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

Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's On

First, the Braves called up Andy Marte to man third base and this kid can have the effect that 21 year old call ups David Wright and Miguel Cabrera had to their teams when they were called up. He was hitting .276/.363/.497 with 9 homers, 15 doubles, and 35 RBIs before his promotion to the big club. Give him a month and he could be the best hitter on the ball club and could really spark their horrendous offense.

Second, the Philadelphia Phillies made the best bullpen in the NL East even better by acquiring Uggie Urbina. His firat appearance as a Phillie notwithstanding, he had only given up runs in two appearances out of his last nineteen. He has been virtually un-hittable since May 1st and had been sparkling filling in for Troy Percival.

Third, the Nationals traded for Junior Spivey as some second base insurance should Jose Vidro continue to be hampered by injuries and picked up Ryan Drese off of waivers. The Nats did lose Tomo Okha in the deal and Drese represents a downgrade. However, they made their team deeper and there is a chance Drese will rebound after being moved to the NL and resemble a Major League pitcher. If not, the Nats have other fallback options in the minors like to give another try.

As for the Marlins, we know they are on the prowl for something. They were interested in Graves and they were reportedly interested in Urbina. They have some chips in the minors to play around with and will be looking to make a move to tighten up the bullpen and they may in fact trade Guilliermo Mota if the situation presents itself and appears to be beneficial for them.

The good news is the Mets have plenty of moves and options in house to give a look at before they even need to explore trade possibilities and you get the feeling Omar is going to be bargain shopping to see what he can find that will be reasonable. With the flurry of moves and some more to undoubtedly follow, it is officially on in the NL East.

* * *

  • Minor update:
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 4-3.
    • Brevard County fell to St. Lucie 4-2. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Shawn Bowman has finally remembered how to hit. He went 2 for 3 with a run scored, two RBIs, a walk, and his seventh homer of the season. He has finally cracked the Mientkiewcz Line. Evan MacLane continued his solid pitching by going six innings, giving up five hits and one walk, struck out four, and gave up one earned run.
    • Matt Lindstrom finally turned in a solid pitching performance in Binghamton's 4-3 loss to Norwich. He went five innings, giving up two hits and one walk, striking out four, and giving up one earned run on a homerun.
    • Durham handed Norfolk an 8-7 loss. Jeff Keppinger went 4 for 6 with a run scored and a double.
  • Last place sucks. Last night's game sucked. But at least the Yankees got beat again.

  • Piazza's limp wrist is improving.

  • Omar, let's not do anything too hasty.

    A report on the Mets' Web site that the team is interested in Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa is accurate .

  • Dan Perry likes the idea of Lyle Overbay as a Met, but at the cost of Yusmeiro Petit? I like the idea of Overbay, but last season was head and shoulders above the rest. He is 28 and is not likely improve. A .275 hitter with 18 homers and 88 RBIs is probably as good as it gets. While that production would be welcome, is that maximizing the return of one of the top prospects in the game?

  • Jim Duquette, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB? I would not be happy to see him go, but he deserves it.
  • Friday, June 10, 2005

    Out Of The Box

    DL the guy. Let's get him healthy so he can help win. The Mets have depth and could stick Diaz in right and still have a solid team. The benefit of having depth is so you can withstand losses like this. When Beltran plays on his bad legs, he risks hurting himself and the team. However, if the Mets are hard up to keep him the lineup, why not think outside of the box? After watching Berkman over at first when he has only played seven games there in his entire Major League career prior to this season, I wondered if Beltran was athletic enough to pass there at first until his quad is healed. I know I've suggested the entire team to get a shot at first, but it is only because a move is necessary.

    Can he temporarily play first for two weeks or so? Granted he tweaked his hammy running to first last night, but less stress on his leg could only help. Anyone that has watched him in centerfield knows he does not have the ability to slow down fast. When he botched the ball he cut off in the gap that assisted the Astros in scoring a run, he got to the ball but subsequently over ran it possibly because of his gimpy quad. Part of the problem with Diaz at first is that he lacked the athletic ability to play the infield in past years. He may be passable, but that remains to be seen and Beltran is as athletic as anyone in the entire MLB.

    Of course this has as much a shot as happening as Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas knocking on my door and offering to provide me some "services". I guess the real point is for the Mets to do something, even it is radical. I'm sure Boras and Beltran would never even let the words fly out of someone's mouth, but if Berkman is doing it and looking solid and Eric Valent was able to do it for the first time last season, I'm sure Beltran may be reasonably effective while giving him a chance to heal in the lineup. Centerfield is not exactly a position that a guy with a bad wheel can hide in and it requires covering a lot of ground. Playing centerfield 100% is a necessity when the guy in rightfield can. Give the guy a glove in practice and see what happens. The worst thing that can happen is nothing.

    Let the insults and calling me a dumb piece of shit commence.

    * * *

  • Talk about a tough day.

    Pam Hearne heard "a loud crash" and later was stunned to see a foot clad in an Adidas sneaker and a sock in her yard, said Officer Thomas Blanchard. The leg, with hip and spine attached, dented the shingled roof of her garage before bouncing into the lawn.

    I was pissed when I ordered a Whopper with cheese a the bastards forgot the cheese.

  • Rumblings and Grumblings has some scouts opinions on some of the past draftees.

