If Matthews is still yapping....
...Omar is doing the right thing. It is hard to even know where to start with this one.
They shed Lastings Milledge, Paul Lo Duca and Tom Glavine. In return, they brought in Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, paid more money to Ramon Castro, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes and Endy Chavez, and issued a stern warning to Duaner Sanchez to stay out of taxicabs in South Florida at 2 in the morning.
Meanwhile, Johan Santana still is a Twin, A-Rod still is a Yankee and Reyes still is a Met.
And yet, to quote the words of Mets VP David Howard, "If you look at it objectively, [we] are a championship-caliber, playoff-contending team."
And if you look at it rationally, Howard, or whoever is writing his material, very well may be out of his mind.
So, let me get this straight. A team that was one game away from the playoffs last year and either remained the same or slightly improved (depending upon who you talk to) is not a playoff-contending team? It is completely inconceivable that a rotation led by Pedro, Maine, and Ollie with a lineup led by Reyes, Wright, and Beltran can make the playoffs with possible above average production at every position with the exception of second base?
They act as if last season was some kind of hallucination, that the historic collapse (they led the Phillies by seven games on Sept. 12 with 17 games to play) never really happened, that despite what the NL East standings showed Oct. 1, the Mets actually were the best team in baseball and, as such, didn't really need much in the way of tinkering in the offseason.
I would not say they are ignoring it, but would you prefer they deal F-Mart, Church, Gomez, Pelfrey, Guerra, and Mulvey for Santana? Omar is trying to do what he can to improve the 2008 Mets within reason, but the team with the best off-season simply earned that crown by re-signing their own players. In other words, there was not much to be done. Garza or Haren would have been nice and it is hard to think that the Mets could not get a comparable deal together for Haren, but Omar was trying.
What really happened here is that once again, the fans are being forced to pay for the failings of the players. When the Mets bombed out of the playoffs, they lost anywhere from $2 million to $15 million in postseason income. Somebody had to make up that shortfall. It wasn't going to be the players and it certainly wasn't going to be the Wilpons.
That leaves, well, you.
Strangely enough I agree with him here. The price hike was a little much for me given the state of the Mets and how much cash they pocketed from their playoff run.
But sooner or later, the smoke will clear, the air will warm and it will be baseball season again. The Mets will be back in business with roughly the same cast of characters, the same set of built-in excuses, the same big talk and the same small expectations.
But then, you know what they say in Flushing: Around here, there is no offseason.
I guess they shouldn't even bother to play. They should send home the two guys who should have won the MVPs the last two years in Beltran and Wright, they should send the most electric baseball player home and tell him to pick up a new hobby, they should tell Pedro he rehabbed for nothing and he can go sit under a mango tree, Maine and Ollie are hitting their prime and set to build on their '07 success but should take an extended vacation, Wagner should go ride some more tractors, Heilman finally gets his wish to not come out the bullpen...the only catch is he is won't be pitching at all...etc.
Why bother? I love how the Mets are done and the Yankees are locks. Two rookies in the rotation paired with Mussina at the back end in a highly competitive American League sounds like a recipe for success to me. Why is no one saying the Yankees need Santana? Let us not forget about Posada's likely regression and one of the worst defenses money can buy and the Mets are the only ones in New York with problems. I like the Yankees long term direction with all that young pitching, but it would be foolish to think they do not hit any bumps in the road. In fact, I would not be shocked to see the Yankees home in October while the Mets are playing. That of course is not the worst thing for the Yankees who need to let Hughes, Kennedy, and Joba develop, but it is simply not that much of a stretch.
Tim (DC): Nate, how tough is it to make projections for totally new parks? Thinking about the Nats new park, and guys like Dukes, Milledge, etc.
Nate Silver: It's not *that* hard if you plug in the field dimensions, geography, and so forth. We have it playing as a very mild pitchers' park -- like a 98 or 99 -- though the word from insiders is that the wind patterns are such that it will play more like a 95.
In these supercharged offensive times, it is good to see another pitcher's park spring up.
charlesford (arlington, va): Can you give me any hopeful PECOTAs for a Nationals player (not named Zimmerman)? I'm guessing one of the new, young outfielders might be our only hope.
Nate Silver: Lastings Milledge: .289/.358/.478. Really, if that team didn't have such a godawful middle infield, the offense could be quite all right.
There are many of you, including me, that probably did not want to read that. If that is how it shakes out, there will be plenty of dissension in the ranks.
Darren (NY): Care to expound on the NL East race? Seems there are three teams one could make a credible case for.
Nate Silver: It should be very competitive. The one group I'm relatively less optimistic about are the Phillies, who are still giving too much away at the back end of their rotation.
I really feel like it is the Mets slightly ahead of the Braves in overall talent, but the Phillies are in third and it is not all that close. However, as much as I hate intangibles, the Phillies seem to have something going on there and seemingly have more of drive to win.
That being said, I think it comes down to the Braves and the Mets with the Mets taking it. And no, it is never too early for predictions.
Good question. Where's the big-league-ready, can't-miss centerpiece player the Twins said they had to have in that Mets proposal?
Carlos Gomez is a guy with enticing tools, but most teams don't view him as the kind of Jose Reyes cloned talent the Mets portray him to be.
Kevin Mulvey and Phil Humber are looked at as No. 4 starters in their best-case scenarios.
And Deolis Guerra has an eye-popping arm. But he's only 18 years old -- "and he doesn't even have the semblance of a breaking ball right now," said one scout.
Maybe the Twins think the Mets are so anxious to reel in Santana that they'll add Mike Pelfrey and/or outfield stud Fernando Martinez to the package. But there has been no indication the Mets will ever do that.
So while the Yankees and Red Sox backskate away from the deals they almost made, the Mets have obviously decided there's no reason to sweeten this pot. What they're telling the Twins, essentially is: "This may not be what you want -- but it's better than two draft picks."
There are people inside the Twins' organization who believe they have to move Santana before spring training. But unless they can justify why they turned down much more attractive packages in December, they may have maneuvered themselves into a situation where that has become practically impossible.
Trying to justify passing up any offer is a slipper slope. However, the Twins are where they are and the fact remains that the Mets offer may lack names but not talent. Jayson Stark writes many interesting things, but I still think he is off here.
"Most" teams don't view Gomez as a 'Jose Reyes' cloned talent? Humber and Mulvey are 4th starters at best? Thems strong words Mister Stark. Really, I would be quite happy hanging on to these trash prospects. Especially F-Mart, Gomez, Mulvey, and Guerra.
Last season, F-Mart was 18th and Gomez was 34th in the top 100 according to Baseball Prospectus and did nothing to lessen their standing as a prospect. Guerra catapulted up the charts this season and might be a top 25 prospect.
BA had F-Mart as the 22nd best prospect and Gomez as the 60th. I also know from chats that Jim Callis loves Deolis so I feel comfortable projecting him in the top 50. Of course we will not know until the to 100 list for '08 is posted, but they should be out soon and I just cannot understand why these falsities are being perpetuated.
9. Lastings Milledge, RF, Nationals
The trade that sent Milledge to the Nationals from the Mets in exchange for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider figures to be a steal for Washington. Milledge has exceptional skills at the plate, and he's a smooth defender in the outfield. Milledge's attitude problems were grossly overblown by the New York media, so the change of scenery may serve him well. Milledge put up solid numbers last year in limited duty with the Mets, and let's not forget that in 2005 he hit .337 in the Eastern League as a 20-year-old. Also, the Nats' new park figures to be much more hitter-friendly than RFK. Milledge should come up big in '08.
The dude can play. Bowden is going to be happy about this trade, but I think Church is going to do enough to not make Met fans jump off of ledge.
Colleague Steve Popper offered the Mets sound advice in Wednesday's Record, urging them to hurry up and trade for Johan Santana. Whatever it takes, is the message Omar Minaya needs to hear, because unless Santana is wearing a Mets' uniform by opening day, they can forget about winning the East in 2008.
This is no doomsday prediction. The Mets have been in decline ever since Carlos Beltran looked at strike three in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in 2006. The ghosts hung around last year, ruining what should've been a smooth ride to the playoffs. That means the Mets are 0-for-2 in the two seasons during which they've had the most talent in the National League and its biggest payroll. Willie Randolph has to prove he still has the clubhouse (not to mention use the bullpen more prudently), which means his job is on the line.
The Phillies have every reason to feel that way, of course. The Mets need a drastic, sea-change event to reverse their slide, both in the standings and in their rivals' perception of them. Santana is the antidote. Without him, those ghosts could be a problem again this summer.
Right. Because if the other teams have a negative perception in regards to the Mets, that is a bad thing. Who gives a shit what the Phillies or Braves think? Whatever happened to good old fashioned evaluation? I look at three teams having a chance at the NL East. I will not deny the Mets are not head and shoulders above anyone, but to say they have no shot? Please. Take a little more time out of your day to be more creative and write an article with substance.
Labels: 2008 season