Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Old Money

So what does having your own network, a year of playoff revenue, and the richest naming rights deal in history buy you these days?

Not Tom Glavine, apparently...who still finds it necessary to think about returning to the Atlanta Braves to be with his family for less money, less of a chance to reach 300 victories, and less of a chance to reach the postseason.

Not Chad Bradford...who is apparently on his way to the worst run organization in baseball from an ownership standpoint for a three-year deal.

Hell, it might not even get you Kei Igawa.

Is this what we are reduced to these days? Kei Igawa?

It's getting ridiculous out there folks. You've got all of these wannabes paying out this funny money to pitchers like Adam Eaton for eight million dollars a year, which is one million more than the amount of victories he had in '06.

Or how about Danys Baez, who's going to get six million dollars a year to be a set up man?

The Mets? In this era of insane prices for pitching, not only have they been watching the parade of crazy go by so far, but they could actually lose a pitcher for the lure of less money (why must the Gods of Irony torture me?) Meanwhile, team Wilpon has all this money stashed behind the concession stands in the upper deck waiting to be spent, yet there's no word of Omar Minaya sitting down to a traditional California thanksgiving meal consisting of Greek spinach pie and malt liquor flavored cous cous with Barry Zito.

At this rate, they're going to have to bring back Turanga Leela (who ironically pitched with Kei Igawa in winter ball).

Oh, I forgot, there's the forty-year old outfielder that'll no doubt need doggy steps just to get to the plate by the end of August (if Steve Bartman doesn't bash his knees in first).

But look at the bright side, there's a brand new ballpark on the horizon ready to take in more cash to not spend.

Omar, start the insanity!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It Shocks You

On the heels of Justin Morneau's upset victory for the A.L. MVP award, Derek Jeter made a surprise appearance on the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show, mostly for comfort and support. Unfortunately, an ugly episode occurred when a Met fan called in. The crack staff has obtained an exclusive transcript:

Chris Russo: All right Derek let's get to the calls, William from Westchester what's up?

William from Westchester: Hi guys, first time long time.

Mike Francesa: That doesn't impress us. Please direct your question to Mr. Jeter.

WFW: Derek, I know you're broken up over not winning the MVP, but I just wanted to how it feels to be the second best team in town?

Derek Jeter: Shut up! Shut up! Fifty years ago you were at Ebbets Field rooting for the Dodgers where you'd get to the World Series against us every year and we'd shove a proverbial bat up your ass.

WFW: Will you be sending Alex Rodriguez a Christmas card this year?

DJ: You're brave now motherf***er! Hang up on him Mike, he's a MET FAN! He's a MET FAN! He's a MET FAN!

CR: Oh my God.

DJ: Oooooh. Oooooh. Alright. You see? This shocks you.

MF: Yeah, Derek. It shocks you to see what's buried beneath these stupid Met fan motherf***ers!

WFW: That was uncalled for.

DJ: What was uncalled for? It's uncalled for you to sully the same radio space as the real 2006 A.L. MVP by spewing your crap, you cheap Met fan motherf***er!

MF: William, is it too much for you to handle? Derek, they're going to arrest you for calling a caller a Met fan.

WFW: That was uncalled for, you overrated piece of crap!

DJ: You calling me overrated you MET FAN?

WFW: You're not an MVP! That's why you go home early every year and run crying to Mike and the Mad Dog for support! You haven't done anything since 2000! Aaron Boone! That's it!

DJ: Oh, I guess you got me there. Gotta toll on the radio.

WFW: That was uncalled for. That ain't necessary!

MF: Well that's what happens when you interrupt a Yankee, don't you know?

WFW: Uncalled for!

DJ: Well you see, there's those words...those words...

CR: Well, I don't know what to say guys, sorry about that. Let's go to the flash...

Derek Jeter will soon be appearing on The Michael Kay show to apologize.

(Editors disclaimer: This is satire. Derek Jeter is many things, but there is no evidence to suggest that Derek Jeter hates Met fans. William from Westchester does not exist. Any similarities to anybody who lives in Westchester named William is purely coincidental. Mike Francesa would never, ever, curse on the air. And Chris Russo would never be this quiet. Happy Thanksgiving.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Your Grocer's Free Agent Market

Have you ever been to the grocery store, and you're looking for an item in the dairy section, perhaps for that special brand of reduced fat sour cream that you like...and you look and you look and you look and there is only a small handful of that brand left. Then you look at the expiration dates on them, and the date is one day earlier than today.

You could get another brand of sour cream, maybe a brand you don't like quite as much but you know is going to be fresh. You might even walk the extra two blocks to another store to look for fresher sour cream. But then you think...you know, the container does say "best by", which means that while the sour cream may not be at its freshest...may not be at its "best", it could still be pretty good, and go well with your tacos.

Or, it could have fungus and spores and put you in the hospital after you puke the colors of the rainbow.

That, in a nutshell, is how I feel about the Mets potentially signing Moises Alou.

