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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Black Friday 

In a span of 15 minutes, Mets brass made a series of trades that obliterated the foundation of what was to be an organizational return to greatness for the short sighted purpose of playing “meaningful games in September.”

The Trades

In a three team deal, the Mets sent AAA catcher Justin Huber to the Royals in exchange for third basemen Jose Bautista, who was immediately flipped in a package with third/second/first basemen Ty Wigginton and AA right handed pitcher Matt Peterson in exchange for right handed starting pitcher Kris Benson and minor league second basemen Jeff Keppinger. In short, the Mets shipped out Wigginton, Peterson and Huber for Benson and Keppinger.

Minutes later, the Mets sent class AA starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Jose(lo) Diaz to Tampa Bay for starting pitcher Victor Zambrano and AAA pitcher Bartolome Fortunato, who is either 24 or 30 years old, depending on who you ask.

In summary, the Mets lost Wigginton, Kazmir, Peterson, Huber and Diaz and gained Benson, Zambrano, Keppinger and Fortunato.

Weighing the Talent

Looking at the trades in isolation, it’s clear the Mets overpaid in the transaction that landed Benson and got robbed blind in the follow-up deal that netted Zambrano. Looking at the cumulative effect of both trades together, however, reveals just how truly devastating they are. In a matter of minutes, over half the starting rotation of the Mets AA Binghamton pitching staff was sent packing. The heir apparent to Mike Piazza, one of the most highly touted catching prospects in the minors, was issued his walking papers as well. In short, the Mets gutted their farm system, a system envied by other teams. And let’s not forget about Ty Wigginton, a player who wore his heart on his sleeve for this team and has shown marked improvement this year from his rookie campaign of last season. The Mets lost monumentally more than what they received. The only way these trades can be justified is if they result in a World Series championship. If not, the Wilpons, Jim Duquette, "Superscout" Al Goldis, or whoever is running things for the Mets, can consider their gamble a failure.

The Lies

While weighing the talent the Mets received versus what they gave away tips decidedly against the Mets, these trades are more than just about Kazmir and Peterson et al., they are about team management implementing a plan, selling it to the fans, then abandoning the plan, the fans and the players that bought into it. Many fans were willing to be patient if it meant the Mets would field a team of players we could call our own. Didn't Met brass take note of the genuine excitement solid home grown players generate? Did they turn their backs when the Flushing Faithful gave David Wright a standing ovation when he got his first hit recently? Do they cover their eyes when us fans gush like little girls whenever Jose Reyes smiles? For God sakes we put up with Ty Wigginton's cement shoes at third base for a year and a half just because he's a home grown kid who works his tail off and is fun to root for. The Mets are not the Yankees and we were just beginning to enjoy how the current management was forging, or should I say re-forging, our own organizational identity and philosophy - one that we could be proud of. I'm not very proud to be a Met fan today.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Son of a Bitch! 

I'm way too incensed to form a coherent thought about what just happened tonight. Nice fucking "plan" Duquette you little worm. My gut reaction is that the Wilpon's desire for "meaningful" games in September (read, ticket sales) just trumped the long term success of this team. Maybe I was being naive, but I bought into this new direction the team was going - getting younger with an emphasis on replenishing the farm system in order to pour a foundation for a solid future. Yeah, I bought into it hook, line an sinker. What a dope I am. I'm going to let this marinate a bit, maybe throw up, and be back tomorrow with some thoughts.

Benson Deal Done 

According to Ken Rosenthall of FoxSports.com, the Mets acquired Kris Benson from the Pirates for Ty Wigginton and one of the Mets top pitching prospects, 22 year old Matt Peterson. Rosenthall also reports that the Mets received two unnamed minor leaguers in the deal. A Minnesota website jumped the gun in reporting on this trade last night so hopefully, or hopefully not (depending on your opinion of the deal), this report is correct. I'm going out to get a drink or ten.

