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

Friday, August 03, 2007


Being that I had the last two days of posts partially written and never got around to finishing them, I will put them all in a one big swelltastic weekend post.

Two out of three in Milwaukee? Good stuff. This team showed some moxie by coming back after a demoralizing defeat and even Brian Lawrence came up to give a respectable five innings. Jorge Sosa in the bullpen gives me a funny feeling in my pants and I kind of like it. I do think the Mets should consider bringing up Humber and see if they can get slightly above league average production from him and let him get his feet wet and some valuable experience for next season while Sosa helps out in the bullpen.

Wright has a 900+ Ops and is seventh in the league in steals and is on pace to swipe 36 bags and is currently swiping them with a 92% success rate. Out of the NL, only Michael Bourn and Chris B. Young have a better success rate and only Curtis Granderson, Ian Kinsler, Jason Bartlett, Michael Bourn, Chris B. Young, and Ichiro Suzuki best him out of the entire bigs. I think he will get into the 30/30 club this year and he is just oozing sugary goodness of late.

With the Braves cutting Franco, I think we can all agree that his playing days are over. I cannot imagine some team being desperate enough to give him another shot. I still cannot for the life of me figure out what the Braves were thinking, but I guess he did win one game for them. In regards to the Braves overall, they are firmly 5 games behind the Mets and it is completely up to them as to whether or not they will let someone else take this thing.

If you look at Lastings' career so far and take a look at his 162 game average on ESPN, he has a .254/.314/.408 line with 25 doubles, 15 homers, 29 walks, 78 RBIs, and 103 strikeouts. While that may not look great, you have to factor in he was 21 for a large chunk of that with very little minor league action. If he can maintain that .050 ISOD and keep his ISOP around .175, I think he'll hit .300 to .320 every year and be a very impressive ball player and I think he can do that right away if given a steady job.

Also, that swing of his may be the most level of any Met player and he just consistently hits the ball hard. His level swing and bat speed should allow him to stay out of prolonged slumps and prevent him from getting homer-happy and allow him to churn out consistent production. In regards to fielding, if he can just translate the way he plays center to right or left field, he will make up for the lack of power, though I do not think he will be a slouch in that category. I just hope the Mets trust him enough to give him the job in 2008 and keep him in the lineup when Beltran returns. I do not think it will be very long before he hits his stride and produces at a high level.

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  • Luis Castillo is already talking about returning to the Mets in 2008.

  • Jason Stark has a good rundown of the deals.


    "I love making deals with John Schuerholz," said one GM on Tuesday. "When you're making a deal with John, he gets right to the point: 'Would you do this -- yes or no? And no hard feelings if you say no.' He's a breath of fresh air in our business. I wish more guys were like him."

    What makes him good is that he is not out there trying to rip people off like legions of these GMs who would rather keep a guy they should trade unless they rip the other team off, which is probably the worst way to run a franchise. In the case of the Devil Rays, this has made them much worse than they needed to be over the years.

    "Are they the best team in the East now? That, I don't know. They never did get that starting pitcher they needed. But did they make the best deals of anybody to get better? They sure did that."

    The Braves are a better and much tougher team, but I would have to still give the edge to the Mets if their bullpen settles in and I think it will with a few internal moves. If Pedro can make it back with Sosa and Humber hitting the bullpen, Aaron coming back strong, and Smith getting some respite, they should settle in just fine. Also, you cannot forget that Perez and Maine have averaged 6.3 innings per start this year and have gone seven or more in just about half of their starts. Last year in the playoffs, the Mets were not getting the gift of innings and I expect that to change and not tax the bullpen as much.


    But give him credit. Daniels did indeed deal them both -- plus Kenny Lofton -- and came away with nine prospects, just about all of whom project to play in the big leagues.

    The gauge of a good draft is whether or not you got two or three guys that can contribute on the big league level with some stars sprinkled in over the years. The Rangers basically got the equivalent of three or four drafts in one swoop without having any to pay any signing bonuses and freed up a ton of cash that was going to go to Teixeira and can now be allocated elsewhere.

    If A-Rod opts out, the Rangers gain $24 million next season alone between two players and will see millions more off the books with Gagne and Lofton gone. The Rangers are in a much better place right now than they were on Monday. Their first five picks which included Blake Beaven and Michael Main were solid and they should get a top ten pick next season. Jon Daniels finally read the book on how to start to rebuild a team. Now if they would only slide their fences back a bit...


