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

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Legend of Zorro

"The dude's been clutch," said Cliff Floyd, who had grounded out as a pinch-hitter with two runners aboard for the final out of the ninth. "Valentin, he's been as important as anyone here all season."

At no point this year could even the person with the most fantastical imagination in the world have predicted Jose Valentin's success this year. Valentin looked horrendous during spring training with a .143 batting average and only one extra base hit and three RBIs in seventeen at-bats. The Mets can say all they want they had faith in him and believed in him, but it looks more like a case of dumb luck.

If you look at his spring training numbers and his at-bats through May 12th, which is just before his breakout Milwaukee series, he was horrible. He was hitting .155 and slugging .172. If you back up into his 2005 season with LA, he was batting .166 and slugging .239 in 205 at-bats when you include this spring and the beginning of the Mets season.

And yet, the Mets stuck with him. The rewards have been huge with a .303 batting average as a starter and a .576 slg%. He is on pace for 19 homers, 26 doubles, and 71 RBIs in 388 at-bats this year and has showed no signs of slowing down. Jose Valentin has become one of the greater mysteries of the world and has made Omar and Willie's blind faith in him look like a stroke of genius, but who cares? Valentin has been just huge for this team.

* * *

  • The Barry Zito rumors persist and the rumors that the asking price is exorbitant persist as well.

    To this point, the price for the 28-year-old lefthander has been too steep, with Athletics general manager Billy Beane demanding Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman and perhaps even a third prospect - possibly Brian Bannister or John Maine - in return.

    Of course, there are conflicting reports that say Zito is not on the market.

    Mike Vaccaro is pulling a Jon Heyman and saying Omar should go for Willis or Zito and deal Milledge and Heilman for either one.

  • Of course it is easy to jump on the John Maine bandwagon and be knee jerk and say he is answer, but it has only been two spectacular starts and few decent ones prior to this. However, it is not as if John Maine came out of nowhere. He was a highly regarded prospects with the Orioles and exhibited some control issues which buried him when he came up. He has all the tools including a big league fastball.

    Said one observer: "[Maine] has a lot of last-second life on his fastball, same as Zito. His 91 or 92 [mph] looks a lot harder than that to a batter. It creates the illusion of accelerating just as it gets to the plate, which is pretty rare."

    He certainly helps to temper everyone’s fears in regards to the rotation and Mr. Billy Wagner thinks Maine and Pelfrey might be the answer if no starter is acquired.

    "Unless we get some great deal that's a steal for us, I'm thinking we just hand the ball to those two guys and say, 'go to work.' "

  • Brian Bannister made a rehab start for St. Lucie last night.

    Brian Bannister, who has been out since late April with a hamstring injury, started a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie last night. The rookie right-hander threw 83 pitches over five innings and gave up four runs, six hits and four walks.

  • Heath Bell is on his way back to Norfolk.

  • The Soriano rumors are still hot and the Tigers are reportedly willing to deal Humberto Sanchez in a trade for Alfonso.

    "We know the price that we need to have from clubs," Bowden told the Times. "The price doesn't change. The price today is the same price it's going to be at the deadline. We don't have to trade anybody."

    Bowden back to his old ways. If Soriano can bring you a A/B+ prospect and B prospect do it. You will not get two A/B+ prospects from anyone for a rental. Beltran netted Baird Mark Teahan, Mike Wood, and John Buck. Of course Baird made a horrible deal and refused to take the best prospects and was targeting specific positions, but you get the idea.

    Blogger Paladin said...

    Valentine has been the biggest surprise in all of baseball right now. He was only supposed to be a good option as a left handed bat off the bench (even though he does switch hit, still a better lefty), but has done such a tremendous job when presented with the challenge of playing just about every day at second base.

    I, like most Met fans, was calling for this guy's head at the beginning of the season. And rightfully so! He was dreadful coming off the bench as a pinch hitter. Apparently all he needed was an opportunity to get into the game on an everyday basis! Thank you Matsui for that little stroke of luck! Who woulda thought...

