Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From The Makers Of Kazuo: It's The Other Matsui

It's a comment worth spotlighting:
"What about making a deal with the Spanks for H. Matsui? He's in the final year of his contract and he's due $13 million for the season. The guy is not the feared hitter that Manny is, but he's the anti-Manny--personality wise--a true professional. And if he's healthy enough, you can pretty much count on him to hit around .300 with a .370 or so OBP and drive in 90-100 rbis. Unfortunately he bats lefty. If the Mets were willing to take on half of that $13 million for next season, he could probably be had for a mid-level prospect I would think. Nady would be better, but we'd probably have to give up more to get him cuz he's younger and he's getting a lot less $$$. It's a risk of course but it might be better than say committing more money and years to a player like Abreu or Dunn. Wilpons would have the added bonus of money from the Japanese media and fans." - Chris in Japan
If the Mets want a bat for the outfield to lengthen the lineup, you could do worse than Hideki Matsui. Don't believe me? The Mets apparently tested that theory by looking into trading for Andruw Jones.

Hideki is interesting, because of all the Yankees hitters I hate to see up with the game on the line, Matsui might be Yankee Enemy No. 1 ... yes, even over Derek Jeter ... that's how clutch he's been against the Mets. And isn't that something that the Mets are apparently looking for?

And that whole deal with the bonus money from Japanese endorsements, I don't think that's how you should run a baseball team ... trading for people that will bring people through the gates regardless of how they fit in the lineup or in the room. But with Bernie Madoff bilking the Wilpons out of the Gross National Income of a small country, there's no doubt that this is something the Wilpons would consider (I'm not that naive.) The Yankees apparently can afford to lose that advertising since they're paying billions of dollars for CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

Ultimately, I don't think it happens because as of now, he still has a place on the Yankees as part time DH, rest of the time left fielder. As long as he has a regular place in the Yankee lineup, there's no way he'd be wheeled to the Mets for a mid-level prospect. And I'm not sure the Mets would be willing to take on another injury risk to play the outfield (although the mere fact that they discussed Jones would blow that theory to bits.)

But you guys are not only thinking, you're coming up with ideas more creative than trading for Andruw Jones. You're all smarter than a fifth grader (and the fifth graders are smarter than me), and I'm proud of you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gift Of Catch

Sorry. I know you really wanted one, but I couldn't find a Nintendo Wii to save my life. You would think that a whole year after this thing came out that it wouldn't be such an "in" gift. Boy, was I wrong. You should have warned me of this before you asked me for one at the last minute. But the Mets offered me Luis Castillo and even paid the rest of his contract. They didn't even want much in return, just future considerations (I hope they don't ask me for a Wii.) So you may not be able to play Wii Baseball, but you can play catch with Luis in your backyard for three whole years ... basically for free. If you get bored with him, maybe you can trade him in for $15 at Game Stop (or for Jeff Keppinger in Cincinnati.) So, I hope you enjoy your gift. Remember, don't feed him after midnight or he turns into Carlos Baerga. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sorry Charley

"Something suddenly came up."

-R. Furcal

First A.J. Burnett, and now Rafael Furcal. The Braves need a date for the prom.

But before you laugh at them, consider this: The Braves still have money ... so eventually, someone is going to sign with them.

Also eventually, somebody is going to make an offer to Oliver Perez. In this offseason of economic uncertainty, all rules of engagement (for example, Perez's desire to return to Southern California to pitch) are going right out the window. If you close your eyes, you could see Ollie coming back to Citi Field in a Braves uniform shutting down the Mets three times ... couldn't you?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mets Looking At Mystery Reliever

There have been questions as to where the Mets will find some help for the 'pen after their recent trade of Scott Schoeneweis, among others. There were rumors that they were looking across the pond at a "mystery reliever". And even when names leaked, it didn't help because the scouting services had little video on them. But the crack staff has found out not only who the Mets are actually looking at, but even dug up a little video on him. Check this out:

This guy has the tools ... he was able to spot it, had some good velocity, and I'd swear that shoe had some late movement on it. He'll work just fine. He may be a little raw, and he'll learn that the Phillies frown on headhunting. He'll also learn to aim more at the ribs with some experience here in the States. Even though he's a project, I think Dan Warthen can work with this guy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust ...

"And Schoeneweis makes four. Something still doesn't seem quite right. Hmmm ..."

Friday, December 12, 2008

If The Mets Don't Get Derek Lowe ...

Blame this guy ...
Investors scrambled on Friday to assess potential losses from the $50 billion fraud allegedly perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, a day after the arrest of the prominent Wall Street trader.

Prosecutors and regulators accused the 70-year-old former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market of masterminding a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions through a hedge fund he ran (...)

The real estate investment firm Sterling Equities, co-founded by New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, had money invested with Bernard Madoff’s firm, CNBC has confirmed.

"Among our various investments, we have accounts managed by Madoff Securities,” the company said, in a statement. "We are shocked by recent events and, like all investors, will continue to monitor the situation."
In a unrelated story, Bobby Bonilla was rumored to have called the Mets to make sure that the $1,193,248.20 check he's due to get every year from 2011-2035 wasn't in any jeopardy. This call reportedly was made moments after looking up "Ponzi scheme" on Wikipedia with his friend's blackberry during a blackjack game.*

*This call may or may not have happened.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sore Winner

So Mets fans get to enjoy their new bullpen for, what ... less than 48 hours before Cole Hamels decides to urinate in the oatmeal?
In an interview on WFAN today with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts, Hamels was promoting the Phillies' World Series DVD when he was asked outright, "Do you think the Mets are choke artists?"

"Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists]," he said. "Three years ago we didn't because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn't happen. But, yeah, that's kind of what we believed and I think we're always going to believe that until they prove us wrong.

"For the past two years they've been choke artists."
What? Hasn't Cole Hamels heard about our new and improved bullpen? Forget K-Rod and J.J., We've got Rocky Cherry! It's over!


Wait, the Yankees ... who just paid $60 million more than the next highest bidder ... want that next highest bidder to help them subsidize Mike Cameron's contract if they trade for him?

The gall on that franchise never ceases to amaze me.


Did you get your message from K-Rod?

I did ... and I was immediately frightened. Because doesn't the music in that little vignette sound eerily similar to the 1:13 mark of this clip:

What An Encore!

It seems to me that the excitement surrounding K-Rod has been a bit muted. After all, the Mets got their big fish last winter in Johan Santana and Met fans were so excited that they were stripping down to their underwear and diving into vats of Crisco ... and where did it get them? Besides acne, it got 'em one more victory, one more game behind the Phillies, and one more heartache. So after the Mets got K-Rod at Costco prices, the response has basically been "Yeah yeah, what next?"

J.J. Putz, that's what's next.

To which my response is simply this:

Bravo. Brav ... freakin' ... O.

Yes, there should be more to come. There has to be more to come. A starting pitcher has to be on the way. Derek Lowe (for four years) should be that name. I know that's not happening, but something has to happen in the starting rotation. But the bullpen ... the huge reason the Mets have collapsed the last two seasons, is a long way towards being completely fixed. So let's take a moment to breathe the relevant parts of this deal at this time:

J.J. Putz/Mets: Let's get one thing straight right now: It's pronounced "Pootz". All right? Omar Minaya did a great job in getting this guy, but he's already mispronounced his name ... twice. It's J.J. Pootz. I know it's more fun to say Putz, and there'll be plenty of chances for that when he blows an eighth inning lead. But if you want him to be comfortable pitching the eighth inning in New York, please ... it's Pootz.

And that's the big question: Is this guy going to be comfortable stepping back into the eighth inning and into the shadow of Frankie Rodriguez? He has already said "no" to that, according to Rosenthal. But that was before the trade went down. He may change his tune ... he might have already. And considering that last season was injury riddled and not very warm and fuzzy statistically, he really should change his tune ... unless that WHIP drops below a buck twenty.

Here's why we like J.J.: This is a guy that can pitch to righties and lefties. Even when he stunk last year, his splits were pretty much even. Now granted, that's not going to be much consolation if he stinks again this season, or if he's injured. But at his best (like in 2007), he's going to be a beast. And for anyone who thinks that Putz is going to sulk and not be at his best because he's not mentally in it: It would hardly be in his best interests to do that. If he comes out with a monster season behind K-Rod, his value skyrockets ... and the Mets could conceivably pick up his $9M club option for 2010, then turn around next winter and trade him for a larger haul to a team that desperately needs a closer (provided K-Rod's arm doesn't explode on impact this coming opening day and Putz isn't closing for the Mets after all.)

Endy Chavez/Mariners: Best playoff catch ... ever. Made AIG a star. But AIG is known for other things now. And Endy Chavez is known for his struggling offense almost as much as he is for that catch. Chavez was collecting dust on the bench late last season, and when he wasn't dusty he was rusty. Endy just hasn't had the same impact on the Mets since his hamstring exploded in 2007. And his inclusion in this deal is somewhat neutralized by:

Jeremy Reed/Mets: It's a bit scary how similar the offensive stats were for Chavez and Reed last season. Reed is going to have to re-invent himself as an all around outfielder and not simply a center fielder.

Mike Carp/Mariners: Carp fields like a DH. He now goes to a team that can employ a DH legally and regularly. Everyone wins.

Jason Vargas/Mariners: Because Matt Lindstrom needed a good laugh.

Sean Green/Mets: Because that was the problem last season: The Mets were missing a Shawn Green. Yeah, well Sean Green is a reasonable facsimile ... you know, except for the fact that he's about 50 years younger and a reliever instead of a right fielder. Green Lite, though his left/right splits are almost as stark as your garden variety Mets reliever from 2008, will wind up being the ground ball pitcher to replace ...

Joe Smith/Indians: Easily the best player lost in this deal. Smith has great stuff as is ... and he's only going to get better. Remember, he's only going to be 25 next season. The Indians are going to be happy with Smith setting up Kerry Wood. You do have to give up quality to get quality. If Smith is the best quality given up in this deal, the Mets will be okay. Of course, the quality could come from an unexpected source. Which brings me to:

Aaron Heilman/Mariners: Wait a second, I want to repeat that a few times:

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

Aaron Heilman/Mariners.

All right, I'm convinced. He's gone. Aaron Heilman ... who it should be said by all accounts is a solid citizen, generous with his time, and all in all a heck of a guy ... is really, honestly, and truly, is a Seattle Mariner. I still can hardly believe it.

But let's be fair. I'm not here to kick Heilman out the door, despite repeatedly stating my desire to help him pack. I've called him stupid. I've compared him to The Blob, and Brandon Cruz. I've ripped him for giving up a home run to Emilio Bonifacio. He's been the bane of my existence for years. And now he's going to Seattle, no doubt to become a starter, win 20 games, and spur all Mets fans to e-mail me and say "See? SEE??!? SEE!!!!!"

Because you know that Heilman is going to be the next Alexei Kovalev, who ended his first career with the New York Rangers as a frustrating blockhead, only to go to Pittsburgh, pair with Mario Lemieux, and finally start to realize his massive potential.

There's no Mario Lemieux waiting for Heilman in Seattle (only Marwin Vega and Matt Tuiasosopo). And the Seattle Mariners are no Pittsburgh Penguins. But there is a chance that Heilman is refreshed by the change of scenery, and a chance to fulfill his dream of being a starting pitcher. The bottom line is that an Aaron Heilman resurgence was never ... ever ... going to happen in Citi Field. Heilman felt that he needed a change of role more than a change of scenery ... but he'll realize that trading the angry mob in Queens for the latte drinking crowd of Seattle will be the best thing for him. And honestly ... and I mean honestly ... I wish him nothing but the best. He may not realize it, but this will be a better deal for him than it will be for Mets fans. And don't be surprised if Heilman realizes some level of success.

With that said, I think it's important that we take the time and reflect on Aaron's career as a Met, and appreciate what he's done for us on the field. And if Heilman ever returns to Flushing as a visitor, I hope the Mets will use this as their tribute video (horrible production value and all). I guarantee there will not be a dry eye in the house that evening.

P.S. Now the video should work. Consider this the official unveiling.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Wondering if the Frankie Rodriguez camp is trying to put in a clause in that new three year, $37 million contract he's supposedly signing to come to the Mets that will automatically increase the contract to that five year $75 million he wants ... if the Dow Jones ever gets back up over 12,000.

