Chuck 'n' Duck

"I'm a very optimistic person. When you're optimistic, the good opportunities, good fortune, good everything will come with it." - Jae Seo Chuck 'n' Duck: the New York Mets from an Eternal Optimist's P.O.V.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I Want my Backman Back

As you've probably no doubt heard, Wally Backman is confident enough that he'll land the Diamondbacks job that he's pulled out of the Mets race. While I am happy that Backman will more than likely land his first managerial job with a team that wanted him from the outset, I'm upset that the Mets have lost a major name from their search -- leaving the team with some rather underwhelming names for the top spot.

The race seems to have come down to Willie Randolph and Rudy Jaramillo, with the possibility of them teaming up and becoming a Manager/Coach tag team. I like both these guys, and I won't be upset with either of the choices, nor do I think the media will. If Jaramillo lands the job there will be some articles from the usual sources about how Randolph deserved the job, New York experience, etc, but I'm certain there will be no backlash if Rudy lands it.

I, personally, am throwing my support behind Jaramillo. He's fiery, he's aggressive, and the thing I think is most important in today's baseball enviornment, he's bilingual. With Jose Reyes the future of this organization, it'd be nice to have him be able to talk with his manager in his own language.

As long as Terry Collins or Jim Riggleman don't land this job, I will be happy.

But not nearly as happy as if Backman never left.

*

I will be gone this weekend, as I'm going up to Boston to watch the city collapse into itself. Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Leiter Side of Leaving

Here's to hoping that I will continue my string of saying something and having it come true the next day.

The Yankees are looking to dump Kevin Brown, and are looking towards a veteran lefty with New York experience. It just so happens that a free agent Met fits that bill.

Al Leiter is one of my favorite baseball players. I own a jersey, I have his autograph, and when I met him at a signing he was friendly and likeable. He's always done his best for the Mets, single-handedly pitching them into the playoffs in 1999, and he will go down as one of, if not thee, best lefthanders in Mets history.

With all that said, it also happens to be time for him to go.

Al is 38 years old, and while his ERA remained quite solid, what isn't so visible by stats is the fact that Uncle Al can't pitch into the seventh inning. In fact, a Google search of "Al Leiter pitched seven innings" came up empty. Al will make a very solid number four or five starter for a good ballclub, or a number three starter for a decent one. But, the Mets are on the hook for ten million dollars if they want to exercise their option. Ten million dollars is money paid to an ace (for example, Roger Clemens was paid ten million by the New York Yankees from 2001-2003), not to an aging lefty that will no doubt tax the bullpen every time he toes the rubber.

If letting Leiter go means him signing with the Yankees, so be it. It's the fear of public backlash that put this team where it is right now. I say it's time to prove to the fans that the Mets no longer operate according to what they think the fans will say.

Certainly one way to do that then to not exercise that option. This is a big free agent pitching year. You have guys like Matt Clement, Derek Lowe, Brad Radke and Russ Ortiz out there. Guys that could slot into that number two hole a lot better then Leiter for the same, possibly even less, money.

Let's do this thing right.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Wally Who?

Monday came, bringing Willie Randolph's long awaited interview with it today. Randolph apparently feels good about how it went, which may mean this managerial race is all but over.

Omar Minaya however feels differently: Minaya said that he may have one more candidate to interview after Riggleman but that he's "pretty much gotten to the end of the line" in the process. And if someone has emerged as a favorite, Minaya said, he'd probably keep that fact to himself even though there seems to be a groundswell of support for Randolph in the media and among the Mets' fan base.

"A decision has not been made," said Minaya. "It's important that you know that. The process is still ongoing."


One more mystery candidate apparently will be added to a less than inspiring list of names being listed for Mets manager. Who could it be? Possibly a Joe Maddon or a Bob Melvin. Who should it be? Wally Backman.

I have no problem with a first-time manager, and would be perfectly happy with a Willie Randolph or a Rudy Jaramillo as the Mets skipper. I would mind a Tosca or Riggleman, but that's besides the point as they won't be getting the job anyways. What I do have a bit of a problem with is that Wally Backman is a Met. He was drafted by the Mets in the first round in 1977. He spent nine years on the big league team. He was a key component of the '86 World Series team, the last Mets series win that mattered. He was a hardnosed player and well known for always hustling and doing the little things to help his team win, which made him a fan favorite and a clubhouse favorite as well.

