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:

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Mets vs. Yankees 2008

    Let us take a little quick and dirty look at the Mets and the Yankees.
                           2006            2007
    AGE OPS+ WS Warp1 OPS+ WS Warp1
    RF Ryan Church 29 131 10 2.5 114 19 5.4
    CF Carlos Beltran 31 150 38 11 126 27 8.4
    LF Moises Alou 41 132 15 4 138 12 3.7
    total 63 17.5 58 17.5

    2006 2007
    AGE OPS+ WS Warp1 OPS+ WS Warp1
    RF Bobby Abreu 34 126 28 3 114 19 4.8
    CF Melky Cabrera 23 95 13 3.1 89 13 4.4
    LF Johnny Damon 34 115 22 4 97 15 3.5
    ?? Hideki Matsui 34 128 6 2.3 123 17 4
    total 69 12.4 64 16.7
    Basically, the Mets outfield is far better. I even added an extra player on the Yankees end and the 2007 numbers from the Mets compare favorably despite Alou only playing in 84 games. The Mets could quite conceivably have all three of their outfielders be more valuable and more productive than any of the four Yankee outfielders. Furthermore, two Yankee outfielders posted a sub .400 SLG% which is just terrible. Barring a breakout year from Melky and Abreu discovering his 2002 form again, this is no contest.
                           2006            2007
    AGE OPS+ WS Warp1 OPS+ WS Warp1
    1B Carlos Delgado 36 131 24 4.8 103 14 4.7
    2B Luis Castillo 32 93 17 2.2 91 14 2.1
    SS Jose Reyes 25 115 29 4.1 103 24 7.3
    3B David Wright 25 133 32 7.3 150 34 10.6
    C Schn / Castro 72/83 12 4.3 77/127 17 4.8
    total 102 22.7 86 29.5

    2006 2007
    AGE OPS+ WS Warp1 OPS+ WS Warp1
    1B Jason Giambi 37 148 23 5.9 108 6 5
    2B Robinson Cano 25 126 18 7.1 120 21 9.2
    SS Derek Jeter 34 132 33 9.1 121 24 6.1
    3B Alex Rodriguez 32 134 25 5.2 177 39 11
    C Jorge Posada 36 122 24 7.5 154 26 8.2
    total 123 34.8 116 39.5
    Predictably this was not all that close given the huge difference in talent at second and behind the plate for the Yankees. Giambi and Delgado are not as bad as people are making them out to be and first, short, and third are basically a push for me. I do think Posada is going to lose quite a bit of production, but still be far more valuable than the Mets tandem. Of course the Yankees need mega production from their infield because their outfield is going to be one of the worst offensive outfields from any contender.
                           2006            2007
    AGE ERA+ WS Warp1 ERA+ WS Warp1
    Johan Santana 29 161 25 10.8 130 18 9.1
    Oliver Perez 26 67 6 0.1 120 11 3.7
    John Maine 27 121 5 2.4 109 11 5.2
    Pedro Martinez 36 97 5 2.5 166 2 0.9
    The Duque 42 96 6 3.2 115 10 4.3
    total 47 19 52 23.2

    2006 2007
    AGE ERA+ WS Warp1 ERA+ WS Warp1
    Chien-Ming Wang 28 124 17 7.9 121 16 7.5
    Andy Pettitte 36 106 12 5.2 110 14 6
    Phil Hughes 22 - - 100 4 1.8
    Ian Kennedy 23 - - 236 2 3.2
    Mike Mussina 39 129 15 6.7 87 6 3.2
    total 44 19.8 43 20.3
    This was a tough one given the two rookies in the Yankee rotation, but I think both will do decent. However, counting on them for oodles and oodles of innings while not going through any growing pains just does not seem right to me. Even if you say Joba and Kennedy are going to switch roles later in the year, which I do not expect to happen, giving them a fresh arm and thereby limiting any potential growing pains, I expect the Mets rotation to be far more balanced, far more consistent, and flat out better. The Mets rotation is one of the top rotations in the league and feature three 15 game winners. Sure the Yankees could have three fifteen game winners, but that would be more of a function of offense then pitching. Giving the Yankees the edge here would be a stretch.
                           2006            2007
    AGE ERA+ WS Warp1 ERA+ WS Warp1
    Billy Wagner 36 195 12 6.5 162 11 5.1
    Aaron Heilman 29 120 8 3.4 140 9 4.1
    Pedro Feliciano 31 209 8 3.8 138 6 2.3
    Duaner Sanchez 27 168 6 2.4 - -
    total 34 16.1 26 11.5

    2006 2007
    AGE ERA+ WS Warp1 ERA+ WS Warp1
    Mariano Rivera 38 251 14 8.3 142 9 5.5
    Kyle Farnsworth 32 104 4 2.7 93 3 0.9
    Latroy Hawkins 35 102 4 1.6 140 5 2.6
    Joba Chamberlain 22 - - 1192 4 1.8
    total 22 12.6 21 10.8
    Joba's 1192 ERA+ will not last, but it is hard to say he will not be the one of the best set up men, if not the best, in the bigs. I say I give the Yankees the edge on their closer and main set up man, but the Mets pull ahead with their #3 and #4 guys. Also, the Mets top two are not exactly chopped liver and are elite pitchers in their genre as well. I give bullpen the edge to the Mets slightly because of their depth, but the Yankees do have some room for growth here if Hawkins is solid again and a guy like Ohlendorf or Ramirez steps up. I think both bullpens have the potential to be very good.

