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

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Steinbrenner Opens Up His Wallet for a Good Cause

First, let me say Happy New Year to everyone who stops by and reads the site and I guess to everyone who does not come by to read the site although they will have no idea I said it. I hope everyone has a great New Year and stays healthy.

The Holiday's have gotten to George Steinbrenner and as much as I do not particularly care for the Yankees, the man has to be given some applause.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner signed another big check — not to an All-Star player, but to a soldier who got caught up in bureaucratic bungling after being wounded in Iraq.

Army Spc. Robert Loria, a New Yorker who lost his hand in February, was given the $25,000 check yesterday by Yankees President Randy Levine at a press conference also attended by newly signed pitcher Carl Pavano and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had championed Loria's cause.

"[My situation] is getting a lot better and it's because of all the people who have reached out to help," said Loria.

His wife, Christine, couldn't believe how lucky they are.

"When they first turned the check around, I started crying," she said. "That's amazing."

Steinbrenner was touched by Loria's plight when he heard the upstate Middletown man — a huge Yankees fan — was erroneously billed more than $6,000 by the Army while he was recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

He had been charged for his travel expenses and for the equipment he lost when a roadside bomb injured him.

The Yankees also donated an additional $75,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a group that helps injured veterans rebuild their lives.

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Beltran is set to meet with Minaya on Tuesday in Puerto Rico. It should be a busy week for the Mets and Carlos Beltran as he should be signing on the dotted line on or before January 8th.

Friday, December 31, 2004

At The End Of The Day

'Tis New Years Eve and baseball rumors should be heating up in the first week of January for the Metropolitans. Since I have no idea if I’ll be in any kind of shape to post tomorrow, I figured I’ll give Saturday’s post today too and if I’m alive I might resurface to throw some thoughts out there tomorrow anyway. Fun stuff, huh? JJ Cooper just had his chat wrap over at Baseball America on the Mets, and I'm sure 99% of you read it. It was informative overall but on thing really disturbed me.

Q: SAL from Middle Village asks:
I saw Evan Maclane pitch in the Cyclones playoff game last year and he looks he's got some potential. He looked like he had a nasty change up. Can you tell me more about him

A: J.J. Cooper: MacLane knows how to pitch, and yes, it's a very good changeup. Don't read anything in him being sent to Brooklyn, he was in the top 10 in ERA in the Sally League at the time of the transaction--the Mets like to make sure that the Brooklyn team is stocked with solid prospects.

Avkash from the now seemingly defunct Raindrops (maybe he's taking an extremely long hiatus?) had remarked on this demotion when it had happened. He pointed to the Wilpon's propensity to demote players who are clearly above their league in effort to put a good product on the field for the hometown Cyclones. One would think that the minor leagues should serve as a tool to further the development of your players with the ultimate goal of having these players from the farm either help you on the major league club as fast as possible or become the best they can be so they can maybe be traded to bolster the system in areas that are slim or bolster the major league club.

Evan MacLane was last seen pitching the playoffs on Sept. 3rd 2004 for the Brooklyn Cyclones (a game that Gabby Hernandez also pitched three scoreless innings with six K's and no walks...not bad for an 18 year old). I'm all for demoting someone if they need to go back to the previous level to work out some kinks, but he was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA, 67.2 IP, 6.6 K/B ratio, and .99 WHIP. Did this look like someone that should have gotten demoted? He just turned 22 and was actually 21 when he was pitching for the Cyclones. That is not exactly young for that league. He could have been starting in St. Lucie this season but will most likely start at Capital City at 22 years old. He may not spend too much time there and may mean nothing in long run, but there is definitely something a bit off in their organizational philosophy and how they run their system. You could make the argument that it was to get him into the playoff atmosphere and get some pressure experience, but the Cap City Bombers also made the playoffs.

I may be really nit picking here, but this is something that definitely should not happen at anytime. You want to drop him at the end of the season for playoff run when his team is not going to make the playoffs? Ok, I can see that, but to drop him that early in the year and waste any development time really gives off the impression that there are a lot of priorities out of whack. Maybe they know more than me and maybe they saw there were plenty of pitchers ahead of him in the food chain and thought he could stand to benefit from some more time with the Cyclones, but it really does not seem that way too me. I guess we should all cross our fingers that Wilpon lets Yunir Garcia, Scott Hyde, Amciorix Concepcion, and Caleb Stewart get the go ahead to be put on the Hagerstown Suns team instead of stacking the Brooklyn Squad. I know I may be taking it too far with some of those guys, but the fact that I can write it down without laughing and thinking there is a slight chance it could happen is just ridiculous.