Rick Peterson vs. Anna Benson 

It seems that if Kris Benson is traded to the Mets, pitching coach/guru Rick Peterson will have his hands full trying to find scientific evidence to counter this hypothesis by Benson's sultry, and demanding, wife Anna:
I hate it. There’s no scientific proof that sex is going to hurt your pitching performance. Each player has his own ritual, and Kris’s is no sex when he pitches. It pisses me off because if you tell me I can’t have something then that just makes me want it more. I like having sex with Kris. We’ve had some pretty nasty fights over this issue.
You can find that comment and others in this interview I found linked to at MVN (Parental Discretion Advised) and if that's not enough Anna for you, you can always visit her at her website. I think that Peterson should take the Benson's down to the American Sports Medicine Institute in Alabama to have Kris tested to see how he pitches with and without "relations."

What Happened to "the Plan"? 

This offseason Mets brass sold the fans on a plan of action that would right the Mets ship. Under the Steve Phillips regime, the Mets had strayed and become something they weren't, namely, a blue and orange version of the Yankees, snatching up hired guns and stealing back page press. The result were both similar and different from the Yankees. Like the Yankees, the Mets squandered their farm system but unlike the Yankees, did so without the benefit of wins on the field. With the promotion from within of first year GM Jim Duquette, the Mets set out on a PR blitz this offseason to get the fans excited to return to the organizational roots focused on pitching and getting younger. The propaganda was also an attempt provide a built in excuse for not signing Vladimir Guerrero and not trading young players for Alfonso Soriano. As a result, Met fans had visions dancing around our heads of a team a few years away that would be reminiscent of the 1986 Mets, with home grown stud pitchers, a few good home grown position players and a couple of free agents to plug holes. In other words, a team that us fans would be proud to root for; a team that would distinguish themselves from the band of mercenaries that the Yankees had assembled. With young players like Jose Reyes, David Wright, Scott Kazmir and Matt Peterson, fans were justified in their expectations. But now the plan has changed. Rumors are swirling that the Mets are on the verge of dealing Peterson and/or Kazmir - their top two pitching prospects - for Kris Benson and/or Victor Zambrano. The Mets are reported to be willing to "throw in" Ty Wigginton, a hard nosed, home grown player that will not only run through a wall for this team, but who, in only his second season, is also on pace to hit .280, smack 20 HRs and swat 35 doubles. The merits of these rumored trades are debatable, with most fans that are in favor of such a trade citing TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect) in arguing that while Peterson and Kazmir are top tier prospects, they are just that - prospects - and there is no guarantee they will ever pan out. Those that advocate that the Mets should hold onto their prospects argue that the Mets should resist trying to put a band aid on a 2004 Mets squad suffering from far more than one little boo boo. Much depends on what, if any, the exact trade(s) is/are and whether or not the player(s) the Mets get in return are inked to a longer term deal and is not just a few month rental. However, if a trade is made and whatever players are involved and whichever camp you find yourself in, it's hard to ignore that the Mets "plan" has been scrapped and the future is not nearly as bright as it once looked.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Why? 

Can someone please explain to me why Joh Franco still has a job as a Major League pitcher? Couldn't Royce Ring do as good (or as bad) a job? I hear we have another decent lefty somewhere down on the farm also.  Anyway, after today's greuling 4 to 1 loss to the Expos, I thought I'd help the Captain out in deciding where he should go from here. Click here John and let your fingers do the walking.

The Raindrops is Back 

A message from Avkash from The Raindrops

Hey folks,
As you may or may not know, the raindrops has been down for more than a week due to some server problems. I don't know when it'll be back to 100%, so in the mean time, I'm going to start posting at: http://theraindrops.typepad.com. This is a temporary thing until the old site is all fixed up, and I honestly have no idea when that will be. Do with your bookmarks as you please.
-Avkash

So go stop by and tell Avkash how happy you are that he's back on-line and how ugly that green color scheme is.  I kid, I kid!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

David Wright Joining the Party 

Mets uber prospect third basemen David Wright will be recalled from AAA Norfolk to play against the Expos tonightTy Wigginton will play first base tonight.  From the cyber Shea Hot Corner to the real, new Shea Hot Corner - welcome and good luck!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Welcome to the Party Pal 

