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

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fearless Leader

Here is a little something I started to write at the end of the season before I went on hiatus and obviously before the Carlos Delgado deal.

One thing that was holding the Mets back this year was a player that would essentially say, "get on my back". Mike Piazza was that guy before he started going downhill by his sheer offensive output and the Mets have yet to fill that void and were relying on Piazza to fill that role three years to long. This year, they signed Carlos Beltran with the hope he would be that guy, but it was more likely to be their other target that got away in Carlos Delgado. The Mets had a bunch of good clubhouse guys and no malcontents, but lacked that one outwardly intense competitor.

David Wright may eventually be that guy, but I would love to see him shed that 'awww-shucks' attitude and give a bit of an edge. I want pitchers to be scared of him instead of thinking he is a really nice guy. David Wright needs to get rid of that "I'm just happy to be here" attitude because that should have run it's course after his rookie seaon. He knows he belongs there and everyone else knows it too. Victor Diaz has that kind of confidence and is not afraid to say what he thinks. I'm not saying you have to be a dick about it, but there is something to be said for lighting a fire under your team.

For all I have to say about Derek Jeter, you have to love the way he plays the game. We all know he is not one my favorite players, but you just watch him and know he is a gamer. You can see the intensity that helps lift the team. Jason Varitek is another one of those guys, but he is more vocal. One reason why Boston brought him back was because he is the leader on that team. When he was walking A-Rod to first after him blubbering that he was thrown at on purpose, he said "we don't throw at .260 hitters". Gary Sheffield is a bit more to the extreme than I think is necessary, but that is part of the reason Steinbrenner brought him in. To give more of an edge to the team.

The Mets need some fire. There were stretches last year when they truly looked like the walking dead. They were seemingly not playing with fire and not getting charged up enough. It really seemed like they just needed someone to wake them up out of their funk to get them going. Maybe I'm talking with no idea what I'm saying because I do not know what goes on behind closed doors, but I think I have a fair handle on the fact that Mets need leader that gets the team charged. Whether it just be by monsterous production or in a Kevin Millar type way. They need a guy to rally around and the obvsious choice is David Wright. When/if when he will take on those duties is certiainly and unknown and it may be a lot to ask for from a young player, but if these Mets are going to turn a corner, they need someone to step up.

Well, a few months later, the Mets got Carlos Delgado who is going to do a lot more for this team than hit 30+ homers and drive in 100+ runs. The guy is going to be the leader of this team that they were sorely missing last season. The protection he provides will have a trickle down effect and the way he conducts himself will have a trickle down effect. David Wright can take his time in becoming the leader we all think he can be and this Delgado deal was a great one on so many levels. His bat is a big plus but his attitude and demeanor may be a bigger plus. The only problem I have with everything is that he wasn't a Met in 2005. He could have been the difference.

* * *

  • BringManny.com vs. KeepManny.com... I wonder who would win in a fight?

  • No one saw this coming. I'm sure everyone could argue all day who got the better end of the deal, but I think both teams got a good deal. Wilkerson might not stay a Ranger for long as he might be spun to the Blue Jays for Orlando Hudson.

  • The Phillies want Looper and I have no doubt life will play a cruel joke on me and he would shut the Mets down everytime he faces them if he signs with the Philly.

  • Edgar Renteria still looks headed to the Braves with the Red Sox picking up $2 to $2.5 million per year for the rest of his contract and receiving Andy Marte in return to spin to the Devil Rays for Julio Lugo. Renteria is a good player, he just had a bad year. I would rather him stay off the Braves, but if he'll make 30 errors as a Brave like he did in Boston, I think I wouldn't mind too much.

  • The Padres and Rays traded dissapointing first round picks in Sean Burroughs and Dewon Brazelton. Dewon has a good arm and moving to San Diego and out of the AL East will do him well. He is still young so I would not be surprised to see him start producing. However, this tidbit from the article was interesting.

    The market for centerfielder Joey Gathright is expected to pick up now that Florida has traded Juan Pierre to the Cubs, with the Marlins likely to be a prime suitor. The Rays have also been in talks with the Mets for Japanese shortstop Kaz Matsui as a potential replacement for Lugo, and may have interest in Angels backup catcher Josh Paul.

    Huh? They want Kaz for shortstop? What exactly do they need him for when BJ Upton could not be more ready? They will both commit a boatload of errors and they need to start just letting Upton play. They could be just holding back his ML service so they have him cheaper for longer when they plan to compete, but it is perplexing.

  • Jarrod Washburn and Benji Molina were not offered arbitration by the Angels. Anyone still curious why I think Omar jumped the gun? Benji's market for his services is pretty dry right now and I do not see him getting nearly what everyone anticipated. He surely could cost what LoDuca is costing.

    So was Washburn, a 31-year-old left-hander who went 75-57 with a 3.93 earned-run average in six-plus seasons and was the Angels' best pitcher in 2002, going 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA to help the Angels win the World Series.

    Washburn is in intriguing player if Omar simply wants to shake up the rotation and keep a lefty in there beyond this year if he does not feel he can land Barry Zito.

  • Texas wants pitching, the Mets have a lot of it. I'm sure they can work something out that does not involve Laynce Nix.

  • After all that hoopla, Zito is probably staying. Let us not forget Oakland was an 88 win team with two rookies in the rotation, a rookie closing games out, Bobby Crosby only playing 84 games, Nick Swisher in his first season, and Dan Johnson not being there the entire season since he got called up fifty games into the season or so. This team will run out Danny Haren, Joe Blanton, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, and Esteban Loaiza. This team, is a good team. It is obvious they need another bat in an ideal world and they have a surplus of pitching, but they are contenders in the AL right now. If Beane is not getting a great deal, why even bother?

  • Piazza is drawing interest from the Twins, A's, and Jays.

  • Javy for Milledge and Benson or Milledge and other prospects? Could happen...

  • I may not understand this arbitration process fully, but why wasn't Bert offered arbitration? The guy nets you a first round pick or a top fifteen second round pick if someone else signs him.

    "The reliever market is dragging north and they want to attach themselves to that drag," Minaya said.

    The thing is, whether it be Bert or someone else, you would pay. Everyone is going to look to capitalize on the inflated reliever's market.

    Now that they've lost out on Hernandez, the Mets will turn their attention to other free-agent bullpen options such as Octavio Dotel, Julian Tavarez and Rick White. The possibility of getting either Mike MacDougal or Jeremy Affeldt from Kansas City in the Benson deal also helps ease the Mets' mind about building a setup relief corps in front of newly signed closer Billy Wagner, and the team seems convinced Aaron Heilman could function in a setup role as well.

  • Seattle refutes the report that they offered Millwood a four year, $44 million contract.

  • The Jays landed Lyle Overbay and are turning towards Nomar Garciaparra.

  • The Pirates are eyeing Braden Looper and Roberto Hernandez.

  • Jose Valentin was signed to a one year contract by the Mets.

    "He's got the body of a 30-year-old," the agent added. "He probably came back a little too quickly."

    Is there really a big difference between the body of a 30 year old and the body of a 36 year old?

  • Bernie ain't going to no Mets.

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