    RHP Mike Pelfrey (Mets, at No. 9): "This guy was the only legitimate No. 1 starter in the draft. And I mean he has a chance to be a REAL No. 1. He throws 95 (mph) consistently and gets it up to 97-98, with a good curve and a good change. He's durable. He's got good arm action. He's a power, power guy. And if it weren't for the (Scott) Boras factor, there's no way he'd have been the ninth pick in the draft. He should have been top three, at worst."

    Catcher Jeff Clement (Mariners, at No. 3): "Big, big, big-time power. But the question is whether he's Mike Piazza defensively. He shouldn't have gone No. 3 in the country. To take him that high is over-drafting. But this guy can hit. So even if he can't catch, they'll find someplace for him to play."

    Reliever Craig Hansen (Red Sox, at No. 26): "I loved Hansen. Since it's Boras, you know he won't sign early. So you won't see him in the big leagues this year. But he'll be there by sometime next year. This guy has one hell of an arm – a 95-97 fastball, a slider at 84-87 with a sweeping slider AND a hard slider. And a very, very competitive kid. He's one of the best pitchers I've seen in the last 10 years."

    RHP Luke Hochevar (Dodgers, at No. 40): "He fell big-time, but he deserved to fall. This kid is seriously overrated. He's a fourth starter – at best. And if you ask me, looking at his arm action, he's going to blow out."

    3B Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals, at No. 4): "Best defensive third baseman I ever scouted. He can field like Scott Rolen right now. He's got it all – range, quickness, great hands. He could play in the big leagues defensively today. And I think he's going to hit. The guy never strikes out. And his slugging percentage for Team USA was .805. I loved this guy."

    Hansen one of the best pitchers he's seen in the last ten years and Zimmerman the best defensive third baseman he's ever scouted? That is some serious praise. Hochevar's comments were suprising and interesting. Good stuff to read on Pelfrey too.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Durham 8-1 behind a Brian Daubach 2 for 4 night with one run, one homer, and three RBIs. Prentice Redman continues to hit the ball with a 2 for 5 game with two runs, two doubles, and one RBI. Hot prospect Gerald Williams went 2 for 5.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton 3-2. Anderson Hernandez went 2 for 4 with one run and one double.
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 5-4. Ambiroix Concepcion went 2 for 5 and Grant Psomas went 2 for 2 with a run scored, one run, one RBI, and two walks. Gaby Hernandez went six innings, gave up four hits, one run, walked one, and struck out six. He did not get the win, but lowered his ERA to 2.60.
    • St. Lucie beat Brevard County 2-1. Lastings Milledge went 1 for 5 with a double and Shawn Bowman looks like he woke up after hitting of late and went 3 for 4 with a double, one RBI, and one walk .
  • According to the Daily News:

    Meanwhile, the Mets may not be done on the relief front. Other on-the-market closers figure to include Pittsburgh's Jose Mesa and Tampa Bay's Danys Baez.

    Mesa would be crushed in NY, just a gut feeling. Baez is nice, but do the Mets really need this move? Shouldn't they experiment with giving Heilman and perhaps even Seo a big role and see how they respond?

  • Duquette on Steve Coyler:

    "He's pitching well enough to bring him up," said Jim Duquette, vice president of baseball operations.

  • Bobby K has the must read on this shitty Friday.

  • John Kruk spoke about some of the top players 25 or under. He spoke about Albert Pujols, Josh Beckett, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, and David Wright.

    Meanwhile, Wright seems to want to be the man in New York. He has proven that he has the confidence and will be a special player as he gets more comfortable. If I was calling the shots at Shea, I'd place him in the four or five hole and just keep him there and let him blossom. He's going to produce, and it's not helping him when you bounce him up and down in the lineup.

  • Amen brother...
  • Thursday, June 09, 2005

    Dan Perry, Pulitzer Prize Winner?

    Dan Perry certainly may deserve a Pulitzer Prize for his recent column

    I anticipate that the Mets won't tolerate Mientkiewicz's bat much longer, and the sooner they take steps to replace him, the better off they'll be. The schedule is marginally tougher the rest of the way, but all factors considered, this is probably the team to beat the rest of the way. The positive run differential in tandem with injuries to the Braves and a fairly rough schedule ahead for the Marlins will likely mean a division title for the Mets.

    Wait, what?

    The schedule is marginally tougher the rest of the way, but all factors considered, this is probably the team to beat the rest of the way.

    I'm sorry, can you say that again?

    The schedule is marginally tougher the rest of the way, but all factors considered, this is probably the team to beat the rest of the way.

    One more time because it sounds nice….

    The schedule is marginally tougher the rest of the way, but all factors considered, this is probably the team to beat the rest of the way.

    Perry is dead on. The fact is, the NL East has five teams that have flaws and not one is head and shoulders above the rest. The Mets might not have the best offense or bullpen in the division, but whatever team beats them in one or two areas does not beat them in others. When you factor in the rotation, bench, bullpen, and offense, the Mets are simply the most well rounded team. Throw on top of that, they have the pieces to make this team play even better. Once Willie figures out what 99% of us already know, the Mets can add a bigger bat to the meat of the order to produce runs and if he can find a way to plug Diaz or Floyd at first, the Mets can potentially add another solid bat.

