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

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

To Z or Not To Z

One thing that appears to becoming clearer and clearer with the Cubs staff outside of Zambrano leading the charge is that Carlos Zambrano will probably hit the market this off-season. What is also clear is that he is going to get paid regardless of his performance this year. The hub-bub is that a lot of people are not exactly enthralled with the idea of their team bending over and signing this guy. Me? If I was OK with signing Zito to a five year contract worth $75-$85 million I would have to certainly be OK with signing Zambrano to a similar contract.

From 2002 through 2006, Zambrano posted a .235 BAA, .239 BAA, .225 BAA, .212 BAA, and a .208 BAA and did not allow a slugging percentage higher than .351. While his pitch counts could be an area of concern, there does not seem to be anything to suggest that Carlos Zambrano is injured as he has maintained his velocity. Well, , almost nothing.

As for Zambrano, this video analysis by Carlos Gomez makes it clear that Zambrano's arm slot today is much lower than it was in 2005. And it's something of a truism in baseball that when a pitcher drops his arm, he's doing it to avoid pain. So I'll say this right now: Zambrano might not be healthy, and if he's not healthy, the Cubs are finished. Because Marquis and Ted Lilly can't carry the team.

That is certainly interesting. I have never heard this before, but Rob Neyer is certainly more in the know than I am. I guess it is entirely possibly that him dropping his arm angle has to do with being injured, but I would assume his velocity would be down as well. It seems that this Zambrano thing is going to be one hot issue and a whole lot of guessing as to what the root of his pitching problems are. It will be a toss up as to whether he is going to be more like Jason Schmidt and show up throwing in the high 80's or if he is going to be more like Jason Marquis and show up to camp and pitch like an ace for his new team.

I would not be surprised if someone leaks out some misinformation to try and screw up the market to snatch up a guy who can be a legitimate ace for some team.

* * *

  • Also from the above link...

    One thing I've noticed about blogging -- both as a reader and now as a producer of them -- is that when you're writing multiples times each day, you tend to hit the same themes over and over again. There's a fine line between exploration and repetition, I suppose, but the blog naturally becomes a sort of ongoing discussion, which (I think) means it's OK to return to familiar subjects every so often.

    This is something I happen to think about. I definitely think twice about writing about certain things because it feels like I talk about them everyday. But then, I always come to the same conclusion and these crappy blogs are about inciting some discussion about the Mets and then I give myself the OK to be as redundant as I want.

  • If you were looking towards Delgado for some answers, you might want to check elsewhere.

    “It’s been 45 days in a row,” Delgado said. “It’s frustrating when you’ve been doing this your whole life and then, hey, it’s not working anymore.”

    Wow. Not very encouraging.

    “One thing about power — if you don’t drive the ball, stay behind it, then you’re not going to hit home runs,” Delgado said. “And I’m not driving the ball now. I’m jumping at it. I’m not concerned about losing power. I feel great in B.P. when I hit the ball 500 feet. It’s just that I can’t carry it over into games.”

    The mind is a scary thing and it could really shut you down.

  • There are two good things in this link.

    "Things with Pedro are moving forward very nicely," Minaya told the Associated Press during a visit to the Dominican Republic. "We are hoping for his return in August, but the most important thing is that he recovers from his injury."

    Gammo says Pedro is going to start throwing off of a mound next week.

    The other tidbit was about the Mets breaking ground on a facility in the Dominican Republic.

    Minaya and Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon were in the Dominican Republic to break ground a $7.5 million baseball academy. The team also announced it will play three exhibition games in the country next spring.

    What's even better is that they will also play three exhibition games there next season. If they want to extend into the Dominican and create a huge footprint, sending their entire big league team down there will certainly go a long way to doing that.

    The complex will feature three regulation-size fields, including one with the dimensions and wall height of Citi Field, where the Mets will open in 2009.

    The academy will include a half field (for infield drills); bunting field; four batting tunnels; five covered pitching mounds and weight and training rooms.

    The complex will have housing accommodations for 60 and a dining hall.


  • Giambi is being vilified for telling the truth? The Yankees want to void his contract for saying he's sorry he did 'stuff' as if they had no idea this 'stuff' existed before. They certainly didn't care when he was hitting. Now? They care again. Giambi will be silenced, but he'll tell the story at some point.

