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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Optimism Abound

Unless you are Jon Harper.

I wouldn't bet the ranch on this team. Age and some injury issues at the moment are significant enough to point to how a lot could go wrong, as has been the case too often for the Mets over the years.

Why so glum? Could you point out one team that doesn't have the same exact issues? The Mets were able to withstand significant injuries and make the playoffs in '06 and barely missed in '07 despite fielding one of the worst outfields in the league at one point.

Sure Beltran will miss some time, but he was still extremely valuable despite not playing in 150+ games and as long as he is there at the end and gives 140+ games, I am happy.

As for Castillo, let him get hurt. I mean, I am not hoping he gets hurt, but Ruben Gotay did very well last season and I would not mind seeing him get some significant innings to see if he can grow a bit as a ball player.

Now to the bullpen...I am not sure the Mets are counting on Duaner to save their bullpen. They most assuredly want him back and are excited to have him back, but this bullpen is actually very deep. So deep that Joe Smith might find himself in the minors.

The Mets do not have one bad piece and if they go into panic mode, they can get Pelfrey or The Duque into the pen. There are enough available arms to compliment an improved rotation to give the Mets reliable pitching all season.

Then Harper keeps going and suggesting that Schneider is somehow an offensive downgrade over LoDuca. He makes this mistake as so many do confusing Brian McCann and Paul LoDuca. LoDuca was a horrible offensive player in 2007. Now I am not saying Brian is much better, but I like his offensive game more since it is not solely based around slapping singles around.

He can take a pitch and I appreciate that at the bottom of the lineup and is much more suited to be on this team in its current configuration. Will everything go right for the Mets? Absolutely not. However, predicting some sort of doomsday scenario is just ridiculous.

People are quick to point out all these things while not pointing out that their 1, 2, and 3 starters have room to grow, Wright and Reyes are still growing, Church and Schneider are actually upgrades over what they trotted out there last year, Gotay for one full year or Castillo for one full year is an upgrade over whatever they had in '07, Pelfrey appears primed for a step forward, and Alou is more valuable than half the outfielders in the bigs even after playing only 84 games.

I see no reason why people should be pessimistic at all. What team does not have questions of age and health? Can this guy bounce back or not? Can that guy play in his late 30's? Was 2007 a fluke for that guy? What team is perfect? The Mets are roughly 5% better than the next best team in the NL and almost 10% better than any other team in the NL East. To not be incredibly optimistic is just silly.

The Phillies closer is already out for six weeks, they are depending on a 38 year old set-up man, and they have no back end of the rotation. The Braves have two 40+ starters, a guy who is new to closing for a full year, and their best hitter has played in 137, 109, 110, and 134 games over the last four years. Alou is the Mets fourth best hitter and we are getting concerned about how many games he plays? Let us stop with the sensationalism please and just get behind the goodness that is the 2008 Mets.

* * *

  • Duaner is sore, but the reality is he is not going to pitch 80 games this year. He is going to be sore at times and need a break. Luckily the Mets are rather deep in the bullpen and have three arms than can go 200 innings in 2008 in the rotation.

  • Milledge has every right to be upset. It does not seem like he was treated all that well in his time there on many fronts.

  • Speaking of bullpens, Tim Marchman sees the Met bullpen as a potential issue.

    None of this is made better by the use of Pedro Feliciano, who can get all hitters out but has had more games pitched than innings the last three years, a sign of how heavily he's used in a specialist role.

    I think Willie is one of the biggest problems here and only exacerbated problems with the inability to exhibit any sort of logic. The continued use of Mota is just indicative of how he has no ability to be flexible.

    If that's the best that can be said of it, though, Mets fans will be right to be worried all through the year. The problem here is less the quality of the pitchers than the structure of the bullpen, which isn't built to stand up to much stress. If the Mets get three awful starts in a row, it's going to be badly strained. If Heilman continues to have problems with left-handers, there's no obvious second plan. If the team has an important series coming up against a team that feasts on sinker/slider types, they won't be able to do much about it.

