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

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mark Downs meet Satan, Satan, meet Mark Downs

If anyone missed this crazy story, here it is for your reading enjoyment. Mark should start getting to know the Dark Lord, because he is going to be spending a long time with him. You just cannot make this stuff up.

A T-ball coach allegedly paid one of his players $25 to hurt an 8-year-old mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn't have to put the boy in the game, police said Friday.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.

Just t reiterate in case you missed it, it was T-ball.

"The coach was very competitive," state police Trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said. "He wanted to win."

When you get arrested for trying to pull a Tonya Harding on a disabled 8-year old, you need to reevaluate your life. This reminds me of a guy who used to coach a little league team in my little league. They guy was so gun ho about it his team had warm up jackets and real uniforms while every other kid was in basically jeans and t-shirts. On top of that, he somehow got to have the best team every year. He was the equivalent of George Steinbrenner and they were the evil empire for kids with snot coming out of their nose.

* * *

  • From Steve Popper:

    The Mets gathered on the field at 3:30 p.m. for the team photo. And as they fidgeted in the sweltering heat, they waited. Finally, at 3:45, the shot was taken with only 23 players in the frame. The photo was taken without the team's best hitter and pitcher this season as Cliff Floyd and Pedro Martinez were not at Shea in time for the photo. Five minutes later, Floyd wandered into the clubhouse, a victim of traffic on the Triborough Bridge. Martinez arrived at 4:40, smiling and seemingly oblivious to what he'd missed. Well, at least there was no fight in this photo shoot, unlike 1989 when Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry had to be separated.

  • The mismanagement of the Mets barrels on. They finally pull Ishii after it basically does not matter any more since Steve Trachsel is coming back and Seo will get two shots maximum with the Mets.

    "Obviously Ishii's been struggling to win ballgames for us," manager Willie Randolph said. "He's pitched well at times. The bottom line is to win ballgames. His record wasn't that good, so we want to get someone in there and see what he can do for us."

    The Mets were 7-9 in Ishii started games.

  • Albert Pujols is good.

    Albert Pujols became the first major leaguer to belt 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons, helping the Cardinals end John Smoltz's eight-game winning streak with an 11-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday in St. Louis.

    A lot can happen in his career, but this guy looks like he will turn out to be one of the best all time. His 162 game average so far is .334/.416/.625 with 47 doubles, 42 homers, and 130 RBIs. Even more mind boggling, the only time he had more strikeouts in a season than walks was his rookie year. His K's have gone down from 93, to 69, to 65, to 53, and they are slightly up this year. He has only posted under a 1.000 OPS once and is still only 25 years old. Unreal.

  • This was big.

    2005 fourth-round draft pick Hector Pellot yesterday and then welcomed him to Shea Stadium for batting practice. Pellot, 18, is a 5-11, 185-pound lifelong shortstop who was drafted as a second baseman by the Mets, and he will report to the Gulf Coast League before heading to an instructional league next month.

    "My favorite player is Derek Jeter, even though he's (with) the Yankees," Pellot said. "He's a leader, and his style of play is unbelievable."

    With the Mets not signing a lot of their to picks, getting their fourth round pick to ink was pretty important. I can only hope he has as many intangibles as Captain Jeter, but was it really necessary to make that statement when you just signed with the Mets? I can see him and Willie getting along famously.

  • From BA:

    Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera, who played six games in center field for New York in July, was sent down again, from Triple-A Columbus to Double-A Trenton. Cabrera was hitting .248with Columbus this season. Thursday, Cabrera went 0-for-4 in his first game back with the Thunder since late June.

    He was not ready to go to AAA, much less the Majors.

  • Also from BA:

    The Mets are trying to get Mike Jacobs more innings behind the plate as the season winds down. Jacobs, a 38th-round pick in 1999, has played primarily first base this season. Wherever he plays, Jacobs shows no ill-effects at the plate--he's hitting .358-7-34 in 134 at-bats when he catches, .296-13-41 in 203 at-bats when he plays first base, and .308/.360/.584 in 377 at-bats overall this season at Double-A Binghamton.


    Perhaps it’s time for the Mets to see if righthander Robert Manuel can handle a move to short-season Brooklyn or Class A ball. Signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Sam Houston State, the 22-year-old righthander improved to 7-0, 1.64 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League with a win against the Nationals. Manuel has walked just three in 38 innings while striking out 32. Manuel went 3-2, 3.12 this spring for the Bearkats.

  • Tom Glavine may not have been at his sharpest, but he got his 270th career win and gave the Mets what they needed and that was innings. I talked about heart and the ability to rise above to help the team, and that is exactly what Glavine did yesterday. With the bullpen in shambles and Willie unwilling to use certain players in the pen, it was a veritable necessity the Mets get something out of Tommy. The Mets nibbled the Cubs to death with fourteen out of their fourteen hits being singles. Cliff Floyd, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran had eight of them and though David Wright had no hits, he walked three times. He leads the team in BA, OBP, and OPS.

