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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

HOF '08

The snooze-fest continues this off-season but the quasi big news item of the day is the Hall of Fame as ballots are being sent in for the mid-summer induction and this is a very boring class if you ask me. Yes, Raines should get in and Gossage should get in with Blyleven missing again and Trammell missing out again. However, are any of these guys players to get all that excited about? I love Raines who is Rickey Henderson-lite, which is not an insult.

Bill James said that if you cut Henderson in half, you would have two Hall of Famers and Raines is certainly worth more than half of Rickey and a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame, though he will not get in on the first ballot because you know...they have to wait for a player of his ilk since he cannot possible be a first ballot Hall of Famer. If he is a Hall of Famer, who cares? Vote the guy in.

The mild debate of the day would be whether or not Jim Rice gets in. Neyer puts together a nice piece on why he should not be voted in. It is hard to not agree with him because if you have to start pointing to unquantifiable stats as to reasons he should be inducted, he probably should not be.

Actually, I don't believe the Morris Test even applies to Rice, because I don't believe he has two prime Hall of Fame credentials. Nobody cites his 382 career homers, because 382 is paltry for a player whose best-known attribute was power. He wasn't a "dominant power hitter" (as Shaughnessy says); he did lead the American League in home runs three times, but finished in the top five in his league only twice more. Mike Schmidt led the National League in home runs eight times. That's dominant. Yes, Rice hit 46 homers in a season. This was not an exceptional figure in his time. The year before Rice hit 46, George Foster hit 52. The year after Rice hit 46, Dave Kingman hit 48. Rice never hit as many as 40 home runs in another season.

Nobody cites his other career stats, because by the standards of Hall of Fame outfielders they're nothing special.

Turns out Rice has one credential: As Shaughnessy and so many others have said over the years, he was "the most feared hitter of his day" ... but was he, really? I'm still waiting for someone, anybody.

Shaughnessy cites intentional walks: "Managers thought about intentionally walking him when he came to the plate with the bases loaded." Well, that's an interesting bit of untestable trivia, but for the moment let's ignore all those imaginary intentional walks and talk about the real ones. Because yes, a great number of intentional walks would suggest that a player really was feared.

Overall I think the Hall of Fame is watered down and many of us already do not care what happens in relation to the Hall of Fame. However, when it comes around again, I cannot help but get mildly interested and the absence of any 'wow' names is just lessening my already waning interest. This entire process would be more exciting if changes were made. Changes like getting more internet writers and stat-heads involved which would certainly add a lot more credibility to Hall of Fame by getting a fresh perspective, but we all know we are a long ways away from that.

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  • Mulvey is glad to still be around and it has to be a complement to be in every trade rumor while Pelfrey and Humber are left out. He has become the most desirable Met pitching prospect with Guerra maybe being too much of a question mark being so young.

  • So the Mets might still be in it? Of course not many people care about any news concerning Santana, but the fact is the Twins might just feel better off dealing him now than waiting for the deadline, when they most assuredly would not get as much back. Also, if they feel they are getting two or three first round/sandwich round talents then it behooves them to make a deal despite the public backlash because they will make out better than the draft most likely.

    Now the Yankees are making noise about not even parting with Hughes and you have a dried up market....not that I believe the Yankees at all, but if they truly wanted him, a deal would have been done. Rest assured Omar is still working hard at getting something done.

  • Guitar Hero kicks ass.

  • I've been listening to Battle and Chuck Ragan a lot lately. Battle is a English band that I would classify as indie/pop. They are really good and I highly recommend them if you are into Block Party, The Kooks, etc.

    As for Chuck Ragan, he is from Hot Water Music and put out a folk album which is spectacular. It has a hint of old school punk which certainly gives his folk a bit more of an edge and great for children of all ages.

  • This will be the last post until 2008 so have a great fucking New Year and thanks for coming by and making the '07 baseball season immeasurably more interesting.

    As for my New Year's resolution, I will no longer assume Omar knows what he is doing.

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  • Wednesday, December 26, 2007

    A League of Their Own

    Lou Piniella smiled. He admitted being happy to be out of the American League. "I am glad I am here," he said of being manager of the Cubs.

