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

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Motherland

Sooooooo....I'm off. Off to Africa. Off the motherland.

Of course it is going to be as close to hell as possible getting there with a twenty eight hour trip which includes a ten hour layover in Heathrow and a puddle jumper from Nairobi to the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Getting there should be rewarding though as I drink $1 Safaris (local beer) with the below view as I wait for the my friends to get back from their hike up Kilimanjaro.

There is also a chance someone could not do the five day summit and the altitude got the best of them and I could have company waiting there for me, but I think they will make it. For one, I think many are just too dumb to know when they are beat. Why didn't I climb? Glad you asked. I did not have enough vacation time due to weddings. Weddings in Mexico...weddings in Newport on work days. Fucking weddings.

It's all good though. I have the the lungs of a nine year old girl and probably would have met my match on the mountain and this gives me an easy out. The culmination of the trip though will be camping out on the Serengeti. That should be interesting to say the least and hopefully I can overcome my fear of getting into my sleeping bag with a black mamba nestled up next to me.

When I return, I will be looking for new employment to get me out of the job hell that I am in and hopefully the playoff picture will be settled a bit more and Mota will no longer be in the fold. Hopefully Willie will still not be trying to fit Rosie O'Donnell into Jessica Biel's dress and will be thinking out of the box.

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  • Alon (Brooklyn): Where do you see Humber, Pelfrey, and Mulvey? Rotation or relievers?

    SportsNation Keith Law: Reliever, starter, reliever.

    I'm no scout, but they all have the stuff to start in the bigs. Now, the Mets simply might not have enough room and two will probably have to either hit the bullpen or be traded, but that is by no fault of their own.

    Also, I finally watched Humber's last inning on my DVR and I have to say he looked good. He had a nice fastball and his curveball was better than any other time that I've seen it. I think he could potentially be devastating out of the bullpen, but I have also said that a plethora of times before and just might not be thinking clearly.

  • I like the cut of this cat's jib.

    Yes, they could hold on to Santana next season, pay him $13.25 million, and take the draft picks when he signs with somebody else. These days, maybe that makes sense, because maybe there aren't any lopsided deals like this still to be made.

    There is good reason to be optimistic about the Twins' pitching. Even in the absence of Joe Nathan -- who should also be traded before he gets too expensive -- the bullpen will feature Matt Guerrier and blogger extraordinaire Pat Neshek. Even in the absence of Santana, the rotation will/could feature Boof Bonser, Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey.

    They would be doing an injustice to not at least test the waters. That team can contend next year, but they still have some holes. Holes that can be filled via trades and they should be able to extract quite a bounty for those two. As hard as that might be to do, it might be the right thing to do in the long run.

    That is unless they plan to 100% land him. But if they do, they should try and work that out prior to the season so they can extract maximum value. Getting two draft picks is not so great for a player of his ilk. Also, if a team with money picks him up after having an off year, they will not get a first rounder and a the team that might pick him up might only give them a late first rounder to add to their sandwich pick. There is a slight risk involved in keeping him rather than chasing more known quantities that teams will part with. Although, trading such a star and two fan favorites will not generate a lot of love letters from the Minnesota fanbase, but you have to worry about running your team first and public opinion second.

  • Dayn Perry continues down the road of trying to bring more stats mainstream and tells us the Red Sox, D-Backs, and Mets might be the three most well equipped teams to win it all.

  • Let us not go crazy here. The Nats look smart for their pick up of Flores, but to keep him in the bigs as a backup? Why? He has a legit future at being a starter. You won round one, now let him head to AAA to get some everyday work in so he can take over down the line as your starter for good. If they keep him in the bigs to only serve as back up again, that would be a big mistake.

  • The Castillo trade has worked out for sure. He also wants to come back to the Mets next season, but with his balky knee, what do you do? If he will do a two year contract at about the same rate he is getting now, I think the risk would be low enough to go for it.

