Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Holiday Housecleaning (Alternate Title: Free Stuff!)

I'd be remiss if I didn't pass along the chance for you to win free DVD's.

How, you ask?

The Subway Squawkers (who were affiliated with the Daily News but now have gone indy with their own blog), are passing along the chance for five Mets fans to win DVD copies of The Essential Games of Shea Stadium, which make great Christmas gifts even if you give them to yourself. To enter, simply visit their new website. They will also be giving copies of Yankees and Red Sox DVD's to five Yankee fans and five Red Sox fans ... so those of you who are lurking here are welcome over there and you could also win stuff. Although you can buy your own and know that there's a chance that your money could go towards signing Derek Lowe.

Also, if you missed it because I was too lazy to post it, here's part three of Jimmy Scott's interview with Gabrielle Schoeneweis.

And finally, Playing for Peanuts:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Popularity Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

The Mets are not only giving back to the community, they're using their "popularity" to give back during the Thanksgiving holiday.

You know what this franchise's "popularity" got me?

I'm in a store last night looking for candy as a helpful gentleman was busy telling people that if they needed help to come to him. "Ma'am, If you need anything, let me know and I'll help you." Then again to the next person: "Ma'am If you need anything, let me know and I'll help you." Then he gets to me. "Sir ..."

(sees Mets hat ... first time this particular model has been worn)

"Sir ... you need to change your hat."

(looks at me)


All I could do was laugh. It kept me from crying.

And I think the candy made me sick.

Here's hoping you don't get sick from too much turkey, mashed potatoes, lasagna, stuffing, chocolate cream pie, ambrosia, or whatever interesting things you have on tap for the holiday. I know I have plenty to be thankful for, including turkey, mashed potatoes, lasagna, stuffing, chocolate cream pie, ambrosia ...

Yes, even baseball. (Though it's kinda down on the list these days.) Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Growing

This talk about Aaron Heilman becoming a starter isn't going away ... like the Blob, it keeps growing and growing. That's because unlike the past where the Mets organization has been universally behind Heilman as a reliever, we now have a groundswell of support for Heilman: Starter.
"I'm all for Aaron coming to Spring Training as a starter." -Dan Warthen

"For Aaron's benefit and for us as a team, we have to explore that option." -Jerry Manuel
Since Heilman has taken the "Start Me or Trade Me" stance, it's tempting to offer to not only pay Heilman's moving expenses out of town, but to help him pack.

It's very tempting.

I guess it all depends on your idea of changing the culture of the bullpen. If Aaron Heilman is a starter, does that count as reworking the pitching staff? Or does Heilman have to be completely gone for you to feel better about the direction of the team?

Think about the following:

What if Heilman were to finally get his Christmas wish and start? He would finally get his Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. Wonderful. What if he gets completely shelled his first few starts? What if those first few starts were to come at home in front of a drunk, bitter, lathered up fan base? "You finally got your wish and yooooou bleeeeeeeeeeeew iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! You blew it." Then what? He can't relieve and he can't start. Whatever trade value he has left (which isn't much unless Dan O'Dowd really wants to get rid of Huston Street) is gone. Heilman will have committed the baseball equivalent of shooting his eye out.

Now, what if Heilman were to be traded? Let's say it's for Street, and Heilman becomes a monster in Colorado? With Omar Minaya seemingly the lone dectractor of Aaron Heilman as a starter, would the success of Street be the determining factor as to whether Minaya keeps his job or not? Because with Warthen, Snoop, and Jeff Wilpon seemingly in Aaron's corner, a Heilman trade has the potential of putting Minaya on the (baseball cliche coming ... duck) hot seat.

While we're knee deep in rampant speculation, let's add this layer: What if Minaya makes a quick Heilman trade, and then finds out that Oliver Perez is going to the Dodgers and Derek Lowe is going back to Boston? Now what? Omar would then have holes in the back of the rotation, which may turn into the middle of the rotation if, say ... John Maine decides he wants to officially be "injury prone". These are scenarios the Mets have to think about and weigh against each other.

