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

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Year of the Rat

The 2005 Mets have featured quite a few players who have climbed up the ladder in the Mets organization after being on the outs somewhat for the past year or more. Cliff Floyd, Aaron Heilman, and Jae Seo were all deemed as players that had either worn out their welcome or never earned their welcome with the team. For those players it has been a feel good story this year and hopefully the Mets can use that as a springboard to motivate themselves.

In the off season, Omar was not trying to hide the fact he was looking for anyone that would make a deal for Cliff Floyd and everyone was turned off, and rightfully so, to the idea of giving up anything substantial for a player who represented such an injury risk. All Cliff Floyd did this year was step up to be one of the best all around outfielders in the game right now. He has carried the Mets offense and played some of the best defense he has every played in the Major Leagues and is tied for third in fielding percentage with .933 of all left fielders. More impressive, he is tied for 18th in zone rating out of every qualified Major League outfielder. Floyd is also currently second out of all outfielders in assists and is tied for second with Brade Hawpe. Strangely enough, he is behind another guy who has been maligned for his defense in Manny Ramirez. Guys with average arms get more assists than guys with cannons because they are tested more so it is not entirely a surprise since guys like Floyd and Ramirez lead the league, but it is still impressive nonetheless.

Jae Seo is another guy who has seemingly resurrected his career, though he has not gotten a shot to stick wit the big club due to a roster crunch. Since returning back to AAA from his successful stint in the majors with the Mets earlier this year, Jae Seo has been on fire.
  IP   ERA   H/9   K/9   W/9   K/BB
66.2 2.03 7.70 8.78 2.43 3.61
The sample size has been pretty good as it covers ten games and he seems to be over his sophomore slump. No rotation spot figures to be opening up anytime soon, so I'd love to see him get a shot to stick in the bullpen as a guy who can come in and throw strikes and keep batters off balance by changing speeds. He has nothing left to prove in the rotation and the Mets are still looking for bullpen help. Like Ryan Wagner of the Phillies had nothing else to prove as a starter in the minors and was promoted to the pen, it is worth a look for the Mets and Seo.

Many of us did not want to see Aaron Heilman step on the mound at Shea Stadium ever again. However, thanks to a lower arm angle and a newfound plus off speed pitch, he is a guy that fans have been clamoring for to get more time on the mound. He has shown a lot this year and though he has had some trouble in his last two relief appearances in high leverage situations, he looks like he might have found a home in the bullpen. With the Mets starting rotation slated to get more crowded as the year goes on and several top prospects moving up through the system, it seems that finding a home in the bullpen is the best thing for him. Aaron Heilman just may become an integral part of this team yet and may justify the Mets taking him in the first round back in 2001.

The Mets have had a few Cinderella/rebound stories develop this season and I'm holding out hope for another Cinderella story. Doug Mientkiewicz was showing signs of waking up before he went on the DL and Carlos Beltran is getting healthy and primed up for a solid run. The Mets have had a lot of things not go according to plan and have played erratic at times and are still very much in the thick of things. They are only four and one half games off the wildcard lead and are only seven games out of first. I say only seven games out of first because the NL East leading Nationals have given up more runs than they have scored and I expect their bubble to burst. I just do not see them taking this division or the wildcard when it is all said and done though they will remain competitive. We are almost at the halfway mark and the rest of the season figures to be an interesting one as the Mets have an opportunity to make if they have a healthier second half.

* * *

  • Buster seriously gets paid for this?

    Michael (New York): Buster, when the Red Sox acquired Clement in the off-season, you said you didn't think he had the make up to pitch in a touch baseball town like Boston. Care to eat those words yet? If any free agent has failed to adjust to his new surroundings, it's Pavano in New York.

    Buster Olney: (11:19 AM ET ) Michael: I did on the blog two weeks ago, and on Baseball Tonight and Cold Pizza. I was dead wrong.

    I love the fact that this could have been me. Right town, right name, and classic.

    Leo (New York): What moves do you think the Mets will need to make to improve themselves? Will they be sellers or buyers?

    Buster Olney: (11:22 AM ET ) Leo: Personally, i think they should be sellers. They've got too many holes to contend this year. They can make some deals this year that will set them up better for 2006. What they shouldn't do is make the kind of prospect-for-veteran trades that killed them last year, and bought them exactly 0 seconds of extra time of contention.

    Ah, so the Mets and Yankees are both similar in terms of their records and distance from the wildcard with some large holes. The Mets need a big bat and possibly a bullpen arm, and the Yankees need a centerfielder and an entire pitching staff. However, the Mets should sell, sell, sell and the Yankees should buy, buy, buy. Truth is, the Mets have tradable parts that could help improve the team without significantly impacting their current core this year or future. This guy kills me.

    Michael (New York): Buster, how about a World Series prediction as we near the All-Star break?

    Buster Olney: (11:31 AM ET ) Michael: I'll stick with my preseason pick (and some of them have turned out to be dead wrong, like my pick of the Yankees to run away with the AL East). Twins will right themselves and take the wildcard and win the AL playoffs, and meet the Marlins, who must also continue to shake off their early lethargy.

    The funniest part to this one is the fact he was on the radio this weekend on Out of Bounds on 1050 ESPN Radio saying the Red Sox would win the division and the Yankees will take the wildcard. My what a difference a day makes. Now it is the Twinkies taking the wildcard? I guess this way he can cover all his bases so he can say he predicted it. In that case, I predict the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Twins will win the wildcard so I can reference how I called it months ago.

    Evan (NY, NY): Based on your earlier Orioles comments, do you think that a trade for Glavine would be a good idea? He has pitched well of late and would give them a solid veteran presence who has been through the stretch runs and postseasons before.

