Thursday, January 28, 2010
And with a quick stroke of the pen, Yankee GM Brian Cashman seems to have brought Johnny Damon’s career with the Yankees to an end. The Yankees signed vertern outfielder Randy Winn to a one year, $2 million dollar contract.
I think Winn is a little bit of a strange choice considering his 2009 production was quite bad (.318 on base percentage, . 262 batting average, 2 home runs, 51 rbi, 97 strike outs in 538 at bats) but the Yankees don’t exactly need a major bat considering they have an all-star or a near all-star at most of their positions. Winn has always been a serviceable player who is usually good for a roughly .285 average, some speed and the occasional home run. He is a good defensive outfielder who can play all three OF positions. In the end, he’s going to be a fourth outfielder and have a chance to compete with Brett Gardner. However, since Winn is almost exactly the same from both the left and right sides, he’s not a good option for your tradional platoon scenerio which limits his effectiveness somewhat. At worst you have a bench player without much power, at best you have a slightly below average fourth outfielder who really doesn’t need to do much more than catch the ball and try not to hit into too many double plays.
Not the best move the Yankees could have made but not to worst either (Gary Matthews Jr. anyone?).
However this does pretty much put the final stamp on Damon’s farewell suitcase. I can understand the Yanks not looking to spend the money Damon wanted, but it’s a surprising end to a pretty fruitful relationship with a good player.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Johnny Damon had a fantastic 2009 and everyone and his brother figured he’d be back with the Yankees in 2010 (and 2011 at least). So far though, that hasn’t been the case. At the end of January, Damon is still looking for a job and the original offer from the Yankees of 2 years and $14 million probably looks mighty sweet right now.
I think the main problem with Damon is half his age and half the idea that a chunk of his production is perceived to be a by-product of the new Yankee Stadium. Damon hit 24 home runs last year, 17 of which were at Yankee stadium. However if you look a little closer, you’d see that he actually had a higher batting average on the road (.284 to .279) and a lot of his other stats are almost perfectly split.
I think Damon has some years left in him. He cannot throw (but then again he hasn’t been able to in years) and he may not be a spring chicken, but he’s still a solid player with excellent instincts and a good attitude. While I do agree him looking for a 3 or 4 year deal worth about $13 million a year or so is crazy, I’m finding it surprising he has not yet gotten an offer around 2 years and maybe about $20/21 million. The fact the Yankees low-balled him shows they either have a budget for once or just think he’ll eventually return for less than half his original asking price once he sees no one out there seems to be throwing much money his way. Word is that the Oakland A’s have strong interest, but after spending $10 million on Ben Sheets it’s doubtful the A’s have much more financial room.
You would think SOME team would relish the idea of these numbers: .282 batting average, 24 hrs, 82 rbi, 107 runs, 12 stolen bases and a .365 on base percentage. I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to count on another 24 home runs, but I think that 17/18 aren’t out of the question. He wouldn’t be anyone’s main guy, but he’d make an excellent #2 or #6 hitter.
So now a guy who has had a great baseball career, had a great 2009, was an important part of the Yankees huge success last year and has a dedent amount of baseball left in him cannot find a job. He’s on the outside looking in.
Friday, January 22, 2010
… Omar Minaya has lost his mind.
So Gary Matthews Jr. is a Met (for the 2nd time by the way) in a trade involving RHP Brian Stokes.
The Angels will pay $21.5 of the $23.5 million left on the remaining 2 yrs of Matthews contract.
So my main question here is… WHY?
Paying 2 million for a lousy ballplayer who had basically one good (steriod infused) season, PLUS giving up a pitcher.
Couldn’t we just have picked up Eric Byrnes for the Major League minimum (saving over a million dollars), got the EXACT same production (with a MUCH better attitude and much more hustle) and better defense WITHOUT giving up a pitcher?
What in God’s name is Omar thinking?
This is a horrible move.
No, it’s not just a horrible one… it’s a stupid, non-sensical move.
Please, someone put the man out of his misery. I’m waiting now to hear he gives John Smoltz a two year deal worth $22 million.
Oh the humanity…
The Mets pulled off a trade today. They have acquired OF Gary Matthews Jr. from the Angels, who will pay off “a majority” of the remaining $24 million left on his contract. No word yet who the Mets are sending but word is that it is a “low-salary pitcher off the major league roster” (Which means it’s not Oliver Perez).
If this trade included sending Luis Castillo I think it might have made some sense. But it does not involve Luis Castillio.
So my reaction is thus: There has to be more to it than this. HAS to be. If this is the only move and nothing else connected to it happens… well… then the Mets need to commit Omar. Just get him some psychiatric help… because even if the Mets only have to play like $3.5 of the $24 million owned… it’s STILL too much.
So, I will hold out and say again: there has to be more of it than this… because if there is not… well… someone has lost his frigging mind.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Well, like the day before, the Mets have seen their top priority accept an offer from another team rather than head to Citifield.
Joel Pineiro signed a two year, $16 million dollar contract with the Angels (who needed him as much as the Mets did). From what I understand, it was just about the exact same amount the Mets offered him, thus supporting the theory that the Mets may be less than desirable in the eyes of many free agents.
