Tuesday, July 31, 2007
No Gagne. No Cordero. No Rauch. But the Braves get Dotel (ugh).
There's still a chance some trades could happen after the deadline, but it's not likely we'll get the type of help the Mets need.
And so we move on. Glavine go win #300 tonight so we forget about what we didn't get, and appreciate what we got.
You know how Billy Beane likes to talk with the Mets about trades and I think it's time we considered bringing Mike Piazza back where he belongs for the close of his career. Here's why.
1. We need another power bat off the bench - Take a look at our bench and name one guy you can see hitting a game winning home run. Castro? Maybe. Easley? Not likely. Gotay? Probably a single or a double. Piazza would add that pop to the bench that the Mets need, especially if we make a playoff run.
2. We need Castro to be available - Lo Duca is good, but Castro has been other-wordly. But Willie won't pinch hit him because he'd be using his only back up catcher. Piazza would allow Castro to be used more.
3. Piazza is ten times better than Mike DeFelice, Sandy Alomar Jr, etc. - Let's be frank. No one wants to see DeFelice up to bat. Alomar Jr.? Ditto. Hmmm, having a hall of fame catcher with 300+ home runs as your 3rd string catcher = priceless.
He'd probably pass through waivers and for the pure mystique of seeing #31 back in Mets pinstripes would be priceless. Who's with me?
However the Brewers and Mets are both pessimistic about getting Gagne which means that the Red Sox may be the front runners.
I've heard nothing on the radio, TV or online about just who on the Mets the Rangers are looking for. I'm assuming it's the usual suspects of Gomez, Milledge, etc. But who do the Brewers or Red Sox have that are comparable?
Very curious to see what happens. Only 3.5 hours left.
What? Why? Huh?
This baffles me as much as their interest in Jay Payton. If they're looking for mediocre experienced outfielders I think Shawn Green, Ricky Ledee and even Marlon Anderson fit that bill.
If they get Wilkerson for the often coveted Player To Be Named Later that I can deal with, but I wouldn't trade a AA prospect for Wilkerson. I don't see him bringing any real value.
Focus Omar. Relief Pitching!
The good news is Mets Fever's source are saying that the Nationals are definitely interested in prospects. Now I wouldn't give the Nats Gomez, Milledge, Martinez, or Gotay, but I would give them Pelfrey, especially for Cordero.
The Mets could easily sign either of these guys after the season and both are pretty young so it's not like you're paying for some burned out arm.
The one thing I don't want to see is either of these guys go to the Braves. That would be a problem as the Mets have historically had trouble against Cordero.
While the Braves aren't necessarily injured, they went from being in second place and a game and half out to being in third place in the matter of a week.
And so the trade rumor mill turns.
The Braves are rumored to be getting Octavio Dotel to add to Mark Teixeira. The Phillies added Tad Iguchi. The Mets got Luis Castillo and are looking for another arm in the bullpen.
So it should be a busy day. I hear Victor Zambrano is available.
Again, I think he'd be a perfct fit here in Queens, but I don't want to give up Carlos Gomez for someone who is prone to injury and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Plus, Gagne will almost certainly sign with antoher team so he can be a closer. Is it worth it? Tough call for Omar, but I'd bail out on this one.
I hope it's the latter. The trading deadline acquisition of Luis Castillo and some of the other rumors surrounding the Mets has allowed Glavine to focus on tonight's game instead of dealing with a ton of reporters. Yesterday's USAToday ran a great story on Tom Glavine, but other than that there's really been no hoopla surrounding this momentous achievement.
Glavine has not been the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting, but he has been a solid arm in the rotation who has been quietly adding wins to his resume. Glavine had the bad luck of joining the Mets right as they were heading back to oblivion which probably hurt his chances of winning 300 sooner. For that I do honestly feel for Glavine.
There's a lot being said about will this be the last pitcher to win 300 games in his career. If it is I will say it will be remarkable that we were able to witness the last of his class to take the mound at Shea. Glavine is not Tom Seaver or Doc Gooden, but he proves that a man who knows his craft and continues to work at it will have a stellar, Hall of Fame career.
I trust that Glavine will win tonight and the Mets will make every effort to give him an early lead to work with. But I'd much rather see Glavine not just win tonight, but win for us in October as well.
Good luck, Tommy.
Could Omar be planning a blockbuster?
I just hope he doesn't give them up for Gagne who I would love to have, but that would be too much. Unless Oswalt is involved, I'd take my chances with what the Mets have and hold on to Martinez. Although, one of the three prized outfielders, Milledge, Gomez and Martinez is certainly expendable at this point.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Pedro said he wants to get back for the Mets and their fans. "I'm a very proud man when it comes to this job,'' Pedro Martinez said today. "And my job is the most serious thing I could probably have right now apart from my family's health and my health. I feel like I owe it to this organization and to the fans.''
I'll believe when I see it and I still have no expectations for his return, but I'd be lying if I didn't say this gets me psyched up. Shea Stadium will be rocking if he returns.
Be well, Pedro. Be well.
All in all, this is a good move for the Mets. Castillo is a solid veteran and will fit right into the two spot in the lineup behind Reyes. While he doesn't steal bases like he used, he's still a pesky hitter and plays a solid second base. While I like Gotay, I'm just not sure he's ready to play everyday and provide the consistency this lineup needs, not too mention, his defense was a liability and could have hurt us in the post season (if we're fortunate to make it).
