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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Twenty Baseball Execs and One Blogger Answer Six Burning Questions

Jerry Crasnick asked six questions yesterday and of course the first one centered around the great pitching debate of the off-season. What is Barry Zito worth?

1. Given a choice between Barry Zito and Daisuke Matsuzaka, which free-agent pitcher do you prefer?

Responses: Matsuzaka 14, Zito 5 and two undecided.

I would take Daisuke as well since I had him pegged as the best pitcher of the off-season, but Zito is no slouch. There are two pitchers who are head and shoulders above the rest and the above two are it. If you cannot get Daisuke, Zito is not a bad consolation prize.

2. Where do you think Barry Bonds will sign?

Responses: San Francisco 16, Oakland 3, Detroit 1, Angels 1.

Let's face it. San Francisco is going to stink this year. They have put up with Barry for fourteen years anyway, so what is another year? Although, with Frank Thomas signing with Toronto, Barry could still be headed across the Bay.

3. Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee?

Responses: Soriano 20, Lee 1.

This one is not even close. Soriano all the way. He'll be stealing bases in the fifth year of his contract. How will Carlos Lee be doing?

4. Where will Roger Clemens be pitching in 2007, or will he retire?

Responses: Houston 11, Boston 3, retire 3, Yankees 2, Rangers 1 and one undecided.

I pray he will retire every night before bed. Ultimately, he will be back and the Astros will have an improved offense. Next year the Astros might actually take the NL Central if Clemens does come back.

5. Which player with a no-trade clause -- Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez or Pat Burrell -- is most likely to be traded?

Responses: Burrell 16, Ramirez 2. Two respondents said none of the players will be moved. One undecided.

That one is easy. Pat Burrell. The Phillies will eat a ton of money and someone will take a low risk chance on him.

6. Which "second tier" starter do you like best: Adam Eaton, Ted Lilly, Gil Meche, Vicente Padilla or Randy Wolf?

Responses: Lilly 9, Padilla 6, Wolf 3, Meche 1, Eaton 1 and one undecided.

Ted Lilly...All the way. If the Mets fail to get Zito, I would not mind seeing him here at all. He is definitely a good option if they cannot nab an ace. Who knows? Maybe moving to the NL and getting some guidance from Rick Peterson might make him an pseudo-ace. Sure he had one year under Peterson already and didn't exactly light the world on fire, but I'm willing to take a chance on him working out better this time.

More on Zito...though he hasn't been Cy Young good anymore after actually winning his only Cy Young Award, he has been pretty good. In 2006, he ranked 10th in the AL in ERA, 3rd in the AL in innings pitched, and tenth in the AL in wins. He put up h/9 of 7.73 (4th overall) in 2001, 7.14 (behind only three Boston pitchers) in 2002, 7.23 (behind only Pedro Martinez) in 2003, and 7.29 (behind only Santana)in 2005. Those are ace quality numbers. He has pitched no less than 34 games in any season in his career since 2001. He has been in the top ten of ERA in every year he has pitched a full season but 2004 and 2005.

He may not have a dominant fastball like people want their ace to have, but the guy can pitch. He has always had some control issues, but moving to the NL should alleviate a lot of what was ailing him. I seriously would not be shocked to see him throw up a season similar to this 2002 season as a Met with a solid 3.50 ERA or so for his time throughout his contract with an average of 16 wins per season.

* * *

  • RIP Heath Bell...

    I guess it is for the best. Us bloggers can no longer obsess about Heath Bell and how he could improve this Met bullpen and maybe it is time we part ways. Heath Bell and Royce Ring were traded for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins.

    My good buddy Keith Law's take....first on Adkins:

    Adkins is just another mediocre right-handed reliever without an out-pitch. He has an average fastball, 88-92 mph, which has well below average movement; a below-average curveball; no out-pitch; and no real weapon against left-handed hitters, against whom he works well away from any contact. He's useful while he's cheap, but isn't someone likely to return real value once he's eligible for arbitration.

