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

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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.

* * *

  • Chats, chats, and more chats.

    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.

    Serious indeed.

    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

  • My prayers have been answered.

  • Albert Pujols is on pace for 83 homers, 209 RBIs, and a .333/.469/.833 line. That is just silly.

  • Jose Canseco + Aluminum Bats + Guys Like Us = Wacky Hijinks

    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.

  • Zambrano underwent successful surgery on Monday.

    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.

  • Rick Ankiel is either going to put on the Cardinals 25-man roster when he comes off the DL or he will have to pass through waivers.

  • In case you missed it from BA:

    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.

    Anonymous benny said...

    Heath Bell just boggles my mind...

    I hate Odalis. It is not intruiging. I just don't trust him. And especially for Floyd... fuck that.

    And screw Livan too. He's been a mess this year. Giving up dingers at RFK, enough said...

    Albert Pujols is just hacks. Guys that do not care about baseball know about him.

    They better non-tender Zambrano, lol.

    Yus Petit is gonna be nasty meng. He knows how to pitch. I kinda wish it was Bannister and not Petit in that deal but oh well. WHo cares? It was worth it.

    12:06 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    alright, my story on lastings is out. it is self-indulgent in the extreme and very much a fluff piece. also, my plug for metropolitans is comprimised bc i left 'blogspot' out of the url. my bad. anyway, here is the link: http://portfolioweekly.com/

    12:28 PM

    Anonymous jake in norfolk said...

    mike, i never stated my point of view, but i had no problem with the white background we briefly saw. however, this new comment thing won't save my name and i keep forgetting to sign off.

    that sucks that pelfrey got roughed up. i was hoping he would never get hit like hamel. if he doens't become the answer we have problems.

    clifford and the rest of the boys need to tighten up tonight because i'm about to look like an idiot for telling braves/phillies fans around here the mets will stay in first all year. even though i didn't neccesarily believe this it was good to be able to spout off.

    12:33 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I hate Odalis. It is not intruiging.

    Point taken. I retract my statement.

    I wouldn't put it past the Mets to sign him to a minor league contract next season. Just leave it alone!!! Let Zambrano go.

    Bannister would not have gotten the deal done and Petit will be solid. He hits his spots and knows how to pitch, but I still love Delgado.

    Nice..the article. I have been axiously waiting for it. Thanks for the almost plug, it's the thought that counts.

    Pelfrey will get there, it's just too soon and people will be looking for too much.

    All year? Jesus Jake, you couldn't have said 80%?

    12:41 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Awesome job Jake. The quotes from the coaches were so good on so many levels. When I like to read about the kids, I value the coaches words over all others and the certainly reinforced everything I thought about this kid and then some.

    1:21 PM

    Blogger Kenny said...

    Just read Jake's article...

    That, my friend, is a job well done. I really enjoyed it.

    1:37 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    Jake, great article. Nice job. You've made us all proud here in metropolitans land.

    I agree with Benny, screw Odalis.

    The Phillies have to start losing sooner or later. And our debacle of the rotation can't last forever...can it?? Gulp.

    3:15 PM

    Anonymous ossycocotaso said...

    how the hell did this idiot pitch with a strained forearm and bonechips?

    i hate to say that him getting hurt was a good thing, but it was a great thing. it was good for him and good for the mets and greater for the fans. he wont subject himself to the abuse. the mets wont have to trot him out there anymore to justify the trade. and on top of that, we dont have to see him anymore.

    i'm tired of hearing about milledge and pelfrey. alex ochoa and paul wilson were cant miss prospects at one time in mets land. let these kids make an impact before we salivate over them.

    david wright and reyes didnt get this much hype and they turned out ok in my eyes

    3:32 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Can't it? This rotation debacle is counting on four rookies to have TWO of them step up. Gulp indeed.

    how the hell did this idiot pitch with a strained forearm and bonechips?

    Classic. The guy had multiple things wrong with his arm and didn't tell anyone. Wacked out.

    What's with the negativity on the Mets prospects? D Wright did have this much hype. I beg to disagree. Reyes did not, but Reyes is probably not on the same level either.

    3:57 PM

    Anonymous benny white from el bronx said...

    david wright and reyes didnt get this much hype and they turned out ok in my eyes

    Yeah they did. It was such a big deal when Reyes got promoted. I mean, it almost had to be a big deal, we had Rey Sanchez as our Shortstop that year. REMEMBER DAT!
    Maybe they got more attention among scouts and just straight up minor league "people" and not fans.

    The reason you even hear Milledge's name SOOOOO much is because of trade talk.
    David Wright and Reyes didn't really give the Mets/fans/beat writers, the opportunity to create trade talk.
    Reyes and Wright were on the REALLY fast track to the majors.
    Milledge has taken his time. Which is amazing because he's still, afterall a 21 year old in AAA.

    4:14 PM

    Blogger Whitney said...

    "The reason you even hear Milledge's name SOOOOO much is because of trade talk."

