Twenty Baseball Execs and One Blogger Answer Six Burning Questions
Jerry Crasnick asked six questions yesterday and of course the first one centered around the great pitching debate of the off-season. What is Barry Zito worth?
1. Given a choice between Barry Zito and Daisuke Matsuzaka, which free-agent pitcher do you prefer?
Responses: Matsuzaka 14, Zito 5 and two undecided.
I would take Daisuke as well since I had him pegged as the best pitcher of the off-season, but Zito is no slouch. There are two pitchers who are head and shoulders above the rest and the above two are it. If you cannot get Daisuke, Zito is not a bad consolation prize.
2. Where do you think Barry Bonds will sign?
Responses: San Francisco 16, Oakland 3, Detroit 1, Angels 1.
Let's face it. San Francisco is going to stink this year. They have put up with Barry for fourteen years anyway, so what is another year? Although, with Frank Thomas signing with Toronto, Barry could still be headed across the Bay.
3. Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee?
Responses: Soriano 20, Lee 1.
This one is not even close. Soriano all the way. He'll be stealing bases in the fifth year of his contract. How will Carlos Lee be doing?
4. Where will Roger Clemens be pitching in 2007, or will he retire?
Responses: Houston 11, Boston 3, retire 3, Yankees 2, Rangers 1 and one undecided.
I pray he will retire every night before bed. Ultimately, he will be back and the Astros will have an improved offense. Next year the Astros might actually take the NL Central if Clemens does come back.
5. Which player with a no-trade clause -- Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez or Pat Burrell -- is most likely to be traded?
Responses: Burrell 16, Ramirez 2. Two respondents said none of the players will be moved. One undecided.
That one is easy. Pat Burrell. The Phillies will eat a ton of money and someone will take a low risk chance on him.
6. Which "second tier" starter do you like best: Adam Eaton, Ted Lilly, Gil Meche, Vicente Padilla or Randy Wolf?
Responses: Lilly 9, Padilla 6, Wolf 3, Meche 1, Eaton 1 and one undecided.
Ted Lilly...All the way. If the Mets fail to get Zito, I would not mind seeing him here at all. He is definitely a good option if they cannot nab an ace. Who knows? Maybe moving to the NL and getting some guidance from Rick Peterson might make him an pseudo-ace. Sure he had one year under Peterson already and didn't exactly light the world on fire, but I'm willing to take a chance on him working out better this time.
More on Zito...though he hasn't been Cy Young good anymore after actually winning his only Cy Young Award, he has been pretty good. In 2006, he ranked 10th in the AL in ERA, 3rd in the AL in innings pitched, and tenth in the AL in wins. He put up h/9 of 7.73 (4th overall) in 2001, 7.14 (behind only three Boston pitchers) in 2002, 7.23 (behind only Pedro Martinez) in 2003, and 7.29 (behind only Santana)in 2005. Those are ace quality numbers. He has pitched no less than 34 games in any season in his career since 2001. He has been in the top ten of ERA in every year he has pitched a full season but 2004 and 2005.
He may not have a dominant fastball like people want their ace to have, but the guy can pitch. He has always had some control issues, but moving to the NL should alleviate a lot of what was ailing him. I seriously would not be shocked to see him throw up a season similar to this 2002 season as a Met with a solid 3.50 ERA or so for his time throughout his contract with an average of 16 wins per season.
I guess it is for the best. Us bloggers can no longer obsess about Heath Bell and how he could improve this Met bullpen and maybe it is time we part ways. Heath Bell and Royce Ring were traded for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins.
My good buddy Keith Law's take....first on Adkins:
Adkins is just another mediocre right-handed reliever without an out-pitch. He has an average fastball, 88-92 mph, which has well below average movement; a below-average curveball; no out-pitch; and no real weapon against left-handed hitters, against whom he works well away from any contact. He's useful while he's cheap, but isn't someone likely to return real value once he's eligible for arbitration.
...now on Ben Johnson:
Johnson is the ideal caddy for right fielder Shawn Green, who can no longer hit left-handed pitching or catch fly balls that aren't hit directly at him. Johnson's bat may be stretched as an everyday corner player, although he's a good athlete and could develop into a borderline producer in right. He's a good defensive right fielder with average power and good plate discipline, and I think he'll add a little more power if he learns to extend his arms slightly and pull certain pitches. Even so, he slots right into the Mets' lineup every day that an opposing lefty starts and can be Green's defensive replacement, perhaps increasing his role after Green leaves.
It is clear to me Ben should be the centerpiece. He had a somewhat disappointing 2006, but he did head into 2006 as the 4th rated prospect in a bad Padres system after a breakout 2005 season in AAA.
BA: Johnson has all the tools to be an everyday outfielder in the big leagues. He has shortened his swing and developed above average power while improving his grasp of the strike zone.
I like this move if for nothing else than a platoon and to add a right handed bat into the outfield picture. However, I think Ben Johnson might shock people. Omar has done good here.
The Marlins need a center fielder, and the Devil Rays' Rocco Baldelli is the No. 1 option on their list, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
A Devil Rays source, the newspaper reports, said the team would ask for multiple major league-ready players.
"That's definitely going to be something the Marlins go after," an NL executive told the newspaper. "That guy fits everything the Marlins are about."
Houston's Willy Taveras also interests the Marlins.
One has to wonder if they shouldn't just try and nab Carl Crawford for Dontrelle Willis straight up.
It's up to the Yankees to make a countermove. For now, though, Cashman refuses to second-guess the Bombers' bid of $31 million for Matsuzaka. The Mets say they're at peace, too, with their offer of $38 million. The two New York teams are both in need of an ace; logic points them in the same direction.
Wow. Not much you can say there, but I guess we all know the Mets (and the Yankees for that matter) wanted Daisuke pretty bad. If the Red Sox did not bid so high, we would be hearing about the Mets reckless on Daisuke.
"We're hot. It's hot to be a Met, we've got a good thing going on here," said one club official. "A couple of years ago, we couldn't get Henry Blanco to come here, and that was even after we offered him more money than anyone else. He still said no. That's all changed."
Preach on brother....
No official offers were made in Omar Minaya's first serious discussion with Randolph's longtime agent Ron Shapiro on Tuesday. The Mets have told people they'd like to give Randolph a two-year extension for between $1 million and $1.25 million per year, while Randolph understandably would like a three-year deal for more money.
Randolph does not deserve 'Art Howe' money. Omar built the team and the Mets success is 80% based on Omar, 20% on Randolph. You can put Carter, Oberkefell, and HoJo for that matter and I think this team still goes places.
The Mets are one of many teams who will show interest in one or more of a trio of White Sox starters -- Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez or Mark Buerhle -- who could be available. The White Sox have interest in Mets pitching prospect Mike Pelfrey, but one person said "Pelfrey isn't going for any of those pitchers."
Of course I'm reading into this, but he said Pelfrey isn't going anywhere for any one of those pitchers. Meaning, they are willing to move him. I'm all for it as long as it brings back a young ace in the process.