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

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Things I Learned Last Night

  • If Fran Healy says, "I could be wrong", he probably is wrong.

  • Heath Bell should have a spot in a bullpen that is his to lose. He just looks sharp and attacks hitters.

  • Blake MGinely does not look ready for the majors. I've never seen him pitch before last night, but he works in the 67-84 mph range and does not look like he could be effective just yet.

  • Braden Looper has a LARGE head. I'm talking Frankenstein large.

  • McEwing should not have a spot on the ball club in 2005.

  • Victor Zambrano could not be fixed in ten minutes though he can look downright nasty at times.

  • Jason Phillips wants the backup catcher job badly and would have to self destruct not to get it.

  • I love baseball, but I'm not sure anything is worth having to listen to Fran Healy.

  • Andres Galaraga is nice luxury to have on a team for a power bat off the bench if you have a roster spot to give to him, but Eric Valent and Jason Phillips can backup first base adequately.

  • Even Dougie Fresh can make errors.

  • The Revenge of the Sith looks great. It looks like George Lucas made it more in the Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back mold. I'm officially excited.

    * * *

  • Cammy faced a real live pitcher in Kevin Deaton...

    "I'm probably not going to be 100 percent pain-free right now," he said. "But eventually it will be (normal)."

    ...and Kaz's lower body is sore.

    "It's important for me to rest my body," said Matsui, who said his lower body was sore. Matsui had played in 1,143 consecutive games in Japan before missing nearly seven weeks last season with a bad back.

  • Maggs took one deep in his second at-bat of Spring Training.

    "Not bad for a first day, huh?" Ordonez asked, still smiling. "I haven't felt like this since I got called up to the big leagues when I was 23 and now I'm 31."
  • Friday, March 11, 2005

    Five Reasons Why The Mets Can Beat The Braves

    1) You Can't Win 'Em All: I know this is the flimsiest piece of information I can use to support my case, but you cannot win forever. The Braves will lose, and every year they look like they are closer towards a spot below first place. Last year they saved their butts with JD Drew's spectacular year and they'll need someone to step up big time to be in the top spot at season's end. Since MLB broke the teams into three divisions, this division has not been so evenly matched and wide open with four teams that have a very real possibility to finish first. The law of averages says so....the Braves will lose. Besides, their streak of first place finishes is one the biggest shams in all of baseball. The last time they did not win the division there was a youngster names Pedro Martinez in the NL East. Coincidence? I think not.

    2) Too Much Emphasis on Smoltz: The Braves have a deep staff, but it's debatable whether it's better than the Marlins or the Mets staff. A large part of their season hinges on the idea that Smoltz will make a smooth transition back into a starter at the age of 37. He may, but probably will have trouble adjusting and going into the fifth and sixth innings for while. He has not been a full time starter since 1999 and has not topped 200 innings since 1997. All of sudden after missing 2000, and pitching 59, 80.1, 64.1, and 81.2 innings he'll be a workhorse, stay healthy, and be the dominant #2 the Braves are looking for? I do not think the Braves even think that, they are just hoping for the best. It is a huge gamble. If they lose him because they moved him to the rotation, it's a big loss all around. They downgraded at closer and lost him as a starter.

    3) The Game Does Not End in the Eighth: Their closer has been as good as any over the last two years, but he has not been doing so by making the hitters miss. Danny Kolb is good and has turned a corner over the past two seasons, but his K/9 was more than cut in half in 2004 to 3.30 and this K/BB was 1.40. The bottom line is that he is no John Smoltz. His workload has been relatively light with the most innings he's every pitched being 57.1 innings. He's going to be called upon more and he'll have to prove he can handle the workload. Smoltz was out there for 80+ innings in two of the last four years, including 2004, and he pitched more than one inning 20 times. Kolb did it exactly once las season. Can he stand up to the increased workload? The Braves pen is not a very strong one and his number will be called on for long times and more often. I think they will end up missing Smoltzie closing games a little bit.

    4) Something Left to be Desired: Brian Jordan has played 127 games in the last two seasons and played 128 games in 2002. Although he has historically been a Met killer in the past, he turns 38 in March and seems to be on his last leg. How much can they realistically expect out of him is beyond me. My guess is not much but they are probably looking forward to him being a 4th outfielder if Andy Marte can have a huge spring, but if it does not happen, the Braves are in trouble. As for Mondesi, he has not been a feared hitting since 1999. I see no reason why he'll start now and he may contribute a .260/.330/.450 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs at best which will just not cut the loss of JD Drew. The Braves need LaRoche and Marte to step up big time this season if they are to have hopes of taking the division yet again.

