Thursday, September 30, 2004

I'm not excited about this Minaya thing at all. First off, this doesn't change the fact that the Wilpons will continue to run the ship and make stupid moves just to look good on the back page of the papers. Nothing's going to be solved until the Mets hire a real GM and let him run the ship.
The best thing I've heard about Minaya is that he's good as far as scouting Latin America. Sounds great if we were hiring him to be the "head of Latin American Scouting" or something, not to be the GM.
From everything I've read, it sounds like the Duquette didn't have much to do with the July 30 disaster, that he was in fact against making the moves. If that's the case, I think he's done a decent job, certainly not one bad enough for him to be fired after a year. Matsui hasn't lived up to expectations and they really should've picked up a 5th starter before the season, but Cameron and Hidalgo were good moves. And at least he didn't take on any absurdly bad contracts.

Minaya? Why should we be impressed with him?
Here are some of his major trades with the Expos:
-Traded Guillermo Mota and Wilkin Ruan to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Matt Herges and Jorge Nunez.
-Traded Jason Bay to the New York Mets. Received Lou Collier.
-Traded Scott Strickland, Matt Watson, and Phil Seibel to the New York Mets. Received a PTBNL, Bruce Chen, Dicky Gonzalez, and Luis Figueroa.
-Traded RHP Jim Brower and a player to be named for RHP Livan Hernandez, catcher Edwards Guzman and cash.
-Traded RHP Javier Vazquez for the Yankees' 1B Nick Johnson, OF Juan Rivera and LHP Randy Choate

Also, he rented Cliff Floyd and Bartolo Colon, trading them away soon after - here's the sum of those trades:
- Traded Lee Stevens, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore for Orlando Hernandez, RHP Rocky Biddle, and Jeff Liefer.
-Traded a PTBNL, Graeme Lloyd, Mike Mordecai, Carl Pavano, and Justin Wayne for Sun-Woo Kim and Seung Song.

Okay, obviously the Livan Hernandez pickup was outstanding, although he didn't start getting good until some other team's pitching coach gave him advice in the middle of the season and he changed his delivery, so there's some luck at play.
I liked the Vazquez deal at the time, although Nick Johnson has been hurt a lot.

On the negative side, he has traded Guillermo Mota, Jason Bay, Carl Pavano, and Grady Sizemore.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

omar minaya as new head of baseball operations, and will be above jim duquette in the mets hierarchy. should we be excited? or is this another sign of too many cooks in the kitchen? mmmm, fourth place stew! needs a sprinkling of some more valent though.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Cliff Floyd: .260/18/63/.814 OPS/11 steals, the 113 games played this year are the most he's played the last three- makes $6.5 million

Brad Wilkerson: .256/31/62/.870 OPS/13 steals, played 153/146/151 games the last three years- makes $315,000

The Mets will go places with this Floyd kid, I can feel it...

Monday, September 20, 2004

At first I was a little concerned with the Art Howe fiasco. I was concerned that the Mets would be set adrift, without direction. but thankfully, the mets braintrust has made me feel more at ease with the future with talks that the new manager could possibly be Jim Fergosi. JIM FERGOSI!!!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!!??!??!??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JIM FERGOSI!?!?!?!??!?!??!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I think once things get to the post season, stats go out the window to some extent. Playoff performance presure is different than regular season performance. One thing teams like the Braves and Yanks excel at is getting their players to perform during the post season. Kind of like being able to play in certain cities like NYC (like what Brad is saying). Some players can thrive and some take some time to adjust, and some just can't hack it.

Santana is pitching great right now, but his past post season performance leaves a lot to be desired (to be fair, it was only two games). Radke has pitched pretty good. Oakland's big three looks "human" during the post season. But honestly there are things numbers can't always measure. Seems like the Yanks own the A's during the postseason (not sure if that's true or not, but it seems that way to me). There's no logical explanation either, like the way the Jets always beat up on the Dolphins. The Dolphins could be the all star team of the NFC, but the Jets would find some way to win.

I think Boston is clearly the better team in the AL, they'd steam roll Minny or Oakland. The Yanks would have trouble with either, but with no scientific evidence available, would beat down Boston, even though Boston is the better team. Just my two cents.

Congrats to Bonds on his "stateau" achievment.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Why was Dierker dumped again? That's a very interesting choice, but do you think he could handle NYC?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

One more name for Mets manager: Davey Johnson.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Boy, that Kazmir trade looks worse every day.
6 scoreless innings and 9 Ks against one of the best offenses in baseball. Pretty damned good for a 20 year old. The future looks pretty bright, and even if you're concerned about his ability to stay healthy long-term, his trade value is a lot higher now.

Howe is as good as gone, so I guess we can start discussing who the next manager should be.
Piniella? Bobby V? Showalter? Backman?
One name I haven't heard mentioned, but would consider is Larry Dierker. From what I've read about and by him, he seems to be really bright and progressive. And the Astros won 4 divisions in his 5 seasons. They haven't won since he left.
And one name that has been mentioned a lot that I have no interest in is Larry Bowa. He's been a disaster in Philly.