Oh yeah, and he's got something Randolph doesn't as well: He's been named the Sporting News minor league Manager of the Year. Twice. As if that weren't enough, he's also got the Best Managerial Prospect from Baseball America under his belt.

A former Met, who's paid his dues in the minor leagues. New York experience, as well as success. This would also be his first major league managerial job, something Omar Minaya is rumored to want from the manager he chooses.

And this will be the second time he's been passed over for the managerial opening for the ballclub that brought him into baseball, never even being granted an interview.

Am I missing something here?

Hopefully Omar isn't.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Technology Strikes Back

Hey everybody, many apologies for not being around. It appears as though some sort of virus has creeped through my family's network and put my computer out of commission. I should have a new one up and running come Tuesday at the absolute latest. At least nothing of note is happening while I'm gone.

Sorry again!

-Andrew

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

No News is Good News

There is nothing out there in the way of Mets news today, nor will there be until probably Thursday when Randolph is interviewed and the Mets decide between him and Jaramillo.

But, one of my favorite days of the baseball season is here: Baseball-Reference.com has updated the player's 2004 stats. Did you know: Mike DeJean had outstanding numbers while pitching for the Mets? Wilson Delgado finished with a .292 batting average? That Ty Wigginton was doing a lot better than I remember him being when traded? Now you do!

And, the best part, all the rookies are available for sponsorship come November 1st. The race to see who will get to sponsor David Wright's (or Scott Kazmir's) page is on!

Baseball-Reference.com! It's all a Met fan has right now!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Randolph's Shot

With Willie Randolph now meeting with the Mets on Wednesday, the managerial race continues to remain neck and neck with Randolph and Jaramillo tied. Although Randolph has yet to even go in for an interview, many news sources are claiming that he's the top choice for the job, which I have to admit I'm torn on.

I've always liked Willie Randolph, because when I started watching baseball he was a Met, and therefore I had simply assumed he had always been a Met, never knowing of his Yankee past til way later. It's always good to start off like that.

Randolph is obviously well-respected throughout the Yankee organization, and it's very apparent that Joe Torre thinks he has what it takes to be a solid major league manager, but my problem is this: Randolph has done numerous interviews for a managerial spot, and has only been offered the position once before, only getting it after the Reds were unable to come away with Lou Piniella and the eternal Ron Oester.

What concerns me is there's something we don't know about Randolph, and while it may be that there is discrimination still evident in baseball, it's hard for me to believe that it is to such a degree that he has been passed over for a dozen managerial jobs. There must be something that the people in charge of runnings the teams (owners, general managers, baseball people) see that we don't.

What concerns me most of all is Randolph's last interview for the Mets position, where he came in unprepared because he assumed that it was the Mets simply interviewing a minority candidate. Whether this is true or not is not the case -- the fact is Randolph blew off an interview for a job because of what he thought was happening. When you put a team into the hands of somebody, is this the person you want running it?

Although, I have to admit, if Randolph is made manager, and the Mets start to win, watching Steinbrenner rip apart his team for letting Willie go would make it all worthwhile in the end.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Jaramillo for Hire?

Interesting piece of news from Omar Minaya today, which can be found in Kevin Czerwinski's column at the Mets website. Apparently, Omar doesn't see himself interviewing more than two more people: "We are still considering other names, maybe one or two more before we make a decision," Minaya said. "But I don't expect more than one or two more than the ones I've already asked permission for."

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm starting to get the feeling that Jaramillo's got the job. It seems to me that if Bobby Valentine was even being considered, there'd be a lot more waves being made in the media. The Mets so far have stated interest in Carlos Tosca (who won't be hired), Willie Randolph (also probably won't be hired), Terry Collins (who?) and Jaramillo. Kirk Gibosn's name has been floated out there, as well as Wally Backman's, but there has been no move to bring them in for an interview. If what Omar says is true, it may just be Rudy Jaramillo as the next Captain of the Mets ship. And that's not so bad. Jaramillo is bi-lingual (English and Spanish -- the two most important languages to know in baseball today), and could definitely interest top free agents like Beltran or Ordonez in the Mets. As well, the guy is a Hall of Fame hitting coach, and it doesn't seem that many people disagree, and there's nothing ever wrong with that kind of experience on the bench.

