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

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Can someone explain why the Red Sox and Mets are even involved in a three way deal? Essentially, the Red Sox and Mets are swapping Cammy and Manny. Then the Red Sox give up Sanchez and Shoppach for Huff, and the Mets give up Milledge and Petit for Baez? That deal is worse than Kazmir for Zambrano. How do the Devil Rays get so overpaid for their two pieces? Why are they even involved? I'm just lost and confused on this one. Cut out Lamar and the Devil Rays and get the deal done. This is absurd. Everyone has lost their sanity.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

ESPN News states that a three way deal is in the works to bring Danys Baez and Manny Ramirez to the Mets, with Aubrey Huff going to the Red Sox, and Mike Cameron and prospects going to the Devil Rays. That was told to me by a friend, but it does not sounds right. I will try and find something out about it, but he says it is pretty far along.

Update: It looks like Cammy and Huff to the Red Sox with Manny and Baez going to the Mets and the D-Rays getting all prospects.

Update #2:Jayson Stark says it would be two prospects from the Mets, and two prospects from the Red Sox.

Fading Fast

The Mets are now in last place in the NL East and six games behind the Braves. Unacceptable. They are 1-3 on this road trip so far and have torn down all of the good will that they built on the last homestand. This team has been so inconsistent and reluctant to take it to the next step and put .500 behind them and make a run at things, it really makes you wonder if Omar is going to be affected in how he approaches this weekend by the Mets erratic play. For a team that is clearly on the cusp of contending and needing a big bat, but not deep enough on the farm to deal away stud prospects like Lastings Milledge and Yusmiero Petit and assemble a successful team for the next ten years without heavily relying on the free agent market, they need to think about the road they heading down. You simply need a deep system to infuse young players on your team and the Mets have two of the best of them. To give them up at this time may not be the most prudent thing to do.

That being said, I'm on board with the Murray Chass train. Just by the sheer dollar amount involved, Manny Ramirez would not be costing any prospects, or any ones that are vital to the Mets future at least. Ramirez is due $7.2 million of his $20 million salary for this season and $57 million over the upcoming three seasons.

"If you're willing to take a broken bat and a couple of baseballs and a player to be named later, I supposed that makes it more possible, but there's just a certain set of clubs that will never be interested because of the dollars involved. But then again that club may say, 'Hey, if he's got a $18-20 million contract this year, and you pay 95 percent of it, you know, we'll trade with you.' But that's not a particularly intelligent thing for us to do."

While Alfonso Soriano is still an upgrade for the Mets club offensively, he is not the difference maker that Manny is. Manny is one of the best RBI guys in the game and with the Mets struggling to score runs, there is no better fit than Manny. While Soriano would help, Manny is clearly a better fit. Now about that contract. I realized that it is an absurd amount of money, but it is for only three seasons after this and will be gone when the Mets need the cash to dish out the cash to Jose Reyes and David Wright. Sure the Mets will be in the red, but the cash people will be laying out to go watch this team for the rest of season will go a long way to help pay for Manny and Manny could very well drive the Mets into the playoffs by filling up a void that is tremendous. I'm not sure what it would take, but if the Mets would be able to give them Cliffy or Cammy, possibly a slary dump in Tom Glavine, and whatever else they may need that is not named Lastings, Yusmeiro, or Gaby and assume the money, it needs to be done. The Mets are one team that will be able to give them a guy who has over 20 homers and that is huge for a team giving up the best run producer in the game. Omar needs to hang up with Hart and find out how to make this work with Epstein and the Red Sox.

* * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Toledo 4-0. Victor Diaz went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI and Eric Valent went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs. Victor Diaz was back in right field to no doubt get some work in in case he will be replacing Cammy in right this weekend. Angel Pagan stole his 19th base of the season and went 1 for 4 with a run scored. Jason Scobie pitched well and went 6.2 innings and gave up four hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out four.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton 6-5. Lastings Milledge went 1 for 5 with an RBI, Brett Harper went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, and Mike Jacobs went 1 for 5 with a run scored, a double, and an RBI.
    • St. Lucie beat Sarasota 8-7. Dante Brinkley went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a walk, and two RBIs.
    • Hagerstown vs. Kannapolis was rained out.
    • Hudson Valley beat Brooklyn 11-6.
    • Kingsport vs. Greeneville got rained out.
    • The GCL Mets vs. the GCL Nationals apparently did not play last night and I have no idea why.
    • The VSL Astros beat the VSL Mets 5-1.
  • The Yankees acquired Shawn Chacon for nothing. They acquired a 27-year old righty who throws 92-94 mph for Ramon Ramirez and Edwardo Sierra (crickets chirping). Huh? This was the best they could do for a guy who still has some considerable upside?

  • Some people say that the Alfonso trade has cooled down and some say that is very much alive.

