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

Saturday, November 20, 2004

One Quick Question

Ok, with all the Floyd to Chicago and Floyd to Texas rumors, let me pose this question. If I told you one of these deals were going to get done, who would you rather have, Sammy Sosa or Alfonso Soriano?

I know which one one I'd take and believe me it is a situation that it would be the lesser of two evils in my opinion.

Also, one thing about this Guillen deal is that it strengthens the possibility of Victor Diaz getting a shot at starting spot on this team. The Mets could have added Guillen to left field while still pursuing a big name for right field. This basically guarantees that the Mets will only be chasing one big bat for the outfield. Now it just boils down to whether the Mets can move Floyd or not for Diaz to start.


Ron Artest sucks. He should receive criminal charges as should the fan who initially threw the cup at him. While the cup would not cause physical damage, it was wrong. However, not as wrong as Ron Artest attacking what looked like the wrong person. He appeared to start throwing haymakers at a person that did not throw the cup. Fans are jerks a lot of the times. They say a lot a horrible stuff that is wrong, but either security needs to do something about it, or it will continue. But nothing, NOTHING should allow a player to physically attack any spectator. Security needs to get involved if a fan is out of control. Artest should get be granted that month off that he wanted. There is no place in sports for this crap.

* * *

  • In his latest chat on ESPN.com Jayson Stark douses some water on the flames in regards to the Sammy Sosa rumors.

    Andrew (New Jersey): What are the chances of the Mets actually getting Sosa? Judging from the radio talk shows, most Mets fans (including me) don’t want him and see him as a club house cancer after his antics last season. We'd rather see someone like Magglio signed and use the rookie Diaz for the other corner spot. Your thoughts on the situation?

    Jayson Stark: I think people have overstated how "close" this deal is to happening. Yeah, the Cubs would take Cliff Floyd and Omar Minaya would take Sammy. Yeah, the union would sign off on Sammy waving that option year. But there would need to be more to the deal. And the biggest problem is this: Sammy isn't giving up that option year without getting something in return. My guess is that he'd want a two-year extension at lower dollars. And do the Mets really want to commit to him for three years? I doubt it. If he'd take a one-year extension, it could happen. But we're not there yet. I'm with you. If I had assurances Magglio Ordonez was healthy, I'd much rather have him than Sammy at this stage of their respective careers. But the Mets also want to find a taker for Floyd, and this might be their best match.

  • Kris Benson has finally been inked and I do believe this will be a good thing. He still has a lot of upside and I'm predicting his first sub 4.00 ERA since 2000.

  • John Franco says other teams want him. I say let them have you.

  • The Mets are eyeing Nick Johnson? According to the Daily News they are.

    But the Guillen trade also gives the Expos four viable outfielders, Guillen joining Brad Wilkerson, Endy Chavez and Termel Sledge. Bowden acknowledged Wilkerson might be moved to first base next season, and a source familiar with the team's thinking said the Mets would have interest if the slick-fielding Johnson is made available.

  • A quote on Omar:
    "Omar has a way of getting close to players," said a baseball man who worked with Minaya at a former stop. "He gets to know the player's mother and father. He gets to know the whole family. And players find a comfort level with him that they don't get very often with other general managers. He can throw a lot of things out there that appeal to Sosa. So I bet he can get it done if anyone can."

  • Another American League team has intentions to pursue Matt Clement. The Toronto Blue Jays have made it a priority to sign the free agent right hander.

    "Toronto is one of those teams that wants to sit back and wait until the Dec. 7 arbitration date because of their concerns about losing a draft pick, and we aren't in any rush because some of the teams are ones Matt is interested in," Clement's agent, Barry Axelrod, said yesterday.

    and check this out:

    Clement is considered a work in progress with a sinker in the low 90s and a hard slider. Cubs manager Dusty Baker demoted him to the bullpen down the stretch last season after he developed back and shoulder tightness. Baker was also reportedly unhappy that Clement left the team briefly to be with his wife, who was experiencing complications with the birth of the couple's second child in their hometown of Butler, Pa.

    If Baker was really 'unhappy', he is a scumbag. Some things are more important than baseball.

  • Ray Gatto from the San Francisco Chronicle thinks it is time to break up the Big Three. I don't really care about that, but check this quote:

    But first, let's pick the one to go.


    There. That was simple.

    But why? you ask.

    Two years of so-so results, plus he's left-handed, plus he has the kind of off-field profile (read: Alyssa Milano) that could easily blind another owner (read: Fred Wilpon of the Mets) to the danger of ridiculously overpaying in return.

    Really, I mean if the Mets gave up Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, think of what they'd give up for a 26 year old left hander two years removed from a Cy Young! I wonder why people laugh at me when I say I'm a Met fan.

  • Not that I expect any player's agent to say he is NOT interested in talking to any specific club, but Carl Pavano is interested in speaking to the Mets.

    "Carl is familiar with Shea Stadium and is familiar with the organization, having faced them so many times over the last couple of years. I've known Omar for a long time. He's a terrific guy. I think his reputation precedes him, and he's a phenomenal general manager. He's going to make moves to put the Mets in a position to compete. They would be another team that Carl would absolutely be interested in talking to."

    Also from that article:

    In roster moves, the club added outfielders Ambiorix Concepcion and Angel Pagan, as well as pitcher Matt Lindstrom to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 37.

  • Leiter is not a slam dunk to come back, but I think he will be in Met uniform in 2005.

  • The Angels may turn their attention and money from Jared Weaver to Kendry Morales. Boras got luckily when the Tigers bailed him out from his requests of Pudge Rodriguez's contract demands, Kevin Millwood suffered from him his ridiculous demands, and now Jared Weaver may have no team because of his insistence on a deal close to Mark Prior's that Chicago game him. Someone should tell him Jared Weaver is no where near Mark Prior and potentially does not even have the same ceiling as Humber, Verlander, and Neimann.

  • Friday, November 19, 2004

    Guillen Traded to the Expos.