    With regards to Zito, I've actually heard (as I'm sure many of you have as well) that the asking price for him has dropped significantly. Quite frankly I don't believe a single word of it. Because if it's just Heilman and a few low level prospects (according to Buster Olney) that Beane is asking for, then why hasn't this deal been done already? Seriously, no Milledge, no Pelfrey, just Heilman and a couple of scrubs down on the farm for Zito? Yeah... I don't think so.

    I said on yesterday's thread that while I will not get all ga-ga over Maine yet, I do love his guile and guts. It is so very refreshing to see a pitcher use that high heat so effectively. We obviously need to see MUCH more of him as the season prorgesses, but for now I am continually impressed by how he uses his pitches in specific situations.

    BTW, anyone hear about Floyd Landis testing positive for high levels of testosterone during the Tour? Word is that "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone" was present when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday. Only ONE rider had failed a drug test during the race, and it appears to be him.

    Landis and his Phonak team will ask for an analysis of his backup "B" sample "to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake." Sounds legit though. Not what the United States of America needs right now. It's already too easy for other countries to pile on top of us. If this guy really did cheat, it would be yet ANOTHER major embarrassment for us and our nation.

    12:08 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    If it's Heilman and a prospect for Zito, I do that trade yesterday. In fact, I'd throw in Heilman's bus fare to Oakland. Let him ride the bus for botching that play the other day.

    12:46 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    He did get into games on an everday bases in '04 and '05. Yes he was injured in '05, but he has not been this good EVER! Having your best season at like 36 is not the norm. Wacky shit.

    Beane says it is low, the NYC papers are saying high. Who is right? This stuff is practically impossible to predict and get solid info until the trade is actually in the works. A good team like the A's does not leak too much info. The Mets on the otherhand have deep throats all over the damn place. Amazing why information comes out. I know sometimes teams leak stuff on purpose, but with the Mets, it seems most high level stuff is leaked.

    I am impressed with Maine a lot to. He has a legit fastball and has been pitching for while. He's not newbie to pro ball.

    I heard that about Landis. hGH for Landis I guess, but the media did spread that about Armstrong, but this looks like concrete proof. The view of America as cheaters throughout the world should be high after this one. Hopefully he is innocent and hopefully he didn't do anything.

    Toasty, so down on Aaron!

    1:03 PM

    Blogger Kenny said...

    What's wrong with a little extra testosterone. Maybe the guy blew some dudes in France, no?

    Anyway, I'm kind of hoping the Mets don't make any trades. They always seem to pull off retarded moves around this time of the year. I don't have enough faith in them to actually pull off a solid move. I'd love Zito or Willis, but I don't want any of the Livan Hernendez's of the world.

    1:33 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Kenny - bear in mind that last year, Omar made the best move of all at trade deadline with making NO deal. I am also of the camp that I don't have faith in them making the "best move," as I think the asking price for Livan (and other scrubs) is way too high. But I have faith that Omar won't jump the gun simply b/c the media is telling him to.

    1:39 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Kenny, very insightful on the testosterone thing. Really, thanks for adding something to the discussion.

    I agree Kenny, people are always looking to rip the Mets off. If Omar takes the attitude fair deal or no deal, then great. I think they are still fearing a backlash like the Kazmir deal when everything is going great this season. Ultimately, that deal will protect us for a while for seeing such a silly trade go down again. I doubt he will trade Milledge for a rental or Milledge and Heilman for anyone. Put that in you pipe and smoke it.....

    1:42 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    I am down on him. He's just had this poopy-pants face on the whole year, and the other day was the last straw. If we have a chance to get Zito for him and a non-Milledge prospect, jeez, there's not a radar gun on earth that would be able to calculate how fast I'd sign up.

    1:46 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Just gonna have to wait till Monday to get something done.
    Waiting sucks.
    Did you know that waiting is the meaning of life? All you do in life is wait.

    Paladin, Who's Floyd Landis? It sounds like either NASCAR and I don't care for it. In fact it sounds like a good thing to me to get people to hop off baseball's dick.

    - benny

    2:10 PM

    Blogger Kenny said...

