NL Least No More
Nobody needs me to tell them that John Schuerholz is a good general manager, but John had a good week as he capped it off with a Craig Wilson one year deal at $2 million. Frankly it was surprising that not one team wanted a guy with some decent pop who is only 30 that would be pretty cheap. Wilson may not be a good fielder or an elite hitter, but his 162 game average for his career is 71 runs scored, 24 homers, seventy RBIs, and had a .265/.354/.480 line and he will supplement the Atlanta lineup sufficiently. He will provide some nice pop for the Braves while being an ideal platoon partner with Scott Thurman. While I do not think they'll match LaRoche's OPS, they will certainly approach his homer total and his RBI total and you have to think the Braves are better off with Gonzalez and Wilson in the fold rather than just LaRoche in the fold.
I am officially getting pumped for this season and I want a dogfight all season and I want to watch good divisional baseball. A large reason why I think the Mets offense, which was solid all season, completely failed in the playoffs was that they were just flat. They had the season wrapped up a month ahead of time and most of September was spent without the regular starting lineup playing at one time. In May they had a .253/.332/.433 line and scored 137 runs. In June they had a .273/.332/.487 line with 152 runs scored. In July they had a .275/.352/.463 line with 157 runs scored. In August they had a .272/.342/.452 line with 148 runs scored. In September they had their worst full month of the season and had a .244/.319/.391 with a measly 114 runs scored. In ten playoff games the Mets scored 46 runs but scored 21 of them in two games. In the other eight they averaged a touch over three runs.
Competition breeds...well it breeds competition. It is certainly hard to keep that competitive edge when you had your coronation to the playoffs a month before the season ended and it is certainly hard to stay hungry. That was Willie's biggest challenge last year and frankly it is an extremely hard task. While it is speculation at this point if the Mets flat offense had anything to do with their flat September, it certainly seems to be true that the team that is playing for something at the end enters the playoffs with the upper hand over the team that was fine tuning for a month. While the Cardinals almost played themselves out of the playoffs, they were still playing for something every day and while it may be a harder path to the playoffs this season for the Mets, it can certainly be argued that they will be better off as a result.
That will not be the case in 2007, now that general manager John Schuerholz has put together one of the best bullpens in his time with Atlanta; he landed Pittsburgh left-hander Mike Gonzalez yesterday, for first baseman Adam LaRoche.
The Atlanta bullpen does not appear to be as strong as that of the Mets, but the Braves' staff is balanced, with Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano lined up in front of Bob Wickman, and a rotation of Smoltz, Chuck James, Tim Hudson, Kyle Davies and the recovering Mike Hampton. The Braves could reclaim the NL East if Hudson, Hampton, Smoltz, et al, stay healthy.
Not that his opinion means anything to most of you, but I'm just pointing out what my favorite blogger said.
Not only do the Mets have an affiliate in the Big Easy, but they get out just in time not to have a not so swell new logo and have an angry beaver who eats his own teams logo.