    As John pointed out in the comments of the previous post, Jose Guillen is now a member of the Washington-bound Expos. He was shipped out for Juan Rivera and a prospect. Juan Rivera had a breakout year of sorts batting .307 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs. I think it was a good move by each team because both accomplished what they wanted to do. The Angels moved a troubled outfielder and had to pick up no salary back to clear payroll for bigger fish since Rivera is making the major league minimum. They Angels also added some depth to their outfield that is currently missing a centerfielder and gives some insurance to Vlad and Garrett Anderson. Adding Rivera also alows them to DH Garrett Anderson and Vlad to give them rest while putting a capable bat in the outfield. As for the Expos, they got a cheap number three hitter. The Expos, while not a great team, are not going to be a pushover next year with Vidro, N. Johnson, Guillen, Castilla, Wilkerson, and Sledge, who turned it on at the end of the year.

    Does this mean a Piazza to the Angels deal is dead? I don't think so.

    Roger and Me

    We know Mike Piazza may go to the Dodgers and Sammy Sosa may end up a Met and we know Piazza may also become an Angel. We also know that Kris Benson is going to sign very, very soon. We also know that Cliffy should not buy a house in NY (who wants to bet that if he is traded, he'll have a healthy productive year once he leaves the Mets). There are also some early April's Fools jokes going around. But all that does not matter because today I'm stepping back from the Hot Stove. All this Sammy Sosa talk has me needing to forget about the New York Metropolitans for bit.

    As I was walking around outside my place of work yesterday, I had an unexpected encounter. When walking in the city, I usually walk close to the speed of sound. I walk with a purpose, I have places to go unlike seemingly 99% of the people on the streets. So as I cross the street I notice this big dude wearing a Cingular shirt with what appeared to be a tan from a bottle or caked on makeup. As I made out the figure through the clown makeup, I realized it was none other than Roger "I'm retiring, thanks for the Hummer George, oh now I'm not retiring" Clemens. In an effort to get back to my office, I had to navigate through him and his entourage. He was kind of leading for some reason and not sure where to go. I'm assuming he was doing some type of commercial unless he really likes Cingular and he really likes wearing makeup. He looked like he was looking for some direction on where to go and kind of clogging the corner. Attempting to seize my opportunity during the confusion to make my way through the small crowd I tried to take Roger on the right. I slipped in and there was a building to my right and Roger to my left. Clemens then abruptly makes a hard right as he had receive his eventual coordinates and moves in my direction almost impaled me between his hefty frame and tons of concrete. Escaping narrowly, I turned on the after burners to leave the Rocket behind. My life flashed before my eyes for second, I had thought I ate my last burrito yesterday. Thankfully, I am unscathed and intact after that near catastrophe.

    * * *

    Gary Sheffield's wife is on tape involved in lewd acts with two other men. One of the men is reportedly R. Kelly. This tape was supposed to be around ten years old, which would make Kelly Sheffield eighteen at the time and that really makes this story perplexing. We all know that R. Kelly does not usually have a taste for legal woman. Although R. Kelly's spokesperson could not confirm or deny if it was in fact in him in the film, they were quick to release this statement:

    "We can, however, confirm that no one is suggesting the tape depicts anything but the activities of consenting adults," Kelly's spokesperson Allan Mayer said.

    Riiiiiiiiiigggghhht. The key word in that above statement is adults. Smart money is around 10 years old means it was probably a bit over ten years knowing R. Kelly's history.

    Derrick Mosley, who is the one attempting to blackmail the Sheffield’s with this tape is now in jail after being arrested for extortion.

    "We will not be blackmailed," Sheffield's statement continued. "I will not have my family be dragged through the mud and filth. I have not seen the alleged videotape, nor do I care to. I love my wife and I vow to stand by her through any trial or tribulation."

    I'm glad Sheffield did not cave in and agree to pay this guy, but Mosley really should have known better. He can spin it however he wants. He claims he is doing the right thing by allowing Sheffield to purchase the tape for a nominal charge of $20,000 instead of selling the film to porn sites. Derek, that is extortion.

    Main Entry: ex•tort
    Pronunciation: ik-'stort
    Function: transitive verb
    Etymology: Latin extortus, past participle of extorquEre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquEre to twist -- more at TORTURE
    : to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : WRING; also : to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument

    The bottom line is that celebrities need to stop filming themselves doing the nasty. I do it, no one cares. R. Kelly and Kelly Sheffield do it, people notice and people try and get paid.

    As for R. Kelly, I can only say this.

    Mr. Kelly, if there is grass on the field, the ball is not necessarily in play.

    * * *

    Here is a new take on and old favorite:

    The same guy how did that image made this image that was pretty funny and this one that is less funny, but still entertaining.

    * * *

    Hello? Is there anyone home?

    * * *

    Anna Benson has been crowned baseball's hottest wife.

    "I heard the players were excited about the trade because they wanted to see if they could catch Kris and me having sex in the stadium,"

    "Three and a half hours a day, for 162 days, of baseball is a lot of boredom. There's nothing to do, so I come up with fantasies. Owning a team would be fun. I'd have rules about cheating on your wife because that's out of control....And I'd always be in the locker room. If I'm paying them millions to play for me, I should be able to watch them walk around naked." As to who would be the first players she would trade for on her fantasy team, she says, "Mark Mulder, Richie Sexson, Barry Zito, Jeff Weaver - he's a cutie pie."

    I take back all I said about Omar needing to play hardball about signing Kris Benson for market value. The gems that Anna Benson will be dishing out on a daily basis are worth the $1.5 million more per year than he is worth.

    Thursday, November 18, 2004

    Buster Speaks, Omar Should Listen

    Bust Olney weighs in on the Mets reported pursuit of Sammy Sosa.

    Questions of money are holding up the Mets' pursuit of Sammy Sosa. There is haggling to be done over his salary and Cliff Floyd's salary and Sosa's option year and union rules.

    Sosa is a career .232 hitter in 177 at-bats at Shea Stadium.

    But the questions the Mets should be asking now are whether Sosa, at 36, would fit into their lineup (The answer is no); would be suited to play in Shea Stadium (no); could possibly develop into an enormous problem for new manager Willie Randolph (yes); and could be an utter disaster of Ed Whitson-like proportions playing in New York (yes). Questions about dollars and cents should be the least of the Mets' worries.

    Check out the article, he asks a lot of good questions.

    As Benny pointed out, some scary info has been circulating around.

