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

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Randon Tidbits 7-14-07

  • Yesterday's game was just ugly. John Maine did not even have bad first inning and he gave up four runs. Aside from the Phillips homer, he really didn't get beat. Wright was playing in which allowed the hit, the bunt was just one of those things that you cannot defend against and just tip your cap to the batter, and the Griffey Jr. walk was just a bad sequence. Then the Mets defense failed him and it just got a lot worse. Of course the Mets offense was horrid again so there is not much to really complain about. If you lost of few hours of your life on that game, I'm sorry to hear that.

  • Some random two-by-four thoughts from the comments last night.

    Omar indicated that he was disappointed with the approach the hitters were taking to the plate as the reason for letting Down go. But I think he also sent a message to Willie that he is not as patient as Willie and wants to see Willie do more than just wait for slumps to end by themselves. When a dealer in Vegas gets in a slump and starts to lose they don’t wait for him to pull himself out of it. They replace him with someone else. They realize it’s all psychological and are proactive not inactive. With the Mets the hitters may work with the hitting coach but nothing else seems to be done to change the team’s psych. While in baseball you can’t change the player as Vegas does with the dealer the manager of a baseball team can take steps to change the player’s daily routine and batting order in an effort to get them out of their rut. But Willie has developed an approach based on his many years in baseball and believes in it. So no matter what message Omar sends, Willie will most probably not change his approach to his job.

    LM does not have CG’s speed or arm or smoothness in the outfield. But when LM makes contact the ball jumps off his bat. The same cannot be said for CG’s offense.

    Right now there are no easy teams for the Mets. To make matters worse they go on the road to SD and LA. The Braves stay home and play teams they should beat up on. If the Mets are still in 1st place after they finish with SD and LA they will run away with the division. If the Mets continue their present style of play they will fall out of 1st and the rest of the season could be a struggle.

    Good take on the Willie situation because he is the type of guy who doesn't believe in shake-ups. As stated before, he gets something in his head and it is nearly impossible to change his mind. That is really, really, really something that I do not like because sometimes you have to be bit more proactive than he is at times to try and get things moving.

    100% agree with your LM and CG statement. Also, CG seems to be swinging out of his shoes too much.

    The Mets have no more breathing room and they need to be in first for mental reasons as much as anything. To give the Braves a lot of confidence could be a dangerous thing.

  • Itsmetsforme, of course you were missed...but your comments are too long to repost here so I just suggest everyone go read them. Most times I post negative things about Willie here it seems to illicit a very strong response from the populace in his favor. I could never understand why people took so much offense in regards to the matter, but I think people are losing some love for him.

    I do think he is looking around and seeing Omar's footprint on this team. His only guy is gone. The entire staff was hand picked by the GM and that is certainly a rarity. I do not think Willie is entirely loved by the front office and Omar is firmly in control of this team.

    In regards to Rickey, I think that 'Rickey loves Rickey' routine has taken on a life of its own. The Newark Bear players might not be pros, but their comments mean a lot since not many of us really know what he can offer.

  • Benny is not happy with Mike Pelfrey and I have not exactly been either. But I like him in the pen even though he had some problems. It was his first time coming out of the pen and this needs some time to play out. He is useless mowing down batters in AAA which he would invariably do if he was sent down and he cannot start in the bigs. Give him a shot in the pen to see if he can chip in and maybe find his niche as a reliever at this point.

  • I'm starting to like Gotay a lot and Willie might be forced into making him the guy at second base with this teams hitting lull. It would be tough to bench the only guy has consistently hit over the last two weeks.

  • I cannot see the Red Sox signing A-Rod, but few other teams have the cash. Considering they are paying Manny roughly $20 million a year and he is only signed through '08 and Schilling contract should be off the books for good after this season, you would have to think money would not be the issue. My big thing is that Lowell is producing just fine and would come a lot cheaper leaving them cash to go after someone else like Torii Hunter who might be a better fit in the grander scheme of things even with Ellsbury ready at AAA.

  • Posada a little bitter about the Bernie Williams situation? Perhaps, but why do players get their panties all bundled up about these things? Bernie was done and the Yankees already did him a favor the year before. Why must they be obliged to keep paying him and utilizing a roster spot until the thinks he is done? Really fucking ridiculous stuff. In the end, it is about leverage. Posada is going to try and squeeze as much out of his last big contract and I think that is truly what this is about. He simply won't have as much leverage now as he will in the off-season.

  • Anyone think Sabean is lucky to even have a job? He has got some good young pitching, but he has put this team in a pretty deep hole and pretty far from being relevant.

  • I want Big Z. and this is not want I want to be reading.

  • Now is the time to trade Willis? The optimal time was a long time ago but they can still get something decent now. If they fail to pull the trigger this time, the Marlins will truly outline how poorly run they are.

  • Deolis had a good game and Endy is making his way back. I hope when Endy returns it is at the expense of David Newhan and not Lastings Milledge.