Oakland and Minnesota are now tied in the standings, so it's unclear which one the AL East winner ends up playing. For you Yankee and Red Sox fans: who would you rather face at this point? As much as I like the A's, I think I'm more scared of the Twins right now.
In his last 19 starts, Johan Santana has only given up 3 earned runs once. Once in 19 games! Over those games, he has a 1.41 ERA and has averaged over 7 1/3 innings per start. He has 179 Ks (almost 9.5 per game!) and 26 BBs over that span.

Do you want to face Johan Santana twice in a five game series? No, you don't.
And Brad Radke is having a great season, too. 3.43 ERA. 134 Ks and only 19 BBs.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I've always been a big Clement fan (lots of K's), and if I were them, I'd go after Pavano too. But knowing the Mets, they'll end up re-signing Benson, and sign Wells.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Mets made a huge mistake when they traded for Kris Benson, but there's no reason for them to make another huge mistake by re-signing him to a multi-year contract. And, no, I don't accept justifying the trade as a valid reason to sign a mediocre pitcher to a pricey long-term deal.
The talk is that the Mets have offered a deal around $6 million per year for 3 years. And Benson wants a lot more. Everyone's acting like Benson is some sort of elite pitcher.
He's not. His ERA this year is 4.68. The NL average ERA is approximately 4.33 (based on my rough calculation). So, his ERA is about 93% as good as the league average.
How about the rest of his career? Here is Benson's ERA+ (ERA compared to league average, adjusted for ballpark, 100=average) along with my rough 2004 calculation:
1999 112
2000 119
2001 Didn't play
2002 92
2003 85
2004 93

That's a pretty clear pattern. During his first 2 years, he was an above average pitcher. After missing a whole season, he has consistently been a below average pitcher.

Next year, the Mets will probably have a rotation of Glavine, Leiter (team option), Trachsel, Zambrano, and someone else. Benson would be an adequate number 5 starter, but he's not worth the money being talked about, particularly because there are better pitchers on the market.

Here are some free agent pitchers and some of their 2004 stats, ranked by ERA (there are probably better ways to rank them, but ERA is a simple, well known stat). I'm leaving out Pedro because he will command far more money.

........ERA, K/9, BB/9, HR/9
Pavano 3.09, 5.5, 2.2, 0.6
O.Perez 3.16, 5.8, 2.0, 1.1
Wright 3.19, 7.5, 3.6, 0.5
Clement 3.44, 9.5, 3.6, 1.1
Radke 3.59, 6.1, 0.9, 1.0
Wells 3.61, 4.0, 1.0, 0.9
Ru.Ortiz 3.67, 6.5, 4.8, 0.7
Morris 4.40, 5.8, 2.4, 1.5
Wilson 4.63, 5.7, 3.2, 1.4
Benson 4.68, 5.5, 3.0, 0.7
Millwood 4.86, 7.8, 3.2, 0.9
Lowe 5.15, 5.2, 3.3, 0.7

Other than Boomer, all those pitchers are in the 27-31 age range. Benson is 29. So, age isn't a huge issue here. There are obviously a lot of free agent pitchers having much better years than Benson.

For some longer term perspective, in 2003, the only pitcher on that list that Benson had a better ERA than was Wright (who obviously hasn't had a very good career until this year). Career ERA? Benson beats just Wright and Wilson.

Getting into stats that a bunch of you will ignore, here's the above list ranked by VORP over the last 2 years (which is how many runs saved versus a replacement level pitcher):

Radke 82
Pavano 80
Wells 80
Ru.Ortiz 72
Clement 67
Perez 63
Morris 53
millwood 47
Wright 39
Wilson 24
Lowe 18
Benson 10

By the way, Esteban Loaiza would top that list by a narrow margin, although after his recent struggles, I understand the concerns about him. Still...

Anyway, to sum up my thoughts, I would need to think more carefully about this to come up with a first choice and I need to see how the market plays out to see what it will take to sign any of these pitchers. My gut says to go with Radke, Clement, or Pavano.
Those guys would actually have a chance to improve our beloved Mets.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

great article from sunday's post by mike vaccaro....
ON the one hand, the plight of a Mets fan isn't so terribly unusual, or unique. Jets fans know what it's like to root for the "second team" in town. So do Nets fans, and Devils fans, and Islanders fans. So do White Sox fans, and Angels fans, and Clippers fans, and fans of the Tattaglia Family, and Jersey music fans who favor Bon Jovi over Springsteen, and fans of "heads" (which, according to mathematicians, wins only 49.2 percent of the time against its long and bitter rival, "tails").

Life as The Other Guy ain't easy. It's how you become The Other Guy in the first place, right?
Well, here's a Mets fan named Ken McConnell who would beg to differ with that. Listen to him:
"I've been a Mets fan since '63," McConnell, a Long Island native now living in Hollywood, Fla., writes. "I became a Mets fan because my father was a Dodgers fan, because my older brothers took me to Shea and the Polo Grounds when I was a kid. From the start, we knew we weren't the Yankees. That was fine. We didn't have the history with the Mets, but we had that link to the Dodgers and the Giants.

