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

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Decisions, Decisions

Over at Jeremy Heit's Blog he brought up some topics in his last post that are interesting. I was going to post in the comments, but then shit happened. I typed this big long comment and then it somehow did not post and I got some strange error message from Halo Scan that basically said screw you. So instead of doing it again, I just decided to expound on it here. Since it is Saturday and I have none of my own insights today it works out really well.

Topic #1 Jason Varitek:

If Varitek does become available by the Red Sox not choosing to re-sign him, should the Mets pursue him and shift Mike Piazza to first for good or try and trade him to an AL team?

I do not want to steal Jeremy's thunder in case he wanted to post in length about how this idea is bad, but the basic idea is not to sign any catcher when they are going to turn 33 in April of 2005 to a long term contract. Varitek would certainly buck all trends for catchers if he stays the same or plays slightly better over the next three or four seasons. So far, only Pudge is defying logic and for the price and length of contract that Boras and Varitek may be looking for, it does not make sense. A two year contract for 7 million a year? Maybe I'm listening. But the thing that also has to be taken into consideration is that he hits worlds better at home in comfy Fenway Park. There is a large disparity in terms of average, but his power numbers are the same on the road or home. If he was in Shea, I'd expect about .265/.330/.450 with 15-20 homeruns. Guess what? We already have a guy like that. He is basically going to be a switch hitting Mike Piazza that throws out 10% more of would be base stealers. Varitek would not be worth it and he really does not fit so great into any of the Mets plans.

Topic #2 Manny Ramirez:

Jeremy speculates that the Boston Red Sox are set to put Manny Ramirez on irrevocable waivers again this year. If the Manny is available and he costs nothing to get him, should his $20 million contract per year for the next four years be something that the Mets go after?

Now this one is certainly in intriguing. Manny has been one of the best right handed batters in the entire game over the last decade. He is still going to be very, very good for the next four years of his contract, but is he worth $20 million in 2005, $19 million in 2006, $ 18 million in 2007, and $20 million in 2008? He does not pose much of an injury risk and he will not be a defensive downgrade from Cliff Floyd, so the Mets will not take a step back in terms of fielding. The only big issue is that if Victor Diaz ends up in right field in 2005, Mike Cameron will have his work cut out for him with both guys at the corners having limited range. If I'm Duquette and he becomes available via waivers, it is going to be a tough decision. With Piazza's $15 million coming off the books in 2006, his contract would certainly be manageable. For me, if Magglio was healthy, I would pass on this but Magglio is not healthy. Also, if Manny does become available, that would make him the best available hitter this off season. The bottom line is that this guy has hit over .300, smashed 30 homeruns, and knocked in 100 plus runs in nine of the last ten years. If you can make it fit financially with your other needs (which the Mets can), I think you pull the trigger. He puts some serious hurtin' in the middle of the lineup.

Now, in Jeremy's comments section, someone had brought up the issue that if you willing to take Manny's contract, why not just trade for a guy who can hit just as well and field even his position with the best of them. He was speculating about Todd Helton. Now Todd's mega contract pays him $12.6 million dollars in 2005, $16.6 million dollars from 2006-2010, and 19.1 million in 2011. When the contract runs out in 2011, provided his option is not picked up, Helton will be 39 years old as opposed to 36 years old when Manny's contract runs into it's option years, which will most certainly not be picked up either. If you take Helton away from Coors Field, he is still a premier hitter, but does not put up better numbers than Manny. Manny does play in a hitter’s park as well, but actually hits a bit better away. His power numbers are about that same and his average is .012 points higher on the road over the past three years. In addition to Manny being the better hitter, the Mets would most likely have to give up some pretty good talent to get Helton. Combine all that with the fact that Manny's contract is way shorter and therefore much less of risk, there is no way the Mets should entertain taking on Helton's albatross of a contract instead of Manny's albatross contract.

If the Mets decide they are not going to take a risk with Magglio or Drew and not make a run at Beltran while Manny is hanging out there, you take him. Four years and less than $80 million left for .300/35/110 year in and year out is too much to pass up for the offensively challenged Mets.

* * *

  • I have not had much time to watch games lately, but I was pretty excited to see Kris Benson pitch last night. I was even more interested in the game because there were three Met starters that were 22 or younger on the field. Having Reyes, Wright, and Diaz in the game makes everything a lot more intriguing.

    In the second inning, Victor Diaz ripped a liner to right that he legged into a double which Phillips followed up with his own double that scored Diaz for the Mets first and only run. Diaz ended up having a tough nite as he K'd in his other three at-bats of the game. As Keith pointed out, Diaz has a nice level swing and you have to like the fact that he is not afraid to go the other way. My only complaint about him so far is that when he is batting, his face looks like Roger Cedeno with the way he holds his head. It rehashes some bad memories for me.

    Benson pitched a great game for the Mets and only had one bad inning in the seventh inning. He gave up a homerun to Aramis Ramirez to tie the game and allowed a Moises Alou double right after that. With no outs he was able to work his way out of jam no thanks to a fielding blunder by Victor Diaz. But like good pitchers do, they pick up their fielders when they make an error by striking out Michael Barrett and Ben Grieve to end the inning. For Victor, no harm done but hopefully a lesson learned. The Mets eventually fell in the 10th inning to end their winning streak at two games.

    Mike Piazza actually looked like a first baseman on Friday as well. In the second inning with Todd Walker at bat, he made a nice play to his right and followed it up with a nice toss to Benson. Then in the third he made a great play on Glendon Rusch by making a diving stab at a ball down the line that I thought was a sure hit. After laying out, he got up and made a nice throw to Benson for the out. As if that all were not enough, in the fifth inning Piazza made an almost identical play to his left as he did in the third to put down Walker yet again. All this does not change my position on the fact that he should be behind the plate in 2005, but it does start to provide some flexibility for contingency plans for Mr. Duquette if Piazza can prove to be adequate.

    I still think he should have shut it down for the rest of the season, but since he's back, I'll marvel at that cannon of a throwing arm. Reyes and his freakishly strong throwing arm made plays that Kaz could never make from the hole with Jason Phillips running down the line. A refreshing site to see every thing hit at Reyes turned into an out.

  • Some good news, although it should have happened a long time ago.

    Reyes, who plans to visit a hamstring specialist in New Orleans over the winter, also said he plans to "run the way I ran before." Earlier this season, the Mets had attempted to change his running style to prevent further leg injuries.

  • From the Daily News:

    MRI and X-ray exams taken Monday by reliever Mike DeJean (on the DL since Aug. 30 with leg contusion), revealed a fractured tibia. "Obviously he's out, but we expect a full recovery in about four weeks and it should not be any issue for next year," Duquette said

    Are you trying to tell that Mike DeJean just got x-rayed on Monday? Someone please help my understand this.

  • The Diamond Backs continue to talk contracts with Sexson and Drew.