Maybe the clause they should be working on will give K-Rod an automatic opt-out if the rest of the bullpen continues to exist in its current form.

Hey, he's willing to be creative ... that's as creative as it gets.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Vegas Hope

With the winter meetings at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, let's hope that this scene isn't repeated on Thursday ... where opposing GM's are reflecting on the heist they just made on Omar Minaya in various trades.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Smart? Or Cheap?

Don't worry ... there's plenty of winter left for the Mets to screw things up. But I have to briefly come to their defense.

It was counterproductive in the winter of 2006 to let go of Chad Bradford, who was a huge part of the Mets bullpen when the team won the N.L. East. Since then, the bullpen has gone downhill. But bringing back Bradford, who the Mets have had chances to return here whether it be last season's trade deadline, or this offseason, isn't going to help.

Besides the fact that having two submarine pitchers on the team is a little redundant, Bradford is the type of pitcher the Mets already have way too many of ... that is to say: another pitcher who's tough on righties, and brutal against the opposite side. (Look at his splits if you don't believe me.) On a team that has relievers who can pitch to anyone (like the Mets had in '06 or the Rays had in '08) Bradford serves a purpose. But put him in the Mets bullpen last season, his value would have been limited at best, and most likely another in a long line of pitching changes Snoop Manuel would have had to make last September. Yeah, Bradford would have been a better option than, say, Aaron Heilman, ooooooor ... Al Reyes. But he wasn't what that bullpen needed last season, and he's not what they need going forward unless the Mets decide they have to trade Joe Smith to significantly upgrade their team.

What does bother me is the rationale that is floating around out there that Bradford was "out of their price range".
"The Rays offered Chad Bradford to the Mets because $3.5 million is too much in Tampa's world for a set-up man, and Ray officials were shocked when the Mets told them it is too much for them, as well."
Combined with the "we're scared off by the Yankees and the Red Sox" quote regarding Derek Lowe, that blurb regarding Bradford makes the Mets look frugal ... like they're about to sell us Shane Spencer and Karim Garcia all over again. Hopefully, what the Mets really meant was that Bradford cost too much for them in relation to what he provides. Conversely, I'm hoping that what they meant with Lowe was that the Yankees and the Red Sox would surely overpay for Derek Lowe, making him the next prime candidate to be Kevin Brown or Carl Pavano. That, I can deal with.

But if the Yankees and Red Sox have indeed scared the Mets away from Lowe, and Derek winds up signing with the Phillies (apparently they're not so scared of the big bad Yankees and Red Sox), then Omar Minaya will have folded with an inside straight against an opponent with two pairs. You keep doing that in Vegas you'll lose your shirt.

Where are the winter meetings again?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Javy Vazquez, Citi Field, And You

(Your self portrait may vary.)

If the Javier Vazquez trade to the Braves doesn't convince Omar Minaya that spending money to fill holes isn't more prudent than dabbling in the trade market, I don't know what will.

Because once upon a time, there was talk that Vazquez could be dealt for Luis Castillo. Although most thought he was worth a bit more than that, the Braves gave the White Sox two of their top prospects. Vazquez's true worth is most likely somewhere in between.

The Braves, with their limited payroll, are somewhat forced to think this way. The Mets, with their own television network, a new ballpark with higher priced tickets, and their name rights deal with CitiBail still intact, do not have to think this way. (Which reminds me: that whole "Citi/Taxpayer Field" idea? Yeah ... thanks a lot, Quixote and Sancho. Those windmills never knew what hit 'em). Yet there are multiple "reports" that the Mets would rather trade prospects for a JJ Putz than spend money ... our money, used ultimately to bail out Citi and line the Wilpon's pockets ... for the guy with 62 saves last season.

But I'm not worried ... yet, because those reports are just that. The Vazquez deal should serve as a sobering agent if there are any further ideas about spending prospects to get an injury prone closer. Besides, the Mets have had a habit of reeling in the big fish during the last few winters. And with the price on K-Rod seemingly dropping, and the Mets as pretty much the only suitor out there, not even Omar Minaya can screw this up at the winter meetings in Vegas next week ... unless of course he blows all that taxpayer money on the slots at McCarron airport.