    Cubs: The Daily Southtown reported that a Sammy Sosa-Cliff Floyd deal could be nearing. The report stated that Cubs officials are not talking about the speculated deal, but some in the New York media have predicted a trade is on the horizon and that it could be done as early as this week. While it seems unlikely a deal would be struck that quickly, there are reports the Mets are intensifying their talks with the Cubs and trying to rid themselves of the oft-injured Floyd in the process. Likewise, Sporting News columnist Ken Rosenthal said on the radio Tuesday night that he expects Sosa to be a Met.

    Who Would You Rather Have?

    I'm know Matt Clement has been getting tooooo much attention on my site, but this is the last time I get into it before some of the few people that actually come by stop coming by.

    With Benson's signing imminent and basically a given at this point, I wanted to post this while it still had some relevance.

    While on another site, someone was discussing Kris Benson and Matt Clement in the comments. They said that Kris Benson and Matt Clement are basically the same thing when it comes their value and basically suggested Clement is not worth a million or two more than Benson. That debate stirred up my next question. Who would you rather have, Kris Benson or Matt Clement?

    The person on the other site's argument basically was comparing their career numbers and pointed to Clement's career 4.23 BB/9 inning ratio as his biggest weakness and his inability to stay in the game as long as Benson. However, when looking at Clement, there is no way you can look at his career numbers and asses him fairly. Clement was erratic at best in his first four years before breaking out in 2002 to post a then career bests in ERA, BAA, K/BB, K/9, etc. He basically figured out how to pitch and gained some more control. To properly compare the two, you must take Clement's last three years to see what type of pitcher he is now. To be completely unfair in my comparison just to prove my point further, I'll take Benson's best three years, two of which came a long time ago in 1999 and 2000. Benson has not been nearly as effective as Clement the past three years and the comparison would not be close if I went with each player’s recent years. Even cherry picking Benson's best years, Clement is by far the better choice. Clement's K/9 is 8.82 compared to Benson's 6.69, his K/BB is 2.39 compared to Benson's 1.99 (even when Clement was edged out, it was marginal), he has 119 more K's in 27 less innings, gave up 116 less hits (although in 27 less innings), gave up 1.23 less hits per nine innings, 30 less runs, has BAA of .215, .227, and .229 in his last three years compared to Benson's of .249, .249, and .263 in his three best years, averaged 6.25 innings per game to Benson's 6.53 (again, Clement was marginally beat out) and his BB/9 is only .32 higher than Benson's. How they could be in the same category is beyond me. Clement looks like true #2 with the possibility of getting better and Benson looks like a #3 with the possibility of getting better. Both still have upside, but Clement has shown progress and gotten better throughout the years while Benson has been in a steady holding pattern and has not posted under a 4.31 ERA since 2000 when he went under 4.00 for the one and only time in his career while Clement has posted below a 3.69 ERA twice in the last three years. Minaya has no ties to the Benson deal, he should walk away while he can and take Clement if signing Benson means the rotation is set.

    The bottom line is that Benson is not worth the nearly $8 million per year his deal would reportedly receive and if Benson will not sign for his market value, he should be shown the door and invited to try and get that cash elsewhere. If Kris will hold the Mets hostage in negoatiations knowing they gave up too much to watch him walk, then the Mets have other options. This one is not even close, Matt Clement is the more talented pitcher. He makes people miss and that is really hard to teach. Clement can be dominating at times as evidenced by his 101 less hits than innings pitched over the past three years, two of the his last three years posting about 9.5 K/9 innings, and no BAA higher than .229 and in my opinion would immediately be the best starter the Mets would have. Is that not what they are looking for? A chance to upgrade the rotation over what they currently have without breaking the bank?

    Overall, I do know that a lot of people do not think Clement actually is an upgrade for the Mets and would not make an impact on this team. However, I've actually wasted an hour of my life plotting out the last three years for each of the top pitchers on the free agent market to prove that Clement could be a difference maker for the Mets. He beats every single pitcher except for a future hall of famer in just about every category. He has the 2nd lowest H/9 with 7.44 to Pedro's 7.22, the 2nd highest K/9 behind only to Pedro, the 3rd lowest ERA behind Pedro Martinez and Odalis Perez, the 2nd lowest BAA behind only Pedro, the only guy who struck out more than 500 (576 which is 147 more than the next guy behind him) with the exception of Pedro Martinez who eclipsed 600 easily, started the 3rd highest total games, and just flat out has pretty damn good numbers. This officially ends any further discussion by me on Matt Clement. I've dedicated this post today to him and this post a few weeks ago on him. I know the Mets are not even thinking about him so he has no chance of being a Met and Omar is pretty set with his rotation as Leiter will most likely return with Benson. When you talk about getting the most production out of a given salary, Clement is the guy this off season for pitchers.

    Since Blogger does not like tables, I cannot put the data I made into in the body of the post that would be easy on the eyes. If you want to check out the sheet of information I compiled, feel free to email me for a copy @ metropolitans@optonline.net.

    * * *

  • The
  • Mets cable deal is safe for now according to Newsday.

    Hutchinson told Freeman that the networks paid $275 million in rights in the last eight years. Freedman wondered whether that improved the value of the team. "Nothing would improve the value of the team except better pitching," she joked.

  • The Red Sox are now interested in Damian Miller and have reportedly offered him a 2 year contract worth around $7 million dollars. The 35 year old catcher is looking for a three year deal. Damian Miller is one of the best defensive catchers in the game and is my favorite free agent catcher on the market in terms of value and what he would bring to a team.

    The Red Sox and Dodgers have also contacted Matt Clement's agent Barry Axelrod. The Red Sox are due to meet Carl Pavano, have an offer out to Pedro Martinez, are looking at Brad Radke, are looking at Matt Clement, and Epstein has discussed trades with Billy Beane for one of the big three. You think they are making pitching their priority this off season?

    Several teams think Clement is young enough, at age 30, and has such good stuff that he could be on the verge of a breakout year. He might also command less money than Carl Pavano, Brad Radke and some other top free agent starters.
    -ESPN Insider

  • From the NY Daily News:

    SEXSON, THE CITY: A baseball source said the Mets have expressed preliminary interest in Arizona free agent 1B Richie Sexson, although they are not believed to be among the teams to have made him an offer. Agent Casey Close had told the Daily News on Nov. 2 that Sexson "absolutely" had reciprocal interest in the Mets, saying "they definitely are a team he'd be a good fit for.

