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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Da Edge

The thing about players that have an edge and play like they have something to prove is that they are somewhat immune to criticism to a certain extent. Guys like Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds play for themselves and that is not always a bad thing. I'm not saying they have no sense of team or do not care about the fans, but they are more thick skinned. Now with Gary and Barry comes more baggage. Gary shouts racism all to often and has some other issues while Barry just needs a bit more advice when it comes to public relations, but I see Lastings in a different light.

Of course he is not a maniac like Gary and he does not seem to have more subtlety than Barry, but he is the type of guy that does not care what everyone says. Lastings concentrates on Lastings and what he can control, which is his play on the field. Boo him? I think he will use that as fuel whereas some people shrink. Trade rumors? Out of his hands and just goes out and plays. The media being all over him? Well they have been since day one and he has not shriveled, cried, wilted, or hid. New York teams always talk about finding guys that are good fits for New York.

We all know not everyone can survive here and thin skinned players that are shy is not exactly the profile of that New York GMs seek out. Lastings possess a lot of qualities that will allow him to succeed as a Met and he relishes the spotlight. He is a guy that has the ability to make a big splash and stand up to pitfalls of playing in New York. He may not be as affable as David Wright, but that certainly is not such a bad thing.

One thing we have learned from this past lull the Mets went through is that complacency could be a killer. A guy with a bit of an edge could be a nice addition to any clubhouse as long as it does not come with a lot of baggage, which Lastings does not. He is not a bad guy. He is just a kid who maybe does not think everything through and he could be a big spark for this team over the next few years. I am officially pumped he is back up and hopefully he gets some meaningful at-bats and a chance to contribute on this team.

* * *

  • Draft update...stolen from Baseball America as usual.

    Players the Mets have signed:
    Round Player Position Bonus
    1s - Nathan Vineyard - lhp - $657,000
    2 -- Scott Moviel - rhp - $414,000
    2 -- Brant Rustich - rhp - $373,500
    3 -- Eric Niesen - lhp - $351,000
    3 -- Stephen Clyne - rhp - $100,000
    4 -- Richard Lucas - 3b - $150,000
    5 -- Zach Lutz - 3b - $120,000
    6 -- Guillaume Leduc - rhp - $120,000
    7 -- Lucas Duda - 1b - $85,000
    8 -- Dan McDonald - rhp - $75,000
    10 - Brandon Richey - ss - $40,000
    11 - Matt Bouchard - ss
    12 - Will Morgan - rhp
    13 - Jordan Abruzzo - c
    14 - Robert Carson - lhp
    15 - Jefferies Tatford - c
    16 - Chris Fournier - of
    18 - Michael Antonini - lhp
    19 - Ernesto Gonzalez - ss
    20 - Dylan Owen rhp
    21 - Dillon Gee rhp
    22 - Tyler Vaughn - 3b
    23 - Norberto Navarro - c
    24 - Michael Parker - 2b
    25 - Cole Abbott - rhp
    26 - Brad Burns - rhp
    27 - Kyle Catto - rhp
    29 - Roydrick Merritt - lhp
    32 - Juan Centeno - c
    35 - Jason Lavorgna - rhp
    37 - Jose Alvarez - 3b
    38 - Brandon Kawal - of

    The total for the above listed bonuses is $2,485,500. Not many big ticket guys after that to sign so they will not necessarily increase the total much higher.

    Players who have not signed:
    1s - Eddie Kunz - rhp
    9 - -Michael Olmstead - rhp
    17 - Brandon Efferson - rhp
    28 - Kyle Maxie - c
    30 - Rylan Sandoval - 2b
    31 - Tony Peraza - lhp
    33 - Nicholas Abshire - ss
    34 - Terry Johnson - ss
    36 - Glen Johnson - ss/3b
    39 - Alonzo Harris - ss

    They did a pretty good job in signing the majority of their draft picks and Eddie Kunz will sign. Aside from Kunz, the only two interesting names left are Brandon Efferson and Glen Johnson. Glen of course is HoJo's son and will probably choose to go to college due to his fringy tools. He does not exactly project to be a big leaguer so he should get a degree and see where he is at that point. He if still wants to make a go of it, he could at that point.

    As for Efferson, he is a legit prospect. According to BA, he flashes three plus pitches. He has an 89-94 mph fastball, a curveball, and a changeup that dives. The red flag, and the thing that doomed Kazmir in this organization, is that he is 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds. Throw on top of that he is reportedly looking for a seven-figure price tag and you have a lot of hesitancy on behalf of the Mets. The positive thing as BA points out is that he has a clean delivery and generates his quality stuff with arm speed rather than maximum effort. With only one big ticket guy left in Eddie Kunz for the Mets to sign, they really have not spent much on the draft this year. Seeing as he would be an above slot guy, he would not get signed until the deadline in August. However, this is someone the Mets should definitely take a chance on. He looks like he could be a devastating reliever with a chance to be a good starter as well.