    I like their chances as good as any other team's in the division.

    * * *

  • How fitting is it that Danny Graves has a tattoo that says Shea?

  • Minor update:
    • Hagerstown beat Lake County 6-5. Matt Durkin got the nod and went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out two and got the no decision. His ERA is up to 4.22 and has been pretty much killed by walks. He has given up 37 walks to 37 hits. That's ugly.
    • St. Lucie beat Brevard County in pitcher's duel 9-8 and scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win it. Lastings went 1 for 5 with two runs scored and one double. Shawn Bowman went deep for his sixth homerun of the year and went 2 for 4 with four RBIs.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton behind x-Met prospect Matt Peterson. Peterson pitched a gem going six innings, giving up three hits, one earned run, three walks, and struck out six. He is 5-3 with a 6.35 ERA.
    • Norfolk beat Durham 4-3 by scoring two runs in the bottom of the 11th inning. BJ Upton went 3 for 4 for Durham and Angel Pagan went 4 for 6 with a run scored for the Tides. Jae Seo was solid yet again by going seven innings and giving up seven hits, one earned run, three walks, and striking out seven. What is really impressive for Seo is his 9.15 K/9 and his 3.50 K/BB. He has brought his ERA down to 3.34 after it was sky high to start the season. Note to Omar: See what you can get for him ASAP.
  • Lookout NL East...

    The Mets signed free agent infielder Jose Offerman to a minor league contract. The 36-year-old infielder will report to Port St. Lucie to join the Mets' extended spring training program and then will head to Norfolk. He was with the Phillies earlier this year, but hit just .182 in 33 games.

    Say high to Ice when you get to Norfolk. Some people collect baseball cards, some people collect hookers to tie up and stash in the basement, and others collect aging ball players that are no longer good or were never actually good.

  • Mets brass made a strong push for Ugueth Urbina, who was shipped from Detroit to Philadelphia yesterday for INF Placido Polanco. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski acknowledged he nearly traded Urbina to a different NL East team, which two Mets insiders said they believed was theirs, though Florida also expressed interest. The delay in officially signing Danny Graves was unrelated to the Urbina pursuit, according to a Mets official.

    I wonder what was offered?

  • I'm all for Diaz to first, but he was not too good in the infield before, so it will be interesting to watch. He certainly will not look like Piazza at first, but why not try Floyd? I have already mentioned it before, he at least was a first baseman before. Either way, something has to be attempted.

  • Ryan Zimmerman is the highest draft pick to ink this year by accepting a $2.975 million bonus and Mark Pawelek received a $1.75 million bonus and inked before the draft ended on the first day. Maybe things are starting to come back down to reality?
  • Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Boras Factor

    Three of the last four Met top draft picks were pitchers. Whether that is a trend or the way things have just shaken out is beyond me, but hopefully the last two picks do not take as long as Aaron Heilman to come around and be an effective Major League Pitcher. This is also the second year in a row the Mets took a Scott Boras represented pitcher by taking Mike Pelfrey after they drafted Matt Durkin in the second round of 2004. In my opinion, Scott Boras has changed the face of the draft. "The draft order is about economics," Hansen's powerhouse agent Scott Boras explained. "It's not about skill." The draft was built upon the idea that the lowest teams can draft the best talent. They can, but they are much less likely to do it if Scott Boras is their client. Boras helped Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew drop to the mid first round last season despite being the top two talents because of his contract demands. Taylor Teagarden slipped to the 99th pick in the 3rd round despite being the second best catcher in the draft, Luke Hochevar fell to the 40th pick in the supplemental first round despite being the second best starting pitcher in the staff, and Craig Hansen fell the 26th overall pick because of signability questions despite being the best and most polished arm in the draft. The Yankees reportedly passed on Hansen because he figured to be out of their allotted budget for draft. Granted they never spend as much on the draft as they do in free agency, but that just sounds ridiculous.

    After holding out for an entire year, Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew basically signed for what was previously offered by the Angels and the Diamondbacks. They essentially dropped in the draft and missed an entire year of development because Scott Boras was their agent. Now, any player that has Boras as his agent and is a premium talent, they have a red flag on them before the draft. Boras has changed the face of the draft. Low first round draft picks do not necessarily mean bad picks anymore. In fact, you have a shot at premium, top ten talent year in and year out because people now ignore Boras players and look for easier signs. While the Mets figure to have a relatively high draft pick in the 2006 draft, provided they hold on to it, they have a legitimate chance to reel in same caliber talent they did in 2004 and 2005 if they are willing lay out the cash.
    Year Scenario #1 Scenario #2 Scenario #3
    2004 $4.00 $1.05 playing XBOX
    2005 minors $1.05 $4.00
    2006 $0.32 $1.05 minors
    2007 $0.33 $1.05 $0.32
    2008 $0.34 $1.05 $0.33
    2009 $4.00 $5.00 $0.34
    2010 $5.00 $6.00 $4.00
    2011 $6.00 $7.00 $5.00
    2012 $7.00 $8.00 $6.00
    Total $26.99 $31.25 $19.99

    Scenario #1 has Weaver taking the $4 million up front and a Minor League contract back in 2004. He spends 2005 in the minors and starts in the majors on opening day 2006. He has six years before his free agent year, including three arbitration years, and signs a contract in his walk year.

