Thursday, March 31, 2005

Matthews Makes the Cut

The Mets announced via Omar Minaya on the FAN and a press release on their website that Mike Matthews and Chris Woodward will make the trip north with the rest of the team.

In addition, the Mets today released outfielder Kerry Robinson, optioned outfielder Victor Diaz and righthanded pitcher Aaron Heilman to Norfolk (AAA) of the International League, re-assigned outfielder Gerald Williams and catcher Joe
Hieptas to minor league camp.

New York also placed righthanded pitcher Steve Trachsel on the 60-Day Disabled List yesterday with a herniated disk.

The Mets now have 32 players in camp and 40 players on the 40-Man roster.
It's a bummer that Robinson is gone - he had a good Spring. Oh well, that's why non-roster invitees are a dime-a-dozen; you can't get too attached to them.

I'm a little irritated that Vic "Little Manny" Diaz didn't make the team, however, I feel certain we'll see him if Floyd goes down.

Trachsel will be out for a few months, so no suprises there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bell To Norfolk? Insane!

Newday reports in "tomorrow's" (well, today for you, tomorrow for me - it's not Thursday yet!) edition of their paper that relief pitcher Heath Bell could very well start the season in AAA Norfolk.

Bell is one of a handful of relief pitchers who are still fighting to make the Mets' Opening Day roster, turning these last few games into a baseball reality series, like The Apprentice With Willie (Randolph) instead of The Donald.

It's a numbers game, but not just statistics, with other factors like minor-league options and contract language coming into play. Bell, for instance, can be demoted to Triple-A Norfolk, where he is only a phone call away from Shea Stadium, and the Mets like that type of roster flexibility.
Granted, Bell's got options, but that doesn't mean you start the season with the lesser pitcher. Go North with the best, Willie, and nothing less. If Bell outpitched the other guys, cut 'em, no questions asked! I realize that short term, this isn't the smartest way to deal with your money, but long term, if the Mets are winning, butts will be in the seats. If you don't bring the best pitcher with you, how can you feel as certain that they will play the best quality of baseball.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the Mets can call him up at any time (and this is mentioned in the Newsday article). But it doesn't matter - you don't risk any blown games by bringing the guy who didn't pitch as well - be it Manny Aybar, Roberto Hernandez, Bartolome Fortunado or Matt Ginter - no matter how much you're paying him or how many options he has left.

The article says that the three relievers already locked in are Mike DeJean, Braden Looper (no suprise on either there) and Felix Heredia. FELIX HEREDIA!? Did I read that correctly? I'm sorry, but I gotta say this... "HELLO!? YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" And you can't do that with Felix "I have an 8.41 ERA and have given up 6 runs over 4.1 innings" Heredia! C'mon, Mets, you gotta do better than that. Ugh. Yes, I know, the Mets are paying him a pretty penny this season, but that in and of itself was stupid. < /rant>

(Thank you Herm Edwards for the inspiring quote!)

Pedro: Release Me From My Cage!

The cage of Spring Training, that is. Martinez tells the Daily News that he's ready for Opening Day.

"After the third inning, I felt more normal than I did in the first two innings. I was trying to be cautious the first two innings. In the third inning, after that, I started letting go," Martinez said to the paper after pitching in a Minor League game yesterday. "I'm right where I want to be. I hope I wake up tomorrow on the right side of the bed."

Apparently, he wouldn't answer any questions about whether or not his back is stiff, which could be cause for concern, although Rick Peterson says not to worry about it.

"He felt tremendous," Peterson said. "As you watched that game, and you watched the effort level and intensity of every pitch, you don't have to ask somebody how they're feeling. If you watch somebody walk across the room and they're limping, you don't have to ask them how their leg feels. Conversely, the other way. It's obvious."

And, really quick, a humorous line from that article:

Gary Carter surveyed the empty stands and shouted to Pedro Martinez, "You can really draw the crowds, man."
Pedro thinks that pitching on Opening Day is boring.

"It gets boring. There's too much 'yada, yada' about the first game of the season," Martinez said. "After all, they're all important and they're all one game. I would love to win a game, but it's not a guaranteed win. I'm going to try to bust my tail off to get a win. I'll pray to God I'm healthy and keep my team in the fight."

He's got a point there - I guess it would get old after 8 straight Opening Day starts to have all the same questions every time. If they gave me a chance though, there wouldn't be any lines from me in the paper about how boring it is!

Victor Zambrano gave up 12 hits in a minor league game yesterday, according to the Post. One of the hits was a Brian Daubach homer, but Zambrano was pleased that he didn't walk anyone. ''Nobody got on base without swinging the bat, which is huge,'' pitching coach Rick Peterson said. Well, that's certainly one way of looking at it.

Pretty much, the only news today is about Pedro, Zambrano, the acquisitions of Kelly Stinnett, Benji Gil and Wilson Valdez, as well as articles about Big Cat's retirement. However, in this Daily News article recapping the Stinnett/Gil/Valdez acquisitions, it also mentions that the Mets picked up Fernando Lunar this week.

Finally, RotoWorld reports that the Braves waived left-handed reliever Gabe White. He wouldn't be a bad pick up, and it couldn't hurt.

Tom Singer, You're My Hero!

As pointed out by Matt over at MetsBlog, Tom Singer (from MLB.com) had a great line in his article promoting Mr. Met's tour of Manhattan via parade later today...

This is not the only parade the Mets plan to hold in 2005. But six months' work remains before they can retrace Mr. Met's route under a blizzard of confetti.
Like I said... he's my hero. Let's see it happen, team!

More links to come in a few...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

When Will Stinnett Report?

The question that has been asked by a lot of Mets fans: When is Stinnett reporting to the Mets? Well, an answer is here. According to ESPN's boxscore, Stinnett went 0-2 with a strikeout. Good thing we're not relying on him too much, eh? (Kidding! I know, I know, it's just Spring. I'm just giving the guy a hard time...)

Andres Galaragga Retires

The Big Cat announced his retirement early in the day... here's an incredibly awesome story from one of MetsBlog.com's readers:
When I was growing up in the 80's, my grandfather, a huge baseball (and Mets) fan, used to go down to Florida every winter. When he was in Florida, he and my grandmother would drive from spring training camp to spring training camp
and would meet lots of players and send me back tons of pictures. Nothing made
my grandfather happier than this.

In the final year that he was healthy, the spring of 1988, he sent me pictures of himself with Andres Galarraga and said that of all the players he had met through all of the years, Galarraga was by far the nicest one. My grandfather died of cancer in the fall of 1989. My pictures of him with Andres Galarraga from the spring of 1988 are among the last pictures where my grandfather truly looks like himself, the way I remember him, healthy and happy. (There's more, check it out here.)

Omar Minaya states what the rest of the baseball world thinks: Big Cat is a class act.

"Today shows you what kind of a class individual Andres is," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said to ESPN.com. "He's always handled things with class and dignity throughout his entire career, and this afternoon is another example of his high character. He is such a wonderful example to the players of today and I am going to miss him terribly. However, I hope one day he will rejoin our organization again."

Andres will definately be missed by fans throughout all of baseball. He was one of the few players that I would cheer for no matter what team he was on - I can't say that for many players. The story of his comeback from cancer is incredible, the fact that he's such a nice guy despite all his fame and money is also incredible. It's sad that he won't get the opportunity to hit his 400th home run - he had 399 over his career - it shows some serious class that he dropped out before the season started rather than make the front office have the decision of cutting him or keeping him so that he could get that one last home run. Hopefully, as Omar says, the Big Cat will rejoin the Mets as a coach some day. Best of luck, Andres!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Batting Eighth For Your 2005 New York Mets... DAVID WRIGHT?!