    Benny, you're right. Remember Alex Escobar? He was the next big thing and talked about in every other Mets article for what seemed like years and years. If players zip up to the bigs, they're mentioned less -- it's when they're in the minors, where most writers can't or won't see them play, that allows journalists/bloggers/crazy people on the subway to speculate with a definitive authority about how the Mets should "clearly deal away"/"hang onto for dear life" the prospect in question.

    4:19 PM

    Blogger Whitney said...

    Oh, and Jake -- a perfect account of Lastings Milledge. Well done.

    4:20 PM

    Anonymous Mikey H. said...

    Amazing what you can find online nowadays:


    4:29 PM

    Anonymous Mikey H. said...

    And the Fish are using Petit as a reliever? I thought he was going to be a starter when he was in our system.

    4:41 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, Escobar was talked about a lot and he had weak, weak numbers at the time of his promotion and did not perform well in the upper levels due to injury, but he made noise.

    Oh, Mikey H....that is some sad shit. The dude was good. Very, very good.

    Petit will be a starter...that was just the first opportunity for him. I'm all for using guys as relievers if they have nothing left to prove in the minors...Ryan Madsen...John Papelbon... Brandom McCarthy. Get them some slow exposure and an idea how to attack major league hitters and the ability to do well since it is relief. Then when they start, they should have more confidence and everyone is happy.

    5:34 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Can't resist.

    Jon: (Santa Barbara, CA):: Rob, just bought the new book. Great so far. My question is if you had to redo the book now, would the Kazmir trade be included? Kazmir for two pitchers with 4 Tommy John operations. What was Duquette thinking?

     Rob Neyer: Was that Duquette? Yeah, I guess it was. Anyway, I won't consider it a significant blunder until Kazmir puts together a good season or three. But he's certainly well on his way.

    That last sentence hurts, Mike, that last sentence hurts!

    PS 4 rookies into 2. I'll take that.

    5:40 PM

    Anonymous DG of the Derbervilles said...

    Oooh, I'll do it again:

    To make room for Offerman and Bozied, the Tides released OF Cory Aldridge and assigned C Zac Clements to the Class A Brooklyn roster. …

    This is mighty upsetting news. Cory Aldridge got cut? Man, I thought he'd be in the competition for the eigth outfielder to be brought up if the four in NY and the four of the seven who got called up before him get hurt. Damn. This is going to ruin my AAA fantasy team!

    Okay, Bozied is the second ex-Padre to join the organization this year. Check that, the second ex-super stud Padre prospect to join the organization. Could it happen twice? Does this guy play anywhere besides first base? (And no, DH is not a fucking position!)

    5:54 PM


    And hey, I'll do it again...

    Danny Graves may pitch meaningful games for the Mets in 2006!

    Nats Digging Graves?

    Keep an eye on right-handed reliever Danny Graves, who was designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

    Though Bowden couldn't be reached to comment yesterday, he originally traded for Graves when he ran the Cincinnati Reds, and last year, when the Reds dumped him, Bowden made a strong play before Graves opted to join the New York Mets.

    Graves could become particularly enticing -- despite his 5.79 ERA in 13 appearances for the Indians -- if lefty Joey Eischen continues to struggle. Eischen's ERA is 10.45 in 16 appearances, and opponents are hitting .326 against him.

    Bring him on baby!

    5:59 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, that hurts. I was thinking about looking at the Cy Young predictor for the AL on ESPN.com because I am in too good of a mood. I need to be knocked down a couple pegs.

    Tagg Bozied has one bizzare name.

    Offman is the New Ice...It's official.

    What the hell happened to graves? Seriously, the guy was decent for a bit, not great, but now he is just horrific.

    8:36 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    hey thanks for reading the story. whitney how you doing? well, glavine is pitching well again. awesome. err, at least until that rbi double. lets go mets.

    9:44 PM

    Anonymous ossycocotaso said...

    reyes and wright got some exposure but not to this level. wright played almost 400 minor leagues games and was promoted solely for ticket sales and the fact that some guy named ty was manning 3b and not very well. he had a big year in 2004 and that made it easy to promote him.

    reyes had a bit more fanfare i will admit. he had a rep but was only brought up bc of the suck ass team we fielded and rey sanchez's scolding hot avg of 207 and his club house hair cuts.

    they werent hyped thought to the extent that pelfrey and milledge are.

    i'm not knocking either mills or pelfrey. i hope they do blossom into inexpensive productive players. i just dont want fans clamoring for them and having anoter "generation K" scenario on my hands. (to this day it hurts to see izzy not in met uniform)

    4:05 AM

    Blogger Whitney said...

    Don't worry -- desperate times call for desperate measures, and these aren't desperate times. (Though you'd never know it from my hollering and whining.)

    Pelfrey's not ready and they know it; Milledge could be but he wouldn't fill an area of need. He's fun to watch and the fans will indeed clamor for him based on his immense upside, but Omar has done plenty in the past two winters to satiate the NYM fans for now. He knows that the Mets don't need Milledge at the moment, even if he is an exciting, five-tool player.

    As an aside, Escobar was also considered a "five-tool player"; who knew all five tools were Flowbees?

    10:21 AM

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