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

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Beltran and Wright Take a Poop

Man I hope they do not detail every time these two go to the gym together or do anything together for that matter. It was a good story once, and I know this is the first time they actually went hence the story, but after today is another deal.

"It was a great full-body workout," Wright said. "It was outstanding. Every action and exercise had a purpose and was related to something you do on the field. We worked on balance, agility, quickness and explosiveness. You can tell there was a lot of baseball thought put behind it."

Beltran said the hour-long workout is something that he plans on doing every day -- circumstances permitting -- with his personal trainer and Wright and anyone else who wants to join in.

"It was good," Beltran said. "You sweat more than when you're using weights. We did a real good job. It was good for me and good for him. We'll do that every day as long as it's not an inconvenience."

If Beltran is looking for a workaholic to go to the gym after practice everyday, he's found his man. Wright is one of the most tireless workers on the team without a doubt and he loves to soak up everything everyone tells him. It's hard not to think Wright will have a big, big season.

The Post goes over how dangerous the Mets will be on the basepaths this season.

Beltran, whose personal goal for the season is 40, said Reyes can easily steal 50 if he's healthy.

I love the fact the Beltran is all over Wright and Reyes like brown on rice (for all you low-carb people...). The guy is overwhelmingly supportive of these two and sees all the success and world for these two skilled youngsters. Before I used to say the Mets overpaid by a bit to get him, but now I do not think so. Vlad got less money, but he's quiet and I've not read much about him doing things like this. Beltran is shaping up to be worth every dime he got from the Mets. Carlos is the franchise player they were looking for and he is doing all the right things and then some so far. Life is good as a Met fan right now with Beltran, Wright and Reyes together for hopefully at least the next seven years.

* * *

  • Cammie Speaks.

  • Benson's started with the Pirates in 1999 and was with them until he was traded on July 30th last season. He was 328 and 418 in his tenure with the Pirates and he is sick of losing. This 2005 Mets team will be the first MLB club he is on that finishes over .500 when they accomplish that feat this season (and they will...).

    "There's a lot of pressure with a small-market team [Pittsburgh] when you're drafted and they want to turn things around. I feel great and confident now and that will dictate my performance in games. There's no pressure, because I know when I'm healthy, I can perform with the best in the league."

  • Dougie Fresh makes his mark.

    "He came up to me and asked, 'When you're off on your throws, where are you normally off?'" Wright said. "I looked at him like, 'Wow.' Nobody has ever asked me that. He goes, 'I just want to know so if you want me to give a target, would it help if I give a target over here, inside or outside.'"


  • More ink on how Strickland should be ready for the bullpen by opening day, but the question for me is how hard is he throwing? He used to get the ball into the mid-90's and if he can regain the velocity, the Mets could have two reliable, proven set-up men in this bullpen.

  • Tim Hudson and the Braves are moving closer to deal.

    A former 20-game winner for Oakland, Hudson likely would get a three-year deal worth more than $11 million annually, plus at least two vesting option years tied to innings pitched, a source familiar with negotiations said.

    The famous source familiar with negotiations. What would we do without them?

  • Buster Olney has a new WebLog on ESPN Insider. In case you do not have insider access, here's a taste:


    Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Jeter, Slappy, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, and Yankees.


    Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, the Mets will never land Beltran, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, did I mention the Yankees?, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, RJ, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, and oh, did I mention I LOVE the Yankees?
  • Friday, February 25, 2005

    A Diary of a Slimeball

    Sloane really is a scumbag. Before I just kind of thought it, but now I really believe it.

    $ $ $

    "Carlos knew what to expect playing in Toronto," Sloane says, "plus none of the teams were locks to get into the playoffs."

    The Dodgers sat first, one-half game ahead of the San Francisco Giants, while the Rangers were in first by two games over Oakland. The Red Sox were seven games back of the Yankees and one game up on Oakland in the wild-card race and the Marlins were in third place. "No one interested had a 12-game lead," Sloane says. "If a team is willing to talk about a contract extension, fine, but what's the point? He shouldn't go as a hired gun. He delivers a championship, then what? It doesn't mean he'd be re-signed, he doesn't earn any more money."

    Sloane says that Delgado is a streak hitter, going stretches where Sandy Koufax couldn't get him out, and then have 2-for-20 skids. "What if he has a rough start in a new location?"

    How'd the Red Sox's season turn out? And sorry, ONLY 1/2, ONLY 2, and ONLY 1 games leads. Sorry no one with a slam dunk guaranteed playoff spot wanted your client. A pennant race is not enough to motivated your client? How far behind was Toronto at this point? How really unfamiliar is a team like the Red Sox that he plays every year 20 games a year and are in the same division so he'll be seeing the same teams he is used too? Maybe switching leagues I can understand, but c'mon now. Your client is supposed to be one of the best in the business right? Moving the Red Sox is not like moving from centerfield to right field, that is impossible (or umpossbile as Ralph Wiggum would say). Sounds like a cop out to me.