Scott Erickson made his Mets debut last night and was promptly treated to a typical game for a Met starter. This typical start consists of a Met starter pitching his heart out and leaving with the lead, then being forced to sit idle in the dugout while the Mets porous defense and suspect bullpen conspire against him to snatch away a win and hand over a no decision or, if the pitcher is unlucky enough, a loss. No where else does a 2.67 ERA equate to a sub .500 win/loss record. I'll try to take some solace in the words of Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson who, in an interview with WFAN a few weeks ago, seemed to have a good attitude about these types of losses. Peterson said that good teams find themselves in every game. And when you're in every game, you are bound to lose some heartbreakers. In other words, it's because the Mets are so good that I threw a sneaker, highlighter and a pair of glasses at the TV set last night. The key, according to Peterson, is to not let these losses effect you so that you can bounce back. Say what you will about our little water treading Mets, you can't say they are not a resilient bunch.

Now, let's move onto brighter thoughts. The latest from ESPN,

If they can stay in the race and none of the other NL East contenders break away from the pack, the Mets might have an opportunity. They have the second-most games left against teams with records under .500 (24) in the NL, will be finished with Florida and Philly by Sept. 12, and nine of their last 15 are against the Expos and Pirates (who presumably will be without either Kris Benson or Jose Mesa by then).
That makes me feel a little better. What makes me feel even better is knowing that both the Braves and Phillies records are a bit artificially bloated in that they have had the pleasure of playing the AAA Expos 14 times each so far while the Mets have only played them seven times.

Lastly, on last night's broadcast Ted Robinson mentioned an article from the NY Times Magazine by Pat Jordan. It's a good read, check it out here.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Parra to the DL 

In the latest installment of the hit new drama, As the Roster Turns, right handed relief pitcher Jose Parra was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain.

Mets Trade Karim Garcia for Mike DeJean 

The Mets finally found a taker for Karim Garcia. The Orioles took Garcia and gave the Mets right handed set-up man Mike DeJean. DeJean comes to Flushing with a 0 and 5 record and a hefty 6.13 ERA. Mets GM Jim Duquette said,

Mike will bring experience and depth to our bullpen. . . He has had success in the National League and has the savvy of pitching well in close games.

If DeJean's record and ERA weren't scary enough, Baseball Prospectus's handy dandy Reliever Evaluation Tools Report does not give us much relief either (no pun intended). DeJean is second to worst in adjusted runs prevented, dead last in at preventing inherited runners from scoring, and is the most overrated relief pitcher in baseball by conventional run assignment. In other words, think of DeJean as Mike Stanton from the right side. 
 
If you're looking for a bright side, here it is.  Since the Richard Hidalgo trade, Garcia was useless to the club right now so at least the Mets got something for him.  Also, DeJean has had some success in the past.  While DeJean has had a rough year, he seems to have turned it around as of late, with a 2.35 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in July.  Finally, note that DeJean has actually pitched very well away from Camden Yards: 2.29 road ERA. 
 
The Mets were hoping to move Garcia today in order to clear a roster spot for pitcher Scott Erickson who is being recalled from AAA Norfolk and is scheduled to start tonight.  They moved him but took a player in return so it's not clear who the odd man out on the roster is.  A right handed releiver was not exactly on the top of the Mets wish list, especially with how well the Mets right handed bullpen arms have pitched and how poorly the two-headed-southpaw monster has thrown.  Alternatively, another trade that opens up a roster spot might be imminent as well. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Our Lefty Bullpen Savior: Vic Darensbourg (quack) 

The Mets beat the Phillies last night 3 to 2 in an 11 inning thriller to pull within one game of first place.  Quack.  There are currently four teams within one game of the top spot in the division.  Wow.  Apparently the Mets brass knows that if the team is going to go anywhere, it needs some bullpen reinforcements, particularly from the left side.  This gaping hole might be more of a pressing need than the need for a decent back of the rotation starter.  John Franco and Mike Stanton have been ineffective.  Quack.  Stanton, who ranks among the league's worst at allowing inherited runners to score, is on pace to set a career high in innings pitched.  Franco and his 4.59 ERA is on pace to toss the most innings he's thrown in almost fourteen seasons.  In other words, as bad as this southpaw duo as been, at their ages don't expect them to get any better in the second half.  Quack. 
 
