Monday, December 25, 2006


Thursday, December 21, 2006

John Sickels' take on the Mets Prospects.
Very similar to Prospectus' top 10. In fact, the same 10 people are in the top 10, with some minor movement. Sickels seems a little less enthusiastic about Humber and Carlos Gomez, and has Soler a lot lower down. But the general conclusion is the same: the Mets have 4 big prospects (Fernando Martinez, Pelfrey, Humber, and Gomez) and a lot of question marks after that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mookie Wilson, Roger McDowell, and Gary Carter Think Big!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Damn you Ryan, you beat me to all the news I was going to post.

Anyway, I think the Mets should at least see if Giles would be interested in coming over. Most people seem to think the reason he had a down year (besides the injuries) was because he hated hitting leadoff. Well, no prob for the Mets, they have a pretty good leadoff guy as it is. I would definitely look at giving him 4 yr/$20-24 mil. Personally, I have a hard time thinking that Valentin will be able to produce again this year, so they should at least look into it. I wouldn't have a problem with them getting Pineiro either; once again, I think if he can stay healthy, he can actually be quite serviceable.

Now the thing about the posting fee with D-Mat: doesn't the fee go to his Japanese club? I mean, he's not going to be getting a piece of that, right? So what does that have to do with him?

Zambrano non-tendered? Shocker.
Matsuzaka signs?
If SI is to be believed, the Sox and Matsuzaka agreed to a 6 year, $52 million deal, with incentives that could go up to $60 million.

My quick reaction is that this is a pretty good deal for the Sox. When you add in the posting fee, this works out to $17-18.5 million (varying with the incentives). But, the $51 million posting fee isn't subject to the 40% luxury tax. Assuming that the Sox exceed the luxury tax threshold each of the next 6 years (which is admittedly a pretty big assumption), then it's really just around $14-15 million a year. The posting fee is being paid up-front, so to fairly compare this to other free agent deals, the time value of money needs to be taken into account. My very rough calculation is that another $1 million should be added per year.
So, the final result is the approximate equivalent of $15-16 million a year for 6 years. That's right in line with what's being talked about for Zito. Based on everything I've read, I think the odds are Matsuzaka winds up being a better pitcher than Zito. Of course, there's a risk associated with a player who's never played in the majors. Hard to put a dollar figure on that, but I think he'll succeed and that the overall money being spent puts the deal right in line with the way the market is behaving.
Additionally, there's added value to having a premiere Japanese player. I read a Jon Heyman article awhile back that said the Yankees make around $5 million extra a year in marketing/licensing/branding money from the Japanese market. Assuming that's true (I have no idea if it is) and that the Sox can pull off the same thing (some of the $5 mill may be due to Matsui being an every day player and him playing in NYC), then the deal looks very good.
People of note who were non-tendered yesterday, and are now free agents:

Marcus Giles
Chris Reitsma
Victor Zambrano
Jorge Sosa
Joel Pineiro
Brandon Claussen
Rick Ankiel

The two most interesting names are on the list because the Braves are too damn cheap.
Everyone seems to think Giles is going to San Diego to join his brother and fill the whole left by the Barfield trade. The appeal of playing with his brother may be too much to overcome, but there should be other teams with interest. He's coming off a weak year, but his offensive track record is impressive and he's still in his prime. Do the Red Sox really want to count on Pedroia?

I'm not sure what Reitsma's injury status is, but he could be a nice addition to a team's bullpen.
Pineiro is also coming off a bad year, but there are a lot of teams (including the Mets) with holes in their rotations.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why does Jose Valentin switch-hit?
Jose Valentin is a switch hitter. Against right-handed pitchers, he hits from the left side of the plate. During his career, his OPS in these situations is .821. Last year, it was .879. Against left-handed pitchers, he hits from the right side. During his career, his OPS in these situations is .585. Last year, it was .599. In these situations, he hasn't had an OPS of even .700 in any season since his rookie year, when he only had 19 at-bats. Just to make clear how significant the difference is, here's his career performance from each side, prorated to 650 plate appearance (approx. 1 full season):
LHB vs. RHP144334309366129.253.332.489.821
RHB vs. LHP11620295159151.205.281.304.585

Valentin has played most of his career at shortstop, so let's compare those numbers to a couple of shortstops of his generation. Miguel Tejada's career OPS is .822. Rey Ordonez's career OPS is .599. So, from the left side of the plate, he has hit like Miguel Tejada, and from the right side, he's hit worse than Rey Ordonez. You'd think this huge gap would be enough to convince Valentin to stop switch hitting, and simply hit from the left side against all pitchers.

And in 2005, Valentin was finally convinced. He hit from the left side the whole season. Against southpaws, he had his best season ever, with an .891 OPS! He only had 19 at-bats against lefties, but it still seemed pretty convincing. Despite his unprecedented success, in 2006, he went back to switch hitting. Predictably, he did poorly against lefties, with the aformentioned .599 OPS. In one at-bat last season, he decided to give hitting lefty against lefty another chance, and he hit a homerun! But, then he went back to switch hitting.

Why does he continue to insist on switch hitting? It seems insane!

Hmmm, here's one possible explanation. Over his career, Valentin has been very consistent from the left side of the plate. His highest OPS season was .880 and his second lowest was .758. The one outlier was 2005, the year he ditched switch hitting, when his OPS in such situations was .546. Maybe Valentin thinks that suddenly facing lefties from the left side somehow hurt his timing against righties.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez? WHAT?
That is easily the worst/best trade of the offseason. In fact, I'm struggling to think of the last time a trade seemed so obviously lopsided. Soriano is a very good reliever. He had a 2.25 ERA last year, with a 65/21 K/BB ratio in 60 innings. Horacio has somehow kept his ERAs in the 4s, but his peripherals have always been terrible (career 248/200 in 521 innings). I'd be surprised if his ERA is under 5. Fucking Braves!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

From Joe Sheehan's chat at Prospectus:

Q: Most entertaining person you've talked to at the Winter Meetings is...
Joe Sheehan: Omar Minaya. It's not close.
I'm a big fan of the Burgos-Bannister trade. Burgos has a chance to be an impact player; Bannister does not. Burgos turns 23 in April and hits 98 on the radar gun.

Bannister is almost 26. Even his fans acknowledge he doesn't have great stuff. Best case scenario, he'll be a 4th or 5th starter. I'm not convinced he'll even be that. It's a small sample size, but in his 38 innings last year, he had 19 strikeouts and 22 walks, which is pretty terrible.

Burgos struggled mightily last year, giving up 16 homers in 73 innings. But, he was only 22, had been rushed to the majors shortly after converting to the bullpen, and still struck out a batter an inning. The Royals have horribly mishandled him; a little Rick Peterson magic could turn him into a stud reliever. He could be a total bust, but there's a chance he'll be a big part of the Mets bullpen for years to come. I'm curious to see the new PECOTA projections, but last year's projection predicted that Burgos' ERA would be over 5, but would improve dramatically in the coming years. Here are his projected ERAs from a year ago:

2006 5.20 (actual = 5.52)
2007 4.03
2008 3.85
2009 3.36
2010 3.48

Unrelated ridiculous Mets rumor: Bob Nightengale (who I used to love back in the Baseball Weekly days) reports that the Mets could trade for Rich Harden!