    ...now on Ben Johnson:

    Johnson is the ideal caddy for right fielder Shawn Green, who can no longer hit left-handed pitching or catch fly balls that aren't hit directly at him. Johnson's bat may be stretched as an everyday corner player, although he's a good athlete and could develop into a borderline producer in right. He's a good defensive right fielder with average power and good plate discipline, and I think he'll add a little more power if he learns to extend his arms slightly and pull certain pitches. Even so, he slots right into the Mets' lineup every day that an opposing lefty starts and can be Green's defensive replacement, perhaps increasing his role after Green leaves.

    It is clear to me Ben should be the centerpiece. He had a somewhat disappointing 2006, but he did head into 2006 as the 4th rated prospect in a bad Padres system after a breakout 2005 season in AAA.

    BA: Johnson has all the tools to be an everyday outfielder in the big leagues. He has shortened his swing and developed above average power while improving his grasp of the strike zone.

    I like this move if for nothing else than a platoon and to add a right handed bat into the outfield picture. However, I think Ben Johnson might shock people. Omar has done good here.

  • The Marlins are targeting Rocco Baldelli.

    The Marlins need a center fielder, and the Devil Rays' Rocco Baldelli is the No. 1 option on their list, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

    A Devil Rays source, the newspaper reports, said the team would ask for multiple major league-ready players.

    "That's definitely going to be something the Marlins go after," an NL executive told the newspaper. "That guy fits everything the Marlins are about."

    Houston's Willy Taveras also interests the Marlins.

    One has to wonder if they shouldn't just try and nab Carl Crawford for Dontrelle Willis straight up.

  • $38 million it was....

    It's up to the Yankees to make a countermove. For now, though, Cashman refuses to second-guess the Bombers' bid of $31 million for Matsuzaka. The Mets say they're at peace, too, with their offer of $38 million. The two New York teams are both in need of an ace; logic points them in the same direction.

    Wow. Not much you can say there, but I guess we all know the Mets (and the Yankees for that matter) wanted Daisuke pretty bad. If the Red Sox did not bid so high, we would be hearing about the Mets reckless on Daisuke.

  • Quote of the day...

    "We're hot. It's hot to be a Met, we've got a good thing going on here," said one club official. "A couple of years ago, we couldn't get Henry Blanco to come here, and that was even after we offered him more money than anyone else. He still said no. That's all changed."

    Preach on brother....

  • Randoph takes second for NL Manager of the Year, but we all know he is far from a top tier manager. Good guy? Yes. Do his players like him? Yes. While I'm perfectly clear on the idea that your players liking you is part of it, he is not a top tier manager. Not yet at least, but a championship caliber team has a way of making you a good manager. All that being said, Omar is sure not fooled.

    No official offers were made in Omar Minaya's first serious discussion with Randolph's longtime agent Ron Shapiro on Tuesday. The Mets have told people they'd like to give Randolph a two-year extension for between $1 million and $1.25 million per year, while Randolph understandably would like a three-year deal for more money.

    Randolph does not deserve 'Art Howe' money. Omar built the team and the Mets success is 80% based on Omar, 20% on Randolph. You can put Carter, Oberkefell, and HoJo for that matter and I think this team still goes places.

  • Common sense? Still a part of the new Mets.

    The Mets are one of many teams who will show interest in one or more of a trio of White Sox starters -- Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez or Mark Buerhle -- who could be available. The White Sox have interest in Mets pitching prospect Mike Pelfrey, but one person said "Pelfrey isn't going for any of those pitchers."

    Of course I'm reading into this, but he said Pelfrey isn't going anywhere for any one of those pitchers. Meaning, they are willing to move him. I'm all for it as long as it brings back a young ace in the process.
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2006


    $51.1 million is crazy on so many levels. It is not only entirely likely, but it is probable that the Red Sox will pay $20 to $25 million per year for Daisuke's contract over a likely five year contract. That is of course unless they do not reach a deal and just wanted to keep him out of the Yankees hands for at least another year, but I find it hard that this was a move to cock block the Yankees.

    "We have long admired Mr. Matsuzaka's abilities and believe he would be a great fit with the Red Sox organization," Boston general manager Theo Epstein said. "Clearly, we believe Mr. Matsuzaka is a real talent."

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I for one am hoping that they can reach a deal so I can see the kid pitch. On another note, it was nice that Aaron Heilman got included in ESPNs best pitchers list as they assembled a staff of the top five starters in ERA, the top five relievers in holds, and the top closer in saves for less money than it costs to simply talk to Daisuke.

