Saturday, May 28, 2005

Miguel F'in Cairo

I hate Miguel Cairo. Not for anything that he's done, or even because he sucks, but because some people, including the Mets manager, seem to think he's a good player.

.256/.300/.354 in 90 PA. That's his line this season. His OBP is the same as Eric Valent's. Valent was DFA'd this morning. He had a history with the team, was left handed, had more potential with the stick and wasn't made redundant.

.292/.340/.439. That's Chris Woodward's line. Yet, Cairo is the one starting in place of the injured Kazuo Matsui. Cairo shouldn't even be on the team. There is no reason to keep two right-handed utility infielders, especially when the one who can't hit is also the one who can't play shortstop.

I've got to think this is all because Cairo played for Randolph last year and because the press knows who he is. I hate that that's how Omar runs his team, but at least Victor Diaz is back.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mets Mock Draft

Link

Thursday, May 26, 2005

25 Things The Mets Need To Do

In no particular order...

1. David Wright needs to hit 3rd. He's not only the future, he's the best hitter on the team.

2. Jeff Keppinger shoud hit leadoff. The team needs someone who can get on base at the top of the order. Reyes isn't getting it done.

3. Righties Cameron and Piazza should hit fifth and sixth. No one cares about Meintkiewicz hitting between them.

4. Reyes should hit eighth. It's the only spot in the lineup he's qualified for.

5. Beltran should be disabled. He's signed for seven years. Two weeks doesn't matter in the scheme of things.

6. Diaz should be up, forever. He should be starting and hitting fifth, while Cameron hits second, while Beltran is out.

7. Cairo should be released as soon as Beltran comes back. He can't hit or play short. Woodward's better than him at every facet of the game except the 'played on the Yankees' facet.

8. Matsui should be traded away for anything. There's no point in having two backup infielders. If he'd accept a demotion to work on his fielding, that would be fine too.

9. Valent should be given some time, but he should also be used. Daubach really isn't likely to be any better.

10. Woodward, Cairo and Anderson should never start in the outfiled again while Victor Diaz is alive.

11. "Hey, Schureholz, you're short a pitcher, we've got one for you, free of charge. Ishii. Kaz Ishii."

12. Victor Zambrano looks much better to me already. He's the fifth starter.

13. Aaron Heilman is the fourth starter.

14. Jae Seo and Royce Ring are up. Manny Aybar is out.

15. Mike DeJean is no longer a setup man. He's a mop up guy. Heath Bell is the setup man.

16. If anyone will give up something valuable for Braden Looper, Heath Bell is the closer.

17. Someone needs to be hired to do all of the in-game managing and lineup card setting for Willie.

18. If he won't listen, Willie needs to be fired right away and replaced. Wally Backman would be a good replacement who fans would feel better about even if he made a mistake.

19. Mike Piazza needs his mustache back.

20. The Mets need to draft Jeff Clement if he's available. If he's not they need Stepehen Drew or Jed Lowrie. They don't need Craig Hansen.

21. Cliff Floyd should be in Anaheim. Casey Kotchman should be in New York. Omar should throw in whatever he needs to get this deal done. Money, Seo, Bannister, anything but Milledge, Humber or Petit.

22. The Mets need a better backup catcher. Castro had potential, but he's not getting it done. There are people out there who can probably be had for a song. Mike Rivera, Bobby Estalella. Omar needs to get one.

23. Ramon Hernandez needs to be signed during the offseason.

24. Tom Glavine needs to not reach his incentives.

25. If the Mets can't get Kotchman, they need to find someone. Pena, Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Dubois could probably play first. It's supposed to be the easiest position to fill.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I give up

Scott free: General manager Omar Minaya indicated Sunday the Mets had no plans to promote Scott Strickland. So by the terms of the agreement Strickland's agent negotiated with assistant general manager Jim Duquette last weekend, Strickland becomes eligible Monday to become a free agent.

The Mets don't know if other clubs have interest in the veteran relief pitcher. But they are not inclined to disturb their bullpen at this point, and they can't afford to reduce the number of position players on the 25-man roster, especially with Beltran and Matsui injured.

Why don't they want to disturb their bullpen? Is it because Aybar and Dejean are so good? Is it because Zambrano has to be in the major leagues to suck as much as he does? I really don't get it, but this is the worst decision that the Mets have made all year. Any goodwill that Minaya got during the offseason is disapperaing quickly. Is their goal to prove Buster Olney right? Because the Mets certainly have the arms to assemble a good bullpen if they want to, they must be doing this so that they can say their bullpen blew it when they finish fourth.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lineup

Everyone's down on Willie Randolph and his lineup choices. It's painfully obvious to everyone else that Wright should hit at the top of the order and Reyes at the bottom. Joe Torre's lineup is worse. His best hitter hits fifth. His worst hitter hits second. That should be enough right there to get him fired. He's obsessed with lefty righty matchups to the point where he puts Tony Womack second. Didn't A-Rod hit second last year? What happened during the offseason that made Torre reconfigure his lineup?



