<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Panel Discussion of the 2004 NY Mets: Part II, Electric Blogaloo 

In Part I of the 2004 NY Mets Panel Discussion, the professionals weighed in. Today the Mets bloggers step into the batter's box. And since The Shea Hot Corner is a non discriminating equal opportunity blog, a few loyal readers mix it up as well. Part II is pretty long but I promise it's well worth the read. Besides, what else do you have to do? Work? C'mon now. Shut your office door. Build a barrier out of legal size copy paper and put it across the opening in your cubicle. Hell, print it out and read it in the bathroom, on the subway or train. Here is the list of participants:

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
Mike from East Coast Agony
Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Kaley from Flushing Local
Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Alan from Mets Analyst
Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Avkash from The Raindrops
Eric from SaberMets
Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
And loyal readers Sam M and Mike M

On to the Qs & As

Enjoy
-Norm @ The Shea Hot Corner

___________________________________________________________
If you were the Mets owner/GM, would you embark on a complete overhaul of this team or take the middle-road approach to rebuilding the Mets seem to be currently taking?

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Money being paid to Leiter, Glavine and Piazza plus Cedeno, Weathers and Stanton hurt the rebuilding cause. I think I would take the same approach The Duke is taking now by protecting the young talent on the farm. The one difference for me would be, I'd stay on the phone with Twins GM Terry Ryan until I could pry one of his many OF'ers away.

Kaley from Flushing Local
I'd say they are completely overhauling the team now. It's just not going quickly enough for some people. But I don't see how it could go all that much faster without seriously damaging the farm system. That would be a big mistake

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Middle of the road. A complete overhaul does not have to happen, especially with the money the Mets have. I wouldn't have signed Kaz Matsui, but Mike Cameron is the kind of move you should make while rebuilding. Also, most of the other contracts can't be moved and you shouldn't just waste two years while waiting for contracts to run out...

Avkash from The Raindrops
Complete overhaul.

Sam M
Easy. Middle-road. I would trade or release in a heartbeat any player whom I think is actually blocking a prospect who might be part of the Next Great Mets' Team -- but I don't see anybody on the current team who is doing that. Piazza? He's not blocking anybody, and besides he's untradeable. One of the veteran starters? Maybe, but Glavine is untradeable, and who exactly are Leiter and Trachsel blocking? Even the most inane roster moves (Zeile, McEwing) don't really involve holding back anyone of great promise. I'd say they have the right idea: a two-track approach. Some moves (Cameron, Looper) calculated primarily to keep them respectable in the short-term, and which don't compromise the long-term health of the club. Other moves designed to clear genuine dead wood (Alomar, Benitez), and build the team that will contend in a couple of years (Rick Peterson, pitching guru), and hopefully for years thereafter. Those two tracks are not mutually exclusive. I might be more willing to eat a contract to get rid of a guy (Cedeno, Stanton), but in general I think the approach is the right one.

Mike M
Ideally a complete overhaul would be the optimal path, but I don’t think reality would allow that to happen as the Mets are still saddled with too many unmovable contracts for aging veterans (Glavine, Stanton, Cedeño, maybe even Piazza). I personally would have been more inclined to go with internal youth over 1 or 2 of the guys given a contract this off-season, but I do think Duquette has vastly improved the long-term look/feel of this club AND still managed to put a far better 2004 squad on the field – no small task by any means.


What do Jim Duquette and Fred Wilpon mean when they say that their goal, which they expect to meet, is for the Mets to be playing "meaningful games in September"? If you can figure out what this means, do you agree that the Mets will indeed be playing these mysterious meaningful September games?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
The fact that the prediction of the Mets playing "meaningful games" in September hasn't been accompanied by a prediction that the Mets will make the playoffs forces me to conclude that Wilpon and Duquette are expecting the team to lose these "meaningful games". I agree that the Mets have a decent shot of at least being on the fringes of the Wild Care race come September, so I suppose some meaningful games will come up on the schedule. If the team can manage to start off hot enough to warrant a deadline deal for a top starting pitcher and/or quality right fielder, I would definitely expect some games of the meaningful variety.

Mike from East Coast Agony
The obvious answer is that these crafty gentlemen sought a way to say “games with bearing on a playoff berth” without mentioning the playoffs specifically or even whose berth they were talking about. My take is that in their haste to squeeze out a forceful yet barren projection for their team, they chose the wrong word. What they were trying to say is that the Mets will be playing “mean” games in September. Think of all the wonderful meanings, all valid:
lacking distinction or eminence: humble
lacking in mental discrimination: dull
of poor or shabby inferior quality
We’ll surely see some more Garcia-quality classless displays, and luckily that facet is covered too:
lacking dignity and honor
Here’s one that exposes Wilpon’s professed desire to spend money as the season goes on:
penurious, stingy; characterizes by petty selfishness
For our sabermetric friends, this describes the Mets with respect to their division:
occupying a middle position: intermediate in space, order, time, kind, or degree
Finally, charging what Wilpon does for the privilege of watching our projected September infield of McEwing, Danny Garcia, Wigginton, and Phillips is just plain mean.

Kaley from Flushing Local
It means they don't want to look like idiots by predicting this team will contend for the playoffs this year, but they don't want to say to the fans "we probably have no chance of contending for the playoffs until 2006." I guess that kind of cynicism sort of disqualifies me from answering part two.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
They want to be in the race in September. They want to have a chance to play games to get into the playoffs. The Mets will not be playing those games (.500 team at best) and they don't need to be... and they don't need to make trades mid season to try to, unless those trades will help in the future (read: Magglio Ordonez).

Alan from Mets Analyst
I take "meaningful games in September" to mean being within 5 or 6 games of the wild card at some point in the first week of September. Since the current Mets project to be about a .500 team, I think that is a reasonable goal to shoot for. They will have to do a little better than expected, but it is not unrealistic.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I guess that technically "meaningful games in September" means being in the playoff race, or at the worst on the fringes of it. In reality this is there way of avoiding coming out and saying "We expect to be decent, but realistically we need to focus on competing a year, two years down the road, and accept that we probably aren’t going anywhere this year". That's no secret of course, but the NY market won't accept them simply admitting that they don't expect to make the playoffs this year, even though most every fan already realizes this. I think that the Mets will finish around .500 this year, with 80-82 wins. Not really sure if that translates to meaningful games in September. .500 ball should keep us on the outer fringes of playoff competition at least to August though.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Fred Wilpon thinks it means Captain John Franco and Super Joe McEwing will have the Cy Young and League MVP awards wrapped up by then as they lead the Amazins into the postseason. Duquette just nods and laughs nervously as he hopes Freddy Skillsets and Co. stay out of his (theoretical) hair while he tries to develop future stars on the farm and acquire more "proven veterans" for the bench. The phrase is nothing more than a PR line that's supposed to sell tickets during the off season. The only meaning September will hold for the 2004 Mets will be watching who ever gets called up with an eye towards 2005. That's a good thing, because if they're five games behind in the wildcard with four teams ahead of them in the last month, it means they've probably traded away some of their future for the extremely short term. Again.

Eric from SaberMets
Mets management knows that the Mets stand little-to-no chance of competing for the postseason in 2004. That said, they’re not about to write off the season just yet. It behooves them to pitch a realistic goal to the fans, even one as nebulous as “playing meaningful games”. “Meaningful” can be interpreted a number of ways, though I suspect that Wilpon et al are hopelessly optimistic that the 2004 Mets could catch the proverbial “lightning in a bottle”, a la Anaheim 2002 and Florida 2003.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Ahh, yes. The much-ballyhooed "meaningful games in September" that Wilpon and The Duke keep repeating like a mantra. Well, all but six of the Mets' game in September are against divisional rivals, so they have the potential to play the role of spoiler. That's meaningful, I suppose. I'm sure that's not what they mean, though. If they are referring to the Mets competing for the wild card or first place in the N.L. East, which I would imagine they are, then no, I don't think the Mets will be playing those "meaningful" games.

Mike M
I do agree. I think the Mets will be around a .500 ball club all season long, which will likely put them right on the cusp of WC contenders. It also puts them in a position that if they happen to catch a September hot streak they might actually give us Mets fans a real tease (like the 2001 Mets).


Which Mike Piazza can we expect in 2004: the Piazza who was hitting .333 in 2003 before he went down with a groin injury or the Piazza that came back later that year but did not hit a HR in the final month of the season?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
So far so good (at least with the bat) in Spring Training. I think the real Piazza lies somewhere in between his early and late 2003 stats, but I expect him to hit as long as he's healthy. Hopefully some time at first base will help keep him that way.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Piazza isn’t done, if he stays healthy. The extent of his injury precluded a return to form if not the return that he gave us. My line for a healthy Mike is .280 30 HR 110 RBI; if he re-injures his groin (which from watching his lack of agility around first base appears to be a lock), my line for Mike and the rest of the offense is a flat one.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Piazza seems to be rejuvenated this spring both as a player and as a leader. The story with Mike will be his health. A healthy Piazza will be a vintage Piazza.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Neither. I think his power production dropped because Cliff Floyd went on the DL and there were no fearsome hitters in the lineup any where near him to provide cover. Pitchers threw him junk and out of frustration, he went fishing. His strikeout rate went way up in September.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Somewhere in between. He won't hit .333, but he will hit home runs. .280 with 30 HR sounds good.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Neither. The days where Mike competes for batting titles are over. He should still hit for a good average, but is likely to only bring down that gaudy .319 career number. There's no reason not to expect him to still have a ton of power though. From 99-02 Piazza posted an IsoP above 250 every year. If healthy I'm looking for Piazza to bat around 290, with 30+ HRs.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Both. Piazza has always been streaky, going weeks at a time where he hits nothing but easy groundballs and weak pop flies, followed by a few weeks where he hits .436 with 8 HRs and 21 RBIs in 17 games or some such combo of kick ass numbers. The problem going forward is that the cold streaks will be longer and the hot streaks not as frequent. I'd sign right now for something in the neighborhood of 280/.360/.500 for 2004. Let's hope it's across 150 games, not 120.

