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

Saturday, October 09, 2004

2004 Minor League Statistical Leaders

The 2004 Minor League statistical leaders list is out over at Baseball America.

Here are the categories that have Mets farm system players in it.

BATTING (Minimum 386 Plate Appearances)

Garrett Atkins, Colorado Springs .366
Chad Allen, Oklahoma .358
Brandon Moss, Augusta/Sarasota .353
Jason Kubel, New Britain/Rochester .352
Napoleon Calzado, Bowie/Green./Rich. .350
Ian Kinsler, Clinton/Frisco .345
Ryan Church, Edmonton .343
Brian Stavisky, Modesto .343
David Wright, Binghamton/Norfolk .341
Maicer Izturis, Edmonton .338


Ian Kinsler, Clinton/Frisco 51
Josh Kroeger, El Paso/Tuscon 51
Kevin Reese, Trenton/Columbus 50
Matt Diaz, Durham 47
Joe Dillon, Carolina/Albuquerque 46
Prentice Redman, Binghamton/Norfolk 46


Josh Anderson, Lexington/Salem 78
Wayne Lydon, Binghamton 65
Freddy Guzman, Mobile/Portland 65
Dwaine Bacon, West Tennessee 60
Chris Walker, Lansing 60


Josh Willingham, Carolina .449
Daric Barton, Peoria .445
David Wright, Binghamton/Norwich .441
Carlos Quentin, Lancaster/El Paso .435
Garrett Atkins, Colorado Springs .434


EARNED RUN AVERAGE (Minimum 114 Innings)

Zach Duke, Lynchburg/Altoona 1.46
Ben Hendrickson, Indianapolis 2.02
Dusty Hughes, Burlington/Wilmington 2.13
Thomas Mastny, Charleston, W.Va. 2.17
Yusmeiro Petit, Capital City/St. Lucie/Bing. 2.20
Jeff Francis, Tulsa/Colorado Springs 2.21
Chuck James, Rome 2.25
Jake Stevens, Rome 2.27
Jose Capellan, Myrtle Beach/Greenville/Richmond 2.32


Brandon McCarthy, Kannapolis/Win.-Salem/Birmingham 202
Yusmeiro Petit, Capital City/St.Lucie/Bing. 200
Jeff Francis, Tulsa/Colorado Springs 196
Steven Shell, Rancho Cucamonga 190
Thomas Oldham, Wisconsin/Inland Empire 188
Renyel Pinto, West Tenn/Iowa 188


Yusmeiro Petit, Capital City/St.Lucie/Bing. 12.92
Adam Bostick, Greensboro 12.87
Chuck Tiffany, Columbus (SAL) 12.73
Ambiorix Burgos, Burlington 11.58
Scott Tyler, Quad Cities 11.46

Damn, I know Yusmeiro had a great year, but this just illustrates how good this kid is.

* * *

  • If you want to check out the uneventful Arizona Fall League stats for the Peoria Saguaros, click here. There are just is no exciting players in the AFL like there was last year representing for the Mets.

  • I did not watch the BoSox game yesterday until the bottom of the tenth inning, when I had just gotten home. That ended up being prefect, I was able to see Ortizzle bomb one off Jarod Washburn to the opposite field over the green monster. Ortiz went 4 for 6 on the night with 3 RBIs. The best part about sweeping is Curt will be ready for game #1 against whomever wins the Yankees/Twins series. I'm hedging towards the Yankees at this point obviously.

  • The Twins season comes down on the shoulders of Johan Santana. With the Twinkies down 2-1 in the series it's do or die. But even if they win tonight, game five in Yankee Stadium is going to be a tall order.

  • From the NYPost:

    The Post has learned the Mets are expected to announce shortly that former team hero Lenny Dykstra will officially join the organization in a special assignment role.

    Lenny is already at work and has suggested that the Mets take an interest in Kirk Gibson.

  • Rudy Jaramillo has received permission to speak with the Mets and will most likely interview with the Mets next week.

  • Friday, October 08, 2004

    Tyler Who?

    Usually when I get e-mail or an anonymous post, it is to tell me that I have the intelligence of insect larvae. This one was different, it actually asked a question. So, I'll drop in my two cents.

    This was in response to my Off Season Primer in which I gave a preview of things to come. I had mentioned who the Mets had on the farm for certain positions and I had said Ian Bladergroen, Brett Harper, and Craig Brazell were the only ones of note at first base.

    You mentioned Ian Bladergroen as a prospect for 1B... what about Tyler Davidson?

    I like Tyler, but he is not really considered a prospect for me. Davidson was drafted in the eighth round of the 2002 draft. He started off in the Rookie League for the Kingsport Mets and turned some heads. He hit .337/.394/.669, with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in his first year of professional ball. He was 22 in that league and really was too old and should have destroyed that league like he did. He got a late season call up to Brooklyn where he played fifteen games and finished strong with a .307 average. This year, he turned 24 in September and has not played above Capital City - low A ball. He started off with Ian in Capital City in 2004 and they looked like the new bash brothers for while, but was demoted after slumping really badly. He finished his stint in Capital City by hitting .233 with five homeruns in 57 games. He finished the season at Brooklyn after being demoted and hit .295 with six homeruns, 45 RBIs, and .367 OBP. Not bad, but not good for a guy who is way too old for that league.

    Ian on the other hand was 21 years old this season and went .342/.397/.595 with 13 homeruns, and 74 RBIs in 72 games at Capital City. Being that Ian is more than two years younger, more ahead of schedule, and put up bigger numbers at low A ball at a younger age than Tyler put up in the Rookie League, they do not even belong in the same sentence. Even if Tyler starts to progress though the minor league system, he'll be 27 or 28 by the time he is even going to be major league ready. I'm not sure he can really be classified as a top prospect at all. If Tyler was just entering AA at 24 years old, he would be on the old side and he is no where near AA at this point. Craig Brazell is only four months older and had played an entire year at AAA and Brett Harper is a over a year younger than Tyler and has played 45 games in AA. The fact that Tyler is so far behind schedule means he is a non factor for me. Maybe he'll turn out to be guy who finds major league success when he's nearing 30, but I am just not too optimistic about that. This past year was his chance to breakout and really be considered one the Mets top 1B prospects, but he did not repeat his numbers in low A that he was able to put up in Brooklyn and Kingsport despite his age and college experience. Nothing is impossible, but he has a long way to go before he opens some eyes in the Mets farm system again.