    Scenario #2 has Weaver taking the $5.25 million, five year Major League contract before opening day 2005. He spends five years under contract and then he starts at $5 million and it goes up $1 per year until 2012. It does not matter which years or arbitration or which years are a new contract.

    Scenario #3 has Weaver taking the exact deal he was offered in scenario #1 last year, but he accepted this year.

    "Sign and play, that's the way I look at it," said Brendan Donnelly, who spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues before becoming an All-Star reliever. "Who knows if he can get big-league hitters out? He's unproven, and until he comes and starts proving himself, no one's going to know what he's worth."

    Jared Weaver lost a year of development time that he now needs to make up as well as losing cash in his pocket. Whether he can get himself in pitching shape and be up at the Major League level in 1 1/2 seasons is a big question. After coming off a great college season in which he was in top form, it was expected to be a quick ascension through the ranks to the help the big club. Now, he has not pitched competitively since his last game at Long Beach State. I'm sure he has been keeping in shape, but he is going to have to go through a mini spring training and start off at the high class-A affiliate of the Angels and work his way back up. There is no doubt there will be rust and there is no doubt he will need to get used to throwing 100 plus pitches a game every five days.

    Boras held Weaver out because he thought he deserved the most money since he had the best college season out of any of the crop of college pitchers last year. Whether or not he had as high a ceiling as a Justin Verlander or a Jeff Neiman was irrelevant to Boras. However, that is something that can backfire in a big way. Weaver already left a lot of money on the table and he lost a lot of important development time. Not only did he most likely lose money by holding out in the end, but he has now pushed his big payday or arbitration a year back. Someone will have to remind me again, who won in these negotiations between Weaver and the Angels? It seems like both sides lost despite the fact they came to an agreement. Hopefully there will be a trickle down effect with Boras and hopefully he realized that it is not all about the money you receive right now.

    With Mike Pelfrey being the consensus best college starting pitcher, hopefully Boras learned from the past and hopefully Pelfrey is true to his word about getting to pitch this season. He threw over 131 innings this past year, so he should not throw too many innings, but it is important he gets his feet wet and the Mets get to see a glimpse of him in 30 to 40 innings. By playing hardball with Boras, the Angels and the Diamondbacks could have set something right with the universe even if it was just a little bit. If Pelfrey looks at what happened with last season, he would be best advised to take a fair deal that is presented to him and get suited up and play the games. There is absolutely no benefit from holding out even if you can snag another million dollars and Scott Boras had supposedly been telling teams not worry, his players are motivated to sign. I will truly need to see that to believe it, but I am optimistic the Mets will wrap this up fast in light of the past years negotiations with Weaver and Drew.

    * * *

  • Danny Graves gets a one year deal with a team option. Once again, I have no problem with this move as long as it does not displace Heath Bell or Aaron Heilman.

  • Pedro es muy bueno. He did not even have his best stuff and he dominated. 99% of the pitchers out there cannot even dominate with their best stuff.

  • Public enemy #1.

    "I should have done something about it," Floyd said. "He'll get his. It's unfortunate that he goes that route. His pride is too high for him to throw four balls. An idiot like that not only deserves to lose, but he deserves to get a ball off his ... somewhere."

    Last night was not the night, but he and those loser Astros will get theirs.

    Said Floyd, "When egos get in the way, people end up in prison or dead. Next time, I'm going to have to lose it a little bit."

  • Minor update:

    • Norfolk beat Durham 7-3. Craig Brazell went 3 for 4 with three RBIs.
    • Binghamton beat Altoona 5-1. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5 with a homer, but Brian Bannister supplied all the offense he needed. Bannister went 2 for 4 with one run, two doubles, and two RBIs while going eight innnings, giving up eight hits, one run, and struck out eight. He is now 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA. Dude is on fire.
    • St. Lucie beat Palm Beach 9-3. Milledge went 3 for 5 with three runs score and one RBI.
    • Hagerstown lost to Lake County 12-2.
  • Rob Dibble said that the Mets have one of the better bullpens in baseball on the Opie and Anthony show on XM Radio. Weird. It's not bad, but far room "one of the better". Either way, it is good to hear someone say something good about the Mets.
  • Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Draft, Draft, and more Draft

    Baseball America deserves some major kudos for getting the first eighteen picks dead on and got about twenty one of the thirty first round picks right. From a quick glance, it looks like the Red Sox were the big winners getting two of my favorite players in Craig Hansen and Jacoby Ellsbury and an offensive second baseman Jed Lowrie early in the draft. I wanted Hansen badly, but I can rest easier he will be fighting evil in the AL East and not coming back to haunt the Mets unless they face each other in the World Series. The Red Sox got a hell of a closer, a guy to take over for Johnny Damon, and gave a boost to the right side of the infield.

    Back to the Mets...