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  • I've already spoke about the Yankees and how they may actually have a limit in terms of this year's budget, but we'll find out soon if they really may have limit. The Randy Johnson deal has been like a bad case of the herpes, but we can finally stop reading about it and having it pop up daily (no I don't have herpes). The deal is just about done and will send Javier Vazquez, left-handed pitcher Brad Halsey, catching prospect Dioner Navarro, and $8.5 million to $9 million in exchange for the mullet toting left hander. Vazquez is due $10.5 million in 2005, $11.50 million in 2006, and $12.50 million in 2007. That basically means they are getting Javier for a Kris Benson-like $25.5 million over three years. Not bad at all on their end and gives them a great and affordable trading chip for anyone that is willing to give up a ton for him. I guess the D-Backs weren't too impressed with what they saw from Koyie Hill because now they have two catching prospects are major league ready unless they plan to spin Navarro and Vazquez to the Dodgers for Shawn Green.

    The Yankees are going to give Randy a two year extension for $32 million dollars. The Yankees have $ 176.55 committed for 2005 before all of their recent activity and already have 2006 $137.00 before all of their recent activity. In 2005 they've added About one million with Felix Hernandez by paying part of Lofton's salary, they've added about another $1.2 million in the Stanton acquisition, they've added roughly $7,000,000 in 2005 and 2006 with Jaret Wright, $2 million in 2005 and 2006 with Tony Womack, $800,000 with John Flaherty, and I'm guessing about $5 million on Tino Martinez, and roughly $10 million in 2005 and 2006 with Carl Pavano, and adding Johnson is a wash for the most part since he has $6 million deferred (but the Yankees are picking up $9 million for Vazquez, which I'll leave out).

    That basically means the Yankees are at about $221 million with Carlos Beltran in 2005 and at $188 million in 2006 with a backup catcher needed as Flaherty's deal was only one year, a starter to replace Kevin Brown, relievers to replace Steve Karsay, Mike Stanton, Felix Hernandez, Tom Gordon, and Paul Quantril, a person to replace Tino Martinez or Bernie Williams, and a left fielder to replace Hideki Matsui as his contract will up (when I say replace, they can be replaced with themselves as well obviously). That is a whole lot of replacing to do in 2006 and their salaries add up to approximately $52.3 million if they have Beltran and $65.3 million if they do not have Beltran and need to replace Williams too. Not that I think this will happen, but if they replace every dollar for dollar that they are losing, they'd be at approximately $240.3 million in 2007. We all know they will not go on the cheap in their rotation and their bullpen so $220+ is pretty definite for 2006 if they sign Beltran. Even those numbers may make George think twice as it really may end up limiting any flexibility. Let's not forget they've been in the red for years now and lost over $20 million in 2003 alone. I do not think they forgot this is a 100+ win team that supposedly addressed their starting pitching problems and bullpen problems and can score runs with the best of them without Beltran. They may choose to pass on this or they may choose to put an offer out that is not even better than the alleged 6 year $86 million deal by the Astros because believe it or not, things could be getting tight in the Bronx.

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  • Dan Perry from Fox Sports makes some Predictions and they are pretty safe and not that bad. Basically Beltran goes to Houston, Delgado to the Mets, Perez to the Mets, Magglio to the Cubs, Millwoood to the Indians, and Lowe to the Tigers. But it is always nice to read this:

    Where he should go: Normally, I wouldn't advocate a team in decline like the Mets signing a "win now" player like Delgado. But the Mets, with the addition of Pedro Martinez and a full season of the incredible David Wright in the offing, figure to be true forces in the down-cycled NL East. That is, if they add another impact bat. Delgado is that bat, and the Mets badly need him.

    True forces if they add another impact bat? I like the sound of that.

    Yankee fan's predictions:

    Beltran goes to the Yankees, Delgado to the Yankees (you can never have too many left handed batting first baseman), Perez to the Yankees (hey maybe the Yankees also like to carry six or seven starters on their 25 man MLB roster), Magglio to the Yankees (would look great of the fifth outfielder!), Millwoood to the Indians, and Lowe to the Yankees (he used to close before, so it would be good insurance if Rivera and Gordon land on the DL).

  • Ugh, I want to laugh, but how much is not really true? I guarantee the Yankees name will be attached to 90% of the guys on this list.

  • From going around NYMfans.com in their forums, I came across this avatar that is just great:

    It mixes my love of the Simpsons and the Mets getting Carlos Beltran. Hmmmmm....Beltran..

  • Some Beltran quotes from a Newsday article:

    One Yankees official, asked about the $119-million figure for Beltran, who hit .267 with 38 home runs, 104 RBIs and 42 stolen bases, characterized it as "very steep."

    When the $119-million figure was mentioned to a Mets executive, he responded, "That's a big number and a lot of years. I haven't heard those numbers."

    "We have to make sure he's committed to wanting to come," the Mets exec said. "We're not just going to throw numbers out there."