    In regards to my earlier observation about Landis...
    As Jerry and George would say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

    Back to the Mets...
    I'm just very gunshy. I have this mental image of GMs sitting in their offices that goes something like this:

    secretary - I've got the Yankees on the phone.
    GM - Tell him I'm busy.
    secretary - I've got the Nationals on the phone.
    GM - Tell him I'm washing my hair.
    secretary - Mets on line #2.
    GM - Nice, put them through.

    2:11 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Benny, stop getting all deep on us. It has no place here.

    Floyd Landis won the Tour de France, but he has a bit too much testosterone apparently.

    Good stuff Kenny....but I don't think you can get testerone in the manner you speak of, though I'm no doctor.

    They also think the Mets are desperate, which they may or may not be. We really won't know if Maine or Pelfrey or worth anything for about another month.

    2:22 PM

    Blogger Jonas said...

    I think the best part about Johnny Maine's little run here is the amount of 1st pitch strikes. I was at the game last friday, and it just seemed like he started every count 0-1. I hate watching a game when the pitcher is trying to nibble the corners, and every count is full. So I think its a great sign that Maine seems to like to go right after the hitter.

    Plus another a good sign was that he clearly answered Willie's 6th inning challenge. Thats how you go out strong...

    Who knows if he can continue, but me likes what me sees..

    3:18 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Omar is on with Francesa right now. In a nutshell:

    No starting pitcher "studs" are currently available...

    ....But things can change quickly....

    ....the organization is as impressed with Milledge now as they've ever been.


    3:53 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    kenny got a chuckle out of me with that comment about blowing dudes in france.

    im so tired of this trade deadline shit already. the rumors get tiresome. when u start seeing wilson betemit on the back of the post, there is a fucking problem. i doubt beane trades zito when he can win the division.

    i think these writers are just feeding bs to the hungry mets fans to make up for the years where we had no playoff ferver and to pressure omar into making a kazmir-ish trade that will give them something to write about for the next 5 years

    4:21 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    to say that valentin hasnt produced like this is a bit out of line.

    his seasonal avg per 162 games on espn says that he gives 25hr and 80 rbi

    his avg and slugging % are up though which is a bit weird. he didnt do much with LA cus he was hurt but he's had a solid mlb career

    4:27 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    on wfan they asked omar about him liking athleticism. he just said something along the lines of "...and there's more on the way" -- i guess he means fmart, pena, etc. and i can't wait. dude is solid. next decade or so should be strong.

    4:30 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Toasty - Omar is saying "something" without saying "anything" at all. That's nothing new - we all know there are not studs on the market (unless you count Zito, who is technically not *really* on the market, but ya know, that's one of those things that can "change" as Omar points out)

    Point blank - honestly guys, we know that Heilman for Zito is a nobrainer - trouble is, Omar would have pulled the trigger YESTERDAY if that's the case. It's not, so what gets the deal done?

    And in other news, Yankees "break the bank" by signing Scrub Sal Fasano, of Sal's Pals fame.

    4:33 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Toasty - Omar is saying "something" without saying "anything" at all. That's nothing new - we all know there are not studs on the market (unless you count Zito, who is technically not *really* on the market, but ya know, that's one of those things that can "change" as Omar points out)

    Point blank - honestly guys, we know that Heilman for Zito is a nobrainer - trouble is, Omar would have pulled the trigger YESTERDAY if that's the case. It's not, so what gets the deal done?

    And in other news, Yankees "break the bank" by signing Scrub Sal Fasano, of Sal's Pals fame.

    4:34 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    how does lance berkman have 90+ rbi? the team has is second last in scoring with 455. at that clip beltran would have 108 for the mets at this point. thats crazy

    4:37 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    I think that Kenny is mixing up testosterone with protein... BA-DUM-BUM, CHING!

    Thank you, folks! I'll be here all this week. And don't forget to tip your waitress.

    Oh, and benny, seriously dude. Do you live under a rock? Got a TV? How bout a radio? Hell, can you read?!? Try this:

    Open your door, step outside, and experience the world around you! Trust me, it's not that bad... getting there, but still not that bad. ;o)

    4:40 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Ossy, Valentin hit homers, but this is his best year. I'm sorry, but his all-around numbers are better than ever.

