The Birth Of the 25 Man Roster

"You win championships with a 25-man roster."
Omar Minaya

Well, you certainly don't win them with 10 man rosters.

Nonetheless, whilst the temptation is to maintain a steady drone of hi-fidelity off-season whinge, I am now in a position to reluctantly admit that with hindsight, the off-season hasn't been the unmitigated disaster we all like to believe it's been.

True, there is no shortage of Manny Wanters, those irresponsible minds who believe all problems can be solved by throwing money at them, (I mean really, why MUST the Mets sign Manny, just for the additional headaches and nausea sure to follow?)but in the meantime, Omar has been a reasonably good job at building the 2009 Mets.

Lest yea forget, months ago, the bullpen was the biggest Achilles Heel in the history of baseball, (for those in love with hyperbole). Now look at it. A weakness turned into a strength. PLUS, no more having to watch Heilman hang his homer surrender monkey head or listening to Schoeneweiss explain for the thousandth time why it isn't that he sucks it's just that he's overpaid.

Starting pitching? Well, the no-brainers in Johan, Pelf and Maine are a reasonable foundation. Should Omar have paid over the odds for Derek Lowe? Fuck no. Let the Braves bear that burden, they're the ones who lost half their starting rotation, not the Mets. Let our rivals piss their money away with Luis Castillo-like absurdist wad offers. I mean, 4 years $60 million for a 36 year old pitcher? Pshaw. The Mets offered him what he was worth. If those monosyllabic chimps down South want to fund his retirement, let them.

Now, the business is nearly sorted. You take one Nats Reject (who still won 10 games and threw nearly 200 innings worth of mediocrity) as the fifth starter and then insured the fifth spot by signing Fat Boy Freddy (the hidden gem of the offseason) and you're really only one lefty starter short of phucking up those left-sided Phillies.

Of course, the miracle question is how much ransom to pay to Boras and the flighty and unpredictable Oliver Perez, if anything.

Don't worry, I don't intend on belabouring this point any further. Just let me admit openly, Ben Sheets is not a lefty.

So long as he signs somebody who can project into double digit win figures and 200 innings, sono sfatto di questo stronzo. Let's get on with the pitchers reporting and see what happens.

But let me just point out something else Omar is doing on the sly, not the megabucks and the supermarket hype. signing Alex Cora is a low grade, smart brain move.

As Omar rightly pointed out, "Alex Cora has been an integral part of teams that have been to the postseason in four of the last five years." In other words, the diplomat speak of politically correct baseball, He won't disappear in September and he won't fall asleep in the dugout like Luis Castillo.

He also signed the guy with the funny Polish name we're going to have to practice spelling this summer. I don't mind this. I still remember him from 2004 with the Pirates when he hit a game-ending grand slam off Joe Borowski in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs approximately nine hours after the birth of his first child and then followed that in the nightcap with a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off Francis Beltran (Pittsburgh won the game in the 10th) ... no kidding. I really remember that. And if he never does anything for the Mets, well so be it but I'm going in liking him already. Even if he sucks and hasn't done anything memorable in five years. Because I get down like that.

No, nothing earth-shattering. Not a shit-the-bed kind of headline with the name Manny Ramirez screaming out at you. We ent the bloody Yankees and be glad about that. Be damned glad about that. They haven't won feck all lately either. Money won't solve that. Only smart money, and we all know there's nothing smart about Yankees money. It's like giving a zoquete a checking account with an unlimited balance.

And if that isn't enough to create a bottleneck in the outfield, they also signed Cory Sullivan whose claim to fame is being the 11th guy EVER to hit two triples in one inning. Not even Auld Crazy Eyes, Jose Reyes has done that. Nope. But Heinie Peitz has. I think Cory was the last National Leaguer to do it since like, 1926. Freakish event, no doubt. He's faded into virtual anonymity since but what the hell, like Mackowiak, at least its something to hang his hat on. A shred of hope.

Yes, the Phillies are defending World Champions. As much as it pained us all to watch, it's an unavoidable fact.

However, we can certainly enjoy our fair share of Schadenfreude when they go sinking down faster than a turd in a martini glass. Want to know how I know? Because they seem to want to sign the Human DL Machine, Moises Alou. Go'wan auld man, break a leg. Break two.

PS - as it actually IS Sunday over here in the Land of Bankruptcy, this is a good larf for the cure.


Ben Sheets, Every Parent's Nightmare?

What a holding pattern.

After the desperate Braves shook up the regime by paying over the odds for Derek Lowe and calling Omar's bonehead bluff to keep the sales figures low, the quiet on the free agent starting pitcher front has been deafening.

Not that the Mets don't desperately need a starting pitcher to complete the rotation, (Omar just spent a month's worth of vocal chords explaining to the world why he has to take care of the "pitching situation" first), as though its some dirty little secret that can't be spoken about openly, i.e. that other than Omar, no one appears much interested in Oliver Perez or the rest of the lot at the minute.

But I can't help but wondering we've somehow missed the boat and we're kicking around other peoples' garbage here, shopping in some pathetic third world trinket market for something a forgotten relative will find charming in an enigmatic sort of way a few months down the road.

Hell, even Johan has chimed in with a sort of public declaration on the benefits of hermano Olly:

"He's a guy, a pitcher I think has learned a lot from last year," the Mets' ace said. "I had a great time with him and hopefully Omar will be able to keep him. He matured.

Sometimes he lets his emotions take over, so he could be more mature this year. Hopefully, Omar and his agent will find a way to keep him in New York.
"He's not just a great guy, but a good pitcher, too. He's going to be a good one."

(You reckon he's now on the Boras payroll as well or is he just trying to make the Mets pay for not letting him pitch in the World Baseball Classic?)

I mean, we've already got our designated, kicked-dog, fifth man for the rotation in Nat reject (I just love the ominous sound of that, "Nat-reject", as though it should be the name of some post-punk band based out of DC) in the form of Tim Redding so we don't really fancy a cookie cutter squadron of mishaps and mediocrity, like the addition of Randy Wolf or Jon Garland or taking a stroll with Fat Freddy Garcia...we aren't working with the bloody Cincinnati Reds payroll, are we?

No we aren't. We've got Citibank's $400 million ransom to give our heroic new park a sinking-corporate-ship sort of name and to give our new uniforms a hideous and understated corporate patch for.

So let's bloody well spend it, innit?

Problem is, there's no one good to spend it on.

The bigger problem is there are crackheads like Wallace Matthews who think the Mets should spend some of that dosh on Andy Pettitte:

"Unlike Perez, you absolutely know what you're getting: 30 to 35 starts a year, 200-plus innings, a minimum 14 wins. If you make it to October, you have a starter guaranteed not to rattle under pressure, and almost always guaranteed to put you in a position to win."

Win what, the Steroid Zombie Olympic Baseball Championship? No thanks, Wally. We don't need no stinkin' ex-Yankee heroes and we damned sure don't need no stinkin' ex-Yankee hero steroid abusing muppet, even if he did make alot of us damned happy by naming and shaming Roger Clemens as the steroid injecting monkey lying hypocrite that he is.

Now previously herein I've dismissed the talk of signing Ben Sheets as baffoonery.

But all this silence and lack of inking is making me jumpy, impatient. Enough to consider the case of Mr Sheets a little further...

In some ways, he's the perfect foil for the Mets and their September collapses. A built-in excuse. Look at last season: dominated enough to be named the starting pitcher for the National League in the All Star Game and then, when the money was all out on the table, where was Mr Sheets? He threw only 4 1/3 regular-season innings after Sept. 11, and he was unable to pitch in Milwaukee's National League Division Series loss to Philadelphia.

So there you go. When the Mets blow a 7 game lead in the NL East in September 2009, they could, if they play their cards right, blame the "Ben Sheets injury" for all their problems as in; "we'd have sealed the NL East if only Ben Sheets hadn't torn his flexor once and for all..."

What can be said about Ben Sheets that the fact no one is willing to give him a deal of two years or more doesn't say already? Not even the Diamondbacks know what to make of Mr Sheets.

I'm going to say this again, I'm more than a little irritated that Omar over-played his hand in this free agents-on-the-cheap tune he's been banging out since the winter. Ok, you were in the cat bird seat on closers when you signed K-Rod for peanuts compared to his initial asking price but that doesn't mean every free agent you want is going to walk into negotiations with his tail between his legs ready to bow down to a miser's compensation the Wilpon Idiot Collective is willing to pay, does it? Clearly not. Losing out on Lowe and getting stuck with stiffs like Perez, Wolf and Sheets is evidence enough.

Be that as it may, we still don't know what kind of place Citi Park will be to pitch in so it's difficult to say - do we want Sheets' or Perez's or Wolf's fly-ball tendancies in what is one the one hand expected to be a hitter's park or do we not care who is pitching because it will be a pitcher's park.

How can we not know this yet? Will someone go out there and hit a few fly balls for crissakes, check it out a little, like and see which way the wind is blowing?

One thing positive that can be said about Ben Sheets is that the Ben Sheets Sucks Forum is pretty much devoid of heated commentary.

Let's face it, the debate is excruciatingly dull. The unpredictable Perez, the semi-snooze of Wolf, the fragility of Ben Sheets, etc. In theory, the debate is over the 4th starter. The 4th starter.

What difference does it make? Big Pelf was named as the 5th starter in the Spring of last season. By July he was named National League Player of the Week. Pedro, the number two starter going into last season fell off the radar and never regained his form.

Do we really think the rotation will be set when we've signed one or two mediocre arms? Do we really think there will be no thicker plot developments once the season commences?

Just sign somebody already, Omar. Before there's no one left to sign!


Da Wolf v Dr Jekyll and Mr Perez

So the Braves have given Derek Lowe another year but only $4 million more on a deal to get him. $4 million more. You have to wonder why the Mets didn't up their offer without increasing the length of the deal. Could it be because Omar is infatuated with Oliver Perez despite Olly's hair-pullingly frustrating penchant for lapses in concentration and focus? That Omar, despite his offseason moves, deep down loves to confound and demoralise Met supporters with puzzling moves?

Can't speak for his motivations other than well, he likes Olly. Wants to make him a cabana boy for Yacht Club of September Choke and give him scads of cash and years to blow it in.

But if he wasn't willing to part with enough beans to sign Lowe leaving Olly as the de facto favourite, why isn't auld Randy Wolf getting a closer look?

Their numbers were nearly identical last season.

Wolf had two more victories in one less start despite a 0.08 higher ERA. Wolf had a FAR better walk to strikeout ratio (are you surprised?) threw a third fewer wild pitches (again, are you surprised?) and gave up nearly two hits more per nine innings.

They're both lefties, so the effect on the rotation is nil.

Wolf will be 33 this summer, Perez only 28. Oddly, their birthdays are only a week apart.

Wolf has started about 24 games a season for 9 seasons. Perez, nearly 22 so durability is even.

We know Olly shows up against the Phillies and in particular, against the Braves so there's something to be said for that.

Over the last three years, Wolf is 0-2 in 6 starts against the Braves with an 8.10 ERA. He's only started once against the Phillies in three years (held out due to pitching against former mates?) and did reasonable.

Of course his 5-0 record in 7 starts against the Mets means he couldn't kill us anymore if we had him. (Would Olly kill us? Well, he ent going to the Braves or Marlins and probably not to the Phillies so basically, who cares…)

Wolf spent 8 seasons with the Phillies so he must know something about them worthwhile.

Of course, the intagibles are that Wolf isn't renowned for losing his rag inexplicably and self-destructing for the entertainment of opponents.

If we sign Perez, we should also sign another pitcher to take his place in the rotation whenever the Mets are facing what are deemed to be inferior teams that Olly certainly won't bother to motivate himself for.

Perez has potential, Wolf is Wolf, you know what you're getting; middle of the road nowhere man.

On the one hand, I'd hate to have to endure another long season of Olly miscues but on the other hand, the price seems more reasonable and who knows, at some point Olly might actually catch fire and then we'll all be kicking ourselves down the road for not signing him. That's the threat. Wolf will never catch fire the rest of his career, you can bank on it.

So reluctantly, yes, I'm considering the Mets might be better off, (pukepuke in the pail) re-signing Olly on the potential upside alone and we'll all just have to stomach the heartaches he will no doubt bring along with him.


Meanwhile, if you haven't had your Madness Quota for the day, how about Mets affiliate the Brooklyn Cyclones changing their name to "Baracklyn Cyclones"? Ok, it's only on June 23 but hey, they're giving away Barack Obama bobbleheads to the first 2,500 fans. Can someone grab me one on the day of?

PS - apparently only 89 days til the Home Opener. Woop.


One Idiocy Begets Another, Welcome to 2009

Still pondering whether or not this is a joke:

Mets new uni "patch" to commerate the mockery of the franchise...

Frighteningly similar to

Domino's Pizza logo.

Well, well. The Chimps in the Mets marketing department should be congratulated for their consistency. This is what a little less than a year after that idiotic theme song which turned out to be an Rick Astley internet hoax.

No one ever bothered to listen to my theme song.

But really, rubbish logo, rubbish songs, choking dog team, what a laughable combination.

But wait, it gets worse!

According to this reliable source, with the Braves so desperate, they've offered the 35 year old Derek Lowe a four year $60 million contract leaving the Mets to slop up the messes of the likes of Oliver Perez for another excruciating three year period.

Of course, nothing's official yet. Maybe it's all another internet hoax.


Redding Or Not, Mets May Have A 5th Starter Before A 4th

If the latest rumour mill is to be believed, the Mets appear to be close to signing Tim Redding to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.

Smart move, if it comes to pass.

Once you've carefully read the headline and realised after the initial shock, that thank christ, Redding isn't meant to be the answer to the stall in the negotiations to sign Derek Lowe.

And of course, once you've gotten past the initial nausea of thinking jesus, the bottom-dwelling Nats didn't even tender this guy a contract even though he led the team in wins so what's wrong with him?

Well, if you read this you'll find that as a rotation star, he was rubbish, however as a fifth starter...

"The more you look at it, the more last year's Tim Redding seems like the "real Tim Redding" durably giving you a bunch of innings barely worth that of a 5th starter. Of course there is value in just having innings eaten up. The Nats bullpen has annually been killed by the fact the team hasn't had a true deep into games pitcher since Livan left. But I'm willing to bet they can find the same type of mediocre innings from someone else on the market, someone we fans can fool outselves into thinking might become something better."

You could also point out that he slumped badly after the All-Star break, going 3-8 with a 6.92 ERA. Of course, pitching for the Nats in the 2nd half of a pointless and miserable season, its quite understandable he might have lost a little motivation towards the end of the season, who wouldn't?

On the bright side, he was 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA against the Phillies last season and that alone is worth a few golf claps of appreciation.

Look, Jon Niese, for all his potential, is still an unknown entity.

And yeah, his signing might put a little damper on Pedro's desire to win a World Series with the Mets but as much as the heart might want to see Pedro redeem his forgettable 2008 season with a Mets comeback in 2009, is it realistic?

Is not a bad move. Signing a 5th starter is not exactly stop-the-presses sort of news but when your 5th starter is another team's former ace, even if that former team is only the Nats, well done, I say.

Now as for Derek Lowe and his scumbag agent preening for more than the 3 year, $36 million contract the Mets offered, well, I hope a deal can still be done, but if the Braves are dumb enough to give him a 4-year contract out of desperation, let them. Big game pitcher or not, Lowe is not going to last out a 4 year contract.

Raise the ante if you have to but truth be told, the Braves are notoriously conservative financially and they don't have the stomach for a bidding war. I still think the Mets will get their man.

Whatever happens, I am still engaging in daily prayers that Oliver Perez does not return as a Met. Hopefully, you'll join me.

As Oscar Wilde once said, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go”

Just so. Stay gone, Ollie, stay gone.