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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Carlos Delgado... Humanitarian, scholar, and all around good guy.

Peter Gammons is a bit overdramatic at times.

Some like to blame Carlos Delgado for not being Thurman Munson. Delgado will never be a baseball evangelist, just a fair, socially responsible man who never self-promotes. Recently, he apologized to Billy Wagner for Wagner's being left in a media storm (even though a family emergency forced Delgado to leave the park), he helped Randolph and Rick Peterson guide Ramon Castro through an experience with a new pitcher, and he pulled Reyes aside on the field during a pitching change to exact his focus. But somehow Delgado's bat speed and character have become blurred lines in the case of a very decent man.

Really? People blame him for not being Thurman Munson? He never did anything redeeming for this team? No one thinks he is a decent man? Strange stuff. What I really hate is when baseball writers blur some line between humanity and baseball skills. If I had a kid, I would let Carlos Delgado babysit it and I wouldn't even call in to check.

However, what does that have to do with baseball? What does him being an all around swell guy do for him being a run product at first base and not contributing negative value? He has a .215/.298/.387 line and though May has been better, it is still pretty damn bad. An 81 OPS+ and a .3 WARP is terrible. Just terrible.

The Mets are struggling and something needs to happen. This is not about charity and respecting that Carlos Delgado was a borderline Hall of Famer for his service in Toronto and being a man who stands by his convictions. This is about keeping a $140 million team from becoming a complete disaster.

Let us not confuse why Met fans are over Carlos Delgado. When things are going bad, you look at ways to fix your team and using Delgado in different manner is a place to start or getting someone to share a significant amount of playing time would be another. Cutting him out of the picture might help, but there are a few guys who could be kicked off before he does so for now, I will not call for him to be cut. From Buster:

Scott Hatteberg was cut loose to make room for Bruce on the roster, and first baseman Joey Votto was sorry to see Hatteberg go. Heard this: The Mets would like Hatteberg, but they'll try to go after him if and when he clears waivers, so they don't have to pay him his full salary.

Scott has been bad in limited time this year, but was fairly productive in '06 and '07. Though older than Delagdo, he seems to have aged better and would be a bigger contributer to this team in 2008.

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  • It is early, but you have to think that Jesus Flores stands a good chance to be one of the top five catchers in the league when you factor in offense and defense in a few years. I do not blame Omar because he was an A-ball catcher, but that hardly lessens my disappointment.

  • Chase Utley has 1,000,000 homers this year. His home road splits are nuts, but overall, the homers numbers overall for the Phillies are basically the same home and away. 

  • What is that sound? Brian Bannister and his 6.00+ ERA in May coming back down to planet Earth.

  • Pedro Martinez looked decent again A-ballers, but he was beaten by uber prospect David Price.

  • Wallace Matthews trying to write something positive?

    But what the Mets did Wednesday night happens about as often as Jay Horwitz wears an orange blazer to work or Luis Castillo hits a baseball out of the park. Both happened Wednesday night, and consequently, for only the second time in 25 attempts, the Mets won a game they were trailing after seven innings. For the first time all season, they won a game they were trailing after eight. And for the one of the few times all season, they actually left the field looking like a team that cares about winning and cares about each other.

    He also ties in some comedic relief into his article...

    The end almost, but not quite, erased the memory of what had happened so many hours before. First, the Mets announced that Ryan Church would not play again until he regains his mental focus, a casualty of his second concussion of the young season.

    Unfortunately, they could not make the same announcement about Perez, the cause of whose loss of focus is as yet undiagnosed. All the Mets know is that it is a persistent, even chronic condition, immune to all known forms of treatment and liable to recur at any time.

  • Baseball was better off letting Cuban buy the Pirates since the Cubbies do not need a shot in the arm, but I will take it.

  • I agree with the Mets course of action here...

    With Pedro Martinez expected to start next week in San Francisco, the Mets are considering a plan that would keep Mike Pelfrey in the rotation, shift Claudio Vargas to the bullpen and demote reliever Carlos Muniz. The front office is worried about losing Vargas if they expose him to waivers, but also reluctant to demote Pelfrey, believing it would be best if he continues to develop at the major-league level.

  • While on the topic of Carlos Delgado, it seems Willie is on board. Hopefully Willie can make these little tweaks to maximize this team and start turning this thing around.

  • The surprise teams this year are young and exciting while the disappointing Mets still look like the old recycled product sent out in the past.

    If the Mets do not step it up and pay out the nose for the best prospects left on the board during this upcoming draft, I will be angry. Not that me being angry matters or will help anything, but I will be angry.
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    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    An Example of How to Not Run a Franchise

    Rob Neyer checks in on the Mets.

    "Willie has my support. He has the support of our ownership," Minaya said. "Willie's job was never in danger going into this meeting."

