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

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Mr. 700

Barry Bonds has reached the 700 homerun milestone. He also seems poised to return for 2005 and 2006 with the possibility of 2007 looming. Bonds hit a 392-foot opposite-field homer to left center off of San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy. The ball was caught by a 25 year old Steven Williams.

"I'm looking around, all of a sudden I see this white thing flying through the sky," said Williams, who plans to sell the ball. "It's not going to eBay. It's worth whatever somebody will pay for it."

Fox sports has seven questions and answers about Barry Bonds:
1. Is Bonds a better hitter than Babe Ruth?
Answer: Yes.

2. Is Bonds a better baseball player than Babe Ruth?
Answer: No.

3. Is Barry Bonds a clutch player?
Answer: Yes.

4. Does race have anything to do with the media's unfavorable treatment of Bonds?
Answer: No.

5. Does Barry Bonds use steroids?
Answer: Irrelevant.

6. Is it bad for baseball when opposing managers intentionally walk Bonds?
Answer: Yes, but it's also inevitable.

7. Will Bonds break Hank Aaron's record of 755 home runs?
Answer: Of course.

Read the article if you want to get some more in depth insight to those questions.

The one thing that is clear is that Barry Bonds has the opportunity to do some unthinkable things. If he does return for 2007 his chances of eclipsing 800 homeruns are almost inevitable. In reality, he will most likely come close to the 800 mark in 2006. Previous generations had players like Mays, Ruth, Koufax, Cobb etc. but the fact is we have living legends playing the game right now. It is easy to say that they do not compare to the stars of the past, but Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens are three of the best players in the history of the game. It is easy to look past that but we are witnessing the careers of some of the all time best players ever to step between the lines.

* * *

  • Not to be out done by Barry Lamar Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki was busy rewriting a record himself. Ichiro became the single season record holder for the most singles in a season. He topped the mark of 198 which was set by Lloyd Waner of Pittsburgh in 1927.

  • Since the Met game was rained out, I was relegated to watching the Boston Red Sox try and topple the Evil Empire. The game was actually a great game that featured Mariano Rivera losing it at the end. Orlando Cabrera and Johnny Damon each had RBI singles in the top of the ninth to regain the lead 3-2 before they handed the ball to Keith Foulke to close it out for the win. The Red Sox narrowed the Yankees lead to 2.5 games. That ninth was not without it's theatrics though. On Damon's go ahead RBI single, it appeared that Kenny Lofton pulled up on the ball instead of going balls to the wall to get it. For me, in a game like this, you get your jersey dirty on that play. You have to come full speed and lay out for it. It certainly appeared to been a ball that may have been playable to me. Mario echoed my sentiments as it had appeared he said "catch the f-in ball". I'm no lip reader, but I saw what I saw.

    My personal favorite highlight of the game was when Manny Ramirez made a spectacular play to rob Miguel Cairo of a homerun. It appeared as if it had caromed off a fan as it landed in his glove while he went up and over the wall for it. All this happens while Miguel Cairo unknowingly rounds the bases thinking he had a homerun. It was not until he finished rounding the bases that he found out that it was in fact an out. Then Manny Ramirez proceeded to give Cairo the double finger point for a little taunting for some good measure.

    In some more shocking news, I will be in attendance at today's Yankee game if it actually happens. My friend Nick, who is also a Met fan, had gotten the tickets last night and in an effort to keep as many Yankee fans out of the hell hole called Yankee Stadium he asked me to go. I decided to do my duty as an American and oblige his request and take one for the team. The weather does not look to favorable, but you never know. Look for me on TV if the game happens, I'll be the one getting beat up.

  • Kobe admitted to having another affair besides the one in Colorado. The entire transcript was published and it is certainly an interesting read. It seems that Kobe was more upset about getting caught and having his wife pissed than the fact that he was actually cheating on his wife. He was also concerned about his wife finding out about his 'regular' which is something I'm sure she now knows about. He buys his wife a four million dollar ring to make up for this one and the girl that had accused him of rape is now involved in a civil suit to take some more of Kobe's money. It seems that Kobe has to pay a lot for some tail these days. I'm sure his piece on the side Michelle gets a pretty penny from him to keep him...um...satisfied.

    I'm not going to get too into this because basketball blows, but it's a pretty interesting.

  • Japanese Baseball players go on strike for the first time in the 70 year history of the league to protest the merger of the Orix Blue Waves (Ichiro's Old team) and the Kintetsu Buffaloes. One has to wonder what the state of Japanese Baseball is going to be after years and years of the biggest and brightest starts bolting for the US. Could you imagine the impact that would be left on the game if Bonds, Pujols, Johnson, Wilson Delgado, etc. left? It would certainly damage attendance and with rising salaries and lower fan interest it does not take a mathematician to figure that one out.

  • Buster Olney is under the impression that George Steinbrenner should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Now, I'm not against Owners being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but they need to have a better trait than having a team in the largest market in the world and outspending everyone. You can point to the Mets to prove that it take more than that to succeed, but the Yankees income dwarfs everyone's income including the Mets. I had a rant about this a previous post, but they fact is he is a deep pocketed owner that happens to value winning above else. There are some not-so deep pocketed owners that happen to win above all else too. Do they deserve to be in the hall because of their desire to win? The fact is I'm not sure Steinbrenner revolutionized the game. If a dynasty occurs under an owner that does not qualify them for the Hall of Fame. I know people are going to argue a case for George, but I just do not see it. Now if you could convince me that Steinbrenner would be able to build this type of Franchise in the Midwest where media revenue is the lowest, then I'd say put him in. I have a hunch that he would not be able to do that. He may be the perfect owner for the mega market Yankees and has done things to increase revenue streams into another universe and increase the teams value over a billion dollars and therefore should be considered as a tremendous CEO but not an enshrined baseball great. Let us not forget he was once banned from baseball by Commissioner Fay Vincent because of Steinbrenner's $40,000 payment to confessed gambler Howie Spira for damaging information about Dave Winfield. On top of that he has the reputation of being bad news when involved with personnel decisions. For me, he stands one of the most successful owner in all of professional sports, but the hall is reserved for players that transcend and change the landscape of the game forever. For anyone that is non-player (i.e. managers, owners, even baseball commissioners) they must do something so spectacularly beneficial and monumental and I do not feel Steinbrenner, the successful business man, has done that. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

  • Jon Heyman's wet dream may be out for the rest of the season. Alfonso Soriano suffered a leg injury on Thursday night that will most likely cause him to shut it down.

  • Lets see how many things are silly about this Wilpon statement:

    "Our guys felt that Zambrano was one of the top power pitchers in the American League, and he has established himself as that. Kazmir is a great prospect -- but still a prospect. He may do it, and we wish him well, but our baseball people felt Zambrano is ready now to be our No. 1 or No. 2. He has a strain -- you can't predict that, and it's not a serious injury, our doctors tell us."

    1) Zambrano was one of the top power pitchers in the American League? I'm not going to even touch this one.

    2) Kazmir is no longer a prospect as he is actually pitching in the major leagues. I'm not sure if Fred is aware of that.

    3) Zambrano is ready now to be your No.1 or No.2? He actually leads every pitcher in the AL in BB by six and is followed by Miguel Batista, who has pitched in 50 less innings. As for the majors, Victor ranked third in walks despite having 48 and 49.1 less innings pitched than the leaders.

    4) Your doctor's tell you it's not serious? Are you serious about that comment?

    Look, I think Zambrano can and will be a solid pitcher. However, let's not confuse the fact that he is still Victor Zambrano. No one considers him a top of the rotation starter outside of this organization. He is a guy who has the ability and tools, but has not come close to putting it together. Do not try and sugar coat this one.

  • Apparently Leiter is unsure he wants to return to the Mets in 2005. He is apparently fed up with all the rumors that he had a hand in pushing Bobby V. and Scott Kazmir out of town. In his opinion the perception that he has too much organizational power is starting to wear him down. It is really the best thing they part ways for the simple fact the Mets need to get younger.

    The article also delves into Wally Backman's desire to become a major league manager.

    "I know that I'm qualified [to manage in the bigs]," Backman said. "It's just a matter of getting an opportunity."

  • According to Joel Sherman, Jim Fergosi is at the top of the Mets' wish list.

    "Fregosi is a blue-collar guy, a guy's guy, a player's manager, but one who draws the line and players know where not to cross," the baseball executive said. "The Mets obviously are thinking about Lou Piniella, and Fregosi is a Piniella type. He's got swagger. He's got moxie. He will handle the media. He will be entertaining. This guy is the opposite of Art Howe."

    The New York Times suggests the Mets should hire some guy that wears 00 on his jersey and has a large baseball for a head.

  • Kris Benson on resigning with the Mets:

    "If it gets to the off-season, other teams will get involved and that can be enticing. But the Mets will still be in it."

    The Mets will still be in it? Why does that not give me the warm and fuzzies.
  • Friday, September 17, 2004

    Organizational Flux (aka We Battled)

    Now that the Mets have started to form a direction in which they want to start taking the organization they have a lot ahead of them. Anytime players have seemingly given up on the manager, it is not good. Art Howe was by no means THE problem, but he was part of it. The players did not seemingly have much respect for him and the crusty veterans were not really on his side. You would think that a team of veterans would be good with a laissez faire manager, but that was not the case. Some players obviously need some help motivating themselves because they cannot find it within.

    The Mets are at a crossroads of sorts. The need to do some house cleaning and that comes with some big decisions. In 2005, they have Glavine and Trachsel on contract. Glavine will be 39 next season and Trachsel will be 34 years old. Can the Mets really afford to even entertain the idea of bringing Leiter back in 2005? Absolutely not. It is tough when a player feels that an organization owes them an opportunity to keep returning, but at a certain point, changes have to be made. To go back into 2005 with two 39 year old pitchers, one of whom is a five inning pitcher, and a 34 year old pitcher who have all had sub par second halves would be very bad. That money is better allocated to other places. It is must that the Mets get younger in the rotation and get players that are going to eat some innings. There are a few names out there that are possibilities for next year and it is too strong free agent class coming up to pass up.

    The Mets are also in dire need of a major overhaul in the bullpen. Outside of Looper, who has really been effective over the course of the season? Will Wilpon finally tell Franco that his career for the Mets as a pitcher is over? Can you really count on Orber Moreno in 2005? Will Bartolome Fortunado, Heath Bell, or Tyler Yates have shown enough that they can be effective pieces out of the bullpen? Do you consider bringing Bottalico and/or DeJean back for another go around? Will Scott Strickland be ready? The options out there are very few. Scott Williamson is going to have off season surgery which makes him less than desirable and it is doubtful that the Orioles will let BJ Ryan walk away. The options are very, very thin and this is a weak point for the Mets. This will be Duqette's tallest task this off season.

    What to do with the outfield situation? Cameron will be in center and that is all we know. Hidalgo has shown that he is a streaky player and not one that could be heavily depended upon. He gave us great thrills in 2004 and was a huge part of the Yankee sweep at Shea and the Mets contending for half the season. He hit .232 in August and is hitting .130 in September with only three homeruns. If you do bring him back, how much will it be for? He is already costing you $2,000,000 in his buyout. What do you do with Cliff Floyd? Should he be given a chance at 1B and solidify that hole for 2005 to make room for someone else in the outfield? Should he be traded to an AL team so he can split time in the outfield and at DH? Would anyone take a chance on this oft injured player? Should the Mets go after a big name free agent to go in the outfield to hit 3rd or 4th in the lineup? Is Victor Diaz someone that should be getting some serious consideration for a corner outfield spot? Is Victor even ready?

    The infield has some things up in the air as well. 3B, SS, and 2B seem to be set provided everyone is healthy, but then there is 1B and C. Who plays first? Should the Mets entertain bringing in Carlos Delgado, Glaus, or Sexson or should they sign Kendry Morales with the idea he is their future first basement and use Cliffy at first or a Valent & Phillips platoon to bridge to Kendry or Bladergoen? Is Craig Brazell a viable candidate? As for catching, should the Mets try and unload Piazza and pay about 75% of this salary and have Vance and Phillips shoulder the load?

    The Mets bench is actually shaping up for next year. It looks like Keppinger will be a solid backup for all the infield positions once he learns them in the off season and spring training. It is also nice to know that you have someone that can hold down the fort in case Jose's injury riddled career keeps heading down the path it is on. Valent is a valuable left handed bat off the bench and solid player to plug into the outfield. Danny Garcia is also another young guy that could develop into a nice utility player that can play the outfield as well as all the infield positions. He was not completely successful in his stint in AAA this year as a utility player, but since he played CF for Pepperdine and plays a solid 2B in the majors, I think it is safe to say he is a good athlete and will adjust over time. The Mets still need to get few pieces to the bench sorted out and they need to get another power bat off the bench, but that is actually looking better than it did this year.

    As with any team, the Mets need to continue to improve their development of minor league talent and international scouting. They need to sign Kendry Morales to give them more depth at the 1B and COF positions. The assistant general manager of the Indians John Mirabelli said the 22-year-old Morales is, at the minimum, Double-A ready. He does not cost any talent to get him, so it has to get done (After all, didn't Wilpon just say money is no option, we are a large market team with resources?). Venezuela is a recent treasure trove of talent and the Mets have gotten Petit and Baldiris from there and need to keep that up. The Mets need to take a look at Daisuke Matsuzaka and see if he is worthy to bring over and give a shot too. They have been improving here, but in scouting, there is always room for improvement.

    The Mets have back office issues, too many for a franchise that needs to figure things out quickly. I still think Duquette is a good GM and could be very, very good one. He has shown that he can make shrewd moves and he has shown that he can get some value back in giving up little. He seemed to be on the right track with his build from within, defense, and pitching philosophies, but some of that got derailed when he traded Kazmir. I was OK with parting with everyone else, but losing Scott made no sense when you look at what the Mets got back. The scouting department that decided that Zambrano was worth the risk needs to be reworked. Their medical staff needs a major overhaul. There are simply too many injuries and too many mishandled athletes when they are identified to have an injury. Wilpon insists that Jeff and himself let Jim do all the GM and personnel work. Many of us have trouble believing that, but that is a huge key, making sure Jim has total autonomous control of all the players and transactions. I have zero problems with their minor league and amature scouting. They have drafted pretty well in the recent years and had the three best consecutive first round picks that they have ever had. They picked up some value in the later rounds and have managed to build a pretty decent system and got it to respectability in a short amount of time. It was not too long ago they were in the bottom of the barrel in terms of minor league systems.