    5) Star in Decline: Chipper was not the chipper of old in 2004. After hitting at least .300/26 homers/100 RBIs from 1998 through 2003, Chipper posted and all time career worst batting average and failed to top 100 RBIs for the first time sine 1995. He's still only turns 33 in April, but has some nagging injuries that has his 2005 position up in the air. Andy Marte may push in into the outfield if Jordan and Mondesi are just not cutting it, but the Braves do have flexibility. However, much like the Mets relied on Piazza for three years to many, the Braves could be headed for a similar stretch of years. He needs to produce like the Chipper of 1998 through 2003 if the Braves are going to survive the loss of JD Drew, but it seems like they will be missing that menacing bat they have had throughout this entire sham of run.

    * * *

  • Jayson Stark's new Rumblings has plenty of good tidbits.

    Those Ugueth Urbina-to-the-Mets trade rumors continue to percolate. But don't bet your favorite copy of the Jesse Orosco Story on it. For one thing, clubs that have talked with the Mets say their preference is to trade for a left-handed reliever. Second, that Urbina deal only works for the Tigers if Mike Cameron is involved -- which appears highly dubious. Third, one scout says Urbina's early spring velocity had dipped to 84 mph and below -- which would scare off the Mets (or anyone else). But the Tigers say he was 87 to 90. So someone needs to change batteries in his gun.

    One fun game we've been playing this spring is asking GMs, managers and coaches to compare the Yankees lineup to the Red Sox lineup, position by position. The Yankees have the bigger names. But after a half-dozen surveys, we've only had one panelist rate the Yankees as good as even (4-4, with one spot even). Everyone else has given the Red Sox the edge at between five and seven positions. The only Yankees to win in every poll: A-Rod (over Bill Mueller) at third and Gary Sheffield (over Trot Nixon) in right.

    It should be another great summer for these two teams to have a dogfight. I think the Yankees staff may look better on paper, the Boston staff will be better when the rubber hits the road. Clement will be big, Theo's acquisition of Miller will prove to be genius, and Bronson's second half was strong enough to make him a solid, solid, #5 guy and as good as any in the league.

    Speaking of the Astros, here's a spring project that ought to scare a few hundred National League hitters: Brad Lidge is trying to resurrect the circle changeup he used to throw as a starter in the minor leagues.

    A new wrinkle in Lidge's repertoire?
    "I just want to add another element, so guys can't just look for fast stuff," Lidge said. "There were times last year when guys were speeding up their bats because everything was essentially the same speed. So I felt like, if I had a pitch that was 10 mph slower than my slider, I could slow up those bats."

    If Lidge gets any more unhittable -- after a season in which he punched out 157 hitters in only 94 2/3 innings -- there wouldn't even be a point in having hitters take a bat to home plate.

    Stark's right, no need for a bat if that happens. Lidge is the definition of nasty. It's hard to fathom any team that will have had so much domination in the closer's role for so long. If Lidge can stay healthy, and at least finish his six years with the Astros, they'll of had twelve years nastiness. They'll probably hold on to him for longer, most likely, but the run they are in the midst of is just nuts.

    It's been very fashionable to dump on Victor Zambrano, the guy the Mets traded much-ballyhooed Scott Kazmir for last July. But Zambrano's former manager, Lou Piniella, still casually refers to Zambrano as "our best pitcher" last year.

    Obviously, being the Devil Rays' best pitcher isn't quite the same thing as being the Yankees' best pitcher. But Piniella says of Zambrano: "He can beat the good teams and he can beat the bad teams. The only thing that can hold him back is him."

    I think we all knew this one.

    "Yeah, I talked to Mulder," Hudson chuckles. "I told him I was going to turn his stuff around if he comes in there. I told him, 'If we ever face each other, whatever you give me, I'm giving you back. You start breaking out some nasty stuff, I'm going to return the favor. Obviously, if there are men on base, we've got to pitch like we normally do. But if nobody's on? I'm going to be expecting some heaters away. Don't try and bruise my hands up.' ...

    "And I told Zito, 'If you throw that weak curve ball in there, I'm gonna whack it. I'll tell you that.' "

    I'm betting Hudson out hits Mike Hampton in 2005.

  • Glavine needs more dental work:

    "The bone graft was more painful than the accident," Glavine said. "And the drilling's probably not going to be fun. So I want to wait until after the season, probably October, to get it done. Or hopefully November."

    I like the hopefully November addition, but I'd like a bit more conviction. Maybe, I'll get my pearly whites fixed in November since I plan to be busy in October.

  • Beltran gets his first taste of the boo birds.