    $ $ $

    "Why restrict an interested team and cost them two draft picks?"

    But there is also the worry Delgado will be portrayed as the bad guy if he doesn't accept arbitration.

    A confident Sloane also tells Delgado: "While you are in Toronto, pick up a menu from the House of Chan ... I'll submit it at the arbitration hearing rather than your numbers ... and still win."

    Actually, I'd like to see him submit a House of Chan menu and win. I'm not sure how the arbitrators would have actually worked with a fiscal offer from the Blue Jays and a Chinese food menu from Delgado. Maybe they'll just order out and award in favor of the team, I'm not sure, but I'd like to see it happen.

    $ $ $

    Sloane asks Loria, "What if at the trade deadline you can deal for Barry Zito, does Carlos' signing here prevent you from making the deal from a financial standpoint?"

    Loria answers: "No it wouldn't, I'd make that deal."

    I bet patted himself on the back after that revealing question because I'm sure they will be big players at the deadline for high priced guys. But really, how dumb is that question? That is like me on a job interview getting asked if I mind working hard.

    Interviewer: "Mike, do you mind working hard and burning the midnight oil? Sometimes these days can be a bit long."

    Me: "Shit no, I like to come in around 10:00, eat breakfast, go to the throne, take a nap, eat lunch, read about the Mets, look at some porn, throw back few vodka on the rocks, and go home to beat my girlfriend. I'd prefer to do as little as possible at work and even less at home."

    What was Loria really going to say here? Regardless if he actually will follow through, it's a dumb question that anyone could have predicted what Loria would actually say.

    $ $ $

    Meanwhile, the Mets have given no-trade clauses to Martinez and Beltran and larger bonus packages.

    Sloane says "we thought that without Carlos the Mets were a fourth-place club and we thought that with Carlos they were still a fourth-place club."

    I seriously hope Willie pins that one up against the wall for the players to see everyday, before every game. I hope Pedro plunks Delgado to remind him they still have to play the games.

    $ $ $

    Then, the Rangers made Sloane promise not to shop the offer or it would be pulled off the table. They insist upon a Sunday deadline.

    Sloane told them "please don't do this, I know how Carlos will react."

    Please don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry.

    ...nobody backs Baby into a corner. You hear that Hicks?

    Wow, upon looking for a picture of the Hulk, I stumbled up on this dandy done with what looks to be Microsoft Paint and this dandy of two studs on Halloween with fantastic costumes (if you are going to go through the trouble of dressing up on Halloween, do it right like this guy at least and actually look like you tried).

    $ $ $

    The Mets insist on a deadline since their fan fest is about to begin.

    Sloane phones Delgado and tells him of the Mets' deadline. Delgado tells Sloane not to phone the Mets back.

    ESPN's Karl Ravech phones to check on the talks and Sloane tells him the Mets are out.

    Ravech writes the news on ESPN.com. Minaya is told the news and phones Sloane roughly 15 times, but Sloane has his phone turned off.

    Omar and the Mets apparently did not get memo about The Hulk's apparent disdain for teams imparting a schedule on them so they can go about their business and build their team rather than waiting for their offer to be shopped, shopped some more, and shopped a bit more. The world doesn’t revolve around Mr. Sloane and Mr. Delgado. Is there any harm in asking for an answer by a certain time? No. Also, the Mets obviously had no hard deadline as they continued to negotiate and be used a bargaining chip. Someone should tell Sloane that big people do business a different way and keep their cell phone on like real man instead of a turning it off like a weasel. Something did not smell right with this one.

    $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

    Look, some people may think he did a good job, and I guess judging by the end result it was for Delgado. However, he is a punk who got his fifteen minutes and really hurt his credibility if he had any. I would bet that Omar, Hicks, and a lot of other GMs would think twice about dealing with him in the future if Sloane actually lands another large client.

    * * *

    "Who better to discourage him from going to New York?" Leiter asks. "In New York you have seven or eight competing papers, TV networks and their affiliates and peripheral periodicals. It's fine when you are dealing and kicking butt."

    The reality is, Leiter tells Delgado, that doesn't happen.

    "It just chip, chip, chip, chips away at your resolve, cracking away your protective toughness," Leiter says. "Every bad game it's like 'are you worried? ... the manager says this ... are you worried?' You begin to doubt yourself. That's why slumps in New York are so elongated.

    "Then, the guys on (talk radio) get on you, move it up another notch and everyone driving to the game listens. You get to the park and your home fans are booing you and after the game you say something stupid."

    Poor Al, enjoy your time in Florida. If it was so bad here, why'd you want to come back? Why would you want to put yourself out there again? It's easy, win, you are the talk of the town. You are at the top of the league and payroll and finish last twice and fourth the year after, you will get shit. Sorry, that's the way it is around here. You want NY money, you have to take NY pressures.