Newsday's David Lennon writes that Willie Randolph has pretty much decided to bat Wright in the 8th slot to start the season. Wright batted 8th in yesterday's game, and Randolph pretty much said that the lineup he used for that game is his Opening Day lineup.
Randolph suggested that Wright could bat anywhere from second to eighth in the lineup, but the manager was noncommittal when asked about his lineup yesterday. "You've got to put somebody at eighth," Randolph said. "I'm going to put the best lineup out there for that day. Nothing is etched in stone." (Newsday)
This is a bad move. Wright has had a decent Spring and played extremely well last season (.293 with 14 home runs in 69 games). If you bat him 8th, Wright does not get the advantage of protection from a Cliff Floyd or Mike Cameron behind him, and he won't be able to fulfill his full potential. I disagree with this move vehemently. But, Randolph has proven himself more than competent thus far, so maybe there's something that we can't see.
Jose Santiago, a middle-relief candidate, combined with Manny Aybar and Bartolome Fortunato to one-hit the Nationals through six innings. Mike Matthews stumbled in allowing two hits and two runs in 1 1/3 innings and Heath Bell finished up with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. The bullpen decisions won't be made until later this week, but one pitcher no longer in the running is Scott Strickland, who was reassigned yesterday along with Scott Stewart and Orber Moreno. Strickland hasn't recovered completely from Tommy John surgery in 2003. He might decide to stay in Triple-A for the Mets instead of opting for free agency.

"I did my part," he said. "I guess, in a sense, I'm not lighting up 93 or 94 on the radar gun, but it's hard for me to swallow." (Newsday)

That's what I'm yappin' about! Well, not totally. It's sad to see that Strick and Moreno couldn't make the cut, and it may seem as if Strickland's career is pretty much over, but more than likely the Mets just don't want him pitching in cold weather. I'd really love to see him make it back and be a stellar force like he was before.

But, what I was yappin' about was the performance of Santiago, Aybar, Fortunato and Bell. That's encouraging. As a friend said to me yesterday, "Maybe the bullpen isn't as bad as we thought."

The Mets also optioned Jae Seo and Jeff Keppinger to AAA. (And yes, all that information was from one single article.) I'm not really suprised about either of those two getting sent to Norfolk, so I guess I can't analyze it much.

Kaz Ishii pitched well yesterday in a minor league game (Glavine and Kaz were bumped to a minor league game to allow the Battle of the 'Bubble Boys' to take place).
A day after getting rained out, Ishii breezed through two innings against the organization's Triple-A players, limiting the Tides to one hit and walking none while striking out four in a two-inning outing. The southpaw threw 17 of 25 pitches for strikes.

"This trade and me being able to be coached by Rick is a very big turning point in my career," Ishii said through interpreter Nozomu Matsumoto. "My philosophy a little bit has changed. Right now I'm not really too concerned about velocity." (Daily News)
Ishii hit 87 once, but was pitching 83-85MPH most of the day.

If Peterson can get his control down, get his confidence up, and then tell him to start throwing all out again, we might have a decent 5th starter on our hands. Granted, not even close to the quality of pitching that Scott Kazmir would've brought us (I'm getting all angry at Duquette again as I type this... I better stop). I mean can you imagine - Pedro, Glavine, Benson, Kazmir, Ishii (well, Trachsel if he hadn't injured himself). If you replace Zambrano with Kazmir and Ishii with Trachsel, your New York Mets have one of the best rotations I've ever seen. Ok, I'm stopping. I'm seething now.

I want to know which minor leaguer tried killing their manager yesterday...
Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell was taken by ambulance to the hospital after being hit with a thrown baseball on the back of the neck on a back field. He was released an hour later, sore but all right. (Daily News - bottom of the article)
Actually, since he's ok, it's almost funny. Yeah, it got a smile out of me at least.

The Chicago Tribune reported today that the Oakland A's are VERY happy with their rookie closer (Huston Street), and may be making Dotel available for trade.

Dotel a Met again? I'd do it. I said from the day it went down that I disagreed with the trade, and I said it even more when 12 months later the Mets had nothing to show for it. Maybe, just maybe, Hampton did get us to the World Series. But we didn't win it. I still wouldn't do the trade.

