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

Friday, September 08, 2006

Viva Peru!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Willie's World?

Willie Randolph is in the second year of a three year contract and the media is beating the 'give Willie a raise' drum.

"At the end of the year we will review things," general manager Omar Minaya said. "Willie has done a very good job."

How good?

Well, after yesterday's doubleheader sweep of Atlanta, 4-1 and 8-0, the Mets have a 20 1/2-game lead on their longtime tormentors.

Randolph is making $600,000 in the second season of a three-year deal, and Minaya prefers not having a lame-duck manager.

That would create a distraction, as would beginning negotiations three weeks before the playoffs.

"That's why we will wait until after the season," Minaya said. "It was a little different with the players. The timing was right. We're very happy with the job Willie has done."

Is Willie a very good manager? Or is Willie just a good manager on a very good team. Omar is the architect that put together this team and made some tremendous and unforeseen acquisitions. Omar has made countless moves that turned out better than anyone could have ever imagined and he has made some moves that have serious upside for the Mets future. Yesterday's double header sweep was indicative of that.

Dave Williams has been spectacular as the Mets have won all four games he has started and he went six innings yesterday on only 72 pitches. Williams was on track for a complete game, but there was no need to push him and Willie wanted to get some other arms in the action. In game two, another one of Omar's mid-season acquisitions threw a complete game shutout. Oliver Perez pitched a gem and only walked one batter.

Who are those wins more attributable to? Managers do deserve some credit. However, if Jim Tracy was managing this team instead of Willie, would the Mets not be so dominant? I'm sure everyone has probably seen the article of Sports Illustrated Player's Poll in which Willie was voted as the sixth worst manager in baseball. Does it mean much? It is only 6% of 470 players and Ozzie Guillen was one of the worst and one of the best while Buck Showalter, Eric Wedge, and Mike Scioscia landed on the worst list despite being regarded as good managers. If Valentine was still around, I'd bet he would be on the worst list too.

The list is tainted because it is clear that guys who tend to rub people the wrong way were voted the worst simply because they didn't have many fans amongst the players while there are certainly people on there because they do in fact suck. Weeding through the two groups is the tough part. Willie seems like an affable guy and it is certainly curious as to his inclusion on the list because his team is doing so well this season. Should the Mets extend him? It will be hard not to after this season, but I still have my doubts whether he is the long term guy for this team with two managers that could be better than him in their own system. However, as long as Omar is here working his magic, whatever deficiencies Willie might have may continue to be masked, but I would still like to see his entire contract play out before he starts getting extended for five years or something like that at major dollars.

* * *

  • Steve Popper likes Jose Reyes....a lot.

    He is the engine that makes the Mets go. He gets on base and chaos begins. But he is no punch-and-judy speedster. He has already put up 16 home runs this season and shows at 23 years old the sort of potential to fill out and rival the sort of power that Alfonso Soriano grew into.

    He is the force on the Mets that throws fear into opposing managers.

    But he smiles all the time. To Mets fans, it’s a love of the game. To the opposition, it’s a taunt.

    He knows.

    You can’t stop him.

    And you’re scared.

    He says Reyes is the team's MVP and a good case can be made since he has been so good.

  • Four no hitters and two World Championships in thirteen years for the Marlins to no no hitters and two World Championships for the Mets in forty four years.

    "I told myself, 'Now is when you have to pitch because [Byrnes] can change everything,'" Sanchez said.

    A 95-mph fastball on his 102nd delivery. Swing and a miss. A slider that Byrnes hit sharply, but on the ground to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The sequence felt like an eternity.

    Pitch. Contact. Catch. Set. Throw. Out. No-hitter.

    The deal for Beckett and Lowell is looking worse and worse for Boston as Josh is sitting there with a 5.11 ERA while Sanchez is looking like a bonafide stud and Ramirez is looking like a future All-Star....not a starting All-Star though because we all know Reyes has that locked up for a while.

  • Mulder is done for the year.

    New York Mets orthopedist Dr. David Altchek examined Mulder on Wednesday morning and reached a conclusion "consistent" with that of Cardinals medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta, according to the club's statement. Paletta spoke pessimistically about Mulder's chances of pitching again this season after performing an MRI exam on the shoulder Aug. 30.

    I wonder if Carpenter can start every game?

