Talky Talky....Mets Talky
Rob Neyer? Not fond of the Mets. However, I do like Mr. Neyer and I will not hold it against him.
JB (Kutztown, PA): Don't you think Endy Chavez has earned the right to be a starter? He's the best defensive OF the Mets have and Alou played 99 games last year. Oh yea he's also 41. What's the deal?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: I do not. Chavez's career stats suggest that he's a fourth outfielder. At best.
I do agree with Neyer here, but did he have to throw in that 'at best' business? I think Endy finally came into a situation conducive to letting him relax and play the role that he is supposed to play and was certainly the right age to break out. While he may not be as good as his 2006 form, I do think he will be a productive player for the duration of his career if he plays within himself and sticks the roles he should be in.
Chris(NY): If the Mets sign Zito, will Oliver Perez still be assured a rotation spot? I dont think it is well remembered, but before his dominant 2004 year, he almost didnt make the Pirates rotation out of spring training, but then he made the most of his chance. Maybe the Mets just need to apply some pressure to him. No better place for pressure than NY.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: I wish Oliver Perez a long and successful career, but his performance in that last game will likely be his legacy. He's still got a good arm and he'll get more chances, but a championship contender really doesn't have the luxury of blowing a dozen starts on a guy who can't pitch.
Can't pitch? I certainly have to disagree with that and that is not me just being a homer. He has a good arm and all the tools you need to be an extremely successful big league pitcher. Mid 90's fastball? Check. Biting slider that makes professional players look stupid? Check. Competitive edge? Check. At the every worst, he should be an very good set-up man or even closer. At best, he can be a #1 or #2 starter in this league. Realistically, I think he'll be a very good starter capable of tossing out gems but settling in as a mid-rotation guy overall.
Jason (NY): Why are the Mets reluctant to put Heilman in the rotation?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Probably because in 25 career starts he's 5-13 with a 5.93 ERA. I'd give him another shot, too, but it's not hard to understand why the Mets aren't so eager.
Well, that's not fair since we all know he was more successful in the bigs after dropping his arm, but that's neither here nor there. It does seem clear the Mets do not have the utmost confidence in him as a starter or they might not be looking to deal for one at the cost of losing him. If the Mets fail to get Zito and cannot pull of a trade, it certainly merits giving him a look.
Overall, not many good things to say about the Mets in the chat by Mr. Neyer and I do think he was being a bit hard on them. Perhaps it's jealousy and perhaps it is just some New York bias.
While on the topic of people Mr. Neyer is not a fan of....
Before trying to put him in some sort of context, let's split Zito's six full seasons in half: 2001-2003 (Part 1), and 2004-2006 (Part 2, so far) …
Starts Innings BB SO HR ERA RSAAThrough the 2003 season, Zito was a special pitcher (by the way, RSAA stands for Runs Saved Above Average, courtesy of the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia). Since 2003, though? Not so much. The walks and homers and ERA are up ( i.e. bad), the strikeouts and Runs Saved Above Average are down (ditto).
Part 1 105 675 246 533 61 3.17 92
Part 2 103 662 269 485 81 4.05 34
How does Zito compare to some of the other top young starters in the game? Considering only 2004 through 2006, here are some of our special pitchers:
Starts Innings ERA RSAAThat is not an exhaustive list, by any means. Over the last three seasons, Zito ranks just 27th among starters in Runs Saved Above Average. With 34, he's behind not only those luminaries listed above, but also (among others) fellow left-handers Buehrle (58 RSAA), Pettitte (56), Dontrelle Willis (48), Rogers (46), Glavine (40) and C.C. Sabathia (36). We might be charitable, and bump Zito up a few spots because he's been pitching in the tougher league. Still pretty hard to argue that he's one of the 20 best starters in the majors (especially if we give Oakland's defense as much credit for his recent success as it probably deserves).
Santana 101 693 2.75 137
Oswalt 102 699 3.14 93
B. Webb 101 672 3.40 87
C'penter 93 645 3.10 85
Halladay 72 495 3.24 80
Zito 103 662 4.05 34
Ouch. We already went over the other day how much Zito actually compares with Glavine through the same ages in their respective careers in a more offensively charged era and he is very quick to take a look at those last three years when one season is especially out of line with the rest. Zito posted his lowest win total, highest ERA, and highest h/9 in one of those years and averaged a 7.93 h/9, 1.30 WHIP, 6.45 k/9, and won thirty games to twenty three losses in the other two.
Furthermore, I'm not allergic to stats like RSAA or anything, but sometimes fancy baseball stats aren't the end all be all. I do not care what RSAA says, but Rogers, Buehrle, Pettitte, Glavine, and possibly even Dontrelle Willis are not better than Barry Zito and will not outperform him if Zito is in Queens next season.
From DG in the comments last night...
"During his career, Zito has won an astounding 95.5 percent of the games in which Oakland scored at least four runs for him and was 15-0 last year in such games for the light-hitting A's (and 16-0 when they scored three or more runs)."
Someone want to send this to Marty Noble?
Swellicious. Sign me for five years of that with an easily attainable sixth year option.
Look, they both want it so it can be worked out amicably and they could end this soon. We all know that each side will have to make some concessions if a deal is to get done, but they should be able to wrap this thing up sooner rather than later. It remains to be seen what is actually true as no one else is saying much, but it certainly would not surprise me. Hopefully this should be wrapped up before the New Year.