Jim Bowden is probably the only other GM who has as aggressive a style as Omar with little regard to looking at the bigger picture. Making deals to satisfy the moment regardless of what may be happening down the line. Bowden is looking to sign Sammy Sosa and will presumably have a roster problem with Jose Vidro and Alfonso Soriano and will most likely have to deal one of them to create a roster space. That's right. He might have to deal someone he just traded a solid player for earlier in the off season. Of course, he is looking for pitching in return most likely and Soriano will carry more weight due to his name and the perception he might be worth $10 to $12 million a year, but you get the idea.
With Ryan Church and Marlon Byrd Set to fight it out in centerfield and Soriano more likely to hold out than play outfield even if Sosa never signs with this team, one has to wonder what direction Bowden is going with this team because it does not seem to be up. The Rangers had trouble turning Soriano into something solid until this past off season and Bowden has a few weeks if he is dealt, and it looks like he will be. The good news is the Nationals and Bowden are in the Mets division and will be comfortably occupying fourth place until the newbies are ready to significantly contribute with the Marlins which could be as soon as next year to climb out of the basement of the NL East.
Damon took out a full-page advertisement in the Boston Globe sports section yesterday to pay tribute to Red Sox nation.
"Many thanks to the great fans of New England and the city of Boston," it read. "It was a privilege and an honor."
The display included a photo of Damon in a Boston uniform and his signature. Damon left the Red Sox in December to sign a four-year, $52 million deal with the rival Yankees.
I guess it is a nice move, but whatever. Boston got the guy they wanted in centerfield the entire time in the end and Damon got paid. How can there be bad feelings on either side?
Projected batting order
1. SS Jose Reyes:
.273, 7 HR, 58 RBIs in 2005
2. C Paul Lo Duca:
.283 BA, 6 HR, 57 RBIs in 2005
3. CF Carlos Beltran:
.266 BA, 16 HR, 78 RBIs in 2005
4. 1B Carlos Delgado:
.301 BA, 33 HR, 115 RBIs in 2005
5. 3B David Wright:
.306 BA, 27 HR, 102 RBIs in 2005
6. LF Cliff Floyd:
.273 BA, 34 HR, 98 RBIs in 2005
7. RF Xavier Nady:
.261 BA, 13 HR, 41 RBIs in 2005
8. 2B Anderson Hernandez:
.056 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBIs in 2005
Interesting to see A Hern in the eighth spot. I guess the inside track says that the Mets are very high on this kid, but we have been reading that all winter. However, LoDuca is still entrenched in the two spot and that has Willie's name all over it. Yes, this harkens memories of me bitching about Wright batting too low last year. A lot of people told me to stop whining and I wouldn't. But you know what? I was right. The entire year Wright batted too low and had to watch Piazza ruin opportunity after opportunity because Willie still thought the year was 2000 and Mike was batting too high. Yes, Mike still had value, but not in front of a much better hitter. The subsequent effects were less protection for Wright than if Mike Piazza, who's name still carries weight, is behind him, less opportunities for the Mets best hitter to do his thing, and probably cost Wright an amazing feat of scoring 100 runs and knocking in 100 runs in his first full year. Whatever, different season, same gripe. LoDuca should be batting no higher than sixth and more likely seventh and Wright should be batting third.
The forgotten man Kaz Matsui was only mentioned once.
3. Who plays second?
The Mets would be delighted if Kaz Matsui were to play second and be the offensive force he was in Japan. No one expects that now. Hernandez is the best defensive player; Keppinger, a Jay Bell-type, seemingly is the best offensive player. It's not a positive indication if Bret Boone wins the job.
True dat. If Boone is manning second come opening day, it won't be pretty.
Age: 22 | Throws: Left
2005: Finished 4th in AL in strikeouts (174)
Future Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar wasn't easily impressed by pitchers, especially young ones, but the first time he faced Kazmir in batting practice in spring training, he said, "I've never seen a young left-hander who throws that hard, and his ball moves that much."
Kazmir is 12-12 with a 4.06 ERA lifetime, but his more important numbers are 215 strikeouts in 219 1/3 innings, and his age: 22.
"We didn't see him last year," new Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was a coach with the Angels, said at the winter meetings. "I can't wait to see him. Everything I hear is good."
Yikes. Didn't realize he finished fourth in strikeouts. But really. Who is not excited about King Felix?
Age: 19 | Throws: Right
2005: Held LHB to .182 BA
"Have you seen him?" a scout raved late in the season. "I've seen him twice. I can't remember seeing a kid this young who throws this hard with such control."
Last year, Hernandez, then 19, became the first teenager since Dwight Gooden in 1984 to strike out 10 in a game. When Hernandez threw eight shutout innings in a game near the end of the season, he became the first teenager since Gooden to deny a run in a start. The last pitcher as young as Hernandez to pitch in a regular rotation was Britt Burns in 1978.
"I've never seen a young kid with the potential that this kid has," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "If he stays healthy and keeps his head on straight, he has a chance to be as good as we've ever seen."
Hernandez's head is on straight. He's smart, he's personable and he knows where he is. In spring training last year, he got hammered in a start against the Brewers and tried to pitch out of it by throwing harder.
When he got to the big leagues, he was hit hard in an early start. "And then you could see him pull back, take a little more time on the mound and find a way to get the hitter out instead of just throwing harder," Hargrove said. "He learned from that experience There are 25-, 30-year-old pitchers who don't learn like that. The whole baseball world is in front of him if he wants it."
As good as we've ever seen? You just do not throw that around lightly.