Monday, December 31, 2007

Old Acquaintance Should, In Fact, Be Forgot

My sources are reporting that the Mets have hired respected scientists to take DNA from Endy Chavez's baseball mitt, Filthy Sanchez's goggles, and Jose Lima's Loreal to try to clone 2006. Reports say that the Mets, who are deathly afraid of what 2008 might bring, have hired the same scientists who made cats glow in the dark, so there's a chance that this could happen.


Rick Peterson says don't drink and drive on New Year's Eve ... that means YOU, Cecil.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Derek Nathaniel Bell Would Like To Wish You a Merry Christmas

"Nobody told me this was Christmas. If this is Christmas, somebody better let me know. If this is Christmas, Santa better eliminate me out of the list and go ahead and do what he's going to do with me. I ain't never been naughty and I never will. If I gotta bribe Santa with cookies, then he can give me coal. I ain't baking cookies and burning my fingers begging this Santa Claus for a gift. If it is [Christmas], then I'm going into 'Operation Red Sleigh Down.' Tell them exactly what I said. I haven't bought gifts since 1991."

***

Thanks to IMFM for the inspiration, and the picture.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by, and please have a very happy and safe holiday season.

And most of all, thanks to Derek Bell for being Derek Bell, for waiting until after the 2000 season to go into "Operation Shutdown", and for taking such an awesome picture.
Put me in coach
I'm ready to play ... today
Put me in coach
I'm ready to play, today ...
Look at me
I could be
Derek Bell


-Bastardized version of John Fogerty's Centerfield, sung by myself and my brother on the way home from Opening Day 2000, where Derek Bell was nice enough to hit a home run against San Diego.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Hex Revealed

Yesterday was a cold, crisp, lazy day with nothing to do except continue to wonder how the Mets could have blown a seven game lead with seventeen games to play.

I tried to forget about it by watching that Kevin Costner movie: JFK, but instead I was more obsessed with conspiracy theories and what not, that frantically after watching the movie, I pored through old game tapes to look for something ... anything ... that could explain what happened. Swing hitches, flawed deliveries, boxes in the dugout marked HGH ... hours and hours of nothing.

Then finally, I stumbled upon something that shed some new light. But I couldn't have seen what I thought I saw, did I? Over, and over, and over again I re-racked the tape, and it was there every time. I still can't believe it, and you're not going to either. Ready? Look below:


Jessica Simpson! I knew it!

It makes perfect sense when placed upon the backdrop of what happened to Tony Romo last week. But wanting to make sure it wasn't a one time thing, I had the crack staff go through the archives, and you're not going to believe what they found:

Holy jumpin' ... I was at that game!

I know, I was skeptical too. But I haven't even gotten to the most damning evidence yet! Check this out, before she was Tony Romo's jinx, she ruined another career:

Steroids? No ... turns out it was Jessica all along. (Rumor has it she was seen at the Mets clubhouse store last July ordering a "SANCHEZ 50" jersey.)



That's right, the last game. There she was. How else could a future hall-of-famer give up seven runs in a third of an inning?

I guess it all started with that Sports Illustrated cover:

Oh, and that Yadier Molina home run? Turns out Aaron Heilman was a touch distracted.

No, I don't know how she got in front of the fence either ... nor do I know how she got that whipped cream past Shea's tight security. It must be part of her evil plan.

(Editor's Disclaimer: The preceding post is a commentary on the ridiculousness of the media's insane amount of coverage of Terrell Owens' off-handed comments regarding Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo. Any implication of Jessica Simpson as this planet's bad luck charm is unintended by the author.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dysfunctional Public Relationship

From our friends at Metsblog: A very serious charge has been levied by a beat writer for the Star Tribune in Minnesota regarding the Mets interest in Johan Santana:
"I still hear that, unless the names Wright and Reyes enter the picture (and I doubt they will), the Mets have no shot. The word at the winter meetings was that the Mets kept their name involved for PR purposes."
Yeah. Relations between the Mets and the public are at an all time high right now ... only bound to get better with this revelation.

Now we shouldn't all go half-cocked and assume this is true out of hand. But the fact of the matter is this: the Mets have done this before. Anyone out there old enough to remember when Vladimir Guerrero was a free agent who had back issues? Well, if you're like ... eight years old then I guess you're old enough to remember, yeah. But in 2003 the Mets ... after weeks of saying "we're not interested" repeatedly hoping that they would believe it themselves ... came into the bidding like leeches when it was clear that nobody else was willing to take a chance on him with a silly, incentive laden contract as if Guerrero was some sort of has-been.

If they didn't want Guerrero because of his back issues, they should have just said so. Going after him later when the market was low not only made them look like bottom feeders, but the absurdity of the offer made bottom feeders laugh at them. And it only served to make me angry. Because nothing says "hey, we tried our best, but I guess our best wasn't good enough" like the thin veil of an incentive laden contract that had no chance of getting signed.

If this new chatter is true, then it's just proof that less has changed from 2004 until now than we originally thought. If the Mets think that Johan Santana costs too much in prospects and money, then as much as fans aren't going to like it ... they shouldn't do it. Go sign Kyle Lohse and Mark Prior and freakin' Rick Ownbey and get it over with. But feigning interest in Johan Santana to make people feel better about a huge September collapse combined with ... dare I say ... a 20% increase in ticket prices, to me is reprehensible. Telling your fans that you're going after one of the best pitchers of our generation simply to get their hopes up only serves to make them feel like it's September, 2007 all over again when you don't get him.

Of course, I qualify that with the phrase: "if this is true". Because no, I don't believe everything I read. But I believe in learning from history, which the Mets have been dubious perpetrators of lately.

***

But here's your good news of the day:
"They have a good mix here of experience and promising young guys. I'm going to get tape of all the starters so I can get something on paper, especially on guys we'll facing in our division." -Brian Schneider on the Mets
Yeah, Schneider can't hit. And the Mets got him in a somewhat dubious, somewhat unpopular trade. But he's willing to do homework to hone his craft. The Mets could do worse.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Me Wise Conscience

The Mets' recent history has been littered with pitchers who simply refuse to come inside for the express purpose of making a point or protecting a teammate. Now, the Mets add Matt Wise who might be clinically unable to come inside, so he'll fit right in.
"Wise, 32, went 3-2 with a 4.19 earned run average in 56 relief appearances for Milwaukee in 2007. But his season turned sour July 25, when he hit Cincinnati’s Pedro L√≥pez in the jaw with a pitch, and then went 0-1 with a 10.45 E.R.A. in his final 16 games. Opponents hit .466 against him in that span."
I see the Mets have acquired an afterschool special for the bullpen. Matt Wise ... the pitcher who cared so much that he dared not hurt anybody ever again. "Don't worry Matty, you'll find your inner soul ... as soon as you find your inner half." Ralph Macchio would be so all over this role. Might even put his career back on the map.

