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

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Bright Side

At least Tom Glavine has seemingly gotten back on track with another solid start and his seven strikeouts last night were the most since May 29th.

Now to see if John Maine can continue his scoreless inning streak.

* * *

  • Deolis had yet another good start as he took the loss for Hagerstown. Guerra went five innings and gave up two hits, one earned run, and three walks while striking out three.

    Tobi Stoner has picked up five professional wins pretty quickly for the Cylcones and improved to 5-1 with yesterday's win. Soner threw seven shutout innings and gave up two hits and walked no one while striking out six.

  • HoJo is back in.

    Howard Johnson, who was sent home by the organization after skipping out on the Class AAA Norfolk Tides without permission last week, was reinstated as hitting coach and will return Monday.

  • Beltran can rest after the season.

    "No, I don't want to take a week off," Beltran said. "I think the only thing that helps, the doctor said, is ice and rest. Rest after the season and [it] should be good."

    Weak post, I know. But I got stuff to do today.

  • Friday, August 11, 2006

    The Producers

    Only two baseball teams have allowed fewer runs than the Mets this year. One is the Detroit Tigers, who are far ahead of every team in runs allowed, and the other is the Colorado Rockies, who seemed to have figured out how to keep more balls in the park. Of course they play half of their games in a pitcher's park which certainly helps, but the fact they play half of their games in a pitcher's park is why the fact the Mets are leading the National League in runs scored and are fourth overall in the Major Leagues is so impressive. The Mets are on pace to score 870 runs this season. They have only broke 800 runs three times previously when they scored 853 in 1999, 823 in 1987, and 807 in 2000.

    Since 2002, the Mets only broke the top twenty in runs scored in the Major Leagues once in 2005 when they finished 18th in the league. They have not finished first in the National League since 1990. This season, the Mets are tops in the National League by twenty-one runs and fifth overall behind the White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, and the Indians. The Mets are second in run differential to the Tigers and forty-nine runs ahead of the Dodgers in the National League for run differential. While they might not have as deep a lineup as the American League power houses, they are holding their own. They are one of only four teams this season, and the only National League team, with over 400 extra base hits and they are third in the Major Leagues behind only Texas and Toronto, who both play in hitter's parks, in that category. If the Mets can get some hot pitching from Pedro, Glavine, The Duque, and Maine this post season, the Mets will be a tough team to beat.

    * * *

  • Baseball America has it's NL and AL Best Tools piece out yesterday, and the Mets were well represented.

    1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
    2. Nomar Garicaparra, Dodgers
    3. David Wright, Mets

    1. Juan Pierre, Cubs
    2. Jose Reyes, Mets
    3. David Eckstein, Cardinals

    1. Jose Reyes, Mets
    2. Juan Pierre, Cubs
    3. Bobby Abreu, Phillies

    1. Jose Reyes, Mets
    2. Juan Pierre, Cubs
    3. Willy Taveras, Astros

    1. Billy Wagner, Mets
    2. Derrick Turnbow, Brewers
    3. Brad Penny, Dodgers

    Strange how #1 and #2 on the list are really not fooling many people these days.

    1. John Smoltz, Braves
    2. Brad Lidge, Astros
    3. Pedro Martinez, Mets

    1. Trevor Hoffman, Padres
    2. Pedro Martinez, Mets
    3. Chris Capuano, Brewers

    1. Greg Maddux, Dodgers
    2. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
    3. Pedro Martinez, Mets

    Pedro is a stud.

    1. Scott Rolen, Cardinals
    2. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
    3. David Wright, Mets

    1. Omar Vizquel, Giants
    2. Jose Reyes, Mets
    3. Adam Everett, Astros

    1. Jose Reyes, Mets
    2. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers
    3. Scott Rolen, Cardinals

    1. Andruw Jones, Braves
    2. Jim Edmonds, Cardinals
    3. Carlos Beltran, Mets

    1. Jeff Francoeur, Braves
    2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
    3. Andruw Jones, Braves

    1. Jose Reyes, Mets
    2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
    3. Carlos Beltran, Mets

    The Yankees appeared nine times (Giambi once, Jeter four times, Rivera once, and Mussina twice) with one of them being their manager Joe Torre on the AL list while the Mets appeared fifteen times (Wright twice, Reyes six times, Wagner once, Martinez three times, and Beltran three times).

  • Phil Humber made is second start for the B-Mets and though he lost, this one was much better. He lasted seven innings and gave up six hits, four runs, three earned runs, one walk, and one homer while striking out seven.