Make no mistake though, this move is more indicative of an underachieving offense that has struggled for the better part of two months now. If guys were hitting the way they are supposed to (Beltran, Delgado, Lo Duca and even Wright to an extent) the Mets could have lived with Gotay in this lineup. Unfortunately for Gotay, this team is geared to win now (and are set up well for the future) and they cannot afford to see what type of player they have in him right now. If it were last season, absolutely. This year, different story. Period.
To view Castillo's stats, click here.
Matthew Cerrone writes: "According to Dan Graziano and Ed Price at the Star-Ledger, the two minor-league players could possibly be Double-A C Drew Butera and Single-A OF Dustin Martin." (are you kidding?)
Was Omar Minaya last seen wearing a mask because he's robbing the Twins! I hope this isn't just a bad joke because if the Mets can get Luis Castillo without losing my man crush, Ruben Gotay, or any of our top pitching prospects, that's as close to a no-brainer trade as there ever was.
Make it happen Omar! Reyes & Castillo at the top of the order, and Gotay can fill in as a pinch hitter! Love it.
According to Newsday: "I will catch that game," said Lo Duca, who sat out the Mets' rain-shortened 5-0 win over the Nationals after getting an MRI. "I'll be out there."
That's our boy Lo Duca, manning up. He leads by example. That's what I like to see.
According to ESPN.com: "A preliminary agreement has been reached between the teams for Atlanta to receive Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay from Texas for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, minor league shortstop Elvis Andrus and two minor league pitchers."
Since the departure of Adam LaRoche, the Braves have been looking for a power 1st baseman and got possibly the best one available.
This trade doesn't bother me that much. I'm glad to see Saltalamacchia leave the division. I really like that kid and would love to see the Mets make a move to get him if possible. The Braves pitching is what scares me. Adding another bat to the lineup doesn't change much for me. As long as the Braves don't get another starting pitcher, I'll still feel confident that the Mets can take the Braves down the stretch.
If the Mets traded for Castillo they would have that same type of scenario with Reyes & Castillo at the top of the order. Luis Castillo is the ideal #2 hitter. He can get hits, bunt, and plays solid defense. The Twins would probably want a young pitcher and a guy like Gotay or Gomez for Castillo who is only 31.
I hate to give up Gotay, but Castillo is still putting up solid numbers and is a proven hitter/fielder. I'm torn, honestly.
I do think that the Mets needed to add a pitcher rather than a hitter to their lineup. Preferably a relief pitcher. Aaron Selee is wasting space in the bullpen, and I've lost confidence in Guillermo Mota. Don't even get me started about Blowenweiss.
I'm hoping they can do something to get Chad Cordero, but if Luis Castillo is a prospect and a Double A pitcher away from becoming a Met, I think they have to jump on it.
Did anyone notice that for the last few games Castro's intro music when he bats it is "The Imperial March" from Star Wars (a.k.a. Darth Vader's intro music). I love it. Not sure if it's a play off of Pedro Martinez's nickname for Castro, which is Bucket Head, or if it's the fact that he seems to smack the ball hard every time he swings the bat.
Castro's 400+ ft. home run yesterday was a spectacle to behold. He killed it amidst the pouring rain. On a clear day it would have hit that huge black structure that sits in center field (does that thing really serve any purpose?).
While I hate to see the Mets suffer another injury in Lo Duca, I do like the idea of El Capitan getting some more at bats. Castro is not the greatest pinch hitter. He needs to be in the flow of the game to perform.
If only he were a little bast quicker. I think he's arguably the slowest man in baseball. He's slower than Julio Franco's bat, which is saying something.
But it doesn't matter if he keeps crushing home runs and hitting with runners in scoring position. Keep it up, El Capitan.
If you don't know what a man crush is, here's a link to an article discussing the topic, but it's basically an affection from one heterosexual male to another. And Ruben Gotay has my admiration from this point further. Now my man crush has nothing to do with Gotay's looks although some may find him handsome. But it is more about what he has done for me lately (I'm very needy).
Gotay has been a consistent bat in the lineup since he was called up in June. The man is batting .350 with a slugging percentage over .500. And it seems that every time he is up and a man is on second there's a base hit to score a run. Gotay has been clutch. He has been smart at the plate.
Ok, so his fielding needs some help, but Gotay recognizes that and he's been seen working with Sandy Alomar, Sr. for hours before games working on turning the double play. That's what I love to see.
I find myself getting psyched when Gotay gets up to the plate. I even giggle a little when he gets a 2-0 count because I know that next pitch is going to be slapped into the gap for a base hit. I like Ruben Gotay batting #2 behind Reyes. It gives the Mets so many options. He can do a hit & run. He can let Reyes steal second and get him in with a slap to right-center. He can bunt. The options are endless.
I hate it when Willie Randolph bats Gotay eighth. I think it shatters his confidence, but he still performs! Bat him anywhere at this point.
Now a year from now I might look back at this and so Ruben who? But for now I'm riding this Gotay train wherever it takes me. Forget these trade talks for second basemen. Tell Damion Easley and Anderson Hernandez to find the leftovers from seat cushion day because they're going to be sitting on the bench for a long time.
My man Ruben Gotay is taking over.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Glad we were able to get a “W” today as John Maine was back to form, throwing 5 shut out innings in a rained-shortened game. Reyes was the spark plug, proving once again that when he gets on, the Mets are close to unbeatable. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for him.
Jose hit two doubles, scored two runs and stole third base. Lastings Milledge got the scoring started when he singled in Reyes for the first run of the game. David Wright added a run scoring sinlge later, while Ramon Castro hit a 420 ft. blast to center field. I’m looking forward to seeing him get more playing time.
I have to say, I really like seeing Reyes, Milledge and Wright at the top of the order. For one thing, it’s a sweet realization that these three home grown stars are playing together, not too mention, hitting right after one another, but it also makes sense. Hitting Milledge before Wright allows him to see more fastballs and get better pitches to hit while giving the Mets a pretty speedy 1-2-3 punch to kick start the game.
When Beltran eventually returns, Randolph will most likely put him back in the 3rd slot, which I don’t have a big problem with, but I just hope he doesn’t put Milledge in the 8th spot anymore. I think we’ve seen enough from Milledge that he needs to be up in the lineup. And right now, I like him batting second.
In the 7th inning, when Lo Duca pulled up lame at second base, Randolph put El Duque in to pinch run for him, and with the pitcher due up, he inexplicably chose to bat Marlon Anderson - against a lefty no less – rather than put Ramon Castro up and save Anderson for later in the game. Instead,
So what? I’d rather have a scorching hot Castro face Rauch than
It was simply an awful decision in what has become a very questionable season for Randolph, who was runner up for manager of the year last year. I’ve been a big supporter of
Saturday, July 28, 2007
It's just another woe in what has become an interesting season. Or is it?
Of course when you hear the name Beltran and injury, you think it's got to be a blow to the Mets lineup. But I beg to differ. We haven seen Beltran struggle mightily at the plate and he as been Mr. Anti-Clutch with runners in scoring position.
With Beltran out, it allows my new favorite outfielder, Everlastings Thrilledge (i.e. Lastings Milledge), to play his native position of center field. Milledge can look out of place at time in left which is a position he is still learning, but I believe that since he is more comfortable in the field it will also make him more comfortable at the plate.
Milledge is already having a great homestand batting over .400 with 2 home runs. And is there anyone on the Mets who has performed better with 2 outs and runners in scoring position? Even this Saturday afternoon against the Nationals, with Delgado on third and Castro on 1st with 2 outs, Milledge crushed the ball off the left field fence to score Delgado.
Now imagine what would have happened if Beltran was up?
Beltran is an asset to any ball club, but I think having him out and allowing Milledge to play every day in his native position may be just what the Mets need.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Does the Mets orgnaization hope Pedro returns? Of course they do. Are they putting all of their eggs in one basket as someone said recently? No, they are not. It’s not like Omar and company are sitting there so totally confident he’s going to return and be dominating again. No one has said anything remotely like that, but you can bet they’re praying for it.
Just because the Mets aren’t out there in the trade market dealing guys foolishly for mediocre pitchers doesn’t mean they think Pedro is their savior. Quite the contrary, as Omar has inquired about Oswalt and most likely Willis (although he has dropped off dramatically in the last year and a half). So what do these people expect? Do they want the Mets to trade Lastings Milledge for Jose Contreras? Will that mean they’re not relying on Pedro? Of course not, it just means they won’t make a dumb deal. Do they want Omar to come out and say "We're not confident Pedro will return this season..."?
The reality is, Omar is playing this perfectly, much like he did in the off season when he didn’t panic and throw big bucks at the Jeff Suppan’s and Jeff Weaver’s of the world. Probably the best move was the one he didn’t make and that was not signing Barry Zito to an albatross of a contract. In case anyone missed it, the Mets starting rotation is pretty darn good and if you strip away that 5th spot come post season (if we’re fortunate to make it), they have as good a rotation as anyone – even without Pedro. Keep in mind; we didn’t lose the NLCS last year because of our pitching, we lost because we didn’t hit.
Well it’s good to be home, but no so good watching tonight’s game as the Mets reverted back to their sleep walking ways. Once again, the bats were silenced by another mid-level pitcher. Mike Bacisk, a former Met, threw 7 innings and allowed only 2 runs as the Nationals evened the season series 3-3.
Even the long-awaited return of Moises Alou couldn’t help energize this bunch, although he did hit a double off the wall and lined out hard to deep left. David Wright looked really clueless, or rather tired as he went 0-3 with a strikeout and a feeble ground out with, yet again, men on base. I love David but every time I see his stats flashed on the screen, I’m amazed he only has 62 RBIs.
The Jorge Sosa honeymoon is just about over. After a surprisingly good start at 6-1, Sosa is 1-5, with a terrible ERA. He is just serving the ball up similar to what BP looks like for hitters. Maybe he gets one more start but I wouldn’t be surprised if Pelfrey takes over that slot until Pedro returns (fingers crossed).
So with the home stand off to another slow start, it is important for the Mets to win at least 2 of the next 3 in order to save face and have a winning home stand. And just for the record, going 4-3 against
Let me be frank with you. I wanted to trade Lastings Milledge last year for Barry Zito. I would have done it a second. But now Thrilledge is causing me to reconsider.
This year Milledge is batting a respectable .262, but what gets me is his slugging percentage is .452. At this point I wouldn't mind seeing Milledge bat 5th or 6th in the lineup because he tends to have a knack for getting hits with runners on base.
Sure he's a little cocky and maybe he should calm down since he's really just a rookie, but at this point that's out the window. Willie Randolph might not treat him like one of his top players, but Milledge is certainly performing like one.
It makes me think of the day when Thrilledge and Gomez are at the corners of the outfield. Keep up the energy Everlastings Thrilledge. We'll need it.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
While I hate the Phillies, I have great respect for Chase Utley and admire the way he plays the game. This is a huge loss for the Phillies. The Mets need to take advantage and create some daylight.
To read more, click here.
Message to Omar: Get two quality arms in this pen or else we will rue the day come October that we did not upgrade when we had the chance. I cannot stress this enough, we need better arms out there come this post season, if we are fortunate enough to be in it.
By the way, I really liked Joe Smith. I’m sure we’ll see him again this year.
Ok, if an inconsistent two months of baseball doesn't have me nervous enough, this deal does. If the Braves pull this off and add a bat like Teixeira's, the Mets are going to have a serious contender on their hands. He would be the perfect fit for that organization and something tells me it's going to happen, especially since Saltamacchia is expendable because they have McCann behind the dish.
Side note to this story: The Braves have a left-handed pitching prospect named lefty Jo-Jo Reyes.
Hale writes, "The Mets believe Belliard's the best offense-defense combination as they try to replace Jose Valentin. . ." What!?!?!?!
I refuse to believe this. You mean to tell me Ronnie Belliard is a better option that Mark Loretta or just sticking with Ruben Gotay? Are you on crack?
Don't recite to me Belliard's numbers. Yes, his stats are good for this year, but I'm not buying that he's the right mix for this ballclub. I'd rather stick with Gotay, give him another 100 at bats, than trading for an over-priced Belliard.
Not to mention the fact that my wife would refuse to watch another Mets game. Every game of the NLCS last year, my wife would ask me, "Who's that guy sticking out his tongue like a lizard? What's his problem? He's gross."
And honestly, I have to agree with her.
I'm chalking this up to just another notch in the rumor mill because I'd get too upset if it wasn't.
After that Pittsburgh scored a couple in the 7th to secure the win. Tough outing for Perez who was stellar in the first 5 innings retiring 11 in a row at one point.
I hate these kind of games. Not only did you lose to the Pirates, but you lost after 2 dominating nights. I do love the way the Mets are manufacturing runs lately. This scenario in the first inning shows just how much importance Jose Reyes plays in the Mets lineup. The Mets took the leadin the first inning when Reyes led off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wright. That's beautiful baseball.
But I tip my hat to Nady who I felt really bad for last year, getting trade from a title contender to a bottom feeder. When the Mets traded Mike Cameron for him, I remember thinking, "Who in the world is this Nady guy?" But after watching him play for the Mets and Pirates I have come to really like how he plays. And it might be just me but he seems like a really nice guy off the field too.
Enjoy your moment Xavier Nady. Now the Mets need to start up again with the Nationals tomorrow. No more losses allowed on this home stand.
Nobody messes with Mike Piazza and gets away with it. NOBODY.
I wonder if he's available before the trading deadline? How sweet would that be to add Piazza to the roster for a playoff run. You think the A's want Ricky Ledee back?
Here we go again. When Carlos Beltran gets a minor injury it's like a validation for him to not perform. He's got something he gain blame his swing on, and it's often a minor injury that he balloons into needing a week off.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying he's not hurt. He probably is, but this makes me wonder about his performance the rest of the season. Some have speculated that he's been injured the entire season and that's why his numbers are down. I disagree because I've seen him track down more fly balls this year than any other and he doesn't look hurt in the field, just at the plate.
Between Alou, Chavez, Gomez, Beltran, & Gumby (Green) the Mets outfield could fill up an entire hospital wing. I hope Beltran is able to get back on track quickly, but it makes me uncomfortable to think about his performance heading into August.
This just in: Lastings Milledge is a showboat. He likes to mix in a celebratory move & groove when he does something good…or when his teammate hits a home run, and that doesn’t sit well opposing teams. For the second time in as many nights, Milledge was drilled by a Pirates pitcher for acting what his manager thought “…a little overzealous.”
The fact is, if the guy produces I don’t care. I don’t mind guys if they talk the talk as long as they can walk the walk. And so far, Milledge has been doing just that, which is perfectly fine with me. Play hard, give it 100% out there on the field, and we’ll love ya for it. He can be like Jeremy Shockey in that way; He’s the kind of player you hate on the other team, but you’d love to have him on yours. And I’m glad we have him.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I love this kind of stuff and I'm jealous that I didn't think of doing this first.
It seems there's a never ending stream of possible trades and what ifs surrounding the Mets almost every year. But you know what? 99% of them are pure speculation or just rumors.
Need an example? I present to you the 2006 trade of Xavier Nady for Roberto Hernandez & Oliver Perez. Do you remember ever hearing anything about that trade? I sure don't. The Mets traded a guy who had been solid all year for an aging veteran and youngster who had fallen off the radar.
Was it a great trade? Turned out to be very beneficial to the Mets in the fact that Hernandez pitched well down the stretch and Oliver Perez has been the surprise of the century (although I would love to still have Nady in right field these days). But the thing is the real trades go under the radar until it actually happens.
That doesn't make trade rumors any less fun, but I've got to ground myself in some reality. Like I can't go on believing that Moises Alou will actually play baseball again. Can I?
I was truly at a loss for words after reading this article. The main reason being that it came from a PHILADELPHIA paper. I fear for this guy's life if he goes to Citizens Bank Park in the coming week.
But he laid out the facts and as a Mets Lifer, I was surprised at how similar the performance of this year's team compares to last year. At this point last year the Mets had only won 3 more games than they have this year. Of course the Mets had an 11.5 game lead, but that was because every other NL East team was under .500.
I never thought I'd feel better after reading an article from a Phillies' beat reporter, but I do.
It appears that during a rehab start with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Alou swung the bat and tweaked something in his shoulder (I told you to take your Centrum Silver). So Alou didn't want to rush back and injure himself even more (i.e. hypochondriac).
The real question mark for the Mets is they need to know if Alou is going to be able to play for the rest of the season before the trade deadline in case they have a deal in mind to pick up an extra bat.
I can't help it, but Moises Alou is starting to remind me of Samuel L. Jackson's character from the movie Unbreakable (if you haven't seen the movie, go to Blockbuster right now and rent it). Jackson's character, Elijah Price, has a severe case of brittle bone disease so he gets the name "Mr. Glass" from the kids who tease him.
Moises Alou is our Mr. Glass.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
There is so much detail in that post it's hard to take it all in, but it does get me geared up for some baseball against a former great opponent turned bottom dweller.
Although it is the Pirates, they're still throwing their top three hurlers at the Mets in Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, and Paul Maholm. Ok, so it's not Maddux, Smoltz, & Hudson.
I know I've said it before, but it's important to reiterate it. You have to beat the teams you're suppose to beat in order to have a successful season. This series is a perfect example of that point.
Let's separate the men from the boys. Lets Go Mets.
The answer is none of those and all of them. The real need for the Mets is a winning streak.
Now I'm not talking about those 3 or 4 game winning streaks. I'm talking about a 6 or 7 game winning streak, or something like winning 15 out of your last 18. That's what the Mets need, and now is the perfect time to do it.
Last year it was during a West coast swing that the Mets rattled off a 10 game winning streak in route to a dominating regular season. With the Pirates and Nationals visiting Shea, these are the series that can steamroll into a greater winning streak.
The Braves, Phillies and Marlins are all within striking distance, but none of them have had a winning streak like what I'm talking about. The first team that rattles of a long win streak will be the one poised to take the lead down the stretch.
Winning is contagious, and it does wonders for clubhouse morale. Let's start tonight.
David Wright is a marketable commodity, but I think it's his personality more than his talent that makes him so. When on DavidWrightOrWrong.com you get to play a little trivia game that asks you to answer as if you were David Wright and see if you answers match his.
There are some hilarious questions like "Would David Wright rather wear wet underwear or wet socks?" or "Does David Wright prefer blondes, brunettes or redheads?" The great part is it doesn't just give you David Wright's answer, but actually shows a video with David Wright explaining his response.
I have to tip my hat to Vitamin Water for putting this together. They combine videos of Wright with videos of fans to make an entertaining website. You won't be disappointed.
There's an interesting take on "Mets Prospects" and we're reminded of the fact that Anderson Hernandez was once considered a better prospect than Robinson Canoe.
Sorry, I just fell off my chair.
Other second base options include former Met, Ty Wigginton, or San Fran's Ray Durham.
Personally, I was sad to see Ty Wigginton go a couple years ago, but I'm not sure he's the type of player I'd trade for. At this point I'm ready to stick with Gotay and bring in Anderson Hernandez or Damion Easley as defensive replacements. I'm still pulling for a Mark Loretta deal, but other than that Iguchi, Wigginton & Durham are not guys I'd want to deal prospects for.
So Ruben Gotay, get to Shea early and start practicing some fielding drills and turning double plays. It's your starting spot to lose.
The Mets are a team of constant sorrow this year. You'd think we were in last place, but even atop the NL East standings there are times of trouble and disappointment. As much as Jorge Sosa has helped the team this year, I'm anxious for him to step aside and see the return of an old friend.
Pedro pitched a simulated game yesterday and is scheduled to begin his rehab starts in the minors in the coming week. So if my calculations are correct, assuming he spends a month rehabbing, he'll be back at Shea around August 23rd.
That's a little later than they were projecting for most of this season, but it is just in time for the home stretch in September. But by then will it be too late? Let's say the Mets don't pick up another pitcher before the trading deadline because they are awaiting Pedro's return. What happens if he's not up to par? I guess we're stuck with Jorge Sosa, Mike Pelfrey or Dave Williams (please, no Vargas).
It's a chance the Mets are taking and it may work out. Even still, I'm anxious to see Pedro in the dugout and on the mound.
I guess even a little Pedro is better than a lot of Sosa.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Chad Cordero is on the list as well. Although he has spent his career with the bottom dwelling Nationals, it seems he is lights out against the Mets. So if you can't beat him should you have him join you?
Rumors are swirling that the Mets are interested in acquiring Chad Cordero from the Nationals to help secure their bullpen. Now Cordero has been the marquee closer for the Nationals, but if he were with the Mets he'd be an 8th inning guy. The Nationals would want cheap, young talent in return so you're probably looking at a Milledge plus a Pelfrey or Heilman.
I hate Cordero for the sole fact that he doesn't bend the bill of his cap, but his pitching is solid. However, he's never played in anything remotely close to a big game while with the Nationals and he doesn't seem like the "nerves of steel" type of relief pitcher that you'd like to see, especially in the Big Apple.
Heilman teased us with a lights out performance yesterday, but I still need more proof that he's the 8th inning guy we want. If we didn't have to give up Milledge, I'd be more inclined to look at Cordero, but he does have some nasty stuff.
Moises Alou come play left field.
We trust you are better
And still have a bat you can wield.
We've missed your presence
In the middle of the order.
But we know arthritis can be tough,
And memory is lost as you get older.
We'll see you at Shea
In just another few days
And we hope you remember
That's it left field you play.
So welcome back, OLD friend Alou
Now Milledge & Marlon will have nothing to do.
But it's okay, for RBIs are what we want,
And you're right hand bat will help us win a few.
Lesson #1 - 300 wins is not guaranteed for Glavine
How embarrassing would that be? But after this week's pitching I can't discount anything. Glavine to me was always a second half pitcher. I don't know if it's anxiety, old age, or a lack of concentration but he needs to start winning. Soon.
Lesson #2 - David Wright likes 'em low, not high.
David Wright is the Atlas of this ball club. He puts the team on his shoulders and carries them to victory. But he's got to learn to hit the high fastball or just lay off it. Pitchers are burning him up in the zone. He's got the bat speed to hit it so I'm not sure why he's having problems. On the other hand, Wright is hitting balls in the dirt 400 ft. On at least 3 occasions Wright, pulled a Tiger Woods and tee'd a ball for a base hit that would have hit the plate.
Lesson #3 - Shawn Green should have his glove taken away from him.
This guy should not be allowed to pick up a glove in a close game. He's botched plenty of fly balls in right field this year, but yesterday took the cake. When he replace Delgado at 1st base and dropped Billy Wagner's perfect pickoff throw, I just about threw my remote through the TV. I could have sworn that was the game. Somebody buy this guy the Fred McGriff baseball training videos.
Lesson #4 - Billy Wagner can be clutch.
I'll be honest with you. I thought Billy was going to give up a game winning home run to Russell Martin in the 10th. After Juan Pierre got on and Green botched the pickoff, I thought it was over. But man did Wagner prove me wrong. He struck out the side to end the game with runners on second and third. After a couple walks, a wild pitch, and facing the Dodgers biggest clutch bat, Billy Wagner settled down and got the job done. That's what you want from a closer.
Lesson #5 - Chip Ambres is more clutch than Beltran & Delgado.
I know you're headed back down to Triple A, but man did you pull through yesterday. I tip my hat to you and you're the first guy named "Chip" that I think I've ever admired. Hope to see you in September.
“Having Carlos Beltrán and Tom Glavine come up to me and say thanks for picking us up — that’s a great feeling and one that I’ll always remember,” Ambres said.
Mets fans will remember as well, Chip. Let's hope we see you during September call-ups so we can give you your righful Shea Stadium ovation. Thanks for the huge "W".
Sunday, July 22, 2007
So, attending a business conference in Vancouver, I not only find myself 3,000 miles away from Shea, but I have to rely entirely on my blackberry to get the pitch-by-pitch, which is really slow because you have to refresh it every few seconds just to see the count change. Needless to say, it was an odd feeling tracking Sunday’s game “live” via this pitch-by-pitch mode. The last inning was agonizing. I kept hitting “refresh” over and over to see the outcome, and when the score changed from 4 to 5, I was pumping a fist…to what amounted to be text on a screen. For me, Chip Ambres is merely a name on the screen, as I don’t really know what he looks like. But what I do know is that he came through with a huge hit and helped propel us to a tremendous victory. Make no mistake, this win is big. Even all the way out here in Vancouver, I feel good.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
After you check out the commercial, go visit Actober.com a promotional site run by Major League Baseball. There are some great postseason videos on there you can download and watch as well as some contests and whole bunch of content.
As I marketing guy I really appreciate the unique approach MLB is taking to promote the postseason in JULY! Talk about lead time. Still the Dane Cook MLB commercial is well done, and I still get chills watching Endy Chavez make "The Catch."
This Mets Lifer tips his hat to MLB for using a promotion to get people energetic about the upcoming playoffs while providing an entertaining site for fans.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I do feel that it's important to have a standard lineup to go with especially down the home stretch of the season. Batters get in a groove and I think a team clicks better when there's some standard structure to the lineup. Of course there will be days when substitutes are made or it's a day game after a night game, but here I propose what the "every day" starting lineup should be between now and the end of the season:
1. Jose Reyes - easiest selection to make; no brainer
2. Ruben Gotay - until he cools off I like him as a table setter up top
3. Carlos Beltran - part of me wants to drop him in the order, but he should stay
4. David Wright - he's reprising the role of Mike Piazza in 1999, he's going to carry this team
5. Carlos Delgado - I like the way he's starting to swing the bat
6. Moises Alou - if he's healthy, he could knock in 50 RBIs from this spot before the season is over
7. Shawn Green - lefty, righty, lefty, righty, lefty
8. Paul Lo Duca - his at bats are shaky compared to last season, still he's potent #8 hitter.
The only thing I'd like to see and Bryan and I were talking about it this morning is getting Ramon Castro some more at bats. I'd plug him in the 6 or 7 spot and move some other people around when he's in the lineup. Ramon Castro is on a hot streak right now and I think he needs to start playing at least 2-3 games a week. If he starts to falter, you can relegate him back to the bench, but he's too good right now to be riding the pine.
You got all that Willie Randolph? Great, now let's go do it.
Nah, I don't think so either, but some people will not let this trade rumor die. David Lennon of Newsday wrote an article this morning asking if it's time to consider a trade for Sammy Sosa. Last time these talks started was back in 2005 and the thought was to make Sammy a major component of the Mets lineup.
Today, Sammy Sosa would just be a side act and could probably be gotten at a decent price.
I still say no to Mr. Sosa. With Alou hopefully returning, we'll have the right handed bat we need in the middle of the lineup. And let's face it, this is still not the Sosa of 1998 so there's no way I'm giving up young talent to get him.
Other Mets rumors include a continued pursuit for Jermaine Dye, which I'm not crazy about either. I just don't think he's a corner outfielder to build on for the future, and I'd rather see Milledge, Beltran, and Gomez as an outfield for next season.
One last rumor has the Mets taking a chance on a veteran starter who was a former Cy Young Award winner just coming off a season where he hardly played.
That's right, Pedro is coming back. Let's see if he's still got the stuff. After Glavine's performance last night, we need it.
I believe I may have offended you yesterday in one of my posts that was titled, Why is Marlon Anderson on the Mets? I noted how you were unemployed for the past month and not playing that well to begin with. I also highlighted the fact that the Mets are now carrying 37 second basemen on their roster so I wasn't sure why we needed another one.
Then I turned on the game last night and almost passed out when I saw you were not only starting in left field (man, does Willie have something against Milledge?), but you were batting second in the order (what?).
But I am here to say that I was wrong (for today). You went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI's and a run scored. You got on base when it counted and showed some aggressiveness at the plate. I was absolutely wrong to compare you to David Newhan and for that I apologize.
I hope your anger with me continues to improve your presence at the plate, and if you're hitting prowess starts to falter in the coming weeks I'll be sure to write a scathing post questioning your manhood just to perk you up for a great performance.
Dave, Mets Lifer
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Then, as the show ended, I checked the game just out of curiosity and saw Delgado’s home run. Now I’m pretty sleepy at this point, but I talked myself into the old “wait one more inning” approach. Watch the 8th and then call it a night. I still didn’t have any expectations for them to win, so I was fairly content at this point. But you know when you watch games, you start to talk to yourself about who’s coming up; start thinking, if he could get on, and if he can somehow work out a walk…
Next thing you know, Wright hits as big of a home run as they have had all season – a shot that this team needed in the worst way – and I am hooked right back in. Adrenaline is flowing, and I’m all psyched up, pumping fist in the air (you know you did too), the whole nine yards. And I started thinking (maybe talking) to myself, this is the game we needed, we’ve been waiting for this one, this is going to propel us to the NL East, we’re finally going to get out of this funk…yudda, yudda, yudda…you know how it is. You were there doing the same thing. That’s what Met Lifers do. Man, was I fired up after that blast.
Then we blow it in the very next inning, wind taken right out of our sails, and just like that – poof - the game is over, we lose. And I have to go to bed feeling all ticked off, thinking about every play, about that first inning of poor fielding, about Milledge just missing that pitch to end the game, about why Randolph didn’t bring in Feliciano earlier, all of it, over and over…
Do we really need another second baseman? We have Gotay who's batting an insane .337 and desperately needs more at bats. Then we have Jose Valentin who is struggling a bit because of injuries. Damion Easley who has lost his playing time because of Gotay's performance. So why do we need another second baseman?
It's not like Marlon Anderson was taring it up in the minors or for the Dodgers. I guess he can play some outfield, but do we really feel he's better than Newhan? This move just boggles me. I hope it works out for the best, but I just don't see it right now.
The Good: Thank you David Wright for being the first veteran player since May to come through in the clutch with a big hit. Wright's home run was huge for this struggling lineup. Not only were there runners in scoring position, but it came late in the game when it was now or never to comeback and fight for a win. Let's hope it's contagious.
The Bad: The first inning was just ugly. Carlos Delgado not only can't perform at the plate, but he can't play the field now? His botched play at first should have been a double play. Instead it forced John Maine into a 30 pitch first inning and let up 2 runs. Now Maine was far from perfect last night, but it makes a difference in how the game plays out when you can get through those first couple innings unscathed.
The Ugly: The bottom of the 8th. From the highest high to the lowest low in the matter of one at bat. Joe Smith has been solid for us this year, but gave up the game winning home run in the very next at bat after the game tying top of the 8th. The bullpen last year was lights out. This year I've lost all confidence, except for maybe Wagner.
It's on to Los Angeles so let the sleepless nights continue.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For me, the greatest game I ever saw – and I hate to admit this – was Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, Red Sox vs. Yanks; Aaron Boone’s walk off home run in the 11th. I was in attendance that night with my brother who is a big Yankees fan. I, of course, was quietly rooting for the Red Sox and was really looking forward to watching them finally defeat their long-time nemesis. Plus, it was Clemens against Pedro!
I remember the crowd was uneasy that night, especially after the Sox knocked Clemens out of the game in the 4th. He got hammered, and I was loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Clemens stink it up in that big of a game. On the other side, Pedro was dominating, fooling hitters all night.
I’ll never forget this old man, dressed sharply in a suit with a classy coat and a Boston Red Sox cap on his head. He was with his son, mid-40’s or so and I kept noticing how nervous the old man looked, how unconfident he was even with a 4 run lead and the greatest right handed pitcher of our generation on the mound. He had been around a long time and knew all too well about Red Sox history and the Curse. At one point, he and his son got up to go the rest room, or something, and the Yankees fans were all over him calling him all kids of names you could imagine. I felt bad for him and it made me want the Sox to win even more.
Jason Juicin’ Giambi remarkably - or not so remarkably, when you have the “stuff” flowing through your veins – hit two home runs off Pedro and kept the Yanks’ hopes alive. Then on a rally in the 8th (and a controversial decision by Grady Little to leave a tiring Pedro in the game) the Yanks tied the game and went on to the World Series after the legendary Boone home run.
And I can still remember that old man walking up those steps with glazed eyes, head down, in disbelief. Red Sox lost again.
What was the greatest game you ever saw? Post it below.
While we’re on the subject of AARP players (see previous post), I’d like to give a big shout out to the ever-youthful El Duque. Just when we needed a big-time pitching performance, he delivered a masterful game, baffling hitters all night, allowing only 2 hits in 7 innings. Having apparently discovered the fountain of youth, El Duque blazed to his second stolen base in as many games, and scored a run.
Hernandez is now 6-4 with a sparkling 2.96 ERA. This starting rotation has been terrific all season and it's even more incredible when you consider how Omar acquired three of the five guys.
2). Turned around and traded an awful Julio to the Diamandbacks for El Duque
3). Traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and another "throw in" Oliver Perez
Not too bad, Omar. Not too bad.
(read: Dave’s already-classic post)
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
As far as I’m concerned, Moises Alou cannot return soon enough. This putrid offense is just disgusting to watch and I’m actually bored with it. It’s not that Alou is any kind of powerhouse but he is a prolific RBI guy, and he certainly hits with men on base, which is more than I could say for a few guys on this team. And I’m tired of seeing Lo Duca or Green batting sixth. They don't even have 60 RBIs between them.
Look at it this way, if Alou were playing for another team right now and was available in a trade, he’d be the perfect fit for this team. Add Pedro to the mix in August, and you have yourself the two best acquisitions without actually having to give up anyone.
Unfortunately, Alou’s arrival could signal another departure for Lastings Milledge, who’s played well and exhibits an enthusiasm for the game that the rest of the team lacks (outside of Reyes). My hope is that they stick with Milledge, let him play everyday, and rotate days off between Green and Alou.
But as Dave and I have mentioned a hundred times in this blog, if the big guns do not produce, we will not go anywhere this season.
According to post game interviews, Willie Randolph called a hit and run, but Reyes failed to swing so Gotay was left on his own to try and steal second.
Reyes admitted he "froze" at the plate on that hit and run play. The pitch was the most perfect fastball down the middle, and Reyes just looked at it.
This is just weird because Reyes is a free swinger. In an at bat earlier he swung at a pitch in the dirt and then two pitches way off the plate to strike out. But when he sees a perfect strike he doesn't know what to do? Call it brain freeze if you want, but whatever it is just adds to the Mets woes at the plate.
I do like the idea that Willie Randolph is calling some hit and runs more often. He hardly ever calls them so hopefully he's trying to will his team out of this slump by manufacturing some runs.
We all know we need some runs.
If you asked me which pitcher on the Padres I would want to face, the answer would easily be David Wells. The crazy thing is the hits were in abundance last night. Every inning it seemed the Mets had runners on base. But no one could score.
The most painful moment of the night came in the top of the 7th. Ruben Gotay beat out an infield single with two outs and the score 2-1. With a 3-1 count to Reyes, Gotay tries to steal second and gets thrown out. I have two problems with this play. First, Reyes should have swung at the pitch. It was the meatball to beat all meatballs down the middle of the plate, but Reyes looked at it like it was the worst pitch he had ever seen.
Second, why is Gotay running? I like the aggressiveness, but it's not like you're trying to break up a double play. There's 2 outs! You get caught, rally over. Chance blown. Not sure if Gotay ran on his own or if it was called from the bench, but either way it was a bad move.
Feliciano pitched well in relief, but had some bad breaks not go his way. I can't even talk about Heilman any more. What's happened to this guy?
Lady luck continued to shine on the Mets as every other NL East team lost so the Mets maintained their slim lead on the Braves.
The bad news is the Mets face Peavy and Maddux in the next two games. WAKE UP BATS! PLEASE!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Playing 4 against the Padres and 3 against LA again (thank you schedule makers), it won’t be easy. They are two of the best teams in the NL and as Dave posted earlier today, West Coast trips historically are painful for the Mets.
So far the formula for the Mets has been great starting pitching and a resurgent bullpen, who by the way has allowed only 1 run in their last 30 innings. If they want to repeat as division champs again, the bats will have to heat up in Sunny California. We’ve waited long enough. The time to unload is now.
The feeling is that Ken Griffey, Jr. would be willing to waive his no trade clause if he was being sent to a contender. He's already said he would be willing to be traded to the Braves (please, no) or the Padres (move to right field again, Mike Cameron).
Last thing I want to see is Griffey, Jr. in a Braves uniform. With Andruw Jones finally getting his act together and Chipper "Larry" Jones having another great season, Griffey's bat would be a force in that lineup.
But should the Mets get Griffey, Jr? Word is that they'd have to give up an out field prospect like Gomez or Milledge, plus a pitching prospect, like Pelfrey or Humber. All that for a 37 year old outfielder who is second only to Moises Alou in brittleness and who is a free agent in another year?
My feeling is I don't want him. Milledge and Gomez are both showing too much promise to be traded for a bat-for-hire. Now trade them for a stellar starting pitcher? That I'd do. But even though Griffey, Jr. is playing exceptionally well, I don't think we can give up either of those guys for him.
As far as other trade rumors, any trade with the White Sox appears to be dead. I'm still waiting for Manny Ramirez to the Mets trades to heat up again. Or at least an Oakland A's want Lastings Milledge trade to start a little buzz. One guy I'd be interested in is Dan Haren.
Only a few weeks left til the trading deadline!
It seems that every time David Wright steps up to the plate, he's down 0-2 after the first two pitches.
Now last year, I wouldn't mind it so much as he was one of the top batters in the majors with 2 strikes. But I've seen him strikeout way too much already this season that he needs to start getting ahead in the count.
I like that Wright is swinging at some first pitch fastballs. Keith Hernandez has been talking about this in the booth that the Mets' hitters (ahem Beltran, Delgado) need to start looking for a first pitch fastball and make pitchers pay for throwing heat on the first pitch. The problem with Wright is that if he swings at the first pitch, he almost always takes the second pitch. And vice versa is true.
Wright has a 6 game hitting streak going for him which is good, but he's still struggling to get big hits with runners on base. Let's hope now that Howard Johnson is the hitting coach, he can help tutor Wright just as he did in the minors.
We know we need David Wright to be big in the second half if this team is going to go anywhere in the postseason.