  • Here is a disturbing quote:

    “I almost feel like if I give up a run, my behind’s going back to the minors,” Bell said. “I keep going up and down. It’s like, do they want me to be part of the team or not? What’s the deal?”

    He is dead on. When he was up in the bigs, you got the feeling one hit...one run...he was back down at Norfolk.

  • Baseball America had a article about some minor league affiliation changes and had some interesting tidbits, but they did echo what we all knew, the Mets run with the Norfolk Tides could be over at the end of the season.

    Both the Mets and Yankees have their longtime International League affiliations expiring this year as well, in Norfolk and Columbus, respectively. The Nationals will also be looking for a new Triple-A affiliate, after two seasons in New Orleans, as will the Orioles after four seasons in Ottawa.

    With the Nationals looking for a new AAA affiliate, isn't Norfolk a logic choice?

    "We're hopeful that we'll be back and work something out with them," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said yesterday.

    Virginia native David Wright would like to see Norfolk stick around. He said his family still goes to games.

    "Those were some of my favorite baseball childhood memories, was going out to Met Park and going out to Harbor Park and seeing the Tides play. That's why I grew up a Met fan. That's why I have this infatuation with this organization," Wright said, adding, "definitely it'd be sad to go, and I think that the whole Hampton Roads and Tidewater community would be sad to see those guys go."

    I for one would be sorry to see that affiliation end, but it will boil down to money I'm sure.

  • Fucking Ponderous....

    There is perhaps another underlying factor in Smoltz's frustration right now, and that is the Braves' reluctance so far to pick up his $8 million option for next year.

    Though nobody believes the Braves will decline the option after the season, Smoltz is miffed they haven't made an exception from team policy for him considering all the concessions he's made to them over the years. For starters, he agreed to forego being one for four seasons, 2001-2004, because the Braves had no closer.

    Why not treat him like royalty? The Braves are getting a bargain and a half next season and it really seems like the Braves are just handling this wrong.

  • Dayn Perry gushes about the Mets...

  • Glavine secretly wants to be a Brave again.

    "I don't think it's a lock that they're going to pick up my option," Glavine said. "So I've allowed myself to at least think about it a little bit. I've been pretty up front since January that there are only two places that I want to play next year. So there's not a whole lot of guesswork involved there."

    While not mentioning the other place by name, Glavine indicated with a smile, "I've been there before."

    Glavine, who pitched in

    It really should not be a surprise and I'm still up in the air as to whether it makes sense to actually bring him back with the stable of arms the Mets have amassed and the possibility of Barry Zito being a target of Omar in the off season.

  • Let's not go crazy here. USA Today went over the top prospect for every team and named Mike Carp as the Mets top prospect.

    New York Mets: 1B Mike Carp : The left-handed hitter batted .287 this season at high-A St. Lucie and displayed the power (17 homers, 88 RBI in 137 games) the Mets liked when they drafted him out of high school in 2004. Carp, 20, worked on going to all fields this year. He has 107 strikeouts in his first 491 at-bats, but the Mets believe he'll get a better grasp on the strike zone.

    As good as he has been this year and as much as he has raised his stock, it would be hard to put him in front of Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, and Deolis Guerra.

  • Thank you Jerry.

    The front office might have greater concerns over the biggest winner on the staff. Steve Trachsel, whose 14-6 record is largely a reflection of the league's best run support, walked seven Atlanta hitters in 4 1/3 innings Monday. If Trachsel continues to pitch like this, it'll be hard to justify starting him ahead of Orlando Hernandez or John Maine in the playoffs.

    Someone inject some reasoning into this situation...for the love of everything that is holy, puppy dogs, and Oprah....inject some reasoning into this situation.

  • Da Edge is hungry.

    "A lot of guys who play 10, 15 years never get the chance to be in the postseason," Milledge said Tuesday before the Braves-Mets game was rained out. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader at 1 o'clock today at Shea Stadium.

    "I want to be a part of it," Milledge said. "I'm trying to work hard and help the team."

  • Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Predictable / Death By Squirrel

    I know what everyone thought I would write about today, but in an effort to not be predictable and redundant, I will abstain from looking at Trachsel's latest stinker. Instead, I will talk about the danger that is known as the black squirrel.

    Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.

    Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.

    They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.

    A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are skeptical.

    The attack was reported in parkland in the centre of Lazo, a village in the Maritime Territory, and was witnessed by three local people.

