11 Days Until Heading North
There is a lot of bullpen talk today. Steve Popper seems to believe that there are five givens in the bullpen. He sees the bullpen being populated with Braden Looper, Felix Heredia, Mike DeJean, Dae-Sung Koo, and Heath Bell with one or two more spots open. Adam Rubin believes that Mike Matthews will actually get the nod instead of Koo.
With the Mets being somewhat intrigued with Roberto Hernandez and Scott Strickland throwing decently, it seems that Matt Ginter is on the outs, which is a shame. Ginter was formally the closer of the future for the White Sox and he never panned out. He added a third pitch to his repertoire and is seemingly having some success with it. He can not only serve as the long man, but it seems he could be worked into some higher leverage situations. He throws stikes and keeps the ball in the park. Going to battle with Looper, DeJean, Ginter, Strickland, Bell, Heredia, and Koo is not bad at all in my mind. The Mets bullpen performed admirably last season and by my accounts, this pen would look better. Then with Moreno on the horizon, it is like picking up a reliever at the deadline and the Mets could release Heredia after he undoubtedly lives up to his name as The Run Fairy.
On the trade front, Trever Miller may be available from the Devil Rays. The lefty posted a 3.12 ERA in 49 innings and is slated to make $1.1 million in 2005. He held lefties to a .214 BA and righties fared pretty well against him hitting .303. The Tigers are also still dangling Urbina and the Mets are still interested. The Tigers are looking for the Mets to pick up $3 million of the $4 million left and want a promising young player. Someone forgot to send Dombrowski the memo that it is one or the other, although we are not sure what exactly a promising young player is by his definition. Are we talking Shawn Bowman or Wayne Lydon or Victor Diaz? Dombrowski is better advised to wait until the dealine if he wants to get back maximum value. It would be a nice luxury for the Mets, but Urbina is not a necessity. Besides, anyone think it will play mental games with Looper if the Mets did land him?
"He's got tremendous stuff," said Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca, who was Ishii's catcher in L.A. before the trade that sent Lo Duca to Florida last summer. "Obviously, his only weakness is he gets in trouble throwing strikes. But he's got 20-win stuff, and when he does throw strikes, he can be dominant."
Being that he has led the Major Leagues since 2002 in BB/9, I'd say that only weakness is a large one.
South Korean Dae-Sung Koo (4.05 ERA this spring), who has a split contract that means he can be sent to Triple-A Norfolk at reduced cost, doesn't have the same assurance. Though Koo turned in two scoreless innings Saturday, he has been out pitched by Mike Matthews (1.13 ERA) this spring. Matthews went 2-1 with a 6.30 ERA in 35 appearances for the Reds last season, so he figures to get the ticket to Flushing.
This part was rather disturbing:
Anderson, still listed on Randolph's board as an infielder, and Valent look like the victors over Kerry Robinson and Gerald Williams. Ron Calloway can be optioned to the minors. The Mets appear likely to ship Victor Diaz to Triple-A to get regular work if Mike Cameron is healthy for Opening Day. Williams seems like he will also get an invitation to the farm, which is curious because he could stand in the way of a group of minor leaguers.
What is the love affair with Ice? C'mon now. The AAA outfield will have plenty of useful players. There is absolutely no reason for him to be hanging around. Some things really never change with the Mets.
Mike Jacobs, the organization's 2003 minor-league player of the year, is being converted to a first baseman with only part-time catching duty. He started working out with the Double-A Binghamton squad yesterday.
"The shame of it is [McGwire] wouldn't even be up there if Canseco wasn't trying to sell a book."
Well actually, he would not even be up there had he not done steroids or been able to say that he had not done steroids. Blaming Canseco doesn't help. It seems he told the truth about his fellow Bash Brother.
"This organization has drafted, signed and developed a winning major-league player in Lance Berkman. And today we have signed him to a long-term commitment that will keep him with the Astros for six seasons, including the 2005 season. That's a tremendous accomplishment for the organization to have Lance on contract this long."
--Astros GM Tim Purpura, on signing outfielder Lance Berkman to a 6-year contract worth $85 million (Houston Chronicle)
Is Berkman a $14+ million player? I think Lance has talent, but he's not a five tool guy that really warrants that type of salary.
"If Lee Smith can't get in with 478 saves, I ain't getting in with 246."
--Phillies closer Billy Wagner, who has said that he’ll retire at the end of this season if the Phillies win the World Series, on his Hall of Fame chances (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
No need to worry about that Billy.
"It's a sad day, it really is. It signifies a couple of things, too, that this team is going in a different direction. I think hopefully a winning one."
--Mets catcher Mike Piazza, on teammate Joe McEwing’s release (New York Newsday)
The team is going in a winning one by dumping Joey Mac? I could not agree more.