    Yesterday found the Mets still hard at work on a deal that would bring them the Texas Rangers second baseman. As of last night, the sides were discussing a deal that would send right fielder Mike Cameron, outfield prospect Lastings Milledge and a pitching prospect -- possibly Yusmeiro Petit -- to the Rangers for Soriano and 23-year-old first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Final details had yet to be worked out, and some of the names could change, but the Mets are working to finalizing the deal in some form before Sunday's 4 p.m. deadline.

    I am not happy about losing Lastings and Petit even if they get back A-Gone. I mean, Cammy is a premier centerfielder and is no slouch. The Mets are direly overvaluing Soriano at this point.

  • The Mets are still looking at Danys Baez, Eddie Guardado, and Jose Mesa. In some comedy relief, Chuck Lamar asked for David Wright or Jose Reyes according to Adam Rubin. What a douchebag.
  • Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Jim Maloney on MLB Radio

    Jim Maloney was on Stayin' Hot on MLB Radio and said that he thinks the Soriano deal will get done and it is not being held up on players. They have come to an agreement on players, but the hang up is on money. The Mets want the Rangers to pick up some of the bill while the Rangers obviously do not. If it is about money, I would assume this gets wrapped up too.

    How Does It Taste?

    Kenny Rogers started serving his twenty game suspension yesterday. The Rangers are seventh in the Wild Card race, but sit only 4.5 games out. Only one starting pitcher left has an ERA under 5.63 even if they add Sidney Ponson. They cannot survive that long of a stretch and keep playoff aspirations with the starting five they will be running out there. Remind me again who is desperate? The Rangers sit comfortably in third place out of the entire Major Leagues in runs scored and were only eleven runs off the lead prior to last night's action. Ian Kinsler is hitting .261/.329/.454 with 20 doubles, 17 homers, 66 RBIs, and 34 walks at AAA. If Soriano is moved, they will lose production there with the young Kinsler, but he will be a factor and contribute. Aside from having a suitable replacement, the Rangers are still paying about $8,000,000 a year for A-Rod to play for the Yankees and Soriano needs to be not around so they can try and sign a better player in Mark Teixiera to a long term deal. Whether or not Hart says it, it looks like they have plenty of reasons to move Alfonso.

    The Rangers have an abundance of hitting and the Mets have an abundance of pitching. Hart and the Rangers are not in the driver's seat and perhaps more desperate for pitching than Omar and the Mets for hitting. Though he will not admit it and is leading everyone to believe he is more than happy to keep Alfonso around, do you think two Major League pitchers in Victor Zambrano and Jae Seo that he can slot into his rotation would be welcome? The Mets need to shed the air of desperation that they always exude and Omar and the Mets should not be interested in giving up one single solitary prospect to Hart and low ball him by not giving up Heilman either. Zambrano has turned into a pretty good pitcher and if they want to pass, let it be. I would rather keep Zambrano than give up two solid starting pitchers. Though the Rangers probably will not accept it, lay that deal out on the table and see what happens. Put a take it or leave it offer there and do it on your terms. Use Heilman to replace Zambrano's spot in the rotation be insistent upon keeping Petit and Milledge. The Rangers have absolutely no shot at the playoffs at this moment in time with their staff when it included Kenny Rogers, but without him for twenty games, things are really, really bad for them. Omar should try and take advantage of that or sit tight with what he has or look at a less sexy improvement or maybe spin Cammy for prospects to try and get Aubrey Huff. Hart has no reason not to deal Soriano at this point and anything else he says is posturing. I may be stupid, but I am not stupid enough to see that Soriano does not represent an upgrade for the Mets. I'm not against bringing Soriano here, but on the Mets terms and in a deal that favors them because I believe he is overvalued. Omar should try and expose the Rangers dire need for pitching or tell them to leave it.

    * * *

  • Looks like Ramon Hernandez will definitely be a free agent next season. He will cost a first round draft pick, but he will be worth it. Prediction, he will be a Met next season.

  • Sidney Ponson could possibly be headed to Texas for Richard Hidalgo and Adrian Gonzalez. Ponson’s money is a holdup and the fact that he has no skill might be factoring in as well, but the Orioles are not really enamored with Richard Hidaglo. A lot needs to be done here for this deal to go through.

  • Conor Jackson has been brought up to the bigs. The Diamondbacks are trying to kick start their offense and Chad Tracy will be moved to rightfield and Shawn Green will be moved to center.

    "My power numbers are down a little," said Jackson, who hit a combined 17 homers last year at Class A Lancaster and Double-A El Paso. "I'm not really worried about it, but if I want to play first base in the big leagues I have to hit for power."

