Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year!!! Here's a picture of assorted yankee despair which dates from, I think, their ALDS loss to the Angels in 2005.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Updated version of table from 2 days ago:

Castillo vs. Iguchi vs. Eckstein
EqA last 3 years:
2007 .260 .260 .267
2006 .253 .252 .246
2005 .280 .258 .268

Total value of contracts signed: $25mm $4mm $4.5mm
Minaya totally misread the market. Really bad job.
In other news, the Twins read my post yesterday and immediately followed my recommendation that they sign Adam Everett. This makes the Delmon Young trade look better for them, as Everett will be an adequate replacement for Bartlett.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Interesting names on the non-tender list:

Mark Prior
Mark Hendrickson
Akinori Otsuka
Kiko Calero
Adam Everett
Morgan Ensberg
Kevin Mench
Emil Brown

Prior is the big name. Now all the real teams have to struggle with the dilemma that fantasy owners struggle with every year: how much are you willing to pay for the small chance that Prior can once again be an elite pitcher? Considering how tough it is to find pitching in the current market, I think the longshot is worth something.

Mark Hendrickson might be a nice addition to a bullpen. In 41 relief innings last year, he had a 3.69 ERA with 41 Ks and 10 BBs.

I'm not sure how bad Akinori Otsuka's health situation is, but his track record means that he's worth doing some due diligence on.

Kiko Calero is a poor man's Otsuka.

Adam Everett is a replacement-level hitter, but he's the best fielder in baseball, about 25-30 runs above average with the glove. I think he's the most surprising name on the list; I guess the Astros didn't have much time to move him after acquiring Tejada yesterday. The O's need a shortstop, so I don't see why they couldn't include him in the deal. Everett would also be a
significant upgrade for the Twins, Nationals, A's, and Cardinals (if they don't resign Eckstein).

Some or all of Ensberg, Mench, and Brown might find a full-time job somewhere, but if not, they'd be great additions for a team that needs a platoon mate for a lefty 1B or corner outfielder. For instance, a certain New York team that happens to be my favorite squadron. Approximately 40% of the starting pitchers in the NL East this year will be southpaws. Here are avg/obp/slg #s against lefties over the last three seasons:

Ensberg .270/.409/.541
Mench .305/.368/.558
Brown .289/.353/.488

Delgado .231/.309/.454
Church .259/.336/.406

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Castillo vs. Iguchi
EqA last 3 years:
2007 .260 .260
2006 .253 .252
2005 .280 .258

Virtually identical offensive performance the last 2 years. Castillo was better three seasons ago, but does that justify the difference between a $4 million contract and a $25 million contract?

Monday, December 10, 2007

I agree on the Dontrelle point, but from what I heard, they had to take him if they wanted Miggy. While they might be better off keeping him, they could just as easily turn around and trade him to restock their system.

To also compare, Miguel vs. A-Rod (first 4 full seasons):
AB: 2380 vs. 2376
R: 410 vs. 474
H: 758 vs. 747
HR: 126 vs. 143
RBI: 461 vs. 442
BA: .318 vs. .314
TB: 1307 vs. 1348


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Miguel Cabrera has had four full seasons in the majors. For the last three, he's been one of the best hitters in baseball. He has a VORP of 219 during that span, ranking behind only Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz. He's still only 24. According to Baseball-Reference, the most similiar player to Cabrera through the age of 24 is Hank Aaron. In other words, the Detroit Tigers got a hell of a hitter. Great trade for the Tigers. The battle is on in the AL.

Other thoughts on the trade:
-Seems like a pretty big waste for Dontrelle to go to the AL. He's one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, worth about a win a year with the bat.

-Now there's even more reason for the Twins to trade Johan (or sign him to an extension). The Twins are now pretty far behind two AL Central teams. There's not much reason for them to believe they can win this year.

-According to the Palm Beach Post, "reliever Kevin Gregg, who could make $2.5 million in arbitration this winter, stands to become the Marlins' highest-paid player."

-Since I'm pretty anti-Minaya these days, I'll point out that Cameron Maybin was taken 10th in the 2005 draft. That's one pick after the Mets took Mike Pelfrey. Maybin is the kind of prospect that can be used to get someone like Johan or Bedard in return, the kind of prospect the Mets don't have. Jay Bruce was taken 12th and was recently named the #1 prospect in baseball. Great job, Omar.
It's a little early to evaluate, but the early part of that 2005 first round looks like quite a crop. The first nine hitters taken were Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Jeff Clement, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce. With the possible exception of Clement and McCutchen, those guys are all generally considered future all-stars. Unfortunately for the Mets, Jays, and Rays, the three pitchers taken in the top 12 spots don't seem to be amounting to nearly as much. The only pitchers in the first round who are still top prospects are Matt Garza (25th pick) and Clay Buchholz (supplemental round, 42nd overall). Great draft for the Red Sox, who also came away with the only other hitter taken in the first round who is currently a top prospect: Jacoby Ellsbury (#23).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Most of the stuff I've read about the Delmon Young trade indicates that a lot of people believe he'll be a superstar one day. That's understandable, he's a very young player who's already performed decently at the major league level. There's another young corner outfielder who's performed about as well, but doesn't seem to be held in the same regard. Lastings Milledge is only 5 months older than Delmon Young. He was taken eleven picks after Young in the 2003 draft. They're both athletically gifted corner outfielders. They both face accusations of having bad attidudes. Ignoring durability, Milledge has performed better over the last 2 years.

