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

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Historical Day

This is something that was long overdue that I've been too lazy to take care of. The link to SelltheMets.com which was dedicated to Fred Wilpon selling the Mets is now defunct. Freddie opened up his purse strings and allowed some common sense to enter his decision making and made some great movies.

1) Hiring Omar Minaya
2) Letting Omar do what he wants to do
3) Giving Omar the OK to pursue and sign Pedro
4) Giving Omar the OK to pursue and sign Carlos Beltran

Just like that, the Mets are NL East contenders, have a chance to draw 3,000,000 fans this season, and have created a buzz.

Met fans before....

Met fans after....

As you can see, life is good around the Mets and their fans these days and for that, SelltheMets.com has now been taken off line and it is being removed from the sidebar.

* * * * * *

  • The newest additions to the Marlins keep going, and going, and going, and going...

    The high road...

    "We tried to sign him," Minaya said. "We wish him well. I'm not going to dignify those comments."

    The low road...

    "Sometimes you want to kill two birds with the same stone," Delgado explained. "You've known you're coming to Puerto Rico for a while. So you wait until the last day. It's not like I live around the corner from the airport. I live two hours away. If there's something so important you've got to tell me, call me and say, 'I want to talk to you. Can you make it to San Juan or can we come to Aguila?' Don't come and stay in Puerto Rico for two hours, then turn around and blame it on me."

    At least they came to you. You had to go and meet the Marlins. I see quite a rivalry heating up this upcoming season because the Marlins just cannot keep that yaps from flapping. Luckily for the Mets, Pedro is not afraid to establish the inside part of the plate to remind people there are games that actually need to be played.

  • Most of the articles today surrounded Pedro's 60 pitches he threw in yesterday's victory. Who cares? Mulder threw 44. Is 16 pitches REALLY that many more? The guy threw the ninth most pitches in the majors and was 10th in PPG in 2004. He's got enough arm to stretch it to 60 in his first game of the spring. However, if this is the biggest complaint everyone has, then the Mets are in good shape.

    Reyes and Matsui both went 2 for 4 in yesterdays' game and Scott Strickland gave up one run in one inning pitched.
  • Friday, March 04, 2005

    Five Reasons Why The Mets Can Beat The Phillies

    This one was pretty tough. The Phillies have the best bullpen in the NL East and possibly out of the entire NL while having one of the most well rounded offenses in the National League. Their rotation is good, but I think that will be the major reason they do not win the division. They have depth, but they simply lack the impact starters and will not be able to hang with Marlin, Brave, or Met top starters and while their offense is good, they are not good enough to bash opponents into submission. Their pitching is vital and it will be their Achilles Heal.

    1) Starting Rotation: They own the fourth best rotation in the NL East and possibly the fifth best by the time the year plays itself out. The lost Eric Milton and Kevin Millwood, and their big pickup was Jon Leiber. It's arguable whether he is a downgrade or upgrade from the other two, but he's basically a Steve Tracshel type guy at this point of career, which is not bad, but not what they needed. They have Brett Myers, who has not lived up to his expectations and is coming off a horrible year, Corry Liddle, and Vincente Padilla, who is tabbed as their guy with ace potential. However, they really need Padilla to be the pitcher in 2002 & 2003 if they are going to go anywhere. The final spot will be a first year starter in either Ryan Madsen or Gavin Floyd or Randy Wolf. The Phillies’ problem is that they do not have a difference maker in their rotation. If Padilla does not step up or is not healthy, they simply cannot match up.

    2) Pat Burrell: While he rebounded to play tons better in 2004 than he did in 2003, he is an enigma. He's a guy that looked like he was headed towards stardom then fell off the side of a cliff. He's getting paid a hefty toll to put up mediocre numbers. However, the biggest reason they need him to perform because is not because he is getting paid $43.5 over the next four years, but because they would have a devastating 3-4-5 for pitchers to try and navigate through every game. Will he be the guy who hit .282/.376/.544 in 2002 which seems decades in the past at this point? Or will he be the guy who hit .209/.309/.404 in 2003 and .257/.365/.455 in 2004? I think he is vital part of setting this team's offense apart from the others. They are scary if he's the Burrell they thought they signed the big contract with and they are just tough otherwise, but nothing a good rotation cannot handle and the NL East has a few of those.

    3) Philly Booed Santa Clause: The City of Brotherly Love has not really done much to reinforce their age old motto. In fact, Philly is known as a town with some of the harshest fans in all of professional sports. Not only did they boo Santa, but they pelted him with Snowballs.

    "There's nothing that sounds worse than throwing snowballs at Santa," said sports radio host Glen Macnow of WIP-AM in Philadelphia. "It's like spitting on Miss America."

    Indeed it is Glen, indeed it is.

    "When I hit the end zone, and the snowballs started, I was waving my finger at the crowd, saying 'You're not getting anything for Christmas,"' Olivo, who was Santa on that infamous Sunday in 1968, recalled.

    Just a shameful day in this history of such a storied city. When you force Santa to flip you the bird, you’ve done something wrong. Very, very wrong and the big man upstairs does not forget things like this.

    4) Vincente Padilla’s Arm: Vicente Padilla was suffering from tricep tendonitis on Sunday in his right arm. Doesn't sound that bad right? Wrong, it was the same injury that cost him 15 starts last season. He is the guy they are counting on to be their #1 this season. Sure they have Gavin Floyd or Ryan Madsen able to step in if he goes down, but replacing your ace is tall order for a young pitcher. If Padilla is down for a long period of time, their rotation could be Liddle, Leiber, Myers, and two first year starters. That is not a division winning rotation in the NL East. The Phillies’ future rotation with Madsen, Floyd, and Hamels looks spectacular, but that will not help them this upcoming season if Padilla goes down.

    5) Kenny Lofton: Do I really need to elaborate on this one? There were rumors they may jump into the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes but instead they downgrade their bullpen for a centerfielder who looks like he has hot coals down his pants when he is chasing down balls in centerfield. Offensively, he's not going to bring much to the table, but I do not think they are counting on him to be their leadoff man or a table setter, so it may not matter what they expect out of him offensively. However, he brings to light a bigger situation with the Phillies. They are not devastating 1-8 in the lineup. Lofton is a question mark as is Burrell, Bell has injury concerns, and Lieberthal is not an offensive force. Their team is built around two big time thumpers with a decent surrounding cast. Pound for pound, when you compare the position players for the Phillies with the Mets, the Mets come out ahead. They have a better offensive third baseman, catcher, centerfielder, second baseman (Matsui has the edge on Utley), shortstop is up in the air, and left field is up in the air. The only two positions with clear cut advantages for the Phillies is right field and first base. They are good, not great. They are a very beatable team.

