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

Friday, January 06, 2006

What To Do, What To Do

Omar is the busiest man in baseball and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might be time for a vacation. There just is not much he can do with this team since the farm is barren and there are not many cogs outside of Nady, Diaz, or perhaps A Hern to net back anything of value. The Mets have reportedly passed on Julian Tavarez and that leaves me conflicted. On one hand, it is nice to see the Mets just not give into the demands of someone just because they sorely need him, but that is the other side. They sorely need him.

Right now, the Mets are looking like they could be a finished team. In a move that has been debated, Jae Seo will be moved for Duaner Sanchez once the trade if finalized. Sanchez figures into a set-up type role and there is a clear hole left in the rotation by Jae Seo who figured on being the fourth or fifth starter with some obvious upside to step into a more prominent role with this team. It is hard to believe what you read in the media all the time, but according to many media outlets, Jae Seo was reluctant to learn another pitch outside his off speed pitch and fastball and butt heads with Rick Peterson on occasion in the past. In 2005, all of that looked behind him and he seemed poise to break out like we all hoped he would after an impressive 2003 campaign.

Though Willie was not awarding any rotation spot to him, one had to figure it would be him who got the nod. At this point, the Mets are at a crossroad. Any deal for Baez is presumably dead and trading another starter in Kris Benson or Steve Tracshel to shift both Heilman and Zambrano into the rotation seems highly unlikely. Nady or Diaz could be move since they are somewhat redundant, but I see the Mets holding onto them and seeing who is standing at the end of Spring Training. For the most part Omar should be done with any major tinkering, but Tavarez was one deal that could have helped solidify this team to be poised for a playoff run 2006.

It is arguable what is better for the team whether it be Victor Zambrano in the rotation or Aaron Heilman. I for one think that Heilman has the opportunity to become a more consistent starter and has a chance to be a better contributor in the rotation. Zambrano has had mixed results as a reliever and mixed results as a starter. He goes through stretches that he gives you ten quality starts in a row, then goes through stretches that helps him find himself out of the rotation and completely infuriates everyone. Even when he is good, he seems like he is one pitch away from coming unraveled. Zambrano would still represent a back end of the rotation starter, but the Mets need a bit more consistency and bit more from this last rotation slot since they failed to upgrade anywhere in the rotation so far this off season. After Pedro, the Mets could be dangerously mediocre. While that is fine and dandy for the regular season, this team is by no means built for the playoffs. By failing to upgrade where they needed to, they need to take some sort of risk to see how it pans out and that risk should be Heilman.

Omar can possibly upgrade the rotation with Aaron Heilman, who has been working towards becoming a more effective starter by not using all his pitches in the first time or two around the batting order and saving a new look for the end of the game. Of course we will not see one hitters from him every game, but it is not unreasonable to see him outperform Benson and Trachsel and possibly even Tom Glavine depending upon which one shows up. Either way, Heilman makes the rotation better than Zambrano, who has shown nothing but a lot of inconsistency and frustrating moments.

That would leave a large role that Heilman would have filled empty. Duaner Sanchez figures to help out in a set up role and despite not being an unknown, it is unclear whether or not he is ready to become that guy just yet. Scott Boras has done his best to scare of most of Julian Tavarez's potential suitors and that apparently includes the Mets. The Mets could have upgraded their rotation and put in place a 1-2-3 punch in Sanchez, Tavarez, and Wagner that would have been just fine with me. Sanchez walks batters a bit much for my taste and had a .310 BAA when it came to lefties, but his 2004 was much better against lefties and he has the stuff to be solid reliever.

If Omar wanted to put the finishing touches on this team right now and keep whatever chips he has left for the deadline once it will become clearer what this team is lacking, if anything, then Julian Tavarez was a must. The Mets have the possibility to break camp with the most well rounded team they have had in years. They could have bullpen depth, rotation depth, and depth at a few positions in the field. This team is just about ready to go and Tavarez could have been the finishing touch. That being said, if Tavarez was too costly and some guys like Henry Owens and Tim Lavinge are pitching themselves into Omar's mind, I cannot fault the Mets for just overpaying because they can. Essentially no Tavarez means Heilman in the pen is a must and Zambrano to the rotation will happen and the Mets will still sorely be lacking that one more impact pitcher that Heilman could be for them.

* * *

  • Here is something we couldn't see coming. Beltran is happy to see 2006.

    "It will be great," Beltran said in a conference call Thursday. "Me and Carlos, we're good friends, [we] always look out for each other. Having him here will be great - will be great for the team. He will feel comfortable. I will feel comfortable."

    Of course he is looking forward to 2006 so he can erase that sub-par 2005 seasons, but having Delgado bat behind him is not exactly tempering his excitement.

    "I do believe it means a lot, not only to players, but fans, having guys like Delgado, Billy Wagner - one of the best closers. I believe this has to be our year. If we stay healthy, find a way to play the game right, I don't see why we can't win the division."

  • Manny says he is staying, but he still might be going. Not that anyone cares anymore anyway.

    "If Boston is able to work out a trade with Baltimore or another team, Manny is still open to making a move," Genske said.

    This time if Ortiz said "Manny ain't going to to no (choose your team)" he would be right. Manny will be in Boston for the 2006 season. Get ready next off season for much of the same crap like we have been reading about Soriano to the Mets for years now.

    In related news, Beltran did not get the memo about Manny staying.

  • Matthew Meyers had a pretty big piece on the Mets' Henry Owens for Baseball America the other day and it was reported that Owens hit 100 mph on the radar gun in Puerto Rico. He also mentioned that he will likely start in AA Binghamton. It's tough to know what to make out of him since he is putting up solid numbers in Winter Ball and will be 27 and reaching AA for the first time in 2006. He is intriguing, but I guess anything with him has to be taken with a grain of salt since he is unrefined and a lot things need to fall into place for him.
  • Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Brett Boone, A Met

    Thanks to Nokes for the heads up, Brett Boone has signed a Minor League contract with the Mets according to WFAN. In my opinion, Matsui is flat out a better option. Not sure if Brett has chance at making the team, whether he is just insurance, or whether Omar just wants to take a shot and see if he can revive his career, but this is basically a non-move. He can field, though not as good as in his prime, but no one expects him to approach twenty homers or any sort of solid offensive numbers anymore. He could be intriguing as a utility guy should he make it that far, but I hope Matsui still gets a fair shot if he is around.

    Hola Duaner Sanchez

    Unable to complete a deal for Tampa Bay's Danys Baez, the Mets have turned West to fill their void for a setup man. According to officials from two major-league clubs, the Mets had all but finalized a trade to land Duaner Sanchez from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    In return for Sanchez, a 26-year-old righthander, the Mets will surrender righthander Jae Seo, the officials said. The trade will probably be announced by the end of this week.

    Sanchez pitched in 79 games for the Dodgers in 2005, going 4-7 with a 3.73 ERA, walking 36 and striking out 71 in 82 innings. He throws a fastball that reaches about 95 mph on the radar gun, and he also displays a curveball, slider and changeup. He instantly becomes the Mets' primary setup man to new closer Billy Wagner.

    Instantly becomes the set up man for Billy Wagner? Is Heilman chopped liver or is he just moving to the rotation. Very interesting if he moves to the rotation. We all know he wants to start and could represent the second best starter on the Mets or he could regress to yesteryear performances, but I think his new arm slot and his continued success in Winter Leagues tells me he is probably a candidate to be a solid Major League pitcher. It is not like he was not highly regarded in the past.

    2004 67 80 3.38 4.95 3.04 1.35
    2005 79 82 3.73 7.79 3.95 1.35
    Total 146 162 3.56 6.39 3.50 1.35
    Sanchez just turned 26 and is under team control for another three seasons. He has some good stuff and could be a very, very solid setup guy with possible closer stuff down the road. This move, if nothing else, eradicates any possibility of a non sensical Baez for Heilman deal and I still think the Mets should pony up some cash for Tavarez, though not four years since his market does not appear to be huge, and the Mets could still have a very good pen even after moving Heilman to the rotation.

    Pedro, Glavine, Benson, Heilman, and Traschel starting with a bullpen of Wagner, Tavarez, Sanchez, Bradford, Perisho (or another LOOGY), and two of Padilla/Zambrano/Bell/Fortunato/Owens is not a bad crop of arms. The Mets still have some wiggle room with starters should someone go down with Zambrano and Bannister and still have a nice set of arms in the pen with some possible depth to boot. Duaner Sanchez is not so much of an unknown since he did work 160+ innings over the last two years and did put up solid numbers and had increased his K-rate from '04 to '05.

    Though Seo looked promising and this deal on the surface does not seem extract maximum return, it does close the door on some other potential deals and possibly brings Heilman into the rotation which maybe be the best move of 2006 should they be able to fill in the set-up role adequately. If that goes down and Heilman is moved into the rotation with Tavarez setting up with Sanchez, there will be little to complain about. If it means Zambrano is in the rotation then at least the Mets will have potentially one of the best 1, 2, 3 punches ending games with a one of the better fifth starters in the league in Victor Zambrano. However, if Omar does not use this opportunity for what could be a huge upgrade to the rotation, I think he will have missed the boat.