Tag: chase utley

Luis Castillo Released

In case you are just crawling out from under your rock, Luis Castillo was released by the Mets on Friday afternoon. Soon after, Mets fans were dancing in the streets.

What I don’t get is why Castillo hung around this long. Further, why he was asked to report to Port St. Lucie in the first place, taking reps and at-bats from Brad Emaus, Dan Murphy, and Justin Turner. Further,why was Castillo the one dismissed from auditions first?

Here’s my point: if Castillo was

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The Mets Are Sissies

From Wikipedia:

Sissy is a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. Generally, it implies a lack of the courage and stoicism which are thought important to the male role. It might also imply interests seen as strikingly un-masculine. This pejorative may be given to anyone as an insult. Several variations, such as “sissy boy” or “sissy baby”, exist and any term can become pejorative or insulting if preceded by “sissy” and applied to a boy or a man.

Sounds about right for a team that is offended by Chase Utley making an aggressive but clean slide. Utley was (and is) playing the game the way it was meant to be played. There was no malice in his slide, nothing “dirty” about it — other than the fact he soiled his uniform pants. Why people are even focusing on “the slide” as if Utley did something wrong is preposterous — if anything, it should be an example of instruction on how one is to slide hard but cleanly in an attempt to break up a double play.

The press has turned this slide into an event, probably because the Mets are so damn boring and uninspiring that they’re hoping to artificially create excitement. They cajoled lame duck manager Jerry Manuel into suggesting that his team will “take care of it” by sliding hard into Utley. Um … how about sliding hard into Utley ANYWAY, since that’s what a player is supposed to do on a DP attempt? David Wright’s response was similarly off-base:

“We’ll reevaluate the way that we go into second base. … He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like that into him then it’s perfectly fine. … It’s a legal slide. It’s within the rules. But somebody’s going to get hurt. … He knows the difference between a good, clean slide and a slide that’s late. … Chase plays the game hard. He plays the game passionately. But there’s a thin line between going out there and playing the game hard and going out there and trying to get somebody hurt. That’s a thin line. Nobody’s going to go and push us around. We’re going to have our teammates’ back. I think cooler heads prevailed, but we’ve got to let them know that over on our side, we didn’t appreciate it, and we’re going to go out there and have our teammates’ backs. … If he doesn’t mind guys coming like that after him, then everything’s good.”

Bad move, David. Because Utley did not cross that line. But more importantly, Wright has more or less promised that Utley will get taken out — possibly by crossing that “thin line”. Which means that if Utley does not get upended or knocked down at the plate, the Mets will transform from simply sissies to “sissy marys”; from Urban Dictionary:

Someone who chickens out of doing something after promising to do it.

It’s a lose-lose situation — if they don’t do something, then they’ve publicly cowered to the Phillies based on an imaginary issue. But if they do initiate something against Utley this weekend, they’ll look like whiny sore losers to everyone except the most blindly diehard Mets fans. It would not be unlike the situation we saw in Game 161 of 2007, when Miguel Olivo charged Jose Reyes. The Marlins were at the end of a long, frustrating, disappointing season, were down 10 runs in the ballgame, and thus Olivo’s act was pathetic desperation — not any kind of “grit” or “toughness”. The Mets are in a similar place right now, and knocking Utley on his backside will not turn the team into something they haven’t been for several years. Let’s face it — in addition to underperforming and lacking the talent to reach the postseason, the Mets would not have been described as a “hard nosed” team for a long, long time.

Though, if the Mets and Phillies do get into some kind of rhubarb, I’m liking the Mets chances — particularly with beasts such as Lucas Duda, Mike Hessman, and Chris Carter jumping off the bench.

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2009 Fantasy Projections: Second Base

When last we met, I was telling you that Albert Pujols was the best NL first baseman and you weren’t surprised. But you were probably surprised that I think two of the top 5 first basemen in the NL East aren’t even first basemen. Moving along…

Second Base Rankings – National League

  1. Chase Utley .345-20-95 – It’s a given that Utley’s off-season hip surgery will cut down his SB totals. But if Utley is healthy – and he appears to be – the only other side effect of his surgery MIGHT be that he shortens up his stroke and uses his hands more (think Wade Boggs). I can’t see that leading to anything but an inverse relationship between BA and HR. In other words, I expect a higher BA and lower HR totals, or no change at all. So if he plays all season, you’re safe.
  2. Brandon Phillips .275-25-80 – Solid pop, solid speed, nice ballpark for a power hitter and I like the Reds to surprise people this year with a wildcard run.
  3. Dan Uggla .260-28-95 – My favorite player on this list. He helped me win a 5×5 mixed league last year and he is tough as nails. He will be overvalued this year, so don’t get sucked in… But don’t expect his BA to drop back into the .230-zone. This guy is a capable, albeit flawed, hitter. If you need the HR/RBI, you’ll get it from Uggla.
  4. Kelly Johnson .290-15-75 – I’m not sure what the ceiling will be on Johnson’s offensive output, but his BA has increased each of the past three years and he has decent pop in his bat. That’s enough for #4.
  5. Kazuo Matsui .285-5-35 – You may not know it, but the Astros were eliminated from the NL Central Race AND the NL Wildcard yesterday. Seriously. Look for Kaz to notch 30+ SB and a decent BA with absolutely no pressure on him.

Sleepers (Tie) – I like Felipe Lopez¬† (.275-10-65) and Ian Stewart (.275-15-75). Lopez should be running more this season – possibly enough for 25 SB. Stewart has multi-position eligibility and he should see significant time between 1B, 2B and 3B with Colorado’s lineup struggling through nagging injuries already.

Second Base Rankings – NL East

Three of the top five second basemen in the NL are also in the NL East. It makes you wonder who is manning 2B out in the NL West. Is Robbie Thompson still playing?

  1. Chase Utley – see above
  2. Dan Uggla – see above
  3. Kelly Johnson – see above
  4. Luis Castillo .285-3-35 – He’s not as bad as last year’s numbers but he’s still not as good as Omar needs him to be. His average won’t hurt you, but his power numbers will do nothing for you. If he is healthy enough to steal 20 bases and score 100 runs, he’s worth a few bucks in NL-only leagues.
  5. Anderson Hernandez (Yikes-Zero-Not Much) – Hernandez batted .194 in AAA last season. Look for Ronnie Belliard to take over shortly…

Sleeper Ronnie Belliard (.270-12-70) – He’s getting older and he’s never been much of an offensive threat, but he’s on the Nationals and playing behind Anderson Hernandez. I feel confident enough to say he will get at least 400 AB. Grab him cheap in NL-only leagues, if you can.

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