'Tis upon us. The World Series is finally over with the improbable happening. The 'weakest' playoff team from the 'AAAA' league has taken out the insurmountable American League representative. Now that everyone has had time to digest the amazing season the Mets had and the second straight year of positive progression, I certainly hope everyone is left with an air of confidence. Why? This team is young, learning, and improving. Next season there are plenty of things to be optimistic about and Lyle Spencer had some extra helpings of Kool-Aid...and why not?
Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, your 2007 World Series champions ...
The New York Mets.
Led by 2007 National League MVP Jose Reyes, Comeback Player of the Year Pedro Martinez and Manager of the Year Willie Randolph, they take that final stride and wash away the bitter disappointment of '06.
Let's make that eight new champs in a dizzying, dazzling, Amazin' roll.
And why the heck not?
If you believe in truth, justice and the American way, baseball style, you have to acknowledge the Mets' many assets -- and their appealing prospects of conquering the World Series.
Those are Minnesota's Twins, with all that dashing young talent and superlative pitching, we see across the field soberly observing the Mets' final October celebration after Game 7 at Shea Stadium, New York having claimed home-field advantage courtesy of Trevor Hoffman's save for the National League in the 2007 All-Star Game at San Francisco.
Yes, the Mets. It's simply their time.
The Mets were arguably the best team in the Major Leagues in regards to being the most well rounded when healthy. No other playoff team had a young core like the Mets with their blend of offensive prowess and pitching youth. The Tigers have some great young arms, but not one team boasted comparable young talent in all aspects of the game. The Mets had eight players under 30 last season play prominent roles with the team and all will be back and will be improved in 2007 while more youth stands to be added in 2007 as well. This team is not one and done and will be back and should be saddled with the burden of being the favorites in '07.
Michael Silverman in the Boston Herald suggests Pedro Martinez could return from surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff before the All-Star Break in 2007.
Pedro told me two weeks ago, less than a week after the procedure:
"Without a doubt I'm supposed to come back by the second half of 2007. I'm going to work my tail off and get better. I'm actually feeling better right now - already. I'm very optimistic that with hard work, which I know how to do, and with the proper rehab, I should be right back. And I'm supposed to be better than I was. ...
"I'm very, very optimistic and very happy about the results. Right now, the doctor just told me today that I looked like a month after surgery - and it's only been a week - because of the way everything is moving around and the way that I'm feeling and the way my flexibility is reacting to the surgery. That's more than good news."
In September, Pelfrey worked with Rick Peterson on a slider. The pitching coach instructed him to stop throwing the curveball he brought from Wichita State, which actually resembled a slurve. The curveball ranged from 78-82 mph, while the slider is thrown harder.
"It looks like a fastball and then has late movement," Pelfrey said. "I'm throwing it more and more, and I think it's going to be a better pitch for me in the long run. So far I've been throwing it in the game a lot and I'm getting more consistent with it. I think it will be there for that extra pitch. Peterson said for my game - my fastball and my changeup - I needed something that looks kind of the same that goes the opposite direction (away from righties)."
Largely because of his dual title, Dombrowski is already the highest-paid GM in baseball, with an annual salary of about $2 million. The team's success likely will motivate owner Mike Ilitch to pursue an extension for Dombrowski this off-season. The afterglow of an American League pennant, coupled with industry-wide praise for Dombrowski's rebuild, could translate into a handsome raise beyond an already standard-setting salary.
Top 5 AL Cy Young Candidates, by SNLVAR
Player Team VORP SNLVARI know a lot of you are very ho-hum about Barry Zito, but no matter how you spin it, the guy is good. I'm sure a lot of people's ambivalence towards him is based on what they see with their own eyes in an average fastball and guy who has trouble finding the zone at times. However, he would be a welcome addition to this team to upgrade a staff that is in dire need of being upgraded.
Johan Santana MIN 79.6 8.4
Roy Halladay TOR 68.0 6.4
Justin Verlander DET 47.5 6.1
Barry Zito OAK 49.9 6.1
C.C. Sabathia CLE 46.5 6.0
That's not to say he is my first choice, but he is certainly one of the few choices that make this team substantially better.
I don’t think the 2006 Cardinals were a 100-win team by any means. But they were probably a 90-win team, a 92-win team, at least based on the roster they fielded during the playoffs. Plenty of teams with 90-win talent have won the World Series. If this result was an embarrassment to baseball in any way, it’s because there’s a reward system in place that allows an 83-78 team to compete in October. It wasn’t because of the Cardinals.
So about this worst-team-ever business: I don’t think the Cardinals are demonstrably the worst team ever to win the World Series. But I do think they’re in the company of some similarly mediocre teams that represent the lowest echelon of World Series champion.
Some interesting stuff and a good take on the 2006 Cardinals.