Friday, November 30, 2007

In Omar, I've Lost Trust

The sun was shining when I woke up this morning.

It was shining because the first thing that I saw was that Billy Beane had officially put Dan Haren on the trade market. Oh glory. And here we are in Queens with all of these trade chips to get him. We've got Carlos Gomez, we've got Mike Pelfrey, we've got Phil Humber, we've got Kevin Mulvey, and we've got the guy that Billy Beane has been salivating over for many a fortnight...Lastings Milledge.


We don't have Lastings Milledge?
The Washington Nationals have completed a trade sending veteran catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church to the New York Mets for promising outfielder Lastings Milledge on Friday.

Both the Mets and the Nationals scheduled conference calls at 3 p.m. today to announce the deal. Schneider, in a telephone interview, said he spoke with Mets General Manager Omar Minaya, who confirmed the trade.

"It's done," Schneider said.
And I'm beginning to think the Mets are done as well.

Remember the good old days when Lastings Milledge could have brought back Manny Ramirez? I remember those days. Those were fun days. The Mets were on the upswing after the brutal Art Howe era, and Metropolitan prospects were the bee's knees. Oh, it was fun. But oh no, the Mets couldn't get a Hall of Famer for Milledge, because Lastings Milledge was going to have so much upside. There's no way the future of the franchise could so callously be cast aside. Who knows, a deal even better than Manny Ramirez could come along someday. Maybe for a younger big bat. Maybe for an arm!

Oooh! Maybe for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church!!!

Now you all should know me well enough by now to know that I'm not into absolutes such as "biggest this", "worst that", or "most vomit ever expunged in one sitting". I'm not going to say things like that for the pure sake of saying them. So I'm not going to compare this trade to the infamous Scott Kazmir trade.
"People always like to say, 'What if?' But the positive that's come out of this is what we learned from our mistake. We have moved on." -Jeff Wilpon, on the Scott Kazmir trade.
Really? A 22-year-old outfielder with upside through the roof for a .235 hitting catcher and a journeyman outfielder? That's what you've learned from the Scott Kazmir trade? This was a bad trade when I thought Ryan Church was 25.

He's 29!

And I've aged about ten years in the last four hours.

(Editor's note: Do any of you find it ironic that the Mets basically gave the Nationals Jesus Flores via the Rule V draft, and now that he may be ready to start, we let them do it by trading for Schneider?)

And here's the kick in the head out of all of this: People are going to respond to this blog, and other Met blogs and say something along the lines of "Milledge was a dog, he didn't run hard after that Dontrelle Willis hit in the corner during the last game of the season." To those people I say, don't even bother. Because guess who was benched last season for not running out a ground ball?

For those who said Ryan Church, collect your door prize.

So now, in addition to Johan Santana being pretty much out the window because Omar is at least smart enough not to put Jose Reyes in that deal, now Dan Haren is out the window. If Billy Beane was cooling a bit on Lastings Milledge, you think he's going to take a package that includes Ryan Church and Johnny Estrada? But never fear, because Omar is probably going to sign Livan Hernandez and tell us he's every bit as good as Santana, Haren, and Joe Blanton. Great. Let's reunite the rest of the 2004 Expos that went 67-95, shall we? Tomo Ohka doing anything these days? Carl Everett is with a Long Island Duck last I checked. Maybe Carlos Gomez can get you Jose Vidro and his bad knees. Can a Fernando Martinez for Jon Rauch and Shawn Hill deal be far behind?

And I haven't even mentioned the part of the deal that points out that Lastings Milledge is going to face the Mets 19 times a season for the next 20 years??? A top prospect traded in his own division??? To a team that had a comparable if not better record than the Mets over the last 90 games of the 2007 season??? To a team who's future might be 2008 while the Mets' future may be 2006? Who does this??!!?!?!??!!?

The Mets, of course.

I'm going to ask you all this: Would you be surprised in the least if say...six months, a year, two years down the road you started hearing that Milledge was traded because there were whispers in the clubhouse that certain veterans wanted him gone? Would you? Because I wouldn't. After all the little lateness and rap music incidents I'm not saying that it's going to happen, or that I know anything you don't. But I wouldn't be surprised to the point where if I was offered an even money bet on that I might take it. And if that happens? Then guess what: This franchise would officially be back where it started back in 2004 with Art Howe as the manager, and the inmates running the asylum. And isn't that what the Mets were trying to avoid by getting rid of the clubhouse lawyers like Al Leiter and John Franco anyway?

I'm not stupid. I know Milledge's value isn't what it used to be, fair or unfair. But a defensive catcher? A 29-year-old mediocre outfielder? For a top prospect? This is the best you could do? Are we that afraid of talent?

