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

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stupidity Revisited: Devil Rays Edition

The BJ Upton situation has been something that has outlined everything that is wrong with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While most people saw the need to move Upton from shortstop, the Devil Rays were reluctant and continued to let him make 199 errors in five years. Ladies and gentleman, that is not a mechanical defect. It's a complete and utter malfunction. In high school, I'm guessing the majority of the guys in the bigs could have played shortstop with aplomb. I'd venture to guess that most of these guys were in fact shortstops growing up since they were probably the best players on their teams. However, when you get to high school to a lesser extent, college, and the pros, they typically find the best fit for you. There are plenty of minor league short stops who aren't good enough to hack it in the pros much less all of the high school shortstops that get drafted.

When Justin Upton was drafted, there was no question he would have to make the move to centerfield and it was not just because of Stephen Drew. While the Devil Rays could not have been more smacked in the face with the reality that BJ was simply not a shortstop, they failed to act on it partially because they had Baldelli, Crawford, Young, Dukes, and Gomes already clogging up their outfield. Always gun shy to make a trade, the Devil Rays stood their ground and kept running Upton out there year after year and wasting his development time. Now they have no where to play him while he should have been a full time starter in the bigs as early as 2005. What has changed? Not much. Now they plan to mind bogglingly use him as a utility guy to see where he fits best. In my estimation, they should stop screwing around, pick rightfield or centerfield for him and let him go get regular work there.

While it seems easy to everyone else, this has been a difficult situation for the Devil Rays. With the glut of outfielders and Upton profiling well as a centerfielder, Baldelli should have been shopped around more for a top tier pitcher opening up centerfield for Upton. Though centerfield is a position he should have logged hundreds of games in the minors already, he has not and could have reported early to camp to work on becoming a centerfielder. With a team that would be lucky to finish fourth at this point, he should be allowed to learn on the job as he gets comfortable with his new permanent home. If the Devil Rays do not feel comfortable with that, they should deal him. Instead, he is still logging games in the infield for some bizarre reason and not focusing on the things he should. A prospect of his ilk should not be playing the role of utility guy. Yes, Albert Pujols did it, but with Mark McGwire blocking his way there was little choice and there was little doubt where he would eventually end up.

"I still believe I can play it," Upton said, "and play it well."

But he also knows he has committed 199 errors in four professional seasons -- most of them at short. And he knows there's "no excuse" for that. So he understands why this team is now asking him to do everything but rake the mound and announce the lineups.

Five years from now, if this was B.J. Upton's call, he would like to find himself either back at shortstop or playing center field -- because he feels most comfortable "in the middle of the field," he says.


The Devil Rays dropped the ball here and continue to operate without a clue. Upton should be a star in this league at some point, but he should have been a star already. Due to stubbornness and indecisiveness, he is languishing as a player who has no idea where he is going. What really confounds me is that he still talks about moving back to short in the future and that about says it all in regards to this mess.

* * *

  • If you told me in 2004 that Mark Prior would end up anywhere but the Hall of Fame, I would have not believed it. Fast forward to 2007, Wade Miller is the front runner for for the 5th spot in the rotation and Prior is not even part of the discussion. If not for his health problems, there is little doubt he would be in a much different spot, but that is why no one likes to anoint anyone a future legend without a solid track record. Even a guy like Ben Sheets has largely not lived up to expectations, though not as badly as Prior. You just never know in this game and that is partially why I think the Mets will ultimately take it slow with Mike Pelfrey.


  • When the Mets obtained Oliver Perez last season, they saw his 2004 season and nothing else. They saw his 239 strikeouts in 196 innings with the Pirates and none of the blemishes that developed thereafter. And now they have seen 2004 again.

    After striking out nine Red Sox batters -- including stars Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz twice apiece -- in five innings on Thursday night, Perez said his slider had returned. It was the slider that produced many of the 239 strikeouts.

    "The best slider I've had since 2004," Perez called it.


    Coop's biggest crush, Oliver Perez, was straight dealing yesterday against some pretty good hitters. Five innings of three hit ball? Swellicious. Nine strikeouts? Fucking swellicious.

    Really, with Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine looking as good as they have, the Mets might shock a lot of people. The potential to be one of the top five rotations in the NL is there. Does a lot have to go right? Yes, but if these three guys are for real, look out.

  • Jason Stark really laid out some disturbing thoughts.

    A high-ranking official of an American League team told me this winter he doesn't think Pedro Martinez will win 10 more games the rest of his career.

    Yeah, that's 10.

    As in: Not even as many as Mark (Unemployed 'Til Last Week) Redman won last year.