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk played Toledo in a doubleheader last night. In game one, the Mets won 6-5. Anderson Hernandez's batting average is falling faster than the Nationals in the standings and he went 0 for 3 with a walk to see his average drop to .316. Victor Diaz went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Eric Valent continues his hot hitting and went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI to bring his average up to .309. Jae Seo had yet another rough outing and went 6.1 innings, gave up nine hits, five earned runs, two a walks, one homer, and struck out five. In game two, the Mets won 7-2. Anderson Hernandez hit is second homer since being called up to AAA and knocked in three runs. Victor Diaz went 2 for 3 in the game as well. Heath Bell got the start and went three innings, gave up three hits, one earned run, and struck out three. I'm assuming he started because he will not be down for long and they want him to work on this changeup and get as much as he can. Royce Ring also pitched two scoreless innings of no hit, no walk ball and struck out one.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton 14-8. Yusmeiro Petit could have had his worst start as a pro and got shelled in four innings of work. He gave up seven hits, eight earned runs, an uncharacteristic four walks, and struck out three. He is now 5-3 with a 3.53 ERA. Mike Jacobs hit is 20th homer of the year and knocked in his 71st and 72nd RBIs.
    • Hagerstown vs. Delmarva was suspended due to rain in the seventh inning during a 7-7 tie.
    • Brooklyn beat Batvia 7-2. Caleb Stewart went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, his sixth homer of the year, and three RBIs.
    • Kingsport beat Greeneville 11-9. Jose Mateo went 3 for 3 with two walks, four runs scored, one double, one homer, and three RBIs.
    • The GCL Mets beat the GCL Marlins 5-4.
    • The VSL Reds beat the VSL Mets 2-1.
  • Anyone see the Mr. Met commercial during last night's game where he was shooting a grounds crew member with T-Shirts? Classic stuff.

    "Dude, I can see like 80% of your head."

  • Some people work too hard, I am not one of them.

    "I got a little tired, a little sluggish before the All-Star break," Wright said. "I felt the bat was a little heavy. Given a chance to get those days off, I felt fresh."

    Note to Willie. A fresh D. Wright is a good D. Wright. He needs to sit once in a while.

  • Scott pointed this rumor in the comments section.

    The Mets have interest in Alfonso Soriano, but the price is too high. Other second basemen who could be available include Toronto's Orlando Hudson and Cincinnati's Rich Aurilia.

    I like the idea of Orlando Hudson for sure, but he just brings stability more than anything. While being a decent hitter, he is not going to be a big a big boost from what they have been getting out of second base between Anderson and Cairo.

  • From the Daily News:

    While Mets brass burns up the phone lines, no deal is imminent, team insiders said, and there's a fair chance the deadline will pass without any changes at all. Soriano and Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez have drawn the most interest, though any deal likely wouldn't occur until close to Sunday night's deadline, when the asking prices might drop. A Mets insider said D-Rays first baseman Aubrey Huff has attracted their interest, too.

  • In case you missed it, even Baseball Prospectus is coming around. In their last Hit List, the Mets are ranked #9.

    Mets-o-Mezzo: according to Alan Schwarz, the Mets spent 25 out of 27 days within one game of .500. But having won six out of seven, they're now four games above sea level and have the fourth-best run differential of any NL team. The hot hand belongs to Jose Reyes, who's hit .452/.485/.581 and has stolen eight out of eight during that streak... all of which has brought his OBP to .295.

    Baseball Prospectus also thinks the Rangers original asking price was a bit high.

    Of the things that haven't happened, Will reports that the Mets have been active, with rumored acquisitions of Alfonso Soriano and Sean Casey. The former deal has them giving up their top two prospects (Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit), plus more for Soriano. That would be far too much for a player who, as a high-strikeout hitter, would likely see his production plummet in Shea Stadium. Soriano would be an upgrade on the Mets' frustrating second-base situation, just not nearly enough of one to justify that kind of investment.

  • Update: From Baseball Prospectus: It's easy to mock Omar Minaya's brashness, but our estimate is that the Mets still have a 26 percent chance of making the playoffs.

    I'll take that.

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Sanity now, sanity now, sanity now....

    Sanity now, championships later. This trade deadline is shaping up to be one of the quietest ones that I can remember. GMs have taken their crazy pills and are asking ridiculously high prices to extort some desperate teams and extract more value for players than they should really be able to get. Deals are funny though. A player may be worth a top tier prospect to one team, but not to another. What another team assesses as their need may prioritize a player and make him more valuable, while another team may view a player as a nice luxury, but not a necessity. No team is perfect and everyone can stand to improve, but sometimes teams just go with what they have and take their chances after sizing up the competition.

    Enter the Mets. Look around the East. Every team has major problems. If the price is not right, staying the course makes sense for a team that is not sizably better or even a sure bet after adding a player. However, if you can get a fair price on a player, the scales can be tipped in a tightly packed NL East with one guy. However, is Alfonso Soriano that player? No one doubts he is talented, but what the Mets need is a run producing, RBI-machine like Carlos Lee or Manny Ramirez. They need a guy that will cleanup the bases when there are guys on there and drive in 120 runs. For all his homers, Soriano has topped 100 RBIs once. Carlos Delgado was that guy. Does having Alfonso Soriano on the team make it better? Yes, but at what cost and how much better?

    "John's asking for the moon right now, from everybody who asks," the official said. "But I'd be willing to bet he'll lower his sights. I bet that will come down by Sunday. Why would they keep him? They've got a ready replacement (in hot prospect Ian Kinsler), and they've got to get more pitching. I think they're serious. They're just trying to bring in as many teams as they can."

    "They don't want to move him," said an official of one interested team. "I don't think they have any interest in dealing him unless they crush you on the trade."

    This is what is great about the rumor mill. You can get contradicting opinions from two people and they both seem logical. Many people seem to think prospects are just that. Not a sure thing by any means and when an opportunity presents itself to get a talented player in return for prospects, you do it. However, Soriano is not a leading man. He is not the guy that will put this team on his back and go. He is a complimentary player that needs big guns in the lineup with him and the Mets problem right now is that they have too many of those players right now. To many supporting players and not that one start like Miguel Tejada. Carlos Beltran was supposed to be that guy, but I am having my doubts if he will ever be.

    It's not that trading certain players like Scott Kazmir and Lastings Milledge should not be done, but who are you getting back? Are you getting the right guy back? Alfonso Soriano is not that guy. The Mets would ink him to a long term deal if they acquired him and eat up a lot of salary on a guy that I am skeptical of being worth every penny. Miguel Tejada he is not and I think the Mets would be looking towards him to be their Tejada. Also, I have no idea which of the two sides of the fence I'm on. The side where the sources say Hart is not motivated to deal his slugger or the side that says they are trying to dump. I can tell you this though, he will not be cheap if he gets dealt and that I am rather certain of that. Hart traded A-Rod for Soriano and Arias and basically admitted that overpaying for A-Rod was a horrible idea and huge mistake. The Rangers cannot trade Soriano for anything less than a superb package because by transitive properties, whatever they get in return for Alfonso, they basically traded A-Rod for in addition to Arias. GMs do not like to look stupid and Hart is no different. I just do not see a match in terms of the Rangers being a good trade partner and Omar should stay the course and pass on Soriano.
    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk vs. Toledo was postponed.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton 4-1. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 5 with a stolen base and Mike Jacobs went 2 for 3 with two doubles, a walk, and the B-Mets only RBI.
    • St. Lucie beat the Tampa Yankees 1-0. Wilson Batista went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a triple, and a walk and Grant Psomas went 2 for 3 with a double. Jerrod Riggan picked up the win after one inning of relief and he has not given up a run in ten innings between the GCL Mets and the St. Lucie Mets.
    • Delmarva beat Hagerstown 8-7. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 6 with a run scored and his 46th stolen base of the year.
    • Batvia beat Brooklyn 4-3. Nick Evans went 0 for 3 with a run scored and a walk.
    • Kingsport beat Bristol 10-5. Sean Henry went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a homer, and three RBIs.
    • The GCL Mets took on the GCL Marlins in a doubleheader. In game one, the Marlins beat the Mets 2-1. In game two, the Mets won 12-4. Brahiam Maldonado went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI. Leivi Ventura went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI.
    • The VSL Mets beat the VSL Orioles 6-5.
  • According to Tom Verducci, Manny Ramirez is unhappy in Boston and requested a trade. Though there is virtually no shot the Red Sox trade him in season, how about Cliff Floyd and Mike Cameron in the off season? Despite all his antics, he is one player that could undoubtedly help the Mets.

    "I think he wants a urinal out in the scoreboard," Francona said, a reference to when Ramirez walked through the door in the Green Monster during a visit to the mound by pitching coach Dave Wallace last week. He was still there as Wade Miller was preparing to throw a pitch, only to emerge at the last second, smiling.

  • From the NYPost:

    The chairman of the Japanese baseball players' union, Atsuya Furuta, was quoted in yesterday's Daily Yomiuri saying that his players "will not take part" in the World Baseball Classic. Furuta said his players were against a tournament interfering with their season preparation in March and also with major league baseball and its union dominating the event.

  • Here he goes again. The more I think about it, the more I think this will be a disaster.

  • From Newsday:

    The Mets signed three more draft picks as left-hander Jon Niese (seventh round), infielder Matt Anderson (31) and right-hander Will Jostock (49) agreed to deals. The Mets have signed 29 of their 48 picks but only 11 of the first 20.

  • The Mets did have a chance at the end. Gerald Williams reached on an infield single with two outs in the ninth off closer Brian Fuentes and scored on a double by Jose Reyes.

    But Mike Cameron struck out looking. It was his fourth strikeout of the game, three of them on pitches called by Lance Barksdale.

    "Bad day at the office. Let's just say I disagreed on some of those pitches," said Cameron, who struck out looking with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning. In all, he left five men on base.