    Top to bottom, the Mets are a slightly better team by my crude estimation. If Hughes and Kennedy both have Verlander-esque rookie seasons while Joba does his best Zumaya impression, the Yankees could pull ahead because they do have a better offense. Basically, both New York teams are very good and many call the Yankees the second best team slightly behind Red Sox. That makes the Mets right behind the Red Sox as well as the second or third best team in the majors. I like the Tigers in the fourth spot slightly ahead of the Indians, but I need to see their rotation hold it together before I start saying they are as good as the well balanced Met and Yankee teams.

    My top fifteen teams:

    1) Red Sox
    2) Mets
    3) Yankees
    4) Tigers
    5) Indians

    6) Cubs
    7) Angels
    8) Dodgers
    9) D-Backs
    10) Blue Jays
    11) Braves

    On the bubble
    12) Phillies (cry me a river Philly fans about how you won the division and deserve some respect)
    13) Milwaukee
    14) Mariners
    15) San Diego (not only does San Diego mean whale's vagina, but their offense is going to be atrocious)

    Before anyone starts complaining, the teams within each category are pretty close to being interchangeable for me. As for the Rockies, they are just not on the list. I'm not seeing how they are better than any of those teams. Their historic run was fun and all, but they are an 84 win team.

    * * *
  • It is fantasy baseball time. Please email Benny or myself if you are interested in joining the league. First come, first served. Also, Benny sent invites to a few people who have not accepted. If you are not accepting because you fear my insane Fantasy Baseball skills, let us know so we can ask other people.

  • Rob Neyer keeps laying it on thick.

    Jason (NYC): Speaking of Nate Silver's PECOTA, did you see the Mets with 96 wins :) I'm extra giddy.

    Rob Neyer: Yeah, and you should be giddy. They added the best pitcher in the world to the best team in the National League. If there's one team that's most likely to win 100 games this season it's the Mets.

    They are good. Very good.

  • Ossy brought up an interesting point. He said Fukodome should start off batting 7th and earn his way up. However, we have a pretty good idea of how he should fare based on past performance in Japan, looking at other Japanese players who came, over etc. Of course, we can extend this to minor leaguers as well.

    John (San Diego): MLEs?

    Rob Neyer: Major League Eqivalencies, John. Based on minor-league stats. Big part of the literature.

    Simply said, we should have a pretty good idea of how these players should fare. These are all humans and things can happen like not being able to perform on a certain stage, but if a team has a need and a player profiles well in regards to fitting that need, why play games and bat them 7th and have them earn their way up? Why not let them have the spot from day #1 and adjust as needed later?

    David Wright has been the best hitter on the team since midway through 2005. The fact that he was not batting higher than fifth with any regularity until midway through the 2007 is absolutely laughable. If the skill is there, why not let them add meaningfully from day one?

    The Cubs have a serious OBP issue. They were 9th in the NL in OBP, got a .341 OBP from the #1 spot, and a .336 from the #2 spot. Fukudome has a .406, .401,. 367, .430, .438, and .443 OBP over the past six seasons. That is insanely good. He certainly seems like a guy that can fill a need and he may not be used to do it. Instead, he will miscast as the 5th hitter to break up some righties despite the fact he is not going to hit with much homer power. This all seems elementary to me and I see no reason to screw around. Get it right from day one.

  • I guess I need to change the name of this here blog.

    Were the Mets ever officially called the Metropolitans? Or is this just a common mistake among fans? We're having a two-day argument at work about this and would really appreciate a resolution.
    -- Daniel G., Astoria, N.Y.

    The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. once was the corporate name. Mets was the team name. People would refer to them as the Metropolitans in much the same way that folks refer to Mookie Wilson as William. The corporate name now is Sterling Mets, LP. It had been Sterling Doubleday Enterprises, LP.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa....slow down Fernando.

    "This year," Martinez said, "you'll see me."

  • Well isn't everyone just brimming with confidence these days? I like confidence, but I do think there is such a thing as too much confidence.

  • Ken Rosenthal lists nine things to watch and none of them happened to be the Mets. Frankly Mr. Rosenthal is a silly little man because the Mets are the story. Also, he could have spoken about the parity of the NL. Four fresh teams could be hitting the playoffs this season and that is certainly impressive.

