Browsing Archive October, 2011

2011 Analysis: D.J. Carrasco

After being non-tendered by his previous clubs two years in a row, D.J. Carrasco signed the first multi-year contract of his life last winter — a two-year, $2.4M deal with the Mets that included another $150K in performance bonuses. At the time, it was seen as a prudent move by the new Mets front office, in that it was an inexpensive contract for someone who was seen as a reliable, above-average middle reliever. Additionally, there was talk of Carrasco providing additional value as a spot starter.

As it turned out, Carrasco failed as a reliever and in his one and only start at the big-league level. He spent part of the year in AAA Buffalo in an effort to regain his stuff. At times, Carrasco was effective, but for the most part he was middling at best, and overall underwhelming. By August, he was all but a lost cause, and transformed himself into exclusively a submarine pitcher in a desperate attempt to become relevant again. Unfortunately, the experiment failed miserably, and by the end of the season he was nothing more than a mop-up reliever.

2012 Projection

It’s hard to imagine where D.J. Carrasco fits into the Mets’ plans next year. The submarine experiment was successful in proving he is not a submariner. He delivers the ball from several different angles, but inadequately from all of them. The Mets owe him another year and $1.4M, and that’s enough reason to keep him at the AAA level for depth and to hold out hope that he’ll figure out something that can be used in MLB again. To me it makes sense to plan the 2012 pitching staff without him, and if Carrasco can provide something, it will be a pleasant surprise.


2011 Analysis: Chris Capuano

Way back in 2008, I wondered if the Mets would consider Chris Capuano as a “low-risk” free-agent pickup. I wondered the same thing in 2009. Luckily, the Mets didn’t sign him either time, since he was still going through the rehabilitation process following Tommy John surgery. But, the third time I brought him up was a charm, as “Cappy” turned out to be a solid, reliable starter — and, he lived up to my preseason prediction:

Personally, I think Capuano is a safe bet to be better than Jeff Francis or Chris Young in 2011; you heard it here first.

Chris Capuano started strong, peaked in July, then


Blog Roundup: Friday Edition

The season rolls on for one more game after a classic World Series game.  In the meantime, Mets news never stops, just like the game of baseball itself.

Blog on:

  • Daily Stache wonders where all that time went since 1986, and does that make those of us who remember it old-timers?
  • 7 Train to Shea thinks the Mets should make a run at Joe Nathan.
  • Metsmerized says the Yankees are interested in signing ex-Met Carlos Beltran.
  • Mets Police has a newspaper clipping from 1986, in which the Boss (And we’re not talking about Bruce) compliments the Mets.
  • Mets 360 ponders Heath Bell as an option for the Mets in 2012.
  • Real Dirty Mets tries to make sense of all the trade rumors surrounding David Wright.

Happy Friday, and keep checking out Mets Today.


This is 1982

Alderson, DePodesta, and Ricciardi will try to match this triumverate's success.

Today is the 25th anniversary of Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.  It was a game the Mets would win to cement their second (and last) World Series title.

The roster of the 1986 team was the result of shrewd draft choices, key trades, and a top minor league system that helped the Mets rebuild from the abysmal 70s teams, to a perennial contender from 1984-1990.

There are some similarities between the organization in the early 80s and today’s Mets franchise.  A new General Manager has taken over a mediocre club, with a thin farm system and sparse financial breathing room.  Sandy Alderson may not have inherited a team as awful as the one Frank Cashen took over, but it always feels like the 21st-Century Mets are teetering on the edge of a 100-loss season.  Alderson will have to build his Mets similar to how Cashen built the eventual ’86 champions.

Cashen and the Mets made little use of major league free agency.  George Foster was a notable exception, and was largely a disappoinment. (Correction – Foster was also acquired via trade – PJF) The 1986 team was made up mostly of draft choices and trades:

Key Draft Choices:

  • RHP Rick Aguilera
  • 2B Wally Backman
  • OF Lenny Dykstra
  • RHP Dwight Gooden
  • RHP Roger McDowell
  • OF-IF Kevin Mitchell
  • OF Darryl Strawberry
  • OF Mookie Wilson

Key Trades:

  • C Gary Carter
  • 1B Keith Hernandez
  • RHP Ron Darling
  • LHP Sid Fernandez
  • 3B Ray Knight
  • 3B Howard Johnson
  • LHP Bob Ojeda
  • LHP Jesse Orosco

The Mets of the 80s used their draft picks and other minor league prospects as both key members of the big league club, and as chips for trades.  They built their farm system to the point where they could part ways with some prospects (i.e. Hubie Brooks, Calvin Schiraldi, Rick Ownbey) to fill voids on the major league team, because they knew they still had depth in the organization.

That’s the approach Alderson and the 2011-2012 Mets have to emulate.  The farm system is thin on prospects beyond AA (where Harvey, Familia, Wheeler, Mejia, et al, provide hope).  They must develop enough depth to build a solid major league club, while still having the ability to trade prospects for needs that the farm system can’t fill.