For 2006, here are their avg/obp/slg/ops in AAA:
Milledge: .277/.388/.440/.828
D.Young: .316/.341/.474/.815

For 2007, here are the same in the majors:
Milledge: .272/.341/.446/.787
D.Young: .288/.316/.408/.724

Milledge outperformed Young in 2004, too. A lot of the hype for Young is due to his impressive AA performance in 2005, but for players this young, a lot more weight needs to be given to recent performance. I realize durability is an issue. I know that scouts see a little more projectability in Young. Regardless, I think the only reasonable conclusion is one of the following:
(a) Delmon Young is overrated
(b) Lastings Milledge is underrated
(c) all of the above

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'll offer some thoughts to Brad's post below before focusing on the trade that the Twins actually made yesterday. I don't think the Johan question is a simple yes or no. Should the Mets trade Jose Reyes for him? No. If they could simply part with Carlos Gomez and Mike Pelfrey, then the answer would be yes. I'm glad the Mets are at least in the hunt, but in the end, the Red Sox and Yankees are better matches for the Twins. Now that the Twins have Delmon Young, they probably want a young pitcher to be the focus of the Johan trade. The Mets' best prospects are outfielders; the organization doesn't have any pitchers that come close to Joba, Hughes, Buchholz, or Lester.
In the end, Haren may wind up being a better option. Johan is the best pitcher in baseball, but Haren is a pretty damn good pitcher himself. The difference between the two is probably about 1.5-2 wins per season. Rumor is that Johan is going to demand a contract extension in the neighborhood of $120-150 million for 6 years. On the other hand, Haren is already under contract for three more seasons at a very affordable price. If the Mets make a move for Haren, they'd still have the money to make a run at any free agents that hit the market next year. Sabathia? Sheets? Mark (not a pitcher) Teixeira?
Hard to tell what it'll take to get Haren because unlike the Twins, the A's aren't in a position where they have to trade him. So, it might not be easy to pull off a deal. Maybe something like Milledge, Heilman, Mulvey? I'm not sure that'll get it done, might have to include two of the three young outfielders.

It seems like most trade rumors these days involve situations like Johan and Miguel Cabrera where a team can no longer afford its superstar, so they trade them to a team in NY, LA, Boston, or Chicago. Fun for the sports talk radio stations in those cities, but kind of depressing for the fans of half the teams in the league. So, it's exciting to see a big trade that has nothing to do with money - two small-market teams trading top young players for each other. Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan. Delmon Young for Matt Garza is the big story. They're both very talented young players, but Young is superior. Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America ranked Young as the #3 prospect in baseball last year. They disagreed a little bit more on Garza; BP ranked him #13 while BA ranked him #21. Both players were a bit disappointing this year, but are still among the top young players in baseball.
It's a ballsy trade for the Devil Rays. There's a decent chance Young develops into a true superstar and winds up in Cooperstown. In that case, the deal will wind up looking pretty bad for Tampa. Young is indeed quite young. Few players play full seasons in the majors at the age of 21, but he still has some serious holes in his game. His terrible plate discipline was the cause of his below average performance at the plate. He has a strong arm, but is not a very good fielder. A lot of people have compared him to Sammy Sosa, which may excite Twins fans until they realize that if he follows Sosa's career path, he'll already have left via free agency before hitting his prime.
Garza, on the other hand, doesn't have future superstar written all over him, but seems a good bet to be a solid major league pitcher. He'll probably be a #3 starter, maybe a #2. The Devil Rays had two very good starting pitchers last year and a bunch of horrible ones who cycled through the last three spots. They have some good prospects on the way, but Garza can step into the #3 spot in the rotation right now.
The swap of Harris for Bartlett will help the Rays' defense tremendously. Harris had a very nice season at the plate, but he's not really cut out for shortstop. The Devil Rays don't have anywhere else to put him in the infield. Their defense was bad in general, so adding a strong defensive shortstop will help the young pitching staff a lot. All the leading defensive metrics rank Bartlett as one of the best in the league. He's probably an upgrade of at least 2 wins defensively over Harris. He might give one of those wins back at the plate, but Bartlett has been pretty solid (for a SS) with the bat the last 2 years.
So, I think this trade makes sense for both teams. The Twins are on the verge of trading Johan (and possibly Nathan) for prospects, giving up on 2008 for a chance to be a contender in the future, possibly as soon as 2009. I have some doubts about Young, but he has the chance to be a superstar, so it's a good roll of the dice for the Twins, who will probably be able to stock up on young arms to replace Garza.
The Devil Rays have a lot of young outfield talent. They need another good young pitcher and a strong defensive shortstop. Also, Morlan has a chance to be a very good relief pitcher in about a year. The Devil Rays will almost definitely be a better team this year because of the trade. If they played in the NL Central, they'd be a contender. Unfortunately, they play in the AL East, where they're still lightyears behind the Yankees and Red Sox. Some will argue that the Devil Rays shouldn't be worried about the difference between being a 70 win team and an 80 win team, but for a team that has never won more than 70 games and is looking to build a new stadium, I think there's something to be said for fielding a .500 team. Three cheers for mediocrity!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Johan: Yes or No?