    The article also mentions Mookie Wilson might return as first base coach and was interviewed yesterday.

  • In more coaching staff news, the NY Post says:

    The Mets interviewed Colorado third base coach Sandy Alomar Sr. for their bench coach job yesterday and Alomar Sr. said, "Everything went well." Alomar Sr. did not receive an offer from the Mets yesterday but is the favorite for the job. A decision could be made by tomorrow.

  • Troy Percival is going to sign with the Tigers.

    The free-agent closer Troy Percival and the Detroit Tigers agreed Wednesday to a two-year, $12 million contract, a move that will lead to Ugueth Urbina's becoming a setup man or his being traded.

    Pudge last year, now Percival this year, they just spoke with Jeff Kent, and they dished out the bucks on Justin Verlander. Looks like someone is willing to open their wallet. Now if they can actually bring in some starting pitching.

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    Free Agent Pitchers

    With the Kris Benson signing coming soon and a probably Al Leiter signing to follow, here is a look at how ESPN's Jerry Crasnick's pecking order of the off seasons top pitchers. This was made before Al Leiter was made a free agent so keep that in mind.

    Carl Pavano
    18-8, 3.00 ERA with Florida

    A day into the Key Biscayne meetings, Pavano is generating more lobby buzz than any pitcher on the market. At 28 years old, finally healthy and fresh off his best season, he looks like the best bet of anyone to command a contract of four years in length.

    Pavano is showing more poise and a better grasp of his mechanics each year, and he can beat you with a hard sinker or climb the ladder with his four-seamer. He's also trending in the right direction. Over the past three seasons, he's lowered his ERA from 5.16 to 4.30 to 3.00.

    Pavano had a lot of people guessing in September when he left agent Casey Close -- who also represents Yankees star Derek Jeter -- and replaced him with Scott Shapiro, a less established agent who works out of Florida. Some observers took that as a sign that Pavano was angling to return to the Marlins in 2005.

    But Shapiro has been an active media presence, going to great lengths to make it clear that New York, Boston and Baltimore would all be attractive options for Pavano, a native of Connecticut. Let the bidding begin.

    Pedro Martinez
    16-9, 3.90 with Boston

    The word on Pedro? "He's lost some stuff," said an American League executive. "He can still dial it up to 95-96 at times, but it's not the same now because he can't maintain it or control it as well as he used to."

    Hey, Martinez is always going to suffer when compared to the Pedro of five years ago. These days he pitches in the 88-91 mph range, relies extensively on his changeup, and is begging to be pulled once he approaches 90-100 pitches. He's turning into Greg Maddux before our very eyes.

    While Martinez is basically a No. 2 starter now, he'll always have the ego and expectations of a staff ace. That makes him a handful. But he has a track record for pitching well in the postseason, and anytime you have the Red Sox and Yankees interested in you, it's a recipe for a gratifying contract experience.

    An intriguing (and potentially worrisome) stat on Pedro: From 2001-2003, he allowed a total of 25 home runs in 502 2/3 innings. This year he gave up 26 homers in 217 innings.

    Brad Radke
    11-8, 3.48 with Minnesota

    The Twins are working to keep Radke, who was their nominal No. 1 for several years but settled in this year as No. 2 behind Johan Santana. Minnesota has offered Radke a two-year deal in the $16 million range. That might not get the job done, but Radke will probably give the Twins a bit of a hometown discount.

    Radke might be the most "comfortable" guy in this group. He doesn't overpower hitters, but his breaking ball is fine and he has an outstanding changeup. He's the kind of guy who consistently throws the ball over the plate and gives his team 6-7 solid innings every start.

    Radke's ratio of 5.5 strikeouts for every walk was the fifth best in baseball this season behind Ben Sheets, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Jon Lieber. He's averaged 1.68 walks per nine innings for his career. He's right at home in Minnesota, where they always place a premium on defense.

    Eric Milton
    14-6, 4.75 in Philadelphia

    Milton is the best of a left-handed crop that also includes Odalis Perez, Shawn Estes,and Wilson Alvarez.

    Milton won 14 games this year even though he was ill-suited for his home field. Citizens Bank Park is a bandbox, and Milton is a high fastball pitcher (his ratio of 0.58 groundballs to every fly ball was the lowest in the majors). It's no surprise that Milton ranked second in the big leagues to Jamie Moyer with 43 home runs allowed.

    The Phillies would like to keep Milton, and the Yankees, intent on adding symmetry to their rotation, will have an interest if they can't pry Johnson loose from the Diamondbacks. The consensus is that Milton could really blossom in a place like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco -- where those long fly balls could die a peaceful death rather than clear the fence.

    Matt Clement
    9-13, 3.68 with the Cubs

    Clement was better than his record indicated this year. When he pitched well early, the Cubs didn't give him much help. His run support (4.03 per game) was just a tick better than Randy Johnson's. In August and September, he had problems with a neck and upper back strain. He was awful in three of his last four starts, and manager Dusty Baker didn't use him at all in the final two weeks.

    The knock on Clement revolves more around his approach than his stuff. His confidence wanes at times, and he tends to let little things bother him. But scouts have always loved his sinker and the movement on his ball. At 30, he still has room to get better.

    Jaret Wright
    15-8, 3.28 in Atlanta

    The Braves have three free-agent starters in Wright, Ortiz, and Paul Byrd, and will probably make Wright -- who made a mere $850,000 this season -- the priority sign.

    A threesome of Mike Hampton, Wright and John Thompson isn't bad. After that, the Braves must decide if young fastballer Jose Capellan is ready and determine if they should move John Smoltz back to the rotation and spend their money on the bullpen. Either way, it's hard to envision Wright bolting Atlanta so quickly after finally realizing his potential under Leo Mazzone.

    Derek Lowe
    14-12, 5.42 in Boston

    Every positive with Lowe seems to come with a corresponding minus. He's the most versatile pitcher on the market. He's also so streaky, it's scary. He was dominant in October, but pretty lousy for much of the regular season. And while he's a good guy in the clubhouse, he sure tends to get frustrated when things aren't going well.