I mean, maybe Alou is stamped with "best by 2004", when he hit 39 HR's and drove in 106 runs with the Cubs (in Wrigley), but he could still be pretty good as he was last season when he hit .301 with 22 HR's and 74 RBI's in only 98 games. But that's the key. He hurt his hamstring when the Mets tried to trade for him late last season, and this is the guy that's going to replace Cliff Floyd because Floyd is injury prone?

It's one thing to bring in older guys in bench roles (and let's face it, Damion Easley is the supermarket equivalent to Twinkies anyway...they aren't going to get stale, but they've got no nutritional value and no place in a main course anyway.) It's quite another to pencil in a forty year old for 500 at bats for a division champ.

Not to mention that signing would ensure the departure of Floyd who, while left handed and while injury prone, was the glue that made the Mets clubhouse a happy one...in this respect making him a latter day Ed Charles. (If you remember, Ed Charles was the wily old veteran who was the old sage of the Miracle Mets of 1969...and his departure was believed to play an underrated part in the Mets failure to repeat. I wasn't born in '69, but you'll just have to take my word for it.)

The 2006 Mets were a tasty meal. Hopefully, the delicious topping isn't due to spoil.


You all remember this, right?

Well, I bet you thought it would be the last time that I would share a mass transit line with a Mets personality...at least for the rest of the calendar year.

Yeah, that's what I thought too. However...

The line for the bus after today's 10-0 Jets loss was probably the longest I had ever seen...I was probably further back than I can remember, yet there were about 500-1000 people behind me. I thought I was lucky not to be in the very back, but then I heard a guy near me in line yell out:

"Hey wassup, Ronnie!"

It never occurred to me to look up until the same guy said: "Hey, that's Ron Darling."

Ron Darling? At a Jet game?

And stranger than that: He went to the very back of the longest bus line in Meadowlands history (I assume).

Ron Darling? Taking the bus?

He was too far away from me to say anything to him, but some considered adding an hour to their wait time to move to the back of the line just to hang out with Ron Darling.

Some considered offering their place in line to Darling in exchange for an autograph.

I just wanted to ask him how he got stuck working during the playoffs while Keith Hernandez got the whole damn month off in favor of Todd Zeile and Tim Teufel.

One thing we did notice was that the line hardly moved until "Ronnie" got on his cell phone. Us mere mortals thought it was to avoid the line altogether and order a car (which he should have done in the first place...1986 Mets shouldn't ride buses), but apparently he called Port Authority to complain, because the line moved significantly faster after Darling hung up.
"Hey, can we move his line a little faster here? I'm Ron Darling" -Ron Darling...maybe
Don't mess with Ron Darling.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stop! The Metaphors Are Making My Head Spin!

I guess the next time Trevor Hoffman enters a game at Petco Park, they'll be Royce Ringing Hell's Heath Bells.

(Excuse me as I dodge rocks and garbage.)

And do you really think it's a good idea, especially on the heels of the Guillermo Mota suspension for performance enhancing, to trade for a guy named Ben Johnson?

(Now dodging gunfire.)

All right all right. Look, here it is: Heath Bell is a 29 year old quadruple A pitcher. There, I said it. He dominates AAA, but is mediocre in the majors. He can do good things but his lack of an effective out pitch gets him rocked more often than not. Royce Ring is the guy that I regret losing. He came up in 2005 and displayed a very effective curveball. He struck out Ichiro Suzuki, struck out Eric Chavez, and got squeezed on a ball four call to Bobby Kielty which led to a loss in Oakland. He has a future...it's just not at Shea (or CitiField, for that matter.)

Ben Johnson (not the disgraced track star) will be a help off the bench with his pop and his versatility in the outfield. He'll probably wind up platooning with Endy (come on, is a last name really necessary at this point) and Shawn Green in the corner outfield positions, and it will show the world that you don't need to be at the level of genius that Tony La Russa is at to platoon three outfielders in two spots.

And when the lefties are starting, it gives Randolph another right handed option other than Julio Franco (baseball's Vinny Testaverde...or is Vinny Testaverde football's Julio Franco?) Admit it, you cringed every time Julio strode to the plate in a late inning with runners on first and second. Every time Franco came to the plate, you ran downstairs to the stationary store to play Lotto number 643, didn't you? Oh, come on. You know you did. Well now, sweet child, there's hope. There's hope for a new tomorrow.

As for Adkins? I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I know a lot about him. But why are there little birds telling me that Adkins...as long as Chad Bradford is re-signed (let it be so)...is going to wind up greasing the skids for Aaron Heilman to hit the bricks out of town?

So while Metstradamus will miss Ring's ability to scale the right field wall and rob batters of batting practice home runs, along with Heath Bell's dog Slider, I have to say that this deal is "Adkins approved".

(Now THAT...was bad.)

And The Bret Boone Award Goes To...

If Rocky can have five sequels, then I guess we can get ready for "Ordonez II: No Stick".

