Thursday, December 31, 2009

Check Out The Special Guest For Times Square's New Year's Eve 2010 Ball Drop

Who better? Besides, he's been practicing all summer. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Guess Beirut Wouldn't Pay The Luxury Tax

Welcome to New York, Jason Bay. Try to contain your obvious excitement.

In a related story for you fans, your season ticket deposit is due in ten minutes. Line forms to the left of the Angel Berroa Rotunda, and you can easily slip the check into Mr. Met's giant head.

Why do you think his smile is so wide?

I'm smiling too ... well, as much as a Met fan will allow himself to smile these days. Don't out-think this, boys and girls. This is a good move. In a vacuum, it's a great move. If you have doubts as to Bay's ability to hit home runs in a large park, look at his home run chart. Check out the distances on the home runs, specifically on the home runs that are labeled as "lucky". Even the lucky ones for the most part went 380. So don't get sucked into the "Citi Field as Cavernous" line of thinking on this one. Citi Field was cavernous to the Punch, Judy, and Banjo hitters that roamed the earth in Queens last season. Visitors hit 81 home runs there in '09. You know why? Because they didn't suck, that's why. So ... easy does it, Sparky.

And Jason, I'm talking to you more than anyone since you're the one that seems to worry about the park most of all. You know what happens when you let a ballpark psych you out? You get David Wright in 2009. Think about that Jason, before you try to jam a knife into your shoulder in advance of your physical which would make the Mets contract official.

(Speaking of, if you do get hurt this season, you'd do better relying on your Canadian public health care than the advice of Mets management.)

That's what worries me about Bay in Citi Field ... not that he can't hit there, but whether he'll allow himself to be messed up by the park. Bay isn't going to be a Robby Alomar at first, who did nothing but complain about being traded to the Mets from Day One and never had the right attitude to play in this city. Bay will say all the right things and smile and kiss babies if he has to, to keep the legions of "if he doesn't want to be here then screw him!" people off his back. He'll be fine in that regard, because if you can play in Boston, you can play in New York. What worries me is the day in mid-July where he's sitting in the corner of the clubhouse curled up in the fetal position wondering why Joe Urbon didn't just sign him for less money to play at Fenway when he's steaming towards the all-star break with eight home runs and the fans are chanting "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay-ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut" at him.

So the lesson here is that a ballpark will only psych you out if you let it. It's Citi Field, not Central Park. Of course Jason, if you do get psyched out by the park, a few sessions on the couch with Howard Johnson will fix you right up.

Wait, that didn't sound right.

Oh, and defense? Hey, I like defense as much as the next guy. But show me an available current major league left fielder who sucks up every fly ball hit in his zip code and hits 30 home runs a year, and I'll show you your created video game player. So our left fielder needs a GPS on defense. What's an out of range fly ball among friends?

(Daniel Murphy just cursed under his breath.)

Earlier, I mentioned that this was a good move in a vacuum. But in the grand scheme of things, if the Mets are serious about improving their team, this will be a move, and not the move. If the Mets are serious only about collecting those season ticket invoices, then this is it ... so go back to sleep until April.

If they're serious about winning, they'll scrap this "we only have a few million left to spend" line and go revamp this rotation by signing Ben Sheets, or trading for a Red (Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang will do ... I'm not picky anymore), perhaps in conjunction with a Brandon Phillips acquisition (getting greedy now). Or how about Carlos Zambrano? He's available, apparently. And as crazy as he might be, and as expensive as he might be, think about having a pitcher who has never finished with an ERA above 3.99 while pitching in Wrigley Field. And think of all the wacky antics you'll enjoy when Z destroys a water cooler or puts a catcher in a full nelson. If it's Bengie Molina, so be it.

If it's his brother Yadier, all the better.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

"Jason Bay would rather play in Beirut than Queens." -Peter Gammons
Well this is just silly. First and foremost, there's no Shake Shack in Beirut.

There's also, to the best of my knowledge, no baseball in Beirut. But there's barely any baseball in Queens so that's a wash. So what about Beirut would be so appealing to Jason Bay? Maybe it's the short porch at Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium (70 meters). Maybe it's the fact that according to a 2006 Travel and Leisure, Beirut was named the ninth best city in the world.

Or maybe because in Beirut, there's at least a small chance that he would get to face Oliver Perez*.

In any event, if you're keeping score at home, the last three days have seen the Mets referenced against a city in its former war-torn state, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Any Pinto references you'd like to break out before the New Year, Mr. Gammons?

(*Editor's note: Jason Bay is 0-for-3 lifetime against Oliver Perez.)

Predictability

So there was a Christmas gift under the tree after all!

Unfortunately, the thing ran once in two years ... and I think it needs a part no longer in stock.

The Christmas Eve signing of Kelvim Escobar is a perfect illustration of what ails the New York Mets. Look, I'm happy Escobar has found work. And despite what you might think I'm going to say (just to show you I'm not getting too predictable in my own age), I'm happy that Kelvim Escobar has found work with the New York Mets. His stuff and his talent makes him worth taking the chance, so my official word is that I like the signing.

But here is where, predictably, the Mets are going to get this wrong. Where most teams would give a guy who has pitched once in two major league seasons (plus one recent Venezuelan league stint) a minor league contract to try to make a team that is stocked with enough talent that if Escobar wouldn't make it, no harm no foul, the Mets no doubt will see him have a couple of halfway decent outings in spring training and say "Hey, let's make him Frankie's set-up man" or, "Hey, he's our number two starter!"

I fear that instead of Escobar being the first of many moves to back themselves up, Escobar is going to be given too much importance too soon and, when he gets hurt again, will leave the Mets with another huge gaping hole that they can't fill until it's too late. When the Mets got J.J. Putz, it was great but more moves needed to be made. They weren't. And Putz going down was something the Mets couldn't recover from (the club's handling of his injury didn't help either.)

You want to tell me that Escobar is "low risk/high reward", fine. I hated that term when it applied to Gary Sheffield ... because it's my belief that it never applied to Sheffield. Signing Sheffield is never, ever "low risk". I still hate that term, but I'll grant you that signing Escobar could portray this mythical "low risk/high reward" scenario. But that'll be true only if he's put in a position where losing him to yet another injury (and let's face it, his history doesn't look good here) isn't going to hurt them. Knowing the Mets and their recent history, I doubt that this is going to happen. The eyes of Omar and Snoop will no doubt be too big for their stomachs and Escobar, after a stellar April, will be given the keys to the kingdom, just as Livan Hernandez was at one time. Escobar will then promptly lose said keys in the needle disposal bin of the surgery room he'll be visiting, and the Mets will be lost along with those keys.

Tell me I'm wrong all you want. But it's gotta be proven to me.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On Blanco, On Ryota, On Coste and Dickey!

Well, this is comforting:
"Jason Bay isn't the only free agent (outfielder) we're looking at. ...At some point we have to consider other plans." -Omar Minaya
And guess what, we might be at that point
"The Red Sox have had internal discussions about extending their organizational budget to potentially allow for another offer for free-agent OF Jason Bay." -Rob Bradford/WEEI (via Matt Cerrone)
Yeah, watching the world pass you by is always a great plan.