Frankly, I don't think they should go after him. I'm not denying he's one of, if not the, best pitcher in baseball. But I think it would be a panic move by Minaya to trade away the farm (literally). I'd rather they made a play for Haren and/or Blanton, and sign Livan to a 1-year deal. It's unlikely they would have to give up as much, not to mention it would be much cheaper. I'm just concerned that Omar is going to do something rash when it's not necessary. Like you said Ryan, they only had 2 less wins than the best team in the NL last year. They need tweaking, not an overhaul.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Go to Arizona for Thanksgiving and you miss 5-year, $90 million contracts handed out to Torii Hunter."

That was the subject of an email I received today. I had the same reaction when I saw the news. 5 years, $18 million a year for a pretty good 32 year old centerfielder? Hunter was once an elite defensive player, but all the metrics I've looked at indicate he's declined to merely above average. He's a good, not great, hitter. He's not particularly durable. To top things off, the Angels already have a pretty crowded outfield situation. It certainly seems like a lot of money for Torii Hunter.

But what if $18 million isn't $18 million? This is always hard to predict, but I think there may be some serious salary inflation in the next few years. Salaries have stagnated the last few years while overall MLB revenues have been increasing dramatically. According to a recent article by Jeff Passan, player salaries as a percentage of revenue have fallen from 56% in 2001 to 49% in 2005 to about 41% in 2007. Of course, it may be that owners have finally smartened up and are hoarding their money. A lot of the new revenue is from sources that are split evenly amongst all the teams (i.e., national television contract), so there's less incentive to actually field a good team; why try to draw fans to the stadium when you're getting a fat check courtesy of no matter what? On the other hand, this is the second straight weak free agent class, so it may just be a case where a lot of teams are sitting on cash, but haven't had anything tempting to spend it on. If bigger names hit the market over the next couple years, salaries may finally start catching up to revenues. So, $18 million a year may not look so crazy by the end of the 5 year contract.

Despite everything written above, I reserve the right to complain about the size of any future contracts entered into by the Mets.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In Omar We Trust?
While the hot stove is heating up, let's take a look back to the moves made by Minaya this time last year. The '06-'07 offseason was a pretty mild one for the Mets. There were no flashy signings like Pedro and Beltran. The only big free agent addition was Moises Alou. The rest of the moves were made to fill out the last few spots on the roster. There were a few cheap useful pickups, like Damion Easley and Jorge Sosa. There was $10.8 million wasted on Scott Schoeneweis, which looked like a stupid move at the time and looks like a stupid move now.

And there were three trades, all of which look terrible now:
- Traded Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom to the Florida Marlins for Jason Vargas and
Adam Bostick.
- Traded Heath Bell and Royce Ring to the San Diego Padres for Jon Adkins and Ben
-Traded Brian Bannister to the Kansas City Royals for Ambiorix Burgos.

Here are the 2007 stats for those players (except for the ones who didn't play in the majors):

players traded away:
Bell 93.7 IP, 2.02 ERA, 102/30 K/BB
Lindstrom 67, 3.09, 62/21
Bannister 165, 3.87, 77/44
Owens 23, 1.96, 16/10
Ring 20, 2.70, 21/17

players received:
Burgos 23.7, 3.42, 19/9
Vargas 10.3, 12.19, 4/2
Ben Johnson 27 AB, .185/.233/.222

In other words, the Mets got pretty much nothing out of any of the players they acquired. The pitchers they traded away combined to pitch 368.7 innings with an ERA of 3.08. Considering that the Mets bullpen had a complete meltdown in September, it's pretty sad to see that some of the relievers they traded had such good seasons. Heath Bell turned into an upper echelon setup man in San Diego. Lindstrom had a solid season with the Marlins. He had a particularly impressive second half, posting a 2.35 ERA with a 31/8 strikeout to walk ratio. The bullpen is a weakness right now; it would be a strength if we were going into '08 with Wagner/Bell/Heilman/Feliciano/Lindstrom.

And while a series of #5 starters (Mike Pelfrey, Brian Lawrence, Jason Vargas, Chan Ho Park, Dave Williams, and Phil Humber) combined to put up a 7.43 ERA over 24 starts, Brian Bannister was having a solid, if unspectacular, season in the Royals' rotation.