As with Molina, I’m not devistated by the inability to land Pineiro since I very much believe his excellent 2009 was as much a product of St. Louis pitching guru Dave Duncan as anything else, but I do believe he would have made a decent addition. However I don’t think he would have been a stong #2 pitcher.
So what now? I think the Mets have but one move that will prove to be a windfall. It’s a move that is not without risk, but hey… at this point I think it’s time for a leap of faith.
That leap of faith? BEN SHEETS.
No one will debate the fact that when he is healthy, Sheets is one of the best pitchers in major league baseball. Yes, he has a spotty medical history and perhaps the odds of him having at least ONE 15 day DL stint is a matter of when, not if. However, having Sheets and Santana as your 1/2 punch would give the Mets the best top two in the show. It would remove a ton of pressure from Mike Pelfry who really has the stuff to BE a #2, but may not quite have the mental fortitude to actually fill that role. Frankly, the retooled bullpen (which actually looks like it could be a strength this year), the addition of Jason Bay and adding Sheets would make the Mets into quite a formidable team.
For you naysayers… of COURSE there is risk involved. However do the Mets have a lot of other options? Not really. Yeah, Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn and John Smoltz are still out there and would be cheaper. Yeah, it’s possible that Adam Harang or Bronson Arroyo could be had in a trade. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what?
The Mets have had disaster after disaster the last three years. It’s time to lunge for that brass ring, ’cause the merry-go-round is getting close to losing its riders. Besides, Sheets WANTS to come to the Mets. He KNOWS that if he can have a great year in New York then next year he could look to sign a four year deal worth a TON of cash.
So, c’mon Fred and Omar. Do the right thing. It’s not safe, but damn… it’s sexy. And sex appeal is just what this team needs.
The older I have gotten, more more I have realized how important perception is to the world at large. Perception, some people say, is everything.
So, yesterday Bengie Molina rejected the Mets contracts offer of 5.5 Million for one year plus a vesting option for a 2nd year in 2011 (if he reached certain requirements in 2010). Molina instead accepted a one year deal (with no vesting option) from San Francisco for 4.5 million.
So of course the first thing being asked around is why. Why would Molina take less money from the Giants? He wanted a three year deal. The Mets offered more money and a chance to get a 2nd year and yet Molina rejected it.
There’s a lot of theories floating about. Molina wanted to stay with the Giants and they hadn’t offered anything until yesterday, he wanted to stay on the west coast, NY made him nervous… etc, etc.
I think at least a part of it was perception. Perception that the entire organization is a mess.
You see, the Mets have a much bigger obstacle than their on the field issues of the past three years. They need to disperse the notion that they are an organization that has no clue what they are doing.
Tom Verducci (of Sports Illustrated.com) did a very interesting report where he listed how efficent each MLB team was over the last decade. He used a lot of fancy math but basically it came down to what teams did the best with the money they spent? The most efficent team? That was the Marlins who spent the least yet manged to win a world series and be in a few pennant races. The worst? You guess it. The Mets,who despite playing in a world series in the decade and making the post season more than once and being in a decent number of pennent races still spent $737.5 million MORE than the Marlins and yet overall won only four more games. (And Yankee fans, before you start yucking it up… the Bronx Bombers, despite winning two world series and being in two others in the decade, finished only six spots better than the Mets and spent 31% more than the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets to the tune of $1.6 Billion dollars. In other words, money isn’t everything).
So what does this even mean? Well, toss this info aside for a second and take a look at the different headlines the Mets have made over the past year. The Tony Bernazard situation, Omar Minaya attacking New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin, the Carlos Beltran surgery miscommunication… looking at all of this it’s not hard to wonder just what in hell is going on over there.
Right now the Mets make the Keystone Cops look like a well oiled machine. That perception is not good. It’s not good for business. It’s not good for the fans. And it is certainly not good when trying to lure over prespective free agents who may (or may not) be in postion to improve your ballclub.
Would Bengie Molina made the Mets a better ballclub? Well, that is a matter of opinion. The arguement can be made either way. In the end, I’m not terribly disappointed he’s not here. Molina was one of the slowest runners in baseball, he struck out a ton and he’s a 35 year old catcher. Would he have hit decently? Yeah I think so, but not enough to give him a guaranteed deal for more than one year. The problem isn’t so much he’s not here. The problem is that the reasoning behind WHY he’s not here is disturbing.
At this point, I think you would be hard pressed to find many people who have a lot of respect for the Mets front office right now. It starts with their GM. Omar just doesn’t sound like he has the slightest clue what is going on. His soundbites are full of stammers and repeating words and hesitations and doublespeak. He comes across as edgy and nervous. People don’t even seem to think he’s really in charge anymore… that Jeff Wilpon is. Again, the perception of this is damning.
At this point, the best thing the Mets could do is clean house. Clean up the management staff (and the seemingly inept medical staff also) and get in some fresh blood who will at least give the preception they know what they are doing.
Of course in the end, if they win, the perception will change anyway.