Eric from SaberMets
Mike Piazza has been in decline for the past three-or-four years. There is no reason to expect him to hit .330 this season (or any season from now on), but .280 with 35 homers and a .370/.500 OBP/SLG is probably reasonable.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
What we'll see from Mike Piazza this season remains a mystery. Obviously, he's begun his declining years, but it remains to be seen how much playing some games at first base will help to slow his decline, or if it will make any difference at all. I'm inclined to believe that it won't make that much of a difference at the plate for Piazza, so we can probably expect something along the lines of what we saw from him in 2001 and 2002, with a possible slight improvement.

Mike M
I think Mike Piazza can be a better offensive player than what we saw in 01/02. In those two seasons he was THE only threat in the Mets lineup, which gave opposing pitchers very little incentive to actually give him something to hit. This season he has better table-setters in front and better protection (along with around 50+ AB’s); a .300/30+/100+/900+ campaign seems within reason.


Offensively, will Kazuo Matsui be closer to Rey Ordonez or Ricky Henderson?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
I don't see any way Matsui will take as many walks or steal as many bases as Rickey, but his offensive production won't bear any resemblance to Rey's either. If I had to pick one of the two, I'd say Rickey, as he may very well match non-peak Rickey's power, but I'd have to stick him pretty squarely in between the two in terms of offensive value.

Mike from East Coast Agony
It’s hard to imagine a player with his pedigree in an admittedly sub-MLB league producing Rey Ordonez stats. That would be a letdown on the scale of, well, most of our recent free agent signings. I’m leaning toward Ricky Henderson, with much less plate discipline, and the speed and power of his twilight years.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Are you kidding? Rey-Rey was the worst offensive player I have ever seen. Kaz will be fine. He won't hit with the power he displayed in Japan but he should get on base and steal a base and do something that has not been seen at Shea in years, going from 1st to 3rd base on a single. So what I'm saying is more Rickey than Rey.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Ewww. Can I have a third choice? Definitely not Henderson. Henderson had fantastic plate discipline. Matsui is a hacker. I think he'll be stellar in the field and on the basepaths, and will chalk up an OBP around 330. Kind of a second rate Ichiro, with a lot more strikeouts, I guess. Much better than Ordonez. More like Donn Clendenon before he lost his speed.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Closer to Rickey Henderson, partly because Ordonez sucks that much and partly because he'll probably get close to Rickey's SLG numbers. He'll be somewhere in between. He won't put up a .400 OBP like Henderson, but he'll have pop like Henderson. .280/.330/.440 doesn't seem like a bad projection... and that's a lot closer to Henderson.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Of course Matsui will be better than one of the worst hitters in the majors, and a less good hitter than a sure-fire-first-ballot hall of fame outfielder who ranks with the all time greats. Probably, he will be closer to Rey Ordonez, but that doesn't mean much. He will be well above league average and, of much greater relevance, far better than Joe McEwing or Rey Sanchez.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
If I have to pick one of the two, I'd say Rickey Henderson, but I don't think he's likely to be comparable to either. I see very little chance that he's anywhere near as bad as Ordonez, so we can throw that out right away. He might be comparable to Henderson in terms of a leadoff guy with good contact, speed, and some power. Problem there is that Rickey stole more bases at 40 then Kaz is likely to at 28, and Henderson also had exceptional plate discipline, among the best ever in the history of the game. That's what really made him so valuable. Based on his Japanese numbers, Kaz's plate discipline is somewhat sub-par.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Rey-Rey, but Ricky is quite a high standard. Matsui isn't big on taking walks, and the Mets seem to be encouraging a make contact and run like the wind approach. While that will lead to a 300 average, rookie of the year honors, and an all-star appearance, it will do little to remind anyone of Henderson. Also, Matsui went 13 for 24 trying to steal bases last season, so I'd hold off before penciling in 30+ steals.

Eric from SaberMets
Neither is a particularly good comparable, and they’re about as far apart offensively as two non-power hitters can get. Rickey Henderson is one of the greatest hitters who ever played, Rey-o is most certainly not. I think if the Mets can get similar production to Angel Berroa they would be very happy; .280 with 20-20 potential.

Mike M
Ricky Henderson, with fewer BB’s, HR’s, and SB’s. I think Hoch’s comparison to a (somewhat lesser) Edgar Renteria is a very fitting one.


Who is your least favorite NY area print sports "journalist"? Why?

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Gee where do I begin here, Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman, Mike Lupica, Murray Chass. I think it close between Sherman and Heyman as the just love killing the Mets. Chass has let up a bit since Valentine left and Lupica I detest because he too full of himself. If I have to pick one it would Sherman in a photo finish over Heyman.

Kaley from Flushing Local
I don't really feel as strongly about the columnists as you do, but I suppose Jon Heyman would be my least favorite.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Klaspich. Mostly because he writes for my local paper and I thought he at least used to be decent.

Avkash from The Raindrops
We can all go on at length about how stupid such and such reporter is, but really, who cares. If you enjoy reading the day to day coverage in the papers, read it. If you don't, find something else to read or stop reading it all together.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
The Axis of Evil: Sherman, Klapish, Heyman

Sam M
Phil Mushnick. His nasty disposition just makes me cringe, even when I agree with a point he's making, which is actually pretty often. (All time, it remains -- it'll always remain -- Dick Young, whom I will never forgive for his role in the trade that sent Tom Seaver packing for Cincinnati).

Mike M
(How to answer in 100 words or less?) Joel Sherman, because I feel like he is far more concerned with sensationalism than actual journalism. I understand that comes with the job – especially for the Post – but would it kill him to let a little objectivity/foresight/common sense about the Mets creep into articles every now and again?


Who is your favorite current Met player? How about all time?

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Favorite right now is Wiggy. I admire the fact the he works as hard as he possibly can. I remember a story form last spring training where it was said he wrote E-5 on his fielding glove just to remind him to errors will not be tolerated. He also took about 150 grounders a day and he' s a tough SOB. My favorite of al time Steady Eddie of course.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Current player: Jose Reyes. He's got that undefinable thing that electrifies the team when he is in the lineup. Seaver had it. So did Gooden and Strawberry. It's a rare and beautiful thing. All-time: Tom Seaver. He's why I become a Mets fan in 1970. I was devastated when he was traded to the Reds in 1977. I cried for days. And I was furious when they left him unprotected in the 1984 free agent comp draft. He should have finished his career at Shea with a 1986 World Series ring on his finger. I don't have much use for him as a broadcaster, but he was my morning, noon and night in the 70s.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Currently its Mike Cameron and that's without ever seeing him play a game of defense. All time has to be John Olerud. Slick glove, great approach at the plate

Avkash from The Raindrops
Current favorite is none other than our main man Jose Reyes. Dude just does stuff you've never seen before and was the only reason to pay attention to the Mets during the dog days of '03. As for all time, Darryl Strawberry. No explanation necessary.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
All time: Lenny Dykstra. I just have a thing for guys that do more with less. Um, you know what I mean.
Current: Mike Piazza. Qualifying his title as the “best hitting catcher” is almost an insult. The guy is one of the best hitters of our era – period.

Sam M
All time is easy: Seaver. I was 8 when they won the '69 Series, and he was my boyhood idol. One of my best friends was an Oriole fan, and we must have argued Seaver v. Palmer a million times throughout the '70s. Seaver also took political stands I admired; he and his wife took out a print ad on Christmas Eve (or New Year's Eve, I can't remember which) 1969, asking people to join them in a prayer for peace. It was a gentle and dignified anti-Vietnam War stance, taken after he was asked and refused to wear a black armband on the mound during the World Series because he thought it was an inappropriate time & place.
Current Met is tougher. Reyes in a close call over Piazza. I like to look forward to the bright success just over the horizon, and Reyes symbolizes that perfectly. He's exciting as hell, and the first player they've had come up with a genuine chance to displace Strawberry as the greatest, entirely home-grown, Mets' position player.

Mike M
Currently, Jose Reyes. He is the dynamite this club hasn’t possessed since…Vince Coleman (zing!). Seriously though, I felt that last season as I watched him literally improve as a player right before my own eyes that I was witnessing something quite special. All time, Keith Hernandez. He did nearly everything well, he was the keystone professional that every great team needs.


Are Mets fans justified in being optimistic about the future with the likes of Scott Kazmir and David Wright coming through the pipeline?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
There's still some work to be done in the Mets' minor league system (can we get even one useful outfielder?), but the small group of top hitting prospects led by Wright and the larger group of pitchers with potential led by Kazmir provide plenty to get excited about, especially with Rick Peterson in charge of the pitching throughout the system. Mets fans should have a talented, competitive, largely homegrown team to root for starting in 2005.