  • Friday, July 13, 2007


    Ready for a 3,000 word post to get you revved up for the weekend? Didn’t think so, but you are getting one anyway. So I guess what we are watching here is A-Rod be the baseball player equivalent to what the Baconator is to the food industry. A-Rod has absolutely carried the Yankees this season and as much as I like to make fun of him, you have to tip your cap to him. His 162 game average for his career is just mind boggling. His 162 game average has a .306/.387.577 line with 127 runs, 34 doubles, 44 homers, 127 RBIs, and 22 steals. Below are the most similar batters through age 30 for A-Rod:

    1. Ken Griffey (847)
    2. Mel Ott (816) *
    3. Hank Aaron (789) *
    4. Frank Robinson (786) *
    5. Mickey Mantle (783) *
    6. Jimmie Foxx (754) *
    7. Eddie Mathews (752) *
    8. Johnny Bench (693) *
    9. Vladimir Guerrero (689)
    10. Cal Ripken (680) *

    Every one is not only a Hall of Famer, but the best of the best and their comps are not even close. Not one guy is even over 850. Why? Because his numbers are probably that much better. Of course we are in different era and in a more offensively charged one, but that should not diminish what he is going to do by the time his career is done. When he is done playing baseball, he is going to be the single best offensive player, and possibly the greatest overall, in the history of baseball.

    It is too bad he is caught up in all these money issues marring his image. I guess you have to have a big ego to play big league ball whether or not you are vocal about it or not and there is some sort of satisfaction in regards to being paid the highest salary in pro sports. I am not saying I do not get it, but it does end up creating a bit of distraction for A-Rod, clouds his accomplishments a bit to date, and influences public opinion about him. Right or wrong, that is what it does and that is A-Rod's choice as well. I honestly do think he is getting embraced more by fans these days as evidenced by him leading the All-Star voting.

    However, a guy as good as he is should be held in the same regards as Michael Jordan was held in the basketball world during his prime years. Griffey would have, but he got hurt. Bonds would have, but he has a PR issues. A-Rod should be, but he spent a lot of years creating a negative portrayal of himself. It will be interesting to see how he is perceived after he signs his new contract and to see if he can get as much respect from the baseball fans as someone with his numbers would typically garner.

    * * *

  • "I really didn't like it," Randolph said. "But it got the job done. He tried to go around the catcher and a lot of these guys do that nowadays; it's so silly. You end up getting hurt."

    As if that weren't enough...

    "To me, go in a straight line to the plate, you get there quicker," Randolph said. "He got lucky there that he got the tag in behind him. ... It was a great call by Sandy."

    Wow...I guess Willie paid attention in geometry.

    We discussed the ridiculousness of the first statement earlier today, but the second one might be worse. Willie is strangely suggesting that no player should try and avoid the catch with a hook slide or some other fancy sliding techniques. He apparently leans towards collisions and injuries. One thing is clear about Willie, he has his own way and likes to make sure everyone knows it. I sometimes think it is more about doing things his way rather than winning. He is almost trying to insert his dominance and make statements with what he does and in a way, he comes off childish to me and especially in the above statements. He sounds like a little kid who does not want to admit he is wrong about something. If he truly works in Newhan and Easley with Milledge as he said he would, he just proves to everyone he has some sort of issues with Milledge and that is no way to run a team.

  • Is it Rick Down or Downs? I have no idea anymore and I do not care. However, Neyer had a nice piece on him and said he was just a scapegoat. All this talk about hitting coaches doing nothing brings up a good point and a commenter brought it to light.

    However, if we insist that hitting coaches can't be held responsible for the failures of their charges, aren't we saying that teams don't actually need hitting coaches at all? If we excuse them by saying they weren't responsible for actual play on the field, we're also saying that coaches have absolutely no impact on the team's performance. If we don't blame them for individual players' failures, we shouldn't give them credit for individual players' successes, either.

    I think we can all agree they can help out a young player more than veterans and can help older players as well. To what degree? We can argue about that all day, but whether or not they do much, it behooves a team to have a good one. But if they truly do nothing, what's the use of having them? Also, if you have a hitting coach and the team is not hitting or taking pitches or they are just not having good at-bats for an extended period of time, do you assume the hitting coach is trying to do all he can do and it truly is a talent issue or do you try something else?

    Do not feel bad for Rick. Hitting coaches get fired all the time whether it be right or wrong. You have to blame someone, right? Unfortunately Rick is the hitting coach while the players are slumping and the Mets thought Rickey is more of a value add than Rick was. HoJo slides into the arguably useless role of hitting coach/sunflower seed eater and Rickey helps Milledge and Gomez's approach to the game. For me, this is an upgrade even if Rick did nothing wrong to get fired.

    "(Rickey) has a knowledge about the game in so many ways," said Mets general manager Omar Minaya. "I think, whether it's base-running, or fielding, as an outfield coach, or offensively, as a hitter, Rickey can help out. It's not that one guy is going to make that big of a difference."

    It would seem the Mets are better off than they were last week and that is all that we can really ask for.

    Wright throws his support behind HoJo.

    "We definitely didn't do what we wanted offensively, but it wasn't anything to do with Rick Down," Wright said. "But that being said, HoJo will step in well. He has groomed me into the hitter I am for the last few years. From what I know, what I'm hoping is the HoJo's going to be the hitting guy. He has a good relationship with a lot of the guys here. I love the guy, he's done tremendous things for me."

  • I'm sure this has spread like wild fire by now, but in case you have not received this email forward:

    So anyway, here you go. The definitive Rickey Henderson.