  • What?

    "I figured being here, back with all the pitching coaches that have known me over the last 10 years, would be the best spot for me. Not knowing if I was going to be ready or not, I thought it would be good for me to be here. The bottom line is, I'm either going to get healthy or I'm not. And if I'm not, it doesn't really matter where I am, because I'm no good to anybody anyway."

    Good to see both Roberts and Strickland seem to be healthy, but what they hell did Grant just say?

  • Phil Humber plunked Galaraga yesterday who is old enough to be his father.

    "I'm just lucky he didn't hit me on the bone," Galarraga said. "He throws hard." Galarraga has huge, cannon-like arms, so he just shook off the blow. "

    It would have been better if he was actually trying to come inside rather than letting one get away. If he takes the inside like Mark Prior and brings his nasty curve and 94 mph heat, look out. He could learn a few things from Pedro for sure if he ever decides to come out of hiding.

  • A healthy Victor means a successful Victor according to Phillips and Peterson.

    Kaz Matsui was told that a fastball was coming from Victor Zambrano, as per the guidelines of yesterday's live batting practice session, and so when he saw a pitch belt-high, on the inner half of the plate, he prepared to pull the trigger on his swing.

    Only at the last instant, Zambrano's fastball acted more like a Mariano Rivera cutter, exploding up and in on the left-handed hitter at 90-plus mph. The pitch so tied up Matsui that he tried too late to check his swing, instead taking one of the ugliest swings you'll ever see.

  • The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are making progress with Jared Weaver. Weaver was gracious enough to knock $2,000,000 off his asking price and knocked the figure down to $8,000,000 over four years.

  • The AL West has cornered the market on the top rookies according to BA. Seven of the top 20 top rookies belong in the AL West and the A's own four of them. No Mets on the list and one ex-Met who's name shall go unwritten.

  • Pay-per-view polygraph? You cannot make this stuff up.
  • Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Five Reasons Why The Mets Can Beat The Nationals

    I'll be going over the five reasons that the Mets can beat every team in the NL East over the next two weeks. However, I will also be lumping the Mets into the mix too and provide reasons why the Mets are beatable. I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that my team does not have holes, they have big ones...I just wish I had big ones...

    Though I feel a list of reasons the Nationals are beatable is unimportant as the Nationals have virtually no shot at finishing ahead of the Mets, or anyone else in that division for that matter, I'm listing them out anyway since I'm going over the entire division. Don't get me wrong, I think Bowden did a decent job putting a team on the field that is not as bad as they could have been. He picked up Jose Guillen to anchor the lineup and has a few nice young players and he solidified the infield defense. However, their pitching is the question mark though they have some solid starters and their team overall just does not have what it takes to play with the upgraded teams in the NL East like the Marlins and Mets.

    1) Nationals Rotation: A rotation of Livan Hernandez, Zach Day, Tony Armas Jr., Esteban Loiaza, and Thoma Ohka is not bad. However, not bad is not going to get them out of the cellar. There is some talent there and some guys with high ceilings that have not put it together yet like Armas, but he's yet have a full season with a sub 4.00 ERA and has had injury concerns. Zach Day has the stuff to be a front end pitcher, but his 4.71 K/9 and his 1.24 K/BB ratio is enough to make his own mother cry. Loiaza has officially been pegged as one year wonder. His 2003 season was so out of whack with his other years, it's hard to see him in any other role than good middle/end of the rotation guy at best and I'm not particularly sure he will reach that plateau. While pitching for the Yankees, he made everyone look like Vlad Guerrero with a line of .337/.416/.552. While with the White Sox, he didn't fare well either with batters hitting him at a .283/.335/.471 clip. As for Ohka, I like him, but his 3.40 ERA in 2004 looks a bit lucky. His K/9 was 4.04 and his BAA was .288. He's had a BAA of over .300 twice, over .290 three times, over .288 four times, and was at .263 and .264 in the other years. Hitters do not seem to get fooled by him often. Vargas and Patterson are two more rotation options, but not very impressive ones.

    2) Too Young: While being youthful is certainly good trait to have, there is a need for veteran leadership. As of right now, only eight men on the forty man roster are over 30 years old. Small market teams sometimes have to operate this way since younger means cheaper most of the time but experience is not a bad thing to have in rotation. Guys like Leiter, Pedro, Galaraga, Beltran, and Cameron are invaluable to a team when they impart their knowledge to a young player and keep some others in line (cough...Jose Guillen...cough). Hernandez is that type of guy for them, but outside of that, they lack a few true veteran leaders like Pedro and Beltran have been showing lately. There needs to be a happy medium.

