"The past five world champs combined have used only four regular position players older than 32. (This excludes DH's, considers the player most frequently used at each of the eight fielding positions and uses July 1 of that season to determine a player's age.) That's 40 players, and only four of them were older than 32: Tim Salmon, then 33, of the 2002 Angels, Bill Mueller, 33, of the 2004 Red Sox, and Jim Edmonds, 36, and So Taguchi, 36, (largely a reserve in October) of the 2006 Cardinals."
Perhaps based upon this, SI have also slotted the Mets 5th in the MLB power poll, predict they will win the NL East again this year but lose in the NLCS again this season, this time to the Dodgers. G'won. A Freeway Series, they're calling it. Pshaw. Dream on.
******Duaner Throws Off Mound, Throws Off Shoulder*****
Meanwhile, the reliever who is only 27, Duaner Sanchez, appears to have broken a bone in his shoulder in his first pitching outing of the season.
No cabbies to blame this time
Although he went 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA last season, following his season-ending taxi cab accident injury, Duaner took it a little too easy and reported to Spring Training a little too apathetic and a little too overweight. Although he redeemed himself later with apologies and renewed enthusiasm, the damage was already done. The baseball gods have paid his shoulder a visit and the hairline fracture a few could see coming all along has now come to roost. Moral of the story? Don't let your head get too big lest it get so heavy it breaks a bone in your body and renders you useless for the rest of the season.
No one needs to cry over this. The bullpen is still chocka with arms like lefty Scott Schoeneweiss and demoted and disgruntled righty Chan Ho Park so I'm sure the bullpen which will need to pitch on average about 4-5 innings a night is still in just fine shape.
"We'll continue to get guys ready to pick up the slack until he gets back," We overheard Manager Willie poetrically wax the other day. Until WHO gets back? Sanchez? The steroid-infested Guillermo Mota? Pedro?
There's always Jorge Sosa, with his 8.53 Spring ERA, ready and waiting to inflict some damage down in Triple-A New Orleans.
Something tells me there is alot of slack picking up that is going to have to be done, not only in the starting rotation but now the bullpen - and just wait, the fabled meltdown of Billy Wagner has yet to materialise!
But let us not focus merely on the I-told-you-so's and the smacking of the foreheads. There are bright moments at hand.
For one, there's Joe Smith's surprising 1.46 ERA in 10 games Spring start. Schoeneweiss, after all the pissing and moaning still has a miraculous 0.93 ERA after 9 games pitched. Pedro Feliciano? How about 5 hits and a lone run over 11 Spring innings pitched for an 0.82 spring ERA? And yes, the last subtle surprise of the pen this spring has been Lino Urdaneta, quietly Yes, Burgos, Sosa and Adkins all big busts so far but even that doesn't mean they won't find themselves midway through the season and spark some life into a tired bullpen by July.
Urdaneta, by the way, has a baaaad history we won't hold against him. According to The Post, only Doc Hamann, a pitcher on the 1922 Indians, has ever faced more batters in his major league career (7) than Lino Urdaneta (6) without retiring any. On Sept. 9, 2004, as a Tiger, Urdaneta allowed five hits, one walk and six runs, and since he retired nobody he was left with an infinite ERA.Only Doc Hamann, a pitcher on the 1922 Indians, has ever faced more batters in his major league career (7) than Lino Urdaneta (6) without retiring any. On Sept. 9, 2004, as a Tiger, Urdaneta allowed five hits, one walk and six runs, and since he retired nobody he was left with an infinite ERA.
Former Mets Pitchers On Trade Wheel
I say shocking that the Marlins would give away Yusmeiro Petit so quickly before his Scott Kazmirish potential was fully realised. And to think, they gave him up for Jorge Julio and Jorge Julio is slated to be the Marlins closer! Well, maybe they're crazy like foxes down there. After all and despite potential, Petit has done sweet FA in a Marlins jersey (1-1 9.57 ERA) and he didn't exactly tear it up at the Triple-A team either.
Jorge Julio on the other hand, will provide inning after inning of comic relief for Marlins fans. Julio allowed 52 homers in 3572/3 innings (1.3 per nine innings), including 10 in 66 innings last season with the Mets and Diamondbacks. In comparison, Armando Benitez, Doug Jones and Joe Borowski, who all had their careers rescued by stints with the Marlins, have allowed a combined 0.91 homers per nine innings over their careers.
And worse news still for both the Marlins AND the Mets is that the Boston Globe has reported that a veteran baseball official predicts the big trading deadline deal will be Florida ace Dontrelle Willis going to the Dodgers for prospects including outfielder Matt Kemp. If the Mets aren't able to swing a deal for D-Train, whom the Marlins have insisted all along isn't available, and he goes to the stinkin' Dodgers instead, well, it might be time to consider Brother Omar is losing his golden touch. An offseason of mishaps and no starting pitching and the best big name on the block goes elsewhere? Let's hope this is just some misguided wishful thinking on the part of the Dodgers.
If there's one thing we shouldn't have to worry about too much this season it's hitting the damned ball. But what surprises me most this Spring is how the man whose we pshawed all offseason, the magical, mystical, elderly Jose Valentin is simply running amok, hitting .341 and leading the team in RBIs for the Spring. This from a guy managed to injure himself sleeping.
And well, let's not be too sure about hitting buckets o rain coming out for the season. After all Carlos Delgado is batting .200 thus far and battling. The well documented Alou Saga (not to be confused with the vegetable dish Sag Aloo) is hitting a mere .173, Shawn Green is still hovering around .145 mark, Lo Duca .205 and hell, even Beltran is hitting only .245 and he hasn't even starting playing in Shea yet!
When you look it all over, a collective slump. Or a collective slow start. But think about this as well - those guys are all going to start hitting lumps as the season heats up and mebbe jes mebbe once they do, once the meat of the order gets going, those spring losses are going to seem mighty unimposing.
All wishful thinking of course. No one knows what the Spring means, what the regular season holds. That's why they play the bloody games. But ah, the brilliant (or dim-witted) speculation roars this time of year and Duaner me lad, it was fun whilst it lasted...