    Here is Pelfrey's, Hector Pellot's, and Drew Butera's scouting report from Baseball America for you cheap bastards that do not want to pay for it.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    MIKE PELFREY, rhp (National rank: 5)
    School: Wichita State.
    Hometown: Wichita.
    B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 215. Birthdate: Jan. 14, 1984.
    Previously Drafted: Devil Rays 2002 (15).
    Scouting Report: Pelfrey and Tennessee's Luke Hochevar have been running neck and neck all spring as the top pitching prospects in college baseball. Pelfrey moved ahead as the draft approached, though where the two would go in the draft remains uncertain because both have Scott Boras as an adviser. Shockers pitching coach Brent Kemnitz says Pelfrey is the best pitching prospect in school history, a rich tradition that includes seven first-rounders, and his 2.03 career ERA is a Wichita State record. Pelfrey suffered from draftitis in 2002, when he entered his high school senior season as a projected first-round pick, but that hasn't been the case this spring. He has blown away hitters consistently with a 92-97 mph fastball that's as notable for its sink as for its velocity. He's adept at getting grounders or strikeouts, depending on the situation. He has refined a straight changeup that will be a plus pitch and keeps lefthanders in check. He also has tightened his curveball and become more consistent with it. Add in a perfect pitcher's frame, good control and a competitive makeup, and the only thing that really bothers scouts about Pelfrey is Boras. Pelfrey could fall to No. 10—where the Tigers have a scouting director who used to coach at Wichita State (David Chadd) and an owner who has signed Boras free agents the last two offseasons (Mike Ilitch)—or perhaps further.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Hector Pellot

    While De Jesus is motivated to sign, the island’s No. 2 prospect, SS Hector Pellot (2), may not be. Pellot made several college visits, including one to Southern California, before committing to Santa Clara. He has a bit more speed and arm than De Jesus, meaning he’s more likely to stay at shortstop, but he’ll need to work on his hands. They’re a little stiff. Pellot needs work at the plate as well, where he lacks strength and can get the bat knocked out of his hands. A team that believes in his bat will take Pellot with a single-digit pick.

    Does having Carlos Beltran help him sign? Hey, if you got it use it. Beltran has to be pretty iconic over there so he may be able to be convinced to sign with the Mets.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    DREW BUTERA, c (National Rank: 180)
    School: Central Florida.
    Hometown: Lake Mary, Fla.
    B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Birthdate: Aug. 9, 1983.
    Previously Drafted: Twins 2002 (48).

    Scouting Report: Butera is one of several Central Florida players with famous fathers. Outfielder Dee Brown, who should be a decent senior sign, is the son of former NFL defensive lineman Jerome, and infielder Chandler Rose’s father is an NFL referee. Butera is following in his dad’s footsteps; his father Sal spent parts of nine seasons in the big leagues in a career that ended in 1988. Sal was known for his defense, and so is his son. While Drew has just average arm strength, he has a quick transfer and one of the most accurate arms in the nation. He threw out 28 of the 58 runners who tried to steal on him this season and helped nurse along a pitching staff decimated by injuries. His catch-and-throw skills should get him to the big leagues as a reserve at the least. While Butera showed some offensive aptitude this season—he set career highs in every category that matters, from walks to batting to home runs—he still has below-average bat speed. His best-case scenario offensively is a .250 hitter with 10 homers, but that would make him a big league starter because his defense is that good.

    Aaron Hathway, part deux. If you loved him the first time, you'll love him the second time.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Gregory Cain has no scouting report, but was ranked as the 43rd best prospect out of the California region. He is an outfielder and there is little doubt he is toolsy.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Jonathan Niese is a left handed pitcher from Defiance, Ohio and he is 6-3, 190.

    Jonathan Niese became the first Ohio prep to claim back-to-back Gatorade state player of the year honors. The senior lefthander from Defiance (Ohio) High was 11-0, 0.11 with two saves, 127 strikeouts, 22 walks and 23 hits in 65 innings. Niese, who has committed to Cincinnati, is projected to be drafted in the sixth to 10th round range.

    Mets Get Their...er, um...Man

    I was trolling around Always Amazin' and got this out of their comment section. The Mets have a new reliever in Danny Graves. I know many of you hate it, but when the entire division is looking at him, he's worth a shot as a reclamation project. It cannot hurt. What's the worst thing that can happen? He looks like Mike DeJean?

    Back On Track

    The Main reason I thought the Mets would have a shot at contending in the National League East this year, was their starting pitching. While it did not start exactly as originally planned with an injury to Steve Tracshel, the emergence of Aaron Heilman, and some other injuries to Kris Benson and Kaz Ishii, everything appears to be on track. The Mets starters have been sparkling for the last twenty games of the season. The Mets pitching has been giving their team a chance to win nightly and has been keeping them in each game.

    I took the last four starts of each starter and compiled all of their stats.

    Last 20 games:
    Wins              9
    Losses 6
    ERA 3.00
    HR Allowed 9
    K/9 5.16
    BB/9 2.86
    H/9 7.81
    WHIP 1.19
    Avg. Inn/Start 6.5
    Met starters have given up one or less earned runs in eleven games, two or less earned runs in thirteen games, and three or less runs in fourteen games. The gave up four earned runs three times, five earned runs one time, and seven earned runs one time. Only once in the last twenty games has a Met starter given up more earned runs than innings pitched.

    In only two starts did Mets pitchers fail to make it through six complete innings. Met starters went at least six innings in eight games, completed or topped seven innings six times, and completed eight innings three times.