    "I like that pick-up, but that doesn't mean he's the same guy he used to be," said an official of one team. "His hip is starting to wear out on him, and it shows. But one thing he'll do is, he'll give [Jose] Reyes a chance to run like hell because he has no problem taking the first two strikes. And he'll help them defensively, because he still plays great defense."

    Castillo was worth the gamble but I hope they are not married to what they want him to be if he does not play like that ideal player they had in mind.

  • Johan is pissed.

    "It's not just about hope," Santana told The Star Tribune. "In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.

    "You always talk about future, future. ... But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it," Santana told the newspaper.

    Veteran baseball players are pretty much all in agreement with Santana. When the GM holds steady or even spins a player off that is perceived to be an integral part of the fabric of the club, they get mad. They do not want to hear about rookies, farm systems, or even acquiring prospects and they want to hear 'some guy I don't know traded for some veteran I know'. Standing still or being realistic about your chances and maybe acquiring a guy who can help you down the line is waiving the white flag. The Twins going for it would be a big mistake and unfortunately, he has to think about life after Santana should he leave. There is a good enough core there to be competitive for a while.

    If anything, maybe the finger can be pointed towards Carl Pohlad who pocketed 20+ million over the past two years. When you factor in player depreciation, he made more than that. Of course it is his right to make money and spending frivolously is never a good idea, but the Twins should probably be spending more money being that revenue sharing gives them a handsome sum of cash yearly. Terry Ryan is not to blame for not doing something and it is not as black and white as Santana says.

    Ryan was simply realistic about their chances did not want to make any mistakes. In the off-season, they need to get a bat, but their rotation and bullpen should be spectacular and they should absolutely be in the thick of things in 2008. Why risk the future for an ill-advised run in 2007? Ryan should be saving all his bullets for 2008 and saving $2 million that was going to go to Castillo with a suitable replacement in the system already was a good idea, though many people think they ripped off by the Mets. Sure he got next to nothing back, but Castillo and his 18 RBIs just did not have much value and it was purely a cash dump and to make room so a piece in 2008 could start getting his feet wet.

  • It turns out that Mark Teixeira turned down a big $140 million contract.

    The proposal would have kept Teixeira in Texas for eight more seasons at a total of approximately $140 million. The deal would have included a mutually agreed figure for Teixeira's last year of salary arbitration in 2008 and another seven years worth $18 million per season.

    First, I think Mark might want to win and the Rangers have some work to do. Second, would a team that far away from winning be making a good choice by plunking down that cash? The Rangers need to stop making crappy trades like when they gave Cordero and Mench away for half of a season of Lee and not trade guys like Chris Young for Adam Eaton. Besides, Hicks spends big. So when they are ready, they can go toe to toe with anyone for a free agent. Lastly, Boras would never let a player like that sign early.

    Gil thinks Teixeira is stupid.

    But Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, told the Rangers that his client wasn't interested.

    Which proves, I suppose, that they don't teach math after all at Georgia Tech, where Teixeira attended. By 2007 salaries, the deal would have made Teixeira the fourth highest-paid player in baseball.

    Is Teixeira the fourth-best player in the major leagues? Not even close.

    Since when was it a prerequisite to be a top ten player to get paid a top ten salary?

    1 Giambi, Jason - $ 23,428,571
    2 Rodriguez, Alex - $ 22,708,525
    3 Jeter, Derek - $ 21,600,000
    4 Ramirez, Manny - $ 17,016,381
    5 Helton, Todd - $ 16,600,000
    6 Colon, Bartolo - $ 16,000,000
    7 Pettitte, Andy - $ 16,000,000
    8 Schmidt, Jason - $ 15,703,946
    9 Bonds, Barry - $ 15,533,970
    10 Sexson, Richie - $ 15,500,000
    11 Abreu, Bobby - $ 15,000,000
    12 Thome, Jim - $ 14,833,333
    13 Berkman, Lance - $ 14,500,000
    14 Delgado, Carlos - $ 14,500,000
    15 Guerrero, Vladimir - $ 14,500,000
    16 Hampton, Mike - $ 14,500,000
    17 Martinez, Pedro J. - $ 14,002,234
    18 Drew, J.D. - $ 14,000,000
    19 Jones, Andruw - $ 14,000,000
    20 Tejada, Miguel - $ 13,811,415

    Do I really have to go into how many of the top twenty salaries are not top forty players much less top twenty players? Four players at most would be cracking the top twenty. Regardless I'd take Teixiera for $18,000,000 than any of those guys listed above at the their current salary with the exception of A-Rod. Things just aren't that simple when it comes to salaries and skill level and I think that is obvious. It is more about being a free agent at the right time with the right teams needing to fill certain spots.

  • This was truly a bizarre trade, but much like the one that Orioles made for Kris Benson. Sometimes teams believe they need a veteran around to give them some stability even if their starts are not spectacular. Maybe there is credence to that and maybe not. Personally, it seems like a bad allocation of money to me and just outlines why the Pirates are a team going no where. As an article stated the other day, the Pirates are the same team that passed up Wieters because they did not want to plunk down the extra cash. Better use of funds...$13 million for Morris or $7 million for Wieters?

  • Heyman apparently says that Heilman was involved in the Cordero deal. Heilman and Humber? That may be one of the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. At the end of the day when the dust settles, Dayn Perry still believes the Mets will win the NL East and I have to agree with him.

  • Don't worry about your shrinking portfolios as I have some dependable information that says the Dow is headed for 17,000.

  • Jim Callis had an interesting article today about Jeff Samardzija that is hauntingly similar to Mike Pelfrey's situation.

    Samardzija has the velocity and life on his fastball to blow hitters away. He touched 99 mph at Notre Dame, comfortably works in the low to mid-90s and gets tremendous sink.

    "Not very many pitchers have natural sink that's hard and late with that velocity," says Rich Bombard, his pitching coach at high Class A Daytona. "You can't teach that. That's what separates him. There are other guys in this league who can throw 93-95 mph, but not with that movement."

    Hmmm...not piling up strikeouts? Great natural sink on their mid 90's fastball? More hits than whiffs in every start? Developing slider and change-up?

  • If you have a few minutes, this stuff is gold.

  • Pedro is hitting 87 mph on the gun. I'm not sure what speed he needs to be at to be effective, but I would imagine he could be effective at 87 mph and do a pretty good Greg Maddux impression.

    "There's room for growth," Minaya said, referring to Martinez's velocity. "But we all know Pedro can pitch. The most important thing I saw was movement, location, late movement, that's Pedro."

  • Michael Salfino has a great article about who is the best in New York. There are not many surprises either. He did mention that Mota should perhaps throw more change-ups, and that may be true, but he needs to still set them up better as Darling said. The guy has a fastball that can be overpowering at times and a great change. Simply stated, he should be much better than he has been and should be dominating reliever, but he remains and enigma. I remember him pitching against the Mets while he was on the Marlins and wondering how anyone every scores a run against him.

    On a related note, why not claim Farnsworth and the money owed to him? I see that as a risk worth taking should the Yankees make and ill advised decision with Professor Rick's propensity to turn bullpen arms around. He still has a fast (albeit straight) fastball and a nice slider.

  • Willie logic...

    Bat Newhan 2nd and bat Gotay 8th. Minor? Absolutely, but still lacking any rational explanation. Outside of a guy feeling, I could not see any reason for it. It is simple. Your better hitters should maximize their times at the plate and there really is no debate for that one. I get the lineup being loaded with lefties since Zambrano just mows down lefties, but not this. It is a wonder why some people question me for questioning Willie's thought process.

    Just an aside, I know managers see this type of situation as a good opportunity to rest some guys. In Alou's case, you have a guy that is really tough on righties and Alou's body is nearing a meltdown so this is a good opportunity to sit him. However, I think people get too caught up in this and sacrifice a better bat for lesser hitting lefty. Now, I'm not talking about Willie's inclusion of Newhan into the lineup because the guy has not seen much playing time. I think it was a good day to try and get him at-bats, but I'm just talking in generalities here.

  • The Mets are rolling....rolling...rolling. They have only lost one series out of the firt six after the break and are off to a nice start with their ace on the mound tommorrow trying to make it six out of their first seven series. It should also be noted that they have the largest lead out of any first place team not named Boston. I think it is safe to say the Mets are headed in the right direction.
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Strapping A Set On

    It is easy to sit here and write these things, but sometimes the GMs need to step up and do the right thing for their club even if it is unpopular. It was mentioned that the Twins might be better off trading Nathan and retooling a bit for the next few seasons and bolstering their team long term. However, that would be a ballsy move and not very popular. The Twins need some payroll flexibility for Torii Hunter and he seems like a more integral part to this team than Joe Nathan. If the Mets were going to give up Humber for Chad Cordero, wouldn't one assume he would have brought in a big return?

    The Mets need a right handed set up man and failed to acquire one. They have talent close to the bigs so Omar could promote Phil Humber and see how he performs. However, he is inexperienced and though Wainright and Miguel Cabrera should be a shining example of how some guys can step up and play a tremendously large part to a team's success, it would be a ballsy move which is why Omar tried to trade him for Chad Cordero. Instead of rolling the dice with the unknown, he went for the known.