    I love Cammy, but he is not a two hitter. Your two hole hitter should be a contact hitter and Cammy should be batting 6th or 7th in a lineup. That is in a perfect world though and the Mets are making due with the pieces they have. Cammy’s date at the plate combined with a Mets error to put the Mets away. On top of that, scoring six runs in two games at Coors is unacceptable.

    From 3.5 games out and riding a high a few days ago, they are now five games out after losing the first two baseball's worst team before heading to play baseball's second hottest team, the Houston Astros. Of course, after the Mets spit the bit in this series, they will rebound to play well enough again to invariably get our hopes up. This team direly needs a dose of consistency if they play to keep making noise in this division.

  • David Wright lifted his batting average to .300 for the first time since June 10 while extending his hitting streak to 14 games. "It means nothing if you don't win," he said.
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    How Good is Robinson Cano?

    I cannot turn on 1050 ESPN Radio or WFAN without hearing Yankee fans talk about Robinson Cano as the second coming or Mr. Intangibles himself, Derek Jeter. While I have no idea if Robinson has as many intangibles or knows how to win as much as Derek, he is certainly having an impressive rookie campaign.
    May 6 2 11 3 13 .253 .273 .398 .670
    June 7 4 15 4 12 .310 .343 .520 .863
    July 8 2 11 2 8 .356 .371 .540 .911
    Total 21 8 37 9 33 .307 .330 .489 .819
    The kid just keeps putting up more impressive numbers every month and in 69 games, has twenty-one doubles and is only eight off his career high of twenty-nine in 2004 between AA and AA in 135 games. His eight homers is seven off his career high of in 2002 in 135 games between the New York-Penn League and the South Atlantic League. He has topped .300 only at one minor league stop in 2004 in the hitter friendly Eastern League and never topped .280 in any other season. How can anyone have their best year of their career in their rookie year in the big leagues at 22?

    I truly think that he is largely a product of his environment. He has predominantly batted either first or ninth in the order. When batting ninth, he had Derek Jeter and the rest of the big bats following him and right now, he has Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, and the red hot Jason Giambi following him in the lineup. If you were a pitcher, wouldn't you feed him a steady diet of fastballs and go after him? When facing the Yankees, you have to choose your poison and he seems like the likely target to see the best pitches. He arguably has the best protection out of any hitter in the bigs.
                 Age  G XBH Runs RBI BB  Hitting Line  #P/PA
    Jose Reyes 19 69 21 47 32 13 .307/.334/.434 3.42
    David Wright 21 69 32 41 40 14 .293/.376/.499 3.79
    Robinson Cano 22 69 31 43 43 37 .307/.334/.434 2.94
    Jose Reyes made his Major League debut at 19 years old and put up a .307/.334/.434 line and while probably not being Jose's best pro season, it was pretty close to his best and really close to Cano's numbers and impressive for being a mere teenager when came up. In David Wright's first year, he was a year younger than Cano with rather similar numbers, but displayed more plate discipline. Cano is not a choosey hitter and it really is a mystery whether he is just a very good hitter when he decides to swing, or whether he is getting good pitches to hit. With his bad discipline, it is certainly curious why pitchers have not exposed him more if they could.

    So I guess the questions are, is he better than, or as good as, David Wright and Jose Reyes? Is he a product of his environment like I believe was a big part of Alfonso Soriano's success early on? Does he put up the same numbers playing for Pittsburgh?

    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk lost to Richmond 7-3. Anderson Hernandez continues to fall back to Earth and went 0 for 4 and is now batting .324. Eric Valent continues to hit and went 2 for 4 to bring his average up to .303. Neal Musser got roughed up in 3.2 innings of work and gave up thirteen hits, six earned runs, three walks, two homers, and struck out only one.
    • Altoona beat Binghamton 6-5. Lastings Milledge went 1 for 6 and struck out twice.
    • St. Lucie played a doubleheader vs. Tampa. In game one, St.Lucie won 6-1 behind a 2 for 3 day by Jamar Hill in which he tripled, hit a homer, and knocked in four RBIs. Tyler Davidson also knocked a homer and went 1 for 2. Steve Trachsel went four innings of one hit ball and did not walk a batter while striking out three. In game two, St. Lucie won 1-0. Blake Whealy provided the Mets only hit and he made it count making it a homerun. Vicent Corova went seven innings, giving up two hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out four against the Yankees best pitching prospect Phillip Hughes. Hughes went five innings, giving up no hits, one walk, and struck out seven.
    • Hagerstown beat Delmarva 5-0. Mike Carp went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored and Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with a run scored, two doubles and an RBI.
    • Brooklyn beat Batvia 5-2. Armand Gaerlan and Joshua Peterson each went 1 for 5 with two RBIs.
    • Bristol came back from a 5-0 deficit to beat Kingsport 6-5. Matthew Anderson went 1 for 3 with a walk, a homer, and four RBIs.
    • The GCL Mets and the GCL Marlins were rained out.
    • The Venezuelan Mets beat the Venezuelan Pirates 6-2. Alejandro Zuaznabar went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a double, a walk, and three RBIs while Julio Perez went 1 for 2 with two walks, a run scored, and two RBIs.
  • Evan MacLane gets some virtual ink from Baseball America's Daily Dish on Monday.

