Browsing Archive July, 2010

Mets Game 104: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 5 Diamondbacks 4

The Mets confirmed their front office’s decision to remain status quo by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks in dramatic fashion.

Hisanori Takahashi showed everyone why the Mets had no reason to trade for a starter by striking out 10 in 6 innings. Manny Acosta came on in the 7th and 8th to prove he was the only “acquisition” the Mets needed for the bullpen. And David Wright provided enough firepower to quell any thoughts that the team might need offensive reinforcements. Oh, and Jesus Feliciano gave GM Omar Minaya every reason to believe that the backup outfielder they needed was already in the organization.

Game Notes

Takahashi struck out a career-high 10 in 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 2 walks. He should continue to do well as long as he keeps facing teams that have never seen him before. Mark Reynolds in particular looked like he’d never held a bat in his hand before — he was completely mystified by Tak’s assortment of junk.

I am SURE Takahashi’s strikeout total had more to do with his skills than the fact that AZ strikes out more than any other NL team. After all, Mike Pelfrey didn’t strike out that many batters in his start on Friday.

Shocking fact: those 10 Ks represented the first time all year that a Mets pitcher hit double-digits in strikeouts. How is that possible?

Where are all the David Wright detractors? Please step forward and re-confirm your desire to see him traded away for prospects. Wright went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, and is now 8-for-15 with 9 RBI on the homestand.

Angel Pagan also had a good day, going 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, and 2 runs scored.

The Mets lineup after Wright was 1-for-19. However, that “1” was a leadoff triple by Jesus Feliciano, who eventually scored on a sac fly by Carlos Beltran to win the ballgame. At least the bottom 6 of the lineup makes the most of their rare contributions.

Bobby Parnell was hit hard, retiring no one while allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk. His awful appearance comes one day after a similarly bad outing by Raul Valdes. After the game, a pumpkin was seen sitting in the parking lot outside Citi Field.

D.J. Carrasco, the pitcher who let the Mets back in to the game by allowing 2 runs in 2/3 of an inning, was one of the players acquired by the D-Backs at the trade deadline. Which gives us more evidence that the Mets were very smart not to go crazy trading for anyone.

Oh, and if you needed any more support for standing pat, the Braves were beaten today, in spite of acquiring Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth. Furthermore, the Phillies are 0-2 since picking up Roy Oswalt. So what do we learn from this? Deals at the trade deadline = instant suckiness. Omar Minaya is a genius!

This was the Mets’ 4th walkoff win of the season.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 1:10 PM on Sunday afternoon. Jonathon Niese goes to the mound against Daniel Hudson, a young righthander who was acquired by Arizona from the White Sox a few days ago in a trade for Edwin Jackson.


Braves, Giants, and Red Sox Acquire Players, Mets Do Not

Just before the trade deadline, the first-place Braves made two separate trades to bring in Kyle Farnsworth, Rick Ankiel, and Wilkin Ramirez.

This is the second go-around in Atlanta for Farnsworth, who was quietly having a spectacular season in Kansas City. He sports a sparkling 2.47 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 36 Ks/12 BB in 45 IP. He hasn’t been in the NL since 2005, so in addition to his rediscovered skillset, he may also have the benefit of mystery.

Also coming from the Royals is outfielder Rick Ankiel, whose season has been marred by a leg injury and sporadic playing time. He will be a welcome addition to centerfield for the Braves, who lost patience with a struggling Nate McLouth and now have Melky Cabrera manning the position. It does, however make them a little lefty-heavy and vulnerable to effective LOOGYs (such as the one acquired by the Marlins a few hours ago). The Braves sent Gregor Blanco, Jesse Chavez, and Tim Collins to the Royals.

To further add to their outfield depth, the Braves also acquired Wilkin Ramirez from Detroit for a player to be named later and cash. I don’t know if he will be added to the 25-man roster or assigned to their AAA club. He was hitting .216 in AAA prior to the deal, but was a highly touted prospect before 2010.

In other news, the Giants picked up righthanded reliever Ramon Ramirez from the Red Sox and lefthanded reliever Javier Lopez from the Pirates. They gave up John Bowker for Ramirez and Joe Martinez for Lopez.

Finally, the Red Sox made a corresponding move, acquiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Rangers in return for two players not named Mike LowellRoman Mendez, Chris McGuinness, a player to be named later, and cash.

Meanwhile, the Mets stood pat, having no need for relief pitchers, outfielders, or players whose names don’t fit on the back of a jersey.


Yanks Get Wood, Fish Get LOOGY

The first-place New York Yankees traded a player to be named later to the Indians for reliever Kerry Wood and cash. The Yanks will pay for only $1.5M of the $3.71 left on Wood’s contract.

How do the Yankees keep picking up solid Major Leaguers without (a) giving up much in return and (b) not paying their entire salaries?