    The Yankees made a minor deal, but did not get their bullpen arm and have moved Joba into the AAA bullpen and are slated to give Joba a big chance with Proctor off the team. It is a ballsy move to trade a bullpen arm that logged a ton of innings for you over the last years when you need a reliever. It is especially ballsy when you trade him for a guy who does not exactly fit onto the current team nor pitches and roll with the rookie, but you have to respect the move.

    You look at the Rangers and they got a pretty good return for Gagne and Teixeira and you have to wonder why other GMs do not try and emulate that. The Astros for example should probably make a few deals of that ilk and trade big parts of their team as should the Twins and many other teams, but GMs are perhaps too worried about public opinion at times and need to operate with some blinders on as it relates to the media and the fanbase. Taking a step backwards is not necessarily a bad thing and most of these guys try and make every move a step forward, which is impossible.

    While Humber may not be a household name and not far removed from Tommy John surgery, he might be able to pitch 95 to 97 mph in a one inning stints and provide that bullpen spark that Joe Smith did. Weren't the Mets brass still buzzing about his relief appearance last fall against the Braves during Spring Training? I am really happy that the trade did not go through and I'm not sure of the logistics of the entire deal since my internet sucks, but it seems as if the Mets were not willing to throw in another player, which seems about right. Why should they? If Bowden was asking for too much again, that should just be another reason he should be removed from his position because he lost a potential impact starter which is something the Nats need badly.

    The best thing the Mets could do right now is take the Yankees lead and look to within to solve their problems. Right now, the Mets have holes and one is starting to become a glaring hole. Their bullpen has taken a step back, but there are pieces to work with and it is vital to balance the future while tending to them.

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  • I really enjoyed the mega chat that ESPN had all day and they should do the tag team chats more often.

    Jonah Keri: I liked the Luis castillo deal btw. Yes, Gotay was hitting .350, but his track record didn't suggest that it would continue. Castillo's a solid OBP guy who's a very good defender. Mets pitchers have to be loving Castillo-Reyes-Beltran up the middle, assuming all 3 are healthy. The Mets already catch more balls hit into play than any other team in baseball.

    Keith Law seems to think he has lost a step and he probably has. He is older and not quite as quick, but he is sure handed and just came off a 130 game errorless streak. If the Mets wanted defense, they surely got it. If they run with Milledge out in right, the Mets will have some spectacular defense out there with the exception of Delgado and Moises.

    Matt (Philadelphia): How much of an upgrade was Luis Castillo for the Mets? I think it would be interesting to get your take on the trade and then compare Joe Morgan's answer when he chats.

    SportsNation Jonah Keri: (11:09 AM ET ) Castillo's defense is the clincher here. I don't think Gotay's close to a .350 hitter, but I think he'd have a shot at stayiong competitive with Castillo offensively, with Castillo a better OBP threat and Gotay with more pop. I call this a minor in-season upgrade, with a big-time bonus of compensatory draft picks at year's end if they let him walk to free agency.

    If the Mets give Castillo some insane 3-year, $21 million contract, then I don't like the trade nearly as much.

    Even if Castillo is a Type B free agent, which he should be, the Mets get a high enough draft pick they could bring in a player much better than Butera or Martin. Besides, we have no idea if Gotay will be sharing time, which is possible. I suspect we will see plenty of him as he has deserved it. However, after the season, I agree with Keri here and signing him to a multi-year deal would seem to be a mistake.

    Jack (NY): Have you heard anything about Phil Humber for Chad Cordero?

    SportsNation Jonah Keri: (2:13 PM ET ) That would be a very dumb trade for the Mets. Heck, they could promote Humber to the rotation, slot Jorge Sosa in the pen, and get a similar effect, without losing a guy six years from free agency who could be an above-average SP.

    Again, just repeating what most of us already think and I want to send the Met front office their quotes of them gushing about Humber's relief appearance against the Braves. What can it hurt? Seriously, at this point, there needs to be some action taken and sooner rather than later and if not Humber, Bostick has been lights out of late. Try him. Try anything.

  • You could certainly make the argument that Willie indirectly killed the poor mom in this article. Not that we all haven't been there before with our mom in regards to getting mad at them, but stabbing them in the head and beating them to death? Randolph's curious moves are enough to drive anyone to murder at times and thankfully I was not watching the game. Unfortunately for Maria Fischman, Michael Anthony was. It could have easily been my name in those papers.