It's good to see that Buster Olney keeps up with the game he's paid to cover.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Interleauge Play

I absoultely hate most interleauge play. Not the idea of it, just the fact that it's pointless and that each team has either one or zero important series and then we get stuff like Tigers and Diamondbacks. I'm almost positive that all of the attendance boost comes from two things. Rivalry series and the Yankees coming to town. I can't imagine being a Tigers fan and wanting to see the Dbacks more than a division rival.
I can't help it, though, I do enjoy the Subway Series. Although it will never happen, I think a decent compromise would be keeping eight home and home six game series and eliminating the rest. I'm sure that the schedulers can attempt to balance these out so that each team in a division plays against team with roughly the same aggrregate winning percentage.

The eight series I would keep are.

Cardinals and Royals
Indians and Reds
A's and Giants
Yankees and Mets
Cubs and White Sox
Dodgers and Angels
Nationals and Orioles
Astros and Rangers

The other teams would play no interleague games. The bonus attendance could be split between the teams as a way to placate those who don't have a rival.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rings

I was trying to come up with a list of the 10 or 20 best position players in baseball the other day. Something interesting about this sort of thing is that very few of the best position players in the game have rings. The best players in the game with rings are Maddux and Clemens. The third and fourth best pitchers also have rings. The best position player with a ring is a little harder to come up with.

Barry Bonds
Alex Rodriguez
Albert Pujols
Bobby Abreu
Todd Helton
Frank Thomas
Jeff Bagwell
Vlad Guerrero
Eric Chavez
Scott Rolen
Mike Piazza
Jeff Kent

None of those players, a mix of the veterans with the best careers and the best young established players have rings. Most of them have been in the postseason at least once. The contestants for best player with a ring are:

Larry Wayne Jones
Manny Ramirez
Ivan Rodriguez
Derek Jeter
Bernie Williams

That's about it. Some people like Garrett Anderson and a lot like David Ortiz. Javy Lopez and Jorge Posada have some claim. Luis Gonzalez had a nice second half to his career. Derek Lee has a great 7 weeks under his belt. Edgar Renteria had a bright future not too long ago. I don't think I'm leaving anyone out, though, and I think that I've identified the five best candidates.

Now, I'm going to use my Wins Added statstic to compare the five of them. It's only an offesnive stat.

Chipper has 53 wins added for his career and 4.8 per 600 PA. He's also the worst defensive third baseman ever to have a long career.

Manny has 52 wins added for his career and 4.8 per 600 PA. He's a worse fielder than Jones at an easier position, so I'm going to eliminate him.

Rodriguez has 44 wins added for his career and 3.7 per 600 PA. He was great at throwing out runners, but overrated defensively. Even with the positional adjustment, I don't think he's ahead of Chipper and their careers are likely to spread further apart.

Williams has 50 wins added for his career and 3.7 per 600 PA. He used to play only below average defense at a key position, but he's done and if Rodriguez is gone, so is he.

Jeter has 44 wins added for his career and 4.3 per 600 PA. If he was a good shortsop, he'd win, but he's as bad as Chipper is.

So, Chipper wins barely over Manny, Ivan and Jeter in that order. He got his ring ten years ago. All four of these guys are probable Hall of Famers.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

5 early season myths

The Marlins are one of the two best teams in the National League.
I've heard this from everybody including announcers, writers and people who think that they're writers. I don't understand it. Their third best hitter is hitting under .200. Juan Encarnacion is a regular on this team. Their fourth and fifth starters (Leiter and Valde-something) are coureteously described as awful. What do they have going for them? Perception, Delgado and Cabrera. The perception is based on two falsehoods. One, that balanced teams i.e. teams that run and hit for power are better than teams that just hit for power, and two, the belief that their three young pitchers will manage to stay healthy all season, which has never happened before. I'd be more surprised if this team finished second than if they finished fourth.

The Angels are a great team.
ESPN commentators all seem to think that they're far and away the best team in the division, but I don't see it. They're probably the favorite now after the A's early season collapse, but I would estimate their odds of winning the division at under 33%. They have one great hitter a few league average hitters and then they have black holes at first and behind the plate. Their second best hitter is in Salt Lake City. Their rotation is getting by, but it doesn't feautre a frontline starter and K-Rod is as likely to breakdown as not. They might well make the playoffs, but that would be because they play in what is suddenly the weakest division in the Leauge.