    Mets lefthander Evan MacLane just keeps mowing down hitters. He threw a five-hit complete-game shutout Sunday against Bowie in his Double-A debut. He struck out seven batters and walked two in a 2-0 Binghamton win. MacLane, 22 and a 25th-round pick from Feather River (Calif.) Community College in 2003, was 8-5, 3.20 with a 92-15 strikeout-walk ratio in 112 innings at high Class A St. Lucie.

  • The chats are coming at a fast and furious pace and if you love reading the same questions over and over again, you will love reading these chats. Monday, Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney both had chats.

    Franco (Hoboken): Will the Mets really deal the farm for Soriano??

    Tim Kurkjian: I can't see the Mets making a similar mistake to last year. Granted, Soriano is much more of an impact player than Victor Zambrano, but they learned their lesson trading a good young prospect with Scott Kazmir. I think they will make a deal before the 31st, but I don't think they will be willing to give up their prized young players to do it.

    Ah, learning from you mistakes. A truly novel idea in the Mets organization.

    paul, dc: hear that? that was the nats falling back to earth

    Tim Kurkjian: Yeah, the Nationals are falling ... and fast. It's no wonder, given that they are the lowest scoring team in the major leagues. No team in baseball history has ever finished last in it's league in runs scored and won 90 games OR gone to the playoffs. ... And only 10 of those 210 teams have EVER finished above .500. The Nats really need another hitter and another pitcher if they are going to make it to the playoffs.

    Definitely the question of the day. They are a great story this year no matter it ends up, but there is no way they are the last team standing.

    Josh (NYC): The NYM need a 2b and have some pitching, Texas has hitting and needs pitching. Will Omar pull off a Soriano deal? Would you give up Milledge to get him?

    Buster Olney: Josh, and others: Sorry for the delay, but like an idiot, spilled coffee on the keyboard, so had to switch computers. I think of all the GMs facing the buyer/seller quandary, Omar's got the toughest call. If I was him, I'd make more lateral moves, plug and fill a bit, because that bullpen looks so thin and the problems are too steep to solve now. But that's not his style, he's in New York, and adding Soriano could potentially be an impact move. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him playing second base at Shea in the next homestand.

    Like an idiot? Anyway, that is bold statement by Buster saying Soriano may be with the Mets by the next homestand.

    Greg (NYC): Is there any truth to this Soriano to the Mets rumor or will this rumor merely come up every off-season and trade deadline until the guy retires? Who do you think the Mets have to give up?

    Buster Olney: Greg: I'm sure the Mets have and will talk about it. it makes a lot of sense, as long as the Rangers aren't looking for two A-plus type prospects. Personally, I wouldn't give up Milledge, as some of you have asked.

    Wow, at least we agree on something. Excuse me while I go check for the apocalypse.

  • Craig Hansen signed with the Red Sox for $4,000,000. According to ESPN, Hansen gets a $1,325,000 signing bonus, payable $441,667 within 15 days of the contract being approved, $441,667 next Jan. 15 and $441,666 on Aug. 15 next year. He receives a salary of $575,000 for the remainder of this season and $700,000 salaries for each of the next three years.

    The bar has been set and the Mets will not be able to slide by without giving Mike Pelfrey at least Craig Hansen money, but the Mets cannot make a habit of giving every first round pick a spot on the 40-man. Phil Humber's injury frees up a spot for him and this should spark some talks at the very least after the trade deadline passes.

  • From Newsday:

    The Rangers, according to a person familiar with the situation, have pushed for Milledge and Petit in any swap for Alfonso Soriano, and the possibility of that trade was characterized yesterday as "increasingly doubtful."

    Increasingly doubtful? Was this ever a consideration? NJ.com mentioned that the Rangers offered Soriano in exchange for Mike Cameron, Lastings Milledge, and Jae Seo, which ended the talks as the Mets rejected the offer flat out.

    Also according to Newsday:

    The Mariners' Ron Villone is among the relievers the Mets are considering; the 35-year-old lefthander is 2-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 48 appearances this season.

    It also mentions that Chuck LaMar is looking for a premium prospect back for Danys Baez and the Mets would have to part with either Milledge or Petit.

  • Padres first baseman Phil Nevin rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Sidney Ponson. The proposed deal was contingent upon Nevin's approval. He has the right to block a trade to eight teams, including the Orioles. The Rangers might try to trade for Ponson.