    3) Thump: They upgraded their offense drastically this off season, but is Jose Guillen ready to step up and be THE primary offensive guy on the team? He's been a guy that rocks the boat wherever he has been and may not take the leader role. Castilla banged 21 homers on the road, but hit .218 away from Coors, which was .103 points lower than his home average. He'll have to improve on that number to say the least. Wilkerson had a power surge last year but a dropped off in average. He'll have to prove that more power does not mean sitting in the .250s as they will need more from him. They are not going to be a pushover team, but their lineup will not be making Pedro, or even Kris Benson for that matter call in sick to work.

    4) Lack of an Ace: Livan Hernandez is a great compliment to any team's rotation, but if he is relied upon to be your number one starter, that probably is not a great thing. Armas has #1 stuff, but cannot be relied upon in that role. I'm not going to get into an argument here on how much a #1 really matters if you have depth 1 through 5, but teams do not have a good track record with serviceable rotations and that is a word I'd use on the Nationals rotation until Day and Armas really break out. They have rotation with one front end and four back end guys as it stands now and every other team in the NLEast has a stronger rotation, even the Phillies who I'm not particularly high on in terms of pitching.

    5) Unchartered Territory: Over the last few seasons you could hear crickets chirping at their home games. Pieces of concrete would fall and nobody would be around to get hurt. This year I expect the draw to be a tiny bit better. There may be a certain amount of pressure playing in a new home and trying to impress their fans and their critics who opposed shelling out money for a new stadium. There will undoubtedly be distractions and they are a rather young team that could be affected by everything going on. It may seem like a pleasure for them to move into a place that will have an immediate fan base and I do realize these players play in front of crowds on all their away games, but this is different. They will be magnified between the people the opposed the team relocating there, Peter Angelos crying broke, and trying to find them an actually owner besides MLB.

    * * *

  • Mobile PC names it's top 100 gadgets of all time.

    Sick of dirtying forks just to make scrambled eggs? Tired of having to clean out your scramblin' bowl? Get the Ronco Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler.

    Yeah, that entire cracking the egg into the bowl and using a fork or a whisk is just too much. Instead, let me waste my kitchen space with large, useless machine.

    But seriously, there is one glaring omission helping lonely woman everywhere. No vibrator? The Pulsating Fistobrator with the detachable suction cup should definitely be on there.

  • Some good quotes from this article:

    "I'm trying to learn from Carlos," Wright said. "They do a lot of speed and agility stuff to maintain. Obviously you're not going in there trying to work on your beach muscles. You're trying to stay on the field all year. That's definitely a goal. Working with Carlos, I can learn a lot from him, soak up as much as I can."

    That's the kind of impact Beltran has had. He's not bombastic like Martinez, not flamboyant like Cameron and not sage-like as Tom Glavine is. He simply shows up, goes to work and does it all very well.

    "I'm jealous of him," Piazza joked earlier this week. "No one should be that good. He just flows. The talent comes out of his fingertips. I hate him. He's the perfect player for this city. He's got a great attitude, and with that talent, he's one of the best investments this organization ever made. If he takes them to World Series once or twice, the world will be his oyster.

    "He just doesn't labor. Everything he does is so smooth. You never see him fall off a ball at the plate. And when he goes after the ball, it's Willie Mays-like."

    Good use of the word bombastic Kevin.

  • Jose Reyes arrived in camp last week with a head full of big, bushy locks. He cut them all off, though, before Wednesday's first workout. "I got tired of that," he said, smiling as he rubbed his hand over his head. "He was getting a little frizzy," Randolph joked. "I told him he needed to tighten them up a little bit. He looked cute."

  • Who said Beltran is not a leader? There had been musings that Beltran only leads with his play on the field, but that seem like it could not be further from the truth during the start of spring training.

  • WTF?

    Beckett, who has already nicknamed Leiter, "The Senator,"...

    Very creative nickname, did you come up with that on your own?

  • From Newsday:

    Looper was the most impressive among the group of pitchers who threw live batting practice, with hitters barely making contact. Korean lefthander Dae-Sung Koo kept batters off balance with his sidearm delivery - Cliff Floyd's bat went flying on his first swing ... The Mets estimated yesterday's attendance at more than 1,700 with one official saying it was the biggest crowd he could remember.

  • "Strange, man," he said. "Strange, strange, strange."

    Mike Cameron, pushed out of center field by Carlos Beltran, shagged fly balls in right yesterday, and had one word for the experience on the first day of full-squad workouts: "Strange." How strange? Cameron repeated the word at least a dozen times during a minute span.

    How fucking strange is it? Cameron's whining is starting to be grating. It is not moving from catcher to 2b, from 2b to center, and from center to left like some certain future HoFer that never complained and adjusted accordingly. If you are Gold Glove centerfielder and cannot play rightfield, you have a problem. The ball tails a bit different, but I have a feeling you may be able to get the hang of it. Give it up, really.
  • Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Players to Watch This Spring

    A few guys I'm keeping my eye on this spring training at major league camp will be Mike Jacobs, Aarom Baldiris, Matt Lindstrom, Blake McGinley, Ramon Castro, Yusmeiro Petit, and Jesus Flores.