    On a side note, 29 year old Scott Williamson made his debut this season after recovering from Tommy John surgery and is a nice boost to the Cubs pen. Too bad the Mets did not jump on that this off season because he looked sharp and his slider looked nasty.
  • Friday, August 05, 2005

    Disciples of a “Legend”

    After word about Lee Mazilli getting fired got out I started to wonder if our Joe Torre protégé has what it takes to succeed in this league. If Willie continues down the same road as he is on now, I do not see this ending any other way. Jayson Stark from ESPN.com said that Peter Angelos hasn't been happy with Lee for a long time and that he has heard a lot of stories that suggested he is in over his head. So far, it seems that Willie may very well be in over his head. Like Mazzilli, Willie is an affable guy that is good with the media and a hard guy to dislike. He clearly has a good relationship with the front office as well which may help him out in the long run. However, both pupils of Joe Torre have not exactly been stellar in their short managerial stints. I have my own reservations of what you can learn from a manager that is more heralded for his way of keeping his players egos in check more than his actual managing.

    I am not going to get into what Willie has clearly done wrong, continues to do wrong, or anything like that. People have complained about his usage of Hernandez and Looper in Wednesday's game and questioned why he did not use Graves or someone else, but if he did bring in those two and had the same results, he would have been hung anyway. If he did not bring in Hernandez yesterday and let Graves go another inning and Graves blew the game, he would be vilified for that. Personally, I would have like to have seen Padilla get a shot to rebound from the hit batter or Graves get a shot in the ninth, but that is really minor at this point. Besides, Willie said his guys said they were ready to go so he went with his best guy in Roberto Hernandez. If Roberto said use me as you absolute last resort, maybe things shake out differently, but it is a tough call for Willie. The bottom line is this team got beat and beat badly and while it is a tough spot for the manager to be in, the fact is he did not make the right choices and his gut failed him yet again.

    The benchmark for me and a litmus test of how good a manger is at his craft is how he performs in close games. Winning close games is a testament to what buttons your press, how you use the bullpen, how you use the bench, how well you make the right calls like implementing a hit and run or bunting a runner over, etc. Randolph generally goes by his gut and I would rather he use sensibility and reason, but it is what it is. In games separated by three runs or less, Mets are 37-30. That may not look horrible, it’s really what separates the good teams from the bad ones. Of course there is a certain level of luck involved when you look at close games and this does not show the absolute picture, but this is when a manager earns his money. When the game is there to be won does the manager have what is takes to help the team get the win. His players have to play the game, but the manager has a big outcome on the game.

    Willie may be able to manage an American League team which pales in comparison to the National League strategy wise. However, in the National League, a good manager could be the difference between golfing in October or playing some meaningful baseball. Willie has a lot of growing to do before he proves to New York that he can finally lead the Mets into respectability and not be the whipping boys for the majors and the butt of jokes. When you say New York Mets to fans of other teams around the country, they pretty much laugh and think this organization is a joke. I am just not sure that Willie is the guy that can change that. The best bet if Willie is going to be around is to give him a team that is talented and deep enough to overcome his managerial shortcomings. When he was first being considered for the job, I was a bit apprehensive about his ability to manage a team in the NL much less any team. However, Omar liked the fact he had some winning Yankee blood and was available to be the hands on guy that would be around twelve months out of the year. You got the feeling he was hired more for reasons not related to play on the field and you get the feeling like Mazzilli, he just is not ready to coach in the Major Leagues. I hope Willie proves me wrong and turns it around, but I doubt he will ever become considered a manager in the upper echelon and when you have to face Bobby Cox every year, that is a bad thing.

    * * *

  • Baseball America's Best Tools covers the Major Leagues today. Jose Reyes was first in terms of fastest base runner, third for best infield arm, and third for most exciting player. Carlos Beltran finished third in terms of best outfield arm (had not idea he had that good of an arm) and third for best defensive outfielder (guess they did not watch his horrific play in center last night). Pedro Martinez was third in the best slider category, first in the best changeup category, and second in the best overall pitcher category. Tom Glavine was third in the best changeup category as well.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Indianapolis 10-8. Angel Pagan went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a double, two RBIs, and a walk, Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5 wit a run scored and an RBI, Victor Diaz went 1 for 3 with a run scored and two walks, Prentice Redman went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, a double, and an RBI, and Chris Basak went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Heath Bell pitched a scoreless inning, but let two base runners on, and Royce Ring failed to get an out an gave up four hits and four earned runs.
    • Harrisburg beat Binghamton 11-9. Lastings Milledge went 0 for 4 with walk, Mike Jacobs went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, a double, his 22nd homer, and two RBIs. Evan MacLane got touched up for five earned runs in 5.1 innings and gave up seven hits and one walk.
    • St. Lucie beat Dunedin 3-2. Andy Wilson went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored, Jamar Hill went 1 for 3 with a run scored, and Grant Psomas went 1 for 3 with a walk. Brahiam Maldonado inexplicably jumped over Kingsport, Brooklyn, and Hagerstown to St. Lucie and went 1 for 3. I have to guess this is only temporary since he was batting only .250 with one homer with the GCL Mets.
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 7-4. Ambiorix Concepcion continues to bring his average up and went 2 for 5 and is batting .240. Ryan Coultas went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs and Carlos Gomez hit is 7th homer of the year.
    • Broolyn beat Vermont 5-4. Joseph Holden has been pretty impressive this season for the Cyclones and he went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a double to bring his average up to .356. Nick Evans went 2 for 5 with a walk and Drew Butera went 2 for 6 with a double and a walk. Kaz Matsui went 0 for 3 with two walks and an RBI.
    • Kingsport lost to Elizabethton 7-2.
    • The GCL Mets played the GCL Nationals in a double header. In game one, the Mets won 16-3. Leivi Ventura went 2 for 5 with a run scored, a homer, and five RBIs and Junior Contreras went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, two doubles, one walk, and five RBIs. In game two, the Mets won 7-2. Junior Contreras went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a homer, and three RBIs.
    • The VSL Mets lost to the VSL pirates 7-5.
  • Jesse Spector covers Piazza's big day yesterday.

    With two runners on, Piazza had a chance to tack on to his first five-RBI day since Aug.13, 2003. He was also a triple away from the cycle, although that probably would have required an outfielder to be struck by the lightning that crackled throughout the later innings.

  • From Newsday:

    "I haven't made a decision yet but I'm thinking of maybe going with Jae Seo," he said. "That's an option ... For the most part, in Triple-A, he's been throwing the ball pretty well. He's a guy that seemed like a natural choice."

  • Richard Sndomir goes over some attendance numbers in the Times today. Attendance at Shea Stadium is up 20.5 percent, to 1.96 million and in Pedro's twelve starts, the Mets have averaged 39,035 fans.

  • How do you not like Piazza?

    Unless the Mets' brain trust considers him a "burden," Mike Piazza apparently would consider a role as a type of player-coach and mentor for the club next season.

    "I'm kind of caught because I never wanted to be a burden," Piazza told Fox baseball analyst Kevin Kennedy in an interview that will air tomorrow before the network's Mets-Cubs telecast. "I never want them to be like, 'Now we have this guy to contend with.' I always wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem.

    "We'll see what direction they want to go in. Maybe there is a chance to stay ... maybe they want to get another catcher and I can work in and do some things. That's something right now that we don't have the time for ... that's not the immediate focus."

  • Mark Hermann has a great article on the state of the Mets.

    The boos and the blame fell on one pitcher yesterday. After a devastating ninth inning, Roberto Hernandez took the fall for the Mets' bullpen and the Mets' loss this time. But the real problem wasn't just that inning, it wasn't just Hernandez, it wasn't just the bullpen and it wasn't just yesterday.

    What the Mets have shown during the past two weeks is that they're just a little short.

  • Kaz Matsui is a good egg. I'm still pulling for this guy to come back and tear it up.

    Wearing a synthetic compression sock over his left leg, Matsui prepared for the game with the other Cyclones (24-18), taking batting practice in the heat and gathering balls in his helmet once his group finished.

    He was also out signing autographs for the fans as well
  • Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Tin Men

    Cliff Floyd has some history with Roy Oswalt. Last year he hit a grand slam off him and he subsequently got hit two times after that. Roy Oswalt pitches inside and has made no effort to try and hide the fact he does not appreciate the way Floyd crowds the plate with some armor on his arm. Did he hit him on purpose? It really does not matter as it is not the point. The only thing that is relevant is that Floyd thought he did it on purpose and got mad. He got mad and pumped himself up to stand up to the challenge and beat Roy Oswalt. On Sunday, he took Oswalt deep and just missed a homer in his first at bat by a few feet. Floyd showed heart and desire and proved that he has some guts and the ability to dig down.

    Carlos Beltran was the anti-Floyd in that series. Beltran was getting booed unmercifully, but instead of fueling him to wake up out of a funk and help the fans remember why they are so pissed that walked away, he fell on this face. He did not feed off the boos and put up a .091/.167/.091 line in three games that included two starts by rookies with pretty sizeable ERAs. Maybe he just got beat, but him laying that horrible performance out there and letting the fans look like they got the best of him speaks volumes of the type of competitor he is for me. He failed to rise to the occasion. You can point to his playoff performance as rising to the occasion, but he could have just been hitting a hot streak at the right time. Beltran is notably a streaky hitter than can carry a team for while and his fantastic playoff could have been good timing more than him rising to the occasion. Last night, he was up in the ninth inning with two outs and two men in scoring position with the ability to tie the game with a single against the other teams closer. There were four or five guys I would have rather seen up in that situation and Beltran harmlessly swung at the first pitch and grounded out to end the game.

    Kaz Matsui has not done anything of note all season. He has not been feeding off the boos in an attempt to turn the fans around and has been given plenty of chances to succeed. He is an unassuming guy and has a quite demeanor, but he looks timid when he takes the field and his body language does anything but exude confidence. When you look at Victor Diaz take the field you see a kid who believes he belongs there. When you look at Kaz Matsui, you see a guy who wishes he was somewhere else. When he returns to the club next week, I hope he gets one more chance to succeed. I hope he takes advantage of a last shot if he is given one and starts to use some of the talent that he has.

    At this point, I look at these two players that have all the talent in the world and question their heart of their desire. Most of us have played sports before and there were times when I was more determined to play than other times to try and prove something to someone or whatever else got me motivated at the time. Carlos and Kaz are not outspoken guys and typically do not show emotion when things are good or bad. I am not saying that they are not trying at this point, but I do question their abilities to rise above adversity and put up the numbers expected of them and to become the players they can be and people expect them to be. I see these two players floundering on the biggest stage instead of excelling. Both have shown some sparks and promise of being the players we know they can be, but time is running out, if it has not run out all together already for Matsui and Beltran is going to start drawing more heat. I’m sure these guys are trying hard to succeed. After all, who actually tries to fail? I do however wonder how much heart these two have. When the chances have come up for them stand up for their team, they have not come through time and time again and it is getting old.

    * * *

  • Being a Pirate fan is tough, but I'm sure there are a lot of Zach Duke jerseys being sold and he gives them some hope for the future. In six starts, he has only give up six runs for a tidy 0.92 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and .239 BAA. With Oliver Perez, John Van Benschoten, Matt Peterson, and Ian Snell, the Pirates could be developing a nice, young staff.

