Rumblings and Met Bashings
Jayson Stark's newest column focuses predominantly on pointing out every supposed Met weakness and generally taking some jabs. Overall it had some interesting pieces of information once you get past all of the Mets bashing.
FICTIONAL STATEMENT: "Their biggest off-season need, to me, was relief pitching -- and they haven't addressed that at all," said one NL assistant GM.
FACTUAL STATEMENT: Omar brought back Mike DeJean who seemed to regain his old form when he posted a 1.69 ERA with a 10.13 K/9 while giving up no homers in 21.1 innings after coming over in a trade with the Orioles. The Mets also have brought back Orber Moreno who due to return from his surgery early in the season after posting a 3.38 ERA in 34.2 innings while giving up homers in 2004. Heath Bell showed he is worth taking a look at after a 9.99 K/9 and a 3.33 ERA. Strickland was a solid set up man whom used to close in his days with the Expos and is a great arm to have in the bullpen. They brought him back this off season as well. Bartolome Fortunado showed some signs of being useful by posting a 9.64 K/9 and a 3.86 ERA in 18.2 innings and will get a good look in the spring. The also brought in Dae Sung Koo to address their long man need and sport starter out of the bullpen and have him to add into the lefty mix with Blake McGinely and Felix Heredia. The Mets bullpen is not a glaring hole as many people think and they should be able to build and effective bullpen from the above players and the bevy of guys signed to minor league contracts.
FICTIONAL STATEMENT: "You look at their five starting pitchers. How deep into the game are they going to go? I wouldn't call [Tom] Glavine even a seven-inning guy anymore. Pedro is a six-inning guy. You don't know what you're going to get from Victor Zambrano. Benson has never been a given. [Steve] Trachsel is the only one in the bunch who gives them innings. So even if they have the best one-through-six-inning starters in the league, somebody's got to pitch the seventh and the eighth."
FACTUAL STATEMENT: Steve did a great job dispelling those silly notions on how deep Pedro can or cannot go into games already. Tom Glavine averaged 6.43 innings per start, Benson averaged 6.46 innings per start, and Steve Trachsel average 6.13 innings per start. The only guy not in the rotation that did not average going into the 7th inning per start was Victor Zambrano. Steve Traschel actually is not the only one in the bunch who gives them innings since he is actually fourth on the team in innings per start.
As for giving Pedro a rest, Omar brought in Koo Dae-Sung as a left handed reliever and spot starter. While he is still a mystery if he can actually pitch in the bigs, it's place to start to alleviate the stress on Pedro to give him that extra day of rest when he needs it.
FICTIONAL STATMENT: "That team still has some holes. [Mike] Piazza is still the catcher, and that's a defensive nightmare."
FACTUAL STATEMENT: Ok, Piazza has a bad arm. We all know that. If they had said that Piazza's health was the biggest concern, I'd be OK with that. However, to call him a defensive nightmare is a bit too much. He still calls a good game, continually posts a lower CERA than the overall team ERA and anyone who watches him knows he as good at blocking balls as most of the catchers in the majors. Jorge Posada lets more balls between his legs than Jenny Jamison and no one says a word about him. Also, their CS% is not to far off each others. In the past two years, Piazza's was .256 to Posada's .272 to Varitek's .256. People run more often on Piazza as he has averaged letting up .82 steals per game to Posada's .50 SPG to Jason Vartiek's .52 SPG. Piazza's arm is a problem, but not a big one. Teams run less and less these days while looking for the long ball instead of manufacturing runs. Defense is not jut having a strong arm though it is part of it.
Yes, I know Piazza's sample size is a bit small for the last two years...
FICTIONAL STATEMENT: "You've got uncertainty in the middle of the infield. They're moving [Kazuo] Matsui to second base, and that's easier said than done. With [Jose] Reyes, you're not sure if you're even going to get him on the field every day."
FACTUAL STATEMENT: Of course there is uncertainty with Reyes' health. What I cannot understand is why people keep glazing over the fact that Omar signed Miguel Cairo to have a really good fallback option on the team. He was good enough to hit over .300 for Yankees and start on a playoff team and I think he qualifies as some added certainty. As for Kaz moving to second base, it is not like he's moving to catcher. Yes, second base and shortstop have many differences, but most of his fielding problems stemmed from his noodle arm.
FICTIONAL STATEMENT: "You don't know what's happening in the outfield besides Beltran."
FACTUAL STATEMENT: Let the man get through the off season before any crazy statements are made. Right now they have two guys in the outfield with great gloves, power, and speed. That is as sure as anything on the Mets in 2005. Sure Cameron may miss some time to start the season, but that is not even a guarantee he will miss time and he'll be back soon enough after opening day if he does miss some games. As for if Cameron actually misses games to start the season and Cliff Floyd's injury problems, Victor Diaz does the job for me in terms of providing some solid insurance along with Eric Valent.
If the uncertainty is surrounding Cammy's status with the team, rest assured Omar will have another player in place not named Victor Diaz if Mike gets moved.
In case you hadn't noticed, several dollars have changed hands this winter. In fact, according to ESPN research maven Mark Simon, the current crop of free agents has signed contracts worth over -- ready for this? -- a billion dollars.
Yeah, you read that right. A billion. Which is even higher than Jose Contreras' ERA.
Hicks, who famously bid against himself for Alex Rodriguez in December 2000, admitted the Rangers went beyond what they previously felt comfortable offering because they have been bowled over by Delgado.
"He's a very impressive young man," Hicks said during a conference call. "His reputation for having great character and great leadership . . . is warranted.
"We feel we've made a very strong offer. We gave it our best shot, and we hope it's something Carlos will give serious consideration to."
A-Rod is apparently still a bit miffed that Schilling called his fem-slap of Bronson Arroyo a "bush-league play." What's the problem with calling it like you see it? It was a bush league play and a blatant attempt to cheat. Deal with it and try and keep your hands to yourself next time. Didn't mommy A-Rod tell you that back in kindergarten?
According to the Cubs, the New York Mets currently are second to them in the league with a $99 million payroll. If the Mets sign free agent Carlos Delgado, that will push them to No. 1 in payroll, but the Cubs still would be second.
He also mentions the club is negotiating with Rob Nen, who will not be ready to open the season.
Lucchino said there's almost a 50-50 split among management about whether first baseman Kevin Millar or Doug Mientkiewicz will be traded.
If that didn’t warm you up, you can always take a look at this again.