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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Prognosis Negative

.477 winning % and a negative run differential with a 3-7 record in their last ten games. Hey, at least there is the Wild Card, right? Not so much. 7.5 games out of the Wild Card and six teams to leap frog versus three to leapfrog over for the division. The Phillies have an OPS+ of 107 and an ERA+ of 113 versus the Mets OPS+ of 97 and ERA+ of 96.

Last year, the Mets had an OPS+ of 107 and an ERA+ of 100 versus the Phillies OPS+ of 111 and an ERA+ of 97. Ten teams have been more proficient at hitting this season with only the Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Padres, and Nationals being worse. Nine teams have been more proficient in regards to pitching this year with only the Padres, Marlins, Astros, Nationals, Pirates, and Rockies being worse.

Basically, things are not looking good and there really is no indication that things will be getting better and there is no reason to think the Mets are any better than the Phillies at this point in time and not in the near future. To think everyone will have an awakening and become the team everyone thinks they should have been, seems a bit naive at this point and I apolgize for being optimistic in the face of such mounting evidence. It is ugly. Very ugly.

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  • Pelfrey looked tremendous in his last start and almost become league average with it. A jump to league average may seem like something marginal, but it is not and would be very encouraging. We all forget how he has pitched so few pro innings to date and still has plenty of room for growth.

  • You cannot make this stuff up.

    "I'm feeling like it's very sore to walk," Alou said.

    The 41-year-old left fielder would like to be active when the Mets begin a three-game series in Anaheim next week - Alou could be the DH in an AL park - but also knows his team needs healthy bodies for the weekend.

    "I can't hold Omar [Minaya] and Willie [Randolph] to be a player short to see if I'd be able to [DH]," Alou said.

    Who cares...let him hang around to DH. His bat then will be more valuable at that point than whatever they replace him with in the short term.

  • Instead of winning 20, Johan will fall short. He has been getting better and better and owns a 141 ERA+, 1.18 WHIP, and 2.85 ERA. He is definitely heating up.

  • Sure HoJo could take the fall, but then rip out the entire staff then. The hitting is not there so the hitting coach is a natural target, but hitting is far from their only problem. Hitting, culture, pitching, etc...You name it, it is wrong.

  • If not Randolph, then who? People want to give him a pass and go after Omar, but why? I think Omar deserves more of a second chance than Randolph does. I mean, what has Randolph done? Won? Not so much. Turned the team around? Not so much.

    I am not ready to lambast Omar just yet and everyone cannot have it both ways. Didn't everyone WANT Johan? Gomez, Guerra, Humber, and Mulvey make things look better in terms of the farm system that people have been ripping him for, but then no Johan. As for the draft, it seems he is being capped by management to stay within slotting. Sure it is his job to convince them to do otherwise and he has failed at that, but he is still being restricted.

    Also, he screwed up with some of his drafting by picking college relievers too early, but signing Beltran, Pedro, Wagner, and Alou hurt them bad as well. However, three of the four were necessary and you could easily say the Alou business was a colossal waste and a pick would have been better, but not the others. Has he REALLY killed the system? Looks to me like he had little choice. You can fault him for not persuading management to say fuck slot, but I simply cannot kill him for that.

    As for some trades, the Bell deal was bad as was the Lindstrom deal. The Bannister deal was a league average pitcher jettisoned off, but he would be welcome these days. If you are going to hang the season on those deals, then you are missing some greater issues. His better moves (Duaner, Maine, and Perez) far outweigh the bad ones.

    Delgado was a stud and had a 161 OPS+ before they got him and had a 131 OPS+ in year #1 and now Omar is an idiot for getting him? As bad as he was in '07, he had an OPS+ of 103 which is not terrible. Not many predicted this precipitous of a fall. He depended too much on El Duque? He picked him up for peanuts. The Castillo deal was a joke for sure, but he can be an expensive back up if they want to bite the bullet.

    Overall, who would have done something differently? Adding Bannister and Bell help, but I do not remember people crying too much at the time of the deals. Fact is, Omar's moves did not work out in all cases, but he has done more good than bad and many of these deals are defensible. He should be on notice, but I think he should get another chance and the easiest and best thing to do is get rid of Willie. He doesn't get it and doesn't get how to manage and effectively use his players.

    What goodwill has he built up? He has proved to be an inept manager from day one and has not built up any goodwill in my eyes. I have no real solution as to who to bring him, but anyone would be better by simply being different.
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    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    I Talk Prospects to Ignore the Pain

    Jim Callis talks top 10 and I talk prospects so I can ignore the bigs.

