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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

O Canada

I'll be going to Toronto for the next two weeks, but believe I will be able to post once I'm there. If what he says is true, Carlos Beltran will be making his decision on where to play 2005 and beyond while I'm gone. Therefore, in case I am without computer, I will make some fearless predictions:


*Carlos Beltran to the Yankees for eight years, 135+ million dollars.

*Obnoxious articles by Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman about how the Mets will always be second-fiddle because they can't come up with franchise players when they desperately need them.

*Mets make some more solid minor league signings.

*Carlos Delgado goes to the Orioles for 4 years, 60 million dollars.

*Another article by Jon Heyman about how the Mets always play it safe and make lousy minor league signings instead of going out and getting Beltran or Delgado (with references to A-Rod and Vlad).

*Omar does something nutty. I'm not quite sure what it is, yet. Maybe trade Cliff Floyd and Yusimeiro Petit for Manny Ramirez and three million. Maybe the trade for Sosa. The move will be lauded by all, except for Mets fans who are usually right.


I look forward to coming home. Check back in a couple days, as I more than likely will have internet access.

Later guys and gals.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Electronic Bananas

After years and years of being tempted with superstars like Ken Griffey, Jr and Alex Rodriguez, Vlad Guerrero and Mike Mussina, I thought I would have learned by now. And I tried, I really did. But I just can't help it.

I am officially, once again, the chimpanzee reaching for the electronic banana.

It is with great trepidation that I announce I believe the Mets may have the ability to land Carlos Beltran.

Past reports declared that Beltran was a quiet man, almost shy, who didn't want to play in New York, and didn't want the fame that came along with the big money. Recent reports have contradicted those former ones. Beltran personally has come out saying that he has no problem playing in New York (although if you wanted to bump up the cash in your next contract, I'm sure you'd say the same thing) and that he has no problem with being the face of the franchise. In fact, it is one of Drayton McLane's (the owner of the Astros) selling points.

If Beltran is truly looking to be the face of a franchise that has the chance to turn it around, he need look no further. The New York Mets franchise remains one of the biggest and most important in baseball, for the sheer fact that it exists in New York. And, as the Metropolitans pointed out a couple days ago, the Mets just aren't that bad. Landing Beltran would give the Mets a young superstar player in his prime, something they haven't had since Darryl Strawberry was uncorking moonshots from '83 to '90. Something tells me that Carlos Beltran may be a bit of a wiser investment, as well.

Landing Beltran would also go a long way to getting the fans back to the team, and making Mets baseball a whole lot more interesting again. It's long been said that New York is a National League city, with National League fans, that just need a reason to come out to the games. The Mets aren't just the Mets, they're carrying on the traditions of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants as well, and people will come to see them win. Beltran gives the Mets that ability sooner rather than later.

Omar's been thinking some things that make me wince, but he hasn't gone so far as to actually do them. Going after Beltran will demand a lot of money, and he will have to be paid more than what the Yankees will be offering. The years are more than likely going to have to be excessive as well, even for a man of his talent level. Minaya, for all his thinking outside of the box, has stopped short when it comes to the committing of money to aging or questionable players -- as long as you don't consider Pedro one of the, and at 33, I personally don't.

Beltran is not old, and he's not a question mark. He's one of the top ten players in the game, and he's got the five tools that the grizzled scouts and David Wright are always preaching about. Do the Mets offer him ten years and $200 million dollars? More than likely not, but it may be scary how close the Mets have to get to that number to lock him in the blue and orange. It's all about how much the Mets want him.

Though it can't be argued that the Mets need him more.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Beltran Race Pt. 1

The race to sign the free agent who aided the Astros' recent playoff run is heating up. The Astros must sign him by Jan. 8 or lose negotiating rights until May. The Mets "are being aggressive," Beltran told Primera Hora, a newspaper in Puerto Rico. ...Up, up, up!

"As a ballplayer," Beltran said, "I want to be treated based on what I have done in my career. Of course, the opportunity to win is bigger than the economic thing." ...and down.

The fact that he plans to meet with the Mets, however, is big news in itself. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy Holidays, everybody!

A Man of Many Moves

Omar went crazy with the signings these past couple days, and the general consensus seems to pretty content with the deals. Nobody recieved a major league deal -- except somehow Ron Calloway?, but he's not included in this new batch -- and nobody seems to be that big of a gamble. The most notable of names is Andres Galarraga, otherwise known as the one Brave I've ever been incapable of hating even though he was a hitting machine in his two years there. Galarraga has always been as well known for his tremendous clubhouse presence as he has been for his solid hitting and defense. Although the "Big Cat" is 43 years old, he's managed to keep his numbers respectable and I believe he'll be a great addition to a clubhouse sorely lacking in leadership -- with the obvious exception of Mike Cameron and Vance Wilson. Galarraga will more than likely be the "aging veteran" off the bench, something of the Lenny Harris mold. Besides, who can forget those monster years he had in Colorado? I for one am happy he's here.

But not as happy that Grant Roberts has returned. As I said before, I am a huge Roberts fan, and was in shock when I heard on the FAN today that he had been resigned. I was all but ready to start following the Wichita Wranglers or some other obscure minor league team to see how he was doing. It would appear Minaya is following the cooking spaghetti mentality of building a bullpen: throw a bunch of relivers against the wall and see who sticks. If Omar is doing what OFF suggested recently, and just grabbing as many young arms with some question marks as possible and hoping that some of them will turn it on when it counts, it might be the right idea. I'd still love to have Kline in a Mets uniform, but if Blake McGinley can be the next Kline for two million less, then by all means give it a shot. Scott Strickland, who in actuality was pretty good in his first year with the Mets, has returned on a minor league deal as well. With all these arms making minor league money, the team seems to be saving up for other areas. I'm still not getting my hopes up for Beltran yet.

