Mets ST Game 11

Luis Castillo

Luis hit a line drive into the outfield to drive in two runs. I swear, it went beyond the infield dirt, in the air. No kidding.

Brandon Knight

Knight is one of those regular joes you have to root for, but unfortunately his stuff is pretty ordinary. He’ll be nice to have waiting in AAA for depth, but let’s hope he isn’t needed for an extended period of time.

Daniel Murphy

Murphy continues to take pitches and “hit ’em where they ain’t”, slapping the ball to the opposite field.

Ryan Church

Church took out O’s shortstop Jolbert Cabrera on a double play in the 3rd. Colbert didn’t like it, and let Church know it, but the bum was standing on second base so not sure what the fuss was about. It was great to see a Mets player purposely make physical contact with an opponent, then tell the guy to kiss off afterward. Haven’t seen much of that since the Bobby V days.

Jon Switzer

Remains unimpressive. However, he has inspired me to begin throwing with my left hand.

Josh Thole

He looks like Daniel Murphy’s prodigy with that open stance and patient approach.

Duaner Sanchez

Duaner’s fastball is still floating in the 83-85-MPH range. If he’s still around there come April, I can see him getting released, then re-signed, as no one else is likely to take a chance on him. His desperation has led to throwing a rinky-dink slider. Sad times for Sanchez. Though, I wonder if his velocity can be regained with a mechanical tweak … it looks to me like his hips are opening before his arm whips around — in other words, his arm is a little “slow” to catch up to his hip explosion. Either he needs to increase his arm speed, or he needs to find a way to retard the opening of his hips, possibly by lengthening his stride.

John Franco

Nice to see Johnny teaching the changeup and sans his guido mustache. He still sounds like a guido, but what can you expect from a kid from Brooklyn?

Koji Uehara

The Japanese import has pretty good stuff. He won’t dominate in the AL East, but he shouldn’t embarrass himself. And for the record, his name is not pronounced “ooey-hara”, as the Mets announcers referred to him; it’s “ooh-way-ha-rah”.

Bobby Kielty

Continues to smoke the ball. He mashed a line-drive double in a pinch-hitting role against George Sherrill in the fourth.

Casey Fossum

Fossum continues to throw at all kinds of speeds from 64 MPH to 91 MPH, yet gets hit like the batters know what’s coming. Hmmm ….. maybe that’s the problem?

Nick Evans

Nick FINALLY turned on one and jerked it way over the left field fence. Yes, it’s nice he can go to the opposite field, but it’ll be even nicer if he can mash the ball over the wall like that more often. This had to be the display of power we’d heard about but hadn’t seen at the big league level.

Rene Rivera

Yes, Rivera also hit a bomb. I’d still rather have Pudge Rodriguez.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 7:48 am
    RE: Johnny Franco….

    I was just recently presented with a “gift” from one of my former roommates — courtesy of his father, who umpires up in CT. I guess Franco’s kid had played in a Federation game over the summer.

    The story was, that Franco’s kid had a game (he now coaches the team)….my friend’s father was umpiring. Franco had been thrown out of the game the night before, and there had been some question as to whether or not he’d be permitted to coach the current game, as the 2 teams met at home plate, prior to first pitch.

    One of the league directors had informed the umpiring crew that ol’ Johnny-Boy wouldn’t be allowed to stay with his team in the dugout due to the previous evening’s ejection, and would have to “sit-out”. After awhile, some “bargaining” took place — Franco signed a few rocks, and after checking with the opposing coach — it was deemed okay for him to participate.

    My friend’s father knows that my brother and I have an irrational hatred of Franco, and have had very unique ways of converying it to him through the years….

    Stories date way back to the day my father left a written note in the kitchen on a paper-plate before he left the house in the morning — that “METS TRADED MYERS FOR FRANCO”……continuing on through the time he snubbed us in an emptier than empty Staten Island Toys R Us, when we asked for an autograph– because after all, “I’m with my kids.”

    We booed him at any chance after that…..not only because of what we saw as phoniness and self-importance, but we also thought he was just flat-out overrated.