    * * *

  • Heilman remains in the Mets plans, but how exactly is up for grabs. Maybe there is a batting practice pitcher position open that we do not know about.

    "I always felt that I expected more of myself than from anyone else," Heilman said. "Certainly there is that expectation label that's put on you. I think the biggest thing is to not let it affect you. That's put on you from someone in the outside. A lot of times you start putting labels on things and it doesn't turn out to be what's expected, so it's not an exact science."

    I wish you luck in the future.

  • Piazza gives Willie some options:

    "I'm not going to shelve it," Piazza said. "I enjoyed the experience. I don't know if I'll ever be a full-time first baseman in the future, but I wouldn't mind keeping the bag, so to speak.

    "This game is funny sometimes. I at least want to give them an option. It may not be the best option, but it's an option."

    At least he has perspective on the entire situation. However, the thing that caught me was that the manager and Piazza actually spoke about it before the media found out. Imagine that. Art, I hope you are taking notes.

  • The NY Post kindly reminds us of Humber’s nastiness.

    "If you don't have confidence in all your pitches, then guys can sit on certain things in certain counts," Humber said. "And 3-2's a big count where a lot of guys are going to throw a fastball on the outer half. And you have to be able to change it up on a hitter every once in awhile and keep him off balance. That's something I was able to do at Rice, throwing 3-2 breaking balls, and that's something I'm not scared to do now."

    You can say the Mets front office is/was a lot of things, but they need to be given credit. After drafting their first round mistake named Aaron Heilman, their first rounders have been David Wright (supplemental rounds are still considered part of the first), Scott Kazmir, Lastings Milledge, and Phil Humber. That's four guys in row who look like they have superstar qualities. The Padres picked Matt Bush who failed to make BA's top 100 prospect list as did Detroit's #2 pick Justin Verlander. Does that mean they will not be superstars? No, but it tells you that it's not a slam dunk to just draft guys early. Just ask the Pirates how they've first rounders have fared lately.

    The Mets have done a great job drafting in the first round in the past few years.

  • From Newsday:

    Mike Cameron, who had off-season surgery on his left wrist, continues to make progress and yesterday took batting practice. Cameron is preparing to be ready by Opening Day, and Randolph remains hopeful.

    "Any time you hit, the next day tells a lot - the soreness you have," Randolph said. "If there's any discomfort. I feel we've got a long way to go. The fact that you look at him today and you see him swinging really free and easy makes you feel really good."

    If you had visions of getting a good look at Mini-Manny for 10 games or so, you better start letting them go.

  • From the Daily News:

    Rick Peterson's use of a high-tech lab in Birmingham, Ala., continued as top pitching prospects Yusmeiro Petit, Matt Lindstrom and Gabby Hernandez visited the facility. The slow-motion cameras, which take pictures at 500 frames per second - more than 16 times faster than a standard video recorder - made it crystal clear why batters have so many problems hitting Petit, even though he doesn't reach 90 mph. Petit - who finished second in the minors in strikeouts last season with 200 - .manages to keep the ball hidden longer than other pitchers, giving batters less time to react.

  • Al keeps on motoring:

    "Yes. That's what it is. It's really pathetic. And they keep referring to money (Leiter's $10.2 million 2004 salary). The one guy (Francesa) makes $1.4 million, almost a million-five, the other guy (Russo) makes $1.3 million for talking five hours on the radio. And every reference is about what we make. They're talking a bunch of garbage."

    That reminds me...I do this for free so I can talk as much shit about how much you make anytime I want.

  • From the Star-Telegram:

    For now, though, the Rangers have every player under contract, and Hicks said they are looking at a total payroll of $58 million, which includes salaries and benefits. He also said the Rangers owe the New York Yankees $6.2 million this year under the terms of the Alex Rodriguez trade.

    Chan Ho Park is due $14 million in 2005. Between Park and A-Rod, that's $20.2 million for two guys not to play for the team. Unreal.

  • The LA Times says Weaver will probably not belong the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    ...and when Mom gets into the negotiations, watch out:

    "You think everything is going along fine, then they throw this ultimatum at you and give you [two days] to make a decision?" Gail Weaver said Thursday. "That was quite a shock. It's very disappointing. I don't think they tried hard enough.

    "I told [Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman] from the beginning that if they treated Jered fairly, he'd be an Angel, and they didn't treat Jered fairly. That's it."

    Jutin Verlander's dad brokered his deal with the Angels, but Mommy Weaver had no such luck.

    "He's going to have a good career, and unfortunately it's not going to be with us," Scioscia said of Weaver. "But we're moving on. We have a lot of young pitchers that are talented, and we're going to keep going."

    Of course like Justin Verlander's negotiations broke down and started back up, these could too. However, it's more likely that Boras' two first round clients from last season will be back in the draft this upcoming season in which Boras will have five prominent players that could go in the first round. The big question is, will any of them get signed?

  • Baseball America has the top 100 prospect every season back to 1990. No Met has ever been #1 and Paul Wilson came the closest with a #2 ranking in 1996 and Jose Reyes was close behind with a #3 ranking in 2003.

  • 40 homers out of the two hole? That is definitely a possibility.
  • Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Ah, Baseball Is Officially Back

    Sure it was only a crappy spring training game in which the Mets lost and had three regulars not in the lineup, but it was great.

    Pointless things that I should not get worked up over, but will anyway:

  • Matsui looked smooth at second base making a few very good plays in the third inning charging two grounders, one of which was against the speeding Endy Chavez, as well as making a nice pivot and throw to second to start a double play.

  • Heilman looks like the Heilman of old giving up three runs and two homers. I know it's just spring, but really, will he ever serve any use to the Mets whatsoever? In a time when bats are supposed to quiet to start spring, he gets two homers unloaded on him. A feat even Heredia did not let happen and he gets paid to give up homers.

  • Heath Bell pitching one inning, with one K and no walks or hits. Why am I excited about this? Not because it was against second stringers, but because I expect him to be lights out in spring to make the Major League club and it all starts here.

