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

Friday, December 21, 2007

Prospect Hoarding

The Yankees made an about face in regards to their organizational strategy and one has to wonder if they have taken it too far in refusing to package Kennedy up with Hughes to land Johan.

Last year Philip Hughes was ranked as Baseball America's #1 minor league pitching prospect. Is it reasonable to thus expect him to fulfill his expectations? Let us look at BA's top three pitching prospects each year starting with 1990: Steve Avery, Ben McDonald, Kiki Jones; 1991 - Todd Van Poppel, Roger Salkeld, Arthur Rhodes; 1992 - Brien Taylor, Van Poppel, Salkeld; 1993 - Taylor, Van Poppel, Jason Bere; 1994 - James Baldwin, Jose Silva, Darren Dreifort; 1995 - Armando Benitez, Bill Pulsipher, Alan Benes; 1996 - Paul Wilson, Benes, Livan Hernandez; 1997, 1998 - Kerry Wood, Matt White, Kris Benson; 1999 - Rick Ankiel, Bruce Chen, Brad Penny; 2000 - Ankiel, Ryan Anderson, John Patterson; 2001 - Josh Beckett, Jon Rauch, Ben Sheets; 2002 - Beckett, Mark Prior, Juan Cruz; 2003 - Jesse Foppert, Jose Contreras, Gavin Floyd; 2004 - Edwin Jackson, Greg Miller, Scott Kazmir.

I am not saying that Hughes will be worthless, but you keep hearing Rob Neyer mention in chats that any young pitcher is and extremely unlikely bet to win 100 games in their career. For the Yankees who are looking to put wins up now and compete now, Johan is just about a slam dunk to outperform Hughes over the next seven years and add more value if you remove money from the equation, which is not something I would typically encourage for teams not the Yankees.

Also, the Yankees have built a ton of depth. They have Joba, who might be Jebus incarnate, and Horne as pitching prospects near big league ready if they did move Hughes and Kennedy. The comparison between Horne and Kennedy has been that Kennedy is more refined whereas Horne has better stuff, but further away from contributing and less of a bet to attain his ceiling.

You also cannot ignore the existence of Humber Sanchez, though counting on him shouldn't be high on the Yankees to do list, the high ceiling of Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman who could be just as good as any pitching prospect out there. In fact, many teams would be ecstatic to have those five as their top arms and some might actually murder someone. I'm not talking about murder in the hyperbole sense, but actual cold blooded murder. Also, te Yankees can feel free to draft more pitching in 2008 to supplant the two that they lost.

The Yankees could spend on Johan and not blink. They have serious cash coming off the books in 2009 that will easily cover his salary and will be able to add more revenue after their new stadium opens up. Some teams are not in a postion to give up two of their three best pitching prospects, but the Yankees are one of the few teams that could do that. Throw on top of it the fact that if you get Johan Santana, Boston does not get him and that is no small thing considering the best team in the bigs would get substantially better. That should help assauge any wound left by missing out whatever Hughes turns into.

I like how the Yankees now value their young players, but having Kennedy be a deal breaker is truly silly, unless they really do not want Santana. With Wang and Joba around, the Yankees will still have youth in the rotation with more on the way. If the interest is genuine on the Yankees behalf, it is beyond me how it has not gotten done as of yet. They simply cannot get this deal done with Melky as the #2 piece the Twins are getting back and giving up Kennedy in addition to Hughes should be an acceptable casuality for the Yankees and a great haul for the Twins.

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  • I'm all for making fun of people, but the NY Times really did not need to do this. The man looks funny enough as is, but they felt it necessary to pick an image to make him look even more ridiculous.

    It does however look like he is gearing up for National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

  • Many people think that the Tigers looking to extend Willis before he has even thrown a pitch is crazy. It is, but not as crazy as people think. Unless his arm falls off, he will strangely enough be worth it and possibly even a bargain. With the going rate of crappy innings eaters, he should be at least worth what is being bandied about and he will not cost them a four year deal at $11+ million down the line. Sure he might toss up a 5.00 ERA, but that type of production has become expensive these days.

