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

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cliffy, Platoon Candidate? - Part Deux

Ah, part duex of deux. I'm ready for people to complain about this one.

Things we know.

1) We know Cliff hits lefties well for lefty, but posted a .239/.296/.336 line in 2004 and a .224/.284/.427 line in 2005.
2) We know Cliff hits righties better overall than Nady or Diaz hands down.
3) We know Nady kills lefties to the tune of a .321/.388/.350 line since coming into the league in 262 at-bats.
4) We know Nady gets killed by righties and has hit (or not hit) them to the tune of a .232/.282/.395 line, or basically, Doug Mientkiewicz.
5) We know that in Diaz's short time in the league, he has posted a .262/.342/.369 line against lefites and a .263/.324/.504 line against righties. His sample size against lefties is small as he really has not gotten the chance to play against them, but one could assume his power numbers should improve somewhat which basically will even his numbers out.

Armed with all that, let us look at the splits and how they would have looked by pairing up the platoon pair's lefty/right stats combined with the other player's full time stats.
                 AB  Avg Obp   Slg HR/AB RBI/AB
Diaz vs. Right 226 .257 .327 .496 20.5 6.6
Nady vs. Left 124 .323 .400 .452 41.3 7.8
Floyd Full Time 550 .273 .358 .505 16.2 5.6
Total 900 .276 .356 .496 18.8 6.1
                 AB Avg   Obp Slg HR/AB RBI/AB
Floyd vs. Right 407 .290 .382 .533 16.3 5.6
Diaz vs. Left 54 .259 .339 .352 54.0 13.5
Nady Full Time 326 .261 .320 .439 25.1 7.6
Total 787 .276 .354 .482 20.2 6.6
                 AB  Avg  Obp Slg HR/AB RBI/AB
Floyd vs. Right 407 .290 .382 .533 16.3 5.6
Nady vs. Left 124 .323 .400 .452 41.3 7.8
Diaz Full Time 280 .257 .329 .468 23.3 7.4
Total 811 .284 .367 .498 20.3 6.4
There comes a time in a person's life when they find out that they just wasted an hour or so of their life that they will never, ever get back. That is kind of how I feel now. I really thought I find something interesting out, but the breakdowns for each scenario are basically the same with a small edge going to Nady and Floyd platooning with Diaz playing full time since those numbers have the edge in Avg, Slg, and Obp, however slim. Basically, this is a decision even Willie cannot screw up. However, I will add some more thoughts to this which does make Nady/Floyd platoon with Diaz playing full time seem like a better idea.

With the knowledge that Cliff has played 108 games, 113 games, and 150 games in his first years with the Mets and only played 150 games or more twice in his career and 140 games or more four out of eleven full years, it stands to reason that resting the big guy is a good idea and might increase his output when he does play. In 2002 he did about the same pre and post-all star. In 2003, he did better after the break. In 2004 and 2005, he did substantially worse after the break. At the end of the 2005 season, he seemed to tire a bit and slow down. Whether or not I'm making that up is up for discussion and I have no concrete proof, but his post-all star drop off seems to back that up. There were times last year when it appeared that Cliff needed a rest, but the Mets could ill afford to have him miss a day in the lineup.

As for Diaz and Nady, Diaz's numbers last year sit a bit below what I would expect from him. He will never walk much, but I figure on him being able to hit about 25 homers and hit .270/.275 over the course of the year and provide some solid mid to bottom of the order pop. In regards to Nady, his versatility will let him log at bats in centerfield, first base, and right field when Diaz needs a day off. He will get his at bats, but Diaz who has never been a part time player, seems to benefit from regular play and stands to do better when plugged in every day.

While I might have successfully wasted everyone's time, including my own, I still think there are merits to Victor Diaz playing everyday in rightfield with a platoon situation in leftfield similar to what we saw with the aging Mike Piazza and Ramon Castro last year in which the Mets were able to get solid output from the catching position. Cliff's health is reminiscent of Piazza's and I'm not sure he would mind getting a more regular rest. All of this is definitely predicated on Damien's assumption and my agreeance with that assumption that Cliff Floyd is more likely to put up his second half numbers rather than his first half numbers and will not log 150 games next year. For the most part, this shucks a lot of conventional wisdom as he is coming off a big year for him, but he is a year older and this type of situation might actually be better for him overall.

* * *

  • The ones that got away. You have to like the angle of drafting top guys late and throwing a million or so at them to try and make your draft stronger when you missed out on some early round picks. Brad Meyers finished his first season solid enough to get listed as the sixth best sophomore in college by Baseball America after getting drafted by the Mets out of high school.

    1 David Price, lhp, Vanderbilt Dodgers '04 (19)
    2 Andrew Brackman, rhp, North Carolina State Never drafted
    3 Joe Savery, lhp, Rice Dodgers '04 (15)
    4 Matt Wieters, c/rhp, Georgia Tech Never drafted
    5 J.P. Arencibia, c, Tennessee Mariners ’04 (17)
    6 Brad Meyers, rhp, Loyola Marymount Mets '04 (14)
    In the one that got away part II, another ex-Met draftee cracks their respective top ten list.
    1 Jordan Danks, of, Texas                    White Sox ’05 (19)
    2 Justin Bristow, ss, Auburn Royals ’05 (22)
    3 Ike Davis, 1b/lhp, Arizona State Devil Rays ’05 (19)
    4 Zach Putnam, 1b/rhp, Michigan Tigers ’05 (38)
    5 Justin Smoak, 1b, South Carolina Athletics ’05 (16)
    6 Reese Havens, ss, South Carolina Rockies ’05 (29)
    7 Buster Posey, ss/rhp, Florida State Angels ’05 (50)
    8 Josh Lindblom, rhp, Tennessee Astros ’05 (3)
    9 Preston Paramore, c, Arizona State Mets ’05 (22)
  • Ronald McDonald = fun and tasty cheeseburgers. The Burger King = scary as shit.

  • Not only does Alex Belth look 12, but he is not a fan of Omar's moves this off season.

    4. Dodgers trade for right-hander Jae Seo
    You didn't have to be an irate Mets fan to know that the organization's decision to start Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17 ERA) and Kaz Ishii (3-9, 5.14) ahead of Seo (8-2, 2.59) for much of the season cost the team any chance of making the playoffs. In exchange for Seo and lefty Tim Hamulack, the Dodgers gave up a couple of decent relievers -- Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll. Jon Weisman, author of Dodger Thoughts, agrees that L.A. got the better end of the deal. "Seo blew me away in August after he replaced Ishii in the Mets' rotation," he says. "I realize that some of that may have been luck, because he wasn't striking a lot of batters out, and he regressed a bit toward the end of the season." Though Weisman likes Sanchez's surging strikeout rate (7.79 per 9.0 innings) as well as his durability, he concludes, "Relievers are easier to come by, and I like the chances for Seo to add stability to the Dodger rotation and help the team more than Sanchez would have."

    We all agree that good starters are harder to come by than good relievers. Especially affordable starters. At the end of the year, Omar could look like a genius or completely stupid in regards to the move. Of course they could both shit the bed and it could be moot point.

    4. Mets trade outfielder Mike Cameron to the Padres for outfielder Xavier Nady
    I don't like this one at all from New York's perspective. Saving money played a part in their thinking, but the Mets gave up a plus outfielder for a platoon player. Cameron is going to be a godsend for the Padres defensively, and although he doesn't hit for average, he's got some pop and is more than competent with the bat. By all counts he's also a mensch, as well as a consummate pro in the clubhouse, exactly the kind of cherry-on-the-top guy that winning teams often feature.

    Really nothing more to talk about in regards to this one.

  • Richard Deitsch is not Victor Zambrano's biggest fan.

    The pitcher's 2005 totals bring to mind a famous line by Catch-22 author Joseph Heller: "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them." Zambrano, 30, was given a raise of $900,000 after going 7-12 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 starts and four relief appearances. For bad measure, Zambrano was among the National League leaders in walks (he had the ninth-highest total) and hit batsmen (he ranked third). Opponents hit a robust .264 against him.

    The enigma that is Victor Zambrano continues.

  • Omar sees Iriki as a spot starter and reliever, which is the role Victor Zambrano probably should have assumed this season.

    "Iriki will give us versatility by being able to start or pitch out of the bullpen," Minaya said in a statement.

    That sounds vaguely familiar.

    “Dae Sung is a versatile pitcher who can start or pitch out of the bullpen,” Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said at the signing Saturday,

    You simply have to love it. Hopefully Iriki is able to be a consistent contributor to this team and not follow in the same footsteps as Koo and waste a roster spot. According to the Journal News, he has better stuff at the very least.

    The 33-year-old Iriki throws the standard stuff — a 92-mph fastball, curve, changeup and slider — plus something he calls a "shuto," a pitch Minaya said has movement, which makes it a strikeout pitch. He struck out 122 in 150 2/3 innings.

  • The Yankees and the Mets stadium plans are approved and the Yankees are dishing out $1.2 billion to the Mets $600 million. Two words. Holy shit.

  • According to the TC Palm, Pedro is pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. I've been out of the loop and I didn't hear about this.

    And in case you missed it, Mike Piazza will be playing for the Italian team.

    Catcher Mike Piazza headlines the Italian roster, which also lists Toronto outfielder Frank Catalanotto, Texas outfielder David Dellucci, Texas shortstop Mark DeRosa, Detroit pitchers Jason Grilli and Matt Mantei, Oakland second baseman Marco Scutaro and Villone.

    Time to start developing your own players. It just devalues the entire thing when guys born in the US are playing for another country. I understand why. It is to make it more competitive, but no one seemed to care about the US getting mauled in soccer for a longest time and did not seem to mind to laugh about it.

  • Bronson Arroyo is set to do something that is rare in these days. He is giving a hometown discount to stay with a team that he likes. Amazing.

    "We continue to move closer toward a discounted deal that Bronson is providing to the Boston Red Sox because he wants to do anything he can do to remain a Red Sox for not only these three years but the remainder of his career," Clifton said last night. "He's saying, 'I know this is a discounted deal, but I want to remain here. How do I get a chance to do this forever?'

    "While we do not support him in his decision to provide a discount, we hope the Boston Red Sox will not take advantage of Bronson's loyalty and use a potential discounted deal to trade him."

    I think we all know the Red Sox would turn their back on him at the end of three years if it came to it, but I applaud Arroyo anyway.

  • All those rumors about the Yankees releasing Jorge Posada are so ridiculous. Of course they won't cut him for Molina.
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Cliffy, Platoon Candidate?

    Yesterday, Damien took a look at Cliff Floyd and what we can reasonably be able to expect from him this upcoming season. The basic premise, if you had not checked it out, was that Cliff was in a steady decline prior to the 2005 season and his 2005 season was so out of line with the direction he was headed, that it can only be viewed as an anomaly. That is all well and fine, but Cliff was in steep decline from pre-all star to post all-star. Pre-all star, he hit 22 homers in 300 at-bats and only 12 in his next 250 at-bats.

    I could not agree more with Damien and his thoughts on Cliff. Floyd is probably going to be good for about 22 homers in 2006 should he even log enough at-bats too. In 2005, he hit a homer every 13.6 at-bats in his first 300 at-bats and a homer once in every 25 at-bats in the second half. His second half numbers would keep in line with his decline over the years and I think it is a fair assessment that Cliff will not be the Cliff of early 2005, but it will not matter anyway. The Mets will be better offensively because of the fact they have a better team offensively this year and they simply will not be relying as heavily on him as they did last year. The only problem is that I hope Willie realizes Floyd's place on the team and bats him accordingly. He was being counted on to anchor the offense last year long after he started to not shoulder the load.

    While Floyd still stands to be a valuable player on this team, no one expects him to play 150 games again. He will be providing great protection for whoever is in front of him because no one wants to make a mistake to him because he can and will make them pay. Albeit, not as often as the first half of 2005, but he should not be batting in front of David Wright in the lineup and should bat no higher than fifth if Beltran is batting second, which he will not be the case, and no higher than sixth if Beltran is batting third and Wright batting fifth. Floyd was undoubtedly the MVP of the team for the first half of the year and immensely helped the team top mediocre by two games, but the chances of him repeating such a solid year is unlikely. A .265/.350/.460 line with 22 homers and 85 RBIs sounds about right and with all the talk about a righty/righty platoon in rightfield, it almost makes more sense to have the at-bats shared in left with a Nady/Floyd platoon to give him the most rest and perhaps optimize the team's output. We'll see how it all shakes out and hopefully Victor Diaz forces the issue by coming to St. Lucie raking.

    * * *

  • The USA roster is out and I don't think that staff will carry them to victory. Al Leiter? As much as I love the guy, he shouldn't be on there if this is about winning.

  • Sticking with the game plan of signing at least one Japanese player a year, the Mets have signed Yusaka Iriki. You have to give Omar some credit. Despite the failures of Kaz Matsui, Mr. Koo, and Kaz Ishii all in the last two seasons, he is not afraid to dabble in the Japanese market.

    Iriki, a 32-year-old righty who spent last year with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, will get a one-year deal which also includes a team option, the source said. The deal, which is pending a physical today, is worth slightly less than $1 million and also includes approximately $500,000 in potential incentives, according to the source.

    Though he did not even start one game in 2005, he is expected to be able to start or come out of the bullpen. In 2005, he posted a 6-7 record with no saves, a 3.35 ERA, 122 K's in 150.2 innings, and walked 65 in 150.2 innings. For his career, he is 35-35 with three saves and a 3.73 ERA and has struck out more batters than innings pitched twice in his career with both of those years coming in his first two years. He gave up a homer to Slammin' Sammy during the MLB All-Star tour off Japan in 1998 and struck him out in his next at bat. Interestingly enough, the Ham Fighters are interested in Kaz Ishii. In the end, with a seemingly already crowded bullpen, it is strange for the Mets to hand out a Major League contract guaranteeing him a spot to start the season off at least when he was no where near dominant in Japan and probably figures to be cut at some point during the season if history is any indicator of the future. Heath, it was nice knowing you. I doubt you will be in the bullpen when the team comes north to start the season.

    Maybe the Mets can get a Japanese signing right and ink Daisuke Matsuzaka, who's nickname is "the monster", when his time comes. In two years, he will be eligible to come to the states at 28 years old. In 2005, he posted a career low of 2.30 ERA in 215 innings with 226 k's to a measly 49 walks. He boasts a mid 90's fastball and is probably going to be the best Japanese pitcher ever to come over to the states if/when he does finally arrive. Not many people from Japan are worth throwing millions and millions at for buying out contracts, but he is one of them.

  • Zambrano and the Mets come to terms and Eric pretty much sums it up.

    I am not a Victor Zambrano fan, and I would be perfectly happy just letting him fade away into oblivion on some other team's roster. He is a mediocre pitcher with natural ability but terrible mechanics and I have no reason to believe that he will ever be an above-average big league pitcher, or even a consistently-mediocre one. He is not an awful pitcher, and is probably worth the $3 million the Mets will pay him this year, but the Mets would be wise to keep him on a short leash. Should he struggle early on as a starter (assuming that's where he slots in) the Mets should waste no time in banishing him to the bullpen or to Triple-A and replacing him with someone like Brian Bannister.

    I like Zambrano. I like watching him because he could be downright nasty at times, but his tenure with the Mets coming to an end is something I look forward too as he serves solely as a painful reminder to me at this point.