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

Friday, December 09, 2005


What's that? No, it's not the measurement of some misshapen woman, but it is the age of the last three free agent signings by Omar Minaya. Of course, it is no cause for concern since two are bench players and the other is a premier closer. Valentin provides some pop and versatility, though not much average. It would have been better if he was invited to camp on a Minor League contract, but I assume they went down that avenue. Giving a 47 year old Julio Franco two years might be a questionable move, but we have seen him beat the shit out of the Mets in his time with the Braves and is only getting $2 million over those two years. Being what type of player was brought in to be and the role he will assume, I have no problems with the signing.

The team is pretty much come together save one more move in the rotation, which is no sure bet to even get done, and some bullpen moves. The bench and the starting lineup should be for the most part set and things look pretty solid. The bench is looking deep with either Nady or Diaz coming off the bench with Woodward, Valentin, Franco, etc. and the starting lineup looks like it could match up against any team not located in St. Louis. Whether or not the Mets upgrade the rotation is gravy, though I would still like them to bring a #1/#2 aboard. The rotation is deep, but not spectacular, and they can make it as far as Pedro's arm is going to carry them. The Dallas meetings were not as eventful as we had all wished as the idea of netting any relievers from the Royals has shriveled up with the signing of Elmer Dessens to a two year deal and Javier Vazquez's price tag is too hefty right now to justify bringing him on board to hope he regains his pre-Yankee form.

I can only hope Omar does not make a move just to make a move as this team has the look of the team to beat right now. They have their ace, they have their big bats, they have their speedsters, they have a potentially devastating 8th and 9th inning combo, and hopefully they have something to prove.

* * *

  • Miguel Tejada wants a change of scenery. First off, who is sick of this act? A-Rod was surprised when he was taking up 33% of the payroll and could not win in Texas when he went to a shitty team in the first place and the Orioles have not had a clue in years. Why is Miggy surprised now that his team, which plays in the ultra-competitive AL East that the Yankees win every year, sucks? These players take the highest paycheck, which is fine. Most of us would take the money when you are talking million s and millions more. They all took the money and not the chance to win. Say what you will about Carlos Delgado spurning the Mets last season, but he truly took the team he thought was in better shape because the Mets offer was worth slightly more money if I remember correctly. Now, Tejada is being eyed up by the Red Sox to either fill third base or shortstop. It is a pet peeve of mine when these players are disingenuous and pretend they are shocked when the crappy team they signed with has no direction and no chance of winning in site.

  • "We put in so much work here," Minaya said, "over the next week or so, things will come out."

    What's up next? Well, we are certain he is going to try and move Matsui and Benson while bringing in a top of the rotation starter and at least look at Manny again. If Tejada somehow lands in Boston, one would assume Boston would soften their stance and their asking price for Ramirez in order to clear payroll for Tejada's $12 million per year. Add Tejada in the equation and Cliff Floyd, who would presumably be involved in any deal for Manny, their lineup is probably better off. Interesting to think about, but Miguel could heavily factor into Boston and Manny and how much they are seeking. It's hard to extract value back for one of the best RBI men of all time, but the team trying to acquire him has to have limits on what they can give up since nothing is ever enough.

    Of course, the Orioles could try a straight up swap if Manny would agree to play there, but I'm not sure he would and I am assuming Matt Clement would be eyed by the Orioles in any deal since they are prerpetually looking for pitching.

  • The Angels appear uninteresting in Manny since they were asking for their best position prospect and their best pitching prospect in addition to another top prospect.

    A big sticking point in the Ramirez discussions was that Boston is asking for players who are virtually untouchable, although Stoneman doesn't like to use that word.

    Ervin Santana is staying. Brandon Wood will remain in the Angels' farm system. The Red Sox want both and at least one more high-level prospect.

    There is a breaking point to this and if the Red Sox want to move Manny, they have to understand they cannot extract equal value. It ain't happening.

  • Hmmm..

    Schilling is the veteran pitcher who credits Clemens with inspiring his career. During an off-season in his brief time with the Astros, a young Schilling encountered Clemens at a gym in Houston. After watching Schilling go through what passed for a workout, Clemens approached him and chewed him out.

    "He said I was wasting my career and I was cheating the game," Schilling has said in telling the story of that consequential meeting. "He was right."

    I know the Rocket is in great shape an all, but shouldn't he be a bit slimmer?

  • The Nationals still want pitching. The Mets have some and is it possible that they can work out a deal for an Omar favorite in Jose Vidro? We all know Soriano has an aversion to moving off a position he cannot play all that well and one of them might be moved. Alfsono is the sexier player and Bowden likes to make a splash. One would think he would lean towards keeping Soriano and moving Vidro. Just a pipe dream, but worth a mention.

  • From the NY Daily News:

    With Franco and the switch-hitting Valentin joining Ramon Castro, Chris Woodward, Victor Diaz and Tike Redman, the Mets' bench seems all but complete. But a Mets official suggested the team might not be done and portrayed it as unlikely that right-handed hitting outfielders Diaz and Xavier Nady would be on the major-league roster.

    Both of them gone?

  • The Mets lost Double-A infielder David Bacani and Single-A reliever Celso Rondon in the draft's minor-league phase.

    Rondon was a solid, hard-throwing relief prospect and I'm sorry to him get away, but it is hard to get upset about Minor League middle relievers.

  • You better recognize...

    San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou was asked who he thought the early favorite was in the National League.

    "The Mets," he said. "They got started last year. They are a serious threat to win. They are so much better in every aspect."

    Yes Omar. We know we have to play the games but at least a product is on the field that people think is good.

    "You win games on the field, you don't win them on paper," Minaya said. "We have too much respect for the other teams."