    The Mets' center fielder could smile. The sting of the two fly balls he didn't catch in the fourth inning had diminished by the time he dressed for the 90-minute return trip to Port St. Lucie. So, too, had the sting of the boos that greeted him when he led off the top of the fifth.

    The fans weren't necessarily intolerant of his defensive miscues. But it's Spring Training for them, too. And as Graig Nettles said in Fort Lauderdale Stadium 26 years ago when the Yankees played here: "They have to get their boo lungs in shape."

    That quote by Nettles may be my new favorite quote.

  • From the NY Daily News:

    Mike Cameron (wrist) may face pitching for the first time today or tomorrow, Willie Randolph said. Doing so is the final step before playing in a Grapefruit League game.

    Looks like Cammy may be ready for opening day after all.

  • Also from the NY Daily News:

    The Mets' brain trust isn't in love with the cuisine served at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. The contingent, including principal owner Fred Wilpon, GM Omar Minaya and deputies Tony Bernazard, John Ricco and Sandy Johnson, walked into the Orioles' lunch room and learned the salad bar no longer was offered. Faced with a choice of hot dogs, hamburgers or roast beef, the entire contingent abruptly left. What do you want for $4?

    Too good for some hot dogs?

  • Rules a plenty.

    Hair and mustaches are to be kept neat. No beards. Earrings are NOT permitted while you are in uniform.

    Cliffy's ice will not be making an appearance in any games this season. I still think it's convenient that mustaches are OK, huh Willie?

    No one can drink in the clubhouse, except Willie.
    When the Mets travel to Arizona and it is near 100 degrees, no one can wear shorts, but Willie.
    Curfew is 1 AM after day games and everyone on the team gets a .50 cent allowance if they do their chores, except people named Willie, who can pull and all nighter and are exempt from chores.

  • A great pitching match up today between two of the top lefties in college baseball. Tulane's Brian Bogusevic (3-0, 0.90 ERA) will face off against Cal State Fullerton's Ricky Romero (4-0, 1.92 ERA).

  • Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Should Giambi's Contract Be Voidable?

    The Boss is at it again. Well, maybe at it again. No one is sure what he is going to actually do.

    Giambi mostly pleaded ignorance, but offered a moment of clarity when asked if he was concerned about how fans might react if he is forced to answer questions about his alleged use.

    "Well," Giambi said, "I don't think there's going to be anything that they don't already know."

    And therein lies the incentive for the Yankees and, perhaps, the trepidation for Giambi. If Giambi publicly admits to steroid use in a government hearing, the Bombers could use that admission to help them void the four years and $82 million remaining on Giambi's contract. That's one reason why Giambi has avoided even mentioning the word "steroids", despite offering countless unspecified apologies for past transgressions that essentially amount to an admission.

    This is what is silly to me. Basically, it's known he did steroids. We know that because of the grand jury leak. That was however, supposed to be information kept confidential and probably cannot be used against Giambi by the Yankees organization in an attempt to void the contract. Hence when he "confessed" to doing something that he could not specify, he was apologizing for an implied use of steroids. Was he stopping short of saying the word steroids as something he was purposely doing and was told by his agent not to do because the did not want to give ammunition to the Yankees? It was always my understanding that the Yankees were completely aware of his steroid use after the leak, but I'm assuming that it was not something that they could legally use against him. Are they waiting for a documented confession by him to start trying to get his contract voided?

    While the Yankees are looking to give Sheffield, who had admitted he unknowingly used steroids, more money, they may be looking to void Giambi's contract. Jayson Stark has a great article on ESPN about ballplayers being subpoenaed and he had this to say:

    We predict an all-time baseball record for use of the term "knowingly." We predict so many "I don't knows" and "I can't recalls," you'll want to hand out free samples of Vitamin E.

    And while some people will give specific answers to specific questions, under oath, face it: None of those answers can be absolutely, positively guaranteed to constitute the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Because remember this: THERE'S NO EVIDENCE.

    Baseball should have had a testing program back then, but it didn't.

    So while most of the ballplayers will essentially say, "if I took them, I was not aware I did" or "I never took steroids", some may come clean and admit to doing them. They may admit to taking a substance not banned or tested for by baseball at that time. We all know something like 2% failed steroid tests when baseball actually did test, but those names were not released and kept private. Giambi's name will never be implicated as one who baseball found out was taking a banned substance at that time. We can reasonably assume that he was one of the small amount that had failed, be we do not know and will not know beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The language in Giambi's contract - which has four years and $82 million left on it - says the team may withhold salary from a player for the "use or abuse of any illegal substance, including but without limitation . . ." and then goes on to list a variety of examples. It also has a general "other chemical abuse or dependency" clause that gives the team latitude in definition, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.