But it's hard to not notice that Omar's magic keeps humming along.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Omar Houdini

It's kind of strange, but it seems like things are going the Mets way this offseason. Omar Minaya has come in and either through skill or good fortune has really done wonders for the ballclub. He started off with a complete overhaul of the coaching, scouting and medical staffs, and they all appear to be far more solid than the past five years. Next, he entered the Rule V Draft while not protecting some prime lefthanded pitchers, and somehow managed to escape unscathed. Then, a week later, he was able to convince Pedro Martinez to take the hill every five or six days with a Mets jersey on, something once considered impossible. Finally, he non-tendered Orber Moreno, a hardthrower who was made to excel in Shea Stadium, and was some way able to resign him to a minor-league contract, opening up a spot on the 40 man roster. Remarkable.

And now, news out of San Francisco is that the Mets have "lost out" on the 39 year old Moises Alou, just days after it being reported that he was all but a done deal. These are, in fact, the same Giants who gave 12 million to a 37 year old Omar Vizquel and 21.5 million to Armando "Does Anybody Know CPR?" Benitez.

And if you thought Alou was going to be bad playing half his games at Shea, just wait until he takes the field eighty-one times at the spacious SBC Park. If Alou hits more than 25 homeruns this year, I'll eat my hat.

So remember folks, every time you're worried about the direction the general manager is taking our New York Mets, just remember things could always be worse -- we could have Brian Sabean running the show.

Meanwhile, the NY Post states that if Omar Minaya is really set on going toe-to-toe with Steinbrenner, he's at least going to do it right: An executive for another club said Minaya is definitely trying to make a quick, stealth attack to see if he can land Beltran. Minaya has told upper management that his persona is to be pro-active and that if the Mets get into this that they should not make a low-ball offer, like the organization did last year for Vladimir Guerrero.

At least he knows what he's doing. I'm still against wasting our time with a non-option like Beltran, especially now that the chances of Randy Johnson coming to the Yankees have grown slightly slimmer. But right now Omar's approaching free agency like a guy in Vegas that can't believe he keeps rolling sevens. Eventually, his luck will run out, but it hasn't happened yet. Hopefully it won't come at the cost of losing out on Carlos Delgado and getting stuck with nothing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

This Beltran Business

I'm going to preface this by saying that I want Carlos Beltran on the Mets as much as the next guy. The idea of the next five, six, seven years of a Reyes, Beltran, Wright lineup make me giddy inside. But the fact of the matter is while the idea of the Mets playing Rocky to the Yankees' Apollo Creed is a nice thought, that's all it really is. The Mets are not going to land Beltran this offseason, it's that simple. Beltran is rumored to not want to come to New York anyway, and that's for a guaranteed perennial 100 wins until Steinbrenner dies team.

There are very few things the Mets can offer Beltran that the Yankees can't. One is that he'd be the top star, yet he doesn't want to be the top star. Part of his reason for not wanting to come to New York in the first place is because he doesn't want the spotlight. With the Mets, he'd be the spotlight constantly. If the rumors are true, this is more of a drawback than a plus.

The other thing the Mets can offer him is a ballclub and a clubhouse gearing more and more towards a Latin American way of life. This would certainly be a plus, and is one thing the Yankees and the Astros can not offer. The Yankees way of attaining players is like a fantasy draft, no concern over ethnicity or attitudes, if they play well, you bring them in. Beltran would certainly feel more at home as a member of the Mets, which is important if he was looking to sign on for the long haul. But while this is a plus, it's not a plus that makes the Mets infitely attractive. It's the kind of thing one lists along with a lot of other pluses. Not the number one reason to sign with the team, which it pretty much is right now.

That's about it. What else can the Mets offer Beltran that the Yankees can't? Certainly not money or the centerfield position, as the Yankees seem inclined to move Williams to another spot. And while the Mets wait on Beltran's situation to come clearer, they're letting more and more time pass on other fronts. JD Drew is now off the table, as is Steve Kline, and if the Mets don't look out, the desperate Orioles might steal away Delgado.

The Mets can not afford to focus all their time and energy on a pipe dream while players that can help the team compete are out there for the taking. They need to use the Pedro Martinez signing to their advantage with free agents while they can, as there are no gurantees how Pedro's going to do once the season starts. Just sign Delgado now, and get it over with. There's no need to be playing this cat and mouse game.

Meanwhile, the Reds just signed Joe Randa, moving Austin Kearns back to the outfield, where there is one player too many. The Reds outfield now consists of Kearns, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Wily Mo Pena. Why not investigate a trade for Pena -- who should be a Met in the first place -- who also happened to hit a homerun every 12.9 at bats last year? And the best part, he's a Dominican with his career years ahead of him. Trading Trachsel along with some money or a fringe prospect could probably net him, and the Mets could go and sign Odalis Perez like previously planned. Then the Mets have an even more improved rotation, as well as Carlos Delgado and Wily Mo Pena. If Pena hits the way he's been projected to for years, he could be the next big hitter in baseball and we wouldn't even have to overpay the guy by millions and millions of dollars to do so.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Non-Tendered Nonsense

In my time as a baseball fan, I have always calmed myself after a questionable move by yielding to the men and women hired to make the hard baseball decisions. And there is often times when this is a solid idea. I didn't want to trade Rey Ordonez, I didn't want to trade Todd Hundley, andI wanted to keep Edgardo Alfonso.

Of course, this acquiescing has come to burn me many times as well. Example: "If Steve Phillips and Bobby Valentine thought it wise to bring on Mo Vaughn, then by all means they must have had a reason to." I actually said that sentence to my Dad and Uncle when the Mets traded for Mo in 2002.

But with every new general manager change, the slate is wiped clean in my book. Can we condemn one GM for the actions of those who came before him? In my eyes, no, this would be unfair. Omar Minaya has had my full and total support from Day One. And while he has made me nervous many times, with rumors of Sammy Sosa, Barry Larkin or Andres Galarraga in Mets uniforms, he hadn't done anything that had made me question my own sanity for supporting this guy.

Until today.

Because, you see, the Mets have this thing called a bullpen, and for years and years now, this thing has been offensive. Just mention names like David Weathers, Mike Stanton and John Franco and it's sure to send a shiver down any Mets fan's spine. Year after year, newspaper articles and Season Preview magazines will come out, spouting the weaknesses of the Mets, and the glaring constant for the past five years has been the dreaded bullpen.