I'm going to make a prediction: I think Heilman's going to start ... for the Mets. Why? Well think about it: Who wants Heilman at this point? What can the Mets hope to get for him that will help the 2009 roster? And if those returning parts aren't going to help in '09, then those parts will most likely not be anything of major league value in the future either. Letting Heilman start would improve your bullpen in the fact that ... well, Heilman's not there anymore. And you have more room to sign Joe Beimel and Juan Cruz to help the pen if you haven't already lost your first round pick by signing Lowe.

Now you would still have to sign Lowe, or re-sign Perez if Lowe's contract demands make Oliver Perez the cheap option (don't look too hard for the irony of that statement). But if you get one of them, Heilman would be a fifth starter. What would you rather have: Heilman as your fifth starter, or Heilman lighting games on fire in the seventh inning? Or Heilman in the North Pole with Santa Claus wrapping up Red Ryder air rifles?

Nah, he'll shoot your eye out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

$126 Million Buys A Lot Of Crazy Juice

Okay, I know it's all the art of negotiation. And Scott Boras is good at it. But Derek Lowe is now exposed as a special kinda crazy.

It's not so much that he's asking for a seven-year deal worth about $126 million. I personally think that the 35-year-old Lowe has a better chance of flying to Washington in a private jet and asking the government for a bailout, but that's just me.

But the very fact that Scott Boras would verbalize his request as wanting "a Zito-type contract" that kills me. Does Boras really know what ghost he's waking up by even acknowledging that Barry Zito exists? The last thing I would want to do if I'm Boras is get GM's thinking, "Barry Zito ... oh yeah, that's the guy who started last season 0-8 and has gone 21-30 in a supposedly weaker hitting league since signing the contract that Derek Lowe currently wants. Yeah sure! I'll pay that money to a 35-year-old. And while I'm at it, I'll throw myself in front of a truck. My odds of survival will be about the same!"

Let's see: Frankie Rodriguez had 62 rescues last harvest, will be 27 years old next season, yet is currently struggling to get a four year deal. And Derek Lowe wants Zito money for seven seasons? Hey, I want to see Lowe in Queens as much as anybody but if Omar Minaya lays out this money, he's crazier than I thought he was when he gave Julio Franco two years. (This, Omar, is where fiscal responsibility is a good thing.)


Speaking of Julio Franco and disposable income, I was recently made aware of a list of prices for autographed baseballs. Least expensive signed baseball on the board seems to be the one for former Met Eric Valent, who once hit for the cycle. You can use your disposable income to get a baseball signed by Valent for $49.00.

Not to make Valent feel bad or anything, but here's a partial list of players who you have to shell out more money for to get their signature on a baseball:
  • Lastings Milledge: $79.99
  • Aaron Heilman: $79.99 ("Aaron Heilman is considered to be an integral piece of the Mets future, whether it be in the bullpen or starting rotation" ... or in Colorado.)
  • Jorge Julio: $69.99 (that's a buck per team he's played with)
  • Julio Franco: $59.99
  • Joe McEwing: $50.00
  • Colby Rasmus: $49.99
  • Valent: $49.00

You know your major league career has been disrespected when for 99 cents more than the price of a ball signed by you, you can get a ball autographed by a guy who hit .251 at AAA ball last year and to date has never had a major league at-bat. Apparently hitting for the cycle isn't quite worth an extra buck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reunion Decision

Assuming that the Mets can get rid of Luis Castillo, and Daniel Murphy makes the move to second base creating a hole in left field, is the reunion you see in the picture something you would want to see in Queens next year?

Richard Justice muses that Ty Wigginton has to go because of economic concerns, salary restraints, and George Bush. Wigginton hit 23 HR's and 58 RBI's (with a higher rate of RBI's to HR's while batting 6th or 7th, which he would with the Mets), and is death to left-handed pitching (.340 average, 1.055 OPS). But, his home/road splits are atrocious, and unless this Citi Field includes Crawford Boxes that are 250 feet away in left field, he'll most likely be exposed away from Houston.

So yea or nay on Wigginton? Is he supersub who can be instant offense against lefties, or is he the right handed Jeromy Burnitz? I'd answer that question, but hopped on caffeine at 4AM isn't the best time to ask me anything, lest I get accused of being cranky. So be dears and answer it for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frankie Rodriguez: Lost in Translation

After days of seemingly inactive goings on in Met-land, we'll latch on to anything we can get. So when Metsblog brought us the news that Frankie Rodriguez was in New York taking a physical, I jumped ... even though the original source was a newspaper from Venezuela, and that I was warned beforehand to take this with a grain of salt.

It was then that I made the worst mistake of my life. I attempted to translate the original article. No, I didn't try this myself ... four years of Spanish in high school and all I absorbed is "Mi perro esta en fuego en la cocina." (Don't judge, that can come in handy in an emergency.) No, I used a free translator on the net, and quickly learned that you get what you pay for. Anyway, here's what the article says about Frankie going to New York:
Francisco Rodriguez is a sigh of stamp his signature on the contract he wanted so much. And when doing so will become the closing of the New York Mets. Santana, is looming as the leading candidate to become the services of Rodriguez.
Frankie's going to sign with the Mets to be their closer. All right, I waded through the translation and I get that. Continue:
"Yes, it's true. Francisco traveled to New York to get a medical checkup. That's all I needed to give effect to its contract with the Mets," confessed a source linked to stellar closing Venezuelan, who comes to impose a record for Major League, with 62 rescues that conquered during the regular harvest.
Because if you don't have enough rescues during the harvest, it's a cold, cold winter for the kids.
Although the K-Rod agent, Paul Kinzer, confessed yesterday to the official website of Major League Baseball who are still waiting to realize a multi-year contract that guarantees their represented at least 15 million dollars per season, the cast also where the military serpentinero Creole, Johan Santana, is looming as the leading candidate to become the services of Rodríguez.
Wait, Johan Santana is a Military Serpentinero Creole? Does he have a compound in Louisiana filled with enough guns and ammunition to take down a small country? And should we be worried about this?
"The Mets are the ones who have made the best offer so far, although I know that Francis wanted more money than what you have offered," said the source.
Lighten up, Francis.
The troops led by Jerry Manuel is the urgent need to strengthen a bullpen that lost a collective 29 wins in the previous harvest, including seven laurels that he had secured Santana to his third Cy Young Award.
Laurels? Is that like win shares?
With a cast of California out of the race in pursuit of a pact for the Kid, the Mets do not look to another club of great economic power that aims at closing the Venezuelan.
Doesn't that last sentence sound like something that the late Don LaFontaine should be reading?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Supermarket Sweep

Welcome to baseball's Black Friday.

Omar Minaya has his shopping cart in hand on this, the first day of free agency. And he claims that he will spend most of his time in the pitching aisle. Wonderful. In the current economy, he'll be sure to check price tags with due diligence. Hopefully, he'll pay closer attention to the expiration dates than anything (translated that means: stay away from Kerry Wood and his exploding arm, please?)

And stay away from the potato chips.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Familiar?

You know, for a team that seemingly couldn't market their way out of a paper bag, the Mets certainly have a lot of ideas stolen from them. The Phillies stole "Ya Gotta Believe" all the way to the series. Now the Dallas Stars have taken hold of "Our Team, Our Time".

Yeah ... they can have that one. Considering the Stars are barely treading water right now in the Pacific Division, the slogan is doing as much for the Stars as it did for the Mets in the end.

You know what, take the song too. Please, take the song.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

He's My Guy All Over Again*

And it feels so good.

*Mota is a free agent. Perhaps he can sign with Seattle, and Randolph can follow him there too.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Light Reading

So I'm guessing you've all heard about the book that Scott Boras wrote on Oliver Perez, which is famous for such chapters as "Perez Turns Corner in 2006", "Perez Is One of Baseball’s Top 5 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers", and of course: "Economy Schmeconomy, Oliver Perez Gives Solid Stock Tips Too". I particularly liked that one.