Having a proven closer matters.
Dan Kolb, Danny Graves, Octavio Dotel, Braden Looper and Keith Foulke have all been varying degrees of awful. Brandon Lyon, Derrick Turnbow, BJ Ryan and Yhency Brazoban have all been great for their teams. If you don't have one of the top of the line guys (Wagner, Lidge, Gagne, Nathan and K-Rod right now although Rivera and Hoffman are still good and Chad Cordero looks great so far) there's no reason to pay for past saves.

The Phillies are done.
This one's just ridiculous. If they were the best team in the division before the season started, they're still the best team. Neither the Braves nor Marlins have shown much more than predicted and the idea of the Nationals competing while not drawing any walks is ridiculous.

The Dodgers are going to finish fourth.
At least the man who traded for Mo Vaughn thinks so. Steve Phillis recently stated that he thinks that not only are the Padres better than the Dodgers, but the two stars down Giants and the 100 loss Dbacks who signed Russ Ortiz to improve are also better than the Boys in Blue. It's fucking luncay.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Thursday Night

Vazquez, Lieber, Weaver, Mussina and Loaiza
That could very easily be the Yankees rotation this year. Lieber and Loaiza were run out of town and the other two were shipped out for aging and fragile veterans. The combined VORP of those five is 21.2 and dragged down by Vazquez unlucky start and Weaver's high BABIP. The VORP for the Yankees starters is -4.8 without Henn's numbers. Without Johnson it's -12.6. Also, with this rotation the Yankees would have been able to afford Beltran and Polanco, giving them perhaps the most fearsome lineup in history.

SS Jeter
CF Beltran
3B Rodriguez
LF Matsui
RF Sheffield
C Posada
DH Giambi
2B Polanco
1B Martinez

That's a first place team.

Aces
Bronson Arroyo took a no hitter into the seventh and gave up only one run over eight. Brad Radke gave up three hits in nine. Jose Contreras gave up one over eight and Zach Greinke left in the eight with one out, two on and no runs in. Mark Hendrickson gave up two in 7.1 agasint the still potent Yankees. Five of the eight starting pitchers in the American League made real quality starts tonight, not just as defined by the stat, but that should have led them to victory. Of course, Greinke ended up with his third loss because the two good members of the Royals pen (Sisco and Burgos) walked in two runs.

But they stole three bases on him
Mike Piazza busted out of his slump in a big way with three hard hit singles and a home run in five at bats. His certainly still got power and a beautiful swing. If he gets more rest, I would expect him to have a lot more days like today. Roid Head Sanchez also had a big day going 3 for 3 with a walk and a homer.

Mix Up
The Yankees might be the biggest disappointment in baseball, but three teams that were supposed to be in second place lost again today. The Cubs are missing Nomar and now Kerry Wood, but they should be able to scrape together at least a decent pen. That one's all on Dusty. The Phillies can't hit and have had some awful performances from their rotation. The Indians have likewise suffered sharp regression from all of their hitters. Right now, the Mets might be the odds on favorite to win the NL Wild Card and the AL is looking to be a giant mess.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

More Observations

85
That's the number of at bats Aaron Miles has and it's significant becaus when Jose Reyes drew his first walk Tuesday night, Miles became the player with the most trips to the dish without getting a free pass. He should catch Reyes' 118 before the end of next week.

What if you can't make it there?
Tom Glavine walked six, K'd one and gave up eight runs (seven earned) in 3 and 2/3 innings and the other New York starter would have loved to have his line. By the time every Devil Ray had been at bat, eight of them had hits, the ninth had an RBI and the Yankees were down six. At least Brown didn't walk anybody and he did settle down and end up with better numbers than Glavine, but that's relative. Both of these starters need to be jettisoned imedietaly, but their bad contracts, and a lack of options on the Yankees, keep them from being so.

12.5 K/BB
Josh Towers is a better pitcher than Jon Rauch. While Rauch has the wins and the nice ERA, Josh Towers has an astronomical K/BB ratio. Tonight he doubled his walk total for the year, when he walked Rafael Palmeiro. If you take out one bad start against Texas, he has the follwing line.
3-0(W-L), 2.84 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 0.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9, .87 WHIP

Fuckin' A
The A's lineup can't produce runs. Here's two stat lines
4 BB, 3 1B, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR
4 BB, 6 1B, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR
One would expect that these two offensive outputs would lead to roughly the same number of runs. Instead, the A's (The second line) got outscored 6-1 by the Rangers (The First Line.) The A's stranded 11 and couldn't have placed their hits worsly if they'd wanted to. Adam Melhuse was especially guilty of being especially crappy, ending three innings with men on.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Observations from a Monday morning/Tuesday night

114
Jose Reyes may suck as a leadoff hitter, but he's damn fun to watch. Tonight he went 4 for 5, raised his average to .281 and was the catalyst for both of the Mets rallies. He still hasn't walked, though, he went 3-0 and then took the next two pitches in his last at bat.