    The Mets problems run long and deep. With a tremendous off season, they can make big strides to getting back into the thick of things. They still have depth and impact players in the minor leagues and they have some players at the major league level to build around for the foreseeable future. Perhpas what the Mets need most is a PR overhaul and need to establish themselves as a classy organization as opposed to a classless one that they have looked like over the past few years. The fans, who are the most important cogs to a team’s success by forking over their cash, feel cheated by the current Mets brain trust. In addition to changes that the Mets can control, they need to get some help from things they cannot control, like luck. The injury bug that has been plaguing this team needs to go away. Health is the most important factor for this aging team to be respectable. It is clear big changes need to go down and Duquette has a lot of work cut out for him. There are a lot of questions and issues that will need to be resolved, I guess we will all see if he is up to the task.

    * * *

  • Check out this quote from this ESPN article about the Red Sox adding another 1,000 to 2,000 seats to Fenway.

    Boston is the fourth team to sell out an entire season, joining the Cleveland Indians (1996-2000), the Colorado Rockies (1996), and the San Francisco Giants (2000).

    Did I just read that right? The Cleveland Indians sold out five consecutive seasons? That is unreal.

  • Jim Caple had written a piece on Ichiro for ESPN's Page 2. Check out this quote:

    Seattleites aren't the only ones paying attention. White Sox fans gave him a standing ovation after a five-hit game in Chicago two weeks ago. That was really remarkable because by the end of a game, Chicago fans are rarely sober enough to stand, period.

    Good stuff, take that White Sox fans.

  • I like Matsui. Matsui approached Howe and Duquette within the past week to express his desire to get a head start. He is a team player and his fielding woes overshadowed his good offensive play. Matsui seems to be a team player and I'm sure this move to 2b is a blow to his ego, so for him to embrace is 100% says something about his character. I could be smoke and mirrors on his end, but I don't think so.

  • Zeile will be catching tonight against Ty Wigginton and the Pirates. Ziele last caught on Sept. 1, 1990. He expressed his interest to get in one more game as a catcher before he retired. I believe he also wants to bat left handed before the year is out as well.

    Zeile now needs two more hits to reach 2000. Once he reaches that plateau hopefully we'll be able to get some looks of Brazell at first base.

  • Floyd backs Don Baylor for for manager of the Mets in 2005. The players seem to like him, but I'm not sure he is the answer. His health is big concern and I think if you are going to bring in someone from the inside, you might as well give Ken Oberkefell a shot. But the most disturbing portion of the article is this:

    "I don't see us revamping the team," Floyd said. "Maybe we'll add a couple of pieces here and there, but this group will be relied on next year."

    ..."We're going to be healthier," Floyd said. "We'll have Victor [Zambrano], [Jose] Reyes and Kaz [Matsui]. Hopefully, we'll hold on to [Richard] Hidalgo. If we have our boys here, he'll straighten it out and it will be a different story."

    There needs to be some personnel changes. There is still a base to build around, but to come back with the same team is a problem. I think the term revamp may describe what needs to be done.

  • Bobby V. speaks out.

    Valentine said he didn't know "necessarily" that some of the Mets' vets got him fired in 2001, but "there were obviously some veteran guys who had agendas that were different than mine."

    That sounds like to me that veterans had too much to say back then and too much to say right now. Input is always welcome, but it just seems that some have decision making power. Leiter vehemently denies it, but I think a lot of people have a hard time swallowing that.

    Valentine didn't dismiss the idea of returning to Shea: "Let's say that everything is open for conversation." A source close to Valentine said that before he left for his current managerial job in Japan, Fred Wilpon told him over lunch, "I fired the wrong guy."

  • Leiter also said he wants to return to the Mets for 2005. You know what that means? He will be a Met in 2005. After all, if he is such good buddies with Met management, how could they let him walk? Now us Met fans get to look forward to two 39 year old pitchers and a 34 year old pitcher being relied upon to be effective for 30+ starts a year. It is going to be a long season next year too if that happens.

  • Leiter should take notes from young David Wright.

    "I hate to lose," Wright said. "It's the worst feeling in the world. It's something that I'm definitely not going to get complacent with. I'm definitely not going to get used to losing, because I think this organization is on the rise and we're going to do some incredible things over the next couple of years.

    "I'm expecting to win here," he added, "and that's the mind-set you have to have going into it."

  • The Mets took the Braves series 3-2 and last night beat up the Braves super prospect Jose Capellan. Capellan is as highly touted as they come and he was battered for seven runs in one inning. Good stuff if you ask me, but this kid is still nasty. Steve Trachsel won for the first time in over a month and the second time in over two months. He went seven innings giving up only two earned runs but only struck out two while giving up eight his and walking one. Heath Bell once again makes a convincing case for being considered a part of the 2005 bullpen. I'm pulling for him to do it and I think he is good enough. He reminds me of a younger Ricky Bottalico. Mike Cameron continues to do well in the leadoff spot and Hidalgo, Zeile, and Cameron accounted for seven of the nine runs. Hidaldo and Zeile hit back to back homeruns and Zeile's was a monster shot.

    Maybe if we are lucky we'll get to see Brazell of Diaz this weekend.

  • Heilman is starting tomorrow instead of Seo. Hopefully he does good so someone is fooled into trying to make a deal for him thinking he might be useful. Hey, you never know, maybe he will be useful to someone else.

  • Boston heads into the dump some people call Yankee Stadium this weekend. Both teams have been on a roll lately and Boston sits 3.5 games out. Is it too much to ask for a Boston sweep?

  • This is a bit of bad news. The last thing the Expos needed was their #1 stud prospect to go down. Clint Everts is going to get Tommy John surgery. Clint, who was Scott Kazmir's high school teammate, managed to go 9-5 with a 2.45 ERA with 122 K's in 110 innings while allowing only 83 hits despite arm soreness and a drop in velocity due to his arm needed surgery. Everts will probably miss all of 2005 and hopefully he will rebound fully.

  • The Devil Rays are on pace for the best season in their history. If trends hold, they'll finish 70-92 and out of last place for the first time ever. Congrats Lou for all the hard work.

  • Last night Curt Schilling became the majors first 20 game winner. To think, all Theo had to give up was Casey Fossum.

  • Thursday, September 16, 2004

    Mini Manny

    You hate to start drawing comparisons between established stars and unproven prospects, but it happens. It happened with David Wright and Scott Rolen and it happened to a lesser extent with Victor Diaz and Manny Ramirez. Both are sub par defenders (though Manny has gotten better throughout the years and is decent now and I think Diaz will be more than adequate) who both carry a mighty stick, both are 6 feet tall and around 200 pounds, and both were born in Santo Domingo, DR.

    They both started off at the Rookie level at the age of 19. Victor put up a .354 batting average with three home runs and 31 RBIs in 53 games and Manny put up a .326 average with 19 homeruns and 63 RBIs in 59 games.

    In Victor's 2nd professional year, he split time between A ball and AA ball at the age of 20. Victor hit .350 for South Georgia (A) with 10 homers and 58 RBIs and hit .211 for Jacksonville with four homeruns and 24 RBIs for a total of a .307 average with 14 homeruns and 82 RBIs between the two levels in 133 games. When Manny was 20, he played exclusively for the Kinston A ball team for the Indians. During that campaign, Manny hit .278 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs.

    In Diaz's third year of pro ball, he played exclusively at the AA level for both the Dodgers AA team and Binghamton. During that year he tore up Eastern League by hitting .354 with 6 homers and 23 RBIs. Before coming over to the Mets, he hit .291 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs with Jacksonville. In Manny's third year he managed to skip ahead of Victor's pace. He played both AA and AAA that year in the Indians farm system and make a major league appearance. That is the year he won BA's Minor League Player of the year award by batting .340 with 17 homers and 79 RBIs at AA and .317 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs in AAA.

    When Manny was 22 years old, he was playing in the majors at that point. He hit .269 with 17 homeruns and 60 RBIs. For Victors fourth year in pro ball he was 22 years old and just starting AAA. This year, Victor hit an impressive .292 with 24 homers and 94 RBIs.

    Now, the thing that separates Victor from Manny is the fact that Manny always had a decent number of walks and has 167 minor league walks in 286 minor league games. Victor only has 116 walks in 457 games. Manny also developed a lot more power a lot quicker than Victor. Although Victor has always shown decent power, he never really broke out until this year with the long ball. The one thing I found interesting was that Victor K'd in 20% of his at-bats compared to Manny's 22% during his minor league career, which is definitely notable since that is one of his bigger knocks. He will imrove in that area and if he is under Manny's K %, that is a good sign to me.

    In my opinion, Victor has nothing left to prove at the minor league level. Everyone would like for him to develop some more plate discipline, but the fact remains that his minor league career shows that he can hit. He won two batting titles in his first two pro seasons and has the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field which is always a good indicator of an accomplished hitter. At the end of Manny's first three pro seasons he had a .316 batting average and Victor had a .318 batting average. After this year Victor's career batting average is .310 and he has really been young for each league he has played. Throughout their minor league careers they have really put up somewhat similar numbers. If you went back and compared the two, Manny has better all around future indicators (SLG%, OBP%, etc.) but Victor is close behind him in many categories and getting better. I am by no means suggesting that Victor Diaz will be as good as one of the best right handed batters in today's game, but I think he will be pretty damn good. After all, he is batting .400/.600/1.100 so far in the majors (I don't really care if it is only in five at-bats). The Mets need to clean house of some older and less motivate players and Victor should be considered in their near future plans.

    * * *

  • This is an excerpt from Mets.com:

    "My preference would have been to wait until the end of the season (to announce a change) but an unfortunate set of circumstances led up to it," Duquette said. "I know how he felt after that article. You can't have anything but empathy for him. But I didn't make any final decisions until I heard from him. The article expedited my decision.

    "I asked him to stay because it was best for the continuity and consistency of the organization. I didn't think naming an interim manager would make sense."

    Maybe I'm overreacting here, but what the hell? An article expedited your decision? Shouldn't you run the team and not the NY Media. I have a real problem with the "leaks" that have been going on. I guess the term loose lips sink ships does not apply here. You cannot sink what is already sunk, right?

    I also found this song that Piazza wrote for Artie.

    Hey, where did we go
    Days when the rains came
    Down in the hollow
    Playing a new game
    Laughing and a runnin', hey hey
    Skipping and a jumpin'
    In the misty morning fog with
    Are hearts a thumpin' and you
    My battlin' manager
    And you, my battlin' manager

    Oh what ever happened
    The Tuesday went so slow
    Going down to the old mine
    With a transistor radio
    Standing in the sunlight laughing
    Hiding behind the rainbows wall
    Slipping and a sliding
    All along the waterfall with you
    My battlin' manager
    You, my battlin' manager
    *Do you remember when
    We used to sing
    Sha la la la la la la la la la la de da
    Just like that

    So hard to find my way
    Now that I'm all on my own
    I saw you just the other day
    My you have grown
    Cast my memory back there lord
    Sometimes I'm overcome thinkin' about it
    Makin' love in the green grass
    Behind Shea Stadium with you
    My battlin' manager
    And you, battlin' manager

    Oh the memories, there were so many of them.

    In all seriousness, I wish Art the best of luck and I hope he spends his $4.7 million retirement package wisely. He was just not the right fit for this team and not what they needed. What do the Mets need? I'm not sure, but it was not Art Howe. Some people don't even feel bad for Art. In fact some people think this is the best thing that could have happened to him. One thing is really clear, the Mets are bumbling idiots in the way they handled it.

  • More ridiculous news. Wilpon went to the media and announced that it is official that Kaz will play 2nd base in 2005.

    While the Mets talked to Matsui last month about taking grounders at second, Matsui said yesterday he did not know a final decision on his 2005 position had been made. He said he was not surprised about the fact that he found out through the media as opposed to the front office.

    "My intentions were going to be to prepare at second base," he said. "Now it's just concentrating on second base, doing what I can and becoming a great second baseman."

    Why should he be surprised that he found out through the media instead of the front office. I mean the media learned of Piazza's move to first and Howe's firing first. This team is so unprofessional it will be wonder if they get anyone to sign as a free agent here. The Mets have to build within because no one will be dumb enough to actually sign with this real life Soap Opera As the Mets Burn.

  • Wilpon was asked what type of manager he would be looking for to replace Art, and he described Pinella.

    "We will look for a manager who has experience, a manager who we feel can manage in New York — and by that, deal with the media because it is a very important part of a manager's job — and who can deal with a team who has veterans and young players. And we think that there are managers like that out there."

    On top of that, he said money will not be an issue.

    "We're in New York, and we are a big-market club and we have resources."

    Oh yeah? Could have fooled us with you small-market offers to top tier talent. Unreal, how many times can Wilpon look like an idiot?

  • Would Piazza be open to a trade? Looks like it, but I'm not sure anyone would take him.

    Mike Piazza, who has one year left on his contract, on his future this off season: "I've always looked at signing a contract like a marriage, for better or worse. When I sign a deal, I expect to be there for the duration. But again, it's a two-way street. If they don't think I fit into their plans, we'll see."

  • Some people are suggesting the Lenny Dykstra should be the next Met skipper. Would Dykstra leave his successful business to jump into this mess? I'm not sure why he would.

  • From the NYDaily News, this is tidbit of Wilpon's interview yesterday on the FAN about the Kazmir deal:

    RESTRAINT OF TRADE: In his first comments on the subject, Wilpon defended the Scott Kazmir-Victor Zambrano deadline deal: "I understand (the outrage), but you have to understand when you have a baseball department ... and unanimously they want to make a trade like this, including a guy who knows a lot about pitching (Rick Peterson) ...you do it."

    One thing I will say is that if you have a baseball department that UNANIMOUSLY decided to pull this trigger, you need another baseball department.

  • The D-Backs have spoken with Sexson's agent in regards to bringing him back in 2005. The article also mentions there have been no major developments in the signing of Stephen Drew.

  • Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    Go Now or be Fired at the End of the Season

    Apparently Art was given the options to leave now, or manage until the end of the season and be fired. He truly is a dead man walking now. So what does Artie have to say?

    "I'm proud of what I've done here," Howe said. "I've done the best I possibly could. The record speaks for itself. Facts are facts."

