picks and a lot of money. But hell, it may be worth if the Mets have a top 15 pick and do not have to surrender a first rounder. The Mets have to get an automatic pitcher coming out of the pen that is dependable for 60+ games a year.

  • Jason Starks outlines the players that can traded this month in his Rumblings and Grumblings.

  • Barry Bonds hit is 689th career homerun last night. If he continues at his current pace he will top 700 homeruns this year. In 2005 it looks as though Barry would have his work cut out for him to take the all-time record, but if he does return in 2006 it looks like he will over take Aaron easily. As of now, he is 66 homeruns away.

  • Friday, August 13, 2004

    Stormy Weathers for Astro Fans

    The Astros fans better get used to Weathers for the remainder of the season. Back in 2003, the Houston pen was as automatic as it can get. Lidge, Dotel, then Wager...game over. These are not your father's Astros and their pen is worse than the Mets'. Nothing like looking at someone else's misfortunes to make you happy. The Astros may be the single biggest bust this year. Not many teams have failed to reach their expectations like the Astros. They were supposed to be a lot better than this, but injuries and inefficient play has brought them to an under .500 record which was just about unthinkable before the season started.

    Zambrano pitched a great game. The only run he surrendered was a result of his own fielding error which set up an inning with presented him with some problems. Bases loaded with Lance Berkman coming up being the biggest one. He did end up singling but it only resulted in one run and Zambrano got out that inning and eventually went seven total innings. His seven was a rather economical seven innings also. Outside of the sixth inning he managed to keep pitch count pretty low and only walked two batters, who were both in the walked in the 6th inning. Outside of that he K'd five and allowed only two hits.

    Everyone's new favorite prodigal son David Wright picked up another two hits and is batting .282. Like Reyes was the bright spot in a bad season last year, Wright is quickly becoming the bright spot to this season.

    I bet Andy Pettite was intimated by the Mets 1-2-3 batters in the order. "ICE" Williams, Joe McEwing, and Todd Zeile. On top of that, Phillips and Danny Garcia rounded out the bottom of the order. The only person's average above .240 out of that bunch is Williams. As much as I like some of those guys, a lineup full of all of them is not exactly what inspires fear in other player’s hearts. On top of that, the lineup does not look like it will be improving anytime soon with Reyes and Matsui still doubtful, Wilson still suffering some head problems and Piazza on the DL. Floyd may not even be ready tomorrow, although I will hope he will be. But hey, at least the Mets will be playing the horrible D-Backs.

    The crappy part is, the Mets were so close to sweeping this series from the Astros if the won Wednesday's extra inning one run loss. That also got me to thinking, what was the last team to get swept, then sweep, then get swept, then sweep again? The answers is I have no friggin idea and have no idea how to look that one up. But I do know it does not happen too often.

    Four out of the last six series for the Mets ended up being a sweep. Unfortunately one sweep was in their favor.

    * * *

    Yusmeiro Petit keeps on trucking. He continues to barrel his way towards the top spot on the Prospect Hot Sheet. He has checked in at #3 this week. BA pointed out that he has whiffed 37 percent of opposing batters this season. That is astounding. Am I nuts to think he should be give a few starts at the AA level this year just to see what he can do? He has had absolutely no adjustment period to high A ball and came in and dominated from day #1. Just a thought, but he may already be beyond this competition. He already knows how to pitch and locate his pitches. What else can he work on at St. Lucie? He needs to face better competition to give him a run for him money and make him work harder. I would think that he would be better off getting some time against AA competition rather than proving that all stops of A ball are beneath himself. He will most likely start the 2005 season as B-Met anyway, so why not give him a taste. Maybe he'll even surprise everyone by stringing together a few impressive starts to end the season and leave everyone even more extremely impressed with this kid as he goes to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. I know teams do not like rushing prospects, but if they are good enough, why not push them? The worst thing that can happen is he gets touched up and starts the season at St. Lucie again or has a better idea of what type of competition he will be facing in 2005.

  • Did anyone miss this in last Friday's edition of AskBA? This was a classic email:

    Due to the miracle of the wireless web, I can now email you from the ledge of my building. As a despondent Mets fan, is it as bad as we fear? Why did GM Jim Duquette go after Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano when the trade deadline would artificially inflate their worth, thus costing New York its top two arms? Despite all the talk, it looks like the Mets have reverted to their win-now, patience-less strategy. Clearly, they have a short memory.

    It's good to see Met fans still keeping their sense of humor.

  • Why is it that with all the injuries that the Mets have been sustaining that Craig Brazell is not inserted in at first. The fact is that Gerald "Ice" Williams does not need to be on the ML roster is partially behind my reasoning. I'd rather see Craig come up and get some ABs while Piazza is out and get a few starts in the majors. He may be able to see more constant playing time while Piazza is out than in September when Mike may be going 100% at first to prepare for next year. Wright can easily be pushed up in the order leaving Brazell to man the six or seven hole. Just a thought.