  • With the Mets lack of patience and ability to take a walk at every level of their organization, wouldn't Justin Huber look nice? He was voted as the player with the best strike zone judgment in the Texas League.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Durham 9-5. Victor Diaz and Angel Pagan went 1 for 5 with a double and Diaz also had an RBI. Prentice Redman went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI, Rodney Nye went 2 for 5 with a run scored and three RBIs, and Eric Valent went 1 for 2 with three runs scored, a double, and three walks. Brian Banister had a good game going five innings giving up five hits, one earned run, two walks, and struck out seven. He is now 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA at AAA. BJ Upton went 2 for 4 with his thirteenth homer of the year and had a triple.
    • Harrisburg beat Binghamton 10-2. Single machine Lastings Milledge went 2 for 5 to bring his average up to .326. Mike Jacobs went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a double and Bobby Malek went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a walk, and his third homer of the year. Orlando Roman went 4.2 innings giving up eleven hits, ten runs, nine earned runs, three walks, and struck out five.
    • Dunedin beat St. Lucie 9-4. Jamar Hill went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double. Aaron Hathaway continues to hit some and went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and an RBI. Tyler Davidson went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a homer, and two RBIs.
    • Hagerstown beat Lake County 5-0. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 3 with an RBI and Ambiorix Concepcion went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two doubles.
    • Kingsport played Elizabethton in a double header. In game one, Elizabethon won 8-0. Joshua Wyrick got Kingsports only hit. Kingsport came back to win the second game 4-3. Matthew Anderson went 2 for 4 with a homer.
    • The GCL Mets vs. the GCL Nationals was cancelled.
  • 19 year old phenom Felix Hernandez will make his first Major League start today for the Seattle Mariners.

  • Roger Clemens originally retired back in 2003 with 310 wins. He of course came back out of retirement like many expected and has put up another 28 wins. He is sitting at 338 and is on pace to notch another five victories this year, which would leave him at 343. The guy still throws 94 mph when he wants to and is absolutely dominating the league. He currently sits ninth overall for most wins all time. At this point, I cannot see him retiring while he has such a sweet deal in Houston and still competing at such a high level. If he pitches another two seasons after this, he has the potential to take over sole position of second place all time in wins and could pass Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander who have 373 wins. In our modern day where pitchers get injured so often, Clemens' accomplishments are absolutely astounding. Nolan Ryan pitched until he was 46, but only started thirteen games that year. If Roger has it in him to pitch to pitch that long, he can make a strong run at 400, though it is an extreme long shot. Finally, it should be noted that I still hate him.

  • Billy Wagner is contemplating retirement after this season.

  • Willie Randolph takes months to make moves that needs to be done, but only a few games to make a move that did not need to be made. Piazza was in an unfamiliar spot in the lineup last night and was batting seventh.

    "I'm so far beyond that," he said of worrying about his spot in the batting order. "You don't have to worry about me.... I'm basically just looking at the lineup, and if I'm in there, fine, and if I'm not, then I'll be ready to go whenever I'm called upon.

    "Ramon (Castro) has been playing really well and there's no drop-off when he's back there."

  • The $200 million Yankees could now possibly look towards Aaron Sele after inking Hideo Nomo last week.

  • The Mets failed to take the win home for Pedro Martinez after he looked great for seven innings. Pedro gave up three runs, but he looked like he had shutout stuff and the Brewers were lucky to walk away with that many runs. Roberto gave up a homer to Carlos Lee and Braden Looper continued to not be able to throw a ball by someone when he needs to.

    "I pitch when you give me the ball. I empty my tank and I get out of there. I probably could have gone out there and pitched the last two innings on 10 pitches. That's how I do it sometimes, and sometimes it takes three or four pitches to get one inning in. The way they were swinging, I wouldn't be surprised.

    "But I will never argue a manager's decision, regardless of what it is," Martinez said. "I'm just here to pitch and I do as I'm told and as I'm paid to."

  • From NorthJersey.com:

    Injured second baseman Kaz Matsui (knee) will play a rehab game with Class A Brooklyn today, and then play for Class AA Binghamton over the weekend. If all goes well, he likely will be activated in time for the Mets' road trip, which begins Tuesday at San Diego.

    It is a great idea to activate him on the road trip so he can be spared from the boos and have a chance to hit the ground running.

  • Not Seo fast (sorry, that was real bad).

    Willie Randolph wouldn't confirm a report in yesterday's editions of Newsday which said that Jae Seo would be promoted from Triple-A Norfolk to take Kaz Ishii's scheduled start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

    "Right now, Ishii is still pitching. Unless you know something I don't know," Randolph said.

  • Huh?

    On television
    • MIL: No TV
    • NYM: MSG

    On radio
    • MIL: WTMJ 620
    • NYM: WFAN 660

    Is the Milwaukee game really not on TV today?
  • Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Orders From Above?

    Doug Mientkiewicz signed a two year deal for $7,000,000 with the Minnesota Twins in 2004 with a vesting option that kicks in with a certain number of plate appearances between 2004 and 2005 for $4,000,000. If he fails to reach that plateau and the Mets choose not to pick up his option, then the Red Sox are on the hook for his $450,000 buyout. As of right now, has 275 plate appearances in 73 games played. The Mets have 56 games left and for a guy who hits lefties as well as righties and should be able to play just about everyday. It is not unreasonable that he would normally play in 50 of those 56 games. Mientikiewcz has averaged 3.77 plate appearances per game so far and if he continues at this current rate, he will finish the year with 464 plate appearances. With his 328 plate appearances in 2004 and a possible 464 in 2004, that would leave him just shy of 800 plate appearances with 792.

    Since coming back from the DL, Dougie has hit .342/.419/.579 with four homers and eight RBIs. Yes, his OPS is a very nice .998 and he is hitting with a hot bat. Willie has been notorious for playing his hot hand and has sat Dougie in four of the last eight games. Sure there were two lefties going in two of those games, but the other two were rookie righties. I have no idea what his kicker is for his 2006 option in terms of plate appearances, but I have to wonder if that has factored into Dougie inexplicably sitting recently. Something is rotten here and I do not buy that Doug has lost his job as some papers suggested yesterday. Doug has hit since returning and with the Mets still on the fringe of the Wild Card race, the guys producing right now should be in the lineup day after day. However, it seems there are 4,000,000 reasons for the Mets to throttle back Doug's playing time to possibly make sure they have some breathing room to be sure if he comes back, it is on their terms. I certainly hope the Mets do value winning over an option kicker and this is purely speculation on my part, but only time will tell.

    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Durham beat Norfolk 13-8. Anderson Hernandez seems to have awoken from his slump and went 3 for 3 with a run scored, an RBI, two walks, and two stolen bases.
    • Binghamton beat Harrisburg 10-2. Lastings Milledge left early after getting ejected for arguing a call. Milledge stole a base and went 1 for 2 with a run scored. Aarom Baldiris went 3 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI, Mike Jacobs went 1 for 4 with two runs scored, a walk, his 21st homer, and two RBIs, Brett Harper went 4 for 5 with two runs scored, a double, a homer, and four RBIs, and Bobby Malek went 3 for 3 with a walk, a double, and an RBI. Yusmeiro Petit went eight innings giving up five hits, two earned runs, one homer, no walks, and struck out seven. Vintage Petit.
    • St. Lucie beat Dunedin 4-3. Andy Wilson went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and a walk, Jamar Hill went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a homer, and two RBIs, Grant Psomas went 1 for 3 with a homer, and walk, and Aaron Hathaway went 2 for 4 to bring his average up to .275. Gaby Hernandez was stellar and went 5.2 innings and gave up four hits, one walk, and struck out five to bring his ERA down to 2.72 in high A-ball.
    • Lake County beat Hagerstown 7-4. Ambiorix Concepcion went 3 for 4 with a run scored, Mike Carp went 2 for 5 with two RBIs, and Ryan Coultas went 2 for 4.
    • Lowell beat Brooklyn 2-1. Nick Evans went 1 for 4 with a double.
    • The GCL Mets played the GCL Marlins in a double header. In game #1, the GCL Marlins won 4-1 and Brahiam Maldonado went 1 for 3. In game #2, the Mets won 5-2. Kaz Matsui went 2 for 4 with two strikeouts and Daniel Cummings went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Matt Durkin went three innings of two hit, no walk ball in which he surrendered no runs and struck out four.
    • the VSL Mets beat the VSL Marlins/Nationals 4-0.
  • Best pitching prospect? Check. Best fastball? Check. Best breaking pitch? Check. Best control? Check. Justin Verlander is pretty good.

  • Pudge may want out. Don't confuse this as a hope he does get moved and the Mets should try and get him, he is just too old and too much of risk for the money. The Tigers have a team void option if they want to rid themselves of his salary, but that seems highly unlikely at this point.

  • The Mets dropped out of the top ten in Baseball Prospectus' Hit List.

    Headlines, Deadlines: no team generated more buzz over the weekend than the Mets, who chased after Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, and Danys Baez but came up empty. Or held onto Mike Cameron and Aaron Heilman as well as BP Top Prospects Yusmeiro Petit (#15) and Lastings Milledge (#19) if you'd prefer to look at the glass as half-full, a good idea given the results of last year's Scott Kazmir-for-Victor Zambrano debacle. As the Mets gave back last week's gains and fell to last in the NL East, it's worth remembering that Manny aside, none of the other moves was a difference maker in a crowded playoff picture, and the marquee one was no bargain either, according to Nate Silver's numbers.

  • Also from Baseball Prospectus, their This Week in Quotes had some good ones.

    "I have like three hitting streaks of 10 or more games. [Ted] Williams had them of more than 300 and he hit .340 for his career. And he went to war for his country twice during his baseball career. Never put my name in his category. I just happen to have the same number of home runs."
    --Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., on being tied with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 14th place on the all-time HR list (Dayton Daily News)

    "I got so many tools. Dominating on base paths and controlling a game. There's nothing I can't do. I think it's a disgrace to the game of baseball how they're doing me."

    "If it ain't that, then give me a reason why. [Atlanta Brave first baseman] Julio Franco's older than me. And he doesn't have the numbers I have, so they let him play. I know I can outplay him. They want to see if they can destroy me or upset me."

    "They know I can make a club. They just won't give me a chance. Just give me a chance to do the things I know I can do and what I love doing."

    In case you were wondering, from 2000 to 2003, Ricky hit .228/.365/.330 with 19 homers, 95 RBIs, 72 SBs, and 218 walks in 348 at-bats. When I see guys like Ice Williams in the Majors still, I can see where he is coming from. I think it is clear he does not have what it takes to play in the Major Leagues at this point, but there are a lot of people who do not belong in the bigs and are there as well.

