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

Friday, December 16, 2005

Great Expectations

Since the news is slooooow it seems as good a time as any to take a look back at Carlos Beltran's season and some pre season predictions.
           AVG     OBP     SLG    HR    SB
Me .290 .390 .560 32 40
PECOTA .280 .377 .508 26 30
ZiPS .278 .373 .504 29 38
Marcels .282 .363 .520 28 32
James .285 .368 .524 31 38
Actual .266 .330 .479 16 17
Of course I do not think there is any way he repeats that 2005 performance this upcoming year, but I do not think anyone really thought he would not top twenty homers and not top twenty stolen bases. His BB/PA was the lowest since 2001 and the first time since 2003 that it was below .120. His IsoP was the lowest it has been since 2000 and the first time it was below .200 since 2001. He had the lowest SB% of his career and saw the least amount of pitches per plate appearance since 2001.

I think it was fair to assume his numbers would take some sort of a hit at Shea, but 78% of his at bats were as a left handed batter and we all know that Shea is just not as tough on lefties as righties. So the drop in production, while expected, should not have been as precipitous as it was from moving from his old parks. The thing that confused me the most was his plate discipline. You can make the case that with the Royals he was the best hitter on a bad team and therefore pitched around, but he continued to take walks when he was moved to the Astros with some pretty good hitters behind him. That should have translated a bit better especially with Cliff Floyd batting behind him.

He did have leg problems all year that contributed to his speed game, but anyone that has played a sport with an aggravating quad/hamstring/groin injury will tell you that it affects everything. That includes just standing at the plate an taking a swing and throwing a ball. You feel uncomfortable and start over compensating in areas until you are completely out of whack. The guy oozes talent and flashes some serious power on some homeruns. Last year he hit a shot off of Julian Tavarez in the playoffs that not many people could have hit.

"Barry Bonds is the best hitter in baseball. I don't think he could have hit that pitch," Tavarez said. "I can't believe he hit it."

That was the only homer he gave up during the playoffs and one of only seven the entire year, including the playoffs. The ability is there to be a special player in this town. There is also no doubt in my mind he can hit thirty as a Met year in and year out, but whether or not he will obviously remains to be seen. Omar has put him in a better position to relax and play his game. Hopefully a healthy Carlos Beltran with a better supporting cast will take his place as one of the elite in the game.

* * *

  • I was drafted by the A's too.

    Tom McCarthy sounds like a good guy and I hope he can fill those big shoes left by Cohen.

  • Mark Grudzielanek is headed to the Royals along with Dougie Eyechart. I'm fine with Grudz no longer an option because that means Kaz is closer to getting yet another shot. Also, if Douggie thought the Mets situation was bad, wait until he his wallowing in last place heading for 100 losses.

    Anyone want to place bets that this right side of the infield has the most letters in their names combined in the history of baseball?

  • Braden Looper signs for three years and $13.5 million with the Cardinals. Ultimately the Mets will probably sign Taverez essentially trading relievers. Looper is definitely a solid set-up guy for the Cardinals.

  • Hernandez, 41, went 8-6 with four saves and a 2.58 ERA in 67 relief appearances with the New York Mets last year. He did not allow a run in 55 of his 67 appearances and held right-handed batters to a .213 average while pitching for his seventh major league team.

    Tough one to lose. I am definitely curious to see if he can replicate last year's season which was so out of line with the previous four seasons and I still think the Mets should have offered him arbitration. I can understand Piazza and Looper, but not so much this one.

  • Nicey nice. Wright is good.

  • Pricks...

    One high-ranking official said this week, "There's no question the Mets are the best team in that [NL East] division. So go ahead, say they're favorites. Say they're the best team in the whole league. Put the pressure on them, for once."