At least he's not Dusty Baker
Felipe Alou did the worst job of handling his bullpen and winnign that I have ever seen. In the seventh with the bases loaded and a lefty (Green) up, he yanks his ace, who shouldn't have gone out to start the inning, for a lefty, Eyre. Eyre strikes out Green, but the ball gets away from Defensive Wiz Mike Matheny and Green trots to first. Tony Clark (S, but really R) comes in and instead of going with a righty, Alou takes out Eyre for his second lefty, Fassero, who he might need later. Fassero gives up a double and then comes out because he isn't good enough to face (R) Royce Clayton. Matt Herges comes in and gets Clayton.
In the eighth, with two outs and a man on first and the pitcher's spot coming up, Alou takes out Herges for his last lefty, Christiansen, who gets the switch hitter McCracken, but is then taken out before he can face Luis Gonzalez, who one might actually want a lefty against.
The Giants are up again at this point and 5+ ERA nominal closer, Jim Brower comes in and promptly gives up a long ball to Gonzalez. He wiggles out of the inning with two more hits and no runs, and then after the Giants go up, he is replaced with Tyler Walker, who is the last member of the bullpen who has pitched in the major leagues before. Now, the decision to yank Brower isn't bad, but why then and not before? Just so someone gets a save next to his name?
The Giants won though, thanks to a lineup in which every starter, even Schmidt, got a hit and JT Snow got four including a HR. Matheny added a GS in the third.

Yankee Shakeup
Cano is in at second, good. Bernie is out of center for Hideki, good. Phillips/Tino appears to be a platoon and now Bernie/Big G is one too, good. What's bad? Meet your new left fielder, same as your old second baseman. There are so many minor league veterans who would be better than Womack out there. A platoon would work great, since the Yankees don't really need to carry any backup infielders. (Phillips can play second or third in a pinch and A-Rod can play short.) They could do something like McMillon/Pride if they focused on things like that. Fernando Seguignol certainly would look good out there. As is, Womack is the best choice on the roster, although I'm sure Steinbrenner can find $600,000 for Cashman.

Thank you, Danny Graves
He has just the sort of name that's easy to pun, but that would be too easy. Instead let's just say that he's responsible for the best game of the young season so far. The Cardinals put up a 7 spot in the ninth inning and ended up winnign by one after Graves gave up home runs to Edmonds and Mabry among other hits. Credit also has to go to Sean Casey for not ending the game one batter befoer Mabry when he could have.



Upcoming Moves

The Mets are looking to get Kris Benson Thursday. Sometime next week they will get back Mike Cameron and hopefully Kaz Ishii. That's nice and all, but they're going to have to lose three players from their roster. Fans have been assured that Diaz will stay up, but beyond that look for the team to make the worst possible moves.

Catcher

The Mets appear to be set here with Piazza and Castro. I was one of the biggest Castro supporters before the season started, but if Piazza's going to be ineffective then the Mets need someone like Todd Pratt as the backup. Although the media doesn't think so, the Mets actually have a depth in the pen and they could deal Roberto or DeJean somewhere (Frisco for Yorvit? Boston for Mirabelli?) for someone who can catch three times a week and hit.

Infield

The regulars are set here, although I would like to see a Doug/Cameron platoon with Floyd playing first against righties. Woodward is someone who could be demoted easily to make room for Cameron. Valent, Anderson, Cameron and Cairo will make for a very potent bench and Matsui can play shortstop. If they keep six position players, Woodward won't likely be used much at all.

Outfield

If Cameron took one start from Diaz, one from Floyd and two from Mientkiewicz every six games, that would be a nifty job sharing arrangement. With Cameron back, also, Beltran will be able to rest from time to time. Valent is the left handed bat if a HR is needed and he's at a value low point and value recieved for him would be negligible.

Rotation

It's clear that the Mets best starter is Pedro and after him Heilman and Benson. Zambrano and and Glavine have to stick because of their contracts/horribble deals that brought them here and that leaves Ishii as the odd man out after Seo. Ideally, they would release Zambrano and DL Glavine, but realistically it's Seo to the minors, Heilman to the swingman role.

Bullpen

Looper, DeJean, and Hernandez have to stick. Heilman's also in if he's out of the rotation. At least one lefty, Koo although it should be Ring is in, and Bell should stay over Aybar. The last spot will probably go to Aybar until Heredia comes back and then go to the Ex-Yankee. Either that or they'll keep six on the bench.

Predicted Moves

Activate Benson/Demote Ring
Activate Camreon/ Demote Seo
Activate Ishii/ Release Aybar or DFA Woodward or Demote Bell

Correct Moves

Activate Benson/ Release Zambrano
Activate Cameron/ DFA Woodward
Activate Ishii/ Release Aybar