Well you thought you were going to have a special Christmas gift under your tree. Instead, you're preparing yourself for Omar Minaya to bring back Tom O'Malley and teach him to play left field at the age of 49 (just a year and a half older than Julio Franco). Well cheer up. Because Omar and The Acquisitions have put together a special Christmas video just for you. So Merry Christmas and get your ticket deposit money ready. (By the way, those "convenience charges" on your Ticketmaster bill ... they went towards the production values for this thing.)

video

(And happy birthday to Tom O'Malley, born on Christmas Day, 1960.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Print Those Playoff Tickets

R.A. Dickey, rumored to be the newest Met, is a knuckleballer. Which means that the pitch he's holding in this picture will probably be hit 500 miles if he ever throws it in a game. With our luck, he'll probably swear off the knuckleball as some sort of religious cleansing, and will learn how to throw the pitch pictured above from his new pitching and lifestyle guru, Matt Wise.

Monday, December 21, 2009

National Disaster

Would Jason Marquis have been the be-all end-all of the Mets return to glory in 2010? Most likely not. Would he have been a small part of the solution when in tandem with other smart acquisitions? Maybe. Should the fact that Marquis signed with the Nationals give you cause to pull your hair out of your head?

It should. Not so much because Marquis going to the Washington Nationals makes them favorites to win the N.L. East ... he doesn't. Not so much because he's going to win 21 games for Washington ... he's not. But if you're a Met fan, the following quote from Jason Marquis should give you convulsions:
"I want to play for a team that is headed in the right direction and making the moves that is necessary to get themselves back to being a winning organization. Some of the moves the Nationals have made -- like [signing Stephen Strasburg] signing Pudge [Ivan Rodriguez] and getting [Brian Bruney] -- they are making the necessary steps. I feel I can fit right in and bring a winning attitude to the team." -Jason Marquis
Now, if Marquis has signed with Washington, or somewhere else for that matter, for the three seasons at $10 million per that he was looking for before, then you really couldn't blame the Mets for passing. But you mean to tell me that a team that missed out on John Lackey with the rotation deficiencies that the Mets have couldn't pony up two seasons at $15 million total for a guy who has been putting up neon signs over his head all year that he wanted to come to New York? Marquis was practically wearing a giant Statue of Liberty head to the mound in Colorado, and they couldn't snag him at that price? And not only that, they lost him to one of the few teams below them in the standings because they, of all things, have a plan and are "headed in the right direction"?

Think about that as Jason Bay is hoping that the Elmjack little leaguers can raise about $61 million in sales of Nestle Crunch bars so that he can have another option ... any option ... other than the Mets.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Interrupt The Mets Cold Stove Season To Bring You ...

I am contractually obligated to tell you that the Mets have signed Ryota Igarashi. I don't know who he is. But from all I've read about him I can tell you who he's not: The Greg Maddux of Japan like Satoru Komiyama was. Or the Tom Glavine of Japan, the Steve Carlton of Japan or even the Danny Graves of Japan. He hasn't been compared to anybody to get our hopes up so they can mercilessly be torn down at the first home run he gives up to Chase Utley.



For those who can't convert kilometers to miles in their head, he throws about 93 in the above clip. And as you can see he wears number 53, just like our manager Chuckles. I hope Snoop gives up 53 because he really doesn't need to wear a number.

Comedy for his jokes, tragedy for when he gets fired after bringing Igarashi in at the wrong time, or for bringing him in 16 straight days until his arm falls off, then leaving him in the back of the bullpen to play Clue with Sean Green for a month. Yeah, this oughta work out well.

***

Oh by the way, when the Mets put in the new plasma replacement booth next to the Shake Shack, I hope they paint it blue and orange. There's nothing worse than not recognizing your history when you're hawking platelets that are sponsored by Verizon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jason eBay

The Yankees are about to hit the "Buy It Now" button.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How'd All These Eggs Get In This One Basket?

So even if the Mets do wind up with Jason Bay, their off season might already pale in comparison to that of the Red Sox, who just signed John Lackey ... and that of the Mariners and Phillies, who just completed a three team blockbuster where the Phillies get Doc Halladay and the Mariners get Cliff Lee.

But the Mets don't have Jason Bay yet. So ask yourself the following:
  • Even if the Mets get Bay, does it matter? Does the Phillies getting Halladay put the division out of reach anyway? Because you know the Mets would have to do a lot more roster construction than Bay to come within sniffing distance of Philadelphia.
  • If the Mets don't get Bay, how embarrassing would it be to see the Mariners land two top players (assuming it's the M's that get Bay) and the Mets get none?
  • If the Mets don't get Bay, should they just turn tail, call 2010 a wash, and keep the draft picks they would have spent on marginal Type A free agents? (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Bengie ... I don't care if you weren't offered arbitration and wouldn't cost a pick as an astute fan pointed out ... thanks Metsfan23 ... but you're still marginal. And old. Stop staring at me.)
Ask yourself those hard questions ... and try not to spiral into a disastrous funk as you're eating nothing but rocky road ice cream for seven days. I leave you with this:
"You thank the fans by trying to make the team better" -Randy Wolf during today's Brewers news conference
Remember Omar, there's more than one way to do that ... even if it costs you your job. And face it, your job is pretty much out the window anyway.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to check if there's any ice cream in the freezer.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Seven Year Stain

Now, it's going to take a lot of Kaboom to clean up what ails this organization. But one of the oldest stains that once had no hope of being cleaned was the stain left by Steve Phillips when he traded Jason Bay for Steve Reed.

The Mets have made an attempt to clean that nearly decade-old stain by offering Bay a four-year, $65 million contract on Thursday. And there's also a delicious irony in this as just a day after Scott Boras declared the Mets as a "financial juggernaut" in hopes of them opening the vault for a left fielder, that's exactly what the Mets did ... except they didn't open it for Boras' left fielder. Oops.

(Of course, the Mets also made it rain for Bengie Molina, as they've offered him a two year deal. To quote: "The team's bid for Bay, a native of Trail, B.C., was between US$60 million and $65 million over four years. Molina would cost much less." Not significant enough to mention, I guess.)

Bay/Holliday. Tomayto/Tomaato. At least to me. The difference to me is the opportunity to right a wrong committed so many seasons ago. Most likely, those seasons that have passed will wind up to be Bay's most formidable as a ballplayer, and we'll probably be in for the slow, painful decline of Jason Bay. But I prefer not to entertain such thoughts. Instead, I'll consider the power numbers he'll provide over the next few years for a team and a ballpark which could use some numbers, if he indeed takes this offer.

We can't erase the affairs, but we can erase the other stains ... one bottle of Kaboom at a time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If The Juggernaut So Chooses

"You mean, Jeff Wilpon hasn't gone all Pacman Jones on Indianapolis and made it rain all over the Marriott yet?"

Oh good, Scott "Prince of Darkness" Boras has gotten a look at the Mets finances, apparently.
Scott Boras, who represents outfielder Matt Holliday, called the Mets a financial "juggernaut" Wednesday, citing their television network, SNY; their new ballpark, Citi Field; and their location in the New York market.

"Their revenues are in the top three or four in baseball," Boras said. "The New York Mets have a lot of choices, and the Wilpon family is very successful. Sure, the Mets can sign any player they want to sign if they so choose to."
If they so choose to. Sounds like famous last words to me. Or, it sounds like the screws have been tightened just a bit further ... if not by Boras, then by Randy Wolf's new Brewers contract, convincing the Mets that maybe they spend a little bit more to get more quality. I know, I know, paying for quality is a lost art on this planet. But perhaps the evidence may be pointing to the next Cristal party in Indianapolis being on the tab of Jeff Wilpon.