    Put the pressure on them for once? I would like to point out that yes, they do have pressure, but not a $200 million payroll type of pressure. Klap says it wasn't said spitefully or sarcastically, but it is hard for that to not sound negative. How about they just mind their own business and concentrate on actually making a move.
  • Thursday, December 15, 2005

    You've Got To Know When To Hold 'Em

    I applaud Omar for his aggressiveness and his desire to make this the best team in the league. I applaud his desire to win at all costs and shoot for the stars. However, why bother moving Kris Benson at this point? No one has been busier and it seems he has worked as hard as he can to get his other ace and another big bat, but none of the moves seem to make ultimate sense because of what is will presumably cost the Mets and the remaining options.

    Forget the fact that you just cannot trade Santa, but the market is just not there for him. Now that Javy is gone it might pick up, but there are not a lot of teams lining up to get him and actually give anything back. Show him the weight room and tell him to get his stamina up. At times last year Kris pitched sparkling with a great, tight slider. Then he looked like a guy who had nothing left in his arm and for the second year in a row had burned out his arm by the end of the year.

    The Mets might end up just giving him away to get rid of him, but I'm thinking Omar ink Tavares for the bullpen and hold all his chips right now. Benson could be valuable at the trading deadline and might be able to net more. The fact is Tejada is probably staying and Manny is proving to be quite a difficult acquisition. It's clear that no deal that is worked out will be beneficial for either team. Omar has come so far in his short term as the GM and they are good team right now and could compete. We all want a stronger rotation, deeper bullpen, and another bat, but at what cost? You cannot force something that is not possible. The Mets still have the best rotation in the NL East and the best aside from the Cubbies.

    You just cannot get everything you want all the time. I like this team right now and I think Omar should just stay the course when you look at everything that is going on. Maybe all this trade talk will fuel Benson to go out and have the year that people always thought he was capable of.

    * * *

  • Dan Cichalski goes over everything Met-related with a fantasy spin.

    I'd try to deal Victor Zambrano before Kris Benson because I think Benson could have a stellar year if healthy in 2006.

    Agreed, but one would assume you can net more for Benson than Zambrano. However, when faced with the dilemma of not being able to get a substantial return for Benson and everyone else asking for the moon in anything you want, you have to back down and go with what you got. Zambrano out of the bullpen with the ability to start is not the worst thing I've heard of.

    Wright is clearly the best hitter and perhaps the most well-rounded player on the team after leading the Mets in average, runs and RBI in 2005. He's got the ability and the fire to be a superstar and to take on the responsibilities of hitting third in a lineup full of superstars. With Mike Piazza gone, Wright also has the prettiest swing on the team. He was one run short of a 100 RBI/100 R season this year and with this kind of talent around him, I don't think it's a stretch to expect from him a .320 average, 30 HR, 120 RBI, 110 R, 40 2B and 20 SB.

    Crazy to think about those numbers, but he can do it with Delgado behind him and Reyes and Beltran in front of him.

    The two-hole is also a better spot for him to drop down a bunt, something he liked to do last season but is not what you really want to see from your third-place hitter. With a year in New York under his belt and the chance to start next year fresh and healthy, Beltran could get a further boost from move up in the order, something that could bring him closer to being a 30/30 player again instead of a 15/20 guy.

    Yup, yup, and yup. If LoDuca is batting second with Wright or Floyd batting sixth, it will make no sense.

  • Kenny Williams going for it?

    So, are the Sox done dealing? A local radio report had the Sox mulling a trade in which shortstop Juan Uribe and either Garland or McCarthy would be sent to Baltimore for star shortstop Miguel Tejada.

    Would Garland and Uribe be enough? The Orioles are desperate for pitching, but it is a tough call. Garland was a Cy Young pitcher for most of the year and the Orioles would finally have their ace. It is interesting if nothing else, but probably baseless.

    Williams did shoot down a rumor that the Sox are offering shortstop Juan Uribe and starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for shortstop Miguel Tejada.

  • Got to give them credit...

    The Sox offered Manny Ramírez straight up for Tejada last Friday and the Orioles, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, countered by asking for Ramírez, a pitcher, and a pitching prospect.

