Thursday, March 27, 2008

Did Beane Blow It?

A few months ago, Billy Beane decided that the A's chances weren't good in '08 and went into dump mode. He traded ace Dan Haren to Arizona for a huge package of prospects and sent offensive stalwart Nick Swisher to the White Sox for two top pitching prospects. Both packages seemed like pretty good hauls, but most of the media coverage just took his word on the premise behind the trade. But, as Opening Day approaches, I think it's fair to ask whether the A's could've been a playoff team with Haren and Swisher.
Most people have treated the Angels as the runaway favorites in the division, but injuries are taking their toll. John Lackey is out until at least mid-May. Kelvim Escobar has a shoulder tear and may be out for the season.
Meanwhile, the Bedard acquisition got a lot of people excited about the Mariners, but their lineup is very weak. I don't think they're nearly as good as most people think.
On the other hand, the A's are better than most people think.
These PECOTA-based projected standings have the Angels at 87 wins, the A's at 80, and the Mariners at 75.
I'll be generous to the Angels and assume that Lackey makes the 25 starts he's predicted to. But, if we take Escobar out and replace him with Adenhart/Moseley, the Angels fall to about 85 wins.
The Mariners prediction seems low. PECOTA unjustifiably hates Ichiro. But, Ichiro doing his usual thing only brings them up to 79 wins. I still think that's a little low, but nothing about the projections seems totally out of whack, so I think it's fair to say this is a 79-84 win team.
So, let's look at these 80-win A's. Most of the projections look pretty reasonable. Adding Haren back to the team would add about 4 wins and adding Swisher back would add 3 or 4. So, if the A's hadn't gone into dump mode, it would be fair to project them as an 87 win team. They would be far from a lock to win the division, but there's an argument that they'd be the favorite. If they did make the playoffs, they'd most likely be the worst of the AL playoff teams, but Beane is a believer in the "crap shoot" theory regarding the postseason, so it seems they should have rolled the dice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"That's a good name."
-Omar Minaya on newly released Claudio Vargas
It seems like I identify some crappy player the Mets should sign on a daily basis. For once, the Mets seem to share my interest. According to the Post, the Mets "will have a strong interest" in Claudio Vargas. He's nothing more than a 5th starter, but that's all the Mets need right now. If the team signs him, we'll be spared the sight of Mike Pelfrey every five days. Vargas is a flyball pitcher, which works well in expansive Shea and seems to be Omar's kind of thing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

team wins for the season:
BOS 96
NYY 95
TAM 83
TOR 82
BAL 62
CLE 94
DET 93
CHW 75
KCR 73
MIN 70
LAA 87
SEA 82
OAK 78
TEX 71

NYM 94
PHI 89
ATL 86
WAS 72
FLO 70
CHC 90
MIL 89
CIN 82
HOU 75
STL 71
PIT 70
ARI 88
LAD 85
COL 85
SDP 80
SFG 63

Go to Sportsbook right now. Take the over on the Rays and the under on the Giants.
I'm still hoping Omar can somehow land a better right-handed outfielder, but MetsGeek makes the case for Reed Johnson.

Oh, there was some baseball played this morning. Congratulations to the Red Sox. Hooray baseball!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are fans allowed to root against their teams in spring training? I think so.
I'm glad Pelfrey got lit up by the Cardinals yesterday. It seems that the Mets have finally realized that they have a hole at the fifth spot in the rotation. I still don't understand why Sosa doesn't seem to be under consideration.

Unrelated link - cool study at Met's Refugees showing that Randolph fails to properly take advantage of lefty/righty match-ups with his bullpen. Come on Willie, even Montgomary Burns knows it's what any good manager would do.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Nationals released John Patterson yesterday. This seems to indicate that he isn't close to ready, but he's still an intriguing reclamation project. And Omar Minaya is the one who acquired Patterson for the Expo/National franchise in the first place, so this might be an option for the Mets.

Jim Leyland on "clubhouse chemistry":
"All that is so far overrated. The worst word ever used is 'chemistry.' That's something you take in school. That's a class you take."

From Jon Heyman:
"As Dylan Ratigan of CNBC pointed out, the Yankees paid more for Alex Rodriguez than JP Morgan paid for Bear Stearns."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Goomzin Bros had company at all those Trashel games...
5th Starter

It's been pretty obvious since El Duque's spring training arrival that he's on his last legs. I think signing Kyle Lohse for $4+ million would've been a nice way to at least guarantee mediocre performance out of the fifth spot in the rotation. Bartolo Colon would've been a nice (if unreliable) option. I'm not sure if there are any trade candidates out there, but the Brewers seem to have excess pitching and I'm sure the new Pirates GM would be happy to be rid of Matt Morris's salary (happy enough to throw in Xavier Nady?).

If no trade is made, the assumption is that Mike Pelfrey will be the 5th starter. Why? Mike Pelfrey has done nothing in his career to make us think he's ready to be a big league starter. I say send him down to New Orleans and see how he does for a couple months. If he's doing well, give him a shot in the majors. If he continues to struggle, maybe it's time to move him to the bullpen where his lack of secondary pitches will be less of a problem.
So, who am I proposing for fifth starter? Jorge Sosa.
2007 stats in games started:
Pelfrey, 13 GS, 5.58 ERA, 69.1 IP, 43K, 36 BB
Sosa, 14 GS, 4.59 ERA, 80.1 IP, 46 K, 29 BB

Sosa has a 4.55 ERA in 88 career starts. That's not wonderful, but it's acceptable for a fifth starter.

For those who disagree and are ready to start the "Big Pelf" era, go buy one of these shirts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Top 10 Players the Mets Drafted, but Failed to Sign

Roger Clemens
Rafael Palmeiro
Matt Williams
John Olerud
John Wetteland
Darin Erstad
Todd Jones
Aaron Rowand
Garrett Atkins
Rick Helling

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Former Mets Named Lenny

Somehow, I just noticed that Lenny Harris (the "greatest pinch hitter of all time") is the Nationals hitting coach.

There's an excellent piece in the New Yorker about Lenny Dykstra, who is planning on starting a magazine targeted towards athletes. I think it's a great idea; there must be a lot of companies selling silly expensive stuff who would love to place ads.

For the record, the Mets have only had two players named Lenny.

Friday, March 14, 2008

One of the more disturbing sentences you'll ever see:

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Houston Astros second baseman Kazuo Matsui will undergo surgery to repair an anal fissure on Monday in Houston.