    I just cannot figure this stuff out. The guy is not wanted there and only had to play elsewhere for another two months and rejected it to play less in San Diego. He is not get resigned by the Padres, so his reasoning for not trying to at least pad his numbers to try and hook onto another team next year is baffling.

  • The Twins took a look at Alfonso Soriano.

    When the Twins spoke to the Rangers, some of the names they offered back were righthanders Joe Mays and Kyle Lohse and lefthander J.C. Romero, one person familiar with the talks said.

  • The Mets got three runs and four hits in the fourth inning of yesterday's game and had two hits in the other eight innings. That is practically getting no hit. Only the Diamondbacks on April 19th, the Rockies on June 6th, and the White Sox and the Rockies on June 10th had less hits in a game this season. Leave it to the Mets to turn in the fifth worst hit total this year in Colorado against a reliever who was pressed into starting action and make Coors look like a pitcher’s park.
  • Monday, July 25, 2005

    No Heart?

    "(Benson) had great stuff for us," McClendon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a story published yesterday. "But he didn't have the heart of a lion. They'll find that out in New York."

    McClendon questioned the heart and the competitiveness of Kris Benson, but one thing is for sure, he has been shedding that label of an underachiever so far in New York. There were 47 starting pitchers signed this off season and Benson is perhaps the biggest surprise because he has never actually lived up to the immense expectations people had for him.

    In his last two starts, he has a 1-0 record with a 0.80 WHIP, .173 BAA, and a 0.60 ERA and has a 3.14 ERA, .231 BAA, and a 1.11 WHIP over the entire season, all of which would be career highs by far should the season end today. On top of that, he has 2.25 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP against teams in first place. Overall, against all teams that are at least five games or less off the Wild Card lead, Benson is 4-2 in twelve starts with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

    They guy has not just pitched well and beat up bad teams, he has pitched well against the best teams around, including three of the best American League teams in the Angels, Yankees, and the A's. Benson has also held the #3, #4, and #5 spots in the batting order to a .246/.315/.377 line. As much maligned as the Mets picking up Benson for the money they signed him for, this move has turned out great for Kris and the Mets so far. As for yesterday's game, the Mets sorely needed a pitcher to eat up innings, and he threw 125 pitches to give the Mets eight innings. McClendon said Benson lacked heart, but so far, it seems he could not be further away from reality.

    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Richmond 1-0. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 3 and Victor Diaz went 0 for 2 with a walk. Kyle Davies pitched for Richmond against Eric Junge. Both went six innings and Davies gave up three hits, one earned run, three walks, and struck out five while Junge gave up four hits, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out eight. Royce Ring went 1.1 innings in relief, gave up one hit and struck out two to drive his ERA down to 1.96.
    • Binghamton beat Bowie 2-0. Lastings Milledge knocked in both of the RBIs on a 1 for 5 night and is batting .386 since his call-up. David Bacani went 3 for 4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
    • Evan MacLane pitched an amazing game for his AA debut and threw a complete game shut out, allowing only five hits, two walks, and struck out seven.
    • St. Lucie vs. Tampa was cancelled due to wet grounds.
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 9-2. Mike Carp went 2 for 4 with two doubles and one run scored and Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with one RBI.
    • Jamestown beat Brooklyn 6-3. Jonel Pacheco went 3 for 4 with an RBI.
    • Bristol beat Kingsport 7-6. Cory Wells went 2 for 3 with a walk, a double, a homer, and three RBIs.
  • The Marlins are looking more unlikely to deal AJ Burnett, but are still working with the White Sox on a deal that could give back Brandon McCarthy and Damaso Marte. The Red Sox are also believed to be dangling starter Bronson Arroyo and at least minor-league pitcher Anibel Sanchez.

  • The Mets are in serious talks about bringing Alfsonso Soriano to the Mets.

    Right now a deal doesn't appear imminent because the Rangers want three players and at the top of their list is outfielder Lastings Milledge, a Double A outfielder and a former No. 1 pick.

    No, no, no, and no.

    Milledge was hitting .302 with 18 stolen bases in 62 games in Class A before being promoted to Double A on July 11. The Rangers asked about him earlier this season and were turned down.

    Stay the course Omar. Stay the course. According to the NYPost, Texas' current asking price, according to another source, is "a lot more than that." That is referring to a lot more than just Lastings Milledge. I am extremely hesitant about Alfonso Soriano becoming a huge impact for this team. The Mets Minor League system is beleaguered and the good players they have are very good. You take Milledge out, the Mets have no position players that are high impact and close to the Major Leagues. This has disaster written all over it.

    "Are the weapons here?" Minaya said. "I think when you look at the division, yeah. Now in the ideal world, would we like to have other weapons? Yeah. I'm always open for having other weapons. The truth, though, is that those weapons have to be available in the market. Are we going to tear up the farm system for one player? I don't know if that's the wise thing to do. We're building for 2005 and beyond 2005."