.466? Did batters face him with aluminum bats?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joke Of The Day

Q: Why did Brian McNamee inject Roger Clemens with steroids in his buttocks?

A: To prove he had better aim than Shawn Estes.

I'm sorry. That's, like, the worst joke ever. Look, it's almost four in the morning and I'm trying to keep my mind off the fact that Kris Benson is probably going to pitch a no-hitter against the Mets this season after he signs with the Nationals. I'm in need of some cough syrup and some Tums, thus my jokes remain simplistic, one-dimensional, and not very good. Not to mention cheap at the expense of Shawn Estes. I'm just bitter that there's no Shawn Estes jerseys on eBay for the Christmas season. Please forgive me. I'm a mere product of society.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bang For My Buck

If the Mets are going to raise ticket prices for basically the same group of players and coaches that were there last season, most likely without any of that cash being put back into the money pit known as Shea Stadium in it's final season, I think I should get something back for my money. I think the least that I, as a fan, have a right to expect, is Heidi Klum to provide me with a deep tissue massage using Wesson Oil after the bottom of the fifth ... you know, when the game becomes official.

But if she does it for me, then I guess then she would have to provide a massage for everyone else in the stands. And boy would her arms be tired ... especially when the house is packed on, say, Merengue Night.

But if she can't get to everybody, then how about at the very least she gets help from those "Deal or No Deal" girls?

On second thought, bad idea. The vegetable oil will probably have me baste like a chicken during those day games in July. Not to mention that while I'm face down enjoying magic fingers, Jeff Wilpon will probably steal my wallet to help pay for Livan Hernandez's inevitable contract.

Enjoy my blood money. Auf Wiedersehen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Good Day Sunshine

"I have started to notice a pretty distinctive pattern in this world. If you are negative, it will breed more negativity around you, and then that negativity comes back. It bounces back at you eventually, over time, and you are the one who is effected. The same is also true with being positive by the way. If you try to remain positive in your life, and work, it comes back to you. It’s pretty simple. Negative people hang with negative people. Positive people, hang with positivity. And negative people more often than not, tend to be counterproductive." -Tom Green
In this space would normally be more whining about how the Mets are once again losing their chances of grabbing an ace, with Dan Haren going to the Diamondbacks. (Six prospects? How do you kids say it ... OMG? WTF?)

But it's come to my attention that I've been too negative. A buzzkill. A Negative Nancy, if you will. With this in mind, I'm going to be positive. Here's what's right in the Mets' world:

  • The Mets still have David Wright, last I checked.
  • No player has been involved in a late night accident in a taxi cab in the last year.
  • Raul Casanova is not only a Met, but he's younger than Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • Lastings Milledge has zero career walk-off hits against the Mets.
  • Citi Field is ahead of schedule, and will have a Fish Shack in 2010.
  • Ryan Church hasn't released a rap album.
  • Guillermo Mota is no longer employed in Flushing.
  • Scott Kazmir hasn't pitched a no-hitter yet.
  • Jose Reyes is still pretty fast.
  • There's no truth to the rumor that John Maine left the team holiday party rubbing his shoulder muttering "boy, that feels weird."
  • Steven Register has not shown up on the Mitchell Report.
See, the sun shines.

***

Speaking of the Mitchell Report: Now that it has come out, and it's two guys known the world over as Yankees that are taking the brunt of the bad press, isn't it about time for Wallace Matthews to write something for the express purpose of riling up the Mets fans? I can read it now:
Yeah, Mets fans. Laugh it up. Laugh it up now that your greatest enemy has been fingered in the Mitchell Report as the biggest name mentioned. But just remember: A Mets clubhouse guy started all this. And my sources tell me that he invented steroids. That's right Met fans, a Met invented Deca-Durabolin, among other performance enhancers. Don't blame the gritty, gutty Roger Clemens for taking steroids during the season where his team beat you. Blame your team for not beating the all-mighty Yankees who, despite a payroll of a billion dollars, still scrap for everything they get. While your team is a bunch of steroid inventing monsters. It just means the Yankees were smart enough to take steroids and get that gritty, gutty edge that they need, because that's what champions do. If Mike Piazza was on the juice, maybe he would have been quick enough to have gotten out of the way of that beanball. Now it's time for all you Met fans to accept Andy Pettitte as your savior and repent once and for all.

Have I beaten Newsday's all-time record for angry comments yet?
(Editor's note: Here's what Wally actually wrote).

***

Mike Stanton, according to the report, bought HGH in 2003 while he was with the Mets ... and still went 2-7. He probably sprinkled the HGH on his cupcakes thinking they were chocolate chips.

Maybe Mike Stanton owes Met fans an apology?

I Wonder How Mike Piazza Feels...

No, this isn't going to be a cry of vindication. I'll leave that to Jose Canseco.

And this isn't going to be a campaign to reverse the outcome of the 2000 World Series. Because then people in Houston will want '86 back. And people in Phoenix will want '99 back. And somebody who struck out against Josias Manzanillo and watched him run off the mound jumping and cavorting like a school girl will want that back. Those are memories I refuse to believe are tainted.

And no, I'm not starting the "Ban Roger Clemens From The Hall" movement. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Performance enhancers are not a Barry Bonds problem, and they're not a Roger Clemens problem. They are a baseball problem. Asterisks and banishment from baseball's Hall of Fame shift the blame on to the individual players, and it minimizes baseball's role in the so-called "steroids-era". The sport should be culpable most of all.

But I wonder: At this hour...at this very moment...with all of the history that Piazza has had with Clemens, the beaning in July of 2000, and the infamous bat throwing incident in that season's World Series...I wonder just what Mike Piazza is thinking at this hour. I wonder if he's thinking that he might have gotten out of the way of that pitch if it was just a little bit slower...which it might have been if Clemens was clean. Or is Piazza thinking that Clemens might not have thrown that bat if he wasn't on whatever he was on?

Those are some thoughts I'd pay a penny for.

***

In terms of the Mets that were involved, considering that it was a Mets clubbie that provided a lot of the information, the wreckage really isn't too bad in terms of the star quality of the players tagged in the report. The biggest one was probably Lenny Dykstra. The Mitchell Report talks of Dykstra's involvement in the early nineties. But anybody who was around in 1988 and saw the instant 20 pounds of muscle he had put on that winter because he wanted to be a power hitter had to have been thinking something wasn't quite natural there.

Todd Hundley? Nobody was going to say it and smear his name without any provocation. But the circumstancial evidence was all over the place. Forget the fact that he hit 41 home runs in '96 after hitting 15 the season before. But all of a sudden, he plays 153 games? He was a pinch hitter in 10 of those games, but continued as a catcher in seven of those. So there were 150 games when he put on the catcher's gear in 1996. Who does this?