Recognizing this, the Mets have
brought in and assigned to AAA Norfolk, 33  year old Vic Darensbourg, (quack, quack) who was recently cut loose by the White Sox.  To make room for the journeymen lefty, the Mets sent another lefty bullpen arm, Royce Ring, down to AA Binghamton.  Ring came to the Mets in the Roberto Alomar trade and was touted as a serious contender to become the Mets future closer.  Quack.  After mixed results in Norfolk (3 and 1, 3.74 ERA) his stock has slipped quite a bit.  Quack.
 
Jeez, what the hell is all that damn quacking! What is this one of those
Aflac commercials!?! Oh, wait, I know what that quacking is.  It's a sign from above (or a sign from exit 58 on the LIE).  If the Mets are in the business of signing journeymen lefties to shore up the bullpen, then why not ink Generation K alum Bill Pulsipher to a minor league deal, send him to Norfolk, and let's see what he can do.  Pulsipher is currently tearing up the independent AAA Atlantic League for the Long Island Ducks.  At 8 and 2 with a 3.28 ERA and 60 Ks in 85 innings pitched, Pulsipher is among the league leaders in pitching and was recently selected to the Atlantic League All Star Team.  According to a recent interview, Pulsipher has straightened out his mechanics, has improved and relies on his two seam fastball, which he compliments with his change-up, and perhaps most importantly, he has had much more success with his battle against anxiety by switching from Prozac to Paxil. 
 
Is signing Pulsipher a likely scenario? No, not at all.  Would it make sense? It makes about as much sense as signing 33 year old Vic Darensbourg to a minor league deal to take 23 year old Royce Ring's spot in Norfolk.
 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Say Hello to Scott Erickson 

Like a bad case of herpes, Scott Erickson just will not go away. Erickson's VD-like persistence will apparently pay off this Saturday or Sunday, as perennial Met nay sayer and Shea Hot Corner Axis of Evil Grand Wizard Bob Klapish is reporting that he has taken Matt Ginter's spot in the Mets starting rotation. Is this good news for Mets fans? Yes and no. It's bad news because the fact that Scott Erickson will be pitching for the Mets this year is a statement about the Mets failure to produce a serviceable back of the rotation starter from within, especially the lack of Major League ready minor league pitching prospects. While the Mets are stocked with arms from AA down, none of these pitchers are ready for the big stage. Matt Ginter got a shot and could not pitch well consistently. Ditto Tyler Yates. Grant Roberts imploded and could not even handle being the Mets long man out of the bullpen. I still have a nervous twitch from watching James Baldwin's starts. There's not much hope in Norfolk either. Aaron Heilman sports an unimpressive 2 and 8 record with a robust 4.90 ERA. With his 0 and 6 record and 6.02 ERA, Bob Keppel has made Heilman look good. The good news about Erickson replacing Ginter is that the Mets are on a roll in catching lightning in a bottle from unlikely players. With no other immediate options available, it can't hurt to give Erickson a shot. I would rather exhaust our options from within before making any rash trade deadline deals where this is probably the best you can get (although like Erickson being called up, there's a conciliation prize). Maybe Erickson can throw some strikes and keep his sinker down to produce a bevy of ground balls for our stellar infield defense to take care of. Ugh.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

I suck 

I know I know entries have been few and far between and when I do post, they suck. Well, they suck more than they used to. Unfortunately studying for this God damn bar exam is taking up way too much of my time and when I have a an hour to spare it's spent zipping through my Tivo'd Mets games. Go nuts with the Mets blogs on the side bar - there's some great stuff out there. I'll try to post when I can and should be back to posting more regularly in a few weeks. From what I can tell . . .

the Mets are still flirting with first place,

Art Howe is still dumber than wart puss,

Rick Peterson's a genius,

John Franco is older than dirt,

Orber Moreno has been spotted on the back of a milk carton,

Mike Stanton blows,

Kazuo Matsui got wind of my All Star Break deadline and has turned his season around,