    Omar is not allowed to name names and would never tip his hand to those two bums. Mum is the word and quotes by him are useless.

    Fasano! In the Bronx! I guess the legend lives on.

    Berkman is a stud that's why. I bow to him.

    4:57 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    SORRY PALADIN, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for not following a bunch of guys on thier bicycles in France.
    I should be up on my cycling.
    I can't be like you and log on to www.letour.fr every morning.

    Now, I'll go on and make you happy and read up on it on wikipedia.org

    5:13 PM

    Anonymous The Brooklyn Bum said...


    The Dodgers are in free fall and Penny has gotten into fights with his manager and teammates.

    What would take it to get him?

    5:24 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    i wonder how some teams maintain this small market status. boston is smaller than milwaukee and they fill the place up. i know that cost of living plays a role in this kinda thing but thats crazy

    5:31 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    Read closely wiseass:

    One does not need to be an expert in cycling in order to know anything that occurs in one of the largest sporting events in the world. Quite frankly, I couldn't give a rat's fucking ass about the whole thing. The only reason why I know is because it popped up on my TV this morning while watching ESPN, then heard it on my radio while listening to WFAN, then read it while looking through the Times Online.

    So unless you are a COMPLETE imbecile, who roams the earth with blinders on 24/7, than you should be aware of the latest news regarding this man and the allegations being placed upon him. And that alone should be of interest to you as not only a human being, but also an American citizen.

    Now you may continue with your research. And remember, there will be a test as well, so be ready!

    5:35 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Le Tour de France (Tour of France), often referred to as La Grande Boucle,

    The Tour de France inspired Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, to write the song "Bicycle Race" in 1978.

    The tallest rider was Johan Van Summeren 6 ft 5.5 in.

    The shortest was Samuel Dumoulin at 5 ft 2 in

    The heaviest rider was Magnus Backstedt at 209 lb.

    The lightest was Leonardo Piepoli at 126 lb.

    Thanks wikipedia, I can now compete with Paladin as Tour de France champion!

    Besides the fact I woke up at 2,
    I havn't seen any tv today, I been playing video games all day.
    MVP Baseball and Hitman are much more important than the world around you or me, so fuck you!

    5:53 PM

    Anonymous brian b said...

    i have such a hard on for first pitch strikes

    6:05 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    So I get to contribute portions of my salary towards your unemployment and/or welfare while you sit on your fat ass all day and play video games...

    Explains the state of our nation. Congrats Benny! You are offially worthless! Now line up to your right with the rest of the non contributing members of society, and wait patiently while your name is called. It will be short and painless, and you won't ever have to pay attention to anything (including world events) ever again.

    Oh wait. Only third world nations do those sort of things. Damn! Consider yourself lucky, Benny. You live another day... well, if you can call sitting in your home and slowly rotting away living...

    6:21 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Why can't weeeee be friends, why can't weeeee be friends....

    6:37 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    Wow...Paladin...take it easy. You already got kicked off of one site. Sounds like you have a bit of an anger problem amongst your fellow Mets brothers. We usually talk Mets baseball here with some dumb fun stuff on the side. But you're bringing some serious heaviness to the table that is a bit much (ie: you are officially worthless). I must speak up for Benny who has been a solid contributor to the Metropolitans for a long time, don't mess with Benny! Not cool. Benny's the man. Most people here are extremely knowledgable Mets fans who get along. No need for rants of personal attacks. I can also agree with Benny on this one, I could give two fucking shits about cycling as well.

    7:13 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...


    But I do like Benny. I is just fuckin' around with the big lug. And I'm sure he's having his share of shits and giggles slingin shit my way as well!

    Still, he's gotta get off that ass, and put the controller down! GET A JOB! ;o)

    7:14 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...


    A) Read ALL the posts. I don't care about cycling in any way, shape or form. I've made that crystal clear. But, this is not only a news story that has been in everyone's face all day today (people NOT playing video games anyway), it also goes beyond the actual sport of cycling. This is both a human issue, as well as a National disgrace. Yet another blow to the integrity of this country. And that is a shame. This should be something that every American cares about.

