Browsing Archive July, 2008

Deadline Insanity

The Manny sweepstakes was crazy enough. Every ten minutes a deal was on, off, dead, on again, expanded, reduced, on, off, etc.

In the end, the Dodgers gave up next to nothing, the Red Sox added two Major Leaguers to the deal, AND offered to pay the rest of Manny’s contract. Wow.

Another strange development on trade day was the last-hour participation of the Toronto Blue Jays — as a BUYER. The same Jays who are second to last in the AL East and nine and a half games out of first place. Behind the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. With nowhere near the talent to make any of those three leaders pay attention, much less shake in their boots. Yet there were the Blue Jays, making feeble attempts to pick up useless, overaged veterans on trading day. My guess is that GM J.P. Ricciardi, who has been a tremendous bust since walking out from Billy Beane’s shadow, was trying to improve his team just enough to save his job. Let’s face it, the Jays don’t have a shot in hell of making the postseason, but they do have an outside chance of finishing with a winning record — and that might be enough to buy Ricciardi one more year.

Speaking of, I’m not sure what was more comical — Toronto trying desperately to pry Raul Ibanez away from the Mariners (why???), or the Mariners demanding Shaun Marcum or Adam Lind in return. For those who don’t follow AL “baseball” (why they’re still allowed to call it baseball is anyone’s guess), Marcum is John Maine, only better. Lind is Fernando Martinez, except already in MLB and already hitting over .300. And Ibanez is Shawn Green. See, now you’re laughing too.

Also somewhat comical — the Giants think they’ll be able to pass Bengie Molina through waivers and trade him sometime in the coming weeks. Apparently they did not notice that there are a few teams in need of a starting catcher (Marlins, in particular) and Molina’s $6M price tag for ’09 is pretty fair.

Then there are the outrageously hysterical comments from the New York Mets. Specifically, the one where they identify Bobby Parnell as “untouchable”. And then there was the knee-slapper that there would be “plenty” of players available after the deadline. Good luck with that, guys.


Paging Omar Minaya

omar_minaya_2.jpgMr. Minaya, Mr. Minaya …

Paging Mr. Minaya …

Mr. Minaya, please pick up a house phone … Mr. Minaya, Mr. Minaya …

Oh crap … it appears that Omar slept through the snooze alarm. Or maybe his cell phone battery went dead. Or perhaps it was something really simple, like he forgot it was the trade deadline. My wife’s birthday happens to be July 31, and as a result my attention was, shall we say, divided as a result. There’s a really good chance that there’s a member of Omar’s family (wife, mom, kid?) whose birthday is July 31 as well, and all the excitement in ordering flowers, getting a gift, picking up the cake, etc., simply dominated Omar’s day, and he just didn’t have the time or the concentration to make a deal.

Unfortunately, this means the Mets got no one to improve their club. No corner outfielder. No reliever. No starting pitcher. No future Hall of Famer. We’re told not to worry, though, because there will be “plenty” of players available after the deadline.

Uh huh.


Seeing Through the Smoke Screens

There is a lot of nonsense being “reported” in the last 24-48 hours before the trading deadline. All the “buzz” you hear about this player generally comes from “team officials” or “a source close to the team”, etc. Part of what those “moles” are doing is purposely leaking information for any of several reasons. Let’s go through a few of the smoke screens set up by the moles and how they should be interpreted.

The “Insane Package Request”

Selling team “leaks out” that they want


Day in the Life of Brian Cashman

brian_cashman.jpgYankees GM Brian Cashman sits quietly at his desk, a few days after stealing Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pirates for a slew of prospects who were never going to get a shot to play in the Bronx.

Suddenly, a knock on the door.

“Come on in, it’s open.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi enters.

“Cash, I need a player …”

Cashman looks up from the morning paper, eyeing Girardi suspiciously. “Joe, I just got you a player — two in fact.”

Girardi: “Yeah, I know, thanks … but uh, I need another one.”

Cashman: “Joe, you know, dominant lefty relievers and cheap outfield sluggers don’t exactly grow on trees …”

Girardi: “Yeah, I realize that, and I appreciate your efforts. But, uh … aw heck, just take a look at this.”

Girardi tosses a lineup card onto Cashman’s desk.

“Hmm …. yes, mmm-hmmm … Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Giambi, Cano, Nady …. Joe, where are you going with this?”

Girardi: “Keep reading, Cash.”

Cashman: “Joe, I’m in the middle of a crossword puzzle here …”

Girardi: “Please, Cash.”

Cashman, visibly annoyed, places his reading glasses on the tip of his nose and picks up the card again. “Oh, yes, I see what you mean … after Nady, we have no future Hall of Famer, no previous MVP, not even a lousy All-Star!”

