Tag: jeff francis

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

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Royals Outbid Mets for Jeff Francis

If you haven’t yet heard, the Kansas City Royals have signed lefthanded starter Jeff Francis to a one-year, $2M contract, plus incentives.

The deal was reportedly double what his former team, the Colorado Rockies, offered, and apparently more than the Mets offered. That is, assuming the Mets offered anything. But, we’ve heard many times from many sources for many months that the Mets were “interested” in Jeff Francis, so you would have to think that they made some kind of offer at some point. It would be awful to think that the Mets simply think about what players might help their club but never actually discuss terms with their agents.

So, we could safely assume that the Kansas City Royals outbid the Mets for Francis’ services. Is that depressing?

In all seriousness, if indeed the Mets made an offer to Francis, I’m surprised he chose to join the Royals. After posting a 5.00 ERA and looking lackluster in 2010, the crafty lefthander would seem to be looking at 2011 as an opportunity to increase his value for a big contract next winter. Generally speaking, crafty lefthanders don’t increase their value pitching in the Adulterated League — a baseball league that allows a Designated Pinch Hitter to bat for the pitcher. Usually, a soft-tossing lefty would try to avoid such a league, especially one that faces lineups such as those of the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers 18 times each (though, I guess it’s better than signing with the Orioles, and facing the AL East). One would think that someone pitching for his next payday would at minimum choose an NL team, and ideally go to one with a huge “pitchers’ park” such as San Diego or Flushing.

We mentioned Francis a few times before in the past few months, and my personal opinion was lukewarm. I don’t see him being anything better than a back-end starter at this point in his career, mainly because he wasn’t that tremendous before the shoulder surgery, and has lost some velocity since the surgery. So the fact that he signed with the Royals doesn’t bother me all that much; what bothers me is that it seems like Kansas City outbid the Mets, and it didn’t take much money to get Francis’ signature on a contract.

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Next Mets Free Agent Target: Jeff D’Amico

This offseason has been trying, to say the least, for most Mets fans. Yes, I get the whole idea of rebuilding, the constrained budget, the need for MLB to take over the organization, and that 2011 is a throwaway season. But it’s still disappointing to see that the “big” acquisitions of the winter are D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, Boof Bonser, and Chin-lung Hu. Seriously?

But there’s still another month to six weeks of potential activity before spring training opens; meaning, there could still be some “big” free agent signing coming up. Unfortunately, “big” means a cheap bullpen arm (Manny Delcarmen? Randy Flores?), a fourth outfielder (Fred Lewis? Delwyn Young?), and/or a high-risk, low-reward starting pitcher coming off injury (Jeff Francis? Chris Young?).

Wait … did I get that term confused? Isn’t it supposed to be “LOW-risk, high-reward” ?

Yeah, but when you’re talking about Chris Young and Jeff Francis, it’s the other way around.

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Brewers Get Greinke

According to multiple reports, the Brewers have obtained ace Zack Greinke from the Royals in a six-player trade that also will send shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to Milwaukee.

In return, the Brewers send to Kansas City young shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and minor league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

It looks like a good short-term deal for the Brew Crew, who are pushing hard for a playoff run in what could be

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Risk – Reward Free Agent Pitchers

As Sandy Alderson has told us, the Mets are not concerned with making the postseason in 2011. Further, they may have only $5M to play with on this winter’s free agents.

Considering those two factors, do ANY free agents make sense?

This is a difficult question, because it is hard to figure what exactly is the motivation for signing free agents for the 2011 season. Considering that nearly every free agent is over the age of 30, signing one with the idea of keeping him for 2012 / 2013 doesn’t seem likely. I’m guessing that the team will sign short-term deals with a small handful of players who can fill holes and help the team stay out of last place. Additionally, they may look to sign some risk / reward types who can a) possibly give the Mets enough performance to push them toward a postseason berth; or b) become trading chips to deal to pennant chasers in return for younger talent in July.

These are pitchers coming off injury who likely will need to take incentive-laden contracts with minimal dollars guaranteed (i.e., far less than the six million it took to rebuild Steve Austin, astronaut).

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Mets Game 113: Loss to Rockies

Rockies 6 Mets 2

As late as the 7th inning, the Mets looked like they might add to their already MLB-leading total of 16 shutouts. Instead, they added to their MLB-leading total of grand slams allowed, pushing the number to 9 and in turn losing both the shutout and the ballgame.

Game Notes

Jonathon Niese was, once again, absolutely brilliant. He hurled 7 full innings, allowing only one run on 5 hits, walking none and striking out 7. Unfortunately for Niese, the Mets were paralyzed by Rockies starter Jeff Francis, who allowed two runs on only 3 hits.

Niese did not allow a leadoff batter to reach base until the seventh frame.