    2006 Salary
    Johan Santana, MIN SP $8.75M
    Brandon Webb, ARI SP $2.5M
    Roy Halladay, TOR SP $12.75M
    Roy Oswalt, HOU SP $11M
    Chris Carpenter, STL SP $5M
    Scot Shields, LAA RP $2.1M
    Joel Zumaya, DET RP $327K
    Aaron Heilman, NYM RP $359K
    Scott Linebrink, SD RP $1.365M
    Juan Rincon, MIN RP $900K
    Francisco Rodriguez, LAA CL $3.775M
    Total salary -- $48.826M

    Of course, the Red Sox have the money to sign him and pay for the posting fee. They can certainly afford this and we'll see exactly what their intentions were with this bid in the next 30 days.

    For the record, Jim Callis still likes Daisuke at that price.

    It seems silly in some regards to consider Matsuzaka anything except an established (Japanese) major leaguer, but just as he'll be a rookie in MLB's eyes, he's a prospect in Baseball America's book until he exceeds 50 (U.S.) big league innings. He unquestionably would push Jacoby Ellsbury aside for the No. 1 spot on our Red Sox list, and he'd get my vote for No. 1 on the Top 100.

    * * *

  • Keith Law ranks Barry Zito as the fifteenth (!!!!) best available free agent. That is just nuts. You may not think he is best player out there, but the fifteenth?

    Zito is a third or fourth starter with the reputation of a one or a two. In fact, over the last three years, he's struggled badly when facing the two premier offenses in the AL, posting a 6.59 ERA against Boston and the Yankees while walking 47 men and allowing 18 homers in 83.3 innings. His control is below-average; only Daniel Cabrera has walked more batters in the last two years than Zito has. And should Zito's stuff slip at all, he becomes a fifth starter or a guy who needs to head to the National League, the current destination for asylum-seekers who fear AL persecution of their fringy fastballs.

    Ouch man. Cold shit. Gil Meche, Ted Lilly, Jim Edmonds, Julio Lugo, JD Drew, and Andy Pettitte were all ranked above him. Very silly. In spite of Mr. Law's low opinion on Barry, the Mets are now targeting the lefty who is the best pitcher left out there now that Daisuke cannot be had.

  • Brandon Webb wins the Cy Young Award with Trevor Hoffman, Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, and Carlos Zambrano rounding out the top five.

  • Sign early and sign often. That is the Cubs motto. After dishing out serious dollars on Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs sign Mark DeRos to a three year, $13 million contract. For the record, Keith Law said Ramirez was the best free agent out there this winter.

  • Wow. That new proposed stadium for the Athletics is all pretty and such.

  • $12 million for El Duque? $3.8 millon for Valentin with an option for $4.3? When I heard the Mets resigned The Duque for two years, I was not mad, but I was confused. My friend told me to stop complaining and he heard it was for $6 million for the entire contract. He talked me into thinking it was a good deal because for that money, he could come out the pen and be a solid reliever that could also start if needed. Now? The Mets are not paying him $6.5 million to come out of the bullpen. I don't like 40+ year old guys blocking young pitching. Personally, I only see the need for The Duque for two seasons (and the only way this makes sense) is if they do not bring back Glavine. I understand pitching depth, but I would have rather made some incentive laden offer to Mulder with a vesting option than give The Duque two years. Small thing to complain about? Maybe, but still odd in my opinion. Seems like a lot of money for him.

  • Rey Rey is back. Maybe...he still has to make the team.

  • Bill Shea will not be forgotten, but Bill Gallo needs to get with it.

    What is wrong with Shea Stadium, a name we have known since the baby Mets were born.

    When I heard that they had settled on this new name (I gag when I write it), I said, shame! Shame on you people who have disparaged the name of Shea!

    It's not right that this current Mets team, on its way to becoming a championship team, will have the Shea banner taken away.

    I will bet you that Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges and Bill Shea are all spinning in their graves.

    Bro...that $20 million is good enough to pay Beltran's salary and them some. Name each urinal in the stadium if you want after a company if they will pony some money up. I'm on board.