    I think a lot of eyes will be on Mike Jacobs this upcoming season. However, there would seem to be some questions as to where he is going to play as well. Defense has never been his strongpoint but his bat has been coming alive. He's a career .297 hitter and his power have been steadily increasing over his career. In his first season in 44 games, he hit 16 XBHs. In his second season, he hit 31 XBHs in 67 games. In his third season, he hit 19 XBHs in 55 games. Then he really broke out and set a career high in doubles and homers in 2002 with 26 doubles and 11 homeruns. In 2003, he had a career year at AA with a whopping 36 doubles and 17 homeruns in 119 games. For young players, scouts like to use doubles as a future projection of homers. If they are showing some pop and loads of doubles, the assumption is that some of the doubles start finding their way over the wall when the players gain strength. In Mike's situation, it started to happen at the right age. This season, he'll be 24 in AAA. His injury last season was a big setback. Instead of having one year of AAA under his belt at 23, he's got none. This year will either put him on the map as a legit prospect, or it will label his 2003 season as a fluky season of sorts. Should he progress and do well, he could be great trade bait as well.

    Matt Lindstrom was last seen by NYFS getting some lessons on how to throw an off-speed pitch by Pedro Martinez. Pedro attributes his success to his off-speed pitch and said he would be in the bullpen was it not for him having it. Lindstrom who can consistently throw in the mid 90's and can touch 100 mph would have people scratching their heads after getting fooled with a off nasty speed pitch. This year, he is scheduled to start off at AA Binghamton most likely. He's turning 25 this season and the clock is ticking on him. A move to the bullpen and him shooting up the ranks of the system is also something to keep an eye on. His arm is useful as a starter, but the Mets have some pretty good depth in the rotation at the major and minor league level and it will be interesting to see how things play out and if he may be considered as the future closer.

    Aarom Baldiris is finally starting to make the long anticipated switch to second base. Aarom just does not have the power to play third base and is more valuable as a middle infielder. He may be only valuable as a middle infielder actually. He is still young, and power can develop still, but the projections are bad for that to happen. He has hit only 13 homers in 1218 at-bats and his doubles paint a worse story. He's hit only 52 in 1218 at bats, or roughly 25 in a 150 games season. The power is not here, and it is not coming most likely. That's not to say he does not do things well at the plate. He is a guy that has gotten on base with .386 OBP% over his career with .310 career BA and is certainly a use top of the order guy that can be placed in the two hole, though he does not have much speed but is not a base blogger by any means.

    Jesus Flores, who became the top catching prospect in the Mets system last season, is getting an invite to come play with the big boys. I'm guessing they want to see if this kid is the real deal. They want to find out what they have here and get a close look at him by the Major League staff and management. He's got the defense already as the threw out 44% of the attempt seals in 2004 and according to Baseball America, he rivals Joe Hieptas as the best defensive catcher in the system. Between Flores, Hieptas, and Hathaway, the Mets have some serious defense developing on the farm at the catching position, but whomever starts showing some life with the bat will certainly have the leg up on the competition. Flores is starting to to do that. At age 20, he broke out with .319/.368/.532 in the GCL with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers, and 25 RBIs in just 45 games. If his bat comes along more and he shows a bit more power as he matures, he could be regarded as one of the top catching prospects in all of the minors.

    Blake McGinley has been a favorite of many people who follow the Mets minor league system. Admittedly, he is not one of mine, but he could factor heavily into the Mets 2005 season. After pitching through a largely unspectacular college career in which he posted a 10.77 H/9 and a WHIP of 1.48, he's progressed since landing the minor leagues. In college, he gave up 11 long balls in 107 innings compared to 15 long balls in 291 minor league innings. His K/9 is a solid 10.23 and he owns a sparkling 4.61 K/BB ratio in the minors with 1.04 WHIP. He embodies what you want out of a reliever so far in that he does not walk many, strikes out batters, and does not give up a lot of hits. It certainly does not hurt that he's a lefty either. He's posted a sub 2.00 ERA at three minor league stops and had his worst overall season ERA-wise in 2004, but his peripherals remained solid. Joe Hieptas has said this about McGinley back in December:

    NYF: Which of your fellow Mets' farmhands would you say has the highest upside, among the guys you've played with?

    Hietpas: The most dominating guys I've played with are Blake McGinley and Yusmeiro Petit. They just knock your socks off! It's awesome to watch them both pitch. They simply dominate while not even throwing in the 90's. They both change speeds and locate their pitches really well. It is a lot of fun to catch them, I can tell you that.

    He's not a flamethrower, but not every reliever needs to be. I cannot see him on the opening ML roster, but he will be up at some point in 2005.

    Ramon Castro is a mystery to everyone.


