Tag: jorge julio

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.


Where They Are Now: Yusmeiro Petit

yusmeiro-petitRemember Yusmeiro Petit? About 4-5 years ago, he was ranked as highly as #2 among the Mets prospects by Baseball America, who were impressed by his ability to throw 4 pitches over the plate. As a 21-year-old, Petit whipped through AA, posting a 9-3 record and 2.92 ERA for the Binghamton Mets — striking out 130 batters in 118 innings, walking only 18, and holding opposing hitters to a .209 AVG. He was a sure-fire back-end starter at worst, and some believed he’d eventually develop into a #2 or #3.


Available Players to Consider

Do the ailing and injured New York Mets need to bring in outside reinforcements? If so, a few have become available. One by one:

Vicente Padilla

The righthanded pitcher was waived by the Rangers after a miserable 3-inning, 7-ER start against the Yankees. He’s 3-3 with a 5.97 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP through 9 games and 53 innings.

He must be really bad, if the Rangers are willing to eat his $12M contract to get him off the roster; few teams will be willing to take on the $8M he’s owed between now and the end of the season.

But, he has shown signs of effectiveness — for example the three starts prior to the Yankees massacre, in which he pitched 23 innings and gave up only 12 hits and 4 earned runs. Think about that — in his last four starts, he’s pitched eight innings twice and seven innings once.

Though he hasn’t allowed a ton of homeruns — 4 total, and none in his last 5 starts — he does give up a large number of fly balls, something unusual for a sinker-slider pitcher such as himself. In his 8-inning win over the Angels two weeks ago, he allowed 21 airballs. Strangely enough, he’s had one game in which he induced 14 ground balls (also an 8-inning victory).

A move to the NL and a spacious ballpark could be a good thing for Padilla. But, he’s an eternal enigma, often beating himself and crumbling in the face of adversity (see: Oliver Perez). Additionally, he’s been fighting a shoulder issue for the past month. Is he worth the headache? Tim Redding’s next start may provide the answer, though I might prefer seeing Nelson Figueroa on the roster.

Wilson Betemit

Oh how quickly and how far mighty talents can fall. It wasn’t so long ago that Betemit was a phenom in the Atlanta organization, a sure-handed, switch-hitting shortstop with corner-infield power. A few years and four organizations later, he finds himself DFA’d by the White Sox, dragging with him a .200 average in 50 at-bats.

Is he worth picking up? If this were two weeks ago, when Jose Reyes first went on the DL? Probably. One week ago, when the Mets were scrambling to find someone better than Ramon Martinez to play SS? Definitely. Now, with Alex Cora back, Wilson Valdez playing well, and Martinez on the DL? Absolutely.

Here’s why: Betemit is a natural shortstop who can play all four infield positions and both outfield corners. He hits from both sides of the plate, and shown a bit of power in the past. He’s 27 years old. Need I go on?

The negative is that he swings and misses — a lot. Last year he struck out 56 times and took only 6 walks in 204 plate appearances. So you can compare him to Billy Hall — a super utilityman with a little pop and a lot of whiffs. I still like him better than some of the other 25th-man options that we’ve seen thus far.

Tom Glavine

We discussed this yesterday. On paper, he might be worth a try, and the Wilpons love him. I don’t think the fans can stomach his return, however.

Jorge Julio

15 walks and a 7.79 ERA through 17 innings was too much for Milwaukee to handle. Rick Peterson’s tight leash made him almost valuable as a one-inning guy, but I don’t think he’d flourish in the Dan Warthen era. He still throws in the upper 90s, so someone will take a chance. No thanks.

Pat Misch

Who is Pat Misch, you ask? He’s a crafty lefthanded reliever most recently employed by the San Francisco Giants. He’s not particularly good — a career 5.20 ERA through 97 MLB IP (and double that this year) — but he’s slightly more effective vs. LH hitters than righties. As long as Ken Takahashi continues to struggle against lefthanded hitters, the Mets need to at least take a glance at any and every southpaw on the market. Maybe he’s worth giving a look-see in AAA.


Confirmed: Maine was a Throw-in

This morning on XM 175 MLB Home Plate, former Mets and Orioles GM Jim Duquette confirmed that John Maine was a throw-in when the Mets sent Kris Benson to Baltimore for Jorge Julio.

This may not be huge news, and many of you may have suspected as much, but at least a few people (including myself) have lauded Omar Minaya for his ability to spot a golden nugget in Maine in his fleecing of the Orioles.

However, Duquette described the trade this morning quite differently. He said that when he first took the job at Baltimore, members of the Orioles organization saw Maine as a #5 starter, or a “swing man” (someone who would likely be a long man out of the bullpen and spot starter). According to Duquette, the Orioles felt supported in this analysis when the Indians refused to take Maine in a proposed trade. As a result, the O’s had been looking to trade Maine quickly, while he still might have value to another MLB club.

When Duquette and Minaya began talks, Minaya was desperate to unload Benson mostly as a salary dump (the team needed to clear payroll after acquiring Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner) and partially because of Anna Benson’s outfit at the annual Christmas party. According to Duquette, Minaya liked Jorge Julio’s power arm, and asked for Adam Loewen as well — who at the time was the #2 prospect in the organization. Duquette obviously rejected that request, and Minaya said he “needed a throw-in” to complete the deal. Since the Orioles had been trying to trade Maine earlier, Duquette suggested him as the “throw in”, and the rest is history.

Now, this could be Duquette’s way of covering his arse — after all, he was also the person publicly responsible for the trade of Scott Kazmir to the Devil Rays. But, the story does make sense when you look back on it.

Hyannis Mets

In another interesting tidbit, Duquette said that the Mets used to give their old uniforms to the Hyannis Mets, which is a Cape Cod League team, to help Hyannis defray some of their costs. As a thank-you, Hyannis would send a dozen lobsters down to Flushing.

Isn’t that an ironic twist, considering that MLB recently put the hammer down on amateur organizations using MLB logos and team names, and specifically went after the Cape Cod League?

So one must wonder if the Mets will still “sell” their old uniforms for the market price of New England lobsters, or if Hyannis will be forced to buy the unis from a licensed vendor?