    They have done all that with having their second or third best starter in the bullpen and having to replace Steve Traschel, who is on his way back from surgery. I can safely say the Mets could field the best one through eight rotation out of any team in the Major Leagues when Steve returns. To those people clamoring for Barry Zito or any other starting pitcher on talk radio, the papers, or the internet, you are nuts. The Mets would be extremely ill advised to send any talent away for starting pitching or the bullpen for that matter. A meat of the order bat to play first base is another thing. Save your chips to see if you can pull of that deal for that.

    * * *

  • How or why Steve Phillips has job as an analyst is beyond me. He had a new piece on ESPN.com that I am still scratching my head as to what the hell the point of it was.

    In the end, some players fulfill their potential and some do not. Actually, most do not. If organizations knew in the beginning what they later find out about the players, they could sure save a lot of time and money.

    Having been a general manager, and knowing some of the mistakes I and other GMs have made, it made me wonder what a draft would look like if teams actually had the crystal ball and could make their choices again, forgoing the mistakes and selecting only major-league players.

    Here is how I would see the first round of the draft playing out this year if teams were able to pick players currently in the major leagues with the idea that they wanted to be successful using a five-year plan (this is the exact order in which the actual draft will take place):

    At first, you think he might be looking back at old drafts to see what players were passed up for players who flamed out and never became anything. That would be interesting so you can see who the Mets passed up by making Jason Tyner their first round pick, but interesting is not one of Steve Phillips main reasons for writing his article. As near as I can surmise, the main reason for writing this piece was wasting people's time. The article was a draft for which team would pick which Major League star if they could.

    1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Alex Rodriguez, SS
    He has the most homers ever by a hitter before the age of 30. He will go down in history as one of the most prodigious offensive players ever to play the game. The good news from the day of the draft is that he will be a "real Diamondback" despite never being a "real Yankee." By the way, I would draft him as a shortstop.

    2. Kansas City Royals: Albert Pujols, 1B
    3. Seattle Mariners: Miguel Tejada, SS
    4. Washington Nationals: Johan Santana, LHP

    5. Milwaukee Brewers: Pedro Martinez, RHP
    He can go by his first name only, which automatically means he's a star. When Pedro pitches, it's an event. He brings energy and enthusiasm to the ballpark. The Dodgers traded him to the Expos early in his career because they thought he was too slight and couldn't log enough innings. Now we know better. He is pitching like he has at least several good years left.

    7. Colorado Rockies: Vladimir Guerrero, OF
    8. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Bobby Abreu, OF

    9. New York Mets: Chipper Jones, 3B
    Considering he named his son Shea, it is only appropriate that the Mets select him. Hey, employ the "if you can't beat him join him" philosophy. He is the NL version of Derek Jeter, and he has power. He is an RBI machine. Thirteen consecutive division titles only happen when you have stars and leaders. He is a leader of leaders and a star of stars.

    10. Detroit Tigers: Derrek Lee, 1B
    11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Manny Ramirez, OF
    12. Cincinnati Reds: Tim Hudson, RHP
    13. Baltimore Orioles: Derek Jeter, SS
    14. Cleveland Indians: Roy Halladay, RHP
    15. Chicago White Sox: Carlos Delgado, 1B
    16. Florida Marlins: Brad Lidge, RHP
    17. New York Yankees (from Philadelphia Phillies): Eric Gagne, RHP
    18. San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy, RHP
    19. Texas Rangers: Carlos Zambrano, RHP

    20. Chicago Cubs: Carlos Beltran, OF
    This young guy is just heading into his prime, and he has all of the tools. He's a very good all-around player, and he's getting better. You can close your eyes and dream of 30/30 or 40/40 or 50/50, his tools are that good. He has the unique blend of speed and power, and he just needs to improve his rates (batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) to go higher.

    21. Oakland Athletics: Ichiro Suzuki, OF
    22. Florida Marlins (from San Francisco Giants): Mark Prior, RHP

    23. Boston Red Sox (from Los Angeles Angels): David Ortiz, 1B
    Anybody nicknamed Big Papi must be a first-round pick. He has a flair for the dramatic and delivers in the clutch seemingly at will. He plays his best in big games, and that's a special trait to have. He is a power-hitting leader with charisma. People stay in their seats to watch him hit.

    24. Houston Astros: Gary Sheffield, OF
    25. Minnesota Twins: Aramis Ramirez, 3B
    26. Boston Red Sox (from Los Angeles Dodgers): Roy Oswalt, RHP
    27. Atlanta Braves: Adam Dunn, OF
    28. St. Louis Cardinals (from Boston Red Sox): Mark Teixeira, 1B

    29. Florida Marlins (from New York Yankees): David Wright, 3B
    This kid has all of the makings of a star. He has the tools and the skills to be a power-hitting Gold Glove third baseman. He just needs experience. He has unique patience for a young hitter. Plus, he has that special twinkle in his eye and a humility that is uncommon with greatness.

    30. St. Louis Cardinals: Joe Mauer, C

    At least if you are going to do it, draft people that actually make sense for the teams. The Mets draft Chipper Jones when they have David Wright instead of the guy right behind him who the Mets needs a bit more than a aging, injured star? Also, good thing the Padres drafted their own player.