    Additionally, the Yankees could make a strong case that Giambi misled them about his health and substances he may have taken that would affect it. Giambi played only 80 games last season because of an intestinal parasite and a benign tumor that the New York Daily News reported was in his pituitary gland, and if he was using steroids but failed to inform his doctors and Yankee doctors, he could be in violation of his contract.

    Specifically, Giambi's contract says that if a doctor determines he is not in "first-class physical condition" because of "chemical dependency, the club may in its sole discretion convert this contract to a non-guaranteed contract."

    Ultimately I do not think Giambi's contract will be voidable since the players union in baseball is strongest union in sports. It sets a dangerous precedence for them and directly puts a lot of other players in jeopardy for other various reasons. If a player underperforms, a team could look to clauses or loopholes to get them out of contract.

    Should Steinbrenner and the Yankees be able to void Giambi's contract for taking a substance that was not included in his contact as something that could void his contact? We have to remember, we do not know what type of steroids he took and have no idea if anyone could actually tell or know which type of steroids he took, which could matter. Should Giambi's contract be voidable by taking something that was not banned by baseball at the time? Should Steinbrenner be allowed to pick and choose if he wants to reprimand one steroid user and not another? Should anyone in baseball be allowed to pick and choose what illegal substance they want to enforce? For instance, is it ok to try and crucify someone for steroids while letting others take amphetamines?

    I just think there are too many questions that go along with this topic as it relates to Giambi's contract. I would be surprised if anything at all happened to Giambi other than some boos and some idiotic fans chastising him at games. Despite me knowing what Giambi did was wrong, I truly feel bad for him

    * * *

  • Mark Hale takes a look at the bullpen.

  • Not only did Beltran buy a new purse, he's got a new haircut.

    Beltran would have been in center field had the game been played. He took Tuesday off with a sore right elbow. Beltran also shaved his head in the aftermath of his wife, Jessica, trying to give him a haircut. "It didn't come out so good," he said.

    I would have given Carlos the $30 for a haircut.

  • BA has an extensive article on Omar Minaya and the Mets. He was also named #23 on BA's yearly list of the top power broker's in baseball.

    Also mentioned as an up and comer on the list was a familiar name.

    Kim Ng, Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers. If you're looking for the first female general manager in baseball history, this is your best bet. She would be the game's first Asian-American GM as well.

    In case anyone forgot, let me remind everyone about the incident with Bill Singer earlier in the year with Kim NG.

    In the fallout from his drunken and insulting remarks to Kim Ng, super scout Bill Singer is about to become the shortest-lived Mets front office executive in team history.
    Sources told the Daily News yesterday that there is "no way" the embattled scout can survive the controversy he created when he approached Ng, a Dodgers' executive, during the GM meetings Tuesday in Phoenix and belligerently asked: "What are you doing here?"

    When she replied that she is the Dodgers' assistant GM, Singer apparently began making fun of Ng's Chinese heritage. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman interceded in the incident. Ng worked for the Yankees for four years as an assistant GM.

    Way to represent Bill.
  • Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Questions, Questions, Questions

    Which possibly problematic area is the single biggest key to the Mets success this season?

    1) Table Setters: Any good offense needs one thing. That is players on base for the meat of the order. If the top guys are not getting on, there will not be many runs scored.

    2) Cliffy's Health: When he's good, he's really good. He can be a menacing left handed power hitter with a quick bat. He gets the bat through the zone in a hurry and could knock out 30 if he is healthy and could be the lynchpin for the team’s production.

    3) Bullpen: The bullpen was not bad last year. Not only was it not bad, but it was actually good. They lost some components and added some others, but really are not that much different in terms of overall skill than last year.

    4) Rotation Health: Will Pedro's 90% torn labrum make it through the year? Like when everyone holds their breath when Reyes runs, people will be holding their breath when Zambrano throws. Every slider, people will be cringing. Will he be able to justify the Kazmir trade? Will Benson be able to top 200 innings two years in a row?

    5) Piazza, Protector, Producer, Husband: Will Mikey be able to give the Beltran the protection he needs and will he be able to score a guy who will be on base plenty of times and should walk about 100 times?

    6) Experience: Will Randolph be a hindrance to the team? Is his lack of National League coaching experience an issue?

    7) Reyes' Health: If Reyes goes down again, how will it impact the team. Will the gaping hole left by him should he go down stunt the team's ability to be productive?

    8) Other?

    My choice is #1. I think that will be the single most important thing for the team this season. Their rotation will be there and their bullpen will be there like they have been the last few years. The missing link is the Mets silent bats.

    * * *

  • Cammy likes what he sees and he wants to stay.