    And no I'm not a big Brazell fan, just seems like something to try.

  • David Wright finally got his first hit against a lefty in the major leagues. He singled off of Pettite in the 6th inning to bring his average against lefties up to .100. David is hitting over .300 vs. Righties.

  • Mike Stanton is 0 - 5 with 5 blown saves. I'm pretty sure he is not in contention for the Rolaid Reliever of the Year Award.

  • Joes Sherman actually makes some valid points in a move with Matsui. What the heck is this world coming too? First Zambrano only walks two in seven innings, then Sherman makes a valid point?

  • Apparently the Mets are interested in Kendry Morales. I have no idea if he is good, but I want him in the Met organization. If he is nearly as good as they say (again, another big IF), he is a way to begin to restock the farm system with a position (actually two positions) that the Mets need to strengthen on the farm and the give nothing up but money to do it.

  • Glavine is shooting for next Saturday for a return to the mound. Looks like the Gint may get another chance to prove he is a solid pitcher.

  • Floyd on getting hit by Oswalt:

    "I thought about it a little bit last night, I thought of it after he hit me. I started breaking it down. I'm smart enough to realize that he gave me the inside the whole night. But I'm not an idiot, either. I'm not dumb. I know I took him deep."

    It is disturbing if Roy Oswalt hit Cliff Floyd on purpose the other night because he hit a homerun off of him in the series in Houston. Someone takes Oswalt deep, so he hits them? That part of the game detracts from it so much. Whatever happened to just beating the guy who beat you by...oh, I don't know...striking him out? Just get him out to get your revenge. If was pitching him inside to keep him tied up and and did not mean to hit him, that is another thing. But when players get hit square in the back, it sure does not look like a mistake.

  • Lastings Milledge went 0 for 4 in last night's St. Lucie loss. However he did manage to get a walk for his third consecutive game. Aarom Baldiris went 1 for 2 last night with two runs scored and three walks.

  • Thursday, August 12, 2004

    McGreevey Resigns

    In one of the more bizarre situations, Jim McGreevey is announcing his resignation. McGreevey, who is married with children, is apparently gay. He announced that he is a gay American on a news conference.

    "I have grappled with my own identity. Who I am..."

    "Yet, from my early days in school until the present day, I acknowledge certain feelings that separated me from others. But instead I forced what I thought was an acceptable reality. And this, the 47th year of my life is arguably too late to have this discussion. So my truth is that I am a gay American and I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with civil liberties and a country which provides so much to its people. Yet because of the pain and suffering I have caused to my family, I would almost rather have this moment pass. For this is a personal situation. I am here because shamefully, I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man, and for this I ask for the forgiveness and grace from my wife."

    HOLY CRAP!! I guess you have to admire the cajones it took to do this, but I think the popular guess is that he got caught and that a scandal was coming out and this was a way to beat it to the punch. There are two theories. One that the scandal may be just an affair with another man. The other is that there is a charge of sexual harassment or something to that effect involving a man coming out. I guess more will be coming out on this one.

    Why can't Jersey ever get any good publicity!

    One Bat Away

    With all these one run games, my thoughts that the Mets are one big bat and two relievers away from being an over .500 team are just reinforced. How many games have we seen the Mets go into extra innings in? It is shame to lose a game in which you were going up against Roy Oswalt and you are in great position to take the game when you have a starting lineup that contains Danny Garia and Joe McEwing playing up the middle. The Gint pitched a solid game going six innings while surrendering two runs on a tough day to pitch. He was very economical throwing 88 pitches and 57 for strikes. For me, only throwing 31 balls in 88 pitches during a monsoon is great. In eight of his eleven games started he has let up three earned runs or less. I thought he got the shaft when the Met management needlessly brought up Erickson to take his spot in the rotation after the Yankees gave him two floggings in a row. I think he is a worthy fifth starter and was underrated. I'm not saying he is star, but he was certainly effective in keeping the Mets in the game rather consistanly when he was in the ballgame. On top of it all, the dude throws stikes.

    The Mets touched up David Weathers for two runs, which was a nice welcome back to Shea stadium. Stormy Weathers has another fan base to torture now.

    David Wright continues to impress as he went 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI. It is nice to have a guy in the six hole of the lineup that can be a productive run producer. If the Mets fail to land a big bat in the offseason to fill up the number three hole, Wright may be ready to take that duty over and be very good at it. If he can finish this year around .270, which is where he is at now, the year will have been a success. The walks are not where they usually are for Wright, but the way he does not swing at balls and only takes hacks a strikes, they will come.

