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

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Baseball Revolution

Baseball has taken quite a strange turn this off-season and I do not think that is a bad thing. In past years, getting trades done was seemingly impossible much less a trading for a top tier player. The free agent market used to be the place where people got their talent during the off-season and now the free agent market has forced teams into trading. Small market teams dish their top tier talent off to large market teams while the small market teams take their best and brightest to maintain financial flexibility. They also do not have to wait for whatever draft picks they obtain from watching their stars abscond into free agency to develop and are able to compete a lot sooner.

For large market teams, bad drafting and irresponsible development of their farm system can put them at a severe competitive disadvantage. GMs are now forced to get more creative and better at scouting and player development. Simply stated, you cannot survive on feasting on the free agent market alone while developing only a few prospects. While not as many trades have gone through that have been rumored, it is unmistakable that there has been more talent on the market in many, many, many years and I love it.

I love this new mode of operation where teams can actually go get themselves a true ace or a future Hall of Famer. Johan, Haren, Willis, Bay, Tejada, Blanton, Garland, Blanton, Rios, Lincecum, Young, Garza, etc. are a lot of big time names. Some with a serious length of time on the books. This is baseball's market today. You can either get on board with it or fall to back of the pack and unfortunately, the Mets have done just that.

By not giving their prospects enough of a chance and just enough to show other people that they are seemingly middle of the road, the Mets have shot themselves in the foot. Milledge and Pelfrey would have been better off not seeing a nanosecond of big league time. If they had not, they would have still been highly regarded. Instead, Milledge never got a true chance to shine and the media painted him as a big distraction. If he gets 120 games last season, he probably looks like a tremendous center field option over the next four years at a value. Especially when Hunter and Jones just got $18 million per year. A guy with an ability to hit .280 with 20 or so homers, 80 or so RBIs and 20 stolen bases at 23 years of age should have been a hotter commodity, but Shawn Green needed to get his ABs.

Pelfrey shit the bed early on in the year, but never got a shot to shine out of the bullpen or build upon his flashes of showing something later in the year. Humber's AAA numbers looked mediocre, but never got a shot to fill in for the Mets while Lawrence and Park stole games. At the end of the season, Humber got a start after sitting idle for nearly two thirds of a month and never got a shot at the bullpen despite how impressed the Mets said they were after his two inning show in 2006. As someone stated in the comments the other day, how can other teams take the Mets seriously about their kids having talent when they had glaring needs themselves and did not want to go to the farm system that they are holding in such a high regard.

Furthermore, the Mets have just flat out drafted bad. Sure, there are some nice guys in there that have surprised or could end up surprising, but their first pick of last year's draft is already looking like a middle reliever at best rather than a late innings option. Also, last year's draft for the Mets had everyone getting slot money when they needed to overpay for someone that fell. Then you can add Beato not getting inked because of a $200,000 or so discrepancy because the Mets wanted to be solid citizens. Now, the Mets are on the sidelines while some tremendous names are being bandied about. No one wants what the Mets have because they are not buying a word of it. That is not to say the names they are throwing out there are worthless, they most certainly are not. Mike Pelfrey still has an arm that most people dream of having and could still fulfill his potential, though many people doubt that. Humber lost a bit of bite on his curve, but it is hard to deny he was at the top many leader boards in AAA despite having minimal experience as a pro. Mulvey has taken a step forward and seems like he is ready to make that next jump.

The only hope the Mets have is that someone trusts their eyes more than ears. However, the Mets can blame no one but themselves and you really cannot blame people for not putting much stock in the words of Omar Minaya and you can certainly blame everyone from Wilpon down to Willie for putting themselves in this spot. Just when everyone thought the Mets had turned a corner in terms of doing things the right way and relying on their prospects to get them into the promised land, it is clear that not much has changed around New York but the faces. I advocated prudence this off-season and the Mets are not far away from that. The Milledge deal was a disaster, but the Mets need to operate their franchise the right way and not pay attention to what fans or the media says.

* * *

  • From KLaw:

    Steven Register was a top closer at Auburn before he was drafted in 2004, but the Rockies tried to make him a starter and it didn't work. As a reliever, he has good control and a 91-93 mph fastball with some sink (although it hasn't produced a good groundball rate), and a tight slider that should be an average pitch in time. I could see him making the Mets' club in spring training, and if it saves them from going after the next Guillermo Mota, so much the better.

    I have no idea if this guy is any good, but the Mets needed to get creative and this would certainly qualify. They have not been lucky in the past, but that does not mean they should not try. Of course if he makes the team, he'll probably get the Heath Bell treatment and get buried in the bullpen after he gives up seven hits after being off for nine days.