Turns out Matt Wise's agent has a book on him too. He's handing his out at the San Diego airport.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's A Major Award

Yes, I won a major award. But more on that later.

First off, it's time to bring some good feeling back to this blog. Too much negativity. Probably my fault. All right, I'll make it up to you:

With the holidays coming up, the most positive thing that you can do is to give to your favorite charity ... or perhaps, give to the favorite charity of your favorite announcers. So go get a t-shirt from Gary, Keith and Ron's website. And how about this: Enter the super secret code before November 28th, and get 10% off. Sounds good? Don't say I don't do anything for you.

Well actually, I still haven't done anything for you ... especially since I never gave you the secret code.

(Psst: BLOGGER ... pass it on.)


Oh, here's Part II of the Gabrielle Schoeneweis interview. Part III coming soon.


Oh, about that major award, I was recently presented with this:

It means I write well, I guess. But all appreciation to the presenter of this award to me. It was unexpected, and I'm not sure I deserve it. But it's appreciated much the same. Thanks!

The good news is that I get to pass it on to five more deserving blogs. The bad news is that I could only choose five. So don't scream at me for not choosing you or this newfound blog positivity is going to end quick. If I could give out awards to everyone, I would. Because I love you all ... seriously.

Here goes:

  1. Faith and Fear in Flushing: Because they constantly come up with things that I wish I came up with.
  2. Toasted Joe: Because he won't rest until Aaron Heilman is pitching for a club team in Siberia.
  3. Mets Walkoffs: Because the minutiae never stops.
  4. A tie: Nice Level Swing, My Summer Family, Archie Bunker's Army, and Brooklyn Met Fan: Because I'm incapable of making a decision. Deal with it.
  5. Jer's Steak House: Because I need to show a little versatility in my life. That and this guy is just plain smarter than me by like three miles. Probably smarter than you too. Just accept it.

You've been officially awarded. Now pass the love along to five of your favorites (or eight or nine if you can't make a decision like me). And oh yeah ... link to me, and link to the Scholastic Scribble guys. Those are the rules. If you don't follow the rules, the mogwai becomes a gremlin ... or something like that.

And buy a t-shirt.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes You Can

Already, the excuses:
Mets VP Tony Bernazard said if the Mets strike out through free agency or trade, they're prepared to potentially use Bobby Parnell or Eddie Kunz in the closing role.

"Why not? What's wrong with that?" Bernazard asked. "You can't sign one of those guys, what are you going to do - not play?"
In case you haven't noticed ... America voted for change.

First stop is your bullpen, Tony.

We want change in your bullpen ... or you and Omar go the way of every other old administration that's been voted out before they get another four years.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Was Kind Of Afraid Of This

This seemed inevitable ... but apparently while tanning in Dana Point, Omar and the Mets have expressed some interest in Javy Vazquez to help round out their rotation. (Historians will no doubt look upon New York City as the habitat of former Expos ... Seriously, it's a Cities of the Underworld special waiting to happen). Looking at his stats and expecting to find out that after finding the largest prime number, UCLA students would then search for Vazquez's career ERA, his 2008 season wasn't so bad. He had a 4.13 ERA and a 12-13 record in 196 innings in '08.

Those, of course, are his numbers before the magic threshold of September 17th. After that, Vazquez was 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA and an opponents OPS of 1.077. He fits into the program quite well, I'd say.


Oh, come on. For old times sake.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dana Point Lists

Omar's to do list/Winter Meetings:
  • Closer
  • Set up man
  • Middle reliever
  • Second base
  • Left field
  • Catcher upgrade
Ruben Amaro's to do list/Winter Meetings:
  • Short sheet Omar's bed
  • Put Omar's hand in warm water while he sleeps
  • Leave card by Omar's bed that reads "We Hate You!"
  • Shaving cream on Omar's hand, tickle his nose
  • Ask Omar's opinion on how many carats my ring should get
  • Starting pitcher

Meanwhile, Leo Nunez attends a Marlins orientation: