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

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Bowa and Kerrigan to Get Axed

Larry Bowa and Joe Kerrigan are rumored to be on their way out shortly after the end of the season.

"I know I've done a pretty good job with what I'm supposed to do," Bowa said this week when asked about his managing future.

I'm just shocked he lasted this long.

Ichiro: Hit Man

Ichiro finally broke George Sisler's 84 year old record for the Most hits in a single season. He picked up three hits against Texas to do it. ESPN kept breaking in to the A's vs. Angels game to show his every at bat. It did not take too long as he recorded hits in each of his first two at bats to tie and then break the record. I can now take the hit tracker off of my side bar which was becoming a nuisance. Congrats to Ichiro, the only player who is cool enough to wear his first name on the back of jersey.

"Through my career, I think this is the best moment," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "I can't really put it into words."

Sammy Sosa a Met?

Sammy Sosa was mentioned as a possible point of interest in the Mets pre-game yesterday. I did not hear it, but my friend says it happened. Now we all know that Omar Minaya was responsible for bringing Sosa to Texas back in the day. I think everyone knows what type of colossal mistake this would be. No one needs me to repeat it, but I will anyway. Sammy turns 36 in November and is due $17 million in 2005 and $18 million in 2006 with a $4.5 million dollar buyout. So in reality, the Mets will be paying $21.5 million dollars for one year of service since they will most definitely be not picking up any option. I can only assume this is coming from the same people that think there is a chance Bobby Valentine will be manager of the New York Mets in 2005.

Sammy Sosa's four year progression:

2001 .328/.437/.737
2002 .288/.399/.594
2003 .279/.358/.553
2004 .251/.347/.510

The Cubs would like nothing more than to rid themselves of Samuel Peralta Sosa. Hell, they'd trade him straight up for Prentice Redman or some corked batting practice bats. If there is any shred of truth to this, which I cannot imagine there is, I'm just not sure how anyone could ever take this current Met front office seriously (not that the actually do now).

* * *

  • The Mets lost 4-2 to the Expos last night. Benson pitched OK. He did nothing to scare the Mets off from resigning him but did not end on jaw dropping outing. He did top 200 innings for the first time since 2000, when he threw 217.2 innings. Tyler Yates’ scoreless inning streak was ended last night as he came in relief of Pedro Feliciano. Jose Reyes picked up two doubles last night and the Mets only had six hits overall. Victor Diaz went 0-4 but did not strike out.

  • One good thing about the end of the Met baseball season is the fact that I do not have to listen to Fran Healy talk about Major League Baseball creating divisions in Japan. Really, does the guy have any more material? Does he have anything interesting to say? If I was Ted Robinson or Ralf Kiner, I'd pop him in the mouth.

  • Art Howe said 44-year old John Franco, who pitched two innings in all of September, will "definitely" pitch Sunday in the season finale. That sucks. I'll be at the game and have to endure him throwing batting practice to Expos hitters.

  • From Newsday:

    Jaramillo, whose contract is up, turned down a four-year, $2-million offer to remain in Texas, and he would be considered for the job of Mets hitting coach, if not manager. Cora, too, could fill a spot on the new coaching staff, which will be gutted aside from pitching coach Rick Peterson.

    From NJ.com:

    Minaya will interview Texas hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo for either manager or hitting coach, and White Sox third base coach Joey Cora, too. Former Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca already had an interview scheduled with Duquette for next week, but he is not considered high on Minaya's list.

    Speculation that Rudy Jaramillo and Joey Cora may be part of the Mets coaching staff in some capacity continues to circulate.

    "We're going to hire the best baseball man," Minaya said, "to win as many games as possible."

    Sounds basic enough right? Too bad the Mets have failed to do that recently. In my opinion, hiring intelligent baseball people will unequivocally result in more wins. I feel that just by having Howe as the manager he single handedly cost the Mets games. Good managers and coaches can squeeze more wins out of team and some just cost the team wins. The front office change has happened, I feel like Minaya is going to do good job with the coaching staff, and aside from the Sosa rumor above, I how no doubt he'll improve the team this off season and pick up the right player personnel. Maybe I'm putting too much faith in him, but I like what I'm hearing so far in terms of coaching. I'm not a fan for Valentine coming back, but I really don't think he is despite the fact they have a meeting scheduled with him next week.

  • Glavine on the team's status:

    "I want to sit down and find out what the plans are for the off-season and what's going on," Glavine said before last night's game. "I believe the organization is going to make the necessary changes to get better for next year. But if that's not the case, I want to know that."

    Is he wearing thin on anyone else?

  • The Cubbies fell flat on their faces yet again. They now need to win their last two games and have both Houston and San Francisco to lose both of their remaining games to move into a three way tie for the Wild Card. Coming into the Met Series, they had swept the Pirates and had won 12 out of 15 overall. The Mets took that series by swiping the last two games and the Cubs have only won once in the last five games. You cannot spell choke with the Cubbies 'C'.

  • Oakland now has to win the last two games of the season against the Angels to make the playoffs. Mulder continued to pitch poorly in the second half of the season and failed to make it past two innings. The Angels have to take one game from the A's to take the division and have to do it against Zito and Hudson, neither of which have pitched well in the second half either.

  • El Duque got shelled by the Blue Jays after eight days of rest. He got pushed back because of dead arm and the Yankees have more starting rotation questions. $180,000,000 dollars and to this second, the Yankees have no idea who is going to pitch after Mussina does in game one. Mussina is 12 - 9 this year with a 4.59 ERA, .276 BAA, and a 1.32 WHIP. If he is being dubbed the ace, the Yanks may not make it out of the first round.

  • Friday, October 01, 2004

    Managerial Candidates

    Stephen from the Eddie Kranepool Society must be pretty happy. The Mets list of managerial candidates has someone he has been vocal about them taking a look at.

    Rudy Jaramillo, the Texas Rangers hitting coach is near the top of the list. Another leading candidate is White Sox third base coach Joey Cora. Jerry Manuel, Jim Fregosi, Don Baylor and Bobby Valentine are also on Minaya's list.