    Hopefully Victor can get it done tonight if the weather permits. Mother nature is thankfully trying to put us Met fans out of our misery by attempting to rain out all the games this week. There is rain forecasted through Sunday. It will be a daily challenge just to get the games in.

    * * *

  • Griffey out for the year....again. Damn that must be frustrating for him.

    "He had a complete rupture of the hamstring off the bone"

    I'm no doctor, but that does not sound good.

  • Sheff to retire? Apparently his shoulder is so bad that he may not be able to return to fulfill his Yankee contract.

  • Giants prized prospect was just too much to take for Binghamton as Matt Cain held the B-Mets to three hits in seven innings while giving up no runs. Bannister put a decent effort going seven surrendering three earned runs. Jeff Keppinger continues to hit the baseball and is hitting .350 for the B-Mets.

  • Lastings Milledge walked twice yesterday in the first game of a double header vs. Brevard County. He did not get a hit, but is certainly a monumental stepping stone in his free swinging career. All totaled Lastings went 1-5 with three walks on the double dip. That is getting on base 4 out of 8 times which is just fine by me.

  • Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Minor Asessments

    With the recent weeks activity and some moves that will go unmentioned and some that I will mention, the Mets minor league system is extremely different from the one they had coming into the season. Prior to the start of the season, the Mets top ten farm hands looked like this according to Baseball America:

    1) Kazuo Matsui
    2) Scott Kazmir
    3) David Wright
    4) Matt Peterson
    5) Lastings Milledge
    6) Justin Huber
    7) Bobby Keppel
    8) Jeremy Griffiths
    9) Victor Diaz
    10) Craig Brazell

    However, some trades and roster moves were made and five of the top six prospects have moved on or up and six of the top ten have moved on or up. That equates to a system devoid of many top talents. Without the signing of Philip Humber, who would instantly be the new jewel of the system, the Mets are not looking as deep as they did at the beginning of the year.

    My Mets top ten prospects list is based solely on opinion and I have no actual credentials or research to back this up.

    The Mets minor league system was typically heralded as one of the best not because it was so deep, but because of the number of high impact players it had. Matsui, Wright, Peterson, Huber, Kazmir, and Milledge all factored into that equation. However, only one of those impact players remains. Not all is as bleak as I lead on as Yusmiero Petit has since seen his stock rise higher than Charmin's stock after a case of dysentery breaks out across the US. He has catapulted himself into the top spot until Philip Humber is inked. Here is how it shakes out in my eyes.

    1) Yusmeiro Petit: What can you say? He just defies logic and has to keep proving himself at every level. He does not have the stuff that makes scouts salivate, but he has pinpoint control and an understanding of how to pitch beyond his years makes him a very effective pitcher. Most kids his age do not have as deep as an understanding which is why Yusmeiro is way ahead of schedule. He was quoted to the other day in the paper and said "I do not have to adjust to hitters when I get promoted, they hitters have to adjust to me" (or something like that). I like that type of attitude, but we all know where cockiness can get you.

    2) Lastings Milledge: Lastings was a strong candidate for #1, but his would be based solely on skills and upside and I decided to go with the man who has been putting up the #'s to back it up at #1. Lastings put up great numbers in Cap City, but has struggled in St. Lucie, which is understandable due to his age and the small sample size of minor league pitching he has seen. Lastings is the real deal and has the highest ceiling of anyone in the entire minor league system.

    3) Ian Bladergroen: Ian was a 44th round pick that had a good introduction to amateur ball with the Cyclones and did well at 20 years old. He is a tad bit old for low A-ball in my opinion for a player to be considered a blue chipper, but Ian has absolutely tee'd off on everyone at that level. He hits for power and average. Unfortunately he got injured or else he may have seen some time at St. Lucie this year. Hopefully he can make some nice strides in his third year of professional ball and reach Double A at some time to put him back on a schedule that blue chip prospects should be one. A lot of people will most likely not agree with this pick since Ian has yet to put up monster numbers for an entire season, but I think he can flat out mash the ball as well as anyone in the Mets system and I believe he was steal for the Mets.

    4) Alain Soler: Yeah, I put a guy who has never pitched before at number four. No one knows what numbers he even put up in Cuba really. The only thing that I know is that his lowest ERA in a season is 2.01. All of the rest of the info is alleged. He allegedly throws a fastball around 93 to 96 mph (Though I've read less, but I'll take the higher end) and an alleged 88-89 mph splitter with an alleged plus changeup. He is also allegedly only 24 years old, which means he can anywhere from 24 to 40 years old. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, and if the above information is true, especially his age, I do not see why he would not be the second best pitching prospect in the Mets system immediately. Those are some big ifs though. The track record for Cuban and Dominican players actually giving their real ages is not exactly impressive.