The Star-Ledger says that Pedro is indeed going to pitch either tomorrow or Wednesday for a final time of the Spring, and then pitch again on Opening Day.

"I'll be there," he said of his next start, the date of which won't be determined until the Mets see how Martinez feels today. "There was some stiffness, but it was not as bad as the other day. I think I'll be fine (today) because I feel fine right now."

Mike Piazza looked like his old self yesterday - with a MONSTER home run blasted against the Nationals. He lost some weight, but yet, he looks stronger than he did last year - more fit than he has in a couple of years. I think he's going to have a good year. Not the .320/35/100 numbers he put up in his prime, but .290/20/85 is very possible. Piazza, however, does not even want to guess his production.
"I just want to stay healthy the whole season," Piazza said. "I feel if we're playing well as a lineup and scoring runs, I can slide in and do my part." (NY Times)
I still think he'll hit .290 with 20 homers and 85 RBIs. He'll also catch 120 games. I think he has confidence in himself, but he doesn't want to set his expectations too high, and that's understandable. But he doesn't have to carry the team this year, and he can just go out and do his thing. He'll do well.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Update On Game - Rain Delay

"The story here is we've had two massive rain showers, a lot of water, it's still pouring. The dugout is flooded up to the bench (literally... they showed a picture of it). It's been raining since 1:00 and it really hasn't stopped." - reporter on FOX Sports South.

UPDATE (3:28PM, March 26, 2005): Atlanta Braves radio reports that the game will be called in about 10 minutes. "The field is un-playable," they said.

Pedro: My Back Is Not An Issue

Even though Pedro wasn't able to pitch last night due to a stiff lower back, he told the Times that it's not an issue. X-rays were negative, and both the team and Martinez contend that he will pitch on Tuesday or Wednesday for a final time this Spring, and then be ready for Opening Day.

I'm just doing what anybody would do in spring training, play it safe," Martínez said. "I'll work on it and will still have time to continue or finish the job we have been doing in spring training. That's simply it. This is no big deal. Anybody, after a long time in spring training, could get a dead arm, back stiffness, ankle, shin splints, stuff like that.Although Pedro has only pitched 11 innings this Spring due to two rain-outs plus this, he has 10 K's and a 1.64 ERA.
The same article (scroll down to the very bottom) reports that Andres Galarraga could very well be on the Opening Day roster.

The Marlins beat the Mets 7-4 in Pedro's absence, including five runs in three innings off of Yusmiero Petit. Also in the game, Dougie M. (I will leave it as his last initial, for obvious reasons) hit his first home run of the Spring, a solo shot in the second inning that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The MRI of Mike DeJean's calf confirmed that it was strained.

"We're going to treat it hard for a couple of days and then go from there," said DeJean, who has a 9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 innings over six outings. "We'll see how it responds to treatment. I can do anything right now on it, other than run. I can ride the bike, and I'm going to talk to them [the coaching staff] about getting my arm moving so I don't lose that aspect [of my conditioning]. It's probably good that I'm going to get a little rest anyway. Right now it just feels like someone kicked me in the middle of my calf. It's weird. It kind of feels like a charlie horse." (MLB.com)

Seems to me that the Urbina rumors from yesterday are all but true - in fact, I have been told that they were started by a false post on a particular message board that will remain nameless.

Baseball Prospectus named Heath Bell Number 5 on their "Top 5 Players to Watch in 2005" list. I've been a fan of Heath since I met him at Spring Training in 2001. Nice guy - we stood and talked with him for a few innings during one of the games. Since then, I've pretty much followed him through the system as much as I could - mostly with his stat lines on MinorLeagueBaseball.com. And I digress.

MLB.com reports that MSG Network will provide Spanish simulcasts of select games this season. Here's the press release.

The Mets also apparently added 20 video panels to Shea over the offseason. Is it just me, or are they trying to make Shea more high-tech? They added a bunch last offseason, and now 20 more this offseason. Wow. Shea's video was already better then Turner Field's - I wonder how much moreso it will be this year.