    Buster Olney: (11:36 AM ET ) Evan: No, Glavine would not be a good fit for the Orioles, per se, but again, maybe the financial motivation could help you pry somebody away from the Mets. If you're the Orioles, you tell the Mets, hey, we'll take Glavine and his contract (the Mets would be thrilled, I'm sure), and Piazza and his contract, and you also give us Roberto Hernandez and Steve Trachsel; the Orioles can give them Bigbie or Matos and a Grade B prospect. This way, the Orioles would not have to part with any significant prospects.

    They really pay him for this type of commentary? Simply amazing. The non-cash strapped Mets need to clear out half of their roster for Bigbie or Matos and a grade B prospect? I'm not sure I have seen something that makes as little sense as this, ever. Hey, why not throw Cammy in there? They were eyeing him up in the past. Seriously though, is Buster clueless? While Jayson Stark says Tom Glavine could become a hot commodity, Buster Olney thinks the Mets need to give away every player for someone to take him.

    Does anyone like ESPN.com anymore? I love their stats and a few of the writers, but overall, it has gone downhill. So much stuff is sensationalized by their reporters.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk lost to Columbus 7-4. Anderson Hernandez went 2 for 4 with two runs scored to bring his average up to .333 and Eric Valent went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Blake McGinley took the loss and got roughed up in relief going two innings, giving up four hits, four earned runs, one walk, and one homer.
    • St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach in extra innings 4-2. Evan MacLane is taking it to heart when people say the Mets system is lacking in left handed prospects and pitched another beauty. He went six innings, giving up four hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out eight. He is 6-3 with a 2.67 ERA. Offensively the bats were quiet, but Lastings Milledge picked up his usual hit a game and went 1 for 4 with a walk.
    • The Brooklyn game was rained out.
    • Kingsport beat Greeneville 11-6. Nick Evans went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a walk, and two RBIs. Matthew Anderson has been impressive so far and went 4 for 5 with one run scored, a homerun, and four RBIs. His tidy .692 batting average looks more like Doug Mientkiewicz's OPS.
    • The GCL Mets beat the GCL Marlins 9-0. Met pitchers combined to give up one four hits while walking no one and striking out ten.
  • After every bullpen meltdown, the media brings up the same thing. Let's get one thing straight, the bullpen has been the least of the Mets problems this season. Where was everyone when they were solid for weeks?

  • Willie believes Cammy's defensive energy is contagious.

    "Mike Cameron gets us back into a defensive focus. It's amazing how you don't really know how much you miss him until he's not there," Randolph said, referring to the quadriceps injury that sidelined Cameron for eight games. "Now that he's back, you can see a different defensive energy on the team."

  • Trade talks are starting to heat up. The Marlins may be peddling AJ Burnett and have reportedly offered him to the Orioles along with Juan Encarnacion. The Marlins would receive in return Jorge Julio, outfielder Larry Bigbie and one of two young right-handers, Daniel Cabrera or Hayden Penn. The Orioles would most likely not be assured to resign him and are more interested in Jason Schmidt who comes with an option and giving up a young stud arm for one year rental may not be in Baltimore's plans. Another report has the Marlins including Double A outfielder Eric Reed.

  • Desperation never was so funny.

    Prior to gathering his dysfunctional family in Tampa today, George Steinbrenner ordered GM Brian Cashman to trek to Major League Baseball's offices in Manhattan armed with videos of what the Yankees believe were wrong calls by umpires during the weekend Subway Series against the Mets.

    So, before flying to Tampa where The Boss will hold a major organizational meeting, Cashman paid a visit to Park Avenue to lodge a complaint about the eyesight and judgment of the umpires, especially C.B. Bucknor's questionable call and eventual ejection of Gary Sheffield on Sunday.

    There was a time when Yankees officials were on a first-name basis with the elevator operators at baseball's offices because Steinbrenner sent them there so much. That practice subsided in recent years (yesterday's visit was the second this year), but these are desperate times for the reeling Bombers, who last night opened a three-game series with a 6-4 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

  • From the NY Post:

    In the last six games, Mets starters went at least six innings, and only once did he surrender more than three earned runs (when Kris Benson gave up four last Tuesday). The starters' ERA for the last six games is an impressive 3.26

  • Terry Francona on filling out the AL roster for this upcoming All-Star game.

    "Do I feel loyalty to our guys? Hell, yeah," said Francona. "I don't remember Joe Torre ever apologizing in that period (when the New York Yankees manager liberally selected his own players when he managed the team)."

    Not on did he never apologize, and he absolutely shamefully violated the right fill out the rest of the roster.

  • Brian Bannister is a good egg.

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    According to the popular legend, the Rat was the first to arrive to a dinner hosted by Buddha (but only after hitching a ride on Ox’s back and then jumping over the finish line) so this is why the Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac. It signifies new beginnings. 2008 is therefore an appropriate time to commence new ventures, including new ideas, directions, and ways of doing things. There will be ample time to see your projects through and opportunities for you to achieve success. However, keep in mind that your actions may have long terms effects, so be wise with your decisions.

    The Rat’s fixed element is Water. Although Earth has a negative relationship with the Water. This is not entirely a bad thing, but it does mean that you should not be relying as much on luck this year.

    The combination of Earth and Rat is extremely positive in terms of achieving results. The Rat is a risk taker, while Earth is associated with practicality and stability. Therefore there is a good balance which in turn can lead to good profits, increased productivity and accomplishments in many areas of life. And, under Earth's stable influence there could be fewer scandals than in other, Rat years.

    The year of the Earth Rat is also a good year for intellectual activities as well as art related activities such as design and graphics.

    2:04 AM


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