Mike from East Coast Agony
I think a better source of optimism is our renewed focus on pitching and defense in general, rather than the particular prospects we have in our farm system. I love rooting for American Kaz and Wright, but I’m not pinning any hopes on them just yet.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Most definitely. This is the way to build a team. You build a core form your minor league system and use the free agent route as hole filler. From all I've read in Baseball America and through the Braunstein Minor League Reporter, the Mets farm system is one of the best in the majors.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Yes, but guardedly so. The system has some very bright stars in it and a whole lot of mediocrity. I'm especially worried about the outfield situation. There are no outfield prospects between Mike Cameron and Lastings Milledge. That's a little scary.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Of course. David Wright can hit and field and can fill one of the two positions the Mets are particularly weak at this point. I know TINSTAAPP exists, but Kazmir is as close as you get and has all the makings of an ace. The fans should be excited about the farm development going on with the Mets right now.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Yes, you should be optimistic, but that's because that's the point of being a fan, and New York teams have distinct advantages. Kazmir and Wright are both worth getting excited about, but they will not make the Mets champions on their own. The test will be of the Mets new management. We will have to see. This off season, they get a B+.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Certainly. Though neither has spent one day above A ball, they both have impressive track records to date, and both performance analysis publications like Baseball Prospectus, as well as traditional scouting publications like Baseball America think highly of the duo. That said, sustained success calls for a lot more than Kazmir and Wright living up to expectations, and the Mets have work to do in those areas. Once that happens, Mets fans can move from collective finger-crossing and wishcasting to optimism about perpetual contention.

Eric from SaberMets
They are justified in being optimistic for a number of reasons, not the least of which are Kazmir and Wright. Kazmir projects as a starting version of Billy Wagner and Wright projects as Scott Rolen. Projections can be deceiving, but those two are about as good as they come at their respective positions. For the first time in a long time the Mets have a very good farm system; more so in peak talent than depth, though sufficient in both areas.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Absolutely. With the right combination of homegrown talent and free agent acquisitions (sign Magglio!), there's no reason the Mets can't contend in 2005 and beyond.

Mike M
Damn skippy! I refuse to say anything else out of fear of the jinx factor (belief in the Mets’ prospect jinx: proof that I’ll never be a fully objective Mets’ fan)


Will Cliff Floyd accumulate at least 500 at bats in a season ever again?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
If he ever does it, this'll probably be the year, but I wouldn't bet, say, the fortunes of the franchise on it.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Odds are no. This is the biggest problem with the Mets organization, the lack of depth in position players. This why a guy like Victor Diaz should be playing the outfield in Norfolk and as Mets fans we have to hope that Jeff Duncan can progress as that's about all the Mets have to fill the outfield spots in case of injury.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Maybe once. If he's very lucky. They didn't him "Glass" in Montreal for nothing.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
This is having a little faith, but yes he will. He will reach 500 ABs next year. But not any other year after that.

Alan from Mets Analyst
I would say less than 50-50 that he gets 500 at-bats, which is why we need better than Cedeno as the fourth outfielder.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Probably, but I'm not betting on it to happen this year.

Avkash from The Raindrops
He'll have at least one before his current contract runs out after the 2006 season, but it's anybody's guess when.

Eric from SaberMets
I think that he will, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
I don't see why not. He did it just a couple of seasons ago. One injury-plagued season with the Mets does not render him a lost cause. He's only 31.

Mike M
I think one of these seasons he is going to luck into 145+ or so games played. Hopefully it happens while he is a Met, because there aren’t many guys on this team that I root harder for.


How unlikely is the following trade proposal and regardless of its likelihood, would it make sense? The Mets deal Kazuo Matsui to the Rangers for Alfonso Soriano, sign him to a longer term deal, and move Reyes and his brittle legs back to SS.

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
I'd say there's zero chance of it happening as the Mets have no desire to part with Matsui, and he wouldn't do anything to ameliorate the Ranger's alleged payroll problems unless the Mets offered to pay a chunk of his salary anyway. It would make sense from an offensive standpoint, as Soriano is almost certain to out hit Matsui over the next three years. Defensively, it remains to be seen how valuable Matsui really is, but I think it's unlikely that a Reyes/Soriano combo would be better than Matsui and Reyes. And it would make absolutely no sense from a public relations standpoint, as it would be just another example of a front office flip-flopping after proclaiming themselves to have a vision of how to rebuild this team.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Incredibly unlikely, for three reasons: First, Kaz is generating a lot of buzz and the Mets have staked a lot on him being interesting player to follow, so the PR hit would be huge; Second, Soriano is average defensively, and a big reason we picked up Kaz is his defense; and finally, I’m not certain Reyes will be injured more often at second base than at shortstop. He has a history of leg problems, and at the latter position.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
This is about as likely as Courtney Love taking a vow of chastity.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Such a deal could never happen, no way no how. But if it did, it would make no sense because we need to cultivate a pitching-centric team for years to come, and that requires a stellar double play combo. We have two great fielding shortstops playing SS and 2B. And they can hit, too! That's a huge bonus. Other teams should be insanely jealous. While I happen to think Soriano would be a great offensive asset for the Mets, I would not want to see him in the infield.

Alan from Mets Analyst
No chance. Doesn't Matsui have a no-trade of some kind? Soriano is a better player than Matsui, so it would be a good trade.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Beyond unlikely. Even if the Rangers had interest, Wilpon won't trade his prized import. As for whether or not it would make sense... I'd certainly do it. Soriano may not know how to take a walk, but he's a legit 40/40 guy, even if he's fallen just short the last two years. Yankee Stadium has killed that guy. Not that Shea is a paradise for right handed hitters, but the guy is an absolute monster on the road. 306/350/567 with 23 jacks on the road last year and 319/352/582 with 22 HR the year before. I'd throw him in right field, move Reyes back to short, and find a stopgap at second. Unless Victor Diaz forces his way into the lineup, in which case I’d let Diaz play right and deal with Soriano's defense at second.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Mets trade Kazuo? That's impossible. Matsui has a complete no-trade clause in his contract, so it's about as likely as Roger Cedeno winning a gold glove. Even if that wasn't the case, I'd be wary of signing Soriano to a long term deal, particularly since his off-season "maturing".

Eric from SaberMets
Very unlikely; the Rangers would never make this deal. Firstly, Matsui probably makes more money than the Rangers are willing to spend. Secondly, at least at this point, he doesn’t represent enough talent in an exchange for Soriano. It would make a lot of sense for the Mets, and I suspect that they would jump at such a deal.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Sorry, Norm. That's just crazy talk. For one thing, the Rangers don't want someone with Matsui's salary, and he's too much of an unknown quantity for them to give up Soriano. Besides, Soriano is not the answer. The Mets are pretty well set in the infield with Reyes, Matsui and prospects like David Wright, Aaron Baldiris and Victor Diaz. They're a little thin in the outfield, so signing someone like Magglio, Beltran or Garret Anderson in the offseason makes more sense for them than trading for Soriano. All of those guys are comparable or better than Soriano, and only cost money, not prospects. And let's not jump the gun and say that Reyes has brittle legs just yet.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
“Norm. That's just crazy talk.” C’mon Vinny, cut me some slack. I didn’t take my daily, required medication when I wrote that question as I mixed up my Prozac and my wife’s birth control pills that day.

Mike M
From a strictly baseball perspective there would be a lot of logic to be found in this move: swapping Reyes back to his natural spot and getting a true (and young) #5 bat, but I would be highly against it because I really do not believe that Soriano is a good fit for this team at all. Plus I’d quite like to see what Matsui can do on an everyday basis.


Is Tom Glavine done?

Mike from East Coast Agony
Glavine is toast, albeit toast drizzled with flaxseed oil. The improved offense might give him a little more support, and the improved defense might save a run here or there (and might not), but I don’t see any signs of him reinventing himself as a pitcher. I think to succeed he needs to.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
No. As much as I criticize Titan Tom, I think with a year of the "New York" experience under his belt and with confidence in letting his fielders make plays he should have a bounce back year.

Kaley from Flushing Local
I think he might be. I wouldn't be surprised if he retires after this season if he has another year like he had last year. The humiliation wouldn't be worth the money he'd forfeit.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Tom Glavine is done in the sense of being an ace or top of the rotation starter. He's not done as a pitcher. I could see a couple of ERAs in the very high 3's-low 4's with the improved defense.

Alan from Mets Analyst
What Tom Glavine shows up is a key question for the Mets. The decline in his strikeout rate is truly alarming, and it will be almost impossible for him to succeed without a rebound in that department. On the other hand, we're talking about a borderline hall of famer, a great pitcher who has always been crafty and able to make adjustments. Again, we will have to wait and see. I would say 60% chance he will better last year's era, 35% chance he will have an era under 4.00, but that is just from my gut, not from analysis.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I'm in the minority here, but I don't think so. He's never had great indicators, never had great stuff except for a circle change, which you don't lose with age. There's just no great reason why he should suddenly lose it. He never really had "it" Just a lot pitching smarts, a lot of changeups, and a lot of pitches on the low and away corner. I expect him to have at least one more good year.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Yes, and he's not coming back. Making sure Glavine doesn't reach his innings incentives, and thus triggering his 2006 option at $10.5 million, should be high on Jim Duquette's list of priorities. If Glavine pitches either a combined 417 innings in 2004 and 2005, or just 200 innings in 2005, we'll have to put up with Tommy Boy in 2006. Thank you, Steve Phillips.

