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

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Closer Wanted, Inquire Within

In two of the Mets last three games, they had a pitcher blow a save. Heading into the ninth with a two run lead, Willie summoned Roberto Hernandez from the bullpen instead of Braden Looper who had only pitched a third of an inning in the last six games heading into last night. You really cannot blame Willie as Looper has blown a save in three of his last five outings and if he felt like winning, chances are it would not be with Looper closing the door. Hernandez has been a life saver this year and contributed more than 99% of us could have imagined, but he has had a decidedly worse half as he has put up a 4.13 ERA, .276 BAA, and a 1.45 WHIP compared to a 1.69 ERA, .192 BAA, and a 1.07 WHIP in the first half.

Aaron Heilman continues to pitch like the best pitcher in the universe since the All-Star break and has a stupid 0.76 ERA, .185 BAA, 10.44 K/9, 2.93 K/BB, and a 1.05 WHIP. He may pout like Marilyn Monroe, but the dude is no diva. As for the rest, I finally got a chance to watch Anderson Hernandez play and he certainly looked overmatched. One game does not mean anything, but when you watch Mike Jacobs and Anderson, you see a hitter in Jacobs who belongs and a hitter in Hernandez who is just not ready. I'm most likely judging from too far small of a sample size, but that is primarily the reason he should be in the lineup everyday from here on out to get a realistic view of what this kid can contribute and how soon. If he continues to show the approach he showed last night and look hauntingly similar to Desi Relaford, it is safe to say a year at AAA will do him well. If he turns out it was just jitters, it would be nice to find that out too.

Speaking of rookie infielders, Ryan Zimmerman was another reason I decided to catch the game yesterday as opposed to plucking toe knuckle hair. Again, a small sample size, but the kid does not swing at bad pitches and was facing a pretty damn good veteran pitcher and did not chase anything he threw out of the zone and Traschel threw some solid pitches many other rookies would have chased. Walking away with three hits out of your team's seven is impressive for anyone, much less a kid who was just drafted in June. His .440/.423/.640 line will not last, but judging by what he did in college, how polished he is, his great ability to not strikeout, and what I saw last night, I believe he can and will hit .300 or above next season for the Nationals. Zimmerman looks like he can be a star.

* * *

  • I like John Sickels site, but enough with the super annoying Crystal Ball predictions. It's the baseball equivalent of playing with Barbie dolls. It is make believe land and while it is done for discussion, it makes no sense. Play the GM? Sure, sign me up. Making suggestions about what should a team do to improve themselves is always interesting. That is a real conversation piece. Prospect retrospectives? Fun for all.

    Playing around with future numbers in make believe land? Irritating. What's that you say? Some people like it? I just need to read the comments of his article? To that I say there are also people who like to have sex with horses and people that actually thought Commander in Chief was a good show to make and put on TV.

  • Now that Maybin has inked for $2.65 million (which was a great job by the Tigers negotiating him down from his $4.6 million requested bonus), there are four of the top 40 picks still unsigned. Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Mike Pelfrey, and Luke Hochevar are all out there an is anyone surprised two of them are Boras clients?

    However, as it turns out, the Tigers got an assist from Ken Griffey Jr. in signing their top pick.

    Griffey helped encourage Maybin after the breakdown in negotiations.

    "Ken made sure that disappointment didn't harm any chance of getting this done in the short term. That was his biggest contribution," said Brian Goldberg, Griffey's agent.

    Goldberg also is Maybin's adviser.

    "Ken stressed to me that this process goes on every year," Maybin said Friday in a news conference via telephone. "He told me to be patient and let things happen and let things go at their own pace."

  • The Red Sox and the Angels are rumored to have interest in Paul Konerko after this season and I'm sure a lot of other teams will be interested too.

  • Though we kind of new this, Pedro is most likely done for the season though he does plan to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the baseball World Cup.

