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

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Underdogs No More

Fighting the good fight? Possibly not.

Congratulations, Boston fans. Your Red Sox are the new Yankees.

Oh, I'm not saying that one World Series championship in the past 88 years is on par with the Yankees winning 26 championships and 39 American League pennants in the same period (I already get enough hate mail from New York fans to suggest such a ludicrous thing). But when the Red Sox signed J.D. (the Iron Man) Drew to a $70 million contract and invested $103 million in Daisuke Matsuzaka, they officially became everything Boston fans used to loathe about the Yankees. A team that fills out its roster by opening up a Costanza-thick wallet.

When your team adds $1,111,111.11 to a bid just because it looks cool, you're no longer entitled to complain about the Yankees' spending habits. While Boston's projected 2007 payroll (perhaps $140 million) is still substantially south of New York's, it still will likely be more than all the other teams in baseball. If the Red Sox aren't the new Evil Empire or co-Evil Empire, they at least are Wal-Mart to New York's Halliburton.

My hatred for the Yankees, which incidentally has significantly decreased this past off-season, has clouded my vision. I always thought of the Red Sox as the poor little ‘ole Red Sox who were fighting evil in the name of all that is scared and holy taking on the most maniacal franchise in creation. Guess what? It turns out the Red Sox are pretty much in the same boat with the exception that they have a cast of more likeable characters. It is pretty interesting how I’ve justified the Red Sox insane payrolls that dwarfed just about every other team’s payrolls with the exception of the Yankees’ payroll because they were the best team suited for taken down the Yankees. In reality, they are just as bad as the Yankees.

Of course my favorite team could be pushing into the $120 million+ stratosphere in terms of overall salary if they land Zito and while I want the Mets have swellicious team, it almost makes me feel a little funny inside to be throwing that type of money around while other teams are hindered by geographical impotence. I’ve kind of said to myself that $105 million is the benchmark for reasonable spending. It’s within reach of a lot of teams to hit that number and not far off of the majority of all teams. If you can win with that type of payroll and field a perennial playoff team, you’ve demonstrated the skills as a front office to get to that point with a solid mix of intelligent spending, good drafts, and solid trades. The Mets in 2006 were a shining example of this. The 2007 Mets are kind of poised to blow that out of the water, but the only saving grace for me is that it would be a temporary one year push while some more Mets youngsters get up to snuff.

Either way, it is certainly funny how your point of view changes when teams you do like and don’t like operate by identical business practices and the same business practices that you also happen to loathe them for. However, with the Yankees shifting back towards player development, as the Mets have, and their huge coffers of US currency, it seems they could very well be on the brink of another ten years of domination. Small market teams biggest fears should have always been large market teams getting 'it'. Spending big bucks on a Kevin Appier out of desperation rather than showing some restraint was how big market teams had big time payrolls without big time results. These days, big market teams seem to have had a change in organizational philosophies and operate with a blend of big time cash and some serious players being developed on the farm and not trading them for veterans. Small market teams jobs may have just gotten harder in lieu of this. Top notch player development combined with financial muscle is not exactly what the Terry Ryans and Billy Beanes of the world are looking forward to dealing with.

* * *

  • You have to love it.

    "I feel like I did when I was a rookie," Sosa told The Associated Press. "I have a lot of spirit and a desire to return. I think I can play three or four more years in the form I am now."

    Sosa hit the ball out of the park 15 times while training at a field in San Pedro de Macoris that is operated by the Japanese Central League's Hiroshima Carp.

    The 38-year-old slugger said he had received calls from teams interested in signing him but declined to reveal their names.

    Why is it that old people feel the need to say they feel like they did twenty years ago when that is impossible. There is no way a 38 year old athlete feels like they did when they were 21. The only way this is even possible is if someone gained 100 pounds in their 20’s and lost it all twenty years later. Otherwise? Not happening. So can everyone just stop it already?

    As for five teams being interested? He’s be LUCKY to get a minor league invite.

  • As Farva pointed out, the Rangers are seemingly pretty damn interested in Mulder. While Zito would be a sure thing to be healthy and Mulder obviously is not a sure thing to be healthy, as I stated before, Mulder's 2.00 G/F ratio for his career would be much better suited for Texas. Lower risk in terms of money and higher reward in terms of production. Seems like Hicks should know where to focus all of his attention.

  • Offers, offers, and more offers.