If he so chooses to (shudder).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Negativity? Here's Where To Find Some

One of my favorite Mets blogs had this to say a while back:
"I just can't believe how negative some Mets fans have become, scouring the blogosphere I've seen nothing but negative comments about how the Mets are handling the off-season."-Mets Fever
What Ed says is interesting because it's something I investigate in myself from time to time. Currently, I'm spending long chunks of time in deep meditation with the help of some mind altering drugs in far away caves (code for "too busy playing Bejeweled"). Seriously, it's a daily struggle not to turn this blog into the Rego Park version of "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn". And if the Mets wouldn't give me so much material, maybe I'd be a bit friendlier and more optimistic.

But I'm trying. For example, here's how low my standards have gotten: The Mets signed Mike Hessman today. If Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I wouldn't know who he was. Then again, if Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I'd be happy just because he made contact (he's a .229 career minor league hitter). And, he's 32 years old. For the Mets, that's a youth movement.

But negativity is unavoidable this off-season, no matter what. Forget what has happened the last three seasons. Forget that this fan base is generally angry. Forget that my seminal moment in person with the Mets this season was turned into a Washington Nationals Christmas card (my constant heckling of the team immediately after this game did not make the card ... now that would have been a Christmas greeting.) But any direction the Mets go, whether it's an actual direction or whether it's just going around in a circle chasing your tail, has negativity involved.

Here are some of the options this off season:
  • First tier: Holliday, Lackey, Bay, Hudson
  • Second tier: Pineiro, Molina, Wolf, Torrealba, Marquis
  • Trades: Hart, Bradley, Phillips, Harang, Matthews, Burrell, Halladay
  • The Caulking Gun Strategy: Blanco, Hessman
Now the best case scenario for the Mets would be the Pu Pu Platter Approach ... one from each column. Ideally, it's the only scenario. Realistically, the Mets are going to be that guy from the Toyota commercial left without a car during the Dealathon, yet there's nobody there to tell them that there's more cars in the back. The ideal approach would require imaginative thinking that, frankly, I don't think this organization has. Certainly not the type of thinking and guts that brought a certain other team in town Curtis Granderson. Hell, this team's idea of imaginative thinking is changing the pinstriped uniform from white to cream. They can't even come up with good ideas for ticket plans before Christmas, so why should I accept a multi pronged approach to player personnel? Walking and chewing gum at the same time would be a good first step.

My ultimate point is this: even the best case scenario for this off-season isn't without its risks. It's not like 2007-08 when there was one end game for off season success in Johan Santana, or even last season when, even though the Mets had a few holes, the bullpen was by far the leakiest faucet. Whatever the Mets do, whether it be sign either Holliday, Bay, Lackey or Hudson and risk that their best days aren't behind them, sign Pineiro or Wolf and risk a drop in production, trade for Hart, Phillips/Harang or Matthews and risk the player they trade away become a superstar, or trade for Burrell and risk having to send a search party to find him in left field sometime during the sixth inning, nothing this winter is a slam dunk.

But that's not to give the Mets an out here. Conversely, this is the type of off-season where the Mets have to show the imagination they've rarely shown or even had to have shown. For example, that John Maine for Corey Hart rumored deal shows some of that. But if you're going to tell Met fans that Corey Hart, and not Bay or Holliday is their left fielder, you had better also tell them that one of the dominoes that need to fall for that deal to happen is John Lackey, or else the negativity is going to be out in full force, rather than the half force that you would get if you just signed, say, Bay and Lackey.

But hell, even Bay, Lackey and Holliday each have their question marks, whether it be an ability to navigate the Citi outfield, or being injury prone. But the biggest question mark would be whether it's worth it to spend big for 2010 when, let's be honest, the Phillies are still pretty much going to dominate the division, while bigger free agents are on the horizon for 2011 and beyond.

So whatever happens, it's going to be hard not to be somewhat negative. The only question is how much so. Are the Mets going to make the risky yet bold moves? Are they going to do just enough to throw out the mirage of competitiveness? Or am I going to have to gently tell the neighborhood Christmas carolers to get off my lawn?

Life's Tough, So Man Up

It's more than a little unnerving to exit an airplane to this:

"Mets Trade For Burrell"

Of course, it turned out not to be true ... yet. To think, I wasted perfectly good vomit over nothing.

Some have asked me if I could ever accept a member of the charter Hall of Hate club as one of our own if he was traded here, or if I would take that person off the list forever. In Burrell's case I'd consider it. But there's a catch.

Burrell, as you all can probably recite, has 42 career home runs off Met pitching in 634 plate appearances. 634 divided into 5,864, Burrell's total amount of plate appearances, is roughly 9.25. Multiply that by that number 42, you get the amount of home runs Burrell would have to hit as a Met for me to take him out of the Hall of Hate.

388.

Statistically impossible? Considering he'd be playing in Citi Field and not Shea Stadium, and that it would be hard for Burrell to get another 5,864 plate appearances on the other side of 30, well then he'd better eat right and take lots of steroids. Life's tough.

***

And speaking of life being tough, seems that the Mets signed and re-signed Elmer Dessens to help mentor Oliver Perez ... and the signing of Henry Blanco is another step in that direction.

Funny how neither Dessens, Blanco, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Baerga, Mackey Sasser, nor anybody else with "intangibles" needed to be in the room to mentor Oliver when he signed that $36 million contract. Weird, huh?

Man up. Nannies are for infants.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Maybe This Is What The Mayans Meant

If the Mayan calendar holds true, and we're due for a fundamental change in 2012, maybe this was the first sign. Maybe the hints that Bud Selig is planning to retire after the 2012 season is the first hint that maybe the change that the Mayans meant was going to happen in major league baseball.

Sure, the Mayans had never heard of major league baseball, the World Series, or performance enhancing drugs. But perhaps the guy who filled out the calendar looked eerily like Armando Benitez, and maybe he just got up for a mental break and forgot to finish (sounds like Game 1 in 2000, doesn't it?) So perhaps you, the Met fan, have some real fundamental change to look forward to in 2012 and beyond.

Maybe the world is due for a change ... so much so that there will no longer be World Series games in November (don't hold your breath), or WBC games in March, or Chip Caray broadcasting games on TBS. Heck, that last thing has already happened, so maybe that fundamental change we all could use is seriously going to happen. Maybe the Mayans were truly ahead of their time.

Or maybe the guy filling out the calendar way back when looked eerily like Armando Benitez and he just forgot to finish after getting up for a piece of cake. Sounds like Game 1 in 2000, doesn't it?

Most likely, if this is a harbinger of serious Mayan change, then a series of cataclysmic events will precede it. You could say that the entire 2009 season was that series all rolled into one season, but that would be too easy. More likely, 2009 only counts as one event, just as 2007 and 2008 were singular events. And the events keep coming. Think about it: Wilson Valdez and Brian Schneider are now both members of the Philadelphia Phillies. They ranged from barely irrelevant to seriously overrated here ... but as Phillies? Schneider is destined to hit 12 HR's in a part time role in the Shoebox, while Valdez is bound by fate to be the one to officially knock the Mets out of the postseason conversation. Just as Pedro started the trend last season, Valdez will continue that tradition.

