Friday, October 03, 2003

I believe the Mets should arrest all hope of competing in 2004 and build towards competing in 2005+. However, since this is a blog, it would behoove me to at least entertain the possibility of the Mets making a Royals-esque push towards the 2004 postseason. With that in mind, I believe the Mets can significantly improve their team with the following moves:

Acquire Javier Vazquez, Livan Hernandez, and Orlando Cabrera from Les Expos. It's difficult to say what the Mets would have to pony up in return. Vasquez is obviously a stud, but will likely command something in the $9-$10mill range through arbitration. Cabrera made $3.3mill last year, and I believe is also arbo-eligible. Livan had his $6mill option for 2004 vested when he pitched 650 total innings the past three years AND 217 innings in 2003. So that's nigh $20mill the 'spo's would be able to unload. Provided nobody buys them, MLB would be more than happy to wave bye-bye to that chunk of payroll. Considering that hefty price tag the Mets would be assuming, I can't imagine they would have to give up much. Maybe Aaron Heilman and Grant Roberts.

Okay. We've just added a #1 started and a #3-or-4 starter. We can move Cabrera's gold glove over to 3B, and Wiggie can shift back to his "natural" position of 2B, where his power numbers won't look so underwhelming. Add to that a Piazza/Phillips platoon between 1B and C, and we have a pretty decent infield, defensively and offensively. Okay, the left side would be very good, and the right side not-so-good, defensively anyways. Offensively it would be quite good all-around.

Now, the outfield. Cliff Floyd is good. Pick up Reggie Sanders and his 913 OPS for $2mill. His OBP was only 345, but even if his SLG drops 100 points, he'd still be a huge upgrade over Cedeno/Timo/Gonzalez/Sack-O-Bones who played there this year. In center we have a couple of options. Mike Cameron is a free agent, but I'm not such a big fan. Particularly because he's not much with the stick, and will likely demand 2+ years, leaving us holding our junk when Carlos Beltran hits the free agent pool next year. A better bet would be another 1-year FA offer to someone like Kenny Lofton. He actually posted a respectable 801 OPS with 30 SB.

With the additions of Vazquez and Hernandez, we would be left with a surplus of starting pitching. One of Hernandez, Steve Trachsel, or Jae Seo could be dealt, or we could just hang on to them all and maybe move Seo to the pen for a while. Either way, our line-up and starting rotation shape up like this, with actual/projected salaries in parentheses ($1 = $1,000,000):


SS - Jose Reyes (<$1)
3B - Orlando Cabrera ($3.5)
LF - Cliff Floyd ($6.5)
C  - Mike Piazza ($15)
RF - Reggie Sanders ($2)
1B - Jason Phillips (<$1)
CF - Kenny Lofton ($1.5)
2B - Ty Wigginton (<$1)

Total salary: $30 million


Javier Vazquez ($9.5)
Tom Glavine ($10.5)
Al Leiter ($8)
Livan Hernandez ($6)
Steve Trachsel/Jae Seo ($5)/(<$1)

Total salary: $39 million


David Weathers ($3.6)
Mike Stanton ($3)
Jason Anderson (<$1)
Dan Wheeler (<$1)
Prospects/Spare Parts ($2-$3)

Total salary: $10.6 million

Bench: Tony Clark, Matt Stairs, Johnny Non-Tender... ($3-$4)

Grand Total: $83.6 million

This scenario would also give us first crack at signing Vazquez long-term.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Vern Ruhle was given his walking papers by the Mets today. For P.C. reasons, he was actually "reassigned" within the organization, but he's as good as gone. Possible replacements are anybody's guess (Rick Waits, Randy Niemann, Johnny Inevitablefailure). The Duke said that he and Artimus Howe were in agreement on the move. By agreement, I would imagine the conversation went something like this:

The Duke: Tommy thinks we should dump Vern. Your thoughts?
Artimus: *stupid grin*
The Duke: I'm glad we're in agreement

For the record, Tom Glavine is playing the good soldier, saying, "I can't put my finger on anything. I had a good relationship."

Ruhle's successes this season include:

  • Showing that Jae Seo is a promising component of the Mets rotation
  • Convincing Senator Al to injure himself and lose some weight
  • Getting the most out of Steve Trachsel
  • Keeping alive the long-standing Mets tradition of fugly pitching coaches (Hough, Robson, Apodaca)

    Ruhle's Failures include:

  • Not convincing Tommy Glavine to pitch for us the way he used to pitch against us
  • Aaron Heilman not showing any ability to succeed at the major league level
  • Ditto Jeremy Griffiths, Mike Bascik, Pat Strange

  • Monday, September 29, 2003

    Okay, second (actually third) post of the day, because I have some ideas about what the Mets should do next year. This is going on the not-so-farfetched assumption that the Mets won't be contending for anything but fourth place next season. There are a few things the Mets can do this offseason and next season to dramatically improve their chances of competing in 2005 and beyond.

    1) Make David Weathers the closer next year. I've heard the knocks: he's too old; he's not closer material; he's not any good at baseball. Weathers converted 7/9 save opportunities this season. Not too shabby. Give him the job from April-July, let him rack up 25-30 saves, and ship him off to a contender. Texas got Adrian Gonzalez for U3.