    Jaramillo, in his ninth season with the Rangers, is respected for the job he has done producing an offensive juggernaut in Texas. He also has minor-league managing experience.

    Cora, who played 11 years in the majors, was fired by the Mets after two seasons (2001- 02) managing at Rookie League Kingsport because he was not believed to be a great teacher. But Cora worked in the Expos' system under Minaya as manager for Class A Savannah in 2003 before joining the White Sox.

    Minaya's relationship with Jaramillo began in Texas, and he could be considered for either manager or hitting coach.

    Minaya said he plans to have his first interview next week.


    Minaya said he wants a manager he'd "like to grow with" over the next couple of years and that previous experience as a major-league skipper is not a necessity.

    Minaya's influence will be felt in more places than just the manager's office, and it appears that superscouts Al Goldis and Bill Livesey could be bumped down the ladder. Among the candidates are two of the Diamondbacks' top scouts, Bryan Lambe and Sandy Johnson, both of whom were mentioned by name in Minaya's speech yesterday.

    Previous experience as a major league skipper not necessary? Ok, how about Ken Oberkfell as the manager and Rudy Jamarillo as the hitting coach. Both can grow with the team and have experience with the younger kids that will start becoming the face of this franchise. Minaya's been on the job for a day and is shaking things up. Who can really be upset that the super scouts who had a big hand in the Kazmir deal are being bumped down the ladder? Minaya has gumption and is going to get things done. Already he's painted a direction for this team in terms of how it will be run and I like the news so far.

    Stipped Down

    Duquette has officially been demoted. The GM of the New York Mets is Omar Minaya.

    "That was part of the arrangement when I first signed my three-year contract that it was a one-year commitment as a general manager," Duquette said. "They had the right to reassign me and reduce my pay if they wanted to. Thankfully, they didn't reduce my salary. They kept me at the rate I would be paid as GM the next two years."

    Look, I'm glad that Minaya is here, but they could have had him last year and not demoted Duquette and gone through this mess. Also, Duquette did know of there was a possibility of leaving his post since it was in his contract. In his defense, he would have needed more than 1 1/2 years to implement a plan and I personally think he was not given a fair shot. I think he was strong armed in deviating from his plan, but that is part of the problem that needs to be solved. The Mets need someone who stands up for what he believes in is best for the team and is not afraid to stand up to the background voices and I do not think Duquette is that guy. Maybe Duquette was for the moves or maybe he's just the fall guy, we do not know for sure. Either way, his head should have been on the block. Either he made a horrible move or was bullied into complying to make a horrible move. Would Minaya have vetoed the deal? Who knows what the outcome would have been. We do know that Duquette said he was publicly behind the much maligned moves, but it was very much against what he said in the spring about building from within. So something definitely smells rotten in Denmark. One thing that is clear to me is that Duquette is a professional.

    "I was disappointed in their decision and their assessment of what they needed to do in terms of a reassignment. Whether it's fair or unfair at this point doesn't really matter. Having said that, I understand why they did what they did and I'm supportive of it because they've been talking about it for a while. It would be selfish of me to resign or leave because of a title. I still have a significant role and significant say in the organization, so I'm not going to get caught up in a title. I will say this: I feel like there's unfinished business and [I'm] looking forward to working with Omar."

    If what Minaya and Duquette are saying is true, I think this can be a good thing.

    "When I took this job, most important thing was that I wanted Jim to be my right-hand man," Minaya said. "He's going to be a big part of this. He's going to be right there next to me. And I say 'I,' but I really mean 'we' when it comes to the front office. I believe that the front office has to work together. I was an assistant GM for a long while, so as a GM I know a large part of my success will be dependent on Jim Duquette."

    Minaya was given a five-year deal do shape the club as he so desires. Omar is in charge of hiring a manager to naming front-office personnel to deciding on a coaching staff. The key phrase used by Wilpon was complete autonomy. Minaya is supposedly going to have full autonomy in the baseball department and Duquette will be his right hand man and still hand in shaping the way this team looks. We will not have to wait too long to see what happens as most of the big prizes of the off season are off the table by the end of December just in time to start selling season tickets. That means the manager will be employed by mid to late October since many players need to know who they are coming to play for. The next three months will be anything but boring for Met fans. The hot stove is going to be smoking hot for the Metropolitans.

    * * *

  • Adam Dunn set the undesirable record for most strikeouts in a single season. He passed Bonds' previous mark of 189 in 1970. Dunn currently has 191 and still has four games left play.

  • I must have been sleeping when I missed some important info on Phil Humber.

    Mike Moye, the agent for first-round pick Phil Humber, told MLB.com on Friday that he and the Mets are "not close to a deal but anything can change." Other than that, he had no comment, per his firm's policy on negotiations. Sources confirmed that Humber, the third pick in the draft, is asking for a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $3.5 million and is looking for a Major League-type contract in the $6 million range.

    Damn, I guess I can see why Humber is not signed yet. He is asking for a major league contract. I think he has all the future in the world and is a solid major league prospect, but a guaranteed major league contract? Coming into 2004, Baseball America had him ranked behind Jeff Neiman, Justin Verlander, Jared Weaver, Wade Townsend, and Jeremy Sowers in terms of college pitchers. After the 2004 season, not much changed and they were all still highly regarded prospects. They are all solid prospects, but is anyone worth a major league contract out of that bunch? Weaver is going to hold out for one, but he is not projected to be better than a #3 starter at best. Read here about my thoughts on this situation if you have not before. The system needs to be overhauled, I feel like Humber knows he has the Mets bent over after they dealt Kazmir and Peterson. Humber knows that they need him and they are trying to get as much as they can. I cannot fault him, but I blame the Mets and I blame the system. The Mets can afford to sign him to this contract if they cave, but some small market teams cannot allocate that much to an unsure thing like a prospect. The playing field is not level in terms of drafting players and Humber does not deserve a guaranteed major league contract in my opinion.

  • The Wild West is shaping up to have an amazing weekend. The people that made the schedule could not have done a better job. Anaheim will be traveling to Oakland for a three game series that will decide the division. This could all come down to their last game on Sunday to decide the division and the last AL playoff spot.