    One person familiar with the meeting between the Mets and Zito, along with Zito's agent, Scott Boras, said the Mets were moving slowly. But that source also said five teams had made offers. While he did not detail them, Boras told The Associated Press: "We've gotten offers from every team we've dealt with. We're past the preliminary meet-and-greet stages."

  • Who hasn't pissed outside of their Bentley?

  • Prices? Up. Mikey no likey. They have crept up every year. Yes, my ticket package only went up by $70 or so, but they've done that every season. They made tons more money last year, you would think they would cut a brother a break. Not so much.

  • The Yankees lead the league in luxury tax.

  • Tim Marchman's glass is half fucking full and I like it.

    Zito's rates of line drives, fly balls, and home runs allowed have all been fairly stable over the years, but his walk rate did rise a bit this year to around four walks per nine innings, and his strikeout rate did drop a bit, to around six a game. This doesn't mean he's about to implode. What it does mean is that he's likelier to decline next year than he is to improve.

    This is where you have to judge him against what he's done. If Zito puts up a season in line with the worst he's ever had, he'll still be one of the 50 best pitchers in baseball, or a solid no. 2 starter. That's not a bad downside. . That's not a bad downside. Pitchers whose absolute upside is as a no. 3 starter are getting $11 million a year these days.

    I 100% agree and what he says next pretty much encapsulates what all of us think his downside is.

    ...he'll be a solid, Glavine-type starter for the life of his deal, a Cy Young candidate in seasons where everything goes just right and a quality no. 2 starter in his lesser years.

  • Dayton Moore just keeps on going. David Riske only helps their bullpen get better and this team is going to be annoying in 2007. The AL Central may very well be the most competitive division with the Indians due to rebound, the Tigers coming fresh off the World Series, the White Sox still being a very good team, and the Twins are in it every year. They Royals have no shot at not finishing last, but they'll look infinitely better doing it.

  • Dayn Perry gives us a nice little article to read this holiday weekend.

    Blogger mr. met said...

    moving this over from last thread...

    Farva...that wasn't for you....and I didn't finish my thought about Jaerock...I was going to expound on how anon got owned by a guy who likes flying saucers and other bizarre things.

    Best regards to you too David. I simply regurgitate the info and I'm glad you enjoy it.

    Will, it's going to happen. It's plain to everyone including Zito.

    Doug...I still think there are lot of comparisons to be made between the two. Glavine at 28 had a 3.97 ERA and a 1.470 WHIP in a year which he made only 25 starts and had his worst season out of his last five years. Now, I'm not saying Glavine didn't have three years more dominant than any of Zito's other years...on paper, he did. However, that was the early 90's in baseball and Zito's done it in a more offensively charged ERA in the AL. When you take all of the outside factors into it, I think they are actually at very similar places when they were 28. Glavine also got better control as his career when on and their overall w/9 rate was/is not that far off each other. Zito could be poised to take a step forward mentally and figure out how to approach batters better. Furthermore, if he lands with the Mets, a guy like Glavine can only help. I think while a lot of people see some downside to Zito being he is on a downward trend, however so slightly. I see a guy that can also take a step forward and actually improve. He's in his prime now and it is not unheard of for lefites to make that leap around 30 into the next stratosphere. He'll never be a Zambrano type with eye popping stuff, but to be Tom Glavine for the next six or seven years? I'll take it. Steady/front end of the rotation pitching is what he has to offer. As far as 20 guys being more desirable than Zito, you might have also said that about Glavine at the same time who was really arguably the third best on his own team as Zito was when Hudson and Mulder were actually pitching good.

    As for pitchers I would want more than Zito...
    Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Chris Carpenter, Carlos Zambrano, and Jake Peavy. Exactly eight.

    There others that are young and have more upside like Dan Haren, Jeremy Bonderman, Erik Bedard, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, and Scott Olson, but did any have comparatively better years? Not really and they are not proven over a longer period. Give me Zito over the next five years. Zito still finished in the top 10 of ERA in the AL, top 8 in wins, 3rd in innings pitched, 3rd in GDP, and still 13th in BAA. For all the talk about his negative downtrends, he still looked pretty good in '06. I'm seeing a guy who can really take a leap forward in '07 in the NL. Very big leap.

    1:36 PM

    Blogger Mike V said...

    Thanks for a great 2006 Mr. Met. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours. Look forward to more great posts and more great wins in 2007!

    All The Best,

    Transplanted Mets Fan

    1:42 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    My hatred of the Yankees isn't so much the team as it is the fucking fans.
    I can't stand them.