  • Phil Nevin is likely to accept the deal to the Orioles and it could be done as early as today.

  • "I've lost RBIs as well as hits," Phillips said. "This season so far has been beyond unlucky."

    Hmmm. Well, if you think you were unlucky last year, and you think were unlucky this year, maybe you are really not that good and luck has nothing to do with it.

  • Heath Bell got demoted, but vowed to work on a changeup and come back and strike everyone out.

    "If I go down there and I have an outing or two that doesn't go particularly well but I'm throwing a lot of changeups, I'm going to develop it," Bell said. "Whereas, here, we're going to lose ball games, and this is where it counts."

    "[Soon], it will be comfortable, and I'll be back up here," he said. "And I'll be striking everybody out."

  • The Mets are interested in Jeff Kent, but I cannot see how a deal for him goes down in any way.

  • "Even times when I feel like I'm struggling, they know me now," said Piazza, who admitted he has been more reflective this season. "They've seen my ups and downs. They know what I can do and what I can't do. I'm like an old piece of furniture."

  • In some good news, Orber Moreno has resurfaced. While no one really knows what to reasonably expect from him this season, he could sure be a huge boost to the pen in 2006.
  • Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Power Hungry

    Oh baby, some anonymous poster left this last night:

    Just heard on WFAN that a deal for Soriano is close. I didn’t hear the whole thing, but it involves Heilman.

    This is from Newsday:

    The Rangers have clearly tired of Alfonso Soriano's act. One team official said that they would trade Soriano for "something decent."

    and from Joel Sherman:

    Rival executives say Omar Minaya is obsessed to find the Mets a power bat at first or right field either in this trade market or in the off-season. Paul Konerko is a free agent whom Minaya likes. But the most intriguing player will again be Manny Ramirez.

    Just like he did with Sammy Sosa, Minaya has an infatuation with Ramirez's bat. Ramirez's disappearance into the Green Monster while the game was in play last week just added to the litany of reasons why the Red Sox are tired of his act even with his prodigious offense. Remember, this was a guy they put on waivers two years ago and were willing to give up for nothing.

    After this season, Ramirez will have three years at $57 million left that will take a thickening, non-defender to age 36. Tom Glavine, who is almost certain to vest his $10 million option for next year, would accept a trade to Boston. Are there the roots of a trade there?

    The buzz on Soriano in another article from Newsday was that the Rangers are buyers since they are still in the playoff hunt and both of these deals are geared more towards the off-season since there is no way Boston trades Manny Ramirez while they are in first place. However, one thing is clear, Omar knows what everyone else knows and the Mets need to add a big bat and none seem to be available right now with an outside possibility of Adam Dunn. I guess we will see what Omar has up his sleeve.

    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk lost to Richmond 4-2. Brian Bannister had a decent outing giving up four earned runs over seven innings. He gave up nine hits, no walks, and struck out eight. Anderson Hernandez keeps coming back to Earth and went 0 for 4 to bring his average down to .337 and Eric Valent went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and a walk. Valent is now batting .295.
    • Bowie beat Binghamton 6-5. Lastings Milledge went 1 for 5 with a run scored and a walk. Mike Jacobs went 1 for 5 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs and Brett Harper went 2 for 5 with a run scored, his sixth homer at AA, and two RBIs. That is Harper's 26th homer on the year between St. Lucie and Binghamton.
    • Vero Beach beat St. Lucie 4-2. The Mets only mustered four hits the entire game.
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 6-3. Ambiorix Concepcion went 2 for 4 with an RBI, Mike Carp went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI, and Ryan Coultas went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
    • Brooklyn beat Jamestown 6-2. Jesus Gamero and Jonel Pacheco had three RBIs each. Johnson City beat Kingsport 11-9. Cory Wells went 4 for 4 with two runs scored, one double, one homer, and four RBIs.
    • The GCL Mets beat the GCL Dodgers 6-4. Emmanuel Garcia went 3 for 5 with two runs scored a double and one RBI.
  • Another AL executive said about the state of the whole NL: "I can't believe that we are going to allow three teams besides the Cardinals to make the playoffs this year. That league stinks."

  • It looks like the Marlins might be holding onto AJ Burnett.

    One industry source said the proposed deal of prospect Hayden Penn, outfielder Larry Bigbie and relievers Jorge Julio and Steve Kline for Burnett and third baseman Mike Lowell is "stone cold dead."

    There is still speculation he may wind up with the Blue Jays or White Sox, but it looks like the Marlins just may keep him.

  • The Mets need some innings from Kris Benson tonight.

  • Jose Reyes gave the National Stage a bit of show yesterday having what could have been his best game of the year offensively because of how he basically won the game for the Mets.

  • Is Pedro's lack of velocity in the past few starts scaring anyone? He went through a dead arm phase with the Red Sox a few years ago and had to be DL'd to get some rest and that is the road I see Pedro on at this point.