This was the year however, where that was supposed to change, in my eyes. If the Mets have anything in their system it's two things: Good Speed/No Hit Outfielders and Bullpen Arms. So, of course, it only makes sense to not tender two of their top options a contract.

Scott Strickland, maybe I can understand? He wasn't healthy his last year here, and there's no guarantee that he'll be healthy next year. Perhaps, because of that, there's less of a reason to throw the dog a bone. Or perhaps, Omar Minaya just doesn't like Scotty. Strickland is a Met in the first place because Minaya dealt him away in one of his first moves as the GM of the Expos for the amazing combined talents of Bruce Chen, Dicky Gonzalez, Luis Figueroa and Saul Rivera. Stunning. So now Strickland is gone. Okay, I can live with that.

But Orber Moreno? What can you possibly have against Orber Moreno? He's always been a little wild, but with a 94 MPH fastball -- that can hit 96 -- when has that ever been a hindrance? Hell, it was why the Mets traded for Victor Zambrano in the first place. Meanwhile, he's got a sinker and a slider in a stadium like Shea. On top of it, he made marked improvement last year, before going down with a strained right shoulder. Just because Art Howe wanted to drive Mike Stanton into the ground doesn't mean Moreno should be penalized.

The thing that gets to me the most however is this: just who is replacing him? What options do the Mets have? The Mets bullpen stands right now as Mike DeJean, Pedro Feliciano, Felix Heredia and Tyler Yates with Braden Looper closing the door. Perhaps Jae Seo, Aaron Heilman and Matt Ginter will find roles in there as well. One thing is for sure, Blake McGinley and Royce Ring won't be seeing any time.

And the one guy who had Met written all over him, the infinitely attainable Steve Kline, signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 5.5 million dollars over two years. And the Mets just let him -- a lefthanded pitcher with a 1.79 ERA last year -- walk by without so much as a cursory offer. Bah.

I just don't get these moves at all. While they won't bring Mike and the Mad Dog to a furor or have newspaper writers questioning why, it's the kind of move that a Mets fan can only shake his head at. Everytime the Mets take a step forward, it's almost as though they take two steps back. No matter who the GM is.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Catching Up

It's that dreaded time of year.

Today, the New York Post has... no Mets at all.

Up to now, the Mets have lulled us into a false sense of security, believing that there truly was no "off" season. But today has come, and will more than likely pass, without anything of note on the old Sportspyder website. Because of this, there is simply not much to talk about at all.

But because I missed the past couple days, I can play catch up on Carlos Delgado/Carlos Beltran. Here's the way I see it:

Lock up Delgado now. The Mets want him, the media actually seems to want him (although that may be just because it will sell more papers), and he seems to not be entirely against coming. He's a good guy, a great run producer, and he plays first base. A first basemen to play first base, what a novel idea. This is the best time to sign the guy, as well, simply because the Johnson trade seems inevitable. And once that deal goes through, it will more than likely open a door for Delgado to the now no longer distracted Yankees or Dodgers, which is never good times. Why this deal isn't done already, I'm unsure, but let's just get this piece of business out of the way. Carlos Delgado in the three or four hole for 162 games sounds like fun to me.

I love Carlos Beltran, I really do. I've planned a trip to Kansas City to see him play, I've purchased the t-shirt, and taking him in the first round of my fantasy draft last year netted me a lot of money. He's young, he's fast, he's a plus with the glove and he's a plus with the bat. Because of all of the above, the cat seems to be a little out of our price range by about 70 million dollars, which would probably be the amount the Mets have to outspend the Yankees by in order to land him. As much as I hate to say it, Carlos Beltran will more than likely go the way of former Chuck 'n' Duck favorites David Cone, Daryl Stawberry, Doc Gooden, Mike Mussina and Alex Rodriguez and sign himself away to the pinstripes, never to be spoken of glowingly -- unless by Michael Kay -- again.

How the information that the Mets are planning a run at Beltran got out, I'll never know, but it's one of the worst things that could happen right now. If this move gets more serious, the fanbase is only going to get more and more excited about it, and begin to think there's a chance. All the goodwill built up from the Pedro (and hopefully the eventual Delgado) signings will be gone once the Mets come up empty. It will no longer be, "Wow, the Mets came away with a big deal free agent!" but, "Look, the Mets let the big one go again."

I for one am not looking forward to this. If it were up to me, I would never let the team get to serious discussions with Beltran. He's a wonderful player, and if the Mets were competitors perhaps they'd stand the chance. But not this offseason. Money would be better spent on guys like Delgado, or Magglio Ordonez or even Steve Kline. Kline, while expected to be a semi-large target in the offseason has garnered little to no interest by anyone, and wants to remain close to his Pennsylvania home. Give two years, six million to him, and help fix the bullpen, not a spot already filled with a guy the majority of the fanbase already likes there.

If Omar's really thinking "outside the box", this'll be a nice test.

Friday, December 17, 2004

I Hate the Teams I Hate

When I was fifteen, I watched John Franco give up an RBI single to Brian Hunter in the bottom of the eighth, then Benitez give up another RBI single to Ozzie Guillen in the tenth, followed by Kenny Rogers walking in the winning run in the 11th of a now infamous 10-9 playoff loss to the Atlanta Braves. Propelled by the anger and absolute frustration of my team's failings, I went to the computer and started an Angelfire website, aptly titled: "I Hate the Braves". For five months I ranted and raved to what ended up being 149 people overall about how much I despised Ted Turner's boys. Chipper and Andru, Maddux and Glavine... and above all, Brian Jordan. (John Rocker's comments came later that offseason.)

As the years have gone on, the Braves have kept up their end of the rivalry bargain, somehow fielding a team of solid ballplayers that nobody ever expects to compete. Meanwhile the Mets got old and useless and actually pretty boring, and the Braves have had their way with the Mets ever since.

So, of course, the one time the Mets make a move to get exciting and improved it should be countered with the Atlanta Braves landing Tim F'N Hudson. And the similarites between Pedro and Hudson are pretty striking: both are smaller guys than what a classic pitcher is 'supposed to be'. Both have phenomenal winning percentages as well as nice ERAs. And both are more than likely going to be competing for the National League Cy Young next year.