    Wow. Nuts. They have nuts.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    6 more irrefutable facts about Chuck Norris:

    1. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

    2. Chuck Norris never misspells a word. If he does, he simply changes the spelling.

    3. One of the greatest cover-ups of the last century was the fact that Hitler did not commit suicide in his bunker, but was in fact tea-bagged to death by Chuck Norris.

    4. In one episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Chuck Norris replaced Carlton for one scene. . . and nobody noticed.

    5. Chuck Norris does not have AIDS but he gives it to people anyway.

    6. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

    Sorry, out late for my b-day last night and no time for a real post so you are treated with this for the second day in a row. Life is good and feel free to discuss anything you want all day......


    1. Chuck Norris could kill you with one roundhouse kick (with either leg).

    2. Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.

    3. Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

    5. To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and acquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Chuck Norris > Lance Armstrong.

    6. Chuck Norris took my virginity, and he will sure as hell take yours. If you're thinking to yourself, "That's impossible, I already lost my virginity.", then you are dead wrong.

    7. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    8. Chuck Norris once tried to sue Burger King after they refused to put razor wire in his Whopper Jr., insisting that that actually is "his" way.


    * * *

  • We knew this was coming and get used to it. The prices will keep going up and will cost a pretty penny when the new stadium opens.

    Carlos Delgado $13.5 million
    Billy Wagner $10.5 million
    Paul Lo Duca $6.25 million
    Total $30.25 million

    Mike Piazza $15 million
    Mike Cameron $6 million
    Doug Mientkiewicz $3.75 million
    Braden Looper $3.5 million
    Total $28.25 Million

    ...and more to be added.

  • Alfonseca a Met?

    Antonio Alfonseca would like to fill the void created by the loss of Hernandez in the Mets' bullpen.

    "Antonio loves the direction they're going in and they're one of the teams he asked me to contact. I hope in the near future I speak to Omar Minaya about that," agent Juan Iglesias said.

    The 33-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA for the Marlins last season. He appeared in only 33 games because of a stress fracture in his pitching elbow that sidelined him for three months, but Iglesias said the injury has "healed perfectly."

    Maybe lighting can strike twice. Alfonseco and Roberto are basically the same pitcher.

  • The Mets may trade for Miggy to help land Manny? Am I the only one who would rather just have Miggy?

  • Javy may get heading to Chicago.

    Javier Vazquez, who has piqued the Mets' interest, may be on the verge of getting shipped to the Windy City. A baseball insider suggested the White Sox are the most likely destination for the Diamondbacks pitcher, possibly leading to a trade involving Jon Garland (a free agent after the 2006 season) or Jose Contreras.

    I almost hope some of these guys get moved to prevent Omar from going overboard, however...

    Arizona is "nearing conclusion" of a deal for righty Javier Vazquez, GM Josh Byrnes told The Post, and the Mets spoke to the Diamondbacks as recently as yesterday.

    Who it is, no one really knows. It could be St. Louis, Chicago, or the Mets, though I do not see it as being the Mets.

  • Some interesting news:

    The Mets and Yankees have shown the most interest in Cuban defector Barbaro Canizares, a defensively challenged, big-hitting catcher who would begin his U.S. career in the minors.

    All thost tasty tidbits were from Adam Rubin's article.

  • Marty Noble can ponder with the best of them.

    If you were assured he'd hit 40 home runs, drive in 120 runs, score 90 runs and be a greater presence in the order than Floyd, would you be willing to assume a $57 million obligation? Even if the Sox were to pay $15 million of it, would you take on $42 million for 15 more home runs, 30 more RBIs and 20 more runs each year for three years?

    Floyd fit well with the Mets last season -- better, I suggest, than Ramirez would fit in this often-trying market. He's part of the fabric of the Mets. He responded to Randolph's challenge and had the second-best season of his career. The only baggage he has is what David Wright carries for him as part of the playful clubhouse hazing.

    Moreover, the Mets' bullpen is thin, with Roberto Hernandez gone and Minaya not yet done. Deal Heilman, and the 'pen will be so thin, it will have no other side. At the same time, Milledge is not a guaranteed Major League regular, but if the Mets deal him, what will happen to the core of players Minaya says he wants to create?