  • I'm glad it has been done, but it is a few months too late. Jae Seo will be recalled from Norfolk to replace Kaz Ishii in the rotation and keep the seat hot for when Steve Trachsel is ready to return. It would have been nice to give him a bigger sample size to see what he can do, but I guess the Mets had their own agenda wasting their time with Ishii.

  • Speaking of Trachsel, he is poised to return on August 16th if all goes well.

    "When I come back," he said, "I want to be able to go deep into a ballgame. [I feel] a little bit better each time out. The past few weeks have been a lot better, having more of a regular five-day routine like I'm used to."

  • The Met fans are going to start being pretty relentless on Carlos from here on out.

    "What do you want me to do?" said Beltran, about the only somber person in a celebratory home clubhouse. "If they want to continue to boo, they can do it.

    "I'll be here for seven years."

  • Do you like grabbing teats? If so, then you are in luck.

    The B-Mets are holding a $200 cow milking contest between the games of a double header against the Portland Sea Dogs on Friday.

  • It is a great game when you go out when your team is losing 6-2 and you think they are dead in the water only to find out they won 9-8. Mike Cameron had his second four hit game in a row to bring his average up to .275 and Doug Mientkiewcz went 2 for 3 with three walks and two runs scored to continue his hot hitting. Zambrano had better days as it was his shortest outing ever, but as pointed out last night in the telecast, he could have very well been suffering from the Coors after effects. He threw 112 pitches in Colorado and 112 pitches a mile up feels like you thew a lot more. He could have been dead from that last great outing. Aaron Heilman struck out five in 2.2 innings of work and the bullpen did an great job keeping the Mets in it and Met pitchers struck out a total of fourteen on the night. Just a great, gritty win.
  • Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Raffy to the Hall?

    There has been a lot of banter about Raffy to the Hall of Fame and this steroid thing is not going to help his proponents argue for his case. Steroids are more of stain than other forms of cheating like people looking back at the catcher to steal signs, a guy on second base or in the dugout stealing signs, Vaseline, scuffing baseballs, speed, or whatever else there is that is considered cheating, but it is impossible to tell if steroids even has more of an edge than other forms of cheating. If you take them out of the equation, what is the bottom line? It is impossible to actually tell. We know that others cheated, but if you cannot indict and punish all of the cheaters past and present, too bad. You cannot even suggest Raffy’s Hall of Fame career is no longer a Hall of Fame career unless you justly punish all others who have done something unnatural and take them out of the Hall if they are there. You cannot quantify the effect that any cheating does to someone's numbers and after this, there will be something else. I’m not excusing cheating, but this is hardly a new revelation that players, even potential Hall of Famers, are trying to get a leg up on competition.

    Palmeiro is fifteenth in career RBI totals and could crack the top ten if he plays next year and sit behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Cap Anson, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Murray, and Willie Mays, who are all in the Hall of Fame. He is also thirteenth in doubles behind only Hall of Famers, a soon to be Hall of Famer in Cal Ripken, and should be Hall of Famer in Pete Rose. He should finish this season eighth all time in homers and could pass McGwire and possibly get to the 600 plateau next year. He should crack the top twenty all time in terms of hits. Forget the fact he was never a perennial All-Star or never won many MVPs, he has put up some big numbers and is in some tremendous company. Imagine how his career would be looked upon if he was a Yankee the entire time and put up those numbers?

    Career Home Run Leaders

    1. Hank Aaron 755
    2. Babe Ruth 714
    3. Barry Bonds 703
    4. Willie Mays 660
    5. Frank Robinson 586
    6. Sammy Sosa 584
    7. Mark McGwire 583
    8. Harmon Killebrew 573
    10. Rafael Palmeiro 569
    11. Reggie Jackson 563
    Rank Player            Hits

    1. Pete Rose 4256
    2. Ty Cobb 4189
    3. Hank Aaron 3771
    4. Stan Musial 3630
    5. Tris Speaker 3514
    6. Carl Yastrzemski 3419
    7. Cap Anson 3418
    8. Honus Wagner 3415
    9. Paul Molitor 3319
    10. Eddie Collins 3315
    11. Willie Mays 3283
    12. Eddie Murray 3255
    13. Nap Lajoie 3242
    14. Cal Ripken 3184
    15. George Brett 3154
    16. Paul Waner 3152
    17. Robin Yount 3142
    18. Tony Gwynn 3141
    19. Dave Winfield 3110
    20. Rickey Henderson 3055
    21. Rod Carew 3053
    22. Lou Brock 3023
    23. Raffael Palmeiro 3018
    I personally think that they have let too many guys who are not legendary ball players into the Hall of Fame and I do not think Palmeiro is legendary by any means, but he has certainly achieved the needed criteria for the Hall of Fame. The game is built on milestones and numbers and Raffy has reached plenty of them. Sooner or later, after many offensive records start to fall, they will need to rework the current criteria and raise the bar, but for now, he is a Hall of Famer. Many have said that if you even have to think about if a player is a HoFer, they are not HoFer, but the Hall has not been held to as high as a standard as it should be and held to only the players who transcended the game. But with all of this personal opinion, there is a certain amount of subjectivity and there will always be arguments for and against players. To me, Palmeiro is a no doubter in my mind just by totaling up the numbers he has amassed over the years. Should they make a different wing in the Hall for the truly legendary players like Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Pedro Martinez when he retires? Sure, it would be great to see sort of acknowledgement that it is being watered down, but steroids or not, Raffy is a Hall of Famer. This will no doubt stain public view of him forever, but should not impact him being placed in Cooperstown.

