Browsing Archive March, 2010

Marlins Get Robertson and Other Moves

The Florida Marlins have acquired LHP Nate Robertson from the Tigers in exchange for minor league lefty Jay Voss. The Tigers will pick up all but $400K of Robertson’s $10M salary. Nice deal for the Fish, if you ask me, since Robertson slots right into the #3 spot of the rotation and costs them the MLB minimum.

If the Mets were to get Robertson, he’d probably step right in to the #2 spot. Scary.

The Athletics picked up Chad Gaudin, who had been released by the Yankees earlier in the week. Gaudin is fairly inconsistent, but like Nate Robertson, might have stepped right in as the #2 starter had the Mets signed him. Did I say “scary” ?

In other news, Ryan Garko was waived by the Mariners. I imagine that will send all the Garko-loving Mets fans into a frenzy, particularly with Daniel Murphy injuring his ankle. Personally I don’t get the excitement surrounding Garko, who is below-average in the field, slothlike on the bases, and has below-average power for a first baseman. In other words, he’s the righthanded-hitting version of Murphy. But he had that one year where he hit 21 HR, and has posted a career .350 OBP, so some people get giddy. Whatever.

Veteran clubhouse clown and sometime slugger Kevin Millar has been released by the Cubs. I would’ve like to have seen Millar as a Met three years ago, two years ago, and possibly last year. Now? Not so much … may be time for the original “idiot” to call it a career.

As for the Mets, the following transactions have taken place in the last 48 hours:

Pat Misch has been waived; he’s likely to go unclaimed and report to AAA. He gave up only 2 runs in 13 innings this spring, but stats don’t mean anything in spring training. See Perez, Oliver.

Chris Coste was waived and claimed by the Nationals. I suppose the Mets will remain the last team he’d ever thought he’d play for.

Manny Acosta has been claimed off waivers from the Braves and assigned to the Buffalo Bisons. I like this move, as Acosta throws hard, has some closing experience, and gives the Mets some legitimate bullpen depth in AAA.

Alex Cintron has appeared, presumably from under a rock somewhere in Port St. Lucie. Is there time for him to beat out Russ Adams for a temporary backup infielder spot until Jose Reyes is ready?


Should You Be Concerned About Oliver Perez?

That headline is giving me a feeling of deja vu all over again …

Luckily, spring training games don’t count. Luckily, spring training stats don’t matter.

Unluckily, a pitcher who has shown zero progression through six weeks of spring training is unlikely to suddenly switch into a Cy Young candidate.

Oliver Perez allowed three homeruns in his first two innings of work, including a blast against the wind off the bat of Brendan Ryan.

Brendan Ryan.

The same Brendan Ryan who has hit a total of 7 homeruns in nearly 850 MLB plate appearances. The same Brendan Ryan whose career path more resembles Fred Stanley than Fred McGriff.

BTW, Albert Pujols did not make the trip to Port St. Lucie.

Beyond the numbers marking this outing as ugly, there are other concerns regarding Ollie Perez. First, his mechanics


Should You Be Concerned About Mike Pelfrey?

Mike Pelfrey gave up 12 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings of work on Sunday, and has allowed 7 homeruns in his last two ST outings. His spring ERA is around 8. Should you be concerned with these numbers?

Not necessarily, but there is some cause for concern. Yes, some of the homers were wind-blown. But, at the same time, it’s pretty difficult to hit a homerun on a ground ball — so regardless of the wind, the fact Pelfrey is giving up so many fly balls is a bit disturbing. The balls in the air not going over the fence haven’t exactly been bloopers, either — he’s giving up frozen ropes. Again, is this cause concern?

Pelfrey will tell you “no”, with the explanation that he is “working on things”. After all, his job in the rotation is secure, so spring training is a good time to try new pitches. Maybe he’s getting ripped on pitches that he’ll shelve before the regular season starts, for example.

Taking all this into consideration, there are still some things that concern me — things I see from the man on the mound, not in the numbers.

For one, I see


A Tradition No More

If you haven’t yet heard, the Mets’ stadium in Port St. Lucie will no longer be called “Tradition Field”.

Turns out that the stadium’s naming rights were previously owned by a real estate development company based in Tradition (a town near PSL), and they’re having some financial difficulties. I KNOW as a rabid Mets fan and blogger I should have known that, and I DID know that, but somewhere along the way I kind of forgot — probably because “Tradition Field” doesn’t sound like a corporate-named ballpark, and has a nice ring to it. It also sounded similar to the old name of that other New York team’s spring training facility (Legends Field).

According to reports, the company that now owns the naming rights is, um, “Digital Domain Holdings” (hmm … sounds like a website name squatter). Not quite the ring of “Tradition Field”, but at least it will be very clear to all that the stadium is named for a corporate entity.