    5) Bob Keppel: Although he was off to a rough start in AAA this year, he still remains a solid prospect. He is still just 22 years of age while pitching in AAA and has been solid in each of his pro stops until this year. 2003 was his best year and he compiled a 2-1 record with a 2.51 ERA at Brooklyn and a 7-4 record with a 3.04 record in AA Binghamton. This year he is getting tee'd off on with AAA hitters hitting at a .320 clip off him but he has been pitching better of late and seems to be recovering from his rough start. Due to his age and the ability he showed in the past, there is no reason he will not turn it around in 2005 barring any injury.

    Here is where it gets a bit muddier in terms of prospect placement. A good argument can be made for a number of players and I'm sure everyone has their own dark horse favorites that they think should make the list whether it is Bannister, McLane, Hyde, Yunir Garcia, McGinley etc. I take into consideration people’s age, overall tools, and how far from the majors they are to determine the rest. Here is how it shakes out for me:

    6) Victor Diaz: Who does not like this guys bat? Coming into this year, he had a .318 career batting average and has won multiple batting crowns at the minor league level. Vitcor started off his first campaign at AAA a bit slow but has since recovered to a .295 average while blasting 19 homeruns and driving in 73 RBIs. Unfortunately, he glove is his achilles heal. His fielding and his lack of patience at the plate is something that prevents him from being a blue chip prospect. He may ultimately be best suited for an American League team where he can serve as a DH/OF.

    7) Aarom "Or is my name Aaron" Baldiris: Aarom/n is a slick fielding third baseman that does not hit many homeruns. He came into this year with a .323 career batting average and a .399 OBP%. He has only his nine career homeruns and has a career high of six homeruns in one season. For this reason he may ultimately end up at second base but his overall skills are undeniable. He can also steal the occasional base. If he can develop a little power, this guy would be a legitimate prospect that would be coveted by many teams.

    8) Craig Brazell: Craig has been the Mets biggest power hitting prospect over the past few years. This year is no different as he leads the entire minor league system with homeruns again. He has belted 20 homeruns and knocked in 60 RBIs. He has been mired in a bit of slump lately and his average his dipped to .267. If the Mets fail to land a first baseman in the off-season, expect Craig to be competing for a job on the ML roster next spring. He should get a chance to show something when he gets called up in September as part of the expanded roster.

    9) Neal Musser: Neal is recovering nicely from a 2003 season which was his worst year since becoming a professional ball player. He is currently on the AAA roster and has posted a 4.00 ERA in just three starts and has 2-1 record. He also gets brownie points for being a lefty. An entire year at AAA and he should be ready to start seeing some major league action in 2006.

    10) Prentice Redman: It is now shit or get off the pot for Prentice. He certainly has tools. Redman is good defender, can steal some bases, and has shown a little pop in his bat. Problem is, he has yet to have all-around solid numbers outside of his time spent in Binghamton. While he does not project to a star, he can still be a useful ML player as a 4th outfielder-type. Prentice turns 25 this year old this month and has to start making better strides at the AAA level if he is going to be considered a major league prospect. He is at the age that he will be too old to be considered a real prospect unless he picks up his production.

    Honorable mention:
    Scott Hyde, Gabby Hernandez, Brett Harper, Mike Jacbos, Miguel Pinango, Yunir Garcia and Matthew Lindstrom.

    Once the Mets sign Humber and if they end up signing Durkin they will be in better shape in terms of pitching depth. But once again, the Mets system does not have too much depth in terms of position prospects with the loss of David Wright being promoted and Justin Huber being jettisoned off to another team’s system. However, if the Mets can somehow bring in Kendry Morales, who is the 21 year old 1B/OFer Cuban defector, they will take another step forward in recovering from all the loses they absorbed this year in the minor league system. I have no idea if Kendry is even on their radar or if he is any good, but he sure cannot hurt since it costs them nothing in terms of prospects. It only costs money and with the Mets payroll hovering around $85,000,000, I think Wilpon can afford to open the purse strings for Morales and I doubt he would break the bank.

    * * *

  • In a game which Piazza, Matusi, and Phillips were all not available, the Mets came up big. David Wright, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs, especially came up big and had some huge at bats at the plate including a homerun to put the icing on the cake. Wright has better at bats than a lot of guys who have been in the league for ten years. Being able to take a pitch and work the count may not make you a superstar, but it sure does help when you are able to work and wait for your pitch. On top of being able to work the count (and many times from 0-2 back up to 3-2), he chokes up and cuts down on his swing with two strikes and tries to get the ball in play. It is hard not to like what he has showed so far. He also knows how to carry himself off the field. Did anyone hear David Wright on the post game show on WFAN last night? For a 21 year old kid, I cannot say enough how mature he is. He has a lot of composure and says the right things. He is going to be a nice fixture for years to come at Shea.