Or will it be Billy Wagner? Country time heading to the Braves certainly counts as a cataclysmic event. I mean, who saw this coming? Especially with the Braves having offered arbitration to Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano ... they could have a three headed bullpen monster!

Not that it worked out so well in Flushing, mind you.

But Country Time as Cataclysmic Event lies in the fact that the Mets could have gotten those high draft picks by just holding on to Wagner and offering him arbitration, just as the Braves did. Instead, they traded him for 27-year-old Chris Carter (all he does is score touchdowns ... uh-oh) and let the Red Sox get those draft picks. But they saved $3 million which, after two of those million go to Alex Cora, will be spent on new uniforms that look like they need Tide, and a picture of Todd Pratt in the excelsior level. So I guess it all evens out.

And speaking of that bullpen monster, one of the heads that has been cut off might resurface in Philadelphia in the form of J.J. Putz. Ironically, cutting off Putz's head was the next course of action if the cortisone shot didn't work. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and Putz was instead placed on the disabled list. But rest assured that a cortisone shot will not be on the menu for Putz in Philly. A cheesesteak? Maybe. The closer's job? If Brad Lidge cooperates, sure. And why not a game in September where Schneider hits a grand slam, Valdez gets a game winning hit, and Putz strikes out the side in the ninth to eliminate the Mets?

All foretold by the Mayans.

But maybe when it's all said and done, we'll live in a world where the Mets will acquire marginally iconic Philadelphia Phillies and steal their slogans as the Phillies brazenly did with Tug McGraw. Hey, we've got 33-year-old rookie turned 37-year-old Mendoza line hitter Chris Coste. Best case scenario, his inspirational story continues here, he gets a couple of big hits down the stretch, and John Kruk gets to write the forward to his second book.

Mets case scenario, he's cut in spring training because the club signs Bengie Molina, who will set fire to his hamstring in a freak pre-game ritual will be out for the season. And we'll indeed have to wait until 2012 for significant change in baseball, in Flushing, in life. But don't hold your breath.

Freakin' Mayans.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Elmer Dessens Wishes You A Happy Thanksgiving!

And why not? After all, you have a lot to be thankful for! First thing being that the Mets are interested in bringing their best reliever back for 2010. Hey, don't laugh, Elmer Dessens was the picture of health last season (ahh, that felt so good ... calling it "last" season.)

Also, you'll get to see him wear those spiffy new "throwbacks", on sale tomorrow at your local Mets clubhouse store just in time for the holidays. Although I gotta say, the cream color combined with the black drop shadow on them ("combines old and new elements of Mets uniforms", they call it) kinda looks like the white pinstriped uniforms hadn't been washed in a few months. That's okay. It just means Dessens will be "thrown back" to 2003, when he stunk.

But anyway, glad the Mets are busy designing new uniforms (which consisted of going from white to cream, and nothing else), Mets-izing Citi Field, (which they were shamed into doing, so let's see if they go all out or if they just paint the park "eggshell"), and wooing Elmer Dessens. Hard at work for you, the paying customer. And that, is what I'm thankful for this holiday season.

Now go eat.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cyrano de Wilpon

(Our story begins with Matt Holliday returning to his crib after beers with the fellas ...)

MH: Don't forget, McGwire's the designated driver tonight. See you later, party animals.

OM: Hello Mr. Holliday.

MH: Oh! You're here. Well, talk. I will listen.

OM: I love you.

MH: Talk to me of love.

OM: I love ... you.

MH: Elaborate, please.

OM: I love you ... very much.

MH: I don't doubt that. And what further?

OM: I would love ... if you would love us too.

MH: You are offering me platitudes when I was hoping for a large contract. Tell me a little of how you love me.

OM: Very very much.

MH: Disentangle your sentiments.

OM: I love you.

MH: Again!

OM: No, I do not love you ... I adore you. Love makes me into a fool.

MH: This displeases me that you are no longer the confident man that would swoop in and tell stories of how it would be above all else to play for your team. That instead you are old and beaten.

OM: But ...

MH: Rally me your routed eloquence.

OM: I ...

MH: Yes, you love me. Now go away.

OM: But ...

MH: Oh sorry, you adore me. I've heard it. Drive home safe.

(Jeff Wilpon appears)

JW: What the hell are you doing?

OM: I was only ...

JW: I told you that you are no longer to do this without me. Now go stand over there. (Throws pebbles at Holliday's window)

OM: What? I'll die!!!

JW: GO!

MH: Who is it?

OM: It's Omar!

MH: Oh it's you. Go away.

OM: I wish to speak to you.

MH: Your conversation is too common.

OM: (With prompting from Jeff) How common does 6 years $108 million sound?

MH: That's better. But why is your speech so stunted and interrupted?

OM: (moving towards the doorway, out of Holliday's sight) Because the dark ... I'm afraid of the dark.

MH: What's there to be afraid of? Why are your words difficult?

JW: (talking lower and mimicking Minaya's diction) What does it matter if they reach their destination? Your words merely drop ... My words have to climb to reach you.

MH: So does your contract offer.

JW: My heart is large ... and my wallet is (gulp) larger. With the masses that will surely fill Citi Field and buy our delectable fish sandwiches from Catch of the Day because of you, no price is too high for you.

MH: Now this ... this is love.

JW: But tell me, do you grasp my love's measure? Does some little part of my soul make itself felt of you in darkness and make you tremble?

MH: Yes, I tremble. And with a couple more million you can carry me away to your Field of Fish.

JW: That would be Citi Field. And yes, I will carry you away until death or Dr. Andrews do us part.

MH: I'll play for you Omar.

OM: (jumps in excitedly) And thus we will have you, Doc!!!

MH: Doc?

JW: DOC??!?

SB: Hey, what's going on here??!?

OM: SCOTT BORAS!!!

SB: What are the two of you doing here?

MH: The two of ... Jeff Wilpon? It was your words that wooed me?

JW: Umm, uhh?

MH: And you, Omar ... you thought I was Doc Halladay, didn't you?

SB: Get the hell out of Matt's apartment complex!!!

MH: Yeah, I'm re-signing with St. Louis.

JW: Omar you idiot (slaps him upside the head). What are we going to do now???

OM: Umm ... go to Boston to woo Jason Bay?

JW: (sigh) I'll drive.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dream On


Lance Berkman has gotta stop eating Thai food right before he goes to bed. From Astros beat guy Brian McTaggart's Twitter, via Mets Fever:
Lance Berkman just told me: "Last night I had a dream I got traded to the Mets." He didn't say who the Astros got in return.
Funny, last night Lance had that dream where he's hitting .220 as a Met and Tony Bernazard is chasing him with an 18 inch needle trying to give him a cortisone shot while shirtless. And he woke up in a cold sweat and couldn't even make it to the bathroom before puking all over himself. Yeah, I hate when that happens.