    And why wouldn't he be? The AL has become a beast. The Yankees and the Red Sox were the trendsetters, but now many teams are following suit, building and building for what should be a race next year in which you very possibly can have 90-plus-win teams miss the playoffs.

    Keeping up with all of the behemoths in the American League is getting tougher and tougher. Teams are forced to make big moves in order to simply keep up with everyone else. To make matters worse, the Yankees and the Red Sox have extremely good farm systems to pair up with their ability to spend exorbitant amounts of cash.

    It is a truly scary thought and even the Tigers, who have liquidated their farm system over the past two off-seasons between graduation to the bigs and trades, have Rick Porcello in their farm system who could be a future ace on short order. The teams on top of the American League are not going anywhere anytime soon and many teams in the AL have to make the all important decision to blow it up or try to hang with them. Most teams have decided to hang with them and step up their game.

    Despite the difference being reported by the media between the two leagues, I always thought the AL was deeper while the NL was simply more top heavy. Sure they were not as deep as the AL, but surely their top teams could hang with the AL's big boys and direct evidence of that was the fact the NL has managed to walk away with some World Series Championships over the past few years. The Diamondbacks won in 2001, the Marlins won in 2003, and the Cardinals won in 2006. The NL's big boys could hang with the AL, no? Not so much.

    I took the records of the top three teams in each division in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 and found out how well they did against the other league. The AL's top teams had a .602 winning % while the NL's top teams had a .495 winning %. Just let that one sink in. If you want to really put up an embarrassing stat, the bottom two teams in each division of the AL over that same period up time put up a .518 winning% while their NL counterparts performed exactly as you would expect last place teams to perform and had a .402 winning%.

    When people say, the Devil Rays could be contenders in the NL, I do not doubt them. In fact, every team but the Orioles, Royals, and Rangers would be considered contenders in the National League. There is basically no justifiable way I can defend my favorite league any more and it is becoming quite embarrassing.

    The real crux of the problem is outlined by a GM of a National League team.

    "If we played in the other league, I'd probably do that," he said. "But in this league, I don't have to do it. If we keep the guys we'd give up, we have just as much chance to be playing in October as we would if we made the deal. So why do it?"

    The only good thing I can think of is that the NL teams are hanging onto their youth and looking towards the future. The Reds have something brewing, the Dodgers are on the up and up with a group of top prospects, the Diamondbacks appear loaded, the Brewers have some solid youth, the Mets are on the right path if they could develop some pitching, etc. However, at this point in time no one feels compelled to take any giant leaps out front because they simply do not have to.

    Omar appears to be the only guy will to make some bold moves, but no one wants to even deal with him for the parts he is looking for. Overall though, it seems that these GMs do not feel challenged enough to be compelled enough to start making some power moves to shift the balance of power overwhelmingly into their favor. I am not quite sure if that is a smart or ill-advised move, but that is what is going on and not much happened this year to close the gap between the two leagues and things actually seemed to have widen.

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  • Some Christmas stories are human interest stories filled with holiday cheer and some are not. This one, is not. I actually think the tiger was planning this for a while and there might have been some zoo keepers recruited for this as it appears to have been an inside job with no evidence of an escape.
  • If you are looking some actual baseball news, do not bother. There will be nothing until 2008 and even then it will be rather yawn inducing.
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    Monday, December 24, 2007

    Slow, Steady, and Boring

    I've preached prudence when it comes to this off-season. I am well aware of the Mets needs, but they certainly should not force things like making a silly trade of Gomez, Heilman, and Mulvey for Blanton. Yes, Gomez could flame out before he ever gets going and Mulvey could indeed end up as a fringe starter, but I would rather the Mets give them a legit shot on their club to find out as their upside is worth more than Joe Blanton. Gomez certainly did not put up gaudy numbers while in the big leagues, but he did open some eyes and made some believers by performing better than expected for a kid who had no business being in the league.

    Does Blanton have value? Of course. He is cheap and under control for a while and is a durable arm. The going rate of that type of guy these days is quite high, but he is not going to make the team all that much better than some other alternatives that do not cost the rest of the Mets farm system. How many wins does Blanton add over someone like Livan Hernandez in terms of pitching? Two or three wins? Before you remind me that two or three wins would have gotten the Mets into the playoffs last year, I would just like to point out it took a colossal team effort to miss the playoffs last year in the form of a historic collapse and that two or three win difference shrinks a bit when you figure you will lose a win or two from whoever replaces Heilman and Livan can help win games with his bat.