  • The Mets and the Brewers are still tied for the 15th worst record this season.
  • Friday, September 23, 2005

    Think Different

    I love this pic from Wilpon-hell.blogspot.com and I cannot think of something that is more dead on. Watching Jack McKeon bat Dontrelle Willis seventh last night in front of two position players illustrates a coach who is trying to everything he can to win and tossing conventional wisdom aside. Good managers have to get creative and take chances and Willie is as reluctant as anyone to do that. You have Bobby Cox, who is arguably the best coach around, had no problem entrusting rookies with large responsibilities. When Chipper went down and he was looking for a third hitter, he did not hesitate to do what he thought necessary and entrust such a big spot to a rookie.

    I don't believe in doing things to take pressure off young players. We brought up Johnson from Triple-A and I hit him third right away. The kid has always hit, and he walks. He has a great eye. He went 1-for-30 and even some of our people wanted to send him back. But he hit about seven balls good and he walked about seven times during that stretch. I wouldn't take him out of there for anything.

    In the end when you stack up bullpens, rotations, benches, and starting lineups, the Mets really could be a more talented club than any NL East team, but the Braves simply had a lot of organizational depth and got some big performances from some rookies. However, the main point is that Bobby Cox did not hesitate to give those kids a chance and that is a stark contract to the Mets and Willie Randolph's line of thinking. Batting a rookie third and moving up a pitcher to bat seventh when it was warranted are two things that Willie just will not do and that is something that runs throughout his philosophy no matter how much sense it makes.

    He plays by his gut a lot but his gut is also predictable. He still overuses that by the book line of thinking that is a signature of a bad manager. He was married to match ups even when it really did not throw things in the Mets favor and if Willie is interested in succeeding in this league, he has to stray from conventional wisdom and not favor players and give them more chances than they are warranted. His ability to adjust and when he was entrusting high leverage innings in the bullpen to guys who had no business being there while there were better options is a microcosm of how he approaches the game. He is stubborn and once something enters his mind, it will take a third of the season or more for him to adjust and he simply has lacked the wherewithal to lead this team this season. Will he get better? Maybe. Randolph is a guy who would have benefited from a stint of managing at a lower level. Growing pains on this New York club should not be happening. When you have the cash like the Mets have, they shouldn’t hire a guy and hope he blossoms into a manger who helps their team rather than hurting the team. He has to learn how to not be stubborn and should be taking notes from Bobby Cox who values nothing over winning. You have to wonder where each team would be if they traded managers and if the Mets had Bobby Cox I truly believe they would still be in it and if the Braves had Willie, they would not be in first place right now.

    * * *

  • The reality is, Torre deserves a gold medal, not a pink slip, for weathering the worst of times, for bringing the Yankees to the cusp of greatness again, and especially for doing the sales job of a lifetime.

    Huh? Gold Medal? For what? Writing out a lineup card with the League's best offense? What has he done that is so special? He has a $200,000,000 payroll and I'm sick of people lauding this job that he has done. When the Yankees took first place on Wednesday night, they three Yankee fans in the bar exploded. "It's about time" the fools exclaimed. The team costs $200,000,000. Give Eric Wedge the gold medal not a guy who has a team full of All-Stars. Has everyone taken crazy pills?

  • Who would have called this prior to the season?

    Jose Reyes played in his 151st game last night, which is the most on the team and more than anyone had a right to expect after his injury-wrecked 2004.

    He is on track to play 161 games this year and plans to take the winter off and that is a good thing. After this year, he needs the rest. Now if he could only learn to walk about forty times a year and stop getting under the ball he could be the best leadoff guy in baseball for the next fifteen years. On top of that, I believe as he gets older and fills out he could possibly hit 15 to 20 homers a year.

  • Pedro wants to shut it down and I do not see why he shouldn't.

  • I'm a bit late on this but my subscription had ran out. BA is doing the top 20 prospects in each Minor League division and so far the Mets have two players cracking the top 20. In the Gulf Coast League, Emmanuel Garcia checked in at #20.

