Being that I had the last two days of posts partially written and never got around to finishing them, I will put them all in a one big swelltastic weekend post.
Two out of three in Milwaukee? Good stuff. This team showed some moxie by coming back after a demoralizing defeat and even Brian Lawrence came up to give a respectable five innings. Jorge Sosa in the bullpen gives me a funny feeling in my pants and I kind of like it. I do think the Mets should consider bringing up Humber and see if they can get slightly above league average production from him and let him get his feet wet and some valuable experience for next season while Sosa helps out in the bullpen.
Wright has a 900+ Ops and is seventh in the league in steals and is on pace to swipe 36 bags and is currently swiping them with a 92% success rate. Out of the NL, only Michael Bourn and Chris B. Young have a better success rate and only Curtis Granderson, Ian Kinsler, Jason Bartlett, Michael Bourn, Chris B. Young, and Ichiro Suzuki best him out of the entire bigs. I think he will get into the 30/30 club this year and he is just oozing sugary goodness of late.
With the Braves cutting Franco, I think we can all agree that his playing days are over. I cannot imagine some team being desperate enough to give him another shot. I still cannot for the life of me figure out what the Braves were thinking, but I guess he did win one game for them. In regards to the Braves overall, they are firmly 5 games behind the Mets and it is completely up to them as to whether or not they will let someone else take this thing.
If you look at Lastings' career so far and take a look at his 162 game average on ESPN, he has a .254/.314/.408 line with 25 doubles, 15 homers, 29 walks, 78 RBIs, and 103 strikeouts. While that may not look great, you have to factor in he was 21 for a large chunk of that with very little minor league action. If he can maintain that .050 ISOD and keep his ISOP around .175, I think he'll hit .300 to .320 every year and be a very impressive ball player and I think he can do that right away if given a steady job.
Also, that swing of his may be the most level of any Met player and he just consistently hits the ball hard. His level swing and bat speed should allow him to stay out of prolonged slumps and prevent him from getting homer-happy and allow him to churn out consistent production. In regards to fielding, if he can just translate the way he plays center to right or left field, he will make up for the lack of power, though I do not think he will be a slouch in that category. I just hope the Mets trust him enough to give him the job in 2008 and keep him in the lineup when Beltran returns. I do not think it will be very long before he hits his stride and produces at a high level.
"I love making deals with John Schuerholz," said one GM on Tuesday. "When you're making a deal with John, he gets right to the point: 'Would you do this -- yes or no? And no hard feelings if you say no.' He's a breath of fresh air in our business. I wish more guys were like him."
What makes him good is that he is not out there trying to rip people off like legions of these GMs who would rather keep a guy they should trade unless they rip the other team off, which is probably the worst way to run a franchise. In the case of the Devil Rays, this has made them much worse than they needed to be over the years.
"Are they the best team in the East now? That, I don't know. They never did get that starting pitcher they needed. But did they make the best deals of anybody to get better? They sure did that."
The Braves are a better and much tougher team, but I would have to still give the edge to the Mets if their bullpen settles in and I think it will with a few internal moves. If Pedro can make it back with Sosa and Humber hitting the bullpen, Aaron coming back strong, and Smith getting some respite, they should settle in just fine. Also, you cannot forget that Perez and Maine have averaged 6.3 innings per start this year and have gone seven or more in just about half of their starts. Last year in the playoffs, the Mets were not getting the gift of innings and I expect that to change and not tax the bullpen as much.
But give him credit. Daniels did indeed deal them both -- plus Kenny Lofton -- and came away with nine prospects, just about all of whom project to play in the big leagues.
The gauge of a good draft is whether or not you got two or three guys that can contribute on the big league level with some stars sprinkled in over the years. The Rangers basically got the equivalent of three or four drafts in one swoop without having any to pay any signing bonuses and freed up a ton of cash that was going to go to Teixeira and can now be allocated elsewhere.
If A-Rod opts out, the Rangers gain $24 million next season alone between two players and will see millions more off the books with Gagne and Lofton gone. The Rangers are in a much better place right now than they were on Monday. Their first five picks which included Blake Beaven and Michael Main were solid and they should get a top ten pick next season. Jon Daniels finally read the book on how to start to rebuild a team. Now if they would only slide their fences back a bit...
"I like that pick-up, but that doesn't mean he's the same guy he used to be," said an official of one team. "His hip is starting to wear out on him, and it shows. But one thing he'll do is, he'll give [Jose] Reyes a chance to run like hell because he has no problem taking the first two strikes. And he'll help them defensively, because he still plays great defense."
Castillo was worth the gamble but I hope they are not married to what they want him to be if he does not play like that ideal player they had in mind.
"It's not just about hope," Santana told The Star Tribune. "In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.
"You always talk about future, future. ... But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it," Santana told the newspaper.
Veteran baseball players are pretty much all in agreement with Santana. When the GM holds steady or even spins a player off that is perceived to be an integral part of the fabric of the club, they get mad. They do not want to hear about rookies, farm systems, or even acquiring prospects and they want to hear 'some guy I don't know traded for some veteran I know'. Standing still or being realistic about your chances and maybe acquiring a guy who can help you down the line is waiving the white flag. The Twins going for it would be a big mistake and unfortunately, he has to think about life after Santana should he leave. There is a good enough core there to be competitive for a while.