    "He's now told them, 'If you're trying because of me, you don't have to try anymore,'" Nicotera said last night. "We informed them that he wants to stay. He's had enough time to digest the change and get a feel about the team. He wants to stay in New York."

    Good to have you aboard. Despite the fact you probably will not hit 30 homers again, you'll be the best right fielder since Darryl. Sure Richard had a nice run, but he was feast or famine and completely non-existent after his hot, hot start.

  • It's a European Carry-All!

    The new center fielder of the Mets carries a purse. There, we said it.

    It's a Louis Vuitton monogram men's leather satchel, to be exact. Beltran keeps his cell phone, wallet and keys in it.

    In the testosterone-fueled atmosphere of a baseball clubhouse, it's not the easiest look to pull off. But Beltran looks downright cool when he walks in carrying his purse ... uh, satchel.

    He even has a matching detachable cell phone pouch!

    The Mets best player carries a purse, you got a problem with that?

  • Subpoena for you. Subpoena for you. Hell, subpoena’s for everyone!

    Former Oakland Athletics sluggers Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi were among seven current and former baseball stars that a congressional committee plans to subpoena as soon as Wednesday to testify about steroids.

    Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas also were asked last week to testify. Thus far, only Canseco and Thomas have said they were willing to appear.

    Oh baby. Canseco has the stage of all stages and there is no reason to think he will be shy about telling all and then some. But my thing is this, the MLBPA really dropped the ball on the testing and did a lot of damage. They are no where they should be yet, but are taking steps to get there. The government should not be involved at this point. They flexed some muscles with threats of intervention and that got the ball rolling. However, the system needs time to prove it's worthiness or unworthiness. Give it time. Give it at least a season.

  • Tasteless, tasteless Yankee fans. Boo-ing Giambi? He did something wrong, but at least he told the truth. Besides, how can you boo Giambi and not boo Sheffield?

  • Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart. Giving Mark Teixiera a long term deal. Not the Rangers giving it to him, but the Mets and their newfound working relationship with Scott Boras. In 2001 he was drafted and signed a four year, $9.5 million Major League contract which should be expiring after the 2005 season.
  • Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Omar Was Just Playing His Cards

    Omar Minaya's plan to become the team that dominates signings in the Dominican Republic has received another major boost. The Mets have hired the well-connected Rafael Perez, the senior manager of MLB's office in Latin America, who is based in Santo Domingo, to run the team's operations in the country, a source said.

    Yesterday Phil Mushnick wrote a piece on the topic. Does his article have any merit? If Billy Beane wanted to build a baseball team with only white people, would anyone hardly care? If Billy was selling his team as a white utopia, would he get fired?

    The problem is, I do not think this is essentially what Omar is/was doing. When you have Latin ballplayers who have a native language that they probably feel more comfortable speaking, it is only natural that it would be a selling point. As would it be to a Japanese player, or a player from another country. It could be a deciding factor in some cases for a Japanese player to choose Seattle or either New York team for a certain comfort level. For Kaz, it was important that whichever team he chose, had a sizeable Japanese population in the surrounding area. You spend a whole lot of time with your teammates and while the goal is to win, you want to be in a situation that is right for you. Some players like Vlad Guerrero prefer, and feel more comfortable to be on a ball club that has a good number or Latin ballplayers. Is there anything wrong with that? Nope.

    Omar took a gamble on Delgado and it was something that was not important to him, but is important to other players. I'm sure Omar learned a lesson, but if the Mets win, there will be no more need for creative selling. No need to sell them on the Latin population of area, the number of Latin players on the team or Latin front office personnel. Players will want to come here because of the young core, deep pockets, and to be a winning team. Omar was put in a tough spot by having to draw major players to a bad team. Pulling out all the stops was a necessity. Circumstances being what they were, Omar did what he had to do and did an amazing job at that.

    * * *

  • This story is on the craziest things I've heard in a while.

    Davis and his wife, LaDonna Davis, 64, were visiting the sanctuary to celebrate the birthday of Moe - a 39-year-old chimpanzee who was taken from their home after biting off part of a woman's finger in 1999.

    The couple had brought Moe a cake and were standing outside his cage when the two young male chimps, Ollie and Buddy, attacked the man. Moe was not involved in the attack.

    Two other chimps, females named Susie and Bones, also escaped from the cage they shared with Ollie and Buddy. They were recovered outside the sanctuary five hours later.

    Primate experts said the presence of the two female chimps could have played a role in the attack.

    "We know that one of the most reliable predictors of increased male aggression is the presence of sexually receptive females," said Jeffrey French, a psychobiologist who studies primate behavior at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

    The chimps chewed off most of Davis' face, tore off his foot and testicles and dragged him down the road. Davis was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he had surgery late Thursday night.