Minaya's done a pretty good job over the last three years, but he had a pretty horrendous offseason last year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Glavine's gone.
Good riddance. Seriously, has it really been 5 years? It still seems like he's really a Brave. He's still serviceable and he signed on the cheap, so it's a decent move for Atlanta, but I'll take the draft picks and look forward to beating him next season. The Mets will probably have two first round picks this year; they haven't had one since 2005. So, the team will have a chance to restock the farm system after we trade everyone for Johan.

Now that Glavine's gone, Jose Reyes is the Met with the longest tenure. He played his first game on June 10, 2003 against the Rangers in Texas. Here's the lineup from that game:

Roger Cedeno RF
Timo Perez LF
Roberto Alomar 2B
Cliff Floyd DH
Jeromy Burnitz CF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Jason Phillips 1B
Vance Wilson C
Jose Jose Jose SS
(Steve Trachsel P)

Wow, that team looks terrible. Maybe it wasn't all Art Howe's fault. And almost everyone in tha mid-2003 lineup is a distant memory. Other then Floyd and Trachsel, none of them made it to 2005.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sometimes it's hard for Mets fans to be positive, but today is a day to be thankful. Therefore, I present 10 things that all Mets fans should be thankful for:

1. Two of the best young players in baseball and the financial resources to keep them. Wright and Reyes are both incredibly special players. A month ago, Nate Silver presented an "off-the-cuff" list of the top 20 players in baseball in terms of value over the next 6 years. The Mets had two players in the top 10. Surprisingly, two other teams had a pair of players in the top 10, but both those teams (the Twins and Marlins) are considering trading one of their stars because they won't be able to afford the future high salaries.

2. Carlos Beltran. It's a little too easy to forget about him, but Beltran is arguably the best centerfielder in baseball. He's only 30 years old, so he should continue to be part of a great nucleus with Wright and Reyes.

3. Pedro. OK, Pedro's not what he once was and his health is a big concern. But, he pitched very well (2.57 ERA, 32K, 7 BB, 28 IP) when he finally returned last year. Any pitcher who can still strike out a batter an inning can still be an ace (as long as he stays healthy).

4. En-dy Cha-vez! (clap, clap, clap clap clap) En-dy Cha-vez!

5. Money, money, money, money, money. The Mets are one of the richest franchises in baseball. With a new regional sports network in place and a new stadium on the way, their revenues will be rising significantly. There should always be a healthy amount of resources to fill any gaps in the team.

6. 2007 ended horribly, but the Mets only had two less wins than the best team in the NL. So, even if they don't make any huge acquisitions during the offseason, there's reason to believe that the Mets will be one of the best teams in the league next year.

7. There's at least some small chance that the Mets will acquire Johan Santana or Dan Haren.

8. Cowbell Man, Lazy Mary, and "everybody clap your hands!"

9. Ramon Castro had a higher slugging percentage than Vladimir Guerrero, Adam Dunn, and Manny Ramirez.

10. Al Harazin and Dallas Green are nowhere near Shea.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

OK, the blog hasn't been updated in 4 months. My girlfriend is 2/3 of the way through blogging every day of National Blog Posting Month, so I'll join her for the final 10 days with daily thoughts on baseball. I'll do a little more substance on the Mets in the next few days. For now, here are brief thoughts on recent baseball news:

1. Jimmy Rollins won the NL MVP award. There were a lot of candidates this year and nobody was clearly deserving, so I won't get too worked up about it. But, I think David Wright and Matt Holliday were more deserving.

2. Troy Tulowitzki deserved the Rookie of the Year award, not Ryan Braun. This is a rare case where defense completely made up for Bruan's 15-20 run advantage (according to RARP and VORP) on offense. Tulowitzki was probably the best defensive shortstop in the NL this year and Braun was the worst defensive third baseman. According to both the Fielding Bible's system and PMR, the difference between the two players was 76-78 plays (vs. league average at their respective positions). So, if you fully believe in either of those stats, that's about a 60 run(!) difference on defense. I'll also note that most visual observers agree that Tulo is exceptional and Braun is horrible and that Braun's manager usually removes him for a defensive replacement.

3. Everyone else (A-Rod, Peavy, Sabathia, Pedroia) clearly deserved their awards.

4. Angels traded O.C. for Garland. Interesting trade; one slightly overrated veteran on the last year of his contract for another. I think the White Sox would've been better off trading Garland for some young talent that they could build around, but I guess Kenny Williams (incorrectly) thinks the team can win in 2008. It's a little harder to evaluate the trade from the Angels' perspective until we see what other moves they make. They have a lot of young infield talent, so I guess it's time to give someone new a shot.

5. After the recent success of Saito and Okajima, it seems like a lot of teams are looking at Japanese relief pitchers this offseason. The Indians are the first to make a move, signing Masahide Kobayashi to a 2 year contract. PECOTA projects him to eat a lot of hot dogs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okay, so this hasn't been mentioned yet - why Rickey? Not exactly the first guy I would think of as a coach. Am I the only one who could see him and Willie clashing?