  • Classic stuff:

    "In every trade proposal, he's asking for the other general manager's first born, plus two pitchers."
    --an MLB executive, on new Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who reportedly overvalued his players when negotiating trades (FoxSports.com)

    "It takes him two hours to watch 60 Minutes."
    --an MLB executive, on the deliberate style of former Orioles co-GM Jim Beattie

    "He might not live to see the end of that contract."
    --a scout, on 47 year old first baseman Julio Franco, who just signed a two-year deal with the Mets

    "If the Mets get Manny Ramirez, he'll be the first outfielder sponsored by OnStar."
    --an AL scout, on Ramirez' outfield defense in Shea (New York Newsday)

  • This man thinks like Omar...

    Tejada is special, but would the Orioles receive a better offer -- dollar for dollar and skill for skill -- than Abreu, especially since Tejada’s trade demand reduces their leverage? Even if they insisted on a sweetener, couldn’t they be talked into the believing the endless Gavin Floyd spin?

    If Gillick could beat the Red Sox to Tejada, it would leave Boston panting for a shortstop while still willing to move Ramirez. Rollins, who will make about $8 million per over the next five years, would be ideal in Fenway. And if the Sox wanted more? Give them Pat Burrell, at about $8 million a season, to replace Ramirez’s power. But insist on Matt Clement, at about $8 million, in return.

    You have to give him credit for concocting that one.

  • Damon in center and Garciaparra at first for the Yanks?
  • Monday, December 12, 2005

    I Feel Like I'm Taking Crazy Pills

    From ESPN.com's Rumor Mill this Saturday.

    The Mets have talked to the Red Sox about Ramirez and asked Boston to take second baseman Kaz Matsui in a deal along with Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman and other prospects.

    Um. No. No. No. No. No. Heilman is an integral part of the more important thing right now in the bullpen. Adding Ramirez would be an amazing thing, but the Mets becoming an all offense and weaker pitching team is a scary thought in a stadium that suppresses offense. They have sufficient punch and they need to shore up the bullpen and not make it worse. Furthermore, taking on that money is just a tough one to swallow at this point when it is more of a luxury than a necessity. I would part with Lastings, but only for a guy on the right side of 30 and with a more manageable salary.

    I know I've been over this time and time again, but it is unreal. I hope that rumor was not true. I'm not even sure it makes sense for the Red Sox much less the Mets. It kind of sucks all the way around. Presumably the Red Sox would spin Milledge for some more offense or try and use Marte to get some more offense, but I would like to see this deal die and have Omar get us one more starter and a bullpen arm by Christmas. Leave Kaz at second as the Mets have other options should he not work out and give him a third shot. The guy has the potential to be one of the most productive second baseman in the National League if he can get over whatever mental hurdles he needs to clear. He seemed to be on the right track at the end of the year and might be able to continue that in 2006 with a lot of pressure off him.

    Granted, they'd be showing the same disregard for money and/or prospects they showed in the Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado deals, but they could swap righty Aaron Heilman for Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez if they wished.

    If anyone can explain to me how this makes sense in any way shape or form, I would love to know. I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW!

    Though Mets GM Omar Minaya talked with the Devil Rays repeatedly during last week's winter meetings, he remains unwilling to move Heilman for Baez. The reluctance to trade the Mets' 2001 first-round pick is worth reviewing.

    Omar is standing by Heilman, but anything is possible when you take in account the desire for Proven Veterans™ by Willie and Omar.

    Now onto the real order of business...If it smells like shit, looks like shit, and tastes like shit, it must be shit.

    "I never said I wanted to be traded; I said I want to see a better team," said Tejada, who spoke via phone from the Dominican Republic. "I don't want to keep losing like we have the past two years. Look at the division we're in. It's not easy to win without pitching. It's the hardest division in baseball with the Yankees and Red Sox. And look at what Toronto is doing with their pitching staff. They're going to be tough."

