Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day Thoughts

Horrendous Umpiring:

Hanley Ramirez struck out before walking ahead of Willingham's eventual HR in the 4th. Reyes was clearly safe when attempting the steal in the 6th. Santana threw at least 5 pitches where an expletive flew out of my mouth in between "where the" and "was that" - and if I remember correctly 2 or 3 of those times Keith, Gary, and Ron agreed. For those keeping score at home, that's one SB for the 2B umpire and 1 H, 1BB, 2ER for the HP umpire. This sport can't get replay fast enough.


Having not watched a ton of spring games, all I can say is that his changeup is as good as advertised. The K of Ramirez in the 5th was one of those outs that the Mets didn't get down the stretch last year - it was nice to see.

The Bullpen:

Matt Wise looked underwhelming but his changeup does seem like it could be a great pitch for a one-inning guy. Willie still loves the Show - and I still strongly dislike Willie.

Bottom Line:


The One Thing I Miss About Captain Red Ass

Dear Brian Schneider,

This is a hockey goalie's mask:

This is a catcher's mask:

Please make the appropriate adjustments. Thank you.

Friday, March 28, 2008

This Team Makes No Sense

Put Ruben Gotay on waivers. Watch Ruben Gotay get claimed by the Braves. .318 against RHP - a great bat to have coming off the bench, a great bat to be able to fill in for the middle infielders. A Brave. An Atlanta Brave.

I don't think anyone expected Gotay to be a .296 hitter again, but he was a young player that could come in off the bench and fill in and hit against righties - how is he not on the Opening Day roster?

PECOTA's got him at .261/.329/.408 for 2008. His probable replacement (if he ever gets healthy) is Jose Valentin. PECOTA's got Valentin at .240/.312/.395. And to make it even better, Gotay actually wanted to be on this team.

Another probable replacement will be (again if he ever gets healthy) Damion ".252/.326/.417 in 2008" Easley.

Don't get me wrong. I love 'Stache and I love Easley - but Gotay deserved to be on this team, especially after what he did last season. Yes, he couldn't hit lefties. Yes, he didn't play an OF spot. But with Castillo at 2B who would need a rest probably once a week, what's the problem with having Gotay in there to start against RHP?

To exacerbate the problem, we all know that 'Stache can't hit lefties either - as evidenced by his .211 BA in 2006 and .226 in 2007 (as compared to .288 and .275 against RHP respectively). It would be cheaper - and probably safer - to keep Gotay on to platoon with Easley.

I'll be scratching my head if anyone needs me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sweet Hypocrisy

Image swiped from Brooklyn Met Fan

I love it when Yankee fans don't get what they want and then proclaim that they never wanted it. From a Bugs & Cranks post entitled: Watching the Yanks is Better Than Watching Your Team:
7. Johan Santana is not a Yankee. That makes the Yankees less a group of mercenaries, and more a team with younger, unproven pitchers whom we should enjoy watching develop.
Are you fucking kidding me? As soon as the proposed deal was no longer Hughes and Kennedy almost every Yankee fan and their mother (and their frightening looking owner-spawn) this side of Brian Cashman wanted the deal done.

Now Santana is a "mercenary" and the Yankees are the epitome of a youth movement. But before you can even clean the blood up that was dripping out of your eyeballs from reading that bullshit, the author pulls out this masterpiece:
9. Even if the team sucks this year, many contracts are expiring and I know the Yankees will have the money to go out and pursue CC Sabathia, Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish and first baseman Mark Teixiera for 2009.
Hold on, let me get this straight. You're happy the Yankees didn't get Santana because he's a "mercenary" and you're thrilled about the youth movement -- but, if they suck this year you can go out and sign big names to fill the holes. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

20 seconds ago you wrote that you're happy that the Yankees are mercenary free and without skipping a beat you advocate, wait for it, signing a mercenary.

Pure unabashed brilliance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A (Not So) Tough Decision

Yesterday, Willie Randolph announced his starting rotation. This news isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds because Willie didn't really announce anything. He told everyone that he had a solid front 4 and no fifth starter - but that's no problem because the Mets don't even need a fifth starter until the third week of the season!

Why there is even a discussion about the fifth starter spot is a mystery to me. There is a 24-year-old that throws 95 and a 63-year-old that topped out at 81 in his first simulated start. They both got knocked around - Pelfrey to the tune of an 8.31 ERA so far this spring and El Duque 5 runs in 3 innings.

Willie had this to say: “[Pelfrey and Duque] didn’t step up and distinguish themselves.’’

I think everyone can agree on that point - but what they can't agree on is why Duque is in the discussion. He has pitched in one live game, he got smacked around, and the season starts in a week. Start the season with a 4-man rotation and bring up Pelfrey as soon as you need a fifth starter. As for Duque, throw him in the bullpen or trade him I don't particularly care.

All Duque has done the past two seasons is get hurt at big times and leave this team with a gaping hole in the rotation. Pelfrey has shown flashes of brilliance (and admittedly flashes of mediocrity as well) and deserves a spot - at least to start the season. If it's May 15th and Pelfrey is routinely getting knocked around then we can get worried and start blasting the lack of starting pitching depth. As of right now though, Pelfrey needs to start.

Is he the next Doc? I think we've established that he isn't. But we need to find out if he's an upgraded cog in Generation K 2.0 or if he's someone that can contribute to this team now. Not including him in the Santana deal makes no sense of he's not going to get a chance to play and prove himself. There's nothing left to learn at AAA - call the Professor and get Pelfrey suited up, the season starts in 7 days.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Business Related Side Note

As a huge baseball fan and notsomuch football fan I'm constantly reminded how football is America's "New Pastime" and how nobody cares about baseball anymore. I readily conceded that point to football junkies on a regular basis. So, you could imagine that I found this interesting. From Rany on the Royals (courtesy of bizofbaseball):
The combined revenue of all 30 MLB teams last season was $6.075 billion. By comparison, the NFL was at $6.3 billion, and several projections are forecasting that MLB will overtake the NFL in revenue in 2008. Furthermore, as Maury points out, the MLB Network hits the airwaves in a year, and as baseball has already very sensibly worked out contracts with the major cable and satellite providers to ensure most of the country will have access (unlike, say, the NFL Network), there’s likely to be a further bump in revenue over the next few years.
Jazayerli goes on to point out that the MLB Network will have daily viewer ship and breaking highlights for 6 months along with the fact that only the diehardiest of diehards want to watch 6 gours of the combine or the NFL Network in the offseason. These are generally good points all around, although I have to admit I enjoy watching the random hour-long specials on the NFL Network of the 1994 Cincinnati Bengals.

It appears that baseball is as healthy as its ever been -- steroids or no steroids. And it's nice to see.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Farewell Professor Reyes

Adam Rubin reports today that Jose Reyes is officially retiring from Professor Reyes' Spanish Academy. We have reached a crossroads my friends. Today truly marks the end of another great era in Mets History.

Professor Reyes, you will be missed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't Fuck With Marty

Would you insult this man's baseball intelligence? You probably should, but that's not why we're here today. We're here to ask why he is such a d-bag in responding to mailbag questions that even hint at using stats as a way of looking at players.

I understand that 99.99999% of the emails that this guy receives are something along the lines of "Yo Marty, you think the Mets can trade Schneider and Pelfrey to the Tribe for C.C. and Victor Martinez - Love, Sal from Brooklyn," but Marty seems to be getting a tad feisty these past couple of mailbags.

In his latest mailbag, Marty Noble graces our feeble minds with his heightened baseball knowledge by tossing this "answer" out there.

Brian Schneider's statistics suggest he has a strong preference against batting eighth in the order. Between 2005-07, Schneider has batted .279 (.768 OPS) in 559 at-bats in the seven-hole but only .220 (.598 OPS) in 409 at-bats batting eighth.

To put it in perspective, that is the difference between Brian McCann and Jason Kendall. The trend holds for each of the past three years; Schneider's OPS has been at least 140 points higher in the seven-hole each year. Any chance the Mets bat Schneider higher due to his history of not producing at the bottom of the order?
-- Kevin K., Washington. D.C.

Put away the calculator for a moment and understand that a batter's place in the order is at least partially a function of what other players do well and poorly. Schneider is not going to bat first, third, fourth or fifth for the Mets. The more plate appearances available to players with higher on-base percentages, the more often the batting order turns over and the more scoring opportunities develop. And Schenider isn't an on-base guy no matter where he bats.

That said and with all due respect to the your number crunching, how many players do you suppose would hit more productively batting eighth with the pitcher behind them than batting elsewhere? And do you suppose the player the Mets would bat eighth in place of Schneider wouldn't be similarly affected?

Yes Kevin K, put away the calculator. Such machines frighten and confuse Marty. Notice the "I'm Marty Noble, bitch!" attitude in such phrases as: "With all due respect to your number crunching" and "do you suppose..."

I also didn't see where Kevin suggested that Schneider bat 1st, 3rd, 4th, or 5th. I only see where he suggested 7th. Based on the numbers Kevin K threw out there, this wasn't a suggestion that necessitated the holier than thou response of the great Marty Noble. A simple look at Schneider's BaseballReference page would have let Marty respond rationally by telling Kevin K that over the course of his career Schneider's splits in the 7th v. 8th hole are only .265/.244 and .725/.702 (BA and OPS). His marginally increased production could be attributed to many things, but the key point to understand is this: he can't hit either way.

I can imagine Marty on the phone dictating this acerbic response to his editor with the same smug grin on his face as in the above picture while the editor is still trying to understand why this guy doesn't just buy a goddamn computer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

And It Begins

As everyone is already well aware, Moises is out for 4-6 weeks with a hernia. Since nobody reading here missed last season, it's safe to say that we can assume that means more like 6-8 weeks. Why is this inevitable injury such a big deal? I'm glad you asked, fellow sports fans.

It's a big deal because it exposes the ridiculously laughable lack of productive corner outfielders in the organization. Fiery comments about the Lastings trade aside, it's a touch comforting to know that even without the Lastings trade we'd be stuck in the same predicament -- except Da Edge would be in RF instead of the man who currently vomits everytime he sees daylight.

Omar held a press conference today to address the "Alou situation" and claimed that there was a good chance the team would fill the hole "with someone internal right now." I'd imagine so since there's nobody left to trade besides F-Mart and Niese and I'd imagine they're both untouchable right now -- but assuming Omar does stand pat, let's take a look at what will be coming out of the LF spot for the first month and a half to two months of the season. Drumroll...

Angel Pagan: Impressive so far this spring, but underwhelming for his career. His 2008 PECOTA looks like this: .249/.313/.389. Not terrible, but not what you want from a corner outfielder. He's good defensively though!

Endy Chavez: Oh, that's right. He's injured too! We know he's great with the glove - but we also know that when he plays every day he's just not a servicable option in a corner OF spot. 2008 PECOTA: .282/.334/.362

Damion Easley: Oops! Another one bites the dust. Plus the fact that he's an infielder.

Marlon Anderson: Another IF whose holes become glaring if he plays everyday. His PECOTA looks better than Pagan's though - but perhaps not enough to offset the defensive dropoff: .264/.346/.430

Now let's take a trip down trade-some-more-prospects-for-a-quick-fix lane and examine some options that are universally regarded as "available" should Omar decide to make a deal:

Xavier Nady: Perfect fit and would love to see it - but who are we trading to get him? 2008 PECOTA: .280/.340/.470

Matt Murton: Meh. In the words of BP: "Let's be honest, Matt Murton is a good, well rounded hitter, but it looks as though he's going to peak as about a .275-EqA bat, and you can subtract a few points from that for his propensity to make boneheaded plays in the OF" PECOTA puts him around the same offensive output as Nady: .295/.359/.462

Scott Hairston: Yeah. That'll work. .258/.332/.469 - Maybe if he could replicate his .644 SLG from last season's stint with the Padres, but I doubt it considering that number was preceded by a .222/.301/.358 performance in Arizona over the first half of the season. He has had a SLG above .600 in AAA but he strikes out a ton and doesn't walk nearly enough. The verdict? Let him stay in SD and forever curse Trevor Hoffman's name.

Nelson Cruz: Find a non-die hard who even knows who he is and I'll mail you a dollar. PECOTA's got him at .256/.323/.453 for 2008. Not terrible, but not worth giving up anything to get in return.

So that's it. That is your depressing tour of what one of the "power" positions will likely look like for April and most of May 2008. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 New York Mets!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Worried Yet?

Despite all the feel good "he broke down his swing and built it back from scratch" articles, Delgado still can't catch up with an inside fastball. And he's hurt again.

El Duque's many root canals are catching up with him. He hasn't even thrown batting practice yet.

Luis Castillo may not ever play in a spring game because his knees are held together by bazooka and masking tape.

Ruben Gotay's ankle may been broken and now we have to be ready to cross our fingers that Stache can make a much speedier recovery than expected and be on the bench for Opening Day.

Filthy Sanchez had an "underwhelming" fastball when he threw on Friday and hasn't even long tossed since. The Professor says that he's "still building arm strength."

Ryan Church had his possibly anti-semitic clock rung by Marlon Anderson and has to wear sunglasses to protect his sensitive eyes from the light.

And as if it couldn't get any worse, Wally Matthews ripped off an idea from the Mets blogosphere and penned a column suggesting "funny" slogans for the Mets to adopt this season. To add insult to injury, his final "witty" suggestion is "Wake Me Up When September Ends." Way to stay on top of those pop culture references Wally...but Benigno and Screech used the song for their fantastic montage of the final day of the season's highlights.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 New York Mets!