    Marchman kind of assumes that Sanchez will be out and no one steps up. Register was just converted from being a starter so I think it is unfair to assume he cannot add much value. While I agree I would like some more flamethrowers, the Mets do have options and their spectacular bullpen of 2006 was not comprised of fireballers. The 2007 bullpen was actually very good for the majority of the year and that is overlooked.

    I think usage is a big part of it and the ability to adapt is a big part. Willie cannot lay out his game plan and his list of who he likes in game #1 and stick to it no matter what. With bullpens, you need to be dynamic at times and Willie was not dynamic in 2007.

  • It is hard to not like Rustich's move to the rotation. Even if he is not going to be a big league starter, let him get more innings while on the farm.

  • While you never want to put much stock into spring stats at all, it is better to do good than to do bad.

  • Johan will be on TV at 1:00 today. Watch it. Enjoy it.

  • Willie knew nothing about MacNamee, but why not?
  • Labels:

    14 Comments:

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Age, injury, bullpen concerns, Mets, blah, blah, blah. Fact is, this applies to veery single team.
    One thing I do like is the ammount of depth the Mets have in the infield positions and I can stretch it a little bit to the outfield position. To me, Endy, Ben Johnson, Angel Pagan, Damion Easley, Marlon Anderson, and again to stretch it, Jose Valentin, and Brady Clark really are not that bad, I kinda like it.
    The pitching is another story but still, no team is perfect, except for the Red Sox.

    It seems like the only team that gets shit on ever are the Mets but once it comes down to prediction time all the writers for the past 3 years have liked them to win the division, whatever.

    I'm looking forwrd to looking Duaner pitch at 1pm today. I'm no scout but how he throws will be very telling.

    I completely forgot Mota is gone, that is the ultimate addition by subtraction! I'm soo happy he's gone.

    Milledge is going to have a really nice year, I'm excited to see him play. It's amazing about Milledge, too, even with him with the Nationals the media has a hard-on for him, it's truely amazing. Can't thye just leave the kid alone.

    Ozzie Guillen talking about batting Nick Swisher leadoff. Wierd. It makes sense with his .400 OBP but wierd with all his power potential.

    11:39 AM

     
    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    I can't imagine anyone being more upset than me when Lastings was traded. I love that cocky little fucker! But I'm tired of hearing him run his mouth about his Met experience. I read that Newsday story and what Sugarpants had to say and I have to agree - move on. Maybe there really are deep seated attitude problems with him. Maybe Omar was right to get rid of him, for all parties involved. Or maybe i'm falling into the trap of drinking the media's kool-aid. I hope he does well, but I wish he'd move on. I think this year will be telling for him, especially playing aroud that new den of thieves in DC.

    1:14 PM

     
    Anonymous benny said...

    Couple of things, I think you are falling for the media kool aid.
    You know when all new york newspapers have the same biographical story on a certain player during spring training? Brianc Schneider, Ryan Church, and Dirty Sanchez were three written about last week.
    Well today the story is Lastings Milledge, so its one story just being written by 5 different people so that's why it becomes annoying.

    And I think his comments stem from being asked about New York and being the guy he is, he was direct.

    Also, since when did everything David Wright thinks and says become like... "ultimate" way of feeling?
    I will say that yeah maybe Lastings is a little immature and needs to grow up but he's also 22 years old and not EVERYONE can come up to the major leagues like Wright did and be the Derek Jeter "Mr. Company Line" clone.

    1:26 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Are the Sox perfect? I would say no. They are pretty damn good though.

    I don't LOVE that infield depth, but there are warm bodies.

    Great point as well. The Phillies and Braves have no concerns, but the Mets? Tons of issues facing them.

    Milledge has some edge. I don't think what he said was all that bad. Was any of it untrue? That's part of his game. Let him built up some anger on the Mets part. They need it.

    Preach on Benny!

    2:05 PM

     
    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    Benny - you are right. I'm off the kool-aid.

    2:59 PM

     
    Anonymous Dep said...

    Sorry but if DW has had enough of lastings and basically said so publicly, i think he rubbed more people the wrong way than we all realize. DW never says a bad word about anyone publicly and for him to tell lasto to STFU already speaks volumes to me.

    I still got mad love for the kid, but me thinks there's a lot more beneath the surface of his time here than any of us know.

    4:09 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Perhaps. I think people are reading way to far into what he said. It was nothing all that bad.

    4:38 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dep - couldn't agree with you more. I was heartbroken when Milledge was traded, but Wright's comments are way too revealing to be ignored. Read between the lines and he's saying I dealt with worse and kept my mouth shut. What the hell is wrong with you?

    The more stuff that comes out about Milledge, the more he sounds like a pampered baby. His time in NY was a nightmare?? Please. And now players are saying word came down from "up above" to leave him alone. Who the heck is he?? I'm done with him. I blew off most of the stuff I heard, and even most of the Wacky Wagner comments, but now I'm at the point where there's smoke, there's fire. And there's WAY too much smoke...

    As for Mota, yes he might be the definition of addition by subtraction. People blame Willie for using him, but to me the option was always use Mota or run Heilman, Sosa, and Feliciano into the ground. Damned if you do... If anyone, I blame Omar for that bullpen.

    -ube

    8:08 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    I believe a poster at the Newsday Website said it best about the LM article with the following post:

    Jermaine1128 Feb 28, 2008 9:17:39 PM Report Offensive Post
    What a pathetic excuse for a story. People wonder why athletes don't want to play in New York and this article is a perfect example of why that feeling exists. Milledge said two sentences that were honest and true. It had nothing to do with "ripping" anyone. Milledge WAS hated by the veterans and he WILL be better off not being in the Met clubhouse. How does he "rip" the Mets by saying that? What a garbage editorial. Don't insult me Adam Rubin. Don't "rip" a quote from another source and then write 10 paragraphs of pomp and circumstance to create some "Milledge controversy" because you don't have any kind of leads or story's to run with on a boring tuesday. Lastings Milledge did not RIP the Mets with that quote. He stated the obvious and how in heck is that a story? As a reader of this paper I expected a real story with real fire but this was a case of a writer trying to spark a blaze with a packet of icyhot.

    3:42 AM

     
    Blogger Scott said...

    if you think Harper is depressing, get a load of what David Lennon said in Newsday!
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-spmets0301,0,2559517.story

    it's as if the guy didn't know that it takes time for pitchers to get ready for the regular season (and often aren't till May). It's as if he never heard of what spring training is for.

    THIS is why players hate the media in NY and won't come here. Santana is probably thinking, "What the hell is wrong with these people?"

    12:52 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    The first and last two paragraphs in the article:

    No, the Mets don't want their money back. Despite the hype surrounding Friday's debut at Tradition Field, this was only a spring training start for Johan Santana, and even a two-time Cy Young winner with a $137.5-million contract requires a few dress rehearsals.

    Obviously, this wasn't vintage Santana. His fastball maxed out at 91 mph and he did leave a few too many pitches up in the strike zone. But there is a month to go before Santana has to get hitters out for real. And his message on Friday, for all those freezing fans watching back home in New York, was to be patient for the next month. Don't start obsessing over these boxscores.

    "It's always good to get the first one out of the way," Santana said. "There's a lot of people waiting for this and it's finally done. But this is just the beginning of my career here with the Mets. This is just spring training. I'd rather leave everything here in Port St. Lucie and when we head north, I'll be ready to go."


    I really don’t see the problem here. Lennon is basically telling people Santana was hit hard but it was his first outing of the spring and totally meaningless. Santana was only getting his work in.

    8:21 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Delgado back to New York for an MRI on his hip. I hope they’re sending him to the Geriatric Ward.

    Church is out two weeks with a concussion (according to Marty Noble) he sustained in a nasty collision with Marlon Anderson.

    Jon Niese was impressive in two innings of work.

    8:30 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    There has been speculation in the press and on some blogs that Delgado’s injury could be chronic. A poster at Metsblog mentioned the name of the Angels’ Kendry Morales. The question is who do we have left in the farm system that we can comfortably surrender that other clubs would be willing to accept in a trade?

    Like many I believe the Santana trade was a bargain for the Mets and that any team that had the young talent to surrender and resources to sign Santana was foolish not to pursue him. However, as I write this I am reading an article in Sunday’s Newsday about Yankees prospects and that article is giving me agita. :)

    7:37 PM

     
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