    You didn't ask for a trade, but it sure sounds like you did. You are a grown up, you are allowed to do that, but like I said, singing in that division, with that team, you must have had a clue that it was an uphill battle for Baltimore to win anything anytime soon. Enough of that....

    Jose Reyes for Miguel Tejada? Of course, the likelihood of this going down is slim. Very slim, but as a discussion topic, it is intriguing. We all love Jose Reyes and his electricity, but he is no Miguel Tejada and never will be. The deal straight up would not work so it would be necessary to make the deal a little more encompassing. The Mets would need to clear payroll and the Orioles would need more back. So let's say, Jorge Julio and Miguel Tejada for Kris Benson and Jose Reyes? Remember, Mike Cameron was dealt for then best baseball player in the universe Ken Griffey Jr. and a Reyes for Tejada swap would not be too far off and like in any Manny deal and the Griffey deal, it is impossible to get back equal value and Miggy is not even on that level.

    Is this deal plausible? Would it be better to see if Milledge can be subbed for Jose Reyes if Milledge, Benson, and possibly something else could get it done? Should it even be entertained to move Reyes back to second base or try and deal him for something else if Milledge is the one that is spun? Should Tejada move to second base to keep Reyes at short since it is arguable Reyes' upside at short is higher?

    Tejada will turn 30 next May and is a middle of the lineup force than can do it all but steal bases. I would say he is worth giving up Reyes or Milledge because he can be one of the top five players in the league when he is firing on all cylinders. Of course these are unlikely scenarios, but the Mets have the juice to get a deal like this done much easier than a deal for Manny and that is plain to see. If Omar wanted to push it and could make him fit on this team, I think a match could be worked out. Where else could Baltimore get a SS back of Reyes' caliber?

    * * *

  • Wowee. I hate the LoDuca trade more as another one of The Metropolitans Minor League sleeper picks was traded in the deal. Dante Brinkley was traded to the Marlins as the PTBNL. Yes, two of my favorites were gone in an deal which I think was a bit premature. Blow me BloDuca. You can shove your intangibles up your ass.

  • Steve Popper goes over who is still out there in terms of big names.

    Barry Zito: The A's say he's not on the market, but with a wink that says, "Ask again when you've got the right package ready."

  • Bob Raissman is not a fan of Tejada asking to be moved.

    For signing a huge deal with the Orioles two years ago and now asking to be traded. Obviously Miguel has been studying from The Book of A-Rod. Tejada said things in Baltimore have not gone in "the direction we were expecting." Dude, er, Dweeb, you should have thought of that when Peter Angelos came around waiving all that cake. Still, you have to admire the chutzpah of Tejada and A-Rod. They get some sucker to overpay them. Then, when the going gets tough, they slither out of their deal and find some other yutz to pick up their contract. And you thought steroids were ruining baseball.

  • Some Q&A with Billy Wagner:

    Q: Favorite New York things?

    A: The Empire State Building. People-watching is hilarious.

    If he likes to people watch, he'll have no problems adjusting to NYC and finding things to do. These will be the fastest four years of his life.

  • Good for Bert. He landed a chance to close, albeit with the Pirates, and will get $2.7 million dollars for that one year contract. Sad to see him go, but he deserves the opportunity.

  • It looks like Vidro could be healthy by Spring. If he is, Omar, use the pitching surplus to get him if he is deadset on moving Kaz. I would rather have him in the two hole instead of LoDuca.

  • Uggie could have cashed in this off season, but instead he is in jail. Sometimes, people do things they wish they could take back.

  • Looks like Theo might return back to Boston. Maybe the job market was bad?

  • Insight into my life....

    Friend: I am still going to the Buffalo Vs. Jets game on Jan. 1. Do either of you guys plan to go?

    Me: Can I just tailgate and go home?

    Friend: Yeah, sure. . . I dont even have a ticket !

    Me: Nice..I'm in for some massive drinking...won't we be hung over though?

    Friend: No. . . . you can't technically be "hung over" if you never went to sleep in the first place. . . just think of it as the after party!

    Me: Ah...I'm with you. I'm dumb.

    I might not make it to 30.