    I know it's been written again and again, but Beltran is not worth what he is going to get. The bottom line is that the Mets already have payroll flexibility in the future and can take this gamble with a huge boon in money approaching with their network. To go into it with having two 22 year stars and a 29 year old star with a solid pitching staff and another 23 year old masher on the way is something to build around.

    I've been over this a while ago when much less people were reading, but Carlos is not worth much more (if at all) than Miguel Tejada. They were both 28 when they were signing their mega contract and they were both playing a premium position. Carlos steals more bases and is a better fielder, but Miguel is a more accomplished hitter and a past MVP. When you take into account where Miguel was playing his home games, his numbers are far more impressive. How can the Mets or anyone for that matter justify over paying about $5 million per year? Easy, the Mets need to. Between their network, their need to get younger, and their need to start putting a face on this organization precludes any hang-ups of $5 million per year that will easily be made up by the Mets Network. If there was no Met Network on the horizon it would be hard to justify.

    In four years, Carlos could look overpaid. Shea could make his numbers look pedestrian, but he could also get better and prove he is elite. But if he's still stealing bases, playing stellar defense with .275 average 25 homers and 90 RBIs, he's worth it. For me, the risk involved is not whether Carlos will be injured down the line, but the risk is will he be just top tier rather than elite. That is a risk that has less downside than injury risk because you know at worst he'll be more productive than most major leaguers and for me, he's worth it if he can bring some constancy to this team that badly needs it and could afford this luxury.

  • Thursday, December 30, 2004


    I've made comments before about adding more strikeouts to a team that already had way too many strikeouts. Adding a guy like Delgado would just add another 100+ K strikeout guy to a team a full of them. But that is not really the picture.

    Jose Reyes has only K'd 67 times in 122 major league games and if you average his numbers out play out in all 162 games in 656 at-bats, he is on pace to take a seat via strike three only 89 times. Basically he strikeouts out once every 7.4 at bats and that is not bad. David Wright only K'd 40 times in 263 at-bats and over the course of normal season and playing 150 games would be on pace to strikeout roughly 87 times. Mike Piazza has only struck out over 87 times once in his career back in 1996. While his strikeouts have increased slightly over the years, he will most likely continue that trend of not striking out over 100 times with his decreased playing time. He did not even top 80 in 129 games in 2004. Cliff Floyd is a guy that generally gives you about 100 K's if he was healthy an entire season. In 2004 he was striking out well above his career average as he was going down once every 3.8 at bats per K as opposed to his career mark of 4.9 at bats per K. Not really a guy I would consider a high strikeout guy, but very acceptable for a guy that could knock about 30 out when he's healthy and in the lineup for a full season. Now Kaz is a bit of a strange character. Back in Japan, he K'd once every 6.17 at-bats which would average out to 97 in a 162 game season. Not great for a speedy contact hitter, but not horrible either. In the States, he struck out once every 4.7 at-bats which would average out to 128 for an entire season. His K's had been steadily going up in Japan as his power went up like a lot of hitters when they are swinging for the fences, but in the Majors, it seemed he was more overmatched than swinging for the fences. His stance and his follow through seemed out of whack at times if not helter skelter, but that would seem to improve with being over one year in the States. Couple that with him trying to make more contact as opposed to trying to knock homers as he did Japan, I think it is not unreasonable to think of 110 K's out of Kaz. Once again, not ideal for a table setter, but not the worst. His AB/K were 4.6 in the 1st half and 5.2 in what he played in the 2nd half. That is a trend I like and I think it is fair to assume he'll continue to get better as he adjusts. That leaves Cammy. Not much you can say about Cammy except that he'll take his fair share of hacks. He has never K'd less than 101 times in any full season he has played in. He is the only current Met with a huge hole in his swing. His 3.4 AB/K ratio is by far the worst on the team with no other starter under 4.7 for their major league career. The Mets were 4th worst in the NL with AB/K and strikeouts overall. They did however, have a lot of health issues and lot of second stringers attributing to that horrible K rate, but the current core of starters in place are by in large a pretty good contact group. They are no San Francisco Giants or San Diego Padres who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in least total team K's, but they are not the 2001 Brewers who struck out 1399 times and had four guys over 120 K's, three guys over 150 K's, and two guys over 178k's.