    Age: 19 Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180 B-T: L-R Drafted/Signed: Mets NDFA '04

    Passed over in the 2004 draft when a visa embargo sent the draft stock of Canadians plummeting, Garcia signed with the Mets after the season. He surprised the Mets in spring training and followed with breakout summer for a team that posted the GCL’s best regular-season record. He led the league in runs, hits and on-base percentage while using his above-average speed to steal 17 bases in 18 attempts.

    Garcia demonstrated offensive potential with an ability to bunt and put the ball in play, along with a good two-strike approach. Defensively, he showed exceptionally quick feet and sure hands, excelling on balls in the hole because of a rare ability to get in position quickly to unload the ball. His arm strength is a bit short for shortstop, so he could end up at second base down the road.
    186 43 63 7 0 2 30 21 36 17 1 .339 .412 .409
    In the NY Penn League, the Mets had another guy just barely cracking the top 20 as Bobby Parnell stops in at #20.

    20. BOBBY PARNELL, rhp, Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)
    Age: 20 Ht: 6-3 Wt: 180 B-T: R-R Drafted/Signed: Mets '05 (9)

    Parnell put up 6.82 and 8.86 ERAs in his last two years at Charleston Southern, yet Mets area scout Marlin McPhail had tracked him since high school and liked his live arm and wiry frame. McPhail persuaded his club to take Parnell in the ninth round in June, and Parnell repaid that faith by leading the NY-P in ERA.

    Parnell is a sinker/slider pitcher who does a good job of keeping the ball down. His sinker creeps into the low 90s. He also has developed a changeup and the confidence to throw it in any count. Durability is a question for Parnell, who tended to wear down in longer starts.

    15 14 2 3 0 1.73 73 48 20 14 1 29 67 .185
  • Thursday, September 22, 2005


    Here we are once again and the Mets are jockeying for draft position. This topic has been tossed around in the comment section of the site and normally if my team is out of it, I'm pulling for as many losses as possible. Last year, I was all about the Mets folding after it was clear they were out of it so they can take advantage of a solid upcoming draft class with players that could definitely help the Mets. However, this year is different. This Met team, despite most people saying they were no better than a .500 club, has been an utter disappointment for me. I look up and down the NL East and compare talent and the Mets should have had just a good of chance as any to be right in the Wild Card mix right now. Sure they contended into September and some people may be content with that and say this year is a stepping stone, but I disagree.

    The Mets are teetering on .500 and finishing under .500 would be an disaster. After the upgrades they made and only being marginally improved in the win/loss columns would be a very bad thing. Let's not forget the goal of team is to create an atmosphere and a team people want to play for. Finishing under .500 is not going to help that and while you may tell me who cares about four wins either way, I think there is a big difference and I do believe it affects the player's mentally. 83-79 is worlds better then 79-83. However, with the Mets guaranteed to attack some big names and a horrible draft last year, it is imperative they hold onto their first round pick since that will most likely be the only pick that extracts some immediate value for a farm system that is hurting.
    Rank Team          W   L    W%
    1 Kansas City 52 99 .344
    2 Pittsburgh 62 90 .408
    3 Colorado 62 89 .411
    4 Tampa Bay 64 89 .418
    5 Seattle 66 86 .434
    6 Detroit 67 85 .441
    7 LA Dodgers 67 84 .444
    8 Arizona 69 83 .454
    9 Baltimore 70 81 .464
    10 Cincinnati 70 81 .464
    11 San Francisco 71 80 .472
    12 Chicago Cubs 74 78 .487
    13 Toronto 74 77 .492
    14 Texas 75 77 .493
    15 Milwaukee 75 76 .497
    16 NY Mets 75 76 .497
    17 San Diego 76 75 .503
    18 Washington 77 75 .507
    19 Minnesota 77 74 .510
    Right now, the Mets are tied with Milwaukee for the 15th worst record and could easily slide all the way to 19th by the time the season is over. If the Mets fail to finish in the top 15, you can kiss their first, second, and possibly third round pick goodbye due to the holes they need to fill. Finishing in the top 15 guarantees their first pick remains in their hands no matter who they sign since a team cannot give up a top 15 pick for compensation. Mike Pelfrey was a great pick and a great arm, but the Mets have had impact prospects with not much depth behind them and when you take a look at the Braves franchise, you realize how important depth is. Those first, second, and third round picks are a necessity to get some talent and if the Mets have another bad draft, the ripple effect could be ugly. It is not a great situation the Mets have placed themselves in and winning could be detrimental to their future and losing could be detrimental to they psyche and their ability to get some talent in here next season to help out.