  • Friday, September 24, 2004

    Keep It In The Family

    I have a suggestion for the Mets and their managerial opening. Just take the "B-" off of Ken Oberkfell's current title of B-Mets manager. Ken played for the Cardinal, Braves, Pirates, Giants, Astros, and the Angels over a major league career that spanned from 1977 to 1992. He played primarily third base and a some second base during his lengthy time in the majors. After coaching for almost a decade, he was named the best managerial prospect in the Eastern Division by Baseball America for 2004. Although he may not be the most glamorous name out there, he has the minor league coaching credentials to back it up. Pinella has stated he is staying in Tampa, which is fine with me. There has be recent speculation that he may still be available, but the last thing the Mets need to give up some prospects to get a manager no matter who it is. I do not care what Mike Cameron says about Pinella being the savior, this team just needs a manger who is competent. The other positive thing to Oberkfell is that he will be cheap. He will be cheap and he could be possibly very effective at that. I'd rather the Mets pump money into the product on the field instead of spending millions on a manager when they have a perfectly suitable and capable one in the minor leagues right now.

    On top of that, an outsider is just that, and outsider. Unless a guy has played or been involved with the Mets organization, he may not have it in his veins. I understand the nature of the baseball and that the players, managers, and GMs will most likely change affiliations at some time, but the fact is, Oberkfell cares about the Mets. He has coached players in the organization and already been to battle with some of the players he would be coaching. He has won a championship with David Wright on his team in at St. Lucie and took the Binghamton team to the playoffs the following year. Oberkfell has a vested interest in seeing some of the kids that he coached be able to come up and succeed with the organization. What vested interested does Jim Fergosi have in this team if he gets hired in 2005? It will be a job to him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting he will not give it his 100% to win and that he will not be a professional, but your job and family are two different things. Oberkfell is part of the Met family.

    Ken undoubtedly has strong feelings for the players in the organization as he has helped raise one on the major league squad and would eventually see some of the other players he has managed in his short stint in the Mets organization make an appearance in the coming years. Ken already has made his mark in the franchise is already part of the Mets. Howard Johnson is in the same boat as Oberkfell. HoJo has been a Met for life (we'll ignore the fact that he played for Colorado and the Cubs for two insignificant years) as a player and now as a coach. He already has the respect of the players being that was a part of the last Met championship team and he has played against a lot of the geriatrics on the team. Bringing him in as the Bench coach may be another thing to be considered. A tandem of Oberkfell with HoJo could be a perfect recipe for the future. Let's be realistic, Piazza and Leiter will most likely be gone after 2005, so let's have a manager that is used to working with kids. Over the next two years, there will be a large infusion of more young players coming up the through the system and hopefully through free agent signings as well as some trades. Along the same lines as the aforementioned two, the idea of bringing in Gary Carter or Lenny Dykstra is certainly intriguing. However, the capacity that they would be employed has to be looked at. Neither has any coaching experience at all and would be good candidates to supplant the losses of Oberkfell and HoJo in the minor league system. Either one may also work out as a bench coach in the majors, but certainly not for manager as Carter had lobbied for in the media. The last thing this team needs is a manger who is wet behind the ears in terms of managing.

    The Mets have quite a few questions to be answered in the off season about how this team is going to be put together in 2005. There are not many problems that can be solved in house, but this is one answer that should be smacking them in the face. The best thing this team could do is promote in house and keep it in the family. Forget the veterans who may not be enthused about the rookie manager, this team will most likely not hit their stride until 2006. By that time, only Glavine, Floyd, and Cameron would be around as the resident crusty veterans that have been a Met for a few years. Besides, if being a rookie manager is of paramount concern, hire an experienced coaching staff to surround him. The Mets should start new with a coach that has grown with it's young players and will continue to grow with it's young players. It's time to get back to looking at the future instead of being so short sighted and making decsions to make splashes on the back pages. Pinella and Fergosi are no doubt great managers, but the best option is not always the biggest name.

    * * *

  • "When I run, it's OK, but after I run, [it hurts] a little bit." That is what Jose Reyes said about his leg. I'm just not sure what the purpose is of bringing him back before he is 100% and feels no pain. I make this comment daily, but for good reason. The Mets are not going anywhere, why chance it?

  • In response to Kenny Williams' statement that Magglio will not be ready for spring training, he had this to say:

    "I'm healthy," Ordonez told the paper. "I'm going to be 100 percent by spring training. I don't know why they're saying I won't be."

    Is Kenny trying to drive down Magglio's value?

  • Pinella on the Mets:

    "One thing I can tell you about the New York Mets that I really like is the fact is that at the trading deadline they went out there and did their best as an organization to improve their situation, give themselves a chance," he said.

    "Things didn't work out as they anticipated. As a coach or a player, you like to see those things happen, because they give the impetus to go forward. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but they tried."

  • From the Daily News:

    Victor Zambrano (flexor muscle strain) threw yesterday for the first time since being cleared for limited action. Zambrano, who won't return this season, said he's unsure whether surgery may be required. "It's hard to say," Zambrano said. "I don't have control.

  • Take that Trachsel. To get back at Steve's comments about nobody caring in Montreal about the Expos, manager Frank Robinson had this to say.

    "What happened last year? They can finish in last place and survive in New York. I'd rather be ending the season the way we are, improving and playing better baseball."

    I have to agree with Frankie here. A guy from a team that finished below the Expos in both of the last two years should not be talking much about this topic. The Mets have not exactly been drawing well for being in the best sports town in the world.

  • For the Marlins, Carl Pavano, Armando Benitez, Mike Redmond, Lenny Harris, Damion Easley, Mike Mordecai and Ismael Valdez will be free agents. Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota, A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, Billy Koch and Matt Perisho are eligible for arbitration. With the prospect of Mike Lowell being able to opt out of his current contract by Nov 1st if a new stadium deal is not in place, the Marlins could be in for a hurting. Loria is going to have to open up his purse strings to try and field a team that was as good as this one, which did not turn out to be so good.

  • In a Gary Carter-esque move, Mark Grace is has lobbied for the Arizona Diamondbacks job before there is an opening. Now, there is plenty of assumption that this is a job that will be up for grabs, but whether or not Grace would be possible successor remains to be seen.

  • Mike Piazza sold himself for $20,000 to appear on The Apprentice. The show consists of two teams that are assinged the same task each episode. This episode, they were to promote and create a buzz for a new toothpaste, which was vanilla and mint. Sounds pretty disgusting to me, but that's not the point. One team had paid Mike Piazza to whore himself out and brush his teeth in public with the toothpaste and he looked geeky in the episode pushing this stuff. He was like "I have not used this toothpaste, but have been using Colgate my entire life." Now, I guess for $20,000 a half hour, I'd say that too, but I'm not, so I can say he looked like weenie. One of the girls on the show also said Piazza was 'flawless'. She obviously has not seem his swing lately. That is anything but flawless.

  • Glavine won his 261st career game and made double digits for the first time in his short two year stint as a Met. Victor Diaz went 1 for 3 with two runs score and 1 RBI. Victor went deep for his first major league homerun last night.

  • Thursday, September 23, 2004

    Inside Tommy John Surgery

    Yesterday, Baseball Prospectus had a great article that took a look at Tommy John surgery. If you have not checked it out, do it. It is an interesting read. It goes into the procedure a bit and really gives some insight to entire process.

    Sell the Mets

    The good people at FireArtHowe.com have changed direction a bit after their target had finally been eliminated. The have turned their focus to the real crux of the problem. The root evil and the common denominator of the entire equation that is this train wreck we call the Mets. SelltheMets.com has been created with one goal in mind and that is to free this team of their clueless ownership. Their mission statement? Simple:

    Hello fellow Mets fans, we've created this site, the sister site to the popular, and successful, FireArtHowe.com, because as fans ourselves we cannot bear to see the Wilpons drive our beloved team into the ground anymore than they already have.

    Our goal is simple, to either persuade the Wilpons to sell the team or to convince them to adopt a philosophy of hiring good baseball people and getting out of the way of these people and letting them make the decisions.

    Stop by and check it out. As usual, it is amusing stuff. The picture of the Gigli movie poster in the flops section is a nice little touch.

    * * *

  • Ambiorix Concepcion was named the best prospect in the New York Penn League by Baseball America. He was the only Cyclone to make the list.

    As Jamestown manager Benny Castillo put it, "It's Concepcion, then the rest of the league." Two managers compared his strong, wiry, athletic frame to Vladimir Guerrero's.

    Concepcion has major five-tool potential. He has a plus arm that's tailor-made for right field and the plus speed to play center and steal bases. He also plays hard and is fast enough to take the extra base if you let him.

    Some managers were concerned about Concepcion's swing, saying it was long and had holes in it. But he's still just 20 and already has made considerable improvement after hitting .214-0-19 in the Rookie-level Appalachian League last year, his third as a pro. He hit for average and showed some power in the NY-P.

    "He hasn't learned to work the count, but his ability to make the adjustment and wait on breaking balls has already impressed me," Brooklyn manager Tony Tijerina said. "He's starting to fill out his body, and every day he'll win a ballgame with a different tool."

    Definitely some good news to read when the state of the major league club is so bad.

  • Reyes on his injury:

    "It still hurts a little bit," he said. "Not a lot."

    Then why bring him back? Shut him down. To bring him in for a week and half while he is not fully recovered is unconscionable. It makes zero sense.

  • From the NY Post:

    In a situation that bears watching, White Sox GM Ken Williams indicated in yesterday's Chicago Tribune that slugging right fielder Magglio Ordonez may not be ready for next spring training. Ordonez has been out since July 22 with bone marrow edema in his left knee.

    Great news!

  • Piazza makes an appearance on tonight's episode of Donald Trump's reality series, "The Apprentice."

    I thought trump only likes winners? He had on Steinbrenner last year and the fact he has anyone associated with the Mets on the show is amazing.

  • How about this piece of news?

    A London-to-Washington flight carrying Yusuf Islam — formerly known as singer Cat Stevens — was diverted and the Islam convert removed from the plane because his name was on a government terrorism watch list for allegedly donating money to the militant Palestinian group Hamas, a U.S. law enforcement official said Wednesday.


  • Golf may make an appearance in the 2012 Olympics. Golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports are all being considered for Olympic competition. IOC president Jacques Rogge has suggested that baseball and softball from the Olympics which was vetoed. The idea of baseball and softball being removed was utterly ridiculous.

  • Mike Lowell may be wearing a Marlin uniform for the last time.

    "No doubt, it could be my final series in this clubhouse," Lowell said. "I hope that it isn't, but you never know. My next decision will be more of a long-term one, and I'll be interested in being somewhere where we have as much of a chance to win as we have had in the last two years."

    In addition to himself, Lowell will want to know what the team's position is regarding high-profile free agents such as right-hander Carl Pavano and closer Armando Benitez.

  • As Rob Neyer pointed out in one of his latest columns, Carlos Delgado is punishing the ball. In August, Delgado has hit .317/.411/.653 with nine homeruns and thirty RBIs. In September, he has hit .373/.475/.716 with six home runs and sixteen RBIs. I'm still against the Mets taking a serious run at him, however if he has little interest from other clubs, and he could be signed to two year contract, he may be able to bridge the gap to a younger guy. I do not care how much he would cost, just as long as it would be two years it would be worth the risk. I doubt Delgado will be willing to accept a short contract at this time in his career, but the people vying for his services might be a short one as well. If it comes down to more money per year for less years, it just may persuade him.

    And no, this would not be my first option, but the way things are shaking out with Magglio's injury and the Mets need for a big hitter, there may be little choice.

  • Oh, the Mets won last night. Victor Diaz went 1 for 4 just missing his first major league homerun and got thrown out at second instead. Brazell went 0 for 4 and there is no reason why they do not see action in three of the four games the rest of this week.

  • Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Farm Daze

    One unspoken benefit of re-signing Leiter is that if the Mets aren't contending at the trading deadline next season, he could be dealt to bulk up an over-hyped farm system that has been exposed as injuries mounted and quality replacements weren't available. NYDaily News, September 21st

    That comment got me to thinking. Are things as bad as most people think after Black Friday?

    The Mets did do some damage when they traded off Justin Huber, Scott Kazmir, Matt Peterson, and Jose Diaz, but they still have a lot of value down there. The point about an over-hyped farm system not having the resources to fill in with quality replacements is just not completely right. The Mets had a weak farm system up until 2002 really. That is the year that they drafted Aaron Heilman and David Wright and it really was the year that it seemingly turned things around.

    BA Top 10 for the Mets in 2001

    1) Alex Escobar, of
    2) Pat Strange, rhp
    3) Brian Cole, of
    4) Timo Perez, of
    5) Grant Roberts, rhp
    6) Enrique Cruz, 3b/ss
    7) Nick Maness, rhp
    8) Billy Traber, lhp
    9) Tsuyoshi Shinjo, of
    10) Dicky Gonzalez, rhp

    Try not too laugh at that one.

    Now for 2002

    1) Aaron Heilman, rhp
    2) Alex Escobar, of
    3) Jose Reyes, ss
    4) Pat Strange, rhp
    5) Billy Traber, lhp
    6) Jae Weong Seo, rhp
    7) David Wright, 3b
    8) Grant Roberts, rhp
    9) Jaime Cerda, lhp
    10) Neal Musser, lhp

    Now we are getting somewhere. There are few guys who may be superstars in Reyes, Wright, and Kazmir along with guys like Seo, Roberts, and Cerda who proved they can be productive major leaguers. Then you also have Heilman, Strange, Traber, and Musser who are all still in mix for future spots in the major leagues.


    1) Jose Reyes, ss
    2) Scott Kazmir, lhp
    3) Aaron Heilman, rhp
    4) David Wright, 3b
    5) Justin Huber, c
    6) Matt Peterson, rhp
    7) Pat Strange, rhp
    8) Jaime Cerda, lhp
    9) Bob Keppel, rhp
    10)Craig Brazell, 1b

    This top ten was good enough to make most GMs drool.


    1) Kazuo Matsui, ss
    2) Scott Kazmir, lhp
    3) David Wright, 3b
    4) Matt Peterson, rhp
    5) Lasttings Milledge, of
    6) Justin Huber, c
    7) Bob Keppel, rhp
    8) Jeremy Griffiths, rhp
    9) Victor Diaz, of
    10 Craig Brazell, 1b

    This top ten is just full blown top prospects all over.

