Tag: pat burrell

Mets Game 90: Loss to Giants

Giants 1 Mets 0

On the one hand, I greatly appreciate these two-hour games — especially when they are played on the Left Coast. On the other hand, it would be nice if it were the Mets on the winning end of these quick contests.

Game Notes

Jonathon Niese pitched a beauty, allowing only one run in seven innings (why does that sound so familiar?). He allowed 6 hits and 3 walks and struck out 4 in a 104-pitch effort. Despite this great outing, I’m still concerned about his low arm angle, but more particularly, how his fingers are getting to the side and under the baseball at release. First, because when a pitcher does that, the ball will generally only move laterally and not downward. Second, because it puts significant pressure on the elbow. But as long as he’s pitching as well as he is, it’s hard to argue with success.

Niese was good, but Barry Zito was just a little better. Zito limited the Mets to two base hits in eight frames, walking two and striking out ten.

Though, one could argue that Niese never had a fighting chance, with .225-hitting Ruben Tejada in the leadoff spot and half the lineup hitting .250 or under. It resembled, um, a San Francisco Giants lineup.

SF’s Aubrey Huff went 3-for-3, but it was historical Mets nemesis Pat Burrell who drove in the lone run of the game. With Huff on third base and one out, Pat the Bat bounced a ball to Alex Cora — who was playing back — and Huff beat Cora’s throw home. Why was Cora throwing home in that situation? Not sure; maybe he sensed that the Mets wouldn’t score all night. But then why wasn’t he playing in? To get Huff, Cora had to make a fast and perfect throw, and Rod Barajas had to block the plate while receiving the ball. None of those things happened, so Huff scored.

Speaking of Huff, so weird that he, a LH hitter, was perfect against LHP Niese. Jerry Manuel will be awake all night trying to figure out how that happened.

Manuel, by the way, promised Jeff Francoeur starts against San Francisco’s lefthanders. Why, we’re not sure. And why he felt it more important to fulfill a promise than start a legitimate leadoff hitter such as Angel Pagan, is even more mind boggling. OK, I get a manager feeling the need to keep his word. But when your most dynamic player and leadoff hitter cannot play, and your second-most dynamic player and top hitter for average is healthy, the manager has every right to rescind his promise — or offer a rain check. And if it meant so much to Manuel to keep his word, then why not sit Carlos Beltran? Wasn’t the plan to EASE Beltran into regular duty, by getting plenty of days off and not playing back-to-back games at the outset? Meh.

Francoeur did make a difference in the field, however. The respect for his arm prevented Huff from scoring earlier in that same fourth inning, and he doubled up Zito at first base on a nice running catch and throw in the fifth.

Next Mets Game

Luckily this is a four-game series, so the Mets have a shot to even things up. Game three is on Saturday at 9:05 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Matt Cain, as Mike Pelfrey will be bumped to Monday in Arizona. The long plane ride to the Left Coast gave Big Pelf a stiff neck (no kidding).

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Will the Mets Land a Big Fish?

At MetsFansForever, Will Sommer asks several bloggers which “big” free agent will be signed by the Mets

Andrew Vazzano unearths a slice of good news from the winter meetings – that David Wright and Daniel Murphy were working out with Howard Johnson, and Jeff Francoeur may be with HoJo later in the winter.

Ted Berg wrote an uncharacteristically long post poo-poohing the concept of a #2 starter and arguing that the Mets should pass on John Lackey.

Bob Klapisch says the Mets are pretenders

We’re only a day and a half into the winter meetings, but Brooklyn Met Fan is already tired of the rumors.

Kerel Cooper responds to yesterday’s question, “Would You Want Pat Burrell?” :

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Would You Want Pat Burrell?

pat-the-batThere have been a few rumors floating that the Mets could obtain Pat Burrell from the Rays — possibly as part of a three-team deal that would send Luis Castillo to the Cubs and Milton Bradley to Tampa Bay.