Richard Hidalgo is making Jim Duquette look good,

Tom Glavine is still money but for some reason, he has yet to endear himself to me. Last year it was just odd to see him in a Mets uni. Then, as he struggled, all of his excuses didn't sit well with me. QUestec, pressure, bad defense blah blah blah. And now that he's pitching well, all of his subtle comments about lack of run support is just more of the same. And from what I can gather, with his lack of strike outs and his superb ERA, while the offense might not be there when he pitches the Mets defense has saved his ass more often than not. Shut up and pitch. Oh, and stop playing make believe GM while you're at it. We don't want that old, crusty homophobe John Smoltz. Now, where was I, oh right, back to this shitty blog entry,

Mike Cameron is swingin a mean stick,

"Ty Wigginton," according to Kaz Matsui, means "this is my hot corner" in Japanese,

Art Howe is still dumb,

Jose Reyes can hit .200 the rest of the season so long as he flashes one of those smiles every couple of games (okay, that smile can get him only so far - say, .250),

"David Wright," according to Jae Weong Seo, means "move over bucket head" in Korean,

Mike Piazza is struggling but who cares - the Mets are an offensive juggernaut (I can't believe I just wrote that) and his bat is just gravy right now,

Cliff Floyd made a great balls to the wall play in left field the other night against the Phillies in the late innings when the Mets were already up like 10 to 1 - that's what I call heart,

While Reyes' smile gets him a pass to only hit .250 the rest of the year, Jason Phillips goggles, while cool, do not get him any such pass,

This Met team is going to be the death of me, or the reason I fail the bar.

That's it for now.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Bring on the Phillies 

Sweeping the Yankees was sweet and it was especially gratifying these days where the NY and national media make a hobby out of kissing the Yankees' pinstriped ass. However, the Mets can't make the same mistake made by this weekend's sweeepees. The Yankees finished an emotional sweep of the Redsox last week then rolled into the weekend series against the Mets on a high and were quickly shot down by our boys in blue and orange. Similarly, the Mets just finished off an emotional sweep of the Yankees and now have to square off in a four game series against the Phillies. The Mets can't let their guard down or they risk having done to them what they dished out this weekend.

Every so often, before a series begins, I'll skim through some of the opposing team's blogs or message boards to see what, if anything, opposing teams fans think of their teams chances against the Mets. Usually what I find is a lot of "I hate the Mets," "the Mets suck" "Mets fans are fat ignorant selfish pig-faced slobs" etc... After taking 2 of 3 against the Reds and sweeping the Yankees to pull into second place and only 2 games out of first, however, I found something strange for the first time this season: respect. Here are a few excerpts from the Phillies message board:

Subject: Mets Scaring Me
The Mets are looking unstoppable. Did you see the hilights against the Yanks...They smoked the yanks...swept them three games straight. The Mets are the Phillies main threat. The Phils have no time to begin slumping. The Mets are on one of their irreverent "magic" rolls right now. Help, the Mets are scaring me...
Damn straight we smoked them Yankees and butter us up baby because you're right - we are indeed on one of our "magic rolls."
I agree 100%. Not only have the Mets killed the Phillies this year along with the rest of the NL East (except the Expos), but they are on a major hot streak right now and i think the Phils will have a very difficult task over the next four days and they will be lucky to win 2 of the 4.
The Phillies should consider themselves lucky if they escape the series with their lives!

Subject: Worried About the Mets
Is anyone else concerned about the up comming series with the mets? With the way this team has pitched you can't help but wonder what an average hitting team will do. I mean the Spos put up quite a few runs. With better pitching against the phils (Leiter, Glavine) can they win?? I sure hope so because the Mets fans are soooooooo annoying. What do you guys think?
Who you calling annoying!
A little bit concerned, I suppose. I do not think they have the bullpen to match ours (gulp). However, their starters have been great and a shudder to think what will happen if they land a fifth starter in a trade.....they have still struggled at tehj dish but the pick-up of Hidalgo has proven thus far to be a good one
Shudder shudder damn it shudder!
As far as their team is concerned, God help the NL east if they had a decent manager. Sound familiar????
True dat.

Back to the Yankee series, I just wanted to point to two pictures that embody why the Mets are a fun team to watch and why rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Ivan Drago.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Subway Sweep!!! 

Hey Yankees, get on your

and get the hell out of Flushing because you have been

courtesy of

Thank you for playing and come again.


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