All in all, it's a pitching match I'm looking forward to seeing.

The fact of the matter is however, the Mets took a step towards renewing that Braves rivalry today only to have the Braves take another step forward as well. Billy Beane, who is touted as one of the great general managers in the game today, got taken out behind the woodshed today by the old standby John Schuerholz. I can understand Beane not trading Hudson to an American League team that he might be competing with for a playoff spot down the line, but how he passed up a chance to land Edwin Jackson and Antonio Perez to opt for a decent pitching prospect, a wild bullpen arm, and a backup outfielder is beyond me. For the first time in a long time, it looks like Beane got fleeced.

And for the seven hundredth and sixth time, John Schuerholz was the one doing it.

And I really hate the Braves.

Meanwhile elsewhere in baseball, those lovable New York Yankees are apparently close to landing Randy Johnson. Ugh.

And it looks as though Billy Beane disciple Paul DePodesta is follwing his footsteps and getting robbed as well. While Javier Vazquez certainly can still be a good number 2 pitcher, giving up Brad Penny and Yhency Brazoban (as well as Shawn Green) to land him is a little ridiculous. Not only are the Dodgers losing a quality setup man (which is next to impossible to find these days) and a good starting pitcher, they're losing them to a team that's looking to compete in their own division. The Dodgers also get Eric Duncan and Dioner Navarro, who are top prospects simply because they're in the Yankee organization and are at the very least a year away from cracking a major league roster. All this for payroll flexibility? Hopefully the rumors of Shawn Green not waiving his no-trade clause are true, because that would make Shawn Green my new hero.

*

Apparently the Mets haven't offered Delgado a four year deal. The Mets seem to have unknowingly painted themselves into a corner once again here. The signing of Pedro Martinez certainly puts the NL East on notice that they're looking to compete next year, but their primary offensive target (Richie Sexson) signed with Seattle during the Pedro negotiations. Now the Mets need to sign a bat or two (or three) in order to compete, and the players and their agents will know this. I don't see the prices of guys coming down because Pedro Martinez is a Met. If Omar was willing to do what it took to sign Pedro, it might be time to do the same for Carlos Delgado and/or JD Drew. There's no point in Pedro winning the Cy Young if the team wins 75 games next year.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Wonder of You

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I think that I shall never see a sight as lovely as... that picture.

Omar Minaya made some good points today about this Pedro signing, continuing to boost my confidence in this guy as our general manager. This Pedro signing isn't only about bringing a Hall of Fame pitcher and a long needed ace to the Mets, it's also about the future. Pedro Martinez is idolized in the Dominican Republic, not only because of his pitching but because of his presence in the community ("Personally, there's so much about Pedro to love. To walk down the streets of Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic, and see the churches, school, houses and youth center that he has built is chilling." - Peter Gammons)

Omar Minaya, citing his thinking as "outside the box", says that part of the Pedro signing is with an eye towards the far away future because of these children that look to Pedro as a demigod. Pedro Martinez is a Met, and because of that the future Pedro Martinezes want to be Mets as well. And it's a good point. Aarom Baldiris, one of the Mets top prospects, wanted to be a Met because Edgardo Alfonso was one. Omar Minaya's thought processes and his characteristics are ones that the Mets have needed for some time. He has an eye towards the future of the organization, displayed a willingness to let the youth of the team play (while talking on WFAN after the interview, he said he wants to give Victor Diaz a chance), and is willing to cut ties with players who have passed their points of usefulness.

I have no problem putting the future of the Mets in the hands of Omar Minaya.

As for Pedro Martinez, he's already doing what he came here for: the Diamond Club was packed, Omar Minaya has gotten phone calls from players -- free agents and not -- asking him to make them members of the team, and the Mets are on every website on the internet. Now, once the season rolls around if Pedro puts up his numbers the whole deal will be complete. He said it himself today, "I'm not gonna be able to do this alone", but I can't help thinking that there sure is a shot.

*

Congrats to David Wright, who won This Year in Baseball's Rookie of the Year award.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

And Starring as Sisyphus... Jim Duquette

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Look at Jim Duquette over Omar's shoulder. How much do you wanna bet he has that expression on 24/7 these days?

One of the things that you hear the most about this Pedro signing is that Omar has gone and done what Steve Phillips and Duquette never could, which was bring the big name free agent to Shea Stadium. And while Phillips never did, Duquette was pretty much working with one arm tied behind his back. Until this TV deal came along, Freddy Wilpon was set on rebuilding around the youth and not having big contracts. Because of this, Duquette never had a shot at signing Vladimir Guerrero. Sure, Vladdy and his agent Arn Tellem, let the Mets believe they had a shot, until the Angels came in and signed him to the deal he has now -- five years, $70 million.

It was only until the Mets had a shot of competing -- halfway through the season -- that Fred Wilpon allowed Duquette to take on money to trade for players that could help the Mets' playoff drive. By that time, it was too late, and we all know what happened from there. Duquette got the ax, and an overjoyed Omar Minaya reaped the benefits of Fred Wilpon's promises of full autonomy and blank checks galore. This is why Pedro's a Met, and if the Mets had a TV deal on the line last offseason Vlad would probably be one right now as well. Instead, when the end of the season rolled around the fans were enraged (for good reason) at Duquette for trading their future ace in Scott Kazmir for what turned out to be damaged goods. This snowballed, along with the Mets falling apart and Vlad's non-signing, to his eventual firing. Now Duquette is cursed to walk the Earth as a member of the Mets organization, and watch Omar Minaya get all the credit for doing what he apparently was unable to pull off.

