Archive: October 15th, 2009

Jason Marquis Wants To Be a Met (?)

According to Tracy Ringolsby, Jason Marquis has told his Colorado Rockies teammates that his goal is to sign with the New York Mets this winter. (Hat tip to Ed at MetsFever)

Intriguing report by Ringolsby, and if true, it is no doubt a goal based on economics.

Though Marquis is from Staten Island, we’re told he grew up a Yankees fan, so becoming a Met is not his childhood dream. There’s a possibility that Ringolsby is as confused as Jeff Francoeur. Just as likely, Marquis is smart enough to see that the Mets are in dire need of a solid innings-eater, will likely cheap lose out on the bidding for John Lackey, and in turn look to overpay for a pitcher on the rung below Lackey. Perhaps, someone who is coming off a career year, and therefore appears to be worth the overpayment.

Someone like Jason Marquis.

After all, the Mets overpaid to sign Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Scott Schoeneweis, and Francisco Rodriguez when those men were on the open market. They overpaid for Alex Cora, Tim Redding, Fernando Tatis, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, and Carlos Beltran. Even when they did and then didn’t sign Yorvit Torrealba, it was for a higher rate than anyone else would give him. In fact, looking at their history since Omar Minaya took over as GM, they’ve overpaid for just about every free agent they signed — no matter what their talent level.

Knowing that, if I were a free agent, I’d also have the goal of getting signed by the Mets — it’s a near guarantee that I’d get more money and/or years than anyone else would offer.

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2009 Analysis: Fernando Nieve

fernando-nieve-metsWhen things were beginning to unravel in early June, Fernando Nieve burst on the scene and filled a huge hole in the starting rotation — only to be befallen by the injury bug a month later.

Before going down with a season-ending leg injury, Nieve posted a sparkling 2.95 ERA through 7 starts and 36 innings. He had a stretch of three straight spectacular outings in mid-June, when he went 6+ innings in each and allowed a grand total of 3 earned runs through 18 2/3 IP. He was on the verge of being the Mets’ biggest success story when his quadriceps muscle gave out on an infield grounder, and became one of the infamous “backups to the backups” who went to the DL.

The numbers look good, and our memories return fond memories, but what can we really expect from Fernando Nieve going forward?

First of all, he has to

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Mets: Who’s the Boss?

If we’ve learned nothing else from the 2009 season, we learned that the Mets have no clear plan, a lack integrity, and operate under questionable leadership.

That last issue has become even more muddied, if we are to believe Peter Gammons — who stated on the Michael Kay Show that Jeff Wilpon is the real Mets GM, while Omar Minaya is “the one who’s out there to take the heat” (follow this link and skip ahead to the 13:20 minute mark to hear that part of the conversation).

If true, that would certainly explain a number of the mysteries surrounding this futile franchise. Perhaps it now makes sense to re-evaluate whether Jeff Wilpon is qualified to be a Major League GM. As we know, the sum total of his baseball background is limited to the time he’s spent as COO of the Mets, a bullpen session with Tom Seaver and a shady “professional” stint.

BTW, Gammons also hinted that all is not well in Dodgerland — so perhaps the news of the McCourts breakup is just the tip of the iceberg.

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2009 Analysis: Pat Misch

misch-tholePatrick Misch’s singlemost important contribution to the Mets organization may have been enabling a smooth September debut for rookie catcher Josh Thole. For it was the easy-throwing, level-headed Misch who threw soft darts all around the strike zone, making Thole’s trial by fire a bit less stressful. Can you imagine, for example, if Thole was charged with catching the wild and unstable Oliver Perez in his first few starts behind the dish?

As it turned out, the Misch / Thole battery had its good days and bad days — culminating with the first shutout of the season in game 156 and an impressive five-inning, one-run performance that was cut short by rain in game 161.

Similar to many of the players performing in the late-season auditions, Misch gave us just enough information to

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Dodgers Owners Separate

According to a public statement issued by the couple, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie, the team’s chief executive, have separated.

Though they have separated, there is no word on whether they will divorce. So, we won’t know if there could be another San Diego Padres situation, where the team has to be sold.

Strange timing — couldn’t they have waited to make this announcement until after the postseason? One must wonder if the news will be a distraction to the Dodgers ballplayers as they head into the NLCS vs. the Phillies.

Though, who knows — it may take some of the spotlight and pressure OFF the team on the field.

If nothing else, it’s nice to know there are baseball soap operas playing outside of Flushing.

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Blogosphere is Down On Jerry Manuel

It’s only been a few weeks, but most of the blogosphere is unhappy with the Mets’ decision to bring back Jerry Manuel as manager. Metstradamus is the most recent, asking Jerry, “What Have You Learned?

Similarly, Mike Steffanos of MikesMets does not approve of Jerry Manuel’s re-election.

Also on MikesMets, Barry Duchan posts his winter predictions for the Mets.

Andrew Vazzano has done a very quick rundown / analysis on the Mets’ pitching staff — in a format that would make Mick Jones and Joe Strummer proud.

Also a hat tip to TheRopolitans for this video of Oktoberfest at Citi Field (if only I’d known!):

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2009 Analysis: Sean Green

sean-green-hrLast December, no one would have guessed that Sean Green would be the highest-impact performer from the fateful deal with the Mariners. In many ways, he “replaced” Aaron Heilman — in terms of role(s), overuse, inconsistency, and fans’ whipping boy.

Lucky for Sean Green, the Mets had a terrible, meaningless season — imagine how much abuse he would have received from the boo-birds if the Mets finished, say, only a few games out of first place?

Green came in with the reputation as a sneaky fast, sinkerballing sidearmer who could pitch effectively IF USED JUDICIOUSLY. Much was made about the fact that Green tended to weaken in the second half, and his performance dropped considerably when overused. So naturally, manager Jerry Manuel threw that part of the scouting report out the window and rode him like a wild horse of the Pony Express.

Not surprisingly for a Jerry Manuel reliever, Sean Green set a career high with 79 appearances. He started out poorly, with an ERA of 8.49 in April, but eventually found success in June and July, when he appeared in a total of 30 games and held opposing hitters to a .194 batting average. Manuel tended to use him as a specialist against righthanded hitters, but in fact lefthanded hitters had a lower batting average against him (.223) than righthanded ones (.250).

Because of his inconsistency, Green never really had an established role in the bullpen (or was it the other way around?), and he was used strangely — it seemed as though Manuel would use him for several days in a row, then not use him at all for a week. The final stats support that thought: Green was used with no rest or one day’s rest in 55 of his 79 games. By the end of the season, he was so exhausted and ineffective that he began pitching from a much lower release point — one that was much closer to submarine style. The tweak worked well, as he posted a 2.19 ERA and allowed only 7 hits in his last 17 appearances.

After a rollercoaster of a season, it’s hard to figure out where — or if — Green fits into the Mets’ 2010 bullpen plans. Personally, I’d like to see him stick with that further down under delivery, as I believe it will allow him to pitch more effectively in the Jerry Manuel System of Bullpen Abuse. Even better, I’d like to see what he can accomplish under a manager / pitching coach that pays attention to things like usage and individual differences.

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