    1. Fernando Martinez, of
    Still young and talented, but his lack of production may mean he's overhyped.
    2. Ike Davis, 1b
    Hulking lefthanded slugger can handle the outfield and pitch, too.
    3. Reese Havens, ss
    More likely a third baseman or possibly a catcher, stands out with approach and pop.
    4. Jon Niese, lhp
    Quietly having success in Double-A at age 21, he owns three solid pitches.
    5. Dan Murphy, 3b
    Having a breakout year with a .325 average and eight homers in Double-A.
    6. Mike Carp, 1b
    Back on track in Double-A after slumping in 2007, he's hitting .351 with nine homers.
    7. Eddie Kunz, rhp
    New York's top 2007 pick has held his own in Double-A in his first full season.
    8. Brad Holt, rhp
    2008 supplemental first-rounder can touch 96 mph, needs a reliable second pitch.
    9. Javier Rodriguez, of
    2008 second-rounder is a lean athlete with speed and projectable power.
    10. Nick Evans, 1b
    Another Double-A masher (.295, nine homers), he destroys lefthanded pitching.

    First thing you may notice is the #2 and #3 prospects were the 2008 first rounders and #8 and #9 were drafted in the sandwich round and the second round respectively. Now, that might seem disconcerting to some, but I would a bit shocked and disappointed if a team's first rounders were not immediately in the top ten.

    I mean, you would have to have a system better than Tampa to not have that happen and I would venture to guess Davis and Havens would have cracked a lot of top tens and plenty of top fives. Yes, the Met systems is weaker than many others, but Davis and Havens are solid ballplayers for sure.

    As far as Holt and Rodriguez go, Holt can throw really, really hard which will always garner some attention. I am tepid on him to say the least and I think the Mets should give him a go as a starter and let him work on his secondary stuff and not make some Brandon Morrow debacle out of him and rush him through as a reliever with the lack of anything but a fastball or a Mike Pelfrey debacle and just plain 'ole rush him and change him too much.

    Rodriguez has a sweet swing. You do not need to be a scout to see that and he looks like a solid player and if Mr. Callis says he has projectable power to go along with that sweet swing, I am a fan. He has a little bit of a uppercut, but nothing tremendous, and should be able to generate some lift. Some guys are too flat to really hit for a ton of power like Milledge, but this guy looks solid fundamentally.

    Also, the Mets finally have some guys at higher levels that are performing. Five of the top ten are in AA and Murphy, Carp, and Evans are all in the top 15 in OPS in the league. Niese has put together a solid year and is still walking a bit too many, but had put up some solid numbers.

    As for the Mets #1 prospect, I wholeheartedly agree with Callis. Yes, he is talented, but his best trait these days is being 19 in AA. Yes, he has been held back because of injuries, but why in the name of Kim Kardashian's ass do they continue to rush him? The only year you could call a good one is the first half of '06 when he had an OPS of .880 at 17 years old. Since them, he has put up .641, .713, and .722. I want him to be a stud just as much as anyone, but I cannot see one justifiable reason to rush him and not allow him to let his talent and production dictate when he is moved rather than some absurd timetable like a new stadium.

    Overall, every year I am perhaps overly optimistic about the Mets system. Right now, it is painfully clear they need more pitching and especially so because Pelfrey is going through so many ups and downs. However, there are some bats and a few potential impact players that will be ready as early as 2009 which is in stark contrast to some previous season where the Mets have been pitching heavy and laden with prospects in the lower ranks.

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  • Also from the above link:

    Waggoner is a hot name on college baseball's coaching hot stove. He truly believes he can get quality players to come to Marshall, and he has expressed affection for the school and administration. He says he's not thinking of going anywhere. However, Marshall must step up and deliver a home ballpark to have any shot at keeping such an up-and-coming talent in town for long. Right now, that looks like a longshot, because the school claims to be short on funds.

    The other hot name on college coaching wish lists is New Orleans' Tom Walter. The Privateers have reached regionals in consecutive years for the first time in nearly two decades despite unimaginable adversity resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The local Times-Picayune ran a terrific story about Walter that outlines all the obstacles New Orleans has had to overcome and what the future might hold for the coach and the program. It's well worth a read.

    Basketball and Football both scout the college ranks for coaches. More often than not, it does not work out because the coaches go from being a big fish in a little pond to being quite the opposite and scrutinized more than they are used to. Less job security, less input, less everything...

    However, with such a lack of coaching talent (seemingly anyway), it is surprising no MLB teams have even tried this approach for looking for coaches. MLB seems to be a tightly knit frat that respects ex-MLB ballplayers more whereas in the past, non-MLB players were used more liberally.

    I have no idea if it is a respect thing, but it is something that probably hurts the coaching pool. Football and basketball have plenty of non-ex pros as coaches, but in baseball? Not so much. Maybe it is time to broaden the horizon a bit and expand the search for coaches.

  • Rob Neyer speaks my language.

    Dan (NJ) : Do you think the Mets have what it takes to make a run at the wild card, let alone the division? They look pretty messed up right now.

    Rob Neyer: I haven't looked it up lately, but over their last 162 games the Mets are essentially a .500 team. Are they more talented than that? I believe they are, but I think they need a shock to their system. Like a new manager.

    It seems that Mr. Neyer cannot get enough of the Mets and some national baseball writers are taking notice of our crusade.

    Speaking of consistency, over their last 162 games the Mets are 82-80. Yes, it's cherry-picking. While 162 is not an arbitrary numbers, it's little more indicative than 142 (72-70) or 182 (90-92). But you know, 182 games is a fair number of games. The Mets are two games under .500 in their last 182 games. That means something, doesn't it?

    Bad luck? Maybe. But over those same 182 games the Mets have scored 868 runs and they've allowed 869 runs. Exactly the profile of a .500 team. Over 182 games. That means something doesn't it.

    And yet the organization just rolls merrily along with the same manager and the same general manager. If I were a Mets fan I would be leading a revolt in the streets. (Actually, I would be hoping that someone else would lead a revolt that I could follow, at a safe distance.)

    Blissfully ignorant they continue to trudge down the path of mediocrity.

    “Until they prove differently, they’ve been playing this way for almost a year now, so it’s hard to believe they’re going to turn back to 2006 all at once before the All-Star break,” Darling said.

    Why anyone thinks things will magically turn around is beyond me.

    But Darling says it’s time to re-think the metrics of the Mets’ presumed superiority. The reason, he says, is linked to the changing industry itself: more and more teams are drifting away from older, higher-priced players, particularly free agents, and are instead filling their rosters with younger, less expensive talent. In many respects, having too much money is a curse – the Yankees and Tigers are prime examples — which is why Darling says the Mets’ $140 million payroll is a guarantee of nothing.

    That will never happen as the Mets have committed themselves to winning. Rebuilding is not an option at this point and that typically leads to a vicious circle.

    “We’re back to the days where 35 is old again,” Darling said. “Except for the last 10 years, when a player reached his mid-30s, he was done, he was old. And old players play like horse-[bleep]. That’s the tradition of the game for the last 50 years.”

    Does this mean the Mets are cooked for 2008? Darling won’t – can’t – say that. The wild card is their beacon of light, and it’s probably what’s keeping Willie Randolph employed. Still, the manager seems more out of touch every day, insisting he saw “positives” in the blowout against the Diamondbacks, trying to convince reporters that Arizona’s hitters “found a few holes and we didn’t.”

    And there we have it...even keeled Willie.

  • I find it ridiculous that the Willie watch is on and off and on and off. It is a flat out yes he should be gone, but how does a few wins change that? As Rob Neyer said, it is not just this season. This mediocrity goes back a looooong ways.

  • It seems the Mets had a closed door meeting which is nice that something is going on outside of the eye of the media, but we also have not heard about many of these and one has to wonder if they have not been happening, why not?
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    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    We know where we are.

    Is it just me, or is this a bit of an issue?

    “We’ve got to play better baseball,” Randolph said. “It starts on Tuesday. It could have started three or four days ago. We had an urgency three or four days ago. There’s no certain point you get to where you’ve got to make any speeches. We know where we are. We know where we are.”

    I know they are all adults and are aware of the fact that they are playing poorly. However, isn't every team full of adults that are supposed to be self aware? I mean for the most part I think they are somewhat at the very least. That being said, that does not mean things should go unsaid and Willie should assume that everything is known and nothing needs to be said.

    I do believe this season has been one big colossal team effort of complete ineptitude. Pinpointing this on one person certainly is not right as I have stated many times, but some people are just better motivators than others and some people are better fits for some teams than others.

    As for the Mets, whatever Willie's method of motivation is, it is not working. From the worst regular season collapse to being one of the biggest shocks (in a bad way of course) of the 2008 season, it is getting clearer and clearer that something is just not clicking. Getting swept in two four games series in a matter of two weeks is simply improbable, incomprehensible, and unforgivable.

    I have been fooled many, many, many times this season in regards to thinking the Mets have turned a corner. I am a beaten man who now has no idea who the real Mets are. I am in denial at this point that the Mets are a crappy .500 team and I am holding out hope this team shakes out of their funk. However, combine 7.5 games out of first with a Philly run differential closing in on 100 and that spells out a bad things for the Mets. It is no longer early anymore, but I remain slightly hopeful. Perhaps misguidedly, but I still think changes need to be made.

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  • The Royals were not impressed by Joba.

    "Nothing like we haven't faced before," leadoff man David DeJesus said after Chamberlain threw 41/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) in the Yankees' 6-3 win.

    DeJesus called Chamberlain "all right," saying, "Just a guy throwing hard." DeJesus, who went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk off Chamberlain, said that when he faced the flamethrowing righty, he was missing his location with his off-speed pitches.

    Kansas City right fielder Mark Teahen praised Chamberlain's pitches but said that he was "more or less the same as he was as a reliever," adding, "Nothing special."

    Of course, the media wanted them to fawn all over him and bow down to his greatness....I mean, these guys are competitors? What were they expected to say?

  • And it continues...

    "I was ready to come here at 1 because I thought the game started at 4," Castro said. "I'm a little embarrassed. It's my fault. It won't happen again."

    Randolph, already reeling from the team's fourth consecutive loss, was not amused afterward.

    "The explanation is not acceptable, and he'll be fined for it," he said.

    The Mets have been an absolute circus this year yet again for all the wrong reasons.

  • Church is headed to the DL and I know the Mets have been maligned as it relates to the way they handled Church, but concussions are difficult to deal with. I guess they could have played it more safely, but I really cannot say they did anything egregious.

  • Sugar Pants speaks on the Mets failures.

    “There’s a few options,” David Wright said. “We can just continue to go out there and have these ups and down and just play out the rest of the season or we can figure it out and get things turned around, take this to heart, figure it out and rattle off a good month or so. But this is where we need to make a stand. We’re already too far behind the Phillies as far as where we’d like to be.”

  • BP talks Mike Carp.

    Mike Carp, 1B/LF Double-A Binghamton (Mets)
    In a system running quite low on prospects, at least Carp continues to enjoy the best rebound in the system. Last year, he was one of the organization’s biggest disappointments, batting just .251/.337/.387 at Binghamton, but in his defense, he was just 20 years old at the start of the season. This year he returned to the B-Mets, smacked a home run on Opening Night, and has never looked back since. On Friday night he had a strange game, going 4-for-4 with a double yet somehow not scoring or driving in a run. He made up for those counting stats on Sunday by slugging two home runs (driving in six), which helped raise his season averages to .351/.404/.553 on the season. The Mets have tried to increase his value even more this year by trying him some in left field, but scouts have characterized that as something of a disaster. Offensively, though, he’s a smash hit who could get a shot at being a cheap replacement for Carlos Delgado in 2009.

    He has been great this year and has dropped 24 XBHs in 55 games. Walking some more would be nice, but it is really hard to complain about what he has been doing in 2008.

  • Most mailbags are bad, but this one was chock full o' good questions and comments.

    These guys have it in their noggins that they're really a top-notch team, while they have nothing to prove it except a near-appearance in the Fall Classic a couple of years ago. Hey, the Rockies were there last year, and look at them now.

  • A little sense of urgency would be nice.

    “The Phillies are a good team, they’re on a hot streak and we have be careful about letting them get too far ahead of us,” Minaya said. “Let’s face it, we’re not getting it done the way we should. I know there’s still 100 games left, but you have to be careful with this how-many-games-we’ve-got-left business.”

    That 'how-many-games-we've-got-left business was pervasive in the Met clubhouse at the end of last season and everyone tried to play all calm and cool like there was nothing to get worried about. Well, there was and there is now.

  • Adam Rubin is taking things a bit too far.

    Minaya used to espouse the idea of having a young and athletic roster, which proved lip service in reality. Like a college student with a credit card, he just spent and spent and spent without considering any consequences. He offered too many years - to Luis Castillo, Orlando Hernandez, Guillermo Mota and Julio Franco, to name a few - perhaps even more frequently than too many dollars.

    The Mets also have Beltran, Church, Reyes, and Wright who are extremely athletic as well as Schneider who is an extremely proficient fielder and Santana who is extremely athletic.

    I am not saying that he does not have a few brittle players, but for the most part, they are have some athletes there. The Castillo signing was a bizarre one, but I do not fault him for Alou and Delgado. Delgado was a beast the year prior and pretty damn good in his first year with the Mets. Who knew he would fall off of a cliff.

    He also made some stellar pick ups like Oliver Perez and John Maine for nothing. The worst thing he has done is let the farm system go to shit with terrible picks and the misguided notion he needs to fall in line with the commish while other teams blow through that notion.

  • Griffey Jr. blasted # 600 yesterday and he is in an elite club of 600 or more homers. Only Sosa, Mays, Ruth, Aaron, and Bonds have more and considering how many games he has missed since 2001, it is truly an impressive feat.

    It is rare when a #1 overall pick actually succeeds and becomes the player everyone expected them to be, but Griffey did it.
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