    * * *

  • The Mets are set to kick off the managerial interviews today with Carlos Tosca. Don Baylor is still the apple of the Philadelphia Phillies eye and will interview with them on Tuesday. Baylor was expected to be a long shot for the New York Mets job and really did not look like he was coming back in any capacity.

    I bet he pees sitting down too.

  • Kevin Brown takes on the Twins in Minnesota today. A day when the Twins should be going for the jugular and sweeping the Yankees, the series is tied 1-1. Let's go Carlos Silva, win one for all that is good and wholesome in the world.

  • Boston looks to end the series today by sweeping the Angels behind Mr. Corn Rows himself, Bronson Arroyo. They will have plenty of time to rest up and take on whatever poor suckers have to face a well rested Curt Schilling followed by a well rested Pedro Martinez.

  • The Braves won in dramatic fashion last night that I care not to get into. Hey, maybe they can make is past the first round this year?

  • Thursday, October 07, 2004

    The Plan for 2005

    The Mets can be good next year with only a few personnel moves. But more importantly and more obviously, health is the key factor for 2005 and more important than whom they get this off season. Don’t get me wrong, they do have huge needs, but the paramount thing is keeping their key players on the field. The next thing they need to get a big bat to plant in the #3 spot in the order to generate some offense. Next in the order of importance is getting younger in the rotation so they have some guys that can eat innings. By carrying seven relievers because you have an old rotation that does not give the gift of innings, you severely set your team back and you are thinner than you need to be on the bench. Finally, they need a coaching staff that will fit this team much better than staff of 2004. The health is a big if, but the last three things are completely attainable. As bad as this team looked in the second half, they are not that far away for being a competitive ball club.

    If you read my site a lot, you’ve heard this a 1000 times. If you don’t feel like reading a whole lot of words since they are pretty boring, just skip to the bottom where I outline the entire roster.

    The Outfield

    The only thing that I know for sure, is that Mike Cameron will be manning centerfield and he is due to make around $6 million. With the emergence of Victor Diaz compounded with the teams apparent loss of patience with Cliff Floyd, Diaz should get a look for one of the COF spots. He has done nothing but hit at every level and finally showed some power in 2004 in his first year in AAA. He has held his own in his September stint and would fit just fine as the #7 or #8 hitter in the order. I’m a big fan of baptism by fire with Victor and batting in the #8 position is going to be tough on a kid that strikes out so much, but he’ll have to learn to make adjustments. The best thing of all about Diaz is that he will be making the Major League minimum of $300,000 in 2005. Having a low salary will definitely open up some options for the Mets in other areas. As for Cliff Floyd and Richard Hidalgo, they should not be in the outfield next season. Hidalgo has been too inconsistent on team that needs consistency way too much. He was serviceable for the Mets needs in 2004, but in no way should figure into the Mets 2005 plans. In his last 178 at bats he has eight homeruns and a .180 average. He hit .114 for September in 78 at-bats and I do realize he has been hurting a little bit. However, groin injury be damned, he needs to go. Cliffy needs to go partly for the reasons he cannot stay on the field and partly for his negative comments (although I do not have a big issue with him telling it like it really is). Cliffy also may still has trade value being that he is due only $6.5 million over the next two years while still having some homeruns left in him. For an American League team splitting time at DH and LF, he could be an affordable asset.

    The final spot of the outfield is the Mets best chance at luring a big name free agent to this team. The outfield clearly has the deepest talent pool for gifted players. The top three out there are Carlos Beltran, Magglio Ordonez, and JD Drew. The Mets absolutely have to come away with one of those guys when it is all said and done and is the top priority this off season. If they have to gamble with Drew and Magglio, so be it, there is no way around it. They have to do the due diligence and get a real doctor (as opposed to their team doctors) to look at Magglio’s knee and assess the risk. He had a major procedure done and of course it could be a problem down the line, but he could also be healed.

    Aside from the above three, the big names out there are Juan Gonzalez, Jermaine Dye, Danny Bautista, Moises Alou, Steve Finley, and Jeromy Burnitz. None of them is anyone I particularly would care to see on the Mets. After the 2005 season, the big names are Jose Guillen, Johnny Damon, Carlos Lee, Sammy Sosa, Preston Wilson, Juan Pierre, Shawn Green, Larry Walker, and Brian Giles. The only guy in this group that interests me at this point is Carlos Lee, whom the White Sox are most assuredly going to try and make every attempt to lock up. All the rest are stars that are too much past their prime or guys that you do not wait for and set your sights on like Johnny Damon. The Mets chance to pick up a big time outfielder is this off season. There is no one on the farm and no one that the Mets can realistically target in the near future that even comes close to these guys.

    The bottom line for the Mets this year is that they need to land either Beltran, Ordonez, or Drew. Anything else is a disappointment. The three top guys this year are better than anyone that the Mets can realistically land in the next two or three free agent crops. A stop gap guy makes not sense since there is nothing you are bridging too. I’m not sure the Mets could land Beltran being that Boras and the Mets do not exactly have a good working relationship, but as with any Boras client money talks. The Mets do have money, and they could come in and trump everyone with a seven or eight year, $15 million per year contract and blow everyone out of the water, but I’m not sure Steinbrenner would let that happen and I just cannot see Wilpon doing that. Also with Beltran, I think the Astros are going to make every effort to retain him and Beltran likes the team that is surrounding him and may want to come back. Basically, I just do not see Beltran in the Mets future. If Ordonez’s knee is healthy and a GOOD doctor confirms that he should have no further ill affects and Beltran is unattainable like I think he will be, put the man in blue and orange. As for Drew, he is the contingency plan due to his injured plagued past. Besides that, I think the Braves are going to try and bring him back.