    Did I miss something? What can he be proud of? Mis-using the bullpen and bench worse than anyone I've every seen? Coaching to a 129-177 record? What is there to be proud of? Howe continues to exhibit the traits of a mental midget. Yes he had a horrible luck with the team's health, but he exacerabated the problem by failing to grasp the way a National League Team should be handled. Getting rid of Howe is part of the housekeeping that needs to be done. Next should be the Wilpons, Leiter, and Franco with Piazza following after the 2005 season ends. This team needs a change and the injection of hungry, young players who have a burning desire to play.

    UPDATE: Well it's done. The Mets have officially fired Art Howe. Here is an excerpt from FireArtHowe.com that basically sums up how I feel about this issue.

    It should come as no surprise that over here we want nothing more than to have Art Howe ousted as the manager of the New York Mets.

    He's just not the right fit for this team or this town. Yes his teams have been plagued with injuries but he's also made his fair share of terrible managing decisions. He'll be a great manager somewhere else, just not here.

    With that said, we are appalled at how the Wilpons and the rest of this organization is apparently handling the situation. If the decision has been made to fire Art Howe, please, just let him go and promote Don Baylor for the last few weeks. Leaking to the media (see below) that Art Howe will be let go is just a classless move all around.

    Say what you will about Art Howe but one thing is for sure, he is a very nice, stand-up guy who doesn't deserve this kind of treatment.

    We just watched the post-game of the first game of tonight's doubleheader and couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor fella. He just looked and sounded utterly defeated, even in the wake of a nice victory for his team.

    We still think that Art Howe needs to go at the end of the season but now we hope that the team will step up and finish very strong for him. They quit on him, stabbed him in the back at times and now that it looks like he's going to be gone soon, we hope they send him out on a high note.

    What a disgrace.

    The Talent Pool May Have Just Gotten Deeper

    Wade Townsend may have relinquished his chance to sign with the Baltimore Orioles after deciding to attend classes at Rice. He is no longer eligible to play college baseball and understands that as he signed on with an agent, but he just wanted to work on his degree while he was waiting. Can you really blame the guy? The Orioles and Townsend who are waiting to see how the MLB rules in the case, but I think they will ultimately rule in favor of Townsend and the Orioles. I mean can they really send the message that finishing school can hurt you? If they choose not allow Townsend and the Orioles to negotiate, The Mets high draft pick next year could yield a pretty solid talent.

    At this point Stephen Drew looks like he is headed back into the 2005 draft pool and Wade Townsend may be too. 2005 could shape up to a pretty deep class of athletes.

    The remaining unsigned first rounders from 2004 are Justin Verlander, Philip Humber, Jeff Neimann, Wade Townsend, Jared Weaver, and Stephen Drew.

    Who's Running the Show Anyway?

    Players have become more and more pampered over the years as their salaries have rose into another stratosphere. Athletes have become the richest of the rich and it does not look like a trend that is going to change. Even players that are unproven in terms of playing professional sports are garnering more clout than they should. How can a kid who is coming from high school to the pros call the shots? Got me, but it is happening more and more in sports.

    The draft is and was always designed with a basic principal in mind. The worst team with the worst record picks first. They pick first so they can get the best available talent in an attempt to improve the team in the long run. A few good drafts in a row, you got yourself a place to start and perhaps a solid building block for the future. Recently we've seen a bunch of players dictate where they go and price them out of certain team's price ranges.

    Kobe Bryant back in 1996 was being seriously looked at by the New Jersey Nets. Kobe however, had different plans. He said he would not play for the Nets and would not sign with them if he was picked. So the Nets picked Kerry Kittles with the eighth pick and Kobe slipped to the Hornets at the thirteenth pick and was subsequently traded to the Lakers. The rest is history.

    In the 2001 major league draft, the Twins passed on Mark Prior and picked Joe Mauer because Prior was out of their price range. Now, I'm not saying Mauer is not a going to be a great player, because I think he is, but the clear cream of the crop was Mark Prior. Their decision to draft Mauer should have been solely on the fact that he is who they wanted, and not becuase they could not afford to get Prior's contrat demands.

    In this year's draft, the same thing happened with Stephen Drew and Jared Weaver. Those two were by most estimations, the two best players at their respective positions. San Diego had thought about signing both of them at different times, however, they both fell in the draft. Weaver went at twelfth to the deep pocketed Arte Moreno and his Angels while Drew fell to fifteenth to the Diamondbacks, who despite their money problems, are not poor and may not even sign him anyway. The D-Backs have maintained a rather high payroll over the years with the exception of 2004 and could afford to meet Drew's demands and would dish out the money if he decides to play for them. See the problem there? IF HE DECIDES!

    Also this year, the San Diego Chargers had the first pick in the NFL draft (when was the last time an NFL and MLB team of the same city both owned the top pick in their respective drafts?). Eli Manning was the clear favorite among quarterbacks. He had the pedigree and the skill to back it up. The Mannings came out and publicly said that Eli will not play for the Chargers and for them not to pick him. Eventually, the Chargers folded. They said they were basing their decision on their needs and not the Mannings demands, but it was obvious. In the end, the Giants had Manning and the Charges had Phillip Rivers. Rivers may end up being better, but I doubt it. The Manning family has a pretty good track record thus far.

    The basic idea behind the draft is simple, but not exactly easy to enforce. Amature athletes should not be able to dictate what teams they play for. It is more prevalent in baseball about players dropping because of signability (i.e. Scott Kazmir dropping to 15th) but in other sports it is more likely for a player to drop simply because they refuse to play for team. In terms of baseball, changes need to be implemented to protect teams and help their future. The actual numbers of players who get drafted actually having an impact in the majors in the future is small. When teams pass on 'can't miss' prospects because they simply cannot afford them puts them in a place to essentially use their pick on a player who may be a bit more of question mark. Placing caps on signing bonus for draft positions is a place to start, but other ideas will need to be implemented. For starters, a cap on draft positions would sure motivate a player to sign as high as they can. If picked first when the signing bonus has the highest ceiling, a player like Drew or Weaver would surely be motivated to ink a deal. I do understand that first round talents get picked in the later rounds and will therefore demand more money, but you can put a cap at $2,000,000 or $1,500,000 for every subsequent round after the first. You can have a $5,000,000 cap on first and work down from there throughout the first round. For a team like the Expos who are owned by major league baseball, they will have a high pick, but do you think they will be spending $3,000,000 on a draft pick? Nope, they will most certainly be picking someone who is only going to cost them $1,500,00 or so. Hopefully the team will be sold by then, but the way the negotiations are going it is a mystery to everyone.

    The draft should unequivocally be about the worst team getting the best player. However that needs to happen, it needs too. I'm sure every player would like to be a Yankee and win championships, but life is not that simple. When you have an opportunity to play professional sports, there has to be concessions that need to be made on the players behalf. There are things such as arbitration that allow a young player to get as much in Montreal as he would in Los Angeles, so it should not matter where he goes. Eventually they will hit free agency and they can decide to go where they want. They earn their right to do that at that point. It is utterly ridiculous that the system is so out of whack. You can never do anything about a player refusing to sign because they do not like the team, but that is a laughable situation. If players are allowed to pick who drafts them, it defeats the purpose of the draft. The system is broke, and it definitely needs to be fixed. Recommended signing bonuses for drafting slots just do not cut it.