    The Chimps also chewed off all of fingers according to some other reports. According the article chimps can grow up to 150 pounds.

  • Minor League camp holds it's first full workout on Tuesday.

  • Kris Benson starts tonight against the Baltimore Orioles at Tradition Field.

    Pedro Martinez starts on Wednesday against the Cardinals at Tradition Field

    Steve Trachsel starts Thursday at Baltimore.

    Victor Zambrano makes a Start on Friday in Vero Beach against the Dodgers.

  • Cameron takes Willie deeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

    Willie Randolph admitted he's lost something off his fastball. Still, it was an encouraging sign for the Mets that Mike Cameron took the manager over the outfield wall during a batting-practice session yesterday morning.

    But that's the not REAL tell tale sign he's back.

    "He's getting anxious," Floyd said. "He's starting to talk a little bit, talk smack. That's a sign a player is ready to come back. He looked awesome."

  • Can Aaron Heilman throw in a game without giving up a bomb?

  • "Are they taking the money out of your pocket to pay this team?"

    -- ATLANTA BRAVES MANAGER BOBBY COX, teasing Mets assistant general manager Tony Bernazard

    I know he's just being funny, but Omar has constructed a pretty damn good team for the money. The Mets were 2nd in payroll to the Cubbies before they acquired Douggie Fresh.

  • Catching Up With Some Top Collegiate Prospects

  • Alex Gordon who is regarded as one of, if not the best hitter in college baseball has yet to turn it on so far through seven games. He is hitting .308/.471/.615 with two homers and one triple and five RBIs. Nebraska was 7-0 coming into yesterday's game with Rice.

  • Mike Pelfrey has been dominating in his four starts this season. He is 2-1, with a 2.15 ERA, .217 BAA, and 24 K's in 24 innings.

  • Luke Hochevar threw a four hit shutout on February 26th against UNC Wilmington and Tennessee won the game 1-0. He has his future agent Scott Boras drooling as he has posted a 0.32 ERA in 28 innings with a .137 BAA and 34 K's while giving up only 13 hits and four walks for a whip of 0.61 WHIP.

  • Tyler Greene is hot through his first ten games. He is batting .375/.464/.688 with 17 runs scored, 5 doubles, two triples, two homers, 12 RBIs, 7 BBs in 48 at-bats. He is also 7 for 7 in stolen bases.

  • Jeff Clement finally got off the homer drought and has two homeruns. He's still struggling overall and is hitting .235/.447/.500. His OBP looks nice being more than .200 points higher than his batting average and he leads the Trojans in base on balls, homers, and RBIs.

  • Ryan Zimmerman has been an RBI machine, but is still having a power outage. He is hitting .370/.446/.463 with 20 RBIs, 11 runs, 5 doubles, and 5 SB in 14 games.

  • Stephen Head has caught fire of late and is up to .300/.386/.620 with 4 homers, 18 RBIs, and 13 runs in 12 games. He leads the Cardinals in RBIs and homers. On the mound he owns a 2-0 record with a 2.37 ERA.

  • John Mayberry Jr. is hitting .351/.446/.563 with 4 homers and 18 RBIs while Jed Lowrie is coming back down to plant Earth. He's down to .338/.429/.706 and has not hit a homer in a bit and is still at 7 while his RBI total is up to 24.

  • Mark McCormick is still extremely erratic. He's BAA is .200 and he is striking out more than person and inning, but his BB/9 is 6.85. As a result, his ERA is 5.14.

  • Brian Bogusevic has not been able to play the field much due to an injury, but concentrating on pitching alone seems to have a pretty large effect on him. His ERA is 0.90 in 30 innings with a sub 1.00 WHIP, a 4.43 K/BB ratio, 9.3 K/9, and a .187 BAA. Is he forcing himself into being a top lefty pitching prospect in this upcoming draft?

  • Daniel Carte is hitting .344/.432/.572 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 3 homers, 15 RBIs, 14 runs, and 5 stolen bases.

  • Ryan Mullins has gotten knocked around in this first three starts and has posted a 3.93 ERA with a .282 BAA.

  • Ricky Romero has gotten off to a solid start with a 4-0 record, 1.93 ERA, .155 BAA, 12.54 K/9, 0.89 WHIP, 4.82 H/9, and 3.9 K/BB. Some solid, solid numbers for one of the top lefties in the country.

  • Craig Hansen has continued his nastiness, but gave up his first earned run since his 2004 College Season. He made it through the entire Cape Cod League without giving up an earned run, but had to give one up eventually. He's 0-1 with 3 saves, a 0.96 ERA, 10.06 K/9, and has a .129 BAA.