    So, to review, that's "not 10" (to paraphrase the great Jim Boeheim).

    And why, you ask, would anybody think that? Not because this official, or anyone else, doesn't think Pedro is special. Certainly not because he doesn't think Pedro can win unless he's scorching it up there at 94 miles an hour.

    Nope. It's just because he's reasonably familiar with Martinez's medical history, and he doesn't see a whole lot of bullets left in the shoulder of a small guy who just had his rotator cuff sewn back together five months ago.

    Shoulders, you see, are different than elbows. If you're looking for a quick rule of thumb in evaluating the futures of pitchers and those arms that make them what they are, it would be this:

    Elbows are usually fixable.

    Shoulders -- uh, not so much


    Scary thought, but I do not think he is the linchpin to the season. I agree that whatever he gives is gravy, but we all might want to get into the mindset that he will not be back. Penciling him for anything in 2007 might be a stretch. However, we've said it before and it bears repeating, his contract is worth every penny if he never pitches for the Mets again.

  • Julio Franco throws his weight behind Park for the last spot in the rotation. I think we all know that Park is a lot better than Trachsel and I like the fact he averaged 6.29 innings per game. If you get that much from your fifth starter, you are in business. I also can see the benefits of taking it easy with Pelfrey for the first two months and letting him break his way into the New York rotation with a fresh arm a few months into the season. However, like everyone else, I want to see him jump right in and wreck the league.

  • Joe Smith looks like he is going to crack the opening day roster.
  • Labels:

    19 Comments:

    Anonymous jake said...

    stark is a dunce. please never post his crappy quotes again.

    re fantasty: look out for hamilton.

    4:39 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    I love the Hamilton kick...I love the guy too, but Steve Trachsel is a more valuable fantasy addition!

    5:34 PM

     
    Anonymous Danny said...

    Re: Pedro

    I am sure that "high-ranking AL official" that Stark referenced wasn't a gloating/bitter Red Sox guy.

    The Devil Rays treatment of Upton is criminal. I truly believe that they kept him at short to justify keeping him in the minor leagues so they wouldn't start his clock. No one can convince me differently. It's not like there is not precedent here. Hell, besides the easy comparison to his brother, check out the major league guys from Upton's own town that were high school shortstops: Michael Cuddyer, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman. Idiots.

    Ollie dealt last night. Giddiness.

    Shawn Green is not going to let Lastings take his job. This new swing thing might actually have merit, check out the 2 guys he has hit homers off of this spring: C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett. That's quality.

    6:32 PM

     
    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    I want me some Pelfrey in that rotation. But Chan Ho is in the know. And Maine seems unsinkable. With my ticket for the oliver perez trainwreck already punched, from my perspective, this is a rotation problem that can be solved by thinking outside the bag.

    I say this...move Old Duque NOW for prospects! Get a second baseman or catching prospect, while he still has use of his hips. Call up Cashman or Theo for old times sake, Omar, see what happpens. The guy never did shit here so stuff your outrage in a sack, mister-whoever so disagrees with me. They got plenty o pitching, though it may be untested and mediocre.

    8:01 PM

     
    Blogger metdynasty said...

    I suggested trading for Prior when he came back from injury last season. That was before Dirty got hurt, I think.

    His stock has fallen to nearly zero.

    Maybe it's still a good idea for the Mets to get him since we have a Jedi master named Peterson.

    8:38 PM

     
    Anonymous Deedge said...

    One of the reasons the Mets gave for nor resigning Tyler Yates was that rotator cuff injuries do not often rehabilitate, but TY was back hurling in the mid-90's last summer for the Chomahuks. And Yates supposedly had a complete or near complete tear. So, it is not insurmountable, but yes the percentage is way different than with TJ surgery.

    Hate to say that Park is going to the pen and Smith will very likely end up in the minors. I think it's John Pelfrey's job to lose right now, and I think he's going to keep it.

    The Dumb Rays are just an awfully run organization.

    8:55 PM

     
    Blogger Coop said...

    Wait wait wait.

    Itsmetsforme -- you are not sold on Oh Pea yet? Oh you poor soul. And I'm not just saying that because of my "big crush" (and it's not even a crush) I just happen to think he's a bad-ass waiting to happen.

    Like you wrote on my blog, I will go into great detail in one of my first posts (preview!) about my *heart* for Olly Perez.

    Mike, if you really want to knock me, go to BMF -- they are ON FIRE with the Coop and Oh Pea references. Hee hee. I'm a legend in my own time. :p No not really, it just sounded good.

    Oh hey -- is anyone going to Opening day?