Don't think for one second that Pedro Martinez is a Met simply because he's a good pitcher. In case you missed next year's free agents, there isn't much in the way of star power. Randy Johnson is tentatively available, but he won't be by the time next offseason comes. And that's about it. Pedro Martinez's mug is a lot more attractive next to "METS NETWORK" on the side of a bus or in the newspapers than Tim Hudson's. Don't get me wrong, Hudson is a good pitcher, possibly even great, but he's not the kind of guy you plan your day around to catch his start that afternoon. Pedro brings a lot to the table -- his talent, his arm, his quotes, his pitching and his midget friend. Because of that, this deal was made possible by Mets Network 2006, not because Omar is any craftier than Jim Duquette.

Meanwhile, from the "Whoa, really?!" Department, MSG Network is reporting the Mets have stepped up their bid to Carlos Delgado. Not to sound like a Yankee fan, but there was a side of me wondering who the Mets were going to get next to complement Pedro's deal. Delgado would look great in a Mets' uniform, and in the number 3 or 4 spot in the lineup. The Mets are apparently throwing crazy money at him as well, to the tune of three years at forty million dollars. At the very least, it's a three year deal. With the Mets rotation setup the way it is now, they just might be a few key offensive acquisitions away from taking the NL East this year. Carlos Delgado along with Magglio Ordonez or JD Drew -- both of whom have garnered little to no interest -- would really do wonders for the team this year. Check it out:

SS Jose Reyes
2B Kaz Matsui
RF Preferably JD Drew
1B Carlos Delgado
C Mike Piazza
LF Cliff Floyd
3B David Wright
CF Mike Cameron

If all remain healthy (big if), that's a solid top to bottom lineup, as well as a pretty decent defensive ballclub. The scary thing is, this is becoming more and more feasible. And if the Mets deal Cliff Floyd, that leaves the door open for Victor Diaz -- although more likely Moises Alou. Either way, this is a shot at the playoffs the Mets are able, and seem willing, to take.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Papers Will Have Better Headlines Tomorrow

The Mets seemed to have all but locked up Pedro Martinez. And while the Red Sox seemed to have all but locked him up but two days ago, I'm going to forge ahead as though he's the Mets new #1.

MetsBlog.com has a roundtable discussion up, in which I commented on my pick to replace Leiter: To me, Pedro Martinez would be the key pickup here if you're looking to see who should replace Leiter. Martinez was an ace in Boston, and it's hard to believe he wouldn't be better coming to the National League. I still see Omar going wacky on us and slowly giving Pedro everything he wants, but at least he has some conviction in his decisions. The Mets have a need, and they're doing what they can do to fill it with the best possible name out there. If this eventually goes nowhere then it's just another day in the life of a Mets fan, but at least he gave it a shot. This isn't like the Vlad negotiations and it's certainly not like A-Rod. I think any Met fan can watch this situation knowing full well that Omar's doing all he can do.

That sounds about right. Look, the Mets gave him more years than he should have got, and far more money than he should have got, but you can't deny that the Pedro signing is an exciting one, regardless of whether or not you agree with it. Personally, I love it. Really, really love it. Love it so much that when I heard it on WFAN I pumped my fist Gagne-style and shouted, "YES!"

I wasn't around for the lights out Doc Gooden, or at least wasn't old enough to recognize what I was watching. I got the watered-down, coked-up Doc. The guy that you watched pitch and couldn't comprehend being the King of Baseball at one point. So, to me, this will be my first experience with a true ace in a Mets uniform. And for that, I'm excited.

Of course, the rational side of me is excited for this as well, for a couple reasons.

1.) Pedro comes to the National League. A lot has been made of this, and for good reason. Pedro's coming from the American League, where he never caught the breaks of pitching to a pitcher three times a game. Meanwhile, and an overlooked aspect, he's coming from one of the better offensive divisions in baseball. The Mets are in a league with one pretty good offensive team (the Phillies) two decent (Braves, Marlins) and one horrible (the Nationals). Martinez should, by all means, eat these guys for lunch. The majority of these players haven't seen Martinez in some time. It'll be fun to watch.

2.) Pedro comes to Shea Stadium. This is my personal favorite. Pedro Martinez, in a Mets uniform, pitching at Shea Stadium. In my wildest dreams, I never thought this possible. Even when the Mets were semi-close to trading for him back in his Expos days it never seemed a possibility. Now he's got some years on him, and his best years are certainly behind him, but a jump to Shea will help him out in a lot of ways. My favorite Pedro stat: 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in his starts at Shea Stadium. Pedro will thrive at a pitcher's park like Shea Stadium, which will turn many Fenway homeruns into long outs. Meanwhile, the Mets defense should be a lot better than what Boston's was. With Sexson and Delgado out of the picture, the Mets are pretty much forced into getting a defensive first basemen, either by trade (Mientkiewicz) or free agent pickup (Olerud). With Reyes at short, Wright at third, and Matsui -- hopefully finally adapting to American baseball -- the Mets infield will certainly be a solid. And Mike Cameron in center never hurts anyone.

3.) That Glorious Rotation. Do things have to break right? Yeah, they do. But if they do -- and it's not that hard to see it happening -- how can you not think the Mets could contend in the pretty weak NL East? Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Victor Zambrano, Kris Benson, Steve Trachsel. Trachsel is officially the fifth starter! THE FIFTH! It makes me giddy inside to think of that. I think Zambrano is going to do great things this upcoming year, and nothing has shaken me from that thought process yet. I don't think Benson will ever become the ace he was predicted to be, but I do think he will put up servicable numbers. 12 or 13 wins isn't out of the question (hopefully it isn't followed with 12 or 13 losses again, but we'll see). Glavine is Glavine. Maybe the pressure of being the number one will lead to a rebirth of Tom Glavine. I mean, Glavine did pitch his best when he was second-fiddle to Maddux or Smoltz. Some guys just can't take being the "ace". And Trachsel, who would be a number four on a good team is our number five. Just say that aloud: "Steve Trachsel is my fifth starter." It's doing wonders for me right now.

4.) He's a Gunslinger. Somehow, Pedro is upset with the Sox. He doesn't think he was given the respect he deserved, because the Red Sox didn't offer him the four years the Mets did. Whatever, if it pisses off Pedro, the better for us. Now he's got an edge. He's looking for vengeance, and he's looking for the Red Sox to regret their decision. I like the sound of an agitated Pedro Martinez. Which leads me to my final point...

