Tag: david eckstein

Free Agent Focus: Second Base

Is there a Mets fan alive who wants to see Luis Castillo at second base on Opening Day 2011?

Unfortunately, it will take a minor miracle by Sandy Alderson to move him this winter — without swallowing some or all of the $6M left on his contract.

But let’s pretend Castillo is out of the picture, and the Mets are looking at the free-agent market to take his place. In such a case what are the Mets’ options?

READ MORE +

Mets Game 54: Loss to Padres

Padres 5 Mets 1

The final score falls remarkably short of telling the whole story.

In yet another rubber match gone bad, the Mets wasted a brilliant performance by Johan Santana to lose in San Diego in extra innings — via a walkoff grand slam by Adrian Gonzalez.

Game Notes

Johan Santana “didn’t have his best stuff” but somehow managed to shut out the Padres through 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 5 walks, striking out 3. His command was off — way off — but it worked to his advantage against a San Diego lineup that would struggle in the Can-Am League. In other words, the awful Padres hitters made him “effectively wild”. Santana gutted his way to a 123-pitch count over those 7 IP; I bet he wished he went to 150 and finished the game.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: this “best stuff” thing is getting old. We need to adjust our expectations and come to the understanding that Johan is NOT the pitcher we thought we were getting two years ago. He can still pitch well enough to win just about every time out, but we cannot expect him to dominate.

Francisco Rodriguez was brought in for a four-out save and blew it (his third blown save of the season). That four-out save became a seven-out no-decision in which he threw 46 pitches — less than 20 hours after tossing 30 pitches in Tuesday night’s win. Some quick math tells you that’s 76 pitches within a 24-hour period — fine for a starter, OK for a long reliever, unacceptable for a closer. Yes, K-Rod (and the Mets) have an off-day on Thursday but that’s not nearly enough to recover. A prudent manager would hold K-Rod out until at least Sunday. However, Jerry Manuel is a desperate man managing for his job, so don’t be surprised to see Rodriguez in the game on Friday and/or Saturday. Then, don’t be surprised to see K-Rod on the DL and/or blowing games regularly in the second half of the season.

For those who may be confused as to why it’s OK for Santana to throw 123 pitches in one day and not OK for K-Rod to throw 76 over two, it’s all about recovery. Santana has at least 4, maybe 5 days to rest and recover. K-Rod will be back in a game, throwing with 100% effort, immediately. K-Rod, in particular, has a violent delivery that tears down the muscles in his shoulder, elbow, hips, and knees — which is why previous manager Mike Scioscia was so judicious and careful with his use of Rodriguez.

Losing pitcher Raul Valdes allowed three hits and hit David Eckstein before giving up the gopher ball to Gonzalez. I find it funny that many people are “surprised” to see Valdes failing lately. Is it really surprising to see Valdes performing like someone who belongs in the Mexican League? That IS where the Mets found the 32-year-old, after all.

Jeff Francoeur drove in the only Mets run. Let that sink in.

Jason Bay was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk. For naught.

In case you missed it, Geoff Young of Ducksnorts told us that — if Adrian Gonzalez was not an option — David Eckstein was the guy he wanted to see at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Lo and behold, it was Eckstein who drove in the tying run against K-Rod with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have the day off as they travel home from the Left Coast and return to Flushing for a 7:10 PM game vs. the Marlins. R.A. Dickey goes to the mound against Anibal Sanchez.

READ MORE +

2009 Analysis: Alex Cora

alex_cora_metsThere were points in 2009 that Alex Cora was considered the glue of the team.

You might look at that in one of two different ways — either Cora is that great a ballplayer, or the ballclub sunk that low.

Cora was — for stretches — a very good ballplayer. Almost immediately after Jose Reyes was “day to day”, Cora went on a hot streak offensively, getting on base a blistering 44% of the time and hitting .333 just prior to injuring his thumb in mid-May and landing himself on the DL. When Cora returned, he was still

READ MORE +

If the Mets Buy

When the team was more than 8 games behind in the Wild Card standings, Nepopolitans GM Omar Minionaya insisted that the team would be “buyers” rather than “sellers” at the deadline. This, of course, came as a surprise, since they were window shoppers last year at this time — a time when they were atop the NL East but desperately in need of one or two final pieces to solve the puzzle. If they were so close last year and didn’t “buy”, why would they “buy” now?