    Kaz should cut down on the K's and even if they add Carlos Delgado and his 130+ K's the Mets will not have a significant strikeout problem. If their starters garner most of the playing time as opposed to 2004 when too many reserve players were taking hacks then the Mets should put the bat on the ball more than enough times. As much as I thought K's were a problem and it is always nice to cut down on some K's, the biggest issue is that Mike Piazza led the team in walks with 68 in 2004 while their leadoff hitter Jose Reyes walked five times in 220 at-bats. Basically he was on pace to walk fifteen times in 660 at-bats. Cliff Floyd led the team in 2003 with 51 walks, in 2000 Robin Ventura led the team with 88, and in 2001 Edgardo Alfonso lead the team with 95. Another horrible stat is that only one player walked over 100 times while wearing a Met uniform. In 1999 John Olerud walked 125 times and that eclipses the 2nd place spot by 28 walks. A Met player has only registered 70 walks or above 51 times. Mike Piazza who has been the Mets' potent bat since Darryl Strawberry has a Met high of 68 walks in a season. Mike Cameron who was the only Met regular to see over 4 pitches per at-bat walks with the most frequency. I think David Wright can step into that role in a year or two of OBP monster and he's shown how he can work a count and has a good track record in the minors. However, it imperative that the Mets address this problem with one of the Carloses. The Mets need someone that can get on base with the stick and get close to, or over 100 walks. I'm not a big Moneyball guy, but there is something to be said for getting on base with some walks. In no way can you have a potent offense with the Mets current lineup and put significant runs up without getting some walks. They need to have people on the team get a free pass more and bring in a guy or two that can work the count and get some walks to balance out this lineup. When your team BA is in the .240s and you are one of the worst teams in getting on base with a walk, the end result will be towards to the bottom of the League in runs scored. It would be a shame to squander such a good rotation with an anemic offense.

    * * *

  • I know it's only written in papers and no one knows for sure, but this is some sentiment that has been printed way too much:

    Still, officials who have dealt with the Mets cannot imagine them going beyond six years or $100 million, especially because the Wilpons are concerned about making a major effort to sign Beltran and being upstaged in the end by the Yankees.

    Not going all out in negotiations because you are afraid to lose? That is a truly scary thought from the people that are running our favorite baseball team. Omar's intensity and drive to do what he wants to do is a blessing for this front office that is scared to make certain moves for fear of media backlash. Minaya wants the team to get behind him and let him make a drive for this deal and I certainly hope the green light is given to him to go all out and make a concerted effort to bring Beltran in.

  • Baseball America has the Mets top 10 prospects out. I was surprised and happy to see Gabby make is so far up the list since he only played in the GCL, but he certainly performed. I'll post a bit of the write up for those who do not have BA access, but I won't put up the entire scouting report for obvious reasons.

    1. LASTINGS MILLEDGE, of Age: 19 Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185 B-T: R-R
    Drafted: HS—Palmetto, Fla., 2003 (1st round) Signed by: Joe Salermo

    The Future: Milledge’s first full season was everything the Mets had hoped for. He’ll return to high Class A to start 2005 but should reach Double-A Binghamton before too long. In an organization that promoted one potential all-star (David Wright) and traded another away (Scott Kazmir) in the second half of the 2004 season, Milledge could move quickly. There isn’t another player in the system whose ceiling approaches his.

    2. YUSMEIRO PETIT, rhp Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 230
    Signed: Venezuela, 2001 Signed by: Gregorio Machado

    The Future: The trade of Scott Kazmir left Petit as the Mets’ best pitching prospect. He’ll likely begin 2005 in Double-A.

    3. GABY HERNANDEZ, rhp Age: 18 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt: 215
    Drafted: HS—Miami, 2003 (3rd round) Signed by: Joe Salermo

    The Future: Hernandez aced his first exam. The Mets place an emphasis on winning at short-season Brooklyn, so they could send him there in 2005 even though he probably could handle an assignment to their new low Class A Hagerstown affiliate.

    4. IAN BLADERGROEN, 1b Age: 22 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-4 Wt: 210
    Drafted: Lamar (Colo.) CC, D/F 2002 (44th round) Signed by: Marlon Jones

    The Future: The Mets are anxiously awaiting Bladergroen’s recovery. If he’s fully healthy when spring training begins, he could hit his way to high Class A. Wrist injuries often take a while to heal, so he could need time to regain his power stroke.

    5. AMBIORIX CONCEPCION, of Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180
    Signed: Dominican Republic, 2000 Signed by: Eddy Toledo

    The Future: Concepcion will be the marquee player at Hagerstown in 2005. With a successful first half, he could earn a promotion to high Class A.

    6. ALAY SOLER, rhp Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt: 230
    Signed: Cuba, 2004 Signed by: Rafael Bournigal

    The Future: Several Cubans were sent straight to the majors, but the Mets will take a more pragmatic approach. Soler will start at high Class A or Double-A.

    7. SHAWN BOWMAN, 3b Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-2 Wt: 206
    Drafted: HS—Coquitlam, B.C., 2002 (12th round) Signed by: Claude Pelletier

    The Future: Bowman is ready for high Class A. David Wright seemingly has third base to himself with the Mets, but there are no immediate plans to play Bowman at a different position because he’s above-average at third base.

    8. VICTOR DIAZ, of Age: 23 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-0 Wt: 220
    Drafted: Grayson County (Texas) CC, D/F 2000 (37th round)
    Signed by: Mike Leuzinger/Bob Szymkowski (Dodgers)

    The Future: The Mets still don’t know if Diaz is a future big league regular or just a useful reserve. Their pursuit of several veteran outfielders probably means he’ll have to come off the bench in 2005.

