Archive for the ‘News & Notes’ Category

Mets lock up Willie

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Omar Minaya gave Willie Randolph some job security, agreeing to terms on a 3 year, $5.65 million contract.  The contract includes a big raise for Willie this year, as he will go from making $700,000 to $1.4 million, doubling his previous salary.  Nice work, Willie, doubling the paychecks from week to week.  The move was probably a good one for the Mets, as Willie did a good job handling the clubhouse last year.  His in-game decisions will often be questioned, but I don’t think he did anything to egregious, and having your in-game decisions being questioned is part of being a manager.  Really, managers are hired to be scapegoats for the GM when things go south more than anything, and with no current signs of things going south, locking Randolph up for a few years was a good move.

Okay, this is pretty funny

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

A Mets fan has been banned from attending Mets games, Cyclones games, and Mets spring training for three years after impersonating a reporter to interview Mike Piazza and get his picture taken with him.  No word on whether he’s been banned from B-Mets or Zephyrs games as well, but it’s probably a good guess that he won’t be welcome there with open arms.  I can’t help but laugh at this story, it really amuses me.  This guy has a lot of gumption.  The best part was, he got thrown out of Shea AGAIN a week later for trying to get into a Mets/Rockies game.  Ryan Leli, salutes you as this week’s Enterprising Mets Fan of the Month.  You win nothing but our respect and admiration.

Really? Jorge Sosa?

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The Mets’ pursuit of a starting pitcher began this off-season with them as contenders for both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Barry Zito.  It will end with them being rebuffed by John Thomson and settling for Jorge Sosa.  Sosa, you may remember as a guy who was completely lit up by the Mets early in the season, not even getting out of the fourth inning en route to a Mets’ rout of the Braves.  Before that, he washed out of the Devil Rays (!) organization, and wound up in long relief for the Cardinals before being left off the postseason roster.

I can only imagine this would be a minor league contract, and a spring training invite to see if Rick Peterson can get anything out of him.  I can’t imagine he’d actually be starting for the Mets in 2007 unless it’s in a Lima-like emergency.  Sosa was pretty bad last year, and barring a Darren Oliver-like resurgence, it seems highly unlikely that he would actually contribute anything worthwhile to the Mets in 2007.

In other news, the Mets have agreed to a contract with Oliver Perez.  Perez will make $2.325 million next year, which really isn’t bad when you consider last year, Victor Zambrano made over $3 million.  Oliver Perez has to be better than Zambrano, right?  Speaking of Zambrano, the rumor has him going back to the Devil Rays on a minor league deal.  Hey, think maybe the Mets can get Kazmir back in that case?  Seriously, screw you Jim Duquette.

Wait, Pedro’s son is 19???

Friday, January 12th, 2007

There are a few interesting things in this article.  Some news about David Wright, a health update on Pedro Martinez, and other fun stuff.  But the one thing I took out of this article is that Pedro Martinez’s son is 19 years old.  Pedro is 35.  That means Pedro had a son when he was 16.  Maybe it’s because of the different culture or whatever, but I just think that’s crazy.  When I was 16, I think I was still playing Sega Genesis.  Pedro Martinez was having babies and preparing to become the best pitcher of his generation.  He and I are from different worlds, I guess.

So much for fiscal sanity

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

According to the New York Post, the Mets are on the verge of signing career mediocre long reliever Scott Schoeneweis to a three year, $10.8 million contract.  You know, I’ve given a lot of credit to Omar Minaya for not spending money foolishly this off-season.  He didn’t go crazy for Barry Zito (and will be rewarded for this, ultimately).  He signed Moises Alou to a very reasonable deal.  He didn’t match Jim Duquette’s ridiculous offer to Chad Bradford.  He hasn’t gotten in on any of the whacky contracts that have been handed out this winter.  If this rumor is true, though…well, that’s now out the window.

Scott Schoeneweis, I’m sure, is a very nice guy.  Well, I’m not sure of that at all, I’m just guessing, but it may be true.  He’s an area guy, from Long Branch, NJ, near where both writers of this esteemed website received their college degrees, so I have no ill will towards the guy (note – whenever somebody says a lot of nice things like this, it usually means they’re about to bury the guy when they don’t even know him).  But…there are literally a hundred Scott Schoeneweises out there.  He does nothing special that other pitchers in baseball, that other pitchers in the Mets’ minor league system, don’t already do, for cheaper, other than he is left handed, and the Mets already have two lefties in their bullpen.

Giving a three year commitment to a guy because he thinks with the right side of his brain instead of his left is foolish, and is the sort of deal Minaya has avoided since becoming general manager.  In fact, this is the sort of deal that Steve Phillips and other dunderheaded GMs would make all the time.  Minaya has done very well scouring the waiver wire, signing lower-end guys to minor league deals, and striking gold by getting 60-80 solid innings out of guys nobody would have a reason to expect that from (see Oliver, Darren).  That’s smart baseball.  Giving three year deals to Scott Schoeneweis isn’t.  While $3.6 million isn’t a lot for a team that has their own cable network, and is three years away from moving into a new ballpark, it’s still not money well spent.

It’s deals like this that make me think the Mets aren’t even looking at starting pitchers at this point, which makes me a little nervous.  At this point, they seem to be expecting that Oliver Perez will figure it out and will perform for the Mets, and that John Maine will continue to give the Mets solid innings, and that Mike Pelfrey is ready, willing, and able to hold down a spot in the starting rotation, or that Dave Williams is capable of pitching every fifth day, or any one of a number of other frightening options.  It’s not a given that Pelfrey won’t be able to go next year, or that these other guys won’t suck…but I’d like to see at least one other guy, an established guy who the Mets can rely on next year.  I’d feel just a bit more comfortable if they could get another player in the mix.

John Thomson makes some amazingly ill-informed comments

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

In this off-season, starting pitchers who have shown anything above a pulse in the last three years have received multi-million dollar contracts.  Joel Piniero had an ERA north of six last year, and the Red Sox signed him to a $4 million contract, for Christ’s sakes.  Chad Bradford has never shown a consistent ability to get left handed hitters out, and has never pitched in anything other than middle relief, and got three years and $12 million.

Despite all of this, John Thomson was apparently so bad, that he could only muster a contract of one year and $500,000 with the Blue Jays.  That kinda says he sucks.  Mets fans may remember that the team once traded Jay Payton for Thomson, in what has to go down as one of the more underrated bad trades the Mets have made in their history; Thomson was history the next season, and Payton has been a solid, if unspectacular, outfielder the past few years, years where the Mets have put out some real stiffs in the outfield before acquiring Carlos Beltran.

Anyway, despite being lucky to still have a job in baseball, let alone having two teams vying for his services, Thomson took an opportunity once he signed his new deal to bash one of the teams who actually showed interest in his services.  Said Thomson today:

“As far as just looking at Paul Lo Duca across the field, I’m not really into how he acts behind the plate,” Thomson said on a conference call. “I know a bit about [Toronto catcher] Gregg Zaun and I know he wants to win and he’s not going to let anything get in his way to do that, and I like that.

“And then with Vernon Wells in center field, I’m not really concerned about the outfield with him out there. … Just watching the Mets’ outfield, if Cliff Floyd is still there it’s not a real good fit for him out there. He can hit the ball, but as far as defense, he’s a little shaky.

“I just liked what’s happening in Toronto.”

Wow.  Where to start?  First of all, how does Thomson know how he calls a game?  He has never been on the same team as Lo Duca.  Maybe it was from one of Thomson’s appearances in the all star ga…wait, he never played in one.  So he didn’t sign with the Mets because they employ Paul Lo Duca as their catcher?  If he took less money to play with the Blue Jays (and let’s face it, I don’t think the Mets could have possibly offered Thomson less than $500,000) over a catcher, when there’s a very strong likelyhood that John Thomson probably doesn’t have many years left getting contracts in six figures…well, I’m afraid that would kind of make John Thomson a dummy.

Also, love the comment about Cliff Floyd, who is currently a free agent and who will not return to the Mets next year.  Good job comparing Vernon Wells, the Blue Jays’ center fielder, to Cliff Floyd, the Mets’ former left fielder.  Apples and oranges, my friend, except in this case, there are no oranges in this particular fruit basket.  You may want to take note that the Mets’ center fielder is Carlos Beltran, who just won a gold glove and is, by all accounts, one of the finest defensive center fielders in all of baseball.

The Blue Jays have a good team.  They won 87 games in a tough division, which was good for second place, ten games out of first in the AL East last year.  That’s pretty good in a tough division.  The Mets won 97 games, which was enough to win their division by 12 games.  You know, if I am a free agent pitcher, and I had to gauge which team I “liked what’s happening” more, I think I might pick the Mets.

I just don’t see why a guy who has absolutely no relevency has to go and rip apart a team that did nothing but show interest in him.  This is a guy who hasn’t had a healthy season in two years, and who in healthy times is a completely middle of the road pitcher.  He’s pretty much a guy lucky to be getting a paycheck at this point.  I don’t get the point.  Though that shows how far the Mets’ pitching has fallen at this point…even John Thomson isn’t returning their calls.  Man, this was a playoff team last year.  Can’t somebody throw us a frickin’ bone?

David Newhan is a Met

Monday, January 8th, 2007

This is likely news that will not affect the Mets in any way, shape, or form next season.  Between Newhan and Damion Easley, the Mets now have two utility players much, much better than Chris Woodward, but unless a good player gets hurt, you will only see them in the lineup to give a player some rest, or to pinch hit.  Actually, I will say that one of the untold stories of the 2007 offeseason is that the Mets’ bench has improved dramatically from last year.  Easley, Newhan, Julio Franco, Endy Chavez, Ben Johnson, and Ramon Castro is a solid group, though I suspect the Newhan signing will mean that Johnson starts 2007 in New Orleans, barring injury.  Granted, the reason the story is untold is because of the bigger issue of the Mets being unable to acquire another starting pitcher, but the Mets should get better production out of the bench next year.  How much that actually helps the team remains to be seen.

This cannot possibly work out very well

Friday, January 5th, 2007

According to the New York Post, one of the guys the Mets are looking at to replace Steve Trachsel in the rotation next year is Jeff Weaver.  So apparently, the Mets are looking to replace Trachsel with one of the few pitchers in baseball who actually pitched worse than Trachsel last year.  This cannot possibly end well for the Mets.  It just can’t.  I realize that there is nothing left out there, and the Mets are going to want to sign somebody short-term, but Jeff Weaver was really, really bad last year, his NLCS games against the Mets excluded.

I know I’ve said that the Mets can target just about anybody to replace Trachsel and the rotation will improve, but players like Jeff Weaver on the market are the reason I qualify that statement with “just about.”  I could deal with Tomo Ohka, as he is the definition of mediocrity, but at least when he’s on the mound, you know what you’re getting with him.  Jeff Weaver would be a problem.  Luckily, guys like Ohka and Weaver are destined to wind up signing three year deals with teams that aren’t very good, so maybe the Mets will get saved from this one.

Mets looking for pitching

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Despite Omar Minaya’s public comments to the contrary, it looks like the Mets are not, in fact, fine with their rotation as is.  They have spoken to the agent of Tomo Ohka, and talk out of San Francisco is that a deal for Joe Blanton may be close, though a Mets spokesperson denied it.  While a trade is likely not official, it probably means the Mets have at least made the offer (which would include Lastings Milledge).

Where would I like to see the Mets go?  Blanton has been kind of a bust so far, with a career ERA of 4.19 pitching in the biggest pitcher’s park in baseball behind a good defense.  His strikeout numbers are low, as are his walk totals, but his home run numbers are high, again at a pretty big ballpark out there in Oakland.  He’s been at or near 200 pitches the past two seasons, so at least he will give the Mets innings, but that’s really all he would give the Mets.  He’s fairly mediocre, but he eats innings.

Ohka isn’t great shakes, either, having never posted an ERA under 4 in his career (most of it spent in pitcher’s parks).  He’s not a strikeout guy, either, but he keeps his walks low.  Ohka really isn’t much different from Blanton performance-wise, but Ohka has shown a habit for missing time, as two of his past three seasons have ended prematurely.  Blanton, though, has only pitched two seasons, and is a big guy, so it’s possible that his injury issues are still to come.

Ideally, I’d like to see the Mets not trade Lastings Milledge, so I guess I’m in favor of Ohka, even though I would hardly call myself excited over him.  Ohka has less upside than Blanton, being four years older, but Blanton isn’t exactly young, either (he just turned 26).  In a perfect world, a world where the Mets can get Joe Blanton without giving up Lastings Milledge, I’d like to see them roll the dice with Blanton, but with Fernando Martinez to play in Binghamton in 2007, maybe the Mets see Milledge as expendable.  Or maybe this talk is all for naught.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Or…maybe Zito will sign with the Giants

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Wow, seven years, $126 million for Barry Zito?  I cannot possibly imagine that the Giants will feel good about this contract in two years.  A lot will be said about how the Mets could have signed Zito but were too stubborn to stick to their offer…but they shouldn’t have even thought about topping that.  That contract is insane.  Seven years for Barry Zito?  Seven?  $18 million per?  Are the Giants nuts?  Do they think that Zito is much better than Jason Schmidt (who they couldn’t make the playoffs with, by the way)?  This contract makes no sense for the Giants whatsoever.  Mark my words – he’ll be with the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox within three years.

So now it’s back to the drawing board for the Mets, and now the market is completely barren of anything.  Zito not signing is very disappointing, but…I mean, that contract is crazy.  The Mets still need another starting pitcher, and I’m guessing Minaya will be trolling the trade wires looking for somebody who is available.  I don’t know who’s out there for them to trade for at this point, and it won’t be anybody who’s great, but at this point, it’s what they’re going to have to do.

Man, $126 million over seven years for Barry Zito?  Good luck with that, Giants.