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

Friday, January 27, 2006

Staff Optimism From Brave Territory

Chris in GA commented on Metsgeek.com the other day and had some pretty solid insights:

I like the Benson trade and the Seo trade didn’t bother me as much as a lot of others. I like John Maine. I’ve saw a few of his outings last year and I think he could be very solid. His 2005 season kind of reminds me of Heilman’s 2004. Of course Maine has a plus slider as opposed to a plus changeup. Maine needs a confidence boast cause whatever he was doing in Balt., his good control turned into slop. If he gets his control problems fixed (good control in minors), I feel we got a good guy that an organization gave up on.

I am a big Seo fan but I am excited about the two pitchers we got from LAD. Sanchez has made improvements every season in the majors and I would be happy if he could hold lefties below .275. I think Schmoll was rushed a year early to the majors. I watched him pitch a few times against the d backs and I think, with a little more maturity, he will turn into a good 7th reliever.

Trax and Glav will leave next yr and the rotation can be very young once again.

If Glavine puts up a solid season, he will be a Met until he retires. His relationship with the Wilpons and his help with recruiting Billy Wagner will probably hold a lot of weight into retaining Glavine’s services. I also saw an interview the other day on TV here in Ga with Glavine for a charity dinner at Turner field and he basically said he wants to pitch two or three more seasons with the Mets than retire. He also noted that he would like to continue on in some capacity with the Mets after he retires while coaching his sons in hockey.

A few things going on in that one. First, John Maine. Chris is spot on and his control was much better in the Minor Leagues and had a 2.8 w/9 as opposed to an abysmal 5.6 w/9 in the Major Leagues. His h/9 obviously increased from his career Minor League numbers when he hit the Majors, but his h/9 at AAA over 9.00 in 147 innings. That is cause for concern, but he is still only 25 years old and can still be a good pitcher. To backup Chris' scouting report about Maine refining his control to be successful, we have a quote from Jim Callis via DG from my comment section the other day.

Maine, a 24-year-old right-hander, could challenge for a spot in the back of New York's rotation. A sixth-round pick out of UNC Charlotte in 2002, he saw his first extensive time in the majors in 2005, going 2-3, 6.30 in 10 games (eight starts). He had a 24-24 K-BB ratio in 40 innings as opponents hit .248 with eight homers off him. His best attribute is his command of his 90-91 mph fastball, and he also throws a slider, curveball and changeup. He got into trouble in the big leagues when he tried to be too fine with his pitches. He went 6-11, 4.56 in 23 starts at Triple-A Ottawa last year and has a career 30-24, 3.24 record in 86 minor league games (83 starts).

As for Duaner Sanchez, there is no way you can be a reliable set up man if you cannot get out left handers at a reasonable rate. His .310/.383/.484 line against lefties in 2005 was horrendous. Much to my dismay, it was not a small sample size either. He pitched to lefties 155 times and seven time more than righties in total. Chris could not be more dead on and if Sanchez can hold them to his 2004 numbers when he held lefties to a .276/.333/.439 line, life will be good. Though not great, those numbers are hardly bad enough to label him Looper-esque against lefties and good enough for him to become a very reliable set-up man.

That brings us to Steve "I stuck it in the wrong" Schmoll (sorry to the ladies out there, if any are left, but I couldn't resist and if you are still an impressionable kid, I'm talking about bowling balls). He of the 1.48 WHIP for the Dodgers and the 5.69 college ERA. In 2004 in A ball he had a 2.49 w/9. When he moved up later that year to AA, he posted a 3.20 w/9. In 2005 in AAA, he owned a 4.44 w/9. That is what I like to call a negative trend. Schmoll may not have the best control, but he is a sub-mariner that throws 88-90 mph and can touch 93 mph and did progress well as a professional. He will have a place somewhere. Problem is, Chad Bradford already has the funky submarine pitcher slot taken up and between Bradford, Sanchez, and himself, the Mets bullpen may never get a lefty out between them. I cannot see Steve "I stuck it in the wrong" Schmoll contributing much this year.