Trying to regain his fielding touch by fielding fish at Pike Place Fish Market Inc., Ordonez will attempt to comeback to the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners this coming spring on a minor league contract.

When asked why he hasn't played in two full seasons, Ordonez said: "Why don't I play baseball? Because it's hard, right? It's hard."

Ordonez has already said that Mariner fans are much smarter than Met fans.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Vote For Loyalty, Is A Vote For Finely Trimmed Facial Hair

"If it's as you say: a tie on all ends, then I'd cast my vote...for loyalty." -Edmund L. Shaff, as GE CEO Jack Welch, in that direct to video movie about Jay Leno and David Letterman that is aired on HBO 58 at 3:30 AM...you know the one, the one that had Treat Williams play Michael Ovitz.
It's a line of thinking that this blogger wishes would be taken with, say, Cliff Floyd over Moises Alou...but the Mets cast a vote for loyalty when, instead of Adam Kennedy or Mark Loretta, they brought back Jose Valentin for 2007 on a one year contract.

To understand who Jose Valentin is, and how he got to where he got, it's important to understand where Jose has come from.

Jose was born October 12, 1969 in a small town in Puerto Rico. Even as an infant, he had an easy time sticking out.

Jose's baseball skills made him a popular lad growing up, but he most enjoyed the company given to him by a loving cat named Bigote.

Bigote was a constant source of comfort and inspiration as Jose made his way through the baseball ranks which took him to Milwaukee, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where he suffered a bad knee injury that ended his 2005 season and threatened to end his career. But this twist of cruel fate brought him to Flushing...where Valentin persevered with a bounce back year helping him to become a cult hero among the female sect.

But through it all, Valentin has remained as humble as ever, as he will continue his epic comeback story as the second baseman for the New York Mets, playing for his new inspiration: a young daughter...

Monday, November 13, 2006

The First Casualty

Old friends never die, they just take the Amtrak to Washington.

Of course, we here at Metstradamus would like to wish Manny Acta the very best of luck as the new manager of the Washington Nationals. But the query for the Mets is who to replace Acta with at the third base coaching box.

This would be the perfect time to soothe Howard Johnson's bruised ego over being passed over for the Rockies hitting coach, by bringing him up to be the third base coach for the Mets. Why, you ask? What credentials does HoJo possess to be qualified to wave his arm around in a counter-clockwise windmill motion?

Hell, I don't know.

But here is what I do know: 2007 is an odd numbered year. As you know, odd numbered years are where Howard Johnson does his best work:
  • 1987: .265/36/99
  • 1989: .287/36/101
  • 1991: .259/38/117

Even numbered seasons, however, are a different story:

  • 1988: .230/24/68
  • 1990: .244/23/90
  • 1992: .223/7/43

So for 2007, Howard Johnson is the perfect choice to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first great season by being the third base coach for the Mets. He will no doubt be smart enough to send Jose Reyes home from first on a double to the left center field gap against Johnny Damon's arm.

In 2008 though, Johnson is destined to send Ramon Castro home on a sac fly to short right field against Ichiro, and disappear in the fifth inning to catch one of his son's high school games. Maybe first base would be better for him in even numbered years.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Livin' For The Citi

Wait...you mean to tell me that Jackie Robinson's middle name wasn't "Citigroup"?

I suppose we could have done worse than CitiField. The Mets certainly could have done worse than $20 million a year for the naming rights...in fact, every other stadium naming rights contract pays less than the bid that Citigroup has provided.

It's a figure that wouldn't have even paid for half of Daisuke Matsuzaka's posting bid.

But it should pay for one and a half Barry Zitos, no?

It certainly should pay for about three or four Julio Lugos.

Speaking of which, this is why I can't go ape over the latest hot stove rumors...because more often than not, they're wrong. Take into account a phone call I received today...and I'm not going to reveal who it is because it would embarrass this guy to no end (that, and if I told you who it was, you wouldn't believe me anyway so why bother?) But let this be a lesson to all that if you're going to call me, you don't necessarily need to have all of your facts straight...but at least have one fact straight.

Mystery Caller: Hey, I heard the Mets signed Julio Lugo!

Metstradamus: They did?

MC: Yeah.

MD: Where did you hear this?

MC: I heard they signed a second baseman.

MD: And who told you it was Lugo?

MC: Well...I just assumed it was Lugo. There's nobody else out there.

MD: Have you ever heard of Mark Loretta? Maybe, Ray Durham?

MC: Oh.

MD: But they signed a second baseman?

MC: Well, they're interested in a second baseman.

MD: (exasperated) That doesn't mean they freakin' signed one!!!!

MC: Oh, well I gotta go.

I obviously have acquaintances that live in alternate universes. Some have accused me of living in one of those alternate universes...don't I wish. Hey, if I had an alternate universe at my disposal, Adam Wainwright's curveball would have ended up in the right field bullpen.

Of course, I tooled the internet, and no Julio Lugo. It's just as well, because as I've said before: I don't completely trust a second baseman who can be repositioned defensively by a stiff wind.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Full Steam Ahead

Doc Gooden was released from prison today after serving seven months of a one year plus one day sentence.