And about this theory that the Mets stonewalled Lo Duca because of advance knowledge of this report? I don't buy it. There was knowledge of Lo Duca's use for years. Just check the report. The Dodgers knew:
"Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest. Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives. Can get comparable value back would consider trading. If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05."
If the Dodgers knew, I'd bet money that other teams knew ... way back when. And if I were to bet money, I sure as hell wouldn't write a check! So no, I think this was common knowledge among the baseball community years ago, before the Mets even traded for him.

Mo Vaughn? With the injury problems he's had with his knee, we shouldn't be surprised either. I was surprised, because I myself thought the only thing he was injecting was jelly doughnuts, but that's just me.

But honestly, nobody should be surprised. Because as flimsy as you might want to say this Mitchell report is, he got the bottom line absolutely 100% right: Baseball and its union were slow on the upkeep on this. Everybody was. Athletes will always find a way to get a competitive edge, and always will. The governing bodies have to be the ones to restore order ... you can't trust 100% of a group that includes 750 major leaguers and many more minor leaguers to police themselves and be on the up and up. They're everybody's heroes, but they're athletes who not only want to win, but also represent a cross-section of life. Many different personality types will react to life's questions in many different ways. These decisions must be made for them by the high priests of America's pastime. In the past, those decisions were just to let performance enhancing happen, and look where we are.

(Metstradamus packs up his soapbox and walks away. And...scene.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Carousel Continues


"... the Mets offered different packages of prospects that included either outfielder Carlos Gomez or outfield prospect Fernando Martinez but not both, declining to include the one extra prospect the Twins requested to clinch the deal according to people familiar with those talks." -Jon Heyman/SI.com, on a potential Johan Santana deal
Of course, the Mets aren't willing to but both players in the deal. They're holding them back for five years from now when they make that inevitable Martinez for Mark Mulder (after his fifth rotator cuff surgery) deal to fill a hole in the bullpen, after trading Carlos Gomez for Jose Molina deal to fill that back-up catcher hole. That's called forward thinking, my friends.

There's going to be a large contingent of you that will say that after trading Lastings Milledge, to trade the other two outfield prospects in any deal ... whether it be for Johan Santana or Carlos Zambrano or Sandy Koufax stepping out of the time machine ... is insane, especially when you still have to sign Santana to a seven year, $800 gazillion deal. There will be others that say that the price for Santana is going to come down with each passing day. And there will be still more of you that will preach the virtue of patience. If you are in this large group, your reasoning is sound.

But let me ask you this:

If the Mets have a history of "over-hyping" their prospects, rushing them up the ladder too quickly or what have you, and you have an opportunity to turn these prospects into the best pitcher in baseball, then doesn't history teach you that you should do it? Have the Mets forgotten this quickly that Lastings Milledge was once a major chip to get Manny Ramirez or Roy Oswalt, and wound up getting them Brian Schneider and Ryan Church? Are we all going to be on this space five years from now sighing "you know, we could have had Johan Santana for Gomez and Martinez, and all we got in a trade was John Patterson, Ronnie Belliard, and Paul Lo Duca?" History tells us that this is exactly the predicament that we'll be in come 2013. So when will the Mets learn from history rather than be eternally doomed to repeat it?

Trading the two remaining outfield prospects would be a huge risk. Sure, the Mets can play it safe as they always do, and be that team that stands in the corner at the party eating chips all night, afraid to ask the homecoming queen to dance. Or, they can show their fans that they're interested being the mouthwash that rinses out the taste of disaster and bringing in (and paying for) the best pitcher of his time frame, while willing to take a big risk to improve the here and now...while actually making an effort to change the fortunes of the future by changing the way they draft and develop players (another rant for another time)? When will this franchise step off the carousel of safety and mediocrity and actually walk in a straight line towards that brass ring?

Food for thought. Disagree at will.

Vote Lo Duca

Lastings Milledge has chosen his running mate:

Lastings and Paulie, together in Washington as they run under the "ex-Met" party. First campaign promise: 19-0 against the Mets.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mommy I Don't Want To Play With Omar Any More, Omar Cheats!

From the proprietor of the Ketchup On Your Ice Cream blog:
"Don't give up hope ... and if all else fails we could swing a deal to trade for an Orioles pitcher ... it'll probably be Victor Zambrano again though and not Bedard."
Thanks for the attempt to cheer me up. But you see, that's not an option. And you'll love the reason why:
"Baltimore owner Peter Angelos is believed to be averse to trading Bedard to the Mets (assuming the O's can't sign him to an extension) because of the fleecing of John Maine and Jorge Julio for Kris Benson in their previous dealings."
Oh, yeah right. We're the three card monty dealer on the corner who's just going around ripping everybody off. "Ooh, we can't deal with them, they're too smart for us...they're devious!"

Oh stop! This is why nobody goes to freakin' Orioles games any more. Peter Angelos is averse to trading Bedard to the Mets for the same reason he was averse to trading Miguel Tejada to the Orioles for the same reason that he's averse to building a halfway decent baseball franchise that has been run into the ground in the last ten years...because he doesn't have a clue!

Peter, once upon a time our devious underhanded organization was so devious and underhanded, that we traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, and Lastings Milledge for a defensive catcher and a journeyman outfielder. But obviously those trades begin to reveal a grand master plan that will only be evident to everyone in about fifty years as we try to take over the world, right?

If we're this great savvy organization when it comes to trades, then you've got problems. Seems to me that you were the guys that misread John Maine's potential. Don't worry, it happens (again...Kazmir.) If we didn't get him, somebody else would have. You threw him in to the Julio deal because you didn't want to throw in Adam Loewen. Omar wanted Loewen, you threw in John Maine. Jim Duquette threw in John Maine...you know, the same guy that traded Kazmir. You hired him after that! And the guy you hired actually succeeded in somewhat returning the favor for the Kazmir trade by throwing in John Maine in the deal. The guy you hired chose to throw him in.

And we're the ones you don't want to deal with?

Is this the reason that "nobody likes the Mets prospects"? Maybe it's a rouse that all the owners in baseball are colluding on. Maybe, just maybe, everyone actually loves the Mets prospects but are so worried that each Mets trade is another brick in the wall of world domination that you're so worried about, that nobody will trade with us because Omar uses his super-secret mind power to trick guys into including middling starting pitchers in their deal only to have him become a star when the leave your team and come to the Mets. Yeah, that has to be...because it's been like that for years.

You don't want to trade Erik Bedard to the Mets, fine. See if I care. Nobody is trading an ace to the Mets these days anyway. But don't hide behind your own stupidity stemming from trading John Maine for Anna Benson. "Ooh, they fleeced us! Mommy!!!" Stop it! Just stop it!

Excuse me while my eyes roll so fast that I used them to bowl a 300 at the latest PBA event.