    He not only has a pointless piece on ESPN, but it is in the pay portion of the site. Is this really part of their value added experience of ESPN.com? His continual lame attempts at humor came close to exceeding the pointlessness of his article. Things would have been a lot better if he just decided to rank the top thirty players in the game and gave his explanations of why they transcend today's game. I cannot believe this guy was a GM and I once called him a genius.

    Lastly, when is he going to stop tying his name to the Mets? He ends his pieces with this:

    Steve Phillips, a former general manager of the New York Mets, is a regular on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.

    Can't the Mets sue him to remove any affiliation with the team even if "former" is included?

  • Baseball America has the Mets snagging Mike Pelfrey at #9 and passing up Craig Hansen.

    9. Mets: Mike Pelfrey, rhp, Wichita State U.

    Boras advises the top three pitching prospects in this draft in Pelfrey, Hochevar and Hansen. Pelfrey is looking for the same kind of contract as the others, and he looks like the only one of the three who won't have to drop down in the first round to get it. If he does prove too rich for the Mets, they'd turn to Bruce. GM Omar Minaya was poised to draft Townsend last year while with the Expos, but has backed off after Sunday's workout at the Mets' spring-training complex.

    The buzz is that Cameron Maybin drops past the Mets and they pass him up and Troy Tulowitzki may be falling as well, though the Rockies like him enought to not give the Mets a shot at him. Both are top five talents and both would be people I covet more than Pelfrey. Here is the Metropolitans draft board as I like the players.

    1) Justin Upton
    2) Alex Gordon
    3) Troy Tulowitzki
    4) Cameron Maybin
    5) Craig Hansen
    6) Ryan Braun
    7) Jeff Clement
    8) Ricky Romero
    9) Jay Bruce
    10) Ryan Zimmerman
    11) Mike Pelfrey

    The Tigers are very interested in Pelfrey. You want him? Send us over Uggie Urbina for our awesome set-up man Mike DeJean and the Mets will be more than happy to let him drop and choose someone else.

  • "He's probably been the most consistent hitter all year for us so far," Randolph said. "He just keeps coming up with big hits. He'll sprinkle in a home run every once in a while, but he's been consistently getting on base. He's progressing really, really nicely."

    Progressing nicely? HE'S THERE!!!

  • Cammy is as cool as the other side of the pillow.

  • Piazza to retire after this season? It's tough to watch the big guy flounder like this for sure.

    Piazza called talk of retirement "premature." But a major-league executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity guessed that Piazza would retire. Asked about Piazza being a DH, the same exec said, "He's not hitting well enough right now to be a DH in the American League."

  • Much to many people's chagrin, the Mets are supposedly leading the Danny Graves race. I like the move, it cannot hurt, and he was impressive in the past, so why not? The Mets should have a 40-man spot open from Heredia going down and if Graves bites, let him go or trade him to the one of the many teams that are interested in him for nothing.

  • Normally, I would not suggest laughing at other people's misfortunes, but this is just great. The Yankees dip below .500 and their hot streak is a thing of the past. They lost to the Brew Crew behind their "ace" Randy Johnson. Randy went six innings, allowed ten base runners, and gave up four runs for the loss. He is now 5-5 with a 4.07 ERA. He gave up two more long balls to bring his games started total back to even with his homeruns allowed total. Even more telling is his K/9, which is down to 7.82, his BAA, which is up to .262, and his WHIP, which is up to 1.25. Very un-RJ like.

    Ladies and Gentleman, the Yankee mystique has left the building.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Rochester 1-0 behind a Rodney Nye homer and a solid Neal Musser pitching performance.
    • Hagerstown lost to Lexington 7-4, but Mike Carp went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and his second homerun in as many days. He now has 15 homers and 42 RBIs. Don't look now, but he is on track for 35+ homers and 100+ RBIs. At 19, he has to be regarded as a solid prospects at this point
    • St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach 8-5 and Phil Humber looked pretty bad with an 8 hit, 8 run, one walk, and one strikeout line in 1.2 innings. He has a 6.50 ERA and an 0-5 record. Nobody press the panic button yet, Humber has not been particularly sharp after his injury, but we all need to temper our expectations on his arrival date at Shea, but he will straighten it out.
  • Monday, June 06, 2005


    David Wright is third in the majors in OPS for third baseman behind A-Rod (bats 5th in the order and should be higher...I can see where Willie gets his lineup writing abilities from) and Morgan Ensberg (bats predominantly 5th now).

    He is tied for fifth in homers behind A-Rod, Troy Glaus (bats 4th), Ensberg, and Aramis Ramirez (bats 4th or 5th).

    He is tied for second in doubles by third baseman with fifteen with Chipper Jones (bats 3rd).

    He is fifth in batting average behind A-Rod, Edgardo Alfonso (bats 5th or 6th), Brandon Inge (bats leadoff), and Shea Hillenbrand (bats 3rd through 5th).

    He is fourth in RBIs with thirty two despite not hanging around the meat of the order all the time.

    David is an astonishing tenth in the league in pitches per at bat. Wright is the only guy under 25 in the top 50 for base on balls per plate appearance out of all position players that qualify for the batting title.

    On the Mets, Wright is third in runs scored, first in doubles, second in homers, second in RBIs, first in BBs, second in BA out of all the starters, and second in OPS.

