Monday, December 20, 2010
Ok, so I've pretty much kept away from the whole Cliff Lee stuff, since there is nothing I'm going to say that wasn;t said in the first hour or so after the announcement.
It certainly was the worst place he could have gone. If he had gone to the Braves it would have been just about as bad I suppose, but basically anywhere else would have been preferred.
Ok, lets get this out of the way... I cannot IMAGINE the Philies (barring major injury to one or more of their now seemingly insurmountable starting rotation) do not win the NL East. They are basically as assured of a playoff spot as one can be assured of one.
Does it mean they will win the whole shebang? I would say the odds favor them but nothing is a sure thing.
As a Mets fan, it does suck. It's just another thing the inane Philadelphia fans get to crow about... and oh GOD do they crow.
I REALLY have to say that the majority of Philadelphia fans (baseball, football and hockey at least) come across as very crass and arrogant and plain... well... mean spirited. It makes this sort of thing even harder to take.
The Phillies ARE an older team though, and I have the feeling that the "win now" mentality will hurt them in the long run. However, that long run will not be 2011 or 2012.
So for the next two years (at least) we have the spectre over our heads. I will say though, 2014 and beyond may be quite rough on that team, but for now... they shouldn't care. They have (once again) made a move that made their team better and if nothing else you have to respect that.
Just remember, this doesn't keep the Mets from being able to compete though. I expect this organization to rise from the ashes here. I expect them to be competitive in 2011 (I see no reason this team cannot win 85 games and at least be in it in September even if I don't expect a playoff spot) and I expect them to make some serious moves and make the team better for 2012 and be ready to go into battle with the playoffs a possibility.
Having said that though?
Oh GOD I HATE THE PHILLIES.
Say what you want about how good they are (or expect to be) but this team is full of arrogant jerks. If nothing else the Mets had better be ready to stand up to these idiots and give as good as they get.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Just what the heck is wrong with New York baseball fans?
I'm sitting here listening about how terrible the 2011 season is going to be for the Yankees if they don't get Cliff Lee because of how improved the Red Sox are and I have to wonder... with the possible exception of Andy Pettite, isn't this the same team that the Yankee fans expected to storm through the AL into the World Series before a hot Texas team cooled those plans?
I mean, let's see... They have a $25 Million dollar 1st baseman who is pretty much considered a top 5 first baseman (both in hitting and fielding). You have an MVP candidate at 2nd base who took a fairly strong career and made it even beter with a monster season. You have a guy playing shortstop that, despite his age, is still one of the smartest guys on the field and is more likely to raise his game back up then allow it to stay to the depths it was stuck in during the 2010 season. You have a $30 million 3rd baseman who really is likely to give you a 30 homerun, 110 RBI season and that's considered a DROP in production. You have an ace starting pitcher who has been a mixture of solid and dominating in the two years he's been here. You have a young, talented and soild #2 pitcher who will likely improve upon his impressive 2010. You have an, admittedly old, closer who defies all logic and shuts down other team's bats 99.9% of the time. I haven't even started on your very talented, if slightly uneven, outfield who's regular season stats have been pretty damn good.
In other words, why do the Yankees have to worry so much for? I'm not saying they are a lock to make the playoffs in 2011, but the team, just as presently constituted is as strong as most of the league and you know... you just KNOW they will find a way to add a pitcher. I think Pettite will be back and I could see the Yanks winding up with someone like Matt Garza, James Shields or a Wandy Rodriguez.
My gut is that Lee will remain in Texas. I think he's just trying to use the Yankees to get as much as he can there. In fact, I'll go as far as to say I don't think he ever wanted to go to New York. That doesn't matter though. The Yankees are a solid team who, frankly, still have a leg up on most of the AL. A.J. Burnett is not as bad as Yankee fans seem to think he is, and can easily be a #4 guy and contibutor. The offense is more than fine as long as Swisher continues to perform as he has (and there is no reason to think he won't) and A-Rod, Cano and Teixeria do what is expected of them (and there is not reason to think they won't).
As for the Mets... I'm SO SICK of the whining going on here. Everyone... and I mean EVERYONE wanted Omar and Jerry gone. Well they ARE gone and so is the way they did things. The new mangement group is looking to steamline the entire organization and with the lack of real talent on the free agent market this year, I'm GLAD to see them playing it smart and not grabbing someone for the sake of making a splash.
This organization needed a change and we're getting it. As fans, we have to be patient and let this season play out to get some money off the books and be able to make some moves to contruct this team with some real solid pitching and a view for longer term success as well as short term.
Listen. I know I'm in the minority, but I expect the Mets to be competitive next season. Yes, the loss of Johan Santana until June will hurt, but I have faith in the tandum of Pelfrey, Dickey and Neise to be decent. I'm also looking at an offesne that will have a full season of Carlos Beltran in a contract year, a bounce back season from Jason Bay (who I expect to come back to his normal numbers in a big way) and the solid performances of David Wright, Jose Reyes (also in a contract year), Ike Davis and Angel Pagan. If they can keep themselves at .500 until Santana comes back I can see this team being in the wild card mix. Do I thnk they could win the division? No, not at all unless one of the Roys misses a chunk of the season for the Phillies, but to automatically think the Mets are a 4th or 5th place team is ridiculous.