    The other 21 year old did not do so bad himself. Jose went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs as well and it was good to see him leg out a triple.

  • Tom Glavine was apparently in a Taxi accident yesterday. He lost his two front teeth and cut his lip. He was heading back from LaGuardia to Shea Stadium during the mishap. The only thing I know is, if I was making $12,000,000 per year, I would not be taking any yellow cabs.

  • Bonds has 13 straight 30 homerun seasons. However, his current stat that is baffling me is that fact that he has 23 K's against 157 walks. The man is on pace to K only 33 times while knocking 43 homeruns out of the park and walking 223 times. Yes, I understand that he does not get as many official at bats due to the walks which helps to hold down his K totals, but what he is doing is still amazing. During his career, he has only struck out over 100 times once, and he barely topped 100 with 102 during his rookie campaign. He has only topped 90 four times in his 19 year career. For a guy who may break the all time homerun record and go down as the most prolific homerun hitter ever, those numbers are staggering.

    Pujols is another oddity in the making. In his four year career he has never struck out over 100 times and has not topped 70 since his rookie year. He has a long way to go to prove he can stay healthy and do this for as long as Bonds has done it, but it is sure going to be fun watching him.

  • Beltran to the Bronx? The rumblings persist. I had no idea there was such a love fest with Beltran and Bernie. Shit, maybe if he gets signed, A-Rod and Jeter can double date with Bernie and Beltran.

  • David Waldstein has some suggestions on how to fix the Mets:

    1. Move Mike Piazza back to catcher
    2. Assess Art Howe
    3. Switch Kaz Matsui and Jose Reyes now
    4. If Matsui can't -- or won't -- play second this year, then try to trade him to Seattle for Bret Boone
    5. Trade Tom Glavine

    His suggestions are good and fine, but who the hell wants Bret Boone? He's batting .254 with 14 homers and is 35. That notion is just silly. It actually makes the Mets worse in my opinion and just makes and old team older.

    The trading Tom Glavine to replenish the farm system is another odd one because two of the three teams he mentions do not the prospects to do any replenishing. Atlanta has some studs, but I do not see them parting with them to get Glavine's $12,000,000 per year salary. Besides, if the Mets are going to be good next year, I sure would not mind having Glavine’s left arm on the staff. If the Mets could dump him off and get some blue chip talent in return while bringing in someone like Odalis Perez/Pavano/Clement, I would be for it. However, that all seems unlikely.

    The others I would agree with.

  • Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    You Can Stick Your 500 Innings

    Now that 500 innings has been made the gold standard by Rick Peterson for the number of minor league innings that a pitcher should pitch before they enter the major leagues, I figured I'd do some research. I just wanted to see how uncommon it was for pitchers to hit the majors with less than 400 minor league innings when a player comes right out of high school into pro ball. These are some that I found:

    Josh Beckett 215 innings
    Dontrelle Willis 314 innings
    AJ Burnett 406 innings
    Victor Zambarano 313 innings (Only 313 innings after being a converted infielder)
    Zack Greinke 178 innings
    Odalis Perez 354 innings
    Johan Santana 380 innings
    Brandon Webb 350 innings
    CC Sabathia 231 innings
    Rich Harden 328 innings
    Mike Maroth 321 innings
    Cliff Lee 377 innings
    Oliver Perez 367 innings
    Sidney Ponson 342 innigns

    Since I actually have to get some work done, I am not going into how each player did in their first season. But I will say that many would not classify as a disaster.

    Now, there are a lot of top tier pitchers in this group as well as people who may not have been brought up if their teams did not stink. It is also completely reasonable to assume that as highly touted of pitcher that Scott Kazmir was, he would be very similarly heralded as some of the pitchers on the above list if not more heralded. As of right now Kazmir compiled 215 minor league innings with another 30 possible innings coming this year before his September call up. That would leave him with about 245 innings in his minor league career. That would certainly leave him with one of the shortest minor league stints on the above list, but another half season of AAA next year would certainly put him over the 300 innings mark barring any injury. It is not unreasonable to see Kazmir in the latter half of 2005 in the D-Rays starting rotation. The fact that he has a major league fastball and plus slider with a very good and still developing changeup that may end up being a third plus pitch, there is no reason to think that he cannot be a pretty good fifth pitcher and a major league staff almost immediately.

