Friday, January 08, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

"Yeah, let's replace Livan Hernandez with somebody older and less durable. Yeah! That'll work just fine!!! Now let's crack open those beers."

If you were a fly on the wall of the Mets war room, that might have been what you heard as the powers that be have discussed the possibility of John Smoltz being a Met. That's the John Smoltz who will be 43 in May (for perspective, that's two years and eight months older than Orel Hershiser was when he pitched for the Mets). That's also the same John Smoltz who pitched a total of 106 innings over the last two seasons due to injuries.

Not that I'm that crazy about anybody who's left in the free agent market (it's so bad that Joel Pineiro is looking like the Brooklyn Decker of starting pitchers right now), but the fact that the Mets are even thinking of bringing John Smoltz into the fold proves that this regime is never going to learn. Ever. Doesn't matter much if they sign him or not, they're thinking about it. That's reason enough for me to overreact ... because the pattern is starting again.

They make a good signing with Jason Bay, and now threaten to make five bad ones to back that up. Bengie Molina will be that first bad signing, and Smoltz might be right behind him on that list. (And Carlos Delgado might be third, but that's another blog for another time.) Because there's nothing like filling holes with old guys who are ripe to get injured and expose a farm system under siege. Sound like any particular season you might have lived through lately? You don't have to think too hard about this one.

It's a bad move whether he's the fifth starter or a bullpen option. It was one thing when they were backing up Frankie Rodriguez with J.J. Putz and Sean Green. Now it's John Smoltz and Kelvin Escobar? That's 111 innings in four seasons of baseball. Putz has the durability of Brett Favre next to these two.

And that's not even mentioning the fact that Tom Glavine is Smoltzie's golfing buddy which means there's a chance we could see Glavine show up at Citi Field with a Mets hat to support his buddy ... and looking all devastated as his friend gets torched by the Brewers for six runs in two and a third. (Oh, did I say devastated? I meant slightly disappointed.) I dare say this would induce more vomit than seeing Roger Clemens attend the Texas/Alabama game on Thursday. Glavine had better hope that he sits in one of those suites where the angry mobs can't get to him.


Jaap said...

It's too bad Satchel Paige isn't around any more. He'd be a logical addition to the 2010 Mets roster.
Still, I'd not want to be the GM looking for a Number 2 starter/innings eater right now considering the paucity of likeable candidates.

paulsrandomstuff said...

With the quality of pitchers currently available, I can't exactly fault Minaya for thinking about Smoltz.

I don't really want to see him in a Mets uniform, though.

tommy_calzone said...

One of the biggest mistakes we have already made was not bringing back Putz. We couldn't match the 3mm? Really?

Mark my words, Omar will live to regret that.

We did not get to see the real Putz save for the first month of the season (when he had nastier stuff than K-Rod).

Most met fans have no clue how good Putz was/is/will be.

dave crockett said...

Livan is a poor comparison because the thinking behind Smoltz would be different. With Livan Omar was paying for big innings at the expense of near-certain suck. Livan's value was tied entirely to his ability to waddle out to the mound and repeat the pitching motion without injuring himself. No part of his value was in actually pitching well. That's a bad investment.

Smoltz was actually good in short bursts last year. He was very good the first three times through the order for both the Sawx and Cards. Livan wasn't good in any subset of innings.

I don't think Smoltz can start anymore--not consistently. But, KRod's arm could fall off at any time. If that happened, who closes on this roster? Parnell? Socks? Smoltz could still close effectively. If he's willing to have that talk I think Omar should talk to him.

Would signing Smoltz be fundamentally riskier than signing Sheets? It probably depends on their roles and the specifics of the deal.

If Smoltz is only in the market for starting jobs then no thanks, unless he's also talking about a non-guaranteed deal. But if he's willing to listen to reason and will pitch out of the bullpen then there is little reason NOT to run it up the flagpole.

In any event, the market for Smoltz wouldn't keep Omar from signing or dealing for a starter.

Kevin said...

Metstra, your photoshopping skills have gotten dangerously good. I thought that was a real photo and got very scared.

Hazeleyes said...

I think it is entirely possible that Satchel Paige has more left dead than Smoltz does alive, Jaap.

Sure he had some good flashes last season. So did several menopausal friends.

But mainly this habit of signing the once-wonderful has got to stop. At some point every player comes to the day when they can't go anymore. It's better to do it yourself than to be told you're done. Must have been mortifying last year for Glavine when ATL cut him just a wee bit into the season.

Just the fact that they are thinking about it is a bad sign. Minaya & Co. keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results -- which of course is a definition of insanity.

tommy_calzone said...

It's an addiction.

Can we get Omar & Co. into a 12 step program?

Demitri said...

It could be worse.

I just read on Metsblog that Bill Pulsipher is pitching for Los Lobos de Arecibo, and allowed one run and six hits in 4 2/3 innings yesterday.

tommy_calzone said...

Don't fret Demetri they are planning on watching him throw too.

Anonymous said...

It was the Marlins, not the Brewers

Metstradamus said...


I wasn't referencing '07 ... I was referencing a hypothetical future event.