This is good news, as the Mets can now forge ahead with their plans for their blowout celebration of the 20th anniversary of the 1987 Mets, who missed the playoffs. The plan is to have Gooden show up at the celebration around the third inning, just as he showed up two months late to the 1987 season.

It's the first bit of good news for the Mets regarding the ceremony, as Gene Walter has threatened not to show up due to money issues, Kevin McReynolds has a previous engagement hunting a duck in Arkansas, and team officials are trying to convince Don Schulze that he indeed pitched for the Mets in 1987.

Todd Zeile will fill in for Keith Hernandez during the ceremony, as SNY has already given Hernandez the day off to stay home and drink wine.

Just as the 1986 celebration included some fun and surprises, the 1987 celebration promises to be suspenseful as well. The Mets plan to recreate the Al Pedrique for Bill Almon trade two minutes into the ceremony, as Pedrique will be ushered out of Shea Stadium through the crowd...which is a nice touch. Keith Miller will be honored while standing in the upper deck, continuing the tradition of placing Miller out of position. And Ron Darling will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, which will be bunted down the first base line by Vince Coleman...recreating the play where Darling tore up the ligaments in his thumb in the infamous "Terry Pendelton Game".

Plenty of great seats are still available.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Phone Seduction

(We start our story in the middle of a recent phone conversation between Mets GM Omar Minaya, and Mets blogger Metstradamus):

MD: ...so yeah, that's why I think Lastings Milledge for Mark Buehrle is the way to go.
OM: Are you kidding me? I'd be carried out of town after being set on fire in my own feces. How do I explain that one to my wife? (Omar's cell phone beeps.) Oh, hold on Metstradamus, I have another call. (clicks over). Hello?
SS: Omar? Omar is that you?
OM: Yeah, it's Omar.
SS: Omar it's me, Sam.
OM: Sam? Is that really you? I thought you were dead.
SS: No, that was just my career. But I'm coming back.
OM: Sam, that's crazy talk!
SS: No really. I think I want to do it. I have my passion back and I have my groove back! I'm ready to go.
OM: Well good for you.
SS: You know Omar, we should sit down and talk sometime.
OM: Yeah we should have din...wait a minute. Do you mean what I think you mean?
SS: You know it baby! You've wanted me in the past. And you need an outfielder.
OM: Oh Sam, I don't know. I mean, it's tempting, but I'm not sure man.
SS: Come on Omar. This is Sammy you're talking to.
OM: I'm just not sure it's the best idea. The press would crucify me if I signed you. Not to mention the bloggers...oh crap, I'm on the other line. Hold on! (clicks over) Hey, Metstradamus, you still there?
MD: Yeah man. Was that Scott Boras?
OM: No no no. Listen, I have to let you go.
MD: Is it Ken Williams?
OM: No...I mean, I just have to go. I'll, uh...talk to you later.
MD: Omar, you sound shaken. Are you all right?
OM: Oh, uh...yeah yeah. I'm fine. I just...
MD: Omar, who's on the other line?
OM: Um, it's official business. I have to go.
MD: Omar, is there something you're not telling me?
OM: Hold on one second.

(Omar puts Metstradamus on hold again. Then after a long pause...)

OM: Sammy, I can't do this.
SS: Come on Omar. You can have a 600th HR and a 300th victory on the same night! Think about it.
OM: Sammy, if it's late July, and you only have 12 home runs, I'll shoot myself!
SS: But Omar, I'm in shape!
OM: You know, Guillermo Mota told me the same thing after I traded for him and look what happened.
SS: No man, I don't do that stuff. Those were Flintstones vitamins I took. I've never been caught.
OM: Sammy, how am I supposed to know that after a season playing with Rafael Palmeiro that he hasn't given you one of those B-12 shots along the way?
SS: Man, you appear at one congressional hearing and you get labeled. C'mon Omar, what's a little guilt by association among friends?
OM: Of all the phone numbers of all the GM's in all the baseball leagues...why'd you have to dial mine?
SS: Because my 588 home runs seduce you.
OM: Sam...
SS: My relative inexpensiveness seduces you.
OM: Don't do this.
SS: You know you want it, Omar. You want this.
OM: Damn you Sam. What am I going to tell Moises?
SS: Oh Omar...Moises pees on his hands. Do you really think he'll notice if you don't return a phone call?
OM: Yes of course he'll...wait a minute. That doesn't even make any sense! Have those Flintstones chewables gone to your head?
SS: C'mon Omar. Let's make this happen.
OM: Sam, let me get back to you. And don't pee in any cups before I call you. Is that understood?
SS: Can I pee on my hands?
OM: I gotta go. (Clicks back). All right Metstradamus. Where were we?
MD: We were talking about my trade idea.
OM: Oh right, the one that's going to get me fired. Next you're gonna say I should sign Sammy Sosa or something...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Results Are In

And it seems that I've been sentenced to death for my actions.