    * * *

  • Omar and me. I saw the brains behind the Mets walking on 47th and Park Avenue today. No real story here. I did not give him my hotel key and tell him to meet me later or beg him for a job, I just saw him.

  • Pinella is available but the Mets are not interested.

    "Fred has nothing but the highest regard for Lou, but this time he's not in the market for him," a high-placed Mets source said. "He's very happy with the job Willie's done and he's sticking with him."

    Was he watching the same games all of us were watching? Anyway, there are 'sources' that say he is content with sitting out a year to take over the helm of the New York Yankees.

    I will say this though. This situation could be comparable to the Beltran and Cameron situation. The Mets already had a capable centerfielder and could have just brought in a right fielder, but Beltran was just too good to pass up. You had to shake things up to do what was best for the team. Now, the Mets feel they have a good manager but we all know Willie cannot hold Pinella's jock. Pinella, while I am not of the mind that he is a savior or a better option than some others since he comes at a heft price, should be seen as a similar situation to the Mets front office.

  • Alfsono Soriano does not like all the rumors getting thrown around and Tom Hicks is too dumb to help his own team out. Combine Soriano's constant complaining about not wanting to shift to the outfield with Hick's desire to rape everyone for Soriano, looks like he will stay around.

    The Rangers wouldn't mind trading Soriano for pitching if they could get a front-line starting pitcher in return. But club officials don't see that happening. Most signs point toward Soriano returning to the Rangers, unless a team such as the New York Mets is willing to overpay for his offense.

    Overpay? I think the Rangers should be desperate enough to overpay for pitching, not the other way around. You can buy bats, but buying good pitching is tough.

    Also, I know some think that it is his right to not want to move, but lets fact facts. The Rangers need outfielders and have a ton of infielders. If he really wanted to help field the best Ranger team, shouldn’t he move? Shouldn’t he value winning above all?

  • General manager Omar Minaya said that right-handed pitchers Aaron Heilman and Heath Bell, first baseman Mike Jacobs and outfield prospect Lastings Milledge likely will play winter ball. Minaya also indicated that pitcher Victor Zambrano will pitch in his native Venezuela, as he customarily does.

  • "It seems like no matter what I do, it goes wrong," Looper said, "Everybody goes through it at some point in their career. You've just got to keep battling."

    You suck Looper.

  • Mike Jacobs has looked solid at first and has as sweet a stroke as I've seen since I got that hooker in Vegas.

    Randolph said he may have Mike Jacobs catch before the end of this year.

    The manager said, "If he's not in the mix at first base [next year], he could be in the mix as a guy who would be kind of an all-purpose kind of guy."

    GM Omar Minaya said the Mets are looking at Jacobs as a first baseman. Jacobs will play winter ball in Venezuela and primarily will play first base there.

    While he is not highly regarded due to his perceived lack of position which has held Victor Diaz back in terms of being put in the upper echelon of prospects, he can rake. He will not be confused with a gold glover and a good first baseman probably gets that tough dig on the near dazzling David Wright play last night, but he has looked like he can play that position and looks athletic enough to get better.

  • Hopefully Aaron gets a rewarded with a huge role and possibly the closer's role if the Mets cannot land a big time closer.

    Aaron Heilman worked two scoreless innings Tuesday, continuing his incredible second half. Since the All-Star break, Heilman has an 0.84 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 321/3 innings.

    Among NL pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched in the second half, Heilman has the third-best ERA behind Milwaukee's Derrick Turnbow (0.38) and Philadelphia's Billy Wagner (0.65).