    My friend’s father remembered all of this as he stood at home plate — and sent a written note along with the signed ball, “FROM YOUR “FAVORITE” NY MET, TURNS OUT — HE REMEMBERED YOUR NAME WHEN I MENTIONED IT TO HIM, TOO” — lol

    I’m tempted to say: this is even more B.S. from Franco…….unless, of course, he spent his time sifting through collegiate boxscores in the local paper almost a decade ago.

    As was always the case with Franco…….one never knows.

  2. isuzudude March 10, 2009 at 8:23 am
    I feel so bad for Duaner Sanchez. Here was a guy who was perhaps the best middle reliever the team had back in 2006, and that list included Heilman, Bradford, Feliciano, and Oliver, a damn fine group. Then he decides to take a taxi cab at night and his career is pretty much ripped out from under him by a drunk driver. You know, it’s one thing if he’s playing a pickup game of basketball during the offseason and injures himself, or gets hurt rock climbing, or has complications due to steroid use, or has some funky delivery and his shoulder can’t take the excess torque. But he got hurt in a situation almost entirely out of his control, and ever since his life and career has been a shadow of its former self. Sanchez spent well over a year rehabiltating himself to get back in the game. He endured not only a seperated shoulder from the accident but a fractured coracoid and had to go under the knife twice. He showed up to ST last year in awesome shape, and wound up missing only the first 15 days of the season despite all the trauma his throwing arm had gone through the previous year and a half. Willie consequently threw Sanchez right back into the fire, using him on back-to-back games and in high-pressure situations often, and with good results early on. He didn’t allow a run in his furst 6.2 innings back, and held an ERA as low as 3.60 on August 14th of last season. Yet, as Sanchez predictably tired as the season waned down under Jerry’s immense workload, it was Sanchez who was criticized by the mainstream media for his lack of velocity and poor outings, not Jerry, Willie, Omar, or Sanchez’ vulnerable situation. An idea shared by a few on this blog was that Duaner simply needed more time to heal and to catch his breath, and that his ‘stuff’ would perhaps keep coming back as more and more time seperated the present from Sanchez’ tumultuous past. I, for one, am not surprised at Sanchez’ slow start this spring. After all, if Freddy Garcia can be excused for needing more time to recoup lost velocity, why can’t Sanchez? I am still confident Sanchez can be a contributive force in the Mets’ bullpen this year, and I believe he will benefit from not having to appear in 80 games this year with the improvements and additions that have been made to the relief corps. More than anyone else, I am hoping the Mets give Sanchez as much of a chance as possible in making the team.
  3. joe March 10, 2009 at 8:44 am
    Good story, ‘nutz. I’ve never been able to form a consistent opinion on Johnny Franco. I’ve also been torn by his seeming phoniness, and those few years where he and Al Leiter inexplicably ran team. My feeling is that if I ever met him in person I might be swayed one way or the other. Hopefully it won’t happen in a Toys ‘R Us.

    ‘dude, I’m with you on Dirty. What’s just as sad is that his confidence disappeared with his velocity — even last year, when he was barely breaking 90, you could see a scared look on his face. With the right training regimen, he can probably come back part of the way, if not all of the way. Unfortunately, he’s in no position to train, he has to compete for a job. I’m crossing my fingers that he doesn’t get picked up after the Mets release him — and unless things change dramatically, it’s looking that way — and that he’s able to spend a few months in A-ball working himself back into shape.

    Though, I have a funny feeling the Yankees will pick him up and nurse him back to health.

  4. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 10:49 am
    That’s why this story’s so funny, Joe. I frequently see Franco every summer at the complex I play ball at, have indirectly yukked it up with him as a “Regular Joe” (pardon the pun) — but have always left the scene, feeling the whole thing is phony and validated….

    Then I receive an autographed baseball as basically a “pay-off” from him to be able to manage in his kid’s game after getting thrown out……lol — BRRRROWWWWWNNNNN-NOOOOSSSSEEE!!!

    Aww, c’mon fellas — Duaner “Snoozebar” Sanchez has not successfully been cast-off by 4 different organizations for nothing in exchange (well, to be fair — Jae Seo did make his way out to LA for a short stint)…….but when the DBacks, Pirates, Dodgers, and Mets all bid you adieu — and your velocity’s shot to “shoot” at a crucial stage of your career…….methinks that the AL is the last place he’d wanna be.