That's pretty much it for now. If there is any more news during the day, I'll post it, assuming I get the opportunity.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Cameron Makes ST Debut


(Matt Grossman/RTK Photo)

In his first game of the Spring, Mike Cameron also debuted in his new position - right field - on Thursday. Cammy went 1-3 and dropped a ball.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, the 32-year-old Cameron didn't get his first chance in right until the fifth inning when he casually caught on the run a flyball slicing down the foul line.

On Tony Giarratano's fly in the sixth, Cameron shielded his eyes but the ball fell in front of him and was ruled a double.

"It was definitely catchable," Cameron said. "But it's just something I'm going to have to learn, especially with the different spin on the ball."
(MSGNetwork)

Victor Zambrano has the makings of an ace. At least, that's what MLB.com thinks. I guess we'll see how right they are come June or July. Zambrano went four innings on 89 pitches on Thursday, giving up three hits and K'ing six.

The Mets lost to the Tigers yesterday, 6-3, and WFAN reported that Mike DeJean has injured his calf muscle. Yahoo! Sports calls it "tightness in his calf." (see the "Notes" section at the bottom of this article). The report of that injury spurred several web sites and new organizations into posting that Ugueth Urbina either is already a Met, will most likely be a Met (although that article was in yesterday's Newsday, so it had nothing to do with DeJean), and an assumption that Ugueth is a Met.

According to yesterday's edition of The Journal News, Kerry Robinson leads the Mets in the NCAA Tourney bracket.

Backup outfielder Kerry Robinson leads the team's NCAA tournament pool. In fact, he has three of the top four entries. For the record, he likes North Carolina. (The Journal News)


The Mets play the Marlins at their place at 7:05 tonight. The game will be televised on FSNY.

The Daily News says that Pedro was pretty pumped to recieve a new t-shirt from Marlon Anderson. Apparently, the shirt reads "Who's Your Daddy" in Spanish on the front (Quien es tu padre?"). On the back, the shirt says "Jesus." Marlon has inspired me - you can buy tees with the same stuff on it on RTK's Store. From now until the end of April, the Quien es tu Padre shirts will be listed at the base price, meaning they will be sold at no profit to me. Buy 'em up, and we'll be representin' come Opening Day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Spring Training news, notes

An interesting note from the St. Petersburg Times:

Devil Rays left-handed reliever Trever Miller could be trade bait.



Miller would be a terrific addition and would immediately take over as the primary left-handed set up man.


On to the games:

Today the Mets defeated the Braves in 10 innings. Tom Glavine pitched poorly, but Mike Piazza, Cliff Floyd, and Ramon Castro were all impressive. Floyd especially, stealing his second base of the spring. The game ended when Castro hit a walk off homerun in the tenth inning.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Ishii trade finalized

The big news of the day is that the Kaz Ishii deal has finally been finalized.

I like this deal. While Ishii is definitely a work in progress, he's definitely an upgrade over Matt Ginter. Ramon Castro is a downgrade from Phillips offensively, but he's a bigupgrade defensively.

The Mets won both games yesterday. In the first game, Pedro dominated the Dodgers split squad. Reyes made two errors, but stole his eight base. Valent, solidifying his role as a primary pinch hitter, hit a walkoff hmerun in the 9th inning after Manny Aybar, DeJean, and Looper failed to provide relief.

In the second game Andres Galarraga hit a big homerun. While it may be too little too late, I still think he'll end up winning a job on the 25 man roster. Mientiewicz and Luis Garcia also had doubles. Matt Ginter also pitched a scoreless inning, putting himself high in the pecking order for a middle relief spot.

Friday, March 18, 2005

McEwing released, other news

As you definitely know by now, the Mets have released Joe McEwing. While McEwing is a great guy and has been with the team since 2000, it was time for him to go. He was good until 2002, but after that he just seemed to fall off a cliff.

Trivia question: How many friends does Mike Piazza have on the team?

Answer: zero

The McEwing release is being reported here, here, here, and here.

According to newsday, the Mets are interested in Tim Redding.