I expect the Mets to sign someone like Brandon Webb or Chris Young to an incentive laden contract and who knows... maybe they'll catch lightning in a bottle. The thing is, look at the big picture here folks. The Mets STILL will be in the top 5 or 6 in payroll in 2011 and odds are will spend a little more for the 2012 season. This is NOT going to be the Oakland A's East. The Mets aren't going to be a Moneyball team. Just shut up and let the new front office crew have some time to reshape this franchise like we've all been begging for the last three years.
Friday, December 10, 2010
As you might be able to tell, baseball means a lot to me. In my household, baseball is almost a religion. I have three children (Pat, Tyler and Alex) who all have played.
Tyler used to be the most feverish about it... he played 2nd Base and Shortstop from age five until he was eight... that was when I was forced into making him a pitcher when I coached a team that didn't have any kid who could actually make the throw from the mound to home plate. Since Ty was able to make the throw consistantly from short to 1st, I figured he'd at least be able to get the ball over the plate and stuck him in there in a desperate situation. He did more than that. For three years Ty was my most consistant pitcher. He didn't have much of a fastball, but his motion brought with it a natural flutter. Add in the fact he was usually right in the area of the strike zone, Ty got a lot of swings and misses. Other coaches started caling him "The Junkballer". The kids were stimied. If they swung, they often missed it or slammed it into the ground for a weak liner back to the box... if they didn't swing he was so close to the strike zone the umpires called it a strike moire often than not. More than once I brought him into a game with the bases loaded and no one out and he'd get out of it only giving up a single run or not any at all. He once pitched a game (a rare night game played under the lights) in his first season in pitching when he threw three and two third shutout innings of 2-hit ball with seven strikeouts and three groundouts back to the box. Becuase of a pitch count I had to take him out and the next two picthers let a mess of runs in, but I never forgot the way the crowd reacted to him coming off the mound after such a dominating performance. For a kid his age, that was remarkable, especially when you add in the fact that Tyler is autistic and was playing baseball in a regular little league with regular kids... not in a challenger league or special league.
Tyler (and I as his coach) won the AAA World Series in 2009 and at age 12 he decided that he needed a break from baseball. The other kids started to catch up to his pitching and his outings weren't always as solid as he was used to and his bat also suffered from the older kids abilities. Even in winning our first championship, his expectations for himself were so big he couldn't handle him coming back to the pack as well and he should. He took last year off but is still a fountian of knowledge of stats about the Mets.
My oldest, Pat, still plays at age 16 and is an excellent fielder both at 2nd and in the outfield. He's got a good bat and if he'd get over his adversion to sliding he'd be even a better player. He's got a great attitude though and coaching him is more than a pleasure... he knows how to make it fun and his mood towards it is always refreshing.
My youngest, Alex, has been playing for four years. He BEGGED to play T-Ball at age four since he would always see his two older brothers playing. At age eight now, Alex is in the zone that he'll either becomes a solid player or lose his taste for it. He often will remark he might not want to play, but once you get him on a field he suddenly finds his desire back to normal.
I coach all three of them (and yeah coaching THREE teams in a season is NOT an easy thing to do) when they play and as much as it's a pain in the rear sometimes, I do love it.
I've also been a Mets fan for a loooooong time. I live and die with the Mets in a way that is almost unhealthy. I actually was once a Yankees fan as a young kid in the 1970's but changed my alligence back in 1982 (for reasons I'll blog about one of these days). It wasn't even a "jumping on the bandwagon thing, since the Mets were TERRIBLE in 1982.
To this day as much as I enjoy football (Giants!) or Hockey (The pitiful Islanders) and played both sports, nothing... NOTHING gets me going like baseball does.
What does this have to do with the BBA? I'm getting to that.
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is a unit of baseball guys and gals like myself who worship baseball. It means something to all of us and we do more than just talk about it... we support our passion with a string of blogs and radio shows that entertain, inform and project the game we love. The BBA was founded in 2009 by Daniel Shoptaw, a St. Louis Cardinals blogger. I was brought into the fold on suggestion by Frank Maniscalco when I was writing for his NYB Blogs site. When I broke out on my own and launched "It's Outta Here" I was graciously welcomed into the ranks by Steve Keane (the NY NL Chapter President and founder of the amazing Mets Blogsite The Ed Kranepool Society and host of "This Call to the Bullpen" radio show.
Not only is the BBA a group of bloggers who post about our various teams (and you'll find someone from each MLB team out there in the 230 members of the alliance) ranging from blogging about the rich history of baseball, from the analytical part of the game to general baseball news and views coverage all the way to fantasy baseball... but we also vote on season ending awards in a similar fashion of the Baseball Writers of America (who from what I understand aren't too happy about that) like the Connie Mack Award (NL Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays Award (NL ROY), the Goose Gossage Award (NL Reliever of the Year), the Walter Johnson Award (NL Cy Young Award)and the Stan Musial Award (NL MVP)... as well as others depending on the chapter of the BBA doing the voting.