Perhaps Berkman is looking for a change subconsciously, but will not admit it to himself. I couldn't find an interpretation of a dream involving a trade to the Mets, but if he's dreaming about a job change, perhaps these guys can explain:
The "you’re fired" dream could also be a sign of fear of rejection or an indication that you subconsciously want to end some relationship or situation (work or personal) in your life. Maybe you secretly fantasize about leaving your job or escaping from your cubicle. (...) One way or another, your dreams are probably telling you that it’s time to make some kind of change in your life.
If this passage helps you Lance, then it's time to go demand that trade. Maybe this passage can explain some other people's dreams as well. (*coughOmarcough*)

Friday, November 13, 2009

If You Can't Beat Him, Throw Money At Him

I'm not sure how I feel about the Mets' interest in Jo-El Pineiro. It's human nature to take note of a pitcher's success against you, and eliminate three losses a year by signing him to a long term deal.

I mean, on the one hand ... he's been unhittable against the Mets. On the other hand, so has everyone else. And much like hitters from Colorado (we're interested in one of those too), pitchers from St. Louis must be looked at with a skeptical eye, as Pineiro will not come with pitching coach Dave Duncan. Duncan may be the green crystal that Son of Jo-El needs to create his Sinker of Solitude, as in the solitary hit he gives up to the Mets every time he faces them. Without that green stick, would Pineiro be Clark Kent walking into the diner in Superman II and get the ever loving crap beat out of him? With the Mets' luck? Count on it.

Special appearance by Jimmy Rollins as "Zod"

Benny Agbayani: A You Tube Retrospective

With news that Benny Agbayani has finally retired after a long career in Japan, let's look at his most memorable moment as a Met (modified with video game footage because heaven forbid Bud Selig allow old baseball clips to be seen on You Tube:



How do we know Benny's cool? Who else gets their own chant? I don't hear any chants for Matt Holliday unless they involve "Thanks for catching that ball in L.A. you douche!"



Guess I'm wasting my time hoping for Benny Agbayani Night at Citi Field in 2010, right? Of course not ... not from the same people that can't calculate 10 percent.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First Response, Or First Tease?

You have to assume that any rumor that involves dumping Luis Castillo's contract is probably too good to be true.

Look, my past man crush on Castillo is well documented. And he deserves a world of credit for bouncing back not once (from 2008), but twice (from the pop-up). But it's also well documented that you sell high. Or at least Castillo high which means you sell mediocre.

So this rumored deal which would send Castillo to the Cubs and Lyle Overbay to the Mets is absolutely the right thing to think about. It's the third part of that deal which will make or break it, which is Milton Bradley going from the Cubs to the Jays. And Toronto, reportedly and predictably, wants no part of Bradley. (Some say the Canadian exchange rate would change Bradley from slightly perturbed and misunderstood to certifiably insane.)

If these rumors do turn out to be a pipe dream, then at least those pesky Doc Halladay to the Phillies rumors can die a horrible death too. Or the rumor that I completely made up myself where the Phillies decline the option on Pedro Feliz for the sole purpose of signing Chone Figgins, and hence moving Jimmy Rollins down in the order.

Die rumors ... die.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Xavier Nady Stole My Couch

Metstradamus comes home from work after a long day of dealing with hoards of Yankee fans using mass transit to travel to and from their victory parade, and finds a surprise waiting for him.

X: Hey, man.

MD: Who are you and what are you doing in my living room?

X: Come on, you don't recognize me?

MD: You look familiar ...

X: Yeah, you even bought a t-shirt with my name on it.

MD: Dude, that only eliminates, like, half of major league baseball.

X: Dude!

MD: Wait a second ... are you Xavier Nady?

X: Yeah man, what's up?

MD: Nothing, but I reiterate: What are you doing in my living room?

X: I heard you had meatloaf in the fridge.

MD: Uh, okay.

X: It's damn good.

MD: Yes it is. But, how did you get in here?

X: With this (holds up a giant key)

MD: That's a large key.

X: It's not just any large key ... it's my key to the city.

MD: You got a key to the city? For what??!?

X: Dude, I'm a Yankee!

MD: Don't remind me.

X: Yeah, so we're world champs, so I got this key.

MD: And ... you used it to come into my apartment.

X: Yeah.

MD: You can do that?

X: Anywhere in the city I want, I can just use this and walk right in.

MD: I thought it was merely symbolic.

X: Crazy, huh?

MD: So at any moment I could see Jeter or A-Rod in my kitchen?

X: In theory, yes. But the big players don't really use them much ... it's just the bench guys that use them to get a meal or some furniture. Not everyone can make $20 million a year. We're just trying to make a living.

MD: Furniture?

X: Yeah, I just came from Jay-Z's house. I took his couch.

MD: Dude, that's theft!

X: Hey I've got a key. The city is mine. Besides, he'll never know it's missing. He's too busy trying to convince LeBron James to play for the Nets next year.

MD: But there has to be some specific purpose that brought you here.

X: Huh?

MD: I mean, you could go anywhere you wanted, but you came here. I mean, what's it about? Is this some sort of penance that I have to go through? Is this my punishment for not watching the World Series ... I find Xavier Nady on my couch eating my meat loaf with a key to the city earned while playing for the New York Yankees? Are you a symbol, Xavier? A symbol of what my life is going to be like rooting for this team for the next twenty years? What? What is it??!?

X: Dude, do you have some ketchup for this meat loaf?

MD: No I do not have any ketchup for your damn meat loaf!!!!

X: Dude, chillax. I really just came for the meat loaf and to watch some T.V. I'm sorry if you were searching for a larger purpose for me being in your living room. It was really just hunger and television.

MD: You couldn't find a larger house with a bigger T.V.?

X: Well, I went into Frankie Rodriguez's house to watch his wall-sized flat screen. But that didn't work out so well.

MD: He didn't have meat loaf?

X: It wasn't that ... turns out he put a bullet through his television when Brian Bruney got his key to the city.

MD: Oh.

X: Yeah.

MD: Maybe you're here as a symbol that Oliver Perez will also one day get his key to the city.

X: He's got his already. Unfortunately, that city is Port St. Lucie.

MD: That sounds appropriate.


X: Hey, you got any salt for this?

MD: No Xavier. Even though you're a somewhat popular former Met, you're a Yankee who has won a championship so I'm going to have to throw you out of my home.

X: I understand.

MD: And by the way, that meat loaf is like two weeks old.

X: I knew it needed ketchup.

MD: You think Jeter will actually try to show up with his key? Because if he does I'll press charges.

X: Jeter already exchanged his for a new blazing copper Ford. And A-Rod gave his to Kate Hudson ... told her it was the key to his heart or something stupid like that.

MD: Oh lord, really?

X: Yeah. Can you believe that?

MD: What was the deal with that hat, anyway?

X: Don't ask, dude.

MD: Feel free to come back when you're a Met again.

X: With my recent injury history, that'll be soon.

MD: I'll expect the medical records in the mail.

X: I'm off for my cortisone and salmonella shots.

Friday, November 06, 2009

J.J., Not So Dynamite, Seeks 2010 Spinoff

"All I kept on hearing in the streets of New York when you go get bagels in the morning was, 'Omar, please address the bullpen.' Well, to all you Mets fans, we've addressed the bullpen." -Omar Minaya 12/11/2008
The only thing missing from that speech was a parachute and an aircraft carrier. And much like George Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Omar Minaya at the Bellagio delivered a victory speech that doesn't seem so much like a victory a little under a year later, as J.J. Putz was granted his million dollar option and sent loose into the deep, dark world that is free agency. Of course, after being a 2009 Met, that's a world that doesn't seem so deep, or dark.