  • The Yankees are eyeing Roberto Hernandez.

  • Take your pick. Which was worse. Kazmir for Zambrano? Or Kolb for Capellan? Tough call, but I think the answer is still Kazmir for Zambrano, but Kolb heading back to the Brewers is certainly amusing. Just goes to show you that even the best get beat.

  • Tom McCarthy has big shoes to fill.

  • Ramon got paid anyway and got four years. Good for him and bad for Molina. Is anyone still looking for a catcher that has cash?
  • Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Fearless Leader

    Here is a little something I started to write at the end of the season before I went on hiatus and obviously before the Carlos Delgado deal.

    One thing that was holding the Mets back this year was a player that would essentially say, "get on my back". Mike Piazza was that guy before he started going downhill by his sheer offensive output and the Mets have yet to fill that void and were relying on Piazza to fill that role three years to long. This year, they signed Carlos Beltran with the hope he would be that guy, but it was more likely to be their other target that got away in Carlos Delgado. The Mets had a bunch of good clubhouse guys and no malcontents, but lacked that one outwardly intense competitor.

    David Wright may eventually be that guy, but I would love to see him shed that 'awww-shucks' attitude and give a bit of an edge. I want pitchers to be scared of him instead of thinking he is a really nice guy. David Wright needs to get rid of that "I'm just happy to be here" attitude because that should have run it's course after his rookie seaon. He knows he belongs there and everyone else knows it too. Victor Diaz has that kind of confidence and is not afraid to say what he thinks. I'm not saying you have to be a dick about it, but there is something to be said for lighting a fire under your team.

    For all I have to say about Derek Jeter, you have to love the way he plays the game. We all know he is not one my favorite players, but you just watch him and know he is a gamer. You can see the intensity that helps lift the team. Jason Varitek is another one of those guys, but he is more vocal. One reason why Boston brought him back was because he is the leader on that team. When he was walking A-Rod to first after him blubbering that he was thrown at on purpose, he said "we don't throw at .260 hitters". Gary Sheffield is a bit more to the extreme than I think is necessary, but that is part of the reason Steinbrenner brought him in. To give more of an edge to the team.

    The Mets need some fire. There were stretches last year when they truly looked like the walking dead. They were seemingly not playing with fire and not getting charged up enough. It really seemed like they just needed someone to wake them up out of their funk to get them going. Maybe I'm talking with no idea what I'm saying because I do not know what goes on behind closed doors, but I think I have a fair handle on the fact that Mets need leader that gets the team charged. Whether it just be by monsterous production or in a Kevin Millar type way. They need a guy to rally around and the obvsious choice is David Wright. When/if when he will take on those duties is certiainly and unknown and it may be a lot to ask for from a young player, but if these Mets are going to turn a corner, they need someone to step up.

    Well, a few months later, the Mets got Carlos Delgado who is going to do a lot more for this team than hit 30+ homers and drive in 100+ runs. The guy is going to be the leader of this team that they were sorely missing last season. The protection he provides will have a trickle down effect and the way he conducts himself will have a trickle down effect. David Wright can take his time in becoming the leader we all think he can be and this Delgado deal was a great one on so many levels. His bat is a big plus but his attitude and demeanor may be a bigger plus. The only problem I have with everything is that he wasn't a Met in 2005. He could have been the difference.

    * * *

  • BringManny.com vs. KeepManny.com... I wonder who would win in a fight?

  • No one saw this coming. I'm sure everyone could argue all day who got the better end of the deal, but I think both teams got a good deal. Wilkerson might not stay a Ranger for long as he might be spun to the Blue Jays for Orlando Hudson.

  • The Phillies want Looper and I have no doubt life will play a cruel joke on me and he would shut the Mets down everytime he faces them if he signs with the Philly.

  • Edgar Renteria still looks headed to the Braves with the Red Sox picking up $2 to $2.5 million per year for the rest of his contract and receiving Andy Marte in return to spin to the Devil Rays for Julio Lugo. Renteria is a good player, he just had a bad year. I would rather him stay off the Braves, but if he'll make 30 errors as a Brave like he did in Boston, I think I wouldn't mind too much.

  • The Padres and Rays traded dissapointing first round picks in Sean Burroughs and Dewon Brazelton. Dewon has a good arm and moving to San Diego and out of the AL East will do him well. He is still young so I would not be surprised to see him start producing. However, this tidbit from the article was interesting.

    The market for centerfielder Joey Gathright is expected to pick up now that Florida has traded Juan Pierre to the Cubs, with the Marlins likely to be a prime suitor. The Rays have also been in talks with the Mets for Japanese shortstop Kaz Matsui as a potential replacement for Lugo, and may have interest in Angels backup catcher Josh Paul.

    Huh? They want Kaz for shortstop? What exactly do they need him for when BJ Upton could not be more ready? They will both commit a boatload of errors and they need to start just letting Upton play. They could be just holding back his ML service so they have him cheaper for longer when they plan to compete, but it is perplexing.

  • Jarrod Washburn and Benji Molina were not offered arbitration by the Angels. Anyone still curious why I think Omar jumped the gun? Benji's market for his services is pretty dry right now and I do not see him getting nearly what everyone anticipated. He surely could cost what LoDuca is costing.

    So was Washburn, a 31-year-old left-hander who went 75-57 with a 3.93 earned-run average in six-plus seasons and was the Angels' best pitcher in 2002, going 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA to help the Angels win the World Series.

    Washburn is in intriguing player if Omar simply wants to shake up the rotation and keep a lefty in there beyond this year if he does not feel he can land Barry Zito.

  • Texas wants pitching, the Mets have a lot of it. I'm sure they can work something out that does not involve Laynce Nix.

