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

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

our second place team

"We like our team," Minaya said. "I'm ready to go with this team. We addressed our priorities, and our team today is better than it was at the end of last year."
-Omar Minaya at the Oliver Perez press conference

I don’t know if I’m being a tad extreme but I find something wrong with this statement. The Mets are still flawed and I worry about this team’s direction.

I appreciate what Omar has done to shore up the bullpen. It will improve with K-Rod-Putz replacing Wagner-Heilman/Sanchez and just improved health. That being said, the Philly pen is slighty better.

The starting staff is a big question mark. Johan just came off knee surgery. Maine had shoulder surgery. Ollie is a Dr. Jeckyl – Mr. Hyde. Pelfrey just came off a career high in innings pitched (Verducci Effect). Redding-Garcia can’t be counted on for much considering their past and age. That rotation isn’t better than the one in Citizen’s Bank Park.

The Mets offense finished among the best in the NL last year but I felt that it was a mirage. The offense was not clutch. I don’t know if I can expect much of an improvement from Reyes, Wright, and Beltran. Everyone else is pretty much a question mark. This offense doesn't compare to Phillie's.

I don’t get how management feels that it’s done. The team has holes! There is talent available at low cost. There is a cash cow of a new stadium with pricey seats. Yet the payroll will match that of last year.

Because of this attitude, the Mets will be looking over their shoulder at the Braves. Our New York Mets are a second place team.

26 Comments:

Blogger Sidd Finch said...

I'm not sure that they are done, I still think they definitely have holes in Left field.

The bullpen looks much improved to me, and although I think Johan will get off to another slow start, I think the Verducci Effect is a mirage - Pelfrey will be better this year than last.

The Mets offense is not as good as Philly's, that's true, but the pitching is better. Do you think that the 85 year old Jamie Moyer will keep on keeping on, and do you think Lidge will be what he was last year?

If the Braves even contend, I will be surprised. I'm more worried about the Marlins.

9:53 AM

 
Blogger Ceetar said...

We'll be looking over our shoulder at the Braves, sure. But it'll be from the top. The Mets have been the best team in the NL since 2006. Phillies got a little lucky, due to poor bullpen and poor bullpen management, but the Mets are only going to get better, and the Phillies pretty much universally played over-career last year. They're soft, and a regression is inevitable.

11:59 AM

 
Anonymous tc said...

It's easy to say ... well we blew 26 games after the 7th inning and now we have the best set-up/closer tandem in baseball ... so we should be just fine.

But with a platoon in left, a complete question mark in right, a catcher who hits .240 with 30 rbis, and a second baseman who is just god awful, I just don't see it.

Wilpon and Co. are going to be extremely upset if they finish any less than first this year and expect people to come out to Citi/Whatever Its Name Is in 2010. This year is a freebie for them -- they will sell out no matter what because of the stadium intrigue. But if they lowball us with a team and highball us with price increases ... no one will give a shit next year.

1:41 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

i cant agree with you sidd. the braves have an improved team and arent looking at the same issues that plagued them last year (staff injuries).

Its time to stop predicting the moyer drop off. the prediction hasnt been right in 10 years.

the phillies rotation is better than ours:
santana/moyers: push
maine/myers: myers
perez/blanton: blanton
pelfrey/moyer: moyer
mets 5th/phillies 5th: mets 5th

their staff is slightly better #'s wise. when you consider the injury/consistency issues facing the mets staff, you have to give them the edge.

their pen may not go out and give you a perfect lidge, but their pen is better. the numbers back it up.

their offense is way better than ours.

we are sitting on 2nd place.

1:53 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

Left field is a complete question mark. Tatis was out of baseball for a few years. Who knows if Murphy is gonna experience a slump.

1:56 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

church can have a lindros moment and be gone for a while.

we get nothing out of the catcher.

Castillo is a disaster til he shows otherwise.

Delgado wont have a miracle summer again. count on it.

1:57 PM

 
Anonymous tc said...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090205&content_id=3801488&vkey=hotstove2008&fext=.jsp&partnerId=rss_mlb

That explains why we didn't get Sheets ...

1:57 PM

 
Anonymous B-O-L-C said...

Have to say that I'm not quite so pessimistic. The Mets have been methodical this winter and have majorly shored up their biggest weakness, the pen, while adding depth to the rotation.

I don't worry so much about the platoon as the Mets have a lot of confidence in Daniel Murphy, and why not? He's the type of guy that generally comes out of the Red Sox' organization and not the Mets'. I also think the team will have good prospects at trading for a corner outfielder at the deadline if necessary, especially if the economy continues to weigh on baseball. That may be the moment that the Mets consider adding a more hefty salary.