    I think Ladainian Tomlinson said it best in a recent Maxim interview:

    Maxim: What do you think about Eli Manning refusing to play for the Chargers?
    LD: It's insulting. And mark my words, it's going to come back on him. You start thinking about a guy like Pat Tillman, who turned down millions to go fight for his country. Then you think about Eli crying about where he wants to play football, and it just puts everything in perspective.

    Tomlinson said it right, everyone has lost perspective. What was once supposed to be an ultimate privilege is becoming something increasingly taken for granted by some athletes. If you ask me, it's a shame and disservice to the game and all the fans that help pay their salary that would give almost anything to change positions with them. Their act is getting old.

    * * *

  • Kris Benson threw his first shutout in two years and only the second of his career. With last night's shutout he tightend the vice on Wilpons nuts. Benson threw nine innings, giving up four hits, no walks, and struck out seven while throwing his fast ball in the 91-93 mph and touching 94 at one point. It took him 114 pitches to get through the game and put 75 pitches over for strikes. The only reason I'm still a Met fan went 3 for 4 with another homerun and two RBIs. He's up to .312 with 12 homeruns. Eric Valent continues to impress by going 2 for 4 with one homerun. Jeff Keppinger continues to be a pleasant surprise by going 3 for 5 with one run scored, one RBI, and a stolen base. Now if only Victor Diaz and Craig Brazell could magically displace some veterans that I'm sick of seeing I may actually start getting more interested in what the Mets do.

  • Ummm, do I really need to go over this? I'm sure everyone has heard about this by now. Scott Kazmir out dueled Pedro Martinez last night. Martinez gave up two earned runs, while giving up three hits, and struck out five while Kazmir went six innings, gave up three hits, walked three, and struck out NINE. He did it all in 92 pitches while lowering his ERA to 4.09 and is now 2-1. But he's not ready to pitch in the majors right? He only went into Fenway against a Hall of Fame pitcher while Boston is in a pennant race and shut them out. Just ask Johnny Damon what he thought of him:

    "What he did extremely well, he was able to throw his curveball for a strike at any count," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "The kid has some pretty good stuff."

    In his last combined nine innings against the NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox he has one run surrendered, five hits, six base on balls, and thirteen K's. Met fans could have been watching him pitch, but instead we are relegated to Heilman and are wondering if Zambrano needs TJ surgery. Unreal.

  • How do you know if you reached new depths of boredom? You end up watching Extreme Dodgeball at your brother's house while drinking beer and actually enjoying it. Yes, apparently their is Dodgeball being played on TV. The teams are very WWF-like with their themes and personas, but the actually game play looks pretty real.

  • Will today be Art Howe's last day as the Met manager? The reports are swirling, but I agree with Cameron, I do not like the way this is going down. The Mets are the most unprofessional franchise that I've ever seen. Bob Klapisch goes over the cadidates and gives them odds. According to him Larry Bowa and Willie Randolph are the most likely succesors to Howe. So that means they are really the least likely to come here. Klap is usually clueless, I see no reason for that to change now.

  • According to the NYPost, don't be surprised to see Kaz Matsui playing second base and Jose Reyes playing shortstop together at some point this season. Also, the Mets are still interested in Cuban free agent Kendry Morales but have not submitted a specific offer yet. Strangely enough, if the Mets can ink Morales and reel in Humber, they should be back around 10th, if not higher, in terms of the best farm system in the majors. Adding Morales, Humber, Soler, Durkin, Gabby Hernandez, Aaron Hathaway, and Scott Hyde with the emergence of Yusmeiro Petit as and uber prospect, Lastings Milledge as a super stud that put up numbers to back his skills, Ian Bladergoen as a masher, and Ambiorix Concepcion as a legit five tool prospect certainly leaves them with a pretty damn good talent pool despite their recent bonehead moves.

  • Bobby Ojeda speaks his mind on the Mets current sorry state of affairs.

    "The biggest problem over there is you've got the inmates running the asylum," Ojeda said from his home in Rumson, N.J. "Ownership has got to let the players know the door is now closed to them. Go play and shut up.

    "It's gone on for too long and it has killed the chemistry there. That's why they need to make wholesale changes. Art Howe wasn't a good fit, but if you keep this same cast of characters and just change the bus driver, you've still got a mess."

    Finally someone said it besides the fans. Some of the crusty veterans must walk the plank and it starts with Leiter and Franco.

  • Mr. Otiz thinks the Yanks are worried. The BoSox are four games out with not much time left, but they do have six games head to head with each other and lets just say the pitching match ups are not in the Yankees favor. On Friday it is the red hot Bronson Arroyo vs. the red hot El Duque, on Saturday it is the hot Derek Lowe vs. Jon Leiber, and on Sunday it is Pedro vs. Brad Halsey. For the next weekend I think it shakes out to be Wakefield or Lowe, Pedro, and Schilling. The Sox could not ask for a better position to be in right now. They have the opportunity to take first this year and hopefully they seize it.

  • Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Some Good Reading

    I'm a big fan of Baseball Prospectus' This Week in Quotes. This week featured a love fest by Ozzie Guillen towards Buck Showalter. Classic stuff.

    "The comments he made, I think they were unprofessional, because I was doing my job.... The only reason I did it is because he would do the same if he was on my side. And I didn't make it a big deal because it was Mr. Wetteland coaching first base. If it was somebody else coaching first, I will make a big deal about it because that's the rules. I think you can call up people to be on your coaching staff, but you can't have them on the field."
    --Ozzie Guillen, White Sox manager, on Buck Showalter's Thursday post-game comments, which questioned Guillen's knowledge of MLB's coaching rules (Daily Southtown)

    "Even after the game, I forgot about it. Now all a sudden they come up with his comments and I think it's unprofessional. But when the 'best manager' in the history of baseball talks about you, that means you're on somebody's mind. And when you're beating the crap out of the best manager in baseball, and we beat the (bleep) out of them, it makes me feel a lot better."
    --Guillen, on Showalter's comments

    "To me, I think [Atlanta skipper] Bobby Cox was the best.... To compete against the guy [Showalter] that invented baseball, and beat him, that's something you should feel good about as a rookie manager."
    --Guillen, on Showalter

    "I could have made a big deal about it, but I was professional enough because I respect the guy that was coaching first base.... Wetteland did something in the big leagues. [Showalter] never even smelled a jock in the big leagues. He didn't even know how the clubhouse in the big leagues was when he got his first job...'Mr. Baseball' never even got a hit in Triple-A. He was a backup catcher or a first baseman all his career. Now all of the sudden he's the best ever in baseball."

    "He told somebody he didn't like me because I have too much fun in baseball. I have fun in baseball because I was good playing this game. And I made a lot of money playing this game...something he never did. And I have a championship ring on my finger. He made comments he's not supposed to be making about anybody."

    "It's too bad I didn't have to go to the minor leagues to get this job like he did. I was coaching straight up in the big leagues. I was a big-league coach and I went straight to big-league manager. Ozzie Guillen had to do something to take those steps. I only played two, three years in the minor leagues and played 14 years with the same team."

    "There are so many different things he might be jealous [of]...I was a better player than him, I've got more money than him and I'm better looking than him."

    Ozzie, tells us what you really think. Read the entire article, it is always entertaining.

    Tuesday Tidbits

    The Mets took one out of two in yesterday's double header. Hell froze over and Aaron Heilman won a game despite giving up four runs in six innings. He won thanks to a five run bottom of the sixth by the Mets. In all seriousness, Heilman actually looked OK. In six innings he struck out six while walking two. He gave up seven hits and five of those seven hits were surrendered in the fourth when he gave up all four of his runs. Heilman could be successful, but he needs to be more aggressive in attacking hitters. Piazza, Wright, and Hidalgo each had two hits and accounted for five RBIs. The big hit was a pinch hit two run scoring double by Craig Brazell. Bartolome Fortunado also looked good in his one inning of relief.

    In game two, Jae Seo was reluctant to stray away from his fastball/change up repertoire. He did not want to mix in any breaking stuff and he was throwing BP. He gave up five runs in four innings and there is not much good to say about this game besides Cameron's leadoff homerun for his 29th on the season in the first inning.

    Just side note, it is utterly ridiculous that Victor Diaz did not start one game of the double dip or even register an at bat. Glass could have sat down for the second game. I also think Brazell should have started at least one of these games as well.

    * * *

  • I bet everyone is just really curious to see who got the most out of their money in 2003. So wonder no more which baseball teams got the most bang for their buck and which did not.

    Most money per win:
    New York Mets - $1.77M
    New York Yankees - $1.48M
    Texas Rangers - $1.47M
    Los Angeles Dodger - $1.25M
    Detroit Tigers - $1.14M

    Least money per win:
    Kansas City Royals - $490K
    Oakland Athletics - $520K
    Florida Marlins - $530K
    Chicago White Sox - $590K
    Toronto Blue Jays - $600K

    Over very own New York Mets ranked as the most underproductive and overpaid team in the majors in 2003, but I think we already knew that.

  • Check out this mumbo jumbo from Duquette on Howe's status with the club:

    "When we decide, when there's a decision to be made, obviously he'd be the first one to know," Duquette said of Howe. "All I can tell you is that it continues to be evaluated."

  • Sadly enough, this is true.

    Everything they seem to do has the air of indecisiveness about it - from the hiring of Duquette as GM, to Mike Piazza's job designation, to the Vladimir Guerrero bidding - and this is the product of not having one firm hand on the steering wheel of the ship. For this reason, it is going to be very difficult to lure the kind of accomplished manager - not to mention the necessary players - to Shea.

    In my opinion, the entire point to the season was to take a step forward and create and atmosphere that people want to come play in. At this point, I just cannot see top tier talent saying "I want to go play for the Mets". The front office looks completely incompetent and players are not stupid. If we can see it, they can obviously see it.

    For some more depressing reading material, just read this. Just let the GM do what he was hired to do. The owner's are supposed to collect the paycheck. Leave baseball to the baseball people...except those 'super scouts', they suck. In a related article, Shaun Powell thinks Wilpon should sell the team if he actually cares about the Mets franchise. His reason why he should sell?

    Wilpon's son Jeff has a big voice in the organization, especially the baseball operation, even though Jeff brings only two qualifications: He's a member of the lucky sperm club and once played Class A ball for five seconds.

    The lucky sperm club line is too classic.

  • Vance Wilson on his injury:

    "The Mets' Curse," he joked, referring to the rash of injuries the last two years. "I'm glad I can be a part of the whole thing."

  • When Eric Chavez can figure out how to terrorize both lefties and righties in the same season, he'll be putting up MVP numbers. In 2002, Eric went .209/.362/.623 against lefties with six homers and 27 RBIs in 163 at bats and .301/.571/.950 against righties with 28 homers and 82 RBIs in 422 at bats. In 2003, he went .220/.403/.674 against lefties 9 homers and 29 RBIs in 191 at bats and went .312/.567/.954 against righties with 20 homers and 72 RBIs. Until this year, the only chink in his armor was hit play hitting against lefties. What does he do in 2004? Destroy lefties to the tune of .327/.536/.964 with 9 homers and 24 RBIs while hitting only .240/.516/.897 against righties with 19 homers and 44 RBIs. If he puts it together in 2005 Billy Beane will not regret that big contract that was awarded to Chavez. Eric could be a year in year out MVP candidate being able to smash pitchers no matter what arm they throw with combined with gold glove defense at third. He is definitely a franchise player, but the Mets have a certain guy that reminds me a whole lot of Chavez but from the other side of the plate that has franchise player written all over him.

  • Ichiro's second half average is a ridiculous .453.

  • Jaime Moyer has given up an astounding 41 homers and 104 RBIs with only 338 total opponents at bats. Those are some Bonds-ian numbers, but the most astounding part of that is 19 of those homeruns allowed were in the pitcher’s haven known as SafeCo. Milton checks in at number two with 38, Colon checks in next with 35, and Darrel May and Matt Morris check in at number four with 32 homeruns allowed. Steve Trachsel is the first Met pitcher at #30 in the league with 24 homeruns surrendered. Overall Met pitchers have allowed only 137 homeruns in the league which is fifth least in the majors. You know what that tells me? It has been slow and painful watching the Mets lose. If there were more homers, it would be quicker and less pain.

  • In 2005 we should see a Met milestone. Mike Piazza should take down Ed Kranepool as the Met player with most double plays in the team's history. Way to go Mike.

  • I flipped on the football game last night really quick between the Packers and the Panthers. They have this new feature that clocks the speed of the football. I only had the game on for a second but they had a Brett Favre pass get clocked at 70 mph while he was falling backwards and he was not even set. If this guy wants to play baseball I'm pretty sure he would be a pretty dominating closer with some serious heat. With an arm like Favre's he probably would have the best fastball in the majors. Madden was saying that was the equivalent of a 92 mph fastball, but he wasn't too sure of that exact figure.

  • We haven't had a good fight with a player and the fans in a bit. Luckily the Rangers players and A's fans were more than happy to oblige. The end of it is a woman with a broken nose and lacerated head thanks to a chair to the temple by Rangers Frank Francisco, who has been arrested. Obviously he forgot the entire sticks and stones thing.

    Frank now joins the likes of Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia as being players arrested for assaulting fans.

  • One classic thing from night’s broadcast of the Mets game #1 was Keith Hernandez talking about Wilson Delgado taking a third strike on the inside corner. Keith was remarking how it was too close to take. I don’t know the exact dialogue, but it is something like this:

    Keith “You cannot take that pitch with two strikes. If you are Barry Bonds, you get the call, if you are (forgot who it was, but insert big name slugger) you get the call, if you are Fran Healy, you don’t get the call”

    Fran “Keith, I’m sitting right here”

    Keith and Fran not getting along is sometimes pretty damn funny. Can someone please explain why Healy has a job?

  • Monday, September 13, 2004

    Another Japanese Import?

    It was not too long ago that I had made some insane comments on a post.

    ESPN Power Rankings say this about the Expos.

    Don't be surprised if the 'Spos catch 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 nonsensical stuff about the Mets to just take jabs at them.

    As of now I'm just try to decide if I want to eat those words plain or with some hot sauce. It's looking like that may just happen. The Mets are probably worse than the Expos somehow. The fact is that the Mets should have no business being anywhere in the Expos neighborhood. This is a sad state of baseball affairs for those loyal to the blue and orange. Instead of rooting for my team to win, I am resigned to hoping they lose like I was doing last year so the Mets can get the highest draft pick that they can muster so they can have more ammunition for insane trades.