    * * *

  • This was in the comment section of Metsgeek.com and posted by Sam.

    In JULY in the games Castro started, Mets are
    Games Piazza started 7-11.

    Furthermore, in JULY games Castro started Mets outscored opposition 60-31.
    In the 18 games Piazza started Mets were 63-67 in runs.

    While it is interesting, I would love to see who he was catching and who were the opponents, but I'm too lazy to look it up, so that is not happening. I realize it is a small sample size and probably meaningless, but it is an interesting tidbit to chew on.

  • The Mets are a little thin for me in Hagerstown. The only guy who made BA's 2005 Best Tools: Low Class A list was Ambiorix Concepcion for best arm in the outfield.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Columbus 7-1. Victor Diaz had a big game and went 4 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, his ninth homer, three RBIs, and a walk to bring his average up to .298. Anderson Hernandez responded to getting dropped in the lineup by going 2 for 3 with a run scored, a walk, and two RBIs.
    • Binghamton lost to Harrisburg 5-4. Lastings Milledge went 1 for 5 with a double and Brett Harper went 2 for 4 with his eighth and ninth homers on the year.
    • Lowell beat Brooklyn 8-1. Nick Evans went 1 for 4 with a run scored.
    • Bluefield beat Kingsport 20-9. Matthew Anderson went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a double, a walk, and three RBIs, Riky Oliveros went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs, and Jose Mateo went 3 for 5 with a run scored and two RBIs.
    • The GCL Mets vs. the GCL Marlins were rained out.
    • The VSL Mets were beat by the VSL Red Sox/Padres 10-2.
  • The Royals are seeking an corner outfielder with some pop. I like Jeremy Affeldt and it would be nice if the Mets could dangle Victor Diaz as a cheap guy with some power potential.

  • Peter Abraham has a nice piece on Jose Reyes in the papers today.

  • Eli Gelman has a nice look at Jason Scobie and how effective he has been since becoming a professional.

    Now in his fifth season in the Mets farm system, the former 2001 15th-round draft pick is opening eyes in Norfolk. Scobie has coasted mostly under the radar -- he spent most of his first two seasons as a reliever and entered this season with a 17-17 career record, 3.00 ERA in 362 2/3 innings (50 starts, 40 relief appearances). This year he's 13-4 with a 3.22 ERA, 42 walks, 73 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings and hopes his work has not gone unnoticed. Though he sometimes feels it has.

  • Marty Noble's new Mailbag is out.

    Three months later, Willie Randolph still doesn't give Aaron Heilman a lot of work. Why not? -- Sam Z., West Chester, Pa.

    It still isn't clear. But circumstances always dictate which pitcher a manager chooses. The better and longer the Mets starters pitch, the closer they get to innings that are designated for Roberto Hernandez and Braden Looper. It's not coincidence that Heilman's most recent appearance, Sunday in Houston, came in a game started by Kaz Ishii. The Mets' No. 5 starter leaves so many innings unpitched. And sometimes, his work is so ineffective and the Mets' deficit so great that the need for Heilman is diminished.
  • Monday, August 01, 2005

    Unwritten Law

    If there is not an unwritten law that you should not trade the farm system when you are sitting in dead last place, there should be. Everyone knows how much I wanted Manny Ramirez here and how much I would have liked to have Alfsono Soriano at the right price, but what is the right price? The Mets were parting with Yusmeiro Petit, Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman, Mike Cameron, and most likely one or two other players or prospects in return for Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez. John Hart was asking for more players than the Red Sox were first reportedly asking for Manny Ramirez and if that does not illustrate how out of his mind Hart is, I do not know what does.

    A player of Manny Ramirez's caliber is going to cost a lot. He is a future Hall of Famer that still has plenty of RBIs left in his bat and was going to cost a ton of talent for any team looking to trade for him. As much as I think the Mets are one masher from making the playoffs, it was a risk. It was a risk because it makes the Mets a competitive team this year, but this year's NL race is full of flawed teams that would not be sniffing the playoffs had this been just about any other year or if they were in the American League. The first place team in the NL West is three games below .500. The Mets are in it largely because this year is an anomaly. They are sitting at one game over .500 on August 1st and only four games out of the Wild Card. If the Mets miss the mark this year, they literally could of set the franchise back ten years by giving up what little premium talent they had in the Minors.

    Do not get me wrong, if they picked up Manny, they would have been a much better team for the rest of the season and the three more years of his contract. At one point, the Red Sox were giving the Mets $15,000,000 in cash which would basically replace Piazza's salary after it comes off at the end of the year and the Mets would still have some wiggle room. However, did the gamble make sense? As of right now, I am very down on this team after going 2 and 5 on this last road trip after getting to within 3.5 games of first place in the NL East and one game off the Wild Card lead. With Manny, they are better, but would they have been good enough to warrant dumping just about all of ther best prospects amongst some valuable Major League players also?