    9:15 PM

     
    Anonymous benny said...

    The DRays completely fucked up BJ Upton but not being able to make a decision, and not even in terms of what position to play. They would call him up, to do absolutely nothing. Just let him hang out on the bench. Then the next year he just stayed in the minors all year long. they mis handled him sooooo bad. I'm so glad the old guys in charge but as far as BJ Upton goes, its too late. He's never going to be what he should have been.

    I feel REAL bad for Mark Prior because I believe that he's just been a part of unfortunate frak injuries. I mean of course he's been a little bitch about it and hasn't been able to man up to them but still, all these series of inuries stem from freak injuries that keep getting extended because the Cubs organization is just a complete whack attack and don't know how to handle anything. The Cubs have fucked up Prior and Wood, over and over again. With thier mis-diagnosis and then rushing them, it's horrible.
    The Cubs and the DRays two incredibly poorly run organizations, and to be honost, the Mets were in that group about 3 years ago.

    A high-ranking official of an American League team told me this winter he doesn't think Pedro Martinez will win 10 more games the rest of his career.

    That high ranking AL official is a hating Red Sox guy. Haha, trying to cover up for not signing him. It's soo obvious its a Red Sox guy. Little bitches.

    11:18 PM

     
    Anonymous benny said...

    Hmm, never type while your drunk, my sentences were either in-complete or made no sense, lemme re-post with grammatical corrections.

    The DRays completely fucked up BJ Upton, not in terms of what position to play but just being indecisive in general. They would call him up, to do absolutely nothing. Just let him hang out on the bench. Then the next year he just stayed in the minors all year long. They mis handled him sooooo bad. I'm so glad the old guys in charge are gone but as far as BJ Upton goes, I think its too late. He's never going to be what he should have been.

    I feel REAL bad for Mark Prior because I believe that he's just been a part of unfortunate freak injuries. I mean of course he's been a little bitch about it and hasn't been able to man up and just pitch through the smaller injuries but still, all these series of inuries stem from freak injuries that keep getting extended because the Cubs organization is clueless and is just a complete whack attack and don't know how to handle anything. The Cubs have fucked up Prior and Wood, over and over again. With thier mis-diagnosis and then rushing them, it's horrible.
    The Cubs and the DRays two incredibly poorly run organizations, and to be honost, the Mets were in that group about 3 years ago.

    A high-ranking official of an American League team told me this winter he doesn't think Pedro Martinez will win 10 more games the rest of his career.

    That high ranking AL official is a haterade Red Sox guy. It's soo obvious its a Red Sox guy. Haha, still trying to justify not signing him. Those bitter little bitches.

    6:08 AM

     
    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    I'm not sure if anyone cares or has been following the whole "Ban metal bats in high school" thing but apearently they voted on it yesterday and the New York City Council APPROVED a ban on the metal bats.
    Again, i'm not sure if anyone has been following it, or even cares but this is just dumb.
    It's an unneccesary ban. Besides the fact there has been NO proven data to support the claim that balls come out the metal bats at a faster rate, the part that bothers me the most is how expensive it would be. It would add an unnecesary expense for the city. The follwing is from the NY Time.

    Part of the opposition rests on the cost of replacing wooden bats, which frequently break. According to the City Council, it would cost the city’s public high schools $253,500 to replace 5,070 metal or metal-composite bats used by 169 baseball teams with wood bats, and $67,600 a year thereafter to replace broken wood bats.

    It's fucking ridiculous. I can't wait for the first ever game to be called out/cancelled/post poned because of a lack of equipment from the bats. Or the game where one team has to ask the the opposition if they could use thier bats because they don't have anymore.
    It's not just the games these bats are going to be used at, its going to be used during practice and they'll be breaking there too, left and right.
    The last thing high school baseball in new york city needs is to add another expense and give ANOTHER reason for people not to play. I persoanlly think that high school baseball in ny is struggeling and some schools don't even get enough kids to sign up.
    Our tax dollars are going into paying for all these bats, for no reason.
    The metal bats were 1 time donations from Modell's, the Yankees, Mets, and various baseball players from both teams, so they cost the ciy nothing. I doubt these organizations/people will participate in the CONSTANT spending of paying for the wooden bats....

    3:02 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6570558#

    How can a so-called baseball writer get something like this so wrong??

    Dayn Perry is making a case for spring stats and how they translate to regular season success. Here we have a picture of Jose Reyes and his claim that his spring batting average is .125

    First of all, Jose Reyes the SS is batting .375 this spring and Jose A. Reyes the C is batting .125

    What an idiot.