In other news, the Florida Marlins have acquired LHP Will Ohman for RHP Rick Vanden Hurk. A curious deal, since their trade of Jorge Cantu earlier this week suggested they were “sellers” and not “buyers”. But “sellers” do not make deals for 32-year-old situational lefthanders.

I’m not certain, but the Vanden Hurk (Netherlands) – Ohman (Germany) deal may be the first one-for-one, all-European trade in MLB history. Can someone confirm one way or the other?

Meanwhile, the Mets are standing pat. They are very confident in their bullpen personnel.


Mets Don’t Acquire Octavio Dotel

The Mets have finally not made a move, by not trading a minor league pitcher to the Pirates for Octavio Dotel.

With the Mets in need of reinforcements for the stretch run, GM Omar Minaya has not added an arm to the bullpen.

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Mets declined a trade that would have netted Octavio Dotel for minor leaguer Robert Carson. Carson is a big-bodied, 21-year-old lefthanded pitcher who touches 92 MPH — that in itself defines him as having some kind of potential. There are two angles buzzing around to the Mets’ refusal to part with Carson; the detractors scream about his 9.60 ERA over 3 starts in AA, while his supporters quote Kevin Goldstein’s preseason quote citing Carson as a “sleeper”. Who’s right? Who knows? Point is, Carson is an A-ball pitcher with an uncertain future — exactly the type of prospect that a team must give up to get a proven MLB veteran such as Dotel. At least 75% of the time, the prospect doesn’t make it past AAA (Evan MacLane), and about 3% of the time the youngster turns into an All-Star (Scott Kazmir, John Smoltz). In other words, it’s a crapshoot. Teams that are “buying”, and looking for the final pieces of a championship puzzle, are more likely to roll the dice. The Mets seem not to be sure whether they are buyers right now, and I can’t blame them. While Dotel would be an immediate upgrade over nearly every other member of their bullpen, he probably wouldn’t be a difference-maker — the team has other significant, unfillable holes that will keep them from getting over the Phillies and Braves.

So if the Mets are not “buyers”, are they “sellers”? Certainly not — the organization fears that publicly “throwing in the towel” on the season would result in poor attendance in August and September. They would much rather hope against hope that the current configuration can go on a miraculous streak and make a semi-serious run at the Wild Card — in turn selling plenty of tickets over the last eight weeks of the season.

By the way, here is a video of Robert Carson from this past May, courtesy of Scouting the Sally:

He certainly is a big, durable-looking kid. I like that he stays on a straight line toward the target (Isaac Newton had some good ideas) and he keeps his motion simple and compact. I’d like it even more if he committed his hips a hair later, stretched out that stride a few more inches, and pulled himself forward with that front leg. It appears he can take more advantage of his height and get his release point a little further forward. But he’s still young and can learn these things with the right coaching and repetition.


Would You: Bay for Manny?

According to various reports, both the White Sox and Angels were working on a deal with the Dodgers for Manny Ramirez.

Ramirez has put up strong offensive numbers, but has been shackled with injuries most of the year. The Dodgers seem to be doing just fine without him, and though aren’t actively shopping him, they could be open to moving him.

That said, if the opportunity presented itself, would you trade Jason Bay for Manny Ramirez?

Manny is currently on the DL — as is Bay — and his contract is up at the end of the year. Bay has three more years plus an easily obtainable option left — about $60M in value. Considering their financial issues, I doubt very highly that the Dodgers would be interested in Bay, but let’s just pretend that finances weren’t an issue for Los Angeles and they would be amenable to a deal — would you do it?

Why or why not? Answer in the comments.


Good News: Qualls to Tampa Bay

Good news for the Mets: the Diamondbacks won’t have Chad Qualls in the bullpen tonight. That’s because Qualls is on his way to Tampa Bay, traded by Arizona for a player to be named later.

Qualls has been abysmal this season, but he struck out two in a perfect, 13-pitch inning against the Mets on Friday night. It’s possible that the D-Backs will be shorthanded, as they have also unloaded Chris Snyder … hard to say whether they will get replacements into NYC in time for the ballgame tonight. If nothing else, the replacements will be a bit stressed from the news and the travel. Let’s hope that, in addition to the upheaval of the Diamondbacks clubhouse, proves to be a distraction and gives an advantage to the Mets this weekend.

In related news, the Rays are reportedly in talks with the Orioles to obtain Luke Scott and/or LOOGY Will Ohman.

Meanwhile, the Mets look like they are standing pat, confident in the organization’s personnel.


Dodgers Acquire Lilly and Theriot

The Mets have more or less a “set” lineup and several immovable contracts. That said there are few places where there is an opportunity to upgrade.

The two places where the Mets might be able to improve would be in the starting rotation and second base.

Ironically, these are the same spots that the Dodgers upgraded just a few minutes ago, by trading Blake DeWitt to the Cubs for Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot.

Sit tight, Mets fans … Omar Minaya is working the phones furiously right now and I’m sure he’s on the verge of a blockbuster!