But we have tired of trying to figure out what’s going on in the minds of the Nep’s front office — it’s a futile and frustrating exercise. Most likely, it’s the four-game winning streak, which has lifted the hopes of the fans and fed the Mets’ hype machine. If the Mets make a deal now — even a little one — it could be enough to incite many fans to buy tickets for August and September. So with a little more than 24 hours left to wheel and deal, let’s consider what Minionaya might try to procure.

A LOOGY

The Mets have needed a second lefthander to team with Pedro Feliciano since … well, since forever. The never-ending auditions of Pat Misch, Ken Takahashi, Casey Fossum, etc., has not uncovered a gem. Maybe the Mets can swing a few A-ball suspects for someone like John Grabow or Joe Beimel — but in the grand scheme of things, would such a deal make a difference?

First Baseman

Forget it. The Mets are committed to Dan Murphy at first until Carlos Delgado or game 162 — whichever comes first. So get used to second baseman-type production from the first base position, and hope against hope that the Mets can make up for it at another position.

Left Fielder

The player that would have fit perfectly here was Ryan Garko, but the Giants beat the Mets to him. Mark Kotsay might have been a nice pickup for the short-term, but he also was scooped up. Ben Francisco or Wladimir Balentien would have been an upgrade over the current menagerie being thrown out there. Heck, Wily Mo Pena would’ve been nice to try out right now, but that possibility was muffed. No use crying over split milk. The list of players left include Ryan Spilborghs, Mark Teahen, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, maybe Luke Scott and Ryan Freel. Of that group, Hermida has the most upside, but I don’t see the Fish dealing within the division. Willingham would step right into the middle of the Mets’ order, but the Nats likely will ask for too much in return. Teahen is the one that may make the most sense, but the Royals are looking for a centerfielder — which would mean, I presume, Angel Pagan, who is currently igniting the Mets’ offense. Would KC take Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan, along with a prospect along the lines of Nick Evans?

Catcher

Unless you believe Omir Santos is the long-term answer behind the plate, the Mets will need to get a catcher for 2010. If there was a young catcher available for less than a king’s ransom, it would behoove the Mets to make a deal. I don’t see that happening — they’ll take their chances on finding another fill-in or former Expo over the winter (Michael Barrett should be available).

Pitcher

The Mets needed a solid starting pitcher going back to last July, and the best they could come up with was Livan Hernandez. Say all you want about the “brilliance” of plucking Livan off the scrap heap, but it glazes over the “stupidity” of bidding against themselves for Oliver Perez, over-paying for Tim Redding, and counting on John Maine to come back at 100% health. One junkyard pickup doesn’t make up for purchasing three zirconias at the jewelry store. Unfortunately, everyone needs pitching, and few good arms are available, so if the Mets were to trade for anyone of value, it would cost them dearly. A Halladay deal isn’t happening, so the Mets will cross their fingers on the theory that the thirty-six-million-dollar man and young Jonathan Niese can hold up the back end of the rotation — while also hoping that Mike Pelfrey will make more steps forward than backward and Livan will continue to stymie bad-hitting teams.

Shortstop

If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not happening — the Mets appear committed to Alex Cora while pretending Jose Reyes is coming back. I don’t know — maybe the Mets make a move for someone like David Eckstein. If Angel Berroa continues to stink up the joint, it’s back to Argenis Reyes, Wilson Valdez, or Jerry Manuel’s .220-hitting protege Jonathan Malo.

Conclusion

I think the Mets make some kind of deal, for no reason other than to make it appear as though they’re trying — and also to help push away the tiresome Omar Minaya – Tony Bernanzard – Adam Rubin debacle. I’ll go on a limb and say the Mets’ best trade partner is the Royals; perhaps they make a deal with them for Teahen and Freel or Willie Bloomquist. Or, they can hold onto the message that “good players can still be had after the deadline” and pick up some garbage like David Dellucci or Chris Shelton.

READ MORE +

Mets Game 7: Loss to Padres

Padres 6 Mets 5

This one should have been a slam-dunk.

The Mets were facing a Padres team of no-names, including a journeyman 32-year-old rookie pitcher last seen in the lowly Mexican League. It seemed to be a setup, a gift-wrapped easy win to top off their first ever regular season game in Citi Field. But it was not to be.

That journeyman Mexican, Walter Silva, stifled the Mets hitters for four and two-thirds, and the San Diego bullpen held the Flushing Nine scoreless over the remainder of the game to spoil the celebration.