(Editor's note: Omar Minaya is currently on the Mike and Puppy show saying that "sometimes the fans don't understand, I go back to the time I made the Kris Benson trade and no one knew who John Maine was." All right, here's the difference: For as baffled as I was at the Benson trade...and don't tell me that didn't have something to do with an off-field incident least a prospect came back for an older player. And I doubt that even Omar Minaya knew that John Maine was going to become the pitcher he did in such a short amount of time. This time, the young prospect is leaving the house and not coming to the house. So that's like comparing apples to oranges...or Anna Benson's cantaloupes.)

The sun is no longer shining. Night has fallen. And Lastings Milledge is on the Acela to Washington. How ironic the Mets get a guy named Church...because it's going to take a Hail Mary to get that ace pitcher now.

(And no, Livan Hernandez doesn't count.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This oughta make Billy Wagner happy.

The Mets went out and acquired a pitcher! Just not the one you want. They got Brian Stokes...most well known for playing Cam Winston on Frasier (at least to me).

Oh...sorry, that's Brian Stokes Mitchell.

The Brian Stokes the Mets got was from the Devil Rays...and all they gave up was cash (no truth to the rumor that the amount was $9,411), which will most likely be drawn from that "Alex Rodriguez home run bonus fund" that's now defunct. Stokes had a 2-7 record and a 7.07 ERA in 2007.

I think I'd rather have the actor.

The Rays could afford to give up this phenom as they are finalizing a trade for Matt Garza, which strikes one player off of Omar Minaya's wish list going into next week's winter meetings. The Mets envision Stokes as a perfect complement to pitchers like Jon Adkins, Jason Vargas, and Steve Schmoll, who need a fourth for their weekly poker game.

Lost At The Wheel

If you consider what I wrote yesterday, I shouldn't have a fundamental problem with the following passage:
“Someone asked me what I thought of our team. I said, ‘What team?’ We've lost 13 games [Glavine’s victory total], and now we are going have to give up something to get those games back. I’m afraid we’re just going to create other holes if we give up a [Lastings] Milledge, a [Mike] Pelfrey or a Heilman. I’m trying to be positive. I’m saying we have some good players. But I’m worried. The Braves are getting better, and the Phillies made a move [acquiring Brad Lidge]. We've brought back some people, and that’s good. But losing Tom is big. It’s a lot more than the 13 games he won. It’s what he did for John Maine and Oliver Perez and how professional he was. People want to focus on one bad game or just the day-to-day stats. I do that myself when I read about football. By I’m involved in this, and I know how important [Glavine] was. We don’t have him, and we don’t even get to the last game with a chance. He was one of the few leaders we had. The Mets didn't do anything wrong. I know he wanted to be home more. I understand that, but where does that leave us?”
Kinda sounds like something I would have written, eh? I probably wouldn't have gone so far as to defend a return of Tom Glavine in 2008, but I would at least see that side of the argument.

Here's the problem, though: Billy Wagner said it. And while I agree with the fundamental principle of the soliloquy of Country Time, I have a problem with this particular person perpetrating the passage.

Here's the difference: When I whine and bitch, it's because I have no choice. You see, I write a stupid blog called "The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus". It can also be called "Whining and Bitching is What I Do". Because I have no control over anything else that happens with this team. If I did, I'd earn a paycheck as a consultant...and Omar Minaya doesn't listen to a thing I say anyway (although if he wants me to whine and bitch on WFAN during telecasts, I hear there's a job open). So I bitch. And I moan. And I bitch and moan some more. And I complain about stories like the one that says the Mets are going to go after Livan Hernandez (which is like filling your diet with empty calories...I mean, yeah it's food, but it's not going to enhance the quality of your life or your health).

But when you, William, bitch and moan about Tom Glavine being one of the few leaders the Mets had, you know because the team is way, way too young with guys like Orlando Hernandez, Carlos Delgado, Damion Easley, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez, Luis Castillo, Scott Schoeneweis, Carlos Beltran, and oh, it concerns me. Because you can do something about it! You can, oh I don't a leader yourself??? Gee, is there any wonder that a group of thirty-something men, many of which had never won a ring before including yourself, got bored at the end of the '07 season??? I mean, if I whine from the back seat about getting lost on the highway, you can tell me to shut the hell up! But if you whine from the front seat about getting lost, then all of a sudden we're in a gas station in Elmira asking some guy in a lumberjack shirt directions on how to get back to New York City, and then we get back on the road and all of a sudden we're a left turn away from f***ing Canada because there's too much whining and not enough driving!

Are you happy now, Country Time? All I wanted to do was log on to my trusty lap top, visit my friends at Faith and Fear, and download select games from the Mets 2007 postseason on my PC. Instead I come across your quote and I'm ticked off all over again.

Maybe I can still download that great game from this past October where Glavine threw that two hitter against Colora...I mean, the one where Shawn Green drove in those five runs in Arizon...ooh, I know, the one at Fenway Park where Pedro Martinez...dammit!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Failure And Sadness

Some guy named Patton Oswalt (no relation to Roy) did a comic bit about those KFC Famous Bowls that contain chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy all in a plastic bowl. He called them piles of failure eaten from bowls of sadness.

I thought of him as reports of the Yankees entering trade talks for Johan Santana have surfaced.

Here are the Yankees, once again going after the Fillet Mignon of the trade market...and they'll probably get him too. Oh, not because the Yankees have better prospects than the Mets, but moreover because the Yankees will break out that magic spell that they use when trading for guys like David Justice and Bobby Abreu where they'll wave a piece of cheese or something in front of Bill Smith or something and say "you want to give us Johan Santana for nothing...and here's why", and they'll convince the Twins to hand over Santana for Kyle Farnsworth and an old Wall Street Journal that Mike Mussina once read.

(And speaking of Bobby Abreu, did ya happen to notice that the supposed crown jewel of that deal for the Phillies, C.J. Henry, requested his release from the Phillies so that he can re-sign with the Yankees? But no, there's no conspiracy at all, naaaah.)

Meanwhile, in the midst of our speculation regarding Santana, and Dan Haren, and even Joe Blanton, the two guys that have been most closely linked to coming to help the Mets rotation:

Freddy Garcia and David Wells.

Phenomenal. A guy who is going to miss the first three months of the season, who will probably replace the other guy after he eats and drinks himself out of the league. Talk about a failure pile in a sadness bowl.

It's a long way from Fillet Mignon, isn't it? But never fear, because you can buy 1,779 Famous Bowls with the $9,411 "prize" that each Met received for second place. You can also buy a '99 Chevy Tahoe, a John Deere X595 4wd Lawn & Garden tractor with a 62C deck, or 300 shares of WesBanco Inc, whatever that is. Don't spend it all in one place.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lipstick On A Reliever

I'm going to start to call Omar Minaya the Avon Lady.

Think about it, only the Avon Lady could find enough lipstick in the world to make the proverbial pig known as Guillermo Mota look attractive to somebody. I don't know how Omar did it, but he turned Mota into not only a serviceable ballplayer, but a starting catcher!

Minaya flipped Mota into Johnny Estrada, who's very similar to Paul Lo Duca in that he has the ability to be a .300 hitter from the catching position. Of course, the one National Leaguer who had a lower percentage throwing out runners than Lo Duca and even Yorvit Torrealba: you guessed it, Estrada. But I look at it this way, Estrada's weak arm is going to give away one base at a time, while Mota's weak arm gave away four bases on a single throw, and he can't hit. Besides, you wanted Johnny Bench in return for Mota? Be lucky that Minaya was able to get Johnny Estrada and not Erik Estrada...or Larry Wilcox.

Or a tree limb eaten by termites from the inside out.

And that brings up a question that I hope is answered at some point for my own amusement: Who, in the meeting behind closed doors at Miller Park or whatever Florida or Arizona resort that major league executives meet, stood up and said that Guillermo Mota was adequate compensation for Johnny Estrada? Who looked those numbers over and said "yeah, this is a good idea"?

Bobcat Goldthwait once said that when he got a 5 out of 100 on his aptitude test in school, he found the guys who scored 1-4 so they can hang out...he of course, was the smart one. I don't know where Omar would rank in an aptitude challenge against the other GM's in the league, but he obviously found one that ranks lower than him and fleeced him on this deal. I'm willing to vote Minaya "Exec of the Year" on that feat alone.

(I mean seriously, this deal is tantamount to trading Iron Mike Sharpe for the Bushwhackers...a jobber for a draw? I'm still laughing my butt off over this one.)

It sure as heck allayed the fears I had during the weekend, as we were driving to South Jersey to gamble our lives away. Here I am, in the back seat watching the raindrops race across the back window and meeting up with other raindrops, thinking of some David Eckstein jokes to unleash after the Mets make that inevitable signing, and dreading the announcement of Jimmy Rollins as N.L. MVP.

Bad omens popped up everywhere on that last one...Comcast Philly took extra care to wait until I was in their broadcast area to re-air the 11-10 game which was the Phillies' crown jewel amongst the rubble that was the Mets' '07 season (no, I didn't watch.) Then, as I rifled through a memorabilia store because your blogger, while smart enough to come up with a funny every once in a while was dumb enough not to pack t-shirts, I found the second bad omen: a shirt that read "THE TEAM TO BEAT -January 2007" with a picture of J-Roll on it (no, I didn't buy it.) And sure enough, Rollins wound up winning the award on Tuesday. Could anybody in New York argue with that one? I'm certainly not going to. Rollins should send a fruit basket to the Mets for their collapse which helped create the beasts that are Rollins "team to beat" t-shirts, re-airings of 11-10 games, and an MVP award to boot because the Mets couldn't hold 5-0 leads against the Nationals.