  • A few more thoughts on the All-Star game.

    1) I know it REALLY does not matter, but people do care or else it should not be played. I am an NL fan and I would like to see the NL win and if the Mets do reach the World Series, it would have been nice to start at home.
    2) One inning per pitcher is a gamble for LaRussa. If a starter looks off, pull him after one, but why already have a preconceived idea that everyone goes one no matter what? I would rather take my bets with six pitchers being on their game for two two inning stints and four one innings stints rather than nine pitchers for one inning stints. If you go with nine, there is more of a chance of getting a guy who is off and if someone needs rescuing, you are not leaving much depth. The goal should be one starter not being used at the very end in case someone needs to go a few innings.
    3) Why was Miguel Cabrera even there if he could only pinch hit? In a game that you burn through players like it is going out of style, it would help if you could keep all of your flexibility.
    4) I'm ok with the game as currently set up, but please ditch the homefield advantage thing. There are just too many things wrong about it with so many mitigating factors. I do not want a manager's gaffe to possibly affect my team when they have nothing to do with my team. I'm not asking for an overhaul of the game, just let it be what it is. An exhibition game. Placing unneeded importance on the game will not make more people watch. The game is immensely popular right now and thriving. Let marketing do it's thing and let the players do theirs. I would be ok if you wanted to say whichever league takes interleague gets homefield, but the way it is currently set up is silly.

  • In a word...Jim Leyland is refreshing. Refreshing because of his approach to being coach of the AL All-Star team.

    You watch managers handle the All-Star Game -- the roster decisions, the lineup decisions, while trying to find the proper balance between honoring players in an exhibition and trying to win the game -- and I don't think anybody has done a better job than Jim Leyland. He had half an excuse to start Justin Verlander, and he made what was probably the correct call on Haren. He could have had Gary Sheffield on the team, but he chose Martinez of the Indians, which was the fair decision again, given Sheffield's poor start. He placed his own three starters at the bottom of the batting order. He played a lot of players, and at the end, he made pitching changes to win.

    How many years did we have to watch Torre load up his own team leaving deserving guys at home?

  • The entire AL East is under .500 with the exception of Boston. At what point are they called the worst division in baseball? I do not think nearly enough attention is being paid to what horrid baseball is going on over there and just maybe the Red Sox are getting too much credit for being as good as generally perceived. I'm not saying they are bad, but are they that good? They may very well be the second best team in the league, but the different between #2 and #9 is not all that big right now. Within that piece Ruben Gotay is getting some much deserved ink.

    Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa are both on the DL. Perez should be back by the fourth game after the All-Star break, but Sosa will be out longer than that. Overall, that’s the 12th trip to the DL a Mets player has made this year. On the bench, Ruben Gotay is turning into something of a savior, batting .333 AVG/.377 OBP/.514 SLG in limited action this season.

    The scouting consensus on Gotay seems to be an average defender that is a decent line drive hitter. Of course he is not going to be a savior with the bat, but he could provide adequate production for a Met team that is not looking to get 20 homers out of second base.

  • If you are into betting or Vegas odds, you might be interested in this article. They apparently think the Mets still have a pretty good shot at the World Series.

  • Dan Perry lays out some burning questions for the second half.

    6. Can the Mets hang on?

    The Mets have been waylaid by injuries this season, but they still cling to a two-game lead over the Braves in the NL East. In the second half, the Mets figure to get Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa and Moises Alou back from the DL. That's quite a shot in the arm. However, if the Mets and/or Phillies are able to land a starting pitcher at the deadline, then things could get even tighter. New York has the edge, but there's not much breathing room at the moment.

  • John Rowe dishes out his mid-season grades and he only dished out one F.

    Julio Franco: F

    At 48, a great story. Too bad his bat speed is merely a memory. Time to give the popular Met a coaching job so the club can get another bench player.

    I thought his Willie grade was a little high and Omar grade was a little low. Given the second base options, Valentin was hardly a horrible sign and he did create and out for '08. Blame Willie for trying his hardest to get him that 400th at-bat. In regards to Schoeneweiss, he was looking to possibly trade Heilman with a dearth of guys who can get left handers out, he took a gamble that did fail. Alou got injured, but I don't think anyone thought he wouldn't. If he can stay on the field for the second half he will have given you as many games as you would have expect. Also, with Milledge, Gomez, and Chavez you figured the depth was there to cover it which probably factored into things. Who would have thought all four would have been down at one time?