Eric from SaberMets
I don’t think so. He’s not going to win 20 games or post a sub-3.00 ERA again, but he could still be an above-average pitcher, possibly along the lines of Rick Reed when he was with the Mets. Not exactly $35-million worth, but he’s far from useless (see: Rick Reed 2004).

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Again, like Cliff Floyd, I don't think you can judge Glavine by his first season with the Mets. For one thing, he pitched better than his numbers indicate, except against the Braves. He's a smart pitcher, so he can adjust to the new QuesTec strike zone. The improved defense should also help him. If he stinks up the joint this year, then you can say that he's done, or at least that he'll never be a successful pitcher while wearing a Mets uniform. Based on his track record, he deserves the benefit of the doubt, if only for another year.

Mike M
Nope, but he’ll never post ace-like numbers again. That said, I expect an ERA around 3.70 and 200+ IP this season, which would make that albatross contract of his a little easier to bear.


Who do you see starting in right field for the Mets in 2005?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
I'd love to say Carlos Beltran, but that seems unlikely with a Yankees team likely to have a hole at his actual position also in the bidding. Right now it looks like Victor Diaz might be the guy as I don't see Wilpon breaking the bank for a 31 year old Magglio Ordonez. Short of someone unexpected being available at this year's trading deadline, I don't see many other palatable options.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Magglio Ordonez is the hot name, isn’t he? Would Beltran play right field? I have no idea, though I’d like to wait and see how the Garcia/Spencer platoon works out. If it isn’t that embarrassing, I say we should lock it up cheap and wait another year to spend when we have a better idea of what our young pitching strength is.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
The Mets front office should be burning up the phone lines to the Twin Cities trying to pry away one of their many outfielders. Players like Michael Restovich-who was just sent to AAA-who even though he has a knack for the strikeout has power, good speed, and is a +defender. One of my favorites is Lew Ford who could be our "Moneyball" player as he has posted excellent OBA in the minors. Add in the fact he's 27 I would think about dealing Heilman for him.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
I'd like to see Carlos Beltran, but that's unlikely since some team will have a CF job for him. I see Maggilo Ordonez, only because I think the Mets will make a very hard push on him.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Probably the single highest chance, and it is not an exciting answer, is Karim Garcia. He should have a pretty good year in 2004, and the Mets tend to stick with fairly cheap incumbents. If you asked about 2004 in November 2003, however, Garcia would not have been in the top 10 answers, and 2005 is even less certain.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Without speculating on potential trades, or free agents, I’m going with Victor Diaz.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Jermaine Dye. He'll be coming off a season where he probably won't have great raw stats, what with the A's playing in a pitcher's park in a tough division, not to mention their merry-go-round of outfielders. Also, I can't see the A's offering arbitration after the season, so there won't be any compensation issues. Not the worst option out there at one year, couple million.

Eric from SaberMets
I would LIKE to see Magglio Ordonez or Carlos Beltran playing there, though the reality of that is far less likely. Beltran will probably end up with the Yankees or perhaps a dark horse team similar to Anaheim signing Vladimir Guerrero this offseason. Ordonez remains a possibility, especially if the White Sox decide to trade him during the season. In all likelihood, the Mets will go for someone who is an upgrade over their current situation, but falls somewhat short of the superstar status of the aforementioned duo. Someone like a Carl Everett without the baggage. Brad Wilkerson would be a great pickup along those lines.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Magglio! Magglio! Magglio!

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
Magglio! Magglio! Magglio! Beltran! Beltran! Beltran! Anyone other than the Pizza Platoon! Pizza Platoon! Pizza Platoon!

Mike M
Richard Hidalgo provided he has a 2004 similar to his 2003 season. If he does and we do land him, he’d likely be an under-the-radar signing that fits this team’s current needs exceptionally well.


Is Braden Looper the right man for the Mets closer job?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
No, in that he's not the guy likely to do the best job at it. Yes, in that he won't be too hard to push aside in favor of any minor leaguer who might catch the front office's attention. A team without post-season aspirations could get adequate, cost-effective work out of the closer spot from someone like David Weathers or Dan Wheeler, but as someone stamped with the "Proven Closer" label to cut down on the number of decisions Art Howe has to make in a game, Looper's probably cheaper than Ugueth Urbina would have been.

Mike from East Coast Agony
A softball question about a guy who’s as good as an over-40 league starter. Of course he’s not right for the job. We don’t need a closer, and the money spent on him is PR money, thrown away so Mets fans don’t have to read about, for instance, how the Yankees have Mariano Rivera locked up and the Mets have unproven minor leaguers in the ever-important closing role.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
I think if Orber Moreno had the kind of September he is having this March, Looper would not have been signed. If Moreno and Rickey Botalaico make the team then the Mets will have back ups for the job. Let's just hope that Professor Rick has Looper on track.

Kaley from Flushing Local
My hunch is that Looper will be a middle reliever by June and either Orber Moreno or Ricky Botallico will be closing for us.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
No, and its not because he's failed at closing before and its not because he isn't good enough, its because the Mets don't need him. Orber Moreno could have his shot at closing, but instead they bring in a guy at over 3 million a year to close for a team that won't have a use for a big time closer (and Looper probably isn't that). It's not Looper, its the Mets situation.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Looper makes the Mets bullpen stronger than it was without him. He is not a top-flight "closer," but the Mets have a lot more to worry about now than having Keith Foulke. If they get to the point where they need that luxury, they can look for such a player.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I think Looper will be find in the closer's role, but there wasn't any reason to sign him, let alone pay him over 3 million. There are any number of good arms in the upper level of the Mets system that could have filled the role. We're going to be sending at least a few guys back to AAA that don't have anything left to prove there.

Eric from SaberMets
Yes and No. He doesn’t strike me as being much different than Armando Benitez, which is bad. However, when you’re hoping for an 80-win season, closer isn’t really the icing on the cake. I expect that he’ll pitch reasonably well, something slightly below the level of Benitez. I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggled and was replaced by Orber Moreno, who could be the Mets closer in 2005 and beyond.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Braden Looper isn't the right man for any team's closer job. Not even the Tigers.

Mike M
Not really, as his presence might prevent Orber Moreno and/or PJ Bevis from getting the opportunity to pitch for this team. I have two beefs with Looper: the first is that I do not feel his historical performance warrants his salary, and second is that I think he was signed simply to appease Art Howe – he’s eating a roster spot that should belong to a kid at 12% of the cost.


Who is the current leader in the Mets fifth starter race? Who should get the job?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
It may still be too close to call, but I guess Grant Roberts has the slight edge at the moment. He's probably the best choice too, as only he and Aaron Heilman look right now like they have real futures as starters with this organization, and they'll probably both get a shot this year due to injuries and/or midseason trades. Putting Roberts in the rotation and Heilman in Norfolk lets Heilman hopefully regain some confidence with some successful AAA innings, while opening Roberts' spot in the major league bullpen for someone who's earned it by doing more than just signing a large contract, like Dan Wheeler or Orber Moreno.

Mike from East Coast Agony
I think Erickson is. I believe he has to really bomb to lose the job to Roberts. I feel we should give Grant a chance, because if he’s marginally successful and strikes out a good number of guys, we might be able to spin him for something before his lack of conditioning for a full season breaks him down.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
I think Scott Erickson is the leader and should get the job. As good as Roberts has been this spring I like him in the pen as a Ramiro Mendoza circa 1998 type who can spot start and long relive

Kaley from Flushing Local
I've been saying Erickson all along, but if Roberts has another couple of good starts, I think Professor Peterson is going to insist he be given the job.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Without any inside information, I say its Scott Erickson, only because they really seem to favor him. Who should win it? Grant Roberts. It opens up a spot in the bullpen and its time to see what he can do (Yes, I did say that Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest...).

Alan from Mets Analyst
It is hard to judge whether Erickson has the inside track or not -- depends on what paper you read. For my money, Roberts should be the leader. Its the Mets brain trust that really needs to make this call, and if they go with the "safe" choice of Erickson, I for one will be pretty skeptical about them. I see no reason to think that Erickson will not end up just about at replacement level. That's better than Heilman and the other Mets starters were last year, but I think they should be able to extract better than that from Roberts/Yates/Heilman. Also, ask yourself, who is going to contribute to the next Mets team that goes to the post season?

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
It's probably between Roberts and Erickson at this point, and hopefully Roberts is in the lead. There's little doubt here that if they want to let him try starting again, that Grant Roberts should get the job. He was a pretty good starting pitching prospect a couple years ago, has the stuff to be a starter, and has done nothing but pitch well in his major league career. If they decide Roberts is still better suited to the bullpen, Aaron Heilman should be the fifth starter. Some more AAA time for Heilman wouldn't be the worst thing, so I’d prefer to see Roberts as the fifth starter.

Avkash from The Raindrops
The current leader is probably Scott Erickson (I'm typing this on the afternoon of the 24th). If it's up to me, he should get the job, because Heilman, Yates, and Griffiths are better off learning their craft without burning MLB service time, and because I'm not that high on Grant Roberts. He wasn't any better as a starter in the minors than Jeremy Griffiths is now, and most of the optimism around him this spring is based on his youth and his fastball, which will return to its 88-90 MPH range once he starts facing a lineup more than once each appearance.

Eric from SaberMets
The Mets best pitcher in Spring Training has been Grant Roberts, by a landslide. He should get the job, and I think he stands a good chance of getting the job. The only pitcher I can see winning out over Roberts is Scott Erickson, but I think that would be a mistake on the Mets part.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Based on performance, you'd have to say that Grant Roberts is the leader and should get the job. That said, I've resigned myself to the fact that Scott Erickson will get the job, at least until his arm falls off.