I guess now would be a perfect time to once again thank our Mets for letting Zuul out of the refrigerator.

But at least the Mets didn't compound those mistakes by enlisting a dwarf to take on the ghost like creature from the original Ghostbusters. Say what you want about giving a 32-year-old second baseman with bad knees $25 million to play second base for four years. But it sure as heck is better than giving a 33-year-old shortstop who's injury prone his own self $36 million to play second base for four years. Eckstein comes with those extra special buzz words like "gritty" and "gutty". But guess what: Castillo gave you all of that and more down the stretch in '07 with bad knees and a bad hip, so why the Mets even thought about Eckstein is beyond me. Perhaps it was a ploy to bring Castillo's price down, but with the Astros also hot on Luis' trail, that strategy could have easily backfired. So the Mets actually succeeded despite themselves on that one.

(I guess that's kinda like the Estrada robbery, which would have never happened had it not been for Torrealba's bum shoulder. So Omar should give a kiss to his lucky garden gnome or whatever talisman he uses to align the stars.)

But now comes the hardest trick of all for Minaya. Because while getting a starting catcher for a guy who goes to a place where he can now wash down his HGH with the smooth flavor of Old Milwaukee is nice, the Mets are still in pursuit of that elusive ace, almost a full season after they missed out on Barry Zito. The chips are still there, and if anybody who knows more about Fernando Martinez than I do can convince me that he's worth keeping, I'm all ears. But if Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber taught me anything, it's that sometimes it's better to turn your chips into major league talent before those chips depreciate in value. The trick is to recognize the very peak in their value and make the move at the right time. The way the Mets need an ace, there may be no better time than right now.

(Especially with two first round draft picks this June...imagine that! And for that I give thanks in recognition of the upcoming holiday to Tom Glavine for doing something right by the Mets for the first time since August, which was exacerbating the inevitable and signing with the Braves so early. Maybe his Met past wasn't so wonderful. Actually, his most recent past kinda stunk. But he might have helped fund the future with that pre-December signing...that is if the Mets don't screw up the 18th pick by selecting Steve Chilcott again.)


Whether you're putting lipstick on your pig before you take it out of the oven, or you are celebrating the shipment of a very tall turkey to Wisconsin, here's hoping you enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow. May your turkeys have more juice than your relief pitchers.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Crux Of What Grinds My Gears

Because sometimes it takes days of reflection, lots of miniature hot dogs wrapped in blankets, and an inability to let go of the past that takes me to the very Gamma and Alpha of what really makes me upset about this whole Paul Lo Duca thing.

Dan Marino.

Oh, I guess I have to explain that (I keep forgetting that nobody has brainwaves as warped as mine.)

I'll never forget being speechless that day in 1994 when the New York Jets blew a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins...a game that culminated in the two words that still sends shivers down my spine: fake spike.

Two weeks later, the Jets played the Lions in a game that seemed like a funeral procession. It was one of those typical Barry Sanders games where every time he carried the ball the Jets would stop him in the backfield...except of course for those one or two carries Sanders would go for gains of anywhere between 70-90 yards. The Jets couldn't get a damn thing going on offense and lost 18-6. It was the first day that I ever remember hearing the term "back up the truck", as in "BACK UP THE TRUCK, GET RID OF ALL OF 'EM! THIS TEAM IS GARBAGE!!!"

Yes, that team was garbage, as they went from 6-5 to 6-10 before you can say "Pete Carroll".

Back then, 1994 at the Meadowlands counted as a collapse of epic proportions, and "back up the truck" never seemed so apropos of something. The thing that Jets team needed mentally was for the losing attitude to be washed out. The roster was good, but it was old. Some players needed to go if for no other reason than the fact that the last thing the team needed was for too many players hanging around who were still shell shocked from losing the last five games of the season. If that meant that some babies had to go with the bathwater, so be it.

And that's what the Jets tried to do going into 1995, as they got rid of their head coach (Carroll), and solid core players like their leading receiver (Rob Moore), a Hall of Fame safety (Ronnie Lott), a Hall of Fame wideout (or at least Art Monk should be in the Hall, the one bright spot in that Lions game was seeing Monk break the all-time record for consecutive games with a catch), and a Pro-Bowl calibre cornerback (James Hasty, who's in the above photo as a spectator to disaster).

(Of course, they replaced Carroll with Rich Kotite and won four games over the next two seasons, but that's neither here nor there. The idea of roster turnover was a sound one back then, and maybe they didn't get rid of enough players.)

Fast forward to November of 2007, soon after the Mets made five straight losses in 1994 seem less like a collapse and more like a mere life lesson. If there's ever a need for some roster turnover where some babies go out with the bathwater, it's the current New York Mets. Instead it looks more and more like the Mets, whether it be out of the lack of options that are out there, or the thinking that the '07 Mets are less shell shocked and more determined and motivated by their collapse, have decided to go into '08 with basically the same team that fell apart in '07, keeping guys like Moises Alou and Damion Easley...and at least making an effort to re-sign Luis Castillo before their recurring, inexplicable fascination with converting shortstops into second basemen has taken hold yet again.

(Will this franchise ever learn? I mean really, David Eckstein's the best they can do? But that's another entry for another time, my friends.)

Of course the one guy who unequivocally, according to Mets brass at least, cannot come back under any circumstances, is Paul Lo Duca. If you believe what Jon Heyman said on Friday, the Mets blame Lo Duca for calling the wrong pitches in 2006 (I guess that includes the one that Guillermo Mota shook off before Scott Spiezio sent it to the top of the wall in Game 2 of the Cardinals series, right?) And the fact that they ignored Lo Duca this winter as if he had a communicable disease (you can make your own joke about the Long Island bar scene if you wish, I'll refrain) tells me that the Mets blame Lo Duca for Scott Spiezio, for the entire 2006 playoffs, for the collapse this past September, for Jose Reyes' slump, for the Scott Kazmir trade, for Jimmy Rollins' proclamation, for Rickey Henderson, for the lines at Shea Stadium's bathrooms, for traffic on I-80, for Michigan losing to Appalachian State, and for Bobby Thomson's home run in 1951.

I have to say, in all of the dissecting and re-dissecting
I've seen and made on September's collapse, well down on the list...if it's even on the Paul Lo Duca's pitch calling. But that is the scapegoat that the Mets are selling us. I ask you, with all of the other deficiencies facing the Mets, is that fair? Because so far, that's what the Mets are telling us...they're telling us that everyone else on the Mets wants to win next season except Paul Lo Duca.

Perhaps I'm overreacting. I admit I'm not the most level headed guy in the room even when I'm in a room by myself. And I'm fully aware that there could be some major changes for the better between now and the winter caravan, although Omar Minaya is going to have to be a special kind of creative to do it now that Yorvit Torrealba is apparently going to try to bat higher than the Manhattan area code somewhere else. But I can't help thinking that because we're not seeing the wholesale cleansing as we did with the Jets in 1994, one man is taking the blame for three weeks of bad baseball...and worse off, it's the wrong man.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not A Charge Was True

I gotta hand it to the crack staff here at "Musings", they have their cameras everywhere...even at the final meeting between Paul Lo Duca and Mets brass, where they may have accused him of calling the wrong pitches during the '06 Playoffs:

As the song says: not a charge was true. Guess Paulie will be on his way to Denver to prove he's a man.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marriage And Divorce

So did you hear that Tori Spelling and Jessica Alba decided to forget men all together and get married to each other? Yes indeed. Tori decided to take Jessica's last name and now she will be known as Tori Alba.

That's not funny.

Here's what else isn't funny: Tori Alba, er...I mean, Yorvit Torrealba could be the Mets next starting catcher. Awesome. A guy who hit .212 away from Coors Field is going to (gasp!) leave Coors Field and come to the Mets?

Meanwhile, Paul Lo Duca is in a room somewhere with Ozzy Osbourne posters on the wall...staring at the telephone waiting for a call from the Mets as if he was waiting for a call from the prom queen. He shouldn't hold his breath, as the Mets have all but served him with divorce papers. Here are the list of Met priorities at catcher that are ahead of him:
  • Yorvit Torrealba
  • Ramon Hernandez
  • Gerald Laird
  • Ronny Paulino
  • Miguel Montero
  • Kelly Shoppach
  • Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • Benito Santiago
  • Jorge Posada (Omar's still at the window waiting for Posada to show up with two duffle bags saying "I changed my mind!")
  • Gary Lee Cavagnaro
  • A wet sack of flour
  • Yogi Berra (It's that Yankee pedigree.)
  • Paul Lo Duca
It's just what the Mets do, isn't it? You have Lo Duca, a guy who enjoys being a Met, and has repeatedly said (begged?) that he wants to remain a Met, and that he loves being a Met and he loves the fans. So what do the Mets do? Ignore him as if he was that guy at the party that tells the same joke to everyone in the room, over and over again. It's really no wonder that other franchises regularly have players that come out and say that in their heart they'll always be a member of that team, while the Mets regularly have players like Tony Tarasco, who teach young pitchers how to smuggle hooch in peanut butter jars. (That's right, I brought up Tony Tarasco. What of it?)

But more than that, what exactly does Yorvit Torrealba bring to the table that Paul Lo Duca doesn't? He throws out more runners? That would be wrong, kind sir. Paulie has thrown out .234 while Yorvit has chucked .191. He handles a pitching staff better? Both catchers have an ERA of want to tell me Yorvit's 4.12 is more impressive than Lo Duca's 4.12 because of Coors Field? That's up for debate.

He blocks more balls? Four passed balls for Yorvit, two for Paulie. Zone rating? Well, Yorvit has him at .971 to .889. Even though I'm not smart enough to grasp what in the bloody world a zone rating is, I'm guessing that .971 is better than .889.

But the only formula that the Mets are looking at is TH + E...otherwise known as the Distraction Factor. Yorvit's Distraction Factor is near zero, if not exactly zero. Lo Duca's Distraction Factor? It's about 105. TH + E, if you must know, is Tabloid Headlines + Ejections. Too high a distraction factor does not jive with the Wilpons, who want to have a team of "oh golly gee" guys who aren't going to rock the boat.

Oh yeah, and Torrealba is six years younger too, a small fact that didn't prevent the Mets from re-signing Moises Alou to a "one out of every two games" contract, which tells me that it's the Distraction Factor that is keeping Lo Duca from returning. Because heaven forbid the Mets have any players that show some emotion and actually care about baseball a little bit more than your average run o' the mill robot.


Which brings me to Tom Glavine, because as you know, baseball is merely a game which nobody is devastated, only disappointed. He's not coming back. Hooray. But the Mets can at least get more out of Glavine now than they did during Game number 162. All the Wilpons have to do is offer arbitration to the man who so obviously wants to escape a challenging baseball environment like New York to return to the comforts of Alpharetta, GA. If the Mets do that, they will get the Braves 18th pick in next June's draft. Which brings about the question: If the Mets do that, and if a "number one" talent like Rick Porcello drops into their laps as he did all the way to the 27th pick last June, will the Mets draft him? Or will they do what everyone else until the Tigers did and let him go because they'd never want to meet his price?

Then again, looking at past drafts to try to pick out some great players that were drafted at number 18 to support my argument and not coming up with anyone better than Aaron Heilman from 1978 on, is it too harsh to think that if the Mets did get the 18th pick, they'd probably screw it up anyway? Before Heilman, the last two 18's they drafted were 1992's Chris Roberts (when players like Shannon Stewart, Charles Johnson, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Todd Helton were still on the board), and 1991's immortal Al Shirley (when Aaron Sele was still on the board? The humanity!)


But why bother with the silly thing such as the draft when you can go get another player from Japan, a strategy which has worked so well in the past. No, not Kosuke Fukudome, who's been compared to Ichiro, but Hiroki Kuroda ... a pitcher who's been compared to Kei Igawa, only without the upside. That's comforting.

Here's a scouting report:
The Mets are also believed to be interested in Japanese righty Hiroki Kuroda, and one AL team official provided a scouting report to The Post, saying the pitcher's fastball is "average to slightly above average" and that he has a "good forkball." The official also said Kuroda "throws strikes and is a tough competitor."
Translated, that means he has a batting practice fastball, a forkball that hitters will learn to lay off by June, and when one of his strikes is hit over the apple in center field, he'll curse at himself on the mound. I know I'm excited.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Tin Foil On My Cat Keeps The Aliens Away

It was bad enough when Pat Gillick gave Bobby Abreu to the Yankees for nothing.

It was bad enough when a former Brave sabotaged the Mets playoff hopes on the last day of the season, then coincidentally expresses his desire to take less money to return to the Braves.

But now the dots are beginning to connect. Ed Wade, a former Phillies GM, in one of his first acts as current GM of the Astros, trades Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies, his former team, for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary, and Mike Costanzo.

What, Ed Wade couldn't get Greg Luzinski's BBQ recipe and a pair of Bake McBride's old stirrups in return?

Here's what getting Brad Lidge does for the Phillies: First off, it enables the Phillies to send Brett Myers back to the rotation, strengthening that position for them. Getting Brad Lidge also, gets Brad Lidge for the bullpen. Lidge, last check, still throws 95 mph+.

But here's the worst part, boys and girls: Michael Bourn going the other way in the trade means that the Phillies now have an outfield position open for...Aaron Rowand to come back. Just when we thought there was no way that there would be room for the Phillies to keep a guy who's nothing but heart, soul, guts, and a .300 average, Ed Wade makes room for them by making this ridiculous trade. Now the Phillies get Aaron Rowand back, Brett Myers makes the rotation better, and they get Brad Lidge!!!

Meanwhile, in Flushing, the Mets are re-signing old players and chasing windmills in Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. And you want to tell me there's no conspiracy? Screw that, I'll be off covering my cat in tin foil. Don Quixote...away!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Will There Be Donuts At This Meeting?

So Alex Rodriguez is going to Meet the Mets.

Perhaps he'll even Greet the Mets.