    Agent Scott Boras will no doubt try to ride Lowe's big playoff and World Series performances to a big payday, which means Lowe might be hanging around after many of his peers have signed. Detroit is a possibility, because it's Lowe's hometown. But as a sinkerballer, he'll derive no special benefits from the spacious outfield at Comerica Park. Those Texas rumors refuse to die, but at last check the Rangers were trying to shed themselves of Boras clients, not add them.

    Russ Ortiz
    15-9, 4.13 ERA for Atlanta

    File Ortiz under "workhorse." He's surpassed 200 innings in five of his last six seasons. But the innings are rarely as easy as they should be. He's averaged 4.4 walks per nine innings in his career -- enough to make both Dusty Baker and Bobby Cox squirm.

    And now Ortiz is giving the Braves -- and other potential suitors -- some reason to be nervous. He had an ERA of 6.10 in August and September, and there were enough red flags to make people wonder if he's healthy.

    "He lost velocity and command," said a National League scout. "He wasn't bouncing back very well at all in the second half."

    Matt Morris
    15-10, 4.72 with St. Louis

    In 2001 Morris went sans agent, negotiating a three-year, $27 million contract with the Cardinals. This time around he's hooked up with Barry Axelrod, the veteran Southern California agent who represents Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Matt Clement, among others.

    Here's the problem: Somewhere between his last go-round and this one, Morris lost a few mph off his fastball and the sharp break on his curve. His strikeouts per nine innings have declined from 7.70 to 5.84 since his 22-win season in 2001, and his home runs allowed have increased annually -- from 13 to 16 to 20 to a whopping 35 this season.

    "He could overpower people when he was throwing 94-95," said a scout, "but his stuff has really dropped off. He wasn't fooling too many people this year."

    Jon Lieber
    14-8, 4.33 with the Yankees

    Lieber strengthened his case with an impressive October, and it's likely he'll continue to improve now that he's two years removed from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees want to bring him back -- just not for $8 million. They declined the option, exercised a $250,000 buyout, and are trying to re-sign him at a lower price.

    Lieber's biggest selling points are tenacity and excellent control. On the down side, lefties hit .346 against him this year -- not a good sign at Yankee Stadium.

    Odalis Perez
    7-6, 3.25 ERA with Los Angeles

    Perez received the worst run support of any National League starter this year, at 3.30 runs per game. That helps explain his 7-6 record. But it's tougher to explain why he disappeared twice against St. Louis in the Division Series. "He looked scared to death out there," said a National League scout. October might have been kind to Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jon Lieber, but it didn't do Perez any favors.

    Some people question Perez's work ethic and commitment to conditioning. He also has what one scout calls "high-maintenance mechanics." But he's 27 years old and left-handed, and he appeared to be on the cusp of stardom when he went 15-10 in 2002. Lots of teams will be dabbling in Odalis Perez over the next few weeks.

    Kris Benson
    12-12, 4.31 with the Mets and Pittsburgh

    The Mets are working on deals to lock up both Benson and Al Leiter. That's good news to Leiter, a future New York mayoral candidate, and Benson, whose wife, Anna, is finding that the move to America's media capital is a great boon to her aspirations as a fashion maven and social gadfly. Where the Bensons are involved, free agency is strictly a family proposition.

    * * *

  • The Journal News points out that Sosa would be wrong for the Mets.

    Marquee players who are 26 home runs shy of 600 and who are on their games don't get traded.

    Players three years removed from their best season and a week after turning 37 get traded to teams that are desperately trying to make a splash at the gate.

    The Mets certainly seem desperate with one of the better free agent markets for three specific areas they are trying to upgrade the team staring them in the face. I'd rather take a chance on Ordonez, Drew, or Sexson rather than have Sosa being the main upgrade this off season.

    From whining about his spot in the batting order to bolting from the stadium early in the season finale and then lying about it is an indication of a me-first mentality that first-year Mets manager Willie Randolph doesn't need.

    The Mets have had a problem with clubhouse lawyers and don't need to add another, especially one whose bat doesn't talk as loudly as he does.

    The Mets are willing to take him and his baggage and give him a a contract extension. The depths of my disappointment in Omar Minaya if this move goes down without making serious runs at some of top tier free agents will be indescribable. Where will the Mets, who have no true #3 hitter at this point, bat an aging Sammy Sosa who's batting average has been in steady declining since 2001? If they plan on batting him 3rd, they better rethink that idea. He went from .328 to .288 to .279 to .253 in 2004. His homeruns, games, RBIs, BBs, SLG, OBP, doubles, and games have all decreased. Obviously if his games decrease, he'll hit less homers, doubles, etc., but one thing did manage to increase. In 160 games in 2001 he K'd 153 time for a K every .96 games. In 2002 he K'd once every .96 games, in 2003 he K'd once every .97 games, and in 2004 he K'd once ever 1.05 games. At 36, does anyone figure on Sammy Sosa moving into one of the toughest parks to hit and actually improve on his recent numbers and turn those negative trends around? I'd have to say Omar is the only one who thinks that can happen. Whether he puts fans in the seats is irrelevant, this move is bad for the team given the present options available and it could be horrible if they give him an extension. If the Mets are going to bring in a potential clubhouse problem, I'd rather take Guillen for a lot less money and no extension necessary. Unreal, simply unreal what I am reading on this.

  • Kris Benson is exptected to sign this week. The figure is between $7 million and $8 million and could be announced as early as today.

    I have also read that Al Leiter is figuring to be back in the rotation in 2005 as well where he will finish out his career.

    First Sosa, now this. An off season that had so much promise could turn into a veritable disaster. Now, nothing has been announced and until it has, anything can happen. But what I've expected from this team is nothing less than the wrong moves at the wrong times.

  • Jason Varitek wants a five year, $55 million dollar deal and no-trade clause. Jason, I think just being a catcher at the age of 32 signed to a five year deal basically makes you a guy that could not be traded anyway. If the Red Sox cannot get this deal down on the years and money, he should be shown the door. He will be 33 at the start of next season and 38 when he goes into his final contract year. Who wants to bet he will not be worth $11 million per year then? (yes I know he won't be worth $11 million in the first year of the contract either)

  • The White Sox are interested in Matt Clement if they are unable to land Randy Johnson.