  • BP talks about some Met prospects.

    Great Leap Forward: Right-hander Bobby Parnell has started to fulfill some of his projection, gaining 2-3 ticks on his fastball while moving up to Double-A and nearly striking out a batter per inning. Only 20, shortstop Jose Castro is the polar opposite of a three true outcomes type of player, generating two home runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts in 250 at-bats; a boatload of singles has him at .348/.388/.420 for High-A St. Lucie.
    Not What We Expected: The much-ballyhooed righty duo of Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey has done little. Humber has rarely dominated at Triple-A New Orleans in posting a 4.48 ERA in 17 starts, allowing 101 hits in 96.1 innings. Pelfrey spent much of the first half in the big leagues, and has accumulated more walks (22) than strikeouts (21) in 41.1 innings as he continues to try to find a breaking ball.
    Open Questions: Is outfielder Fernando Martinez’ year at Double-A Binghamton (.271/.336/.377) a step in the wrong direction, or an impressive performance for a 19-year-old? We can ask the same question about 18-year-old Deilos Guerra at High-A St. Lucie after he's put up a 4.58 ERA.
    Who Will Be No. 1?: With no top draft pick, it will be up to the teenage sensations to step it up in the second half of the season.

    Parnell broke into pro ball with Brooklyn and opened some eyes with his otherworldly ability to keep the ball in the park. He allowed one homer in 73 innings of work. In Hagerstown in '06 he got off to a bad start and settled in with a 4.04 ERA, a solid, 8.07 K/9, and a 0.67 hr/9. He did not fair well in St. Lucie, but it was a small sample size. He is having a fine season so far and handled St. Lucie just fine and did not allow one homer in fifty+ innings. The Mets did focus heavily on arms the last three drafts, but you cannot say they do not have much show for it. A few ace potential guys with quite a few quality starting prospects.

    Jose Castro seems like a non-prospect to me. Wasn't all that good in '05 and '06, makes tons of errors, has no pop, he's 5'8", and doesn't walk. I'm not sure what we are supposed to like here.

    I think we can all agree Humber and Pelfrey had been let downs. We had such high hopes that they could have played a lot better and still be a let down, but the jury is still out on the both them. Humber needs a whole year back and Pelfrey just needs to accumulate minor league innings.

    I'm not going to touch the two teenagers...wait...that didn't come out right. Let me try this again...I think we have spoken about them too much already, but they are young. They need more time. Sure we would love to see big numbers from them, but not many people are competing at their level at their respective ages.

  • Ramon Castro has a 7.4 VORP in very limited playing time.

  • Mr. Klapisch does not like the Home Run Derby.

    What, exactly, is the suspense in watching the game's most powerful sluggers hit 40-mph fastballs over the wall? It's like watching LeBron James dunking on a nine-foot basket. There's no suspense, no mystery. Hitting batting practice home runs signify nothing.

    Well, plenty of mindless Americans do. I think it was higher rated than the World Series. Do not quote me on that, I'm just going off of something I think I heard. If not that, it was bigger than something...or most things on TV baseball related. I do not watch it to particularly see who wins. I hope underdogs like Rios and Holliday win, but I'm not biting my nails. I watch it to see majestic shots. I want to see if a righty can knock one into the water or if someone can knock it out of the deepest part of the park. I'm not as concerned with big names in there either as I'd rather see some relative unknowns mixed in with some bigger stars that will always invariably come. It serves as a great platform for some guys who are not on the national stage to perhaps make a name for themselves.

    I do think his idea of upping the stakes works if the money goes to charity, but I'm not too disappointed in the way the current Home Run Derby is set up.

  • Five years and $100 million + for Ichiro? Great player, but that looks like something that is going to disturb the market.

  • Milledge, Gomez, and Fernando are solid prospects no doubt. But a few other guys are really making their names as legit prospects.

    Brahiam Maldonado is putting together a solid year.

    Sean Henry is finally putting all of his tools to use.
  • Labels:


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Rickey likes Rickey, baby.


    12:37 AM

    Anonymous benny said...

    I must say that slowly but surely over the past year and half I have started to become impressed with some Met fans. The same ones that judged him and hated Lastings Milledge are starting to realise that his "issues" are absolutely nothing and have been blown out of porportion.
    Its wierd to think that Milledge was in Double A just last season but here is a year later he is ABSOLUTELY KILLING Double A. Sure its only about a 7 game sample but he has hit about 3 or 4 HR's already. It's a really good sign and in my opinion that performance demonstrates he's a major leaguer.