    It's not hard to see why the Marlins completely gave up on him. Every time someone got excited about a young offensive catcher, he completely disappointed everyone. The success he had at 23 and 24 in the minors probably left management very, very happy about his performance. Then every year, he would fail to do anything in the major leagues. In parts of six major league season's he's compiled .212/.296/.365 with18 homers, 17 doubles, and 53 RBIs in 207 games. It's easy for Met fans to pray and hope that they have maybe pulled off steal with this guy, but it doesn't look good. He is just 29 and that is something to put a positive spin on and I am one of those people holding out hope they he may just put it together this season.

    Yusmeiro Petit is the guy that I hope that they do not treat with kid gloves. Last year they gave Matt Peterson and Scott Kazmir about 1 or 2 innings each. No reason to baby him as many at bats in spring are not against the true stars of the teams anyway. Let the kid see if he can handle the big time and get him 15 innings of spring. If he's as advanced as it seems, let him prove it. The kid knows how to pitch and I think they should let him show everyone what he has.

    * * *

  • It's the Mets turn in the Korean cartoon. It's pretty funny...Al Leiter was the best player according to them, poor Reyes is hanging on for dear life, Glavine fell off the cliff in the 2nd half, and Kaz can't find first base.

    Here's a notable cartoon from the A's. Eric Chavez carrying the entire offense with the dude on the back slacking off. Classic.

  • Are the photographers doing this on purpose?

  • I've never seen a ballplayer take so many effeminate pictures.

  • The Orioles are showing interest in Maels Rodriguez.

    "My perspective is he's 25 and hasn't pitched in a few years," Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jim Beattie said. "He should go play baseball."

    Brilliance...sheer brilliance. I have not played baseball in a few years either, sign me.

  • Pedro certainly has a way with words:

    "There was never any bad blood," he said. "It was stuff that happened on the field. Some comments came out [at the time] and I understand that. What I did back then was totally professional. What he did was totally professional. We kept it that way. Right now, he's my teammate and I'll blow your head off for him."

  • A nice tidbit:

    The new television network with which the club has reached an agreement will add a great deal of revenue to the team's coffers. There is money in the budget to add another player or two this season if the situation warrants. And talk of a new stadium has begun to gain some momentum again, though that's still in the planning stages.

    A bad tidbit:

    "I don't want to be a silent owner, but I would like Omar and his staff to handle it," Wilpon said.

    Silence is gold Fred, remember that.

  • Jesus Flores got a big welcome to the big league camp by facing Pedro Martinez. How's that for getting thrown into the fire?

  • Some good quotes from BP's This Week In Quotes.

    "I told them to work hard and get ready for a championship season."
    --Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, on his opening message to players (St. Petersburg Times)

    He's right, it will be a championship season....just not for the D-Rays.

    Matt Mantei endears himself to his new fan base and basically everyone not a Yankee, or Yankee fan:

    "I don't like the Yankees. I don't think anybody does, except the Yankees."
    --new Boston reliever Matt Mantei, on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry (New York Post)

    Well said.

  • BP's Top 50 prospects are out. Kazmir edges out Petit by one spot and Milledge breaks the top 20, but Eric Duncan beats them all! I think Eric is a solid, solid prospect, but better than Milledge and Kazmir?

  • Jose Canseco mysteriously receives a death threat and no one can figure out why. However, he may take a polygraph test to prove he is telling the truth, but maybe someone should tell him that no one cares.

  • Magglio Ordonez shows up to spring training and shocks his own team.

    He did everything his new teammates did in the first full workout—agility drills, fielding drills and batting practice, including some live swings off the Tigers' pitchers. His baseball pants were worn in his usual style, bunched up at the ankles and still somehow touching his shoe tops, but otherwise he was almost indistinguishable from the other Tigers.

    "He looks fine moving around," manager Alan Trammell said. "Just to be sitting here talking about him, to have him full go, is such a good thing. This wasn't what I was expecting a week or 10 days ago."
  • Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Diamond in the Rough

    Once again, you hate to compare established major league stars with minor league players, especially middle relievers. However, I like many people, am high on Heath Bell. Bell has good stuff and showed some positive things in his short stint at the end of last season despite some problems with the long ball. He throws hard and he has the ability to strike people out while showing good control. He's been a journey man of sorts spending seven seasons in the minor leagues before getting his taste of major league experience in 2004. Many people believe that relievers just happen. You may not expect much out of someone, then they emerge as solid relievers after floating around for a while. Guys like David Weathers, Brendan Donelly, Ben Weber, Guillermo Mota, Mike Timlin, and Tim Worrell do not become relevant until they are turning 30 or even in their mid 30's in some cases.

