Endy Will Save Us All
There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to admit they were wrong. I was critical of Endy Chavez being brought in and Tike Redman being jettisoned off and now? Not so much.
According to NYFansonly.com, Tike Redman was designated for assignment. That didn't take too long and that leaves Endy Chavez as the resident backup outfielder/speedster lefty off the bench. Chavez is worse player in my opinion and not by a little either. Though it is a minor thing, this is the kind of stuff that gets me pissed at Omar. He could still pass through waivers and be retained, but I just think he has no shot at the big club with Chavez around.
Just for the record, I was behind Tike because I thought he was the better glove from what I've seen of him in Pittsburgh playing centerfield and I thought he had more upside offensively.
Omar stands by his guys. He loves his old players and will try and give them the opportunity to succeed over and over again. Endy Chavez has not only been thrown into the mix, but given a Major League contract. The team already had four outfielders on the Major League roster and one guy in Tike Redman, who figured to compete as the backup centerfielder that could be a defensive replacement/platoon guy and as a left-handed bat off the bench. Endy Chavez represents the same type of player as Tike Redman, but will cost money if cut from the team and is needlessly taking up a spot on the 40 man roster. The redundancy is certainly perplexing, but would have been acceptable if the best man would be able to win the job.
Omar is sometimes almost loyal to a fault. Maybe he feels he knows his old players better and their abilities since he is so familiar with them, but for whatever reason he tends to lean towards them. It is not only not out of the realm of possibilities that Redman out performs Chavez this spring and does not make the team, but highly likely. Just like Heath Bell is set to be a causality solely because he has options while less talented players head north simply because they got Major League contracts.
Who would have guessed that Endy Chavez would have had a career year for the Mets in 2006? His mom? Maybe, but probably not even her. The thing about Endy is that he was supposed to be the Expos/Nationals leadoff man of the future. He broke in the league at 23 and was traded to the Montreal Expos from the Kansas City Royals. At 24, he hit .296/.321/.464 for the Nationals and looked like a promising young player. He followed that up with a sub-par year in which he posted a below .300 OBP and played slightly better in 2004, but had worn out his welcome with Frank Robinson. In 2005, he was horrendous and put up a .215/.243/.299 line in 91 games with the Phillies and was rewarded with a $500,000 contract with the Mets.
Could I be faulted for not being enamored with the guy? Now, I may look stupid, but I'm not. I do not think it is a forgone conclusion that the Endy Chavez of 2006 is the Endy Chavez that we will see for the rest of his career, but the fact remains he is in his prime right now. He could have just needed some guidance and could have just needed to be a in an environment more conducive for him to succeed. Philly was not exactly the best place in 2005, just ask Mr. Billy Wagner. It is well documented that Frank Robinson is not exactly the most well liked manager in the league and if you are on his bad side, you are not in a good position.
However, in 2006, Endy came up big for the Mets time after time and displayed some spectacular defense while being solid at the plate. He hit over .300 in three months of 2006 and hit .280 in September. His .328 batting average in the second half of the season was second to only Paul LoDuca and .023 points higher than third place David Wright. With Shawn Green manning right field at this point and left field due to be Lastings Milledge or possibly a big bat, there is room for Endy. While I do not think a full time job is the way to go with him, it is not crazy to envision him getting 130 games again. The tricky part will be keeping him around. He certainly played well enough and would be cheap enough to warrent some team taking a chance on him for an affordable multi-year contract, but Omar needs to see what he can do to hold onto him. He was such a big part of this team and added so much depth to this team, it would be a shame to see him leave.
Do you think trading John Maine for Kris Benson was a good deal? I understand Benson is a reliable innings eater, but Maine seems to have much more potential to contribute to the Mets in the future.
-- Will R., Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Actually, when Baltimore acquired Benson from the Mets last winter, Maine wasn't even the main player in the exchange. Ex-closer Jorge Julio also went over to New York in the deal, but he was subsequently traded to the D-backs. Maine pitched well for the Mets -- both in the regular season and the playoffs -- but Benson is a far more accomplished pitcher and should be effective for years to come.
In hindsight, Maine may have proven to be a better starting option than Rodrigo Lopez or Bruce Chen, but the Orioles decided that they had some more important pitching prospects to protect. Benson didn't have his best year, but he provided a steady backbone to the rotation and bought more time for young arms like Daniel Cabrera and Adam Loewen to mature.
The move is indefensible if you are team that is essentially in a re-building phase to trade a guy like Maine for a pitcher like Benson. If Benson is going to be your team's Jeff Suppan as a mid-rotation solid guy and you figure to be in the playoffs, great. But he was not that for the Orioles. They got him to be their ace on a bad team. You need to build on young pitching the Orioles made a bad move. It was a bad move for them then and it is still a bad move in hindsight.
Here is the funniest part though...
You have to give talent to get talent. The O's gave up a potentially good pitcher, but they got a league-average starter at a league-average salary.
And you are backing that deal as a good one while giving a potentially good pitcher up for a league average one? The Orioles might even lose him this off-season as he can opt out of his contract. So Will R., to answer your question, it was a bad move by the Orioles to deal Julio and Maine for Kris Benson.
The bottom line is that Matsuzaka has a lively 90-96 mph fastball, a plus-plus slider, a splitter and a changeup. He has dominated in Japan and he dominated in the World Baseball Classic, where he was the MVP. In eight years in Japan, he has led the Pacific League in strikeouts four times, victories three times, ERA twice and won the Sawamura Award (the Japanese Cy Young Award) once. He has been a legend since his high school days, when he threw 250 pitches to win a 17-inning game in the quarterfinals of Japan's national prep tournament—then came back to get a save the next day and to throw a no-hitter in the finals two days after that. He's also 26, so he should have a lot of pitching ahead of him.
Without hesitation, I would take Matsuzaka over Zito or Schmidt or any other pitcher who will be on the free-agent market this offseason. Similarly, if Matsuzaka does come over, he has to rank as the game's best pitching prospect. His stuff is in the same class as Philip Hughes (Yankees) or Homer Bailey (Reds), and he has proven himself at a higher level.
It could cost $20 million to $30 million to win the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka and at least twice that to sign him. Every big-budget team is expected to at least explore that possibility, and he's worth more to a club that doesn't already have a Japanese star because of the new revenue it could generate from Japanese TV and advertising rights. It's just a guess, but I could see him winding up with the Rangers, who need pitching in the worst way and never have been afraid to spend exorbitantly on Scott Boras clients.
Interestingly enough, Humber seems to have closed the gap on Pelfrey in terms of prospect status and Hochevar, who was not considered as good at Pelfrey during the 2005 draft has rocketed up to the third spot. The best overall? Philip Hughes. A little tidbit for you to chew on and enjoy, the Mets had four guys land on the list while the Yankees had three.
Dustan Mohr: He has had two pretty bad years in a row, but he has had some mild success in the past and is a right handed outfielder that could play all three outfield spots. The Mets direly need to balance their outfield this off-season.
Carlos Hernandez: He has had shoulder issues in the past but really opened some eyes when he was 22 and pitching well for the Astros. He is certainly worth a look for a Minor League contract if the Astros are fed up with him.
Esteban Yan: He has a live arm and has mixed results in the past (mostly bad), but he is the type of guy that thrives under Rick Peterson.
Jesus Colome: He has a rocket for an arm and has had mixed success in the bigs in the past. Again, a guy that can thrive under Rick Petereson.
Francis Beltran: He has never lived up to expectations, but he can throw a mid to high 90's fastball being he is still just 26 years old, he could still end up being a solid reliever.
Fernando and Mike Pelfrey are good.
Two Mets players, outfielder Fernando Martinez and righthanded pitcher Mike Pelfrey, will play in the Arizona Fall League's inaugural "Rising Stars Showcase" at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, AZ on Friday, Oct. 27th.
Pelfrey will start for the East Division in the Showcase. Martinez and Pelfrey both play for the Soler Sox in the AFL.
Just let it sink in how young Fernando is.
Oct 21st: Mesa beats Grand Canyon, but Fernando Martinez goes 0 for 4 and faces a legit pitcher in Luke Hochevar in the process. He did not strike out though, he managed to pop out to Troy Tulowitzki.
Oct 23rd: Mesa lost to Phoenix 3-2 as Fernando went 1 for 2 with his second homerun in the AFL with his fifth RBI.
Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Heilman and Chris Woodward went under the knife yesterday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and Cliff Floyd and Roberto Hernandez are scheduled to do the same tomorrow.
Pretty crazy. That will make seven guys who have gotten surgery already since the playoffs started through the end of today.
The Mets never disclosed that anything was wrong with Heilman, who served up Yadier Molina's tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning of Game 7, but he also had surgery for tennis elbow. Woodward's operation was for a torn labrum in his right shoulder.