In another Mets.com article, Philip Humber (who apparently is now being referred to as just Phil) could care less about Justin Verlander not getting a contract: "This is a totally different team, so I'm not really concerned," Humber said. "Negotiations with the Mets have been cordial and smooth."

What can you say to that? Well, at least we know that it hasn't been bad and the Mets haven't done anything to upset any of the parties involved yet, which is always a plus. He says he sees himself signed by Spring Training, although if the contract gets worked out quicker, he might even play some winter ball.

The most intriguing part of the whole thing is Justin Verlander's being available in next year's draft. Verlander is the guy I wanted all along last draft, as his stuff is absolutley filthy (comparable to Nolan Ryan's). The fact that the Mets will draft ninth, and may be the only team in the top 10 to have the money to sign the guy, could make for a very interesting draft next year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Curt's Shelling

"You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help." - Calvin

Tonight, Curt Schilling got hit. Hard. And often. By a team I hate. A lot.

It was a pretty sad sight, especially for a guy that had the hopes and dreams of an entire Red Sox nation riding on his right arm (and right ankle). I don't know what happened: whether it was the ankle that was lowering the velocity of his fastball, whether he didn't just have his A-game tonight, whether he really, really just thought his slider was going to come back mid-game, but for whatever reason, Schilling just ran out of gas tonight.

Tomorrow Pedro goes, and I don't see him doing much better, as Pedro's had a tendency to tire out as the seasons gone on, and this is about the time he sputters out. I'd say six innings (possibly seven), eight hits, five earned runs, three walks, four K's. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Onto Mets news, where an interesting little tidbit at the end of a Newsday article caught my attention: The Mets plan to interview Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on Friday, and also have their eyes on Marlins infield coach Perry Hill as a possible addition to the next manager's staff if he becomes available, according to a person familiar with the situation. Hill is considered one of the top infield tutors in the game and the Mets would specifically want Hill to help in Kazuo Matsui's transition to second base.

Who is Perry Hill? He is the Marlins first base coach, but also happens to be a video personality, as he brings his coaching methods to video and DVD with Ultimate Infield. Check out the "What the Pros Say" on the bottom of the page, some glowing recommendations from some big names. And one not so big one. Either way, Hill would definitely be a huge step up from Matty Galante and his backspin fungoes. When an infield has as many errors as the Mets the past three years, it's time to see some coaching changes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Who IS Rudy Jaramillo?

The New York Post has an article up about Rudy Jaramillo's interview on Friday. In it, they talk about Jaramillo's past work (where he worked, what he's done) and mention his reputation as one of the better hitting coaches in Major League Baseball. But they gloss over an important topic, what kind of manager would Rudy Jaramillo be? What skills does he bring to the table? Is he relaxed or is he fiery? Who is he?

For help with this, I went to my friend, who has followed the Texas Rangers since their inception and knows a lot about Rudy, or at least as much as one can know about their team's hitting coach.

Apparently, Rudy's a real confident guy (you can see traces of that in the Post article) and would likely lean more towards the Piniella way of coaching. In fact, Jaramillo was suspended along with Frank Francisco and Doug Brocail during the chair-throwing escapade, because he was seen on tape having to be restrained by some players and MLB thought his actions were "unbecoming of a coach" So, at the very least we know the guy will throw down if any of us fans get rowdy.

My friend told me a lot of people in the Dallas area (including some of the media) thinks Jaramillo gets too much credit as hitting coach, as he's been hitting coach in the bandbox known as Arlington Stadium and the guys that are claimed he's helped mold (Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, and the now departed Ken Caminiti) all went on to have success while not being under his tutelage. Whether or not this is true is arguable, as you never know how much a coach changes in a player. I do feel, however, that Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock's hitting successes certainly can't count against him.

I searched Google a lot for Jaramillo, trying to figure out what kind of managerial skills this guy brings to the table, and didn't find much. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News claimed in an article about Showalter this September that:
he listened when batting coach Rudy Jaramillo suggested juggling the batting order as the Rangers tried to sort their way through a second-half slump. Jaramillo’s suggestions always accentuated the positive, like keeping struggling players in the lineup but in less stressful spots. It paid off as the offense got back on track in mid-September to vault back into the race. If anything, it would appear the guy knows how to setup a lineup, a plus for anybody looking to take a managerial position.