Mike M
Roberts should get it b/c of the maneuverability that it provides the Mets in the bullpen. Yates should keep his bags packed, as he deserves to be the first starter called up.


What is the single, best decision Jim Duquette has made in his short tenure as Mets GM? What is the single, worst decision Duquette has made thus far?

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
The Mike Cameron signing is by far the best example of acquiring a reliable, valuable player at a very reasonable price. Getting Victor Diaz in the Jeromy Burnitz deal probably deserves an honorable mention. The worst thing that's happened on Duquette's watch has to be the Vladimir Guerrero non-deal and the accompanying media circus, but it's hard to lay all the blame for that at Jim's feet. Trading away a useful young arm like Jaime Cerda to free up roster space for stiffs like Todd Zeile and Joe McEwing may very well be the worst actual deal, which is kind of encouraging, when you think about it.

Mike from East Coast Agony
His best move was hiring Peterson as the helmsman to set course for pitching-and-defense anchored success. His worst was moving Reyes to second for an unproven and quite likely inferior player.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
The best decision was getting the Skill Sets to understand that the team has to get back to basics. Back to the philosophy of pitching and defense. Whenever this organization had success it was because those were their strengths. Also putting emphasis on player development in the minors. The worst decision? being indecisive on the Vlady Guerrero sweepstakes. It was not all The Dukes fault but he should have advised the Skill Sets either we're in this to sign him or we're not. The way the went after Vlady was half-assed.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Signing Mike Cameron. I've had the chance to see Cameron play here in Seattle, and he is an absolute a joy to watch. I think he's going to hit much better for the Mets than he ever did for the Mariners, too. How long has it been since the Mets have had a gold glove outfielder? He'll be so much fun to have on the team. The worst decision the Mets made during Duquette's tenure was not being serious about Vladimir Guerrero. But, I don't think that was Duquette's decision. One thing Duquette did do was lie about Guerrero's medical records. (http://www.flushinglocal.com/moveabletype/archives/000073.html). That wasn't very wise.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Best decision? Far and away, its bringing in Mike Cameron. Better offensive bat out of Safeco and great defense that has immense value. Great value for the money too.
Worst decision? This is tough. I'm tempted to say Todd Zeile or Joe McEwing, but I'm going to go with Jaime Cerda. All three are pretty bad, but I have a high opinion on what Cerda could be, so I'll go with the Cerda trade.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Best: Getting Mike Cameron. Worst: Failing to assemble a decent bench for a team that is likely to suffer a number of injuries.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Best decision, signing Mike Cameron. No doubt on that one. Cameron's bat is underrated, his glove is amazing, and we got him for a good price. Worst decision is either letting Marco Scutaro go to Oakland on waivers, or not protecting Mattox/DiNardo in the Rule V draft.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Best move is Rick Peterson. Not just hiring him to sit next to Art, but also letting him implement his techniques throughout the organization. Worst move is promoting Mike Glavine last September. It's a clear sign that while there have been improvements at Shea, some things never change. The inmates are still running the asylum.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Best decision: I'll ignore the "single" part and combine the trades of Armando Benitez, Roberto Alomar and Jeromy Burnitz into one and say that was his best decision.
Worst decision: Bringing in decrepit oldsters like Erickson, Baldwin and Bottalico that may actually win jobs because of the Mets' love affair with "veterans" and hold back some younger, more talented starters and relievers.

Mike M
Best: Turning Jeromy Burnitz into 3 high-ceiling prospects.
Worst: The PR disaster that was Vlad Guerrero – not that I didn’t understand why/how things broke down the way they did, but to me this symbolized the Mets ineptitude when it comes to fanning the flames of Public Relations.


Congratulations, you made it to the lightning round. I'm going to say a name or phrase and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind:

Art Howe

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
An acceptable means to an end named Rick Peterson.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Sleepy...the dwarf, or how I feel after one of his interviews.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Inept

Kaley from Flushing Local
Sedative

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Bad manager

Alan from Mets Analyst
Test is yet to come

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I wish we hadn’t fired Valentine

Avkash from The Raindrops
That freakin' grin.

Eric from SaberMets
Clueless


Shea Stadium's 2004 gold ticket package

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
I have no idea about this.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Rip off

Kaley from Flushing Local
eBay bargain

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Wish I had it

Alan from Mets Analyst
Nothing, I live in the Midwest now.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I live in Florida, and don't get to go to Shea :(

Avkash from The Raindrops
How is any ticket "gold" when one of the contestants is always a last place team?

Eric from SaberMets
Incorrigible

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Not something I've given much thought.


Jeff Wilpon (Mets owner’s son)

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
Far from the biggest problem in this front office of late.

Mike from East Coast Agony
80s movie preppy villain, also robot

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Jim Dolan

Kaley from Flushing Local
Colonel Korn

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Owner’s son

Alan from Mets Analyst
Rich kid playing with a profit making toy; high risk that he'll screw it up.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
I wish my dad owned a baseball team

Eric from SaberMets
Clueless x2 but, frighteningly, has much more power.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Can't hit a curveball.


Mr. Met

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
The best mascot in the division. Yeah, I said it.

Mike from East Coast Agony
why couldn’t they steal his head?

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Family heirloom

Kaley from Flushing Local
Possible right fielder

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Big headed mascot

Alan from Mets Analyst
Over 40 years old, lets keep him.

Avkash from The Raindrops
It's really Jay Horowitz, right?

Eric from SaberMets
Best mascot this side of the Philly Phanatic.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Appears frequently in my nightmares.


Grade B maple syrup, distilled apple vinegar, cayenne pepper, flax seed and water (what Mike Piazza’s personal “yogi” has him drinking)

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
The wave of the future.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Sounds like a K Garcia hangover remedy

Kaley from Flushing Local
It's good, I swear!

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Confusement

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Huh?

Avkash from The Raindrops
The day after Piazza breaks Fisk's home run record for catchers, Jon Heyman will have a layout in Newsday calling for an asterisk next to Piazza's name in the record books due to his use of this "performance enhancing" elixir.

Eric from SaberMets
The new Hollywood diet.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
A variation of the Master Cleanser. You may laugh, but the shit works. I lost a few pounds with it.


Karim Garcia

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
One year placeholder.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
What a pisser

Kaley from Flushing Local
Adios, por favor

Alan from Mets Analyst
Will have a productive season (near league average for RF) as left-handed platoon player.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Piss-gate

Avkash from The Raindrops
Maybe we can trade him to the Indians.

Eric from SaberMets
My favorite Mexican.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Vladimir who?


Lisa Guerrero

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
All the more reason for Scott Erickson to go home.

Mike from East Coast Agony
As she’s with Erickson and Vlad is with the Angels, I think it’s clear who has better taste

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Angel is a centerfold

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
HOT

Alan from Mets Analyst
Nothing to do with being a Mets fan.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
It's close, but I'm still more jealous of Scott Erickson because he plays baseball for a living then because he married her.

Avkash from The Raindrops
Like I said, Erickson for fifth starter.

Eric from SaberMets
Tawny Kitaen redux.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Force your husband to retire!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Merry Opening Day 

Part II of the 2004 Mets Panel Discussion should be posted tomorrow. I started piecing it together last night and had a better chance to go through some of the answers and they are funny, interesting and insightful. Be sure to check back.

THE YANKEES LOSE!!!!!!!! THE YANKEES LOSE!!!!!! DDDDAAAAA - - - YANKEES LOSE!!!!!!

Only the Mets can turn a Japanese iron man who played in 1,143 consecutive games into a glass shortstop. First Kazuo Matsui cut his finger, which put him on the shelf for a week and now he has a strained right wrist, which will put him out of action for a few more days. Matsui's injury is just the latest in a series of bad news and equally poor defensive play. The Mets went into yesterday's game tied for last in the National League with 35 errors this spring. The shoddy defense prompted the usually calm and reserved Art Howe to order the team to do fundamentals drills, focusing on fielding bunts and hitting the cut off man. If this doesn't work, the Hot Corner proposes Uncle Artie send any player who commits an error to the practice field where they will run a 1/2 hour of wind sprints per error under the watchful eye of the Godfather of Infield Matt Galante.

Former player, now a sports radio talk show host, Andy Van Big Mouth said on the air recently that Tom Glavine does not like to be caught by Mike Piazza because of his poor defense. Apparently Van Slyke spoke in such a way that made the average listener think that Glavine told him as much. However, Van Slyke was simply speculating that Glavine must not like pitching to Piazza and had to admit this to clear up the confusion. I bring this up because last week during an MLB Radio broadcast of a Mets game former Met Darryl Hamilton was announcing the game along with Jim Leyritz and some play-by-play guy Seth something or other. I was already annoyed because I'm at work trying to do a million things at once while at the same time listen to the game, but these jokers are too busy shooting the shit about everything on earth other than the damn game! Then out of no where Hamilton decided to finally talk about the Mets and issued a blanket statement that all Mets pitchers do not like pitching to Mike Piazza because of his poor defense. I was stunned. I knew that if any Mets pitcher really felt this way there's no chance in hell they are going to tell Hamilton, yet Hamilton is on the air talking as if every Mets pitcher told him this. So now I'm pissed. First, I have been listening to this game for ten minutes and I still don't know who is pitching for either team and now when they finally address the Mets, it's pure BS. These MLB Radio clowns are taking e-mails so I shoot off the following question, trying as hard as I can to be civil:

Hamilton just said that Mets pitchers prefer to pitch to Vance Wilson over Piazza because of Piazza's perceived poor defense. Was this statement based on what any/all Mets pitchers actually told him or was this his opinion speculating on what Mets pitchers prefer?