    The outfield in 2005 should be Cameron, Diaz, and Ordonez. That would set the Mets back about $21,500,000. Ordonez is a guy that slides right into the Mets plan and does not cause a position conflict with the Mets. Also, it is easy to forget that this guy is the epitome of consistency. From 1999 to 2002, he hit no less than 30 homeruns, 113 RBIs and .301 each year. In 2003, he hit 29 homeruns, 99 RBIs, while batting .317. With the exception of last year, he played over 153 games in every season since 1999 and played 145 games in 1998, which was his first full season. He has a career .307 average is the #3 hitter the Mets are looking for. He plays in a hitter’s park, but still hits very well on the road with a .308 average during the span of 2001-2003. He’s also not too shabby in the field. His zone rating is decent, but what he gets too, he does not miss. He has not made over five errors in any of his years with the White Sox, he has only made seven errors in the last three seasons, and he made only two in 2003. This is the guy the Mets should be targeting when you take into account the likelihood of bringing either Boras client in Drew and Beltran.

    The Infield

    We all know that Wright will be at the hot corner, Reyes will be at SS, and Matsui will be at 2B. There are questions as to whether the Mets should keep Piazza at catcher, put him at first, or trade him. Now, I’m for the Mets keeping Piazza and having him bridge to Ramon Hernandez who will be available in after the 2005 season. Reasonable options outside of Piazza are thin and the guy I like the best is defensive wizard Damian Miller. However, he will be 35 years old next year and just does not help this team get younger and is not all that different from Vance Wilson. Miller is definitely better than Wilson defensively, but not enough to make me think Miller is a reason to move Piazza. Basically it boils down to the question if not Mike Piazza, who will it be then? The answer is no one good. At least Piazza can bridge the gap to Ramon Hernandez like I said above, who I like a lot. Mike Jacobs should also read ready after Piazza’s contract is up and if all else fails the Mets will still have Vance Wilson and Jason Phillips to rely on, which is not the worst thing in the world. Piazza is still the best and only catching option currently.
    As for first base, I would try and land Adrian Gonzalez in a deal that involves Cliff Floyd. He was rumored to have almost been sent there last season at the deadline, but the supposed deal fell through at the last second. The Rangers have been running out the field David Delluci, Brian Jordan, Eric Young, or Gary Matthews Jr. and had either Brad Fullmer or Brian Jordan at DH. He’s a gamble because of his health, but you would include some pitching in the form of Aaron Heilman or Jae Seo. Texas is always looking for pitching and would require some cheap arms in return for adding on salary (Mets could pick up some too). There will need to be something thrown in with Gonzalez, it cannot be him alone. Now I know a lot of people are not high on him, but I think he’ll be a solid player that will give .300 at the plate, 15 homeruns, and be a great glove. Why would Texas give up young, cheap talent? Easy, they have Mark Texiera at first currently and Jason Botts, who Baseball America had said may pass Gonzalez on the depth charts in 2005. Adding a young pitcher the package to Texas would certainly be tempting for a team that is desperate for it and has none on the horizon. If the Mets cannot flip Cliffy into Adrian because the Rangers do not want him, they need to explore a reasonable package that will get him here.

    However, since my trade for Adrian Gonzalez is never going to happen, it behooves me to step to provide an alternative. I’m just not a fan of bringing in Carlos Delgado at all. He’ll be looking for too much money for too long. Sexson is someone of interest, but the D-Backs need to bring him back bad. I just do not see him being available. The first base situation could be solved in house by using Cliff Floyd, Jason Phillips, Craig Brazell, or Eric Valent at first. I just do not think Brazell is ready and may be better suited to take another year in the minors and learn the corner outfield spots so he can be a Ryan Klesko type guy off the bench. Despite me being in the minority, I’m not against using Cliffy here. Why not? If he does not fetch much via trade, he’s still a left handed bat with some pop. He’s played there before and I just cannot watch him run around the outfield anymore. Most importantly, his contract is not that bad and if he goes down again, there are plenty of people that can step in for a period of time like Brazell, Phillips, or Valent. Having Cliffy and Phillips split time at first is a way to buy time till next year’s free agent class which includes Sean Casey and Paul Konerko.

    Seeing the realistic alternatives this year Cliffy seems like the guy to go with. Even if the experiment falters, you can move him back to left and use Valent/Brazell/Phillips in pinch and they would be batting 8th in the order. After the 2005 I am for sending him off and having the Mets take their chances on landing Casey or Konerko. Even if they cannot land either of those two in 2005, the Mets can even take Mientkiewicz as a bridge to Bladergoen or whomever.

    The total cost of the infield would be about $23,000,000 with Adrian Gonzalez (or Valent/Brazell/Phillips) at first base or about $29,500,000 with Cliff Floyd at first base.

    Things to Keep and eye on:
    The availability of JT Snow is something the Mets should key in on. His option may not be picked up, but that is unlikely. He is only due to make $2 million off that option and the Giants just cannot pass that up unless they intend to land Delgado or some other first baseman.

    The Starting Rotation

    In 2005 the Mets are due to return with Steven Traschel, Tom Glavine, Victor Zambrano, and presumably Kris Benson. That leaves one lonely spot open for the Mets to fill. I am not a fan of bringing back Al Leiter. If the Mets are going to make a commitment to winning, they need to make that statement by not bringing back Al Leiter. They need to make a statement by getting younger. This free agent class is just too good pass up without bringing anyone back. The Mets have the money to spend and they should use it on someone not named Al Leiter. Predictably, I think the Yankees are going to make a huge push for Carl Pavano since he might very well be the most desirable name. Steinbrenner gave Vazquez $11,000,000 per year, he’ll offer something similar to Carl. Aside from Pavano, I think Matt Clement some nasty stuff too and should be a main target for Minaya. I think the Mets should try and move Trachsel’s palatable $5 million dollar salary if they can then try and bring in Carl Pavano/Matt Clement and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Daisuke will only be 24 years old on opening day and helps the Mets get younger as does Clement or Pavano. Also, Daisuke is being asked to be a 4th or 5th starter and will not have a tremendous amount of pressure (although pitching in NY could be pressure enough). I do realize that having all of these guys may block Humber or Soler, but the reality is that they have not even thrown a pitch in the minor leagues. When they are ready, you can cross that bridge when you get to it. If there are young and affordable options out there right now, you have to pounce on them.