While the Mets remain focused on Matt Ginter as the logical in-house replacement for Steve Trachsel, they have begun to look outside as well, eyeing the Astros' Tim Redding and the surplus of starters currently clogging the Nationals' roster.


Tim Redding wouldn't be a terrible option (remember, we're talking about a 5th starter, the main qualification is someone that isn't a guaranteed loss). If any of the young Nats starters can be had (Day, Patterson, Rauch) Minaya should jump at it.

Another interesting note from the same article:

On the bullpen front, the Mets are very interested in former closer Billy Koch, who was released yesterday by the Blue Jays. The Mets made a run at trading for Koch during the 2004 winter meetings, and pitching coach Rick Peterson is also a Koch fan, having tutored him with the A's.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Trachsel out three to six months

The big news of the day is, of course, that Steve Trachsel will miss 3-6 months with a herniated disc.

Sources indicated that surgery is likely, and if Trachsel undergoes the procedure, he could miss at least six months. If surgery is not deemed necessary, Trachsel could miss as little as three months.

General manager Omar Minaya did identify the pool of possible replacements for Trachsel as Matt Ginter, Jae Seo and Aaron Heilman, each of whom started for the Mets last season, and Francisco Campos, who pitched in the Mexican League as well as Triple-A with the White Sox organization. Each pitcher in the pool is right-handed.

Ugghh. Reading that quote, it looks like 6 months. And knowing the way injuries get reported, 6 months is probably the optimistic prediction.

Looks like the Mets will have to hope Matt Ginter can hold down the fort for about half the season until other team's starters become available. If Minaya chooses to make a move before the season begins, he won't have much to choose from. These are the pitchers that may end up on the outside looking in with their current teams and could be had relatively cheaply:

Pedro Astacio, Texas Rangers
Hideo Nomo, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jimmy Haynes, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Tim Redding, Houston Astros
Carlos Hernandez, Houston Astros
Andy Ashby, San Diego Padres (vomit)

Just pray that Peterson can work some magic with Matt Ginter, although he didn't do a great job last season at all.

On to less depressing news...the Mets made some more cuts

Pitchers Matt Lindstrom, Blake McGinley and Juan Padilla were sent to the minor-league camp along with catcher Mike Jacobs and outfielders Ambiorix Concepcion and Angel Pagan.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mets notes

First, the not so good news:

Trachsel's maladay is the first significant ailment of the Mets' camp and the first of Willie Randoph's brief managerial tenure, but it is not a first for the 34-year-old pitcher.

According to general manager Omar Minaya, Trachsel has experienced comparable pain in the same general area in the past, but it was never considered serious.

Minaya said the MRI was being administered "just to be cautious." And Randolph said he wasn't concerned, because no diagnosis had been provided.


While injuries are never good, this seems minor. If this had happened during the regular season, we'd probably hear nothing about it.

On to better news...

I foud this to be an informativenotes column from Mets.com, which focuses primarily on the infield depth:

Randolph was quite aware of Cairo, of course. But he also has seen a lot of Woodward, an American League lifer. Randolph not only endorsed Woodward to general manager Omar Minaya, but he also contacted the 28-year-old all-purpose player and told him how he be used if he signed with Mets.

"I knew Willie knew me because of his time in the American League," Woodward said Sunday.

Woodward was considering signing with the Brewers because he might have a chance to play regularly with Milwaukee. Instead, he agreed to come to the Mets as a non-roster Spring Training invitee, because the chance to play for a winner was more enticing.

Randolph all but announced Woodward had a position on the Opening Day roster on Sunday, then softened his words. But there's almost no chance the skipper will change his feelings about Woodward.

And what Woodward did Sunday only enhanced his chances -- three hits, including two triples, two walks and two RBI in the Mets' 7-6 victory against the Tigers. He also made two impressive plays at shortstop.


It's always interesting to see who ends up surprising during Spring Training. Who would have though that Chris Woodward and Kerry Robinson would be leading candidates for roster spots a couple weeks ago?

Another little tidbit on a possible Urbina deal:

The Mets have had conversations with the Tigers about the availability of veteran reliever Uegeth Urbina. But those talks seemingly are dead now.