Will he bring his kiddies? Will he bring his wife? I can't guarantee he'll have the time of his life.

'Cause as a Met, he'd really sock the ball...perhaps knock some home runs over the wall.

But whether you're on the east side, or the west side, you should really consider coming your senses. Because if you really think there's a chance that Alex Rodriguez is going to sign a free agent deal with the Mets, then you just don't know the Wilpons very well. C'mon...this is a team that once drew up a half-ast contract for Vladimir Guerrero when everyone else was scared off by his back issues, trying to sign him the same way John Spano tried to buy the Islanders.

This is a team that wouldn't overpay for Barry Zito, when Barry Zito was a necessity. You think this franchise is going to give a luxury like Alex Rodriguez more money than the gross national income of Equatorial Guinea to come to the Mets and move either their shortstop to second base (remember how well that worked out the last time) or their gold glove winning third baseman to parts unknown?

Look, I'm not saying that I don't want A-Rod. I'm also not saying that I do. There's a part of me that can do without that phony persona of his, and do without the circus that comes with him. But then again, there's a part of me that thinks 50 HR's and 125 RBI's in the middle of the Mets lineup is enough to make me overlook the A-Rod circus, so I frankly don't know what to think. That's what blowing a seven game September lead has done to my brain. I can't think in those kind of terms anymore. Notice I haven't put out a "how to fix the Mets" post here like I've done in the past. You know why? Because I have no flippin' idea! That's why.

For now, I'm leaving that stuff to Steve Phillips, who went on ESPN yesterday and said something like: "If the Dodgers go out and get Alex Rodriguez and Johan Santana, they'll have a good chance to win the World Series." Wow, no kidding??? What finishing school taught Steve Phillips that new theory of relativity which enabled him to go out on that far a limb to tell us that getting an MVP winner and a Cy Young winner in the prime of their careers will give you a good chance to win the World Series? Eureka!!!

(If I ever...EVER, sound that dumb, please come to my house and put polyurethane in my Dr. Pepper. You know who you are.)

But Steve Phillips is no longer employed by the Mets, so I suppose Alex Rodriguez can talk to the Mets without throwing a garbage can at the wall. Wonderful. Meet the Mets. But don't be surprised when after meeting him, they quickly say good-bye when that slip of paper Scott Boras slides to the other end of the table is about the size of the paper that held those candy buttons you ate when you were a kid, and you tried to eat them all while ingesting no more than the acceptable amount of stray paper that's allowed by the FDA.

So forgive me if I seem less than optimistic over the prospect of this meeting. Because it doesn't matter how I feel about an event that doesn't have a snowball's chance in Scott Boras', I mean, hell...of happening.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ghosts Return

As if I need more things to haunt me this winter, Metsblog alerts us to this great news:
The trade market opens in earnest today with the start of the annual GM Meetings. Already, executives are talking about the potential for stars as big as Minnesota ace Johan Santana and Florida slugger Miguel Cabrera becoming available.

But it might just start there. An executive familiar with Tampa's thinking said if the offers for Santana grow to a substantial level, then the Rays would test to see what they could get for Scott Kazmir.

The thinking is that because Kazmir is three years from free agency as opposed to one year for Santana, he might bring nearly as much in return.

The Rays need multiple high-end pitchers, and Kazmir, just about to enter arbitration eligibility for the first time, might be too expensive and ready to depart just as Tampa is projecting contention in two to three years.

How comical would it be if the Mets, with their No. 1 need being a No. 1 starter, found themselves trying to trade for Kazmir 3½ seasons after getting Victor Zambrano for him?
Yeah. That's really funny. It's so funny I want to cry my eyes out. And it's funny because you can count on me to be at Gerry Hunsicker's doorstep offering everything short of a lifetime subscription to Field & Stream to make this happen. Yeah, I know. I should want nothing to do with Scott Kazmir just for the bad feng shui he's caused in our lives just by being traded in the worst trade in baseball history (yeah, I said it...the worst!)

But so what if the Mets have to pay ten times the value they got for Kazmir in the first place (what do you get when you multiply ten by a negative number, anyway?) What, you're scared that the Wilpon's would admit that they made a mistake by trading him in the first place? The free world already knows that the Mets made a mistake!!! If you were to tell a person from New Zealand that you were a Mets fan, they cringe and say "Ooooh, Scott Kazmir." That's how widely known how much of a colossal vapor lock that trade was.

So now he may be available and we want to stick our heads in the sand? I know it's a pipe dream, but let's give Gerry Hunsicker everything short of the kitchen sink and the dirty water filled hot dog carts. Besides, do you really want the Yankees to trade for Scott Kazmir? No no, think about it: do you want to live in a world where Scott Kazmir is wearing Yankee pinstripes?

I know I don't.