    Though my wish is for the Mets to part with Trachsel, they love the way he ‘knows how to pitch in NY’. It is not realistic that they would move him simply because he is cheap and proven in NY. Clement is a guy that I think the Cubs are not going to offer arbitration too since they have more pressing needs in replacing Moises Alou’s production and finding a short stop. Clement will be due a raise and the Cubs are going to have to think about Wood down the line and Zambrano’s arbitration year coming up after next season. They just cannot be looking to bring Clement back with the bevy of minor league starting talent they have and their other needs.

    The total cost of the starting rotation with Glavine, Trachsel, Zambrano, Benson, and Clement will roughly cost $35 million.

    Things to keep an eye on:
    If the Mets keep both Glavine and Trachsel, either one could be used as trade bait if the Mets are not in the race next season. Yusmeiro Petit could be ready by late 2005 and may be able to step into the rotation.

    The Bullpen

    The Mets have a plethora of in house choices to fill up this bullpen as well as Stanton who is just looking like an albatross at this time. Stanton costs about $4 million dollars and is going no where despite the fact he is completely ineffective. The Mets really need a solid set up man that is reliable in the mold that Mota is for the Marlins. The bad thing? No one is available. The Mets could make a huge splash by bringing in a devastating closer like Billy Wagner and move Looper to set up man, but that is as likely as Howe getting re-hired as manager. The best options on the free agent market this year are of the closer variety and nothing really good in terms of set up men. Trevor Miller, who finished the year with a 3.12 ERA is a really intriguing player as he is a leftie, but he’s old and has not been what I would call consistent. The best set up man available is BJ Ryan the Orioles are not going to let him go. Williamson was a top choice, but his arm is shot and he is going to require surgery. There are guys like Kent Merker who are certainly effective, but he’s going to be 37 and is he really an upgrade over what the Mets can do in house? What it really boils down too is that there is not a lot of top flight relievers available this off season, so the Mets are most likely going to have a similar bullpen as they had this year.

    Since there is just is not anyone out there that the Mets would be able to attain that would make a big impact, I think the bullpen should be solved in house. You know Looper and Stanton will be there, that is obvious. Resign Scott Strickland and Mike DeJean and let Bartolome Furtunado, Tyler Yates, Orber Moreno, Heath Bell, Matt Ginter, Grant Roberts (is he still alive?) and Jose Parra battle it out for the last two spots. I’m not overly concerned with just having Stanton as the only lefty as I’m not too big on lefty/lefty matchups and I think having a lefty specialist is a waste of a bullpen spot. If you cannot pitch to both righties and lefties, you have no place in the bullpen. The pen for the Mets has not been horrible with the exception of Stanton and Franco early in the year. They can be effective and might be able to surprise people with the young hard throwers. Also, let us not forget that Scott Strickland could be a very, very good set up man if he can come back healthy. He used to be able to bring it in the mid 90’s and has over a 9 K/9 ratio for his career.

    The total cost of the bullpen will be roughly $11,000,000.

    Thinks to keep an eye on:
    Octavio Dotel is arbitration eligible this season. He made $2,800,000 last arbitration hearing, and that was before he was a closer. Figure him on making close to five million if he goes to arbitration with the A’s. The A’s have limited resources and need to try and keep Jermaine Dye and figure out how to pay Durazo’s arbitration figure as he is eligible too. Hudson is going to be a free agent after 2005 and A’s need all the cash they can get. Do not rule out Dotel being dangled in a trade or just non-tendered. The Mets need to keep an eye on Octavio. My buddy thinks he’ll be Benitez part II since the perception is that he is overly sensitive, but I do not think so.

    Also keep and eye on Alay Soler. According to Rick Peterson, he should move up through the system quickly. Who’s to say he will not be a late season call up for the bullpen if needed?

    The Bench

    The Bench is in worse shape than I thought. I have no idea if the Mets are going to carry seven pitchers or six pitchers next year. If they go with seven, they will have to keep Joe McEwing since they have two backup catchers on the roster. The reason McEwing is needed because if you carry seven pitchers, you only have five spots for the bench and four of them are going to be spoken for with Valent, McEwing, Phillips, and Wilson. Who is going to play the 2B, SS, and 3B besides McEwing? He cannot take all the spots by himself, so they will need to bring in a guy like Rich Aurilla that can go at any infield spot. The bench is weak. They need to add a fifth outfielder with some pop off the bench or a backup corner infielder with some pop. If the Mets can get a young pitcher to replace Leiter, then I would much rather have a guy like David Delluci off the bench for a back up outfield with some pop and cut McEwing. Then you will have Delluci (OF) Garcia or Keppinger (INF - train them to play all the infield positions in spring training), an Aurilla type to play all the infield positions as well, Wilson (C), Phillips(1B/C), and Valent (OF) rounding out the bench. I think they will get the job done.

    The Bench would cost approximately $5 million.

    Coaching Staff
    As for the coaching staff, I’m still all for them using Ken Oberkfell at the helm (though he is not even a candidate). If they can bring in Rudy Jaramillo to assist him as his hitting coach and bring in an experienced bench coach like Carlos Tosca, I see no reason why they will not be able to do a great job. They will be a staff that would be able to grow with this team and they are used to working with kids, which the Mets are going to have a good amount of in the upcoming years.

    Your 2005 Mets:

    Starting Lineup
    Jose Reyes (SS)
    Kazuo Matsui (2B)
    Magglio Ordonez (RF)
    Mike Piazza (C)
    Cliff Floyd (1B)
    David Wright (3B)
    Mike Cameron (CF)
    Victor Diaz (LF)

    Starting Rotation:

    Tom Glavine
    Matt Clement
    Kris Benson
    Victor Zambrano
    Steve Trachsel


    Braden Looper
    Mike Stanton
    Mike DeJean
    Scott Strickland
    Two of the following: Yates/Fortunado/Moreno/Bell

    Jason Phillips (1B/C)
    Vance Wilson (C)
    David Delluci (OF)
    Rich Aurilla (INF)
    Danny Garcia (INF)
    Eric Valent (OF/1B)

    Not only do I think that team would be competitive, that is something that is completely attainable. They will have every opportunity to bring those guys in and I think they could be able to do it if they actually pursue the above players. The payroll would be at just about $100,000,000 with about $20,000,000+ being dropped off the payroll at years end. The Mets would have a completely manageable and flexible payroll for next season and beyond as well as fielding teams that will be competitive in the NL East.