  • All of sudden Lastings seems to be the odd man out. I still am behind the kid though and think he can be a stud.

  • Cole Hamels is frighteningly good.

  • I love how there was plenty of ink about the Yankees turning it around with two wins over two good teams. Well, they lost on Tuesday. It's a long season and the Yankees have not shown all that much. How about we all wait until they show everyone over a ten or fifteen game span they have awoke from their funk before everyone gets excited.

  • I hate Kyle Davies and the Braves.



    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Whether the Mets have spoken up about Lasto or not, the media would love him to be gone. I'm sure his radio appearance will the Reverand Al will clear things up! Nah, the key here is that had he not been hurt, LM would be in NY right now and Gomez in No-Orleans, but that's baseball - he's hurt. And that may have been better for him given the reaction to his L MIllz pimp.

    Pretty weird to hear Delgado so exasperated, but I still know he'll come around. Missing so much of ST was unfortunate, and clearly he's pressing.

    MLB is brilliant in going after Giambi. One guy who's been relatively honest, who seemed to want to be entirely honest from the get go (well, from the time it became a real public issue) and they are trying to fry him. Way to encourage participation in the Mitchell, ahem (chuckles aside), "investigation." MLB does not want to actually review the steroid era in any real sense, and there's your proof. They should be encouraging him to speak out, you now, for the kiddies. Giambi has had the sort of injuries that point to the downside of steroid use; plus all of his facial hair fell out revealing how ugly he is!

    And the Yanks knew that Giambi had a steroid link when they signed him, so they can go cry in their clam chowder for effect, but I'm not buying it. The Yanks have always placed winning above character; enjoy your dessert, George!

    Can't say I saw that much in the analysis of Z's lower arm slot, but Zen Master Rick could easily work things out as long as he is not hurt. A major MRI would clear all of this up before the i's get dotted and he becomes the Mets' ace. I wonder if Blast Master Lou has anything to do with Zambrano's struggles. Media loves LP but it's a bit of the Bobby V thing only with screaming on top of the ego.

    Mets should push Brett Harper up to NO when Otis Carp gets back from the DL. Man, wouldn't it be cool if his name was Otis? I mean, what purpose does Andy Tracy really have? He'll never play at Shea. The whole AAA roster is disappointing outside of the (starting) pitching, which has been average as well, and the pretend outfield, which has never materialized due to injuires.

    And let's hope that Omar drafts Joe Smith's brothers in the upcoming draft - let's see there's Lee, Zane, Ozzie & Snuffy - because the best reliever in the minors is Ambiorix Burgos after May 31st. In one off season, relief depth went from a strength to a glaring weakness!

    4:29 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hiram's had many games like this. The Mets go down early and pack it in. He cruises. Bah. It happened last year with Zambrano on the mound. He seems to get LOTS of run support and we seem to fall asleep.

    But one thing is for sure... he fucking sucks. If Hiram is a part of the Braves rotation of the future, they don't HAVE a future.

    Is Schoeneweis any worse than Royce Ring would be? My, was I absolutely apoplectic when Omar signed that scrub to a three year deal and traded away Bell and Ring for another fourth outfielder.


    4:56 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    So, I contradicted myself from yesterday and checked out the top 200 prospects (well specifically 100 - 200) on Baseball America's site and lookie here:

    150. Phillips Orta, rhp
    School: Western Nebraska CC. Class: So.
    B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. Birthdate: 5/9/86.
    Scouting Report: It has been a year of firsts for Western Nebraska Community College. Last May, Orta became the first player ever drafted out of Western Nebraska in the six-year history of the program. Then this year, the Cougars won their first regional championship, though they fell short of the Junior College World Series. Orta went to the Mets as a 10th-rounder in 2006, and he's the best prospect produced by the Cougars, surpassing outfielder Francisco Leandro, who reached Double-A in the Devil Rays system. Western Nebraska has a pipeline of talent from Venezuela that has yielded both Orta (who pitched for his nation at the 2004 World Junior Championship) and Leandro, as well as three other Venezuelans on its current roster. Orta is athletic and uses an efficient delivery to pitch at 88-94 mph. At times he'll show a plus slider, and he also has a changeup. The Mets signed him as a draft-and-follow within a week of Western Nebraska's season coming to an end.

    2 7 2.61 13 0 62 62 26 25

    Somewhat pedestrian numbers I suppose - at least outside of the ERA - but it sounds like there's some potential there.