The fact remains I don't really know much about Jaramillo except he's aggressive, confident, has a track record of success and is friends with Omar Minaya. Sounds like another guy the Mets should be courting.

But, hey, with Dallas Green, Jeff Torborg and now Art Howe as former Mets managers, at least we can sleep well at night knowing that the Mets can't do much worse at the position.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Mets Network

Well, well, well, take a look at this. (thanks to the folks over at NY Fan Sites. You have to register, but if you haven't, do so. It's worth it, trust me.)

It seems that the chances of the Mets landing their own sports network is getting more and more possible for the 2006 year when the Mets are no longer on television. The article states that the Mets, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast would all have a share of the action and open it up as a joint venture, meanwhile looking to bring other sports onto the network as well (possibly the New Jersey Devils, if they're around in 2006).

I'm torn on whether or not this is a good idea. Part of me loves the fact that the Mets would get their own network, because they'll more than likely run old games and for me there's nothing better then watching Ventura's Grand Single, Doc facing Ryan, Buckner's Blunder and the 69 Mets on constant replay. It's an exciting concept. Also, there's a hope deep down that the Wilpon's would open their wallet even wider to get a real great player or players, to bring the Mets fan over to the network. You need an all-star to draw people to the games, and who better then a certain free agent center-fielder from Houston?

I worry however about what else could run on this network, as baseball only takes six months (perhaps seven if spring training games are run, or possibly even eight if -- my heart be still -- the team made the playoffs) But what about those other months? YES has the Nets, and Cablevision owns the Knicks, so that's not possible. And football's got too lucrative a contract with major networks to jump to a rookie network. Possibly high-school or college football games? Rutgers basketball? Possibly hockey? There just doesn't seem to be anything that could draw big for those quiet winter months.

But the idea is certainly an exciting one. Hopefully those Wacky Wilpons won't botch this as well.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sherman's Baking Mets Turnover

In an article I'd imagine will get a lot of feedback today, Joel Sherman has essientially turned over the Mets roster in today's New York Post. The scary thing is: I don't disagree with all of it. Although his heart is in the right place most of the time, most of his moves are impossiblities at this point, as you'll see why:

*Mike Piazza to the Dodgers for Shawn Green
1.) There's no way Green waives his no-trade clause to leave a contending ballclub where he's comfortable to come to the New York Mets.
2.) I just don't see the DePodesta making this move. Paul's a bright guy, and I'm sure he'll find a much cheaper solution at catcher this offseason.

Personally, I like Piazza. I think he makes a solid catcher -- stress on the word catcher -- for the team next year. His numbers at the position this year show that he just might have another good season or two in him if managed correctly. The fact that Art Howe is gone makes me feel a little more comfortable that Piazza will have a little more stability this year.


*Cliff Floyd and Kaz Matsui to the Mariners for Bret Boone and Eddie Guardado
1.) Anything that gets rid of Clifford Floyd I'll take.
2.) I happen to like Kaz Matsui, and I think a lot of other Mets fans do too. I don't see why the media dislikes the idea of him at second so much next year. The guy put up some solid numbers (with the exception of the month of June) and I believe now that he's had a year to adjust his numbers will be even better next season.
3.) Bret Boone? Seriously? You'd rather have Bret Boone at 2B next year? Really?
4.) I gotta give Sherman credit on Guardado though. His idea of an Eddie/Looper 1-2 punch is a nice move, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it.

The fact remains, this is another deal that couldn't be made. Bill Bavasi was pretty adamant at the trade deadline that Guardado wasn't available, and I don't see that changing this offseason, especially when what we're offering is a breaking down outfielder.


*Tom Glavine to his home-state Red Sox for Doug Mientkiewicz and Trot Nixon
This is just silly. I can't even comment on this. If Omar Minaya could get this deal done, I'd give him Executive of the Year before the season even started. As Balki once said: "Joel Sherman, don't be ridi-cool-us."

I apologize for the lame 80's line, but it just seemed so fitting.