    * * *

  • Tommy Lasorda on Bobby V.

    "If they were smart, they'd make sure as hell to bring him back," Tommy Lasorda said as the Dodgers took batting practice yesterday at Busch Stadium. "That team needs somebody like him. I think they realize they made a mistake in firing him. It was the GM [Phillips] who wanted him gone."

  • BA’s top ten prospects for the 2005 draft:

    Top 10 Prospects, 2005 Draft
    1. Justin Upton/ss/Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake, Va.
    2. Cameron Maybin/of/T.C. Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
    3. Alex Gordon/3b/Nebraska
    4. Jeff Clement/c/Southern California
    5. Tyler Greene/ss/Georgia Tech
    6. Wade Townsend/rhp/Rice
    7. Luke Hochevar/rhp/Tennessee
    8. Mike Pelfrey/rhp/Wichita State
    9. Stephen Head/1b/lhp/Mississippi
    10. Troy Tulowitzki/ss/Long Beach State

    Being the Mets draft ninth, I guess we should get familiar with some names. Maybe a Townsend/Humber reunion? I’m all for drafting some more pitching, but Clement is a catcher with some big power and if he can make it to the majors fast would be a perfect fit.

  • Ron Gardenhire pulled a controversial move that led to the Yankees win over the Twins in extra innings. The Twins were on the verge of taking both games in NY. In the 12th inning, Gardnehire sent closer Joe Nathan out for the third straight inning and I do not have a problem with that. Afterall, Nathan K’d the last two guys in the 11th that he face, but I have a problem with is staying with him after walking two guys via eight straight balls. You have got to pull him at that point.

  • Tuesday, October 05, 2004

    If You Sign Them, We Will Come

    The attendance at Shea Stadium was holding steady drawing about 32,000 to 35,000 between 1999 and 2002. In 2003, the Mets saw a drop in attendance of 6,500 patrons per game and in 2004 that number has dropped even further to a loss of about 11,500 people per game off the 2002 average. That drop was obviously due to the last place finishes the year before in each season and the lack of big name signings outside of Tom Glavine, Mike Cameron, and Kaz Matsui. Let's not forget that the Mets were playing meaningful games for half the season and still having the least amount of fans show up since 1997 speaks volumes about how Met fans feel about the current state of the team. It was tough tracking down the average ticket price for a game at Shea stadium, but what I've found numbers ranging from $23 to $25 dollars a game over the past few years. So taking the middle number and using an estimate of $24 dollars a game, the Mets essentially are off roughly $22,356,000 in the ticket revenues that they received 2002. That does not even include revenue from concessions which should skyrocket that number to over $30,000,000. It is obviously not all profit, but a substantial amount sure is. If you take into account actually fielding a good enough team and making it too the playoffs, a game at Shea is worth roughly $1.3 million per game in tickets sales and that number will most likely double in concessions easily due to the increased consumption of alcohol to keep warm in the cold October days in New York.

    If the Wilpons give Minaya the go ahead to bring in quality players and raise the payroll by about $20,000,000 from where it is currently this year, that would bring the Mets to about $104,000,000 dollars overall. Heading into the off season, the Mets will only be on hook for approximately $68,000,000. That would give Omar about $36,000,000 dollars to work with and that could without a doubt materialize into a lot of victories. I am by no means suggesting that they spend money just to spend it, but with the talent pool of players available this year, it can be money well spent. Tomorrow I will go ahead and outline how the Mets can re-stock for the 2005 season and keep within the above payroll constraints and go into the season looking like the strongest ballclub in the NL East. The resources are there and in no way would the Mets be overspending. You have to spend money to make money and like in 2002 when the Mets brought in Cedeno, Burnitz, Alomar, and Vaughn, there was excitement and people thought the Mets were going to be good. I'm one of those people and that was the first year I bought my Sunday package. That was the second highest attendance in the past 14 years when an average of 34,628 people showed up to each Mets game. The only season to beat that in terms of attendance in the last 14 years was the 2000 season when the Mets went to the World Series and averaged 34,821. To be in the largest market in the world and be 18th out of 30 teams in attendance is just ridiculous. There are plenty of Met fans out there, they just need a reason to show up to the field. The Wilpons need to give back to the fans. He needs to open his wallet this season and the fans will most likely pay for the players themselves if they product is there. Wilpon does take on risk that the team is injury riddled again and the fans don’t show up, but when you are in the biggest market in the world, you can afford to take risks.

    * * *

  • Rick Peterson is the eternal cockeyed optimist.

    "We're going in the right direction," Peterson insisted. "It looks like we're far off, but we're really not. It's been a war of attrition and it's got to go back the other way."

    He's got that right. It sure looks like the Mets are far off, but I kind of agree with him, the Mets have serious health issues. If those can be overcome and they can add a big bat, this team could turn this one around quickly. He also defended Zambrano.

    "I don't like him, I love him," Peterson said. "Working with him just for a couple of starts, it was exciting how quickly he learned some of the things we tried to do. Those were not simple adjustments to make."

    Peterson was particularly impressed when Zambrano, known for erratic control and high pitch counts, tossed seven shutout innings of two-hit ball on Aug. 12, walking only two. "That was the first time in his career he ever threw just 94 pitches in seven innings," Peterson said. "And we only clocked him at 90, 91 when we know he can throw 94, 95."

    I think we were all wondering what happened to Benson's arm and Zambrano's arm after they came over to the Mets. Both were supposed to pump the ball up into the mid 90's and both were topping out at 91. I think Zambrano can be nasty. Anyone that has watched him while he was in the Met rotation for a few starts knows that. But he was still damaged goods when he came over. The only major problem I have with what he said was this comment:

    "With the pitchers we have and with the defense we can put out there to support this pitching staff, this club is definitely capable of doing what we did in the first half."