Thanks,
-Norm at The Shea Hot Corner (http://sheahotcorner.blogspot.com)


They actually read my question on the air (leaving out my blatant attempt to plug my little blog of course). Hamilton, as articulate as ever, is like "uh, um, well, gee, uh, I was just speculating."

What an idiot. No, let me qualify that. What an irresponsible idiot.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Panel Discussion of the 2004 NY Mets: Part One, The Professionals Weigh In 

The New York Mets’ house is in disarray. After going from first to worst in what seems like a blink of an eye, the team is at a crossroads: to rebuild or not to rebuild? But you know what they say; “You can’t rebuild in New York.” Mets’ General Manager Jim Duquette’s moves so far have proven that old adage at least partially true, even when staring at a team begging to be gutted. Duquette has embarked upon a stealthy reconstruction project by walking a fine line between not wanting to be perceived as “rebuilding,” while at the same time, well . . ., rebuilding.

On the “we’re not totally rebuilding” wing of chateau de blue and orange, aging, declining, expensive, and injury prone “stars” still have jobs in Flushing. The Mets were even active on the free agent market this off-season. On the rebuilding wing of the Mets’ house, Duquette has trimmed away quite a bit of the rotten exterior in dumping several bloated, under performing contracts and replenishing the farm system with young, cheap talent. Duquette has refused to make any deal that requires him to give up future draft picks and has fought the temptation to give in to the NY media’s loud and constant plight for the Mets to trade top young players and prospects like Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir for more established players.

While the current state of the Mets’ house might be in a bit of disarray, this is a necessary present evil of implementing “the plan” of pouring a solid foundation for the future. The product of Duquette’s partially implemented plan will take the field in a few short weeks. The 2004 version of the Mets will be a potpourri of veterans and youngsters, which most commentators agree will stink. But if this team stays healthy and if the players produce to their abilities, the 2004 Mets might surprise some people. That’s a lot of “ifs” and one too many “mights.” I was planning on writing an article addressing some of these questions but quite frankly, that’s a lot of work. So I called in back-up. I have asked an All Star panel of journalists, analysts and commentators to provide their insight into some of these “ifs” and “mights.” They are:

Pete Abraham. Pete is a writer for The Journal News and is the “Official Friend of the NY Baseball Blogger” after writing his article A Growing Sports Voice, detailing a little of the history and current state of the NY baseball blogging community. Pete’s daily Mets coverage is a refreshing departure from the form over substance pieces riddling the sports pages of many NY newspapers.

Bryan Hoch. Bryan jumped on the Mets scene when he created Metsonline.net as a high school freshmen, which was the hot spot to learn about the Mets on the Internet from 1996 to 2002. Bryan parlayed that into a journalism career as a freelance baseball writer. He maintains the Always Amazin' Weblog on NJ.com and is a contributing writer to New York Mets Inside Pitch, The Wave of Long Island and FOXSports.com.

Tim Marchman. Tim is the fiction critic of the New York Sun, for which he also writes regularly on baseball. Tim’s work has appeared in local and national publications including the Weekly Standard, National Review, and the New York Press. Tim is also the Senior Editor for the New Partisan, an urban-based web journal of politics, culture, the arts, and sports. Alex Belth of Bronx Banter has called Tim “one of the brightest young baseball writers in the country.”

Doug Pappas. Doug is the Chairman of The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Business of Baseball Committee and writes regularly for Baseball Prospectus. Doug also maintains the Business of Baseball Pages and he has recently created his own weblog; Doug’s Business of Baseball Weblog. While Doug usually comments on what is going on off the field, as you’ll see he doesn’t hesitate to give his two cents on things a little closer to the field of play, especially when it concerns the Mets.

Ed Tsunoda. Ed is the creator and administrator of NYFansites.com, one of the largest and most popular fan websites for any baseball team on the Internet. Ed’s got his thumb on the pulse of the Mets organization, particularly the goings on in Port St. Lucie. Ed is also the best source available for information on Mets minor league prospects. If you want the minor league stats and a bevy of photos of Scott Kazmir or David Wright, you go to Ed.

Before I go any further I would like to thank Pete, Bryan, Tim, Doug and Ed for taking the time to stop by my little back-alley corner of the blogoshphere for a chat. In addition to these professionals, I also enlisted the services of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate Mets fans around; my fellow Mets bloggers, who I also want to thank for their quick and thoughtful responses. In today’s Part I of this panel discussion you will get a steady diet of responses to questions from Pete, Bryan, Tim, Doug and Ed and a sprinkling of Mets blogger responses as well. And what the hell, since this is my blog I might chime in every so often too. I will post Part II in a few days, which will be an all Mets blogger bonanza. Okay, I’ll quit babbling so we can dive into the questions and answers.

Enjoy,
-Norm @ The Shea Hot Corner

_________________________________________________________________
What do Jim Duquette and Fred Wilpon mean when they say that their goal, which they expect to meet, is for the Mets to be playing "meaningful games in September"? If you can figure out what this means, do you agree that the Mets will indeed be playing these mysterious meaningful September games?

Abraham
Duquette is a realist and knows that only a handful of 90-loss teams in baseball history have made the playoffs a year later. He has sold the front office on the idea that it will be enough for the Mets to simply be playing for something in September. That could be .500 or to stay mathematically alive into the final week of the season. After two years of being in dead last, the Mets want their late-season games to mean something. I'm not sure if I agree that will be the case. If Reyes is healthy, I think every game is meaningful because you can watch a special player.

Hoch
The goal, and I think it's a very good one, is to not have Shea Stadium resembling a graveyard for those late September series. Nobody's expecting the Mets to seriously compete this year for a pennant, but it'd be nice to see some excitement in the ballpark -- maybe they'll be shooting for .500, or disrupting a wild card race in some way. They've got series with the Braves and the Phillies that month, so things could actually be interesting out there.

Marchman
Assuming Piazza and Floyd can hold up, I think they'll be playing meaningful games well into September. I'd guess they take "meaningful" as something along the lines of "within 5 games of the wild card leader," but your guess is as good as mine.

Pappas
I assume they mean that the Mets will contend for the division or the wild card into September. I don't think they will. I believe their realistic upside for 2004 is a .500 record.

Tsunoda
You'd have to ask them what they mean. :) I've also heard them say that the playoffs aren't "realistic". I think it's intentionally oblique. I think it's broad meaning is they won't be mathematically eliminated before September. In which case, yeah, it's feasible they could put off elimination until the 5th or 10th of September.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
The Duke and Freddy Skill Sets are hoping the teams is in contention for either a Wild Card berth or (PLEASE GOD) a division title. The Duke wants this to show he can turn the franchise around with his "plan" and Freddy just doesn't want to sell $5.00 upper deck tickets for the second year in a row. That may be a bit harsh, I think Freddy really wants to win desperately but is a bit confused on how to do it. After the Phillies, Cubs, and Astros what teams in the NL are really that much better than the Mets?


Which Mike Piazza can we expect in 2004: the Piazza who was hitting .333 in 2003 before he went down with a groin injury or the Piazza that came back later that year but did not hit a HR in the final month of the season?

Abraham
Piazza was still hurt when he came back last season. Now healthy, he is raking in spring training. His first home run on March 23 was a laser beam. If he is healthy and if he gets an extra 50-100 at-bats by playing first base a few times, he is capable of .315-35-110.

Hoch
Mike has looked great this spring; last night in Viera (Mar. 23) he hit two homers and had five RBI beating up on the Expos. He hasn't been exactly fluid around first base, but I see no problems with his swing; he looks strong and lean, and I think you'll see that first Piazza.

Marchman
The latter. He's a 35-year old catcher.

Pappas
Piazza's healthier, but also a year older. Look for 90% of the early-2003 Piazza.

Tsunoda
I don't think either is a reasonable expectation. We're going to see one of the greatest hitters of our time in the twilight of his career. I don't think he'll still be great, nor do I think his post-injury performance is reflective of what we should expect this year. It's probably reasonable to expect on going injuries. Something along the lines of .280/.350/.500 maybe 20+ HRs and 85+ RBI? Hopefully 400-500 ABs.

Alan from Mets Analyst
Of course, Mike Piazza will not hit .333, but he will hit some home runs, so the answer is neither. I think .290 with 35 homers is a realistic hope for Piazza, probably somewhat on the optimistic side. He could, however, do better or worse. That's the beauty of the game. I would advise any Mets fan watching Piazza, though, to remember they are watching the greatest player who has ever spent part of his prime as a Met, a man who carried the team on his shoulders through several winning seasons, and the greatest hitting catcher of all time. He still hits the ball incredibly hard -- his hits really look different. So enjoy and appreciate him.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
Since Piazza is one of my favorite Mets, I just thought I’d jump in here and point out that an aging Piazza in his decline is still more valuable offensively than just about any other catcher in baseball. Piazza’s last full season relatively injury free was 2002, one of Piazza’s worst seasons, where he played catcher just about every day, had absolutely no protection in the line-up, and played half his games in one of the most severe pitchers’ parks in baseball. He still hit 33 HRs with a .286/.377/.483 line. Not too shabby.