  • In a perfect world, Willie would be trying to get a job elsewhere and Gary would be the manager. Do I know he can coach? No, but I know Willie can not.

  • Though I think players are babies for complaining about the Mets propensity to celebrate, I am glad Reyes is shelving it if only to concentrate more on just playing.

    Strangely enough, I think Willie hit the nail on the head.

    "I'm sure he might have heard people say that other teams were upset about it and it was too much," Randolph said. "But that's stuff that Jose doesn't think about. We don't think about it. When we're having fun, and the kids are expressing themselves, they're not thinking that they're showing anyone up. They don't even know someone is looking at them.

    "No one should be looking at them, really. The fans notice it, the media might see it, but if I'm on the other side, if I need to concern myself with that, your head's in the wrong place."

    Good stuff. Omar also has the right outlook.

    Added Minaya: "I think the beauty of Jose is the joy that he plays with. But that's his decision. I would never encourage him not to do it. It's just that when things don't go well, people highlight stuff like that."

  • Brandon Inge wants no part of catcher and wants to play third base. So it looks like he might be traded.

  • According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Justin Huber either makes the Royals squad or finds a new home. I would love to have him back and it is just nuts that he has not gotten a chance yet.
  • Labels: ,

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Good or Great?

    Rob Neyer is one smart man.

    Ryan Dempster says the Cubs are going to win the World Series and Jimmy Rollins says the Phillies are going to win 100 games. I don't think it really hurts anything for players to engage in these sorts of rousing predictions. But as Homer Derby's Richie Rich points out, both predictions are unlikely to come true now that Johan Santana's joined the National League. Just to pile on, I'll note that the projections have started coming in, and the Mets are easily the best-looking team in the league, with roughly 95 wins on the proverbial paper (the Cubs are next, just short of 90).

    The Mets are pretty much the best team in the NL heading into the season. You can give me the 'ole games are not won on paper line, but that is loser talk from people who are fans of teams that are just not as good. At this point of the year, we can only analyze things with the information we have which just so happens supports the notion the Mets are significantly better than every other team in the National League.

    Also, they could very well be one of the top three teams in the entire Major Leagues. While the NL is generally referred to as the junior circuit or AAAA, the Mets are an AL powerhouse-esque team. They can stack up with anyone and I do include the Red Sox in there as well. While I do not disagree the Red Sox are the top team in the league, there are a few teams that are close behind and the Mets are one of those teams.

    If the Mets do not get flooded with complacency again, they should roll over the league. They have three legitimate MVP candidates and one of the favorites to win the Cy Young Award. You would be hard pressed to find many holes on the team that will break camp and head up North. The bullpen will be very deep if Duaner comes back strong, the rotation is five deep, and the lineup has no holes in it and is well balanced to boot. Get excited. This Met team is much closer to great than good.

    * * *

  • Too right handed or not, Fukodome needs to bat second. Actually, he should bat first. Who the hell decided that Alfonso Soriano and his .327 career OBP is a leadoff hitter? Am I the only person who is missing something here? Gordy seems to get it, but Lou does not. I would worry about breaking up righties after I worry about making sure the guys at the top of the order get on base.

  • Good times...

    He wanted Johan Santana and Andy Pettitte to both be in the New York Yankees rotation this season. The Yankees decided to go in another direction, keeping all their kid pitchers and banking on the veteran Pettitte.

    "The bottom line is that I would have liked to have them both," Steinbrenner told The Post on the eve of Petite’s arrival at spring training.

    I cannot wait. Johan will be ruling the baseball universe while the kiddies will have some growing pains in the Bronx. Old Hank is going to have a coronary.

  • Pedro is proud of what he has done.

    "I dominated that era and I did it clean," he said. "I can stand by my numbers and I can be proud of them."

    And dominate he did.

    "I have a small frame and when I hurt all I could do was take a couple of Aleve or Advil, a cup of coffee and a little mango and an egg -- and let it go!" he said.

  • As if you needed another reason to not argue with Rob Neyer’s assertion that David Wright is the favorite to win the MVP Award. I think things are setting up nicely for the Mets to dominate the 2008 Awards and make some serious noise in the playoffs.

  • Jon Heyman tries to rank the top ten GMs. Always a mighty tough endeavor, but I think he did well. I actually think Jon Daniels should have cracked the top ten for what he is building in Texas and Kenny Williams should probably be knocked out. I'm a big Williams fan because he is go-er, but I would say he is out of the top ten. Oh, 'Stand' Pat Gillick should be out as well. What makes him one of the best in the game?

  • Carlos feels like he is ready to rebound this season and I think he will most assuredly be better. How much better? Let us not go crazy, but he will be much more of a contributor in '08 than he was in '07.

  • Interesting tidbit...