  • After all that hoopla, Zito is probably staying. Let us not forget Oakland was an 88 win team with two rookies in the rotation, a rookie closing games out, Bobby Crosby only playing 84 games, Nick Swisher in his first season, and Dan Johnson not being there the entire season since he got called up fifty games into the season or so. This team will run out Danny Haren, Joe Blanton, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, and Esteban Loaiza. This team, is a good team. It is obvious they need another bat in an ideal world and they have a surplus of pitching, but they are contenders in the AL right now. If Beane is not getting a great deal, why even bother?

  • Piazza is drawing interest from the Twins, A's, and Jays.

  • Javy for Milledge and Benson or Milledge and other prospects? Could happen...

  • I may not understand this arbitration process fully, but why wasn't Bert offered arbitration? The guy nets you a first round pick or a top fifteen second round pick if someone else signs him.

    "The reliever market is dragging north and they want to attach themselves to that drag," Minaya said.

    The thing is, whether it be Bert or someone else, you would pay. Everyone is going to look to capitalize on the inflated reliever's market.

    Now that they've lost out on Hernandez, the Mets will turn their attention to other free-agent bullpen options such as Octavio Dotel, Julian Tavarez and Rick White. The possibility of getting either Mike MacDougal or Jeremy Affeldt from Kansas City in the Benson deal also helps ease the Mets' mind about building a setup relief corps in front of newly signed closer Billy Wagner, and the team seems convinced Aaron Heilman could function in a setup role as well.

  • Seattle refutes the report that they offered Millwood a four year, $44 million contract.

  • The Jays landed Lyle Overbay and are turning towards Nomar Garciaparra.

  • The Pirates are eyeing Braden Looper and Roberto Hernandez.

  • Jose Valentin was signed to a one year contract by the Mets.

    "He's got the body of a 30-year-old," the agent added. "He probably came back a little too quickly."

    Is there really a big difference between the body of a 30 year old and the body of a 36 year old?

  • Bernie ain't going to no Mets.
  • Wednesday, December 07, 2005


    ...if this deal went through...

    A delicious rumor involving the Marlins and Yankees swapping Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano and Phillip Hughes for the Marlins outfielder Miguel Cabrera and lefty starter Dontrelle Willis didn't last long when it was shot down. -- New York Post

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman is talking to the Phillies about Jason Michaels and the Phillies are no longer demanding Chien-Ming Wang.
    -- New York Post

    Talk about a rip off. Just even thinking about Cashman having the cojones to even offer that is annoying. Newflash...check out Wang's K-rate and Cano's pitches per at-bat. Cano, more than anything is a product of his environment and Wang needs to prove he can get by in any division, much less the AL East, with a Danny Kolb K-rate. Phil Hughes is marginally better than Gaby Hernandez, and it took him to get LoDuca. Suck it Cashman.

    Eddie C. on Mike and The Mad Dog

    Ed Coleman said to temper your enthusiasm about Zito. Beane will not let him go unless it is the right deal. He said Beane wanted to throw Zito's name out there to see what offers came back and not necessarily because he wants to move him for sure right now. Basically, he is in no rush to move him, but like any GM, he is listening. Coleman speculates that any package would include Milledge and the Mets would likely favor to keep Heilman over Milledge because he has done it on the Major League level. He said that it would likely be more than Milledge as well in any deal.

    Coleman also said that the Mets are fielding calls on every starter not named Pedro Martinez.

    The KC deal is something that Mad Dog calls a GREAT deal for KC. That is when it was just Benson for Affeldt and MacDougal. Sure jackass. Great deal. Good deal for the Mets actually, but I'm sure there is no reasoning with you. Then Mike tossed in his two cents and said get Andy Sisco. No shit! Why not then toss in Zack Grienke too. There is a reason they are not talking about Sisco and talking about two relievers who are inconsistent. Great commentary again. You guys are the best of the best.

    Ed also likes LoDuca. He calls him a catcher who hits (hits for what? mediocre average?) and plays better D than he did last year. He says he played injured and that contributed to him tailing off at the end of the year, but I say people run like crazy on him healthy or not and he is a singles hitter. Basically, a poor man's Jason Kendall. Whoopee.

    He then said the latest rumor is Kaz back to Japan. Back to the land of the rising sun. The Mets would release him and settle the contract with a Japanese team. Valentine was quoted as saying the other day tha Kaz was a much better player than Iguchi in Japan and is surprised how badly he has performed. Me too because I think the dude can play. Oh well, that's the story.

    I hope everyone appreciates what I just had to go through.

    I heard from a friend, who heard from a friend, who heard from a friend...

    The Mets want both MacDougal and Affeldt. KC does not want to do that so the Mets are looking to expand the deal to get the both of them. The other name being tossed around is Victor Diaz. Now, I am of the mind that the Royals have the upper hand in that deal. I would still look long and hard at it, but ultimately it is a tough call and why I'm happy I'm not a GM. I'm on the fence because I want those two arms, but they are erratic. Diaz can hit 20+ homers in '06 if given a full time job. Is that giving up too much? Probably, but I do not know realistically what Benson can net back. You hear conflicting things that Benson is a hot commodity and that he is not so much a hot commodity.

    If he is, surely Diaz and Benson are worth more than two guys with stuff and a lack of consistancy. With all that being said, I would still consider it since the Mets have some options with Nady. Though he profiles better as a platoon guy, it is still something to think about with Milledge possibly ready to take over mid 2006 and Angel Pagan being able to give it a go should he faulter. Something tells me Nady would still do an admirable job if given an everyday shot, but Omar certainly has some tough decisions to make. I'm 50/50 on the deal if Diaz is involved, but for once, I would like the Mets to get the better end of the deal. I think they did that in the Delgado deal, but that is a rarity.