    7:34 AM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    The media is not going much to help Lastings’ trade value either. But yes, I would tend to agree that Millledge being hurt right now while his L Millz non-story came out is better. If he was in New York, it would have been much worse.

    Baseball is just pretending that it didn’t happen. They want to investigate Giambi instead of the game as a hole. They know who did ‘roids, they are acting shocked that Giambi took ‘stuff’. Really, they could try and learn from this, but they are trying to brush it under the rug because they do not like the negative attraction towards their sacred game. If they weren’t going to happy about Bonds breaking Aaron’s record with some assistance, they should have wised up years ago. They got into this mess or more so the player’s union and they have to deal with it. They don’t want to.

    The Yanks have always placed winning above character; enjoy your dessert, George!

    100% spot on.

    DG, I was just thinking about Harper the other day. The fact he is still at AAA is mind bloggling. He’s obviously not a prospect, but at AAA he should be able to reasonably step in to a big league spot should injury come up. Instead he’s at AA for the fifth straight year (or at least it seems that way).

    Doesn’t it seem as though Davies beats up the Mets a lot? His numbers outside of them seem to such, but I have little confidence in the Mets taking out the Braves when Davies is on the mind. Luckily Ollie is on the hill today and should be set to even the series. Frankly, the Mets cannot lose to them again. No matter how far ahead the get, if they cannot beat the Braves, they will always close the gap.

    In retrospect, that Bell/Ring deal was a bad one. A really bad one. Bell has been great both home and away and it’s well documented how much we all wanted him to get a chance. Ultimately he had to be traded since he was never going to get a shot with the Mets, but his K/9 has been extremely consistent over the year and has maintained a great K/BB ratio. I don’t think we really know what Ring can contribute, but he still looks to be a good situational lefty.

    It also bears noting that Lindstrom and Owens are doing just fine. Admittedly, I did like that trade and that one wasn’t going to become an apparent success overnight as Vargas and Bostick were more long term pick ups.

    So the Mets signed Orta? 25 k’s in 62 innings with almost a 1.50 WHIP is puke worthy. He’s a middle reliever at best it would seem which is not the worst thing.

    9:02 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sidd's Wednesday rant.

    Kyle Davies has a swellicious curve ball, that's for sure.

    It sounds like Delgado knows what is wrong with his swing, and is frustrated that he can't change it. I think he's on the verge of breaking out, if there's no problems with the elbow.

    When the SNY guys were talking about the new facility in the Dominican, they said how it's not fair that the Dominican, Japanese, and Korean players aren't drafted just like anyone else. I was surprised that no one mentioned this: If there's a loophole in the rules and you can afford to build a facility like this, why not do it? I don't think it's wrong for the Mets to put themselves in a position where they expoit the rules that currently exist. After all, any other team could have done this, but the Mets did.

    Concerning Z's arm slot - isn't the key to Heilman's improvement the fact that he lowered his arm slot, and that his ball has more movement?

    What Emad said about Schoeneweis.

    No matter how far ahead the get, if they cannot beat the Braves, they will always close the gap.

    Absolutely. If the Braves are 15-5 against the Mets this year, it doesn't matter how they do against the rest of the league - they will be there at the end.

    The baseball establishment tried to keep gambling quiet until 1919, when it blew up in their faces. Although there are different people in charge, you'd think that they would have learned from history with the roids, but apparently not.

    9:56 AM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    The Mets are doing nothing wrong at all. I thought people had facilities down there including the Mets, but I guess it they are rudimentary. If this is the 1st advanced and uber baseball camp down there I would be veeeery surprised since it’s such a hotbed of baseball activity. I thought the smart part was playing games down there. Instantly they would have some new fans of kids and future ball players because having Big Papi as your favorite player is one thing, but watching Reyes and Pedro play in the DR is entirely another thing. It’s safe to say there will be plenty of Mets caps around those parts after they leave.

    That is the key for Heilman, but deadly for Big Z’s movement. Which begs the question…if he is dropping his arm too low, why not pick it back up? That is what gives credence to what Neyer said. Maybe he’s physically unable to pick up his arm due to too much pain. If he goes down and gets surgery now, I don’t need to tell you what it does for his upcoming contract. He’ll get some two year deal worth like $8,000,000 on some team banking on a reasonably cheap risk. I know I would be up for taking that risk that he comes back OK. The saga continues…..