    It looked like a spring game with a bunch of errors and botched plays, but that is what spring training is for. ESPN had done an interview with Frank Robinson early in the game and he just kept the headset on. They kept panning back to him and showing him with the headset and about an inning or two later, they said, "Frank you still listening to us?" He said, "of course". Robinson was listening to the entire broadcast for the game so I'd imaging everyone was kind of watching what they said about his National team. He did have to take them off when he went out to argue a pop fly that was called in infield fly that Danny Garcia did not get to, but he did not miss a beat. The second he sat back down, the headphones went back on. Robinson was great.

    From the papers:
    The 69-year-old Nats skipper has grown tired of questions about the move to Washington. "That's a dumb question," he said when asked if there was a lot of anticipation for yesterday's game.

    Willie was not quite as interesting as Robinson was when he was interviewed.

    * * *

  • Check out this article by the Klap on Willie's way or the highway. It's a good read if you have not read it. With his no loud music in the locker room rule, one has to wonder if Kazmir would have still been here if Randolph was around last year? Who knows, maybe if there is no Bruce Springstein to turn off, The Senator cannot get pissed. (no I really do not believe that factored into the trade or had anything to do with it)

  • "That's part of my routine," Glavine said. "When I throw my last warm-up pitch I get up on the mound, turn around, and make sure everybody is ready. I turned around and saw the new guys we have in the infield and Carlos [Beltran] in center field. It was a good feeling."

  • "The Nationals are tough," Minaya said. "And this year they don't have travel issues [no games in San Juan], and they will have 30,000 people a game at home."

    That's the thing that makes the NL East hard. They may not be the best division for overall talent, but every team there is competitive. There are no pushovers and all can win games. The Nationals are the worst team out of the bunch, but have a decent staff and decent offense. They will catch teams sleeping and give teams fits. 88 wins may take this division.

  • Al is not big fan of Mike and the Mad Dog:

    "They influence not only fans but organizations," said Leiter, who is paid to do a weekly spot on Michael Kay's ESPN radio show. "Teams in New York listen to those guys. Why I don't know. One guy's a know-it-all, and his opinions are better than anybody else's, and the other guy is a clown who throws a ball 47 miles-an-hour and plays tennis.

    "They called me every name in the book, and questioned my integrity. Chris said I was done in 2003, and then when I had a strong second half, he said, 'I guess I was wrong.' Like a 10-second retraction was enough after he ripped me up and down in every way as if I'd done something to his wife and kids."

    I have no idea why they even have jobs. Their show is bad and they are supreme beings who know EVERYTHING. People cannot argue the opposite opinion of them and they are NEVER wrong. That fiasco where they made a huge stink about Willie's salary and went on for days at length about it was ridiculous. Turns out, Willie is the best paid first year manager in baseball. Did they ever say anything like sorry, or we were wrong? Those two do not let a little thing like fact checking and research get in the way. Unreal.

  • First the Cards wanted Cedeno, now they are interested in McEwing. You think they'll take Heredia and Heilman too?

  • The fantastically named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and their top pick Jared Weaver are far apart on any contractual agreement.

    The Angels decided to play hardball with pitcher Jered Weaver, giving the first-round pick until midnight Wednesday to accept a $4-million signing bonus before pulling it off the table, but the representative for the former Long Beach State ace hardly blinked in turning it down.

    At this point, the Angels have to really ask themselves how much is he worth? He was the most polished pitcher and closest to being major league ready out of the 2004 draft, but was said to be a #3 pitcher at best and the fourth or fifth best arm in the draft. Is a solid #3 necessarily bad for relatively small Major League contract? No, but Boras is not looking for a small contract. The Angels would get the 50th pick of the 2005 draft for the failure to sign Jared Weaver and at this point, it looks tempting.

    37. Angels (for Type A Troy Percival)
    50. Angels (for failure to sign Jered Weaver)
    61. Angels (from Tigers for Percival)

    Weaver can throw in the 90's, but has been known to work in the mid to high 80's when he does not have is best stuff and it worked in college, but in the majors? Jared does not have the tools that Jeff has and with a pretty deep draft this upcoming season, they are better off walking away.

  • BA's top 25 prospects is out and the Brew Crew own three of them and the Devil Rays own three of them.

    Lastings is #11.

  • BP's stat of the day is the top 5 2005 NL pitchers by PECOTA Projected Strikeouts. Pedro Martinez is projected to finish third with 205 K's, 10 off the lead who is projected to be Ben Sheets with 215 K's.

  • After a bunch of what I believe to be fake injuries to prevent Len Dinardo from coming back to the Mets, it looks like he'll be in the minors this upcoming season for the Red Sox.
  • Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Shea Stadium vs. Yankee Stadium

    I've been to both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium a lot. I have not been to Yankee Stadium much since I was kid, but I've been there at least one time in each of the last two seasons. Can I fairly evaluate both Stadiums with my complete bias towards the New York Mets? Probably not....

    Tale of The Tape

    Shea Stadium
    The House that a Blind Architect Built
    Built in 1964
    Max Capacity: 56,749
    Cost: $28.5 million
    Dimensions: 338-410-338

    Yankee Stadium
    The House That Ruth Built
    Year Built 1923
    Max Capacity: 57,158
    Cost $50 million
    Dimensions: 318-408-314

    Parking: Edge - Shea Stadium

    This category is not even close. You drive to Shea, park your car and feel safe. You will not have anyone come up to you and offer to "watch" your car for five bucks like when you park in the Bronx. There is also parking a plenty at Shea unless it is Met/Yankee game or if the Mets happen to make the playoffs but even then you'll have parking, just far away (but you probably need the excercise anyway). You can even come early park by the Marina, play catch, or do whatever else strikes your fancy.

    Ladies: Edge - Yankee Stadium

    If you are going to try and pick up girls when you go to either ballpark, then you might want to reassess your priorities when you come to watch a baseball game. However, if you must, Shea nor the Mets are particularly cool or interesting to fair-weather fans especially female fair-weather fans. Not that it is a bad thing, but if you are going to Shea in hopes of seeing some hot girls not there with their boyfriends, you will be disappointed. Going to Yankee game is more of a social, party-type atmosphere that gets girls otherwise uninterested in sports to go with their pink Yankee hats and Jeter t-shirt jerseys.