    Fernando Martinez and Mike Carp each pulled 0-fers, but Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with two solo homers in St. Lucie's 6-2 win.
    Flores now has sixteen homers this year and is closing in on fifty extra base hits.

    Jon Niese had a rough outing in Hagerstown's loss. Niese went six innings and gave up six hits, seven runs, five earned runs, three walks, and one homer while striking out two. Sean Henry went 1 for 3 with two runs scored, a double, and a walk in his low-A debut.

    The Tides are the most unwatchable team in baseball. Not that I've ever seen them, but I'm just taking a wild guess. They are so bad they are even causing Heath Bell to give up AAA runs. Bell gave up three hits, one walk, and two runs while striking out three in one inning of work. He had only given up two earned runs in 26.2 innings prior to yesterday's 'nightmare' inning. Brian Bannister also had another rough outing going 4.1 innings and giving up seven hits, four runs, three earned runs, and one walk while striking out five. Steve Trachsel can feel safe again.

  • From the Devil Rays Media notes:

    Through the first 55 home dates, the Rays attendance is up 28% over last year at the same time…The jump matches the White Sox for the largest in the major leagues. Next up are the Mets (20%) and the Tigers (17%).

  • Anytime you can get your bench into the game and start them at four positions while still winning, it's a good day.

    "We've been doing it all year," third baseman David Wright said. "We got a great bench, these guys just step up. Whenever our everyday guys need a day off, you're not losing much at all."

  • Orlando Hernandez continues to look like a great pickup for Mets and aside from two outings, he has been sparkling.

    Hernandez is looking like himself recently, to the relief of Randolph and to the benefit of the back end of the Mets' rotation. Yesterday he scattered four hits and a walk and struck out four over seven innings in a 7-3 victory.

    Since coming to the Mets on May 24, Hernandez is 6-4 with a 4.18 ERA. In his last six starts, he is 4-0 with a 3.34 ERA. His last loss was on June 30 against the Yankees.

    In thirteen starts with the Mets, he is 6-4 with a 4.18 ERA, 8.12 h/9, 7.77 k/9, and a 1.19 WHIP. If you take out his two horrible starts in which he failed to make it out the second inning, he has eleven starts with a 3.00 ERA, 7.13 h/9, 7.63 k/9, 1.06 WHIP, and a 2.38 bb/9. He as gone at least seven innings in six starts and at least six innings in eight starts. Fucking swell.

  • Jose Reyes is quickly becoming the man around Queens and biggest part of this offense.

    At least they do if they're Reyes, who has a lot going for him. Pedro Martinez has said that if he could start all over again, he would be Reyes. David Wright, who got an even bigger contract than Reyes did last week, calls himself Reyes' biggest fan.

  • Mike Pelfrey is on the DL.

    OH, PEL: Mike Pelfrey has been placed on the disabled list in the minors with a strained right lat muscle and has been scratched from tonight's start. The 2005 first-round pick had made one start with Triple-A Norfolk since being demoted, giving up two runs and three hits in five innings.

  • Howard Johnson may be done as a Met.

    NO DECISION: Howard Johnson's status with Triple-A Norfolk remains unresolved, GM Omar Minaya said. The hitting coach, who was suspended for leaving the Tides without permission to attend a tournament his son was playing in last week, is expected in Norfolk today, but speculation is he may just be there to collect his belongings.

    There has to be more to this story. It is all very weird they their relationship would be severed over this.

  • Beltran apparently has a balky knee.

    "[The medical advice was] that I need to be smart, that there are going to be days where I'm going to have big pain and I just need to let the trainers know," Beltran said. "But every day I just feel something there, but [yesterday] I feel like it was sore, and I just took treatment the whole day."
  • Thursday, August 10, 2006

    "He's strong like a mule" ~ Pedro Martinez

    There is something to be said for thanking someone for what they have done for a team and there is taking something too far.

    It might have been a first in baseball history. An opposing player drove a ball over the wall, and not only did the home fans give him a standing O, but they demanded a curtain call. And Mike Piazza answered the call, popping out of the Padres' dugout to wave last night at Shea Stadium.

    "You don't see that a lot," Piazza said. "The last thing I want to do is show up the other team. When they ask you do it, it's one of those things."

    What happens when 49,979 fans cheer for you? You get pumped. When Piazza first came up last night, he got a deserved standing ovation. I get it. When he hit his first homerun, he got as loud of a cheer as I've hear this year and he received another standing ovation which was followed by a Piazza curtain call. The crowd went nuts. Inexplicably, the fans proceeded to give him another stand ovation after his second homerun to get his team within two runs. Fucking ponderous.