    The Mets rebuilt their farm system starting in 2002 basically. So the obvious problem is that the prospects they were stocking up with were all young. The comment should have been their upper level has been exposed, because the lower levels seemingly have a treasure trove of talent and things are going to start translating in 2005 to top tier talent into higher levels. The Mets have a farm system that should allow them keep infusing youngsters into the big club for years to come.

    In the outfield their three most promising prospects are Lastings Milledge, Ambiorix Concepcion, and Victor Diaz. Both Lastings and Ambiorix are tool laden guys that can do it all but a still a few years away. Lastings is the clear cream of the crop when it comes to all Met position players in the minor leagues and Ambiorix made a name for himself with his 2004 campaign. In 2005 Lastings should start at St. Lucie with a possible promotion to Binghamton at some point in the year if he keeps steadily improving. Ambiorix should start at Hagerstown next season. Victor Diaz may very well be the most accomplished and best bat in all of the Met minor league system. His low walk rate is cause for some concern, but his two batting titles and 24 homeruns at AAA make me overlook that. Victor would most likely be vying for a major league job in 2005 for most teams since he is major league ready by many accounts. However, for the 'win now' and zero tolerance for rookie stance the Mets have adopted combined with their veteran oriented preference, he will most likely be in Norfolk in 2005.

    There is also a next tier of outfield prospects. Jamar Hill, who is rather old for low A ball, but he still smashed 26 homeruns and knocked in 89 RBIs, Wayne Lydon, Angel Pagan, Ron Acuna, who a career .300 hitter, Jeff Duncan, Jesus Gamero, Ryan Harvey, Caleb Stewart, Seth Pietsch, and Carlos Gomez, who just just named a the 18th most promising prospect in the GCL by Baseball America because he oozes tools.

    The infield has two top tier talents in Aarom Baldiris and Ian Bladergoen. Baldiris is a third baseman right now, but he projects to move over to second base eventually due to his lack of power. Baldiris has managed to hit over .300 at every minor league stop with the exception of his short sint at AA to finish the season. Aarom also has very good discipline as evidenced by his .383 career OBP. Aarom will start 2005 with Binghamton. Ian became an offense monster in 2004. He hit for power, average, and had a strong OBP. He certainly may be the Mets first baseman of the future, unfortunately, not the near future. He got injured before he could finish the year but should start in St. Lucie in 2005 and is most likely going to be moved through the system quickly if he keeps terrorizing pitching. I'm not incredibly concerned about a lack of infield prospects since the Mets have Wright and Reyes manning the left side of the infield for the forseable future and they are looking to add Kendry Morales if they can.

    The infield also includes some second tier prospects in Brett Harper, Craig Brazell, Nicholas Evans, Shawn Bowman, Blake Whealy, and Tyler Davidson. Also let us not forget that Danny Garcia and Jeff Keppinger are showing some worth for future utility and back roles coming out of the system and the system has just produced two superstars on the left side in Jose Reyes and David Wright.

    As for catchers, only one is close to major league ready and he is not held in high regard as a defensive catcher. Mike Jacobs, who missed most of 2004 with an injury is more of an offensive oriented catcher that owns a smooth lefty stroke. The rest of the catching prospects are more defense oriented. Yunir Garcia, who still hit over .300 this year, Aaron Hathaway, and 19 year old Jesus Flores, who was named as the 16th best prospect in the GCL and according to BA he is already regarded as the best defensive catcher in the Mets System, round out the Mets top catching prospects and all of them are solid catching prospects.

    The Pitching took a hit with the losses of Diaz, Kazmir, and Peterson, but between the Mets drafting heavy on pitching in 2004, signing Alay Soler, and the emergence of Yusmeiro Petit as an uber prospect helped to pad those losses. Starting pitching is still the organization's deepest pool of talent. Humber, who according to himself owns a curveball that is "the best in the country", may be the best prospect the Mets have once he inks and may not be far off Scott Kazmir's talent level. He can throw four pitches and has his fastball sit in the 90-94 range and it can touch 97. Soler's power arm sounds promising and nicely fills a need for more power starters in the system. Both of them should start at either St. Lucie or possibly even Binghamton for 2005 and both Soler and Humber will most likely rocket through the system like Tim Stauffer barring any injuries. Matt Durkin, Gabby Hernandez, and Scott Hyde were other promising pitchers signed in the 2004 draft. Gabby had a stellar performance in the Gulf Coast League and was named by BA as the 2nd best prospect in the GCL. Gabby should be reporting to Brooklyn for the opening of the 2005 season. Hyde pitched at Brooklyn this year and may get a few more starts there before getting placed into Hagerstown. Durkin will most likely start off at Brooklyn for his first taste of pro ball. That leaves us with the already in house pitching talents Yusmeiro Petit and Bobby Keppel. Petit is going to get a chance to dominate AA for about 10 starts before getting promoted to AAA. Keppel is going to have an entire off season to get healthy for his 2005 AAA campaign so he can re-establish himself as a solid pitching prospect. He will still be only 23 in the 2005 season and is well on track despite have an injury riddled 2004.

    After that group of top tier talents, there is my dark horse pick Matt Lindstrom, who owns a mid to high 90's fastball that can touch 100 mph. He is still trolling around in A ball, but he could possibly make an appearance in Binghamton in 2005. Lindstrom has a lot of control for a guy who throws as hard as he does as his 2.00 W/9 indicates. That is a number that has been getting better and has vastly improved since 2003. After his promotion from Cap City to St. Lucie, his K/9 dropped from 10.29 to 5.65, which is cause for concern, but not enough body of work to really focus too much on it. He is currently a starter, but with an arm like that and being able to harness it, his fastest track to the majors may be through the bullpen. When a player has that type of stuff, he has the ability to be very successful in short stints while making it to the majors very quickly.

    Outside of the above mentioned players, the Mets have Aaron Heilman, Pat Strange, Neal Musser, Jason Scobie, Miguel Pinango, Kevin Deaton, Brian Bannister, and Evan MacLane.

    As for relief pitchers, I have a hard time getting excited about them unless they are of Huston Street's skill level. The Mets really do not have many top tier relievers to get too excited about anyway. Linstrom may actually end up being a devastating reliever in the long run due to the organizations depth in starting pitching and lack of depth in top flight relievers. I also know there are a lot of Blake McGinley fans out there, but the fact is that he is 26 and finally made is AAA debut this year. The one good thing that he has going for him is the fact that he uses his left hand to throw the ball. The Mets also have PJ Bevis, Kole Strayhorn, and Royce Ring who may end up being usefull major leaguers. Also, it cannot be overlooked that Mets still had guys like Tyler Yates, Heath Bell, Orber Moreno, and Jose Parra pitch and be successful out of the bullpen for the major league club in 2004. On top of that, Bartolome Fortunado has been added into the mix who has shown flashes of being a solid reliever. So the bullpen situation within the organization is not really in bad shape in terms of overall depth, but the system is lacking a dominator or two.