    On the Zito front...

    Mets GM Omar Minaya asked Beane about Zito on Tuesday. "He told me he's not moving him," said Minaya.

    ESPNRadio reports that if Omar wants Zito, it would be Milledge straight up. However, the prospect of giving up Diaz and Milledge disturbs me. Once again, I do not evny Omar. He has everything he wants practically in front of him, but there are consequences.

    In fact, the Burnett deal might keep Zito in Oakland. Zito is 27, left-handed and has a 86-53 career record. One close friend said Zito wouldn't sign right now for anything less than the Burnett deal, and is expecting to sign for "considerably more." So while Billy Beane had intended to explore the Zito trade market once the free agents had signed, he might hold onto Zito and make a run at the 2006 season.

    I'm taking one for the team. Ed Coleman is on Mike and the Mad Dog and I will listen to it and I will report back.

    The Rumor Du Jour

    "I didn't give anybody assurances," Minaya said yesterday. "I told him that we're very happy with the job he did last year."

    Kris Benson for Mike MacDougal and Jeremy Affeldt? Or is it Kris Benson for Mike MacDougal or Jeremy Affeldt and a prospect. If it is choice #1, I like it a lot. Both guys have stuff and a lot of it. Of course, putting it all together has been an issue for each of them. Affeldt can start or come out of the pen which adds that flexibility that Omar loves so much. All of us have players in the Majors that some people will say sucks, but for some reason, you love them anyway. For me, Affeldt is a guy that I wanted on the Mets for a while. His stuff is disgusting and he is a southpaw to boot.

    Two Seam
    Velocity: PLUS
    Movement: AVERAGE - PLUS
    Notes: Low 90s Good Sink

    Four Seam
    Velocity: PLUS
    Movement: AVERAGE - PLUS
    Notes: Up To 95 Live Pitch

    Velocity: PLUS
    Movement: PLUS
    Notes: 73-79; Changes Speeds On It Also Can Change The Break From A Slow Looper To A Hard 3/4 Break

    Change Up
    Rating: AVERAGE - MINUS
    Movement: PLUS
    Notes: 83-84; Inconsistent Pitch; Mostly Straight; Some Late Fade Occasionally

    Affeldt has largely been a disappointment since people have always expected a lot from him. He walks too many people, give up too man hits, and has only posted below a 4.64 ERA once. He has had trouble ditching blister issues that have hampered him throughout his career and contributed to his struggles. However, he is still a wildcard and I think he is one of those guys that are just going to break out eventually and just be nasty. The Mets could catch lighting in a bottle with him.

    As for MacDougal, he is as nasty as they come. He is a flamethrower that can reach 100 mph and can pair with Wagner as what I can assume is the only lefty/righty combo out the pen that touch 100 mph. Amazing to even think about if you are on their team or a Met fan and a scary prospect if you are the opponent. He has a nasty slider to boot, but like Affeldt, has largely been a disappointment. 2005 was his best year, which bodes well for the Mets if they acquire him, but like Affeldt, he gives up too many hits and walks too many people.

    It is debatable which one of these two could be considered the centerpiece, but I think this is a very solid deal for Kris Benson and nice return. The obvious thing is that the Mets would have the ability to shift Heilman to the rotation if they so desire or even Jeremy Affeldt to the rotation in 2006 or 2007 if he can gain some consitancy. If the Mets bring back Roberto Hernandez, they will have a solid pen that is pretty deep with or without Aaron Heilman. Whether or not they would plan on moving Heilman out of the pen is beyond me, but I cannot say I'd prefer it. While many people think he is wasted in the pen, he may in fact be more effective out of the pen. As it has been pointed out before and most recently by Rob Neyer, he had the lowest SLGA out of any reliever with 50 or more innings pitched with Wagner breathing down his neck in second in 2005. Would he be equally as devastating as a starter? Of course the only way to find that out is actually let him start, but Omar still holds a lot of cards and could still possibly deal two starters to fill other organizational needs. I'm happy if this deal goes through, but there are conflicting reports about whether it is Affeldt and MacDougal so I'll reserve judgment on the deal, but if it goes down, it is a good one.

    From NJ.com:
    A high-ranking Royals official said the Mets wouldn't be able to get both pitchers in exchange for Benson, but might be able to get one. If the Royals agreed to send MacDougal, they would not want to send anybody else. But if the Mets decide they'd take Affeldt instead, the Royals might add another player.

    It is a nice recovery from the LoDuca trade if it's both because the Mets would have come out smelling like roses. However, if it is just one, I'm not sure it is entirely different from the Jorge Julio deal. Young power arms that have trouble putting it together. I'd like to see them get both even if they add another player to do it, but if I had to choose one with a gun to my head, it would be MacDougal. I guess we'll see where this one goes, but what I would like to see is a hard stance by Omar. The Royals badly want a veteran starting pitcher and the Orioles deal is always there presumably should it fall through. Omar needs to play this like they need it more because it looks like they do. That harball tactic probably will not work, but I see minimal difference in MacDougal, Julio, and Affeldt. MacDougal had a better 2005 obviously than anyone else, but is no sure thing. Choose your poison, but I would rather use the Orioles as leverage to sweeten the deal.

    * * *

  • Looks like trading guys after one year with a team is the chic thing to do. The Sox are already peddling Renteria to the Braves and Clement to the Brewers for Lyle Overbay. If you have been around for a year reading this site, you would know the unhealthy affection I have for Matt Clement. The guy has electric stuff.

  • Not quite seven years, but four years $40 million is the latest offer to Captain Caveman from the Red Sox.