Please take the time to check out the BBA Website (http://baseballbloggersalliance.com/) and the Radio Channel (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseball-bloggers-alliance) and make it a place you visit often. Turst me, if you love baseball half as much as the BBA it'll be time well spent.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Ok, I get it. Derek Jeter is 36 years old and is coming off the worst statisic year of his career. We know. God, we know.
But do we REALLY have to be reminded of it ever damn time his name is mentioned?
Listen, the Yankees made a VERY fair offer to Jeter. We know that. Everyone knows that. However the Yankees, who pretty much tried their best to make Jeter the bad guy in the negotiations the past few weeks, really are a bunch of hypocrites.
They don't blink when it comes to throwing gobs of money at anyone and everyone... the A-Rod contract is looking worse and worse every year... but they suddenly have a budget when it comes to the biggest name in pinstrips over the last thirty years?
I think a three year, $41 million contract would have been more than fair. Jeter's made so much money the last ten years he doesn't know what to do with it all. The Yankees have been as good to Jeter as he's been to them... of that ther is no doubt.
However, you have to grin at the fact that they seem to pay players so much more above market value every year that them suddenly becoming cost conscious is beyond laughable.
Also, it seems like the media is going out of their way to label Jeter a total albatross. Every day I see another story about how only one team in history has gone to the world series with a shortstop over 36 years old (that would be the Dodgers and Pee Wee Reese in 1955) and how Jeter is slower and has less power and could hit .259 and be a total weight on the offense and have to be dropped down and I start to wonder... at what point do we give the guy the benefit of the doubt? Has Jeter ever really given the Yankees or their fans a reason to doubt him? I think it's been a little ridculous how for years he never seemed to be able to do any wrong... but one thing you have to give the guy... his head and body give 110% in every play of every inning of every game.
I think the Yankees are idiots. They throw money at players like it's confetti but they treat their most recognized player (hell, just about the most recognized player in Major League Baseball) like he's Rey Ordenez. It's a little sickening.
I don't feel bad for Derek Jeter. He's rich and famous and will be fine without my sympathy. What REALLy gets me is the pointless nature of the team he plays for.
It was pretty much the same for another Yankee great when Bernie Williams was suddenly a man without a country at the end of his career. I can bet you that if Jorge Posoda was a free agent this year he might have gotten the same treatment. I can understand when it's time to part ways with a player... but the Yankees wanted... no the Yankees NEEDED Jeter back... if only because the fans would have revolted has they let him walk... but they needed him because it's plain to see the guy is a winner and other guys in the clubhouse have to be able to look his way and say "that's how I should be..."
So, enough with the stories about his age and his lost step and his slower body. Enough about the fact he wanted to be paid like A-Rod and C.C. and (likely) Lee.
I think the guy has earned it... and dammit... if they're going to throw that money at everyone... why not a guy who is everything you claim you want your players to be?
Be consistant. That's what Jeter has been.
Monday, December 6, 2010
We saw a bunch of players non-tendered by their clubs back on Friday, and there are a number of them I would be interested in for the Mets. The following is the list of players I'd look at (in no particular order):
BOBBY JENKS (RHRP): This is a doubtful one, but Jenks would solve a LOT of problems for the Mets. He'd take Pedro Feliciano's place as the reliable set-up man and be able to close when K-Rod wasn't available or better yet, close in place of K-Rod enough to keep his 4th year $17.5 million option from vesting. Jenks will likely get a 2-yr $10 million offer from somebody, which is above what the Mets will spend this year.
RUSSEL MARTIN (C): He's recovering from a hip fracture and his performance hasn't been anything to write home about the last few years, but making him the backup to Jose Thole would be a good move if he would take a $1.4 million offer or so. He's another guy who will likely get a good offer from someone (think 2-yrs $5.5 million) so this is also a doubtful player for the Mets.
CHIEN-MING WANG (RHSP): Hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since mid-season 2008. He's been pretty much injurged more often that not since 2007. He mad $2 Million last year and never pitched. This is a player who has shown he can pitch in New York and will likely be able to be had for a VERY cheap price. An Inceptive laden contract that starts about $900,000 could get this done. Is supposedly throwing pretty well in instructional league action. This is more than possible.
CHRIS CARTER (OF/1B): I understand that the mets HAD to non-tender Carter becuase of a clause in his contract that he would had to have earned $200,000 or more in Triple-A next season, plus his minor league salary. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported: “The Mets are now allowed to re-sign him if both sides choose, with a new split contract that calls for a far lower salary,” Well, I hope they do, because I loved Carter's bat and his attitude. He's an excellent guy off the bench as a PH or a 4th outfielder, despite his barely average defense.
Sorry for the unexpected break, but there was a little too many things to take care of in real life. I did miss commenting on the Mets hiring of Terry Collins as their Manager, and I will get to that at one point. However, there are other things to discuss and I'll be looking to get the ball rolling ASAP. Hopefully I didn't lose a bunch of you during my three week hiatus. Anyway, let's get to it.