5.) He's Pedro Martinez, for chrisakes! That's all there is to it. Pedro had his worst season last year, and it was still better than any pitcher on the Mets. Look at these numbers. If Pedro can do half that in Shea he will be considered a wild success. And on top of it all, he's going to give Shea excitement. I've tuned in to see David Wright play, or Jose Reyes play, but there hasn't been a pitcher in a long, long... long time that you've had to tune in to see. Pedro is that pitcher. Who isn't going to want to see Pedro pitch? Who isn't going to want to go to the stadium to watch him? Bring the midget, bring the bucket, bring that arm.

Pedro Martinez is a New York Met.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Mets just signed Pedro Martinez.

Wow.

Who's for trading Trachsel and signing Odalis Perez, and making the rotation one of the top three in the National League?

Hot damn.

Amannyzing

I'm still insanely busy with school work, but this was too good to pass up:

Depending on who you're hearing it from the Mets are either close, or very far apart, in their ability to land Manny Ramirez. If the Mets really are interested in Manny, I can think of nobody in baseball I would rather have on the team. This is however very partisan, as Manny's in my Top 5 all time favorite players.

Regardless, the proposed deal is a straight-up swap of Ramirez for Clifford "Glass" Floyd.

Look, the contract is bad, absolutely. The Mets, while they would not be hamstrung by it, would need to be far more creative with their free agent signings and how they build the team than Omar may be ready to do. But Manny's deal is by no means an albatross of A-Rod proportions. Simply put, the Red Sox won the World Series with it last year. You don't get much better than that.

Meanwhile, Manny's the closest thing to a hitting machine in baseball. You're not going to confuse him with Carl Yastrzemski in the field, heck, you're not going to confuse him with Roger Cedeno. But with a bat in his hands he can do phenomenal things. And because of this, he is exactly what the Mets need right now. For his career he has averaged 41 homeruns with a .411 OBP and he's slugged .599. For his career! And one of the best lines in all of baseball video game history are about him, "Manny Ramirez is a great hitter. He gets more RBI's in a season then most players get hits!" - Chuck Valenches

Okay, it's not that great. But, I'm excited just the same.

And to boot, he's from the Dominican Republic, so his acquisition would more than likely cancel out the Moises Alou deal.

While this is more than likely not going to happen, at the very least Omar is now targeting Dominican players that are in their prime and can still be good players. It isn't Sammy Sosa or Moises Alou, and for that we should all be happy.

But come on, Manny in right?! How cool would that be?!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Names, oh the Names

Just for the record, this is some of the names the Mets have been, or currently are, interested in and have a chance of getting:

Sammy Sosa
Moises Alou
Barry Larkin
John Olerud
Bret Boone
Craig Counsell

And this is the list of guys they're interested in, but will not end up with:

Richie Sexson
Carlos Delgado
Pedro Martinez
Carlos Beltran
Tim Hudson
Carl Pavano

And this is the list of guys they have shown next to no interest in:

Matt Clement
Odalis Perez
Magglio Ordonez


Hey, who needs a drink?

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Mets and their No Sense

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

"When we decided to look around and not sign Al [Leiter], we were comfortable giving Jae Seo or one of those guys a chance. Look, we're a team in transition. We're thinking about this year, but we're also thinking about two and three years down the road. We're putting our energy into a lot of different plans and different scenarios. There are different ways of putting a club together, and it's not all about one guy. That being said, we're interested in Moises Alou." - Omar Minaya (except for that last part I added.)

Why Omar Minaya has shown any interest in Moises Alou is beyond me, and more than likely beyond anyone who just read the previous paragraph. While Omar has preached getting younger and being a team in transition, he has made it well known that he's interested in aging and questionable players such as Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa. And now Boras is trying to sell Omar on Kevin F'N Millwood. In case Omar missed something during his tenure as Assistant General Manager to Steve Phillips -- this gameplan doesn't work.

Meanwhile the Mets are more than likely going to miss out on Pedro Martinez, which might not be all that bad of a thing. While I would like Pedro to be a Met, and I think he would do very well for at least a couple of years, if the Mets were to miss out on him the backup plan is two guys I like as well: Matt Clement and Odalis Perez. Both have good stuff, and their numbers would benefit from pitching half their games at Shea Stadium. But both also would help the Mets achieve something that none of the guys the Mets are showing interest in do: making the team younger.

And that's what this is all about. The Mets will more than likely not compete for a playoff spot next year -- at least not in August or September. So while it's nice for the Mets to focus on a Pedro Martinez or Moises Alou, it makes more sense to go after some youth and try to build a ballclub around them. The Mets have a solid young group of players, and a lot could be achieved in future years if the Mets are able to recognize this and stop throwing good money at bad situations.

That being said, however, this Tim Hudson thing has come up, and I can't help but be intrigued. We all know what Tim Hudson is: since the turn of the century he has been fifth in the majors in wins, sixth in ERA and first in winning percentage. And he's 28 years old, to boot. What would it take? Jose Reyes, possibly Lastings Milledge and a major league ready starting pitcher -- whether that would be an Aaron Heilman or a Brian Bannister, I've got no idea. The fact of the matter is, if the Mets were guaranteed he'd sign an extension, I'd do it in a second.

I love Jose, don't get me wrong. I own the jersey, and I wear it to Shea every time I go to a game. And while Reyes may be great some day, at the risk of sounding like Jon Heyman, he hasn't done it yet. If the Mets made this deal they would get a bonafide ace in the prime of his career in return, and have an opening to sign one of these top shortstops available: be it Edgar Renteria or Orlando Cabrera. Would the Mets farm system take a hit? Yes. But there are times when trading potential for the now is dumb (ie: the Zambrano/Benson deals) and there are times when it's the intelligent move to make. If the Mets can get Hudson to agree to sign a contract for the next three, four, five years (and according to Hudson, he wants an extension), it would be a coup for the Mets. Will it happen? Absolutely not.

Why? Maybe because the Mets are probably too gunshy now to make any kind of deal trading any kind of top minor league prospect or a player of any potential because of fan and media backlash.