  • The NL Wildcard is turning into quite a showdown as well. The Astros and the Giants both lead the Cubs by 1 game. The 'Stros have a series at home against the Rockies, the Cubs have an Atlanta team that will resemble the Richmond Braves at home, and the Giants will have to travel to Dodgers Stadium. This one is probably going to play down to the final day of the season as well. An amazing finish

  • I was reading an ESPN Insider article on John Smotlz yesterday, and I came across this paragraph.

    Smoltz spent 27 days on the DL, gritted his teeth to get through the playoffs, then submitted to a fourth surgery on his right elbow, this time to remove various flotsam and significant jetsam. He says the damage was directly related to the repetitive stress of closing, not to residual effects from years of starting. "I'll counter anyone's argument if they say this is better for my arm," he says. "This is way harder on my arm. Not even close."

    Flotsam and jetsam? What in hell? He has ship debris in his elbow?

  • Cleveland Indian pitcher Kyle Denney was shot and possibly saved from further injury by wearing cheerleader boots. You cannot make this stuff up. It is great that no major injuries were suffered after the bullet struck Denney in the calf and grazed Ryan Ludwick.

    "Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," spokesperson Bart Swain said.

  • Wilpon on next year's payroll:

    "My presumption is the payroll will be higher."

    Damn skippy, pay up sucka.

  • Talk about uncomfortable photos:

    I was kind of pulling for a cat fight here. Some hair pulling, biting, etc. Nothing!

    Prefect opportunity for a joy buzzer or something....just wasted.

  • This wise crack is great. It is an excerpt from the Daily News:

    Most of the questions for Minaya were about the new Mets manager. He said he had a list of five or six names. He wouldn't give away the names. But there is no doubt, Fred Wilpon told us, that Minaya, and Minaya alone, would pick the new man.

    Which led one wise guy to ask Wilpon, "What if (Minaya) likes Art (Howe?)"

    Wilpon didn't hesitate. "Then we'll have Art."

    No, that's too much autonomy.

  • Jeff Wilpon on the Kazmir trade:

    "I was the lone dissenting vote on whether to do the trade," he said. "I thought he had a special arm. But I agree with it and I stand by it now."

    Fact or fiction?

  • The Baseball America's top 20 prospects in the Florida St. League are out. Two Mets made it…well, one really. The give that keeps on giving keeps up it’s generosity, Scott Kazmir made the list as a St. Lucie Met just to rub it in everyone's faces. Kazmir stepped in at #4 and Yumeiro Petit got the screwgie getting listed at #13.

    4. SCOTT KAZMIR, lhp, St. Lucie Mets

    Not many managers got to see the Kazmir who caused an uproar when the Mets foolishly traded him to the Devil Rays in July for Victor Zambrano.
    By that point, Kazmir was back to the fireballing lefty who blows away batters with a 95-mph fastball and a nasty slider. A month and a half later, he was out dueling Pedro Martinez in Fenway Park. But while in the FSL, Kazmir was bothered by a rib injury that limited his velocity and his command.

    Kazmir pitched at 90-95 mph in St. Lucie, compared to 93-97 in the majors. His slider also had more bite once he was fully healthy, and his changeup potentially could become a third plus pitch. Command and durability are the biggest question marks with Kazmir, but no lefty in the minors has better pure stuff.

    13. YUSMEIRO PETIT, rhp, St. Lucie Mets

    Though he led minor league starters with 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings and finished second with 200 strikeouts, Petit isn't a flamethrower. He gets his swings and misses with a 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92. While his fastball is average at best, his command, late life and deceptive delivery ensure that hitters rarely get a good swing at it.

    "He keeps the ball down, and the ball seems to explode onto bats," Teufel said. "He's fun to watch operate. He's a surgeon on the dish."

    Of his three minor league stops in 2004, Petit did his best work in St. Lucie. He also features a changeup that is a plus pitch at times but is still inconsistent. His slider has potential, but he doesn't yet fully command it and sometimes it flattens out too much.

  • Thursday, September 30, 2004

    Wade Townsend Denied

    Maybe Townsend may be a Met next season, they will most likely have a shot at him in the 2005 draft when their pick comes around. MLB has officially denied his request to continue to negotiate with the Baltimore Orioles. Townsend had started attending Rice to finish his classes while renouncing his eligibility to play college baseball. Can't play college baseball anyway so what's the harm in attending classes? I guess a lot. The irony of it all was that the Orioles signed him because they thought he would be relatively easy to ink. Think again Angelos.

    In somewhat related news, the Orioles are not renewing the contract of scouting director Tony DeMacio. DeMacio has overseen the Orioles' last six drafts (1999-2004) and has only produced major league regulars in 1999 draftees Larry Bigbie and Brian Roberts.

    * * *

  • Minya hangover...So now that I've had a day to let this Minaya thing sink in and I've read around other blogs, blog comments, and newspaper articles, I still stand by my first reaction. This is a good thing. But what does Glavine think? Let's find out..

    "I don't know what all this means," Glavine said. "Omar is a nice guy and I certainly believe he'll be an asset to the organization. But this is something that caught everyone by surprise. So much of what makes an organization successful is stability. What will make any organization attractive to free agents is stability.

    "You're going to want to have a foundation in place and want to be part of that. With more uncertainty, more guys will look at the situation here and are more skeptical. It will take a little more convincing to come here."

    "It's awfully important for an organization to project an image of stability and to have a plan and be focused on that plan. That's not always the case here. That certainly doesn't lend itself to making the situation better. If [principal owner] Fred [Wilpon] and the other decision makers think this makes us a stronger organization, then great. But we need to start portraying that."