    Heath Bell
    Brandan Donnelly

    I chose Donnelly because he is probably one of the bigger underdog success stories despite putting up solid minor league numbers. He never cracked the majors until after 11 seasons in the minor leagues. Heath Bell could be a big part of the bullpen in 2005 in the way Donnelly quickly became a vital portion of the Angels bullpen. Donnelly had only posted a lower ERA than what he put up in his first two seasons in the majors in 1995 when he was in A ball for Cincinnati. The previous season before he broke into the majors, he had a 3.48 ERA at AAA and followed that up with 2.17 and 1.58 in his first two major league seasons. Heath Bell arguably had better minor league numbers out of the two as well. Am I suggesting that Heath Bell will become one of the best relievers in the major league? Absolutely not, but I am saying he has a good chance to be a solid major league reliever with the possibility of him becoming a very good major league reliever. Donnelly's K/9 increased in the majors while his W/9 and H/9 decreased in the majors. In Bell's short time in the majors, everything remained just about identical. He has posted strong peripherals and they are pretty much in line with what anyone would like see as player progresses through the minor leagues. Even when he had moved up, he has basically maintained similar numbers. I know I'm not alone, but I think Heath Bell can emerge as a key component to this bullpen in 2005 and based on his past performance, his major league numbers in 2004 were not out of line with what we can expect in the future and not a lucky month of September.

    * * *

  • Omar says Cameron will be staying, but of course he'd say that. Don't buy into that just yet as he'll be moved if it makes sense.

  • Aubrey Huff wants to stay with the Devil Rays:

    "Instead of going to a contender and making it easy, I'd like to build something here," Huff said Monday. "I really would. That's special. I could only imagine, watching the playoffs last year, watching the Red Sox come back like that, that was awesome.

    "Just to see if that could happen here, and be a part of that knowing we went from being basically a joke to doing something like that would be a great feeling, a great accomplishment."

    I can appreciate that and I think the Devil Rays will be good for few years after these young guys mature, but unless they decide to actually put their payroll over $30 million, a championship or sustained success will be damn near impossible. Aubrey, run for the hills..or Shea, whatever you get to first.

  • Jared Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are moving closer to a deal:

    Negotiations between the Angels and Jered Weaver, the former Cal State Long Beach pitcher whom the Angels selected in the first round of last June's draft, appear to be heating up. "We're close, and I'm optimistic we'll get something done soon," Weaver told the Long Beach Press-Telegram Sunday. "I've been anxious to get going."

  • Reminiscent of Kramer telling the sick kid in the hospital that Paul O'Neil will hit three homeruns for him in exchange for a card to Steinbrenner signed by all the Yankees, Beltran sets an outlandish goal and wants five championships.

    "I hope in my seven years here that we can get five."

    Way to keep things realistic.

    "We're the new Mets," Beltran said. "We're going in a new direction."

    I think they should go in the new direction of not collectively using new in every interview.

  • Yankee fans show up at Mets Spring Training Camp:

    Pedro Martinez smiled and waved to fans who cheered him as he walked toward the clubhouse from his car yesterday morning. But when one aggressive heckler blurted, "Who's your daddy," Martinez wasn't amused and grabbed his crotch.

    Nice touch with the crotch grab. Very New Mets of him. In the past they'd have done nothing.

  • After I posted that college catch-up piece with the top prospects, I wondered over to BA and found out that Troy Tulowitzki broke his hamate bone. It is a wrist bone that is in line with the 4th and 5th fingers. Sucks for him.
  • Monday, February 21, 2005

    College Prospects

    Just some catching up with some top college prospects...

  • Alex Gordon is currently hitting .357/.526/.500 with one RBI and one triple in 14 at bats so far.

  • Mike Pelfrey has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings pitched. He has struck out 12 people and walked 2 while holding opponents to .175 BAA. Overall, Wichita State has a staff that has a 1.51 cummulative ERA in 55 innings pitched. The entire staff has an 8.64 K/9.

  • Luke Hochevar is dominating so far with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings. He has K'd 15 and walked four and is holding opponents to a .119 BAA.

  • Tyler Greene is off to a slow start hitting .273/.467/.545 with no homeruns one double, one triple, and two RBIs.

  • Troy Tulowitski has yet to hit a homer in five games, but he's off to an impressive .525/.609/.532 with 2 doubles and one RBI.

  • Ryan Zimmerman is still hitting, but still not hitting for any power. He is hitting .400/.484/.440 with one double and twelve RIBs. Zimmerman also has three stolen bases and five walks.

  • Stephen Head is not really having a good year so far. He has a 3.00 ERA with a .348 BAA in six innings pitched and he is hitting .267/.421/.267. He has yet to have a single extra base hit this season so far in four games.

  • John Mayberry Jr. & Jed Lowrie are having pretty solid seasons so far for Stanford. Mayberry is hitting .354/.446/.583 with 3 homers and 14 RBIs and 2 doubles. Lowrie’s is hitting .354/.429/.833 with 7 homers and 20 RBIs. 41% of Lowrie's hits were homeruns and he's officially tearing the cover off the ball.

