Browsing Archive October, 2010

Quick Primer on Wally Backman

Of all the potential candidates to be interviewed for manager of the New York Mets by General Sandy Alderson, only one has a detailed resume available in video form — both on DVD and via publicly accessible internet channels such as youTube and Blip.tv.

So for every person who states “I’m not sure how Wally Backman would be as a manager”, and was too lazy / cheap / ignorant to either purchase the DVD or view the free clips online (over 300 and counting), see OnTheBlack for a short playlist of vignettes showing Wally in action.

If you are lucky enough to have disposable income, you can also buy the Playing for Peanuts DVD and support MetsToday simultaneously. (If you want to buy the DVD, but prefer to support Jeff Bezos, AND pay $5 MORE, you can also
buy it from Amazon).

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2010 Analysis: Ryota Igarashi

When the Mets opened camp in mid-February, Kelvim Escobar was penciled in as the setup man. Because of Escobar’s injury history, the Mets signed fireballing Japanese closer Ryota Igarashi as a backup plan. On Planet Omar, it made plenty of sense to stack two high risks into the second-most vital bullpen role.

All the hype around the Japanese import suggested that it Minaya might have something in Igarashi. He came to the US with armed with a blazing fastball, drop-dead splitter, and both a slider and curve. At one point during the winter Igarashi excitedly told reporters that he wanted to sing “God Bless America” and hit 100 MPH on the radar gun (though not necessarily at the same time). As it turned out, Igarashi had trouble adjusting to American baseball – and possibly the baseball itself.

My original suggestion that Igarashi would wind up being somewhere between Jorge Julio and Fernando Rodney was close – depending on which of Julio’s seasons you refer to. Occasionally, Igarashi showed flashes of competency, but overall, he looked overwhelmed and overmatched. He never came close to reaching triple digits, but he did reach the mid-90s. However, his secondary stuff was nonexistent and he lacked command, serving up 18 walks in 30 innings. When he did throw strikes, he was hit hard – 12 of the 29 hits he allowed were for extra bases, including 4 homers.

2011 Projection

The Mets signed Igarashi to a two-year deal, so they have him next year for $1.75M. Truthfully, there was never anything wrong with the signing – it was, in fact, a fairly strong pickup. The problem was with the expectation; he never should have been expected to fill a key bullpen role. The signing, associated fanfare, and first-season blues were startlingly reminiscent of the Kaz Matsui affair. However, for 2011 there are no expectations; Igarashi may not even be expected to make the big-league roster. That could play in his favor; like Matsui, Igarashi might have a better chance to succeed now that he has spent a year in the US and no longer has the pressure to succeed weighing on his shoulders.

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2010 Analysis: Sean Green


Remember when the Mets traded Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, Jason Vargas, Ezequiel Carrera, and Maikel Cleto in return for Sean Green and two other Seattle Mariners? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Green was supposed to be Pedro Feliciano’s foil – a right-handed situational reliever with the ability to occasionally step in as a setup man. Fans who rejoiced at the arrival of Green and the departure of Heilman soon learned that you must be careful what you wish for. Sure, Green never had the opportunity to allow a postseason homerun; but at the same time, the Mets’ dependence on talents such as Green to fill key bullpen roles was at least part of the reason they’ve been watching the playoffs from home since 2006. For those who forgot, Green was penciled in as the backup to the backup setup man in early 2010 — the man who would step in if Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi didn’t work out.

2011 Projection

Green’s time as a Met has been marked by inconsistency and injury. In an effort to salvage his career, he converted from sidearmer to submariner – a move that might’ve panned out had he given it enough time. But now that he’s back to being a sidewinder with sporadic control who turns 32 shortly after Opening Day, I’m not sure where he fits in to the Mets’ plans. He’s under the team’s control, but after earning $975K in 2010, does it make sense to renew or go the arbitration route? My guess is they’ll cut him loose and try to re-sign him on a minor-league deal.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of Sean Green

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Since It Doesn’t Matter Who the Manager Is …

Now that Sandy Alderson is in charge, and we know he does not believe a manager has any impact on a team’s success or failure — provided, of course, said manager follows orders and executes the plan issued from the front office — then how do we go about choosing the next Mets manager?

Seriously — if you buy into this idea that “the manager doesn’t matter”, then, it doesn’t matter who is chosen; ergo, we can choose anyone we want, based on just about anything we want.

Further, it means that Jeff Wilpon can choose anyone he wants to be the manager, based on whatever he deems valuable, and in doing so, he’s not encroaching on Alderson’s “power” — because Alderson doesn’t really care who the manager is, so long as he is a good soldier.

So, if I were Jeff Wilpon, my three most important traits in selecting the next Mets manager would be:

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Four Answers To Anti-Wally Questions

Before the interview process starts, the beat writers and blogosphere are already counting out Wally Backman as a viable candidate for Mets manager in 2011.

Let’s address the top 4 “reasons” Wally won’t be hired by Sandy Alderson:

1. If Alderson hires Wally Backman, it proves to all of baseball that he is Jeff Wilpon’s puppet. Alderson has to hire someone else to show he’s in charge.

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