Sufficient Amounts of Ass Kicking
Three series and four sweeps. What an amazing first week of playoffs and the Rockies just keep on laying waste to whomever is in their way and you can be sure that a Troy Tulowitzki t-shirt jersey will be ordered and be on my body when I head to Shea next year. I'm officially on the Colorado bandwagon and they have been ridiculously fun to watch so far in the playoffs. As for the Indians, they will forever own a little piece of real estate in my heart if they can dispatch the New York Yankees so I can turn on the radio and not hear about their greatness any more.
Speaking of the Yankees, George's comments about Torre were hysterical.
"His job is on the line," the Yankees' owner said in a phone interview. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."
Why should any manager get $7 million? While some think a manager's salary should be comeasurate with the team's salary, I think it is a colossal waste of money. Unless the manager is reinventing the game of baseball, you are better advised to spend that elsewhere or just keep building up a warchest. Of course the door is open since he said he does not 'think' he will taking him back, you would have to wonder if both sides would really want to continue a relationship after this season.
Even more ridiculous, Mike Francesa was speaking about Steinbrenner's statements and said it is OK when he does something like that because it is expected, but it is not OK when Jeff Wilpon does it because he is not Steinbrenner. While one is surely known for it, it certainly does not give him carte blanche to continually act like an ass. It could have been a motivational tactic to get Torre's players to step up, but I am not sure that is the point. What if Jeff was just trying to serve up a healthy plate of motivation? It was plain to see they needed it.
So if you are keeping score at home, the Mets cannot do anything without getting criticized because they 'haven't done anything' and the Yankees can do whatever they want which includes Joba 'showing up' the other team every time he is mound. Chalk up the Mets celebratory habits in the column of something they are not allowed to do because they have not done anything. It was also said that Tom Glavine would sit in the dugout and shake his head when the Mets youthful exuberance would be on display.
To that I say my Tom Glavine jersey will be getting torched this week. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be able light it up, but I have to borrow a camera. Mine conveniently broke while I was in Africa and I need to send it in. But once I get one, goodbye Glavine jersey and hello extra space for one more shirt in my closet.
1. More Passion
So the Mets should look seriously at free agents Aaron Rowand to play center field and David Eckstein to play second base, and/or see if they could pry someone such as the Angels' jack-in-the-box Chone Figgins to be their jack-of-all-trades.
Eckstein is cute in all, but I might rip my eyes out if I had to see him in a Mets uniform everyday. I would not mind Figgins for what he could bring to this team, but the Angels would be hard pressed to part with a guy who can basically fill in anywhere for them and steals a ton of bases. Also, I doubt Eckstein is the missing piece of the puzzle in terms of chemistry for this team.
If you buy all of that, Eckstein's peskiness and seriousness about winning would enliven the Mets.
Seriousness about winning? Who does not need more of that?
By signing Rowand, the Mets would rob the NL East champ Phillies of a big piece. Putting Carlos Beltran in right field might diminish his leg injuries. Having Rowand and Beltran would allow the Mets to more comfortably play the limited range of Moises Alou (yes, pick up his option) in left field and also liberate the Mets to more aggressively use one or two pieces of their strength, high-end, young outfielders (Carlos Gomez, Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez), to pursue pitching.
More grinders? Yes! If the Mets can get Rowand and Eckstein that will have the grinding-est bunch of grinders who have every grinded...or ground. Really though, I think the Mets already played that game of moving gold glove caliber center fielders to right field. The Mets have a wealth of outfield talent and they should use it balance out a high payroll and help them maintain some flexibility.
2. EVERYONE WANTS JOHAN SANTANA, BUT ...
And anyone who suggests the Mets should trade Jose Reyes for Santana is a fool. You might not like how the season ended, but Reyes is 24 and one of the majors' 25 best players. You build around that, you do not trade that. Better to keep Reyes and be the high bidder for Santana a year from now if the lefty gets to the free-agent market.
Nothing to add here. I agree that Santana is nice, but it will not happen. I also like the fact he called Buster Olney a fool.
3. SO HOW DO YOU FIND PITCHING?
I would seriously consider giving Aaron Heilman another rotation shot. He has the stuff for it and it is where his heart is. And if St. Louis' Braden Looper can win 12 games and throw 175 innings in his first year converted from the 'pen, Heilman can do at least that.
I like thinking outside of the box, but I think that would be a bad idea. I think the Mets will roll with The Duque again and Humber and Pelfrey will battle it out for the fifth spot. Really, The Duque's disappearance at the end of '06 and '07 was horrible, but he will be counted on less if the Mets can have a full year of Pedro and get decent starts from Humber or Pelfrey. There might not be much depth, but you need to get those young guys going at some point and the Mets are deep enough with veterans to let them take some lumps and get up to speed. They need to be an integral part of the plan next season and whomever is not in the rotation needs to get shifted into the bullpen.
So if the White Sox want to get rid of the $20 million left on Jose Contreras' pact enough that they would take the steroid twins, Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis, the Mets should seriously consider it. Workhorse types including Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo, Oakland's Joe Blanton, the White Sox's Jon Garland, Texas' Kevin Millwood, Detroit's Nate Robertson and Florida's Dontrelle Willis are likely to be on the trade market. The Mets should determine the one or two they like the best and see if there is a deal to be made.
I would condone this with the exception of Dontrelle. I would also only condone this if The Duque was going to be headed to the bullpen as I truly believe that the Mets need to start working in their top pitching prospects in some fashion. They can never become veterans unless you give them some chances to actually pitch.
The Mets believe in their scouting acumen and in Peterson. Therefore, they should be very active in the Rule 5 draft, minor league free agency, and the Japanese market to provide as many 'pen possibilities to churn through next year as possible, because spending big on marginal guys such as Mota and Schoeneweis is foolhardy.
Getting a hard thrower in the Rule 5 or some foreign import is a great low risk/high rewark move that I fully support.
But with his team teetering on the brink of a knockout, the old Steinbrenner came out swinging on Saturday night, putting Torre on immediate notice and ripping into umpire Bruce Froemming, the veteran crew chief from Friday night's Game 2 who declined to stop play despite an infestation of Lake Erie gnats.
"The umpire was full of [expletive]," Steinbrenner said of the retiring Froemming. "He won't umpire our games anymore."
In the wake of that Game 2 defeat, Steinbrenner said the Yankees had complained to baseball commissioner Bud Selig about the decision to play on. "[Selig] just said, 'That's in the umpires' hands,' " Steinbrenner said. "But Jesus Christ, it was terrible. It messed up the whole team, [Derek] Jeter, all of them."
Oh, Jeter as well? Then the game 110% (coincidently the effort Jeter is magically able to give while other mere mortals can give only 100%) should have been called. I had no idea Captain Jetes was adversely affected as well. Either way, both teams had to deal with it and champions persevere, right?
Billy Beane lays down some common sense on the topic.
"I have, but I'm trying to remember where it happened. That situation was not unlike cold weather or wind -- part of the elements that both teams deal with. I've actually seen bugs much worse than that; remember I spent too much time in minor leagues. Unless you forgot, I was not a good player! Remember, the bugs were bothering hitters, too. A zero sum situation."
1. Fix Jose Reyes:
I wholeheartedly agree that Jose Reyes' perceived attitude issues need to get dealt with, but how do you do that exactly? If Willie was also a contributing factor, it would be of paramount concern and other players should be gauged as to their feelings about the skipper.
2. Re-sign Tom Glavine:
I realize he has been pretty good over the years and did give the Mets 200 innings, but it is clear he has nothing left in the tank. Without the homeplate umps help, he is exposed and likely to get rocked. I would rather use the season to see if some youth can step up and help this rotation. If you need anything else to help sway your mind, check this out. Sure it was a team effort, but Glavine just needs to move on and his perceived indifference about his last start was just one more reason I did not need to formulate my opinion on the topic.
3. Release Guillermo Mota:
I would wait until the spring. However, if he is flat in the spring again and someone steps up, then release him before Willie has the chance to call his number daily.
4. Go after Chad Cordero:
I would love Cordero, but not at the expense of Humber which is to say he will not be available. No way the Nats let him go for nothing and I think Humber could contribute to the bullpen positively if given the chance making any deal for Cordero nebulous.
5. Figure out a temporary plan for Pelfrey and Humber:
As stated above, one should get a rotation spot and another a legit spot in the bullpen.
6. Be prepared to lose Aaron Heilman:
I am not against dealing him for someone that will help the team, but he was the Mets second best reliever in the second half and I hardly think now is the time to start dealing away whatever useful bullpen arms the Mets have. He can buck up and wait for his chance to leave the Mets when his six years of service time is up.
7. Re-sign catcher Paul Lo Duca:
I've stated my opinion on this one time and time again so I will not repeat it.
8. Bring back Moises Alou:
No brainer. He needs to come back.
9. Bring back Luis Castillo and Damion Easley:
I am OK with this as long it is not for longer than two years and not much more than he made in 2007, but I would like to see Gotay get groomed to be a super sub that gets a sizeable amount of at-bats. As for Easley, he is welcome back in 2008.
10. Sign Adam Dunn:
Only if he is on first base and Delgado is magically traded, but I want Lastings to start in right field because I think he could be a true impact player next year.