  • Oh, baby. Omar is on a mission. Once he gets something in his mind, he wants to do it at all costs. Next item? Barry William Zito. Now, I have no idea what could possibly be dealt for him at this point, but one has to wonder if the Kris Benson deal is at all involved. Billy Beane wanted right handed power, but got that from Milton Bradley. He was also interested in a power arm and Mike MacDougal has that should actually be traded to the Mets. He could be flipped to the A's as a cost effective flamethrower in the pen to set up for Huston Street. Of course more will be necessary in any package, but one has to assume that Lastings Milledge would be included in the deal. Let's say Milledge and MacDougal for Zito? If he comes here, I do not see how it could be for anything less. The Mets still would have a bullpen hole, but there are still arms out there to sign. If Zito comes here at the cost of Milledge, I will not be excited about it, but I will be the first to buy a Zito jersey. I still love his stuff and think he will be an excellent pitching for however long he would be a Met, but I just think GM needs to keep an eye on the long term success a team. Shortsightedness has to be considered a bad thing and a good GM can balance the long and short term. I'm not calling Omar a bad GM. I think he has done a wonderful job and whether or not he can make this team a perinial contender will not be know until we actually get seven years away, but I think that should the ultimate goal and with some of the deals he has made, it has looked like he is shooting from the hip. Give your team a chance to win it all for a long period of time rather than a few years. The bright side is Zito is still 28 and likely has at least seven good years left. I hate to see Milledge leave, but if he goes, it better be for a top tier player on the right side of 30.

  • Ramon Hernandez looks like he could end up signing with the Baltimore Orioles.

  • Maybe..just maybe I was wrong.

    The Blue Jays appear determined to break the New York/Boston hold on the AL East, having spent $102 million on Burnett and closer B.J. Ryan. Facing Burnett, Roy Halladay and Gustavo Chacin in a series will be no day at the beach.

    But I think this will be a deal Toronto will come to regret. Burnett, who is 49-50 with a 3.73 ERA for his career, has never been an All-Star and has made 30 starts once in his career.

    The last starter who got a five-year contract was Chan Ho Park, from Texas in 2001. How did that work out?

    Here's a little story: Last spring training a few Mets writers ventured into the Marlins' clubhouse before a game to talk to Carlos Delgado. Burnett, from the other side of the room, started cursing at us and carrying on. He made such a fool of himself that teammates told him to pipe down.

    The Marlins banished Burnett from the team for the final week of the season after he got into a shouting match with then-manager Jack McKeon.

    Burnett is a classic example of being the best pitcher in a bad market and getting paid because of it.

    Nah, I'm not wrong. I still love his arm, but I can see why the Mets kept their distance. I just think this guy is going to breakout. A full year after his TJ surgery with his stuff at his age? Anyone that wants to point to his sub .500 record has not followed him. If he can shed the arm problems, the sky is the limit.

    Also from Peter's article...

    Gantonelle writes: Any possibility that the Mets can work out a deal with Toronto? Miguel Batista looks certain to be packing his bags since the Burnett signing. The Jays won't add him to the rotation, don't need him to close with the Ryan signing, and won't want to pay his salary for him to be a set-up man.

    Answer: Good idea for the Mets. But with so many teams needing a closer, Toronto can get a lot for Batista. The Mets won't pay as heavily for a set-up man. Besides, the Mets have future Hall of Famer Aaron Heilman.

    Classic...imagine if Heilman sucks it up this year? What's the over/under on everyone calling for him to be cut if he doesn't repeat his success of last season?

  • What the fuck?

    The Mets were the first team to announce a trade at winter meetings, but Toronto topped their acquisition when it placed a No. 34 Blue Jays shirt on free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett, signing him to a five year, $55-million deal Tuesday afternoon.

    Is anyone surprised the fucking Yes Network took a bizarre jab at the Mets? Topped them by signing Burnett, what does one have to do with the other? Douchebags...
  • Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    High Risk....High Reward

    "When you get involved with this, you know it's a long process," said GM J.P. Ricciardi. "It's no slam dunk. ... We want a resolution just so we can move forward. But we've gone this far. Another few days won't hurt."
    On AJ Burnett

    Every time I say something like that, it bites me in the ass. The Cardinals raised their offer to $48 million over five years making their offer only $7 million short of the Blue Jays five year offer. It looks like JP is going to get his man and even though the Mets have fared well against him, I am happy his nastiness will not be on the Cardinals forming a pretty disgusting one/two punch. Of course, I was hoping Omar would have jumped in the fray, but the way his yearly salary was escalating, it was doubtful they would ever, every take on a $12 million per year pitcher at this point for that many years. Especially when Mr. Peter Abraham gives us an inside look at the Winter Meetings in his Reporter's Notebook and thinks the Mets are working on a swap that will net them a pitcher and not a hitter. That guy in all likelihood would be Javier Vazquez if it goes down.

    Also from his Notebook:

    Herb writes: Has Minaya given any indication about signing Mike Pelfrey?

    Answer: Pelfrey, the first-round pick last fall, will follow the same path Philip Humber did last year. That means signing in January in time to get to camp in February. What else is he going to do at this point?

    No point really, Met fan are just getting antsy to have a true pitching prospect whose arm is not in a cast.

    Mike writes: Is there any way the Mets make Alfonso Soriano a Met by the end of the week? I have heard that he will be traded before Dec. 20.

    Answer: It's doubtful. The Mets have never been as high on Soriano as some in the New York media are. He's a poor defender and his offensive trends are pointing downward. He and Carlos Delgado on the right site of the infield would be a disaster.