Whoop De Do

For those hoping that there would be howls of fury from Colorado for losing Steven Register to the Mets in the Rule V draft, similar to the howls of fury originating from the Nationals heist of Jesus Flores in last year's Rule V draft, and that this year the Mets would be the fleecers and not the fleece-ees, here's the take on Register from "Up In The Rockies":

"The other news of the day is that the Mets picked up Tulsa Drillers closer Steven Register in the Rule 5 draft. Whoop-de-doo. Register had potential, but he wasn't the Rockies’ top prospect by any stretch. Evidently the Rockies weren't planning to use him in 2008, so we’ll see if he can stick with the Mets."
Okay then, there go those hopes. So the winter meetings bore the fruit of a guy who inspires the mantra of "Whoop de do." Great.

So this is our winter meetings haul: Steven Register...who's not Johan Santana.

But on the bright side, he's not Guillermo Mota either.

***

There is a report that Andy Freed will come to the Mets from the Devil Rays to replace Tom McCarthy as Mets radio announcer. This, as you know, would complete the Scott Kazmir trade.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Tease Continues

The crack staff reports that the official offer for Johan Santana is as follows:

  • Carlos Gomez
  • Fernando Martinez
  • Kevin Mulvey
  • Mike Pelfrey
  • Phil Humber
  • Hector Pellot
  • Deolis Guerra
  • Mike Carp
  • Ryan Church
  • Johnny Estrada
  • Brian Bohanon
  • The Savannah Sand Gnats
  • John Maine's impersonator
  • The cat from the tarp
  • Roger Cedeno
  • Timo Perez
  • Chad Pennington
  • Peter Forsberg
  • Al Yeganeh's recipe for Seafood Gumbo
  • The publishing rights to "Metography"
  • A partridge in one of New York's finest pear trees
  • Kirk Radomski's black book
  • Five Junior's Cheesecakes and a Red Velvet Cake from Cake Man Raven

    Jon Heyman reports that Boston can top that offer if they include Clay Buchholz.
  • Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Hello? McFly?

    "We don’t feel like we have to do a deal for a pitcher..." -Omar Minaya
    Sure, that's what he says. And if you're a fan hearing that, you're probably tearing your hair out right now. But believe this: As Omar Minaya looks repeatedly at the picture in his jacket of all the aces posing on his front door fading away because he's increasingly coming to the point where he can't acquire any of them, you can bet that he's running around the Opryland Hotel performing his best guitar solos to try to get these GM's to hand over their aces.

    The problem is that it is harder than it seems. Dontrelle Willis has faded from the picture completely as he's gone to Detroit along with Miguel Cabrera for the Tigers entire minor league system. Johan Santana is pretty much out of the picture himself, Dan Haren is being pursued hard by the Diamondbacks for some good prospects, and Erik Bedard is being chased hard by the Dodgers, as they may have offered Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton for him. Now Omar's first guitar solo is reportedly in the form of an offer Aaron Heilman, Carlos Gomez, and Phil Humber...which would be a steal if that happened (Steve Phillips reports that, so the grains of salt come free with that information). But do you see the O's going for that instead of Kemp and Broxton?
    "Officials of two clubs that have been in contact with the Mets used the same expression -- "in trouble" -- to describe their efforts to deal for a starting pitcher."
    Well now that doesn't sound promising. Now we'll find out just how regarded the Mets prospects are with this Gomez offer. I for one will be surprised (albeit pleasantly) if the O's take the Gomez deal instead of the deal for a power hitter like Kemp and a power pitcher like Broxton (although stranger things have happened, like when Peter Angelos decided at the last minute not to trade Miguel Cabrera and cost the Mets Roy Oswalt.)

    (Editor's update: Gee what a surprise, the Orioles turned the deal down.)

    Get strummin', Omar.

    The Uniforms Change, The Nightmares Remain The Same

    Don't worry teach, I still have nightmares about what might have happened throughout the season if the Mets could have only gotten more than three hits off of Tyler Clippard back in his major league debut on May 20th. Well, I have nightmares about a lot of games in '07, but this was the game that started it all (and I threw out my back to boot.) And now, he'll be on all of our minds more as the Washington Nationals are continuing their hunting and gathering for past, present, and future Met killers, as they've traded for Clippard.

    We're overdue for some good news. Is today the day? Forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Highway To Hell

    Now I don't want to think the worst of people, but this passage from Ken Rosenthal has me a little concerned.
    Mets general manager Omar Minaya always takes a high-energy approach, but it would be understandable if he was even more motivated this off-season.

    The pressure on him is growing. Minaya, signed through 2009, has been thwarted in his attempts to land a contract extension, according to major league sources.

    His job, in the wake of the Mets' late-season collapse, is less secure than it was a year ago, when the team was coming off an appearance in the NL Championship Series.

    His recent trade of outfielder Lastings Milledge, 22, for catcher Brian Schneider, 31, and outfielder Ryan Church, 29, reflected the Mets' desire to satisfy short-term goals.
    For all those that said that you would have rather kept Lastings Milledge if his stock was indeed as low as insiders tell us it was (and I'm in that camp), you may have your answer as to why Minaya decided to get what he can now...to keep the wolves away from his door. But come on, you'd have to be a real cynic to think that Omar would put his own interests in front of the team's interests, wouldn't you?

    (Editor's note: I am a cynic.)

    Naah, Omar hasn't put his interests ahead of the team's interests...not at all. But at this point, his own interests and the team's interests may be riding side by side on a cross-country trip to hell. Or at least to Nashville.

    We'll know a hell of a lot more at the end of the week, won't we? Here's my quick preview of the winter meetings:

    Erik Bedard=good.
    Dan Haren=good.
    Bartolo Colon or Livan Hernandez=I stick my head in the oven.

    Sunday, December 02, 2007

    Strength Of Schedule

    The Mets will open spring training on February 26th against the University of Michigan.

    The club hopes that this scheduling, along with losses by Missouri and West Virginia, will make them BCS eligible in 2008.

    Appalachian State was not available for comment.

    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    Mr. Baseball

    So Mike Piazza says he'd be interested in Japan if nobody in the major leagues signed him.

    Enjoy those dumplings.

    Friday, November 30, 2007

    In Omar, I've Lost Trust

    The sun was shining when I woke up this morning.

    It was shining because the first thing that I saw was that Billy Beane had officially put Dan Haren on the trade market. Oh glory. And here we are in Queens with all of these trade chips to get him. We've got Carlos Gomez, we've got Mike Pelfrey, we've got Phil Humber, we've got Kevin Mulvey, and we've got the guy that Billy Beane has been salivating over for many a fortnight...Lastings Milledge.

    What?

    We don't have Lastings Milledge?
    The Washington Nationals have completed a trade sending veteran catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church to the New York Mets for promising outfielder Lastings Milledge on Friday.

    Both the Mets and the Nationals scheduled conference calls at 3 p.m. today to announce the deal. Schneider, in a telephone interview, said he spoke with Mets General Manager Omar Minaya, who confirmed the trade.

    "It's done," Schneider said.
    And I'm beginning to think the Mets are done as well.

