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

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Out of Touch With Reality

Steve Trachsel is so fixated on his number of wins in 2006, you would have thought he votes for the Cy Young Award.

"I was a little surprised based on winning 15 games and being healthy and all that. There was a large flurry of signings early. We just didn't know what to think. A lot of pitchers signed for a lot of money, and teams probably got to their spending limit early."

Huh? What? Is he living in the same universe as we are? Pitching was so sought after this off-season, it became the craziest off-season for pitching ever. You saw the biggest contract handed out to a pitcher in the history of the game, two Japanese pitchers get big league teams to cough up $80 million just to get the privilege of paying more money to sign them, and guys that have no business getting big time money, getting paid like they actually deserved it. However, Steve thinks everyone hit their budget early. Quite the contrary. Teams still are desperate for pitching, but only the Orioles are Steve Trachsel desperate.

His 93.9 p/gs, 1.60 WHIP, .288 BAA, 4.97 ERA, and 1.01 K/BB ratio in the NL East strangely failed to instill much confidence in his abilities for prospective employers. If Kris Benson did not go down, 15 game winner Steve Trachsel would have been jobless. The funny part is, if you look at qualified starting pitchers to see where he ranked in terms of run support, you wouldn't see him. Considering me made 30 starts, that is no easy feat. If he was qualified, he would have letd all NL starters with 6.61 and would have been fourth overall in the bigs. I wish Steve luck and do not mean to trash him, but when someone makes stupid comments like that, you cannot help but scratch your head.

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  • Buster thinks that Oliver Perez is one of the ten most intriguing starters under 30 for this upcoming season.

    3. Oliver Perez, Mets
    It was only three seasons ago that Perez was among the best left-handers in the game, whiffing 239 in 196 innings. Since then, two pitching coaches have tried and failed to correct the erratic mechanics that have created inconsistent velocity: Sometimes Perez was clocked in the 90s the last couple of years, sometimes in the mid-80s. And he's been pummeled, allowing 231 hits, 138 walks and 43 homers in 215.2 innings. It's not unreasonable to think Perez may have been a one-hit wonder.

    Now the Mets, who did not upgrade their rotation with veterans over the winter, are looking for Perez to rediscover his overwhelming stuff again, under the tutelage of pitching coach Rick Peterson. A bounce-back year from Perez might be enough to put the Mets back into the playoffs, considering the strength of New York's everyday lineup and bullpen.

  • Although Wagner was plenty good in '06, it seems we didn't see the best of Mr. Billy Wagner.

    He spent the winter plunging his left hand into a bucket of rice to strengthen his fingers, but the true test will come when Wagner has to reach back for a 98-mph fastball. That's when he will be at his most vulnerable point, and it was a feeling he knew all too well last season.

    "I was grinding from the day I stepped out there," Wagner said. "Nothing was easy. This year, hopefully I'll go out there and pitch a little bit more relaxed - on edge and more where I need to be. [Last year] I was always behind the eight-ball the whole time.

  • Glavine might be 300 and done.

  • Tim Kurkjian goes with the Mets.

    Scott (Hamden, CT): Tim, you should get a snow thrower -- they work wonders. Anyway, how does the order of finish in the NL East look this season...I'm going: 1) Philly, 2) NY, 3) Atlanta, and the others don't matter...

    SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: First off, my snow blower is broken and it wouldn't work in the ice I have to dig through. I'm going to stay with the Mets to win the division, because of their offensive capabilities. But there's no question that the Phillies can win this division and so can Atlanta, because of the Mets' starting pitching issues. But I think the Mets can hit their way through some of those issues and then eventually are going to find some pitching help from somewhere and win the division.

  • Gammo weighs in on Pedro....

    Pedro Martinez will come back sometime, maybe stronger than he has been in four years.

    Scary thought.
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007


    The Jim Callis chat yesterday was pretty fucking bad until this...

    Jack Bauer (behind you): Will I ever die?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: No.

    That was hands down the question of the off-season. Back to the chat though, how many Phil Hughes questions can I possibly read before wanting to stick something in my eye? Three Hughes questions were coupled with six hundred Dellin Betances questions. These fans are so insecure that they continually need to be stroked and told their prospects are better than everyone else's. Not only is that annoying, but you see the same questions chat after chat. The lighting round is fun, but how about everyone tries to think of some good questions? Ones that might actually require more than a second of thought.

    Questions I did like aside from the always entertaining Jack Bauer question:

    Mike (nyc): where will matt bush finish the season?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: High Class A. I'm guessing he'll move to the mound sometime in 2008.

    You think the Padres regret this one?

    Cole Hamels (Philadelphia, Pa): Two years ago I asked you who would turn out to be the better pitcher, me or Scott Kazmir, and you said Kazmir. Care to apologize yet?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: No, I still like Kazmir. You finally figured out to stay healthy and avoid bar fights. And I tout you plenty.

    This was another one of those insecure validation type questions, but since it was a Philly fan that was wrong, I enjoyed it.

    brad (MD): More homers this year: Tejada or Markakis

    SportsNation Jim Callis: Markakis.

    Bold statement by Mr. Callis.

    Patrick (atl): Alba and Martha Stewart or Jessica Beil and Scarlett???

    SportsNation Jim Callis: Damn. I'll have to go with Beil and Scarlett on that one. Sorry, Jessica Alba, though it's not her fault her teammate drags her down here.

    Patrick laid out a mean and torturous question and went after Jim's weak spot.

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  • Duaner has learned his lesson.

    For some reason I was rehashing bad memories today and thinking back to the Mets playoff performance when it seemed they were one shut down reliever away. Would the Mets have made it further if they had Duaner?

  • Positive reports on the new beefcake Pedro Martinez.

  • There have been many peculiar situations this off-season, but this is up there with the best of them.

    "Everybody has the same shot," he said Wednesday. "The Yankees will not have an advantage."

    Why he is making so much noise right now is beyond me.

  • Ken Rosenthal weights in on some of baseball's hottest issues:

    Mets starting rotation: The skepticism among rival executives might prove unjustified, if lefty Oliver Perez and righty John Maine build on their strong post-seasons, if the upgraded bullpen is good enough to reduce games to six innings, if prospects such as Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber and veterans such as Chan Ho Park and Aaron Sele contribute.

    None of that is inconceivable, starting with Perez, who — in the opinion of one Mets' official — might return to where he was with the Pirates in 2004, when he appeared on the verge of becoming a No. 1 starter.

    It stands to reason, though, that the Mets will continue trying to add a young starter such as the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis or A's Dan Haren, even if they must wait until the July 31 non-waiver deadline to get it done.

    Perez bouncing back to '04 levels? Sweet Jesus. If it is going to happen, it will be in Queens with Professor Rick helping him.

    He also lists some prospects he cannot wait to see.

    Name: Chris Gomez and Fernando Martinez
    Team: Mets
    Position: OF
    The deal: Why shouldn't the Mets trade Lastings Milledge, 21? Gomez, 21, and Martinez, 18, might turn out to be better.

    Chris...Carlos...what's the difference. We are picking up what you are laying down. However, Milledge is worth more for the Mets to keep since he is not exactly at the peak of his value right now.
  • Labels:

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    I Heart Dayn Perry

    For 2007, I must have made a New Year's resolution to bury the hatchet whilst I was drunk and not remembered it. Forgiveness is in the air. First is was my admission that Buster Olney was my favorite blogger. Then it was the realization that I came to when reading Keith Law's chats in that I no longer hate him. Now I actually like him and I'm also on the Dayn Perry train.

    1. Will the Mets' rotation be good enough?

    The Mets, of course, wisely passed on Barry Zito at the going rates, but that leaves them with a rotation of Tom Glavine and ... lots of unknown quantities. They'll cobble together the middle and back end from a group that comprises Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Jason Vargas and Chan Ho Park. There's not a certainty in the lot, but at least they have options.

    Yes they do and that is more than I can say for many other contenders.

    2. Then again, can anyone hang with the Mets?

    Of course, the Mets in 2006 had a fairly middling rotation (their starters' ERA of 4.67 ranked 8th in the NL), and they still managed to win the division by a full 12 games. So can the Phillies, Braves or upstart Marlins (sorry, Nats, you're not in the discussion just yet) manage to challenge the Amazin's? Probably not. However, the suspect nature of the New York rotation means things could get interesting. Right now, however, the Mets are far and away the most talented team in the division.

    Probably not able to hang? Far and away the best?

    Anyhow, even if Pedro's timetable gets pushed back to, say, July, the Mets will still be getting one of the most potent deadline additions. There's always the possibility that Pedro will be but a shadow of his former self, but the smart money says he'll give the Mets a half-season's worth of innings and a sub-4.00 ERA. That's precisely what they'll need. There's one more reason the Mets are sure bets to win the East in '07.

    Never bet against Pedro. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer that has been pitching at 60% of what he was capable of when was healthier before his tenure with the Mets. Even if he comes back less than vintage Pedro, which I'm sure he will, he will be better than the version the Mets received, which was pretty fucking good.

    Shea is conducive to pitching and tends to make pitchers a bit better than they are. Couple that with a solid bullpen and you have officially masked any potential deficiencies that this rotation might have, which is not a guarantee that they will have them. For me, the Mets are a better team than they were last year. Will they reach 97 wins next season? Not likely and that is the real point. The Mets will not be as good in the win/loss column and it will be a closer race. But they will prevail because they are the better team.

    Playing 162 games has a way of ensuring the best team wins.

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  • Ken Rosenthal joins the long line of naysayers.

    Mets: Free-agent left fielder Moises Alou was a solid one-year investment, but the Mets remain stuck with two other 40-somethings, lefty Tom Glavine and righty Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, at the top of their rotation. They've got plenty of options, young and old, but it's almost inconceivable that they failed to add a proven starter when righty Pedro Martinez will be out at least half the season. A more formidable rotation would make the Mets prohibitive favorites in the NL East.

    Ken. They tried man. Let it go. They tried. You make it sound like they made a concerted effort to not get a certifiable ace.

  • Kevin Kernan sides with me. The Mets have the recipe for success when it comes to their rotation.

    "As much as everyone questions our staff, I believe we're in a much better position this year than we were last year at this time," Peterson told me yesterday. "We have a pretty good recipe. And we're going to have competition, which is always a great motivator.

    "Hopefully, we'll turn out some good meals."

    Yes indeed.

    Pitching is rhythm and Peterson encourages his pitchers to sometimes listen to their iPods during those sessions. Soon after Perez came aboard last year, Peterson had a conversation with him that went something like this:

    "Do you like to dance?" Peterson asked.

    "Yes," Perez answered.

    "Well, right now you are doing the waltz, you need to be doing the merengue," Peterson explained.

    Why will the Mets have a solid staff? Rick Peterson.

    "Sure, we don't have five Cy Youngs on our staff, but no one else does, either," Peterson said. "We have quality and we have depth."

  • In breaking news...Green is not retiring. Damn. Also in related not-so-surprising news tidbit, the Mets declined their option for Green in 2008.

  • Desperation is when Steve Traschel is pitching in the AL East.

  • Sugar Pants is laying it on thick.

    "Last year was a lot of firsts for a lot of guys, veterans and young guys," Wright, 24, explained at the team's spring training complex. "This year we have that playoff experience under our belt. We know what it takes to win. We've been there, done that. I think we are a lot more confident in knowing what we are capable of doing going into this year. We have a little more swagger.

    "We have the core group of guys coming back from last year, we have made some key off-season acquisitions. I think our bullpen is second to none in the National League."

  • Did Rob Neyer really just glaze of this inane babble?

    Doc Jones (BK): Rob - any chance Willis is heading out? I know they're trying to get the stadium deal done, but how about a swap with Mets for Reyes and a prospect like Pelfrey?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: I happen to think the Marlins are going to regress somewhat this season, and I also happen to think that even if they get a deal for a new building, they can't afford to sign both Willis and Cabrera to long-term extensions. So yeah, I won't be surprised to see Willis dealt, but not until July.

    Reyes is worth more than Willis! Forget the fact Doc Jones just tossed Mike Pelfrey into the deal for the hell of it.

    ....AND BAM!

    Jake (VA Beach): I'm surprised you didn't jump all over Doc Jones for the trade of Willis for Reyes (and Pelfrey to boot). Seriously, tell him and everyone here Reyes is the best SS in the game, and you were wrong about him years ago.