    Bars Scene: Edge - Yankee Stadium

    This one is a victory by default by Yankee Stadium. The are no bars outside Shea Stadium and if you want to have some pre-gaming activities, then you need to sneak beer in the parking lot, meet up NYC before hoping on the subway, or brown bag it on the subway. As for Yankee Stadium, the bars are a plenty, you can get food at bars/restaurants, get meat on stick from vendors outside, and tons of people pre-gaming at the bars.

    Class, Tactfulness, and Intelligence of the Fans: Edge - Shea Stadium

    I guess this is kind of part II of the bar scene. By the time most of the people actually get into Yankee Stadium, they are inebriated. When I was there in 2003 one guy was passed out drunk and sleeping in his seat before the game even started. I'm not saying you won't see this at Shea Stadium, after all, Yankee fans poison the place three times a year. Yankee fans tend to get verbose think rooting for their team makes them supreme beings. Their also fail to exhibit any ability to carry on a intelligent conversion or debate about baseball. Most confrontations end up with the phrase "26 World Championships", or previously "1918" (if you were a Red Sox fan), "Mets suck!", "every city needs a JV team", etc. If rooting for a team that wins with a payroll that has successively broke the record for payroll in professional sports every year since 1999 is exciting while almost doubling the next highest payroll in this upcoming season, then I'm missing something. Aren't they supposed to win if their team's payroll looks like the GDP of a small country?

    Hot Dogs: Edge - Shea Stadium

    We can get into the arguments of whether Nathan's or Kahn's hot dogs taste better, but the fact is, they are both industry giants in the art form of squeezing lips, assholes, hooves, tails, and other left-over pig parts into a tube form. However, I'm not really sure what the Yankees think a jumbo hot-dog should be, but whatever they call jumbo is not it. I realize they may need to cut corners where they can to be able to afford to bring in fantastic values like Steve Karsay, but c'mon. Sure less sometimes translate into more, but not in the case of tasty hot dogs at a baseball game. The Shea Stadium hot-dogs are bigger and better, although I guess it does not matter since Yankee fans are too drunk to taste their food by the time they get into the game and a piece of crap on bun with some mustard would taste good at that point.

    Beer: Edge - Yankee Stadium

    The Mets have some interesting beer on the Field Level, but unless you have tickets down there, you are not drinking it. You can look down from your seat on watch people more fortunate than you drink out of a yard or have some micro-brew, but it is just not the same. At Yankee Stadium, you can get the likes of Bass and the 23-ounce (I think it's 23-ounce) Fosters' can amongst other beer anywhere. I unfortunately have to give the edge to Yankee Stadium on this one. Brooklyn Lager is interesting as it gets for Shea patrons not on the field level.

    Scoreboard: Edge - Shea Stadium

    The city upgraded the Mets main scoreboard and their two side ones with color. At Shea Stadium you can see the score to every baseball game out there and that is not a luxury you have at Yankee Stadium. But how cares? Baseball that does not include the Yankees is worthless anyway!

    The Shea Stadium scoreboard is infinitely better than the hunk of junk scoreboard at Yankee Stadium and is a pleasure to look at in comparison with the Yankees scoreboard despite the fact it is still very, very ugly when compared to just about every other scoreboard in the country. I guess it is the lesser of two evils.

    Seating: Edge - Shea Stadium

    Shea is fixing some of their field level seats so that they face inward towards the action as opposed to centerfield. They also have an upper deck that you do not have to fear for your life in while inhabiting the seats. Walking to your seat in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium has the same feel of hiking to the top of Mt. Everest. I've seen people set up basecamp on their way up. The Mets also added some new boxes on the infield a few years back to bring the fans even closer to the game. The Yankees have a better bleacher situation, but not enough to overcome the overall negative aspects of the regular seats.

    Intangibles: Edge - Shea Stadium

    People would give the Edge to the Yankee Stadium in this category because of the history in the building and it is a rite of passage, blah, blah, blah. I just do not buy it. I went into Bigelow's Pharmacy on Tuesday to get a prescription filled. They claim to be the oldest apothecary in NY. Yes, they are so old that they still use the word apothecary instead of pharmacy. The point is, old and storied does not make it good. Old just makes it that, old. Old, smelly, run-down, in need of new digs, etc. Besides me not caring that it is old and that it housed so many great players, they play Cotton-Eye Joe during the seventh inning stretch and that has to be one of the most irritating customs of all time. On top of that, Bob Sheppard does not amuse me and why him being on the PA excites people is beyond me. You can find hundreds of people that do a better job and probably sound better. Just because he was around when Babe Ruth was in pinstripes means nothing to me. The place stinks. I mean it really literally smells funny. The seats are uncomfortable and the hallways are dank and narrow and give off the feeling of being in a coffin. Perhaps the biggest negative comes in the form of sobriety. Not drinking is OK by me, but let the patrons choose. No beer in the bleachers? C'mon now. It's ball game. People come out to enjoy a beer and hot dog and should not be deprived of that right if they could only land some bleacher seats. As a byproduct of not being able to wet their whistles, they've developed horrible habits like chanting each player's name until they turn around and wave.

    "Jeter, Jeter, Jeter, Jeter..."

    Then Jeter waves....

    "A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod..."

    Then A-Rod waves. Is this fun? Is it REALLY fun?

    Shea Stadium is a place that people go to and say, "hey, this is not that bad." Shea wins not by having more intangibles, but having less negatives. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done. Sure the ugly neon ballplayers outside the stadium do not help, but they do not detract from the overall experience. The air traffic flying over the Stadium is certainly the worst thing about Shea experience, but there are simply not as many things that detract from the Shea experience like going to Yankee Stadium, which is a truly forgettable time out in my book.

    Shea Stadim
    Yankee Stadium
    Bar Scene
    Hot Dogs

    It's a landslide. Shea Stadium has it. Despite most of the baseball community hailing Shea as the worst of all the current ballparks, it beat out Yankee Stadium in terms of enjoying a baseball game in my book. I don't buy the history argument when it comes to why Yankee Stadium is so great. It may very well be a mecca, a mecca of over-rated baseball parks. Yankee Stadium is just simply is not great, nor is it good. You can enjoy watching a game at Yankee Stadium because you like Yankee games, but Yankee Stadium adds nothing to the experience for me. ESPN's Eric Neel and Jim Caple did a review of all the ballparks and really did one of the fairest evaluations I've even seen.