    11:51 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    To me, with Zambrano, its not about his bad season this year, i don't care about that, I just think he walks too many people for my liking, that's all. I also think he's out of his fucking mind. I doubt Big Lou has anything to do with Zambrano's struggles, its clearly Dusty Baker's constant over-use fucking him up. I mean, look at the other pitchers, they're solid.

    You can be as redundant as you want as long as there are new examples in the topic. Repeating can sometimes be fun.

    I think somebody should give Delgado a placebo and tell him its steroids. That should get him going, the mind is scary indeed.

    I'm glad the Wilpon's are listening to Minaya and taking him serious. This is a BIG step in not only acquiring much more polished talent but also increasing the fan base. I would love to see some sort of an attempt to do something in Japan, although it'll be a little harder considering they have thier own league.

    I love Carlos Gomez and I been saying this for as long as this blog has been open and sayuing I believe in him being a star when he was just a toolsy kid but lets not get our panties in a bundle, its still a small sample size with inconsistant playing time.

    And DG, on the topic of steroids, Giambi, and the Yankees. Isn't it amazing that the Yankees organization gets this perception of being a class organization? I mean I don't blame them for signing Giambi but acting like hypocrite jerkoffs as soon as he stops producing is pretty low. Listen to Brian Cashman on Monday's episode of MLB.com's video show "The Midday" its like a guy turning on his best friend. Just grimey. I dunno the whole Yankee organization just doesn't seem like a very pleasant work environment.

    The Mets will get to "I'm Chuck James BITCH!" and then on to the rubber match with the two pitchers who have a combined 500 wins. Should be fun.

    12:35 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Benny, spot on! I couldn't agree more. As I wrote, just desserts (and twice the fucking calories!).

    Maybe I'm spoiled by how Z tend to pitch against the Mets, but I could see him flourishing in NY. And the Zen Master is the type who realizes things like arm slot pretty and corrects it.

    Lots of team have places in the DR. No biggie!

    Not one comment about Snuffy? Sad, very sad!

    1:09 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Normally I wouldn't mention this because its not news but has anyone seen the ESPN article about Elijah Dukes being one crazy fucker?
    Dukes uses technology to his advantage and sends a cute warm and fuzzy feeling text message

    The best part of the whole article is when he's asked to comment:
    When approached by the newspaper before Tuesday night's game, Dukes declined to comment on Gilbert's allegations.

    "I'm just going to play ball, that's it," Dukes told the newspaper. "I've got to go. I've got a video game to finish."

    Now there's a man with his priorities set straight. What character issues?

    2:25 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Benny, he did top 110 last year, but in the 80s in previous years. Too much? Yes. Maine is on track for 100+ too and Big Z. is only 26 with an ace arm. There is still upside and it’s still possible he gets better. He is also a groundball pitcher which is nice to have as well.

    I’m not seeing the point in Japan. It certainly is a good idea to try and perhaps nab these kids out of high school, but there is not much of a precedent for that and Japanese teams might be willing to invest more in the youngsters than the big league teams. There simply has not been enough done there with high school kids over there or anything for that matter.

    The Yankees are classless. F-em.

    I’d take Dukes for a bag o’ balls. Actually, I guess I wouldn’t. Minaya is making a baseball player’s paradise over here.

    2:50 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    a video game to finish...hilarious...sorry to have been so quiet...i've been busy doing this: http://photography.jakedenton.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=32

    4:19 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Shameless plug?

    4:44 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    only for you.

    4:56 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Nicey nice. Pics. Almost makes me want to go out and learn how to surf....almost.

    5:07 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As a fan of a team that is about to welcome back Mr. Mota I will not be presumptuous enough to criticize any other organization’s handling of this subject matter. If Mota had come to the Mets last year and was mediocre at best do you think he would be welcomed back with open arms?

    The best thing LM can do is work as hard as he can to become the best that he can. If the Mets trade him he can then dedicate himself to being better than CG and FM and have the last laugh. Since FM is supposed to be the weakest defensively of the group I would like to see Beltran flanked by CG and LM and FM moved to 1st base. I don’t see any rush for the Mets to trade LM unless Wilpon forces the issue. Then Omar has no choice.

    4:05 AM

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