    This year marks the year that some general managers got a bit too big for britches and seemingly did more harm for their teams than good. John Hart was willing to move Alfonso Soriano and had a motivated trade partner in the Mets, but for some reason tried to wrench more out of the Mets than any other team basically costing any deal that could have been made. The Cubs and the Twins were interested in Soriano and were the most serious interested potential trading partners along with the Mets. The Rangers asked for Felix Pie and Rich Hill. For those of you not familiar with those two, Pie is comparable to Lastings Milledge and was rated as the 31st best Minor League prospect while Milledge was rated the 11th best prospect and Rich Hill is a 25 year pitcher that was historically a starter, but has been doing some bullpen work and more recently been starting for Kerry Wood and owns a 3.78 ERA. He had a 4.24 career ERA in the Minor Leagues coming into this year. He has great stuff and tops out 93 mph on the gun, but projects as a reliever. The Twins were being asked for Kyle Lohse, Brett Boone, and one or two Minor League pitchers. The Rangers were trying to nab Francisco Liriano, a lefty who can throw 97 mph, but the Twins were reluctant to make a move like that being that they rely so much on their farm. So what do they ask the Mets for? Cameron, Milledge, and Petit. There were other proposed deals on the table, but they were all just as absurd being that Mike Cameron is a gold glove outfielder and a solid player and the Rangers were asking for more premium players as well and a larger package by far than they were asking from any other team and not just by a little.

    Lamar and Hart kept saying they did not need to make a deal, but what are they left with now? Lamar's demands of Hanley Ramirez and John Lester from the Red Sox for Aubrey Huff and Yusmeiro Petit and possibly another prospect for Danys Baez seems borderline insane. The crazy thing is, Lamar at one point was rumored to be getting Milledge, Petit, Anibel Sanchez, and Kelly Shoppach for Baez and Huff. A deal that was so utterly ridiculous, it was mind boggling and incomprehensible. A year after the Kazmir for Zambrano deal, the Mets were on the verge of dealing Yusmiero Petit and probably more for Danys Baez. Ultimately the Red Sox were losing a lot and wanted more from the Mets and the deal just did not make sense for the Red Sox unless they raped the Mets, but how well advised would the Mets have been for paying a kings ransom and what effect would it have had long term?

    Ron Villone was dealt for some mid level pitching prospects, Shawn Chacon was dealt for basically nothing, and Kyle Farnsworth was traded for Roman Colon and Zach Minor. Omar would have been better off making deals of that ilk, but Minaya was in a tough place. Teams for some reason held the Mets at ransom and Omar could not make a fair deal that made sense organizationally. Ultimately Omar did the right thing by cutting things off when they got out of control and he can revive all these deals in the off season when things will be more reasonable. LaMar was trying to prove something and could have had some excellent prospects for Huff and Baez, but instead has two vets that will be there for one more year maximum and probably will not get more value than the Mets and Red Sox almost gave him. LaMar should be out of a job and if he is not, I cannot see many GMs being motivated to deal with him. As for Hart, he successfully made his rotation thinner by trading the under performing Chan Ho Park for Phil Nevin, but at least Park was a warm body to throw out there every fifth day. Kenny Rogers' deal with the Devil is going to end soon and Hart could have had a few good pitchers that were under his control with manageable salaries, but instead he has the worst rotation in baseball until Rogers comes back and may have the worst rotation even when he comes back. You have to give credit to Omar for trying and he was willing to give up a lot, but prices just spiraled out of control and the deals ceased to make sense organizationally. As much as I wanted a bat and would not have been upset if the Mets parted with some of their top prospects, there is a breaking point.

    * * *

    • There were some comedians in an ESPN chat for the trade deadline and Hall of Fame.

      Enos (Roxboro): No big names will be traded today, my cat just told me.

      Sonny W. (South Bend, Indiana): What kind of razor do you use Gary?

      He was asking Gary Gillete that question.

    • Minor update:
      • Norfolk beat Columbus 8-0. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5 as his average dipped to .290 and Eric Valent went 2 for 3 with three runs scored, a walk, two homers, and four RBIs. Neal Musser went six innings of two hit ball and walked one, while striking out five. Heath Bell finished the game up by tossing three inning of one hit ball and struck out two.
      • Akron beat Binghamton 9-3. Aarom Baldiris went 3 for 4 with a double, a homer, and two RBIs and Brett Harper went 1 for 4 with a homerun.
      • St. Lucie lost to Sarasota 6-3. Grant Psomas went 3 for 4 with a run scored.
      • Hagerstown had a double header with Kannapolis and both games were cancelled.
      • Brooklyn lost to Lowell 2-0. Nick Evans went 2 for 3. Bobby Parnell went five innings, giving up three hits, no runs, two walks, and struck out eight.
      • Bluefield beat Kingsport 3-2. Sean Henry went 2 for 4 with an RBIs.
    • Kyle Farnsworth is going to become one of the top closers in the league and while the Mets were looking at giving up Yumeiro Petit for Danys Baez, John Shuerlholz one again proves why he is one the best and gets a better reliever in my opinion for much less in Roman Colon and Zach Minor. Can someone explain to me why Omar let this one slip under his nose?

    • In the pre-game on WFAN, Willie guaranteed that his team would come out win yesterday's game against Oswalt. He said we will get the 'W'. He also mentioned that the lack off offense translates to this team seemingly having no fire to fans, though it is not true. True or not, that is how it looks. The team looks flat and dead. I loved the fact Willie said this team was going to win today after having a horribly disappointing road trip and were facing the best pitcher in the NL. This team needs to have some more confidence and needs to get their heads screwed on straight because they look horrible. They look horribly fundamentally and in terms of energy. After the Mets predictably fell on their face, I'm sure they are primed for another hot streak to get our hopes up again.