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

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Bullpen Blows

Well, not really. They are still pretty good overall. Yes, it is frustrating that the bullpen lost the first game of the series and could not hold onto last night's game to give the Mets a chance, but Wagner had been really sharp for while before his last slip up and last night the Mets were facing Dontrelle Willis. I could care less that Aaron Heilman's ERA continues to climb towards 5.00. I believe the bullpen will fall into place and someone will step up whether it be Heath Bell, Henry Owens, or even Mike Pelfrey in September and October when his season as a start is most likely done. The good news from last night was Pedro Martinez was on point and struck out nine batters in six innings.

"He threw lights out," catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "He was as good as it gets. He was dominant. This was great news for us."

Great news indeed. If this Met team has any hope of making some noise in the playoffs, Pedro Martinez is more important than any bullpen arms or bats. It starts with Pedro Martinez giving the Mets a win in game one of the playoffs, setting the tone, and being vintage Pedro throughout the playoffs. You try not to go too crazy over one start or two by a young pitcher, but John Maine looks like he might step up and give the Mets another starter to compliment Pedro and Tom Glavine. Glavine has been horrible of late, but I truly believe he'll find it and step up for the Mets. El Duque seems like he is shaping up into being a dependable starter for Mets too giving the Mets the four they need in the playoffs. The rotation will give the Mets a shot to go all the way. However, above all, a sharp Pedro Martinez is the most vital piece to this team's success and that is what the Mets got last night.

* * *

  • There was a valuable display of teddy bears in London destroyed by the very dog hired to guard them.

    "It's a terrible disaster," Daniel Medley, the park's general manager, told CBC News.

    There must have been some kind of scent, Medley said, "that made the dog go berserk."

    Barney first tore into Mabel, a bear that was recently purchased at an auction in Memphis, Tenn., for $85,000 Cdn. Mabel had once been owned by a young Elvis and was made in 1909 by the German manufacturer Steiff.

    The bear's owner, Sir Benjamin Slade, had put it on display at the collection "just a few days ago," Medley said.

    When the mauling was over, Mabel's chest had a gaping hole and its head had nearly been torn off.

    But the trouble was far from over with the six-year-old Doberman pinscher.

    "Once Mabel had been pried out of his jaws he then went on a rampage," Medley said. When it was over, about 100 bears in all had been damaged.

    This teddy bear once owned by Elvis Presley was damaged by the guard dog. (Wookey Hole Caves/Associated Press) This teddy bear once owned by Elvis Presley was damaged by the guard dog. (Wookey Hole Caves/Associated Press)

    "He was pulling arms off, heads off," Medley said and there was fluffy stuffing everywhere.

    Sounds interesting. Letting a dog watch a bunch of stuffed animals is like asking a great white shark to baby sit some seals (yes, I'm addicted to Shark Week...it is like my second job). Are they really that surprised? My dog would have torn that shit up too. Barney the guard dog has been forced into retirement and will be placed on a farm "where he can chase chickens", which is fancy talk for getting killed. Serves them all right for spending so much on teddy bears anyway. Now excuse me while I tend to my My Little Pony collection.....

  • Local fluff piece on David Wright for anyone interested. It is about days in Columbia, SC.

    Wright batted .266 for the Bombers with 11 home runs and 93 RBIs, but he struck out 114 times in 496 at-bats as he learned for the first time to deal with a steady diet of breaking balls. In the deciding game of the playoffs that season Wright struck out on a 3-2 curveball from former USC pitcher Lee Gronkiewicz of Columbus with the potential lead runs on base.

    According to Wright, it was one of the few bad memories of his summer in Columbia. Isn’t it interesting that in the end, a player of Wright’s stature probably embraced Columbia more than the city did him?

    It is actually not interesting at all, that is why he is called Sugar Pants.