    The Mets do still own a very good farm system. The loss of four of their top ten prospects via trade and two to the major league roster would have seemingly done more damage than has been done. The loss of Kazmir and Huber cannot be glossed over, but with a strong 2004 draft, the emergence of some players within the organization, and international signings, the Mets may actually have a deeper system than last year. After the top prospects in 2004, things got thin really quick. The Mets had the 10th highest ranked farm system based on the impact players that they possessed. Most of the impact players are gone and new ones have certainly emerged. Yusmeiro Petit has taken larger strides than anyone could have ever hoped for and should be considered a top ten prospect out of the entire minor leagues. Ian Bladergroen emerged as a triple crown threat in the minor leagues and Lastings Milledge has put up some numbers that are making people believe he is the real deal. The Mets had five players ranked in the top 100 for all of the minor leagues to begin 2004, and they should have four or five again next year. The Tides were not exactly full of productive players for a really long time, but they will start to show up in 2005. Guys like Humber, Soler, Petit, Danny Garica, Jacobs, Keppel, Baldiris, Brazell, Lydon, and Victor Diaz could all be on the Tides roster in 2005 providing some immediate help on the major league level should injuries arise. The rebuilding of a farm system does not happen over night and the results of all the work over the years to rebuild are finally showing. The Mets will have promising and talented players through every level of the organization and they have some as good as any around. Things are not as bad as one might think on the farm and the depth is probably better than it has been for as long time.

    * * *

  • Hidalgo on next year's coaching situation:

    "I really want to know who it is," Hidalgo said. "If I'm here, it's important for me to know."

    Umm..take your .232 August batting average and your .141 September batting average and do not let the door hit you on the way out.

    Richard has hit .341 in April, .202 in May, .236 in June, .294 in July, .232 in August, and .141 in September so far. See a pattern? One good month that is followed by two bad months. Anyone that thinks he should be in right field next year is crazy. I'd rather see Diaz out there.

  • David Wright was named the Sterling Organizational Player of the Year, the top award for the Mets' minor-league system. Fellow Futures Game participant Yusmeiro Petit, who finished the year at Double-A Binghamton, was named Pitcher of the Year. CF Lastings Milledge, a first-round pick in 2003, won the rookie award.

  • Kaz and Reyes could be back this weekend vs. the Cubs at Shea.

  • Does anyone else think it is weird that after such a good year in Capital City, the team bolts to the Red Sox to switch club affiliation? I guess it really does not matter too much, but it is strange. I guess the Red Sox put up more cash. Anyway, welcome to your low A ball Hagerstown Suns.

    This guy will fit in just perfectly with Mr. Met. Dare I say this may be a match made in heaven?

    UPDATE: Baseball America has some more info on the reasoning behind the move.

  • Speaking of Mr. Met, he ended reserve duty at Guantanamo Bay almost two years ago.

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2002 -- "Mr. Met," the orb-headed icon of the New York Mets baseball team, used to be none other than an Army Reserve officer engaged in the global war against terrorism.

    I'd like someone to show me someone more American than Mr. Met...go ahead, try.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    "I don't think he could beat me up anyway"

    I got nothing today, so I offer these bits and pieces....

  • Baseball Prospectus' The Week In Quotes for September 13th through the 19th is out. As usual, it had some gems.

    Dustin Mohr on Barry Bonds:

    "I started talking to him from day one. I'm not intimidated by him...I think he's a good guy. He has a pretty fun side to him. For me, he's a joy to be around. There's a myth going around that if you sit in Barry's chair, he's going to beat you up. I've been on the chair a lot of times, and he says he doesn't care, so long as he doesn't want to sit there."

    "I don't think he could beat me up anyway."

    Pete Rose gives some of his opinions on Barry Bonds:

    "It will take him two more years and he will have to be lucky in terms of no injuries...but how is he going to get hurt? He only trots. He doesn't play defense anymore, he can't throw, and he can't run. How's he going to get hurt? How's he going to pull a muscle?"

    Leave it to Pete Rose to class up the joint with his always insightful comments. Barry is old and does not run as hard as he once did, but he is certainly not as little or agile as he used to be. Barry plays the game. He may not run like he is 25 being that he is 40, but he has a desire to win.

    Check out the entire article, it's always a good read.

  • Piazza on his status with the Mets next season:

    "I think we need to sit down and talk after the season," he said. "It shouldn't be a taboo subject. Respect breeds respect. We're all professionals and if they want to do something, they should sit down with me and my agent and tell us what they are thinking, and I think we will. What do they think is best for the team? How can I fit in to help the team get better? If they have ideas, I'm all ears."

    "I would hate to feel I'm a burden," he said. "I just don't know, which is why I think we need to sit down and talk. They should get their house in order, find their direction, and come to me with plan A and plan B. We shouldn't be afraid to talk about the obvious."

    Mike, c'mon now. The odds of this team doing anything that can misconstrued as direct and open communication will not happen. First it will start with a leak to to the media to Jon Heyman, then the finger pointing will start as Fred Wilpon points to Rick Peterson and Peterson then points to Livesly and Goldis and Goldis then points to Leiter and Leiter says Wilson Delgado is too cocky and Duquette finally accepts responsibility, then they will bring up the idea of possibly moving Piazza to right field (done through the media of course), and then come to Mike after it has become a media disaster. Asking for honesty at this juncture with this team's front office?

    The sad part is, Piazza basically gave them the opening to approach him. He let them know he is open to anything. The questions is, will they take him up on it? They should talk to him either way, it is only fair to him, but we know how it will most likely go down.

  • Mets.com did a small piece on a few Met rookies who could factor into the equation for the 2005 Mets.

    Diaz's future with the Mets is likely tied to what the club does with Richard Hidalgo this winter. New York plans on exercising its $2 million buyout of Hidalgo and then renegotiating with him. If Hidalgo then doesn't re-sign, Diaz could get a chance at being the everyday right fielder in 2005.

    Several club executives have already said they don't view Diaz as a bench player. And it's unlikely that he will return for another full season in Norfolk. So unless he is dealt, expect the multi-talented native of the Dominican Republic to be part of New York's outfield mix next year.

    If this has any shred of truth, then they may want to consider actually letting him play. Cliff may be ready for action today, so it is likely that the Mets will keep in running Floyd and Hidalgo out there. If the Mets believe that Victor Diaz has nothing left to prove after hitting .294 with 24 homers at AAA, then this lack of playing time is truly perplexing. The other thing that does not show up in Victor's end of the year numbers, is the fact that he kept getting better every month. He had a bit of an adjustment period before really picking it up and hitting just like he has always done.

  • Maura Villareal, who is Ugetha Urbina's mother was kidnapped on September 1st and is being held for $15,000,000 ransom. Urbina has left the Tigers to go to Venezuela. It actually makes you wonder how it does not happen more often in these poverty stricken countries. It is clearly a danger for this mega rich ballplayers to have their families open to this kind of tragedy. We all can only hope this turns out for the best.

  • Since I have a vested interest in the Mets success being that I am hopeless addicted to Mets baseball, I'm offering up some help for Jeff Wilpon's hot temper and his "physically imposing" actions when he loses his temper.

    Anger Management:
    A Ten-Step Program

    1) Accept that most things in the world are out of your control.
    2) Accept that it is your choice to get angry about those things.
    3) No one makes you angry.
    4) Life is unfair. Waste no energy lamenting or trying to change that fact.
    5) No one likes to be around an angry person. No one feels like helping an angry person.
    6) So why be angry? Maybe you really don't want your problems solved. Maybe you just want to complain and wail and gnash your teeth.
    7) Take stock of yourself. What do you want?
    8) ou should smile more. Your face won't break.
    9) Anger is a weed; hate is the tree.
    10) Anger makes a rich man hated and a poor man scorned.

  • Just keep that in mind Jeff, no one likes to be around an angry person and no one feels like helping an angry person, but more importantly Anger is a weed and hate is the tree. #10 is classic too.

  • Alright, quick, if you were going to put money on a game in which Matt Clement is starting against David Weathers, who do you put the cash on? In his first start since 1998, David Weathers registered a win by going five innings, while allowing only two hits, one earned run, and struck out five. Matt Clement did not even make it out of the third inning. Awesome job by Weathers.

    Everyone's favorite closer Armando Benitez continues his dominance by notching his 44th save and has an other worldly 1.10 ERA. No matter what he does, I'm glad he's gone. I'll never forget him blowing game one of the 2000 World Series.

  • Bulletproof? Mariano Rivera has a 0.00 against 12 teams this year. Of the five teams that did score runs off of him, four are in the AL East. While he does have more innings pitched against his AL East opponents, it is really nothing that significant, and yes one or two runs will bloat your ERA when you are closer. But it cannot be overlooked that these teams have seen him more than the others over the years. In 2004 Mariano has a 3.38 ERA against Toronto, a 4.09 ERA against Baltimore, a 4.66 ERA against Boston, and a 1.96 ERA against Tampa Bay. I guess the point I'm trying to make is Rivera is not as automatic against teams that have seen him enough. My one friend has a theory that pitchers just need to be patient. Do not swing because of his cutters are off the plate anyway. When they face Boston in the playoffs with their suspect pitching staff and a closer that Boston has seemingly figured out, it could spell an exit for the Yanks at the hand of the Sox. I know the Sox got pummeled this weekend, but the Yankees are not invincible by any means.

  • I do not think the woman getting mauled by a flying folding chair is funny, but take a look at this picture.

    Look at the one woman with the blonde hair, she has this horrified look on her face that is pretty funny. In fact, all the woman have looks of concern on their face. Then look at the guys. Not only do they not have concerned looks on their faces, they all seem to be deriving some sort of pleasure out of the fracas. One thing overlooked in this entire situation is the accuracy that Frank Francisco can throw a folding chair. Had Mr. Bueno not ducked letting the chair hit is wife in the face, it would have been a direct hit.

  • Is it me? Am I reading this wrong? U.S. Cellular Field is more conducive for hitting home runs than Coors Field?

    I checked the stats to see if they back it up. Sure enough, the White Sox have hit 130 homeruns in their comfy confines and only 83 on the road. As for the Rockies, they have hit 106 homeruns at home and 87 on the road. Who knew? Not me, that is for sure. Overall, Coors is a better hitter’s park with a park factor of 1.238 compared to 1.091 with U.S. Cellular field. I just never knew it was a launching pad in Chicago.

  • LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUUMMMMBLLLLLLLE!!! The battle for last place starts today. Who wants it more? Or who wants it less I guess I should say.

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    GCL Top Prospects

    Gaby Hernandez is getting some high praise from Baseball America. Gaby was listed as the #2 prospect in the Gulf Coast League. Gaby started nine games in his rookie campaign in 2004 after being drafted out of Belen Jesuit High School in Miami. Hernandez was drafted in the 3rd Round (74th Overall) of 2004 amateur draft. He pitched 2 complete games, including one shut out. He went 49.2 innings surrendering an amazing 25 hits, walking 12 and striking out 58. His K/9 was 10.51, and his WHIP is .74. He finished with a 3-3 record and a 1.09 ERA. He also pitched for the Cyclones for game and went three innings, giving up no runs, and struck out six while allowing two hits. Overall, he had a wildly successful first year and was really a man amongst boys in the Gulf Coast League.

    Two more Mets got some mention as well. At number 16 Jesus Flores (catcher) and at number 18 Carlos Gomez (outfield) both get some mention as well. Jesus batted .319, with four homers, and twenty five RBIs in 45 games while playing for the Gulf Coast Mets. Gomez played in the Appy league for Kingsport as well as the Gulf Coast League. Between both leagues, he hit .281 with one homerun and 31 RBIs in 57 games while swiping 17 bases.

    Rebuilding 101

    The rebuilding word can be a dirty little word for fans loyal to their sports team. Eventually, every team will have to have a bit of house cleaning and change direction. Rebuilding does not have to be a bad thing or a drawn out process. There are a few key components to rebuilding. One is that a team needed to have good drafts for a number of years leading up to the rebuilding point. Without a strong farm system, your rebuilding process can last for decade (see Pittsburgh Pirates). Secondly, you need to have a GM that has a vision is that will actually stick to his plan (i.e. not trading Scott Kazmir after you preach about building from within and getting younger). Third, you need to get some value back in trades from the inevitable fire sales. Fourth, you need to make some tough decisions and wave bye bye to some veteran players who came up through your system or gave you years of service when they just do not fit into your rebuilding plans.

    I look at the Indians and I see and organization that took a big chance and moved to rebuild. Indians GM Mark Shapiro orchestrated one of the best and quickest rebuilding jobs I have ever seen. Over the years they made unpopular moves like letting Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Ellis Burks, and Kenny Lofton walk and shipped off players like Roberto Alomar after an MVP type season, Bartolo Colon while he was putting some of the best numbers he ever had with a 10-4 record and a 2.55 ERA, and sending David Justice away to help the Yankees win a World Series against our beloved Mets.

    The Indians had finished a stretch in which they placed 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 1st. That does not sound like a team that would be looking to rebuild, but the players they had added up to a payroll they would not be able to manage effectively as a winner for the next eight years. It was a tremendous run, but one that inevitably had to end sometime. The Indians were at a crossroads in 2001 and 2002 of sort and knew they could not afford to keep Thome, Colon, Alomar, etc. and have money for all of their other needs. They are a mid market team that could afford about an $80,000,000 payroll but to allocate almost half to three players was nonsensical. In December of 2001 they started the process by trading off Alomar to the Mets in a deal that got them Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, Matt Lawton, Earl Snyder, and Billy Traber for Roberto Alomar, Mike Bacsik, and Danny Peoples. Matt Lawton is the only producing major league talent at this point out of that entire group and is batting .283 with 20 homers this season with a .366 OBP. Then during the 2002 season, they traded Bartolo Colon and the infamous PTBNL (who later turned out to be JD's brother Tim Drew) to the Expos for Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Lee Stevens. That already is a fleecing, but will turn into a larger fleecing when Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore become all-star caliber talents year in and year out. That trade gave them back what looks to be three above average and possibly all-star caliber starters. After the 2002 season concluded, the Indians had to decide whether or not they wanted to bring back Thome for about $15,000,000 per year or to go with a Ben Broussard at first. They ended up going with a Broussard/Hafner platoon and were officially on their way to rebuilding.

    The Indians had stocked their minor league system and had plenty of young up and coming players already in the organization. In addition to receiving Grady Sizemore for centerfield, Brandon Phillips for their infield, and Cliff Lee for their rotation, they drafted the likes of Jeremy Guthrie (right handed power pitcher) and JJ Cooper (outfielder) from Stanford with Johnny Peralta (infielder with .327 with 15 homers in AAA in 2004) and in 2003 drafted and signed Michael Aubrey, who people liken to Todd Helton, and yet another Stanford player in Ryan Garko. The Indians also spun Milton Bradley into a solid OF prospect Franklin Gutierrez. In 2004 they drafted and signed a polished left hander in Jeremy Sowers.

    They have all those young players to infuse with young and promising players like CC Sabathia (24), Kazuhito Tadano (24), Jake Westbrook (26), Victor Martinez (25), Ronnie Belliard (29), Jody Gerut (26), Travis Hafner (27), Coco Crisp (24) and Josh Phelps (26).

    The Indians last finished in first in 2001. They were in rebuilding mode for 2002, 2003, and kind of 2004 even though they showed some flashes of being competitive. They currently have the second most potent offense in the majors with an up and coming pitching staff that may include three talented lefty starting pitchers soon enough. Their ace is only 24 and is a lefty, their second best pitcher is Jake Westbrook at 26, their third best pitcher is 26 and a lefty in Cliff Lee. They also have another lefty on the horizon in Jeremy Sowers who was regarded as an extremely polished pitcher coming out of Vanderbilt with not much time needed in the minors. In addition to Jeremy Sowers, they have Fausto Carmona, Jake Dittler, Fernando Cabrera, Adam Miller, and Nick Pesco who are all young and solid pitching prospects.

    Then you look at who the Indians have for the outfield. They have Matt Lawton, who is their resident veteran presence and has a contract that runs through 2005, with Cocco Crisp, who is quietly having a solid year, Jody Gerut, and Grady Sizemore stepping in for 2005 with Franklin Gutierrez and JJ Cooper on the horizon. Not only do they have talent in the major leagues, but they have youngsters ready to supplant Matt Lawton when/if he leaves in the next few seasons. They have depth at the minor and major league level.

    The infield only gets better. You have masher Travis Hafner at the DH spot but can sub in at 1B and you have Ben Broussard and Josh Phelps doing an adequate job at first until Michael Aubrey or Ryan Garko are ready for the show. At second base and shortstop they have Omar Vizquel who is in the last year of his contract and Ronnie Belliard who is in the last year of his contract as well. You can bet that Peralta and Phillips will be at SS and 2B respectively in 2005. Victor Martinez is a 25 year old stud catcher who will be a mainstay at that position for them for a while. That leaves third base. Casey Blake, who is also having a solid season, has his contract expiring at the end of the season and the Indians plan to supplant Aaron Boone into that position.

    That leads us to the final product, the fruits of Shapiro's hard work, your 2006 Cleveland Indians (I skipped to 2005 because some contracts run through 2005 and some of the prospects they have now will almost certainly not be ready in 2005):

    All ages are at the being of the 2006 season.

    1B - Michael Aubrey (24) / Josh Phelps (28)
    2B - Brandon Phillips (24)
    SS - Johnny Peralta (23)
    3B - Aaron Boone (33)
    C - Victor Martinez (27)
    RF - Jody Gerut (28) / Franklin Guitirez (23)
    CF - Grady Sizemore (23)
    LF - JJ Cooper (25) / CoCo Crisp (26)

    SP CC Sabathia (25)
    SP Jake Westbrook (28)
    SP Cliff Lee (27)
    SP Jeremy Sowers (23)
    SP Adam Miller (21) / Nick Pesco (22) / Jake Dittler (23)

    As for the bullpen they have Jeremy Guthrie, who used to be a starter coming into this year and could return to the rotation, that could possibly be anchoring that bullpen with is mid 90's fastball alongside Kazuhito Tadano and Francisco Cabrera. The entire point is that in 2006, they will have only ONE or possibly two major players out of their entire starting lineup that will be over 31. There are a lot of question marks when it comes to prospects and not all pan out, but I've put people in bold who have proved they can play in the majors and it really does not leave that many question marks. They also have enough organizational depth that most of the players could fail and they would still be in very good shape. Shapiro did an amazing job building this team for the immediate future and the long term. Duquette and other GMs should take note.

    What does this have to do with the Mets? Well I'm going to outline how I think the Mets can get back into to thick of things with a few moves and the Mets do not have to rebuild as much as retool. That will be coming right after the season.

    * * *

  • Ryan Vogelsong had not held any opponent scoreless in any of his previous 24 starts. So what happens yesterday? The Mets are the team he holds scoreless for the first time in his short career. Vogelsong was sent over from San Francisco in a deal that sent Jason Schmidt and John VanderWal to the Giants for Vogelsong and Armando Rios back in 2001. The game only featured five total hits and the Mets had three of them. Aaron Heilman pitched his best major league game of his career and went seven innings and allowing only two hits, one homerun, three base on balls and five strikeouts. That is his second solid start in a row, lets see if he can boost his trade value and put two more solid starts together.

    The second game of the double header featured Kris Benson getting tuned up by his old team. He went six innings while giving up six runs and the Mets lost 6-1. He did manage to strike out seven Pirate batters in the game. It's almost as if you can feel his 2005 salary go up and down with each start. Fact is, Benson still has major questions marks surrounding him since he has yet to put up a consistent solid major league season. David Wright picked up two hits as did Jeff Keppinger and Todd Zeile finally picked up his 2000th hit. Only 85 major leaguers have 2000 hits, so this is a pretty good accomplishment for Todd to achieve in his last year. Victor Diaz in his second major league start went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

    In an effort to make light of the situation and search for a bright spot on an otherwise dismal day, Tom Glavine offered this:

    "Aaron threw well and Todd got his 2,000th hit," Glavine said, searching for a third entry. "And ... and ... the water's go- ing down."

    Heath Bell continues to make a case for a bullpen spot in 2005.

  • Notes from the Post:

    Duquette says a Bobby V. signing is unlikely, but I think we already knew that.

    "I'm not ruling out anybody or anything, but it's probably not likely," Duquette admitted.

    Duquette still remains hopeful of a Kris Benson signing.

    "We've got a long time," Duquette said, noting that Benson can't negotiate with anybody else until 15 days after the World Series ends. "We're not pushing it to have it done by the end of the season. If we can get it done [by then], that'd be great."

    Duquette also said he's "hopeful" that Al Leiter will return next year which means getting younger in the rotation is not likely to happen. Something has to give. Leiter, Trachsel and Glavine cannot return.

    Howe expressed hope that both Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui can return on the Mets' home stand next weekend.