    When Delgado entered the clubhouse, reliever Matt Wise reminded him of their first meeting, back on Aug.15, 2000, when Wise was a rookie with the Angels and Delgado was a Blue Jay. Angels manager Mike Scioscia told Wise to throw Delgado four straight fastballs inside. Delgado squared to bunt and Wise unintentionally drilled him in the groin - the first hit batter of Wise's career. The two didn't cross paths again until they bumped into each other two months later at a Newport Beach, Calif., restaurant, when Delgado was visiting Shawn Green. A scared Wise hopped in his car and drove off.

  • The positive reports about Duaner are great to hear. The Mets are seemingly putting together a shut down bullpen.

  • 'Tis great days we live in. It is all shits and giggles in the Met camp with Santana there, Sanchez looking great, Wright being sugary, new outlooks abound, etc. while the Yankees have to deal with a blubbering Andy Pettitte. Awesome.
  • Labels: ,

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Let The Good Times Roll

    Baseball is back. Delicious.

  • Say what you want about Mr. Billy Wagner, but I believe he is a great guy to have on the team. I also believe he has been a lot better than people give him credit for and he is still an elite closer.

    "Who knows," Wagner said. "He may be closing here next year. And you want him to be prepared and ready to go. He needs to know that this is a business and it's work, and there are just little intangibles that he needs to know before he gets here."

  • Perez, Maine, and Pedro look great. Sweet baby jesus it is going to be a good season with a tremendous rotation.

  • Carlos Beltran uncharacteristically starts talking some trash. I think that is a good thing for Beltran to exhibit some intensity and jump into the fray.

    Judging from his unexpected prediction about the NL East, the soft-spoken Beltran appeared to be hiding a brash side, too.

    "It's good to hear him talk that way, because we feel that we're good," third baseman David Wright said. "I don't feel the need to talk about anything, because talk is cheap. But it's good to see that Carlos feels that way."

    The Phillies are strangely quiet after running their mouths last year. That is either an attempt at taking the high road or them believing the hype.

  • Cherry picking is not fair.

    "He's my right fielder, so he's going to play,'' Randolph said of the former Washington National. "When I see a guy like Ryan, I don't look at the past.''

    The Mets' boss might want to rethink that philosophy in this case.

    After all, Church's left-handed bat has pop (he's a career .271 hitter), but he hit just .229 against lefties last season - a full 58 points worse than he fared against right-handers.

    Two things. First, Randolph is an idiot. He consistently inconsistent. While he always puts guys on notice and says they need to earn their job, he magically does not do that for other guys that have the same things to prove. Whatever... Secondly, why must people always be hatin' my man Church? He obviously is reading these things as well and is getting annoyed.

    Church is eager to take on his skeptics, though, insisting his woes against lefties are overblown.

    "I've hit lefties," he said, bristling. "I'm a .255 career hitter against lefties. Last year was just a weird situation, where I would sit for a week, then start against a lefty. I was never able to get in a groove. Last year was not what I'm about."

    Frank Robinson jerked him around and he got jerked around by Acta last year as well. The dude is good. I am willing to put my Glavine jersey on the line for him.

  • Omar and I still believe in Pelfrey and he has a the right outlook. I still think he is ace material. Yeah, I said it. What are you going to do about it?

  • Gotay? On notice.

    "If when he plays there he looks good, it's going to help him," Randolph said about Gotay. "There are a lot of guys still out there. This year a lot of free agents are still looking for jobs."

    Shocking. Why not keep your mouth shut and let him play without having to read threats that shitty old guys are still out there?

  • Brian Schneider as integral as Johan Santana? Wow. Just wow. I mean, who can write such a thing with a straight face?

  • Swellicious.

    "He's filthy, man," said backup catcher Ramon Castro. "He's not afraid of anybody. He doesn't care who you are."

    Despite some reports that Sanchez has some attitude issues, he seems like he is on the right track. If he is healthy, the Mets have a shot to have a tremendous bullpen. Really, Feliciano, Heilman, and even Wager do not get enough credit for how good they really are. If the Mets can be four deep in top tier relievers, things will be nice in Queens.

  • Mr. Billy Wags would prefer to not pitch with a four run lead.

    * * *

  • Rios had a great season last year, but I'm picking him as the #1 candidate to break out into a super star. Twins fans should take notice because Gomez and Rios are strikingly similar and Gomez will likely follow a path similar to him.

  • Princess K-Rod speaks.

    Francisco Rodriguez reported Sunday for what he says likely will be his last season with the Angels.

    "Yeah, probably. Probably," the two-time All-Star closer said. "If they wanted me here, they would have done something a long time ago. But in the meantime, I have to put that out of my head. I can't be thinking they don't want me here or anything like that. Just do my job."

    Another day another athlete feeling unwanted. Boo hoo...

  • Matt Murton is a masochist.
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