    With Sosa, i don't understand how guys like Carl Everett and Matt Lawton can get contracts but Sosa cant!?
    I'm sure he'll get one offer to start.
    If I'm the Royals, I jump all over it.

    I'm not gonna lie, the Braves kinda sorta scare me only becuase they're actually improving thier bullpen. But then again, its easy to improve from such a piece of shit position.

    1:57 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Thanks mike v. Same to you and thanks for coming by.

    Benny, you know we've been over that before and I'm with you. However, the prospect of some young guys and the good deals by Cashman to get Umberto Sanchez have assuaged the feelings I've had towards them.

    Sosa to someone is worth the $500,000 or so it would cost. I agree. Nothing really lost there.

    Braves bullpen is much better, but despite popular notion, their pitching is not that good and their offense could be downright anemic.

    3:17 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Hey guys
    Few things - Benny, I'm with you. It's not so much the Yankees as much I hate their fans and their fucking sense of entitlement. God I hate them. Of courwse I hate DJ, George Posada and Gay Rod and Juice-on Giambi but the only one I have any respect for is Bernie Williams. Anyway, it's definitely the fans, but Red Sox fans to me are getting up there too in annoying. I went to Fenway over the summer and what a bunch of homogenous, generic white boy whining fans. I like Shea for "multi-cultural" night - and they still have different heritage nights!

    As for Zito, I have a feeling Boras is blowing smoke up their ass. Besides the Mets, and this "phantom" so-called offer by the Texas Rangers, who exactly is beyond the "meet and greet" stage? I was under the impression the Zito sweepstakes wouldn't take place till after the Dice-K signing. Boras is so talking so much shit I don't know whether to give him a b reath mint or toilet paper.

    OK now about the payroll. First of all, my ticket prices have gone up and I'm pissed about it sure, but OK with it I guess. Like Mike, I thought they would give a "brother" (or a sister) a break. Now as far as breaking $120mm. I got news for you. That's not much. Especially in this crazy ass environment. WHen the Royals are offering Gil F'ing Meche $55 mm, we are in a crazy market.

    I don't want to hear this shit about Zito being expensive. He's not, he's the best that's out there, he'd be perfect for us and that's that. We don't pay it, someone else will.

    4:11 PM

    Anonymous seattle steve said...

    Happy holidays to all, I hope you all have a merry and a happy.
    Re: Zito it seems fron there spin they have received offers from all trhe potential suitors and they haven't bit yet, its telling that Zito's main objective is getting to the WS and they way it looks right now there is only one team in that mix, and we all know who that is, well its off to my brother in law for some good food and booze, so once again HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

    7:16 PM

    Anonymous Scott from Peekskill in Australia said...

    It is already Festivus eve here already. Nice day, 90degs and 100% humidity.

    So I tune in to wish everybody a Merry Festivus and I find us still arguing about Zito! AWESOME!!!! Gotta love the metropolitans! But I'd prefer a healthy Pedro in that group of 8 also.

    Just read your first comment Mike, spot on brother! The comparison with Glavine is justified but 16 wins on the shoulders of Frank Thomas and Jay Payton is remarkable. Zito was the only ace on his team while Glavine at the same age had Smoltz and Maddux to shoulder the team. Along with this he had a team who could HIT. Zito could win 20+ on this Mets team.

    I have the feeling that Borat is really drawing this out as long as possible and hoping the M's come into it or maybe the Angels. In the end though it really is down to Omar to send the 6 year $90mil offer.


    7:47 PM

    Anonymous Farva is dumb struck said...

    You lucky C...! Australia! Enjoy it because the end of the world is nigh! When Dayn Perry starts writing good things about us we are all fucked!

    Not only was the article nice to us but it was also critical of the Braves!

    Add to this is the Rangers trading for Brandon McCarthy. If they are happy with him they might be done. Mulder now looks like a better bet for them so that if McCarthy sucks until Mulder is ready to come back then they have back up.

    Jaerock get the flying saucer warmed up!

    Happy Festivus to all.

    8:28 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    McCarthy to the Rangers and Hicks no optimistic about getting Zito? 'Tis a jolly Christmas season.

    Scott, we'll be arguing about Zito until he signs. This is officially a Zito blog...not Mets related blog for the time being.

    10:38 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    how bout McCarthy going to the Rangers? Did you guys see how the Rangers are saying they're not optimistic about getting Zito? He's ours. Should be done soon.

    10:41 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Hey, a swellificent holiday to all! But, don't believe the smokescreen on the Rangers. I'll believe that Zito is a Met when there's a press conference.

    11:23 AM


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