    -Bada

    3:45 PM

     
    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    Bada i came on here to say the same thing.

    Dawn Perry very often knows less about baseball than i do. That right there disqualifies him as a person and a journalist. However,
    Metsblog never tires of linking to this DBs "Columns" though.

    Can we all agree to never discuss that bufoon again (mike?)

    5:26 PM

     
    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    Ok, I got my yayas out on Perry over on my blog, check that out if you're in the mood for a bit of unprofessional new asshole tearing, along with a naked pictures of Gary Carter (ok he's not naked, just fat). I also try to start something with Colorado Rockies fans. I wonder if his probelm is a jose thing or a reyes thing? And I wonder what Dawn thinks of Jose Jose?

    Coop, when I say "With my ticket for the oliver perez trainwreck already punched" I mean to say that I am drinking the koolaid too, esp after his last appearance (flash forward 5 years: "whatever happened to that guy, remember when he stuck out Mani and Pappi that time") BUT we all know if we look in our hearts that this will likely be a trainwreck.

    The point, as Jesse Jackson never really said, is moot! Sele and Ho imploded today in a way that helps Bats in my Pelfrey, methinks. So I bet Toothless, Oldie, Maine, ollie and Pelf will start the season.

    And further, dear Coop, what IS it with all the comments on your blog? What happens when you actually post content? You have gotten more mileage out of no content than Seinfield. You are truly loved. I say you see how long you can go without posting anything--you'll be the new deadspin in no time!

    I say Olduque and prospects for Prior, straight up. Everybody wins, right?!

    On the bats question, I have no dog in that fight. but I will say, I always thought it was proven that balls come off those aluminum bats faster--at least the fact that they swing easier must have some effect? No? I think the cost issue has always been the main one, but I, um, doubt that taxes are gonna rise too much on account of wood bats. If the public thinks that kids are risking their lives with the metal, they might not be as hung up on the costs. Plus mike mussina is a dick. And Johny Franco was nice to me once (in person, obviously, not in the 9th inning of any given game).

    6:13 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    No opening day for me! I got screwed and assumed they'd give my Sunday ticket package the chance to buy early. I had no idea I was lumped into the general populous. I'm sooooo not happy about it.

    7:34 PM

     
    Blogger Coop said...

    Mike - you are not the only one. My dad is a mini-plan holder for Saturdays, and before I got my whole season plan, I had depended on his pre-sale to get the tickets. Although i am going, I am red hot pissed off that he and my uncle aren't going. It's like a family reunion each year. My uncle has been to every Opening Day since 1983 I think. A few smatterings before that but whatever.

    Itsmetsforme - **smooches** I totally misunderstood your remark about Oh Pea. BTW, on BMF I am always defending Oh Pea to the likes of Matt the Met Fan and USMF, so believe me, i get a little jumpy, because I believe in the guy so much. It's insanity!!

    And speaking of insanity, I know it's strange how many people check in to see if I've put my first post up. And I have no idea why -- I'm no stathead, I'm not even a Mets historian or propectus or anything like that -- just a fan I guess who's been through a lot. Don't worry, I will cover all that in my first post. But yeah, it's like a cult over there. I wasn't even aware I knew that many people. Hee hee.

    10:45 PM

     
    Anonymous Scott said...

    OP's little display yesterday was awesome!!! However, until he pitches like that consistantly for a whole season I too will remain dubious. Sorry Coop, but this one amazing start does not a comeback make. I do think/hope he comes back and prove he has 'it' like we all think he does.

    Wooden bats, for those of us who have played ball with them know, do not accelerate the ball from the barrel like the metal bats do. The metal bats accelerate the ball from the time of contact and not from the time that the maximum force is applied to the ball. ie, the metal bat just crushes balls from average hitters while wooden bats require more player development and training. Metal bats are a real danger to pitchers.

    1:02 AM

     
    Blogger Coop said...

    No need to apologize to me Scott. You'll see -- Oh Pea's performance this year will be more than an apology then :)

    7:28 AM

     
    Anonymous anti-anonymous said...

    In his minor league report, Marty Noble cites Shawn Green's hitting resurgence as the reason for why Lastings Milledge will not likely make the team. While I fully expect that Green will and probably even should have the right to lose his position once the season starts, I have to note that those spring numbers are not nearly as imposing as spending all that money on his salary for nothing (and of course keeping Carlos D happy). Milledge has shown himself the heir apparent this spring. Just a matter of
    time. DG

    2:18 PM

     
    Anonymous Danny said...

    Should we let Chan Ho Park know that he can start locating his fastball any day now?

    Yikes.

    8:23 AM

     

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