Offensively, will Kazuo Matsui be closer to Rey Ordonez or Ricky Henderson?

Abraham
Rey Ordonez? That's an insult. It may take Kaz a month or two to adjust but he can handle the bat and he's a great base-runner. He also has better pop than you would expect. He has left-handed power.

Hoch
Can I write in Edgar Renteria? You won't see much power from Matsui, but you'll see speed and extra-base slashes into the gaps, so I guess I'd say Henderson. He might strike out like Ordonez, though, if he tries to swing for the fences as they say he did his last couple of years in Japan.

Marchman
Closer to Rickey, though that's a pretty tough standard. I think he'll be a league-average hitter with good speed and defense; that's plenty valuable. Plus, he's got style, which the homely Mets could certainly use.

Pappas
That's an awfully broad range: from cancer on the offense to first ballot Hall of Famer. Henderson without the walks and with fewer stolen bases.

Tsunoda
Well, not Rickey Henderson. Apparently the "you don't walk off the island" saying applies to the Pacific Rim as well. He's an exciting player. He'll hit some, He'll run like the wind. He'll make amazing stops. He's a pretty smart player. Jimmy Rollins or Christan Guzman is a better compare.

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
Something in the middle is more likely. I think The Roto Times' projected stats for him are all slightly higher than what should be expected. With apologies to all the Buddy Harrelson and Kevin Elster fans out there, it won't be too difficult for Matsui to become the best-hitting Mets shortstop of all time. And that's exactly what I expect him to do.


Are Mets fans justified in being optimistic about the future with the likes of Scott Kazmir and David Wright coming through the pipeline?

Abraham
David Wright is the real deal in my opinion. Hits, runs, fields, the whole package. Too good to be true as a kid as well. Kazmir is impossible to tell at this point because he is so young. They really baby him and I suspect that is because he potential elbow issues. My gut feeling on him is that he will not be as good as hoped. I think he's too frail physically.

Hoch
Yes. You'd be hard-pressed to find any scout, GM or talent evaluator who doesn't rave about these two. If they stay healthy, they will play a major part in the future of this team.

Marchman
Sure. Those two are fantastic prospects, and the Mets have some depth behind them. I'd be a lot more excited about Wright, though, until Kazmir proves he's a starter.

Pappas
Yes. The Mets have several impact players in the pipeline, and have been smart enough not to trade them away for more short-term fixes.

Tsunoda
Hell yeah. Those kids make me jump up and down with my fists thrust in the air like a 10 year old at a World Series game, just watching them in BP. A lot of Met fans are disenchanted with the minor leagues because of Generation K. A lot of hype and not a lot of production. But if you're even 25-30 years old and you remember what it was like when Mookie, Lenny, Wally, El Sid, Darling, Darryl, and Doc were the core of the team...how could you not want to rebuild around these kids? They are the goods.

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Absolutely. A couple years ago the farm system was a disaster. Now we're graded as a solid B or B+ by most the scouting services and publications. That's a huge upgrade. Kazmir has been dominant in his pro career, and might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the game. Wright draws comps to Scott Rolen every day. Aaron Baldiris has been phenomenal. Victor Diaz has been a monster with the bat. Matt Peterson has progressed, and could be in AAA by the end of the season. The list goes on. There's a lot of talent in the system, and with some good management, we could good for a very long time.


Will Cliff Floyd accumulate at least 500 at bats in a season ever again?

Abraham
I hope so. Cliff is a really good guy and cares about performing well. I'd like to see what he could do spending an entire season healthy and with some lineup protection.

Hoch
Injuries are so unpredictable, and you know Cliff's track record. He deserves it; let's see if he can do stay healthy.

Marchman
I don't think he should. The best way to use him is to accept his fragility and spot him. A lot of clubs have got a lot out of Ellis Burks adhering to the simple principle that it's better to work with a man's limitations than to pretend they don't exist.

Pappas
Probably not, but 130 games of Floyd will still be the best-hitting OF the Mets have. Cameron's a better overall player, though, because he's a defensive god.

Tsunoda
I hope so. I think he will. He's a gamer. They should've shut him down last June and given him more time to come back. It bugs me that he limped into August last year pointlessly, and now he's still a little tender this spring.

Mike from East Coast Agony
I doubt it. Cornelius is a very skilled player, but the Mets need to rest him and accept that he will miss some time. Thankfully, we’ve planned accordingly and assembled a great bench. Shit.


How unlikely is the following trade proposal and regardless of its likelihood, would it make sense? The Mets deal Kazuo Matsui to the Rangers for Alfonso Soriano, sign him to a longer term deal, and move Reyes and his brittle legs back to SS.

Abraham
Matsui has a no-trade. He's also here for marketing reasons as well as baseball reasons Beyond that, I think Soriano is a disaster waiting to happen. Teams have found his holes and he doesn't work hard enough to compensate.

Hoch
Extremely unlikely. I think Mets fans will be very happy with what they'll get from Kaz, and Soriano will soon be forgotten by Mets fans (as soon as the papers stop beating the drum for that trade).

Marchman
About as likely as Matsui being traded for me, and would make about as much sense. The thing to do is to swap out Reyes and Matsui at some point.

Pappas
Very unlikely, and not a good move. Soriano's value has peaked, and unless
he learns plate discipline it could be an ugly slide.

Tsunoda
It's not possible and it wouldn't make sense. I was never a big proponent of moving Reyes. But the kid needs stability. They shouldn't move him again. Soriano isn't the right guy for the Mets, anyway.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
Matsui for Soriano - who the hell is asking these crazy questions? Moving Reyes to second base was dumb, risky, and extremely short sighted. Just about any move that would put Reyes back at short would make me happy. You move a player of Reyes’ ability and potential from short to second for an elite shortstop; an A-Rod or Nomar. You don’t move him for Kazuo Matsui. I think Tim hit the nail on the head – Matsui should be at second not Reyes.

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Completely unlikely, not happening. Does it make sense? How much is Soriano's deal worth? Matsui is getting about 7 a year, but Soriano might eclipse ten. He has immense value at second base and we can help Reyes a little but moving him back to short. The defense will be hurt by this move, but Soriano offensive value could probably cancel that out. This would be a risky move by the Mets (Soriano's lack of discipline, shaky defense and flyball tendencies) and one I would not be in favor of, but it could make some sense.


Is Tom Glavine done?

Abraham
Nah, Glavine was victimized by a bad team and a worse defense in 2003. Peterson will be good for him. He'll go 15-11, something like that. If Senator Al wasn't done last year, neither is Glavine.

Hoch
No. I wouldn't guarantee he'll be better than 9-14, but I can't guarantee he'll be worse. Having Mike Cameron running into the gaps will help both his ERA and his ego.

Marchman
No. He's not a Cy Young candidate anymore, but he can still help a team. Why is everyone ready to send him out to the glue factory just because he's not posting 3.00 ERAs anymore?

Pappas
No. He's got to be ecstatic about the newly upgraded defense, too...

Tsunoda
I don't know if I'd say done, but he's certainly got people looking in the oven to see if the pop-up bird watcher has popped yet. Glavine never had "stuff". If they give him the pitch which isn't a strike, he can still pitch. If not, he can't. I think it hurt him last year that the Mets were weak defensively at first and in right field. Against those weaknesses a smart hitter would wait for something on the outer half he could take the other way. Glavine lives out there. It's a bad mix. That will probably repeat as a problem this year.

Joe from Betty’s NGCCSPH
Opening Day should go a long way toward letting us know, but I'm not convinced. I still hold out some hope that he can learn to pitch both at pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium and against a depleted Atlanta lineup.


Who do you see starting in right field for the Mets in 2005?

Abraham
You'd like to say it would be Carlos Beltran or Magglio Ordonez but if Garcia is reasonably good I think they'll keep him because he is cheap and use their money on pitching. Jeff Duncan has gotten a lot stronger and has a lot of game. I could see the Mets moving Cliff to right and using Duncan in left perhaps. I'd like to see them try Victor Diaz as an outfielder, too. But if I had to guess I'd say Garcia.

Hoch
Not Karim Garcia or Shane Spencer.

Marchman
Mike Cameron.

Pappas
Someone not currently in the system. How about prying loose one of Minnesota's dozen or so young OFs?

Tsunoda
I would like them trade a veteran guy (e.g., Trachsel, Weathers) in a package deal for a guy like Cuddyer or Restovich from the Twins, or Gabe Gross from the Blue Jays, or Terrmel Sledge from the Expos, or Franklin Gutierrez from the Dodgers. A young kid who can grow with the Reyes/Wright/Kazmir grouping. If they're not going to trade a veteran for a real prospect, I'd like to see them take a flier on a guy like Pittsburgh's JJ Davis or the Reds' Wily Mo Pena who might have to clear waivers towards the end of spring, but are young and have some upside.

Kaley from Flushing Local
Right now I'd have to guess Victor Diaz. I think it's the most likely of the current realistic possibilities. If it's not Diaz, it will have to be someone who is not currently in the organization. And if Duquette isn't willing to trade our pitching gems, they'll have to sign a free agent. I'd love to see the Mets go after Carlos Beltran in the off season, but I think they'd have a hard time convincing him to move to RF. Magglio Ordonez will also be a free agent, but he's too old to be worth investing a lot of money in. So, given that, I'm guessing Diaz.


Is Braden Looper the right man for the Mets closer job?