    A "big" stray dog was nosing about the trees and barking at squirrels hiding in branches overhead when a number of them suddenly descended and attacked, reports say.

    "They literally gutted the dog," local journalist Anastasia Trubitsina told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

    "When they saw the men, they scattered in different directions, taking pieces of their kill away with them."

    Mikhail Tiyunov, a scientist in the region, said it was the first he had ever heard of such an attack.

    While squirrels without sources of protein might attack birds' nests, he said, the idea of them chewing a dog to death was "absurd".

    For the love of God and your dog, please make sure you have an ample supply of pine cones in your back yard.

    * * *

  • I think I'm developing a man crush on Phil Humber. He was already my favorite prospect overall for the Mets, but he just keeps nestling further into the cockles of my heart. First, he had another stellar start. Second, he made the expanded roster.

    The following players will be added to the roster today: OF Lastings Milledge, OF Ricky Ledee, C Kelly Stinnett, LHP Dave Williams, RHP Brian Bannister and RHP Philip Humber.

    Yesterday, Binghamton split a double header with the Connecticut Defenders. In game two, Phil got the start and lasted six innings and gave up two hits, one earned run, and no walks while striking out four. He improved to 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA in the 4-1 victory. Humber now owns a .199 BAA this season with a sub 1.00 WHIP and a more than one strikeout per inning. The rest of the world needs to be very afraid of this kid.

    In game one, the Defenders beat the B-Mets 2-0. Kevin Mulvey took the loss despite pitching stellar yet again. Mulvey went six innings and gave up four hits, two runs, no earned runs, and one walk while striking out one. Mulvey is 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA and though he only has four professional starts, you have to be impressed so far.

  • Tobi Stoner went the distance in a shortened seven inning game and picked up the win in Brooklyn's 3-2 win over Lowell. Stoner gave up four hits, two runs, no earned runs, and one walk while striking out seven.

  • Oliver Perez will get another start.

    Tom Glavine is being given an extra day between starts this time through the rotation, though he said he doesn't feel that he needs one. His turn falls tomorrow, but Oliver Perez will start that day. Randolph said it's being done to keep Perez in the rotation, but pitching coach Rick Peterson said it was a decision geared to keep Glavine fresh. Glavine said he was only told of the move Sunday.

  • Wow...just wow.

    Carlos Delgado's third-inning error on Willy Aybar's grounder set up the first unearned run allowed by the Mets since July 29, a span of 32 games. It's the second-longest streak in club history, according to Elias. The Mets went 38 straight games without an unearned run in 1999.

    An entire month without an unearned run? Fucking swell.

  • Pedro is inching closer.

    Martinez last threw in the bullpen on Saturday in Florida, a 37-pitch session that wasn't originally scheduled.

    "I felt like I could so I just did it," he said. "Everything's good."

    In spring training Martinez was limited to just two starts and seven innings by his foot troubles. But when the season began, he was ready and finished April with a 5-0 record.

    "I took a big chance and it paid off," he said. "I'm hoping I can do that again. ... I'll use my experience. Things usually kick in, but it's not easy."

  • Sunday, September 03, 2006

    I guess that solves that debate...

    People were concerned that with the huge lead and seemingly nothing to play for, the Mets would lose their fire. Quite the contrary has happened as the Mets just get better and better and players just continue to step it up. Last night, as I'm sure as 99.9999% of you saw, Carlos Beltran made one of the best catches of the year to save the game. In the ninth inning with a two run lead and one out, Carlos Beltran made a catch and slammed into the wall to save two runs.

    "No, no. This is not that bad," Beltran said. "Then, I didn't know where I was. This time I knew where I was. When I heard the booing, I knew I was in Houston."

    I'm sure that felt good for Carlos after getting undeservedly booed night in and night out. Is there anyone that will still argue that this guy is the MVP if the season ended today? If Carlos keeps this pace up, no one else would be more deserving and his 2006 season could quite possibly be the best all around single season performance by any Met player in their not-so-storied history.

    * * *

  • One debate that continues to rage....in my mind at least...is the playoff rotation and how it might shake out. John Maine had another solid performance last night and went 6.1 innings allowing only two hits, two earned runs on two homers, and one walk while striking out three. He retired the first twelve batters and just looked great. He looked like the Mets best pitcher which he has been since July 1st. But has he done enough to be placed on the post season roster? Adam Rubin doesn't think so.

    Rubin thinks that Maine would be left off and really, I cannot see that happening. I put some thoughts out there the other day in regards to this and thought Roberto Hernandez would be left off. If Maine is left off, that would be totally inappropriate. It would be lewd, lascivious, salacious, and outrageous! The Mets top three in Glavine, Pedro, and The Duque have not exactly been the model of health and consistency. Carrying an extra starter and one that would translate well into the pen as well would behoove them. What if Trachsel gets bombed and needs to be replaced? What if Pedro goes down? Not starting him is bad enough. Leaving him off totally? Just silly. In the end, I would assume the right decision would be made, but you just never know.

  • A nice fluff piece on Carlos Beltran for your bad selves.

    Beltran's relationship with fans took some repairing, though. The boos from last season carried over when he started the season 0-for-9. When he homered in the third game, fans encouraged him to come out for a curtain call, but he refused until nudged by Julio Franco. Beltran was reluctant, he says, because "I'm not a friend only when you're having a good time. I'm a friend in good times and bad times and the fans sometimes don't understand that."

    The next day, there were television shots of some fans holding up signs of apology. Beltran has flourished since and several teammates say coming out of the dugout was a big moment.

    "It was the right thing to do," Glavine says. "Now he seems to have a much different level of respect from them."

    What was going on early in the year was just plain dumb and really is a sad commentary on Met fans and I'm glad whichever mentally deficient people were booing him have stopped.

  • Target for Pedro's return has been set for mid-September.

    The Mets have a tentative return date in mind for Pedro Martinez after yesterday's side session in Port St. Lucie. It appears that he will get either three or four starts to tune up for the postseason.

    Martinez took the mound for the first time since he landed on the DL and threw 38 pitches. (For those keeping score, that's seven short of his scheduled 45.) More importantly, Martinez apparently suffered no discomfort from the right calf strain that sidelined him after his Aug. 15 start.

  • Cliffy had a solid night in his return and if he can keep hitting, this lineup just got pretty downright scary. With all the big guns hitting the crap out of the ball, Floyd's big bat will just make things unfair.

    "I just want to salvage something of a pretty up-and-down year - mostly down," Floyd said.

  • Ken Rosenthal brings up and interesting debate, but one that has a fairly obvious answer to all of us.

    "Who would you take, the Mets' Jose Reyes and David Wright or the Phillies' Ryan Howard and Chase Utley?"

    Without giving the topic much thought, I responded, "Howard and Utley."

    The scout then said, "OK, Howard and Utley or the Twins' Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau?"


    Hmmm ...

    My response was Mauer and Morneau, but the comparisons were so fascinating, it inspired me to conduct an unscientific poll.

    Over the several days, I asked 19 baseball people — mostly scouts and executives, but also a manager and a sabermetrician — to select their top young dynamic duo.

    Wright and Reyes received the most votes with Mauer and Morneau on their heels. His choice? No votes. At 26 and 27, Howard and Utley are probably just about peaking. Not that it is a bad thing they aren't going improve by leaps and bounds at this point since they are already two of the best in the game, but the others are just so much younger with so much growth left.

    Start with their ages — both are 23. The younger the player, the higher his ceiling. Power generally increases with age, and Reyes and Wright already are All-Stars in the game's most demanding market.

    "I'd take the cats who are great players in the great arena," one scout says.


    But the answer of the day goes to this guy...

    Another exec declined to even vote, saying, "I don't have the mental bandwidth to distinguish between them."


  • The Tides swept a double header yesterday against the depleted Durham Bulls. In game one, Brian Bannister picked up the win with a seven inning complete game in which he gave up five hits, one earned run, two runs, and two walks to six strikeouts. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, and an RBI.

    In game two, Alay Soler picked up the win with five innings pitched. Soler gave up six hits, two earned runs, and two walks while striking out five. Milledge went 1 for 2 with a run scored and a walk to push his average up to .281.

    St. Lucie beat Vero Beach 8-5 as Deolis Guerra picked up his first win in high-A ball.
    Guerra went five innings and gave up five hits, two walks, two runs, and one earned run while striking out two. Joe Smith threw two innings of relief and gave up one hit, one run, no earned run, and one walk while striking out four. Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a walk, Mike Carp went 1 for 4 with his sixteenth homer of the year, two runs scored, a walk, and two RBIs, and Jesus Flores went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a double.