    But enough of those hot stove rumors. I just wanted to touch upon the hot point of the week and that is trading Gaby for Paul. I'm going to state some painfully obvious things, so just skip if you would rather not be patronized. Here goes...this trade highlights something for me that is the single biggest problem of not having a strong farm system. You trade talent for talent, right? Well, what happens when you need role type players and only have blue chips left? There are GMs who simply will not do a deal out of desperation if they feel they are getting ripped off and will only make a deal if it makes sense. There is the Mets big problem. If the Mets want to get these middle of the road trades done, they have nothing to get them done with. People can point to David Wright, Jae Seo, Jose Reyes, and Aaron Heilman and tell me that the Mets system produces some good players for a bad system. However, the shallowness of their system is exacerbated when you need to get these deals done for a Paul LoDuca, a middle reliever, etc. they simply do not have the second tier prospects to get it done and have to pony up blue chip talent for players that are not worth it. They simply have too many high risk, high reward guys and teams are looking for a bit of certainty in return. As talented as Carlos Gomez may be, he would not bring back anything decent in a trade.

    You need to have talent at every level. If a guy is in A ball, but is a great prospect like Phil Hughes or Gaby Hernandez, they simply do not carry as much clout as a Yusmeiro Petit pitching at AAA. Then you have a blue chip prospect that is not quite valued as high as they should be and the dearth of second tier talent leaves a team no other recourse than to trade players they otherwise should be holding onto for the fact that there is nothing else to trade. When the Dodgers need to go out and get players like Milton Bradley, who I consider to be a better player than LoDuca all around, they have the resources to give a solid prospect like Franklin Gutierrez and not even feel a dent to their system. They have players of all skill levels at all levels through their system and have the juice to get any deal done while still hanging onto their top, top players. Year in and year out they can make moves while still holding onto Joel Guzman, Chad Billingsly, Andy LaRoche, Greg Martin, etc. They can deal a guy like Victor Diaz who won batting titles and forget he was in the system two days later.

    Years of losing draft picks to free agent signings has done damage. Not in terms of top tier talent, but second tier talent. The Mets have done well with their first rounders and managed to get some talented players, but where the damage is done is the second and third round picks that carry enough clout to get the deals done that need to be done to round out the team. We are not talking about netting the Carlos Delgados or the Manny Ramirezs of the world, but the Paul LoDucas, the Steve Reeds, or the Victor Zambranos. These are things that cannot be fixed overnight. Next season, the Mets will probably not even have the luxury of picking up an impact talent unless they pull of a pick like when they got Gaby in the third round. This was a pervasive problem before the Mets dumped Kazmir, Huber, and Peterson last year, but now the problem is gaping. This is something that takes five or six years to rectify. Big market or not, you cannot sustain yourself without a farm system and I think the Yankees are proving that right now. This is why I was steadfast on looking towards free agency to fill holes and trying to keep what you have unless there is no other recourse.

    * * *

  • Dan Perry single handedly runs FoxSports.com in terms of baseball. If nothing else, that is impressive and he has his report card out. The Mets only get a B and I think we can all say that is a bit conservative. Despite the Cameron deals and LoDuca deals not being ideal, anytime you net Delgado and Wagner when they are such key cogs, you get an A.

    New York Mets
    Additions: 1B Carlos Delgado (acquired from Marlins), C Paul Lo Duca (acquired from Marlins), INF/OF Xavier Nady (acquired from Padres), RP Billy Wagner (four years, $43MM)

    Subtractions: INF Marlon Anderson (Nationals � two years, $1.85MM), CF Mike Cameron (traded to Padres), 1B/C Mike Jacobs (traded to Marlins)

    Needs: Middle infield depth, left-handed setup man

    The lowdown: The Mets have been the winter's most active team, and they may not be done. They're still mentioned in connection with Manny Ramirez, and a trade for Javier Vazquez or Barry Zito may also be on the radar.

    Off-season grade so far: B. The Delgado addition was excellent, and Wagner, while they overpaid for him, will help in the near term. The Cameron trade, however, was damaging. Lo Duca is fairly overrated, and signing Ramon Hernandez would have been a much better choice.

  • JP is a busy man. From the above Blue Jay link:

    One scenario discussed by the teams would see Mench and first base prospect Adrian Gonzalez go to Toronto in exchange for Miguel Batista, Orlando Hudson and Brandon League, a reliever coveted by Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor dating back to his time working with the Jays a few years ago.


    Ricciardi spent time yesterday revisiting with the Philadelphia Phillies a potential blockbuster swap of Vernon Wells for right fielder Bobby Abreu. The Jays have also looked at a deal with the Rangers for left fielder Kevin Mench.


    There were rumors yesterday that the Nationals and Jays had discussed a Batista deal that would send outfielder Brad Wilkerson — who can also play first base — to Toronto. Nationals general manager Jim Bowden later denied to reporters that he is trying to trade Wilkerson.

    The AL East is shaping up to be a pretty good race to watch this upcoming season.

  • Abreu for Prior? You have to love the hot stove. I cannot see this deal going down simply because I cannot see the Cubs giving up Prior in any way, shape, or form. His arm does not come around often.

  • Manny to the Angels, Glaus to the Sox, and prospects to the D-Backs. Could happen and looks more likely than any deal with the Mets at this point.

    Though that Boston Herald article mentions six suitors, this NY Daily News article said there is really only one outside of the Mets and those are the Angels, who the article says really are not that interested. It also mentions that the Mets are happy with their team and if the Red Sox want to unload Manny, they have to pick up salary and not take Heilman or Milledge. If Omar could actually pull that one off, it would be impressive. Most impressive.

  • The D-Backs still want a catcher and though Minaya debunked the notion that LoDuca could be spun, I'm still hoping. Omar has mentioned batting a guy with fourteen career stolen bases in front of Carlos Beltran and I say that is amazing. Really, nothing to comment on. Common sense says that this really won't happen and of course Willie, not Omar, writes out the lineup card and the season didn't start yet. However, why must my eyes read these things? I just want to rip them out.