    2) Find stopgap (or long-term impact) solutions for CF, RF, and 2B. I was on the fence about Vlad at first, and then all-of-a-sudden I wasn't anymore. The Mets should do anything within reason to secure Vlad long-term (5-6 years). There are so few impact players like Vlad -- franchise-altering players -- that I feel you need to go for them if/when they become available. The Mets missed out on A-Rod, and I still die a little bit every time I see him blast homer-after-homer for Texas. As long as I'm on the topic, why not go after A-Rod? Throw a package of prospects + Piazza at Tom Hicks. Start with Jose Reyes. I love the guy, but I would step over my own mother to land A-Rod. Reyes, Aaron Heilman, whoever they want. I'd also give my left nut for Manny Ramirez, P.H. (Professional Hitter). The guy can flat-out rake. There was a bit of whispering about M-Ram getting traded this offseason, and something about the Sox eating half of the $140-some-odd-million he has remaining. Probably unlikely, but I would love him on my team.

    Some possibilities for 2B are:

    Kaz Matsui - Of course it's difficult to project Japanese ballplayers, but Matsui posted an OPS of 1006 last year. with 46 2B, 36 HR, and 33 SB. He's going to be 28 in October, and won't cost the Mets a draft pick to sign.

    Marco Scutaro - The guy had 13 BB in 74 AB with the big club this year after tearing up Norfolk something fierce: 311/401/520/921

    Roberto Alomar - I would bring him back and demote him to A-ball St. Lucie. They won the league championship this year, and we all know Alomar tries his little heart out when he's playing for a contender.

    Anybody but Luis Castillo - I would avoid this guy like the plague. Sure, his 381 OBP is nice, but that 397 SLG is the pits, and his SB% (21/40) is downright awful. 31 XBH all year is only going to get worse at Shea.

    3) Fire Art Howe; hire someone who knows "baseball" and "baseball players". Hire Jim Duqette full-time OR someone similar or better (read: Paul DePodesta). I doubt anyone of great promise would have any desire to helm this train wreck, but we all have our wishlist.

    Firstly, I would like to congratulate the entire Mets organization on a mostly-miserable season. I say mostly because there were a few bright spots.

    1) Jose Reyes showed why scouts and Mets-Brass alike have been creaming themselves these past couple of seasons. We're not talking Pujolsian rookie stats here, but not too shabby for a teenager-turned-twenty-year-old:

    avg: 307  obp: 334  slg: 434  ops: 769  sb: 13/16  2b: 12  3b: 4  hr: 5

    Sure, the ISO is pretty poor (127) and he hasn't shown much plate discipline (13 bb / 274 ab), but he doesn't strike out that much (36 k), and he's still but a tot (allegedly turned 20 on 6/11/03).

    2) Jason Phillips was a welcome surprise. Sure, he's no spring chicken (turned 27 on 9/27/03), but he tore up the International League this year to the tune of 346/435/564 before being recalled by the Metties for good in mid-May. He finished the season hitting just shy of 300 (299), his walk rate was passable (39/402), only k'd 50 times, and slugged a reasonable 443. Reasonable for a catcher that is...not so hot for 1B. Nonetheless, he played a more-than-adequate defensive first base, and should be a part of the Mets immediate-if-not-so-distant future.

    3) The starting rotation isn't terrible. If you slide 1-2-3-4 up a spot to 2-3-4-5, it's not half-bad. Tom "Don't Call Me Mike" Glavine showed he's not ace-material; at least not for a now-floundering franchise. Al Leiter still looks like our ace, though he's a #2 at best. I agree with others who have said that he should have arrived at spring training 20 lbs. lighter (or Leiter), but he pitched pretty well when he wasn't fat and/or disabled. Glavine is a decent #3 when he isn't pitching against the Braves which, thanks to the atrocity heretofore-known-as the unbalanced schedule, will soon account for nigh 75% of the Mets schedule. Steve "On-The-Right" Trachsel has been more-than-respectable. Despite the fact that he pitches in 94% of the Mets games I attend, he's a dependable #4 and I'll be happy to have him back next year at 5mill. Jae Seo was pretty good too, and should be an adequate #5 for this rotation. His walk rate is terrific (46/188.1), though his k/9 rate could improve. There were rumblings before the season that his fastball was up to 94mph, but that might have been in Mo Vaughn's back pocket on the way to the pre-game buffet. A #1 horse like Javier Vasquez could really help this team over the hump...right into 4th place.

    4) Robbie Alomar is gone. Let me say this unequivocably: I hate Roberto Alomar. The homo.

    5) Art Howe has, at most, three years left as Mets manager. Why he has a hardon for busch-league retreads like Joe McEwing (lovingly referred to as McSuck by my fellow bloggers), Timo Perez, and Raul Gonzalez, I'll never know. What I do know is that he's a pretty lousy manager. It's amazing what studs like Jason Giambi, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson and a brilliant front office can do (Beane, DePodesta) for a manager's market value. The Mets need to pink-slip Art Howe and fast. Possible replacements:

    Davey Johnson
    John Gruden
    Joe McEwing (anything to get him off the field)

    That's it for now.

    Hey everyone. I know there are a number of great Mets Blogs out there [theoutsideworld], [metsramblings], [theeddiekranepoolsociety], but I figured I would open one up, more to vent/spew than anything else. Feel free to drop me a line [sendmemail] if you want to talk Mets, or anything else baseball-related.

    I will try to post here as frequently as possible, and will include and comment on rumored Mets transactions during the offseason.

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