Playing With A Purpose
A little competition never hurt anyone. Jae Seo and Aaron Heilman are taking advantage of their opportunities and have pitched better than every pitcher not named Pedro Martinez. Victor Zambrano's opportunities are running out at this point and if he feeds off of the competition and footsteps behind him, great. At this point, Zambrano needs to state his case for belonging in the majors. Randolph could not, in good conscience, throw Heilman and Seo aside with pitchers seriously underperforming and not making much money. Ishii is costing the Mets about $1.5 million and Zambrano is making $2.1 million. Either one could get demoted to pen without the Mets thinking twice about money. Glavine is the only guy who is safe due to the immense amount of cash he is owed.
Another person playing like a fire is under this ass is Victor Diaz. Cammy's presence in the dugout might lit a fire under him and enabled him to break out of his slump with two hits, including an opposite field bomb on night when the elements were favoring the pitcher. Throw on top of that Victor looking like a real, actual right fielder and making two very nice catches going back into right center and some other nice plays in which he had to cover a lot of ground to get to. But my favorite part of Victor's night was after his homerun, he got back to the dugout and with the camera panned in on him, he gave a wink. The kid knows he belongs here and he is comfortable. He acts likes he has been here for a few years and not a few games. He must have made a good impression because Willie said he'd rather have him at AAA getting his at-bats, but he is still with the club for now. We'll see where he is when Kaz Ishii comes back off the DL.
You could also lump Cliff Floyd into this category too. Not only did he overtake Darryl Strawberry to become the owner of longest hitting streak for a left handed Met hitter, but he continues to be the go to guy for the Mets. He went two for four with another homerun and two RBIs. As if that were not enough, he continued to make sparkling plays in the field and robbed a potential two run homerun in the seventh inning. You think he wants to prove to Mets fans he can play, prove everyone wrong who was apprehensive in regards to trading for him, and prove himself to Omar who wanted to trade him?
As for Floyd, he's been nearly flawless, and his 2-for-4 performance, along with two RBIs, extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Floyd delivered a run-scoring single off Randy Wolf in the fourth, and crushed a 410-foot homer in the sixth that landed at the base of the right field scoreboard.
"He's the best player in the universe right now," Wolf said. "He took a pitch up at his eyes and hit it out."
Right now Cliffy is third in batting average with .391, tied for first in homers with eight, and second in RBI's with 25.
The Yankees hope to land Astros ace Roger Clemens by the July 31 trade deadline. He has an oral agreement with owner Drayton McLane that allows him to be traded to the Yankees if the Astros are out of the race.
But what if the Yankees are out of the race by the trading deadline?
Paul White also runs down the list of this season's biggest disappointments up to date. I'd agree with them for sure, but the Yankees one game out of last place should be up there as well.
Who closes games for the Royals when Jeremy Affeldt returns from the disabled list? Does Affeldt step back into his old job? Does he shift to a new role to accommodate rookie Ambiorix Burgos?
Or does he become a central figure in trade discussions in the club's ongoing pursuit of a youthful power-hitting corner outfielder?
The Royals aren't saying.
With Cliffy and Cammy locked up for 2005 and 2006, it would certainly help the Mets, though I'm sure a lot of people will kill me for this. Affeldt, who is still 25 years old and under control for three years including 2005, could set up and be insurance to close for Braden Looper, who officially started to worry me last night. Giving up two homers in the ninth with a 3-0 lead is a scary thing. Looper has now given up four homers in twelve innings and gave up five in 83.1 innings in 2004. I do think a trade for Cammy should be pursued first, but if the Mets cannot get solid value in return, something has to give between Cliffy, Cammy, and Victor. If the Mets can get talented youth in return for talented youth, I'm behind it.
Marcus Hayes of Philly.com.
Mets should issue a flash-Floyd warning