  • I forget if I linked to this, but here I go again. Thanks to Scott D...

  • I would love to see a two-way baseball player, but is it possible? If Micah Owings does not practice hitting all that much and still rakes, he should consider switching to offense full time. I think his sparkling stats might involve that thing called sample size unless he is one of the best hitters in the universe. It is just too hard to come in and hit while not focusing solely on just that. That being said, I hope he sees some games at first.

  • Andruw goes to the Dodgers for a lot of money over a short amount of time. Andruw gets $18 million per year, but it is actually a $12 million signing bonus and the rest split over the next two seasons. If the Dodgers were smart, they would give their kids a shot and dump Pierre to someone and pay half his salary. I'm sure he has some value to someone in that context, but I doubt they move Pierre. Also, they still have Nomar on board, but he could be a supersub. With so much youth, it would not hurt to have him around getting a decent number of at-bats. If they did all this, the Dodgers lineup would look something like this:


    That is one nice lineup that has some much youth and upside potential. Of course, you could switch some people around and I would prefer Kemp bat fourth with Jones fifth, but Jones is a veteran superstar...at least that's how I think Torre will view it. However, we know this is a pipe dream because they hate LaRoche's guts and Pierre and Garciaparra are still around. The rotation would be led by:


    Despite Mike and The Mad Dog thinking the rotation is underwhelming, I think they have the makings of a dominant rotation. The back two would not be too shabby either. They still have Loiza, Kuo, Kershaw later on, and possibly Kurado. The Dodgers are truly positioned well for the future, but it is hard to know what Colletti is thinking these days.

  • Apparently frigging (or derivatives of the word) is pretty popular these days.

  • Willie on last season:

    "I think about it every day," the Mets' manager said of his team kicking away a seven-game lead with 17 to play in one of history's greatest folds.

    "They should be thinking about it. I'm dealing with it and flushing it out. But, for the most part, we're not going into spring training harping on last year. We have to learn from that experience, get better from that, really just focus on the future. We all should have learned something from last year and I think we will."

    A good manager is worth about five wins. A bad manager is worth about five losses. Willie is a bad manager. Hopefully he really did learn something so he can be neutral next season.

  • The Mets have no shot at Johan.

    The Mets are still in on Santana.

  • Picking John Maine to impersonate is brilliant. Besides hardcore fans, who would recognize him?

  • Fuentes for Heilman? Yeah...that makes sense.

  • Just an FYI:

    Feb. 14 -- Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players.

    Feb. 19 -- Voluntary reporting date for other players.

    Feb. 26 -- Mandatory reporting date.



    Anonymous seattle steve said...

    Cudos to the Tigers and Marlins for pulling the trigger/ all the other teams wussed out.
    In the perfect world with no injuries the need to expose what we thought was grade AAA talent to early hurt us but maybe just maybe the best trades are the ones you do not make. If we luck out the Pelfreys , Humbers and Gomez's will have stellar Aprila and Mays and there value will be restored anyway I honestly feel that there is a conspiracy out there to down grade the METS prospects when it comes time to make trades and then we do what always occurs overpay.

    11:59 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Preach on brother. Steady as she goes. While an ace is nice, don't worry about making a move just so the natives don't get restless.

    Just as an offshoot of what you were saying, Hughes, Cabrera, Marquez, and whoever is better than Gomez, Pelfrey, whomever and whomever.

    But I'm not sure that much better. Hughes is much better than Pelfrey, but Pelfrey still has some goods. Gomez far outweighs Cabrera...well...because Melky is not as good as people think and Gomez's ceiling is high. If you like Gomez a lot as many people do, that deal is certainly palatable and better than most think. Perception is so low that people dismiss that as a good package, but it is. Prospects are about projectability sometimes and you have to trust your scouts on being able to determine if they can attain those ceilings.

    I won't mind an ace, but keeping them won't be the worst thing since they have the chance to be pretty damn good.

    12:08 AM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Man, baseball is only a couple of months away. Pretty exciting.

    Steven Register sounds like a good guy to take a chance on, we'll see...

    Fuck Mike Huckabee, I wanna vote for Chuck Norris. That is just... awesome. I would vote for him.

    I don't know what makes the Dodgers crazier, signing Juan Pierre last year or signing Andruw Jones this year because of Juan Pierre. Ned Colletti is fucking nuts. He comes from the school of Brian Sabean, its soo obvious.

    Micah Owings and Dontrelle Willis are the wave of the future. This would be very exciting to see. Micah Owings would immediately become one of my favorite ball players.

    Willie Randolph still sucks.

    3:38 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I was shocked to see it that close, but yes. It's veeeeerrrrry close.

    Colletti has the chance to do some special things over there, but it seems nuts what he does over there.

    I actually do not mind the Jones signing. Only two years so he does not have to see him turn 35 as a Dodger and then he frees up cash to re-sign Penny with Billingsley and Kershaw in the rotation. That's a formidable front three. You would think I prefer GMs to ruin the NL teams, but I'm a baseball fan and it still pains me to see how some of these teams run.

    Poor DePodesta. He got a raw deal. Two years to make a mark is just not enough. I don't think he got a chance and hope he is available when Omar gets axed! Kidding of course....

    8:47 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Whew! Where to begin after such a good post?

    I think most of us knew here that Milledge would have completely eliminated Green from playing consideration had he not gotten hurt last summer at the worst possible time. The Mets were forced to go with Gomez out of desperation (and we must note that we liked what we saw). Everything we saw from Lasto last year from ST on said "breakout." And now he gets to do that against us.

    Jim Bowden actually deserves serious cred by the way for his winter so far. For a guy with a near insane reputation, he's seriously improved the Gnats at minimal cost. If I was Manny Acta, I'd be happy at the moment. Even his choice to hold on to Soriano doesn't look as bad anymore after the team's stellar draft last year.

    The Mets love of college power relievers is one of the great question marks of the last couple of years. While seemingly risible, the business model has likely supported this sort of targeted drafting. That is, until this year, where it has become all too clear, as you yourself note Mr. Oliver, that positional depth has other uses even when you have two of the most promising infielders in baseball anchoring your team.

    It's too early to say that Kunz won't make much of anything (which is somehow what a middle reliever out of a top pick reads to me), but let's not forget that Omar & the Beane fathered the idea of a college reliever as top pick with Cordero & Street. We'll see how Kunz performs this year, when a lot of the first year pressures will have dissipated somewhat. What we do know is that somewhere amongst all those college relievers, one is going to stick. My bet is his last name is Clyne.

    And realistically the Mets do still have a shot at Santana since the Twins may very well be motivated as I believe Heyman wrote yesterday to make sure that Santana doesn't come to Minny and rile the natives. Unless the Dodgers step in, there's a decent argument that something could be worked out. And as long as they keep one of those outfielders, we all could easily live with it.

    For me, the Dodgers show the fallacy of prospect hoarding. Do they actually ever play their prospects? Do they ever even trade them? Everyone and everyone's mother tells you that this kid Kemp is the major shit, and yet, the Duds just signed Andruw instead. It's like Mets West, except they do actually know how to draft em. Play them or trade them; just do something! AJ's signing seems kind of laughable to me as it is effectively a sort of lateral step. I'm not doubting his talent, but at some point you gotta grab your crotch and say check this out!... The big wad in their pants is named Kemp!

    I sense irony in that Fuentes/Heilman tidbit? I was scratching my head on that one last night. I'm not really sure it can be trusted, especially when you get to the part about Schoenough. In fact that trade only makes sense if our little drug cheat gets thrown into the deal as the Mets sport three lefties in their pen already. Here too, why trade Heilman if it's not in a bigger deal (or was that the purpose, to tempt the Twins?). I'd still like to see Heilman come back to the rotation, personally. Of course that would be after there are actually set up men to take his place.

    Which leads me to: why is it so fucking hard to sign Octavio Dotel to a contract? With no guarantee regarding Duaner, this just seems to make too much sense.

    I think you meant Beato not Betances.

    And of course, Willie can go suck my left one! No pity here.

    10:44 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Milledge lost time to injury, but he still never got a full time shot when he got back and didn't get a chance to actually win out of Spring Training. He should have been in there from day #1. You knew what Green was and he could have served as a capable back-up.

    Right on about Bowden's draft. They had possibly the best draft and I did rip them for no trading Alfonso. However, did they get a first rounder for him? Nope. Cubbies were in the bottom 15 so I think they still missed the boat on picking someone up. They get a second round pick and a sandwich for him which probably still is not optimal.

    I'm not saying Kunz is going to be useless, but he is not future 'closer' material and has not gotten good reviews so far. The early returns are not great.

    For me, the Dodgers show the fallacy of prospect hoarding. Do they actually ever play their prospects? Do they ever even trade them?

    The Angels could be accused of that as well. Mathis...Wood...Kendrick took a bit...

    They are similar.

    DG, there was 100% irony in the Fuentes bit. It makes NO sense. The Shoe bit about him being a deal breaker was so laughable. That would have been a reason to do the deal! I would sacrifice Heilman to get rid of Schoe's cash as long as Omar brought in another decent arm.