    If not, why not?

    Yeah. Winning would be good. You can't read anything about the Mets these days without seeing a reference to their payroll: $138 million. And it's worse than 23-26. Over their last 162 games -- Randolph's last 162 games -- the Mets are 79-83. The Mets, with the largest payroll in the National League, have a losing record over their last season's worth of games.

    I know that's cherry-picking. It's not arbitrary cherry-picking; 162 games is not a meaningless number. But I'll bet I could find a 162-game stretch when Joe Torre's Yankees lost more games than they won.

    Well, maybe not. But close, probably. Usually, I would acknowledge the possibility that Randolph's team simply has gone through a 162-game stretch of tough luck, and anyway it's the general manager's fault for not spending that $138 million on the right players.

    But last year Randolph presided over one of the worst collapses in major league history. His team is losing again this year. With the exception of David Wright (who's unflappable) and Ryan Church (who wasn't around last year), nobody on the roster is doing anything extraordinary and a lot of guys are struggling. Jose Reyes, now in his sixth major league season, seems to do something silly on the bases every other game.

    Reyes is not the problem, but something is clearly wrong. Would getting rid of Willie solve the problem? We have been over this and it might not. However, what else can you do and what other move is as simple?

    Publicly, the players complain that Randolph shouldn't be held accountable for their struggles. But if not him, then who? The owners aren't going to fire themselves, or Omar Minaya. They can't fire the players. But a message must be sent to the players, somehow.

    Unfortunately, the owners seem to have decided to send exactly the wrong message, which is that nobody's accountable for this mess.

    And it is a mess. The Mets resume their place as the joke of baseball and I am left wondering just how a team that was supposed to be so good is so bad. Rob Neyer had called them the best bet to win 100 games and now they are wallowing around in fourth place and knocking on last place's door.

    As if the Mets needed another distraction at this point because they seemed distracted prior to this managerial mess, it is only adding to the ridiculousness that has become Met baseball. Right now, the Mets have two of batters being too heavily relied on with a sub .400 SLG% and should be buried at the 7th and 8th place in the batter order and yet they remain entrenched where they are.

    However, much like what the Mets front office is doing to rectify the problem, which is nothing, a similar approach is being taken with the day to day management of the players. In not so unrelated news, that was also the same approach used while this team was in a free fall at the end of last season.

    I had titled a post steady as she goes the other day when I thought the Mets were about to turn things around a bit, but it is more applicable to their demise. Steady as she goes straight down into the shitter with no action taken. Brilliant. I think Neyer said it best the other day:

    I like Willie Randolph. When I see him interviewed on TV, he strikes me as sensitive, thoughtful, and intelligent. He might be the perfect manager for the Brewers, or the Indians, or the Mariners or the Reds or the Pirates. But with each passing day that the Mets lose and look bad doing it, he seems like the wrong manager for the Mets.

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  • This all seems like a fictional comedy story, but it is not.

    When a manager is not fired, as Willie Randolph was not after a long meeting yesterday with Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya, it is usually not news. Managers are not fired all the time. Only rarely, though, can a manager for a team with a $140 million payroll lose more games than he wins for a full year, wax paranoid about racist camera angles, follow that up by losing six of seven games, and then keep his job. This is why yesterday's press conference was carried live on ESPNews. What baseball fan, given the chance, wouldn't gawk at this bizarre spectacle?

    Hey, but he thought the racism remarks were off the record. I'm not sorry I said it, I'm just sorry I got caught, right? Also, let us not forget accused SNY for painting him in a negative light and trashed the fans.

    Bureaucratic dynamics aside, not firing Randolph is a perfectly sound reaction to the team's lousiness. While I've written a lot about all the reasons why the skipper should go, no obviously better manager is around, and anyway, the main problems are that there are lots of bad players on the team, and lots of decent players being used badly. These problems can be at least addressed, if not fixed, without getting rid of the manager.

    Decent players used badly could be rectified without changing the manager? How so? He is the one using the players incorrectly.

    This may all be tinkering around the edges, in total disproportion to the gravity of the team's plight, but by not firing the manager, the Mets have made it clear that they're not going to do much else, and there's nothing and no one to trade for a cure-all anyway. Now the right play is to minimize the damage the weaker players on the team can do and get some flawed younger players into situations where they can contribute to the limits of their skills. The Mets are what they are, which is apparently not very good, or at least not as good as most people thought they were. I still suspect, though, that there's a baseball team lurking somewhere under the spectacle.

  • Klap says why not now? What did Randolph say to save his job?

  • Wright predictably says it is not Randolph's fault and we know the players have some blame on their shoulders. However, one change is easy and the other is not.

  • Another notable piece on Willie.
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