    9. JESUS FLORES, c Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180
    Signed: Venezuela, 2002 Signed by: Junior Roman/Gregorio Machado

    The Future: Flores could be the all-around catcher the Mets have been searching for. He’s ticketed for Brooklyn in 2005.

    10. MATT LINDSTROM, rhp Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-4 Wt: 205
    Drafted: Ricks (Idaho) JC, 2002 (10th round) Signed by: Jim Reeves

    The Future: At some point Lindstrom has to turn projection into production, but his arm will buy him time. He’ll probably return to high Class A to begin 2005. His long-term role could be in relief.

  • Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    The Heilman Experiment

    The Mets bullpen is one the biggest question marks coming into 2005 but it is not because a lack of arms available for the spots. The only given right now is that Braden Looper will be closing games and Mike DeJean will be in the bullpen as well. In addition to those two, the Mets will be able to choose from Grant Roberts, Tyler Yates, Pedro Feliciano, Felix Heredia, Matt Ginter, Jae Weong Seo, Bartolome Fortunado, Orber Moreno, Scott Strickland, Heath Bell, Blake McGinley, and PJ Bevis. There are a few lefties, some fireballers, and some soft tossers. I'm of the group of people, however small, that think they can actually build a pretty effective core group of relievers from this bunch. Added to that mix should be Aaron Heilman. With the Mets current rotation set, and Bobby Keppel, Alay Soler, Phil Humber, and Yusmeiro Petit all set to pass him on the depth charts this upcoming season and Aaron Heilman being 26 and turning 27 after this season, he needs to be traded or given a shot to stick with the big league club in some capacity.

    While there are still some out there that think he may turn into a good back end of the rotation guy who can eat some innings, his career BAA is .288 with a 6.36 ERA in 93.1 total innings. Perhaps the most disturbing of all stats is the fact that in 2002, he pitched in Norfolk at 23 years old. That season he posted a 3.28 ERA with a 7.7 H/9, 2.9 W/9, a 1.18 WHIP, and a 6.4 K/9. In 2003 at Norfolk he posted a 3.24 ERA with 9.5 H/9, 3.1 W/9, 1.39 WHIP, and a 6.8 K/9. In 2004 in Norfolk he posted a 4.33 ERA, 9.3 H/9, 3.9 W/9, 1.46 WHIP, and a 7.3 K/9. There is no evidence of any progress being made in terms of numbers and it looks more like he's going backwards. The higher K/9 is certainly something of interest and good to see, but he's also posted the highest W/9 he's posted in his entire minor league career. It's time to try something new.

    Heilman is a decent sinker/slider guy that can touch 91 on the radar gun. For me, if you can turn him into David Weathers, that would help the team the most if he cannot be traded and somehow spun into something of value and a better fit for this team's needs right now. They actually have a similar repertoire and similar velocity. It certainly could not hurt anyone and maybe if he was pitching for one inning, he could put everything he has into a short stint and could act as the long man out of the pen. He's still young, but he's already entered the age that he is basically no longer considered a prospect. Time to scrap the starting pitcher tag and let him have a legitimate chance at the bullpen this spring and invite him into mini camp to start practicing converting him to a reliever. When he was drafted he was regarded as the most polished pitcher outside of Mark Prior and he has the tools to be an effective major league pitcher in some capacity. Part of his problem is mental and the way he approaches batters. He just is not aggressive enough and tries to live on the corners. He needs to work on going after hitters and he needs to work on being converted to a reliever. For Aaron to spend his 26 year old season at AAA Norfolk again getting knocked around as a starter really does not help anyone. Let him have a legitimate chance for the bullpen to act as the long man and spot starter in a rotation that will need that from time to time and he could prove to a valuable asset in the Dan Wheeler mold of 2003 and to some extent 2004. There simply is no other choice with him at this time since he's not a hot commodity on the open market. Aaron needs to get a shot in the bullpen this off season.

    Monday, December 27, 2004

    To Trade or Not to Trade

    Obviously most Mets fans were outraged when Scott Kazmir was dealt at the last second on the trading deadline. It was not so much the fact that Kazmir was traded, but it was for who he was traded for. I'll bet that Zambrano would have been available and very cheap during the off season and would have no way come close to costing what he did. That is before the injury and him missing the end of the season. With him due to make $2 million to $3 million in arbitration and his bum elbow, he'd cost almost nothing to take that headache off the Devil Rays' plate who are looking to cut payroll any place they can.

    I'm like most of the Mets fans in that I like to watch home grown players come up through the system and succeed. When we see David Wright and Jose Reyes on the left side of the infield there is certain level of pride that Yankee fans don't get nowadays since they have left behind the art of crafting a good team with players from their system. They still have Jeter, Posada, Williams, etc, but there has been a shift in organizational philosophy over the years and they have become a free agent eating monster. The days of them bringing up rookies are over for now. But for every David Wright and Jose Reyes, there are hundreds of guys who just burn out without even getting to the majors or making in impact.