    21 Yankee Stadium
    22 Bank One Ballpark
    23 SkyDome
    24 Metrodome
    25 Shea Stadium

    I think they were too kind to Yankee Stadium because of their Wild Card rating, but I'm fighting an uphill battle with my argument. I’m one of the few people who are not in awe walking into that ballpark and without that, it's nothing special.

    * Views are in this post of solely those of The Metropolitans and not all Met fans. Unauthorized reproduction of this post without implied oral consent from The Metropolitans is strictly prohibited.
    * * *

  • Zambrano's arm is feeling good and that is all that really matters at this point.

  • Jose Reyes led off the inning by lining a shot back up the box that Strickland knocked down. He retrieved the ball, but had no chance of getting Reyes at first.

    "I almost caught it, but it was coming at me 187 miles an hour," Strickland said. "All I saw was a dot and it struck my glove. And he was running 187 miles an hour, too."

    ....but the highlight of the game:

    Philip Humber worked a scoreless inning and struck out a pair. Humber finished the game by striking out Miguel Cairo with a wicked 3-2 curveball. That had general manager Omar Minaya, who was seated behind home plate, crowing. "A 3-2 curveball? You're not supposed to do that," he said. Added Cairo, "That was a good curveball."

    I know it is nothing to get excited about, but who gives a crap, I am.

  • Reliever Orber Moreno was given clearance to begin a light-throwing program on Tuesday

  • According to MLB.com, the Braves are on signing Tim Hudson to a $47 million contract. There's also an option year that could make it a five-year deal worth $58 million. Sorry Yankee fans, no Hudson, and no Santana the year after. You also may as well start forgetting about Ben Sheets after two seasons from now as well.

  • Yusmeiro Petit gets no love at all having BA place him at #46 as they have published their #26-#50 prospects. Phil Humber checks in at #50.

  • PhillyBaseballNews.com did a good review on the NY Mets. However, Floyd will not be hitting seventh and Moreno will not be the long reliever, but I'm just nitpicking. It was a fair assessment.

  • Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    The Pedro Effect

    Andrew from Chuck 'N Duck and a reader had pointed out this fantastic article by Chris Smith from NewYorkMetro.com. Probably the best Met read I've seen in quite a while and it details a lot of happenings in depth. It's long, so grab a doughnut and some coffee (unless you check it later in the day, then grab a beer).

    One thing that stuck out the most for me is something that I had written about before and got irritated about before. Minaya had made the following statement:

      "That kid that we don't know about, that Pedro Martinez that you don't know about, I don't know about, okay, that might be in the marketplace down in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. That kid's father, or that kid, you know what he wants to be today? He wants to be a Met."
    Baseball Prospectus did not like that statement and dedicated some virtual ink to it.

      There are two big questions we need to ask ourselves when we hear something like this:

      • Is it true?
      • If it's true, does it matter?

      Is it true? Pedro Martinez is far from the only Latin player in the game, even if he is one of the most prominent. On account of Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez, there are a lot of Latino boys that want to be Angels or Red Sox. And as for "that kid's father," it's a good bet that there are a lot of fathers who, on account of Roberto Clemente, raised their kids to be Pirates.

      If it's true, does it matter? A Mets uniform is nice; a new house is better, and it's likely that Latino boys, like everybody else, will go where the money is best. Unless Pedro Martinez is intending to shunt some of his paycheck down south, he won't affect that calculus a whole lot.

      So if it isn't true, why would the Mets say it? One reason could be that they don't believe it, and are trying to make a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they say that Dominican boys all want to be Mets, then by golly, Dominican boys will want to be Mets! The signing was made for baseball reasons, and the hype is merely another opportunity to be seized.

    That piece prompted a loyal reader of the The Metropolitans, who is Hispanic, to email BP.

      You know your comparisons of Pedro Martinez to Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez make no sense considering there is a difference between the icon pitcher and the icon batter. Sammy Sosa is already the Dominican icon for hitting, Pedro Martinez is the one for pitching. And what set Sammy and Pedro apart from the others is what they mean to the country.

      Those two men spend a lot of their money to make the country better. Both of those men build malls, buy computers for the schools, and just continue to donate to the country in ways people will never understand unless they are themselves Dominican. So the comparison you made clearly shows you don't know what your talking about since yes a signing like that CAN have the affect Omar Minaya stated. I'm still young, I'm only 16 right now and I am Dominican so when I was growing up all I wanted to be was the shortstop for the New York Mets and be JUST like fellow Dominican Jose Vizcaino, even though he was only there for only a few years. He's not even a good player, I don't want to imagine the affect Pedro Martinez's aura would have on a young Dominican pitcher that is getting offers from teams like the Indians, Marlins, Yankees, or Mets. He WILL choose the Mets.

    That was a small excerpt from the email that illicited this response from BP:

      Not being Dominican, I might well have underestimated the status of Pedro Martinez there, and there are probably a lot of Mets caps being sold right now in the DR.

      The realities of baseball recruiting there, though, are different, and while plenty of non-prospects who are taking small contracts will decide based on their favorite team, the very good players are represented by agents and draw a lot of attention, and they still decide based on money. There's nothing wrong with this--I would too!--but Pedro's signing doesn't change that equation.

    Maybe it does change that equation. Maybe it means more than more Met caps being sold in the DR. Maybe some of these players will come the Mets first to try out. Maybe the connections that Minaya has and that Pedro may have will help get the best players in their camp first for first dibs. Let's not forget the impact Omar has as well. By signing such and iconic player like Pedro, he sends a message to a lot of kids in the Dominican. Omar was the first Hispanic GM and being Dominican, he is an icon as well, perhaps bigger in some ways to a lot of other Hispanic or Dominican players. Minaya being able to scout players with his own eyes and meet them personally cannot be understated.

      The Mets’ new general manager, Omar Minaya; the team’s new manager, Willie Randolph; and one of its owners, Jeff Wilpon, are paying a rare visit. Hardly anyone speaks. Until:

      “¡El está aquí!”
      “¡Está aquí!”
      “¡Pedro está aquí!”