    In all seriousness, the guy obviously had issues. But I truly wonder if of the most controversial series of moves by Willie all season set Michael Anthony off the way Kramer set off Steve Gendason, who happened to be a ex-baseball player in the Seinfeld episode, by hitting him with a penalty stroke for picking up his golf ball and cleaning it.

  • Willie Randolph is still hesitant to bat Milledge higher in the order. What is really bizarre is that Milledge was batting above Green for a bit and now he was inexplicably dropped back to 8th. Simple reasoning would seem to support the theory that your better hitters should get more at-bats. Call me crazy, but I do subscribe to that theory and would think most managers would. Yost certainly believes in that theory has he plugged Braun into the third spot before he compiled up insane numbers and there is no real good reason to not trust young guys. Their skill should dictate where and when they should play and not their age as I've said here a bunch of times. Of course as I wrote this, Milledge had a bad game at the plate, but those will happen. Overall, I'd still bet on Milledge outperforming Green the rest of the way out and I would still prefer to see Milledge in the two hole for now until Beltran comes back.

  • Set your DVRs. With Pedro getting his first rehab start down in St. Lucie and the Mets airing it on SNY, things are about to get interesting.

  • Thoughts on last night's game:
    • Glavine didn't have his best stuff, but he gutted it out. When he guts out a game like that for his 300th win, you simply cannot let that game slip away from him.
    • When Castillo was up with the bases loaded and one out, I had no faith in him and I would have really preferred Gotay there. Of course Castillo will meaningfully contribute, but he is primarily here for defense and small ball, but not RBIs as evidenced by his 18 RBIs as a full time starter in Minneapolis. But as I stated yesterday, I'm not sure about him batting second. If you wanted him for defense, great, but why is pop a bad thing out of the two hole?
    • Aaron Heilman has been a stud during the last month or so, but the bullpen has been a big letdown of late even if the numbers do not show it.
    • Lastings can play centerfield with the best of them and he looks just great out there and he can definitely go after it. That catch to end the 9th with the bases loaded was nothing short of amazing.
    • Sosa coming out of the bullpen would seem to point to Pelfrey getting another start on Thursday. The good thing is that Sosa showed something on the mound out of the bullpen.
    • David Wright was absolutely huge in last night's game. He was on base all the time and all around just proving how smart of a baseball player he is.
    • As frustrating as the game was, it was a pleasure to watch. So far it's a tie score heading into the 12th and with the Braves having chalked up a win already, they need to finish this off, extend their lead over the Phillies, and keep the Braves at bay. The Braves have just picked up two huge pieces and they probably are feeling pretty good about themselves. It is imperative that they do not let them get a chance to feel really good about themselves by picking up a few quick games in the standings.

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  • Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    It's On......

    The Braves really had to decide if Saltalamacchia was a catcher or a first baseman and the early returns on him being a first baseman were not favorable. So it really boils down to whether they wanted to keep McCann or Salty and they made the right decision for their current team.

    McCann is pretty damn good and he has produced at the big league level and they get a gold glove first baseman who can hit 30+ and 100+ and is under control through 2008. All in all, it was a good deal for both teams and though I really do not think Elvis Andrus (Joaquin Arias part II) will be an impact player at any point, the Rangers save a lot of cash and get a big time prospect back that they can insert into the starting lineup right away.

    Does any of this make the Braves favorites? Not really, but I'm sure a lot of people will go crazy over the deal and say they are. While first base was a black hole for them, they still have starting pitching issues and bullpen issues. They did receive a reliever back as well, but I do not think Mahay is going to change the face of their bullpen even though he should improve it. Things certainly got more interesting, but the Mets are still the team to beat for me.

    As for the Mets trade, Omar did not hit the panic button and trade Lastings Milledge for Mark Loretta or anything. A big concern of Willie was the second spot in the lineup and defense at second base. While I'm not all for Castillo being the second hole hitter, it is a foregone conclusion. In regards to Gotay, he provides some great bench depth and is a valuable pinch hitter. He has been so big for the Mets lately that you hate to see him not start, but Castillo is a perennial .300 hitter, though without much power.

    Basically he is what they want out of Paul LoDuca but with a more speed and better bunting skills. I'm not sure if he comes close to LoDuca in regards to intangibles, but he is a good contact hitter that will put the ball in place while giving you stellar defense. The Mets got deeper today for sure even though it was not a blockbuster and it only cost Dustin Martin and Drew Butera. You have to give Omar a lot of credit for this deal as it is a very low cost/low risk move.

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  • Pedro says he is ready for a minor league rehab game. Swellicious...

  • My DSL is deciding not to work so this is all that I can do without wanting to throw my laptop through the wall.
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