    * * *

  • Life was good on Sunday afternoon. I was in the car and tuned into Gary Cohen and Howie Rose calling the game on WFAN. Then Matsui singled up the middle, Beltran doubled and moved Matsui to third, Piazza hit a fly to right center to score Matsui and move Beltran to third, Wright walked, and Mientkiewcz doubled in Wright and Beltran with a shot off the wall. A nice tast of things to come for the Mets.

    Jose Reyes is just on fire so far.

    Jose Reyes finished with two hits, two RBIs and two runs; he also notched his Grapefruit League-leading fourth stolen base. He's hitting .462 (6-for-13) in four games this spring. Williams, who was also hit by a pitch, had three hits and a pair of RBIs.

    Phil Humber also got into the game and pitched two scoreless innings.

    So when Humber got into the game Sunday, it was as much to congratulate him on a job well done as anything. Though Humber allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, he induced a double play on the next batter, issued a walk and then got out of the inning on a grounder. Humber retired the side in order in his second inning, collecting his first strikeout.

    "That was unbelievable," Humber said about his debut, before learning it would also be his swan song. "That's something I'll never forget right there. My first time on a Major League mound, I couldn't feel anything. That's why all my pitches were up [in the first inning]. I was trying to get them down, but I couldn't feel anything.

    "I was actually kind of mad at myself because everything was thigh high and eventually they were going to get wood on it. I was a little better in the second inning."

    I'm not sure how things could of gotten much better. Well, actually I can think of two ways life could have gotten better.


    "Mike, guys who like the Mets are sexy. I need you now"


    To Mike,
    You've just won a lifetime pass for free White Castle.

    Mr. White Castle III

  • The young guys got into the split-squad loss to the Braves. Concepcion went 1 for 2, Diaz went 2 for 5, Mike Jacobs went 1 for 1, and Jesus Flores went 1 for 2. Phillips is continuing to make a strong case for the reserve role behind Piazza by smacking a homer and going 2 for 3.

  • Should Clemens go into the Hall of Fame with a Yankee cap like he wants? Or should he go into the HoF with a Red Sox hate like he should? Does baseball owe it to one of the greatest pitchers of all time to honor his request? I say no.

  • Norm has quietly returned to the blogging universe. The Shea Hot Corner is heating up for the regular season after a long, long, long, long hiatus.

  • Phil Mushnick has an interesting prospective on the entire "Los Mets" situation.

    But imagine if a white free-agent baseball star claimed that a white GM tried to sign him on racial grounds, that the GM told him "We white guys should stick together" or suggested that his team will be a haven for white stars.

    That would be Page 1 — top-of-the-telecast stuff. Bud Selig would express his official dismay while announcing "a complete and thorough investigation." Too late. That GM would already be through, kaput.

  • Ugh. This can only spell large problems from the new Mets Network in 2006 in Cablevision country. Unfortunately, I'm in Cablevision country. Can't Dolan just sell out to Comcast already?

  • Some players got reassigned to minor league camp while Todd Van Poppel's attempt at pitching in the majors is over and out.

    In addition to Humber, four other pitchers won't be on the major league side of Met camp anymore. Yusmeiro Petit, Grant Roberts and Jose Rosado were sent down, while Todd Van Poppel retired. The 33-year-old reliever was an extreme longshot to make the team.

    Anyone want to by a Todd VanPopple Donruss Rated Rookie Card

  • I completely missed this over the weekend, but GM pointed it out in the comments section:

    Reyes had five walks in 220 at-bats and an on-base percentage of .271, but hitting coach Rick Down sees progress in his discipline. "In his first game he got to 3-and-1 and swung at ball four," Down said. "But the thing to me is that he got to 3-and-1. He'll learn. He's got more plate discipline than Alfonso Soriano, and he's a pretty darned good hitter."

  • Rob Neyer examines Matsui and what can be expected out of him in a new article.

    A year ago, Matsui was the shortstop and super-prospect Jose Reyes (who wasn't so super after all) was supposed to shift from shortstop to second base. But Reyes got hurt (hamstring) and couldn't hit, so now he's going to back to shortstop. Not to editorialize or anything, but I've got a hard time taking the Mets seriously considering their middle infield is composed of two players who: 1) are trading positions, and 2) were crashing disappointments in 2004.

    Then again, they -- and the Mets -- have nowhere to go but up.