    * * *

  • The Mets should have add a new off-season target to their list. Daisuke Matsuzaka should be a player that the Mets take a long hard look at. He turns 24 today, on 9/13 and has already been pitching in for the Seibu Lions since 1999. He broke into the Japanese League at 18 years old and has not looked back. He owns a mid 90's fastball and he has a career record of 67 - 36 and has a career ERA of 3.29. Daisuke was 16 - 7 with a 2.83 ERA in 2003 and he started 19 games. He struck out 215 people in 194 innings while walking only 63. In 2004 he is 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA. His strikeouts are down this year and his walks are up, but he still only managed to surrender only five home runs. He was also dominant in the Olympics this year. Against the eventual Silver Medal winning Australian team he went 7.2 innings giving up five hits, one earned run, three base on balls, and struck out 13. Against the eventual Gold Medal winning Cuban team Daisuke went 8.1 innings giving up seven hits, allowing two earned runs, walking one, and striking out seven. On the negative side he seems to miss some games each season due to arm troubles and at one point he threw 250 pitches in 17 innings against a team in the quarter finals of the 1998 summer high school championships. Also as Baseball Prospectus pointed out, Daisuke threw 149 pitches in one of his last outings and already has 10 complete games this year so his arm may be a bit of concern in terms of mileage. However, the fact is that he has only topped 200 innings and once in his career and still has age on his side. Getting him to the majors where he would be on a shorter leash would probably extend his career. The Japanese season is about 20 games shorter, so that saves the arm a bit also.

    The thing that jumps out at me is that he has put up better numbers than Kaz Ishii during his Japanese career and Kaz is a quality Major League pitcher. The other thing that you have to love is that he will only be 24 years old when the 2005 season begins. Japanese pitchers seem to fare pretty well with little to no adjust time so I really do not think this is a huge gamble. Overall, top tier Japanese players proved they can hold their own over in the States. I'd like to see if Kaz can persuade his friend and ex-teammate to give the Mets a look and somehow ignore the fact that they are a laughing stock. He should be relatively major league ready and if he can be a relative bargain, I think it warrants looking at. Right now I'm for the idea of not re-signing Benson despite the media and fan backlash and offer him arbitration hoping he won't accept it. Get a sandwich pick and a compensation pick, pick up one big name starter from the free agents at this seasons end and let Leiter walk while signing a Japanese buddy for Kaz. The Mets somehow get more youthful in the entire process. I like Leiter, but at this point, the Mets need young arms that can eat innings and he scares me for 2005. This Houdini act can only last so long and is already wearing off.

    Contingency plan if Benson does accept arbitration? I have one. See if you can trade Trachsel and take Benson for one season. He can bridge any gap there is to Humber, Soler, Petit, Durkin, Keppel, or whomever will be ready in 2006.

    For me, ideally you dump Trachsel and Leiter decides he's retiring because I just cannot see Wilpon not taking Leiter back if he wants to return. Then you have Glavine, Benson, Zambrano, Clement/Pavano/Odalis Perez, and Matsuzaka. Then you have one guy who is pushing 40 and none of the others are over 30 years old with one who is 24. Petit should be more than ready to take Glavine's spot when the time comes and you worry about Humber and Soler when they are ready. That seems like a good idea to me, but then again all my ideas sound good to me.

  • Jose Reyes said he intends to play winter ball in the Dominican. Is this really a good idea?

  • Jon Heyman is an idiot. His wet dream is to have Alfonso Soriano in a Met uniform. He muses that a Victor Zambrano for Alfonso Soriano swap is not out of the question due to the salary differences and Texas' desire to get a quality pitcher. Just get off the gas on Soriano. He is hitting .277 with 25 homers and eighty five RBIs. Outside of Arlington he is hitting .238 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs. The power and RBI numbers are decent away, but the average is horrendous. So basically at Shea he'll be a Mike Cameron that cannot field. Also, what is the with the 16 stolen bases. I'd rather have Victor Diaz in right in 2005 than Alfonso Soriano. The eight to ten million Soriano would get in arbitration is better spent elsewhere. Much, much better spent elsewhere.

  • Todd only needs five more hits to 2000 after his three hit performance on Sunday.

  • NY Daily News says Howe is as good as gone on October 3rd. They also muse that Pinella is being eyed as the replacement. I only hope the Mets are not dumb enough to trade whatever top tier prospects they have left for him.

  • Vance Wilson is going to get surgery on his hand and Glavine is also part of the walking wounded. His next start may get pushed back. For anyone that asked "how much worse can it get?", it could get much, much worse.

  • According to the NYTimes, Manager Art Howe said the team would try to obtain a catcher from another organization in time for today's doubleheader.

  • Kazmir's next start is against Pedro and the red hot Red Sox.

    "I'm pumped," Kazmir said. "I'm not going to go in there scared, I'll tell you that."

  • Capital City is the only NY Met minor league affiliate still playing this season after Binghamton was knocked out of the playoffs.

  • The Yankees have 57 come from behind victories this season. That is as astounding 63% of their games won. In the playoffs, I'm pretty sure they will be able to that against better pitching and better teams.

  • Sunday, September 12, 2004

    Mets Lose a Tough One

    The Mets lost a tough one yesterday by getting beat in the 13th inning 11-9 after getting to Billy Wagner in the ninth. Yesterday's game took 5 hours 15 minutes, and the total of 18 pitchers used matched a major league record. Trachsel gave up three runs in six innings while the bullpen went seven more innings giving up a combined 8 runs. Looper was responsible for four of them in 1 and 2/3 innings. The highlights were Jeff Keppinger going 3 for 6 with a walk, David wright going 4 for 7 with an RBI and two runs scored, and Victor Diaz going 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs. The young guys accounted for eight of the fifteen hits. Victor Diaz's glove in right field certainly did impress. He looks like he can hold his own out there.

    "There will be a lot more [hits]," Diaz said.

    Uh, oh. Another brash young player. Better ship him out of town too. The Mets do not need anyone with confidence on the field. They may actually win some games.

    Wagner getting ejected in the ninth after brushing Floyd yesterday was absolutely classic. After the Mets scored two in their half of the ninth to tie it, I thought the Mets had the game, shows how much I know.

    Floyd questioned Wagner's control, not his motives. "Before me, he threw about four pitches up and away to right handed hitters" Floyd said. "The ones he threw me were the same."

    I'll be in attendance for Sunday's game to see if the Mets can avoid the sweep. I hope I can manage to stay awake, wish me luck

    * * *

  • How does that Brian Giles trade look now? When it first happened it did not look like the Pirates got enough back for Brian Giles, but now it looks like the Padres may be kicking themselves. Jason Bay, who was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 22nd Round in 2000, is a 25 year old making the minimum salary while batting .292/.577/.943 with 23 homers and 71 RBIs in only 100 games. Oliver Perez, who was signed by the San Diego Padres as an amateur free agent in 1999, is a 23 year old making the minimum salary while pitching to a 10-8 record, .202 BAA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.01 ERA, an an astounding 212 K's in 170 innings. That is good for a ridiculous 11.18 K/9.

    Giles, who is 33 years old, is costing them $8,500,000 and is giving the Padres a .282/.464/.840 with 19 homers. The park factors have to be taken into account for Giles and Bay, but I'd still take Perez and Bay over Giles.

  • When I look at Art Howe, I cannot help but hear the phrase Dead Man Walking in my head.

  • Zeile to catch soon? Maybe so.