    If they don't get Randy Johnson, look for the White Sox to find a middle of the rotation starter like Matt Clement, someone the Sox have interest in already, according to a source.

    There are at least a dozen in Clement's category, and there will be plenty of Al Leiter, Brad Radke and Russ Ortiz types available when the Sox want to start shopping.

  • Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    Does Piazza to the Angels Make Sense?

    The Mike Piazza rumors are certainly interesting because the Angels are a team that Mike would most likely consider approving a trade too and the Angels also have two somewhat attractive packages in either Jose Guillen/Jarrod Washburn or Darren Erstad/Jose Guillen. The Mets could fill two of their needs with this trade. However, neither Erstad nor Washburn excite me. Washburn posted career best numbers in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series and his ERA has gone up significantly in each season since then from 3.15 to 4.43 to 4.64 after a string of three successful years. While he has maintained a consistent K/9 innings over his career and he still allows too many balls in play. The Mets have enough guys that have a mediocre K/9 and they need a strikeout guy in the rotation. I just think there are better options on the free agent market and the fact that he is a lefty is a plus but I hate when people get caught up on that issue. For instance, Matt Clement held lefties to a .234 BAA and righties to a .224 BAA in 2004. Campare that to Washburn's .225 BAA for lefties and .283 BAA for righties in 2004. There are many more righties than lefties in the majors so who you would you rather have? For me, the Mets could do better than Washburn. As for Erstad, his body has taken a lot of punishment from his Lenny Dykstra style of play in center field over the years. He has played 192 games in the last two years after being healthy his entire career. In 2004 he went on the DL on May 8th until June 16th for a hamstring injury and he missed most of 2003 with a hamstring injury as well. On top of it all, he added the Mets to the list teams he could not be traded to in November of 2003. Does anyone know if he could even be traded to the Mets?

    From an ESPN article in November of 2003 on Erstad:

    Why is it indicative of the Mets loss of perspective to even contemplate trading for him? After getting off to a decent start to his career in 1997 and 1998, Erstad had a miserable 1999 season. He followed this up with an amazing year that has proven to be so completely out of context with the rest of his career it looks as though it was channeled to him by a spiritual medium from some long-dead 1930s ballplayer.

    Darin Erstad has been an incredibly mediocre hitter other than his fluke 2000 season. Since then, he has done nothing to warrant the kind of money he makes (over $7 million a season), posting OPS numbers in the .600s and low .700s. What is more, he missed a good portion of 2003 with a hamstring injury. That the Mets think he is what they need to start moving up the ladder again is disturbing, but, given what they've had roaming their outfield for the last five years, it's no wonder they've lost sight of what a quality outfielder looks like.

    Why I do think that is bit overly harsh on Darren since I think he is a quality baseball player, he would not come without serious question marks. Which player would the Mets get? Well if history repeats, then the answer is the bad version of Erstad....at least in 2005, 2006 should be the good one. Check out the strange pattern.

    1999 .253/.308/.374
    2000 .355/.409/.541
    2001 .258/.331/.360
    2002 .283/.309/.333
    2003 .252/.309/.333
    2004 .295/.346/.400

    He has not hit over .260 in any odd year except for 1997. For the record I don't believe he is cursed in odd years or something, he is just not consistent, which is my point. For $16.5 million dollars for a guy who could be big letdown, I'd rather have Piazza and another defensive specialist at first. I like Erstad for his hard nosed play and his Gold Glove at first, but I see more potential negatives than positives with him. Doug Miadljalrjeoahdlkfjaldjnm,neuou398342093ka.dnf.a is out there and should be available for a trade. If you are going to get a slick fielding lefty, his .231 average in 2004 and the $3.75 million dollar salary in 2005 tells me he may not cost too much. He also is not on contract past 2005 (he has a small buyout on his option) and is less of investment and therefore less of a risk for the Mets. Despite the fact that Guillen is a malcontent, I'm not 100% against him. For a one year contract he may be worth the risk if nothing else presents itself, however, I think the Mets can do better than Washburn and Erstad. If you move Piazza, there should be a pretty damn good option to replace him if this move is not a precursor to a run at Beltran or some other big bat not named Sammy Sosa. He will still give you 20 homers out of the catcher’s position and dealing for Erstad or Washburn does not present a significant upgrade from other possible moves that do not necessitate the Mets creating a hole at catcher by dealing Mike. Can the Mets rest their hopes in the notion that Jason Phillips regains his 2003 form? Or that Vance can hold up over the course of a full season? I still think Phillips has value and I think he can be a solid major leaguer, but if he can be spun into one of the games premier set up men (see below), then by all means, he can be shown the door. He is not irreplaceable I have my sights set on Ramon Hernandez after the 2005 season anyway. The bottom line is that Mike Piazza should be a Met in 2005 unless he can be moved in a total salary dump which is about as likely as George Steinbrenner telling Brian Cashman that he needs to slash some payroll so his employees can have dental benefits.

    * * *

  • This is some crazy film from the fighting in Iraq that has been going on in Fallujah. Hard to imagine what it is like actually being there.

  • The new Mets mailbag is out and Kevin Czerwinski is increasingly becoming a favorite of mine. He successfully quelled my fears about Jose Reyes being traded for the time being and he has this to say about the outfield situation:

    The Mets are exploring several options for right field at the moment, the least palatable of which is acquiring Sammy Sosa.

    He is not enthused about Sosa, but he is not enthused about Ordonez either.

  • I think we all knew this was coming. In all likelihood Al Leiter has pitched his last game as a Met. I hope the breakup will not be messy because it would sure be nice to have him on the brand new Mets network and take Fran Healy out of the equation.

  • If Billy Beane really wants Jason Phillips, would he consider that a starting point in negotiations for Octavio Dotel, who is unlikely to be wearing an A's uniform in 2005?

  • Sosa is basically being fitted for his blue and orange threads at this point. Why couldn't the union say no friggin' way to dropping that clause in his contract that kicks in 2006 if he is traded? Why Minaya would want to invite such a primadonna into the Mets clubhouse that thinks he is bigger than the game is beyond me. Talk about the possibilities of a 24 + 1 team. Is it just me, or does it seem like Steve Phillips is actually calling the shots behind Omar?

    In spite of all these rumors and the union saying he can opt out of his kicker clause, Sammy is happy to be a Cub and expects to stay in Chicago. If that is the case, then who is pursuing this issue with the union?

  • Alfonso Soriano is such and ideal example of a team player. He would do anything to help accommodate whatever team he is on in an attempt to win. Alfonso is such a great figure in the game of baseball today and should be admired by all kids.

  • From Newsday:

    The Mets seem more intent on re-signing free agent Kris Benson, and a baseball official said yesterday that a deal could be completed by the end of this week. Benson is looking for slightly more than the three- year, $21-million offer currently on the table.

  • The Sox are set to host Carl Pavano for visit on Thursday. The article also states that Hanley Ramirez is tearing up the Dominican League and may push the Red Sox to let Cabrera walk and seek a Barry Larkin type guy for a one year deal. Another one of Omar's guys seeking a home cannot be good for us Met fans.

  • Wally fires back. Backman still should have at least been able to play this year out. He was an employed by the team already and nothing was a problem before. Who knows if sensationalism played into this, but I cannot help but feel that Wally Backman got a raw deal.

  • Monday, November 15, 2004

    Met Trades: Good

    Since the hot stove is a bit quiet today, it seems like a good time to look back at some of the better Met trades in the history of their franchise. The bad trades are coming later this week.

    December 15, 1967

    New York Mets traded Tommy Davis, Jack Fisher, Billy Wynne and Dick Booker to the Chicago White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weis.

    April 6, 1972

    New York Mets traded Mike Jorgensen, Tim Foli and Ken Singleton to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub.

    December 8, 1978

    New York Mets traded Jerry Koosman to the Minnesota Twins for Jesse Orosco and Greg Field.

    Yes Koosman went on to win 20 games the very next year for the Twins, but Jesse Orosco was still around in '86 to help the Mets in win the World Series while Koosman had retired in '85.

    April 1, 1982

    New York Mets traded Lee Mazzilli to the Texas Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell.

    What especially makes this trade good is that the Mets signed Mazzilli as a free agent later on August 3, 1986. Darling had his best year as a pro in 1986 and they both helped the Mets beat the Red Sox in to win the World Series.

    June 15, 1983

    New York Mets traded Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey to the St. Louis Cardinals for Keith Hernandez.

    This was highway robbery of epic proportions. Ownbey only pitched in 21 games after that trade and Neil Allen spent time bouncing around the majors for the rest of his career.

    December 8, 1983

    New York Mets traded Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Sid Fernandez and Ross Jones.


    August 28, 1984

    New York Mets traded Gerald Young, Manny Lee and Mitch Cook to the Houston Astros for Ray Knight.

    Ray may not have done much for the Mets in the regular season, but the other guys did not do much for their teams either and Ray was on the '86 team which earns his some brownie points.

    December 7, 1984

    New York Mets traded Walt Terrell to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson.

    I almost feel bad about this one, but Walt did have win 47 games the following three years for the Tigers so they got something back.

    December 10, 1984

    New York Mets traded Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans to the Montreal Expos for Gary Carter.

    Anyone see a pattern here? The Mets made some serious moves leading to the 1986 Mets.

    November 13, 1985

    New York Mets traded Calvin Schiraldi, Wes Gardner, John Christensen and LaSchelle Tarver to the Boston Red Sox for Bob Ojeda, John Mitchell, Chris Bayer and Tom McCarthy.

    March 27, 1987

    New York Mets traded Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo to the Kansas City Royals for David Cone and Chris Jelic.

    Perhaps my favorite Met trade of all time. Cone used to be my favorite Met before he was traded North of the border. Who can forget his 20-3 year while posing a 2.22 ERA?

    July 31, 1989

    New York Mets traded Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Dave West, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage to the Minnesota Twins for Frank Viola.

    I was torn on this one, it was a pretty lackluster move all around. Aguilera moved to the pen predominantly and Tapani & Co. never panned out. On the other hand Viola did win 20 games for the Mets in 1990 and was the last Met pitcher to get to that mark.

    December 6, 1989

    New York Mets traded Randy Myers and Kip Gross to the Cincinnati Reds for John Franco and Don Brown.

    Oh yes, before Johnny became the object of everyone's profanity laden attacks at Shea he actually did some good for the team. If he bowed out gracefully earlier he would have been remembered for all the good. Unfortunately it is too late for that and I'm glad to see him go.

    December 20, 1996

    New York Mets traded Robert Person to the Toronto Blue Jays for John Olerud

    Johnny hard hat had the best season ever for a Met first baseman. He went .354/.447/.551 with 22 homers and 93 RBIs while having a .994 fielding %. It's too bad he was not with the team when they went to the 2000 World Series to do battle with the Evil Empire®.

    February 6, 1998

    New York Mets traded Jesus Sanchez, A. J. Burnett and Robert Stratton to the Florida Marlins for Al Leiter and Ralph Milliard.

    Alois Terry Leiter won 10 games or more for seven straight years as a Met which was a feat only beaten my Tom Seaver.

    May 22, 1998

    New York Mets traded Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnall to the Florida Marlins for Mike Piazza.

    This is probably the best trade by the Mets of all time. They actually traded for a Hall of Famer while he still had some productive years left. Thanks for the memories Mike.

    December 1, 1998

    New York Mets traded Charles Johnson to the Baltimore Orioles for Armando Benitez.

    As much as it pains me to associate Armando Benitez with being a good thing, he did put up some solid numbers in his time here. He had loads of talent but not much in the self confidence arena in his time in Queens.

    December 23, 1999

    New York Mets traded Roger Cedeño, Octavio Dotel and Kyle Kessel to the Houston Astros for Mike Hampton and Derek Bell.

    Dotel sure turned out to be someone that I wish we had but without Hampton there is no World Series in 2000. If not for the stellar schools in Denver the Mets might still have him today.

    April 5, 2002

    New York Mets traded Dicky Gonzalez, Bruce Chen and Luis Figueroa to the Montreal Expos for Scott Strickland, Matt Watson and Philip Seibel.

    It was a good deal at the time and I think it still is. I have faith in Scottie still and I think he can be a big piece of the 2005 bullpen.