    Looking at the Met draftees and thier signings and it seems like the Mets went the cheap route with all thier guys...

    No matter what anyone thinks about the All-Star game whether it matters, doesn't matter, think the home field advantage angle makes sense or is stupid, last night in the 9th inning, was VERY intense. And no one can deny that. Too bad Tony LaRussa destroyed a dream matchup of K-Rod vs Albert Pujols. God La Russa is such a piece of shit.
    After years of being in the middle in regards to homefield advantage, I now think its cool to let that be a part of the all star game. I mean last night was intense for me persoanlly for that reason alone. And another thing, the old way was to alternate!!! I mean c'mon, alternating? it doesn't even have to do with how good or bad the team was, or the record or anything, its something out the control of EVERYONE! Might as well make it semi-interesting. Because the old way was to... ALTERNATE!
    And besides, home field advantage doesn't even really matter in the end.
    All you have to say about Joe Torre and the All-Star game is that Mike Stanton made it in like 1999 or something, what a douche!

    Ichiro is getting ALOT of money.

    3:31 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anyone who high fives fans after clutch HR's and pisses off Billy Wagner should be a God to me.

    Unfortunately, I don't think he's long for this team. Talent wise, he's okay, but I think his bat will turn out to be very vanilla in a corner. I suppose he could become a Rondell White-Brian Jordan type. It all depends if Milo can stay healthy and improve his baserunning and defense. I'll be shocked if he hits .300 on a regular basis. I can see a .280-.350-.450 kind of player for most of his career. Nice, but nothing spectacular. Additionally, he'll probably spend lots of time on the DL.

    I'll proceed with the duck and cover...


    4:08 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    They certainly did not spend a lot on the draft and really didn’t even take any guys for signability issues. No big international signings….weird. At least if they sign Efferson he’s a high ceiling arm. Even if it’s overpaying a bit, they do not have much of a choice.

    That matchup with the bases load and Albert Pujols would have been amazing. Selig would have wet his pants over that one. The stage was set for something big. Very big.

    I think homefield matters slightly no? Maybe the stats say it is minor, but aren’t teams generally better at home? Starting off the series at home surely has it’s benefits.

    Torre should have been kicked in the face for what he did. It kind of made a mockery of the entire process…and that one year he carried like six short stops to justify putting Jeter on there….ridiculous.

    Ichiro is getting too much money. Yes, he is marketable…but that marketable?

    I'll be shocked if he hits .300 on a regular basis.

    Well, I think he can be a .300+ hitter in this league with his bat speed and foot speed. 20+ homers and 20+ steals…cannon arm…solid defense. The thing is, you cannot just develop stars. It is nice to not have to go on the market and overpay for a crappy outfielder. If he is just an above average player in the mold of a Brian Jordan that is fine by me and if you can’t trade him for pitching, then he has higher value here and he should be affordable to keep around.

    9:10 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Sorry Emad...I had NO idea what your first post was talking about. That is until now...

    "I'm going to go home to Vegas," Down said. "This will not be the end of my career. I promise you that."

    Down fired? Sweetness. I never liked him. I wanted HoJo a long time ago, but some amalgamation of Rickey and HoJo helping out is good. With the Mets complete lack of patience and working pitchers, I guess they think Ricky is the man to help out.

    Maybe, but maybe not. One thing is clear, it wasn't Down.

    9:17 AM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    In addition to Stanton in '99, didn't Torre also add Flash Gordon in '04? It's ridiculous and another good reason to root against the Yankees winning the penant (as if we needed one).

    I know he's now 27 years old, but should I be at all upset about what Craig Brazell is doing in Omaha? 30 Home Runs? OPS of 1.003? Yikes!

    I have no scientific basis for this, but I think part of the ratings success of the HR Derby stems from the fact that there's no other sports on TV on against it, and it is the first of the All Star Break events. It shouldn't out-perform the World Series, but the Series is always on against the NFL (though, evidently, less so this year).

    I am very pumped up to have 'Stings back. Let's hope he starts out hot, and we can dust off the Lastings Milledge "Facts".

    11:19 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Actually, thinking about it Rickey has had a positive efeect on the Mets...period. In 1999 He was a main reason why the Mets even made the playoffs, including the leadoff HR in the one game playoff.

    Then Omar instantly hooks him up with Reyes to learn base stealing (his prior Mets student Roger Cedeno), and Reyes not only steals bases but hits like Rickey too.

