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.