There are plenty of reasons to blast Omar Minaya. I don't feel this is one of them ... at least not for the trade itself. I realize how everyone feels about Endy Chavez. But let's face it, his last days as a Met were hardly productive as an everyday player. He was better in Seattle before tearing his ACL before missing the season.

And also ... Aaron Heilman. Need I say more?

The mistake in the trade more than likely was either not knowing the medical history, or ignoring it all together. Looking back, misdiagnosing injuries would be a theme of this team, so I'm not really surprised. The idea of the trade was good. Even the execution was good. But when the guy who's the lynchpin of the entire trade is made to pitch two more weeks than he should have with bone spurs, then of course a trade is going to look bad.

It also didn't help that Sean Green was either pitching on eight days rest or eight straight days all season ... and that Jeremy Reed, who came as a defensive wizard in the outfield, was inexplicably put at first base for reasons we'll never understand. He also never saw playing time on a team that had about fifty players injured ... again, for reasons we'll never understand.

You may say that it was a bad idea to have a closer pitch the eighth inning, citing that Putz had concerns about not having that "ninth inning adrenaline rush". But that was probably a cover for the injuries that he was forced to pitch through ... and of course he's going to do it because he's not an excuse guy. I'm not sure having a closer in the eighth is bad roster construction. Heck, there have been plenty of eighth inning guys who have been a disaster in the eighth inning.

Again ... Aaron Heilman.

So did it work out? No. But Chavez and Joe Smith didn't exactly work out either, so this whole experiment will probably be a wash. That is, of course, until Ezequiel Carrera gets called up and becomes Superman for Seattle (He had an on base percentage of .441 in AA West Tennessee last season ... for the record. So get back to me about this trade in three years.)

A Step Behind

All right, so we're mere hours into the off-season, so let's kick it off by being impatient. It's so "New York Cliche" to be impatient, but I'm embracing it.

How can I help it? Already we've heard that the Mets are scared off by Aroldis Chapman's asking price, scared off by John Lackey's asking price, and have already missed out on two players widely thought to be potential parts of the Mets renaissance: Mark Teahen (to the White Sox) and Jeremy Hermida (to the Red Sox). With Carlos Delgado filing for free agency, maybe making a move for an upgrade at first base would have helped. Or, maybe Hermida would have been an option in left field, or as a better fourth outfielder option than whatever next season's 35-year-old flavor of the month might be. But I guess that's why Omar Minaya makes the big bucks getting Jeff Wilpon coffee while I just spew crap here in this space.

If the modus operandi of this team is truly going to change, then apparently it has to be done quick. Because even after one day without baseball, teams seem to be proactive in filling holes while the Mets have already stumbled out of the gate. Maybe the Mets do have a plan in mind. Maybe it does involve Lackey and/or Chapman, and everything we've heard from the media is a Mets induced smokescreen to hide a better plan.

I hope there's a better plan. And I hope they're right.

***

For those who wonder why I don't "support the Yankees for my city because I'm a New Yorker" or root for the Yankees because in 1986 Yankee fans "rooted for the Mets against the Red Sox", I bring you Carol Hirsch.
Carol Hirsch, 50, of Fair Lawn bought two sweatshirts, three T-shirts and a pennant for herself and her boyfriend. Part of it, she said, was to show her pride in her favorite team.

"And to stick it to Mets fans," she added. "We have a lot of friends who are Mets fans."
Check, and mate.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

And The Scarlet Number 2000 Fades Away

For nine years, I've had the indignity of having witnessed the last Yankees world championship in person. Now, I don't have to say that anymore.

So I suppose that's a good thing (along with Shane Victorino being the final out ... I'll take what I can get, I guess.)

But it's not enough that the Yankees are back to being World F***ing Champions (thanks Chase), but Hideki Matsui won the MVP award after a six RBI night ... meaning that Jeff Wilpon is now salivating over the thought of signing him to play left with his surgically repaired knees.

(Hmmmmmm ... advertising dollars.)

But here's the good news: Thanks to Bud Selig letting FOX walk all over him with November baseball, spring training starts in just about two weeks. Then we can start worrying about important things ... like how to beat the Pirates now that they have Akinori Iwamura, or how to replace Frankie Rodriguez after he blows out his elbow pitching winter league in Venezuela.

The bad news is that Jose Reyes will still be rehabbing 48 of the 124 tears in his hamstring.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Here's Where I Jump Off

You wanted hell? You got holy hell instead.
Big Apple women may soon be able to take a ride on Derek Jeter -- the bridge, that is.

Bronx leaders have proposed naming the soon-to-be-built East 153rd Street bridge for the Yankee shortstop.

"There have been conversations at the community board, and I know the idea is being examined," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., a Bombers fan who confesses to a "man crush" on the Captain.

"It's something I am ready to support. We're moving on it."
Just in time to clinch the World Series from hell. They're not going to stop until every mode of transportation in this damn city is named after a Yankee, are they? You've already got something named after DiMaggio, now a Jeter Bridge? What's next, the DMV wants you to make sure you follow your Joba Traffic Rules?

Meanwhile, as the city seeks to name a real city bridge after Derek Jeter, there's a fake bridge in Citi Field that the Mets haven't bothered to name yet ... even though they had all these wonderful things planned in 2009 to honor the Mets. Instead, all they did was send Mariano Rivera their pitching rubber along with putting up a few pictures to placate Mets fans and hope they forget about all of this "memorabilia nonsense".

Maybe they're planning to take the bridge and give it to Jeter to honor the greatness that is he, so he can drive his Ford Edge on it over and over again (the one in blazing copper, of course).

Isn't there a small pond in Forest Park we can name after Mike Vail?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mutiny For Dummies

I'd love to play Stratego against the Wilpons ... they'd turn all their pieces facing me to start the game.

Not enough that they're bringing in former Diamondback Chip Hale to coach third base, but they're also talking to former Diamondback Bob Melvin about the position of bench coach. Now bench coach, as you know, is like being one scandal away from the Presidency. Somebody must have realized that Razor Shines was one inappropriate joke by Snoop Manuel away from being manager of the New York Mets, and understood what it was like to survive four years of Dan Quayle as the Vice President.

(Seriously? Topical humor from 1990? Any Sinead O'Connor jokes you wanna unleash there, Metstradamus?)

So let's not only attempt to have a former manager come in and be the bench coach, which is obvious enough, let's also bring his base coach in too! Wow, I think even the kids that have never played a game of Clue in their lives could figure this one out. The question is, can Snoop figure it out before it's too late?

And if he does, what's the point? This happens all the time, and I don't get it. What are we hoping to accomplish here? What the Mets, and every other team that does this, is saying is that "you'd better go 35-5 or your ass is getting canned", or something like that. But just as with Kevin Towers and JP Ricciardi for jobs potentially working under Omar Minaya, being faced with your eventual replacement isn't going to make you smarter, or make you a better manager. That's The Winner Within b.s. If there's a chance that Snoop isn't the right person to lead your club, then why not just get it over with rather than go through the whole charade of 40 games and cause another international incident of firing another manager after one game of a west coast trip? Is it a public relations thing? Must be. I didn't major in that. I hope Manuel majored in looking over his shoulder.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Satan's Series

At midnight on Monday, October 26th, the New York Yankees won the 2009 American League pennant, completing a World Series matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Also at midnight on Monday, October 26th, the movie Armageddon was starting on my cable system.