    Here is the list of all the guys who were listed as one of the top five prospects in the Mets farm system since Baseball American started ranking the organization’s top prospects:

    Aaron Heilman, Al Shirley, Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, Anthony Young, Arnold Gooch, Bill Pulsipher, Billy Traber, Blaine Beatty, Bobby Jones, Brian Cole, Brook Fordyce, Butch Huskey, Calvin Schiraldi, Carl Everett, Chris Donnels, Craig Repoz, D.J. Dozier, Darryl Strawberry, Dave Proctor, Dave West, David Wright, Derek Wallace, Dwight Gooden, Ed Yarnall, Edgardo Alfonzo, Enrique Cruz, Geoff Goetz, Grant Roberts, Gregg Jefferies, Jae Weong Seo, Jay Payton, Jeff Bittiger, Jeromy Burnitz, Jesus Sanchez, John Gibbons, Jose Reyes, Juan Acevedo, Julian Vasquez, Julio Valera, Justin Huber, Keith Miller, Kevin Elster, Kevin Mitchell, Kirk Presley, Lastings Milledge, Lenny Dykstra, Matt Peterson, Octavio Dotel, Pat Strange, Pat Strange, Paul Wilson, Paul Wilson, Pete Schourek, Preston Wilson, Randy Myers, Rey Ordonez, Rick Ownbey, Ron Darling, Scott Kazmir, Shawn Abner, Stan Jefferson, Terrence Long, Terry Bross, Timo Perez, Todd Hundley, and Wally Whitehurst.

    So out of 67 people on that list, there are only nine on that list that I classify as people that cannot be traded. I did include Kazmir and Milledge on that list, but in ten years I could look back and lump them in with the likes of Wally Whitehurst and David West. Some others are nice to have, but I'm not crying about losing them and some already did bring back some valuable players while others brought back some bad players. But in retrospect, there is not much going on. At one point, every guy on this list was a highly rated prospect I'm sure back in 1986 Kevin Elster and Shawn Abner where some of the hottest prospects around and I'm sure some hardcore fans were waiting for them to come up through they system too. Yes, others like Kazmir, Gooden, and Strawberry were the cream of the crop and way above most of those players, but the other guys were obviously no slouches and were highly regarded at some point.

    With the next round of young guys coming up through the system we'll have the top talents of the farm system in Lastings Milledge, Gabby Hernandez, Ambriorix Concepcion, Shawn Bowman, Aarom Baldiris, Victor Diaz, Yusmeiro Petit, Alay Soler, etc. as the next round of trading chips or future contributors to the Mets. I am definitely guilty of wanting to hold on to every promising prospect but the fact is dealing guys like Peterson and Huber are not a big deal long run. Besides, how many of those guys I listed above will make an impact on a major league team? The chances are two, maybe three at best. Even dealing Kazmir may turn out to not be a big deal. He would not be the first highly touted arm to fail nor would he be the last. Where the Mets have gone wrong with most of their trades is that they trade for guys who are over the hill, stars on the decline, or plain old just not maximizing their returns. They do not use the chips they decide to use that wisely and do not extract the most use out of them like countless other teams seemingly do.

    This also comes down to free agent signings that will cost draft picks. Obviously you cannot give up your draft picks every season, but sometimes you need too. The Mets got four capable arms in last year's draft and this year they will retain their first round pick, if the Mets are eyeing someone, they need to go after them as they did with Pedro Martinez. At his point, the Mets only gave up a 59th pick to get the best free agent pitcher on the market. After Carlos Beltran, Derek Lowe, and Odalis Perez sign, it will be a 60th pick (assuming Phil Humber and Jeff Neimann will sign and Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew don’t) and if they can manage to sign Beltran they will be giving up an 88th pick as well. Arbitration should not get in the way as those are two relatively high draft picks and acceptable casualties for the Mets right now. You can point out that David Wright was a supplemental pick and this guy was a second round pick all you want, but take a look at all of the past Met top picks. It's OK to gamble and lose a pick or two in 2005's draft when the Mets have their first round locked up. They can make up for it by making some risky deals like Boston when they signed 12th-round pick Mike Rozier for $1.575 million and the Angels who signed 18th-rounder Mark Trumbo for $1.425 million. They were both supposed to be top tier talents who were going to go to college so teams passed on them. The Mets took a similar risk with Brad Meyers this past draft and lost out. If they miss out on their 2nd and 3rd round picks, they should have some extra cash to gamble with in later rounds.