    He is 100% correct on that stability idea. This is what I've been saying all year, the Mets main goal this season was not to make the playoffs but to make a atmosphere that would attract top tier talents. They needed to put this organization on track to get that done. Guess what? That did not happen. This place became a zoo and a veritable soap opera (As The Mets Turn..or As The Stomach Turns, take your pick) over the past few years. The fact that the Mets have brought in Glavine (could have gone to the Phillies, which admittedly was not very stable), Cameron (who could have gone to Oak-town), and Matsui (who could have gone a lot of other places) was surprising. In order to rectify this problem, the Mets needed to make a move. Hiring Minaya is step in that direction. Whether or not you agree with his old school philosophy is irrelevant. He has respect around the league and is highly regarded. Make no mistake, if he was leaving the Expos and not going to the Mets, plenty of teams would be vying for his services. I do agree with Glavine on the stability issue, but the thing is, the Mets had none. They needed to do something about that. I think free agents may take this move as an indication of a desire to move in a more positive direction. By handing over 100% of control of baseball operations to one person, that dispels a lot of the gripes that prospective Mets could have. Look, no one can really know what type of ultimate power Minaya will have. The Wilpons are the owners for better or for worse and decisions will need to get passed by them. However, I truly feel with a proven baseball guy in the driver seat, the little voices are going to go away. This will be Minaya's team and Brian Cashman said, "Omar is not a yes man". What does that mean to Duquette? It does not have to mean anything. He can fit very nicely into the team's plans as well. The Orioles have had a two GM set up with Beattie and Flanagan, although it has not worked about well so far and may not be the best example. Perhaps the combo of Jimmy and Omar may complement each other since the respective expertise is in different areas. Call me an unrealistic optimist, but I think this is good. I was quite surprised how many people did not think this was a positive move. Only time will tell if this move was a good one.

  • Let's have some fun with other peoples' links. I was perusing SelltheMets.com and I was reading through The Vent when I ran across this funny link. Yes, those are the Mets brain trust. Fred, Saul, and Jeffie looking as cheesy as ever. As the person who posted this comment there pointed out, there are three Wilpons and three Katz's running Sterling Equities. I certainly hope they are not all involved with the Mets. The total combined evil and stupidity of three Wilpons and three Katzs would be of epic proportions. Someone, please save us.

    After you go to the Sterling Equities link above, you can click on the this link to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

    If think this guy from the Sterling Equities website looks like this extremely happy guy from the Cyclones site, that would be because they are the same guy. Who the hell from Sterling is NOT involved with the Mets?

  • Also from that Cyclone page, you can read about Jeff Wilpon.

    A former catcher, Jeff was the Montreal Expos’ fourth round pick in the secondary phase of the 1983 Winter Free Agent Draft and spent that summer with Jamestown -“A” of the New York - Penn League.

    Rumor has it, he was drafted as a favor to his father and never played before he was released a week or so later. Jeff Wilpon’s name does not appear in the team’s statistics for that season. That does not sound like he spent the summer with them. Maybe he spent the summer in the stands watching the game and eating some hot dogs, but certainly not in uniform.

    Lastly from the Cyclones web page is the following:

    Sterling Equities has been an owner of the New York Mets baseball team since 1980. Sterling became the full owner of the team in 2002, after completing the acquisition of all shares of the New York Mets. Members of the Sterling Equities family have been deeply involved in the management of the team throughout the duration of ownership. Fred Wilpon, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Sterling Equities, has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mets since 1980. On completion of the acquisition, an Office of the Chairman was created. Members of that office are Fred Wilpon as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Saul Katz as President; and Jeff Wilpon as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In addition, members of the Board of Directors of the New York Mets include: Marvin Tepper, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Sterling Equities, Michael Katz, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sterling Equities, Richard A. Wilpon, Senior Executive Vice President of Sterling Equities, L. Thomas Osterman, Executive Vice President of Sterling Equities, David Katz, Executive Vice President of Sterling Equities and Arthur Friedman, Senior Vice President of Sterling Equities.

    Deeply involved in the management of the team throughout the duration of ownership? I think I just lost my breakfast. That is the last thing we need to see documented. I'd rather it be speculation and not know for sure. Too funny, really it is. So does working for Sterling Equities automatically make you well suited to run a baseball team? What's that you say? No? Really, that's odd, because the entire damn company is running the Mets.

    Ok, and for all of those can still stomach more horrifying links, click here. It is a site dedicated to proclaiming that Mo Vaughn is a babe. Yes, you read that right. This link was brought to my attention unmercifully when reading a post from Damien on his page JediKaos.net. If someone told me about it, I would not have believed it without seeing it myself.

  • Is anyone else concerned about Norm from the Shea Hot Corner? His last post about a month ago is deeply disturbing:

    What's worse, many of the players have given up and have accepted their fate. I guess I have too. For the foreseeable future I'm living with the in laws, have no control over the TV, am dealing with a Commadore 64 computer hooked up to a dial up connection, and I root for the most pathetic team in baseball. Someone put me out of my misery.

    It's been about a month since that last desperate post. I hope he's still alive and kicking.

  • Tough loss for the Mets yesterday. Heilman actually had another solid outing until the seventh inning came around and he got lit up. He is actually showing that he may have a major league future. Despite his poor performances last year and this year in AAA, scouts never doubted his ability to pitch in this league. His stuff is there, it is just a question of putting it together, keeping the ball down, and going after hitters and not throwing around then. No one said he would be an ace just a #4 guy who will eat innings, basically he'd be Steven Trachsel at best. Although he gave up six runs in 6.1 innings, he still had a positive outing in my opinion.

    Victor Diaz hit is third homerun in yesterday's loss to the Braves, but left seven people on base. He's still got my vote to be in the Met outfield next year.

  • Is anyone else deriving some joy out of the Cubs monumental meltdown? After having to sit through a game with their smug fans at Shea while watchcing the Mets hand them their second consecutive loss, I'm on board with Astros or Giants taking those loveable losers down.

  • NY Post begs the question...can Valentine be far behind?

    Minaya, who will likely oversee the Mets' managerial hunt, has enjoyed a very good relationship with Valentine and the two share a mutual admiration for each other. With that in mind, it's certainly plausible that Valentine, currently managing the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, could emerge on a list of managerial candidates.

    He's not my favorite candidate, but anything is better than Howe. This move would result in even more egg on the Mets' face. Hiring after firing him just two years earlier? Who does that? Also, he just flat out over manages. I was not a fan of his style and he is not what is best for this team.