    With two 39 year old pitchers and one 35 year old pitcher I think it is inevitable that you will see a drop off in production at the end of the year. The Mets have to find a way to get younger in the rotation and wave good bye to Leiter and give him a Rolex.

  • According to the NY Post, Sammy Sosa is unlikely to be a member of the Mets in 2005.

    The best player Omar Minaya ever signed is Sammy Sosa. So it's no surprise that, with Minaya now running the Mets and Sosa now entrenched in Cub controversy, there already are media rumblings about a potential Sosa-Minaya reunion.
    Don't get too excited just yet, though.

    Don't get too excited? I do not think any Met fan in their right mind wanted Sammy Sosa's unproductive self to be at Shea next year. I can think of 17,000,000 reasons in 2005 and 18,000,000 reasons in 2006. According to the post, if Sosa is traded, his $18,000,000 in 2006 kicks in automatically basically rendering un-tradable. I'm not sure who starts these rumors, but Sammy would be a mistake of epic proportions.

  • The Dialy News and the New York Times have no articles about the Mets today. I know the Mets sucked for the third year in row, but c'mon. It's only the second day after the season ended. Only one entire day eclipsed between now than then. There has to something to write about. I mean, they are a soap opera, they have made writers' job easy this year by giving them story after story the least they can do is give something back.

  • Some managerial news from Newsday:

    Of more immediate concern for the Mets is their managerial search, and it appears that the Rangers' well-respected hitting instructor, Rudy Jaramillo, could be headed for Flushing in some capacity. Jaramillo met with the Rangers' front office yesterday and gave the impression he is pursuing other options.

    "There's going to be some opportunities presented to Rudy," Rangers GM John Hart told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Maybe not as a hitting coach, and that would be a terrific thing for Rudy."

    Jaramillo is a big favorite of Minaya's and is expected to interview shortly. Also at the top of the list is White Sox third-base coach Joey Cora, and the possibility of a second coming for Bobby Valentine. The former Mets manager will be in town this week, though it is unclear if he is willing to leave his managerial job with Chiba Lotte in Japan.

    I like the idea of Jaramillo. Looking past the fact that he is the hitting coach in stadium that is made for hitting, he has done a good job with the young hitters. I'm pulling for him to be the hitting coach and the good news is it seems like a slam dunk he'll be here in some capacity.

  • Gary Sheffied has admitted to taking steroids. Why he did, I'll never know. It will be coming out in a Sports Illustrated interview that he unwittingly took the illegal steroid known as "the cream." His connection to Balco went through this good friend Barry Bonds. Saying you had no idea you were taking steroids is almost as good as you smoked pot and did not inhale.

  • The Brewers are going to be sold for $220,000,000. Seems like a bargain for team with a great new park and stocked farm system. They are not in bad shape and are going to be better off having no ties to commissioner Selig.

  • The Phillies managerial search is in full swing. They even have two main guys who have been mentioned for the Mets job. Jim Fergosi and Don Baylor have both emerged as managerial candidates for the job.

    "I'm very interested in [Philadelphia]," Baylor said. "It's a very competitive town. The team is loaded with some offensive guys in a real good hitters' park. Some guys they were counting on pitching-wise didn't come through for them. When they got Billy Wagner, I thought it was going to be a great advantage for them, but injuries really hit them. Most good teams have depth, and they didn't have a lot of depth pitching-wise."

  • Some good news:

    Victor Zambrano has been playing catch off flat ground for the last few weeks and says he has no pain in his right elbow.

    Some bad news:

    Still, he's not sure when he's going to be able to throw off a mound. He is following a program put forth by the Mets medical staff and has no plans to deviate from it.

    A program put forth by the Mets medical staff? Is this the same medical staff that put Reyes on a rehabilitation program? The same staff that failed to identify DeJean's broken leg for a month? Someone please help us. Am I the only one that does not see Zambrano actually making it through the entire 2005 season?

  • It's that time of year again when us Met fans in the tri-state area have to put up with all the Yankee fans that cannot be bothered with such a inconsequential things such as the regular season. They all come out of the wood work to watch October baseball. I’m sure we all know them who tell us all summer, “I don’t start watching baseball until October”. The girls dust off their pink Yankee hats and the guys dust of their red ones and cheer their team on and ask questions like "Who is this Javier Vazquez fellow and what happened to Clemens?". However, they will not have the luxury of watching their team for long as I'm predicting that Johan Santana and his 1.18 era and 13-0 record post all-star break are going to be too much to handle. Mike Mussina is the game one starter for the Evil Empire and his 4.59 ERA are making no one scared. This is the Twinkies year to dethrone the Yanks and get revenge for last post season.

    While I'm foolishingly making predications, I may as well just go ahead and predict Boston to take game one from Anaheim and the Dodgers will pull the upset and take down St. Louis today.

  • Monday, October 04, 2004

    Off Season Primer

    I’m sure everyone and their grandmother is going to say how they would overhaul this New York Met team, and I have my own ideas. However, I’m going to present everyone with the choices facing the Mets this coming off season before I do. I’ll lay out the key free agents this upcoming off season and for the next two off seasons in some cases since that definitely relates to Mets needing to be pursuants of certain players this year. I’ll be giving my solution to the problems in the near future.

    The Skinny
    As for the current players on the Met roster, the only given in the outfield next year is Mike Cameron. Cliff Floyd has seemingly fallen out of favor with the front office and they have lost patience with his inability to stay on the field and his inability to keep his comments to himself. There does not seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the Mets having a desire to keep Cliffy. Richard Hidalgo looked like a slam dunk to bring back in July, but a dismal August and a horrendous September have cast a doubt on whether the team wants to bring him back. Recently Victor Diaz has hit into contention for a corner outfield spot with his limited action in September.