    1) In June 1999, when Henderson was playing with the Mets, he saw reporters running around the clubhouse before a game. He asked a teammate what was going on and he was told that Tom Robson, the team’s hitting coach, had just been fired. Henderson said, “Who’s he?”

    2) Rickey... on referring to himself in the third person:
    “Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”

    3) In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.

    4) In 1996, Henderson’s first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Steve Finley said, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Henderson looked at Finley and said, “Ten years? Ricky’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”

    5) This one might be my second favorite. This wasn’t too long ago, I think it was the year he ended up playing with the Red Sox. Anyway, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

    6) This one happened in Seattle. Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”

    7) Rickey once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic.

    8) Moments after breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd – with Brock mere feet next to him – “Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time.”

    9) Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.

    10) A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti’s estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”

    11) Henderson broke Ty Cobb’s career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.

    12) On being Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout: “It gave me no chance. He (Ryan) just blew it by me. But it’s an honor. I’ll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I’m already in the books three or four times.”

    13) San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone.

    Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.

    14) I didn’t believe this one at first. However, I emailed a few contacts within the Sox organization and they claim it actually happened. This is priceless, it really is.

    The morning after the Sox finished off their 2004 World Series sweep against St. Louis, Henderson called someone in the organization looking for tickets to Game 6 at Fenway Park.

    15) The Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived — again it was less than a mile – the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had just pulled up.

    Of course, Rickey emerged from the back seat.

    16) A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”

    17) OK, I know everyone has been waiting for it. Alas, according to both parties involved, it’s not true. I wish it were. Heck, both Rickey Henderson and John Olerud have said they wish it were true. But it just didn’t happen.

    The story went that a few weeks into Henderson’s stint with the Mariners, he walked up to Olerud at the batting cage and asked him why he wore a batting helmet in the field. Olerud explained that he had an aneurysm at nine years old and he wore the helmet for protection. Legend goes that Henderson said, “Yeah, I used to play with a guy that had the same thing.” Legend also goes that Olerud said, “That was me, Rickey.”

    Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.

    18) Rickey was asked if he had the Garth Brooks album with Friends in Low Places and Henderson said, “Rickey doesn’t have albums. Rickey has CDs.”

    19) During a contract holdout with Oakland in the early 1990s, Henderson said, “If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Gallego.”

    20) In the late 1980s, the Yankees sent Henderson a six-figure bonus check. After a few months passed, an internal audit revealed the check had not been cashed. Current Yankees GM Brian Cashman – then a low-level nobody with the organization – called Rickey and asked if there was a problem with the check. Henderson said, “I’m just waiting for the money market rates to go up.”

    21) This is my all-time favorite. Rickey was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching Rickey’s car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Rickey and his money head home without a ticket.

    22) When he was on the Yankees in the mid-1980s, Henderson told teammates that his condo had such a great view that he could see, “The Entire State Building.”

    23) During one of his stays with Oakland, Henderson’s locker was next to Billy Beane’s. After making the team out of spring training, Beane was sent to the minors after a few months. Upon his return, about six weeks later, Henderson looked at Beane and said, “Hey, man, where have you been? Haven’t seen you in awhile.”

    24) To this day and dating back 25 years, before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length locker room mirror and says, “Ricky’s the best,” for several minutes.

    25) In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his ‘going-away’ gift. Henderson said he wasn’t going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry’s Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, “No, I want his car.” Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, “Whose ugly car is on the field?”

    All joking aside, his old Newark Bear teammates gave him a rousing vote of confidence.

  • You want some swellicious and bizarre links? Done and done.

  • BP's Hit List is out and they think Omar needs some reinforcements if the Mets are to succeed.

    Lastings Milledge and a rehabbing Pedro Martinez may provide some help down the stretch, but this team will need Omar Minaya to summon further reinforcements if the Mets are to prevail.

    And they throw the Yankees under the bus, which is always nice.

    Don't kid yourselves, Yankee fans--despite the high ranking and the upcoming soft schedule, it's all over but the shouting and pouting, not to mention the laying of bets on whether Joe Torre, Brian Cashman, or Alex Rodriguez will be around for the next step. The team's worst first half of the three-division era has left the Yanks needing to play .684 ball the rest of the way to reach the 95-win level of the last two AL Wild Card winners, not to mention a .737 clip to match Boston's 99-win pace.


  • Apparently Franco is having trouble being honest with himself.

  • From '04 to '06, Jorge Posada had a line of .270/.375/.468 with an average of 21 homers and 80+ RBIs. He is 35 and is having arguably his best season ever. He's on pace for 67 XBHs and 94 RBIs, which is a mark he hasn't topped since '03 and only topped 90 RBIs once since then. The Yankees are probably going to extend him before the season is out and one has to wonder if anything beyond one year will be anything but a dangerous deal. Catchers get old fast and Posada might already be on borrowed time. It certainly might help that he used to be an infielder and has not caught his entire life, but I can see the papers writing about how his new contract has been nothing but a disaster come mid 2009.

  • It is hard to feel bad for these guys...

  • Who isn't pulling for Cuban to be owner of the Cubs? Hopefully it happens after the Mets sign Zambrano because if he gets in before Carlos has a chance to entertain other offers, he could be off the table quickly.
  • Labels: ,

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Mid-Season Shake Up

    Right out of the box the Mets fired off two big moves. They first fired Rick Downs while hiring Rickey Henderson and they also designated Julio Franco for assignment. First off, I was never a big Rick Downs fan. I would have preferred they did not take one of Willie's guys from the start as he was obviously taking him out of convenience and comfort and that is not the best way to build a staff. If he was special, the Yankees would have kept him. Omar went out and added solid pieces after hiring Randolph and already had his pitching coach in place. Given the choice, I'm sure Omar would have preferred not to take Downs from the start.

    In regards to Rick, HoJo was credited with Wright's maturation at a hitter as Rickey was credited with Reyes' so it is unclear if he had much an affect on this team anyway. I am not actually sure what affect hitting coaches have on big league teams, but I do think there is value there. Maybe not in the teaching aspect, but protecting people from going out of slumps and identifying idiosyncrasies in a player’s swings. We do know we have seen more than a few good players go through prolonged slumps on this team and I do think this is a good move. Adding Rickey to the staff certainly has more value add than Rick Downs and one has to believe this team is now stronger in regards to the coaching side of things.

    As for Franco, Omar finally removed Julio as a choice for Willie. God knows that Willie would have been calling his number every single big pinch hit opportunity while better choices sat on the bench. Maybe now Damion Easley will get a chance to actually pinch hit. What a novel thought. In tandem, Milledge has been brought up in his place in a move we all knew was going to happen anyway and Omar also inked Marlon Anderson. Anderson will report to AAA New Orleans while the Mets figure some more things out. Ultimately, Marlon is 1,000,000 times better choice as a bat off of the bench than Old Man Egg Whites.

    The Mets may not have shaken the world with their moves, but it shows that Omar is not exactly enthralled by the past two months of baseball and felt he needed to make some moves. They are making a statement that they are serious about winning and really, with Franco as the first guy of the bench to pinch hit, I could not in all seriousness believe that the Mets wanted to put their best foot forward. As of today, this team has been Willie-proofed a bit more. As Bookied mused on Toasty's site, is it too much to hope for that we'll see Gotay at second (wrote this before his start) and Milledge batting higher than 8th (we now know he will)? Probably, but it is clear positive moves have been made.

    * * *

  • Larry Rother has a a nice article about baseball in Brazil. Baseball scouts must be drooling at the thought of tapping into Brazil's potential. However, being entrenched in soccer, I think they are realistic about it. As stated within the piece, getting a big star or two in the bigs as Venezuela did with Johan, Miguel, Big Z., etc. can truly put baseball on the map. As baseball gets more popular and taps into the talent in places like Brazil, China, Africa, Australia, etc., there is going to be some serious talent infused into the league. The only problem is that it takes a long time to get up to snuff so it will be a long time before any of those places are contributing meaningful talent to pro baseball in the US.

  • This guy is my new favorite human being

  • Just classic....The title was Prince Charles Sizes Up a Female Soldier.

  • The Padres wished they could take a mulligan on their '04 draft, but they can't. They passed up Verlander, Humber, Weaver, and Drew and went for Matt Bush. He could not hit, but he was a spectacular pitcher in high school with big time velocity and a nice curveball. I can only imagine they preferred him as a short stop because he was small. Well, he is back on the mound and he touched 98 mph in his first two starts.

    "Very impressive. I was pleasantly surprised," said Dave Rajsich, Bush's AZL pitching coach. "He throws a lot better than I anticipated . . . His command is much better and his velocity is a little more than I expected. (He's) much more polished than I was expecting."

    Bush, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 98, also did not expect to make such a rapid adjustment to the mound.

  • In some breaking news, the Cubs are trying to deal the Jaque Jones. Really, is that even news anymore? Does that even deserved to be printed?

  • Wow. Looks like A-Rod will become the $30 million man regardless of what happens.

    The language in Rodriguez's record-breaking contract says that for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, A-Rod will receive $27 million plus the higher of $5 million or $1 million greater than the annual average value of the non-pitcher with the largest annual average value package.

    Since no one will be even close to that salary, he gets $32 million. At this point, Hicks should still be drawn and quartered for that incredibly idiotic contract. Seriously horrifying is what that thing is. Also within the article it states that the Yankees want to bring him back anyway and not even give him a chance to opt out of that contract.

    But that certainly brings up another issue doesn't it? The popular opinion is that Hicks would still be on the hook for $9 million a year for three more years if he does not invoke the opt-out clause. However, a lawyer (he said he was one anyway) said on the radio that as soon as you modify the existing contract, the previous obligor (in this case the Rangers) would be off the hook.

    Any legal feedback on this one?

  • The Mariners need starting pitching. Is there any team that doesn't?

  • Blow it up.

    Even if you can only two B grade prospect for each, it needs to be done. They need to get whatever they can get and start turning their situation around. They are not going to get what they want and the trades will not be popular, but they have some fun guys to watch that will draw some fans. They backed themselves into this corning and have to make some difficult decisions to get back out.

  • Did anyone that watched the game think the telecast cutting to the a sunset behind the Statue of Liberty was weird? They made it seem it was close. They might as well have show us a Costa Rican sunset. I just missed the relevance. It was nice, but it's not really where the stadium is. Now maybe if they mentioned the sunset behind the Statue of Liberty in New Jersey, I would be OK with it.

  • Great win and the players we have been clamoring for came up in a big way. Good stuff.

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  • 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:

    The Second Coming

    When you look at Alex Rios, it is hard to not get reminded of Carlos Gomez. Gomez is listed at 6'4" and 195 pounds and Rios is listed at 6'5" and 194 pounds. Both are five tool players with long arms that generate some serious pop. They were both guys that put on shows during BP but had some issues carrying that pop after after the first pitch was thrown out. Gomez kind of swings out of his shoes while Rios is more smooth, but Rios is a much older and more advanced player at this point and Carlos should come into his own in time.

    Their similarities go past their physical appearance as well. Through Rios' first four years of pro ball, he hit .293/.335/.401 in 556 games and 2,159 at-bats with 20 homers and 159 XBHs and he broke into the minors at 18 in the Pioneer League. Gomez broke in at 18 as well in the Appalachian League and has hit .279/.340/.401 in 1278 at-bats over 333 games. Gomez has 18 homers with 100 XBHs over that span. Gomez exhibited more pop through their younger years, but the big difference between the two of them was that Rios never saw higher than Advanced A-Ball at Dunedin in the Florida State League while Gomez was holding his own in AAA and getting a cup of coffee in the bigs and reinforcing people's minds that he is legit.

    Rios played an entire year at 22 years old in the Eastern League before moving up to AAA to play for Syracuse at 23. He played 46 games before getting called up in 2004. He played well and flashed some extra base power but only hit one homerun. It wasn't until 2006 when Rios finally started silencing his critics. He started to hit for power while asserting himself as a force in the big leagues at 25 and posted a slid OPS of .865. Gomez is way ahead of that curve. His first complete year at AA occurred when he was 20 and might have been a candidate to take a starting spot in the bigs out of Spring Training '08 if not for his injury.

    However, at this stage in his career, he needs at-bats and sitting out the rest of the year is not going to help his development. Jim Callis from Baseball America saw enough in Gomez from his stint with the Mets for him to believe there is a good shot he reaches that extremely high ceiling that many see in him. While his broken hamate threw a wrench in his plans, another year in the minors would probably prove to be extremely beneficial. With Alou's affordable option and Milledge on the team, there should be no reason to rush Carlos and he could provide some solid insurance while honing his skills. However, when Gomez comes up for good, think Alex Rios with more speed. He has the ability to be that good.

    * * *

  • Jason Vargas had what I can only believe was his best start of the season in New Orleans' win over Nashville. Vargas went seven innings and gave up only two hits and two walks while allowing no runs and striking out seven.

  • Binghmaton got a measly three hits while Trenton smacked thirteen. Needless to say the B-Mets lost and not much is worth mentioning from the game.

  • St. Luce was beat by Clearwater, but good things happened for some bright prospects and isn't that more important? While on the topic of five tool outfielders, Sean Henry is becoming one of my favorite prospects in the Mets system and went deep for his tenth homer of the season. Though a singles hitter that doesn't walk and cannot field his position well is getting more attention, Henry is clearly the biggest story. In 86 games, he has knocked 32 extra base hits in a notorious pitcher's park and swiped thirteen bases while walking thirty times to only fifty one strikeouts. He has gotten better as he has moved up and he is a guy to keep on eye on.

    Eighteen year old Deolis Guerra got the start for St. Lucie and went six innings while allowing five hits, two earned runs, and two walks while striking out two. While his 4.37 ERA and his 1-5 record may not look overly impressive, his 1.14 WHIP, .241 BAA, and 3.0 K/BB ratio tell a different story for an extremely young kid.

    Nick Evans went 2 for 4 in the game as well and has been impressive as well putting up nearly identical numbers minus the steals as Henry.

  • The Sand Gnats pulled out a close win against Savannah and won 1-0.
  • Labels: , ,

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    All-Star Thoughts

    Every time Eric Karros opened his damn mouth I wanted to throw my remote through my TV. The look on his face, the way he said things thinking he was making some profound statement each time, his overall tonality, and his lisp all contributed to my desire to chuck electronics.

    I'm not sure why, but the break between them announcing Paula Cole singing God Bless America and the seemingly half hour from the announcement to the commencement of the singing to watching her sing it made me want to scratch my skin off.

    Willie Mays throwing out the first pitch to Jose Reyes? Swellicious. Then he signs it and gives him the ball. Swellicious to the Nth degree. Jose is growing up so fast {sniff…sniff} and is an uber star.

    While on the topic of Willie Mays, 24 All-Star games? Just insane.

    Can they just stop trying to place importance on this game? Just let the guys play. I still like to watch the All-Star game to see some guys I do not get the chance to and isn’t that the point? I don’t know that you are going to get the players to really care more or less than they do by saying home field advantage goes to the winning league. Is it a HUGE deal? No, but it annoys me and isn't that all that counts?

    The Mets were representing in full force (with the exception of Wagner). Reyes, Reyes, Reyes! First the single, then the steal, then scoring from second, then showing off his rocket arm, then cuing one to make A-Rod look silly, and another hit. He was an MVP candidate for sure if the NL could have held onto the lead.

    Wright’s play in the first inning was swellicous and Beltran knocking a triple was great, but he might have hit the 2nd in the park homer in All-Star game history if he wasn't watching his majestic shot.

    Speaking of in the park homers, I'm sure you know that Ichiro hit the first one in the history of the All-Star game last night. Ichiro was just awesome to watch and getting a chance to see why he is so great with my own eyes is precisely why I enjoy the All-Star game.

    Johan's change-up is so good it made me shed a tear.

    Alfonso Soriano has big time opposite field power.

    So let me get this straight. Bases load...down by a run...improbable comeback in place...LaRussa miraculously has one of the best hitters of our time on the bench because he held him back and said he would play him anywhere if necessary...and he lets Aaron Rowand come up to end the game? I like Rowan's moxie as much as the next baseball fan, but can we all exhibit some common sense here? I think Tony was trying to sabotage the NL's chance for a victory. Really nauseating. Almost as nauseating having to listen to Buck and McCarver for three hours. Almost...

    I guess there is always next year.

    * * *

  • Some Mets talk on a BP chat:

    Amos (New York): Easley, Valentin, and Gotay have all had their uses for the Mets this year, but do you think it would behoove them to go after someone like Orlando Hudson in the offseason?

    Marc Normandin: A friend of mine who is a Mets fan thinks Valentin has reached the limit of his usefulness due to his injury; it's hampering his range at second, which was his greatest qualification for keeping a job if/when his bat expired. Finding a new second baseman should be in the plans, but I'm not sure about Orlando Hudson. Defensively he should be all there, but I wonder how much Arizona raises his value as a hitter

    Love the stache, but starting to hate the player again.

  • Also from the above chat:

    realhack (thomasville, ga): I am in a very deep, 12 team H2H league. Injuries to my pitching staff have taken a huge hit, still I am in contention. Josh Johnson and Smoltz are the latest casualties. What can I expect from the two of them, and who are some candidates likely to be available who I could pick up to make up the slack? Thanks for your help.

    Marc Normandin: I have Josh Johnson, John Smoltz, Ollie Perez and Bill Hall. Sigh. I'm probably just going to sit on the pitchers I have, because my free agent pool has been totally ravaged. Really. Someone picked up Brian Bannister, and I felt jealous for their find.
    Ooh, wait. Better answer: "I haven't really seen enough of your team to know what it is you need. Maybe if I talked to the owner one-on-one, or avoided answering your question at all. Sign Dave Concepcion."

    Reminds me of the 100 team league we have going on for this site. I'm languishing at the bottom and there is NO ONE to pick up. Everyone is literally gone and it is scary to see the guys that are getting picked up in this league.

  • Oliver Perez shut down some high school kids in his first rehab game.

    Mets left-hander Oliver Perez made his first rehab start today with four scoreless innings in a game against the Gulf Coast Dodgers.

  • In stark contrast to what Keith Law said the other day, an American League scout was gushing about Deolis Guerra.

    2. Deolis Guerra, rhp, Mets

    “Just unbelievable stuff with great life and movement late in the zone,” an American League scout said. “His breaking ball is very good right now, but it has a chance to be plus-plus. He pounds the zone, repeats well for a big-bodied guy, and really has a chance to be special.”

    In Law's defense he did have three of the same names on the list in regards to the best pitchers. Also, in one inning of work, a few people can see a few different things, but the main issue with Guerra would relate to his velocity and Baseball America did not speak to that. Either way, he's a young kid who is a long ways off from the bigs and has plenty of time to sharpen his skills.

  • I did enjoy The Bronx is Burning and apparently it is realistic.

    Jeff (Iowa): Did you watch The Bronx is Burning last night? If so, what did you think of it?

    SportsNation Goose Gossage: I think it was very close to how realisitc it was. The characters seemed very real. Billy Martin was exceptional. Thurmon Munson, I thought I was looking right at him. I went to the premiere of it and I thought it portrayed it just like it was back in the day.

    Good to hear that from Gossage because I was wondering how much was based on hard facts and how much was sensationalism.

  • Rob likes Willie.

    Floyd (Los Angeles, CA): If you could choose anyone to manage your team for the next 10 years--given the advancing age of guys like Bobby Cox--who would you choose?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:09 PM ET ) Tough question, but I will say that Willie Randolph is one of my top candidates.


    Russ (Merrick, NY): Not to nitpick, but WIllie Randolph gave two innings each to Scott Schoenweis, Aaron Sele, and Guillermo Mota in extra innings before allowing Billy Wagner to pitch. What makes him such a good manager?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:27 PM ET ) I like the cut of his jib, generally.

    This is a hard thing to pin down for someone who doesn't watch a team all often, but it does bear noting. Also, a lot of times people will hear Willie talk (and he does talk a good game) and look at the Mets success and assume he is in the cream of the crop in regards to coaching talent.

    But they do not see his insistence in using Franco as his go to guy amongst other things. Also, Neyer probably missed that the exact same thing he criticized Torre for the other day when Willie did it in the Mets seventeen inning win over the Astros (I think someone on Toasty's site pointed that one out). Either way, the great internal debate in my head burns on.

  • The Mets new Citi Field might be host to the 2011 All-Star game. They really need to get one while Wright and Reyes are in their prime so two of baseballs brightest will have their time to shine in front of their home crowd.

  • Though the Nationals were better than expected, they should sell everything that isn't nailed down. Even Ryan Zimmerman could be available in the right deal if you go Billy Beane's theory that no one is untouchable, but here are very few players that should not be dealt down in DC.

  • Lastings should be in left field for the Mets on Thursday and I fully expect him to go off. More thoughts on him tomorrow...
  • Labels:

    Monday, July 09, 2007

    Some Mid-Season Perspective

    The All-Star break is not only good for players to get a break from the action, but the fans as well. Met fans are one of the more rabid fanbases and I know we have all been feeling a bit exasperated of late. There are a lot of teams that have been stumbling a bit in June/July. The Mets are not alone and though they have played badly and were unwatchable at times, they still hold a two game lead on Atlanta for the NL East lead and are only one game behind San Diego and behind only Milwaukee and San Diego for the best record in the National League. Only three teams have winning percentages over.600 (with none being over .609) in the bigs and the Mets are only five games in back of Boston for the best record in the Majors. That should certainly add a bit of perspective in regards to the current state of baseball.

    While the Mets have been more exasperating than exhilarating and it is really easy to get down on this team, this is something they can turn around and fast. If you rewind to last season, the Mets owned a 53-36 record at the break and are four games behind last that pace. Would a 45-30 second half really shock us? .600 ball for the rest of the way out would have been a conservative estimate for this team a month ago and that would leave them at 93-69 for the season and more likely than not, in firm control of the NL East and possibly even the NL. I understand I'm ignoring momentum, but I have a hard time believing this team is this bad.

    With Pedro and Moises set to contribute in the second half, the Mets are a Carlos Beltran hot streak away from really opening this thing back up.

    "We've been very inconsistent," Wagner elaborated. "The young kids in the rotation [John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa] have really stepped up, but the offense has underachieved and the bullpen hasn't been putting teams away the way we did last year.

    "But the positive thing is, we are in first place with a chance to improve on that. With the talent we have on the team, we should be better."

    And they are better. Athough I've been negative lately, I truly believe they will play more on par with true selves during the second half and reassert themselves as the team to beat in the National League.

    * * *

  • Just some forward thinking here in regards to the Mets situation when Alou comes back. Shawn Green has obviously struggled since returning from the DL. While his performance was a pleasant surprise to start off the season, there was a sense that it was a hot streak and it is hard to argue with riding a hot streak until it is over. Green now appears to be settling into being the player we all expected.

    That does not mean he is useless, but with Lastings Milledge tearing up the baseball diamond since his return, it is hard to not make a case for him on the big league level. As exciting as Gomez was/is and the spark he was able to provide, Milledge is more big league ready. Gomez's speed and defense was refreshing and Milledge can add that same spark. I love Green off the bench and spot starting in left, in right, or at first and think Milledge should be getting some regular playing time with Alou once he returns.

    A lineup with Alou, Beltran, Milledge, Wright, Reyes, Delgado, LoDuca, and Valentin would certainly be the best lineup by far in the National League. If the Mets would smarten up and eschew Valentin a bit for Gotay, then it would be even better, but they seem intent on kicking in that very expensive option for the soon to be 38 year old. Of course there is sentiment that with over exposure Gotay may shrivel a bit like Endy, but I say we will not know until see it with our own eyes. I made the statement the other day that not much could be done with this offense, but I was sort of off-base in sense. This offense could look drastically different if the Mets want to make some bold changes and I really think they should stop relying on crusty veterans and infuse some youth until they prove they cannot handle it.

  • I do not think anyone can defend the Kazmir trade, but as a Met fan you'd be hard pressed to be upset about where they have come since then. That being said, Kazmir is certainly struggling a bit. From Buster's column on 7/9:

    Scott Kazmir, D-Rays: He has really struggled with his command in the first half, raising questions about what he is and what he is going to be.

    It seems that the Mets were not entirely wrong in regards to their assessment of Scott Kazmir. Where they missed the boat was in who they traded him for. Of course, the Mets never saw a healthy Zambrano and no one will ever see that pitcher, so we will never know how the deal would have been in optimal circumstances. It's obvious that Kazmir would have helped the Mets out in '05 and '06, but it isn't a slam dunk that Kazmir turns into the pitcher everyone thought he would be.

    He is still only 23 so he has a looooong time to straighten things out, but his .275 BAA and his 58 walks in 112.1 innings and his accompanying 1.58 WHIP are ugly. He could certainly still be a perennial All-Star, but he could also certainly end up moving into the bullpen. Either way, I think we are all sure it will not happen in Devil Rays uniform. He still looks like he has to work to do and he's going to be entering his arbitration years already after this season.

  • Billy lays it down

    "I love Jose to death. He's a great ballplayer. But the way I was raised is you hit the ball, you run like hell. The umpires will tell you if it's fair or foul. When you have that type of talent and you start to play that way, you become a prima donna. And when you're a prima donna, it's not fun to be around you."
    --Mets closer Billy Wagner, on Jose Reyes not running out a ball.

    I'm not concerned one bit about Reyes' standing at home watching Mike Lamb run the ball over to first. He looked embarrassed then and he is frustrated by everything that is going on. Sometimes you need a wake up call and that could well of been his and maybe the entire team's. But as Steve Popper pointed out, it is not just Jose.

    Manager's worst move

    Singling out Jose Reyes for a lack of hustle -- only because there are at least five guys on the team who should have been called out first.

    ..and he again brings it out here.