If anything, maybe the finger can be pointed towards Carl Pohlad who pocketed 20+ million over the past two years. When you factor in player depreciation, he made more than that. Of course it is his right to make money and spending frivolously is never a good idea, but the Twins should probably be spending more money being that revenue sharing gives them a handsome sum of cash yearly. Terry Ryan is not to blame for not doing something and it is not as black and white as Santana says.
Ryan was simply realistic about their chances did not want to make any mistakes. In the off-season, they need to get a bat, but their rotation and bullpen should be spectacular and they should absolutely be in the thick of things in 2008. Why risk the future for an ill-advised run in 2007? Ryan should be saving all his bullets for 2008 and saving $2 million that was going to go to Castillo with a suitable replacement in the system already was a good idea, though many people think they ripped off by the Mets. Sure he got next to nothing back, but Castillo and his 18 RBIs just did not have much value and it was purely a cash dump and to make room so a piece in 2008 could start getting his feet wet.
The proposal would have kept Teixeira in Texas for eight more seasons at a total of approximately $140 million. The deal would have included a mutually agreed figure for Teixeira's last year of salary arbitration in 2008 and another seven years worth $18 million per season.
First, I think Mark might want to win and the Rangers have some work to do. Second, would a team that far away from winning be making a good choice by plunking down that cash? The Rangers need to stop making crappy trades like when they gave Cordero and Mench away for half of a season of Lee and not trade guys like Chris Young for Adam Eaton. Besides, Hicks spends big. So when they are ready, they can go toe to toe with anyone for a free agent. Lastly, Boras would never let a player like that sign early.
Gil thinks Teixeira is stupid.
But Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, told the Rangers that his client wasn't interested.
Which proves, I suppose, that they don't teach math after all at Georgia Tech, where Teixeira attended. By 2007 salaries, the deal would have made Teixeira the fourth highest-paid player in baseball.
Is Teixeira the fourth-best player in the major leagues? Not even close.
Since when was it a prerequisite to be a top ten player to get paid a top ten salary?
1 Giambi, Jason - $ 23,428,571
2 Rodriguez, Alex - $ 22,708,525
3 Jeter, Derek - $ 21,600,000
4 Ramirez, Manny - $ 17,016,381
5 Helton, Todd - $ 16,600,000
6 Colon, Bartolo - $ 16,000,000
7 Pettitte, Andy - $ 16,000,000
8 Schmidt, Jason - $ 15,703,946
9 Bonds, Barry - $ 15,533,970
10 Sexson, Richie - $ 15,500,000
11 Abreu, Bobby - $ 15,000,000
12 Thome, Jim - $ 14,833,333
13 Berkman, Lance - $ 14,500,000
14 Delgado, Carlos - $ 14,500,000
15 Guerrero, Vladimir - $ 14,500,000
16 Hampton, Mike - $ 14,500,000
17 Martinez, Pedro J. - $ 14,002,234
18 Drew, J.D. - $ 14,000,000
19 Jones, Andruw - $ 14,000,000
20 Tejada, Miguel - $ 13,811,415
Do I really have to go into how many of the top twenty salaries are not top forty players much less top twenty players? Four players at most would be cracking the top twenty. Regardless I'd take Teixiera for $18,000,000 than any of those guys listed above at the their current salary with the exception of A-Rod. Things just aren't that simple when it comes to salaries and skill level and I think that is obvious. It is more about being a free agent at the right time with the right teams needing to fill certain spots.
Samardzija has the velocity and life on his fastball to blow hitters away. He touched 99 mph at Notre Dame, comfortably works in the low to mid-90s and gets tremendous sink.
"Not very many pitchers have natural sink that's hard and late with that velocity," says Rich Bombard, his pitching coach at high Class A Daytona. "You can't teach that. That's what separates him. There are other guys in this league who can throw 93-95 mph, but not with that movement."
Hmmm...not piling up strikeouts? Great natural sink on their mid 90's fastball? More hits than whiffs in every start? Developing slider and change-up?
"There's room for growth," Minaya said, referring to Martinez's velocity. "But we all know Pedro can pitch. The most important thing I saw was movement, location, late movement, that's Pedro."
On a related note, why not claim Farnsworth and the money owed to him? I see that as a risk worth taking should the Yankees make and ill advised decision with Professor Rick's propensity to turn bullpen arms around. He still has a fast (albeit straight) fastball and a nice slider.
Bat Newhan 2nd and bat Gotay 8th. Minor? Absolutely, but still lacking any rational explanation. Outside of a guy feeling, I could not see any reason for it. It is simple. Your better hitters should maximize their times at the plate and there really is no debate for that one. I get the lineup being loaded with lefties since Zambrano just mows down lefties, but not this. It is a wonder why some people question me for questioning Willie's thought process.
Just an aside, I know managers see this type of situation as a good opportunity to rest some guys. In Alou's case, you have a guy that is really tough on righties and Alou's body is nearing a meltdown so this is a good opportunity to sit him. However, I think people get too caught up in this and sacrifice a better bat for lesser hitting lefty. Now, I'm not talking about Willie's inclusion of Newhan into the lineup because the guy has not seen much playing time. I think it was a good day to try and get him at-bats, but I'm just talking in generalities here.