If Glavine can put up a sub 4.00 ERA in 2006, I agree. He could be a Met until he retires. There will be enough holes and opportunities for young players to be injected even if Glavine stays around for it to make sense. He could be the only lefty there, not that I place a ton of importance on that, and is a great guy to have on the team. I think that he will have a very good year with the Mets in 2006 and not only that, but he will get his 300th win as a Met in 2007. No I'm not drunk.

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  • Thanks to Elliot for pointing out this article about Mike Jacobs by John W. Fox. Funny enough, our very own Andrew Hintz from Chuck 'n' Duck and Metsgeek.com makes a guest appearance in his article.

    It may have been none of all-star pitcher Pedro Martinez's business but he spoke up, to unspecified members of the organization, deploring such cruel deflation of the Sunday hero's euphoria. Lauber heard of Martinez's intervention, casually mentioned it in print, and regrettably inspired an online, off-key rabble-rouser to a roughly 100 percent untrue "true story of how Willie Randolph came around."

    To summarize the 2 1/2-page blog: "Don Pedro" sends henchman Jose Reyes to the manager's dinner table with an empty lineup card, requesting the favor of Jacobs' name being on it, pronto: "Pedro doesn't ask a second favor once he's been refused the first. Understood?" Randolph refuses, adding that if DiFelice fails, he will sign journeyman Alberto Castillo (of the championship 1994 B-Mets) as his catcher/first baseman. Exit Reyes, by command.

    Be forewarned, the gothic blog becomes R-rated:

    "The Next Day. Randolph awakens ... kicks the sheets off and finds Alberto Castillo's severed head in his bed. 'Ahhh! Ahhhhhh!' "

    Of course you can find the original blog here....I laughed. I cried. It was an instant classic.

  • There has been much debate as to whether Anna Benson is hot or if she is just the Derik Jeter of the modeling world (i.e. overrated).

    Whether or not you think she is hot, those pics are nicey nice. Thanks to Ed for the link.

  • SoCal may come calling for Piazza.

    "He still thinks he can catch 70 to 80 games," Towers said of Piazza. "We can probably carry three catchers."

    Carrying three catchers on the roster in the National League is pure lunacy, but you do what you have to do when your present options are not very good. The Mets have done it before to accommodate having Piazza and the Padres are interested in doing it.

  • The first woman GM? The first Asian GM?

    Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng and scouting director Logan White are believed to be on a preliminary list of about two dozen names the Cincinnati Reds are considering for their GM vacancy, which was created when new owner Bob Castellini fired Dan O'Brien on Monday. The Reds, who plan to interview Minnesota assistant GM Wayne Krivsky next week, haven't contacted the Dodgers for permission to interview either Ng or White.

    That would certainly be huge if Kim Ng could land the job and I still cannot help but think of Bill Singer every time I read her name.

    Singer: "What are you doing here?"

    Ng: "I'm working."

    Singer: "What are you doing here?"

    Ng: "I'm working. I'm the Dodger assistant general manager."

    Singer: "Where are you from?"

    Ng: "I was born in Indiana and grew up in New York."

    Singer: "Where are you from?"

    Ng: "My family's from China."

    Singer: Nonsensically mock Chinese, then "What country in China?"

  • From in the Classic to 50-50.

    Mets GM Omar Minaya said yesterday it is a "50-50" proposition as to whether Pedro Martinez's troublesome right big toe will allow him to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

  • Also from the above link, Jose Valentin homered in his first at-bat against Alay Soler.

    "Soler is one of those guys, for not too much experience in professional baseball, he knows how to pitch," Valentin said. "He doesn't throw hard - he's 90-plus mph - but he has great control. The guy knows what to do on the mound. He's going to be a good pitcher for this organization."


    "We played on the same team for about eight years. He throws 95-96 mph and he is a good pitcher," Contreras said in Cleveland through a translator.

    I guess Jose was a bit overzealous.

  • Mr. Sherman speaks out to the growing perception that Omar is trying to create a Latino utopia here in Queens.

    My favorites...

    1. Were you as outraged about the composition of the 2005 NL champion Astros, whose clubhouse was more Caucasian than a Neil Diamond audience? Houston had no black players on its postseason roster, 19 whites and just one Latino (Willy Tavares), who played a seminal role on the team.