Granted, there are young players ready to contribute now.  Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, and others.  That’s why, in some ways, this team is reminiscent of an early-80s Mets team.  Let’s say 1982.  Future members of the ’86 Mets were already on their way up through the minors: Gooden, Strawberry, Dykstra.  Some were already beginning to make major league contributions: Wilson, Backman, Orosco.  Two years later, the Mets finished second to the Cubs in the East.

It’s conceivable the Mets could start making noise two years from now, when some of their existing prospects reach the majors, and youngsters on the current major league roster gain experience.  But they have to build the team the right way, like Cashen did in the 80s.  Don’t look for the quick fix – build the organization from the bottom up.  This is the best way to sustain a contending ballclub for many years.


2011 Analysis: Tim Byrdak

Although many Mets fans were sad to see “Perpetual” Pedro Feliciano leave Flushing, in retrospect, that move couldn’t have turned out better. For one, the five years of abuse the Mets put on Feliciano finally caught up to his arm. Second, as a fourth-place club, an expensive LOOGY really wouldn’t have made a difference. And third, there was Tim Byrdak.

Personally, I was not all that impressed with Byrdak’s 2011 season, but everyone else was so I’ll defer to the masses; perhaps I missed something.

The 37-year-old lefty appeared in 72 games, posting a 3.84 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and a 2-1 record. His supporters speak excitedly about his 11.4 K/9 rate — which I admit is outstanding. However, he also had a 4.5 BB/9 rate, which is far from outstanding. He was excellent in stranding runners on base — only 16 of 67 inherited runners scored, or 24%.

He was hired to shut down lefthanded hitters, and he did a good job at that, holding them to a .222 batting average and a .604 OPS. However, MLB also allows hitters to bat righthanded if they so desire, and when that opportunity was exercised against Byrdak, the results were a .279 AVG and .857 OPS.

Am I nitpicking by pointing out Byrdak’s propensity to walk hitters and his inadequacy vs. RH hitters? Maybe. But the reason I’m not as high on him as others has more to do with inconsistency through the season. Byrdak had a really, really good run in June and July — ironically, the two months when his strikeout rate was at its lowest. He began the season poorly and finished uneven. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think Byrdak was awful, I just don’t believe he was anything special. But, part of that has to do with my old-school mentality of being opposed to one-out specialists. I believe a team is better served using a precious roster spot with a pitcher who is effective against batters of both sides — particularly on a team that is in rebuilding mode.

2012 Projection

In September, Byrdak’s contract was extended through 2012, so there’s at least one of the 25 spots on the roster locked up. I don’t know why a team destined for another non-contending, rebuilding season and in financial straits needs to spend money on a LOOGY, but again, the masses found this to be a “smart” move so I’ll step back and let them enjoy the moment.


Spilled Milk Part One: What-If Trades In Met History

First off a little brown-nosing–Joe’s article on what if the Mets hadn’t made certain moves was very entertaining and thought-provoking. Nice work boss! It got me to rummaging through the cobwebs in the corners of my brain. For reasons that are now apparent, I have stored a lot Met-related information there. I also have a copy of the revised Jack Lang’s The New York Mets: 25 Years of Baseball Magic, (which is now itself 25 years old) as the source material for this story.

As has been told and retold, the Mets have made some good trades, some bad trades and some God-awful trades. But, they have also failed to pull the trigger on several deals, deals that if made would have in all probability altered the course of the franchise. Do you remember these?

1.The Mets Don’t Get


2011 Analysis: Taylor Buchholz

Last winter, many would have been ecstatic to hear that the Mets acquired a pitcher named Buchholz — had his first name been “Clay”. Instead, the team signed Clay’s distant cousin Taylor.

It was a low-risk, low-reward signing that to me made sense. After all, Buchholz was once one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, sporting a 97 MPH fastball and a 12-6 deuce that invited swings and misses. All those curves and heaters take a beating on the elbow, however, and the Mets picked him up two years removed from Tommy John surgery. The velocity was nowhere near what it once was, but it was good enough when combined with that hard-breaking yellow hammer. Unfortunately, Buchholz suffered from a shoulder problem and then anxiety issues that knocked him out for most of the season.

When he did pitch, Buchholz showed flashes of effectiveness — though, success was inevitably tied to his ability to control his curve. His fastball velocity was in the low 90s range and had little movement, and he occasionally struggled mightily with his release point — there were brief periods during a game when he simply could not throw a strike. That may or may not have been due to the shoulder issue, or his elbow recovery. But even when he had command of the fastball, his effectiveness still was reliant on how hard the curve was biting and whether he could keep it near the strike zone.

2012 Projection

It’s difficult to know whether the Mets will re-up Buchholz, who was signed to a one-year deal. Considering that his season ended in July due to a bout with depression, I hope that the Mets at least make him a minor league offer — if he’s mentally ready to make a return to baseball in the spring. Because physically, he seemed to be OK and on the right track back toward being a reliable reliever.