    So while the Mets proved they were a bit overrated, they are still not in the dire straits as everyone would like to believe. My first choice would be one or two years of Kyle Lohse, which might happen. We know what the market is looking like for him and though there has been interest, it has been tepid to say the least and we know Boras is not afraid to take a gamble. Of course it behooves him to get his client a ton of money now before Lohse proves any further that he is not worth a big payday, but these are strange times we live in when finding a guy that throws a ball across the plate while getting decent production is becoming increasingly rare.

    The Mets should consider themselves ridiculously lucky. They picked up Maine and Perez off of the scrap heap and just try and imagine where they would be without those two? They might be better advised to do the same this season and try and get creative rather than make any drastic moves like overpaying for an average arm. If it is innings you are worried about, Livan will give you a lot of them. Would I be disappointed if the Mets were not able to land someone better? Sure, but the Mets are simply not in a position to liquidate their farm unless they get a certifiable ace back.

    I give Omar credit this off-season. Not for the bad trade of Milledge, but for being smart about his targets. He did not get anything significant done, but it is not from a lack of trying. He has kicked around a lot of possible deals and could not find a fit. When some GMs in his position might have panicked and just laid out a ton of money to Silva or Lohse, he stood pat. Making a move for the sake of making a move when it can negatively impact the future is never a smart.

    Met Players Added:
    RP Matt Wise Signed
    C Brian Schneider Trade
    LF Ryan Church Trade
    RP Brian Stokes Trade

    Met Players Lost:
    SP Tom Glavine
    C Paul Lo Duca
    RF Lastings Milledge
    RP Guillermo Mota Trade

    Let me apologize for that...I should have warned you about that run-down and hopefully the puke did not get onto your keyboard.

    This off season might not pretty and highly disappointing, but I can definitively feel Omar's pain. If not Santana, Bedard, or Haren, then Omar is well advised to keep his calm. Even if the Mets miss out on everyone and head into the season as is, it is not a total loss and we can only hope Omar puts his money where his mouth is and starts trusting some of these prospects he was talking up so much this off-season. If Lohse can be inked to a reasonable contract, then picking him up with Freddy Garcia seems like the right direction. If not Lohse, then Livan and Garcia would be a safe play here.

    Above everything, there is no need to sell low on prospects that could still have a pretty bright future and the Mets need to focus on building up this system so they can keep themselves out of this type of situation in the future. However, at this point you have grin and bear it and hope your team gives you what they are all capable of. If this team’s core can be there in 2008, I have faith and do not hit the panic button if Omar fails to make a splash.

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  • This was from and old chat but good nonetheless.

    Andre GA: Would you trade Reyes for Santana? And have Gomez's speed try to offset the speed lost with Reyes gone?

    Jayson Stark: (1:07 PM ET ) I don't know if there's any player in the whole sport I would trade Jose Reyes for right now. I mean that. It's amazing how people in New York are ready to unload him after a couple of disappointing months. Step back for a minute and look at his progression line in his career. That arrow had done nothing but shoot straight upward until the end of last season. Just because he finally took a step backward doesn't mean he isn't going to be the player we all thought he'd be. My wife is a volleyball coach. I tell her all the time that progress in sports is never measured in a straight line. And I think that will be true about Jose Reyes. The Mets won't trade him, and they shouldn't trade him. For anyone.

    It still amazes me how down some people are on Jose Reyes.

  • Yankees to their fans:

    "Bend over and pray for a speedy recovery."

    For them, the latest increase is a shocker. Many with partial plans also were hit with big hikes.

    "When does it stop?" asked a member of a ticket consortium who asked to remain anonymous.

    When people stop paying.

    I just sent in my money for my Mets tickets that included a handsome fee hike for my Sunday package. I will not complain one bit if they drop some big time scratch for their top three picks and give the finger to the commish while they are at it. If they continue to be cheap under the guise that they are trying to be good for the sake of the game, I will get quite perturbed.

  • Enjoy the holidays and drink lots and eat lots.