Post your comments and snarky jokes below.


Evaluating Ollie

Yesterday you may have seen the Mets – Braves spring training contest, in which Oliver Perez was the starting pitcher for the Mets.

Perez threw four and a third innings before being lifted in favor of Raul Valdez. In those 4 1/3, Ollie allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks and struck out 3.

Not a good outing by any stretch of the imagination.

Lurking around a few blogs, there is some buzz that Perez was “getting squeezed by the ump”. Thanks to SNY and DVR technology, I watched every pitch Ollie threw at least twice, and can firmly state that the umpire had very little, if anything, to do with his poor performance.

First of all, the view we see from the comfort of our homes is


Jose Reyes Back in Action

If you’re just crawling out from under a rock, Jose Reyes’ thyroid levels have settled to normalcy and the Most Exciting Player On The Planet has been officially cleared for “baseball activities”.

I think we can all agree — this is good news, and it’s wonderful to finally receive some legitimately good news out of Port St. Lucie.

At the same time, I must point out that it may take some time for Jose to get back “into the swing” (pardon the pun). He was completely sedentary — meaning, no running, no hitting, no nothing other than casual walking — for the past three weeks. It generally takes an athlete 2-3 weeks of inactivity to fall “out of shape” — meaning, loss of developed cardiovascular levels and overall condition. That said, Reyes will likely need some time to get back “into shape”.

Since Reyes was in top-notch condition before the thyroid issue, he should be back in action relatively quickly. But, “quickly” could mean as long as 3-4 weeks … maybe even 5-6. Though, I doubt highly that the Mets would hold him out for more than two weeks into the season. But if they do, I am completely OK with waiting until, say, May 1 before seeing him in an MLB game. Particularly with Carlos Beltran out, I’d much rather err on the side of caution and wait an extra week or two — knowing that when Reyes comes back, he’s 100%.

Another point: Reyes tends to have weak finishes to seasons. So maybe getting March and April off will allow him to play at full hilt and peak performance from May through the end of September.

See? Even a purported “negative” Mets fan such as myself can find the silver lining.


The Situation at First Base

In Port St. Lucie, there is a “situation” — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Sorrentino find his way into the mix.

Because “The Situation” — meaning the Mets’ conundrum at first base, and not some guido from the Jersey Shore — grows more perplexing every day.

Originally, first base was Daniel Murphy’s job to lose; if it weren’t, the Mets most certainly would have aggressively pursued free agents such as Adam LaRoche, Nick Johnson, Hank Blalock, Troy Glaus, Garrett Atkins, Chad Tracy, and Aubrey Huff (to name a few). Strangely enough, though, GM Omar Minaya brought in Mike Jacobs on a minor league deal, and on February 15th announced that the starting job was an “open competition”.

As is par for the course with the miscommunicating Mets, manager Jerry Manuel followed that up four days later with the assertion that Murphy was “pretty much the guy” at 1B — and that he wasn’t really in competition with Jacobs, nor was he going to platoon with Fernando Tatis.

The Situation at first base has been similarly clear (as mud) ever since, with the Mets changing their tune as quickly, often, and unpredictably as the weather.

For example, in response to Ike Davis’ explosive beginning to the spring, Manuel reaffirmed that Murphy was the first baseman, and that “unforeseen things would have to happen” to unseat him.

Nine days later, however, a different tune was sung by Manuel, as he termed 1B “a competitive situation” between Murphy and Jacobs.

That’s all well and good, except, if Murphy is to lose the first base job, I’m not sure why he’d lose it to Mike Jacobs, since neither player is having a particularly impressive spring — both are hitting FAR below the Mendoza Line (which means they’re under .200, kiddies).

In contrast, Ike Davis and Chris Carter are absolutely blistering the baseball — both hitting well over .400 with long-distance power, and both getting on base more than 50% of the time. The next-best candidate, in fact, is 8th-string catcher Chris Coste, who is 4-for-11 (.364) with 2 doubles.

To put things in more frightening perspective, consider that Frank Catalanotto has an equal number of RBI and walks as Murphy, and he’s hitting .100.

But spring training numbers don’t mean anything, right? Or wait, they must mean something, if Daniel Murphy has gone from owning the starting 1B job to on his way to losing it.

The confusion, of course, is if indeed spring training performance means something, then why is Murphy losing to Jacobs and not Davis, Carter, or Coste?

As if this situation at first isn’t already bordering on insanity, there are reports that the Mets are scouting Mike Lowell — though, they’re also reportedly “not interested”. What’s more perplexing to you? The fact that the Mets are sending scouts to see someone they don’t want, or that they are scouting yet another first baseman to add to an already bewildering mix?

The more I toss this “logic” around in my head, the more I realize that “The Situation” on the Jersey Shore makes as much sense as the first base situation in Port St. Lucie.