      Behind home plate, a guard toting a shotgun opens a gate in the pink wall. Outside, a dozen barefoot boys, some straddling beaten-up bicycles, others in ragged T-shirts, are standing in the entryway. The boys slowly step back, making way.

      First comes a banana-yellow Ferrari. Then a black Mercedes sedan. Then a black Ford SUV. Another SUV. And at the rear, a Hummer H2, spotless and taxicab yellow.

      Pedro Martinez climbs from the Hummer’s backseat and ambles toward the field. Minaya wraps Martinez in a hug. “Oh-mar Min-AYE-ya!” Martinez shouts. “The man in New York!”

      On the field, a 16-year-old starts crushing line drives. Minaya quickly and quietly tells an assistant to pull the boy, a shortstop, out of the cage. “That kid was unsigned,” Minaya says later. “He came today because of Pedro. I had to get him out of batting practice before everyone saw how good he was and word spread to some other team before we could get him under contract.”

    Is it just sensationalism? Did it really happen? Did this stud 16-year old come to try out and sign with the Mets solely because Pedro was there? Did he even sign with the Mets? A kid signing with the Mets because Pedro is a Met does not sound so impossible to me. Of course we will have no idea if his one of the very good players that BP referred to, but it does not seem like such stretch.

      The Mets will still draft dozens of players, but they’ll increasingly deploy Minaya as a recruiter, almost in the mold of a college coach, particularly in Latin America. There, the amateur players aren’t subject to the major-league draft, so teams with big money and connections have a sizable advantage. This winter is a vivid example of how the approach can pay off at the bottom and top of the ladder: Minaya’s signing of Martinez attracted that 16-year-old Dominican shortstop who showed up at the Mets Academy because Pedro now wore blue and orange. And it also gave the Mets credibility with Carlos Beltran.

    Does credibility mean anything in the Dominican or any other Latin country when it comes to who a player wants to play for? Will players just chase the paycheck? Of course they will follow whoever gives the cash and the opportunity, but they just may give the Mets the first shot a lot of the time just like Dioneer Navarro did with the Yankees and that is the point. He passed up more money with the Braves to play for the Yankee organization. The Mets have the money, they have the Hispanic GM, and they have two big time Hispanic icons. If they can start translating the excitement into winnings, it certainly seems like something to shoot for if you are young Hispanic kid trying for the big leagues even for the very good players and not just the non-prospects. The Mets can offer them money and the chance to be in the same organization as Pedro and in the same one that one of their countryman run.

    * * *

  • Dumb Sloane remark for the week:

    “I’m not stupid enough to believe they were serious,” Sloane says, still angry. “I knew what they were trying to do, which is why I told Carlos that when you’re confronted by a bully, you hit him in the mouth.”

    Yeah, a bully who wants to give your client 50+ million over four years. Sloane is a one big motivator for the Mets. I seriously hope that the Mets get pissed and use this to fuel their fire to win and prove something this season while smacking up the Marlins.

  • Another good read from NewYorkMetro.com has some "experts" weighing in on the Yankees. I quoted experts because Tim McCarver is one of them and he may well very be the most grating commentator alive. Chinese water torture is one thing, but having to listen to him while watching baseball is far worse, but I digress.

    Is the high number of Yankees 35 or older a problem?
    MCCARVER: You could ask that question of any team. Tony Womack’s 35—so what? A lot of guys at 35 are doing very well.

    McCarver's fuzzy logic does not sit well with me. The fact is, it could be a problem. Sheffield has had serious shoulder problems that required surgery, RJ has a balky knee, Giambi was basically invisible last season even when he played, Posada is a catcher who got a year older after an unspectacular year in 2004, Rivera's arm could be a problem, Gordon seemingly wore down at the end of the year, Bernie is not the Bernie of 'ole and looks horrible in center, and Mussina is no longer an ace and maybe not a front end guy at all. It may not be a problem, but it certainly can be a big problem and looks like it will play a factor. To glaze over that is silly. Now to real experts answers...

    SCOUT: Put it this way: They’re built to win now. They didn’t go out and get any young, promising players. Pavano’s the youngest guy they picked up. And he’s 29.

    NEYER: The trap that teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees fall into is the notion that they have to be good every year. If that’s the goal you’ve set for yourself, it’s very difficult to get young. You’re going to end up with guys who make a lot of money—so much that you can’t trade them—when their skills are declining.

    Now aren't the real experts answers better?

    Good read altogether, some interesting stuff in there.

  • Not only does he look like Manny, hail from the same town as Manny, seemingly rake like Manny with the same questionable defense, but he also has the confidence of Manny.

    "I don't feel like I need to be in Norfolk, but if I have to go there, I'll go," Diaz said. "I just want to make the big leagues. That's every kid's dream. If I'm up here, they can use me.

    "It would be nice to stick somewhere, because I'm going to work my butt off in the outfield. I practiced a lot in right and left, and I've shagged a lot of balls. I have whole bunch of confidence. I'm just going to play hard and try to earn a roster spot."

    What's not to like about Victor?

  • Eric from SaberMets has some new digs. It's all perty and stuff.

  • Michael Jordan to the Mets? Not likely, but they did sign his buddy Jerry Krause along with another professional scout. Not sure what makes them professional scouts as opposed to the other regular scouts or even the super scouts, but it sounds good to me. There has been a big emphasis on increasing the scouts and talent evaluators with the club over the past two seasons. All very good stuff.

  • Mets.com has the details of the intersquad game in which the reserves beat the starters 3-1.

  • Wright took a Joe Nelson changeup in the back during the game and let out a yelp, drawing some razzing from the bench.

    "I told myself I was never going to make that girlie sound when I got hit and I did," Wright said with a laugh.

    I'm sure that is not the last time he is going to hear about that.

    Rookie Yusmeiro Petit, though he barely touches 90 mph on the radar gun, retired the side in order in the one inning he pitched. The youngster fanned Andres Galarraga, broke Ron Calloway's bat on a comebacker and got Phillips to fly to left. Said Galarraga of Petit: "He's sneaky."

    "Very deceptive," Randolph said. "I watched him throw on the side the last week or so. Yeah, he's a baby, but I think he's going to be a pretty good pitcher. He's got something to him that's a little bit different. From what I understand, you don't really get good hacks at him, so he's got to have some deception in his delivery."

    Nice. They better give his kid some substantial innings this spring.

  • Yet another Yankee article about who they are picking up next year. Last year it focused on Beltran, this year it's Damon. How about everyone takes it one step at a time and worry about your first spring training game.

  • Alay Soler is not the only Cuban ballplayer with some passport issues:

    Passport problems: As the Angels await the arrival of Cuban defector Kendry Morales, their biggest concern is that they do not know exactly when his lawyers in the Dominican Republic initiated the process of acquiring a passport. Such a process can take as long as three months, so if it did not begin until after he agreed to terms with the Angels on Dec. 1, Morales' arrival could be delayed further.

  • No Mets or ex-Mets in 51-75 according to BA, but in 1-50 there should be a few current and ex-Met prospects littered all over it.

  • Jake Peavy agreed to a four year $15 million deal with the Padres.

  • Theo looks smarter than he did before taking a chance on Wade Miller for peanuts. Wade may be ready for opening day though the Red Sox might take it slow with him. Either way, he could be ready, just not pitching and ready to go a month into the season. A rotation of Clement, Schilling, Miller, Wells, and Arroyo is solid 1 through 5 with three guys that can throw really, really hard.

  • BP has it's new This Week in Quotes up.

    Why do you keep asking the same question? I'm not a child. You repeat things to children and then eventually they tell you; I don't."
    --Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, during a press conference last week, after being asked if he took steroids (San Jose Mercury News)

    Classic Barry.

    "I do want to cut down. I don't want to go down 50 strikeouts but have the other numbers go down, too. A lot of guys with a lot of walks have a lot of strikeouts because you've got to get deep in counts, 3-1, 3-2, as opposed to being like Nomar."
    --Red Sox second baseman Mark Bellhorn, on his approach at the plate (Boston Globe)


    "I was offensively the best player on the club. Anybody in his right mind wouldn't trade me. From the business side, sometimes it doesn't matter what you do. I didn't realize that when I got traded from Boston."
    --Blue Jays infielder Shea Hillenbrand, on his trade from Arizona to Toronto this winter (Toronto Star)

    Slow down there champ. You are not that good. In fact, you are OK. Not bad, not good, just OK.

    "When you've got No. 59 on the back of your jersey, there's no guarantee."
    --Ben Grieve, on the chances he'll make the Pirates out of spring training (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    Ouch. My how he's fallen since his Oakland days.

    "I mean, O.J. was found [not guilty] but in the minds of a lot of people he was still guilty. Why do we have this system in place here if you're going to be exonerated for something and still be guilty?"
    --Cubs Manager Dusty Baker, on Barry Bonds (Chicago Tribune)

    Dusty, Dusty, Dusty...bad example. Using the Juice in this case is all bad.
  • Monday, February 28, 2005

    Take It to the Bank....

    Mike Piazza will start the year off on a tear. If the past two years are an indication of anything, he'll have a hot start. Pre-All Star Break 2003 and 2004 he has shown flashes of being the Piazza of old, then comes injury and no production whatsoever. After he has gotten hurt and comes back, he has been horrible. He looks more like Joe McEwing than anyone else and whether it is a by product of coming back off of injury and being rusty or his body breaking down at the end of the season is beyond me.

    Pre All-Star
    Post All-Star

    Pre All-Star
    Post All-Star

    In March, April, May, & June of 2003 and 2004, Mike is hitting .318/.406/.565 with 23 homers and 53 RBIs in 384 at-bats. In July, August, September, and October of 2003 and 2004, he's hitting .216/.325/.321 with 8 homers and 35 RBIs in 305 at-bats. Yes, a .646 OPS after July in 2003 and 2004 as compared to a .971 OPS through July in 2003 and 2004.

    If Piazza's new wife was aware of those ugly splits in the second half, she may have thought twice about getting hitched with him. The power outage is bad, very bad. His .200/.305/.310 in 2004 after the All-Star break with four homers in 145 at-bats could be the worst 145 at-bat stretch of his career. The question is, what can reasonably be expected from Piazza?

    Pre All-Star
    Post All-Star

    In 2002, his output pretty much maintained the same production throughout the year and was his last healthy season. He knocked 33 homers, just missed 100 RBIs and provided a .280 AVG in less than 500 at-bats. He played 135 games that season and it is not unreasonable to think Mike can give 125-135 games this season. Barring a major injury, and his 2003 injury was certainly a freak injury, he should be able to contribute that many games, but the 33 homers seems like a long shot. However, he will not need 33 homers to be effective in the four spot for the Mets this season. He just needs to be productive.

    He'll get plenty of days off and he certainly looks to be in shape from the pictures circulating around so who knows? If Piazza can still give a .275/.335/.540 line with 25 homers, that would be welcome. I'd bet he outperforms that in the first half substantially which may be all the Mets need. If Piazza has people on base and forces pitchers to go after him, it could certainly jumpstart his season and with the three switch hitting speedsters on in front of him, it certainly looks like he will have plenty of opportunities.

    The number four slot has been somewhat of a hot button issue this off-season, but it may have been overblown. Who knows? If Piazza can give 130 games and maintain the same type of output he put forth in 2002 Post All-Star break everything may be great. Piazza was on a tear to start the 2004 season and smashed 16 homers in 310 at-bats and certainly still has the ability in him. It all boils down to him staying fresh and healthy.

    If he can sustain a solid output and protect Beltran for the 1st half of the year and does not stay healthy through the entire season, that may just buy the Mets enough time to figure something out or have another player step up and be that guy needed to protect Beltran should Piazza disappear in the second half. Willie may feel comfortable enough with Wright after he tears things up for half a season to give him a shot to produce in a vital spot in the order. Maybe Diaz gets a few at bats if Cammy is not healthy and ends up getting some serious playing time and steps up and ends up being that guy in a long shot situation to help out. If Piazza can produce at least until the All-Star break and provide the protection the Mets need in the fourth spot, it should buy enough time for alternate options that may present themselves later on. Either way, Piazza should be the right buy to provide protection to start and season and very well could end being the guy providing protection from start to finish for 130 games. I think the fourth spot in the order is not in as bad a situation as previously thought.

    * * *

  • Jayson Stark did a piece on NL lineups and he surveyed four pitchers, three scouts and nine GMs or assistants to rank the top five lineups. The Marlins were ranked as the 2nd best offense and the Mets were on some ballots for the top five, but not enough to make the list.