  • This is certainly interesting:

    The Texas Rangers have been trying to engage the Mets in talks for second baseman Alfonso Soriano, with the hope of getting Benson or Steve Trachsel in return. But so far, the Mets seem focused on Ramirez as their next big bat and Mark Grudzielanek as their second baseman.

  • Evil always wins out. A few years ago, Millwood accept arbitration from the Phillies because he did not get the outrageous contract he was seeking. He was looking for ace money and he is just not an ace. Then he signed a one year deal with the Indians after shitting the bed in 2004 with the Phillies. Now, he gets basically the same deal he was looking for after the 2003 season. He supposedly has an offer on the table from the Mariners for four years, $44 million. Yikes.

  • This is new. Nomar is wanted by the Yankees to be a utility man off the bench? Before his injury, this guy was the premiere hitter in the league. Pretty sad he is where he is now because after two straight batting titles, he looked like he was going to be a legend.

    However, from the same article...

    While the cost-cutting Marlins still are refusing to lower their asking price of Robinson Cano for Juan Pierre, they have begun to tell teams that every player on their roster - including Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera - is available for the right price.

    Now that's what you trade blue chip talent for. Miguel fucking Cabrera. Take Milledge, Gaby, Jacobs, and Petit for that guy with a sprinkling of Matt Lindstrom. Talent for talent. Not talent for BloDuca.

  • Turns out Omar looked at Pudge, but the Tigers wanted too much. I would love to know what they were asking, but I guess speculation for Kaz for Pudge dump had no basis whatsoever since that is considered by some to be giving Pudge up for nothing.

  • From the Daily News:

    PIAZZA HISTORY: Minaya confirmed that Mike Piazza's tenure with the Mets officially will end tomorrow when the club declines arbitration to the future Hall of Famer, forfeiting negotiating rights. The GM was coy speaking about Braden Looper, but strongly hinted the Mets will cut ties with the former closer tomorrow as well.

    WORLD CLASS: Mets committed to playing in the World Baseball Classic are: Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico), Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Pedro Martinez (Dominican Republic), Billy Wagner (United States), David Wright (United States), and Victor Zambrano (Venezuela).
  • Monday, December 05, 2005

    Going For Broke

    Omar has decided to go for it all this year and though we are told it is still doubtful they will trade Lastings Milledge, they have nothing else of any sort of value on the farm whatsoever. They still have a few chips on the big squad, but their farm system is now probably the worst in all of baseball at this point and that includes the Yankees. We still know Omar has a lofty agenda that will certainly cost Milledge if he follows through. I hate the LoDuca deal for the simple fact that Castro plays better defense and is not far off offensively for a whole lot less money. I was not one who fully trusted him and apparently the Mets didn't either. However, I was willing to roll the dice if it came down to LoDuca or Castro. Also, do not get this confused. I am not against trading a 19 year old pitcher like Gaby for a Major League player, but I seriously do not feel like Omar got the maximum return for his value and that is what this should be about. That is the entire point. From the comments over at Metsgeek:

    LoDuca is a sure thing - to give you well below average production for his position.

    Gaby is no sure thing but he has a higher ceiling & better stuff than Petit. He is the only healthy & signed front of the rotation pitcher in the entire system - well he was . . . You don’t trade front of rotation prospects for weak hitting, bad throwing 33 year old catchers . . .

    In choosing LoDuca over Molina or Hernandez you would have sacrificed 60-70 points of OPS last season - a significant difference. Unless LoDuca + someone we’ve never heard of turns into Vazquez this is a bad trade. If AZ wasn’t meeting FL’s demands then why the need to pull this particular trigger?

    Is this team better today than it was before the LoDuca trade? I would have to say no. Even if this trade was to acquire another player and spin LoDuca, which I highly doubt, should LoDuca have cost Gaby + PTBNL + picking up all of his cash? I don't believe in the transitive property in this case even if it does net another player that is better than LoDuca. The bottom line is it should not have cost that much to get him. Yes, yes, 19 year old pitchers are far away and not a sure bet. No shit. That does not mean you trade promising prospects for crappy, league average to below league average players. You could have gotten more for you money. Great, he hit .285 last year. His defense is poor his OPS is ugly, even for catchers. Why even go down this road when you can ink a free agent if you did not trust Castro? To not surrender a pick? Gaby was a #3 who was pitching like a #1. You gave away a known for an unknown if that was the case. I try and be level headed and not knee jerk to deals, but this one makes no sense, even if he is spun.

    Just to give the other side a shot and prove that The Metropolitans is a fair and balanced site, this also from Metsgeek:

    You guys are completely ridiculous. 19 year old pitching prospect. Relax. We have the financial flexibility to sign people and thus can rely less on unproven prospects. we have young solid people on our team (Heilman, Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Seo, etc). Lo Duca is a veteran solid player with great clubhouse attributes. And this may get a chuckle, but the Dodgers and fans almost revolted when he was traded…why? not bc they missed his homers, but bc of the intangibles he brings to the team. Also, we’re not even sure if this isn’t a precursor to another deal….and, we save money we would have spent on Hernandez/Molina…and we don’t lose the draft pick we would have had to give up. So stop freaking out. Delgado will be huge for us. Worst case scenario, this was a bad deal, and we traded Gaby Hernandez for 2 million dollars per year and a draft pick. NOT SO BAD