    Huh? Where are your complaints at for that one whitey?

    6. Have you noticed that an allure of the World Baseball Classic is that it will not be a lay-up for the United States? Teams from the Dominican, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico, in particular, will be strong. In other words, the Mets are not exactly making up about half their roster with players from Yemen. These are players from baseball hotbeds.

    Now batting for the New York Mets, Abdul Mohammed. Seriously, a roster full of players from Minerva would clearly be bizarre. There are a lot of players coming out of these countries and just happen to be good at baseball. Coincidence? Or global C-O-N-spiracy? Hmmmm.....

    And if Martinez wins the decisive game in October this year after a go-ahead hit by Delgado that scores Beltran, will you go to a confetti-strewn Mets parade and feel anything but joy? Maybe on that day the Canyon of Heroes will be, of all things, Glory Road.

    "I'm not the type of person who is going to think about how many Catholic guys we have, how many Jewish guys we have. I just don't think about it," Minaya said. "What surprises me is that in the year 2006 we are even talking about this."

    Let's review. Last off season. Top three players; 1) Pedro Martinez 2) Carlos Beltran 3) Carlos Delgado. You cannot argue that. That's a case even Johnnie Cochran cannot win. The best closer this year? Billy Wagner. If Omar was passing up better African American, White, or Japanese players, then you can cry foul. But in the end, Omar is choosing the best players. Just to further prove the point, he signed Brett fucking Boone.

  • Baseball Prospectus weighs in on some of the Met deals this off-season.

    Maybe the Mets think Nady will go back to hitting like he did the first half of 2005, but this is more likely a salary dump for them. It seems unrealistic to expect Nady to take a big leap forward as a 27 year old with over 800 major league plate appearances.

    They also think that Kris Benson was a good pickup for them and I think he was too.

  • According to NYFansonly.com, Tike Redman was designated for assignment. That didn't take too long and that leaves Endy Chavez as the resident backup outfielder/speedster lefty off the bench. Chavez is worse player in my opinion and not by a little either. Though it is a minor thing, this is the kind of stuff that gets me pissed at Omar. He could still pass through waivers and be retained, but I just think he has no shot at the big club with Chavez around.

  • Matsui wants to do good in New York.

    "I am determined to do more than I have done," Matsui said through an interpreter Noz Matsumoto.

    That's not exactly hard.
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Ridiculous News Items of the Day

    #1) E3 bans T&A at their industry show.

    “Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the show.”

    No 'bathing suit bottoms' on the show floor? Glad I kept the receipt. Seriously, what's wrong with everyone?

    #2) Mike Piazza DH'ing for the Yankees.

    Considering the way George Steinbrenner thinks, it is a shock that Piazza hasn't already been fitted for pinstripes. The Yankees have snapped up the most popular former Mets: Darryl Strawberry, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile, Al Leiter. Sticking it to the Mets is one of The Boss' favorite hobbies now that he doesn't fire managers anymore.

    Two things going on here. First, Yankee fans make it sound like the Yankee nation, front office included, could care less about our lowly Mets, but I think we all know it is far from the truth. Screw all of 'em. Second, Mike Piazza in pinstripes would look oh so wrong.

    Et tu brute?

    * * *

  • Angel Pagan was another 40 man casualty and will likely follow in the footsteps of Aarom Baldiris as he will most likely soon be exiting the organization. Of course, like Baldiris, it is not a big loss in the end, but begs the question of why the Mets hand out too many Major League contracts to likes of Jose Valentin and Yusaku Iriki. In addition to them, in the last few weeks, Mike Pelfrey, Jorge Julio, Steve Schmoll, Duaner Sanchez, Chad Bradford, Paul LoDuca, John Maine, Juan Perez, Julio Franco, Endy Chavez, Tike Redman, and Mitch Wylie were added. That is a lot for there to be no casualties and some players were obviously an absolute must to be added, but there is some overlap that should not be there. At least no significant damage has been done.....yet
  • Monday, January 23, 2006