Or maybe because it makes too much sense.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Goings Ons In Baseball

*Omar Minaya on letting Al Leiter leave: "I can tell you I had to speak with Jeff (Wilpon) about it ... it was tough on Jeff. But I had to make decisions that are best for this year and future years."

I read that sentence and my body was filled with hope. Maybe it never happened, maybe Omar's just a smart guy and he knows what to say to give Mets fan a reason to smile. Maybe Jeff Wilpon was all for Al Leiter's leaving and agreed to take on the role of "the bad guy" to sell tickets to a happy fanbase. It's all doubtful, but regardless, it worked. Day in and day out the newspapers talk about players the Mets might get, and we all cringe and yell. But the moves Omar Minaya is making are solid ones: getting rid of Franco, Leiter and Stanton, and not overpaying for Bottalico and Hidalgo. Personally, I liked the Stanton deal, and I don't think Felix Heredia will be wearing a Mets uni once the calendar hits April 2nd. For all the hubbub about Minaya's infatuation with Dominican Republic players I remind you that Minaya released Jose Parra, also a Dominican, without so much as a thank you. It comes down to talent. I wouldn't be surprised if Heredia was shipped off to some team like the Pirates or White Sox.


*Lieber-Hosen joins the Phillies
:"I look forward to bringing this ballclub back into playoff contention," Lieber said. "I got a taste of that last year, and I'd like that to continue."

Another warm fuzzy feeling. Is anybody else thinking that the Phillies, despite their best intentions, are getting worse off then they were before? Their big pitching acquisitions thus far are: Corey Lidle and Jon Lieber. Lieber, who gives up a career average of 25 homeruns a season will see that number explode at Citizens Bank Park. And their answer to that gaping hole in centerfield is Kenny Lofton. Kenny Lofton? I refuse to say anything bad about the Braves, but this NL East isn't looking nearly as intimidating as in the past. Some solid pickups could put the Mets in the middle of it. The good thing is along with Lieber and Leiter, Woody Williams and Jaret Wright are all off the table. All these guys are questionable and/or aging starters, which gives the Mets a better chance of landing somebody good. Better to let other teams step on the landmines then to go ahead and do it yourselves.


*Pedro meets with Henry and Lucchino... in an airport: "The meeting was very satisfactory," Henry said. "We are hoping to be able to retain Pedro and keep him in Boston for the rest of his career."

The more and more I read about the ownership getting involved with the Pedro negotiations, I can't help but feel the Mets are going to miss out on this guy. Whether or not you agree with the Martinez signing, it's pretty much a guarantee that his signing would be a big upgrade for the starting corps. But if Henry goes all Wilpon and starts throwing money at Pedro, I can't see him leaving Boston. Four years is one thing, but playing in a place you love, that loves you, and you're contending in is another. That's not something you walk away from for a guaranteed extra year. But Pedro's never been one to follow the norm, so we'll all continue to monitor this situation closely.


*The Mets first order of business is Richie Sexson: Why? Beats me. Maybe they want to stick it to the Diamondbacks by guaranteeing their trade for him was one of the worst in the history of baseball. Maybe they're upset about how they treated Wally. Maybe they actually like Richie Sexson. Either way, after being offered arbitration, Sexson doesn't make much sense anymore. Why give up a pick for Sexson when you can get Delgado for around the same price without having to give up anything? If you're not sold on Delgado yet, I'll point you over to OFF's negativeseconds, who's been selling Delgado to the Mets fanbase for awhile now.


And finally, in case you forgot: Willie Randolph is still the manager of the New York Mets. It'll sink in sooner or later.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

See You Leiter

Al Leiter is officially gone.

It wasn't a surprise, especially after not being offered arbitration yesterday, but I still find myself more upset about this then I thought I would be.

Al's a Met, and one of the few Mets that were chastised by fans and media for being a Player/GM that continued to put up solid numbers. Was it time for Al to go? Absolutely. But that doesn't change the fact that he is one of the best ten pitchers the team's ever had, and while here he always gave it his all. How much was his all? He pitched the majority of the season with a frayed labrum, the cushion between your arm and your shoulder. He was rarely injured, and almost always kept the Mets in the ballgame.

He may have had too much influence over the Wilpon family, and he may or may not have been one of the reasons that Scott Kazmir is a Tampa Bay Devil Ray. But off the field he was a steadying veteran presence, a clubhouse leader, and always a good interview. He donated time and money after September 11th, made charitable donations to the city of New York, and his work with children through Leiter's Landing is well-documented. The Mets lost a starting pitcher today, but what's more is they lost an upstanding citizen and a pretty good guy.

And it will be unnatural to see him wearing something without the word "Mets" emblazoned on it.

I'm still ticked we didn't get the freakin' pick, though.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Being Peter Gammons

Small post today, been busy trying to get college things done.

There was some Mets news from the Peter Gammons chat... if it really is him. Is it possible that it wasn't Gammons? In it he mispells perjury (purgery), scandal (scandel), Sexson (Sexton) and butchers Boras' last name by calling him Borris. Twice. How a guy who graduated from UNC, writes about baseball for a living, and wrote an article on Boras about two weeks ago can do all of that is beyond me.

Regardless, if this is the real Peter Gammons he foresees the Mets going all out (ie: offering four years for him) for Pedro and eventually landing him because of it. And he thinks Delgado will end up signing with the Mets because he prefers the east coast. And, much to our enjoyment, Sosa's dead. The Mets were actually going to give up a prospect as well as Floyd, but the Cubs never heard back from them at the end of the week. Big surprise.

The Mets are looking to hammer out contract deals with Richard Hidalgo and Mike DeJean before tomorrow night at 11:59, or else they're willing to let them walk. DeJean is a Type B free agent, so I'd be surprised if the Mets didn't offer arbitration to him regardless of whether a deal is reached or not, but we'll see what happens.

If this Delgado news is true, I happen to like it. Toronto shouldn't be offering him arbitration, which means that the Mets won't have to lose precious draft picks, unless, of course, they sign Pedro Martinez. Delgado at first, Pedro at pitcher and Magglio Ordonez in right, or left, sounds like a promising team. We'll see if Omar has it in him.