    Jeff Keppinger is happy to be a Met.

    "I didn't know what I had to do in that organization," he said. "Three months into the season, I was hitting .400 and I couldn't even get a promotion to Triple-A. I'm definitely happy to be over here."

  • As Newsday painfully points out, 29 percent of Wigginton's 21 RBIs with the Pirates came in seven at-bats against his former team. Take that.

  • Howe plans to use Craig Brazell at first base in Montreal. After Todd's 2000th hit, I think everyone figured he would get some more playing time.

  • Jose Reyes is set to play winter ball with Bartolome Fortunado, Wilson Delgado, and Mike DeJean.

  • Looks like Victor is going to see more playing time. Manager Art Howe said Cliff Floyd, who left Saturday's game with a strained muscle under his right arm, would be re-evaluated Tuesday in Montreal, but "it's going to be awhile."

  • Jason Bay's homer, his 24th, surpassed a Pirates rookie record held since 1946 by Ralph Kiner.

  • Damn Yankees took two of three effectively taking any hope Boston had of taking first place and flushing it down the toilet.

  • Scott Kazmir got tattooed by the Blue Jays on Sunday. He gave up seven runs in two innings. He is still keeping his K/9 up over ten though. His K/9 is 10.88.

  • The Mets get a day off on Monday before resuming play in Montreal. The match ups against the Expos will shake out like this:

    Tuesday - Al Leiter vs. Livan Hernandez
    Wednesday - Steve Trachsel vs. John Patterson
    Thursday - Tom Glavine vs. Sun-Woo Kim

  • The Giants are in the process of locking up Barry Bonds at least through 2006.

  • Jeromy Burnitz is considering retiring after this season.

    "That would be the reason, to concentrate on being a father and husband," said Burnitz, who has been playing professional baseball since 1990. "It's just another thing to consider."

    After the two year 20 million dollar contract he signed back in March 2001, he would certainly look like he has the money to pack it in. Burnitz expressed some interest in going home to California to play ball, so if someone does not show interest in return, it could be quits for Burnitz. Burnitz has been in the majors for twelve seasons and came up through the Mets organization. He has had stints with Cleveland, Milwaukee, LA, Colorado and the Mets twice. He is a career .254 hitter and has 274 career homeruns. His career high in homers was 38 back in 1998 with the Brewers and he looks poised to break his own personal best this season thanks to the thin air in Denver.

  • Everyone is trying to get a piece of Johan Santana these days. After notching his 19th win this season, it is not hard figure out why everyone is trying to take credit for him.

  • I was thinking to myself that even if Piazza puts up his worst numbers of his career over a full season next year and has .265 batting average, with 22 homeruns, and 70 RBIs, he'll basically be Jorge Posada.
  • Sunday, September 19, 2004

    Lame Duck

    24 year old John Van Benschoten took the hill against Tom Glavine last night. He managed to walk four batters in a row and let the Mets jump out to a 6-0 lead after one inning of play. Then, as I sit watching the game through the top of the second inning, I think to myself, with a 7-0 lead and Glavine pitching, there is no way the Mets lose this game. Then Ty Wigginton and his four RBIs took over and the game was eventually tied in the seventh inning off Bartolome Fortunado who took over for Galvine in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bartolome did his best John Van Benschoten impression by walking three batters. Eventually the Mets ended up winning in the 10th inning with a little help from a guy named Victor Diaz. Wilson Delgado singled to right and Diaz followed that up with another single which moved Delgado to third. Then with one out, Mike Cameron hit a sacrifice fly to score Wilson.

    Now, the thing about a lame duck manager is that he does not really care about 2005. I do think Art Howe is a man of integrity, but what does he care about getting Brazell and Diaz, who were a combined 2 for 2 last night of the bench, some playing time? It is painfully obvious this season is going no where and every other team in the Mets position at least gets some rookies they are interested in taking a look at a start here and there. Diaz and Brazell have combine for one start. That does not make sense to me in any shape or form. We still see Hidalgo and Floyd running out there every night, but the fact is, they can sit in one or two games a week each and let Victor get three or four starts a week. I think they have a very good player in Victor and need to see if he can be useful in 2005. With a team with question marks at each corner outfield spot combined with the fact that the closest prospect ready for major league service is a corner outfielder, it is unconscionable that he is not seeing playing time. This move speaks volumes about the incompetence of this organization and their ineptitude to do the right thing. As for Brazell, the Mets do not even have a first baseman. I know they are playing Piazza there, but he is not even going to play first in 2005 in all likelihood. Let the kids play, they deserve a shot.

  • Todd Zeile is one hit closer to 2000. The has 1999 and just missed 2000 when he was robbed of a homerun as top rookie of the year candidate Jason Bay went over the wall to rob Zeile of a hit. It would have been really fitting if Zeile could have reached this milestone while he was catching.

  • Jeff Wilpon speaks out.

    I "feel the pain" of Mets fans because I am passionate about winning and - most important - I am not going anywhere.


    But an AL official said, "I don't care who says it is not happening [heavy influence by players]. It does. This family thing the Wilpons want does not work." A former Met official also said the Wilpons are hypersensitive to media criticism, and craft decisions to avoid the bashing. Jeff denied this, but there are no doubts the Mets seek counsel about important issues, even the hiring of managers, from media favorites.

    Is it just me or is it every time any of the Wilpons speak out I come away feeling worse about this organization than I did before. They seem to contradict themselves every stop of the way.

  • Kris Benson on resigning:

    "I'm not really using that as a deciding point," Benson said. "If anything's the deciding point, it's who they're going to bring in for some of these guys who are retiring or [may not be coming back]."

    "I think things will pick up. ... We'll work it out. It'll work out."

  • From the Post:

    Meanwhile, reached last night, Lenny Dykstra — noted in yesterday's Post as a candidate to be mentored as a coach under Fregosi — politely declined to comment on the possibility of joining the Met coaching staff next year.

    "Out of respect for Art Howe, I'm not going to comment on any of that until after the season," Dykstra said.

    A Dykstra Fregosi tandem in 2005? I actually like the sound that one.

  • FINALLY!! A bit of good news about out favorite organization.

    Disgruntled diehard Mets fans who don't believe Fred Wilpon is serious about straightening out the mess his team is in, may find this to be some heartening news: Moles within the television industry say it's now not a matter of if Wilpon will start his own Mets TV network, but when.

    These spies say Wilpon is solidly committed to starting the network. The Mets boss intends to have it up and running in 2006, a year after his contract expires with Cablevision-owned Madison Square Garden Network/Fox Sports New York.

  • If you feel like venting some anger today, take it on here:


  • I went to the Yankee game last night and endured chants of '1918' directed at me to see the Red Sox get blasted. In fact, they were getting no hit through the sixth inning. My friend who I went with was yelling "He has a no hitter, does anyone realize Lieber has a no hitter?". As people were telling him to shut up, he said "What? Is it bad luck or something to talk about a no hitter when the pitcher is throwing one?". Next inning, Ortizzle launches a homerun to break up the no-no and the shut out. Classic. Let's go Pedro!