Abraham
Yeah, for now he is. He's cheap, has upside (especially with Peterson around) and he could easily convert to set-up if Yates, Moreno or Ring becomes a closer.

Hoch
Looper hasn't really impressed me this spring, and I wonder if he's got what it takes to handle the pressure of New York. Here's a guy who cracked because Jack McKeon said that he wasn't as tough a competitor as Armando Benitez. The reviews on him haven't been splendid, but I believe he can be effective in New York.

Marchman
Yes. He's a generic decent reliever; as long as clubs are going to use conventional bullpen patterns I'd prefer to see guys like Looper soaking up easy saves while better pitchers labor in the 7th and 8th innings of close games.

Pappas
Not for the money he's being paid. "Closer" as a job is greatly overrated, especially for a team that's not likely to contend.

Tsunoda
He's no Armando Benitez. That applies whether you see Benitez as a guy who blew big games, or as one of the best closers in baseball the last 4 years. He's got a good arm. We'll see how he plays out. I think he'll get tagged with his share of blown saves. We'll see how the fans accept him.

Avkash from The Raindrops
No, but really, is anyone the right man for the Mets closer job? Should a last place team in the midst of rebuilding even have a closing job? Of course not, but instead of using the roster spot to evaluate players already in the system, and possibly even inflate the trade value of a dime a dozen pitcher, the Mets have taken the more expensive and short sighted option. But hey, it makes Art Howe and the assistant GMs feel warm and fuzzy, and when trying to build a contender, that's what really matters. Has it been long enough that we can look at Armando Benitez's Mets career objectively? How long before we realize the best Mets relief pitcher in recent memory is no longer among us, and that we were happy to see him go because of the necessary evils of a role defined by a meaningless stat, instead of his actual performance. Remember the chances of Cedeno winning a gold glove? It's about as likely as Looper outperforming Benitez in 2004.


Who is the current leader in the Mets fifth starter race? Who should get the job?

Abraham
I think Roberts is the leader and should get the job. Heilman needs to toughen up physically and mentally and Erickson has lost his velocity.

Hoch
Grant Roberts has been pitching really well this spring, and he's guaranteed to make the team since he's out of options. Aaron Heilman could use some more work at Triple-A, especially on mechanics, and neither Scott Erickson or James Baldwin have been especially impressive.

Marchman
Heilman will and should get every chance to grab the role.

Pappas
No idea who IS. I'd give the job to Roberts and let Heilman start the year in AAA.

Tsunoda
I think Heilman and Roberts have both earned it, but Roberts will probably get it. Heilman will probably be sent to Norfolk so he can pitch every fifth day. Roberts being out of options and experienced with a bullpen role makes him the savvy pick because the Mets only have 9 starts penciled for the fifth starter through June 6th. If it was me, I'd trade Trachsel for the aforementioned outfielder, and keep both Heilman and Roberts in the rotation, with Erickson and Baldwin in reserve and Yates back in AAA. I don't think the Mets will do that, but that's what I would do.

Norm from The Shea Hot Corner
From the outside looking in, it seems like it’s Scott Erickson’s job to lose, which is unfortunate. When Erickson was signed to a no risk minor league deal and invited to camp to “push the kids,” I was all for it. Now that it seems the Mets are seriously considering giving him the job over home grown Major League ready kids, I think it was a big mistake. My pick? Tyler Yates. Why? One word: heat.


What is the single, best decision Jim Duquette has made in his short tenure as Mets GM? What is the single, worst decision Duquette has made thus far?

Abraham
Best decision was clearly trading Burnitz to the Dodgers for J. Diaz, V. Diaz and K. Strayhorn. That is followed closely getting Peterson as pitching coach. Worst decision? I think moving Reyes was a big mistake. He has a once-in-a-decade arm and unreal lateral quickness. I think Matsui could have been landed anyway and told to play second but the Mets panicked and gave him everything he wanted. Matsui is a fine shortstop but playing Reyes at second is like using a Jag to go around the block.

Hoch
I think it's too early to call yet. The trades for young prospects last season were a step in the right direction, but the jury's still out, especially with guys like Royce Ring having injury problems.

Marchman
The best thing the Mets have done since Duquette took the baton was hiring Rick Peterson. He hasn't made any really bad moves as far as I'm concerned - I understand why people fret over the bench or right field, but these are marginal moves that no one should care about right now. I'm not sure how much power Duquette had over last year's draft but picking Lastings Milledge was pretty goofy, all things told.

Pappas
Best: Not trading prospects for veterans. Worst: The festering sore in right field.

Tsunoda
Hard to tell 150 days into his tenure, but: Best decision: Doing all his team building without losing a draft pick or a top prospect. Worst decision: Building his bench by resigning McEwing, Timo, and Zeile and subsequently leaving the Mets with obvious holes on the bench. No power, one lefty stick, no backup shortstop, etc. Resigning Franco was a close second.

Eric from SaberMets
I don’t know whether it was his decision or not, but bringing Rick Peterson in as pitching coach from Oakland will stand to be one of the five best acquisitions in the history of this franchise. Allowing Marco Scutaro to get scooped up by Oakland was a pretty bad move. Not taking Adrian Gonzalez from Florida for Armando Benitez last season and opting for Jason Anderson, etc. was also pretty bad.


Doug, a quick follow-up to the "wort decision" question. The last two years the Mets finished last in their division while playing in a huge market, with large revenue, and with payrolls among MLB's highest. How much of their poor record the last two years do you chalk up to poor management and how much do you attribute to just plain old bad luck?

Pappas
Mostly poor management. The Mets kept signing old, expensive free agents who
cost them draft picks and tied up payroll for years to come. Now they're at least
holding onto their best prospects -- a promising sign for the future.


Congratulations, you made it to the lightning round. I'm going to say a name or phrase and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind:

Art Howe

Abraham
"We battled."

Hoch
Nice guy. Not a great interview, but very warm.

Marchman
What a nice man. I don't mean that in a condescending way; he's just really nice.

Tsunoda
“We battled.”

Vinny from Yankees, Mets & the Rest
His presence allowed the Mets to get Rick Peterson, so there's something to be said for that.


Shea Stadium's 2004 gold ticket package

Abraham
Poorly timed but inevitable

Hoch
Confusing.

Marchman
You should get tickets to a strip bar with that.

Tsunoda
Doesn't bother me. I look at is as being cheaper for games against bad teams, as opposed to costing more against good teams, so I like it.

Mike from East Coast Agony
Shea Stadium is not the Chocolate Factory, to Mo’s chagrin


Jeff Wilpon (Mets owner’s son)

Abraham
Thanks, Dad

Hoch
Hard worker. Really committed to this idea of family ownership.

Marchman
Hmm, so Duquette's an old school kind of guy, and Fred is a rich old guy who pals around with Bud Selig. Just who is the one getting Peterson out of his contract and giving him all the power he wants, hiring a statistical analyst, etc.? Mrs. Wilpon? Mr. Met?

Tsunoda
I think people have decided they don't like him for no apparent reason. I like him. I think he cares. I think he's a baseball fan. I think he's good at his job. I've seen him walk around the complex talking to minor leaguers calling them all by name without a roster in his hand. How many owners can do that?

Avkash from The Raindrops
John Franco's kids will always have employment.


Mr. Met

Abraham
Scary

Hoch
Scares young children.

Marchman
I love Mr. Mets unreservedly because he has brought joy and happiness to me since I was a small child. My wife, a lifelong Cubs fan, finds this disturbing.

Tsunoda
I think the obvious head swelling is an indication of his relationship with BALCO. Do they drug test mascots? They're huge now. They used to be little speedy guys like the chicken. Look at them now. Where's Congress on this one, eh? Where are they?!?!?

Michael from Michael’s Mets Ramblings
Was there no one better to raise the pennant flag from 2000?


Grade B maple syrup, distilled apple vinegar, cayenne pepper, flax seed and water (what Mike Piazza’s personal “yogi” has him drinking)

Abraham
OK, so wouldn't Gade A maple syrup make it even better? That's all I'm saying.

Hoch
Ingredients to a genius marketing idea, if someone out there mass-produces Piazza's Potion and sells it outside Shea.

Marchman
Good Lord. Where do ballplayers find these people?

Tsunoda
You figure Mike would spring for the grade A maple syrup.

Steve from The Eddie Kranepool Society
Ammonium A D


Karim Garcia

Abraham
Not as bad a guy as it looks.

Hoch
Big Apple Pizza.

Marchman
Garcia needs to stop beating people up and urinating in public. He's not really a very good player, and all things told people prefer their scrubs deferential and modest.

Tsunoda
How often do you see a team bring in a guy who is defending himself on an assault charge as a "character guy"?

Jeremy from Jeremy Heit’s Blog
Piss-gate


Lisa Guerrero (Scott Erickson’s wife and Monday Night Football diva)

Abraham
She's no Bonnie Bernstein.

Hoch
The best part about Scott Erickson potentially making the 25-man roster.

Marchman
I still have no idea why she's famous, but I Googled her. Good Lord.

Tsunoda
I know this is supposed to be a funny one liner. But seriously, she sits in the rain to watch Erickson pitch in a minor league camp game. She endures every male loser walking up to her to make conversation with grace and politeness. She's been perfectly pleasant to everyone, and she reads smart books when Erickson's not pitching. It's mind boggling to me that Erickson would want any part of six months on the road.

Kaley from Flushing Local
What conditioner does she use?
Site Meter Listed on Blogwise Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?