"We always knew it was a fair fight, because the Yankees won all those pennants in front of quiet, polite people from Jersey and Westchester. New York City was a National League town. It was always a National League town. And we figured it always would be. The Mets proved it for a lot of years. Only now, New York isn't a National League town. You're a fool if you believe that. And you're a bigger fool if you believe it'll ever be that way again."

It's what people always forget when they talk about this Yankee dominance that is alleged to extend all the way back to Babe Ruth. It just isn't so. It wasn't so when the Yankees had to share the town's affections with the Giants in the '20s and '30s, it wasn't so when they had to share the city's soul with the Dodgers in the '40s and '50s, and it wasn't so when they had to share New York's baseball buck with the Mets in the '60s, '70s and '80s.

In Shea Stadium's first 29 years of existence, 1964 to 1992, the Mets outdrew the Yankees 20 times. And if you remove from the equation the years 1976 through 1981, when the Yankees were winning pennants in a newly renovated Yankee Stadium while the Mets were barely fielding a semi-pro team in the dying days of the M. Donald Grant administration and beyond, that number is 20 out of 23.

"It burns me when we get treated like stepchildren," McConnell writes. "Like it's always been the way it is now. It hasn't. The Mets were equals. They were always equals."
McConnell is one voice, an angry one, and there are thousands of others. As another Mets season winds its way into complete nonsense, they feel increasingly disenfranchised. It takes a little bit of the joy out of the game when your single biggest rooting interest is that the team fires the witless manager sooner, rather than later, the better to begin thinking, again, about a new form of tomorrow.

Yankees fans increasingly believe that Mets fans are growing extinct. And while it's true that it sometimes seems an impossible task to identify a Mets fan under the age of 30, they're out there, too. And they are furious. No second team in this market stirs the smoldering embers of frustration the way the Mets do. Jets fans are conditioned to expect the worst. Same with Nets fans. Devils fans and Islanders fans have almost relished the championships they've won in obscurity while the Rangers toiled haplessly in the limelight.

Mets fans?

They get to sit, and seethe, and they get to watch Paris Wilpon and his daddy, Fifth Avenue Fred, go on vacation and let all their underlings absorb the heat while another season careens into the abyss. Mets fans are so much more honorable than the men who own the team, it isn't funny. For years, they've been dared to abandon the ship. And they never do. In their heart of hearts, they think this could still be a National League town again.

If the Mets ever rise above playing like they belong in the International League, that is.
"A long time ago, I made a choice," another Mets fan named John Bliss wrote me a few weeks ago. "I picked the Mets. For better or worse, I have to live with that choice. For better or worse, I'm glad I made the choice I did."

For better or worse, Mets fans find themselves rooting for The Other Guy now, wondering if that isn't a permanent designation. Another season up in flames. Another year deeper in the Wilpon Family Reign of Error. Another year removed from equal footing in America's most passionate baseball town.

Wondering if they'll ever be able to recover.

Worried that they already know the answer to that question.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

the post's marc hale reports that the mets probably won't call up victor diaz because they "have no room in the outfield" that right, let's see what this gerald williams kid has first. meanwhile, take a gander at this list of chumps who could be joining the Flushing Tides shortly....

Craig Brazell, First base22 HRs, 65 RBIs, .266 BA through 118 games at AAA NorfolkA sweet left-handed swing is Brazell's trademark, a seemingly effortless turn that has accounted for nearly 100 minor league homers. He had a cup of coffee with the Mets last month.

Matt Ginter, Pitcher1-3, 4.61 ERA in 14 games [13 starts] for the MetsGinter spent much of the first half with New York and has been up and down from Norfolk over the last six weeks, filling in when a spot starter was needed.

Heath Bell, Pitcher3-1, 16 saves, 3.23 ERA at NorfolkBell made his Major League debut last week against San Diego, throwing an impressive two scoreless innings. He has been a solid closer during an unstable year for the Tides.

Tyler Yates, Pitcher1-4, 7.07 ERA in 10 games [seven starts] for the MetsYates was sent back to Norfolk to begin working again as a relief pitcher. He won the fourth starter's spot out of Spring Training but pitched poorly. He's 6-2 with four saves and a 3.18 ERA for Norfolk.

Pat Strange, Pitcher9-9, 5.18 ERA at NorfolkA starter with staying power, Strange has won 63 games in the New York system since 1998. He has 11 Major League games under his belt with a 6.35 ERA.

Esix Snead, Outfielder.264 BA, 40 SB at NorfolkThe speed merchant has the ability to change a game with his legs, but has spent his entire career figuring out how to get on base. Scored a run in his only appearance with the Mets this year.

Aaron Heilman, Pitcher7-9, 4.14 at Norfolk, 0-1, 9.82 [one start] for the MetsHeilman has pitched better in the second half of the season with the Tides but was unimpressive in his lone start with the Mets last week.

Wayne Lydon, Outfielder.272 BA, 65 SB at AA BinghamtonIs on the verge of breaking Snead's club mark for thefts. The B-Mets are in the Eastern League playoffs, so he may not arrive until the middle of the month, if at all.