How fitting.

The movie had a happy ending. But this, my friends, is Baseball Armageddon. There is no happy ending. Satan has been unleashed. The minions have arrived on earth. The Mayan calendar has ended little more than three years earlier than expected. The world will never be the same. And the next two weeks are going to be the worst two weeks on earth.

In one respect, this awful season couldn't have ended any other way. The good news is that now, there really is no possible season that could possibly be any worse than this. (At least 1993 saw Toronto in the fall classic to defeat the Phillies.)

But in another respect, we have a final battle where there can be no winners. Only pain and anguish. I'm here, fellow Met fans, to quell that pain and anguish ... because you're unknowingly inflicting it on yourselves.

About a week ago, I set out on a quest to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Unfortunately, my original plan to bring the sabermetricians and the scouts together in harmony was put to rest when I was informed that they were no longer at war. But undeterred, I still seek this honor. Because this, this is a much more noble (Nobel?) crusade.

Anyone over the age of 40 will surely remember, and those under that age surely read about it in their history books, but in 1980 Jimmy Carter pulled the United States Olympians out of the Moscow games because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The athletes didn't like it. But it was for their own good. Friends, consider me your Jimmy Carter. (Carter, it should be noted, is a past winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace.) Though I realize that I'm not the boss of you, I'm making a decision on behalf of all of you that you may not like, but please trust me when I tell you that it's for your own good, and the good of the planet.

I'm boycotting the 2009 World Series, and pulling all Met fans around the world out of it. You may not like it, but it's for your own good.

For those of you who have made that decision already, good for you. You're doing a service to your community. But I see way too many of you on the internets feel that you have to choose a side. Maybe it's because it's the World Series, or because you don't want to have baseball on somewhere on your dial and not be watching it, and choosing a side will help you be able to watch the games. Let me tell you that no good can come of either outcome.

I'm all for hatred of the Phillies, but rooting for the Yankees is not the answer. Do you really want to have your Yankee fan friends to be all nice to you and tell you that "hey, you've gotta root for New York" (sorry, I hate that) only to then come up to you all winter and tell you that "Hey, we took care of the team that you couldn't ... you're welcome!" in that slimy, smarmy, Yankee voice? Do you want that condescending pat on the back from those people welcoming you to the dark side? You want to be on the same side as these people for the next 4-7 games? When they go back to laughing at you the rest of the winter, and when John Sterling provides the soundtrack to your winter, you're going to be sorry you rooted for them.

Conversely, Yankee hatred is a staple of society. But siding with the Phillies is also not the answer. I understand staying along league lines. But do you want to be on the same side of any argument with Brett Myers? Shane Victorino? Jimmy Rollins??? JIMMY ROLLINS??!?!? The same guy who's insecurities led him to bring up the Mets during their World Series parade? Really??!? When Phillie fans go back to pouring beer on your head and knocking you out with one punch in Citi Field, while Comcast Philly or My Philly 17 puts it on television (yes, this happened), and when the Phils clinch the series in New York and take the World Series trophy for a spin around the Citi Field parking lot that you once knew as your beloved Shea Stadium before heading to the airport, you're going to be sorry you rooted for them.

You get the point, right? Rooting for either one of these teams is like getting into bed with the head cheerleader for a night, only to have her tell the entire school about your shortcomings in bed. Is this what you want??? All winter??!?!? Have some self respect.

But worse than that, do you really want Mets fans fighting with other Mets fans about why rooting for one over the other is more palatable? Maybe these kind of arguments wouldn't happen too much in bars across New York ... and maybe only one of these drunken discussions between Met fans would result in a bar fight. But my friends, that would be one bar fight too many. The few friendships between Met fans that would end because one of them rooted for the Yankees would be one friendship too many. Don't let yourselves be driven apart by taking sides in this mess. Let the Yankee fans and the Phillie fans be the ones to throw hands with each other. Let's not eat our own young, or commit Met on Met crime. You're playing right into Satan's hands. This is what he wants. This is why he's here with his minions.

That's why my solution, my message of peace, is your only chance at a dignified existence over the grueling days and weeks to come. Trust me, it's not worth it. You want to make a statement, turn your backs. Walk away. Have dinner with your families. Watch Armageddon on your local cable system ... it's on, like, all the time! And it has a happy ending even though Bruce Willis dies. (C'mon, like you didn't know.) Read Ron Darling's book, or Greg Prince's Faith and Fear in Flushing. Buy a box set of Gilmore Girls. Anything! You have the power to reject Satan, and stop the inevitability of doom for yourselves. You have the power.

And if your curiosity takes over and you must know what is happening between the minions of Satan, get the scores through telegraph or Pony Express (they still exist, right?) And if you must use the television, at least have the decency of turning on the Spanish version on WWOR so that Joe Buck doesn't cause your ears to bleed. And for heaven's sake boo ... everything. Every play, every strikeout, every hit, home run, and balk ... regardless on who's on which side of the play. Boo.

But you can't take sides. It's for the good of humanity. Please, heed my message of peace and freedom. Oh sure, some might twist that around and say "well, you're taking away our freedom to pick a side." But what I'm saying is this: free yourself from the tyranny that you have to take a side to watch this World Series. Friends, follow me. Follow me to freedom. To Switzerland. To a brief respite of happiness before you have to deal with the Metropolitan signings of Jason Marquis and Hideki Matsui to keep Oliver Perez company on the disabled list. Help me fight evil.

The fate of the world is in your hands.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Have You Learned? Daniel Murphy

What Have You Learned is our very special off-season series that will outline what you've learned, what I've learned, and hopefully what the 2009 Mets have learned about themselves, others, and 2010. Today, in a very special "What Have You Learned", as we discuss ... Daniel Murphy.

You don't tug on Superman's cape.

You don't spit into the wind.

You don't pull that mask off that old Lone Ranger.

You don't trust Lenny Dykstra with your life savings.

And for the love of all things holy, you don't gather a group of Mets fans together at a pizza joint and even pretend to make a joke about Daniel Murphy. Because that's the direction that the Volvo was headed for me when I started on a riff about Murphy's notebook ... after he got a hit ... on a night where he came up with half of the Mets hits that night. In retrospect, what the hell was I thinking?
"Hey! Leave Murph alone!!!"
So what have I learned about Daniel Murphy? First off, that people love him and if I dare even think about joking about him, then those same people will slice off my sensitive parts with a rusty blade and feed them to me as dim sum. And that people who work as hard as Daniel Murphy shouldn't be joked about. Yeah ... save your jokebook for those that deserve it, like Bobby Bonilla ... Steve Phillips ... and Balloon Dad.

Fair point. But does it mean that we shouldn't get rid of him? Unfortunately, that's a harder point to make. The numbers for Murph don't exactly read like tea leaves ... more like complicated computer code. We can agree that his second half was much better than his first half. And I'm sure we can agree that his horrible first half was due in part to having to change positions ... his average in May when all this was going on was a healthy .176. Now here are the splits, first half to second:
  • Average: .248 to .282
  • Slugging: .364 to .485
  • OPS .677 to .798
And yet, his on base percentage went down a point from .314 to .313 between halves ... so while the sexy numbers have bumped significantly, Murph is still a free swinger. And that tells me he has a ways to go before he can be the hitter that his legions of followers are sure he will be.

