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

Friday, February 22, 2008

Back In The Game

While his teammates took the high road, Rollins predictably could not resist jumping into the fray and responded to Beltran's comments. Of course it is understandable since Beltran specifically mentioned Rollins in his quote.

"Carlos is a quiet guy," he said. "It's good that he spoke up. He needs to be a vocal leader for them. To that I have two things to say. One: There are four other teams in this (NL East) division that want to make sure that doesn't happen. And, two: Has anyone ever heard of plagiarism?"

He is correct that Beltran needs to be a vocal leader. However, the rest is just nonsensical. There are four other teams trying to prevent the Phillies as well negating the presence of the other three in equation and now he is suggesting he invented the bold claim on top of everything. Interesting.

"I think Omar (Minaya) did a great job of getting a good pitcher and not having to give up his best prospects," Rollins said. "But (Santana) can only pitch one game at a time."

Then, turning once again to the Phillies, he offered this year's even loftier prediction.

"We can win 100 games," Rollins said. "I'll say that right here. Why? Look what happened last year. We lost Chase (Utley) for five weeks. We lost Ryan for three weeks. We expected (Jon) Lieber and (Freddy) Garcia to be part of our rotation and they hardly pitched for us. All those things went wrong and still we won 89 games."

100 games? That is akin to Kramer claiming Paul O'Neil will hit three homers for that little hospitalized kid in exchange for that Yankee signed birthday card. Really though, that is just a silly thing to say. Bill Madden said it just fine and I feel no reason to try and say it any other way.

The latter will likely depend on the arms. Rollins believes in the Phillies' pitching, which was a work in progress last season after injuries felled Garcia and Lieber, and Adam Eaton, who was supposed to be the No. 3 starter, flopped. Brett Myers has been moved from the closer to the No. 2 slot in the rotation behind Cole Hamels and replaced by Brad Lidge, who pitched himself out of the closer role in Houston twice in each of the past two seasons. The rest of the rotation is 45-year-old Jamie Moyer, second-year righty Kyle Kendrick, who has to prove last year's 10-4, 3.87 ERA season was authentic, and possibly even old friend Kris Benson, who signed on as a non-roster player last week. Ancient and achy Tom Gordon remains the set-up man.

The Phillies offense is not quite as good as everyone believes, but they are very good. Just not great and all that much better than the Braves and the Mets. However, no one is contesting their hitting is the problem. Their pitching is going to be their downfall. Now I'll be the first to admit they were not as bad as they seemed in 2007 despite their ERA. Their ERA+ was 97 while the Mets ERA+ was 100. Basically, they were both completely average.

However, the Mets did add Santana, get a full year of Pedro, and stand to have a deeper bullpen in 2008 than 2007. They significantly improved their pitching. Not marginally, but significantly. Actually significantly does not even cover it. Pedro replaces Glavine and Santana replaces.....no one. Just a straight up addition which is good for about eight wins over what they got out of Lawrence, Vargas, Park, etc., etc.

Moving Myers into the rotation while adding Lidge certainly adds some wins, but the back end could very well be horrific. Kendrick has a lot to prove, Eaton has not been league average since the millennium nor has he pitched over 162 since 2004, Moyer is decent, but not when he is your third best pitcher, and Kris Benson is quite a question mark. I have no specific problems with any of those things being a question if you have one or two slots with three slam dunks, but the Phillies have one slam dunk.

If the Phillies do win 100 games, they could quite possibly be the 100 win team with the worst staff in the history of 100 game winners.

* * *

  • K-Law's chat highlights.

    Dan-E (Miami Beach): so now that we've established jeter and h.ramirez as the worst defensively, who's the best not named troy tulowitzki? how big is the gap between tulo and the next guy?

    Keith Law: Tulo's got company up there. Reyes is outstanding. Everett is as good as Tulo, as long as we're just talking leather. Same for McDonald and Tony Pena. The thing with Tulo and Reyes is that they actually hit, too.


    Alexander (AZ): Who is the team to beat in the national league this year?

    Keith Law: Mets, then Cubs.

    Basically, not your D-Backs man.

    The Cubs are a very good team with very good pitching. They owned the 2nd lowest starter ERA in 2007 and the 3rd lowest bullpen ERA. It is even more impressive when you factor in they do not pitch in an environment particularly welcoming to pitchers.

    They had the highest team ERA+ in the NL and that was with Carlos Zambrano having his worst season since 2002. There is room for growth between him, Sean Marshall, and Rich Hill. Their offense is not terribly great, but the addition of Fukudome will help and this team is certainly a well balanced one founded on pitching.

    The D-Backs are not far behind though. They posted a 114 ERA+, which was one behind the Cubbies, and added Dan Haren and will get more from Randy Johnson. Their OPS+ was significantly lower as a team and I tend to favor the Cubs over the D-Backs. However, the D-Backs are still right there for me. One sleeper team for me (could they be a sleeper if they are already a favorite?) is the Dodgers. They have good pitching, a good bullpen, and a significant offensive potential. If Torre does the right thing, the team could be Kemp, Martin, Jones, Ethier, LaRoche, Furcal, Kent, and Loney.

    It is not wise to rely on young kids to all be great at the same time, but I really like their young guys and expect them to produce if given a shot. They were lacking pop last season, but Jones can still knock 30 out, Kemp has 30 homer power, Martin has 20 homer power, Kent is still a 20 homer guy, Loney is a 20 homer guy, and LaRoche has 20 homer power. Slow and steady baby....if things click with them early, I will revisit my list from the other day and shift the Dodgers ahead of the Cubs.

  • By way of Rob Neyer's blog, I present to you fun with fastballs. Yes, the Mets gave up two of the hardest throwing relievers of 2007 for nothing and yes they just signed one of the slowest throwing relievers.

  • So Burgos carries around $270,000 of jewelry? Interesting. Because he has only made $754,500 since 2006. The thing about Burgos is he could be really good, but he could also easily be one of those guys who just flames out and has a great arm and no ability to control it.

    I'm glad he recouped most of his jewelry after it was stolen and they found out who did it, but he might want to consider selling some of that stuff and saving for a rainy day.

  • Moises is optimistic about his life. 500 at-bats would be tremendous.

  • The Mets are not interested in Freddy, but Freddy should really have no incentive to sign right now. He should pick his team later to find the best option for him and has an open rotation spot, which could be the Mets. Hopefully not, but it could be.

  • Gary Sheffield thinks Scott Boras is a 'bad person'. I think many would tend to agree.

  • It will not be long until Mike Pelfrey gets his shot. I do think it makes a ton of sense in the end to limit his innings at the start so he will be nice and fresh in the long haul. A platoon in the fifth spot might work splendidly. Give The Duque ten starts and let Pelfrey finish out the rest of the year. I guess the real question though is can The Duque even give ten starts?

  • John Niese is drawing some good compliments at camp.

    Waits, the Mets' Minor League pitching coordinator, said Niese "would stand out if he were right-handed."

    That is good stuff and he is a legit prospect for sure, but now we need to see a nice low 3.00 ERA in AA this year to see him make that next leap.

    Kunz and Parnell also were impressive and while Niese really should not see any meaningful innings this spring, Parnell and Kunz should be used liberally.

  • Milledge is a confident one.

    "It didn't surprise me that they traded me," Milledge said. "I was surprised where I went. I didn't think I would be in the same division. You would rather see the Mets trade their best prospect [to a non-division team]."

    Good times. I think he will do quite well for them this season. Luckily the Nationals are not a threat so he really will not be able to do much damage, but he will enjoy hot dogging this year against the Mets.

  • Hot Foot has the baseball trash talking covered. I thought Beltran would be quiet in regards to any retort, but he came back. I like the new Beltran that appears to be hungry. This entire Met team should be really hungry.

    On the other side of the coin, David's comments about the fights was quite interesting. This is the new look Mets where maybe they stop being so PC and safe and lay it out there. If they do, 100 wins will most assuredly not be in the W column next the Phillies, but the Mets. If the Mets can keep up their intensity for the duration of the season and get some health out of their front four, look out.

  • Ryan Howard won his $10 million and that cannot be a good thing. Why would a young star player ever want to sign a contract that covers their arb years and then some is beyond me. His own teammate Jimmy Rollins is inked through 2011 at no more than $8.5 million and he will have been in the league for roughly ten years at that point. The scariest thing is that he has three more of these things. He did not make $1,000,000 last season and now makes $10 million. What is he going to get next year? The year after?

    I guess teams will try and ink their players before year two versus year three or four these days because the incentive for these kids to sign is getting pretty low unless they are terrified of injury.

  • Oliver Perez got his cash. Not a big deal considering he is a sixth year player.

  • The Phillies are low-brow.

    "I love Jimmy Rollins, I love [Brett] Myers, I love everybody ... but I would love to beat the [snot] out of them on the field," Martinez said.

    We'll see who buzzes who in the batter's box first. When it happens, it will not be pretty.

  • Tim Marchman has a good read and basically says it is the Mets and mediocrity. There are no sure things in sports, but the Mets are much more of a sure thing than many other team.
  • Labels:


    Anonymous benny said...

    Carlos Beltran is the man.
    Man, this rivalry would be fun if only the Phillies don't finish in 3rd place this season, which I think is gonna happen. They're in for a rude awakening.
    And although I love Jamie Moyer, he's one of those secret guys I like, his 5+ ERA along with Adam Eaton isn't very productive.
    Pedro replaces Glavine's production and Johan replaces the 5th starter. That's just...peachy!

    Yeah, John McDonald is actually pretty good, I don't know where he came from with his amazing defense. As far as defense goes can't forget about Yunieski Betancourt or Jack Wilson those dudes are NICE!

    The DBacks are tricky because of how young they still are. The DBacks if developed right and if they get lucky have the potential to run a Yankees dynasty type of thing with the way they had Jeter, Bernie, Mariano, Pettite, and Posada.

    Scott Boras wants money from Sheffield after Sheffield negotiated with the Yankees himself. Is Boras serious about wanting that money? Mayb he did agree to being represented by him but... Sheffield negotiated his own deal!

    I think Milledge can hit .280 18 homeruns with 25 SB. Not bad for his first full year as a 23 year old. I think his defense in CF is going to be good as well.

    I'm laughing at Wright's comment about fighting in the stands. He says he's not condoning it and I don't think he is but he sure sounds like he's a big fan of fights in the stands.

    Howard needs as much money as he can get, he's 28 years old already and he's gonna be a DH before he knows it. Congragulations to Howard.

    but I would love to beat the [shit] out of them on the field," Martinez said.
    Sorry, I just had to correct it, its much better now.

    The Marlins new stadium deal is official! I'm happy for them, its about freakin' time.

    1:11 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Beltran is going to have a huge season. I'm calling 40 homers!!!

    Moyer is a swell and all, but he's marginal. Nothing but 4.50 to 5.00 ERA. The Mets will have five starters under that and he's their #3. Not good for them.

    Yeah, the D-Backs need more OBP from their young guys. Big thing for them is the young bats.

    RE: Wright...he sure does sound like he is condoning it.

    1:21 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Benny...how are we looking in regards to fantasy baseball?

    1:24 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Man, I just had to share this video, this is from the Star Tribune in Minnesota, via metsblog.com

    We're good regarding fantasy. I think we're at 13? And if not we will be there soon, I sent a couple of extra invites. I had to interview them to make sure they're ready. And they're ready. This is probably gonna be the best season yet.

    I was reading on rotoworld last night that Bengie Molina, Omar Vizquel, and Rich Aurillia didn't practice because of minor injuries, man, that didn't take long at all. I feel bad for fans of the Bay Area teams, its going to be a looooooong year.

    1:35 PM

    Blogger bmc said...

    I don't know how Philly will win 100 games when the Braves eat their lunch.


    Brett Myers starting vs. the Mets:
    ERA 5.49
    Win Pct. .538
    K per 9 7.0
    BB per 9 2.5
    HR per 9 1.62
    K/BB 2.79

    1:40 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Ha, that is too funny. Not long at all. Although, The Duque did not take very long at all either. Silver lining though? Forcing Pelf into the rotation and The Duque into the bullpen?

    You trying to get like 18 teams again? That is rough man. 14 or 15 is probably as high as we should go.

    I feel like I can hit that fastball!!! Probably not and I'd probably end up with skidmarks, but whatever. I feel like I can make some contact.

    1:41 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    As Benny said, they are a 3rd place team. They are sadly mistaken if they think they are the class of the NL East. I think the Braves are much better and the Mets are much, much better.

    1:42 PM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    18 teams was tough, but you kind of get an appreciation of what it's like to compete on the major league level. Everyone is ready to jump on that 'sleeper' pick you had ready to go in the 8th round. No one is a secret, that's for sure.

    Metstradamus posted a genuine picture of Ambiorix with his jewelry on. Swellicious.

    4:52 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Hell no, we're not doing 18 teams, fuck that noise. I'm not doing that again.
    We're at 13 now and I don't see it getting any bigger than that. Maybe one more joins but that's it.

    6:01 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Your “Back In The Game” post made for good reading. Rollins seems to take a light hearted approach to this verbal jousting and relishes the one up man ship boasting. Apparently some of his teammates don’t quite see it that way and are fighting mad. They forget it was Rollins that initiated this nonsense and they should either have fun with it or keep out of it. If it’s a fight they want then the Mets should bring back Ray Knight.

    With Mets fans attending games at CBP and Phillies fans now organizing trips to Shea I can see fighting breaking out in the stands much to DW’s delight. I have some friends in the area back from when I did some of my Graduate study there and I normally attend at least one or two games at CBP when I visit them. I can see myself getting into a fight or two with their a-hole fans.

    Perez’s selection of Boras as his agent sums up where his head is. I don’t expect Perez to be with the Mets in 2009.

    3:16 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Is Mr. Rollins himself going to match or best his 2007 numbers?

    4:59 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The Mets are not a fighting team. They seem to be more pretty boy than the blue collar guys they had been in the past.

    Though you can probably say that about every team now since they paid so much. Manicures for everyone!!!

    As for the Philly fans, very much trashy. Fights there are quite probable. They like to talk trash and it is not in the 'friendly rivalry' kind of way.

    Mr. Rollins had a great year last year. If he matches, he enters the dicussion for one of the best players in baseball.

    While good, he is certainly not one of the best players in baseball. So, no. Though his 2006 was a step and he progressed in 2007. So maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.

    10:31 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Rollins had to say something last year to get his team in gear. We knew the Mets were the best team. At the time, there was apparently no need for an announcement.


    9:01 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Man, Carlos Beltran is one of my favorite players, I love the guy but reflecting on his stay in New York and then after watching him today on SNY, god, he must be an incredibly boring guy to hang out with.
    He has like... no personality, how could a guy so young be so bland, boring, and empty?

    2:14 AM

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