  • Mark McCormick is hold opponents to a .212 BAA but still has an astronomical ERA of 7.27. He's striking out more than a guy per inning but is also walking almost a guy per inning. After a stellar Cape Cod League season he's seemingly regressed back to the unrefined pitcher of previous years so far.

  • Travis Buck is struggling pretty badly so far in 14 games as he is hitting .268/.341/.339 with 4 doubles and 4 RBIs.

  • Brian Bogusevic is pitching lights out with a 0.64 ERA, a 2-0 record 19 K's in 14 innings, only three walks allowed, and a .128 BAA. As far as the offensive side he is hitting .300/.364/.400 with 1 double, no homers, and 3 RBIs. Maybe he's shaping up to be a pretty solid pitching prospect.

  • Daniel Carte is on a seven game hitting streak and simply tearing the cover off of the ball. He's hitting .444/.485/.750 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homers, and 8 RBIs. He is also 5 for 5 in stolen base attempts.

  • Ryan Mullins got roughed up in the first game by giving up 3 runs in 5 innings. He has a 5.40 ERA with 9 K's and one walk.

  • Ricky Romero is having a bit of a control problem but otherwise, he is simply dominating batters. He has a .098 BAA in 13 innings with 7 BBs and 14 K's. Overall, the Cal State Fullerton pitching staff has a .150 BAA.
  • Sunday, February 20, 2005

    Mattingly! I told you to shave those sideburns! You're off the team!

    Don Mattingly got into trouble with management when they insisted he trim his long hair. George Steinbrenner is the former general manager of the New York Yankees (Mattingly's team) who was known for being unreasonably demanding.

    Oh, so much to say about something so small. I know I'm probably a day late on this one and everyone probably quoted the Simpsons, but I couldn't resist.

    "Mattingly! I told you to shave those sideburns! You're off the team!" - Mr. Burns

    "Look, Mr. Burns. I don't know what you think sideburns are, but..." -Mattingly

    "Still like him better than Steinbrenner" -Mattingly

    Now that Willie seems to be employing managerial tactics of Mr. Burns, I wonder if he'll follow suite with this piece of brilliance:

    Mr. Burns: You, Strawberry, hit a home run.
    Strawberry: Okay, skip. (hits a home run)
    Mr. Burns: (laughs) I told him to do that.
    Smithers: Brilliant strategy sir.

    Obviously it would look more like this.

    Willie Randolph: You, Beltran, hit a home run.
    Carlos Beltran: Okay, skip. (hits a home run)
    Willie Randolph: (laughs) I told him to do that.
    Sandy Alomar Sr.: Brilliant strategy sir.

    I love how Willie also conveniently said moustaches are OK so he can keep what facial hair he had while no player on the team or on any other major league team actually sports one outside of John Smotlz and Todd Jones.

    Willie Randolph's "no facial hair" edict (mustaches only) was still being discussed on Saturday, especially when Jason Phillips walked into the clubhouse with his goatee intact. Phillips joked that he didn't want to get in any trouble, and quickly disappeared into the bathroom to shave the hair from his chin. He emerged with a mustache, but after 20 minutes of ribbing about looking like an adult film star from the 1970s, he went back in and lost the mustache.

    Poor, poor Jason. The reality of it all is that I know he wants to run disciplined ballclub. Looking presentable and professional is one of those things on Willie's list and that is ok. However, you can have a goatee, beard, or sideburns and still look presentable and he can just have a no scruff rule. This is a Yankee move and a Steinbrenner move. Structure is OK, but I really do not think it's necessary to tell grown men, who happen to be millionaires, how to wear facial their hair. Let it go Willie, everyone knows you are the manager and this is not a Catholic High School.

    * * *

  • Sweeney is not the only player who could be available this spring. The New York Mets have offered Cliff Floyd to the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers have an extra outfielder -- either Rondell White or Bobby Higginson -- after signing Magglio Ordonez.

    Am I the only one who misses the point to either of those moves?

  • Petit gets some NYTimes lovin':

    Petit, 20, is almost a year younger than Kazmir and posted better statistics in the low minor leagues. He struck out 20 batters in 12 1/3 innings at Class A Brooklyn, recorded 122 strikeouts and just 22 walks at Class A Kingsport and went three consecutive games at Class A St. Lucie with at least 10 strikeouts. As a reward, Petit was promoted to Class AA Binghamton and invited to major league spring training.

    "It's incredible to be here," Petit, a Venezuelan, said through an interpreter Saturday. "I don't expect to make the major leagues this season. I'm just very happy the organization has noticed what I have done."

  • From the Daily News:

    Grant Roberts is prepared to start the season at Triple-A Norfolk, but the reliever is relieved he finally feels healthy. "Now, I feel great the next day," Roberts said about his ability to bounce back from a bullpen session.


    First-round pick Philip Humber from Rice isn't the Big Man on Campus anymore. He overheard this exchange between two autograph-seeking fans: "That's somebody." "Oh, he's nobody."