    Free Agency:
    Carlos Beltran, Magglio Ordonez, JD Drew, Juan Gonzalez, Jermaine Dye, Danny Bautista, Moises Alou, Steve Finley, and Jeromy Burnitz

    Free Agency post 2005 season:
    Jose Guillen, Johnny Damon, Carlos Lee, Sammy Sosa, Preston Wilson, Juan Pierre, Shawn Green, Larry Walker, and Brian Giles

    Free Agency post 2006 season:
    Melvin Mora, Trot Nixon, Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter, Gary Sheffield, Luis Gonzalez, Chipper Jones, Jim Edmonds, and Barry Bonds

    As far as the minor leagues, the best talent is at least two years away in Lastings Milledge and Ambiorix Concepcion and two years is being very generous. Outside of those two, there are no impact players to salivate over.

    The Skinny
    The infield is a rare area of stability for the Mets. This presents the Mets with the most givens with Wright at the hot corner, Reyes at SS, Matsui at 2B, and Piazza at catcher. First base is going to be a big question mark despite the fact that Jason Phillips, Eric Valent, and Cliff Floyd can all play first. I may be part of the minority, but I’m for the Mets keeping Piazza. The numbers he’ll be putting up will not be worth his $15 million that he’ll be getting, but when you sign stars to mega contracts, the last year or two will most likely see a drop off in numbers. Just a fact of life, father time catches up. Once you put the salary aside, Piazza will still put up better numbers than just about every catcher out there. Phillips and Wilson will be there to spell him when he needs it. If he can give 125 to 130 games, I’m ok with that. However, with the trade speculation swirling around Piazza and him being a focal point of the off season, we’ll look at options at catcher and first base.

    Free Agency
    Jason Varitek, Sandy Alomar Jr, Tim Laker, Kelly Stinnett, Damian Miller, John Flaherty, Dan Wilson, Brook Fordyce, Gregg Zaun, Greg Myers, Brent Mayne, Todd Hundley, Todd Pratt, and Mike Matheny

    Free Agency post 2005 season:
    Benito Santiago, Eli Marrero, Eddie Perez, Charles Johnson, Brad Ausmus, and Ramon Hernandez

    Outside of Mike Jacobs, nobody is even remotely close to the majors. All the top catchers in the system, Yunir Garcia, Aaron Hathaway, and 19 year old Jesus Flores, are at least three years away, most likely more. As for Jacobs, he basically missed the entire 2004 due to injury and will need the entire 2005 to get back on track. Even when he gets healthy, he’s sub par defensively and not regarded as a suitable major league starter down the road. He may end up playing first base in the long run.

    First Base
    Free Agency:

    Carlos Delgado, Tino Martinez , Richie Sexson, and J.T. Snow (who has a team option that may not exercised)

    Free Agency post 2005 season:
    Kevin Millar, Paul Konerko, Dmitri Young, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Sean Casey

    Free Agency post 2006 season:
    Derrek Lee, Jeff Bagwell, and Phil Nevin

    The Mets do not have much in terms first base that is close to making a major league impact. Craig Brazell is the closest in the entire Mets system but he may be better suited to go back to AAA and work at being a 1B/COF power hitting lefty off the bench. I think he has value, but not at 1B full time. After Craig, Brett Harper is the closest player but he will be 24 years old next July and may very well be at AA for most of the season in ‘05. He may fall into the arena as Craig Brazell but the CIF version since he plays 1B and 3B. The best prospect at first base is Ian Bladegroen and he has not played a day above low A ball and is about three years away. Don’t look down on the farm to solve your 1B problem.

    The Skinny
    The starting rotation may look exactly like it did for the three weeks in July and August. Glavine, Trachsel, and Zambrano are on contract for 2005 and Benson is expected to resign with the Mets as well and Leiter has expressed his interest to come back. Interestingly enough, this is most pitching deep off season in as long as I can remember and the Mets will may not benefit from it unless they make some moves or let Leiter walk.

    Free Agency:
    Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Brad Radke, Jaret Wright, Ismael Valdez, Matt Clement, Carl Pavano, Roger Clemens, Odalis Perez – L, Russ Ortiz, Eric Milton, Kevin Millwood, David Wells, Matt Morris, Chris Carpenter, and Daisuke Matsuzaka (who should be coming over from Japan)

    Free Agency post 2005 season:
    Ramon Ortiz, Jason Johnson, Brian Anderson – L, Joe Mays, Kevin Brown, Tim Hudson, Kenny Rogers – L, Jamie Moyer – L, Randy Johnson – L, and Jeff Weaver

    Free Agency post 2006 season:
    Kelvim Escobar, Sidney Ponson, Mark Buehrle – L, Mike Mussina, Barry Zito – L, Joel Pineiro, Ryan Franklin, Chan Ho Park, Miguel Batista, Kerry Wood,Greg Maddux, Andy Pettitte – L, and Randy Wolf – L

    Starting pitching is still the Mets strong point in the minor league system. In 2005, they will have Aaron Heilman, Jae Seo, and Keith Ginter to step into the rotation if needed and Bobby Keppel should be ready late 2005 as well. Past them Yusmeiro Petit, Phil Humber (if the ever signs), and Alay Soler could all be ready by late 2005 / early 2006. Depth is not a concern in the rotation and they will and should have people ready to step in at any time. We know that Seo is a decent 4th or 5th starter and Aaron Heilman is starting to turn some heads.

    The Skinny
    If the Mets did nothing, they would have a full pen for opening day 2005. It may not be a good one, but it would be full. Heath Bell, Pedro Feliciano, Bartolome Fortunato, Matt Ginter, Braden Looper, Orber Moreno, Jose Parra, Grant Roberts, Mike Stanton, and Tyler Yates are all under contract for next season. They also have Mike DeJean, Ricky Bottalico, and Scott Strickland who will be free agents, but will most likely be considered candidates to return. The Mets finally have some young, hard throwing relievers to stick in the pen. There will need to be changes, but they have a solid foundation to pull pieces from.