    B) Dude... mind your own business. Seriously, he's got nothin against me, and I got nothin against him. We're just being a couple of wise asses. If I wanted to spit venom, you would know about it.

    BTW, I got removed from that site because the "kids" who run it are much too sensitive. Too many rules and regulations, and not enough passion. I'm a passionate person, and I will say what I please. So do yourself a favor, and back the fuck off.

    7:21 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    So I get to contribute portions of my salary towards your unemployment and/or welfare while you sit on your fat ass all day and play video games...

    And the winner is?... PALADIN!
    Fucking solid.
    But hey man I'm just enjoying my day off alright!
    But don't get too comfy I will need your help to collect unemployment in a few months. Thanks for the support.

    And ANthony, :tear: I feel soo loved!

    7:46 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I think we have a new trend in blogging comments.....

    Rip into someone and leave a ;)

    Let me try....

    Fuck everyone! ;)

    All better....serenity now....serenity now.

    Brooklyn bum...maybe we can send LoDuca back for Penny? Seriously, I would love Penny if that could happen and really, I do not see why not they could not mount a package for him, but I don't think they are conceding the season just yet. Who konws, that franchise has kind of been a mess of late.

    8:41 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    cant trade loduca. he almost kicked arods ass. that makes him a met fan fav!

    what site did paladin get booted off?

    benny is kinda worthless though. he says some dumb stuff sometimes.

    who the hell is paladin to rip the moochers of the world? fuck outta here biatch!

    9:02 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    Hey man, I love moochers! Not a weekend goes by that I don't head on off to my inlaws house, and take a dip in their beautiful in-ground pool while my wife takes care of the laundry. Sure I come up and help her fold, but I go right back down and dive right in that cool, refreshing water!

    Ahhhh. Just call me the Fresh Air Fund!

    9:07 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    I agree! As usual, Mike gets it right, everybody needs to fuck off! Paladin, I would expect nothing less from you. Go fuck yourself you fuckin prick. But you are a Met fan, so at least you got that going for you. Oh, and we all get it...you're very passionate.

    9:55 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I don't really want to trade LoDuca...it would be ironic that we get both major ingredients (sp?) back from that trade. That's all.

    benny is kinda worthless though. he says some dumb stuff sometimes.

    Enough of that. Benny is the OG...He's been around since the dawn of my shitty site.

    Paladin, this country was built off mooching amongst other things mentioned here.

    All right, now that everyone has gotten that out of their system....Might I suggest brazilian volleyball players to calm everyone down?

    10:06 PM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    "everybody needs to FUCK off! Paladin, I would expect nothing less from you. Go FUCK yourself you FUCKin prick." -- Anthony

    Awwww, isn't that cute? The baby learns to speak, and all he knows how to do is use the word, fuck.

    Fuck you, fuckin prick, fuck off... gee, I'm just not sure if I have the mental capacity to respond to such witty comments.

    Say, you wouldn't happen to be a MENSA member, would you? Cause boy! I can feel the brain power all the way through my computer! Shit, I think it's enough wattage to power all of my electrical appliances! That's fantastic! Now I can save money on my bills! And it's all thanks to you, Anthony.

    What a guy!

    Oh, and thanks for starting off my day with a laugh, kid. I needed a good chuckle, and I'm glad it came courtesy of a chuckle head such as yourself. Now lay that noggin of yours back down and go to sleepy-sleep! I wouldn't want you overexerting yourself. Lord knows I need as much help keeping up with my bills as most everyone else these days. ;o)

    Oh and Mike, I as I said above, I wouldn't have it any other way! Mmmmmmm... cool, in-ground pool... Weekend, here I come!!!

    7:57 AM

    Blogger Paladin said...

    Oh, and here's my contribution to calming everyone down:

    Some yum-yum for the boys... and yes, I am a breast man.

    8:10 AM

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    1:49 AM

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    3:36 PM

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    10:28 PM


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