Please know I never meant to hurt you with my trade proposal.

It's OK, because with my months of service, the call of reprieve from the governor will come at any time.

Oh damn, it's an election year? I guess I'm as good as dead.

My last request is simple: Please don't shoot me in the face so I can have an open casket.

Milledge for Crawford anyone? Anyone? I can change, dammit! Really!!! I can chaaaaaaaannge!!!!!!!!

Let The Healing Begin: Part Two

And yes, we need another round of healing after today's transpirations.

When we last left our season preview, we were buried in names on the free agent market (Zito, Soriano, Spiezio, something else-o), but you know that the Mets are going to be prudent in their approach to this season and not necessarily dive into the free agent market. Hence, there will more than likely be a trade. And I know what it should be.

Except that after Guillermo Mota's 50 game suspension for an unidentified substance, my master plan might be buried deep into the Shea Stadium bullpen grounds before it ever gets off the ground.

"To my teammates and the entire Mets organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me. To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don't blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen. I am determined to prove to you that this was one mistake." -Guillermo Mota, on giving up the game tying triple to Scott Spiez...er, on his drug suspension
After much consideration, I have decided that the show must go on. Even with this latest development, the trade I have cooked up, while most likely affected greatly, still must happen...especially if all free agent opportunities go bust (mainly because I worked so hard thinking this up that I nearly pulled a brain muscle...no time to turn back now).

So as promised, the trade so blockbuster, so out of this world, that it gets it's own post.

It's that big.

It's that blockbuster.

It's that stupid.


Padres get: SP Oliver Perez
White Sox get: RP Scott Linebrink, RP/SP Aaron Heilman, and CF Andruw Jones
Braves get: SP Freddy Garcia, and OF Lastings Milledge
Mets get: SP Mark Buehrle, and SP Tadahito Iguchi

Got all that?

Trust me, it's not as confusing as I'm making it out to be. Let's start from the beginning and go step by step:

Let's remember something about Ollie Perez...as much as Omar Minaya is pumping him up as having a bright future with the Mets, and he still might, don't forget that Minaya might also be pumping him up for a possible trade. We know that Ollie Perez for Scott Linebrink almost happened in July, and that Ollie has made no secret of his recessed desire to play in San Diego. Besides, the Mets are plentiful in fourth and fifth starters, between John Maine, Dave Williams, and Brian Bannister. So let's make this one for one deal right away.

Now, the Mets add Linebrink to a bullpen that includes Billy Wagner, Filthy Sanchez, Guillermo Mota (assuming he re-signs), Chad Bradford (assuming he re-signs as well), and Pedro Feliciano (and let's throw in Juan "The Fly" Padilla, who's coming off of injury just for fun). Mighty crowded 'pen, no? So now, the Mets are dealing from as much strength with their bullpen as the White Sox will be from their starting rotation.

And what else do we know about the White Sox other than they're looking to make room for Brandon McCarthy (and eventually, a kid named Lance Broadway)? Well, we know that they have to rebuild their bullpen, which was much better during their World Championship season of 2005 than it was in 2006. For all of the bluster going around about starting pitching, the Mets got to Game 7 of the NLCS with almost no starting pitching, while the White Sox, who went five deep, didn't even make it to October. I would be willing to lay money down that Ken Williams looked at Omar Minaya's plan of building a better bullpen and would like to emulate that plan by dealing from their strength.

On the Mets side, I agree with Joel Sherman. Mota suspension or no Mota suspension, it's time to trade Aaron Heilman.

Aaron Heilman will never hold as much value to the Mets as he does right now. With Filthy poised to take the eighth inning back, and the Mets refusing to put Heilman in the starting rotation, Heilman's value would only go down if he remained in New York since he would be pitching in less important spots. And not only would his value go down, his morale would go down since he wants to start. Aaron Heilman wants his innings to mean more, not less. If he stays, his innings will mean less. So why do that to Heilman when it's clearly in the best interests of the Mets to maximize his value?

Heilman, along with Linebrink, immediately improve the White Sox bullpen ten-fold...if that's how the Sox want to use Heilman. They could also choose to use him to plug Buehrle's vacant spot in the rotation if they wish.

Now I challenge you, the astute baseball fan that you are, to argue to me that it isn't necessary to include Milledge in a deal for Buehrle, who has a team option for 2007 at $9.5 million that the Pale Hose will surely pick up. If you told me that since Buehrle is coming off a down year, and he's admitted to having lower back issues which have only hampered him on off days, that Linebrink and Heilman would be quite enough to get this deal done, I would absolutely believe you. I would believe you because you probably know more than me. Your line of thinking would leave Milledge free to trade (along with Phil Humber) for Carl Crawford. I would be completely on board with that...partly because I've been going back and forth on that subject in my fragile mind.

I just don't think this line of thinking would fly with White Sox GM Kenny Williams.