    Remember the good old days when Lastings Milledge could have brought back Manny Ramirez? I remember those days. Those were fun days. The Mets were on the upswing after the brutal Art Howe era, and Metropolitan prospects were the bee's knees. Oh, it was fun. But oh no, the Mets couldn't get a Hall of Famer for Milledge, because Lastings Milledge was going to have so much upside. There's no way the future of the franchise could so callously be cast aside. Who knows, a deal even better than Manny Ramirez could come along someday. Maybe for a younger big bat. Maybe for an arm!

    Oooh! Maybe for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church!!!

    Now you all should know me well enough by now to know that I'm not into absolutes such as "biggest this", "worst that", or "most vomit ever expunged in one sitting". I'm not going to say things like that for the pure sake of saying them. So I'm not going to compare this trade to the infamous Scott Kazmir trade.
    "People always like to say, 'What if?' But the positive that's come out of this is what we learned from our mistake. We have moved on." -Jeff Wilpon, on the Scott Kazmir trade.
    Really? A 22-year-old outfielder with upside through the roof for a .235 hitting catcher and a journeyman outfielder? That's what you've learned from the Scott Kazmir trade? This was a bad trade when I thought Ryan Church was 25.

    He's 29!

    And I've aged about ten years in the last four hours.

    (Editor's note: Do any of you find it ironic that the Mets basically gave the Nationals Jesus Flores via the Rule V draft, and now that he may be ready to start, we let them do it by trading for Schneider?)

    And here's the kick in the head out of all of this: People are going to respond to this blog, and other Met blogs and say something along the lines of "Milledge was a dog, he didn't run hard after that Dontrelle Willis hit in the corner during the last game of the season." To those people I say, don't even bother. Because guess who was benched last season for not running out a ground ball?

    For those who said Ryan Church, collect your door prize.

    So now, in addition to Johan Santana being pretty much out the window because Omar is at least smart enough not to put Jose Reyes in that deal, now Dan Haren is out the window. If Billy Beane was cooling a bit on Lastings Milledge, you think he's going to take a package that includes Ryan Church and Johnny Estrada? But never fear, because Omar is probably going to sign Livan Hernandez and tell us he's every bit as good as Santana, Haren, and Joe Blanton. Great. Let's reunite the rest of the 2004 Expos that went 67-95, shall we? Tomo Ohka doing anything these days? Carl Everett is with a Long Island Duck last I checked. Maybe Carlos Gomez can get you Jose Vidro and his bad knees. Can a Fernando Martinez for Jon Rauch and Shawn Hill deal be far behind?

    And I haven't even mentioned the part of the deal that points out that Lastings Milledge is going to face the Mets 19 times a season for the next 20 years??? A top prospect traded in his own division??? To a team that had a comparable if not better record than the Mets over the last 90 games of the 2007 season??? To a team who's future might be 2008 while the Mets' future may be 2006? Who does this??!!?!?!??!!?

    The Mets, of course.

    I'm going to ask you all this: Would you be surprised in the least if say...six months, a year, two years down the road you started hearing that Milledge was traded because there were whispers in the clubhouse that certain veterans wanted him gone? Would you? Because I wouldn't. After all the little lateness and rap music incidents I'm not saying that it's going to happen, or that I know anything you don't. But I wouldn't be surprised to the point where if I was offered an even money bet on that I might take it. And if that happens? Then guess what: This franchise would officially be back where it started back in 2004 with Art Howe as the manager, and the inmates running the asylum. And isn't that what the Mets were trying to avoid by getting rid of the clubhouse lawyers like Al Leiter and John Franco anyway?

    I'm not stupid. I know Milledge's value isn't what it used to be, fair or unfair. But a defensive catcher? A 29-year-old mediocre outfielder? For a top prospect? This is the best you could do? Are we that afraid of talent?

    (Editor's note: Omar Minaya is currently on the Mike and Puppy show saying that "sometimes the fans don't understand, I go back to the time I made the Kris Benson trade and no one knew who John Maine was." All right, here's the difference: For as baffled as I was at the Benson trade...and don't tell me that didn't have something to do with an off-field incident too...at least a prospect came back for an older player. And I doubt that even Omar Minaya knew that John Maine was going to become the pitcher he did in such a short amount of time. This time, the young prospect is leaving the house and not coming to the house. So that's like comparing apples to oranges...or Anna Benson's cantaloupes.)

    The sun is no longer shining. Night has fallen. And Lastings Milledge is on the Acela to Washington. How ironic the Mets get a guy named Church...because it's going to take a Hail Mary to get that ace pitcher now.

    (And no, Livan Hernandez doesn't count.)

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Stoked

    This oughta make Billy Wagner happy.

    The Mets went out and acquired a pitcher! Just not the one you want. They got Brian Stokes...most well known for playing Cam Winston on Frasier (at least to me).

    Oh...sorry, that's Brian Stokes Mitchell.

    The Brian Stokes the Mets got was from the Devil Rays...and all they gave up was cash (no truth to the rumor that the amount was $9,411), which will most likely be drawn from that "Alex Rodriguez home run bonus fund" that's now defunct. Stokes had a 2-7 record and a 7.07 ERA in 2007.

    I think I'd rather have the actor.

    The Rays could afford to give up this phenom as they are finalizing a trade for Matt Garza, which strikes one player off of Omar Minaya's wish list going into next week's winter meetings. The Mets envision Stokes as a perfect complement to pitchers like Jon Adkins, Jason Vargas, and Steve Schmoll, who need a fourth for their weekly poker game.

    Lost At The Wheel

    If you consider what I wrote yesterday, I shouldn't have a fundamental problem with the following passage:
    “Someone asked me what I thought of our team. I said, ‘What team?’ We've lost 13 games [Glavine’s victory total], and now we are going have to give up something to get those games back. I’m afraid we’re just going to create other holes if we give up a [Lastings] Milledge, a [Mike] Pelfrey or a Heilman. I’m trying to be positive. I’m saying we have some good players. But I’m worried. The Braves are getting better, and the Phillies made a move [acquiring Brad Lidge]. We've brought back some people, and that’s good. But losing Tom is big. It’s a lot more than the 13 games he won. It’s what he did for John Maine and Oliver Perez and how professional he was. People want to focus on one bad game or just the day-to-day stats. I do that myself when I read about football. By I’m involved in this, and I know how important [Glavine] was. We don’t have him, and we don’t even get to the last game with a chance. He was one of the few leaders we had. The Mets didn't do anything wrong. I know he wanted to be home more. I understand that, but where does that leave us?”
    Kinda sounds like something I would have written, eh? I probably wouldn't have gone so far as to defend a return of Tom Glavine in 2008, but I would at least see that side of the argument.

    Here's the problem, though: Billy Wagner said it. And while I agree with the fundamental principle of the soliloquy of Country Time, I have a problem with this particular person perpetrating the passage.

    Here's the difference: When I whine and bitch, it's because I have no choice. You see, I write a stupid blog called "The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus". It can also be called "Whining and Bitching is What I Do". Because I have no control over anything else that happens with this team. If I did, I'd earn a paycheck as a consultant...and Omar Minaya doesn't listen to a thing I say anyway (although if he wants me to whine and bitch on WFAN during telecasts, I hear there's a job open). So I bitch. And I moan. And I bitch and moan some more. And I complain about stories like the one that says the Mets are going to go after Livan Hernandez (which is like filling your diet with empty calories...I mean, yeah it's food, but it's not going to enhance the quality of your life or your health).

    But when you, William, bitch and moan about Tom Glavine being one of the few leaders the Mets had, you know because the team is way, way too young with guys like Orlando Hernandez, Carlos Delgado, Damion Easley, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez, Luis Castillo, Scott Schoeneweis, Carlos Beltran, and oh yeah...you, it concerns me. Because you can do something about it! You can, oh I don't know...be a leader yourself??? Gee, is there any wonder that a group of thirty-something men, many of which had never won a ring before including yourself, got bored at the end of the '07 season??? I mean, if I whine from the back seat about getting lost on the highway, you can tell me to shut the hell up! But if you whine from the front seat about getting lost, then all of a sudden we're in a gas station in Elmira asking some guy in a lumberjack shirt directions on how to get back to New York City, and then we get back on the road and all of a sudden we're a left turn away from f***ing Canada because there's too much whining and not enough driving!

    Are you happy now, Country Time? All I wanted to do was log on to my trusty lap top, visit my friends at Faith and Fear, and download select games from the Mets 2007 postseason on my PC. Instead I come across your quote and I'm ticked off all over again.

    Maybe I can still download that great game from this past October where Glavine threw that two hitter against Colora...I mean, the one where Shawn Green drove in those five runs in Arizon...ooh, I know, the one at Fenway Park where Pedro Martinez...dammit!!!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Failure And Sadness

    Some guy named Patton Oswalt (no relation to Roy) did a comic bit about those KFC Famous Bowls that contain chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy all in a plastic bowl. He called them piles of failure eaten from bowls of sadness.

    I thought of him as reports of the Yankees entering trade talks for Johan Santana have surfaced.

    Here are the Yankees, once again going after the Fillet Mignon of the trade market...and they'll probably get him too. Oh, not because the Yankees have better prospects than the Mets, but moreover because the Yankees will break out that magic spell that they use when trading for guys like David Justice and Bobby Abreu where they'll wave a piece of cheese or something in front of Bill Smith or something and say "you want to give us Johan Santana for nothing...and here's why", and they'll convince the Twins to hand over Santana for Kyle Farnsworth and an old Wall Street Journal that Mike Mussina once read.

    (And speaking of Bobby Abreu, did ya happen to notice that the supposed crown jewel of that deal for the Phillies, C.J. Henry, requested his release from the Phillies so that he can re-sign with the Yankees? But no, there's no conspiracy at all, naaaah.)

    Meanwhile, in the midst of our speculation regarding Santana, and Dan Haren, and even Joe Blanton, the two guys that have been most closely linked to coming to help the Mets rotation:

    Freddy Garcia and David Wells.

    Phenomenal. A guy who is going to miss the first three months of the season, who will probably replace the other guy after he eats and drinks himself out of the league. Talk about a failure pile in a sadness bowl.




    It's a long way from Fillet Mignon, isn't it? But never fear, because you can buy 1,779 Famous Bowls with the $9,411 "prize" that each Met received for second place. You can also buy a '99 Chevy Tahoe, a John Deere X595 4wd Lawn & Garden tractor with a 62C deck, or 300 shares of WesBanco Inc, whatever that is. Don't spend it all in one place.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Lipstick On A Reliever

    I'm going to start to call Omar Minaya the Avon Lady.

    Think about it, only the Avon Lady could find enough lipstick in the world to make the proverbial pig known as Guillermo Mota look attractive to somebody. I don't know how Omar did it, but he turned Mota into not only a serviceable ballplayer, but a starting catcher!

    Minaya flipped Mota into Johnny Estrada, who's very similar to Paul Lo Duca in that he has the ability to be a .300 hitter from the catching position. Of course, the one National Leaguer who had a lower percentage throwing out runners than Lo Duca and even Yorvit Torrealba: you guessed it, Estrada. But I look at it this way, Estrada's weak arm is going to give away one base at a time, while Mota's weak arm gave away four bases on a single throw, and he can't hit. Besides, you wanted Johnny Bench in return for Mota? Be lucky that Minaya was able to get Johnny Estrada and not Erik Estrada...or Larry Wilcox.

    Or a tree limb eaten by termites from the inside out.

    And that brings up a question that I hope is answered at some point for my own amusement: Who, in the meeting behind closed doors at Miller Park or whatever Florida or Arizona resort that major league executives meet, stood up and said that Guillermo Mota was adequate compensation for Johnny Estrada? Who looked those numbers over and said "yeah, this is a good idea"?

    Bobcat Goldthwait once said that when he got a 5 out of 100 on his aptitude test in school, he found the guys who scored 1-4 so they can hang out...he of course, was the smart one. I don't know where Omar would rank in an aptitude challenge against the other GM's in the league, but he obviously found one that ranks lower than him and fleeced him on this deal. I'm willing to vote Minaya "Exec of the Year" on that feat alone.

    (I mean seriously, this deal is tantamount to trading Iron Mike Sharpe for the Bushwhackers...a jobber for a draw? I'm still laughing my butt off over this one.)

    It sure as heck allayed the fears I had during the weekend, as we were driving to South Jersey to gamble our lives away. Here I am, in the back seat watching the raindrops race across the back window and meeting up with other raindrops, thinking of some David Eckstein jokes to unleash after the Mets make that inevitable signing, and dreading the announcement of Jimmy Rollins as N.L. MVP.

    Bad omens popped up everywhere on that last one...Comcast Philly took extra care to wait until I was in their broadcast area to re-air the 11-10 game which was the Phillies' crown jewel amongst the rubble that was the Mets' '07 season (no, I didn't watch.) Then, as I rifled through a memorabilia store because your blogger, while smart enough to come up with a funny every once in a while was dumb enough not to pack t-shirts, I found the second bad omen: a shirt that read "THE TEAM TO BEAT -January 2007" with a picture of J-Roll on it (no, I didn't buy it.) And sure enough, Rollins wound up winning the award on Tuesday. Could anybody in New York argue with that one? I'm certainly not going to. Rollins should send a fruit basket to the Mets for their collapse which helped create the beasts that are Rollins "team to beat" t-shirts, re-airings of 11-10 games, and an MVP award to boot because the Mets couldn't hold 5-0 leads against the Nationals.

    I guess now would be a perfect time to once again thank our Mets for letting Zuul out of the refrigerator.

    But at least the Mets didn't compound those mistakes by enlisting a dwarf to take on the ghost like creature from the original Ghostbusters. Say what you want about giving a 32-year-old second baseman with bad knees $25 million to play second base for four years. But it sure as heck is better than giving a 33-year-old shortstop who's injury prone his own self $36 million to play second base for four years. Eckstein comes with those extra special buzz words like "gritty" and "gutty". But guess what: Castillo gave you all of that and more down the stretch in '07 with bad knees and a bad hip, so why the Mets even thought about Eckstein is beyond me. Perhaps it was a ploy to bring Castillo's price down, but with the Astros also hot on Luis' trail, that strategy could have easily backfired. So the Mets actually succeeded despite themselves on that one.

    (I guess that's kinda like the Estrada robbery, which would have never happened had it not been for Torrealba's bum shoulder. So Omar should give a kiss to his lucky garden gnome or whatever talisman he uses to align the stars.)

    But now comes the hardest trick of all for Minaya. Because while getting a starting catcher for a guy who goes to a place where he can now wash down his HGH with the smooth flavor of Old Milwaukee is nice, the Mets are still in pursuit of that elusive ace, almost a full season after they missed out on Barry Zito. The chips are still there, and if anybody who knows more about Fernando Martinez than I do can convince me that he's worth keeping, I'm all ears. But if Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber taught me anything, it's that sometimes it's better to turn your chips into major league talent before those chips depreciate in value. The trick is to recognize the very peak in their value and make the move at the right time. The way the Mets need an ace, there may be no better time than right now.

    (Especially with two first round draft picks this June...imagine that! And for that I give thanks in recognition of the upcoming holiday to Tom Glavine for doing something right by the Mets for the first time since August, which was exacerbating the inevitable and signing with the Braves so early. Maybe his Met past wasn't so wonderful. Actually, his most recent past kinda stunk. But he might have helped fund the future with that pre-December signing...that is if the Mets don't screw up the 18th pick by selecting Steve Chilcott again.)

    ***

    Whether you're putting lipstick on your pig before you take it out of the oven, or you are celebrating the shipment of a very tall turkey to Wisconsin, here's hoping you enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow. May your turkeys have more juice than your relief pitchers.

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    The Crux Of What Grinds My Gears


    Because sometimes it takes days of reflection, lots of miniature hot dogs wrapped in blankets, and an inability to let go of the past that takes me to the very Gamma and Alpha of what really makes me upset about this whole Paul Lo Duca thing.

    Dan Marino.

    Oh, I guess I have to explain that (I keep forgetting that nobody has brainwaves as warped as mine.)

    I'll never forget being speechless that day in 1994 when the New York Jets blew a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins...a game that culminated in the two words that still sends shivers down my spine: fake spike.

    Two weeks later, the Jets played the Lions in a game that seemed like a funeral procession. It was one of those typical Barry Sanders games where every time he carried the ball the Jets would stop him in the backfield...except of course for those one or two carries Sanders would go for gains of anywhere between 70-90 yards. The Jets couldn't get a damn thing going on offense and lost 18-6. It was the first day that I ever remember hearing the term "back up the truck", as in "BACK UP THE TRUCK, GET RID OF ALL OF 'EM! THIS TEAM IS GARBAGE!!!"

    Yes, that team was garbage, as they went from 6-5 to 6-10 before you can say "Pete Carroll".

    Back then, 1994 at the Meadowlands counted as a collapse of epic proportions, and "back up the truck" never seemed so apropos of something. The thing that Jets team needed mentally was for the losing attitude to be washed out. The roster was good, but it was old. Some players needed to go if for no other reason than the fact that the last thing the team needed was for too many players hanging around who were still shell shocked from losing the last five games of the season. If that meant that some babies had to go with the bathwater, so be it.

    And that's what the Jets tried to do going into 1995, as they got rid of their head coach (Carroll), and solid core players like their leading receiver (Rob Moore), a Hall of Fame safety (Ronnie Lott), a Hall of Fame wideout (or at least Art Monk should be in the Hall, the one bright spot in that Lions game was seeing Monk break the all-time record for consecutive games with a catch), and a Pro-Bowl calibre cornerback (James Hasty, who's in the above photo as a spectator to disaster).

    (Of course, they replaced Carroll with Rich Kotite and won four games over the next two seasons, but that's neither here nor there. The idea of roster turnover was a sound one back then, and maybe they didn't get rid of enough players.)

    Fast forward to November of 2007, soon after the Mets made five straight losses in 1994 seem less like a collapse and more like a mere life lesson. If there's ever a need for some roster turnover where some babies go out with the bathwater, it's the current New York Mets. Instead it looks more and more like the Mets, whether it be out of the lack of options that are out there, or the thinking that the '07 Mets are less shell shocked and more determined and motivated by their collapse, have decided to go into '08 with basically the same team that fell apart in '07, keeping guys like Moises Alou and Damion Easley...and at least making an effort to re-sign Luis Castillo before their recurring, inexplicable fascination with converting shortstops into second basemen has taken hold yet again.

    (Will this franchise ever learn? I mean really, David Eckstein's the best they can do? But that's another entry for another time, my friends.)

    Of course the one guy who unequivocally, according to Mets brass at least, cannot come back under any circumstances, is Paul Lo Duca. If you believe what Jon Heyman said on Friday, the Mets blame Lo Duca for calling the wrong pitches in 2006 (I guess that includes the one that Guillermo Mota shook off before Scott Spiezio sent it to the top of the wall in Game 2 of the Cardinals series, right?) And the fact that they ignored Lo Duca this winter as if he had a communicable disease (you can make your own joke about the Long Island bar scene if you wish, I'll refrain) tells me that the Mets blame Lo Duca for Scott Spiezio, for the entire 2006 playoffs, for the collapse this past September, for Jose Reyes' slump, for the Scott Kazmir trade, for Jimmy Rollins' proclamation, for Rickey Henderson, for the lines at Shea Stadium's bathrooms, for traffic on I-80, for Michigan losing to Appalachian State, and for Bobby Thomson's home run in 1951.

    I have to say, in all of the dissecting and re-dissecting
    I've seen and made on September's collapse, well down on the list...if it's even on the list...is Paul Lo Duca's pitch calling. But that is the scapegoat that the Mets are selling us. I ask you, with all of the other deficiencies facing the Mets, is that fair? Because so far, that's what the Mets are telling us...they're telling us that everyone else on the Mets wants to win next season except Paul Lo Duca.

    Perhaps I'm overreacting. I admit I'm not the most level headed guy in the room even when I'm in a room by myself. And I'm fully aware that there could be some major changes for the better between now and the winter caravan, although Omar Minaya is going to have to be a special kind of creative to do it now that Yorvit Torrealba is apparently going to try to bat higher than the Manhattan area code somewhere else. But I can't help thinking that because we're not seeing the wholesale cleansing as we did with the Jets in 1994, one man is taking the blame for three weeks of bad baseball...and worse off, it's the wrong man.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Not A Charge Was True

    I gotta hand it to the crack staff here at "Musings", they have their cameras everywhere...even at the final meeting between Paul Lo Duca and Mets brass, where they may have accused him of calling the wrong pitches during the '06 Playoffs:



    As the song says: not a charge was true. Guess Paulie will be on his way to Denver to prove he's a man.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Marriage And Divorce

    So did you hear that Tori Spelling and Jessica Alba decided to forget men all together and get married to each other? Yes indeed. Tori decided to take Jessica's last name and now she will be known as Tori Alba.