    Look, Piazza meant a lot to this team, but there is little doubt in anyone's mind he wants to beat the Mets. When he got standing ovations from both homeruns, the first thing that ran through my mind was "what the fuck?". In the end, it all worked out well, but the Mets were entrenched in what was a close ball game. It went from nice (1st standing ovation when he got up) to bizarre (getting a curtain call as a player of an opposing team after hitting a homerun in a close game) to funny (as he was booed a bit in his fourth at-bat).

    With how strongly this fanbase feels about big Mike, this all begs the question, should Piazza's number be retired? Personally, I like how the Mets are tough on retiring numbers. I do not agree they should be handed out willy nilly just because you were good for a few years or a good player on a very good team. When you retire a number, you are showing that player the ultimate form of respect by not allowing a player to ever don the number again. Is Piazza that guy?

    He was the face of an organization coming off some horrible years and he did reenergize the organization and help power them to playoffs in consecutive years, but should he have his number retired? It's a really strange case with Piazza for me because he had some huge years and some injury problems later in his time with the Mets. That led to him having five tremendous years and three disappointing ones.
    SEASON   G    AB    R    2B   HR  RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG
    98-'02 662 2391 407 136 170 505 .309 .382 .581
    03-'05 310 1087 125 57 50 150 .265 .352 .455
    Totals 972 3478 532 193 220 655 .296 .373 .542
    Injuries hindered him late as a Met and he averaged 17 homers and 50 RBIs with a .265/.352/.455 line in '03 through '05. Before that, there is no doubt he was a monster from '98 through '02. He averaged a .309/.382/.581 line with 34 homeruns and 101 RBs from the catcher's spot, but is that enough to get him the ultimate show of respect by a team and have his number retired? Five monster years simply is not enough with no World Series wins. He was a great thing for this city and great to help this team out of some dark times, but longevity is still the team is key for me.

    The real problem with Piazza is that he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Prior to his time with the Mets, he was huge for the Dodgers with 177 homers, 583 RBIs, and a .331/.394/.572 line. He only netted 69 at-bats his first year so those numbers were accumulated over six years as opposed to eight years with the Mets. Piazza is a Hall of Famer, but he has basically split his career amassing huge numbers for two teams. The Dodgers have no intention of retiring his number and the Mets probably shouldn't either.

    The tricky part is that Piazza will most likely wear a Met cap in the Hall of Fame. He'll wear a Met cap because he put up the majority of his homeruns here, spent most of his time as a Met, and made his only World Series appearance as a Met, though he made the playoffs twice with both teams. Piazza did his damage in both uniforms, but not quite enough on either to earn the highest praise a team can give a player. The aggregate of his numbers with both teams will get him into the Hall of Fame and he will be wearing a Mets cap in all liklihood. Could a player possibly wear a team's cap in the Hall of Fame without getting his number retired by that team? Ultimately I would have to say no. Piazza's number will eventually have to be retired, but this is just a weird situation. Whether or not the Mets feel the same way is another story and we will just have to wait five years after he retires to find out.

    * * *

  • I think they should just shut Oliver Perez down and get him working on his mechanics. In Norfolk's loss, he lasted only 3.2 innings and gave up six hits, five earned runs, and five walks. Ouch.

  • Paul LoDuca likes to play poker.

    A former teammate told the Daily News that the feisty Lo Duca was one of a handful of players on the Marlins who took part in big-money poker games on team flights and hit the casinos on the road.

    That's not really surprising considering millions and millions of other people like to play poker too. As far as 'big-money' games, he does make $6,000,000 per year. When I gamble with my friends we'll do a $20 or $40 buy in. It's all relative. This story is as pointless as all the character stories about Lastings Milledge earlier this year.

    "I talked to Paul about the allegations and he told me, 'Yes, I've done some betting on horses,' which isn't illegal," general manager Omar Minaya said. "And we checked with Major League Baseball and he didn't do anything wrong."

    When asked if the issue was over, Minaya said: "For me it is. It's a done deal."

  • Wright's barehanded catch in San Diego last year was selected as the best catch of the year by the fans.

  • Freddy Garcia knows he might be traded in the off-season to make room for Brandon McCarthy and if the Mets plans for a bonafide ace fall through, Garcia might a be good target if the price is right.

  • Jeff Allison = Josh Hamilton

    Two immense talents that cannot get it together.

    The sad saga of former Peabody High ace and Florida Marlins pitching prospect Jeff Allison , whose once-promising baseball career has been derailed by drug problems, took another disappointing turn Monday when, according to a Medford Police report, he suffered a heroin overdose.