    Looper is not that guy who will shut teams down but Heilman could be that guy. In relief he has 58.1 innings thrown, a 1.10 WHIP, one homer allowed, a 2.47 ERA, and a 10.34 K/9 and has just been stellar. I post his stats in relief all the time because they are great to check out and make me happy in these dartk times. Dude is good.
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Back, but not happy.

    I leave for ten days and the entire place is in shambles when I get back. Granted they were on a downward spiral when I did leave, but I place the blame on everyone else and most of all Willie.

    I leave and Manny for Beltran rumors fly, Anderson Hernandez finally gets called up, and Gary Carter gets named the manager of the year in the Gulf Coast League and while that might not sound like much, it is something Willie cannot hang is hat on. For me, managing at any level is more beneficial than being a third base coach or a bench coach for the Yankees and no position player has more of knowledge of baseball than a smart catcher in my opinion and no, Fran Healy is not a smart catcher.

    Manny for Beltran? Let us review.

    1) Mets need a masher
    2) Manny and Beltran's contracts would basically off set each other
    3) The Mets do have another gold glove centerfielder
    4) Beltran has a lot to prove he can earn his cash while Manny will basically do what he is being paid to do

    Sounds like a intriguing deal and you are not sane if you are not in the least bit tantalized by this, but no way. For me, bad year aside, he has the ability to be one of the top five players in baseball. The guy can do it all and I think has some massive power potential that will start to come out as he gets older and move bulky and less of a speedster. The guy is just too young to give up on and too talented. I think the Mets should go for Manny, but not at the cost of Carlos Beltran. Beltran is and should be a cornerstone. That is not to say if you asked me again in two years I would not be singing a decidedly different tune, but right now I'm sticking to my no go on the Beltran for Manny rumor which is probably only that, a vicious rumor.

    Anderson Hernandez is finally up with the big club and should be given an everyday job now that the Mets are struggling just to get back to .500 and they need to figure out what this guy is. With Kaz's resurgence it certainly makes sense for the Mets to give him another go if no better options present themselves. Sure it is risky hanging your hat on just forty nine September at-bats, but the Mets do not have many other options. Anderson Hernandez's good year aside, everyone would like to see him do it again and prove it wasn't the friendly hitter's league in AA and a hot streak in AAA. If he does well, the Mets should feel confident in bringing Kaz back with the knowledge they have some great insurance. If they get a good year out of Kaz he walks away in 2007 then Anderson Hernandez can solidify his job and assuage everyone's fears with doing his thing in 2006 proving to everyone he can be a Major League starter while refining his game.

    Ah, how I long for a head coach not named Willie Randolph. Sure there are rumors flying around that Lou Pinella will be relieved of his post at the end of the year but why must the Mets always think they need to do things on a grand scale. The may not be able to produce many prospects, but they seem to be doing a good job producing managerial candidates in Ken Oberkfell and Gary Carter. Carter got valuable experience that Willie never had and one year in the Major Leagues will not help Willie. Randolph needed about five years of seasoning and should have taken that managerial job in the Yankees farm system because that seems like it would have been the best option and set him up for perhaps a better start to his managing debut in the bigs. This team has problems and Willie is a large one, however, the Mets are between a rock and a hard place. This is the third manager they would be canning early and if he gets demoted (will never happen in a million years), he will be the second high ranking Mets demoted in as many years.

    The Mets unfortunately have little choice but keep him or else they look like a knee jerk organization that is too volatile for someone worthwhile to come to. Yes, I know you are saying that is how it looks now, but they need to look like they have control which would be very contrary to reality. Sure they can put Carter or Oberkefell on the bench next to Willie and the other on the staff somewhere while letting them have a lot of input, but that seems like it will be a case of two many hands in the cookie jar. It's clear Rick Downs needs to be relieved of his duties as well and Howard Johnson seems like prime candidate for his replacement. An ideal situation puts Oberkefell or Carter as the manager with the other as the bench coach and Howard Johnson as the hitting coach, but we all know the Mets would rather see them go be successful elsewhere. The Mets are truly in a pickle with Willie. This is not a case of being on the hook for money, this is larger than that and I think the Mets are committed to him anyway. The next logical case is upgrading his staff and the Mets need to get someone in there that can help this situation and one of the guys below may be able to do that.