So this is why I make sure the deal gets done by including Milledge, and getting an answer for second base in return also, provided the White Sox pick up their team option on him as well (for a shade over $3 million).

Those who would argue the other extreme might ask this: Buehrle's a stud. Does Lastings Milledge hold enough value to bring this ace back? The answer is yes for one simple reason: The Mets run the risk of having Buehrle, or Iguchi, or both becoming the next Mike Hampton. With both players on their option season, they could decide that the "school systems" are better in Denver or St. Louis or the Bronx after 2007. So there's decided risk on the Mets part here (unless they work out a long-term deal with Buehrle at the very least, which would be mandatory).

So there you have it. Outside of perhaps some extra minor leaguers to flesh this bad boy out, that's my idea in a nutshell (key word: "nut"). The Mets get their top of the rotation starter who pitches so fast that you can go to a Mets game and be home in time to watch his highlights on Baseball Tonight. The Mets also solve their second base problem as well. (And as for left field, don't forget about Scott Podsednik, who might be non-tendered by the Sox.)

The White Sox have room for McCarthy and Broadway in their rotation, improve their bullpen, and for entertainment purposes only, turn around and trade Freddy Garcia and Lastings Milledge for Andruw Jones and get the Curacao Curator the heck out of the National League East (it's the only incentive for the White Sox to enter into a deal that involves Milledge rather than a starting pitching prospect). The Sox would then probably attempt to fill their hole at second base by pursuing Chone Figgins, possibly by dangling Brian Anderson...who if this deal goes through would be rendered defunct as a White Sock.

The Padres get a starter with upside who wants to be there.

The Braves get a pitcher, and cut payroll at the same time. They also get a young replacement for Andruw Jones. And while it might be difficult to see Lastings Milledge as a Brave, consider that Jones wouldn't be around to murder the Mets anymore, and that the Mets would still have some outfield futures in their lineup such as Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez.

Everybody wins.

Now you may be wondering what happens if Buehrle comes on board, and the Mets also sign Zito. Wouldn't the Mets rotation be a little crowded if Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez return as expected?

Good question. And the answer is "not necessarily". Remember that Petey is gone until June. Also remember that a post-rotator cuff Petey will probably not be at full strength until the start of 2008, when he'll be 36. Although it's certainly possible that Petey has one more great run in him at the age of 36, it would behoove the hierarchy to make any and all moves under the assumption that Pedro Martinez will be a non-entity moving forward.

(Don't be mad at me Petey, I got the term from Macha.)

If Zito and Buehrle are your 1-2 punch, Glavine is three, John Maine is four and Orlando Hernandez is five. Simple, right? And you know as well as I do that there will be opportunities for Mike Pelfrey or Dave Williams or Brian Bannister to get work due to the fact that two of the Mets starters would be pulling forty years old (once you get to the other side, you're no longer pushing 40...you're pulling it) and will probably have calf issues.

Even if Petey comes back and is Petey, guess who Orlando Hernandez becomes...very good. He becomes the new Darren Oliver, as Oliver will no doubt look for riches (well deserved riches, I might add) elsewhere.

But most likely, the Mets will get one ace and not two, which would mean that your pitching staff for '07 would look something like this:
  • Zito/Buehrle
  • Glavine
  • Hernandez (Orlando, not Roberto)
  • John Maine
  • Pelfrey/Bannister/Williams/Petey in July
Buehrle's $9 million option plus Iguchi's $3 million and change option adds about $12 million in payroll...but considering that Cliff Floyd's $6.5 million, Kaz Matsui's $8 million, and Steve Trachsel's $2.5 million are gone, the Mets come out of this exchange ahead by a small bit, which allows them to consider adding one big free agent with the money they've made from playoff gates, their new network, and playoff merchandise (much of that provided by yours truly, which I feel gives me a say in where my share goes, thank you very much.) Perhaps Zito, giving them some of the best lefties in the league? Perhaps Soriano, ensuring that the Mets lineup remains as special as it was last season if not more so?

After Mota's suspension (killing any chance that the Mets bring him back), maybe it's imperative to table this trade and put all of their efforts into signing Barry Zito. But remember, there are free agents out there for the bullpen too. None of them are under 30 but hey, there are plenty of good ones out there (think Jamie Walker, Cliff Politte, or Joe Borowski for starters), as opposed to the lack of starters available. And hey, if Milledge is gone, they could bring in Steve Kline for the express purpose of beaning him 19 games a year!

So that, my friends, is my attempt to become part of the solution, and not part of the problem.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Let The Healing Begin: Part One

After what happened to the Mets on October 19th, November could not have gotten here soon enough.

To me, discussing off-season moves in the same October that the Mets have actually played games in is like dating Angelina Jolie before all of the paparazzi pictures of you with Jennifer Aniston have ran in The Enquirer.

So now that the calendar has turned, let's talk about 2007...known to Wallace Matthews as: "The Year We Have No Shot".