    A Day Late and A Dollar Short

    Yes, it was a very busy weekend and Mr. Met was no where to be found. Benson is gone along with Aarom "Don't Call Me Aaron" Baldiris and John Maine and Jorge Julio are now here. John Maine was drafted in 2002 in the sixth round. He first reached solid prospect status in 2003 when he cracked the Orioles top ten and stopped in at number eight. In 2004, Maine was ranked as the second best prospect in the Orioles system and was ranked the 54th best prospect in all of the Minor Leagues. He has a fastball in the low 90's with a hard slider and profiles to be a back end of the rotation guy with a #3 starter being his ceiling. According to BA, Maine led the minors in strikeouts and opponent average (.177) in 2003 but had some troubles in 2004 after moving up to AAA. He will be turning 25 this year and has not had an easy time above AA. He has gotten pretty hard in AAA with a high WHIP, high h9, and a low k/9 for him. In the big leagues he has gotten knocked around pretty hard. He is an intriguing guy for the bullpen if nothing else and presents another option to spot start and fill in should someone go down. His prospect status has fallen, but he still has good stuff.

    As for Julio, we now know that Heilman has finally got his wish and should be moved into the starting rotation unless you truly think like some people that Barry Zito is Minaya's next target. I just do not see that happening as the Mets do not have the juice to get the deal done unless they completely clean out the cupboard. Zito is a solid pitcher that is still young and will cost two arms and two legs. I just do not see that happening and with Jorge Julio coming here, the bullpen is just too crowded to not give Heilman a chance to start. Also, with the Mets now not having any relievers that handle lefties especially well after Wagner, it stands to reason that they will likely decided to bring a LOOGY north when Spring Training breaks. This deal is not exactly a bad one as John Maine is intriguing and the Mets save about $13 million over the next two seasons with Julio’s salary factored in, but Sanchez and Julio setting up could either be really good or really bad. Both guys are pretty big question marks for me, but the Mets have some power arms to bring in at the end of the game. I think we can finally look at this team and say they are done taking shape. How good they will be will depend on Heilman stepping it up to become a solid #3 starter and Julio and Sanchez becoming consistent and reliable set-up men. No pressure guys.

    * * *

  • "We look forward to christening the parking lot of Camden Yards," Anna said. "I am, after all, his good-luck charm. I am sexy and I don't shy away from that. I am not just another pretty face. I am a woman to be seen and heard."

  • From Jon Heyman:

    The Mets pulled the trigger on Kris Benson-for-Jorge Julio not because Barry Zito or Jeff Weaver is waiting in the wings but for several other reasons. Such as: 1) General manager Omar Minaya loves Julio's power arm (with Billy Wagner and Julio, who's hit 99 mph, the Mets have the hardest-throwing bullpen back end); 2) Minaya wanted to give Aaron Heilman a shot at the No. 5 starting spot he's been craving; 3) Mets people see other starting alternatives in Yusaku Iriki and maybe even No. 1 draft choice Mike Pelfrey by midseason;

    Pelfrey by mid-season? I'm not sure I can see that happening no matter how good the kid is. However, BA did chime in with some thoughts on Mike Pelfrey in the last Ask BA that you should check out because there is nothing but gushing going on for the kid. They also kindly revised the Mets top ten.

    1. Lastings Milledge
    2. Mike Pelfrey
    3. Phil Humber
    4. Carlos Gomez
    5. Fernando Martinez
    6. Anderson Hernandez
    7. Brian Bannister
    8. Alay Soler
    9. Deolis Guerra
    10. Jon Niese

    I just do not have a good feeling on A Hern and he didn't get much love in my recent top ten...

    1. Lastings Milledge
    2. Mike Pelfrey
    3. Fernando Martinez
    4. Carlos Gomez
    5. Phil Humber
    6. Deolis Guerra
    7. Alay Soler
    8. Brian Bannister
    9. Andy Wilson
    10. Bobby Parnell

  • The light hitting Aaron Baldiris is gone and now a Texas Ranger. Baldiris' power never came alive in the offensive Eastern League and at least will have a better chance to show some pop in Arlington should he ever make it to the bigs.