  • 11/13: Mesa tied Phoenix 5-5. Blake McGinley went two innings and allowed no runs while striking out three. Michel Abreu went 2 for 6 with an RBI and a run scored.
    11/14: Grand Canyon beat Mesa 14-5. Michel Abreu went 2 for 4 with his sixth homer, two RBIs, and a double.
  • Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Buster = Douchebag

    Buster should do more research before he writes his blog. Of course he did rectify his false report today, but he still got me all excited for nothing.

    Assuming that the Red Sox win the bidding on Daisuke Matsuzaka, they have the option of trading him -- but procedurally, it would have to be a sign-and-trade, with a contract being set before Boston shipped him to, say, the Mets. They cannot merely swap the rights to negotiate with him, according to the U.S.-Japanese player contract agreement: "If the highest bid is acceptable to the Japanese club, the US Commissioner shall award the sole, exclusive, and non-assignable right to negotiate with and sign the posted Japanese player to the US ML club that submitted the bid."

    This entire deal is getting silly and I think the Japanese are now having fun with this entire thing. We've heard the bids were weaker than expected by some reports and we've heard Boston blew everyone else away. We'll find out soon, but enough is enough. Let's get this thing cleared up once and for all.

    * * *

  • In other news, Brian Cashman pulled up yet another impressive move.

    The Baltimore Sun, citing two Orioles sources, is reporting that Baltimore will send reliever Chris Britton to the Yankees for Wright and $4 million, the amount it would have cost the Yankees to buy out Wright's contract.

    The trade won't become official until the commissioner's office signs off on the deal, since more than $1 million in cash is being exchanged, the newspaper reported.

    Britton is a solid reliever and certainly helps out their bullpen as he owned a 1.17 WHIP, .228 BAA, 3.35 ERA, and killed righties and held them to a .186 BAA. He is still only 23 so there are a lot of positives to take out of his rookie season and getting anything useful for Jaret Wright is certainly a good move.

  • Manny Acta moves on to become the manager of the Washington Nationals. Good for him and hopefully the Mets use this opportunity to promote from within.

  • Sometimes when it rains, it pours.

    When Steve Trachsel left the Mets on the eve of the playoffs, he said it was for personal reasons that had nothing to do with his marriage.

    On Thursday, however, his wife, Sarah Trachsel, filed for divorce in San Diego.

    The Daily News reported that Trachsel had left the team on Oct.1 to deal with marital issues, which both Trachsel and his wife denied.

    Reached at her home in Malibu, Calif., Sarah Trachsel said then that she was "absolutely not" filing for divorce.

    At least you still have baseball...oh wait.

  • Met-land is good these days.

    The phone calls to player agents sure get returned a lot quicker these days. Just a few years ago, they often weren't returned at all.

    When the National League East champion Mets express an interest in a free agent this off-season, those players' agents -- often tough to get hold of during the franchise's lean years -- are very attentive.

    "You get a lot different responses," said a member of the Mets front office who requested anonymity because of the team's policy of not discussing free agents. "We went from a club promising to be competitive to a team that has won a division championship. And word has spread from player to player that playing for (manager) Willie Randolph and (general manager) Omar Minaya is a pretty good thing."

    The goal for me of the 2004 season for the Mets was to create an atmosphere that players wanted to come to. It was not about reaching the playoffs or anything like that, it was about baby steps. They did not quite achieve that and managed to nab big stars anyway thanks to Omar Minaya. Now? The Mets are a place that people want to come to with the Mets being one of their top choices. Money, winning, and a great atmosphere to play in? Why the fuck should someone not want to come play here.

  • For $20 million per year, you can name the stadium anything you want.

    The sponsorship deal will be worth at least $20 million a year and will set a record for United States stadium rights. The Associated Press reported that the agreement included options for the Mets and Citigroup to extend the deal to 35 years.

    The previous record for stadium naming rights is about $10 million annually the Houston Texans receive from Reliant Energy to call their home Reliant Stadium.


  • 11/9: Mesa beat Phoenix 5-4. Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a walk, and two strikeouts.
    11/10: Phoenix beat Mesa 2-1. Fernando Martinez went 1 for 3 to bring his average up to .256. Blake McGinley went 1.2 innings and gave up one hit and struck out two to lower his ERA to 1.93.
    11/11: Peoria beat Mesa 13-11. Fernando Martinez went 0 for 1 and then left the game.