Scott Kazmir, Fireballing Lefty and All-Around Good Guy
I was perusing the inter-web the other day and came across this little blast from the past.
Thank You, Mets Fans!
By Scott Kazmir August 3, 2004 - Dear Mets Fans,
I would like to thank you for all your support while I was a member of the NY Mets. I was very proud and fortunate to be part of a 1st Class organization. I will never forget the memories from signing, to Brooklyn, Columbia, St. Lucie, to Binghamton and all the friends I made along the way.
I would like to say to all my former coaches, trainers, and teammates...keep in touch, you guys are the best. To the booster clubs that provided their time and support and especially to the fans. Thank you.
When I was drafted, I heard that the NY Fans were passionate about their baseball. I found that to be so true. My parents have also passed along the support everyone has given over the last couple of days and many of you have sent emails and IM to my parents stating your continued support by following me through the new organization. I would like to say that I am very appreciative and honored. I will continue to work hard and not let you down.
Although I am no longer with the Mets organization, and I appreciate your support, I am sure I speak for my other former teammates that have moved on with me by saying it has been fun and an honor to play for the Mets and for fans like you. We will work hard to make it to the majors and make you proud. I have found out first hand that New York Mets fans are like no other.
Thank you for your support,
Classy kid. Most people would have went away and not said much, but he took the time out to write that letter which was a really nice gesture by the then 20 year old Kazmir. He will always be a player Met fans follow and root for. Sniffle..sniffle. He's like the hot x-girlfriend (or x-boyfriend for you ladies...trying be more even keeled here) that you want back, but cannot have.
He currently is sitting in 3rd on ESPN's Cy Young Predictor and sits 3rd in the AL in ERA, 2nd in strikeouts, and 2nd in wins. No, this is not me crying about spilt milk, it's me following a player I like.
Danny Almonte has grown up.
The former Bronx Little League pitcher whose being two years over the maximum age invalidated his team's Little League World Series run is now a 19-year-old pitching prospect likely to be selected in the baseball amateur draft, scheduled for June 6-7.
He's also a recently married man -- and to an older woman.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that Almonte married Rosy Perdomo, 30, a Manhattan hair stylist, in a City Hall ceremony last fall.
"She's special," Almonte told the Daily News. "My family is happy for me."
Big mistake Danny. To be young and have cash...
"It was weird," he told the newspaper of the wedding. "You have to accept it. Everybody was happy for them. He's a nice boy."
Not quite rousing endorsement from his cousin.
"I felt like I was embarrassed to get behind 4-1 early in a game like that," said Arroyo, who joined the Reds in a spring training trade with the Boston Red Sox. "It's not a secret. They don't have a bunch of All-Stars in that lineup. They had seven righties up there, which is tailor-made for me. I was embarrassed to be beaten by those guys.
"That's not to say you can't be beat on any given day, but I thought it was a horse (crap) outing, especially against a team like that. I mean, they are one of the weakest teams in baseball. That's just the way it is. If I gave up four runs in six innings to the Yankees, I probably wouldn't be embarrassed, but I was."
Why stop there?
"If I can't stand on the mound and feel comfortable against that lineup, then something's wrong with me," he said.
Why not just keep going and rip into your own team a bit?
"I'm not disrespecting anybody. I'm just stating the facts," he said. "We don't have a lights-out rotation here. We don't have a lights-out bullpen. That's just a fact. We don't have a busload of guys that are Randy Johnsons. We don't have anybody in our rotation that's a Randy Johnson. That's just the way it is.
"If the Yankees were playing us and they said they were embarrassed to be beat by Dave Williams, Bronson Arroyo and Brandon Claussen, hey, I'm not going to take offense to it. I know these are three guys the Yankees shouldn't be beaten by. I don't think I should be beaten by a lineup that sends seven righties at me and doesn't have a lot of juice in its lineup or whatever you want to call it."
I love a good tirade.
Hey, I think someone called me a moron in the comments section yesterday. How did they know?
From this morning’s Virginian-Pilot:
Days like this lead to odd happenings. By the seventh inning, the Tides turned to backup catcher Joe Hietpas to pitch. One of his fastballs hit 93 mph on the speed pitch gun. He was consistently in the 90s.
“Everything that happened today was odd,” Hietpas said. “I had no idea I could throw 93. The last time I pitched, I was 15 and playing junior varsity American Legion ball in Wisconsin.”
There was no velocity reading given on Ray Naverette, but we probably don’t want to know.
Good info from DG and I have no idea how they knew you were a moron...lucky guess maybe? As for Hieptas, get that man out from behind the plate. A little work and maybe he'll be Henry Owens part II. The good lord knows he cannot hit.
Q: LF from The Crane Pool Forum asks:
Pitchers Justin Verlander, Philip Humber & Jeff Niemann were picked in consecutive order in last year's draft - #'s 2, 3, & 4 overall - and all, because they signed late, have essentially not yet thrown a pro pitch. Yet they turn up in very different places in the Top-100 list (Neimann = #20; Humber = #50; and Verlander not even on the list). What's the thought process behind the wide disparity?.
A: John Manuel: Niemann has the best combination of size, stuff and track record of those three; I personally don't think it's close. Humber performed better in 2004 as he was healthy when Niemann wasn't, and I admit I'm not holding his injuries (arthroscopic elbow surgery, groin pull) against him. Humber isn't far behind for me, I just don't think he has the makeup to be a No. 1 starter, and I think Niemann does, makeup and stuff. His ceiling is true No. 1 for me, Humber's is not. Verlander is just a completely different guy. He couldn't even dominate the Colonial Athletic Association. He throws harder than those guys and has nasty stuff of his own, but I don't see the aptitude or the makeup. For me, Verlander is a high-risk, high-reward pick, and I'm wary of the risk and wary of his track record.