    That's not funny.

    Here's what else isn't funny: Tori Alba, er...I mean, Yorvit Torrealba could be the Mets next starting catcher. Awesome. A guy who hit .212 away from Coors Field is going to (gasp!) leave Coors Field and come to the Mets?

    Meanwhile, Paul Lo Duca is in a room somewhere with Ozzy Osbourne posters on the wall...staring at the telephone waiting for a call from the Mets as if he was waiting for a call from the prom queen. He shouldn't hold his breath, as the Mets have all but served him with divorce papers. Here are the list of Met priorities at catcher that are ahead of him:
    • Yorvit Torrealba
    • Ramon Hernandez
    • Gerald Laird
    • Ronny Paulino
    • Miguel Montero
    • Kelly Shoppach
    • Sandy Alomar Jr.
    • Benito Santiago
    • Jorge Posada (Omar's still at the window waiting for Posada to show up with two duffle bags saying "I changed my mind!")
    • Gary Lee Cavagnaro
    • A wet sack of flour
    • Yogi Berra (It's that Yankee pedigree.)
    • Paul Lo Duca
    It's just what the Mets do, isn't it? You have Lo Duca, a guy who enjoys being a Met, and has repeatedly said (begged?) that he wants to remain a Met, and that he loves being a Met and he loves the fans. So what do the Mets do? Ignore him as if he was that guy at the party that tells the same joke to everyone in the room, over and over again. It's really no wonder that other franchises regularly have players that come out and say that in their heart they'll always be a member of that team, while the Mets regularly have players like Tony Tarasco, who teach young pitchers how to smuggle hooch in peanut butter jars. (That's right, I brought up Tony Tarasco. What of it?)

    But more than that, what exactly does Yorvit Torrealba bring to the table that Paul Lo Duca doesn't? He throws out more runners? That would be wrong, kind sir. Paulie has thrown out .234 while Yorvit has chucked .191. He handles a pitching staff better? Both catchers have an ERA of 4.12...you want to tell me Yorvit's 4.12 is more impressive than Lo Duca's 4.12 because of Coors Field? That's up for debate.

    He blocks more balls? Four passed balls for Yorvit, two for Paulie. Zone rating? Well, Yorvit has him at .971 to .889. Even though I'm not smart enough to grasp what in the bloody world a zone rating is, I'm guessing that .971 is better than .889.

    But the only formula that the Mets are looking at is TH + E...otherwise known as the Distraction Factor. Yorvit's Distraction Factor is near zero, if not exactly zero. Lo Duca's Distraction Factor? It's about 105. TH + E, if you must know, is Tabloid Headlines + Ejections. Too high a distraction factor does not jive with the Wilpons, who want to have a team of "oh golly gee" guys who aren't going to rock the boat.

    Oh yeah, and Torrealba is six years younger too, a small fact that didn't prevent the Mets from re-signing Moises Alou to a "one out of every two games" contract, which tells me that it's the Distraction Factor that is keeping Lo Duca from returning. Because heaven forbid the Mets have any players that show some emotion and actually care about baseball a little bit more than your average run o' the mill robot.

    ***

    Which brings me to Tom Glavine, because as you know, baseball is merely a game which nobody is devastated, only disappointed. He's not coming back. Hooray. But the Mets can at least get more out of Glavine now than they did during Game number 162. All the Wilpons have to do is offer arbitration to the man who so obviously wants to escape a challenging baseball environment like New York to return to the comforts of Alpharetta, GA. If the Mets do that, they will get the Braves 18th pick in next June's draft. Which brings about the question: If the Mets do that, and if a "number one" talent like Rick Porcello drops into their laps as he did all the way to the 27th pick last June, will the Mets draft him? Or will they do what everyone else until the Tigers did and let him go because they'd never want to meet his price?

    Then again, looking at past drafts to try to pick out some great players that were drafted at number 18 to support my argument and not coming up with anyone better than Aaron Heilman from 1978 on, is it too harsh to think that if the Mets did get the 18th pick, they'd probably screw it up anyway? Before Heilman, the last two 18's they drafted were 1992's Chris Roberts (when players like Shannon Stewart, Charles Johnson, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Todd Helton were still on the board), and 1991's immortal Al Shirley (when Aaron Sele was still on the board? The humanity!)

    ***

    But why bother with the silly thing such as the draft when you can go get another player from Japan, a strategy which has worked so well in the past. No, not Kosuke Fukudome, who's been compared to Ichiro, but Hiroki Kuroda ... a pitcher who's been compared to Kei Igawa, only without the upside. That's comforting.

    Here's a scouting report:
    The Mets are also believed to be interested in Japanese righty Hiroki Kuroda, and one AL team official provided a scouting report to The Post, saying the pitcher's fastball is "average to slightly above average" and that he has a "good forkball." The official also said Kuroda "throws strikes and is a tough competitor."
    Translated, that means he has a batting practice fastball, a forkball that hitters will learn to lay off by June, and when one of his strikes is hit over the apple in center field, he'll curse at himself on the mound. I know I'm excited.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    The Tin Foil On My Cat Keeps The Aliens Away

    It was bad enough when Pat Gillick gave Bobby Abreu to the Yankees for nothing.

    It was bad enough when a former Brave sabotaged the Mets playoff hopes on the last day of the season, then coincidentally expresses his desire to take less money to return to the Braves.

    But now the dots are beginning to connect. Ed Wade, a former Phillies GM, in one of his first acts as current GM of the Astros, trades Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies, his former team, for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary, and Mike Costanzo.

    What, Ed Wade couldn't get Greg Luzinski's BBQ recipe and a pair of Bake McBride's old stirrups in return?

    Here's what getting Brad Lidge does for the Phillies: First off, it enables the Phillies to send Brett Myers back to the rotation, strengthening that position for them. Getting Brad Lidge also, well...it gets Brad Lidge for the bullpen. Lidge, last check, still throws 95 mph+.

    But here's the worst part, boys and girls: Michael Bourn going the other way in the trade means that the Phillies now have an outfield position open for...Aaron Rowand to come back. Just when we thought there was no way that there would be room for the Phillies to keep a guy who's nothing but heart, soul, guts, and a .300 average, Ed Wade makes room for them by making this ridiculous trade. Now the Phillies get Aaron Rowand back, Brett Myers makes the rotation better, and they get Brad Lidge!!!

    Meanwhile, in Flushing, the Mets are re-signing old players and chasing windmills in Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. And you want to tell me there's no conspiracy? Screw that, I'll be off covering my cat in tin foil. Don Quixote...away!