    Octavio makes a ton of sense. I'm not sure if he is just waiting to see what develops, but he makes a lot of sense.

    Beato! Sorry. My bad. I remember we wanted them to draft Betances and skipped him a few times for bad players.

    12:15 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The New York Mets have announced that from now on, all catchers on the 25 man roster must have been born in 1976. All outfielders on roster, however, must have been born in the following two years of 1977 and 1978. As for infielders, any born in 1982 or 83 can be considered. Exceptions: Older (and conceivably younger) players could be considered for an infield or outfield position, so long as their names begin with A, B, C, D or E.

    12:56 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    RE: falacy of prospect hoarding: My unscientific impression is that LA's lineup is loaded with young guys. I live in LA and everytime i go out to a game, i have to ask who the hell is that guy? Talented young catchers and outfielders are all over the damn place. Maybe they don't break in the pitching so much. I think signing Jones was a blunder for them. He is seriously declining in everything but hatsize and wastesize. Plus I hates him.

    I like me some Pelf and C-go, but for Santa I'm willing to let Aaron Heilman drive them to the airport (and get on the plane).

    As for the two-way pitcher idea, I have always wondered why some NL team didnt think outside the box and do a Micah Owings earlier. The common wisdom is pitchers have to focus entirely on the difficult mechanical and mental aspects of pitching, but judging by certian Mets pitchers such as Guilermo Mota, they don't all really focus or even think that much. I mean they'll experiment with a one handed pitcher but not this?

    Someone should try it, and if it doesn't work out, don't blame me, I was in Virginia!!

    10:19 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    these winter meetings were such cock teases

    1:38 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm ready for Jose to run on LoDuca!

    7:56 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Mench 1978...:)

    8:00 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Would it be sad and pathetic if I said I like the recently released, Matt Wise?
    He's pretty good.

    1:02 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nah...if he comes cheaply, I'd go for it.

    10:19 AM

    Anonymous Deolis in '10 said...

    I mean Tejada for 5 players...does that mean Bedard is going for a starting 9?

    4:05 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    The Giants just picked up Aaron Rowand for 5 yrs at $90 million. What...the...fuck? It is official, the Beltran signing was the steal of the decade. And I'm not kidding. Rowand and Tori Hunter are getting paid the same amount of money per year as Beltran. As much as everyone (myself included) has gone off on Omar, that Beltran signing needs now to be looked at as a phenomenal deal considering what the market is now.

    4:29 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    And the best part is that he is not with the Phillies....

    8:13 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Reyes for Bedard...;)

    8:14 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Over at Metsblog they have the following poll:

    Would you trade Carlos Gomez, Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Aaron Heilman to the Twins for Johan Santana, who will need to be signed to a seven-year contract.
    • Yes (65%, 2,416 Votes)
    • No (35%, 1,316 Votes)

    From the posting I would venture that the vast majority of posters are 20 years old or younger and thus have not witnessed a Mets team with a certifiable ace and believe that one will cure all that ails this team. They refuse to look at history. Historically the presence of a great pitcher in your rotation guarantees nothing. And in all honesty Santana never put the Twins on his back and took them to the Promised Land as Hershiser did for the Dodgers in 1988.

    Trading away the farm removes any trading chips or call-ups the Mets would have to fill holes on the team or replace injured players for the next few years. The salary they would have to pay Santana would make it difficult for the Wilpons to not break the budget if they were forced to purchase players to fill the gaps via FA in the future (assuming said players are available). And, honestly, I can’t see the Wilpons exceeding budget.

    There have been some reports that the Twins want FM and CG. The fans and media seem comfortable with this. Chris Russo pointed to CG’s performance when called up to prove he is worthless and Jon Heyman pointed to FM’s performance at AA to prove that he is over-hyped. I think we all are aware that Russo is an idiot (albeit a wealthy one) and I used to read Heyman when he wrote for Newsday and I consider him not much better that Wallace Mathews.

    If Omar makes moves based upon media or fan pressure he should be fired. He should do all he can to dissuade the Wilpons from forcing such moves.

    It's difficult being a Mets fan.

    11:17 PM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    So the Nats wanted to trade for Estrada, and rather than taking something, they non-tender him. Frustrating.

    Speaking of non-tenders, I would be interested in Chad Durbin, Mark Hendrickson, and Nook Logan. Does anyone see others on the list that are worth taking a flyer on? Maybe the Jacket could fix Prior in a half hour, hahahaha.

    8:17 AM


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