    The Tigers get him for a three years as opposed to a four year deal that he would be looking for on the open market and for a few million less than they would have to pay a comparable pitcher. Also, the upside is that if he gets a bit of his mojo back, he is unequivocally a bargain. So while on the surface it looks insane just like the Gil Meche deal did, it will probably end up not looking quite as bad just like the Meche deal.

  • By way of Ossy...

    The real hard part is to watch the entire thing at work. I had made it about 1/3 of the way through before I had to shut it off due to excessive laughing at wacky foreigners.

  • Zappos.com kicks ass. I ordered a nifty pair of sneakers from there at about 8:30 on Wednesday night. Those bad boys were at my doorstep the next day at about 7:00 Thursday night and I had the pleasure of not paying any shipping.

  • UPDATE: Want a Wii? Loyal ready Ossy is dishing one off. Call him, buy it, and enjoy.

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    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    Still Looking...

    The Mets would still like to add a starter and not much has materialized so far. No one is all that interested in Met prospects but Jim Bowden and it is becoming increasingly clear that Bedard and Santana will probably be somewhere other than Queens and Carlos Silva is off the market. However, Kyle Lohse still remains on the market with his ridiculous contract demands. I think Silva is valuable, but four at $11 million is steep and Lohse is represented by Boras and is making noise about a five year deal.

    It would be nice to see if the Mets can get Lohse down in years (and I’m not talking about the purported four year deal on the table), but that seems impossible at this point. He is the last guy to resemble a pitcher that might be able to drop a better than league average season on you. Of course, Silva has at least put up some of those seasons while Lohse has been pretty disappointing throughout his career. Neither guy can actually strike hitters out which is always a problem and will probably keep them both from being anything more than #3/#4 type guy at best. Silva is supposed to be a groundball pitcher, but he is only mildly so and probably better classified as a pitcher with groundball tendencies.

    Stats Inc. on Lohse:

    Too often in 2004, Lohse left his fastball over the middle of the plate, nibbled with his breaking pitches and fell behind, or issued hurtful walks. While he has good stuff, he can't overpower hitters with a 93-94 MPH fastball. He must locate the ball to succeed. Lohse has a good slider and curveball, but needs to consistently execute his changeup with the same arm speed as his fastball. When in trouble, he has bad mound presence, looking disgusted by umpires' calls and teammates' mistakes. Near the end of the season, he began handling himself better. To his credit, he always has been durable and willing to take the ball under any circumstances.

    While it is clear to me Carlos Silva is a better bet to be more productive, his demands scared the Mets away. The ironic thing is the Mets might end up paying just as much for less of a pitcher. Pitching is so scarce that any guy who makes 30 starts and hits free agency around 30 years old will net four years at $10+ million dollars per year. Regardless of projection and past performance, they are a valuable commodity by simply being alive. The Mets have set a cap of five years on any offer to free agent pitchers. However, that cap is presumably for top tier pitchers and they probably were not envisioning the Kyle Lohses of the world when they thought of guys that would actually get them to even pony up close to five years.

    There have reportedly been reports of people reporting that Phillies are looking at Lohse for four years. It has also been reportedly reported that some reports had some misreporting on the topic. Interest in Lohse could be waning overall and for good reason. However, Lohse has Scott Boras as his agent and will wait until late January to make a decision if he has to in order to get someone to blink first. My only hope here is that the market for Lohse gets dryer than it already has now that Silva inked. Maybe Boras will do the one year deal route with a contender in a spacious park to see if he can bring in a bigger deal for Lohse in 2009. That is actually what I am hoping for at this point which is pretty sad.

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  • The saga continues. If A-Rod is telling the truth, you almost have to respect him a bit more. Almost.

  • By way of Rob Neyer, a really great site. This is a black hole of sorts if you have not read it before and it will probably end up usurping a lot of your time.