    That entire timeframe that Peterson laid out was crapola. There is not gold standard for innings pitched. Players are ready when they are ready. It takes some 700 innings and it takes some 300 innings. The Mets would have had a very formidable 1-4 spots in the rotation with the addition of Benson. The entire idea that Kazmir's timetable was one such that it would not help the new win now Mets is silly. Kazmir could have made a contribution next year as well as in 2006. To say that Kazmir needed another 250 innings after this year is a stretch. He would most likely start AAA next season and should not need much more seasoning. He has the tools to pitch in the majors today according to scouts. Kazmir just needs to refine his control and I guess his approach to hitters. It is also not a stretch to think that he would put up an ERA in the 4.00 to 4.80 range which would not be the worst thing for a fifth starter. Scott has and electric arm and special talents do not necessarily get tagged with timelines that are for pedestrian run of the mill players. When I was researching the above information I came upon countless players who pitched about 400-450 innings and it was not like they were all top tier players. Besides, the Mets are in 4th place and out of the race. How is this not the time to see what you have in a Kazmir, Heilman, etc.? Evaluate from there. Who knows, maybe I know nothing and the Mets were positive that Kazmir's arm would fall right off during a season in which he had to pitch more than 200 innings due to his size and throwing style. After all, he has never eclipsed 100 innings in any minor league season and will cut it close this year. Hard throwing six footers are the subject of scrutiny since it is widely believed that they will eventually break down. However, guys like Oswalt and Pedro do tell another story. It is possible for a six foot pitcher to throw hard and stay off the DL.

    This marks the official end of my whining. Or until Scott makes an appearance in the majors and is actually better than Zambrano in 2005. I have vented all my anger. I went through a stage of shock, then denial, then anger, and next is complacency. So there should be the apathetic posts on the way.

    * * *

  • Pat Burrell has packed it in the for the season and will get surgery on his wrist. Although the Phillies added Cory Lidle (5.32 era) in an attempt to upgrade their team, their playoff hopes look pretty slim at this point. The Braves appear to be well on their way to putting down another NL EAST crown into their streak.

  • Edgar Martinez calls it quits. The Question is, is he a Hall of Famer? I say nope. He had a great career but he just does not do it for me in terms of being housed with the greatest names ever to play the game of baseball.

  • Rey Ordonez joins the ranks of US Citizens. However, it looks as though he may be hanging up his cleats. It is strange that he cannot find any work even as a reserve infielder or something. He was having a very good year before he got injured for the Devil Rays back in 2003. Do not fret Rey, I'm sure the Mets will pick you up in about five years.

  • The Mets notes from Mets.com they had this blurb:

    Recently traded by the Mets, Scott Kazmir's second outing with the Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League was not as successful as his first. The young southpaw took the loss on Saturday, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits over seven innings. He fanned two in the 7-1 loss to Chattanooga.

    Does anyone think this comes off as a little petty? I think there is a certain level of enjoyment in that little comment. Besides four earned runs in seven innings is not exactly a disaster.

  • Check out this NYPOST article headline:


    Classic. Loaiza was booed off the Yankee mound by the Yankee faithful after this Contreras like performance. The best part of this move for the Yankees is the fact that Loiza is out of contract next year and Contreras was not and would cost 8 million dollars. Now the Yankees will be looking to add two starters and I’m pretty sure they will be willing to outspend everyone on the top tier starters. Call it hunch I guess.

  • The Dolan standoff with Time Warner Cable may run through 2005. If it does, do not expect it to generate any sort of an uproar that Yes did.

  • Monday, August 09, 2004

    Duke's To-Do List

  • Pass up a legitimate first base prospect and settle for some no name relievers that will never make the MLB squad while trading away closer:

  • Forget to scout if Matsui can actually field:

  • Make a slap in the face offer to gold glover 2B:

  • Make half assed offer to some future hall of fame right fielder and blame it on a new policy to beware of previously injured players:

  • Trade away young lefty relief pitching with major league experience to make room for crusty veterans on 40 man roster:

  • Gather huge collection of has-beens:
    G. Williams:

  • Sign a soon to be convicted felon:

  • Pick up Traschel's option for no apparent reason:

  • Make up some lame plan so fans accept another sub .500 season and use catchy terms like meaningful games:

  • Switch the hot dogs in the stadium from ones that contain lips and assholes to ones that just contain assholes to save some cash:

  • Tell your best pitching prospect "he is not going anywhere" then trade him later in the season to just remind everyone down on the farm who is boss:

  • Let a 20 year old player play doctor and decide he does not need a hamstring specialist instead of just telling him he is going to a hamstring specialist:

  • Demote actual prospects to make room for players over 35 years old:

  • Let pitching coach, scouts, and trusted veterans make GM decisions on personnel:

  • Mortgage away your future left handed stud for some guy from Tampa Bay while not even soliciting one of the most desirable prospects to other teams to see what you could have gotten:

  • When asked why I would not trade Kazmir for Soriano but I would trade him for Zambrano, deny that the that deal with Texas was ever on the table:

  • Buy woman's underwear and tell the clerk that...that uh...that they are for my wife, yeah that's it:

  • Have total disregard for the fact that Clement & Pavano are both free agents after 2004 season:

  • Make sure Anna Benson comes to town and look to sign Kris long term despite new policy of not signing players with a history of injuries:

  • After sending your prized arm away, start slinging mud about the 20 year old kid in hopes of justifying move in a showing of professionalism:
    Too cocky:
    Too far from the majors:
    Bad mechanics:
    Question mental makeup to succeed in NY:
    Hates puppies, kittens, and orphans:

  • Make sure John Franco has plenty of seeds for his tomato plants:

  • Go on record during in interview that you need a big bat and mention that you "like that name" when Magglio is brought up just to get Met fans' hopes up again:

  • Make half assed offer to Magglio citing new policy to not sign players with an injury history:

  • Re-sign Franco for some more veteran presence since you cannot get enough of it.

  • Ignore the glaring need for a talented and young right-handed power hitting first baseman and go into 2005 with the same lineup that had trouble scoring runs in 2004 and somehow convince the fans that you have improved by not improving:

    * * * *

    I used to think Duquette was doing very good. He came in and dealt some dead weight in Burnitz and Alomar for some good prospects. Not blue chippers, but he did the best he could with what he had to deal. Now only Victor Diaz looks like a useful player at this point and I have serious doubts about where he fits in. Royce Ring has found his way to back down too AA, Kole Strayhorn is injured and struggled mightily this year, and Jose Diaz was sent off to the D-Rays. He traded Benitez for Jason Anderson and Anderson Garcia when he could have gotten Adrian Gonzalez from the Marlins (I know I complain about this too much). But all that is OK, he did what he could with the situation he was presented. He didn't get Gonzalez because he held out for Stokes and lost. It was not like he did not try and maximize his return on this best chip, he just lost.

    Then came this off-season. They did not want this team to be confused with a contender, then they mentioned something of a plan to build from within and get younger, faster, and more athletic. To build the team around defense and pitching. The Mets had a plan and it was not illogical for the first time in a while. They did not think they could turn a near 100 loss season into a 100 win season. Fine, we all took that and loved what was going on. Plenty of arms on the farm, some nice position players, and a few possible future stars out of the bunch with ceilings higher than almost everyone in the minor leagues. Then somehow it all deviates. I was for picking up Benson or Zambrano, but not both. Duquette disregarded the talent on the market next year and went for two pitchers that cost them a lot in terms of future talent.

    His idea to get younger and build from within is now a curious statement indeed. Now the Mets are looking at having a rotation with every single guy over 30 come this time next year. Benson will be 30, Zambrano will be 30, Leiter (if he returns) will be 39, Glavine will be 39, and Trachsel will be 34. How do you build a long sustain winner when Leiter is just about done, Galvine will be 40 in 2006, Traschel is not exactly getting younger, and Benson and Zambrano will be on the wrong side of 30?

    Building long sustained success is done by building quality arms like the A's have done unless you have Yankee money. The Mets still have some good arms, but traded away one of the best for an unnecessary move. Duquette still spins this as part of the plan, but it is not like the guys they picked up are 25 or 26, they will be 30 next year. Not many teams have a rotation as old the Mets will have in 2005 when they are supposed to be getting younger. They succeeded in bring some youth into the field with addition of Matsui and their two jewels of the organization in Wright and Reyes. They also have some good and potential impact position prospects in Milledge and Bladergroen on the farm as well. But the reality is this, the Mets will have three of their starting outfielders over 30 at this point next year (if they re-sign Hidalgo or even if they pick up Magglio), their starting catcher will be in his mid-30's, and Matsui will turn 30 October of next year. That means that in 2005, out of the eight starting position players and the five rotation pitchers, only two or three (depending on who is at first in 2005) players will not turn 30 or older during the calendar year of 2005. Unreal, some fucking plan to get younger.

    The better defense thing is something I won't touch. The defense should have been better, and I do not think Matsui is this bad. It seems like a lack of concentration at times and if the first base position can be filled with a good glove, the defense will vastly improve.

    As a fan, I do feel lied too. Not that how I feel matters to anyone but myself and people I complain too. I have zero insight to the organization except for what I read in papers and on websites. Maybe this is part of their plan, just not the part that was shared with everyone. This move reeks of wanting to put together a team to make a run at it for the old fogies on the team to give it one last hurrah. They could not tell them they were playing for 2006 and beyond and had to win now for them. They had to make a few Steve Phillips moves and revert to their old mentality. However, I still maintain that they could have played for now, 2005, and beyond without dishing off so much future talent. Pitching is one thing there was plenty of in the off-season and for a team in NYC with money to spend, it really did not seem like a stretch for the Mets to be the winners of the next free agent market and have a better rotation than they have now even with their two new additions.