    The Mets farm system could stand to have as many picks and as many prospects as they can get. However, if a free agent can make a huge impact on the team, fire away. The odds are against anyone they draft. I am by no means saying they should follow the Yankees model of business by relying solely on free agents or be like the Giants and simply give them away every year, but they could stand to spend wisely when they need too and sacrifice when they need to. As for the guys in the farm system, most of the guys that make us fans salivate that are in the minors will not shake out in the long run. Some will, but that's the Mets job in figuring out who they should hold onto and who they should spin off via trade to strengthen the team now. As much as many of us do not want to see our top prospects sent away, it probably makes sense to trade some of the guys and make some calculated gambles and hope they turn out right and hope no 35 year olds are traded for in return.

    History of Mets top 10 prospects according to Baseball America:


    1. Kazuo Matsui
    2. Scott Kazmir
    3. David Wright
    4. Matt Peterson
    5. Lastings Milledge
    6. Justin Huber
    7. Bob Keppel
    8. Jeremy Giffiths
    9. Victor Diaz
    10. Craig Brazell


    1. Jose Reyes, ss
    2. Scott Kazmir, lhp
    3. Aaron Heilman, rhp
    4. David Wright, 3b
    5. Justin Huber, c
    6. Matt Peterson, rhp
    7. Pat Strange, rhp
    8. Jaime Cerda, lhp
    9. Bob Keppel, rhp
    10. Craig Brazell, 1b
    The Future: New York officials consider Brazell the most promising left-handed hitter they’ve developed since Rico Brogna. He should be a candidate for the big league club in 2004.

    If that does not speak volumes about the lackluster performance of the farm system over the years, I'm not sure what does.


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


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


    1. Alex Escobar, of
    2. Pat Strange, rhp
    3. Grant Roberts, rhp
    4. Brian Cole, of
    5. Enrique Cruz, ss
    6. Lesli Brea, rhp
    7. Jorge Toca, of/1b
    8. Jason Tyner, of
    9. Eric Cammack, rhp
    10. Dicky Gonzalez, rhp


    1. Alex Escobar, of
    2. Octavio Dotel, rhp
    3. Grant Roberts, rhp
    4. Jae Weong Seo, rhp
    5. Terrence Long, of
    6. Jorge Luis Toca, of
    7. Lesli Brea, rhp
    8. Juan LeBron, of
    9. Jason Tyner, of
    10. Scott Hunter, of


    1. Grant Roberts, rhp
    2. Ed Yarnall, lhp
    3. Preston Wilson, of
    4. Geoff Goetz, lhp
    5. Jesus Sanchez, lhp
    6. Fletcher Bates, of
    7. Octavio Dotel, rhp
    8. Derek Wallace, rhp
    9. Vance Wilson, c
    10. Jay Payton, of


    1. Jay Payton, of
    2. Terrence Long, of
    3. Arnold Gooch, rhp
    4. Grant Roberts, RHp
    5. Derek Wallace, RHp
    6. Corey Erickson, 3b
    7. Brett Herbison, rhp
    8. Preston Wilson, of
    9. Pee Wee Lopez, c
    10. Octavio Dotel rhp


    1. Paul Wilson, rhp
    2. Jay Payton, of
    3. Rey Ordonez, ss
    4. Juan Acevedo, rhp
    5. Alex Ochoa, of
    6. Preston Wilson, of
    7. Terrence Long, of
    8. Sean Johnston, lhp
    9. Eric Ludwick, rhp
    10. Bryon Gainey, 1b


    1. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
    2. Paul Wilson, rhp
    3. Rey Ordonez, ss
    4. Edgardo Alfonzo, INF
    5. Carl Everett, of
    6. Jason Isringhausen, rhp
    7. Terrence Long, of/1b
    8. Jay Payton, of
    9. Kirk Presley, rhp
    10. Preston Wilson,, 3b


    1. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
    2. Preston Wilson, 3b
    3. Butch Huskey, 3b
    4. Edgardo Alfonzo, ss
    5. Kirk Presley, rhp
    6. Brook Fordyce, c
    7. Jason Isringhausen, rhp
    8. Chris Roberts, lhp
    9. Quilvio Veras, 2b
    10. Mike Welch, rhp


    1. Bobby Jones, rhp
    2. Jeromy Burnitz, of
    3. Brook Fordyce, c
    4. Al Shirley, of
    5. Butch Huskey, 3b
    6. Preston Wilson, 3b
    7. Ryan Thompson, of
    8. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
    9. Edgar Alfonzo, ss
    10. Rafael Guerrero, of


    1. Todd Hundley, c
    2. Jeromy Burnitz, of
    3. Anthony Young, rhp
    4. Butch Huskey, 3b
    5. Julian Vasquez, rhp
    6. D.J. Dozier, of
    7. Joe Vitko, rhp
    8. Tito Navarro, ss
    9. Bobby Jones, rhp
    10. Brook Fordyce, c