I myself find it hysterical how Matthews deals in hypotheticals and assumes the worst in all cases:
"How do they know the Braves will continue to play like bottom-feeders"
Gee, because every move they've made in the past three seasons has been to cut payroll, so why should we assume that the pattern would change? Or has Captain Planet's alimony payments to Jane expired?
"or that the Phillies will continue to underachieve"
Um, hello...because Art Howe is on their coaching staff?
"or that Jeffrey Loria, whose largesse gifted the Mets with Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado, suddenly won't decide he would like the Marlins to win again?"
Let's see: a young, impressionable roster who lose the man who made many impressions on them, the first big league manager that many of them have ever known?

I will say that Matthews got one thing right:
How Minaya or his boss, Fred Wilpon, can truly believe the baseball planets will align this way for them again next year, only they know.
That's right...Omar Minaya knows.

Not you, Wally.

I will tend to trust Omar Minaya, who in his short time here has proven that he knows how to put together a championship caliber roster, as opposed to Pat Gillick's Phillies regime in which all that he's proven so far is that he knows how to step in it by stripping the roster of it's stars and still come within a breath of the playoffs on the strength of Gillick's pom pom waving.

Omar knows.

Nevertheless, I'm here to help and provide guidance...free of charge as always. Herego, my master plan for 2007. Let's start with what's out there in terms of free agents:

The Bench: The Mets bench has been a strong point of the club over the past two seasons. Marlon Anderson and Chris Woodward highlighted the squad in 2005, and Endy Chavez was the diamond in our rough in 2006. The problem, as Eddie Coleman has said on the "Mike and The Angry Puppy" show, is that when Chavez was forced to be a starter, the bench was weakened. Because of this, Omar has to take much care in making sure the bench is strong, and can remain strong throught injury in 2007.

How does this happen? Damned if I know. We know that Julio Franco will return (it should be as a coach but that's another blog for another time), and my feeling is that Chris Woodward should be re-signed to be their utility player. Woodward has had some health issues last season which probably caused his production to fall off from '05 to '06. But what if Woodward leaves? Well, I'm not an expert on who is going to make an impact on the bench in '07, but I will ask a question:

How exactly would an orange soul patch look on Scott Spiezio?

Call me crazy if you want. You can even crucify me (I'm used to it) for even considering bringing the Cardinal that killed us on board. But consider: Spiezio can play just about every non-battery position on the field in a pinch, he's older yet not ancient, and you know he can hit a high and tight fastball (thanks, Guillermo). And if you think that the switch hitter is a one-hit wonder, remember that he was getting big hits back in 2002 for the Angels in their World Series run against the Giants. So if Omar wants to use the "if you can't beat them, sign them" theory with Soul Patch Spiezio, I for one would be all for it, as long as he dyes his facial hair to match the uniform scheme that the Mets are wearing that day...black one day, blue the next, white with pinstripes on the weekends...the signing would be worth it for entertainment purposes alone.

From out of Left Field: The Metmaster, you must know, looooooooooves Alfonso Soriano.

In fact, Metmaster is at home right at this very moment sending a lifetime's supply of red velvet cupcakes to Diego Bentz's home right now.

I've never been a big fan of Soriano, for various reasons. First, it was the Yankee affiliation. Then, it was the big numbers in the small Arlington ballpark. Then, it was his whining and bitching about having to play left field. I'm still not a Soriano "fan" per say.

But a 40-40 season in a cavernous ballpark while not really killing the Nationals on defense at a new position is pretty damn impressive. So yes, Virginia, there is an Alfonso Soriano. And yes, Omar would be a fool not to at least consider him to play left field, while still making sure that Willie Randolph makes sure that Endy Chavez gets enough at bats to feel wanted and useful.

Sacks of Second Helpings: All right, so we're assuming at this point that Jose Valentin is a goner. It could work out that Valentin does come back...but let's assume that someone else overpays him and that the Mets look elsewhere. If you look at the lists of free agents that are out there, there are some interesting possibilities at second base...certainly more interesting than you'll find in left field (outside of Soriano and perhaps Shannon Stewart...let's not even mention Carlos Lee, who's being fitted for Roger Clemens' old locker in Houston as we speak). Ray Durham had an interesting season for the Giants in 2006, hitting career highs in homers and ribbies for a Giants squad that was without Barry Bonds for most of it. Impressive that this season came in a ballpark that isn't the easiest to hit dingers in.

But is it me, or does Ray Durham have "bloated contract" written all over him? Something tells me that he's going to not only be expected to match his 2006 numbers, but that same something also tells me that he's not going to match them.

That's not to say I wouldn't welcome Ray Durham. I would certainly welcome free agent and recent Angel Adam Kennedy to play second base. Anybody who hits three home runs in an LCS game is all right by me, and luckily for the Mets, we're on his radar...even if it is the radar that consists of the agent realizing that he's talking to a New York reporter ("Adam definitely has interest in the Royals, insert Kansas City beat writer here...no, really. He does!)