*Victor Diaz, Aaron Heilman and Vance Wilson to the Pirates for Jason Kendall and $13 million
Now, this is a deal I could see happening. The problem is, would anybody want it to? If the Mets are trading Piazza, they'll need a catcher, and Jason Kendall could make a solid replacement (and the 13 mil doesn't hurt), but if the Pirates are as desperate to unload the guy as has been said for the past year and a half, the Mets shouldn't have to give up this much to get him. Heilman and Wilson could probably do the deal themselves, maybe with Brazell or Redman thrown in for good measure. I don't see the Mets having to put Diaz in the deal to get it done, the Pirates just don't have a leg to stand on in a trade like this. The only thing that might change would be the money, but honestly, what's more important: $5 million dollars or Victor Diaz? I take Mini-Manny any day.


*Sign free agents Tino Martinez and Magglio Ordonez
1.) Another move I agree with. I would love to have Tino on this team, as he would be a change in team mentality: a veteran presence that SERVES A PURPOSE. The guy still can hit (23 homers, 120 hits in 458 at-bats) can get on base (66 BB's - .362 OBP) and has a real solid glove over at first.
2.) I have an unhealthy adoration of Magglio Ordonez. I don't know why, but I just love the guy. I own his jersey, I've gotten his autograph, I'd drive to Chicago to see him play. He's one of my favorite players, so I will obviously agree with the signing, regardless of whether or not he's healthy. My problem with Sherman's proposition? He wants to offer him a one-year deal, plus incentives. The guy's a 30-100-100 man, something tells me he's not coming to the Mets for a one-year deal plus incentives. The fact that Beltran is pretty much a New York Yankee already tells me Omar will make a strong push for this guy, and will end up with a three year deal. And I'll be ecstatic.


Joel's Lineup of the Future:

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Jason Kendall, C
3. Shawn Green, RF
4. Magglio Ordonez, LF
5. Bret Boone, 2B
6. Tino Martinez, 1B
7. David Wright, 3B
8. Mike Cameron, CF


The chance of it happening? Nil. Even if it did, what the hell is David Wright doing hitting seventh? Regardless, it's fun to dream! And it's made me want to do my own, which I'll put up shortly.

In other news, the Mets got permission to interview Jaramillo, which is exciting news, because the Mets are already 1 for 1 in locking up highly-thought-of coaches. This Post article says the Mets might offer him the ability to become the Rick Peterson of Hitting. Honestly, I wouldn't mind it at all, Jaramillo's body of work is incredible, and to bring that kind of expertise to the Mets and coupling it with Rick Peterson's ability would make me personally feel a lot better about the future of the organization. Hopefully, Omar can use that friendship to get a deal done.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Nails: Part II

While interesting Mets news has been few and far between these days, a special little blurb could be found in Mark Hale's article in today's New York Post.

No, not Carlos Tosca (who has about as much chance as Art Howe of landing this job), but the last sentence of the article: In other news, The Post has learned the Mets are expected to announce shortly that former team hero Lenny Dykstra will officially join the organization in a special assignment role.

I don't care where Lenny is, as long as he's in the organization it's all right by me.

Dykstra's always been a personal favorite of mine, simply because the guy gave 100% day in and day out, and always had a problem with those who didn't. There's a reason a guy like Pete Rose still has fans to this day, and it's all because of hustle. A commitment to winning and playing the game right is always respected by people who love baseball, and it's why guys like Scott Rolen and Derek Jeter are so widely admired today. Lenny was one of those guys.

This one sentence blurb means a lot to me, as a fan of the New York Mets. It shows a change in team mentality, a dedication to winning that you don't see from the veterans of the team. When's the last time you saw Cliff Floyd take a first pitch? Or Mike Piazza run out a ground ball? If this front office is truly serious about getting younger, I can think of no better man to have the future players of the Mets learn from then Nails himself.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Ah, similarities.

The Old Backstop has a new entry up, and touched upon something I've been thinking about recently. The free agent market is pretty stocked this year, but while going through it and looking at names, it's hard to see more than one or two guys that would possibly consider signing with the Mets. The Mets just aren't what they used to be, and the desire to play in New York just isn't that great when all you get is losses and boos.

But the Backstop brings up a solid point: Our best chance at acquiring top players is by force ... through trades (the same way we picked up Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter).