    1. Anthony Young, rhp
    2. Pete Schourek, lhp
    3. Todd Hundley, c
    4. D.J. Dozier, of
    5. Terry Bross, rhp
    6. Brook Fordyce, c
    7. Tito Navarro, ss
    8. Julio Valera, rhp
    9. Alan Zinter, c
    10. Jeromy Burnitz, of


    1. Julio Valera, rhp
    2. Dave Proctor, rhp
    3. Chris Donnels, 3b
    4. Todd Hundley, c
    5. Brook Fordyce, c
    6. Terry Bross, rhp
    7. Butch Huskey, 3b
    8. Terry McDaniel, of
    9. Alex Diaz, ss
    10. Jamie Roseboro, of


    1. Gregg Jefferies, 2b/3b
    2. David West, lhp
    3. Wally Whitehurst, rhp
    4. Terry Bross, rhp
    5. Blaine Beatty, lhp
    6. Kevin Brown, lhp
    7. Mark Carreon, of
    8. Kevin Tapani, rhp
    9. Brian Givens, lhp
    10. Todd Hundley, c


    1. Gregg Jefferies, ss
    2. Kevin Elster, ss
    3. Dave West, lhp
    4. Wally Whitehurst, rhp
    5. Keith Miller, 2b
    6. Todd Welborn, rhp
    7. Joaquin Contreras, of
    8. Jack Savage, rhp
    9. Randy Milligan, 1b
    10. Chris Donnels, 3b


    1. Gregg Jefferies, ss
    2. Randy Myers, lhp
    3. Keith Miller, 2b
    4. Kevin Elster, ss
    5. Craig Repoz, 3b
    6. Dave Magadan, 3b
    7. Dave West, lhp
    8. Reggie Dobie, rhp
    9. Marcus Lawton, of
    10. Brian Givens, lhp


    1. Kevin Elster, ss
    2. Shawn Abner, of
    3. Stan Jefferson, of
    4. Dave West, lhp
    5. Randy Myers, lhp
    6. Gregg Jefferies, ss/2b
    7. Keith Miller, 2b
    8. Billy Beane, of
    9. Jose Bautista, rhp
    10. Reggie Dobie, rhp


    1. Calvin Schiraldi, rhp
    2. Stan Jefferson, of
    3. Shawn Abner, of
    4. Randy Myers, lhp
    5. Lenny Dykstra, of
    6. John Gibbons, c
    7. Wes Gardner, rhp
    8. John Christensen, of
    9. Rick Aguilera, rhp
    10. Dave West, lhp


    1. Dwight Gooden, rhp
    2. Ron Darling, rhp
    3. Lenny Dykstra, of
    4. John Gibbons, c
    5. Kevin Mitchell, 3b
    6. Floyd Youmans, rhp
    7. Herm Winningham, of
    8. Stanley Jefferson, of
    9. Eddie Williams, 3b
    10. Dave Cochrane, 3b


    1. Darryl Strawberry, of
    2. Jeff Bittiger, P
    3. Ron Darling, rhp
    4. Dwight Gooden, rhp
    5. Rick Ownbey, P
    6. Jose Oquendo, ss
    7. Mark Carreon, of
    8. Herm Winningham, of
    9. Terry Blocker, of
    10. Dave Cochrane, 3b

    * * *

  • Beltran acknowledged interest from the Astros, Yankees, Mets and Cubs, but said offers have not yet been exchanged during meetings with teams. Last week, Houston brass denied reports it had made a six-year, $96 million offer.

    The Mets began their pursuit late, "but they entered and they are being aggressive," Beltran said. "To this point, they have not made an offer. I believe that we will have a meeting very soon."

    At least we know Omar is going to make a solid effort at taking care of this. The Mets may not be able to sell the win now idea as well as the Yankees, Cubs, and the Astros, but they can certainly point to their farm system as a point of being able to strengthen the team via trades or through players coming up through their farm system. They've seen what the Yankees have run into problems with in that lack of farm system. The Mets and Omar can sell him on a vision of him being the centerpiece piece of the team and building a sustained winner like the Yankees with substantial pieces from their farm with the ability to buy big ticket free agents with their resources and their upcoming cable channel. Anyone that gets him will be overpaying since his true value is about $13 based on similar signings over the past two off seasons but I certainly hope it will be the Mets overpaying. He fits the mold of what they are trying to do better than anyone else on the market. Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Diaz is certainly not the worst group of four players to try and start dynasty around with some very good, young pitching on the horizon.

  • In a move out of left field, the Indians are on the cusp of signing Kevin Millwood. Despite the fact he had an off year, he could rebound to pitch well and could be a very good pickup that strengthens their bullpen. For me, he's their #4 and a pretty good one at that. Think he's happy he passed up that 3 year $30 million dollar offer prior to the 2004 season?

  • According to ESPN Insider, the Yankees are offering six or seven years at $15 million to Carlos Beltran.