"We never roll over."Last night’s game was as good as it gets…at least if you are a Met fan. As much as I dread this time of year, that game was an amazing piece of baseball for each fan base. The starters predictably got lit up and Jeremi Gonzalez did not look like he would make it past two innings giving the Yankees and unthinkable diet of straight fastballs. How anyone thought he would be successful throwing 90 mph and down the plate against that team is anyone’s guess, but it worked out as the Mets offense led by Carlos Beltran and Xavier Nady homeruns kept the Mets in the game. Aaron Heilman was absolutely devastating in relief and relied on what I use to call one of the best off speed pitches in the bigs with Trevor Homan’s generally setting the standard, but Heilman looks like he owns that crown now. If you have seen a better one, let me know. That pitch would undoubtedly be categorized as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
With Heilman’s stellar performance, Gary Cohen echoed sentiments running through my head at the time which is why Aaron Heilman is so important in the bullpen, but those three dominant innings left me wanting more. Those three innings left me wanting to see this kid get 200 innings to see what he can do. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Ask any GM who is more important, your third best reliever or your third best starter? Obviously it is not an open and shut case. If you have a deep rotation and weak bullpen it is your third reliever that is more important. However, I think we know what the Mets situation is and what should be more important at this point.
Leading up to the game, you heard about it just being another game for both sides. However, if anything tells me that the Yankees wanted to win badly, it was Joe Torre using Mariano Rivera on the road in a tie game. Just another game to you? Please. The game turned into a battle of the closers and Billy Wagner came in and blew away Jason Giambi, blew away Alex Rodriguez, and finally blew away Kelly Stinett emphatically with a 98 mph fastball that put an explanation point on probably the Mets four best innings of relief put up in 2006. Then, in what was the sweetest way to win the ballgame, Mariano Rivera allowed two runners to reach and with two outs and David Wright at the plate, Wright won the game with a shot over Johnny Damon’s head. Our golden boy beating their legendary closer with our closer being as dominant as it gets.
"The kid at third," Torre had been saying in the Yankee dugout before the game, "isn't just going to be a star. He's going to be a superstar."
As soon as it became a battle of the bullpens, I knew the Mets had the upper hand and my hunch (and probably everyone else's hunch as well) ended up being right. The Mets need to take five of nine on this rough stretch and they have two wins so far and need to take three more.
Only two years ago, people were debating whether right-handers Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux might be the last pitchers to win 300 games.
Now, here's Mets left-hander Tom Glavine looking like he could be the last pitcher to reach the milestone.
Earlier this season, Maddux told reporters with a chuckle, "There's probably a 12-year-old kid pitching somewhere right now who'll do it."
The answer is yes, someone will win 300 again. If nothing else, guys like Albert Pujols come along and set a new standard at such a young age. There will be a guy who comes along and does it for sure. While 15 games a year for 20 years sounds daunting, it will be done, but it will be few and far between from here on out.
The $39.95 million med-student's dream will undergo surgery next week to remove a bone chip above his right elbow, the Yankees revealed before last night's loss to the Mets.
It is the latest in a year-long series of setbacks for Pavano, who hasn't pitched since June 27, 2005, due to shoulder, back, buttocks and arm injuries.
Wow. Not much else to say. What an disaster for the Yankees between the money they owe to him and Randy Johnson.
The Mets, desperate for pitching help, are discovering that the price of upgrading their rotation will be steep. First the Marlins asked for David Wright in a swap for Dontrelle Willis. And if the Mets want Livan Hernandez, the Nationals say it will cost them Lastings Milledge.
Two baseball officials confirmed Friday that the Mets were told any deal for Hernandez must include Milledge, their top prospect, and that pretty much ended the discussion. At least for now.
Umm, that ends that discussion forever actually.
Minaya also is becoming more open-minded to solutions he didn't seriously consider before, such as moving Aaron Heilman back into the rotation or promoting Mike Pelfrey or Alay Soler from Double-A Binghamton. Pelfrey (0-1, 4.15 ERA) is scheduled for his fifth start there Saturday, and a good outing could nudge Minaya to pull the trigger.
"He's always been an option," Minaya said. "I'm not going to rule anything out."
If it will cost Milledge for marginal pitchers, the in-house options will be looked at and I'm glad Omar is at least mulling that over. That is very encouraging in my mind and the Mets really might not have a choice.
Anderson Garcia from Triple-A Norfolk. Garcia, 25, was 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight appearances for the Tides and opponents were batting .170 against him.
Garcia is a hard throwing right-hander and I am interested in seeing what he can do. If someone can step up in the bullpen, maybe Aaron will be freed.
"I think everybody knows my position hasn't changed," he said after David Wright hit a drive to the centerfield wall in the bottom of the ninth. "I've expressed my desire to have the opportunity to get back in the rotation."
I would not put anything past him if he gets his shot to be a very successful pitcher because this kids wants it bad.
The Yankees and Mets could be battling each other again in July, this time for the 16-year-old son of Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena.
Both teams are among several who have shown interest in Francisco Pena, a catcher in the Dominican Republic who seems likely to receive a seven-figure signing bonus once he becomes eligible to sign on July 2. The Yankees and Atlanta Braves have flown Francisco to the U.S. for workouts, and Mets general manager Omar Minaya is believed to have contacted him personally.
We know the Mets will be active on the international front this year and with them not spending first round money, they can spend a lot on the top talent from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Also, from the above link:
The Yankees have also scouted Preston Mattingly, the 18-year-old son of Yankees hitting coach Don Mattingly. A speedy shortstop in Evansville, Ind., the younger Mattingly could go in the top 10 rounds of the draft and has accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee.