Tag: ramon ramirez

No-hitter Fallout

Hate to rain on the parade, but Johan Santana‘s no-hitter came at a cost.

First, there is the issue of the 134 pitches thrown by Santana’s surgically repaired shoulder, using damaging mechanics. Will he be able to bounce back? Did pitching far beyond fatigue cause any lasting damage to his arm? We’ll find out soon enough.

Second, there is Mike Baxter, who literally ran through a wall to preserve the no-no. In the process, he injured his ribs and collarbone, and will be out six weeks.

Finally, there is Ramon Ramirez, whose enthusiasm during the postgame celebration caused him to strain his hamstring; he’s also on his way to the DL.

Ten years from now, no one will remember nor care about the fallout from this historical event. In fact, it’s likely that a year from now, no one will remember nor care — unless, of course, it leads to another severe injury to Santana.

You can’t fault Terry Collins for leaving Santana in the game that long — Mets fans would have hung Collins and/or publicly stoned him had he taken out Johan in, say, the 7th inning. Similarly, you can’t fault Santana for “going for the gold” and finishing out the first no-no in Mets history. Certainly, you can’t fault Baxter for his all-out effort without regard to his physical safety — it’s exactly what many of us fans value over all else. As for Ramirez, well, that’s up to you — it was a random, unlucky occurrence.

But in the end, the first no-hitter in Mets history came with an immediate price — and we’ll see what happens with Johan’s arm (hopefully nothing). That said, was the price worth the product? What if Johan never pitches effectively again? Would it still be worth it? I’m not so sure; if the price resulted in a pennant or a World Championship, I’d say “of course” but for a milestone event — well, I’d have preferred there not to be such a steep price. But that’s me — what about you? Answer in the comments.


The Mets: Seven Reasons to Stay Tuned in 2012

Happy New Year everyone! With the holidays now in the rear view mirror and me now settling down into my new job, it’s time to take look ahead to what 2012 might hold in store for the New York Mets.

Like most of us, I have very low expectations for the team this year. Team finances aside, the starting rotation is mediocre at best, there are several defensive liabilities in the projected starting eight, the bench is horrible, there is little speed on the current roster and they play in a tough division. Still, I will watch as many Mets games as I can this year. Now that I have a steady income again, I may even make the pilgrimage from my home in Bethlehem to Citi Field to take in a game or two. I know that there is no postseason in store for the Mets in 2012, but I can think of at least seven reasons to pay attention to the team this year:


Mets Moves Evaluated

Mets trade OF Angel Pagan to San Francisco for OF Andres Torres and RP Ramon Ramirez: The Mets got the upper hand of this deal, period. It’s not blatantly obvious, mind you; for all I know, Pagan will be worth 6 WAR season next year, while Kirk Nieuwenhuis will displace Torres as the starting center fielder by Memorial Day, and the Mets will trade Tores for cash considerations in August.

But on paper, this looks like a good deal. Swapping Pagan for Torres is more-or-less a lateral move, and on top of that, the Mets get a very good reliever in Ramon Ramirez.

Here’s some more extensive analysis on the deal:

Pagan: After posting an excellent 5.5 WAR season in 2010, Pagan hit just .262/.322/.372 and was worth just 0.9 WAR in 2011. His OPS. fell by over 70 points from 2010 to 2011 (.765 to to .694). His defensive decline, however, was even more precipitous, at least according to UZR. After supposedly saving 15.4 runs while splitting time between left, right, and center in 2010, Pagan cost the Mets -14.3 runs as their everyday center fielder in 2011. He also missed over a month’s worth of time in June with a stress fracture in his rib, and has quite a lengthy injury history.

Torres: Torres had an even better 2010 than Pagan. He was worth 6.8 WAR, tying for the 8th highest total in baseball with a guy named Jose Bautista. Like Pagan, he played every outfield position in 2010, saving 22 runs on defense, while providing excellent value at the plate (.268/.343/.479).

Torres was more valuable in 2011 than Pagan, totaling 2.1 WAR despite playing in 11 less games. While Torres offense steeply declined in 2011 (.221/.312/.330), he maintained his value defensively as the Giants everyday center fielder, saving 9.4 WAR. The injury bug also bit Torres in 2011, as he missed over 40 games with lower leg problems.

Ramirez: The 30 year-old Ramirez has bounced between Colorado, Kansas City, Boston, and San Fran the past four seasons, but he’s been solid everywhere he’s been, and 2011 was his best season yet: he posted a 2.62 ERA, with a 8.65 K/9, 3.41 BB/9, while also keeping the ball in the park (0.39 HR/9), with a 50% GB rate. While unspectacular, Ramirez does everything well; he misses bats, keeps the ball on the ground, and keeps his free passes in line.

Mets sign RP Jon Rauch to one year deal for $3.5 million, with a  $3.75 mil. club option and $250,000 buyout:

Out of the three moves, I’m most skeptical about the Rauch signing. Rauch’s strikeout rate has declined the past two seasons, he’s a flyball-happy pitcher (which may be a problem at Citi Field next year given the altered dimensions), and his velocity was also down a bit in 2011. He posted a 4.85 ERA  and a 5.26 FIP with the Blue Jays last season. My guess is that Alderson and co. are banking on Rauch’s numbers improving by getting out of the AL East. He was very reliable for the Twins in 2010. At $3.5 million, this signing might work out fine for the Mets, although I wonder if there were cheaper alternatives available.

Mets sign Frank Francisco for 2 years, $12 million: Francisco’s probably the front runner for the closing  job next season. He throws hard, racks up the Ks, and like Rauch, does tend to allow his fair share of homers. I think the Mets get fair value out of Francisco.

Between Francisco, Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, Ramirez, Rauch, and Tim Byrdak, the Mets have the makings of a pretty solid bullpen. Perhaps they’ll dangle Bobby Parnell this winter? If anything, I’m assuming they’ll be less interested in relievers in this year’s rule five draft.

While I generally scoff at the notion of long-term, expensive contracts for relievers, I can’t help but wonder: Given the softening closer’s market, instead of signing Francisco and Rauch for a combined $10 million dollars next season, wouldn’t the Mets have been better off simply signing Ryan Madson for three years, $30 million to close?



Mets Go Nuts!

Never mind what the Marlins are doing — nothing compares to the madness of the Mets at the winter meetings!

Sure, the Mets lost shortstop Jose Reyes, but Sandy Alderson is not one to let grass grow under his feet. The genius GM made a whirlwind of moves guaranteed to make the Mets almost as good as they were in 2011 — and at minimum, assures them a fifth-place finish in the NL East.

Sit down, because the plethora of moves will knock you backward if you’re standing.