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: Right, that one's on me. The Mets wouldn't trade Reyes, plus the Marlins are one of the few teams that would have little use for him.

    Jake...I have to believe that's you. If so, shame on you for not using Swellville, VA. Shame on you.

  • Gary outlines the major difference between the new Mets and the old Mets.

    Eric (NY): Gary, could you please offer your insight into the Chan Ho Park signing? Do you think he'll end up being a useful arm or a worthless loss of 600K?

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: I don't have much faith in Park, but the Mets can afford to gamble $600K on the chance he'll be a productive No. 5 starter or even a spot starter.

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: When you're in the situation the Mets are, you need to purchase insurance by adding some veterans at reasonable prices and not view it as a waste of money.

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: That doesn't mean squandering boatloads of money on guys whose greatness is long gone (e.g., Mo Vaughn), but low-rent options like Park are reasonable.

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: The current Mets' management understands that; the old brain trust certainly didn't.

    This will probably draw the ire of many fans.

    Ragan (pa): Lightning round: Better foundation for a franchise, Utley and Howard or Reyes and Wrong?

    SportsNation Gary Gillette: Tough Q. I'd go with Utley and Howard.

    Before last year, it was a no brainer. Now that Howard is an absolute beast of epic proportions, he made things more even. However, I still side with the age the athleticism. In the long term, the Mets duo will hold up better and frankly be around for more years being that they are younger.


  • Monday, February 12, 2007

    Enough Already

    I was going to write about another topic, but then I puked all over myself and my laptop. I was checking out ESPN's poll about who you (the reader) thinks the ultimate outfield would be comprised of. I bit...I thought it might be fun to play in the land of make believe. I went for a defensive outfield that could do it all. Throw, run, hit, cause havoc all over the place, and actually possess skill. Silly me for taking it seriously.

    Thank you for voting. See below for the results from across SportsNation. Your responses in bold text.

    1) Who is your ideal left fielder?

    61.1% Carl Crawford
    27.7% Manny Ramirez
    4.7% Nick Swisher
    2.1% Jason Bay
    1.4% Pat Burrell
    1.4% Raul Ibanez
    1.1% Carlos Lee
    0.5% Adam Dunn

    2) Who is your ideal center fielder?

    55.4% Johnny Damon
    32.1% Carlos Beltran
    4.4% Andruw Jones
    2.2% Vernon Wells
    1.8% Alfonso Soriano
    1.5% Torii Hunter
    1.3% Grady Sizemore
    1.3% Juan Pierre

    3) Who is your ideal right fielder?

    55.4% Bobby Abreu
    29.8% Vladimir Guerrero
    6.3% Ichiro Suzuki
    3.8% Jermaine Dye
    2.6% Michael Cuddyer
    1.0% Jeff Francouer
    0.9% J.D. Drew
    0.2% Magglio Ordonez

    Total Votes: 326,628

    Anyone want to bet Melky Cabrera or Hideki Matsui would have garnered 55.4% of the vote as well if they were a choice for leftfield? I know this has no bearing on anything of any importance, but if 160,000+ people voted for Johnny Damon over Vernon Wells, Grady Sizemore, Andrew Jones, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Beltran, I do not have much faith in the future of humanity.

    * * *

  • I feel bad for the guy. I want him to succeed and live up to 75% of the expectations laid on him, but that ship has sailed.

  • Twelve feet of snow...TWELVE FUCKING FEET!

  • In case you missed it, John Sickels has an interesting prospect smackdown....

  • You cannot make this stuff up.

    An animal lover was mauled to death by cheetahs after entering their cage at a zoo in northern Belgium, authorities and zoo officials said Monday.

    Karen Aerts, 37, of Antwerp, was found dead in the cage, Olmense Zoo spokesman Jan Libot said. Police said they ruled out any foul play.

    Authorities believe Aerts, a regular visitor to the zoo, hid in the park late Sunday until it closed and managed to find the keys to the cheetah cage.

    "Karen loved animals. Unfortunately the cheetahs betrayed her trust," Libot said.