The Tigers told the Mets they're no longer interested in moving Urbina, because they believe they have a chance to be competitive this season. And the Mets aren't interested in moving Mike Cameron, who would fit the Tigers' primary need for a center fielder.


Urbina will probably become available in July. Since I doubt Minaya will wait that long to make a deal, it looks like Urbina will not be a Met.

One name that has notbeen talked about at all is Scott Sullivan. Sullivan was a workhorse for the Reds for several seasons, and as a veteran reliever on a less than mediocre team, he'll probably be dealt.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Good news, bad news

The bad news is that the Mets lost 8-2 yesterday, and Carlos Beltran lost two balls in the sun.

Though the game wasn't a total washout, Jason Phillips had a couple of RBIs. No matter what Randolph keeps preaching about defense from the backup catcher, if Phillips keeps hitting like he is now there's no way that he loses his job to Ramon Castro.

The good news, which was reported yesterday, is that Mike Cameron no longer wants to be traded and has accepted his job in rightfield.

Last season, Mike Cameron was the vocal leader the Mets lacked in their clubhouse since the late 80's. While Eric Byrnes would have been a solid player if the Mets had acquired him, it's hard to measure what a happy Cameron means to the Mets.

The Star-Ledger had an interesting piece on Willie Randolph and his relationship with Billy Martin:


It is 7:30 a.m., a few days before the Mets trip here, and Randolph was already in uniform, nearly two hours before his players were required to be ready. His daily workout had already been completed and he had shoved down a quick breakfast.

Back when Martin managed the Yankees, he was often just coming in from the previous night at this hour. His daily workout would consist of a B-12 shot administered by the trainer and a cold shower. Breakfast was lots and lots of black coffee.

"I knew Billy lived on the edge," said Randolph. "There was always that cloud over him."

"But he knew the game," said Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, the Yankees first base coach in 1977 and a manager in their farm system during some of the Martin era. "He was aggressive. Do your job and he never said nothing. There was only one Billy."

And Randolph, while still mentally sifting the parts of Martin's managerial style he wants to implement and that which he wants to discard, counts himself fortunate to have played for the one and only during Martin's various stormy incarnations in the Bronx.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Darryl Day

I figured I would start off with the non-Darryl news.

An interesting article from Mets.com about
Mike Cameron's recovery.

In the notes section, there was also this interesting note:

The Cubs, Diamondbacks and Pirates have expressed an interest in Aaron Heilman, whom the Mets are actively trying to move


Good riddance.

Also a couple more cuts today:

Catchers Jesus Flores and John Pachot were assigned to minor league camp, as was southpaw Tim Hamulack


Now, on to Darryl.

I thought the best article was by Steve Popper on North Jersey.com

With the Mets hoping to return to the level of success the franchise enjoyed during Strawberry's tenure, the advice of how to handle the stresses of New York could prove invaluable to such young phenoms as Jose Reyes and David Wright as well as to a newly arrived star such as Carlos Beltran.

"Everybody," said Mike Cameron, who hung out in right field with Strawberry on the team's practice field. "The more time you get in this game, the more experiences you have to share. We all know Straw has been through a whole lot. He's been on the highest spectrum of this whole thing. Whatever he brings, it's all true. Those are the experiences he's been through. Obviously, you take what you go through on a big league basis and try to make a road map for guys."

It is that advice that Strawberry hopes to provide - detailing the pitfalls along his own map.

"Hopefully I can just share with some of these guys what it was like," Strawberry said. "It wasn't about 'I, I.' It was about team. We had a lot of guys that - we did what we did - but once we stepped on that field, it was about us and winning and taking care of our home-field advantage. I think that's what teams are all about, and I think that's what this team is working toward."


You can read more about Darry here, here, and here.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Beltran goes deep, Mets win

The mets won today, 6-4, with homeruns from Carlos Beltran, Kerry Robinson, and Luis Garcia.

Mets.com has two articles on the game:

Notes:

Game Recap

Heath Bell was also very impressive, pitching two scoreless innings and picking up the save.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Just shut up!

More news being created by everyone's favorite agent, David Sloane.

Why won't this guy let it go? He's had his 15 minutes of fame. Before all this, Delgado was one of my favorite non-Mets. Right now, he's just being annoying.

In the article, he specifically says that he was annoyed by Minaya assuming that he would have an advantage because of the Mets new Latin "flavor." I think that says a lot about Delgado as a person. Most people would see the Mets wilingness to deal with free agents in their native language and in a way that would be more comfortable for them as a courtesy, not as arrogance.

Now, onto real news:

Pedro Martinez thre 60 pitches in his Spring Training debut.

I found a nice little piece from Baseball Prospectus, talking about value of Pedro Martinez. it also talks about Rick Peterson, and how much of a "Mr. Fix-It" he really is:

Peterson’s reputation in the industry is golden, and his “pre-hab” innovation in Oakland seems like a wonderful way to keep pitchers healthy. But a quick-and-dirty look at how pitchers fared in Oakland during their first year under Peterson’s tutelage doesn’t show any overwhelming evidence that he has a special ability to "fix" players.

From 1998-2003, with Peterson as pitching coach, nine pitchers came to the A’s and improved their career RA+ (runs allowed expressed as a ratio against league average, adjusted for park and league) by double digits in their first season. Seven pitchers arrived in Oakland and regressed by double digits. The success stories of Barry Zito, Jeff Tam, Cory Lidle and others are somewhat offset by the failures of Blake Stein and Mark Mulder, who, you may recall, was walloped in his first big league season after pitching well in the minors.

Those sixteen pitchers (minimum 50 innings pitched):


NAME YEAR IP RA+GAIN
Keith Foulke 2003 86.7 66
Barry Zito 2000 92.7 53
Jeff Tam 2000 85.7 53
Kenny Rogers 1998 238.7 35
Brad Rigby 1999 62.3 32
Erik Hiljus 2001 66.0 31
Cory Lidle 2001 188.0 24
Doug Jones 1999 104.0 16
Billy Koch 2002 93.7 14
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
John Halama 2003 108.7 -11
Mike Oquist 1998 175.0 -12
Tom Candiotti 1998 201.0 -15
Blake Stein 1998 117.3 -18
T.J. Mathews 1998 72.7 -21
Mark Mulder 2000 154.0 -32
Kevin Appier 1999 68.7 -40

In fairness to Peterson, the gains are larger than the losses. But that, of course, is to be expected: an enormous decline might not make our dataset, because the pitcher could lose his job!
This is not gospel; sample size issues and lots of noise prevent us from drawing any conclusions. Which is exactly the point. Peterson has demonstrated intelligence, good planning, and attentiveness to pitchers’ health. He hasn’t shown that he is Mr. Fix-It. Vic Zambrano will give him a chance to.


Interesting. Although in some cases, specifically with John Halama, some of those pitchers were already aging and in decline. Rick Peterson isn't a magician, he can't reverse the aging process. Also, after Mulder's unsuccesful first season, he went on to become one of the best left handed pitchers in baseball.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rain out, injury updates

The Mets/Cardinals game was rained out. No word yet abouth ow Randolph will rearrange his spring pitching rotation.

Mike Cameron faced live pitching for the first time. So far, so good.

On a more scary note, Felix Heredia was sent to NY to get his hand checked out after one of his hands went numb. Hopefully it isn't serious, Scott Stewart will probably get a longer look now.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

5-3 loss a positive

While the Mets lost, most of the mistakes were made in the later innings by players that have almost no chance of making the team (Danny Garcia).

Two major positives I took from the game:

-Carlos Beltran was 1-for-3 with an RBI double for one of the three Mets runs

-Kaz Matsui played excellent defense at second base

That was really all we could hope for.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Let the games begin!

Spring Training games begin tomorrow. Enjoy them now, because after a week they really get boring.

I'll talk about the game tomorrow. Feel free to post about the game at Big Apple Sports