Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Omar Minaya: I’m Just Saying

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Omar Minaya’s stated goal when taking the General Manager post in 2004 was to make the team “younger and more athletic.” While one can argue the merits of such a mantra, it was something to which he could be held accountable. Parsing his words, you would expect the Mets to consistently field fast, young teams that cover a lot of ground. With that, I submit the New York Mets opening day lineup:

Player Age in 2010 2009 UZR
Barajas, C 35 n/a
Jacobs, 1B 30 0.4
Castillo, 2B 35 -10.4
Wright, 3B 28 -10.4
Cora, SS 35 -3.8
Bay, LF 32 -13
Matthews, CF 36 -14.5
Francoeur, RF 26 -6.1

How athleticism manifests itself in baseball may be a tricky thing to gauge; age not so much. Rod Barajas is a good defensive catcher, but 35. Jacobs was above average at 1B in a microscopic sample size. He’s really a putrid defender. With the exception of a Wright and Francoeur bounce-back, the Mets will field a decidedly old, nonathletic team.

So, hey, Omar, what do you say?

You Lost

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This is several days late, but everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?

“You lost,” is something my friends and I will say to mock each other’s misfortunes and/or shortcomings.

It’s like:

You tripped and spilled your beer. “You lost.”

Nobody likes your shitty girlfriend. “You lost!”

You’re stuck in traffic. The doctor will see you now…two hours later. The restaurant screwed up your order. And so on. You understand how this works. So when you find out your superstar shortstop will miss up to eight weeks with a thyroid problem?

New York Mets, you lost.

Consider that Reyes played in only 36 games last season and came to training camp in excellent shape and bear in mind that the Mets 2010 motto is Prevention & Recovery season, yet Beltran and Reyes will miss Opening Day, this all days after it was reported that Jose could be back in Port St. Lucie within days.

YOU LOST.

Worse yet is the cascading effect of this injury: the team will either be forced to start the service time/option year clock on 20-year old Ruben Tejada or start Alex Cora, potentially allowing his insane two million dollar option to vest for 2011. The latter will again force Luis Castillo to (not) cover more ground up the middle, exploiting his complete inability to range left.  Most infuriating is that Omar Minaya refused to upgrade the team’s middle infield depth in an off-season when Felipe Lopez, fresh off four WAR in 2009, signed for less than Cora’s salary two weeks ago.

Mets, you really lost.

And we lost too. Mets fans will be denied the privilege of watching one of the most exciting players in baseball do his thing. What was supposed to be a new beginning will, instead, feel a lot like 2009, Game 163. Even if you’re a fan of the vigilante sort, rooting for failure to catalyze sweeping organizational changes, you’re not exempt. Massive injuries were used as an excuse last season, obscuring hideous roster construction and poor personnel decisions. Beltran and Reyes missing perhaps as many as the first six weeks of the season, reverts the team to mid-2009 form, potentially providing Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel another stay of execution.

Nobody wins here — well, except for Mike Francesa, who was able to flex his omniscience when some HIPAA-law violating doctor scooped him on Reyes’s condition last Wednesday. Oh, and maybe Phillies mongo Larry Anderson — he finally got his wish. Sorta.

Go read the Amazin Avenue Annual

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Things have been quiet around here for the past two weeks, mostly because there is little inspiring about the team right now.  If you are looking for something to inspire you beyond “Why the hell is Jerry Manuel batting Jose Reyes third?” (and if Jose Reyes’ thyroid issue hadn’t become the Mets injury du jour, I’m sure you would have read something from me decrying this), I’d suggest checking out the Amazin Avenue Annual, available here.  I am about halfway through an advanced copy I received this week, and it is really terrific, there is a lot of great information from respected Mets bloggers that any Mets fan is sure to enjoy, plus a lot of pretty pictures and graphs.  It’s available for free in PDF format, with Kindle and print versions to be available soon, so go check that out and enjoy!

Berman: Jason “Flushing” Bay

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The Mets finally did something substantive, if what Mike Francesa’s slinging on WFAN is correct. They’ve come to an agreement with Jason Bay, which should be announced next week. Mike didn’t give any contract specifics, ok, but you would have to figure it’s in the ballpark of the $65M offer the team submitted earlier this month.

Given the Mets habit of bidding against themselves, let’s call this a four year, $68M contract agreement. Assuming the value of a win on the open market is between $4M and $4.5M, Bay would have to be worth about 4 wins above replacement per season to make this a fair deal for the Mets. This is no certainty considering his poor defense in left field, though the magnitude is very much up for debate.

Bay hit for a .397 wOBA with the Red Sox last season. That ranked him sixth among all American League hitters. While we should never lose sight of defense and positional scarcity, you can’t deny that this is one of the very best hitters in baseball. At 32 (next season), he’s past his physical peak, but young enough to be nearly as productive.

Is this the most efficient use of resources by the Mets?  Definitely not given the many holes on the roster yet to be filled; but the team has added a legitimately good player to their mix.

A Different Course of Action

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Clint Everts

Clint Everts hopes to do right by the man who drafted him.

Japanese right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi may be close to a deal with the New York Mets, depending on when you last checked your Twitter timeline.  Even if he decides to sign with the Red Sox instead, I’d have to classify the team’s pursuit of Igarashi as a success. It’s a indicative of a shift in philosophy the Mets have made toward building a bullpen.

Last year, Omar Minaya, haunted by an inflammable bullpen, placed a premium on relief pitching. He signed Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year, $37.5 million dollar contract and traded a haul of useful players for the right to pay J.J. Putz five million dollars. Neither deal really worked out, despite what the team would have you believe about K-Rod’s 2009 season.  This year, instead of targeting other team’s closers or high priced middle relief flotsam, the Mets appear to be pursuing other alternatives to improve the ‘pen.

Minor League Free Agency: Last week, the team signed 25-year old Clint Everts, former 2002 first round draft pick of Omar Minaya in Montreal. He pitched to a 2.97 FIP in just less than 60 A+/AA/AAA innings for the Nationals organization. He’s shown the ability to induce ground balls and generate strikeouts against both left and right handed hitters.  He has a bit of a control problem, especially against left handed hitters, but his strengths would suit him well in a bullpen role. Of course, this is all contingent on his ability to handle major league hitters, but you have to like this signing.

Japan: Ted Berg wrote a little bit about Ryota Igarashi here. He throws hard, strikes people out, has an assortment of pitches and is pretty wild. Again, strikeouts are the key here and paramount to successful relief pitching. Taking a flier on the Japanese Fernando Rodney for $2M-$3M is much more palatable than signing the real one to a market rate contract.

Reclamation Project: An ace in his own right behind John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar was a lynchpin of the Angels pitching staff from 2004-2007. Sidelined for virtually two seasons due to shoulder surgery, Escobar wants to return in a relief role and that shouldn’t be a problem. Escobar closed for the Blue Jays as 21-year old rookie in 1997 and later in 2002. While it’s doubtful that he’ll strike out a batter an inning again, a return to his pre-injury level of 7.00 K/9 complimented by respectable walk and ground ball rates and no significant platoon split, Kelvim would make a fine high-leverage bullpen option.

While none of these players are any guarantee to contribute positively to the Mets in 2010 (and at this time, only one is even signed), I come away impressed with the team’s willingness to target relatively cheap bullpen options with legitimate upside. Pitchers like Brandon Lyon and Latroy Hawkins have signed multi-year, multi-million dollar deals because they have the “experience” and they’ve “pitched in big spots” despite mediocre results. Their output can be matched or bested easily and inexpensively using the tact the Mets appear to be employing. I’m not sure if this is a case of budgetary restriction or the team finally learning their lesson, but I’m at least encouraged by this development.

The Great Eight of 1998; The Terrific Ten of 2010?

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Not only have the Mets decided to dip into the catcher’s market, they’ve decided to swim in it.

Last night, Henry Blanco was signed to a one-year, $1.5 million dollar contract. Blanco is the second catcher acquired this week, joining the newly-minted Chris Coste. The tandem joins Omir Santos and Josh Thole on the catching depth chart, which will almost assuredly be captained by Bengie Molina. That’ll make five catchers with Major League experience all with a chance of playing with the big league club next season.

While pondering our new found catching surplus, my mind wandered back to a time of a richer plenitude. It was 1998. Todd Hundley was slated to be the starting catcher, but off-season elbow surgery sidelined him, eventually forcing him into the outfield. This thrust a career journeyman, Tim Spehr, into the opening day lineup.  Spehr alternated catching duties with Albert Castillo for the first few weeks. Unhappy with their performance, the team called up Jim Tatum and traded for Rick Wilkins. Unsurprisingly, both failed to distinguish themselves and the Mets completed a blockbuster deal for Mike Piazza. Jorge Fabergas and later Todd Pratt would serve as the Piazza’s primary back up. In September of that year, Bobby Valentine mercifully ended Todd Hundley’s stint in left field and started him behind the plate for a couple of games, completing  the catching circle.

In total, eight different catchers started games. This is how they fared:

  Age G GS Inn PB WP SB CS CS%
Mike Piazza 29 99 99 845.1 5 18 74 28 27%
Alberto Castillo 28 35 28 245.2 1 4 13 15 54%
Tim Spehr 31 21 15 147.0 1 6 12 7 37%
Todd Pratt 31 16 8 90.2 2 0 5 4 44%
Jorge Fabregas 28 12 5 63.1 0 6 8 3 27%
Rick Wilkins 31 4 4 34.0 0 2 3 1 25%
Todd Hundley 29 2 2 18.0 0 4 1 2 67%
Jim Tatum 30 4 1 14.0 0 0 1 4 80%
Team Total   162 162 1458.0 9 40 117 64 35%

So, can we get to ten in 2010?  It’s certainly possible. We have our aforementioned five, plus Robinson Cancel always seems to be in the picture — recent release be damned.

Raul Casanova? Gustavo (not related to Bengie, Jose or Yadier) Molina? How about dusting off Mike DiFelice?

Vance Wilson is a free agent. What’s Jason Phillips doing? You know, Phillips had a .373 on-base percentage his rookie season…

Why the Mets will re-sign Carlos Delgado this offseason

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Delgado in uniform playing...something we hoped for last season

Delgado in uniform playing...something we hoped for last season

Recently it was discussed by our beloved blogmaster what the Mets WILL do this offseason…not necessarily what they SHOULD do or what the common folk Mets fan want them to do. Sign Matt Holliday-check. Sign Bengie Molina-agreed. Sign Jason Marquis-right on (heck, he may even pay them). However, I tend to differ at the platooning of Daniel Murphy at first base with unknown player to be named later. As much as Mets fans would love to have Adrian Gonzalez here in a trade, its just not reasonable. The Mets WILL sign Carlos Delgado to a a 1 yr deal and here’s why… (more…)

No News Is Bad News, All News Is Bad News

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Words can’t adequately express the abysmal feeling of impending doom within me when considering the Mets potential off-season transactions.  A look at some recent news stories reveals why.

Milwaukee Brewers claim George Kottaras off waivers from the Boston Red Sox

Kottaras is a 26-year old catcher with a career .269/.367/.444 minor league slash line. He passed through American League waivers and made onto the National League wire. The Mets, with one of the worst records in baseball, had waiver priority over the Milwaukee Brewers. THERE IS NO REASON WHY YOU DON’T CLAIM GEORGE KOTTARAS. The team’s 40-man roster is at 36. Do you need those four spots? Cut Pat Misch, Tim Redding, Arturo Lopez or Cory Sullivan.  They’re a dime a dozen.

The Mets don’t have a viable major league catcher on the roster.  The catching depth in the upper minors behind Josh Thole is thin. Free agent catchers Yorvit Torrealba, Rod Barajas and Bengie Molina are less than desirable. The Brewers needed a catcher and sought an opportunity to upgrade their roster for free, while the Mets were consumed with trotting Wally Backman around New York City.

Also victimized by Omar Minaya’s disdain for false hustle was Adam Bostick. He became a six-year minor league free agent last week. Did I mention Pat Misch still has a job?  Toby Hyde discusses more roster senselessness here.

Omar Minaya plans to scout Carlos Delgado’s rehab in Puerto Rico

There’s nothing wrong with showing Delgado a little courtesy by paying lip service to the idea of retaining him, but to actually consider it is bordering on lunacy. As a matter of fact, it is lunacy. How else would you classify an utter refusal to learn from your past mistakes?

Delgado was with the Mets for four seasons. While two of them were quite good, the other two were completely savaged by injury. The Mets should understand the risk in relying on Delgado intimately. More importantly, Delgado will be 38 in 2010. In the recent past, the Mets have relied on aged veterans Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez, Billy Wagner and Moises Alou only to watch entire seasons blow up in their face because of it.

The Mets are looking to bring back Alex Cora.

Ted Berg broached the topic fabulously. So did Fire Jerry Manuel. And Joe Janish did as well.

Simply put, Alex Cora isn’t good. At this point, he plays shortstop like Luis Castillo plays second base.  He can’t hit — he’s never been able to — and he’s 34 years old. All told, the total package worth $400,000 on the open market cost the team two million dollars last season.

In related news, all-time, all-world defensive shortstop Omar Vizquel signed a one million dollar contract with the Chicago White Sox.

 Jose Guillen.

The shear absurdity of this rumor was thoroughly panned by good friend James Kannengieser at Amazin Avenue. 

There’s not much to add, except this: Adam Rubin, regardless of what anyone thinks of him, generally has good information. The idea of Guillen even being discussed within the organization is an indictment of this team’s decision making process.

Next season, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez will man the corner outfield positions for the Philadelphia Phillies; Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier for the Los Angeles Dodgers; Seth Smith and Carlos Gonzalez for the Colorado Rockies. Try saying “Jose Guillen and Jeff Francoeur” in the same breath without laughing.

And the Mets would fancy themselves a contender too.

Bengie NO-lina

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

There’s this ‘idear’ floating around that Bengie Molina is a good player. Adam Rubin and Joel Sherman have indicated that the Mets believe it and have made him a target. Let me break up this brainstorming session with a HELL NO.

Clean Up “Hitting” Catcher

After Barry Bonds’ “retirement”, the Giants installed Bengie as their clean-up hitter for the 2008 (133 games) and 2009 (116) seasons.  He brought average power, managing ISO’s of .153 and .177. Over his three seasons in San Francisco, he posted .266/.308/.418 slash line. At the surface, this is offense you can live with from the catching position. 

But, man, that plate discipline – it’s atrocious.  His career walk rate is 4%, yielding a .308 on-base percentage. Molina’s detailed swing profile (courtesy of FanGraphs) unearths a more troubling trend:

(more…)

2007 & 2008 Mets vs. Phillies

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Or  how to fail at roster construction.  I referenced these stats in the previous post.  It looks worse itemized.


Phillies Mets
Core Position Players (FanGraphs WAR)
2007 2008 2007 2008
Utley 8 8.1   Wright 8.4 7.4
Rollins 6.7 5.3   Reyes 5.1 5.9
Howard 4.3 3.3   Beltran 4.9 6.7
Total 19 16.7   Total 18.4 20
             
Non-Core Position Players (FanGraphs WAR)
2007 2008 2007 2008
Rowand 6.2     Alou 2.1  
Werth 3.4 5.3   Delgado 1.5 2.9
Victorino 2.9 4.1   Castro 1.5 0.9
Burrell 2.3 3.2   Lo Duca 1.3  
Ruiz 1.7 0.5   Castillo 1.3 0.6
Iguchi 1.1     Easley 1.3 0.3
Dobbs 1 0.9   Gotay 0.7  
Barajas 0.7     Chavez 0.7 0.9
Bourn 0.7     Green 0.4  
Coste 0.6 1.6   Milledge 0.4  
Nunez 0     Gomez 0.2  
Helms -0.1     Valentin 0  
Feliz   1.5   Schneider   1.6
Jenkins   0.2   Church   1.6
Bruntlett   0   Tatis   1.6
Taguchi   -0.7   Anderson   -0.8
        Murphy   0.9
        A. Reyes   -0.2
        Evans   0.1
        Pagan   0.4
Total 20.5 16.6   Total 11.4 10.8
             
Pitching (pRAA via StatCorner)
2007 2008 2007 2008
Rotation -25 -23.4   Rotation 6.4 5.4
Bullpen -37.2 31.9   Bullpen -12.8 -22.7
Total -62.2 8.5   Total -6.4 -17.3