12.11.06

Catching Up On The Mets

Well alright, the postseason burn of Carlos Beltran leaving his bat on his shoulder with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 9th is officially history. Yes, I've been lamenting quietly these last few weeks but the true rationale for the paucity of posts is that frankly, I didn't know what to say next. Nor do I now but I reckon for anyone who has been visiting this site in the interim, we're all getting rather sick of seeing Roger Clemens so it's time for something new:



The winter.

Now the last two winters have been pretty good to the Mets. We signed Pedro and Beltran in one winter and then got Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca the next.

(yes, there were other significant additions and subtractions but this isn't a bloody roll call or a body count, it's the Superstah we're pondering here...)

So after these last two flurries of activity in the offseason, what does Brother Omar do for an encore?


Possible target Barry Zito pickin' and a grinnin' with Chris Isaak, lefty pitching playing righty...

Yes, everyone can identify with the ease of a somnambulist the weaknesses: starting pitching and left field with second base straggling behind in the distance. There is at least one A-Level starting pitcher out there called Barry Zito and my guess is most everyone who favours the Mets want him signed toute suite, without wasting any bargaining time. If you've got the money to plug the hole, why not? A lefty former Cy Young winner going back to the warm embrace of his former pitching coach, what's not to like, right?

Except I don't see any full on moves to overwhelm him just yet.

Why because the first order of business is to sign the 41 year old Tom Glavine, the 50 year old El Duque and the dazzling Chad Bradford for the pen, that's why.

Whilst I've been away, a few bits of information changed the landscape ever so slightly.

1. Guillermo Mota's 50 game suspension. All I can say is that his defence against performance-enhancing drugs should have been spirited and all he really needed to say was look at his post-season performance. So there's one less arm in the bullpen but Duaner Sanchez will be back so it's hardly a concern. Willie might be concerned because he used Mota more in the playoffs than a chronic masturbator uses his hand but losing Guillermo Mota, believe me, is a blessing in disguise. To Mota's credit, he pled guilty all the way down to the apologies so whilst no one is building pedestals in NYC for him, at least give him credit for being honest about his dishonesty.

2. Tom Glavine's uncertainty about where he'll go. I thought this was in the bag. I mean, Mets on the way up, Braves on the way down. The life of NYC versus the life of Atlanta. Sure, his family is in on the decision because they're still marooned in the cultural wasteland of Atlanta but really, I'm struggling to anticipate what the hell would be more interesting about pitching for a half-empty stadium of redneck zombies for a franchise with a goon like Chipper Jones disgracing its lineup than pitching for the Mets. Is he secretly hankering to return to Massachusetts?

3. Pedro Martinez's public contemplation of retirement. "To go back I have to recover. I have to be healthy. But if God doesn't want that, then I would have to think about giving it all up," he said. Well, Pedro has definately given us bang for the buck, even if he never pitches another game. The impact he has had on the Mets franchise is immeasurable but the Mets could stand on their own now if they needed to and for at least the first half of the season they will need to regardless so even though I find it difficult to take this sort of offseason pondering from Pedro seriously, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

4. Naming the New Shea - CitiField. The sponsorship deal will be worth $20 million per year. That should pay at least one new free agent a season. I'm not sure I like the name, certainly William Shea can't be too chuffed after all, according to some groups, Citigroup is one of the largest foreign investors in Colombia. Citi was the lead arranger on the main loan to the Colombia government last year, $250 million split between debt repayments and "infrastructure" investment. In reality Citi's loans amount to nothing less that a privatization of structural adjustment. Infrastructure in Colombia means fossil fuel development. The money is not being invested in community improvement, health or education but rather further resource exploitation efforts that will increase violence, human rights violations and environmental destruction. Yes but will it bring us Colombian superstars?!

5. Adios, Manny Acta - This, I like. I've never been a fan of Manny Acta, third base coach, I have to admit, so I see this as a plus, not to mention that he goes to the Nats instead of the Nats getting someone dangerous to manage them like say, Joe Girardi they get the guy who what, blew the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic? Ok, that's simplistic. He actually didn't do a bad job managing the DR with all those egos on board. And he's part of a trend what with another third base coach, Ron Washington getting the call for the Texas Rangers. What is disturbing are rumours that Willie might be interested in getting another Yankee in the clubhouse to replace Acta, namely, Luis Soho. Then again, Soho's middle name is Beltran, believe it or not.

6. Aloha, again Carlos Delgado - Ok, maybe it's not big news that he didn't exercise an option to demand a trade after all the post-season excitement but try and imagine last season with oh, Mike Jacobs' bat in the lineup at first base rather than Delgado's and well, let's just not go there.

QUESTIONS

As for answers on the free agent and trading front, I confess to not having any just yet.

I can say I'd like to see the D Train pitching for the Mets more than I'd like to Zito or Moulder or Schmidt, if I had to chose, that is.



Frankly, the Mediocre Starting Rotation versus the Deep and Formidable Bullpen scheme worked well for the Mets all last season, why shouldn't it again?

Should we sign some big splash free agent only to hurl curses at him all season long when he doesn't live up to massive expectation? Signing Pedro was as near as can't-miss as it comes for free agent starting pitchers because so long as he didn't blow out his body on Opening Day, the Mets won on the positive publicity alone.

None of the available free agent starters in the current crop would be such a sure thing. Yes, Zito has massive upsides but if he really is asking for a 6 year deal, well look at Mark Moulder and Tim Hudson both former A's and former can't-miss starters. I'd like to see us obtain someone big as our Opening Day starter but practically, who, among any of the available possibilities would guarantee it? Nobody.

So focus on resigning Glavine and El Duque and find an innings-eater, like D-Train, for the right price (yes, on top of being a great hitting pitcher at Shea and a great starting pitcher, he also ranked 6th in all of MLB for innings pitched). What's the right price for D-Train? Well previous negotiations are sure to be tainted by Lastings Milledge's market value down turn. That makes the deal a little tougher than it was half way through last season. The Marlins need help just about everywhere but what would entice them to surrender a star pitcher with still two years to go before free agency? Cash and cheap players with plenty of upside. Would you do it for Heilman AND Bannister and Milledge? I think so. In fact, let me say yes, in a second and throw in lots of dosh to make them really salivate because let's face it, that's what the Marlins are all about. In summary, NO To Zito and Pray for D Train.

*****

I'd like to see Alfonso Soriano playing for the Mets next season. Sure he's a free-swinger (bet his bat wouldn't have been on Carlos Beltran's shoulders...) and yes, a defensive liability either in left field or at second base but you can't deny the excitment he would bring.

Those are the blockbusters I'd bust. D-Train, as the rightful heir to Pedro and Soriano, a sort of Reyes-Lite. Worthy of the previous two season's blockbusters.

3 comments:

jdon said...

Glavine could go to
Atlanta and win less than 10 games. I wonder if he has considered that?

Jaap said...

maybe he's just wanting to avoid the bad karma of Met-involved taxi accidents...

sanchez said...

Yes, Zito throws lefty but strums righty. I'd be more impressed to see a photo of him playing the harmonica with it held between his feet.