    The Mets have some real problems. Of course, we'll have plenty of time this off-season to talk about what the Mets should or should not do and pretend we know how to fix this team and who they should pick up. That is sometimes more fun than the season when a team has been as disappointing as the Mets have been over the last few seasons because every team theoretically can have a chance. That is they have a chance if they were run well. The Mets are run no better than teams like the Royals, Pirates, or Reds, but the difference is they have cash. Can you imagine in what horrible shape a team would be in a mid to small size market with the management the Mets have had over the recent years? Scary to think but as long as the Mets can spend, they can band aid some errors and try and buy their way out of it and they will be flexing their spending muscles this off-season.

    * * *

  • What present do I see what I get back? A 2005 Post-Season invoice from the New York Mets. $630 for two tickets at the bargain price of $295 a piece plus $40 handling.

    Full payment must be made through mets.com or with this invoice to Shea Stadium by September 16th 2005.


  • I'm probably a bit late on this one, but in case you missed it, Team USA finished seventh and went 3-4 after a 4-0 start. Brian Bannister finished with a 1-2 record in three starts and had a 9.69 ERA in thirteen innings. He gave up eighteen hits, fourteen runs, five walks, and had a .333 BAA. Lastings Milledge had a strong Team USA showing and posted a .302/.348/.581 line with three doubles, three homers, six RBIs, two walks, and two stolen bases in four attempts.

  • Mark Teixiera is looking towards the long term.

    Teixeira, 25, went into Tuesday's game with the Los Angeles Angels hitting .295 with 106 runs scored, 41 home runs and 132 RBI.

    Pujols got his contract after three amazing seasons and Boras is going to be pushing for something bigger and better for his client.

    Teixeira met with the Rangers immediately after last season and told them he would be willing to switch positions if it would help the club. That offer expired many midnights ago.

    "I think I'm a first baseman for the rest of my career," Teixeira said.

    The Rangers are fine with that. Teixeira has not only fulfilled offensive expectations but, despite being drafted as a third baseman, has developed into a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman.

    A-Gone may not be the guy that helps them turn it around, but I think he will help.

    That does not bode well for Adrian Gonzalez, who hit .338 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI at Triple A Oklahoma but has been confined mainly to designated hitter at the major league level. He has been used in 26 games at DH, including Tuesday night, and only eight at first base.

    We'll see how Omar attacks this, but if the Rangers are looking at giving Teixeira a big raise, he will need to clear payroll and get some cheap pitching.

  • Jae Seo cannot win.

    "Pretty much the team knows my feelings about being a starter," Zambrano said. "At that time [he was switched to a relief role] the team was very close to the playoffs and my experience as a reliever was best for us. But I'm very focused on being a starter."

    Willie Randolph indicated that no one outside of Martinez, Glavine and Benson should feel secure.

  • LHP Scott Kazmir starts tonight against the Red Sox. In his brief big-league career that began midway in 2004, Kazmir is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in six starts against Boston. He has 33 strikeouts in 33 innings.

    This year he has a combined six starts against the Red Sox and Yankees (2-2, 2.95). In his past three starts, twice against Toronto, and once against Baltimore, Kazmir is 2-0, 0.45. Five times this year he left games with a lead but didn't get the win.

  • The Mets pony up some cash.

  • Mike Jacobs can rake.

    After Mike Jacobs had launched home runs of 440 feet against John Smoltz and then 460 feet against Tim Hudson a day later, Cliff Floyd and Gerald Williams were sitting by their lockers the other day discussing the Met rookie.

    "He's special," Williams said.

    Floyd echoed him, adding, "Special, I know."

    But do the Mets consider him a first base option? Eleven extra base hits and fourteen RBIs in twenty games this season is undoubtedly impressive.

  • The Mets may suck, but if they can help keep Carlos Delgado out of the playoffs, that is something to hang your hat on.