C'mon Omar, have some guts and do it. You know you want to see a rotation of Kazmir, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Pedro Martinez and...well, everyone who could be that fifth starter will probably be traded to get Kazmir so...Brian Lawrence, anyone? Anybody? Jose Lima?

Victor Zambrano? Hey, why not, he's available.

(Meanwhile, there's somebody out there reading this after breathing in some second hand weed, and he's freaking out right now. He's running around in his underwear screaming about the time-space continuum being out of whack or something.)

C'mon, Omar. Let's make this week's GM meetings fun! I mean, there's barely anything going on at your meetings...well, besides Paul Lo Duca wandering around following Freddie begging to be re-signed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

See If They Throw Tomatoes At You

I knew that writing this would come back to haunt me:
So go. Enjoy your offseason. But lord help you if I see a picture of any of you in the act of actually enjoying your offseason. Lord help you if I see you in any stupid photo layouts for fashion magazines, or eating fancy steak dinners with your agents. The only thing I want to see you eating is the humble pie that you've forced all of us to eat as local and national media will continue to ridicule the Met fans you leave behind.
I knew it would haunt me because of the conflict it would cause in the depths of my feeble and stupid brain if David Wright was the one that showed his face in public after "The Collapse." Because what am I going to say? Stop going to Rutgers games like the one against South Florida and smile on camera and start taking some extra BP?

Stop going on television shows like "The Daily Show" (which I missed) and "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" (which I caught), and read up on the rule book which reminds us of what a force play is? (P.S. A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner.)

Now, if we're talking Aaron Heilman, or Guillermo Mota, or perhaps Billy Wagner smiling goofily on the sidelines of some college football game, then it would rile me up. But when David Wright talks to Donny Deutsch and tells him that he has nightmares stemming from "The Collapse", I have to put my own emotions on the shelf. Besides, after all of the Yankee rigmarole that the nation has endured over the past month, somebody has to emerge among the rubble, remind people that operations are ongoing, and take the temperature of the see if it's safe enough to emerge if you're say, Tom Glavine.

TG: Can I come out now?

DW: Umm, I wouldn't. Can I bring back anything though?

TG: Well if you see any Hot Pockets or Pizza Rolls...the combo kind?
Let's just say that it'll be a long time before Tom Glavine is invited back to any Mets reunions. But David Wright is one of the few people who can emerge safely. He's like the guy in that commercial who is able to throw a cactus at his co-workers because he's the guy everyone likes.

Why does everyone like him? Lots of reasons. One of them is the fact that he has a foundation. It's called "The David Wright Foundation" (I never would have figured that one out), and it helps kids. And if you want to help kids, you'll go to the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on November 15th and attend the third annual "Do the Wright Thing" Gala with David and Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. They tell you to: "Dress to Impress, Rock and Roll Attire is Best". So dress like Elvis. Or Marilyn Manson. Or a Blues Brother. Or maybe you could dress in one of those wacky outfits that Elton John would wear in concert.

On second thought, screw Elton John. He's a Braves fan.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

To Your Health

You ever watch a Met game at Shea and wonder aloud: "what have you been drinking?"

Once a night, you say?

Then you'll be interested in this tale about a former Met, from a book excerpt via the fine folks at FanHouse:

Interestingly, another Padre, center fielder Mike Cameron, had a more intimate experience with game-day tipsiness:

"Sh-t, I've played drunk.

"When?"New York City.

"What were the circumstances?

"I went four for four with two jacks and eight ribbies. I'm not saying that's the only day I played drunk, but that was the best one."
So how long before we find out about all of the substances the 2007 Mets were on during the last three weeks of the season? Greenies? Doobies? Frosted Mini-Wheats? When? When will we know?

And if they weren't on anything, don't you think they should have been?

Pass the courvoisier.


Hey, the Mets are bringing back Moises Alou and Damion Easley! So much for that whole "let's get younger" thing. Maybe they'll stick around for the 2009 grand opening of our brand new park...which apparently is going to have all the angst of the old park at double the price (if you believe in that whole feng shui stuff.


The fine folks at Maxim magazine think that we, as baseball fans, get excited over some pretty dumb things.
Peanut vendors who throw the bag. Every section's got one and, somehow,every section is filled with people who are impressed. Go ahead and whoop it up for the 50-year-old man in the neon shirt whose only skill is throwing bags of snacks accurately, but we choose to pity him.
Actually, we whoop it up for him because we're secretly hoping that the Mets will sign the guy in the neon shirt to replace Guillermo Mota in the bullpen. Look, Ed Glynn was a hot dog vendor before he reached the majors. And when he got to the majors, he...well, he wasn't that great, but that's probably because it's hard to throw hot dogs accurately (especially with all that ketchup on it).

But I'll take the 54-year-old Glynn over Mota, any day of the week. And that, my friends, is why we cheer the peanut vendor.