  • Selig back in '05

    "Did we have a major problem? No," Selig told Waxman's panel. "There is no concrete evidence of that, there is no testing evidence, there is no other kind of evidence."

    It all depends on how your define the problem.

  • The Mets inked Matt Wise and it's a one year deal for peanuts....well peanuts in relative baseball terms. And how can you not like the move?

  • Does anyone actually believe any of this?

  • I'm not all that bothered by raising the tickets 20% per ticket if that is what they planned on raising the ticket prices to for comparable seats in the new stadium. We knew that was the case and maybe Fred just wanted to pocket a little extra cash this season since he is dishing up a lot of money for that new stadium.

    However, I think we all know that is not the case. He was probably looking for a 40% price hike from 2007 to 2009 and decided it was best to do it in stages. The worst part is that it will not matter. He already has most of my money for my tickets because I had to buy the playoffs tickets. I could have gotten my money back I suppose, but sometime in mid 2008, which is way after the bill for the 2008 tickets are due, which leads me to the most ridiculous part. I already committed to buying these tickets a long time ago without any knowledge they were going to bend me over and abuse me.

    Not that it would have mattered. I would have bought the tickets regardless, but it still should be mentioned that I had no choice. But isn't that the real problem here? Sure this is horrible PR move by the Mets being they just embarrassed themselves and broke the spirit of the Mets fan base, but we all keep going to the games. They will still break last year's attendance or at the very least get within 20% of it, which will enable them to still make a handsome draw off the gate receipts. I would love to say boycott going to the stadium, but what's the point? I am still going to go and that would be hypocritical of me to tell everyone else to take a stand while I go enjoy some beers at the stadium.

    Either way, this is just another poorly timed statement that gives other people more reasons to laugh at the Mets. After undergoing a historic collapse in which the team sets their attendance record for the second year in a row with the help of their loyal fans, they do what? Raise prices. As if the 500,000 more in attendance was not enough....

    The Yankees raised their tickets prices as well.

  • Doesn't Brian Roberts, Andy Pettite, etc. admitting that they did steroids give a ton of credence to the Mitchell Report? Sure we can argue the validity of their statements in regards to their usage, but it surely gives everyone a sense that maybe this thing is not as bogus as some would want us to believe.

  • The Mets are looking at Prior, but would the Mets be a wise choice? It would seem to make sense for him to go to some Midwest town like St. Louis where the fan base will cheer you on no matter what so he can make a less pressure filled attempt at a comeback.

  • A miserable life? Has it come to this? I thought these were supposed to be good times to be a Met fan.

    Terrence (NYC): John!!! A Mets questions please. Only fair, I lead a miserable life. Can you tell me what I can expect from Fernando Martinez? What current player would you compare him to?

    John Manuel: (2:51 PM ET ) Best-case, his career winds up a bit like Carlos Lee's--all the value in the bat but he mashes, hits for decent average, gets more disciplined as he advances . . . both players were pushed but even the White Sox let up a bit on Carlos, he was 18 in the SAL, not the EL. But that's my comp.

  • Back off my man? This is all getting odd.

  • Parcells to Miami? As a Dolphin fan, it is hard to be upset about that. I won’t expect him to be around in the organization for long, but I think he has a pretty good reputation for leaving a decent team behind.

  • From Jason Stark:

    The Mets still seem like a hanger-on in the Johan Santana talks. But one AL front-office man isn't sure why that is.
    For one thing, he said, the Mets can put together a package that would be attractive to the Twins -- in part because outfield prospect Fernando Martinez "has a higher ceiling than Jacoby Ellsbury."
    The second reason, the exec said, is that the Twins should make it a priority to move Santana out of their league. "Remember, the Twins are looking to compete, too," he said. "They're gearing up with good young players, and they're going to be good. But if they trade him to the Red Sox or Yankees, those teams are so deep, it wouldn't even really take a chunk out of them, or not that much of a chunk, anyway.

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