This was the seventh time that Niese spun seven innings and allowed one run or less — he leads all rookies in this stat. The last time a Met rookie accomplished such a feat was in 1984, when Ron Darling did it seven times and Dwight Gooden did it 15 times.

As if this loss wasn’t bad enough, there were reports that Jon Niese had some leg issues after the game. According to Jerry Manuel, Niese was removed because of that leg problem. According to Niese, the leg issue had nothing to do with being removed. According to Joe Janish, Manuel’s recent double-talk and contradictions are good practice for a successful career in politics.

Hisanori Takahashi was tabbed as the “8th inning guy”, but was removed after he retired two and let two on. I guess he was really the “two-thirds of the 8th inning guy”.

Speaking of, I can’t figure how or why Takahashi allowed those two baserunners after getting two outs in the 8th. I mean, we just saw him succeed in the 8th inning role 24 hours prior.

Further, it’s absolutely baffling that Manny Acosta was unable to retire any of the five batters he faced en route to blowing the ballgame. I mean, he’s been SO GOOD since being promoted from AAA. Of course, it’s not nearly as mysterious as the sudden drop in performances by Raul Valdes and Bobby Parnell. It’s like the Mets are snakebit, seeing all these ordinary pitchers regress to the mean.

The Mets bullpen has a 6.08 ERA in August.

David Wright struck out 4 times in 4 plate appearances. Ouch. He is pulling his head off the ball on every swing, and continuing to “load up” and take really healthy cuts even with two strikes. Whatever happened to the guy who used to cut down his swing and go the other way when the situation demanded it, making him such a dangerous and effective two-strike hitter?

The one bright spot on offense was Angel Pagan‘s first-inning two-run homer. Melvin Mora‘s 8th inning grand slam might have been a bright spot if Mora were still wearing a Mets uniform. Alas, that was a long, long time ago.

Chris Iannetta‘s sac fly in the seventh plated the first run the Rockies scored against the Mets since April 14th.

At one point in the game, the Rockies struck out seven consecutive Mets, all swinging.

The Mets had one baserunner after the first inning — a single by Henry Blanco in the fifth.

The Mets have now gone 42 consecutive games without winning two in a row. How is that possible?

We can’t blame Jerry Manuel for the strange lineup decisions nor the pitching changes he made — he was simply following his gut to figure out ideal matchups. And we can’t blame Howard Johnson for an offense that is making the 1976 Mets look like The Big Orange Machine. And we can’t blame the Mets for rushing Carlos Beltran back to regular duty when he’s clearly not ready. And we can’t blame Omar Minaya for putting together this .500 team. Whew … thankfully, this is a completely blameless situation. Just a lot of really, really bad luck!

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 12:10 PM on Thursday afternoon on “getaway day”. Unfortunately for the Mets, they won’t have the opportunity to get away from themselves. Johan Santana goes to the hill against Jason Hammel. Normally, I would feel confident about the Mets chances with that matchup. However, I’m not sure Santana will hit enough to help himself win the game.

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Mets Sign an Outfielder

The Mets’ front office is really cooking with gas now! Hot off the heels of the Casey Fossum pickup, the team has now added Cory Sullivan to their outfield, signing the 29-year-old to a $600,000 contract that includes another $300,000 in incentives.

Obviously I can’t contain my excitement … especially when this signing comes so close after the Fossum deal. The Bisons are starting to look like a real AAA team — one that might actually provide competent support during the year in the event of injuries to players on the big club’s 25-man roster.

It does seem strange, though, that the Mets would scoop up another light-hitting, good fielding, centerfielder who hits from the left side. Endy Chavez was surplus last year, and the Mets already have Angel Pagan and Jeremy Reed signed to guaranteed MLB contracts, not to mention Marlon Anderson. Oh, and there’s Jason Cooper and Rule 5 (minor league phase) pick Carl Loadenthal, and the imminent arrival of Fernando Martinez. Considering that neither Carlos Beltran nor Ryan Church will ever be taken out of games for defensive purposes, all these Endy types are overkill, no? You can only put in one player at a time to play left field, after all.

FYI, Sullivan’s career: 355 games, 927 ABs, 8 HR, 78 RBI, 25 SB, .279 AVG., .330 OBP, .391 SLG. He does have the reputation of being a very good fielder, though the sabermetrics don’t necessarily support it.

The only way this signing makes sense is if it is a small part of something bigger brewing. For example, maybe the Mets are about to ship Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy to Colorado for Aaron Cook or Jeff Francis, and will then sign Adam Dunn and Manny Ramirez to play the corners — both of whom WOULD require late-inning defensive replacements. Pipe dream, I know, but dreams are about all we Mets have left at this point in the Hot Stove season.

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