How Does It Taste?
Kenny Rogers started serving his twenty game suspension yesterday. The Rangers are seventh in the Wild Card race, but sit only 4.5 games out. Only one starting pitcher left has an ERA under 5.63 even if they add Sidney Ponson. They cannot survive that long of a stretch and keep playoff aspirations with the starting five they will be running out there. Remind me again who is desperate? The Rangers sit comfortably in third place out of the entire Major Leagues in runs scored and were only eleven runs off the lead prior to last night's action. Ian Kinsler is hitting .261/.329/.454 with 20 doubles, 17 homers, 66 RBIs, and 34 walks at AAA. If Soriano is moved, they will lose production there with the young Kinsler, but he will be a factor and contribute. Aside from having a suitable replacement, the Rangers are still paying about $8,000,000 a year for A-Rod to play for the Yankees and Soriano needs to be not around so they can try and sign a better player in Mark Teixiera to a long term deal. Whether or not Hart says it, it looks like they have plenty of reasons to move Alfonso.
The Rangers have an abundance of hitting and the Mets have an abundance of pitching. Hart and the Rangers are not in the driver's seat and perhaps more desperate for pitching than Omar and the Mets for hitting. Though he will not admit it and is leading everyone to believe he is more than happy to keep Alfonso around, do you think two Major League pitchers in Victor Zambrano and Jae Seo that he can slot into his rotation would be welcome? The Mets need to shed the air of desperation that they always exude and Omar and the Mets should not be interested in giving up one single solitary prospect to Hart and low ball him by not giving up Heilman either. Zambrano has turned into a pretty good pitcher and if they want to pass, let it be. I would rather keep Zambrano than give up two solid starting pitchers. Though the Rangers probably will not accept it, lay that deal out on the table and see what happens. Put a take it or leave it offer there and do it on your terms. Use Heilman to replace Zambrano's spot in the rotation be insistent upon keeping Petit and Milledge. The Rangers have absolutely no shot at the playoffs at this moment in time with their staff when it included Kenny Rogers, but without him for twenty games, things are really, really bad for them. Omar should try and take advantage of that or sit tight with what he has or look at a less sexy improvement or maybe spin Cammy for prospects to try and get Aubrey Huff. Hart has no reason not to deal Soriano at this point and anything else he says is posturing. I may be stupid, but I am not stupid enough to see that Soriano does not represent an upgrade for the Mets. I'm not against bringing Soriano here, but on the Mets terms and in a deal that favors them because I believe he is overvalued. Omar should try and expose the Rangers dire need for pitching or tell them to leave it.
"My power numbers are down a little," said Jackson, who hit a combined 17 homers last year at Class A Lancaster and Double-A El Paso. "I'm not really worried about it, but if I want to play first base in the big leagues I have to hit for power."
- Norfolk played Toledo in a doubleheader last night. In game one, the Mets won 6-5. Anderson Hernandez's batting average is falling faster than the Nationals in the standings and he went 0 for 3 with a walk to see his average drop to .316. Victor Diaz went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Eric Valent continues his hot hitting and went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI to bring his average up to .309. Jae Seo had yet another rough outing and went 6.1 innings, gave up nine hits, five earned runs, two a walks, one homer, and struck out five. In game two, the Mets won 7-2. Anderson Hernandez hit is second homer since being called up to AAA and knocked in three runs. Victor Diaz went 2 for 3 in the game as well. Heath Bell got the start and went three innings, gave up three hits, one earned run, and struck out three. I'm assuming he started because he will not be down for long and they want him to work on this changeup and get as much as he can. Royce Ring also pitched two scoreless innings of no hit, no walk ball and struck out one.
- Altoona beat Binghamton 14-8. Yusmeiro Petit could have had his worst start as a pro and got shelled in four innings of work. He gave up seven hits, eight earned runs, an uncharacteristic four walks, and struck out three. He is now 5-3 with a 3.53 ERA. Mike Jacobs hit is 20th homer of the year and knocked in his 71st and 72nd RBIs.
- Hagerstown vs. Delmarva was suspended due to rain in the seventh inning during a 7-7 tie.
- Brooklyn beat Batvia 7-2. Caleb Stewart went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, his sixth homer of the year, and three RBIs.
- Kingsport beat Greeneville 11-9. Jose Mateo went 3 for 3 with two walks, four runs scored, one double, one homer, and three RBIs.
- The GCL Mets beat the GCL Marlins 5-4.
- The VSL Reds beat the VSL Mets 2-1.
"Dude, I can see like 80% of your head."
"I got a little tired, a little sluggish before the All-Star break," Wright said. "I felt the bat was a little heavy. Given a chance to get those days off, I felt fresh."
Note to Willie. A fresh D. Wright is a good D. Wright. He needs to sit once in a while.
The Mets have interest in Alfonso Soriano, but the price is too high. Other second basemen who could be available include Toronto's Orlando Hudson and Cincinnati's Rich Aurilia.
I like the idea of Orlando Hudson for sure, but he just brings stability more than anything. While being a decent hitter, he is not going to be a big a big boost from what they have been getting out of second base between Anderson and Cairo.
While Mets brass burns up the phone lines, no deal is imminent, team insiders said, and there's a fair chance the deadline will pass without any changes at all. Soriano and Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez have drawn the most interest, though any deal likely wouldn't occur until close to Sunday night's deadline, when the asking prices might drop. A Mets insider said D-Rays first baseman Aubrey Huff has attracted their interest, too.
Mets-o-Mezzo: according to Alan Schwarz, the Mets spent 25 out of 27 days within one game of .500. But having won six out of seven, they're now four games above sea level and have the fourth-best run differential of any NL team. The hot hand belongs to Jose Reyes, who's hit .452/.485/.581 and has stolen eight out of eight during that streak... all of which has brought his OBP to .295.
Baseball Prospectus also thinks the Rangers original asking price was a bit high.
Of the things that haven't happened, Will reports that the Mets have been active, with rumored acquisitions of Alfonso Soriano and Sean Casey. The former deal has them giving up their top two prospects (Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit), plus more for Soriano. That would be far too much for a player who, as a high-strikeout hitter, would likely see his production plummet in Shea Stadium. Soriano would be an upgrade on the Mets' frustrating second-base situation, just not nearly enough of one to justify that kind of investment.
I'll take that.