    July 14, 2003

    New York Mets traded Jeromy Burnitz to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Victor Diaz, Kole Strayhorn and Joselo Diaz.

    Duquette earns some points for turning some trash into some cash. I think Victor is going to be a keeper and the other two guys had some upside.

    April 3, 2004

    New York Mets traded Roger Cedeño to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wilson Delgado and Chris Widger.

    Duqutte deserved some type of Noble Prize for finding someone that actually wanted Cedeño even with the Mets paying his entire salary.

    June 17, 2004

    New York Mets traded Dave Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths to the Houston Astros for Richard Hidalgo.

    Though Hidalgo could not hit the broadside of a barn in August in September, he sure earned the nickname Mr. July (I just gave it to him now). He tore it up and gave Met fans some visions of the Wild Card while contributing mightily to the slaying of the Yankees at Shea stadium.

    * * *

  • I'm basically resigned to the fact that the Mets are up to their old tricks and Sammy Sosa will be a Met. It is hard to try and ignore the rumors when there is an article a day and everything appears like the Mets are all systems go on bringing Sosa here so he can hit # 600 in Flushing. Sammy fared pretty well at home going .277/.361/.563 with 18 homers and 39 RBIs. On the road it was a bit different Sammy with the exception of homers and RBIs. Sammy went .231/.304/.474 with 17 homers and 41 RBIs. I'll be the first one to say the Mets need more offense and that should be the # 1 priority this off season, but with all the available options, is Sammy the answer? His .332 OBP in 2004 is not too impressive for a slugger of his stature approaching 600 homeruns. Not that I suggest anyone read too far into this, but over the past three years Sammy has hit .129/.325/.226 at Shea with one homer, one XBH, and six RBIs in 31 at-bats. Sammy is looking like the Mets first choice at this point, but he should be their last choice to inject some life into this offense.

  • Baseball America has the top 10 prospects for the Devil Rays out today. Scott Kazmir is their #2 ranked prospect. Here is what they said about Scott:

    Background: Other organizations were stunned when the Devil Rays were able to obtain Kazmir and Jose Diaz from the Mets for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato at the July 31 trade deadline. Kazmir struggled early in 2004 with his mechanics and an abdominal strain. Once healthy, he breezed through the minors and outdueled Pedro Martinez in the most memorable of his seven big league starts.

    Strengths: Kazmir has an overpowering 93-97 mph fastball. A nasty slider with outstanding bite complements his heater, giving him better pure stuff than any young lefty in the game. His changeup has good fade and depth, showing the makings of becoming a third plus pitch. A good athlete with a clean delivery, Kazmir has a steady demeanor on the mound.

    Weaknesses: After dealing Kazmir, Mets officials anonymously questioned whether his size would allow him to remain healthy and in the starting rotation, and they also knocked his makeup. While Kazmir has had some minor ailments, the Devil Rays have no long-term concerns. He still needs to refine his command and his changeup.

    The Future: Kazmir will begin 2005 in the middle of Tampa Bay's rotation and in time he should grow into the No. 1 role. If he moves to the bullpen, he could become the next Billy Wagner.

  • Sunday, November 14, 2004

    Piazza an Anaheim Angel?

    Arte Moreno and the Angels have reportedly put Mike Piazza on their wish list.

    Guillen, earning $3.5 million next season, also could be involved in a Piazza trade; he could replace left fielder Cliff Floyd, who is expected to be the centerpiece of any Mets' deal for Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa.

    Besides Guillen, the Angels could send the Mets lefthander Jarrod Washburn, who stands to earn approximately $6.5 million in arbitration. Right hander Ramon Ortiz, who is being shopped, would be another possibility; the Angels are expected to decline his $5.5 million option. It also is not inconceivable that the Angels would move first baseman Darin Erstad, who is guaranteed $8.25 million next season.

    This is all very interesting and the I'm getting increasingly scared that this Sammy Sosa deal is going to happen without exhausting all other possibilities. If moving Piazza opens the door for Sammy Sosa to come to Shea quicker than I am not for it. In fact I still do not see the need to move Piazza at all. The Angles are looking to make this move to possibly stick it to the Dodgers and steal the thunder from them by bringing back the prodigal son of the Dodgers franchise. On top of it all, the Angels are throwing their name around as an interested party in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

    But the Angels aren't done. They have also said that Garret Anderson will most likely return to left field next season after being out with injuries and arthritis a good part of this past year. That probably means that Jose Guillen, who was suspended in the final weeks of the 2004 season, will likely be released with the team absorbing the remainder of his contract. This also opens the door for a major offer to Carlos Beltran.

    The team could be very appealing to Beltran with the Latin connection that begins with owner Arte Moreno. The opportunity to play center alongside Vladimir Guerrero may also be tempting for Beltran. He would be joining a club with a solid core group, a popular owner, and a manager, Mike Scioscia, who gets along with all his players. The Yanks better take notice. Getting Beltran may not be a slam dunk.

  • Omar Vizquel agreed to terms on a three year contract worth $12.25 million with the San Francisco Giants. Looks like Deivi Cruz is looking for some work.

  • Jay Gibbons may trade or non-tender Jay Gibbons if they are unable to agree on terms with a one year contract.

  • It's Sunday and It's Cold

    Ah, winter is upon us. It is getting colder out and since Sunday's are typically slow, I figure I would check back on one of my favorite posts that I've done so far. It should help to warm everyone up and give everyone another reason besides baseball to look forward to the summer.

    * * *

  • Now I'm getting nervous about the Sosa news. The player's union appears ready to nix his automatic option that kicks in if he is traded making the numbers a lot closer in the Floyd for Sosa deal. Mike Lupica is for it and states a pretty decent case. For me, this should be last resort and last resort only. I'd rather move Floyd for a prospect even if the Mets have to pick up cash. I do still believe there are many more options that are more attractive and Sosa should be plan Z.

  • The Marlins are interested in Jose Guillen and the Angels are interested in possibly aquiring Randy Johnson.

  • The Los Angeles Angels? Arte Moreno is interested in boosting the team’s media revenue streams by trying to capitalize off the LA market. If the Jets and Giants can do it, who not Anaheim?