    I’ve ALWAYS subscribed to the theory that Duaner Sanchez is one of the most annoyingly overrated pitchers that this fanbase has over-hyped in some time.

    I understand the move, first and foremost from the velocity angle — and the financial aspect just seals it.

    (The whispers of him being a pain in the arse, not only by his previous employers — but the strange nature of his injury with the Mets, and sluggish comeback trail the past 2 seasons — further incenses me.)

    I was never a fan — or at least, never as big a fan as everyone else on the bandwagon seemed to be. Chances are, someone else can step up and provide what he has over the past handful of seasons……..people need to get over 2006. It wasn’t happening again for him.

    He was only so “dominant” (most over-used fan-phrase since ’06) in 2006 because of the Double Plays he induced….and really, that’s pure chance — coupled with good downward movement on his pitches.

    His 2008 peripherals were almost exactly the same as last year’s….and his velocity & control have waved bye-bye in ST ’09.

    Look at last year compared to 2006:

    2006: 55.3 IP
    2008: 58.3 IP

    2006: 24 Walks
    2008: 23 Walks

    2006: 44 K’s
    2008: 44 K’s

    2006: 3 HR’s Allowed
    2008: 6 HR’s Allowed

  5. joe March 10, 2009 at 11:00 am
    Interesting numbers, ‘nutz. Mine eyes did see a pretty dominant reliever from mid-May to July of 2006. When he was gassing it up around 94 and mixing in a nasty changeup, he looked pretty tough to hit … and you left out those numbers — he gave up 43 hits in ’06, compared to 54 in ’08. In ’06, a total of 12 extra-base hits and a .316 SLG by opposing batters, but in ’08, 17 extra-base hits and a .366 SLG. Bottom line is that hitters were much more comfortable against him last year, when he had no velocity and no confidence.
  6. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 11:07 am
    I’m with ya, Joe. Just saying — on the surface……bare peripherals.

    Chances are, if his velocity hasn’t returned yet……then it’s probably not ever going to. This isn’t set in stone gospel — but really?

    Does anyone think Sanchez is going to come back, firing 95mph pellets in ’09? I don’t.

    And obviously, the Mets don’t either. I actually applaud them for cutting the cord now, in lieu of “trying him out” to the tune of a 77% arbitration raise from last season.

    If you’re not throwing hard….then you need some movement on your pitches. If your pitches aren’t moving, AND you’re not breaking a pane of glass?

    Then you wind up released.

    Sounds like I’m being harsh here….but the guy got hurt, mid-year ’06 — got hurt again in ’07 — and was rumored to be lackadaisical in his rehab last year…….prompting him to REALLY get into rush-mode, when the “fatboy” pics were leaked to the papers.

    Remember when Willie sent him home early from one of their work-outs last Spring?…and told him to stay home the next day?

    I have no sympathy for professional players who put their own careers in jeopardy. You got there, be smart enough to stay there……all because he decided to go get some late-night eats?

    Seems pretty silly in the grand scheme of things now, no? — and chances are, none of us really knows the true story.

    Oh well.

  7. isuzudude March 10, 2009 at 11:25 am
    I literally wrote my post, then checked metsblog and saw Duaner had been released. Talk about bad timing. Hmm…maybe I should have written a sob story a few months ago on Luis Castillo, then maybe the Mets would have released him as well.

    Walnutz, you also skipped past Duaner’s 2.60 ERA and 1.21 WHIP from the 2006 season, which are both impressive stats regardless of how “dominant” the pitcher is. I realize the Mets wanted to part with Duaner now so they can save some dough, and the move makes sense, but I’m really crossing my fingers the two sides work out a deal that brings Duaner back into the fold. Even without his best stuff, Duaner found a way to contribute for the majority of last season, which means he has a great competitive spirit and finds a way to get people out when he’s not 100%. He’s also only 29, so there’s still a solid chance he can get back some of his lost glory. Walnutz, I haven’t heard any of those whispers regarding Duaner to be a poor clubhouse presence. Perhaps if you can provide a link to some proof I’d subscribe to the theory. But what I see from Duaner is a hard working bulldog who preserveres and shows great determination and inner-fire. He may not be the best reliever in baseball or even on his own team, but for what he has gone through and for what he offers, I think he deserved a better shot than what he got.

    Now with his departure, I’m hoping the Mets will use the empty bullpen slot either to get a 2nd lefty on the roster, or to use the slot as the AAA shuttle, moving bodies in and out to keep arms fresh. Or, as an alternative, with the money saved by cutting Sanchez, maybe Omar makes a move for Will Ohman or Chad Cordero to further beef up the bullpen. Somehow, though, I think the savings will instead be used to reline the Wilpons’ golden pockets.

  8. joe March 10, 2009 at 11:43 am
    ‘nutz, have to disagree with you on the velocity issue. I’m not convinced that Duaner can’t get it back up above 90. He may not get to 95 again, but he can be effective at 90-91. He won’t be the lights-out setup guy he was in ’06, but that’s not what the Mets need — they need 6th- and 7th-inning guys. So far, I haven’t seen anyone else in camp who has won a job in the ‘pen — though Brian Stokes comes close. I mean really, Connor Robertson? Sean Green? Jon Switzer? I don’t think so.

    This was more a financial move than anything else, and I won’t applaud the Mets for saving money unless they put it toward Pudge, Ohman, or another valid MLBer to take his place on the roster.

  9. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 11:44 am
    No problem….I’ll dig up the Sanchez speculation, as I’m familiar with the Pirate organization from years back — my father’s always been a huge fan — dating back to his childhood summers in Pennsylvania….and really, the whispers never stopped with the Mets.

    Seeing that kind of “late-night” accident…and then seeing pics of him looking like a beached-beluga — presented him in the same light that my father had presented to me years ago. “That guy has a $0.10 head.” — he said the same about Ollie Perez, too. lol

    Save for a 21-inning scoreless streak….that I didn’t really leave out — just implied as obvious: I viewed Sanchez’s Met-career as a continuation along the same path (whispers of boozin’, and not exactly reporting to work-out, etc. on time). Purely speculatory: Sanchez is probably one of the “teammates” that everyone whispers about, in citing Churches’ distaste for NY. Meanwhile, it’s likely slugs like Castro (hmm….looking to move him?) — and Sanchez (not progressing, and has a precedent) — that has him feeling this way.

    Here is the famous Duaner Streak: documented….

    April 5 through May 5, 2006

    21IP
    0.00 ERA
    0.71 WHIP
    7.28 K/9
    0 HR/9

    May 6 through July 28, 2006:

    34.3 IP
    4.19 ERA
    1.57 WHIP
    7.07 K/9
    0.78 HR/9

    His Career Totals:
    287 IP, 3.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 6.64 K/9, 0.94 HR/9

    More or less, Met fans have been so starved for a guy who makes a fantastic first-impression — that they were lead into the belief that he could match a streak of Rivera-like “Dominance” when he returned from 2 significant injuries to his pitching arm.

    More realistically, Duaner pitched pretty well — and has a ton of things break in his favor.

    He’s not as good as most Met fans have bought into, and was never an “elite” arm. That’s all I’m trying to convey.

    Above-average? Sure…why not. Sustained “dominance”?

    Never.

  10. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm
    Something’s up with my posting abilities — and it always coincides with posting links.

    With regard to Sanchez’s documented past, I had put together a very long, detailed response twice…and foolishly didn’t copy and paste it after the 1st time.

    Google-search these, Mr. Isuzu…I’m sorry for the lag in response, but went to lunch in the meantime:

    1. Audio: Valentin says Sanchez “doesn’t care” — a good listen, from a guy alot of teammates, fans, and people around baseball truly respect.

    2. Mets Tell Sánchez It’s Time to Shape Up — a Klapisch article

    “This is not the first time Sánchez has gotten into trouble for being late, though. In 2003, when he was a rookie with Pittsburgh, Sánchez overslept for a game in Montreal and was demoted to the minors. The Mets also fined Sánchez before the 2005 season, the first major disciplinary action Randolph took after he became manager. Several players who were asked about Sánchez’s status were unanimous in their support for Randolph and expressed frustration with Sánchez for acting selfishly.

    “Willie doesn’t have a lot of rules, but he expects you to be on time,” David Wright said. “It shouldn’t be that tough to do, especially when you have 24 other guys relying on you. Duaner needs to realize that we need him to be successful this season. He needs to be accountable for his actions.”

    ===============================================================

    3. There had always been whispers around the time of the Dodger trade, that Sanchez sometimes showed up intoxicated to work-outs and practices…..I’m not making this stuff up, and it seems like alot of people have bit their lip on Sanchez, with regard to direct quotes.

    In fact, it’s guys like him that may be the reason for Church “not liking” certain guys in the clubhouse….meaning guys that don’t show up on time to practice. I’d even go so far as to speculate, that that’s why we’ve heard trade rumors about Sloth Castro and his $2.5MM for 50 games contract.

    He’s another guy who doesn’t strike me as too motivated to be anything more than a back-up….his injuries are almost a given, too.

    Just saying — guys like these are often their own worst enemies…..people make up alot of stories, but I wouldn’t be quick to turning a blind eye to Sanchez’s trail.

  11. Walnutz15 March 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm
    Not to pile on…..but here’s one more snippet I found:

    Like I said, I’m shocked Sanchez made it even this long with the Mets…..

    From Bill Madden — around the time Randolph was taking action on him early in camp (’07):

    What Randolph and Minaya didn’t mention yesterday was the disturbing behavior pattern being set by Sanchez. There is a reason that Sanchez, despite being only 27, already has been with four organizations. According to Dodger sources, he was twice disciplined by L.A. in 2005 before being traded to the Mets. Both times it was for late arrivals to the ballpark, and on one of those occasions, he reportedly appeared to be intoxicated. Before that, he exhibited the same behavior in Pittsburgh with the Pirates, who put him on waivers despite his respectable season in Triple-A in 2003.

    “The Mets knew what his story was,” a Dodger source said. “But they were intrigued with his talent and I guess they figured they could straighten him out. Obviously, that hasn’t happened, and whether they want to believe it or not, he’s going to continue to be a distraction there.”

  12. isuzudude March 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm
    Well, Walnutz, you certainly do your research, and it does seem like Duaner has a track record of misbehavior. And I guess when you combine his rap sheet with his decrease in pitching ability and his increase in salary, then the Mets had all the motivation in the world to sever ties with him. However, I don’t think it’s completely fair to paint Duaner’s picture using all negative descriptions. Again, he may not have been the most dominating relief pitcher in the big leagues back in 2006, but he certainly provided ample production for the Mets – enough so that Omar felt like he had to trade the starting RF at the time (Nady) for a potential replacement (Roberto Hernandez). And knock Duaner all you want for being hungry and grabbing a cab at an odd hour, but no one in their right mind is thinking that their livelihood is in jeopardy when they are riding in a car. The picture of Duaner showing up to camp last spring looking like a 250 pound whale was refuted by other pictures that same spring of Duaner looking fit and trim. And the stories of him showing up to ST in January this year reinforces the notion that he’s a determined, hard-working player. So though you give plenty of evidence of a “dirty” side of Duaner (I couldn’t help the pun, sorry), there are plenty of examples of Duaner being a good citizen as well. Even if he doesn’t return to the Mets, I wish him all the best on his road to recovery.
  13. joe March 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm
    good dirt there on Dirty, ‘nutz. I missed those reports on his misbehavior … funny how all negative stuff about the Mets gets quickly swept under the rug, eh?

    well …. IF Duaner has not matured from his years with LA and Pittsburgh, then I can certainly understand the Mets cutting him loose. Who knows, though? Some guys eventually figure it out, some are party animals for the rest of their lives. I still think this was more a situation of Jeff Wilpon telling Omar Minaya that he wasn’t paying $1.7M for a guy throwing 83 MPH.

    As was mentioned a few times here last year, I don’t believe Sanchez was properly handled after the injury. If some team has the patience to put Duaner on an appropriate training regimen — and Duaner has the interest and discipline to stick to it — then I can see him making a return to the big leagues some time in June or July. Much, though, depends on Sanchez being willing to swallow his pride and take a minor league demotion, and work himself into shape. For all we know, he may not have the intestinal fortitude to go through that. Time will tell.