    He is batting .348/.442/.618 with runners on, .280/.400/.480 with runners in scoring position, and .500/.571/1.167 with the bases loaded.

    Imagine what he could do if given the maximum amount of opportunities?

    * * *

  • We all knew there could be a few different teams sitting atop the NL East, but after 57 games, who would have thought it would have been the Nationals?
                  W    L    PCT   GB
    Washington 31 26 .544 -
    Atlanta 30 26 .536 .5
    Philadelphia 30 27 .526 1
    NY Mets 30 27 .526 1
    Florida 28 26 .519 1.5
    A few questions I need to ask.

    How long until Philadelphia is in first place?

    Does Carlos Delgado realize that he would have made the Mets significantly better than he made the Marlins? With him, they are no better than anyone in the division and I firmly believe he would have been the difference maker for the Mets.

    Can Washington hang in for the entire summer?

    Why is Joe Torre so ugly?

  • Guillermo Mota might be on the trading block after some words with Jack McKeon.

    Todd Jones has converted all eight save opportunities since May 1, when Mota went on the disabled list with a sore right elbow.

    Mota didn't help his case Saturday when he allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings. When McKeon took the ball from him in the eighth inning, Mota tried to walk away but was called back to the mound for an animated chewing out by the manager.

    Good stuff. The Marlins heading down the stretch with Todd Jones makes me feel good.

  • The Mariners have their picks narrowed down to Jeff Clement, Alex Gordon, John Mayberry Jr., Mike Pelfrey, and Troy Tulowitzki.

  • Cairo is still gimpy.

    Randolph said before the doubleheader that he was hoping not to use second baseman Miguel Cairo, who is still bothered by a strained left hamstring.

  • The buzz around the Mets is still Craig Hansen.

    So when he decides which player to take with the No. 9 pick in tomorrow's annual amateur draft, don't expect Minaya to select a prospect who could take three or four years to develop. He may not be around to see it.

    "I don't know who we're going to take yet. But I do know there are some players out there who could help us next year if all goes well," Minaya said. "That's part of my thinking. But a lot can happen once teams start making picks."

  • When he was a sophomore at Notre Dame, Aaron Heilman once pitched three scoreless innings, moved to first base for an inning, then went back on the mound to get the final three outs of a Big East tournament game.

    "Got the win and the save," he said yesterday. "I threw 10 innings one day, too. Worked both games of a doubleheader."

    It's amazing how much Aaron Heilman has endeared himself to Mets fans after most, including me, never wanted to see him on the mound again. Now fans are clamoring for him to be on the mound. In relief, he has a 1.03 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, and 9.31 K/9 in 9.2 innings. If they trade him for a something crappy at the deadline I will be one unhappy camper.

  • Why are people boo-ing Beltran?

  • Willie still has some things to learn, and hopefully he does learn.

    It seems Willie Randolph

    still hasn't mastered the fine art of the double switch.

    Randolph took David Wright out of the seventh inning of the first game, bringing in right-hander Heath Bell to relieve starter Ishii and bat sixth and inserting utility man Chris Woodward at third base and in the ninth spot in the batting order.

    It was surprising to see Wright be the one to come out of the game, but Randolph explained that it was an automatic move, since Wright had made the last out in the sixth.

    Wright smiled when asked if he was surprised to be switched out like that.

    "I told Willie it was my fault because I made the last out," he said. "I said, 'If I hadn't made the last out, this wouldn't even be an option.'"

  • Oswalt vs. Martinez. A great match up in the making.

  • The D-Backs have a sick collection of bats soon to be in the minor league system with the addition of Stephen Drew and most likely Justin Upton to Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, and Scott Hairston.

    Also from the above article:

    The Mets remain desperate for a quality left-handed reliever, but the team will be in better position to trade for bullpen help if right-handed starter Steve Trachsel makes a successful recovery from back surgery. The projected return of Trachsel by the All-Star break would enable the team to move a back-of-the-rotation type, like RHP Aaron Heilman, or RHP Jae Seo. Scouts are renewing their interest in Seo, who is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in nine starts at Class AAA.

  • Minor update:

    • St. Lucie beat Palm Beach 7-2. Lastings made his return to the lineup and went 1 for 4 with a run scored.
    • Hagerstown beat Lexington 7-5. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5, Ambiorix Concepcion had his best game of the year going 3 for 3, with two runs scored, one homer, one RBI, and two walks, Mike Carp went 2 for 5 with one run scored, one homer, and one RBI, Grant Psomas went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, one double, and one walk, and Derran Watts went 3 for 3 with one run scored, two doubles, two RBIs.
    • Binghamton loss to Trenton 14-10. Matt Lindstrom had a forgettable game, but the offense had plenty of stars. Mike Jacobs led the charge with a 1 for 3 day with two runs, one homer, four RBIs, and one walk.
    • Norfolk won 13-5 against Rochester. Rochester was led by Jason Tyner who went 4 for 5, but Tyner's onslaught was not enough to power his team past the Tides. Prentice Redman continues to swing a hot bat since being promoted and went 2 for 4 with a homerun.
  • Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Dog Fight

    I have no time today, but I just wanted to point out that the entire NL East is within 1.5 games of each other and that all teams have very good home records with sub .500 road records. I guess the key to this division will be who can actually turn it on playing on the road.