    In the end, I am still a fan of the Mets. I have liked the Mets no matter who the coach is, who is on the team, where the team finishes, who owns the team, or who is the GM of the team. As of now, I kind a sour taste in my mouth, but I'll keep buying my ticket packages and go to about twenty games a year and buy $6.00 beers and $4.50 hot dogs because I still enjoy it. To me, Duquette has fallen short of the high expectations that I had for him. When I look back at his short tenure as GM of the Mets so far, I cannot really see anything that distinguishes him from anyone else or anything really positive that he has done. The best thing I can say is that he held onto Wright and Reyes while bringing in Mike Cameron. In my opinion, the best thing Duquette could have done is stand pat and maintain the vision every Met fan thought he had. I was not against making a move for a pitcher, but for one pitcher and deal with Seo as the #5 until the off-season. At that point he could have addressed it from within or possibly outside the organization. By some accounts, Duquettes moves were good because no one knows if those guys he gave away will even pan out. Obviously no one does know what their future holds and the chance of all of them panning out is slim to none. But for the same reasons they got Zambrano, which was tools and upside, they should not of let a certain someone go. As the old adage goes, you cannot teach someone how to throw fastball 95 mph. You cannot teach tools and natural ability to any schmuck walking around the street. To give that up is a mistake especially when that player is young and is well refined, succeeding, and under 21 years old. I may look back by the All-Star break in 2005 and think how great the Duke's moves have been in retrospect if the Mets are playing in the World Series, but I just cannot see that happening. For me, what and who he picks up this off-season is of paramount importance for him to show us he had some sort of plan. What is done is done and hopefully nothing comes back to bite the Mets. Overall, he has yet to impress many fans as of yet. Also, there should be no excuses that this is not their year to contend and it does not make sense to chase a certain star player. It is obvious they think they have what it takes to make a major push after what they did at the deadline. Ultimately, I still think they can be very good for the next few years and may be one big bat and two relievers from being good so I hope the Duke can redeem himself. But the plan that we thought he had was not only good to contend for the next few years, but perhaps contend for the next decade.
  • * * * * *

  • Carl Crawford has an astounding 17 triples already this year. He is on pace to hit 25 triples in the 2004 season. The all time record for triples in one season is 36 in 1912 by Chief Wilson. The last time 25 triples were hit was back in 1915 by Tom Long. If Crawford continues at this pace he would rank 14th all-time for a single season. The career triples record is held by Sam Crawford with 309 three baggers. The top six leaders of all-time for triples contain names like Ty Cobb, Honus Wager, and Tris Speaker. Crawford is 23 and already has 32 triples and will finish the year with about 47 triples. It is very well within the realm of possibilities that Crawford will retire as the all-time triples leader barring any major injuries. This kid is exciting and the D-Rays have one hell of young nucleus.

  • A quote from the NYPOST:

    Not only did the wheels fall off yesterday, but the engine dropped straight out of the Mets' vehicle.

    This is one of the more truer statements that I've heard lately.

  • The Mets' Owners Don't Know Baseball.

    I do know that I'm being very negative, but right now it is hard not to be. I'm almost done venting for those sick of me being a whiney bitch.

  • Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Mets Get Swept, Then Sweep, Then Get Swept Again?

    Benson looked sharp. The highlight of yesterday's game for me was in the 6th inning when he got Renteria, Pujols, and Rolen out on eight pitches total. Good stuff. I really have nothing to contribute but wanted to point out the fact that Howe is stupid. He is married to the damn lefty lefty matchups. Not only are the Mets lefties not effective, but the lefties he was brought in to get out actually have higher averages against lefties than righties. Good move right? Edmunds and Mabry are batting considerably higher against lefities and Edmunds has the lower BA against lefties between the two players at .333. Enough already. You suck Howe. If you are going to be a matchup whore, at least pay attention to the numbers behind the matchups.

    It is up to Leiter to stop the bleading and prevent the Mets from from getting swept for the second time in three series.

    * * *

  • Jon Heyman pleads for the Piazza and Matsui experiments to end. I cannot disagree with him at this point.

    Some Quotes:

    "When you get yourself backed into a corner like that, you don't have any room for error," Stanton said. "It's just ridiculous that I can't go out there and do what I'm sup posed to do."

    You're telling us buddy.

    "I feel a lot more comfortable because of the minor corrections we made," Benson said. "It made a big difference."

    Benson on how he pitched after two bullpen sessions.