Back in the early eighties the Mets were lousy, with records comparable to the kind the Mets have been putting up recently. Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, the new Mets owners, came in looking to right the ship, and hired a man by the name of Frank Cashen. Cashen, who was considered one of the better general managers at the time, agreed to come on under one condition: Fred and Nelson be patient and leave him alone.

Sound familiar yet?

They agreed, and gave him a five-year deal.

How about now?

The similarities between Cashen and Minaya don't end there however. In order to build his team, Cashen filled his rosters with young, talented players through trades and solid drafting. Then, when he felt ready, made deals for top players. Minaya, when taking over the reigns of the Montreal Expos did one of the two (although, contraction will usually take the stress off of builing a strong minor league foundation) and went out and got top players when he felt the need to compete, by trading for guys like Bartolo Colon and our good friend Cliff Floyd.

While I appreciate the intent, I have to agree with Cashen's way of going about building a team with young guys, and then when ready to compete, making deals for players, whether they want to come or not.

The other problem I have with dealing for guys right now is, really, who's out there? Alfonso Soriano, perhaps, but it would take Jose Reyes, and I'm just not ready to give up on the little guy. A possible trade could happen with the White Sox for the inconsistent Paul Konerko, whose power would slot in nicely at first for the Mets. Possibly a deal for the monster contract of the hitting savant Manny Ramirez (which, honestly, I would have no problem picking up off waivers).

The fact remains the Mets aren't ready to compete, which isn't that bad in the way of trades, because there's just not that many out there to make.

Although, if the Mets are looking to pull a trade like the one for Benson, and get a future free agent and convince him New York is the place to be, there's no harm starting off here.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

How about Howe?

The Mets aren't the only team looking for a new manager this offseason, but that might not be a problem.

According to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times, one of the candidates the M's are considering is an old friend...

Howe, just fired by the Mets after two seasons, has considerable knowledge of the AL West from his seven seasons as manager of the Oakland A's, including playoff appearances in 2000-02.

Reached in New York, Howe indicated interest in the Mariners' job.

"I know the Seattle organization is one of the better organizations in baseball," Howe said. "They've always been in a competitive situation, which is what any manager would like to be in. They have good people."

Howe, who signed a four-year deal, is still owed $4.7 million for two more seasons by the Mets.

"I'm in a situation where I'm going to look for a good fit," he said. "I know Seattle has always been in the hunt. As a manager, you want a chance."

Would Howe be a good fit? That remains to be seen. My gut feeling would be no, as Howe seems to have the most success when his players are already playing well and he can't do anything funny to mess it up. *cough*Stanton*cough* With the Mariners record of of 63-99, something tells me Artie'd have the same problems there that he had here.

Although if he gets the job, maybe he'll take the ageless wonder Gerald Williams with him.

On another interesting note, the article cites Bobby V as a contender, but says that he's a leading candidate to land the Mets job. I haven't heard anything (except for the polls) that would indicate Valentine's got the inside track on the job. Hopefully the Mets front office is keeping track of what the people - and not the media - are looking for for this team. Valentine should've never been fired in the first place, and passing him over now would be the perfect case of two wrongs don't make a right.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Where's Cito?

When I first started watching baseball, the greatest team in the world was the Toronto Bluejays. The Jays had Molitor and Olerud, Carter and White, and even Roberto Alomar back before he fell off the face of the earth.

And at the helm of the ship was a man by the name of Cito Gaston. Personally, I've always thought Gaston was a great manager, and the major problems fans had with him was that he didn't pinch-hit enough or utilize his bullpen. Frankly, with the way the Mets bench/bullpen has been recently, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

But all kidding aside, the guy won back-to-back World Series, and he always had the utmost respect of his players and always got along, while getting the most out of, veteran guys. Seeing that this club will more than likely be veteran-oriented for the next year or so, Gaston seems to be the right fit.

Meanwhile, the Mets can use the time to groom his eventual successor, maybe a guy like, oh, I don't know... Lenny Dykstra?

The fact remains that Minaya's looking at a wide variety of guys, and the majority of them have no major league managing experience. If Bobby Valentine (who is my first choice) is as much of a longshot as the papers say he is, the Mets are facing Rudy Jaramillo (who I'd love as a hitting coach), Joey Cora and Willie Randolph as the primary candidates, and nobody has any idea what their kind of managing style would be.