Also, as great a job as Omar did last year, I think it's safe to say he did very poorly this year, highlighted by the Schoenweis signing. I see no reason why they couldn't have given Bradford that money instead.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Well, looks like the Mets went with a low risk, low reward guy with their first pick at 42: Eddie Kunz, a big righty closer out of Oregon State. I guess with the success of Joe Smith, Omar likes the idea of getting some immediate bullpen help, as opposed to a long shot. I don't know if that's so wise - they can pick up a decent reliever for a few million dollars a year, but if they didn't like any of the big talents (Matt Harvey?), this pick sort of makes sense. Here's what was said on the Prospectus chat:

Kevin Goldstein: He's built kinda like Lee Smith, and throws as hard, but needs secondary stuff -- almost a reach here, really.

BSmith: He probably doesn't fit [in the rotation], but his big-time fastball will fit in the Mets bullpen by next season. Solid, unspectacular pick.

In other news, the Yankees went in the opposite direction, taking a high risk, high reward guy in Andrew Brackman, a 6-10 righty who ranked as a top 5 pick just a month ago, but fell due to injury/inactivity/Boras concerns.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I know this is a baseball blog and that I don't know shit about basketball, but I had to call attention to this absurd column in today's Times. William Rhoden suggests that in an effort to make the Knicks more competitive, David Stern should allow the Knicks to dump four bad contracts and move under the salary cap. His argument is that the success of a big-market team like the Knicks is too important to the NBA to have them continue to be burdened by their own bad decisions. I don't think he's going far enough. Why should any of the league rules get in the way of a Knicks championship? Why should Portland have the first pick in the draft? Give it to New York. Heck, why should the NBA's biggest star be stuck in small market Cleveland? Put him on the Knicks! Stern should just mandate that the Cavs trade LeBron for, um, Steve Francis.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In the Northeast and Midwest, a four-day difference in Autumn can indeed mean a major difference in the weather. One of these years, the World Series will be played in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota (after their new open-air stadium opens) and be struck by a freak snowstorm or heavy rains causing massive delays like what happened in Cleveland this year in early April.

Obviously, poor weather occurs in late October as well, but pushing the Fall Classic into November only increases the possibility of poor weather delaying the Classic's finish and ensures that even without snow or rain, fans who attened will be uncomfortable, particularly those with children.

Now, there is always a dither and dather that these kinds of moves are made for the ratings. Well, football gets big ratings for a lot of reasons other than the start times of its games, however, it is worth noting that the AFC Championship, NFC Championship and Super Bowl are all played in the early or late afternoon and garner monster ratings. In fact the one area where the NFL has been hurt in recent years, ratings wise, is Monday Night Football, which is the football telecast that starts the latest 9:15 EST.

And slightly off-topic, the NBA Finals generally out-drew the World Series, tv ratings-wise, during the Jordan era, the NBA fell behind, but not by very much, in the early 2000's during the Lakers run, beginning with the lowest-rated NBA Finals since the 70's, Spurs-Nets in 2003, the NBA Finals fell far behind the World Series, save for a brief bump with a Lakers appearance in the 04 Finals.

And finally, if ratings for the World Series continue to stay flat or trend downward (which they are), why not try a Sunday World Series start at 6 instead of 8:30, particularly if West Coast teams aren't involved?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

That might be the most bizarro Mets lineup I've seen in a long time. Newhan at 2B? Franco at 3B? What's next, LoDuca in CF?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The World Series is starting on a Wednesday and finishing in November.
This doesn't sound like such big news, but I think there could be a bigger story lurking in the background. All the media coverage seems to be focusing on the Wednesday start (good for baseball - ratings will increase), the November finish (bad, but is four days really that big a difference?) and to a lesser extent, the extra days rest in the earlier rounds.

The extra rest is a little troubling to me, but maybe it won't be permanent. Pushing the World Series back four days gives MLB enough room to expand the first round of the playoffs to 7 games. My hunch is that after a test run this offseason, MLB will talk to the union about expanding to 7 games next season. The schedule would work perfectly. All series would be 2-3-2 with days off after games 2 & 5. The two leagues could stagger their starts and still wind up with at least two games off before the World Series.

I think a switch to 7 games makes all the sense in the world. Obviously, God didn't divine that 7 is the perfect amount of games to deterine which team is superior, but it's clear that more games = less random. And I don't see any reason to make the first round outcome more random than the later rounds.

Friday, May 11, 2007

In honor of the Mets big weekend series against the Brew Crew, I present:

Pee Your Pants For The
Excellent article by Jeff Passan (who's an excellent writer) about Mike Marshall and his wacky pitching techniques. I understand why the baseball establishment is so skeptical about Marshall, but every time I read about him, I can't help but think that some team could gain by giving Marshall a few minor leaguers to work with. I can see why a team wouldn't trust him with their top prospects, but what would a team have to lose by sending a few C type prospects to work with? Just a few C type prospects.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rickey going for his. Take THAT, little kid:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Frickin Giuliani!,barrett,76566,2.html/1

He has his own 1996 World Series ring!

Monday, April 30, 2007

And the old Mets are falling apart....

El Duque on the shelf for bursitis, and Valentin for a partially torn ACL.

Now they called up Park and Gotay, but why not Sosa and Anderson Hernandez? Seems odd to me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I read the same exact thing today, and I noticed that they include $25 (!) for parking, and something like $75 for food (4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, cotton candy, popcorn, candy).
Every year, some organization called the Team Marketing Report publishes something
called the Fan Cost Index, which supposedly estimates the cost for a family of four
to attend a major league baseball game. Then, various media outlets will report that
it's way too expensive to attend a baseball game. I've always thought the Index was
ridiculous (it includes the cost of two programs and two caps), but I'd never
actually attended a game with two children in tow, so my factual evidence was
limited. Well, this past weekend, I finally attended a game with two children and
another adult, which meets the FCI definition of "family." According to the FCI, it
should have cost us $219.04 to attend the game. What did we actually spend? Upper
Deck seats (section 28, row A) were $9 each. That's $36. We took the subway to the
game, costing us $10 for 3 (one of the kids was young enough to ride for free)
roundtrip swipes of the Metrocard. $46. We brought lunch to the game, so our stadium
purchases were limited to cotton candy ($4) and a Sierra Mist ($3.50). $52.50. I'm
not sure exactly how much the food we brought cost. Bread + cold cuts + pringles +
carrot sticks + water bottles = $15? That puts us at a total of $67.50. In case I'm
underestimating the food, I'll call it $70. That's a far cry from $219. Sure, some
families probably do spend $219 to attend a Mets game, but I can finally say from
personal experience that you don't have to. $70 for a family of four to enjoy a
beautiful day at the ballpark sounds like a bargain to me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why is Mike Pelfrey in the majors?

After today's debacle, Mike Pelfrey has a career 6.43 ERA with 19 walks and 19 strikeouts in 35 innings. He has a bad ERA, a bad strikeout rate, and a bad walk rate. I know it's a small sample size, but there's nothing in his line to indicate that he's ready to pitch against major league hitters. Heck, his spring training stats were almost as bad: 5.48 ERA with 3 walks and 5 Ks in 23 innings. I think the Mets gave him a starting spot because of the low ERA he had after his first few spring starts, but they ignored the amazingly low strikeout rate, which was a clear sign that Pelfrey just isn't able to get his stuff past major league hitters yet.
Pelfrey has about 100 career minor league innings. It's pretty clear that he needs a little more seasoning before he's ready. I think Pelfrey would be better served by getting that seasoning in New Orleans, and I think the Mets would be better served by not giving away every fifth game. Jorge Sosa has been lighting up AAA so far and has a career 4.54 ERA in 74 major league starts. Pelfrey's still the long-term solution, but Sosa (or Vargas or Park) will give the Mets a better chance to win right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Umm, is Charlie Manuel just trying to get fired now? Moving Brett Myers to the bullpen? Are you kidding? And now Howard may be hurt too. All signs point to them being screwed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Words from Ichiro

On his showdown with Dice-K: " "I hope he arouses the fire that's dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul."

On what helped break him out of his slump: "Yesterday, I ate two ice creams, usually I only eat one."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fantasy draft season got me thinking about how unpredictable prospects can be, which got me to thinking about the most out-of-nowhere prospect in recent history: Albert Pujols. Pujols seemingly came out of nowhere in 2001, eventually finishing 4th in the MVP voting. I don't remember thinking about him at all before the season started. He went undrafted in my 7 team NL fantasy league, which means that 210 NL players were deemed better options than Albert Pujols.

My friends and I weren't the only ones who slept on Pujols. The Cardinals drafted him in the 13th round in 1999. He made his pro debut in 2000, enjoying an excellent year in A ball with a line of .324/.389/.585. Still, none of the experts ranked him as an elite prospect. Baseball America is the leading source on baseball prospects. Three of their experts wrote separate prospect lists in BA's 2001 book. The highest ranking for Pujols was #39. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 29th (right behind Hee Seop Choi, just ahead of Adrian Gonzalez), but part of the reason he was even that high was his excellent defensive performance according to their metrics (I'm pretty skeptical about their minor league defensive figures). John Sickels was the most impressed, giving him an A- and rating him as the Number 18 prospect in baseball (right behind Marcus Giles).
I realize that ranking prospects is a difficult task, but it's still hard to believe that none of the experts realized how good he was about to be.

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's official - Our 2007 Mets:

Tom Glavine
Orlando Hernandez
John Maine
Oliver Perez
Billy Wagner
Aaron Heilman
Scott Schoeneweis
Pedro Feliciano
Aaron Sele
Joe Smith
Ambiorix Burgos

Paul Lo Duca
Ramon Castro

Carlos Delgado
Jose Valentin
Jose Reyes
David Wright
Julio Franco
Damion Easley
David Newhan

Carlos Beltran
Moises Alou
Shawn Green
Endy Chavez
Lastings Milledge

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Well-written piece by Joe Sheehan taking to task all the people complaining that the Veterans Committee didn't elect anyone to the Hall. I think we're better off having a Veterans Committee that lets in too few people than too many (which used to be a problem), and Sheehan's right that if a player from the modern era has already been rejected 15 times by the writers, then there's limited utility in giving them more chances. So, kudos to the Veterans Committee for keeping the standards high, but maybe it's time to disband altogether.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Interesting study on batted ball splits.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I don't question Willie sending Floyd up to hit, I only question the fact that he sent Floyd up there. Dude was hurt and hadn't played in a few days. They could have sent Franco up there, right?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Now, even Cliff Floyd is questioning whether he should've been used as the pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth against the Cardinals.

Here's an interesting article from the WSJ that was published in October, but read by me today. Basically, the article concludes that after looking at all the numbers, from a statistical perspective, the decision whether to bunt was a tossup.

I've thought all along that it was defensible. Looking back on that inning now, it's easy to focus on the nasty curveballs that struck out Floyd and Beltran. But, at the moment Willie made his decision, the Mets had just hit two straight singles (their only hits since the first inning!) off Wainwright. I think it's understandable for Willie to decide not to give the rookie a free out and a chance to calm down. Willie felt that momentum was on our side, and to be honest, standing in the upper deck, I was feeling the same thing. In fact, I went as far as to dream of Cliff Floyd pulling a Kirk Gibson and launching a homerun over the right field wall. Heck, part of me was dreaming of him pulling a Tommie Agee and launching that homerun into the right field upper deck, where I was standing just fair of the foul pole.

Sadly, it didn't happen. I'm not going to criticize Willie's decision, but I'm not going to criticize Floyd's comments. They show that he's still thinking about that inning. That's understandable. I am, too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On the heels of the tragic A-Rod and Jeter breakup, it's nice to see new teammates forming a special bond.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ugh. According to this article, Shawn Green had (by far) the worst RF arm in baseball last year. Apparently, Moises was almost as bad, so switching their positions won't help. I guess this is just another reason (mediocre offense, ugly looking D in the playoffs) to hope that Endy and Ben Johnson see some time out in right, and that Milledge is ready to take over sometime this year.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mets sign Chan Ho for $3 million.

It's hard to get excited about a pitcher who's been below average for the last five years, but it can't hurt to have a little more starting pitching depth, particularly now that Dave Williams won't be ready to start the season. So, now the fifth starter spot comes down to Park, Sosa, Pelfrey, Humber, Vargas, Soler, and Sele. [EDIT - The AP is reporting that the deal is only for $600k guaranteed, with incentives based on innings that can push it up to $3 million. If that's accurate, I like the deal. Very low risk.]

Here are the PECOTA projected EqERAs (ERA normalized to a neutral ballpark):
Pelfrey 4.78
Sosa 4.95*
Soler 5.12
Park 5.18
Sele 5.20
Humber 5.27
Vargas 5.71
*-Sosa's projected as more of a reliever, so his EqERA as a starter would be worse.

That doesn't tell us much that we don't already know. If Pelfrey is deemed ready, he's probably the best option, but it probably makes sense to at least wait until May for the warmer weather and more regular use of the 5th starter. Everyone else is pretty close, other than Jason Vargas.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Random Notes
Martinez vs. Tabata: John Sickels with the smackdown between top Mets and Yankees OF prospects.

David Wright dines with W.

Vinny Bombs retires.

J.D. Drew uses hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ichiro's a FA after 2007? Is it too much to dream of Ichiro in right? I'm picturing Reyes, Ichiro, Beltran, Delgado, and Wright at the top of the order. *drooling*

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

All along, I've read that David Wells will only sign with a West Coast team (presumably the Padres), but this article indicates that he'd be willing to go to Toronto. How 'bout the Mets? He's a better option than Jorge Sosa.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sign of the apocalypse: Todd Pratt signs minor league deal with the Yankees.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Which one of these is not like the others?
Career ERA Leaders Among Active Pitchers (1000 inning min.)
1. Pedro Martinez
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Greg Maddux
4. Roger Clemens
5. Johan Santana
6. Randy Johnson
7. John Smoltz
8. Kevin Brown
9. Roberto Hernandez
10. Curt Schilling
$10.8 million for Scott Schoeneweis? Scott Schoeneweis? The same Scott Schoeneweis who had a 4.88 ERA last year, with a 29:24 K:BB ratio? Sure, he can get lefties out, but so can Feliciano. Heck, once Mota is back from his suspension, will Schoeneweis even belong on the roster? Wagner, Heilman, Sanchez, Mota, Feliciano, and Burgos are all probably more deserving of a roster spot. And, worst of all, we could have just kept Bradford for the same price. A lot of Omar's minor moves have worked out quite well, so maybe he deserves the benefit of doubt, but this seems like a huge waste of money. If Feliciano is about to be traded, then I understand the deal, but otherwise, I'm a bit puzzled.