Leaning on that work ethic of his, you would think that Murphy can work his way up, or at least work hard enough to keep his numbers where they are and not have another month batting .176. Question is, will the Mets (Snoop Manuel) have enough patience to put him at first base and leave him there (and stop worrying about Fernando Tatis' time, or whichever washed up reclamation project Jeff Wil... er, Omar Minaya signs)?

Will Omar sign enough offense at other positions on the diamond to construct a good enough lineup to leave Murphy at first base? And there's the defensive aspect too ... will Murphy have the schooling he needs at first base to not only be able to field the position (which he's done fine), but to also know where he needs to be and what base to cover/throw to? Because that's been his problem at first base ... and let's face it, with the little experience he's had at first, you had to expect that! So while to say that Murphy has been a defensive liability at first might be true, you can't put it all on him. Hopefully he'll have some sort of position set for him from now until April so that he'll know where he'll be and what he needs to prepare for.

(Heck, you could say that's what a lot of players on this roster and in this organization needs ... rather than being asked to learn two or three different positions while taking time away from learning the finer points of hitting. But I've already waved that "Stop Making All Our Players Into Utility Players" banner, no need to wave it again.)

Now, that position will probably be first base with the Mets. But if the Mets show a lack of patience, or if Murphy can be used as a chip to get a power bat, maybe that position is his more natural third base somewhere else. But the key would be to not diminish his value and trade him for a middling, somewhat productive, 35-year-old bat such as a Magglio Ordonez. If he's traded, it had better be part of a package for Doc Halladay and not, say, Victor Zambrano.

Excuse me while I bludgeon this dead horse:


But seriously. While I hesitate to say that trading Murphy now would be "selling low" after his bounce back second half, there's plenty more improvement to be seen here before it's decided that he's gone. It's up to the organization, if indeed they keep him, to draw it out, keep him in the lineup, not jerk him from position to position, acquire talent around him and take some pressure off him, and heed the creed that I was ordered to adhere by at a certain pizza place:

Leave Murph alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Misplaced Funny Funds

Wait, let me get this straight ... the Mets made money off the Madoff scandal?

And still never signed an extra bat???

I mean, there was extra money? I don't buy it. If there was extra money, then why did I get an e-mail from the Mets offering a chance to win Dunkin' Donuts coffee for a year ... an e-mail which had absolutely no connection to the Mets whatsoever. Nice. If I wanted offers from Dunkin' Donuts, don't you think I would have subscribed to the Dunkin Donuts' e-mail list???

You can tell me that it wasn't just the Mets that did this. I got the same e-mail from the Cubs ... yeah, the team that filed for bankruptcy!

So all that money sat there doing nothing but collecting interest? F***ing Wilpons. Give it to someone who can actually use $47.8 million.

Like Steve Phillips! Hey, that should cover alimony for a couple of months.

I think I've blown a funny fuse on this. I feel like I'm Cartman in the episode of South Park where he had Kenny take the school picture upside down where you could see his buttocks instead of his face ... and then he took the picture and put it on a milk carton only to have two people come looking for him because they too have "buttocks where their heads should be".

Maybe I feel remorse ... although certainly not for Phillips, who put himself in this mess. More so for the family, in this mess through no fault of their own, who now have to deal with the details of all this get into the papers and thrust into the spotlight where they don't deserve to be. Maybe I indeed just blew a funny fuse. In either event, I hesitate to make light of this. It's too easy to cross the line from justifiable ripping to unnecessary piling on. Besides ... all the really funny stuff seems to have been already written, which would make me a plagiarist.

But in reality, he deserves to be ripped. It shouldn't surprise you that Phillips exhibits horrible judgement ... between trading for Mo Vaughn, discussing a David Wright trade, and unnecessarily ripping Carlos Beltran when standard op procedure on Sunday Night Baseball is to kiss everybody's butt, not to mention his first "fling" with infidelity. But this ... THIS!

...

Nah, that David Wright idea was still the worst.

Okay, now that the obligatory tongue-in-cheek portion of this monstrosity is over, check out Howard Megdal's take at NY Baseball Digest for a great take on the Phillips thing. I couldn't have put it any better.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Have You Learned? Brian Schneider

What Have You Learned is our very special off-season series that will outline what you've learned, what I've learned, and hopefully what the 2009 Mets have learned about themselves, others, and 2010. Today, we look at Brian Schnieder, and most likely jinx his very existence.

I pretty much knew it was a lost cause when I led off my "Behind the Blow" series by writing about Scott Schoeneweis. There was a part of me hoping that Schoeneweis would make a return trip to Shea in '09 as I wrote that on October 1st of '08. By December 12th, Schoeneweis was gone, for some guy named Connor Robertson.

Now, as I write to you about Brian Schneider, I'm also hoping against hope that Schneider comes back even though you, your family, your friends, Omar Minaya, Omar Minaya's friends, and for some reason Avril Lavigne (?) are hoping for Schneider to be gone. I don't blame you. But considering the options out there, Brian Schneider doesn't look so bad.

Now there's going to have to be an offensive upgrade at a few other positions to make this palpable. You could have upgraded this position in one fell swoop by trading for Victor Martinez. But that ship has sailed and is currently docked in the Charles river. So who's left? Rod Barajas? He had 19 HR's last year but also batted .220. Bengie Molina? At the age where catchers start that inevitable descent off the cliff? Yorvit Torrealba?

Oh, silly me.

Then you look at the internal options. Josh Thole is a catcher who needs some work on catching the ball. Three passed balls and one error in 16 games tells me he needs to expand the zone ... his comfort zone. He's going to be a fine hitter, but only if he gets a little more time in the minors to refine his stroke and be completely ready to go when he gets back to the show, rather than become 2010's version of Daniel Murphy.

And Omir Santos? He's going to live off that Papelbon home run for a long time ... it's probably gotten him further than he deserves, and he'll live off that for at least a few more months going into next season. But look at his numbers. They tell me that the offensive upgrade from Schneider to Santos isn't worth what you lose in defense and in calling a game. If the upgrade was from Schneider to Victor Martinez? No brainer.

It would have taken management having a set to make a trade for Martinez while being far out. But that didn't happen. The options that exist now don't excite me enough to stick with what we have ... which is an inexperienced Thole and a journeyman in Omir Santos. As with Murphy, it would take some major upgrades at other positions to make keeping Schneider palatable. This team needs major upgrades at other positions anyway, so why not consider Schneider's return as a way to help the pitching staff a little bit ... or at the very least give Mike Pelfrey a personal catcher that can actually make a difference (not like giving Paul Bako any credit for being Greg Maddux's caddy)?

Well ... here's why not: Because you can't bring back Brian Schneider and Daniel Murphy. And if the choice is a semi-decent prospect and a journeyman catcher, you bring back the guy with the higher ceiling, and that's Murphy. If you bring in a left fielder, a first baseman, and maybe even a second baseman like Dan Uggla, then there's a chance for Schneider to come back. And maybe you have to use Murphy as a trade chip to make that happen. That said, you can also make a good case to bring Murphy back (which I will attempt in the near future), just as you can make a case for Schneider to come back (which is more a concern about the lack of catching options out there). But you can't bring both back ... there's no good case for that.

Now that I've written a piece that's somewhat pro-Schneider, expect to hear tomorrow that Schneider's been released so that he can sign with Telemarket Rimini.