    According to the report, Allison, 21, was found lying unconscious in a T-shirt and shorts on the bathroom floor of a two-story home at 3 Hastings Lane Monday around 3 p.m. Heroin injection was cited as the cause of Allison's condition, and the report stated that police found a bag with heroin paraphernalia on the floor of the bathroom.

  • Roy Oswalt knocked a two run homer in the Astros 14-1 win over the Pirates.

  • Cliff Floyd is back on the DL and he's not happy about it.

    "I feel [terrible]," Floyd said, referring more to his mental state than the physical. "I've just got to think positive and try to get back here to play in August and September. Maybe all this will be forgotten and I can be a hero."

    Michael Tucker has been called up and replace him on the roster.

  • I'm sure there are a lot of us that held out a glimmer of hope that Dirty would be back, but I think we can all let that go now.

    Now Sanchez plans to stay with the team for the home games and rehab here while it is on the road. He said he will be ready for next spring training. In fact, he says he plans to start throwing near the end of October and then throw a few innings at some point in Dominican winter ball.

  • Mike Piazza's return to Shea netted a season-high 5.7 rating on SNY.

  • The Mets finally inkned Kevin Mulvey and added to there burgeoning pitching depth on the farm.

    "He has an ability to pitch, he throws strikes and he's a good athlete," Minaya said. "And we take into account the person as well. He comes from a good family.

    "Ability, a competitive edge and a good upbringing. If you have those three components you have a chance to be a major-league player."

    He was looking for a seven-figure bonus, but it is unclear what he received so far. Last year, Stephen Head got $650,000 from the 62nd slot and college pitcher Matt Durkin received $950,000 as the Mets second round pick in 2004.
  • Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    The Not So Great Debate

    Joel Sherman did a piece yesterday in regards to John Maine stating his case to be the fourth starter behind Pedro, Glavine, and The Duque. It is something that most of us probably agree on and many of us are not exactly looking forward to Steve Trachsel making any October starts.

    Trachsel, whose 371 career starts without appearing in the postseason (though he started for the Cubs against the Giants in a one-game playoff for the 1998 NL wild card, considered a regular-season game) are the most among active pitchers, is the only one of the 44 qualifiers to have walked more hitters than he has struck out and his 4.11 strikeouts per nine innings are the second worst. That might be tolerable if Trachsel were a groundball specialist. He is not, having allowed a homer on average every 62/3 innings.

    The real crux of the problem is that Trachsel probably has no place starting in the playoffs with the Mets given options and will probably not be effective out the bullpen. He is known to take a while to warm up and like a Tom Glavine, does not really translate well into the bullpen. I do not subscribe to the theory that he should be the de facto fourth starter in the playoffs because he cannot make it as a reliever while John Maine would probably have no issues making the transition to the pen, but the best four guys should be giving the Mets the best chance to win.

    Who have been the top four? A good way guage that is by game scores. I like game scores because they can break down each game and quantify each start. Every pitcher starts off with fifty points and can add points with a strikeout, every out recorded, and every inning pitched over the fourth inning while losing points for walks, runs, earned runs, and hits allowed. Between John Maine, Steve Trachsel, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, and The Duque, the average game score to date is 51.12.

    John Maine has topped that in 67% of his six starts, Steve Trachsel has topped that in 22% of his twenty-three starts, Tom Glavine has topped that in 42% of his twenty-four starts, Pedro Martinez has topped that in 72% of his eighteen starts, and The Duque has topped that in 50% of his twelve starts. Granted John Maine's sample size is smaller, but it still should be noted that he topped the current five starters average game score four times in six starts while Steve Trachsel has done it only five times in twenty-three starts.
    Pitcher        VORP
    Pedro 27.3
    Glavine 26.8
    Darren Oliver 26.0
    Dirty 18.5
    Feliciano 17.6
    Mr. Billy Wags 17.4
    John Maine 16.4
    Trachsel 12.1
    Hernandez 11.2 (includes his bad starts with AZ)
    Heilman 9.7
    Bannister 9.7
    Heath Bell 4.2
    Mike Pelfrey 0.1
    Royce Ring 0.1
    Though Trachsel pitched well last night and is only one win off the NL lead, it still seems like a mistake to start him come playoff time. My main fear is that regardless of performance the rest of the season, the Mets will go with their veterans. Pedro and Glavine are givens and with The Duque's playoff experience mixed with his success as a Met this season, three spots are taken barring disaster. While that last spot may seem unimportant, it is. The Mets have one starter over 40, another starter with a 40-year old arm, and one starter who could be 60 and they will be using four starters. When you are playing in a short series, every game counts. Though Steve has no playoff experience, he is still a 'crafty' vet and we know the Mets and Willie's tendency to side with age. The Mets seem to be getting more confident when it comes to trusting their youth and I seriously hope that trend continues.

    * * *

  • In a weird bit of news, Howard Johnson has been suspended from his job as the Norfolk Tides hitting coach and his job status is "under review".

    Howard Johnson's days with the Mets look numbered. Sources say the Triple-A hitting coach was denied permission to attend his son Glen's competition in a Wilmington, N.C., tournament for rising high school seniors that's heavily scouted by major-league teams. Johnson went for a few days anyway, and when he returned for Norfolk's game at Buffalo on Friday, he was told to go home.

    I absolutely wanted HoJo and Gary Carter in the mix for some type of Major League coaching job with the Mets next season and hopefully this does not hamper that. Aside from that, HoJo should have been allowed a few days off. What damage could him not being around for a few days to coach a bunch of big league retreads have done anyway?

  • As if that wasn't enough, the Mets are sparring with Darryl Strawberry as well. Apparently he wants all of the $1.4 million he is owed over the next ten years, but the Mets will only pay the present day value which is $800,000.

    To pay the full amount without deferral, "is like charity" said one member of the Met hierarchy. "We love Darryl, we've tried to help him out, but we're not in the business of giving money away."

    Strawberry shouldn't have had any money problems at this point in his life, but him and Doc still remain two of the most disappointing stories in the history of baseball.

  • Baseball Prospectus likes the Mets solidifying their left side of the infield for years to come.

    If Reyes isn’t going to be a .370 OBP guy—and keep in mind, he might get there by batting .320 rather than walking 60 times—he’s still a valuable hitter, just miscast in the leadoff spot. A shortstop who hits .290/.345/.465 with 30 net steals—a realistic, even pessimistic expectation for Reyes over the next few years—pushes his team towards a championship and is well worth $12 million over three seasons. To return to a name I mentioned earlier, Reyes is a better player than Rafael Furcal was at 23, and Furcal went on to produce five wins a year from 24-26.

    .290/.345/.465 and 30 steals pessimistic? Absolutely. I've said it before here, but Reyes in the two spot would be ideal with a .370-type OBP guy leading off. The kid can produce. The fact that Reyes and Wright will be here for so long makes grown men giddy.

  • Dave Williams was sharp with a six inning performance for the Tides. He allowed three hits, no earned runs, and no walks while striking out six en route to the no decision.

    Phil Hughes beat the B-Mets with five shut-out innings of baseball. Willie Collazo got roughed up for fourteen hits and six runs in six innings.

    The St. Lucie Mets played two yesterday and Fernando Martinez went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a double in the Mets game one victory. In game two, things only got better. Martinez went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a triple, his second high A ball homerun and two RBIs. He is now batting .350 in his short stint with St. Lucie.

  • Leave the guy alone. The Mets need his head in the game and this cannot help.

    His wife however, seems to be a soft porn star.

    But the Mets star's estranged wife - whose family described her as a good Christian - posed for Playboy three times and even starred in a soft-core porn DVD titled "Latin Lovelies" for the magazine.

    In the made-for-video flick, the sexy San Antonio native and another woman pick up a guitar-toting guy, then take him back to a cabin where they strip naked and dance for him.

    I just cannot respect that. Soft porn? If you are going to do it, go all the way. I'm sure Paullie Ballgame's lawyer will try and use this to tear down her character. Paul may still say he loves her now, but it will probably get ugly.

  • Mike was cheered in his return to Shea, bounced a few balls to second, and the Mets won. Good night for all.

    I'm glad Mike is happy and doing well in San Diego and he looked very happy about the great welcome he received. Parting ways worked out best for both sides.

  • If you would like to locate me at the game tonight, I will be wearing a green and blue striped wristband so I can be semi-identifiable and I will have on camo shorts. I decided to ditch the sundress and the pony tails as I forgot to shave my legs and don't have enough hair to actually make pony tails. I will be there about 6:30ish, but the rest of the gang will be there earlier.
  • Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Cuban Imports

    Though Yulieski Gourriel is not one of them, five Cuban defectors are in the Dominican Republic and attracting attention.

    In other words, while he's an agent, not a scout, he does know talent. And he believes he has some future big leaguers among the five Cuban defectors working out in the Dominican Republic.

    All five players have been certified by Major League Baseball as free agents, according to Torres. Three of the players--catcher Alexis Fonseca, righthander Serguey Linares and infielder Yunesky Sanchez--can sign at any time, having cleared the bureaucratic process known as unblocking. Two others, righthander Yuslan Herrera and shortstop Yohannis Sanchez, have not yet been "unblocked" but should complete the process sooner rather than later.

    Linares has had an unspectacular career, but throws hard and has been clocked at 97-98 mph before. I would figure Omar to be in on Linares and Herrera for some more pitching depth.

    "Herrera, I had one organization put an offer on the table to see if he could help their major league team this year. I say he is ready right now, but he is not unblocked yet, so that is not going to happen. But he was ahead of (Mets righthander) Alay Soler in the rotation at Pinar Del Rio three years ago, and he is a professional, very mature, and he is ready to pitch."

    * * *

  • Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet is out and Deolis Guerra is in the top ten and Carlos Gomez is an honorable mention.

    7. Deolis Guerra, rhp, Mets (Low Class A Hagerstown)
    As the season goes on, it becomes harder to believe that this guy was born in 1989. After an 11-strikeout gem Sunday night, Guerra has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts. Since June 1, he has a 2.06 ERA in 66 innings with a 51-19 strikeout-walk ratio.

    As for Gomez, he is making progress and that is all we can ask for. Hopefully he starts flashing the big time power that he is supposed to posses soon.

    Carlos Gomez, of, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): Prior to this season, Gomez was known more for his raw tools than his production on the field. Since returning in June from a back injury that sidelined him for a few weeks, he has been doing his best to reverse his rep. The 20-year-old is hitting .363 in that span and hit .406 in July and is hitting .435 in August. It is still mostly singles and he still strikes out too much, but it is still progress.

    As an interesting note, Wayne Lydon got ink as a blast from the past.

    Wayne Lydon, of, Blue Jays (Triple-A Syracuse)
    A ninth-round pick of the Mets in 1999 from a Pennsylvania high school, Lydon emerged as a nominal prospect in 2002 when he posted a .368 OBP with 87 stolen bases for low Class A Capital City. The 25-year-old still has some wheels and after swiping four last night, he now has 22 on the season and 351 for his minor league career.

    The one that got away....

    Pedro Beato, rhp, Orioles (Short-season Aberdeen): The righthander Mets fans were dreaming of a couple of months ago has proved himself over his last four starts in Aberdeen. Since moving into the IronBirds’ rotation, he’s gotten better with each start, tossing seven two-hit frames last Wednesday and going 1-0, 1.09 over 24 2/3 innings as a starter.

  • When it rains it pours for Paul LoDuca.

    One day you are in the middle of what has been a dream season, for you and for your baseball team. The next you are on the front page of the newspaper because of a divorce and answering questions later about online betting and whether or not you have a gambling problem.

    "I love horse racing," Lo Duca said on the telephone about six o'clock last night. "I grew up with it and I want to be a part of it after I retire from baseball. I have a legal online betting account, and I use it to bet on the horses. That's it. I don't have a gambling problem and I've never had a gambling problem and that's it."

    LoDuca made that statement in regards to allegations that he has accumulated some serious debt. He also said the he gets along with his soon to be ex-wife great though his wife's petition seems to state the contrary.

    The petition filed by Lo Duca's wife specifically asks the court to prevent Lo Duca from incurring any indebtedness, making withdrawals from accounts or entering safe deposit boxes.

    The document also seeks to prevent him from "consuming alcohol" within 24 hours before seeing his 21-month-old daughter or having "intimate" overnight guests when the child is present.

    Looks like an ugly situation on his hands because even if he is 100% innocent, all this negative press is out there about him and I'm sure he will hear it on the road.

  • Despite some off the field issues, John Harper found some time to ignore those allegations and wrote a nice piece on LoDuca.

  • I thought Wright's contract might be a record and it turns out it was the largest contract received by a non arbitration eligible player.

  • At the beginning of the season, a few jackasses were booing Beltran. Now? He gets MVP chants. Really and unbelievable turn of events.

    With his 97 runs batted in, Beltrán has 33 homers — more than twice as many as last season — 14 stolen bases, 84 runs scored and a combined on-base and slugging percentage of 1.003, the third highest in the National League. In their 44-year history, the Mets have never had a player win the Most Valuable Player award, but Beltrán has a real shot.

    “God already knows who’s going to be the M.V.P.,” Beltrán said in a recent interview. Asked if he thought God would give him a sign that it would be him, he shook his head.