  • Tim Hudson is close to signing a three or four year deal with the Braves.

    His contract extension is expected to be worth between $11 million and $12 million annually, with an additional vesting option year tied to innings pitched.

    The Braves and Hudson's agent have been negotiating the final details of the deal since Thursday. The pitcher wanted the fourth year guaranteed, instead of three years with two option years as the Braves had proposed.

    Without Tim Hudson, next year's free agent pitching crop is officially horrible with no big prize out there.

  • The Orioles are looking at Maels Rodriguez for the third time and have given his brother a look as well. As of now, they are having trouble getting a read on him and say he is at about 70% and shaking off some rust from not pitching in two years making things difficult.

    His younger brother, Jose, also threw for the Orioles yesterday, and some observers said the 20-year-old was more impressive.

  • The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Jared Weaver seem to be going a bit backwards in negotiations.

    Still slightly more than $2 million apart in negotiations with first-round pick Jered Weaver, the Angels are giving indications they might soon shelve the talks. Team executives indicate they might let Weaver re-enter the draft on June 7.

  • Cammy is swinging that bat, albeit at underhand pitches, at full force.

  • Baseball America is releasing their top 100 prospects over the next few days and have released numbers 76-100. The Mets had none in that group, but should have three overall in the top 100.

    #76 is Kendry Morals and I'm going to cry about spilt milk again. I still think the Mets should have taken a chance on this kid. With all the cash they were throwing around the ability to get a guy who can help them organizationally with the lack of depth in the OF and 1B, it seemed like a great fit. Oh well.

  • Sunday, February 27, 2005

    Shaun of the Dead

    See this movie.

    British horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead is a scream in all senses of the word. Brain-hungry zombies shamble through the streets of London, but all unambitious electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) cares about is his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who just dumped him. With the help of his slacker roommate Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun fights his way across town to rescue Liz, but the petty concerns of life keep getting in the way: When they're trying to use vinyl records to decapitate a pair of zombies, Shaun and Ed bicker about which bands deserve preservation--New Order they keep, but Sade becomes a lethal frisbee. Many zombie movies are comedies by accident, but Shaun of the Dead is deliberately and brilliantly funny, while still delivering a few delicious jolts of fear. Also featuring the stealthy comic presence of Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and some familiar faces from The Office. --Bret Fetzer

    This was funny, really funny. Maybe it was because I was not expecting it to be, but it was. Just a funny-ass movie.

    * * *

  • Something that looked like a crazy contract demand now all of sudden sounds like a great investment.

    "I did it last year and it really helped me stay on the ball longer," Beltran said. "Before I used it, I used to strike out a lot. I cut down last year, though, and improved in the walks. It makes you concentrate on the ball more and not worry about your stance.

    "When it's coming at you 80 or 90 mph, you recognize it, but not at 150. But after seeing it at 150, when it slows down again, it seems like the ball is coming in at 40 mph. It helped me lay off a lot of bad pitches in the dirt."

  • Jerry Crasnick goes over the Angels batting order which has some serious firepower.

    1. Chone Figgins, 2B
    2. Darin Erstad, 1B
    3. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
    4. Garret Anderson, LF
    5. Steve Finley, CF
    6. Orlando Cabrera, SS
    7. Dallas McPherson, 3B
    8. Bengie Molina, C
    9. Robb Quinlan/Juan Rivera/Jeff DaVanon, DH

    Vladdy hit 39 last year, Anderson averaged 30.25 homers from 2000 through 2003, Finley hit 36 last season, and McPherson hit 43 homers in 151 games between AA, AAA, and the majors. Now about that pitching. I really thought Matt Clement would have been tremendous for that club. They were on the verge of signing him and he could have been one of the biggest, if not the biggest acquisition of the off-season in terms of completing a team aside from RJ to the Spankees. A top trio of Clement, Colon, and Escobar is pretty solid and Washburn and Lackey rounding out the rotation is pretty solid 1 through 5.

    But that didn't happen and they got Paul Byrd instead. They still have the ability to be a solid rotation if Colon can pick up where he left off in the second half. Colon really turned it on in the second half going 12-4 with a 3.63 ERA and .232 BAA (.296 BAA 1st half). The biggest difference between his horrible 1st half and his tremendous second half was the 27 long balls Pre-All Star as compared to the 11 Post All-Star. You think something clicked with him? They need him to be the ace and Kelvim could certainly be a solid #2.

  • The Straw regrets leaving the Mets, but can anyone blame him? He went to play for his home town team like a lot of people would love to do.

    "We all feel good to be back," Strawberry said. He left the Mets as a free agent following the 1990 season, a decision he says he now regrets.

    "I had great times after I left. But this is where I belong. This is where I started," he said. "This is where it started for the three of us."

  • Los Mets?

    "People who make those comments have a racial bent to their thinking," Minaya says. "When you hear that, you ask yourself, 'Do they make those comments when the staffs are all another race?' But look, when you are doing something that has never been done before, people are going to make comments. A lot of times it's part of being a minority."

    Ummm, not really. Actually it was started when you did your press conference in Puerto Rico to introduce Carlos Beltran.

    “Since we are in Puerto Rico,” he said, “I think we should do this in Spanish.”

  • Then Los Mets was born.

  • Glavine goes Wednesday, Benson goes Thursday, and Pedro goes Friday.

  • Adamn Rubin throws Leiter under the bus, but the best part of the article was this quote:

    "Don't do that. You might look like A-Rod." - Martinez joking with Mike Cameron, after Cameron tried to swat at a glove during a rundown drill.

    A-Rod will not live down the slap heard around the world anytime soon.

  • "I like Matsui," Steinbrenner told reporters as his security guard frantically pushed the elevator buttons. "The agent ... he's no good."

  • From Newsday:

    The Mets will face competition from the Cubs as they try to upgrade their bullpen. While the Cubs are curious to see how Ryan Dempster does as their closer, they are speaking regularly with Detroit about Ugueth Urbina and Oakland about Octavio Dotel.

  • Willie Mo may be on the move:

    The rumor mill never ends. One report said Reds outfielder Wily Mo Pena is one of the three major-league players most likely to be traded this spring, probably to the Washington Nationals.

    The Nationals, of course, have former Reds general manager Jim Bowden as their interim GM, and it was Bowden who acquired Pena from the Yankees.