    But it is the troubling signs of lackadaisical play and inconsistency that will follow the Mets into the break. Jose Reyes w as singled out and yanked from the game Friday night, but he is hardly the first one to not run out a ball. The Mets seemed to sleepwalk at times through the season -- looking like a dominant team for short bursts and then like an aging fossil at other times. What rarely has surfaced has been the hunger that would have been expected after the disappointing end to the 2006 season.

    Isn't that inconsistent and lackadaisical play on Willie's head? Isn't that what he excels at? The only think Willie could be lauded for in his brief tenure with the Mets was that. Without his trait of being able to get the players to play the game right and play for him, you have Art Howe. Personally, I still think Willie will have little to do with any possible renaissance and I do wonder if Omar is thinking that deal through 2009 is looking like a great idea right about now.

  • Be on the lookout for my guest appearance over at Yes Joe, It's Toasted.
  • Sunday, July 08, 2007

    All-Star Snub?

    As of Friday afternoon, the top pitchers VORP in the NL were Jake Peavy with 42.7, Brad Penny with 41.7, Chris Young with 35.7, John Maine with 34.7, Ian Snell with 33.9, Tom Gorzelanny with 33.2, Roy Oswalt with 30.8, Derek Lowe with 30.0, John Smoltz with 28.8, Jeff Francis with 28.5, and Ben Sheets with 27.7 with Hamels a bit behind with a 23.5. The pitchers chosen for the team were Francisco Cordero, Brien Fuentes, Cole Hamels, Trevor Hoffman, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy, Brady Penny, Takashi Saito, Ben Sheets, John Smoltz, Jose Valverde, Billy Wagner, and Chris Young.

    Aside from Peavy and Penny, the variance between the rest coupled with their respective reputations makes it a difficult thing to truly lock down in terms of who is more deserving. Chris Young was voted in by the fans fair and square. He has a ridiculous home ERA of 0.82 and a BAA of .168, but his road ERA of 3.33 is still impressive with his .227 BAA. If he did not get voted in by the fans, he certainly would have deserved a spot anyway and should have been included initially. Then you have Sheets and Smoltz who were picked and one has be alright with those guys based on their current performance this year and their careers. While Maine has All-Star numbers, his case is hard to argue against Sheets and Smoltz as not every guy gets in based on 1/2 a year performance. If two or three guys are close, the seasoned star gets in 100% of the time unless someone is the sole possible representative. Then you have Oswalt, who is replacing Smoltz, and you have Hamels. If you look at their home parks (both strangely have performed better at home) and factor in their dominance factor, it is not an open and shut case that Maine should have been in over them. Everyone has a legitimate case between the three, but no one could really argue about Maine getting left out.

    The only argument would be in Brian Fuentes. How you can put a guy who lost his closer job and has an ERA north of 4.00 is beyond me. Matt Holliday was already going to make the team, so it was not just an obligatory vote to get a Rockie in there, but if you are strictly playing to win, it certainly behooves a manager to have as many closers as possible. But Brian Fuentes? I could possibly see the benefit if the AL was loaded with lefties, but that is far from the case. Then you look back at June 21st. You will see twenty saves and a 1.89 ERA for Fuentes. The pitchers and reserves were announced on July 1st and they were probably picked a few days earlier. Fuentes' ERA ballooned from 1.89 to 4.17 in five consecutive appearances. Throw in the fact that starters and relievers are different beasts. You can throw in six closers and not have to worry about their availability. Regardless, I have a hard time thinking LaRussa just pulled these names out on the 29th of June.

    They had a good idea who they were taking and at the time they had formulated that opinion, it looked like six closers were having outstanding seasons and LaRussa had three lefties in the pen. Again, if you are trying to win, giving yourself six closers and three of whom could be potential LOOGY options, you might be putting your best foot forward. With six starters already, who gives the NL a better chance at winning, Maine or Fuentes? I do not think it could be argued that a seventh starter starter who might take ten more pitches to warm up over a sixth reliever who will not need as much time is more of a value add. If the Mets go to the World Series, would you rather have a Maine All-Star berth or homefield advantage? Again, the most deserving should go, but Fuentes precipitous decline is not typical and guys like LaRussa are not knee jerk. If he was, he certainly would not be where he is and Fuentes was not undeserving a short time ago.

    Did Maine, Snell, and Gorzelanny get snubbed? Yes and it is not a perfect system. Did Beltran get a gift? Yes and that makes it hard to argue about Maine if you are a Mets fan. I would have loved to see Maine there, but I'm not in a tizzy that he is not as there it is not as cut and dry as it seems and Maine's exclusion is not egregious.

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  • Speaking of All-Stars, Miguel Cabrera is having a great year, but after a dismal April, Wright has played right with him. Anyone complaining about his status on the team is just not looking at the numbers close enough.

  • The bullpen came up big for the Mets last night and that is certainly refreshing to see.

  • Mike Pelfrey was a bit roughed up again on Friday and he is just not consistent enough. He struck out Lance Berkman on a great change-up which showed everyone what he could do, but he could not replicate the pitch often and his slider was horrendous. The jury is still out on him, but as Keith pointed out, he's never had a full season on the minors and he either needs to be in the bullpen or he needs to be in the minors working on two pitches rather than getting people out.
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