Free Heath Bell?
Every so often, I start to doubt myself. I look at a player's stats, watch him a few times, and do some number crunching and I come to a conclusion. This guys sucks, I like this guy, etc. Heath Bell has been an unhealthy obsession for a lot of people. Free Heath Bell! Free Heath Bell! I've written about him here before, Ricardo has written about him at Metsgeek.com, and I had written about him at Metsgeek.com back in December again.
There were countless other blurbs, but those were the meaty posts about him. I must admit, I started to waiver a bit lately. In what could be deemed as sacrilegious in the Metsgeek.com circle of writers, I questioned if Heath Bell had any relevance to this Mets club. However, Baseball Prospects has joined me in my desire to see this guy get another chance to succeed at the big league level. Prior to the 2005 season, BP had written this:
While Bell is expected to crack the Opening Day roster, he’s likely to be low on Willie Randolph’s initial pecking order due to his limited big-league experience. While GM Omar Minaya and Owner Fred Wilpon deserve credit for landing the free-agent market’s two marquee players in Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, support players like Bell figure to play a pivotal role in determining the team’s success this season.
Bell’s projected breakout is earned through the jump in his playing time as a full-time member of the pen. His ability to miss bats — he fanned 122 batters in 102 Triple-A innings in 2003 and 2004 — and throw strikes (just 31 walks in those same 102 innings) translated well to the majors late last year, and figure to do so again in 2005. With a good mix of a low-90s fastball, darting slider, and a change-up, he’s got the repertoire to succeed. Possible warning sign: five homers allowed in 24.1 innings with the Mets last year.
A removed facial policy and a baseball season later, you could have polished up the blurb and published it again before the season.
While Bell is expected to crack the Opening Day roster, he’s likely to be low on Willie Randolph’s initial pecking order due to his limited big game experience. While GM Omar Minaya and Owner Fred Wilpon deserve credit for bringing in more marquee players this year in Carlos Delgado, Billy Wanger, and Paul LoDuca, support players like Bell figure to play a pivotal role in determining the team’s success this season as Aaron Heilman is due to make a move into the starting rotation (mind you this was before the season).
After writing about him a few days ago on the 12th, it seems as though BP just cannot shake the big guy from their minds as they brought him up yet again.
What do you think it’s like for a guy like Heath Bell, who has pitched well in Triple-A for a while now, and intermittently well at the major-league level, to get sent down whenever he has consecutive bad appearances while watching Scott Erickson making three hundred grand again on nothing but wishes? Erickson isn’t one of the 340 best pitchers in the world right now; I could make a strong case that he’s not a legitimate Triple-A pitcher, either.
They think enough of him to keep him on their radar and use him in an article unrelated to him. It all somehow validates my thoughts on the guy and makes me think maybe I'm not crazy. It is not often that Baseball Prospectus keeps writing about minor league relievers and Heath Bell has gotten decent amount of ink for them so they obviously still think something is there too.
From Jerry Crasnick's:
Craig (PA): Simple Solution, Floyd for Odalis Perez. Dodgers get the OF they need, Mets get a pitcher and both can bring up their prospects (Milledge and Billingsly).
SportsNation Jerry Crasnick: Craig,
Not a bad idea. Let's post it and see if Omar Minaya and Ned Colletti have logged on today.
I'm not a big Odalis fan, but it warrants a discussion.
From Buster Olney's:
Justin (Springfield, NJ): Buster: How much blame does Omar Minaya deserve for the lack of depth in the Mets rotation. He spent a lot of money, but seemed to neglect the rotation.
Buster Olney: Justin: I think he took a calculated gamble, and so far it hasn't worked out -- going into Sunday's game, their No. 4 and 5 starters were 0-4, 6.61 since April 22. They're hoping to patch and fill until Bannister gets back, and hoping Pelfrey does a better job with his off-speed stuff. I think the Phillies' play will have a lot to do with how quickly the Mets go to Plan B, which would be to trade for more rotation help.
Buster Olney: And, by the way, yes, they have poked around already on a possible Livan Hernandez deal.
Those were some interesting tidbits from Buster.
Yanal, NY: Buster, Floyd looks completely lost at the plate. Any possible way the mets could include him in a trade and bring up Milledge this year?
Buster Olney: Yanal: You figure this will be part of the conversation they have -- your scenario is very legit -- and the fact that they bumped Cliff to No. 2 to try to get him going reflects some serious concern.
mike (holyoke): what's your take on hamels? will he be able to help philly?
Buster Olney: Mike: Talked to an evaluator who saw him in the last two weeks, and the guy thinks Hamels will be amongst the best NL pitchers within weeks -- and the best pitcher the Phillies have, including Brett Myers.
Hamels is a large part of the reason I'm concerned about the Phillies. Rookie pitchers are not that dependable, but some are special and Hamels is scary good. If not for injuries, he would have been in the bigs already. The 22 year old has thrown only 195.1 innings since becoming a professional in 2003 and has a 14-4 record with 5.25 h/9, 0.09 hr/9, 12.58 k/9, 1.43 ERA, 3.79 k/bb, and a 0.95 WHIP. His highest ERA at any stop was 2.73 and if you include his big league start, he has given up two homeruns in 200.1 professional innings and that is simply nuts. It really does not surprise me that he got called up and tosses five shut out innings with seven strike outs and allowed only one hit. He walked five and will have his bad days like anyone else, but the kid is good and he will make an impact in the NL East.
From Steve Phillip's:
Daniel Rabinowitz:Great Neck NY: Lately the mets have been having problems closing games. Should Willie Rsndolph be concerned with his bullpen?
Steve Phillips: I think Billy Wagner will settle down. Sanchez was due for a tough outing. I think it's too early to be overly concerned. But their struggles show that Heilman should stay in the bullpen and not move into the rotation just yet, even with the problems with the No. 4 and 5 spots.
There you go. Proof!!! Steve Phillips thinks Heilman should stay in the pen. I think we can all agree that means Heilman should be in the rotation.
Woodsy Philadelphia, PA: What are the keys for a General Manager to keep it all together mentally when there there may be heat on his team from the public and or media? Like an outcry for players to be traded or Managers to be fired?
Steve Phillips: Drink heavily! Just kidding.
Um, I think that about sums it up.
Valley Stream New York: Hello Steve, Do you think Jose Reyes of the Mets will ever learn to walk more and become a better on base percentage leader off hitter?
Steve Phillips: No, I think that he will always be wanting when it comes to plate discipline and working the base on balls. I believe that plate discipline, for the most part, is God given and not developed. That doesn't mean that a hitter can't get better. My experience says that Reyes will get marginally better and may be able to work the count to 2-0, 3-1, but then he's going to swing at that next pitch.
Stevie and I agree on one thing, Bannister should not be rushed.
Dave (Roslyn NY): Steve, if Bannister isn't ready in time for Lima's next scheduled start, will the Mets give Lima the go again? Doing so seems to be conceding a loss with how awful he's been. Also, any thoughts on the possibility of throwing Heilman into the rotation in the spot he earned in the preseason?
Steve Phillips: I guess the issue is conceding a loss today to prep your team for later may be a consideration. There are times when teams, coaches and organizations have to keep the bigger picture in mind. I think Lima Time is over as far as his success in the majors. They should not rush Bannister back and risk him going down another month and having to start Lima six more times.
From Gary Gillette's:
David Annapolis, MD: Gary your my last chance. I've posted this question to Crasnik, Olney and Phillips only to get rejected. Do you see the Mets giving Floyd the hook should he continue to slump? If so do they bring up Milledge to play LF?
Gary Gillette: (4:34 PM ET ) So I'm the closer here? Of course the Mets won't wait forever with Floyd, especially with the Phillies breathing down their neck. But I think they'll give Floyd a long time to get untracked.
Gary Gillette: (4:36 PM ET ) However, since the plan was to use Milledge in left after this year, it could come sooner than the All-Star break if they don't have a comfortable lead in the NL East
As the cleanup hitter for the Valley Mets, Canseco is known to let the first two pitches go by, and then launch a home run as he connects using a 35-inch, 32-ounce aluminum bat, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
In an homage to his playing days with the powerful Oakland A's teams of the late 80s, Canseco offers each of his teammates a forearm bash following his home runs.
"What a weapon," Valley Mets manager Gary Zelman told the L.A. Times. "It's like cheating."
Um, Gary? Bad choice of words.
Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek removed bone spurs in the elbow, repaired a torn flexor tendon and performed Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament.
Insert your fixed in ten minutes joke here. I have too much class for that. This was his second Tommy John surgery and while there is a fairly high recovery rate, I do not need to say two is concerning to say the least. Lance Davis has it twice as he got it in 1996 and 2000, Darren Dreifort got it in 1995 and 2001, Chad Fox had it done several times, José Rijo had it done an astounding four times, Scott Williamson had it several times, Tim Spooneybarger had it done twice, and Matt Riley had it done twice and needs it again. There are probably more, but those are the most notable ones. Zambrano turns 31 this August and he will be bearing down on 32 when he begins his comeback. No one doubts that Zambrano is a great guy and this is certainly a shame that his Met career came to end in this fashion, but it is a chapter that a lot of people are happy is closed.
Marlins righthander Yusmeiro Petit, 21,made his major league debut in relief yesterday, striking out the first two batters he faced. "I worked a long time for this. I worked hard," Petit told the Miami Herald. "So I'm very happy." Petit was recalled when righthander Sergio Mitre went on the disabled list.