    “I don’t think so,” he said. “I wouldn’t work as hard if I already knew the result.”

  • Ricky Ledee is back in the Big Apple, but this time he is a member of the good guys.

  • For those of you who are interested, I will be going to the Metsgeek.com bleacher night. Just so I'm easy to find, I will be be the only guy wearing a sundress and pigtails.

  • Monday, August 07, 2006


    Last night was just one of those amazing games to be at the Shea Stadium for. The attendence was listed at 39,000+, but I doubt that many people actually showed up to the game. That being said, everyone who was there was into the game. With news of David Wright getting a six year deal on the heals of Jose Reyes getting locked up through 2011, the vibe was tremendous at the game. John Maine kept dealing and extended his scoreless inning streak to 23 innings and the Mets best and brightest showed up to play.

    The soccer chants of olé when Jose Reyes were loud and then he parked a deep grand slam down the line into the right field stands. The crowd went berserk. Reyes came out for the curtain call and then got a standing ovation from the crowd his next time up. Jose Reyes might be a leadoff hitter, but he is on pace for 32 doubles, 20 triples, 17 homers, 77 RBIs, and a .294/.350/.472 line. This kid can be a run producer in the middle of the order. He could bat third and drive in 100+ runs effortlessly.

    Reyes batted .250 over the first two months of the season frustrating Met fans with his immense skill and unrefined approach. Now? Not so much. He batted .373/.420/.618 in June, .293/.348/.390 in July, and is off to a .360/.407/.702 August. It would seem that he has figured it out. With runners on he is batting .306/.371/.521 and is batting .313/.387/.586 with runners in scoring position. The Mets have four big time run producers in what is easily the most dangerous lineup in the National League. If there is a more exciting player in Jose Reyes (Carlos Beltran is a close second) or a more exciting team to watch offensively, I have not see one.

    Derek Jeter is 3rd overall in VORP with 56.3 and leads all shortstops, but Jose Reyes is not doing so bad himself with a 38.3 VORP and is fourth overall in VORP out of every big league shortstop and is tops in the National League. Carlos Beltran is 12th overall with a 51.9 VORP and trails only Vernon Wells, who owns a 52.9 VORP, in terms of center fielders. David Wright is 29th overall with a 36.6 VORP and trails Chipper Jones and Miguel Cabrera in that category for third baseman. Life is good right now in Queens on the offensive side of things.

    * * *

  • As bad as the Yankee rotation appears to be and as bad as Randy Johnson has been, they are still one of the better rotations according to SNLVAR.

    Top 5 AL Rotations, by SNLVAR
    Team                            VORP   SNLVAR
    Detroit Tigers 230.9 18.9
    Oakland Athletics 192.4 14.0
    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 149.3 13.3
    New York Yankees 149.8 12.6
    Chicago White Sox 144.8 12.4
  • Hopefully Wright and Reyes retire Mets.

    Wright's current deal calls for a $374,000 salary this season. With his new contract, he will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus over the next three or four months, and $1 million salary in 2007. He will receive $5 million in 2008, $7.5 million in 2009, $10 million in 2010, $14 million in 2011, and $15 million in 2012. There is a $1 million buyout if the Mets do not exercise a $16 million option for the 2013. If he is traded, the option is eliminated and the buyout will become an assignment bonus.

    Wright, who will donate $1.5 million of his contract to the Mets Foundation over the next six years, said he has always wanted to be "a life-long Met."

    What else would you expect from Sugar Pants? The man just dished out $1.5 million to his charity. Omar and the Wilpons did them right with their two new contracts and they should be rewarded on the back end after Wright and Reyes' current contracts are up.

  • Paul LoDuca's marriage has become "insupportable" because of "adultery." Looks like Paulie Ballgame was knockin' some boots that he wasn't supposed to be knockin'. Of course he is innocent until proven guilty.

  • Who is running the show in Houston?

    But Oswalt was only part of the story. Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice, a highly respected reporter, wrote that owner Drayton McLane had ordered Lidge traded because of his continued failures. And though it wasn't reported in Houston, a very good source told me Clemens had gone to McLane a few days before the deadline to request a roster shakeup.

    The Astros need to tear this thing down and start over. Trade what you can and rebuild as the future is bleak. It would also make sense to not ask Clemens to return as players like him and Bonds cause teams to make bad baseball decisions and 'go all in' with no regard for the future. Oswalt's relationship with the team is fractured and it doesn't look like they are close on the five year extension he is looking for. Omar will be happy to take him off their hands fo' sho'.