I do think that the worst problem this team has is at second base. The team committed to a defense first catcher last year which is fine in my books. Rather old school actually. But Castillo makes that commitment a major worry as he seemingly offers less hope than Schneider when it comes to hitting. Castillo is equally useless as a reserve given the fact that he is a singles hitter who only plays one position. If Murphy could play second, he would be there this year.

I think we can honestly expect that Delgado will not be as hot as he was during the second half last year but also not as bad as he was to start the year. It's his walk year, a situation that often takes several years off of an aging slugger's body for obvious reasons. I think we're looking .260, 30 Hr's & 100+ RIBs; that has basically been his MO: he's only failed to hit less than 30 once since 1998 (2007), also the only year he knocked in less than 100 runs (okay in 2004, he knocked in 99 but missed 34 games). He's actually quite consistent if you look at his career numbers (although clearly on a downward plain).

I also don't get the rotation comparison you put up, Ossy. Firstly, agree both rotations have a top starter and it basically comes down to quibbling as to who you would choose - I could live with either on my team! But the teams' number two pitchers are Pelfrey versus Myers, not Maine. You could give
Myers the slight advantage, but I wouldn't give him much given how inconsistent he has been. He is as equal of a candidate for regression as Pelf is.

As for the Perez/Blanton thing, have you looked at their numbers? Ollie wins that one. I've never been on the Blanton train. All he gives is innings and I'll take a disappointing 4.22 ERA over a 4.69 any day. True Ollie walked 39 more batters last year but Blanton gave up 44 more hits in basically the same amount of innings.

Lastly, I would take Maine over Moyer any day. I have enormous respect for Moyer, but Maine was on his way to a monster year until he got hurt.

The Mets rotation and pen is better than the Phillies. The Phillies offense is better than the Mets. They're the two best teams in the division, and it should be interesting. We can almost expect the Mets to be in first place in late August/early September, but can they finish the deal?

After that it's Marlins - Braves - Nationals in that order.

The Mets need a right handed hitter for the bench (would love Aurilia) and must BUY OUT LUIS CASTILLO!

DG

3:16 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

i am 100% certain that our #2 guy will be john maine.

the blanton advantage over ollie is slight. it is with with the 2,3, and 4 spots. overall the staff advantage is small but its still an advantage. you also cant discount the fact that their guys are not coming off injuries.

you have to say Lidge is better than K-Rod. Putz can be an advantage over Madson but he's coming off injuries too. romero-durbin-condrey-eyre is better than feliciano-sanchez-green because we need need another lefty killer

their offense is so much better than ours. that lineup should mash while we got ?'s all over the place

3:50 PM

 
Anonymous B-O-L-C said...

I'll revise my pen analysis down a bit but wouldn't even consider taking the Phils rotation over the Mets.
Myers, Blanton, Moyer vs Pelfrey, Perez, Maine, anyone else want to weigh in?

Re: injuries. Santana had a miniscus tear and should not be of any concern. Maine had a bone shaved down; I'd be a lot more worried about him if they had touched the muscle or cuff.

Phils offense better, no doubt. Makes for a good race.

4:16 PM

 
Anonymous benny said...

I like Omar Minaya, I really do, I really do think he is a bright guy. HOWEVER... I have a problem with this mindset he's had in the off-season.
He would "address" the previous years problem but not have enough forsight to prevent a problem in the following year.
In 2006, the bullpen was a strength and the Mets dominated until they got knocked out by the Cardinals. What does Omar do? he ignores the vulnerable starting pitching that showed signs of age and inexperience.

After 2007, he gets Johan but in that, ignores the bullpen which was a problem.

This offseason, he adresses the bullpen which is fine but I don't think he's paying enough attention to the offense.

Philly pen slightly better? shut the heck up. Stop. It wasn't even better last year, no way in hell it's better now.

Ossy, the Phillies aren't better, stop it. They weren't even better last year!

9:50 PM

 
Anonymous benny said...

On a happy note, since I'm not sure when the next post is going to be, fantasy baseball season is around the corner. Who's down to join the league again this year?

9:53 PM

 
Anonymous klinker said...

Bernie Made-Off with alot of Freds money and thats why Omar is done. Dont kid yourself.

11:30 PM

 
Anonymous tc said...

Good post, Ossy -- way to generate some debate.

Benny -- 100% correct on Omar adjusting to problems plaguing the team in the past but not looking ahead. If one guy goes down, this team is fucked. If Cora, Marlon Anderson, Reed, Sullivan, or anyone else have to play substantial amounts of games, the lineup is (even more) horrendous in the bottom half.

Have to say I'm with you with the idea that the Mets have a slightly better rotation than the Phils.

1) Hamels and Santana are about even.
2) Pelfrey and Myers are about even.
3) I take Ollie over Blanton in a big game.
4) Maine over Moyer (though the fact he is still successful at the age of 84 is absurd).
5) Fifth spot goes to whoever has more depth -- Redding, Garcia, Niese, Parnell, etc. Mets win.