Girardi: “Exactly.”

Cashman: “Where is Georgie?”

Girardi: “Injured. For the year. We just got word today.”

Cashman: “Ah, that’s a problem. Tell me, what would you prefer?”

Girardi: “Well, I don’t mean to sound disingenuous — I do appreciate you getting Nady — but another Hall of Famer would be nice. Kind of balance out the bottom of the lineup.”

Cashman snaps his fingers in approval. “You got it, Joe.” He picks up the phone. “Dave? Hey, Cash here. Say Dave, we need a catcher, is Rodriguez available? Uh-huh,” Cashman covers the mouthpiece, gives the thumbs up to Girardi and whispers, “yes”. “Yeah, right Dave. No, well, we were thinking … I don’t know … it might be cute, you know, A-Rod and I-Rod …. yeah. Hughes? No way Dave, how about Hawkins? I can kiss what? OK, OK, calm down, I was kidding,” Cashman winks at Girardi. “Well what about Farnsworth? He’s handled Detroit well before … he throws 96-97, and now with the glasses …. yeah? Really? OK then, it’s a deal.” Cashman slams down the phone.

“OK Joe, anything else?”

Girardi: “Well, you mentioned Hawkins … you know, he’s still kinda hanging around the clubhouse … sort of makes me feel guilty, you know?”

Cashman: “Right, right. Well, in a few days we can release him outright. This DFA thing can be a pain …”

Cashman reads the sadness in Girardi’s face. “Aw heck, let me make another call … I know just the guy.” Cashman picks up the phone again. “Ed? Cash here. Yeah, been a while. Say, that team of yours looks like it’s on the cusp of something there. Yeah. Oh, of course I saw that … Wolf, yeah … brilliant, Ed, brilliant. You’re going to surprise everyone I’m sure. Just like ’04. Yeah. Listen, we go back a long time, let me ask you, can I help you out with anything? Bullpen? Yeah, well, everyone’s looking for relievers Ed. Mmm hmm … well …. Hawkins? Well, I don’t know … he’s an important cog for us … you’ll give us who? Does he have a pulse? Er, I meant plus, plus — does he have a plus? Plus makeup you say … 285 in the Sally league … well, we already have Robby at second, but what the hey. Tell you what, consider it a favor from the New York Yankees. Yeah Ed, I’ll see you in October … yeah, I’ll have him pack his bags today.” Hangs up the phone.

Cashman: “Anything else?”

Girardi: “No, that should do it, for now.”

Cashman: “Great. Hey, before you go … what’s a five-letter word for ‘thievery’?”


Mets Game 108: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 7 Mets 5

It couldn’t go on forever.

Eventually, the Mets had to lose a series, and Mike Pelfrey had to lose a game. No need to panic — yet.

Pelfrey was battered for five runs on eight hits — with all five scores coming in his last frame, the fourth. The Fish held their 5-1 lead until the seventh, when Damion Easley surprised them with a three-run homer to slim the lead to one. However, Joe Smith couldn’t keep the Mets in the game, allowing a two-run dinger to Dan Uggla to give the Marlins a 7-4 advantage. The Mets made a valiant two-out effort in the ninth to pull within two, but it was too little, too late.


With the loss, the Mets not only lost the series, but allowed the Phillies to re-take first place by a half-game. The Fish are now a game behind the Mets, a game and a half out of first, but leading everyone in the race for Manny Ramirez — which Peter Gammons and Will Carroll claim is a “done deal”. Yikes.

Pelfrey was doing a good job of blowing his four-seam fastball up in the zone and past hitters early in the game, but eventually the Fish adjusted and started looking for pitches at their eyes. Instead of readjusting and hammering his sinker down in the zone, he continued to pound the top, which led to the fateful fourth frame. This is where he needs to both mix in pitches down in the zone and use his curveball to keep batters honest.

Carlos Muniz pitched two shutout innings of relief, striking out four. Duaner Sanchez also pitched well, throwing a scoreless seventh with an efficient 9 pitches.

One of the relievers for the Marlins was journeyman Joe Nelson, who struck out two in pitching a perfect eighth. Nelson has a 1.61 ERA in 31 appearances, with 34 strikeouts in 28 innings. Why should you care? If you are a loyal MetsToday reader, you might remember me suggesting Nelson as a no-risk, high-reward pickup way back in November of 2007. Even then, I thought it would make sense to stockpile arms in AAA, just in case.

Next Game

The Mets take a day off, then travel to Houston for a three-game series with the Astros. Strangely, the Mets get another day off after the series, on Monday. Friday night’s contest begins at 8:05 pm, and pits Pedro Martinez against Brandon Backe.