Mike Pelfrey struggled with his footing, his control, and his ability to keep the ball inside the vast confines of Citi Field, and as a result gave the Padres an early four-run lead that they never relinquished.

Pelfrey’s third pitch of the game was drilled over the short right field porch by Jody Gerut, and San Diego scored another three in the second inning immediately after Pelfrey tumbled to the ground in the midst of his delivery (was that foreshadowing?). Adrian Gonzalez blasted the second homerun in Citi Field history to make the score 5-1, but the Mets fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped off by a David Wright 3-run homer.

However, the Padres scratched out a run in the sixth, when Pedro Feliciano balked home Luis Rodriguez with two outs. Rodriguez had reached third on a fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Ryan Church and called an error. (Personally, I thought that the official scorer was being tough on Church with that error, but whatever.) Not that it matters, but the hitter at the time of the balk, David Eckstein, eventually ripped a clean single to left field, so the run might have scored anyway.

In an evil twist of irony, former Met Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth to set up the save for another former Met, Heath Bell.

Game Notes

Bell received a loud, negative response to his pregame introduction. Sanchez received a mixed, but mostly negative response. Uncle Cliffy Floyd was honored with cheers.

When Brian Stokes came in to relieve for Mike Pelfrey in the sixth, I thought, ah, he must be the long man — he should be able to handle two innings here. Two batters, nine pitches, and one run later, he was out of the game.

Frankie Rodriguez (aka “K-Rod”) pitched the top of the ninth. I guess because the Mets have tomorrow off, and his last appearance came on Saturday.

The Mets used six pitchers in the game.

It looked like David Wright might have missed first base on his three-run homer. Can you imagine if he did, and if the first base ump caught it and called him out? That would have been a mighty ugly “first” in Citi Field — and the ump likely would not have made it out of the stadium alive.

Jody Gerut was the MVP of the game, with a homerun, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a brilliant catch in center field to rob Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit.

While Pelfrey’s bizarre fall during his delivery was strange enough, but even stranger was the appearance of a cat that came out of nowhere and sprinted down the third base line in the middle of the game. How the heck can a feline afford a field-level seat at Citi Field?

Next Mets Game

The Mets take a day off tomorrow to think about this loss and collect their thoughts, then return to Flushing on Wednesday against the Padres again. Oliver Perez faces his original team at 7:10 PM, while former Giant Kevin Correia takes the hill for San Diego.

Get your taxes in, folks.

READ MORE +

Beimel and Other Oddities

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mets have LHP Joe Beimel on their “wish list”:

Add left-hander Joe Beimel to the list of free-agent relievers on the Mets’ wish list. The team also is expected to investigate free-agent closers Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood, and will examine trades and internal solutions while reconstructing its bullpen. As for position players, the Mets maintain interest in outfielder Raul Ibanez, whom they tried to acquire last July and now can sign as a free agent. ..

Not clear on why the Mets would be interested in YALOOGY (Yet Another Lefthanded One-Out Guy), since they already have two of them on their roster. Both Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis could have been as effective as Beimel was last year, if only they were used properly. You see, Beimel was used almost exclusively as a “one-out guy” by Joe Torre. In other words, Torre generally didn’t try to use Beimel as a “4-out guy”, a two-inning reliever, a closer, nor as a setup man. Yes, Beimel was effective and his ERA was sparkling in his limited role — but watch those numbers bloat when Jerry Manuel starts using him in every situation under the sun.

Kerry Wood is intriguing, on a short contract, but he likely will command a three-year deal at minimum — something I’m not sure he’ll be able to fulfill considering his long history of arm injuries. Fuentes is definitely not worth the 3-year / $36M+ that the market is suggesting. I’m not seeing the Mets buy K-Rod for the 5-year commitment he’s seeking.

Raul Ibanez is not a surprise, considering the rumors from July. I was totally against trading anyone with a pulse for him at the deadline, and as a “Type A” free agent, I’m not sure he’s worth surrendering a #1 pick. Let’s wait and see if the Mariners offer arbitration — if they don’t, he’s someone to consider in a left field platoon, on a one- or two-year deal. However, if he doesn’t hit, he’s useless. I compare the erosion of his overall game to Shawn Green’s tenure as a Met.

Also in Rosenthal’s column:

Free-agent infielder David Eckstein is making it known that he wants to play second base next season.

Hmmm …. file that thought, just in case ….

Next post: we discuss Javier Vazquez.

READ MORE +