I like K-Rod and Putz (if healthy) over Lidge and Madson, too, though that is a difficult comparison being the latter are switching leagues. I think if Putz is 100%, he's one of the best relievers in the game based on pure stuff. I do have a feeling K-Rod will drive us nuts with allowing guys to get on base. If he is throwing mid-90s though, forget it.

And look out for Sean Green this year as a guy who surprises. He was SOLID in the first half last year for a horrible team before being overused and shot to shit when Putz went down.

I'd be down for fantasy despite the fact it is February.

12:53 AM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

i seriously dont get how you guys cant say their staff isnt better. their guy are pretty much on par with the mets staff. throw in the fact that the mets staff has injury issues, you give a slight edge to the phillies.

the phillies pen was way better last year. look at the #'s. they dont lie. the mets have closed the gap. but we currently have no 2nd lefty and that gives them the edge.

how can you say the phillies arent better? they won a world series. that makes them the best team in baseball. its not they had some flukes that got them to the promise land. they won 11 post season games and nobody else did

12:59 AM

 
Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

Were the Cardinals a better team than the Mets in 2006? No.

The Mets lost the division by one game in 2007 and lost out on the final weekend in 2008, I see no evidence that they are this big bad dominant team. With all the blown saves the bullpen had this conversation wouldn't even be taking place if 2 games go another direction. DIdn't the Mets win like 10 out of 15 games last season?

5:17 PM

 
Anonymous Will said...

Plus the Phils are without Romero for 50 games and it still remains to be seen if Utley will be available come opening day.

11:49 PM

 
Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

im not saying their staff and pen is way better. it's only a slight edge. the offense is another story.

12:47 AM

 
Anonymous tc said...

A-Rod, steroids, union coverups ... MLB Network is having a glorious day today.

4:47 PM

 
Blogger Sidd Finch said...

Ossy, I think you mean Cole Hamels as #1. I don't think the Phillie starters are better than the Mets, but I see your point about Lidge and Madson better than K-Rod and Putz. My feeling is that the Mets' bullpen isn't going to blow as many saves as they did last year, and that should put them over the top.

I don't mind the Mets defense first catcher. They did pretty well in '69 with a guy named Grote, never a great bat.

I agree with everyone, second base is a huge problem. I think the Mets were looking to Murphy to play there, that's why he played there in the AFL. It's too bad he got hurt, and didn't play very many games.

I can't understand why they haven't tried to sign Orlando Hudson.

I can hear those A-Roid chants already.

Benny, everything I touch turns to shit in fantasy baseball, but I'm in.

8:00 PM

 
Anonymous gbaked said...

I am expecting castillo to surprise all of you this year.

For me... we dont need an all-star at every position. The dude is a gamer, and I hope that he takes this year, that is obviously a major turning point in his career, and steps up.

I am not expecting mvp numbers or even all-star consideration.

But if he plays a solid 2b, while giving us a good 275 avg and 350 obp. while grinding out at bats, I will be happy.

I love a guy that can get up in the 6th inning and have a 9 pitch ab while allowing reyes to run. Even if he doesnt get a hit, those are the kind of ab's that change a game.

Also, I dont get the hate for our LF platoon. It seems real perfect for me. There is nothing to suggest that Tatis is done... and there is nothing to suggest that when one of our top prospects was called up and played great that he will all of a sudden regress his next season. There is nothing there to prove he will succeed... but i believe. Call me crazy.

So much negativity in the meternet these days. I get we all wanted manny. or dunn. or dye. yeah, i wanted half of my office to not be fired this year. Its a shitty economy and I gotta respect the fact that the mets spent on what they felt was holes, and for the first time in years had to take a step back and be a little fiscal. I have a feeling the organization lost more then they are letting on in the maddoff shit, and I am glad they are not using it as an excuse. they easily could.

come on people... believe... these are the amazings we are talking about here!

lastly. Nobody boo OP this year... i am just worried he will be booed by morons on opening day and never get into his groove all year because of it.

this is my fav metblog. i missed it so much. please post again. and again. and again.

and if there is an opening in the fantasy baseball league you all are always talking about. I am down. and I am awesome at Fantasy baseball... so ignoring me on this is you just admitting you are scared of me. g.baker at mac dot com. email me.

3:39 PM

 
Anonymous Gehoff said...

The Mets dont have any more questions marks than the Phillies. The Philly rotation is NOT better. I'd say the two rotations are pretty equal, pending health I prefer the Mets rotation.

8:17 PM

 
Blogger prophecy said...

how much of this offensive dominance is due to the bandbox ballpark the phillies play half their games in? (I'm too lazy to check the stats.) Head-to-head the mets were better last year, and they play half their games in one of the toughest hitters parks in the league, so while the phillies may have an offensive edge, I'm not convinced it's as wide as people are saying.

2:23 PM

 
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