Meanwhile, the managers that do have experience (Tosca and Fregosi) leave much to be desired in the way of managerial skills. At least give Cito some love, I haven't heard anything about the guy since the late 90's. Is there something I'm missing?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Say No to Sosa

Not much Mets news today, as even the media seems to be ready to put the 2004 Mets season to bed. The main thing going around is that Sosa won't be a Met, which I couldn't be happier to hear.

I don't care if Sosa is aging, or overpaid, or upset with his situation. The fact remains that the guy is one of the most sensitive players in baseball, and sensitive superstars and New York City just don't work well together. The fact that Omar realizes this and isn't going for a splashy backpage trade makes me happy.

*

With the Mets out of it, I have once again adopted the Sawx as my postseason team to ride. The Red Sox beat the Angels today with a score of 9-3, setting up a Pedro Martinez vs Bartolo Colon showdown tomorrow. While this has the makings of a classic showdown, I've got to admit I've been talked into the idea of Arroyo starting Game 2 instead. The guy seems to have his stuff a lot more together on the road then at Fenway.

Regardless, this sets up the Red Sox to beat the Angels at Fenway, where they've played their best baseball over the course of the season. If any team can take two at home, it'll be the Sox.

And what is up with Vladdy? The guy was an absolute monster this past month and it looks like in one day he's completely lost everything he'd just worked on. He was swinging at pitches that not even he swings at today. Hopefully he works himself out, because nothing is more fun than watching Guerrero uncoil as the ball explodes off his bat.

As long as it's not beating the Red Sox in games 2, 3, 4 or 5.

Optimism Shines Through

I became a hardcore Met fan in 1992, which in case you didn’t know is the first year of what has fondly became known as “The Worst Team Money Could Buy”.

And it really was. I remember being twelve years old, and ecstatic about the singings of Eddie Murray and Bobby Bonilla, and cheering for the trade that sent arguably the team’s best leftfielder ever (although if you were young and following the team at the time, you certainly didn’t think he was) in Kevin McReynolds to Kansas City for an ace in Bret Saberhagen.

And somehow, this team, that had such promise, flat out flopped. Horribly. Worse then any team I’ve seen since.

And that’s including this latest bunch of misfit ballplayers that make up the New York Mets squad.

I’m an optimist. I don’t try to be. I try really hard to fit in, to slam management and get on Duquette, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I liked Duquette’s moves this past year.

Yes, all of ‘em.

I really wanted to hate the Scott Kazmir trade, I truly did, but I didn’t. Did I think that they could get more for him? Certainly. But I don’t think Victor Zambrano is going to be a bad pitcher. In fact, I think he’s going to be an above-average starter, because I trust Rick Peterson. I just feel like Zambrano has that ability to become a far better pitcher then he has showed thus far in his career. And I think that Zambrano and Benson (who they hopefully resign in the offseason) will make up the most solid and deepest rotation the Mets have had since a couple of guys named Doc and Coney toed the rubber at Shea.

And, hey, if Kazmir pans out he’ll eventually cost too much for the Devil Rays to resign, and the Mets will have a shot at him again anyway, right? ...Right? Bueller?


***


The main reason I’m here tonight however is a Newsday poll that’s up right now. On it are listed a bunch of players that the Mets bloggers have been debating about, seeing who should be brought back, and who not.

The poll currently stands about where I thought it would, except for three players, and these just confound me: as of right now, Mets fans want to keep Al Leiter, Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel around next year. In fact, 78% of the polled said they want Trachsel to stay.

78%?! Now, I like Steve, don’t get me wrong. But am I the only one who thinks that the Mets could trade this guy off for some useful minor league parts next season to a team like the Cardinals or the Rangers, and then sign a guy like Matt Clement (I’m assuming the Yankees have already paid Pavano for nine mil a year at this point) to fill in the hole in the rotation?

Other than that, nobody really pops out at me as that big a surprise. And the thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if all these guys that Mets fans are saying they don’t want back actually don’t come back next year. Seeing Omar’s work the past three years tells me that this organizational shakeup is going to be just as large on the field as it will be off it.