  • Wallace Matthews says Steve Phillips did the Mets a favor by no signing Alex Rodriguez.

    he 2006 NL East-leading, possibly World Series-bound New York Mets, generally believed to be an Omar Minaya production, could not possibly be the team they are today if not for a move Minaya's predecessor, twice-removed, decided not to make nearly six years ago.

    That was when Phillips, invoking the infamous "24-and-1" tag, declined to make an offer to Alex Rodriguez. The ostensible reason was A-Rod's "selfishness," as embodied in agent Scott Boras' alleged demands for a private jet, his own office and a merchandising tent on the premises at Shea that would deal exclusively in All Things Alex.

    His contract would have certainly been prohibitive and who knows what the team would have looked like now. I went tend to believe it would look drastically different and I like what I see now so that would be a bad thing.

  • Mike Pelfrey had an OK outing in his AAA debut, but is throwing way too many balls.

    In his first start for Class AAA Norfolk since being sent down earlier this week, Mike Pelfrey pitched five strong innings to beat Buffalo, 6-2, ending the Tides' six-game losing streak. Pelfrey threw 90 pitches, 47 strikes, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out five.

    What is really weird is that he gave up 10 fly ball outs compared to only two ground ball outs. All ended well as he notched the win anway. Heath Bell lowered his ERA to 0.68 and Diaz's 0 for 3 night dropped him to .219. Ouch.

    Not a great weekend for some of the Mets best starters on the farm.

    Brian Bannister gave up seven runs in 4.2 innings in his return to AAA.

    Jon Niese gave up four runs on three walks and three hits in three innings.

    Oliver Perez gave up seven runs on six hits and four walks in 2.2 innings of work. He was missing down in the zone, so he has that going for him which is nice. However, we all know that his time to get it back together will be in mini camps and Spring Training.

    Phil Humber gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings in his return to AA.

    Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5 yesterday in Binghamton's 8-7 loss to Connecticut and drove in four runs, walked once, and stole two bases to bring his season total up to thirty.

    Fernando Martinez played three games for St. Lucie and has gotten one hit in each game. Yesterday in St. Lucie's 4-1 win over Clearwater, Fernando went 1 for 5 with a his first homerun in high A-ball.

    Deolis Guerra was sharp in Hagerstown's win over Greenville yesterday as he went 5.2 innings and gave up five hits, one run, and two walks while striking out eleven.

  • Jim Callis takes on a Yuliesky Gourriel question.

    Gourriel has exceptionally quick hands and strong wrists, giving him tremendous bat speed and power. He's also a quality defender with above-average arm strength and range. He has played mostly second and third base for Cuba, and some scouts believe he could handle shortstop.

    He has inherited the mantle of the best young player in Cuba from past stalwarts such as Omar Linares (who never defected) and Kendry Morales (now with the Angels). Gourriel is unlikely to join Morales in the United States, however, because of close family ties he'd be reluctant to sever. His father Lourdes, a former national team outfielder, manages him on the Sancti Spiritus club on which he plays with his brother Yuniesky, an outfielder.

  • If Floyd gets a World Series ring with the Mets this year, he said he would seriously contemplate retirement. Of course when an AL team drops a few million on him to DH, his mind would probably change pretty quickly.

  • Willie looking for a new contract too? That should wait until August or September of 2007. Way too early for him as he has a lot to prove.

  • John Maine looked spectacular pumping his fastball up to 94 mph when he needed a big K and worked out of a few jams.

    “It’s more of a confidence thing,” Maine said. “Now I know I’m up here. Each time I pitch, it’s kind of my spot.”

    He has been looking sharper and sharper with more times on the hill. Not too shabby for a journeyman.

  • There might be 7.5 million tickets sold between both New York teams. Of course nowadays teams sell 1,000,000 tickets for a dollar each to corporations to rev up the numbers, but impressive nonetheless.

  • I want to hate him, but I can't.

    Jose Valentin hit his 12th home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning. Since becoming the Mets' starting second baseman just before the end of May, he's batting .309 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI.

    Who doesn't love the guy?

  • Mike Piazza makes his first return to Shea as a member of another team and he should be getting a monsterous welcome from the fans.

    "He did some beautiful things here, and I think the fans are gonna appreciate him for that," said Jose Reyes.

  • Andrew Miller is now a Tiger. They have some tremendous arms in that organization right now and Dombrowski has done a nice job getting that team back on track.

  • Fernando got snubbed in the Low-A edition of Best Tools by Baseball America. Jose Tabata was tabbed as the best batting prospect and Martinez was probably close, but failed to land the best in any category.