Those Frustrating Fish

After a minor league shakeup this past season the Mets desperately need something big to happen to their beleaguered minor league franchise. They need to go out and restock their farm system with some solid, young ballplayers. Key members of the future lineup and rotation. The Mets need draft picks, as many as they can get, however in order to do this. That seems like it won’t be happening.

While Al Leiter is all but gifted to the Florida Marlins, don’t kick yourself if you were unaware. The Marlins, who also could use some help for their own minor leagues, is waiting until after December 7th to sign Leiter. This, in turn, will allow them to sign him without giving up any much needed draft picks.

And they’re going to get away with it.

The Marlins played this one intelligently. The Mets are not going to offer Al arbitration, and it makes sense not too. The Mets don’t want to keep Al around, and are fine with letting him walk. A 16th slot in the upcoming draft would simply be the icing on the cake of filling up Leiter’s rotation spot. If the Mets were to offer Leiter arbitration, they would be risking him accepting it. This not only would ruin Omar’s offseason plans (where he seems intent to sign a starting pitcher of his own, and not go into the season with Duquette’s planned 2005 rotation), but it would put a considerable strain on the Mets spending money for this offseason. Leiter would more than likely end up getting somewhere in the 10 - 11 million dollar range, something that the Mets can ill afford to spend on a one and done starting pitcher, no matter how important he once was to the franchise. For example: Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Delgado or Richie Sexson can be had for that same amount.

The Mets will offer Mike DeJean arbitration tomorrow, and that will more than likely be it. All the other free agents will walk (perhaps with the exception of Richard Hidalgo) and the Mets will get nothing for their leaving. It’s the smart baseball move.

Too bad the other teams played it smart as well.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Draft Day Dilemma

I'll be having a busy weekend, so I won't be able to post anything new until Sunday or Monday at the latest.

General Question while I'm gone: If you were Omar Minaya, if Al Leiter is still unsigned after the deadline, would you offer him arbitration? The 16th overall draft pick is a pretty high one, and there's still a lot of talent available around that time. For example, former number ones picked in the 16th slot include Shawn Green, Lance Berkman, Kip Wells and Jason Jennings.

Leiter has always taken the stance that he is a Met and a Mets fan, and wants to do right by the organization. Does he think that allowing the Mets to land a draft pick for him would be the right thing? Or would he think that him being part of next year's rotation would help them more, and accept?

It's certainly an interesting situation they could find themselves in.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Go! Do it! Follow your heart!

And before December 7th, preferably.

More later.

The Pedro Situation

Is anyone else getting the feeling that the Mets are going to stop at nothing to land Pedro Martinez? Everyone seems to think that if the Mets float that four-year deal out there, which would more than likely end up costing somewhere in the 50 million range, Martinez will bite. Gammons all but ceded him to the Mets two nights ago on Sportscenter. As we get into December, it becomes likelier and likelier that the Mets will have Pedro Martinez at the top of their rotation for the 2005 season.

Which is all well and good, as long as the Mets make more moves after it.

What needs to be filled? The same position that seem to need to be filled every year: rightfield. Who else is out there for the Mets at these positions and what will it take to land them?


Magglio Ordonez
For years I've had a man crush on Mags. The guy is one of the most consistent hitters in the game today, and regardless of whether his overall numbers would translate to Shea he would still be an offensive threat. My personal favorite because he's coming off an injury year and it's a possibility the Mets could get him on the cheap (or as cheap as a Scott Boras player can come). Jeremy says two years for 15 mil. I say do it.

JD Drew
Does anybody see JD Drew becoming a Met? While he'd be a nice fit, and definitely a solid middle-of-the-lineup hitter with patience to boot, he's just not coming. He'll more than likely stay with the Braves, put up good numbers, and have the media bashing Minaya for not signing him in the offseason.

Carlos Beltran
The problem with signing Pedro is it pretty much prices the Mets out of the Beltran market, although it's likely they were never really in it to win it in the first place. Beltran would be a tremendous asset to the team, as well as the organization, and because of this he will cost many dollars. If the Mets could land Pedro and Beltran, I would collapse into myself.

Richard Hidalgo
Been there, done that. Hidalgo was a house of fire in his first month with the Mets, which had the city of New York singing Duquette's praises. And then, just as quickly as he came, he fell apart. Hidalgo, albeit injured, was horrible in the last two months, hitting .232 with a .319 OBP in August, and a deplorable .114 in Sept/Oct with an OBP of -- ready for this? -- .155. Seriously. He has a cannon for an arm and is nice in the field, so he'll definitely land a job elsewhere. Hopefully it isn't here.

Moises Alou
The guy can still hit the ball, that's for sure. The problem is he's also old. Real old. 38 years old. While he might've been the perfect fit for the Mets organization a year or two ago, one has to hold out hope that the Mets no longer look at players through those rose-tinted glasses. The scary thing is, if the Mets miss out on Ordonez, Alou is probably the fallback plan. Scary stuff. If anything, the Mets absolutely have to land Magglio now. I shudder to think of Alou and his urine-soaked hands roaming the fields of Shea.

Jermaine Dye
The fallback option, which actually isn't that bad. Dye's a relatively young guy, makes some contact, hits some homeruns and plays a decent right field. His ability to draw a walk is pretty poor however, and his best days appear to be behind him (insert ideal Mets signing joke here). Dye should come cheap, however that doesn't make him good. If the Mets are going to sign Dye, they may as well sign Hidalgo, as it's one half dozen or the other. Hopefully it won't come to that.

There's a couple other free agent outfielders out there, but nothing worth writing home to mom about. Jeromy Burnitz is a ship that's already sailed, and hopefully Omar doesn't pull a Sammy Sosa with Juan Gonzalez. The best shot at fielding a competitive team lies with one of the top three, and the best chance at signing one lies with Magglio Ordonez. Pedro and Magglio is a solid offseason right there, and the Mets would still have the financial wiggle room to throw out offers to Sexson and Delgago.

2005 may not be such a bad season afterall.