    Free Agency:
    Troy Percival, Curtis Leskanic, Scott Williamson, Mike Myers – L, Bob Wickman, Rick White, Ugueth Urbina (team option), Ron Villone – L, John Smoltz (team option), Antonio Alfonseca, Kent Mercker – L, Steve Reed, Jeff Fassero – L, Dave Burba, Billy Koch, Chad Fox, Armando Benitez, David Weathers, Dan Miceli, BJ Ryan, Paul Shuey, Mike DeJean, Ricky Bottalico, Jose Lima, Rheal Cormier – L, Billy Wagner – L, Felix Rodriguez, Jose Mesa, Roberto Hernandez (team option), Todd Jones, Rob Nen, Trevor Hoffman (team option), and Steve Kline – L

    Free Agency post 2005 season:
    Buddy Groom – L, Scott Sullivan (team option), Tom Gordon, Ricardo Rincon – L, Mike Remlinger – L, Danny Graves (mutual option), Darren Dreifort, and Tim Worrell

    Much of what was down on the farm made an appearance on the major league squad in 2004. The only ones on the horizon are lefty Blake McGinley, PJ Bevis, and possibly lefty Royce Ring. None of them are really close to being major league ready, but a few guys who helped out the major league club 2004 will find themselves back at AAA ready to jump up to help the major league club when needed.

    The Skinny
    This is an area that the Mets need to add a bit more power into. Eric Valent has been solid off of the bench and has provided some pop and some flexibility being that he plays 1B and both COF spots. Outside of him, the only bench players on contract and guaranteed to be on the roster (barring trade and being released of course) are Jason Phillips, Vance Wilson, and Joe McEwing. Outside of them, you have a Craig Brazell, Danny Garica, and Jeff Keppinger who will be looking to stay out of AAA by landing a backup role on the major league squad. There are just too many free agent possibilities to list out, but there are really not many 3b options and it seems the Mets will be in need of a CIF that is up for the job. The Mets can solve the middle infield in house and there are plenty of outfield options available to stick in the outfield.

    The End

    Personel The Mets finished their season on Sunday and finished with a worse record than Pirates and Tigers and only had one more win the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who managed to not finish last for the first time in their existence. During the season the Mets soap opera was full of controversy surrounding Piazza's move from catcher to first and back again, the idea of Kaz moving to second base, a complete mismanagement of the team by Art Howe, suspect trades, Mets front office executives pointing fingers at each other, seemingly unfit to practice medicine team doctors, veteran players acting like 80 year gossiping old woman, leaking information to the newspapers by the front office personel, and a surprise hiring of Omar Minaya and shocking demotion of Jim Duquette. There were more, but those seem to be the most important things.

    This season could be viewed as an unmitigated disaster, but I have a hard time viewing it as such. With a season that was so marred with injury there was really no way the Mets could have been expected to have that much success. At times the Mets had almost all of their key players injured in Reyes, Cameron, Piazza, Matsui, and Floyd as well as having people play through nagging injuries just about the entire year. Bright spots have came out like the emergence of David Wright, Todd Zeile's 2000th hit, Leiter winning 10 games for the seventh year in a row as a Met, Piazza taking the all-time record for home runs as a catcher, Mike Cameron topping getting 30 homeruns for the first time in his career, some early success by Victor Diaz, Braden Looper becoming a great value with his solid season, some promising young and hard throwing bullpen arms, Yusmeiro Petit becoming an uber prospect, Ambiorix Concepcion and Lastings Milledge emerging as two of the best five tool outfield prospects around, Gabby Hernandez pitching like a stud in his first introduction to pro ball, and Aaron Heilman starting to show some flashes of being a major league pitcher. The Mets late season antics of getting rid of Howe, bringing in Omar Minaya to work with Jim Duquette, and moving Matsui moving to second base are positive steps to doing a much needed major overhaul on this team that is really starting to show it's age.

    While the Mets season was a no doubt disappointing campaign, there are still things to hang their hats on at the end of the day. The best thing they can do know is look towards the 2005 season with an all star combo of 22 year old players on the left side of the infield provided Jose can shake the injury bug finally. The Mets also have plenty of money to spend and plenty of people available to spend it on. As disappointing as the season was, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Mets still have a good nucleus with some young starts and with the right moves this off season could field a team may play meaningful games past July 22nd.

    * * *

  • It's always depressing when baseball season is done. Now what? Football? My team, the Dolphins, have yet to notch a victory. The hot stove is always great and there is a few more weeks of baseball, but not for the Mets. They will officially pick ninth in the 2005 draft with yesterday's drubbing of the Expos at Shea Stadium. Montreal played their last game as the Montreal Expos as they will be moving the DC next season and fittingly played their last game in the exact place they played their first game. There were a lot of fans (maybe all 3,000 of them) that actually came down from Canada at the game yesterday and plenty of the looked really depressed after the game. I almost felt sorry for them, but with the current state of the team and their ridiculously low attendance, there is just no way the team could have continued to play there. They did not even have a TV contract up there. The Mets sent them off by finishing their season with a 8-1 victory. Tom Galvine pitched good for the win, John Franco pitched his last game as Met, and Todd Zeile hit a three run homer and caught in what is going to be his last game in the major leagues. "I'm glad I went out this way and somebody wasn't telling me to take the uniform off" Todd Zeile said. I'm a big fan of Zeile's, he's been a solid major leaguer throughout his entire career and it was a really great moment for him to finish the season like that. David Wright blasted his 14th homerun and his 38th, 39th, and 40th RBIs in just 69 games this year. He finished with a .293 batting average and although Jason Bay will win, there is no doubt in my mind that David Wright IS the rookie of the year no matter who is given the hardware. Victor Diaz picked up one more hit to end the year with a .293 average in 51 at bats in 15 games and I think opened some eyes in the organization. It was a great day to be at the game and it was a great game. The fact that the 4th and 5th place teams were playing in what should have been a meaningless game, it really did not feel that way.

  • Jose Reyes will be seeing Mackie Shilstone this off season. This is long overdue, but better later than never.

    "I have to go, see what this guy says," Reyes said. "He's going to give me a program to do this off season."

  • Art Howe finished his Met tenure as the Metropolitan's manager with a record of 137-186. I wish him luck, but by no means sorry to see him go.

  • I'll be putting the off season primer up to give the low down on what the Mets face this off season and the options available.