Other news:
-John Thomson didn't come to the Mets because he hates Paul Lo Duca.

-The Reds acquired Jeff Keppinger.

-Barry Bonds took amphetamines.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Yeah, Arizona's rotation should be pretty decent next year, with Webb and Johnson 1-2, not to mention Livan 3 and Doug Davis 4. Granted those two aren't what they used to be, but Livan can eat up some major innings, and Davis isn't too shabby for a #4.

That Zito signing was so ridiculous; it threw the whole market out of whack. Like they're saying, if Zito got $18 mil annually, what will Johan get, $25 mil? I mean, if you were the Mets, would you shell out 7 yr-$175 mil for him?

I agree about the Milledge-Blanton deal too. I'm not really sold on him, not to mention he's a nut, but I think they could do better than Blanton for him. I mean, I don't know who else will be on the market come July, but there will probably be someone better than Blanton.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The FAN is reporting that the rumored Randy Johnson trade is a done deal. Johnson to the DBacks for Luis Vizcaino and three prospects (the Yanks are adding a lot of minor league arms this offseason).
Unless they're extremely confident they can sign Clemens, the apparent desperation to dump the Big Unit is a mistake. Even at the age of 42, Johnson made 33 starts last year with a K:BB ratio of 172:60. Sure, his ERA was 5.00, but
this post by Nate Silver indicates that was largely due to bad luck. Before the trade, PECOTA projected Johnson to be the Yankees' ace in 2007.

In return, the Yanks are receiving a pretty good reliever and some mediocre prospects. The three prospects were ranked as the 18th, 19th, and 20th best prospects in the DBacks system by John Sickels, all receiving a C+. No list I've seen ranks them in the top 10. Here's the relevant excerpt from Sickels:

18. Alberto Gonzalez, SS, C+ (good glove)
19. Steven Jackson, RHP, C+ (excellent season in Double-A following mechanical rebuild)
20. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP, C+ (sleeper who throws strikes)

The DBacks, on the other hand, with a 1-2 of Webb and Johnson have greatly improved their odds in the wide open NL West.
Time to panic?
I'm glad the Mets didn't spend $126 million on Barry Zito. Barry Zito is not a dominant enough pitcher to justify that kind of salary. But, missing out on Zito at this late stage in the game leaves the Mets with a gaping hole in their rotation. Current candidates for the #5 spot include Dave Williams, Jason Vargas, Alay Soler, Mike Pelfrey, and Philip Humber. Pelfrey and Humber are both excellent prospects, but it doesn't seem that either is ready to make the jump to the majors on Opening Day. None of the other three guys have anything in their track record to instill any sense of confidence that they can handle the job. Also, there are some other question marks in the rotation (which Oliver Perez will show up?, will El Duque stay healthy?), so Williams/Vargas/Soler may be needed to fill other holes. The options available on the free agent market are less than thrilling, so there's been speculation that the Mets may make a trade, with Joe Blanton being one of the leading candidates. Should the Mets deal Lastings Milledge for Blanton (or a similar pitcher)?

On one hand, prospects are rarely sure things. A perusal of this list of the top prospects from 2002 shows just how hard it is to project player development. So, while David Wright and Jose Reyes have demonstrated just how valuable developing players through the system can be, not every prospect turns into David Wright or Jose Reyes. Looking at Milledge specifically, there are some reasons to doubt his development. His tools have always been evident, but his production over the years hasn't matched them. He failed to produce in his brief stint in the majors last year, and he clearly has some maturity issues. Also, the Mets have two other strong outfield prospects.

On the other hand, everyone seems to agree that Milledge still has a very high ceiling. And according to Nate Silver, his production at AAA last year was excellent. I find it hard to believe that Norfolk is that hard to hit in, but Nate knows far more about projecting performance than any of us, so I'll cut him some slack.

In the end, I think a Milledge-Blanton deal would be a big mistake. Most importantly, it seems that Milledge's market value has slipped (and if Nate is to be believed, undeservedly so). The Mets shouldn't sell low. If Milledge has a strong first half in the minors, he can probably fetch a lot more at the trade deadline than he can now. Secondly, Blanton simply isn't enough of an impact player (he's averaged about 5 Ks per 9 innings the last two seasons) to trade a top prospect for. If the Mets are going to deal Milledge, why do it for a pitcher who's merely good, without the potential to be any better? Sure, Blanton will help the team get through the first half of this season, but once October rolls around, with Pedro (and possibly Pelfrey and Humber) around, Blanton may not even make the playoff rotation. If the Mets are determined to trade Milledge, they'll be better off holding onto him to use as a chip to land a premier player. For instance, the best pitcher in baseball may be available next offseason, or at the trading deadline if the Twins are out of the race. Why not plug the hole in the rotation with someone like Tomo Ohka, Chan Ho Park, or Brian Lawrence, and hold onto Lastings until someone better is available down the road.