    One again, just because the are young, it doesn't mean you just dish them off for crappy players. Yes, the Mets have financial flexibility so they shouldn't be nitpicking about a million more they would spend on Ramon Hernandez in order to keep Gaby for good or for a better trade. Those young solid people are going to be costing a lot of money in a few years with NO young talent to supplant the holes created by the aging expensive talent that will be off the team over the coming years. That is how you get yourself into trouble and into mega debt like the Yankees. This off season could go down as one of the most fiscally irresponsible when all is said and done. Not because of the money dished out to Wagner, Delgado, and LoDuca, but because the Mets may not be able to field a team in five years at this rate with no cheap talent to supplant free agent pickups or their own arbitration eligible players. Yes, this is only one more prospect so that shouldn't sway me if I was happy until now, but their cupboard is really empty now and I don't have warm and fuzzies about what is left still being around come opening day. At this point, it is essential for the Mets to keep the talented guys they have and they must have a great draft with some good international signings to ensure there will be something when they are needed in four or five years. Enough with the solid clubhouse guy. I had enough of that with Ice last year and the Mets could have him again this year if it is that important and still have kept Gaby. Don't give up a draft pick? Give me the more known quantity of Gaby over any 2nd rounder that Ramon Hernandez would have cost the Mets if he even got offered arbitration, which he will not since the Padres already inked Giles. If you remember, Millwood did the same thing with the Phillies and passed up a long term contract to try his luck the next year. It happens. Can the Padres chance that? They already said they could not afford both tipping their hand with Ramon Hernandez. My call? Ramon would have cost no pick making this a really bad deal. Not Kazmir for Zambrano bad, but still a bad deal.

    I've taken a step back from when I wrote this last night to think about it more and nothing has changed for me. It sucks. I know they wanted a catcher bad, but was it that burning of a need?

    * * *

  • The race for AJ Burnett is heating up. The Blue Jays have an offer on the table for five years and between $52 and $55 million. The Cardinals bid for Burnett is for four years and about $40 million dollars. The long shots in the race are the Orioles, the Rangers, and the Mariners. With Paul Byrd off the market and the best free agent starting pitchers on the market being Scott Boras clients, he has to feel comfortable with his position. Teams looking for pitching are tipping their hand in terms of money they have to spend if they come calling for his clients and he may end up creating quite a market for himself. Also, at this point, the Marlins would be crazy to not offer AJ arbitration since he has lucrative offers on the table that he just will not pass up. I fully expect the Mets to not get involved with this bidding war and though some were hoping the Mets were in the weeds on this one, it just looks like they really have little interest.

  • Barry Zito for Milton Bradley is a trade that is currently being discussed. It is unclear whether or not any more players would need to be involved, but Bradley would certainly give Beane a right handed batter with some pop and stress his defense saves runs mentality.

  • The Mets have awoken a sleeping giant.

    "We would never, ever have signed with New York if they had said they were going to trade us," said Anna Benson, 29. "I was Miss [Politically Correct] for the Mets the entire time I was there.

    "I have no deal with Playboy," she said, adding that talks crumbled last month over money.

    She was in fact a solid citizen much to my dismay as she was the biggest disappointment next to Carlos Beltran in 2005. I was expecting non-stop quotes from her to keep us all entertained and that never materialized.

    "How are they going to sit there and say it's so controversial when they sign someone like Delgado, who turns his back on our flag?" Anna Benson said.

    Ah, that's a little taste of what I wanted.

    "Playboy is all-American. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Cindy Crawford has posed," fumed Benson, who once posed topless for Penthouse. "They didn't turn their back on the flag."

    What's not to like about this woman?
  • Sunday, December 04, 2005

    The Hits Keep On Coming

    Here is a rumor from MLBTradeRumors.com that is rather interesting.

    Jeff Kent To The Mets?

    Just got a tip I thought was worth mentioning. A frequent poster over at NY Fan Sites named Monte offered this rumor:

    "The Mets are reportedly close on a deal that would bring Jeff Kent into the fold. Might be on hold until the winter meetings but very close to finished. No details on what they are dealing but it is something that has been worked on and actually got the Mets to back out of the Furcal chase so LA could finish the deal."

    Now, I haven't been able to establish Monte's credibility; I haven't been in touch with him. He is a very frequent poster over at NY Fan Sites, and supposedly was the first to name Ian Bladergroen as the prospect dealt for Doug Mientkiewicz back in January of this year.

    My gut feeling is that Monte has a legitimate source and is not fabricating rumors for attention. While my Mets source didn't have any such deal on his radar, it sounds plausible for the club. Kent certainly fits the win now mentality the Mets have been pushing all offseason. He'll make $9MM in 2006 and will be a free agent after the season.

    Monte and my own Mets sources are confident that Kaz Matsui will be moved somehow and that the Mets have no intention of starting the year with him at second. Given that the Dodgers plan on playing Cesar Izturis at second base with Rafael Furcal in the fold, Kent is either due for a trade or a move to first. Kent has played 105 games in his career at first base, but never more than 30 in a season.

    It remains to be seen how the next Dodger manager will feel about first baseman Hee Seop Choi. Choi is only 26, and has too much potential to be relegated to a bench role. While Choi has struggled against southpaws, he's had very little opportunity to hit against them regularly. If Kent does stay put, look for DePodesta favorite Choi to be on the move. Choi could certainly be a step towards a younger Giants club.

    Take it for what it is worth, but if LoDuca cost Gaby, I do not even want to think about what Jeff Kent will cost.

    There Is No Longer A Reason To Call Me A Man....Or Mets Fan

    It took me three tries to parallel park my car today. There is no longer a reason for myself, or anyone else for that matter, to call me a man.

    Gaby Hernandez for LoDuca? Yeah, I have no reason to call myself a Met fan right now. Tomorrow I'll rethink that, but right now, I'm trying to just figure this out. I really do not care if this a prelude to another move because I cannot see how Paul fucking LoDuca should cost Gaby Hernandez and another arm and picking up all his salary to boot. Excuse me while I go take a shower.