    I love Gotay, but he can wait and work on becoming a super utility guy on the infield and he could be extremely valuable that way and he should get his share of at-bats. His bat off the bench is a great thing to have and I think it is a foregone conclusion he would see a substantial amount of time at second anyway.
  • Labels:

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Lucky # 15

    John Maine pitched a tight game last night and ended up without the victory thanks to a some late inning hijinks. With Heilman in the game, Willie lifted him with two outs and men on first and third. He brought Feliciano to face a lefty and he failed to get an out. Then, Mota is brought in to take care of the problem and predictably proceeded to melt down.

    "He shouldn't be caught up in the crowd," Randolph said. "For the team and for us he needs to get over the hump. I'm going to keep going to him. He's got some of the best stuff in our bullpen. He needs to continue to work to be more consistent with things."

    First, let me admit how utterly and completely wrong I was as it relates to Mota. He is useless. However, only one person seems to not see that and I fear he will be used for the remainder of the year in big innings and used in the playoffs as well. Second, Willie's blunder goes beyond using Mota, but why pull your 8th inning guy who has been great in the second half when the going gets tough? Isn't that precisely what he should be able to navigate himself out of?

    His 2.56 ERA in the second half is tight. Let Heilman work out of his own jams because he is your second best reliever out of the bullpen. He is equally adept at getting righties and lefties out and while Feliciano is obviously more adept at getting lefties out, there was no reason to use him. And if you had to use him, why use him against one batter? Righties are batting .211 against Pedro #2 and a cool .295 against Mota. Be afraid Met fans when Willie has to manage. Reasoning gets completely tossed out the window.

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  • Gotay made a great play in the field yesterday and I think it is time we put more faith in his glove. I'm not basing everything off of one play. Yes, the guy has made some mistakes but he is young and can get better. He has shown he has some ability out there so there is reason to be optimistic.

  • Beltran is stud.

  • Piazza is not ready to retire and will be playing for his third team in as many years after leaving the Mets.

  • This is really such a non-story right now. How about the Mets worry about the World Series and worry about Glavine in the off-season.

    From johnf in the comments last night:

    Glavine is guaranteed up to $13M (based on 200 IP) from the Mets if he wants to come back, not 4-7M. It is his option, not the Mets.


    Tom Glavine p
    1 year/$10.5M (2007), plus 2008 player option

    * re-signed as a free agent 11/06
    * 07:$7.5M, 08:$9M player option ($3M buyout)
    * 2008 player option:
    o guaranteed with 160 IP in 2007
    o additional $1M (up to $13M) for each additional 10 IP in 2007
    o may be declined by Glavine if it becomes guaranteed

  • Andy is not mulling retirement as much as he is looking for another year tagged onto his player option at a hefty price.

  • El Duque's foot is still hurting and if it is hurting as the Mets head into the playoffs, he has to take a seat or head into the bullpen. It is that simple. The Mets are too deep to head out there with a injured starter.

  • Weiner ponders the viability of a third NY team.

    Over the five decades since the Dodgers and Giants left New York, no one has suggested putting a third team in the New York City marketplace. No one, that is, until the owner of the Oakland Athletics, Lewis Wolff, spoke to a New York Times reporter recently about placing a second Major League Soccer franchise in the area. Wolff told the Times ,"Frankly, I'd like to see a third baseball team in New York."

    Could the area support one? 100% yes. Should it happen? It would be good for baseball since it is still such a tremendous market, but it will never happen. New Jersey? Maybe, but I fear any New Jersey team will fall to the problems the Devils and Nets face when people are forced to fight through traffic to get to a weekday game. With no effective mass transit to get people to the games from work to the game on time, it is virtually impossible.

  • The Mets are holding onto homefield advantage by one game. With such a big lead in the NL East it might seem OK for Willie continuing to manage without much thought, but I want homefield throughout the playoffs and Willie needs to wake up a bit.

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  • Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Chats, Chats, and More Chats

    JA (Chanhassen): Is Pedro Martinez' lack of velocity a concern? Could he be reserving his top arm speed for the big leaguers, or is 88-90 his new ceiling? His brother didn't bounce back well from rotator cuff surgery, and that must be weighing on his mind, but he's just not striking out A ball hitters. That can't bode well. Any insight as to his chance at being 80% of Pedro v 2001-2004 ever again?

    Will Carroll: When you say "lack", you have to look at it relative to not only where he once was (low to mid 90s) but also to where he was last year (low to mid 80s.) Watching video of his third rehab start, Pedro was toying with hitters. I think if he wanted to strike them out, he could have, but he was doing what he was doing, just with batters. There's a part of me that thinks he'll have an extra gear when he sees the lights, but I don't have evidence of that either. 80%? That's a pretty high standard. I'll say I think he's likely to be their second best pitcher by October and much better than anything Omar Minaya could have acquired.

    There are some that think Pedro is currently the Mets 4th best starter with The Duque in the fold and Keith Law said that Pedro really didn't have good movement on his pitches on Sunday. Essentially Pedro was a bit lucky against the Astros and he did work himself out of a few jams with a very bat team at the plate.

    It will be an interesting thing to see how Pedro is handled, but if he is healthy, you would have to assume he will be starting in the playoffs and either Perez or Maine would be jettisoned to the bullpen.

    "Maine is an enigma for me," one major-league scout said recently. "I know he's not throwing well, but I don't know why. You kind of worry when a pitcher like Maine starts getting smacked around because you wonder if guys are figuring him out."

    Right now, Perez would get the call simply because of his ability to put up a shut down performance and the fact he has been more consistent than John Maine of late. Either way, the Mets are in a good spot and have some depth to play with.

    lyricalkiller (the OC): Will, why can't everybody throw a great changeup? It doesn't take special strength, and it doesn't seem to need any precise, complicated wrist action. So how does a guy like Hoffman or Lowry get an exceptional change?

    Will Carroll: It's the deception. Not everyone can do magic tricks. The downside of a change is that a bad one is called a souvenir.

    This is something that I'm sure all of us have wondered at some point. Why can't everyone just grab the ball with the right grip and throw the perfect pitch? It is amazing how many factors there just are and minute changes in arm angles, pressure, etc. can have a profound effect on pitches. Some people just have stuff naturally and that is why Greg Maddux's fastball dances like a knuckleball and Mike Pelfrey has natural sink on this fastball.

    just a dude (canada): if your average nondescript major or minor league pitcher were placed in the outfield would they have better than average throwing arms. For instance, could Josh Towers rival Jermaine Dye for throwing out base runners at home plate.

    Will Carroll: You know, I have no idea. I'd bet they'd be at least average. Most pitchers were once the best player on their HS team and a fair number of them were also very good college hitters (Micah Owings comes to mind.) I'd guess Rick Ankiel, who has a plus arm, is as good a proxy for this theory as any.

    Conversely, could you put Reyes on the mound and have him pump mid 90's fastballs? I would say yes, but his secondary stuff would undoubtedly blow.

    Ben (NYC): Will, Can you comment on Hamate removal and its prognosis?

    Will Carroll: Yeah, they literally just yank the fractured bone. It doesn't tend to heal correctly and the wrist has redundancy that allows it to not miss that bone. It's got a great prognosis. Ken Griffey's never missed his.

    Good to read in regards to Gomez's injury. He should recover fine and have no lingering hand issues. Remember this so you cannot blame his hand on any flat start to the '08 season he might have.

    biglou115 (Ar): Admittedly I haven't seen much, but is Pedro dropping his elbow to protect his shoulder? If so is that a big deal?

    Will Carroll: No, the video I saw didn't look as if he was. It was admittedly not the best angle to get a great look. I also had a really hard time picking up whether he was changing his arm angle, but since that was a response to his injury, I dont think he is.

    Mechanically Pedro looks great. I think it is just a matter of throwing pitches and logging more time on the mound. The more he pitches, the more feel he will have and he'll be tight for sure.

    mkizner (Halfway to everywhere): Who would win in a fight: David Eckstein, or a Hurricane named David Eckstein?

    Marc Normandin: Much like stats can't measure the true worth of a gritty player like David Eckstein, could barometric pressure really tell the whole story about a hurricane of the same name?


    Charlie (East St Louis): Let's say that you're the owner of a team. How do you go about measuring the performance of your manager? I know that there's soft stuff that you can use to evaluate, but which quantitative metrics would you look at?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: (1:20 PM ET ) Much of what the manager does can't be measured statistically. But I certainly would look at stolen-base success rate, hit-and-run and pitchout success rates, and platoon percentages. In context, of course.

    A question near and dear to my heart. I think some site should start tracking this stuff and make some crude quantitative analysis on managers to give everyone some idea as to the performance of managers.

    * * *

  • Tom Glavine wants to come back for a 22nd baseball season and I would have to assume he is talking about returning to the Mets.

    "I'm having as much fun as I've had in a long time, and that's a big factor for me," Glavine, 41, told the Post. "It's a fun team to come to the ballpark with every day. All the factors are there [to come back]."

    Of course $10,000,000 or whatever he would get from one of many teams that would vie for his services could certainly sway him to play elsewhere. But you really have to wonder how he fits on this team. With Perez, Maine, Pedro, and The Duque already set in '08 and Pelfrey and Humber ready to go with Mulvey available later in '08, Glavine would seem like a non necessity.

    Of course pitching depth is extremely important and The Duque is just about guaranteed to spend some time on the disabled list, but I would think the Mets should pass on Glavine. The only issue here is that he is in tight with the ownership and has tossed 22 quality starts this season which is good for 73% of his starts. The Mets are the type of club that would value the known commodity and stability of the vet over youth and inexperience.

    Not that Glavine would be the worst thing, but it might be time to move on and get more youth injected into this pitching staff.

  • Ankiel speaks out. Whether you believe him or not is another issue, but he needed to say something and he did.

    On the heels of the Ankiel thing, this Glaus piece comes out. However, should it surprise us? I'm sure there were plenty of people who had steroids shipped out to them because it was a widespread problem. It still might be, but we are not 100% sure. We are 100% sure steroids were rampant a few years ago. If we are going to list the guys who had roids shipped to their house, we might as well just list the ones who did not as I'm sure that would be easier.

  • You cannot make this stuff up.

    Imagine being 31 years old and having to make the agonizing decision to discontinue the life-support keeping your comatose spouse alive. Now imagine that spouse waking up and asking for Mexican food.

  • I do not think there is any question that Pedro is a first ballot Hall of Famer no matter what happens. To suggest anything else is absurd.

    In related news, Pedro is donating the jersey he was wearing in the game which he recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

  • Tim Marchman muses that Alex Rodriguez might be on Boston next season or a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Imagine him being a member of the Red Sox? With the bad blood that had existed between him and the Sox, it would be an interesting story. Also, it would be spectacular to hear the boos he receives when he makes his first trip back to Yankee Stadium.

  • The Klap asked some big questions.

  • A photo op? Perhaps. But awesome nonetheless.

  • This really is a sad commentary on the history of the Mets.

    When David Wright hit his 28th home run of the season on Monday night, he established a career high. It was also the 95th home run of his career. And that total puts his name among the foremost home run hitters in Mets history. Wright is now tied for 10th place with Bobby Bonilla. If he hits five more this season, he'll rank eighth, having passed Bonilla and George Foster.

    Shouldn't they have more than eight guys with 100 dingers? It is really remarkable to think that they do not. Beltran and Wright are numbers 12 and 15 on the list and should continue shooting up the list which is nice, but it really just outlines the fact the Mets have not really had any homegrown talent stay on the club and produce and have not had all too much luck in the free agent arena.

    They Yankees have had somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen since the Mets franchise has been been in existence whereas they have eight.

  • Carlos Delgado is going to be out longer than expected, but is anyone surprised? Again, I am not worrying about this too much as he will be back for the playoffs.

  • You get the feeling the Mets want nothing to do with LoDuca in '08.