    So looking at the big picture, now we have two more similar candidates in Gomez and Milledge who SHOULD be manning the OF corners for a while...enter Rickey the full time coach. Hmmmm, I wonder if this move SPECIFICALLY coincides with Milledges promotion!And as such sends a message that Rickey will be Millz's tutor, AND Milledge is not going anywhere.

    On Rick Down: Beltran kinda threw him under the bus to start the season. Personally, I the hitting coach is Franco's and Rickey will eventually go to a bench coaching role.

    11:47 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Bookied, I have to disagree. I think people genuinely like it. They turn it on if was last night… Maybe not as much because as you said it is a nice lead in, but I think it is popular. I have no idea what it out rated in terms of baseball games, but this WS was horrid. Lowest ever maybe? It’s been rather week so it truly wouldn’t surprise me. But I do believe I’m probably just wrong in what I said.

    Check Brazell’s walks. Something like 2 or 10. Don’t be fooled. He’ll get his shot and he’ll hit a few homers, but his body type is not projectable and he’s a butcher on the field. He’s the quintessential AAA player but I wish him well.

    Anon…good point. Rickey and not Down was largely credited to Reyes taking his game to the next level and HoJo has been credited with Wright. I’m not sold Down did much of anything!

    Franco, hitting coach…Ricky bench coach? Not too bad. Though I’d rather see HoJo as the bench coach. I loved the guy as a player and think he’s a big time managerial prospect. He works well with young guys as evidence of Wright’s praise with him.

    12:25 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Newsday is reporting that the Mets are DFA'ing Old Man Franco to make room for Milledge.

    I don't quite believe it yet but it is out there.


    2:33 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Whoa...I just fell off my chair. They are actually saying they are serious about winning and have a deeper team as a result.

    I'm assuming as classy as Omar is, they sat him down and spoke with him at length. It also would not have surprised me if he agreed that he was out of gas and just could not do it.

    I know he wanted to play until he was 50, but you have to be realistic.

    2:37 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I've got front row seats tonight in right field. I'm trying to think up a clever sign, being that there is so much going on.

    I didn't make it to the all star game with my "Shea or Away?" sign.

    Maybe something for Henderson..."Hey Rickey, wanna play left?" Any other ideas?

    2:53 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    woops didn't read that about milledge, never mind that last idea

    2:58 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    I'm speechless about Julio Franco. Now that's it happened I kinda sorta MAYBE feel bad BUT it demonstrates the Mets and Omar Minaya are dead serious about winning.
    Wow... this is great news.

    3:05 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Don't feel bad Benny...the guy could have bowed out an admitted he was done which would have been the gracious thing. Maybe he was just waiting until Milledge was ready, but whatever. It is done and loooong overdue. I never thought it would happen.

    For a sign just put "Rickey love Rickey!"

    Really, I'm no good at clever things to put on a sign. If anything, I would prefer to slander Randolph so I don't think I'd be able to help you get on TV.

    3:16 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    How about "THE EDGE IS BACK!"

    3:20 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    More news on a busy day:

    Mets signed Marlon Anderson to a minor league contract. I love it as insurance. He's certainly a better option than David Newhan, no?

    Marlon will be added to the New Orleans roster for tonight's game.

    3:58 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Danny, you get an A+ for today. Thanks for all of the info...all the moves are solid ones and it shows that Omar needed to do a shakeup, however minor they are.

    They are coming out guns a blazing.

    4:17 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    danny, you would be a better option than newhan at this poin

    8:04 PM

    Anonymous gbaked said...

    You can not put albert up in that situation.

    You are playing with other managers players. You HAVE to have someone to come in "just in case." What if a player gets hurt? You bring a pitcher in to the field? You ask a player to play hurt or forfeit the game? You cant do that.

    Get on Tony for leaving himself with no other options. Get on him for bringing fucking Rowand on the team (wouldnt byrnes have been good there? Or Hanley Ramirez? or Aramis Ramirez? or Howard? Or Rollens?)... But dont get on him for leaving himself an injury cushion while playing with other teams best players.

    9:54 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I don't agree. I just think you can roll the dice with no bench for an inning or two. Worry about an injury if it comes. He had one reliever anyway. Great, he left a cushion but how long would a closer go? How long would he be allowed to go? I'm sure the D-Backs would not appreciate their closer going three innings. Exhaust the bench. You could have ended it there anyway. Even if you didn't, you have to take a chance. Sorry, you play to win. As obvious as that sounds, I do not think he made the right decisions in that context.

    12:09 AM


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