Many actions — and inactions — contributed to the Mets’ victory last night. Some were obvious, some not so obvious. Let’s take a look at two at-bats in particular to demonstrate how some of the less noticeable details can affect the momentum of a ballgame.
Tag: raul ibanez
No need to panic — not one Mets player went down with an injury in the past 24 hours.
Perhaps the most significant injury to affect the Mets occurred to an opponent — red-hot Raul Ibanez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. According to reports, Ibanez suffered the injury slipping down some 42-year-old blogger’s mother’s basement steps.
Ibanez has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Phillies, and in addition to getting his bat out of the lineup, this injury could cool off his steaming hot streak. Let’s hope he falls back to Earth when he returns from the DL.
As far as the Mets go:
Oliver Perez is pitching in Florida and throwing in the low 90s
John Maine is not progressing as quickly as we’d like. His shoulder is still weak and he’s feeling a pinch.
Angel Pagan could return to the club in less than two weeks. But if Jeremy Reed can’t find at-bats –even when the team is playing with a DH — how will Pagan?
Billy Wagner could be throwing to batters shortly. If nothing else can be salvaged from this season, it could be incredibly fun to watch a September bullpen that includes Wagner, J.J. Putz, and K-Rod. Talk about shortening the game.
Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and J.J. Putz remain out indefinitely, with no news to report. Though, it should be noted that Delgado, like Wagner, was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5th. Does this mean the sixty days go back to the original date they were placed on the 15-day DL, or do you count the sixty days from June 5th? If it’s the latter, that means both players are eligible to return on August 4th. I *think* the counting goes back to the first date of inactivity, and if anyone can find a link confirming this theory, please post it in the comments.
And I know you’re hanging on the edge of your seat wondering when Ramon Martinez will return, but he, too, is in a holding pattern with his dislocated pinky.
But he sure can hit.
A big hullabaloo focused on Raul Ibanez’ caustic response to the suggestion that he’s on PEDs has permeated all sports media today. I resisted for hours, then finally chose to investigate the whole story. In the end, I believe Raul Ibanez when he says he did not ever take steroids. However, he needs to convince me that he knows how to read.
For the record, it’s not entirely Raul’s fault for all the excitement. Rather, it should be pinned on John Gonzalez, who obviously knows how to read — he’s a journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer — but apparently does too much “skimming” and not enough “perusing”.
Because if you “peruse” the blog post in question, it turns out that the 42-year-old typing in his mother’s basement (actually, I don’t think he’s that old, but that’s how the classy Ibanez refers to bloggers) actually wrote a several-pointed defense AGAINST the possibility that Raul Ibanez is on PEDs. Read it yourself, and you will agree that Jerod Morris’ article does much more defending than accusing.
Other responses to this ridiculous situation:
RaysIndex calls out Jon Heyman as a hypocrite when it comes to PEDs speculation.
Joe Posnanski, a friend of Ibanez, writes a balanced piece on the debacle. As always, Posnanski “gets it”, and in this post, offers the most plausible reason for Raul’s hot start.
Geoff Baker writes a soapbox-style article about journalism vs. blogging that is so long-winded it wouldn’t fit on Faith on Fear. Ironically, this “journalist” did not do that “journalisy” thing called fact-checking — from his article, it’s clear he did not read Morris’ post. (And for the record, Geoff, the REAL difference between journalists and basement bloggers is that we “BBs” interact with our readership, while you sit perched on a pedestal in your soundproof booth and spout out one-way conversations … you know, like a fascist dictator.)
Big League Stew on Yahoo Canada gives a blow-by-blow account of the controversy.
Phillies 6 Mets 5
It was another poor outing by Oliver Perez, and it appeared the Mets would eradicate it with their bats.
Perez allowed four runs on five hits and six walks before being removed from the game with one out in the third inning. Newest Met Ken Takahashi did his best Darren Oliver impression in relief, holding the fort until the sixth inning.
And for once, the Mets did not give up. The bats kept coming back, matching the score, and even took a brief lead in the top of the sixth.
However, their one-run lead lasted only minutes. Pedro Feliciano came on in relief of Takahashi in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a homer to a LH batter for the second time in as many days.
The two teams remained deadlocked through four more frames, with the Mets holding an apparent advantage — they still had closer Frankie Rodriguez at the ready, while the Phils burned through Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth.
Unfortunately, the Mets couldn’t leverage that advantage.
They mounted a rally in the tenth that was quickly extinguished by a stellar double-play turn, and then put the game in the hands of Sean Green. However, those hands proved to be below the challenge. Green got a quick groundout from Jimmy Rollins, but Pedro Feliz followed with his second cheap swinging-bunt hit in the game. Green then hit pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, induced a flyout from Greg Dobbs, and walked Chris Coste to load the bases for Shane Victorino. Victorino worked the count full before watching ball four drop below his knees, forcing in Feliz to end the game.
J.J. Putz was remarkably efficient, expending only 17 pitches in his scoreless, two-inning stint. Though he’s pitched in both games of this series, and three times in four days, he probably will be available if needed on Sunday.
Someone check Alex Cora’s Wheaties, because he’s hitting like Rod Carew lately.
Ryan Church ripped what could’ve been a key pinch-hit single to chase Alex Cora to third base in that tenth inning rally off Jack Taschner — who happens to be a lefthanded pitcher — but a double play grounder by Carlos Beltran killed the rally.
I was dead wrong on Raul Ibanez. The guy hits lefties and righties, is clutch, can run the bases well enough, and can play the field a lot better than advertised.
Brad Lidge is not nearly the lights-out closer we saw in 2008. His fastball was topping out at 92 MPH and his slider is missing its bite. It looks like he’s worried about that right knee and staying too stiff, not getting good push off the rubber nor good downward leverage / bend in the back.
Danny Murphy must love Citizen’s Bank Park. If it were his home field, he might have 15 homers by now.
Jerry Manuel’s rebuilt and vaunted bullpen has now lost six times in seven chances, and has blown two saves in the last three games.
The series finale takes place at 1:35 PM in Philadelphia, with John Maine taking the mound against Joe Blanton.
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?
Teams deciding to whom they offer arbitration was the kindling for this winter’s Hot Stove, and already the dominoes are falling.
Since 24 players were offered arbitration on Monday, teams have been racing to sign free agents and make deals — and the winter meetings are still a week away.
The first free agents to sign are the lesser ones — particularly, the nondescript middle relievers (Doug Brocail), guys on the comeback trail (Mike Hampton), and the non-roster guys with spring training invites (Billy Traber). My guess is the first “big name” free agent to sign will be a shortstop — probably either Edgar Renteria or Rafael Furcal, who startlingly was not offered arbitration by the Dodgers. I understand they’re looking for a new shortstop, but based on all the rumors, it appears that Furcal is banking on a multi-year deal, so it’s surprising that LA would pass on the potential draft pick. Even if Furcal accepted, would it have been so terrible to have Furcal back, possibly as a second baseman (where the Dodgers have another hole)? Guess so.
So how will the dominoes fall for the Mets? We’re hearing that Trevor Hoffman wants to talk to the Mets, and it’s not a bad idea for Omar Minaya to open discussions — for no reason other than to get K-Rod and Brian Fuentes to think again about their outrageous demands. When it’s all said and done, I see the Mets signing K-Rod or trading for Bobby Jenks. To me, J.J. Putz and Brian Fuentes are not fabulous long-term solutions — if the Mets want short-term, then they should sign Hoffman for a year to a.) close in ’09 and b.) teach someone such as Aaron Heilman, Eddie Kunz, Joe Smith, etc., how to close in the future. But I’m not seeing the Mets as getting serious about Hoffman.
My guess is that the first free-agent the Mets sign will be Chad Cordero — as a minor leaguer with an invite to spring training. If they don’t make the announcement this week, one definitely will be made at the winter meetings.
Also, if the Mets are serious about making a major, impact trade, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Ryan Church, Fernando Martinez, and one of their pitching prospects (Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz) will be dealt. Church’s stock may not get higher, and I’m hearing rumblings that he’s not a favorite in the clubhouse. Further, as much as I discount Mike Francesa’s inane comments, I think New York is not the best place for Church. But most importantly, Church is currently cheap, a good all-around player, young, and the only legit MLB position player of value that the Mets are willing to part with. After all, the Mets are not trading David Wright, Jose Reyes, or Carlos Beltran, probably not trading Carlos Delgado, and will get little in return for Brian Schneider. Dan Murphy’s greatest value is to the Mets, not another organization, at this point. Same goes for Endy Chavez. Church, however, has value to many teams — particularly those looking to cut payroll — and can be very easily replaced with a free agent, as there is a glut of lefthanded hitting outfielders available. The prospect of trading Church is the only thing — to me — that makes sense in regard to the Mets’ inquiries on people like Raul Ibanez.
A flurry of moves will be made starting today and going through the next two weeks. Expect to see at least a few dominoes falling into the Mets’ lap shortly.
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.