Saturday, January 22, 2005

Important Dates To Remember

With Spring Training Approaching here are some important 2005 Dates to Remember:

Pitchers and Catchers report: February 16-18
Position Players Report- Feb. 21
First Workout- Feb. 23
First Spring Training Game- March 2
D.C Charity Game- April 3
Season Opener- April 4
Home Opener- April 11
Mets/Yankees at Shea- May 20
Mets/Yankees in the Bronx- June 24
All Star Break-July 12
Last day of Regular Season/ Last home Game-October 3

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Mets quietly upgrading all parts of team

While the Hot Stove has had its focus (and rightfully so) on the big-time Mets acquisitions of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, and the hopeful signing of Carlos Delgado, the Mets have had other issues to deal with. While signing two (and possible three) big-time players can help a struggling team, the Mets were a ninety loss team last season. As much as they'll help, it'll take more than an ace and a five-tool outfielder to bring the Mets back to the playoffs. The Mets struggled with injuries last season, as Jose Reyes, Kazuo Matsui, Mike Piazza, Cliff Floyd, Mike Cameron, Mike Dejean, Orber Moreno, and Jose Parra all spent significant time on the DL last year, or played with (and struggled with) injuries. The Mets have addressed the problem of the injuries as best they could by firing their incompetent medical staff (the same medical staff who misdiagnosed Mike Dejean, sending him back to the mound to pitch with a broken leg). They also dealt with the problem of having one of the weakest benches in baseball with the signings of Chris Woodward, Miguel Cairo, and Marlon Anderson.

However, maybe the biggest problem last year was a bullpen that struggled to get outs, and blew many a game for Mets starters. The Mets can improve just by staying healthy and using their bullpen more wisely (for example, not trotting a pitcher like Mike Stanton out every day). If Orber Moreno (who allowed hitters to slug .244, second best in baseball among pitchers with 30 IP) can stay healthy, he can be a very solid reliever. A full season of Tyler Yates, who touches 98 MPH and was lights out to end the 2004 season, can yield great results. Mike Dejean posted a 1.69 ERA with the Mets last season. Dae Koo, who pitched in Korea, has a very unorthodox delivery, which is said to be devastating to left-handed hitters.

The bottom-line is, that Omar Minaya has done a great job in filling out the roster this offseason, even looking past the signings of the best position player and pitcher on the market. If Willie does his job with them, and the Mets' new doctors do theirs, then the fans in Flushing could be rockin' deep into October.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

RTK Blog Welcomes Mark Lucas

Rounding Third Knight would like to announce that Mark Lucas will be starting a bi-weekly column for RTK Blog. He will post on Sundays and Thursdays, starting Thursday, January 20, 2005.

If you would like to write for Rounding Third Knight or RTK Blog, please contact Will Musto and send him a copy of your work.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mets Trade Wilson, Sign Cairo

The Mets made a couple of changes to their bench today, while all Mets fans are waiting on the result of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes. In the meantime, however, the Mets shipped backup catcher Vance Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in return for AA shortstop Anderson Hernandez. They also reached a preliminary agreement on a one-year contract with utility infielder Miguel Cairo.

Wilson was drafted in the 44th round of the 1993 draft, and had a .254 career average with the Mets. He also had 17 HR and 92 RBI since joining the Major League club in 1999. He solidified himself as one of the top backups in the game behind Mike Piazza, and will continue that job with the Tigers.

"Vance Wilson is a professional back-up catcher," Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said in Detroit's press release. "He is one of the best in the business at his role, in addition to being a quality individual in the clubhouse."

One has to feel atleast a little bad for Wilson. He is an extremely hard worker, plus tries really hard to keep the fans happy. Here is a tidbit from an email that Jim Fertitta from MetsHome.com wrote:

Vance is the type of Ball Player that went the Extra Mile in my eyes. He would always stop for an Autograph or a Photo with a Fan know matter what he was doing. Lots of times when the players went in after a day of workouts during Spring Training, Vance was still out there signing. I also saw Vance during rain delays at Shea signing along the lines while other players would be in the locker room. Vance has given me his green hat after a St. Patrick's Day Home Game quite a few times and also a few bats with his name on them. As President of the Mets Booster Club I asked Vance to come to our March meting last year and he did. He gave a nice talk about his Baseball life and his wife Bridget and their daughter Peyton. I had a lot of Booster Club Members tell me that they really enjoyed having Vance at the meeting. I said to everyone that shows what kind of person Vance is.


Anderson Hernandez, acquired in the trade, is considered a superb fielder with an average bat. Baseball America named him the Best Defensive Infielder and Best Infield Arm in their annual review of the Tigers top ten prospects. He hit .274 last year in AA for the Erie Sea Wolves.

Miguel Cairo, who was a solid player for the Yankees in 2004, was their starting second baseman the second half of the season. He hit .292 with six home runs and 42 RBIs, plus 11 stolen bases. The deal will be finalized once Cairo passes a physical.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

RTK Breaking News: Beltran A Met?

NYFanSites.com reports that the Mets have agreed to a seven-year, $112 million contract with Carlos Beltran. When RTK contacted him, Jay Horwitz refused to comment on the situation. RTK is continuing our attempts to confirm this report. Update, 9PM: A secondary source in the Mets front office has stated that there is something up, but Beltran is NOT yet a Met. We will continue to attempt to confirm.

RTK has a Carlos Beltran Updates page.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Slow day...

During the offseason, some of the best and most fun news articles come from the Winter League websites. Today it is no different. Today was an article concerning Jose Reyes' team and the impact he had on getting them to the playoffs. Reyes, translated from Spanish to English, literally means "Kings", so he is referred to as "Jose Kings" in the article, as it was translated by Babelfish.

The right of the green ones granted three tickets opening the game, but it recovered and it dominated to Pedro FĂ©liz with high of sacrifice, that allowed to Jose Kings to write down the return of the tie. Jose Kings discounted 2-3 with bambinazo in third inning against Signal lantern.
Here's the full article... Be warned, it's in Spanish

Also, today was the meeting between Boras and Minaya. There's no news yet, but I guess we'll all find out in the morning. Here's to hoping: Buster Olney just reportedly said on ESPN that the Yankees have pulled out of the Beltran sweepstakes. We'll see if he's right or not.

Also, here's an article concerning the meeting with Beltran tomorrow. It basically says everything we all know, but still, it's news. Although, an interesting thing from that article is that Jim Duquette is going down with Minaya.

Other than that, there's really no news today.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Beltran Update

By Alex Young

The official meeting dates between Mets GM Omar Minaya and the highly price free agent Carlos Beltran along with his agent, Scott Boras, have been set according to several morning newspapers. Minaya will meet with Boras on Monday to begin negotiations and on Tuesday, Minaya along with other management officials, presumably Jeff Wilpon and Jim Duquette, will meet with Boras and Beltran.

As a previous article on RTK noted, Minaya will likely pitch to Beltran the idea of him being the star of the team and a player that can single handily turn Shea Stadium's lights on deep into October.

On Thursday, Boras stated that Beltran's beginning contract proposals should be nothing less than 7 years, $119 million. Also, it appears that time is quickly dwindling for the Houston Astros to sign Beltran. The Astros, who lose the right to sign Beltran on January 8th, currently have no arranged meeting with Boras or Beltran in the near future.

You can read Alex's original Beltran article on Rounding Third Knight.

Then and Now

36 hours and we go back to the table. It's only been four years, but it seems like so much longer since Steve Phillips took out a gun and executed the Mets' credibility in the free agent market by screeching to the media like a newborn banshee. He wailed to anyone and everyone that Scott Boras was a big old mean man and that Alex Rodriguez was a no goodnik me me me me me guy who takes and takes and takes. He basically sounded like a catankerous toddler and the overburdened mother of six - all at the same time. His incompetence signaled a screeching halt to the good mojo that took the Mets to the NL pennant in 2000. He shunned and attempted to assassinate the man who sat in the stands watching his childhood team lose to the Yankees -- the Yankees that were led by his best friend. Every Met fan had some momentary desire to see A-Rod jump out of the stands, DDT Mike Bordick and run out to shortstop for the Mets. It seemed right, and it seemed all the team needed to do in order to take the next step. But it was not done. And worse than that, the team tried to shift the blame onto Rodriguez and Boras. It was one of the worst executive decisions I've ever seen. Maybe Boras incensed Phillips by catching him in a compromising position with a staffer, who knows. Who knows the real story. All I know is the outcome -- it totally sucked.

So here we are, four years later, with a chance at some redemption. Let's hope that we find good luck when we sit down at the table. Let's also hope that we have the good sense to fold with a smile if the game gets out of hand.

Javier Vazquez To Mets?

What a busy offseason it has been for the Mets. The signing of Pedro is the first step on getting the Mets back on the map, but he can't do it alone. Despite having a "set rotation", I would like to propose the question is our rotation really set? I say, no. Sure guys like Pedro, Glavine and Trachsel are proven quality pitchers, but Benson is a question mark, and Zambrano has to prove he is healthy. Odalis Perez is always an option, but there happens to be a guy I prefer over him. The name? Javier Vazquez. Yes, we all know Javy has struggled in the Bronx, but he still has loads of potential. The year before coming to the Yankees, he had a 3.24 ERA, with a record of 13-12. Not too shabby for a guy who was on an incumbent team such as the Expos. As much as fans don't like to admit it, the Mets are rebuilding, in a way. They need to take risks like Vazquez, if they want to succeed. He has more promise than Zambrano, and he has a better health history. Since it looks like Javy is headed to the cash-strapped Arizona Diamondbacks, they are going to unload him. My proposal you ask? Zambrano,Keppel and Brazell. Zambrano has promise, like Vazquez but is cheaper, something AZ is looking for. Keppel is a solid prospect still, and Brazell has some power at firstbase. And say you trade Trachsel , you can still sign Perez. Martinez-Glavine-Perez-Benson-Vazquez isn't too shabby, and with the addition of a solid bat in the lineup, you are looking at a team that can win 85 games. Not bad, for a team that lost 90 in 2004.