    Tell us what you REALLY think. First off, I completely understand everyone's apprehension about Reyes' inability to actually stay on the field. However, unless you've watched him daily, you cannot judge him. You look at his #'s in 2004, and they look horrible. You look at his #'s in 2003 and 2004 together, and you may say his 2003 season was a fluky. The kid can play baseball. He may not stick at leadoff unless he starts getting on base more, but he is a top tier talent.

    As for Matsui playing second base, he looked horrible at shortstop, but a lot of the issue was arm strength. As for his bat, Hideki Matsui was less than spectacular coming into the league his first year and he was on a tremendous offensive team that provided him snug protection. That was a luxury that Kazuo did not have. Now he has Beltran behind him. You think he'll put up some solid offensive numbers this year? I think that's a smart bet and I think it is also a smart bet Kazuo will get the job done at second base in the field.
  • Sunday, March 06, 2005

    We Hardly Knew Yee

    After another Mets win and Beltran's first long ball in a Met uniform, things should be all rosy, right? Wrong. In case you did not read yet, Tyler Yates may never pitch again. If he does, he will probably not be effective.

    The hard-throwing relief pitcher reported to camp yesterday to begin the long process of rehabilitating his right shoulder. What was initially diagnosed as tendonitis proved to be a 70 percent tear in his labrum that required extensive repair.

    "There's no chance I'm pitching this season. I can't even throw a ball until August," said Yates, who could barely raise his arm above his waist. "It's frustrating because the doctors didn't know what it was until the surgery."

    Very few pitchers return to the same level of effectiveness after labrum surgery. Yates is further hampered by having undergone Tommy John elbow surgery in 2002.

    This is the same surgery Pedro rehabbed himself to avoid since there are no cases in which pitchers come back from labrum surgery and be effective. Rob Nen underwent labrum surgery in 2002 after it was discovered he needed it when he went in to get some flotsam and jetsam cleaned up in his shoulder. Once a premier closer, he is now still trying to fight his way back to simply pitch. There were 36 major-league pitchers that were diagnosed with labrum tears in the last five year. Only Rocky Biddle has returned to pitch in the majors at his previous level. Basically, there is a 3% chance of a successful return from this surgery.

    Very bad news for Tyler Yates.

    * * *

  • In the spirit of good planning:

    The Mets don't believe Cuban defector Alay Soler will clear up his visa issues any time soon and are investigating whether he can be placed on a suspended list and removed from the 40-man roster. Soler is working out at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic.

    His agent is at the center of this. In an effort to extract more money from him, he dangled his visa and other papers in front of him to get a larger % cut than the MLPA allows.

  • Beltran's homer went an estimated 425 feet and landed on the grassy knoll, where Roger McDowell was rumored to be the second spitter.

  • After Luis Garcia took one deep yesterday, one has to wonder if he has any shot at making the reserve first baseman job a little interesting? Smart money is not really, I think they are pretty set on Andres Galaraga.

  • There has been much hand-wringing among Mets fans for trading top prospect Scott Kazmir (No. 7 on the BA Top 100) last July 31 for Victor Zambrano. Could it be the Mets also soon will regret dealing Justin Huber in the package for Kris Benson? Huber was redirected to the Royals, whose GM, Allard Baird, likens him to Paul Konerko. Baird said Huber has an "impact" bat, envisioning a high on-base-percentage hitter with 25-homer power in the lineup no later than next year.

  • Joel Sherman has a nice piece on Pedro Martinez.
    Peterson says Martinez defies his reputation and is a hard worker, and the ace righty bristles at the notion he does not do what is necessary to keep his motor humming.

    "You can't pitch every five days at 5-11, 170 pounds, throwing 97-98 mph with 2,270 innings [actually 2,296] and be lazy or a prima donna," Martinez says. "Only a stupid person would think you could survive without working. I wish it was that easy."

  • Bob Klapisch has a good article on the Mets newfound diversity.

  • How much exactly will Cameron like right field this upcoming season? Well, do really don't know, but Maybe Milton Bradley can shed some light on the topic.

    "The ball goes in the lights. It doesn't do that really in center," said Bradley, who's back in center now with Finley gone. "The ball slices to you differently off the bat. Running in the corner and picking up doubles, and that [stinks]. It's just different. No fun for me, really."

    Asked how long it took until he felt comfortable, Bradley quickly said, "Never. . . . Because when you're a center fielder, and especially when you're a good center fielder like Mike, then it [stinks]. I mean, you move over. So you've got to deal with that."

  • I know it's just spring, but I'm sure a lot of eyes will be on Victor's 1st start of the spring.

  • Eric Brynes rumors are heating up again and there are still rumblings about the Cards being interested in Joe McEwing.

  • The Pirates join the Orioles as a team interested in Maels Rodriguez.