  • Mike Carp can hit, but who knew he can field? Not me. Baseball America said he was an average first baseman in their last handbook, but in the High-A edition of Best Tools, he was listed as the best fielding first baseman in the Florida State League. Either the league doesn't have many good fielders or he improved some. Either way, he is having a great year and is significantly raising his prospect status.

  • With Varitek possibly out for the season, the Red Sox made a move for Javy Lopez. Problem is, he is a bad defensive catcher and caught only 21 games this year. Good luck with all of that.

  • The Mets continue to buck their trend of rampant mismanagement and have locked up Jose Reyes through 2010 and own an option on him for 2011. His $23.25 million deal, with a club option for $11 million for 2011 is a great deal for everyone and I'm happy to see Jose stay around so he can continue to blossom into an elite baseball player. I think a lot of us had questions whether or not he would tap into all that potential, but his .291/.349/.466 line with 20 doubles, 13 triples, 10 homers, 46 RBIs, and 44 steals at 23 years old indicates he might blow by our expectations that we originally had.

    "That's great to have a young talent like Jose tied up," manager Willie Randolph said. "He's a tremendous talent and he's just scratching the surface.

    "He can do a lot more than he's doing right now. Not just with his speed, but with his power. He'll get bigger, like [Derek] Jeter did. His ceiling is real high. It's exciting to dream about what he can be. Wow! He can be really special."

    Two things, why bring Jeter into this glorious moment? Secondly, his use of Wow! cracked me up. It reminds me of the Willie's World blog.

    Predictably, David Wright was going to get asked about his eventual contract.

    "I'm not worried about it," said Wright, who came to the big leagues in 2004, one year after Reyes. "Myself, I'm still a year away from arbitration. You take it one step at a time."

    Mets general manager Omar Minaya said working out something with Wright is on his to-do list. Just not right away.

    "We've told David and we've told his representatives that when the time is right we will sit down and discuss something long term," Minaya said.

    The Mets would never sign him long term before his arbitration period and that is just how things are.

  • The largest head in the bigs might take his act to the DL.

    Reserve catcher Ramon Castro, who has been bothered by a rib-cage strain since last weekend, remains unable to play. Randolph said that if Castro's condition doesn't improve "in the next day or two," the team will have to consider placing him on the DL and calling up a catcher from the minors. Randolph doesn't want to wear out veteran Paul Lo Duca, who has caught six consecutive games.

  • Toasty loves Cabrera's smirk and it CBS Sportsline has taken notice of it too.

    Is that an evil grin on the face of Miguel Cabrera after he drives in the go-ahead runs? It might be.

    'Tis evil. Very evil.

  • Phil Humber returns to the mound for the B-Mets tonight.

  • Wagner tidbit...

    Wagner has 23 saves, which tied him for only 14th in the majors heading into yesterday's action. But when it comes to one-run saves, Wagner was tied for second-most in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

    Going into yesterday, according to Elias, San Diego's Trevor Hoffman led the majors with 12 one-run saves. Wagner was second with 11, along with Boston's Jonathan Papelbon and Houston's Brad Lidge.

  • Neil Best is just calling it as he sees it and anyone with the ability to think rationally sees it. The Mets radio duo is far better than the Yankees radio duo.

    While the vibe at WFAN is of two broadcasting pros meticulously plying their trade, Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are your bloviating uncle and his long-suffering wife holding court on the porch.

    Waldman is a good fit for Sterling in that she gives him a wide berth. Why not? Resistance is futile.

    Resistance is futile and that blithering idiot is painful to listen too.

  • Carlos Gomez picked up three more hits and drove in a run to bring his average up to .286 in Binghamton's win over New Britain. Henry Owens picked up his seventeenth save of the year and struck out two in one inning of work.

    Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 and knocked his fifth homerun of the year in Hagerstown's loss to Augusta.

    Kingsport won big over Bluefield 18 to 9 as Emmanuel Garcia went 3 for 6 with three runs scored, a homer, and four RBIs. Junior Contreras went 1 for 2 with a double and two RBIs and is batting .347 on the season.
  • Wednesday, August 02, 2006


    Mr. Billy Wagner,Sincerely,

    Mr. Met

    * * *

  • Looks like there is a new addition to the Brewer family.

    Actually, I'm surprised it took so long with the large number of Latino players in the game and the tasty chorizo was a welcome addition even if it was for one game. However, our Spanish friend will make a triumphant and more permanent return starting opening day 2007.

  • Mike Carp cannot be stopped. That Flores guy is not so bad himself either. In St. Lucie's 6-2 win, Mike Carp went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Jesus Flores went 4 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, three RBIs and his fourteenth homerun of the year. Flores now has 43 XBHs in 96 games this season.

    Hagerstown beat Augusta 5-2 and Fernando Martinez drove in all five runs. Martinez went 2 for 5 with a run scored, five RBIs, and his fourth homerun of the year which was also a grand slam. Good stuff.

    Matt Durkin looks like a poor investment of $950,000. He is still mired in the GCL and getting killed. Yesterday, he went 2.2 innings and gave up nine hits, eight runs, seven earned runs, and two homeruns. He was a successful college pitcher and is getting shelled by high school kids. Not very encouraging.

    Joe Smith picked up where he left off in the New York-Pen League and threw a scoreless inning for Binghamton.

  • Baseball America has put out their Double-A edition of the Best Tools. Matt Lindstrom was listed as having the best fastball and was listed as being the best reliever. Maybe the Mets can turn him into something yet.

  • Things are not getting easier for Josh Hamilton.

    Devil Rays outfielder Josh Hamilton has been sidelined since July 29 with a knee injury. He is expected to have the knee examined this week, according to the Associated Press. Hamilton was hitting .260/.327/.360 in 50 at-bats for short-season Hudson Valley in his return after missing four years because of injuries and drug suspensions.

  • Oliver Pérez, the left-hander the Mets obtained from Pittsburgh on Monday, threw on the side Wednesday in front of Manager Willie Randolph and the pitching coach, Rick Peterson. He will report to Class AAA Norfolk on Thursday and start Friday in Buffalo. “I’m feeling good,” Pérez said.

  • John Maine earned a spot in the rotation as Mike Pelfrey was demoted to AAA Norfolk.

    "I need to get more consistent with my secondary stuff and fix some things mechanically with my delivery," Pelfrey said. "I got a chance to work with Peterson and he changed some things mechanically. My changeup got better. I want to be back, but I have things to work on."

  • Not fucking swell.

    "I called my mom and my girlfriend immediately," Sanchez told the newspaper in his first public comments since the accident. "I could see the bone on the top of the shoulder. I started to cry. I knew it was bad."

    Anyone hungry?

  • Mad Dog Russo has reached the pinnacle of his stupidity. He called John Maine a journeyman at 25 years old and criticized Duaner Sanchez for being out in Miami on an off night with no game the next day and called him irresponsible. How do you respond to that?
  • Time to Rise Up In Support Of An Icon/Phil Humber Is Good

    The Mets lost last night after I was sure the win was theirs, but I do not care. I cannot let myself get consumed with details of Met wins or losses when Chuck Norris is making headlines.

    A new bridge in Hungary could be named after Hollywood action movie actor Chuck Norris unless the trend turns in an Internet vote organized by the Economy Ministry.

    Votes for the "Chuck Norris Bridge" had attracted 8,725 votes or 11 percent by Tuesday morning, just ahead of those cast in favour of naming it after Hungarian humorist Geza Hofi and three times more than for Szent Istvan, founder of the state.

    Voting will remain open until September 8th and it is your civic duty as an American to vote. You can vote here to try and achieve what would be a huge coup for America to have such an iconic figure such as Chuck Norris have a bridge named after him in the great country of Hungary.

    In honor of what could be Chuck's shining moment, some more facts:
  • Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.
  • Once a grizzly bear threatened to eat Chuck Norris. Chuck showed the bear his fist and the bear proceeded to eat himself, because it would be the less painful way to die.
  • Chuck Norris once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.
  • Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting implies the possibility of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
  • Chuck Norris has to use a stunt double when he does crying scenes.
  • Chuck Norris owns the greatest Poker Face of all-time. It helped him win the 1983 World Series of Poker despite him holding just a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game Uno.
  • Chuck Norris can speak braille.
  • Chuck Norris is not hung like a horse... horses are hung like Chuck Norris.
  • When an episode of Walker Texas Ranger was aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.
  • Chuck Norris never loses a game of Clue despite the fact everyone knows he's the murderer and used his foot to do it.
  • Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fucking Indian.
  • If you try video taping Chuck Norris without his permission you will very quickly be filming the inside of your own ass.
  • * * *

    Now on to baseball...Phil Humber just makes me a happy guy. I cannot say it enough, he has impressed the entire baseball world with how fast he has come back from Tommy John surgery. A lot of people wrote him off until he could prove he is back. Well, few doubt the fact that he is back.

    I yanked this from the comments section at Metsgeek and it is from Baseball Prospectus:

    RHP Philip Humber, High-A St. Lucie (Mets)

    Now, if you’re looking for a Florida State League comeback that’s real, here you go. Humber has been receiving rave reviews of late, and he looks to be all the way back from Tommy John surgery, showing the same stuff that made him the third overall pick in 2004. On Saturday, the former Rice star struck out seven over five shutout innings, and in his last four starts, he’s giving up just one earned run in 23 innings with twice as many strikeouts (22) as hits allowed (11). The Mets have no need to rush Humber; he’ll likely finish the year with a handful of starts at Double-A Binghamton, where he was pitching last year when the elbow finally snapped. While mid-2007 as a date for a big league debut seemed far too optimistic a month ago, it sounds about right now.

    In case you missed it, I wrote a piece back on May 26th on Metsgeek.com about Humber and his impending comeback. Since his return, he has posted an 8.53 k/9, 5.68 h/9, 2.37 ERA, .87 WHIP, and a 4.00 k/bb in St. Lucie. Some people think he should sit in St. Lucie for the year and dominate kids, but I think the Mets are doing the right thing. Let Phil Humber's arm dictate where he belongs not where you think he should belong. Keep him on his pitch counts and keep asking him how he feels, but if he kills it, why hold him back?

    * * *

  • "Put out or get out." I knew this Macedonian kid in high school who used to tell me he would drive girls to the city limits back in his old country where there is absolutely nothing and tell them to put out or get out. I don't think he actually did it, but I think it is Steve Trachsel's turn to put out or get out. Kaz Ishii was cut for less. Victor Zambrano was removed from the rotation for less. Trachsel has been bad and though Pelfrey has struggled, he has shown a bit more than Trachsel and that includes last night's performance. I think he can continue to learn and grow and be a solid contributor. Trachsel on the other hand needs to improve on short order. Brian Bannister is on his way back from injury, John Maine has a nice scoreless inning streak going, and Mike Pelfrey has pitched well enough in my eyes to keep getting a look.

    So Steve, put out or get out.

  • Duaner Sanchez is out for the year. That sucks. If you care to read about his accident, go for it.

  • I know some of you are mad at Mr. Billy Wagner, he has been pretty tight lately and better than you think all year. In April he had a 0.69 ERA anda 1.70 BAA, in May he had a 4.85 ERA and a .220 BAA, in June he had a 1.69 ERA and a .176 BAA, and in July he had a 1.46 ERA and a .178 BAA. He has hit a hiccup in August, but I would still do battle with him. I think his failures have been a bit magnified and his one bad month is clouding people's vision, but he has been pretty damn good this year.

  • Baseball Prospectus' Stat of the Day:

    Top 5 NL Bullpens, by WXRL
    Team                     WXRL
    New York Mets 10.709
    St. Louis Cardinals 7.951
    San Diego Padres 7.670
    Philadelphia Phillies 5.966
    Arizona Diamondbacks 5.902

  • Psycopath Elijah Dukes may be done with baseball after his last suspension.

    "I have no idea when or if I'll be back," Dukes said in a telephone interview. "I packed up all my stuff and I'm headed home. To be honest, I don't even know about baseball anymore. Everything is just wearing on me and this year has just been so frustrating. I'm trying to keep my nose clean and keep to myself, but things just keep getting turned around. I'm tired of it."

    Here is an idea. Try not acting like an asshole and see what happens.

  • The Mets had two players with the best tools in the International League. Anderson Hernandez was the best fielding second baseman and Lastings Milledge was the most exciting player.

    While on the topic of Milledge, his bat is so fast. Watching him last night just reinforces what everyone says and the skills he has. It was also nice to see him get three walks and take what Olsen was giving him as Olsen was more interested in taking on Pelfrey in two situations.

  • Oliver Perez was at Dolphin Stadium yesterday and is expected to throw a bullpen session today.

    Roberto seems to think he knows what the Pirates did wrong.

    "He's got great stuff. He just got confused the last few years," Hernandez said. "They tried to make him into Tom Glavine. He's a guy who lives at 94 to 96 and they made him a finesse pitcher."

    If the Mets can straighten him out, I will no longer wonder why the Pirates franchise is doomed (I actually know why, but this will just reinforce it).

  • Also from the above link....a Zambrano sighting.

    "I feel pretty good. I'm just doing some weights and running and trying to keep my body in shape," said Zambrano, who cannot do any throwing yet. The righthander, vilified by fans for being part of the Scott Kazmir trade, said "hopefully" he'll be ready for spring training.

    ....ready for spring training with another team hopefully.
  • Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Knee Jerk Moves? Not This Time.

    What Omar did yesterday was prove that he can get the small deals done and was quite impressive while staring at what could have been a disaster. Early in the day, we heard rumors of Oswalt, Schmidt, or Zito, but nothing materialized. The sticking point on Zito was the A's desire for Milledge, the Schmidt deal did not even include Milledge or Heilman, but the Giants decided to go for it, and it sounds like Oswalt deal was squashed by Angelos in fear of making his team better long term. Omar went for the only three pitchers on the market that could have made a difference. He could not get them, so he moved on. After Duaner was hurt, Omar was forced to address the pen or else they might not have done any deals.

    "The Sanchez injury forced us to go in that direction," Minaya said.

    "It did shift my focus to addressing the bullpen. The bullpen has been very important to us this year, and Duaner Sanchez was a big part of our pen."

    It is unclear whether or not Sanchez is out for the year, but the Mets will know as early as today, but more likely in a week. What is clear is that the Mets needed to do something to secure their bullpen since he has been the best reliever for the Mets all season with the exception of Mr. Billy Wagner. During a time when Omar could have easily got ripped off or panicked and overpaid for something, he dished off Nady and brought back Roberto Hernadnez and Oliver Perez. When I first started hearing the Mets were talking to the Pirates and had spoke about Perez, I was excited. The Mets dealt a solid player in Nady, but Milledge could quite possibly play better overall this season than Xavier. I'm very happy about this deal and would have been happy regardless if it was Linebrink or Perez. Omar did well and we should all be happy.

    * * *

  • John Manual on the deal from ESPN's trade central:

    I saw Jayson Stark's update, R. Hernandez and O. Perez to the Mets, without the Mets pieces mentioned. I think Oliver Perez is a good guy to take a chance on, especially if you have veterans like Pedro, Glavine and a pitching coach like Rick Peterson to try to straighten him out. The guy was lights-out in 2004. The problem is the lights are definitely on this year, hitters are seeing him pretty well, he's given up 6 HRs in 32 IP in Triple-A and just gave up 8 runs in 1/3 of an inning in his last start. All that said, as long as the Mets don't give up Milledge or their 17-year-old phenoms (Guerra and Martinez) in such a deal, I think it's a good chance to take, because the Mets would have two solid months to work with Perez to see if he could help, at the very least as a power bullpen arm down the stretch.

    Garry Gillette on the deal from ESPN's trade central:

    Gary Gillete
    Big Losers: Phillies, Pirates, Nats. Big winners: Mets, Yanks, Rangers (including Lee deal).

    Mark (Bangor, PA)
    Will the Tribe just DFA Mota?

    I expect they'll deal him for a pretty small return.

    Keith (Fairfax, VA)
    Don't want to be negative, Mets season has rocked, but Perez sounds like a younger version of Victor Zambrano. Roberto will be an able fill-in for Sanchez, but Omar could've gotten more for Nady if his hand wasn't forced. Agree?

    Not really. Nady isn't that good or that valuable. Perez has a lot better upside than Victor Zambrano.

    Nady is tough loss, but I'd rather him than one of the Mets future cornerstones and Perez could be making us think this was an epic steal in a few years. Omar got good value from Littlefield for a player that is not going to help him at all in the big scheme of where they are going. Littlefield made several perplexing moves and failed to really do anything to brighten their future. In reality, with their current state of their team and their young pitchers, he probably should have even dealt Jason Bay for some premium talent like Lastings Milledge.

    Bill Madden on the deal:

    METS GET: RHP Roberto Hernandez and LHP Oliver Perez
    PIRATES GET: OF Xavier Nady
    Why the Mets did it: Hernandez showed he can pitch in New York last season, and the Mets needed bullpen help after Duaner Sanchez's taxicab accident. Perez, a 12-game winner in 2004, amounts to a project.
    Why the Pirates did it: Nady, at 27, is basically Craig Wilson with some fielding ability in the outfield. He represents an upgrade. They also needed to get rid of the star-crossed Perez.
    Winner: Pirates. Nady was too much to give up for the 41-year-old Hernandez, whose ERA after last year's All-Star break jumped nearly two full runs, and who posted a 5.14 mark over the last month.

    He got it wrong. Faced with what Omar was faced with, he should be commended. Are the Mets worse off than when they had Duaner? It's a no brainer. Yes, they are, but they are much better than they were after the accident.

  • It looks like the reports that Yuliesky Gourriel did not defect as originally reported.

    A report in Cuba's La Presna news refutes rumors that highly-touted infielder Yuliesky Gourriel, veteran shortstop Eduardo Paret and other players had defected last week. Gourriel was quoted by La Prensa after returning with the Cuban national team from a tournament in Columbia. Gourriel and Cuba were preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled to begin Aug. 21 in Cuba, an event that will feature a prospect-laden Team USA that will attempt to qualify the U.S. for the 2008 Games in Beijing.

    Of course, it is hard to trust any news from a communist country as it could all be propaganda, but it really seems like he is back in Cuba.

    As a side note, Castro relinquished power and could actually be dead.

  • Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet is out for this week and they like Phil Humber.

    Humber has made it look easy since returning from Tommy John surgery. He is 3-1, 2.37 overall and in his last four outings he has allowed only one earned run over 23 innings while fanning 22 and walking six.

    He has made it look easy indeed.

    Deolis Guerra made it as an honorable mention.

    Deolis Guerra, rhp, Mets (Low Class A): In his last two starts the 17-year-old has allowed one run over 12 innings with six strikeouts and a walk. In his last 10 starts, he is 5-3, 1.94 in 56 innings with a 39-16 strikeout-walk ratio.

    Jeff Keppinger is playing with a renewed sense conviction since he was traded to the Royals.

    Jeff Keppinger, 2b, Royals (Triple-A Omaha): Since being acquired from the Mets for Ruben Gotay, Keppinger has been raking. The 26-year-old is 16-for-37 with three doubles and two home runs for the Royals. At some point, he is bound to get a chance and it is far more likely that will come with the Royals then with the Mets.

  • St. Lucie won 4-0 as behind a solid performance by Brian Bannister. Bannister went seven innings and gave up four hits and no walks while striking out eight. Mike Carp went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double and Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

    Fernando Martinez went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs as Hagerstown lost to Asheville.

  • Gripe of the day:

    John Maine is not in the rotation.

    At least I think he is not. He is not listed as a pitching probable and Mike Pelfrey is in the rotation. Seventeen scoreless innings got him nothing while useless pitchers remain in the rotation, or rather one useless pitcher. The Mets are trying to find out who can help them this October, right? I don't expect this to be the case for the rest of the year, but I do not think anyone can really justify moving Maine to the pen right now.
  • Monday, July 31, 2006

    Renewed Hatred

    I hate the Yankees. Their $ 194,663,079 payroll will now be $211,563,079 when counted against the luxury tax threshold after they acquired Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle. Now Abreu is not having a great year, but his .277/.427/.434 with 26 doubles, 8 homers, 65 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases is still very good. Their ability as a team to now get on base is downright silly and when Sheffield and Matsui come back, that lineup will be the best lineup by far. Of course, offense was not the Yankees problem, it was pitching. Cory Lidle will help alleviate that problem, but he is not really good. He will just provide marginal help.

    What really irks me about this trade is what the Phillies received back. The Phillies received back 2005 first round pick disappointment C.J. Henry, 27 year old lefthander Matt Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and righthander Carlos Monasterios. Only Smith has played above low-A and the Phillies, though they maintained they would not just dump salary, did exactly that. They gave Abreu up for nothing. Lidle's salary was not enough of a salary dump in my eyes to justify not getting any worth while prospects, but it happened. We have seen this type of thing happen a lot in the past and the Yankees pulled off a tremendous trade that should be a criminal offense.

    As for 2007, the Yankees have a $139,700,000 with Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Hideki Matsui, Carl Pavano, Alex Rodriguez, and Bobby Abreu on contract. The rest are either in their first three years of MLB service, up for free agency, or have an option that could be exercised as in Mussina's case. The Yankees took on a considerable financial burden with Abreu, but they did not even have to exercise his 2008 option to get the deal done. Simply mind boggling. As for the people that say why couldn’t the Mets pull off a deal, the Mets had several issues I would surmise. First, the Phillies would have been reluctant to just give away a player of Abreu’s skill level to a divisional rival. Secondly, the Mets are not the Yankees. Abreu’s $15 million in 2007 might have been a burden while the Mets chase an ace starting pitcher after this season. It would have a been tougher for the Mets to work out a deal than the Yankees. However, if the Yankees somehow land Yulieski Gourriel despite not really even being a good fit while the Mets are perfect fit, I might just go nuts.

    * * *

  • Glavine has had absolutely nothing of late. With a 7-0 lead, Glavine could not even make it to the fifth inning though he seemed a little miffed that Willie gave him the hook.

    "I don't want to get into that," Glavine said. "The manager took me out of the game and that's the deal."

    Willie did the right thing. Glavine had nothing and the lead was too slim to chance it.

  • Beltran is now my pick for NL MVP by far. Of course a lot can change between now and the end of the year, but Carlos Beltran deserves it. He became the ninth player to knock three grand slams in a calendar month and knocked in 12 RBIs over the weekend. He now ranks 4th in homers, 3rd in runs scored, 3rd in OPS, 1st in RBIs, and 2nd in SLG.

  • Atlanta is now fifteen games back. Can we never hear them mentioned again in terms of this divisional race? They now would also have to leapfrog eight teams for the Wild Card which is also improbable. Their flawed stretch was impressive, but it is time to move on.

  • Wilson Betemit for Willy Aybar and Danys Baez was a tremendous deal for the Braves. Too bad it won't matter.

  • Rumors, rumors, rumors....

    Heilman for Marquis? The bad karma would be to much for the Mets to fight. They would be doomed. If that goes down, Omar is an idiot. MLBTradeRumors.com lays down some perspective, but the deal is just not good any way you shake it as it really just does not help them much, if at all.

    After all, Marquis will be a free agent after this season and currently sports a 5.67 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. "But wait!" you're saying. "What about those times Tony La Russa sacrificed his ERA to save the bullpen?" Alright, alright, let's take those out (which is more than a tad generous). Removing Marquis's 12 and 13 earned run starts, he's got a 4.39 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. That actually makes Marquis look like an above average pitcher. Indeed, he is a pretty solid back of the rotation guy.

    Billy Beane on the Zito trade rumors.

    "I haven't talked to Omar (Minaya, the Mets' GM) in two months,'' Beane said Saturday, and after the game, he said, "Rumors are just that: rumors.''

    Gotham baseball says something different.

    Gotham Baseball On The Mets

    Gotham Baseball's Mark Healey has an update with the latest buzz surrounding the Mets.

    Healey talks to various team officials and uncovers Billy Beane's reported asking price for Barry Zito: John Maine, Carlos Gomez, and Aaron Heilman.

    You'd have to do it if that was the case.

    Milledge for Oswalt? I would say that has to be done.

    The asking price for both Schmidt and Oswalt is believed to revolve around multi-talented young outfielder Lastings Milledge.

    Should Minaya land either Schmidt or Oswalt without surrendering anyone off the club's current major league roster, he'd be landing a major body blow to the rest of the National League, which is already a few laps behind the Mets.

    "If the Mets get one of these guys, they're pretty much a World Series lock,'' one competing NL executive said.

    Why would the Astros do it? They could have enough pitching (though not great pitching) without Oswalt if they get a starter back and could then use Milledge in a trade to acquire a bat such as Alfonso Soriano or Miguel Tejada. Tejada being the more likely target being that he is under contract for a several seasons. In reality, I consider moving Milledge far less detrimental than moving Phil Humber. I think the Mets can fill in their outfield next season reasonably while Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez, and Ambiorix Concepcion progress to step up in take something over in the near future. Also, if the Mets can land Gouriel at second, which they should do at all costs, a possible outfield rotation with Floyd, Nady, and Diaz should be enough.

    For the record, Dan Grazzino says that Milledge's name was not mentioned in any deal with the Giants.

    Late last night, the Mets were in negotiations with the Giants in an effort to acquire right-hander Jason Schmidt. The deal is a long shot, but it was intriguing enough to both sides that they were exchanging names. Interestingly, Lastings Milledge, who'd been the key name in the Mets' murky efforts to land Barry Zito from Oakland, is not one of the names involved in talks with the Giants. San Francisco, according to a person close to the talks, would rather make Aaron Heilman the centerpiece of a Schmidt deal, adding a prospect or two around him.

    Rumors about Livan continue to swirl, but any trade for him might even be step back at this point as he might represent a marginal upgrade over Trachsel who probably wouldn't even be the one bumped from the rotation.

    The Mets are looking at Roberto Hernandez again.

    Still, the Mets engaged in weekend dialogue with the Pirates, with ex-Met reliever Roberto Hernandez and Wells the two most obtainable options from Pittsburgh. Chips that have been mentioned in that type of deal include Heath Bell, Anderson Hernandez and hard-throwing Double-A reliever Matt Lindstrom.

    Not a bad deal if he can be snagged for one of them.

  • Phil Humber tossed up another gem on Saturday in St. Lucie's loss to Lakeland. Humber went five innings and gave up two hits, no runs, and two walks while striking out seven to lower his ERA to 2.37.

    Deolis Guerra also tossed up a gem on Saturday in Hagerstown's win over Asheville. Guerra went 5.2 innings and gave up three hits, no runs, and one walk while striking out four. He improved to 5-6 and owns a 2.45 ERA.