Such a trade may not come to fruition, but “Pat the Bat” is definitely on the trading block, and he fits the description of “power hitting left fielder” that the Mets are so desperate to acquire.

But would you, as a Mets fan, want him?

Forget that his name is Pat Burrell for a moment, and consider whether you would want a left fielder who averaged 31 HRs, 99 RBI, and an .890 OPS in the last four seasons he played in the NL East. Would you take on his one year and $9M in return for a marginal player, in a salary dump deal (from the Rays’ perspective)? Be sure to factor in the player’s motivation — in that he’ll be playing for a 2011 contract.

Granted, Burrell had a poor year in 2009, but it was his first time in the American League, his first time as a DH, and he spent the entire season fighting a neck injury. If the neck is fully healed — and yes it’s a big “if” — and he returns to the comfort and knowledge of NL opponents, there’s a decent possibility he returns to the 30-HR threat he was from 2005-2008.

Before you say “whoa, a lot of his homers came from playing in that bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park”, go check the stats — he hit 21 of his 2008 HRs away from CBP. In 2007 the split was about even (14 away, 16 in CBP) and in 2006 it was 17 away, 12 at home. There is no question he has the strength to hit the ball out of any park (18 in 334 career ABs in pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium helps support that argument).

In addition to his homerun power, Burrell hits the ball into gaps, takes a ton of pitches, and usually walks close to 100 times a year. When he’s on a hot streak, he can put a team on his back and carry it.

On the negative side, his fielding has gotten worse as he’s aged, he is a poor baserunner, and when he slumps, he slumps like no one else — they are massive, horrendous slumps that make him look like he’d be better off serving hot dogs for a living. I doubt the average Mets fan would be able to handle a lengthy Pat Burrell slump without sending a blunt object through the TV set.

Additionally, Burrell has proven to be less than savvy with the media, and often comes off as condescending or bitter when he’s quoted. Combine a bad slump with NYC reporters, and Pat Burrell could quickly become the target of angry Mets fans. Oh, and then there’s that whole history with him mashing homeruns in Shea while wearing a Phillies uniform — he’d be coming in with a reputation not unlike when Tom Glavine first arrived in Flushing.

How do you feel about the possibility of Pat Burrell joining the Mets?

*** UPDATE 11:30am ***

Andrew Vazzano of TheRopolitans has posted a rumor that Burrell has been traded to the Mets.

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Phillies Sign Raul Ibanez

According to various reports, the Phillies have signed Raul Ibanez to fill the left field position vacated by Pat Burrell.

Sounds good to me. First, it keeps Ibanez off the Mets — let him stumble around CBP rather than Citi Field next season. At 36 years old, his all-around skills are diminishing quickly and he’s simply not worth the three years and $30M the Phils have given him. Though Ibanez supposedly is a good clubhouse presence and a fine, upstanding citizen, that doesn’t replace the fact he’s never played on a winner, and it’s too much money and too many years.

Of course, he’ll likely prove me wrong and have a monster season in homer-happy Citizen’s Bank Park, which I suspect was built according to Ripken Baseball dimensions.

Besides taking too many years and too much money from Philadelphia, I like that it puts another lefthanded hitter in the middle of their lineup. Now, it’s time to stop fooling around and re-sign Oliver Perez. Give him 4 years / $55M. Let him have the patented Boras opt-out after two if necessary.

Further, I also believe that Ibanez — who has spent his entire career in the AL — will have trouble adjusting to the National League. Watch him struggle for at least the first few months as he faces pitchers he’s never seen before.

With Ibanez off the table, what corner outfielder to the Mets go after next? Unfortunately, probably Bobby Abreu, who is worse than Ibanez. I don’t care that Johan Santana wants Abreu — the Venezuelan national team plays in March. In April we play the real games, and need real players. If the Mets are hell-bent on putting a circus clown in left field, let’s make it Adam Dunn. Or heck, why not Pat the Bat?

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