The problem here is that Kennedy is a lefty stick, and the Mets would probably be inclined to look for righthanders to balance out the lineup. Quite honestly, I don't want to live in a world where the Mets lineup is vulnerable to pitchers like Mark Guthrie, Gene Walter, and Jeff Musselman.

This is what makes Red Sox free agent Mark Loretta an attractive option. If you recall, I liked Mark Loretta last year, and I like him again this season, when he doesn't have to be traded for.

And don't forget that Loretta, in addition to being a .285 hitter in '06 was part of that Red Sox team that made virtually no errors all year long (four last season for Loretta if you want to nit-pick). You know that Loretta is going to come in and play the same steady defense that Jose Valentin played for the Mets in '06.

Trading Up: Of course, there are trades out there. Some obvious, some obvious only to me. Let's start with the obvious one. Look, we know that Lastings Milledge is a strong candidate to be traded. We also know that there aren't a lot of left fielders besides Soriano on the trade market. So we first look to Tampa Bay and Carl Crawford.

Paul Lo Duca was the quintessential two hole hitter for the Mets last season. He puts the bat on the ball, uses great control, and has no problem giving himself up to get Jose Reyes an extra base. There aren't a lot of guys out there in free agency, or who would be available in a realistic trade, but Crawford is that guy.

Crawford is an interesting guy in the fact that he's a player that actually admitted to having a goal of being the best fantasy player in major league baseball. I for one, would settle for Crawford being the best reality player in the borough of Queens.

And then there was Crawford bitching and moaning earlier in the 2006 season that he does all the same things that Jose Reyes does, but because he plays in Tampa, nobody notices. But Carl, what about all the fantasy baseball geeks (settle down, I play fantasy baseball so I'm allowed to call us "geeks", so lighten up on the hate mail) that notice you? We're not enough? And hey, you want a chance to prove that you're every bit as good as Jose Reyes? Be my guest. You have a standing invitation to be traded for Lastings and Phil Humber anytime.

Pitching: Did you by chance know that the Mets are deficient in starting pitching?

If not, what cave are you living in?

Daisuke Matsuzaka looked fairly impressive at the WBC with his "Gyroball". But how long will it be before major league hitters look for that pitch and learn to lay off it? More importantly, how long would it take for Matsuzaka to follow the path of every other unproven Japanese import to come directly to the Mets and immediately become Japan's answer to Mike Maddux? And at what cost? Thirty million just to negotiate? Then another hundred over six seasons to lock him up? Not to mention the inevitable billion dollars in medical bills as this guy has been known to chuck 200 pitches a start during his career.

So forgive my constant Komiyama flashbacks, but I'll pass.

And I won't even consider the Giants' Jason Schmidt as an option...That's how sure I am that he's staying in the Pacific time zone (think Pacific Northwest).

Now you and I know the obvious answer here (besides convincing Tom Glavine's family that it's OK for Tommy two teeth to finish his career on a winner rather than a rebuilder). He's close to last in your baseball register, and he's too expensive to stay where he is. Yes, it's Barry Zito. And it seems like we've been talking about Zito for the better part of five seasons (well, at least I've been talking about him for five seasons). We've been asking the questions about whether parting with prospects to get him. Well, there are no questions left as Zito made it official just hours ago: he's a free agent. All it will take will be draft picks (contrary to the drastic rule change we thought was coming in the new CBA, it will still take a draft pick to sign Barry Zito.)

Zito, to me, with the resumed tutelage of Rick Peterson, and a bevy of 7, 8, and 9 hole "hitters" in the NL, would instantly return to Cy Young Calibre with that big curveball. And if there's something the Mets desperately need, it's a starter that has averaged 219 innings per 162 games.

Here's the remaining issue with Zito, and here's why Minaya is publicly posturing that he's not signing any big names: The Mets are in desperate need of starting pitching. Again, I put to you that you would have to have lived in a cave for the last six months not to realize that.

Guess who else doesn't live in a cave?

That's right boys and girls...Zito's agent, Scott Boras. And he preys on weaknesses in much the same manner that Hannibal Lechter would (some would say that the two are one in the same).

So whether the Mets and Zito consummate a working relationship or not, the Mets need a back up plan. (It doesn't necessarily have to come instead of Zito, but rather, in addition.) Yet Omar Minaya has said that he will be creative this offseason in reshaping the future of this club, and he has said that he's not going after big names on the free agent market. We know that Omar likes to create smokescreens, but assuming that he's semi-serious, what will Omar do? Luckily, Omar has Metstradamus on his side, at the low low cost of nothing.

Now granted, what you've read so far hasn't exactly reinvented the wheel. But you see, I have the answer to all of Omar's problems in the form of a blockbuster trade. It is so blockbuster and so trade-a-licious that it will knock your socks off (it's in italics because it's a thinly veiled hint).

What is this trade? Who does it involve? Does it involve more than two teams? Will there be a hated rival involved? Who will be the latest big ticket addition to the New York Mets? And who will see it coming?

You'll have to find out tomorrow in: "The Mother Of All Stupid Trade Proposals".