    One of the cats that killed Aerts was named Bongo, whom the woman had adopted under a special program. She paid for Bongo's food, Libot said.


  • Sunday, February 11, 2007

    There's still a lot of 'Mambo' left

    "There's still a lot of 'Mambo' left," Lima told ESPNdeportes.com, referring to the nickname he's known by in the Spanish-speaking world. "My arm feels better than ever, and I've shown that time and again this winter season."

    You have to be amused by Jose Lima in the same way that Hugo Chavez is amusing. Their quotes are priceless, but when you realize they are dead serious, it is extremely disconcerting. I do not know where Lima will land, but I think we all know it will not be with the Mets. Omar failed to land Daisuke and Barry, but with everyone's patience I truly believe things will work out in the end as I've stated time and time again.

    With Chan Ho Park in the fold, the Mets added another potentially capable arm for the back end of the rotation. At $600,000 for one year, Park could be solid pick up. The dichotomy between the Mets 1st half of the season and their 2nd half of the season is going to be tremendous. While the 1st half will be marked wither a multitude of starting pitchers, the 2nd half arms will shape into stable and dependable starting rotation.

    The Mets offense is good enough to carry this team through the regular season and leave them in a good position to distance themselves from the pack in the second half. I know that Park has not been particularly good since 2001, but he did do a decent job for the Padres last year and could be a solid arm while giving the Mets youth more time develop. While the Mets rotation may not be filled with the pantheons of the starting pitching world, they certainly have the arms to surprise people.

    Franco (NYC): You are nuts about Giada! She pronounces italian words correctly, not like italian americans who drop the last vowel off of anything (she does have a big head though)... Anyway, Can Oliver perez get anywhere near his numbers he had when he was nasty in Pittsburgh?

    SportsNation Keith Law: Agreed on the final-vowel thing - a relative of my wife's who shall not be named refers to locatelli as "lugaTELL" - but I swear I heard Giada call spaghetti "spa-GHEE-tee." I smacked my television after that. And I wouldn't give up on Perez - there's more in that arm than you saw in '06.

    While the rotation in the 1st half will draw a lot of criticism from the baseball world and the New York media (especially the New York media) as the Mets sort things out, the second half will go a long way to shutting up the pundits. With Oliver Perez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez, Chan Ho Park, Jason Vargas, Phil Humber, and Mike Pelfrey in the mix to share the last three spots behind Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez, I fully anticipate a overabundance of arms when Pedro returns which is a stark contrast to what other teams will be dealing with all over the league.

    Omar has shown the ability to be resilient and hedge this Met team with moves like Chan Ho Park. At $600,000 he can be cut loose rather easily. You never like to throw money away, but that bit of insurance to keep Park around in the event that he is needed could end up looking like another brilliant move by Omar. Maybe I'm placing too much faith in Rick Peterson and too much into thinking that playing on a team as good as the Mets will have a profound effect on these seemingly marginal pitchers the Mets will be throwing out there, but I do not think so. I think this Met rotation is going to surprise everyone out there.

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  • John Altavilla thinks that the Mets answer to suspect starting pitching will be the same approach last year to that problem. Their bullpen.

  • Moises was ready to call it quits until the Mets came calling.

    "You just look at the Mets' roster, it was a no-brainer," Alou says of signing the one-year, $8.5 million deal (with an option) he inked with the Mets last November. "At this stage in my career, I'm not looking for any extra money, you know? I just wanted to be on a winning team - on a team that looks like it can win it all. I think the Mets are that team."

    I'm sure that $8,000,000 helped his decision. He only made more than that twice before and $8,000,000 would be worth more 10% of his entire career earnings. I'm glad that he is saying the right things, but it is always about money these days.

  • If you have not done so, catch up on TJ Quin's blogging from Ghana.

  • The Mets do not have any first rounds, but they do have four in the top 100.

    42. Mets (Roberto Hernandez, A, to Cle)
    47. Mets (Chad Bradford, A, to Bal)
    77. Mets (Hernandez to Cle)
    99. Mets (Bradford to Bal)

    If Arizona signs their first rounder from '06 in Max Scherzer, the Mets would then have the 41st pick, 46th pick, 76th pick, and 99th pick.
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