  • The Mets to the Meadowlands? I can never see this happening. The fact is, it just makes no sense. Yes, they may have a better shot at getting their stadium built, but they will seriously take a revenue hit. Has anyone tried to get to a Devil game or Net game during the week and be there by seven? I cannot see this happening and I'm against it despite being pretty damn close to where I live.

  • Wednesday, September 29, 2004

    As The Mets Burn

    This is a funny excerpt from an article on FoxSports.com weighing in on the Expos situation and their move to DC:

    Minaya: Congratulations are in order. Minaya, the Expos' MLB-appointed general manager, is about to receive a "get out of jail free" card. Of course, his reported hiring by the Mets would amount to a move from one dysfunctional organization to another. But Minaya, a shrewd talent evaluator, and Mets G.M. Jim Duquette, a solid administrator, could be an effective combination - if they are allowed to operate without outside interference. Root for the rest of the Expos' hard-working and underappreciated employees to make out as well.

    Dysfunctional? Not our New York Mets. Also, what outside interference do you think he could be referring too. The Mets should truly be a real life soap opera on TV called As The Mets Burn. I'm sure we'll find out that Minaya is really Jeff Wilpon's step brother and illegitimate son of Fred Wilpon coming back to exact revenge on everyone with another decade of incompetence.

    Omar Minaya Is Back In Queens

    This is the best news that I've heard in while. According to the NYPost, the Mets are close to bringing Omar Minaya back to the organization. The Mets tried to land Minyaya this past off season to work with Duquette, but not be the GM. I'm not sure if this will be a two headed GM situation like the Orioles have had but this is the news we wanted to hear. When I made the comment yesterday about needing a GM to stand up to the Wilpons and their cronies but no one was available, apparently I was wrong. Minaya is guy that will stand up for the good of the ball club and will stand up to ownership. Minaya will be the head of baseball operations and will be the guy orchestrating the moves it would seem. This does restore credibility to the franchise and gets fresh and reliable face who is well liked by Latin players as well. This is a good PR move to change the face of this team to potential free agents and other baseball clubs around the majors. Minaya's emphasis is on scouting and player development and has been integral in signing players like Jose Reyes and Sammy Sosa. The bottom line is Omar is a guy with enough clout and enough of a proven track record to stand up the Wilpons and do what is right with this team. The only thing that scares me about Minaya is when he gave the farm away for Bartolo Colon, but everyone makes a bad deal or two. This is huge step in the right direction for the Met organization and is a good sign for the future. I certainly hope Duquette is kept around as well since I think he can be a valuable commodity in helping this team as well provided he can act freely. Together Omar Minaya and Jim Duquette can certainly form a solid front office tandem that can point this team in the right direction.

    * * *

  • In an effort to stave off working yesterday, I was touring the blogs as I often do. Amongst my travels I read Jason's Always Amazin' blog and he had a link to YankeesHater.com. I clicked on the link to check out the site and read around, and I came across their priceless mission statement.

    Why Hate?

    Hate is good. At least to the extent that it opposes evil. And there lies the challenge: to differentiate between what is evil and what is not. Let's all take a moment to set our moral compasses:

    Golden retriever puppies: not evil.
    Constantly reminding others of your past accomplishments: evil.
    A mother's unconditional love for her child: not evil.
    Casting off a legendary player to a dismal franchise after years of greatness: evil.

    Cold beer on a hot day: not evil.
    Two fat guys celebrating by dumping beer onto a statue of that same legendary player, hours after one failed miserably on the mound and a week before the other would awe the world with a 1-inning outing: evil. And pathetic.

    Effectively opposing evil takes a lot of energy, and "hate" simply reflects the requisite level of energy. So, again, hate is good. When the hate of many is bundled together, an immense energy force can be achieved. This force can be concentrated in a single location-like a baseball stadium-or dispersed across a nation. In either case, the force is powerfully present. The Evil Empire feels it. Thinks about it. Becomes distracted by it.

    And, in the end, is destroyed by it.

    Simply classic. Nothing better than turning your hatred for the Yankees into some cash. Fish around the site, it's pretty amusing.

    They also have a Yankee Hater hat for Met fans too.

    * * *

  • The Players Association filed a grievance Monday in response to the Anaheim Angels' suspension of left fielder Jose Guillen.

    I've largely ignored this happening because I do not think it really matters. He would certainly satiate the Mets need for offense and he is widely regarded as a player with tremendous ability and a cannon for an arm, but he is obviously troubled. He came into the league in 1997 and is in his eighth season. He played on Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Arizona, Oakland, and Anaheim. He stayed with Tampa Bay for two complete seasons and Pittsburgh for two complete seasons. He has not played an entire year on a team except for those four years. He has been traded during the season three times and failed to make it through this year as a part of the Angels. When the Reds acquired him in 2002, they made it clear he was the 4th outfielder. When in 2003 he was not getting the playing time he wanted, he complained and asked for a trade. His problems with the Angels have been well documented in the various articles written about him. Oakland, who had traded for him for the end of last year, had no interest in bringing him back in 2004 despite being very affordable and despite playing solid for them in the time he spent in Oakland. Now the Angles, who are in a pennant race and close to making the playoffs, suspend the guy who is 2nd on the team in homers, RBIs, and doubles. Garret Anderson is not even 100% healthy. If that does not speak volumes about the character of Jose Guillen, I'm not sure what else does.

    The Mets have too many off the field problems it is. The last thing they need is yet another distraction and someone else to assist in draining the moral of this team. I do not care how little he will cost for 30 homers and 100 RBIs, he has no place in Flushing. Let someone else take a chance on him. For one, I am sick of the Mets taking chances on players whether it be injury or mental makeup. The Mets need to start doing the right thing regardless of price instead of looking for the bargain and the cheap way to fill gaping holes.

  • The Mets updated Arizona Fall League roster for the Peoria Saguaros:

    Brian Bannister Mets R R 6-2 202 23 Binghamton (AA)
    Bob Keppel Mets R R 6-2 202 22 Binghamton (AA)
    *Matt Lindstrom Mets R R 6-5 205 24 Capital City (A)
    Joe Hietpas Mets R R 6-3 220 25 Binghamton (AA)
    *Brett Harper Mets L R 6-4 185 23 Binghamton (AA)
    Jeff Keppinger Mets R R 6-1 181 24 Binghamton (AA)

    * Denotes member of "Taxi Squad"; Taxi Squad activated on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.

    I like the additions of Bobby Keppel and Matt Lindstrom. Keppel did not get as much work this year due to injuries, and this should be a good way to compensate for that. As for Lindstrom, anytime he gets work is good. He's behind on his development so more work is always good for Matt. The Mets also still have one slot left open for pitchers. I thought they already announced that Alay Soler was going to go and that Philip Humber was going to go once he was signed. Soler I would assume still has the last spot since he, unlike Humber, is part of the Metropolitan organization. Although, I have no idea if he has even been able to enter the country at this point and being physically located in the US is a pretty important part of playing the the AFL.

    While I am on the topic of Phil Humber, there has been news...but not good news....

    The Mets hoped first-round pick Philip Humber could be signed in time to participate in the Arizona Fall League, but the pitcher from Rice indicated in a report that negotiations could drag into spring training.

    Pay the man Fred, just pay the man.

    While I am on the topic of people Wilpon needs to sign ASAP, what happened with Kendry Morales? After going 7-for-16 with two homers in one workout and 6-for-8 while hitting for the cycle in another workout, mum has been the word. Damnit Fred, sign him.

  • One thing that is going to be interesting to watch for the last few games of the season is whether the Devil Rays can stay out of last place. Right now, they are 1.5 games in front of the Blue Jays. They have finished dead last in their only six years of existence. I am pulling for the Jays to pass them up and leave them for last again. After they fleeced the Mets for Scott Kazmir I have nothing but contempt for that franchise. Sadly enough, the Mets would let them give them the old screw job again for Pinella if Lamar and Namoli would be willing to part with him. I put in my vote that the Mets should not deal with the Devil Rays in any capacity for any reason in the future. It just will not work out in their favor.

  • Quick, how many times have the Mets finished in first place in their 42 year history? If you said four measly times, you would be correct. However, when they did manage to finish first, they have won the World Series 50% of the time.

    When the Yankmees finish in first this season, they will have finished first in 42 out of 103 years this 'storied' franchise has been in existence. Since they had become the New York Yankees (they were the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Highlanders from 1901 to 1912) they have finished in first 42 times in 91 years (including this year). Pretty tough work being a Yankee fan, huh? Seriously, where's the joy in rooting for this team.

  • At the all-star break, Houston was 44 and 44. Since then, they have gone 44 and 26. At the all-start break, our New York Mets were 44 and 33. Since then, they have gone 28 and 43.

  • Richard Hidalgo is going to join Cliff Floyd in being doubtful for the rest of the season. Both may not be on the Mets next year and I'm not going to shed a tear. I think they will be better off without both of them. Thanks for the memories guys, really. Hidalgo was worth every penny for the excitement he provided in July and the huge role he played in the sweep of the Yankees at Shea. But as it turns out, that is all he would contribute. As for Floyd, he showed a ton of heart to end the 2003 season and was inspirational for everyone. This year he's complained more than my girlfriend and seriously underperformed while failing to stay healthy and play for an entire season for the second straight year in a Met uniform. I hope both do well in the future.

  • Victor Diaz had a tough day in the Mets split of yesterday's double header with the Braves. He went 1 for 8 with four strikeouts. He is batting .323 but his strikeout average is .323. He has as many hits as strikeouts. The Mets foolishly did not give him as strong as a look as they should have. He will presumably start every remaining game, but that still means he has only played in fourteen games and will have only started eleven games. Unreal! The Mets really do not have a large sample of work to judge him by going into the off season therefore making it tough to assess their needs. Will they give him a shot? I would assume not if they can find a suitable and cheap solution to their outfield opening. He should have played just about every single game in September. That is not a huge sample size either, but more than just eleven games started.

  • Gary Carter insists he wants to be a big league manager but did not discount going through the minors first or taking a bench coach position.

    "My position would be that I want to manage at the big-league level," Carter said. "If it requires having to groom myself for that, I would be willing to. But I'm also going to leave my options open."

  • Terrifying quote of the week:

    Peterson on his pet project Zambrano:
    "He's in the trainer's hands," Peterson said. When asked how long it would be before he could work with Zambrano again, Peterson replied, "Not even close."

    In Kazmir's last start on Monday against the Red Sox, he went 3 1/3 innings before getting ejected while allowing NO hits and striking out six. Someone kill me now. This move was a epic mistake and it is not going to go away.
  • Monday, September 27, 2004

    More Tuesday Tidbits

    Sorry, I have a meeting today, so I do not have much.

  • If you want to put yourself in a depression after such a good weekend for Met baseball, look no further than this new piece by Peter Gammons. He addresses ten upcoming issues in baseball and #1 relates to our very own New York Mets and their coaching conundrum. Here is a scary excerpt:

    There is nothing wrong about wanting to be in on some of the decisions, but GM Jim Duquette should be in charge. Players should not be involved. They don't need the PR guy, who once tried to tell Bobby Valentine how to answer questions. By being in the middle of this choir, does (Jeff) Wilpon realize that baseball executives in other cities tell stories of how one of your scouts boasts that he has more power than the general manager (without the hard work) and how many times some of us have been told by scouts and executives all around the game that that scout is "doing a number" on the GM?

    Do you realize that by leaking the Art Howe firing story that you lost respect across the industry because of the humiliation of a very good man and because you allowed someone to think that it was a good PR notion?

    It is as if the Mets post ideas on their Web site -- Should Art Howe be fired? Should Mike Piazza catch? Should Al Leiter's option be exercised? -- and wait to see how the vote turns out before making decisions. For instance, they would never have made the Nomar Garciaparra-Orlando Cabrera-Dave Roberts-Doug Mientkiewicz deal because it wouldn't have been initially popular.

    A truly scary piece that I pray holds no shred of truth. Unfortunately, I think we all know better. Jim Duquette is nothing more than puppet which was something that was echoed when the Mets took the interim tag off Jim's title. Given the ability to operate freely like Theo Epstein does, Duquette would presumably do a very good job and would have most certainly not dealt Scott Kazmir. However, until the Wilpon's get a clue that they are not baseball people and should not be involved in decision making and that they need to give full power to Duquette and not superscouts and whoever else chimes in, the Mets will be destined to be the joke that they have turned into. The fact that Mets even concern themselves with the media in terms of their personnel moves is a laughable situation since it is widely known that the NY media is full of a bunch of guys that have trouble tying their shoes in the morning much less what is best for the a baseball team. It is hard to be an optimistic Met fan when you know the team is run by people that are completely incapable of running a ball club. It is a scary thought, but sometimes I get the feeling that this team will never good got for an extended period of time because of the incompetence of the people running the show. Maybe what the Mets need more than Lou Pinella is a general manager who could stand up to the Wilpons and rest of his cronies. Unfortunately, Duquette does not have enough clout to do that and still be employed. A guy like Billy Beane or Brian Sabean would certainly fit the bill, but there are no guys out there that are available that fit that description. Buckle up for ten more years of mediocre baseball at best.

  • Buster Olney has joined my ever growing shit list for the media. In an article about the every shaping playoff races in both leagues, he had this to say about our Mets:

    That they dropped two games to the Walking Dead of Shea Stadium over the weekend was inexcusable at this stage of the season.

    Why don't you go write another Yankee book and hang yourself. I will liken this to idea that you are the only person that can say something bad about your family. I can say what I want about my brother/mother/etc., but the second someone else does, I'll give them a pop in the mouth. Buster also seems to miss the fact that this past weekend has actually been nothing like watching the Walking Dead of Shea Stadium. There has been youth induced excitement around this team this weekend with the arrival of our double play duo to go with David Wright and Victor Diaz. This weekend has done more to rejuvenate Mets fans than anything lately.

  • I am actually happy the game got rained out so that Aaron Heilman will get another start this season. As frustrating as he has been, he has put together three decent starts in his only three September games. He has only four games this season so far and could be decent trade bait this off season and every start helps.

  • Victor Diaz getting some love in the Post today.

  • According to the Post, Russo will pay up.

    The WFAN duo of Chris Russo and Mike Francesa said yesterday they would pay up on the bet to send Howe to Bermuda.

  • Newsday asks if the Mets should bring back Hidalgo? The answer is an obvious no.

  • Floyd is finished for the year and most likely finished as a Met. After the way he gutted through the end of last year and left with a standing ovation from the Shea faithful, it's hard to believe it's come this far. No one wants to see him in a Met uni next year.

  • Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit were ranked #3 and #5 respectively out of the top 20 in the South Atlantic League.

    Lastings Milledge
    Milledge often gets lost in the discussion of the SAL's great prospects because he played just 65 games at Capital City. He began the year in extended spring training after breaking a finger during a bunting drill and also spent about a month in the high Class A Florida State League.

    He made an impact during his time with the Bombers, though, hitting with authority for the first time with a wood bat and helping lead Capital City to the league championship series. He struggled in the playoffs because of the only flaw in his game: his over aggressiveness at the plate. While Young and Stewart project as slightly better hitters, Milledge was the league's best five-tool player. He showed above-average tools across the board.

    "The ball just jumps off his bat," Greensboro manager Steve Phillips said. "He had the best bat speed in the league. He's a double threat because
    of his power and his ability to lead off and make things happen on the bases."

    Yusmeiro Petit
    One of the surprise stories in the minors this season, Petit finished second in the minors with 200 strikeouts in just 139 innings and completely shackled Sally League hitters, who batted just .159 against him. Righthanders were useless against him (.138) as he showed uncanny command of his fastball, slider and improving changeup.

    His 89-92 mph fastball seemed to explode on hitters with late life, and he used it aggressively. Petit's delivery, featuring a lower arm slot and good extension, gives him plenty of deception. Hitters rarely got good swings against him.

    "I thought he was the best pitcher in the league," Epperson said. "He was 91-92 late in the game, it had late movement and he threw it downhill. His slider was outstanding and he had phenomenal command. For me, it wasn't even close. The numbers don't lie with him."

    I think the Blade got the shaft. He should have made the top 20.

  • 27

    The average age of the starting nine that the Mets fielded on Sunday was 27 years old. Only two people were over the age of 30. Amazingly enough, they were able to pull out a 3-2 victory behind a solid pitching performance by Al Leiter. Leiter gave up only two hits but again walked too many people. He gave out five free passes in his six innings of work. Al's two earned runs should never have happened. Valent and Williams had miscommunicated on a deep fly ball that ended up dropping between them for a ground rule double. Kerry Wood gave up all three runs in the first inning and two of the runs were due to Kerry's first inning wildness. "I don't think I lost it," Wood said about his control. "I never had it to start." He hit Jason Phillips to score Craig Brazell and followed that up by walking "Ice" to score Victor Diaz. The Mets had eight hits on the day and Diaz and Brazell accounted for four of them. Both went 2 for 4 with two singles and a run scored each. I know it is a small body of work, but Diaz looks pretty good. Duquette has to be tempted to let him have a shot at RF or LF next year. The Mets would have some serious financial flexibility with another guy making the league minimum in their lineup. As of now, I see no reason why he should not be seriously considered for the job.

    By taking the series two games to three the Mets effectively put the Cubbies in a tough spot. They are a half game up on San Francisco and one and half games up on the Houston Astros. Dropping a series in this critical point of the year to one of the worst teams in baseball with a lineup that featured only two starters from opening day certainly has to be demoralizing. The thing that makes it sweeter was the huge number of Cub fans at Shea this weekend. I was at the Sunday game and they were poisoning the entire place with the Cubbie garb. How can you cheer for a team that has the nickname the loveable losers?

    * * *

  • Leiter picked up his 10th victory of the season to join Tom Seaver as the only Mets to win 10 or more games in seven consecutive years. Seaver did it 10 straight (1967-76). Overall, Leiter has won 10 games in 10 consecutive seasons.

  • Will Christopher Russo pay up to Art Howe for helping the Giants playoff chances?

    During an interview Wednesday on WFAN, Russo, an avid Giants' fan, told Howe that if the Mets helped his team's wild card chances and took two out of three from the Cubs, Russo would send Howe to Bermuda.

    After the Mets' 3-2 win over the Cubs yesterday, Howe was asked if he would make Russo pay up.

    "Why not?" said Howe, who will have plenty of time for the trip because the Mets have already fired him. "I didn't tell him to make the offer. We'll see what he's got in him. What he is made of."

  • In a bid for a bullpen spot next season, Tyler Yates has pitched nine scoreless innings in his last nine appearances.

    As the Mets left for Atlanta, all the rookies were going through some hazing and had to dress up in costumes. Matsui was Spider-Man and his translator was Supergirl (nice touch to get the translator involved). Craig Brazell was dressed as a ladybug, Victor Diaz was Batman, Bartolome Fortunato was a cow, Reyes, who missed last year's final trip because he was hurt, was a clown.

  • David Walstein goes into his plan of how to turn around the Mets for 2005. I do not agree with many of his ideas.

    On Hidaldo:
    The bet is that he turns it on when the team is in contention -- and when he turns it on he can be an MVP-caliber player.

    Why do you want a player that you suspect is not play 100% at all times? If he can 'turn it on' when a team in contention, they key is that you have to be in contention or else you will have one unmotivated player batting .114 in September. Defense and cannon arm be damned, he should not be at Shea in 2005. He has been horrendous in any month not named April or July.

    On Reyes:
    They should have traded him for Alfonso Soriano, but that train has left the station and now it's too late because he has to prove he can stay on the field.

    Again with this crap? If the Mets pulled this trade they would have been stuck with a SS in Matsui that will make 35 errors a year and 2b that will boot 30 a year. On top of that, his .244 road average is more along the lines of what you will see out of him at Shea. His .280 overall average is a product of his .317 avg at Arlington. Besides, you don't trade 21 year old phenoms for a 28 year old that is due to make nearly 9 million more than him in 2005.

    Then he says the Mets should bring in Varitek, Matt Morris, and Paul Konerko.

    Paul Konerko? Why didn't everyone else thing of that? Well because he has arguably been the best first baseman in the American League this year for the price of $8,000,000 dollars. Why would he be available for trade?

    As for Morris, his K/9 is 5.86, he has given up an astounding 33 homeruns, and owns a 4.55 ERA. I like the guy and I think he was one of the premier pitchers in the league for a few years, but not any more. This move does not make much sense for the money he would be looking for. It doesn't make sense even if he is not looking for a lot of money. I'd rather had Al back for one year to bridge the gap to some of the young guns in the systems like Petit or Soler.

    My thoughts on Varitek can be read here as I just wrote about this on Saturday.

    He also suggests Carl Pavano, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Beltran should not come to Shea.

    His rationale for not pursuing Pavano and Beltran are because the Yankees are going to be gunning them. Who cares? You have to at least try. In Yankee Stadium Beltran will not be the centerpiece of the team. He'll be behind quite a few actually. In Shea, or anywhere else for that matter, he'll be THE star and it will be his team. That is something that may tempt him to go somewhere other than the Yankees as long as the money is the same. Beltran is not worth Vlad money and someone will overpay for him, but I do not think it is a forgone conclusion that he will be a Yankee. In fact, I put the Astros as the odds on favorite to win the Beltran sweepstakes. As for Pavano, the Yankees are going to be paying a lot and trolling for starting pitching big time. Pavano may be persuaded to stay in the NL East where he is comfortable and be a part of a Met team that will be willing to pay him the money he deserves. Just because people are free agents does not mean they all want to be a Yankee. It is a soap opera over there year in and year out. It's really not stretch to think that some people do not want to get involved with that.

    It's hard to argue with his logic on not pursuing Magglio due to the uncertainty on his knee, but it may be a gamble they ultimately have to make. There is too much of a need for a big all star bat in the middle of the lineup that can hit .300 and drive in 100 guys while knocking 30 homers in a year. If Beltran cannot be signed, if they decide Drew is too big of risk, or if Manny is not put on irrevocable waivers, then you have to go for Magglio and try and get creative on his contract.

    He also advocates bring back Gerald 'Ice' Williams for the bench in 2005. This is where he loses all credibility for me. Has he seen him try and play centerfield or any outfield position for that matter? He has the grace of elephant trying to ice skate and cannot hit on top that. There are plenty of better options than him.

  • Sunday, September 26, 2004

    Young Guns

    Victor Diaz went 2 for 2 with a three run homerun in the ninth inning off of Latroy Hawkins in the Mets extra inning 4-3 win over the Cubbies. What else do you need to say? It was just a great game by Victor. The homer was an opposite field shot which is where all of his hits seem to go. I used to think the uses the field really well, but maybe he cannot catch up on major league fastballs. I still think it is the former though. He only has one more hit than he does strikeouts, but he'll get better. He is a high strikeout guy and he will go down about 150 times a year, but I like the way he plays with confidence. When he hit the homerun, he had his homerun trot and no matter what he does, he does not look timid.

    "I'm ruining their chances, but I'm getting my chance to show what I can do in the big leagues," Diaz said. "[The Cubs] had their chance to draft me, but they let me ride."

    "I didn't get lucky," Diaz said. "I've been getting good wood on the ball."

    "I maybe get overlooked because of changing positions," Diaz said. "My bat talks for me."

    He sure feels like he belongs here and he does not sound like he wants to go back to AAA. He definitely looks like a keeper and not just some September call up spare.

    Brazell capped the day off for Met rookies by hitting the game winning homerun in the 11th inning. It was his first major league homerun and he got the old shaving cream in the face bit to boot.

    "It's something you dream about as a kid," Brazell said.

    Saturday was a refreshing day of baseball for me. I'm sick of the over the hill product that has been on the field for the Mets for the last fifteen years or so, it is good to see some youth injecting life into this listless team.

    * * *

  • Newsday speculates that Lastings Milledge could be bait for getting the D-Rays to give up Pinella. No way. Skip Pinella hold on to your prospects. This team is not a playoff team in 2005 no matter who coaches for them, why give up players that could be part of the future?

  • This is a classic quote from Pedro Martinez:

    "What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."