Saturday, August 19, 2006

My Favorite Endy

"He's my favorite player."-Willie Randolph, on Endy Chavez

Tonight, Endy Chavez is everyone's favorite player, after his tying home run propelled the Mets to a 6-3 victory.

But will Endy be everyone's favorite Mets right fielder come October?

In the shadows of Shawn Green rumors, Endy Chavez has done a great job producing for the New York Mets, whether it be now or all season. And don't get me wrong, I love Endy too. But right now, he's the second best healthy outfielder on the Mets and that is a problem. Don't let the fact that the Mets scored six runs in a game started by Byung-Hyun Kim fool you. Long term, a lineup featuring Michael Tucker and Chris Woodward is going to be a wee bit of a problem. If Endy Chavez has a regular outfield spot in the playoffs and beyond, it would comfort me to know that the reason for that would be the failing physical ability of one Clifford Cornelius Floyd...and not because the Mets couldn't pull off a trade for another outfielder such as Green or Geoff Jenkins. (Preston Wilson, as you know, is now a Cardinal, and off to a good start already...ending all hope of a tearful reunion tomorrow night with Uncle Mookie during 1986 reunion night.)

But can a trade happen? At this point, with Shawn Green back in the Diamondbacks lineup after two "days off", chances dwindle. Besides, not even the Mets are sure they need another outfielder, which troubles me. Because it tells me that either,

  • They feel that a guy who hasn't been healthy all season (Floyd) will be perfectly healthy in October...which might be an indication that Floyd is almost 100%, but it also could be wishful thinking. Or...
  • They feel that a guy who has been in the minors all season in his mid-30's (Michael Tucker) is a playoff calibre outfielder. The fact that he is always making the highlights for something or other (one game winning dinger, one diving catch) belies the fact that he hasn't been the most productive player in Mets history...kind of like when people say the Packers had the number 7 defense in the NFL and number one against the pass, but nobody passed on the Pack because Green Bay was most likely losing and teams only had to run on them. That's Michael Tucker's Met career so far.

In the early part of this season, the Mets lineup was something special. Not to say that it was smoke and mirrors that made it go, but the lineup had been based as much on presence as it has been on actual ability. The Mets have plenty of actual ability to go around, but Carlos Delgado's mere presence has helped Carlos Beltran and David Wright two fold. A healthy Cliff Floyd and Xavier Nady were above averages presences in the bottom of the lineup. Add in a productive Jose Valentin, and you get a special lineup. Now, you have a lineup that are like most good lineups in the National heavy, but a 6-9 that you could go right after.

To that end, guys like Green or Geoff Jenkins don't necessarily have to come to New York and light the world on fire a la Richard Hidalgo for three weeks in 2004, but they put just enough doubt into an opposing pitcher's head to make the bottom of the order more dangerous than the sum of its parts.

If the Mets are worried about the money that a Green or Jenkins would cost, shame on them...because this team is on the cusp of doing something special. And if they're not in fact "one player away", they're damn close to that state (Hopefully, they're one hitter away instead of one pitcher away). The seven million that Jenkins would cost or even the 13-14 million after negotiations that Shawn Green would cost would pay for itself if it were to bring a championship of some sort to Flushing. Heck with a new ballpark and a new television network, they would probably pay for themselves anyway.

I'm not the C.O.O. (because my father isn't the owner), but if there was ever a time to add payroll, now is it.

If the Mets were worried about the type of prospects it would take to get a deal done, consider that Eric Hinske was wheeled to Boston from Toronto...a division rival...for a player to be named. Can you really see the Brewers, who are in the wild card race like Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt really had a chance which is not really, asking for an arm and a leg for a player who is not only firmly planted on their bench, but was announced to the world as being firmly planted on their bench?

The way it is in baseball now is that the more you pick up in salary, the better the prospects you get to keep. When you put it that way, you're spending millions of dollars to for the difference between a double-A prospect and a low single-A prospect which makes it seem like you're spending millions of dollars on a prospect. But it's the best way to make a move for now while preserving your future. We know the Mets can use all the future they can get.

But the Mets can also use all the present they can get at this point.


Tomorrow, the Mets will also celebrate their past by bringing in members of the World Series winner from twenty years ago...and yes that now includes Darryl Strawberry (but it does not include Ed Lynch...and somewhere in a bar in Chicago, a tear is shed).

Meanwhile, in a play that seemed innocuous at the time, Cory Sullivan slid hard into Jose Reyes on Friday night to try to break up what was pretty much an easy double play (also a double play where Reyes didn't come close to touching second base but that's another discussion). The announcers noted that Reyes seemed a little upset about the hard slide...and it brought back memories of when Rockies catcher J.D. Closser broke Joe McEwing's leg with a dirty slide a couple of years back and Braden Looper retaliated in what is his highest point as a Met.

So here's what I'm thinking folks: What better way to honor the 1986 World Champions than to start an all out bean brawl while wearing the throwback '86 uniforms?

Not only would they be honoring their fightin' brethren, not only would they send a message to Mr. Sullivan (however deserved or not it may be) but they would seriously shake up the doldrums during a month and a half stretch that really isn't going to mean anything. Seriously! Who's going to get ejected...Dave Williams? Ha!

Suspensions? I call them "summer vacations" at this point.

So let's harken back to the good ol' days when Ray Knight beat the living crap out of Tom Niedenfuer and Eric Davis and anyone else in his path. Let's bring back more than the uniforms...let's bring back the memories, and let's kick some ass, shall we?


And finally, can we call it a coincidence that David Wright breaks out of his slump as we start to see a hint of a goatee during the post game interview? Hope you ladies find goats sexy...because it may be here to stay.


Jaap said...

Although your thoughts on the outfield and another bat in the lineup are understandable, I can't help but recall how many "no-names" have build a brief legacy on postseason heroics. More than anything else this is a team in the best sense of the word, a collection with steady contributions from steady sources and more importantly, contributions from unexpected places. There's nothing written in stone that an Endy Chavez or a Michael Tucker or even a Lastings Milledge can't have their temporary moment in the sun when it matters most. After all, didn't Tim Teufel hit .444 in the '86 World Series? Tim Teufel. Think about it...

Anonymous said...

Great point Jaap and my thought exactly...

And let's not also forget that a certain World Series MVP and Met hero (Ray Knight) wasn't exactly a hall of famer himself.

To me Endy Chavez smells like a post season no-name hero waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

Now that Preston is gone, they should really get Green. He can hit lefties as well as righties and, as MD says, has the stats and the "Carry that Weight" ability to provide a Hidalgo-esque, Mora-like, Al Weis-ian boost in a short series. Think about it: you open your playoff program and see a Met outfield of Floyd-Beltran-Chavez/Milledge, or even worse Tucker-Beltran-Chavez? Hmmmm . . .

Note the Yankee-Red Sox games of yesterday - you're going to have to be able to score a lot of runs against those line-ups.

Teufel also comitted the crucial error in Game 1 of the '86 WS. I can envision Mr. Milledge circling aimlessly for a routine fly ball which falls in and plates the tying and go-ahead runs.

Metstradamus said...

I agree about the no-names and their legacy. But I can't help but think that this is a different world. Think about how good Timo Perez was after he took over for "Operation Shutdown" after Game 1 against SF in 2000. What happened in the Series? He was shut down (no pun intended) because the Yankees scouting was so good that it was too easy to get a punch and judy hitter out like that.

I don't mind Endy starting in the playoffs. Endy AND Michael Tucker? Yeesh!

Metstradamus said...

Shea, like I said, he should have taken a cab with me...he wouldn't have had to rush so much. That was the oversight.