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   1. Mushroy Posted: December 10, 2008 at 05:38 PM (#3024924)
I don't know off the top of my head, but how's your D been in Left these last couple of years? If it's been poor it seems like Manny would be a huge upgrade, but I haven't heard a peep about a deal. Are you sure that they've got money on top of money? Especially considering Omar's well-documented Manny-crush?

(again, I really don't recall how well Mets LF's have been performing defensively, or how the Mets FO might value that so please note that this is not a snarky rhetorical question)
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 10, 2008 at 05:49 PM (#3024939)
Chris, wasn't part of the problem also that the Mets pen was too OOGIFIED? Off the top of my Phillies fan head, Schoenweis, Feliciano and Smith are all (or thought to be) OOGYs. That can really make it hard to manage the pen, blowing through 3 relievers in an inning in too many games.

Unfortunately :) this is a nice signing by the Mets. I'm afeared that the Phils are going to go all Marshalls this off season with stuff like DeRosa for Happ + or signing Juan Rivera. If they get Lowe (rumors are fast fading), I'd almost not care about what they do to replace Burrell.
   3. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 06:11 PM (#3024968)
I don’t think these guys are going to be a lights out bullpen (but they could be), and I don’t expect any kind of performance over about a 120 ERA+ from this collection. But the Mets already have these guys. There is no “re-build the bullpen” needed. THis is much ado abbout nothing. We have the pieces already.

I just don't agree with this. First, because of the point Edmundo makes: the pen is too OOGIFIED. Even the Mets' relievers who were relatively effective are too limited, and that puts huge pressure on the pen, limits flexibility, and allows the opposing manager to ultimately put the Mets in a bad match-up.

Second, you can believe in the "good bets" of Heilman to perform to previous norms, and Feliciano to be less LOOGYISH if you want. You can believe that Sanchez will continue his recovery and bounce back yet further. The question is . . . what are you willing to risk on those bets? Two seasons, basically, have now been lost to bets that went wrong in the bullpen, and pitchers who were tossed into the high-leverage innings (with high odds of winning turned into losses) that the rest of the team (the excellent offense, the starting pitchers) had created by their efforts. I am not willing to risk 2009's high-leverage innings on the bets you mention.

What do we know about Aaron Heilman? He doesn't want to be pitching in relief; he and his agent have said so, explicitly. He sucked royally in the role last season. Do you really want to have the season depend significantly on a guy who has a negative attitude and is coming off that performance? Good luck with that. Not me. To me, it's all about reducing risk to acceptable levels. Getting someone who is a surer bet to perform solidly in that role, instead of rolling the dice on Heilman's return to form, makes much more sense. The buzzwords for the Mets should be reliable and versatile.
   4. Conor Posted: December 10, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#3025018)
I think it is pretty likely Feliciano is less of a LOOGY this year. In 2006 and 2007, he basically allowed a 700 OPS to righties both year. (Top of my head, which scares me that I can recall it, I think was 703 and 697.)

I have no clue about the other guys. Sanchez, without his velocity, is probably a write off, but I could see Aaron pitching well next year.
   5. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#3025052)
I could see Aaron pitching well next year.

I could, too. I just don't want to have the season collapse because the Mets don't have a good, reliable alternative for the high-leveage innings we're talking about if he doesn't. They didn't have an alternative in 2007 when Sanchez got hurt -- Randolph depended on Mota, and kept going to him despite his repeated failures. They didn't have an alternative in 2008 when Heilman kept sucking -- and Manuel (to his credit) largely stopped going to him. So the Mets should acquire an alternative, one more likely to be successful than a guy who would rather be doing pretty much anything other than pitching relief for the Mets. To say the Mets have the pieces already in place is just too speculative for my tastes.
   6. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#3025063)
I just don't want to have the season collapse because the Mets don't have a good, reliable alternative for the high-leveage innings we're talking about if he doesn't.
This doesn't exist. *That* is the point. For instance, going in to 2008, you would be clamoring to sign Aaron Heilman.

We aren't too "OOGIFGIED" We have two OOGIES. THat's what you are supposed to have. Heilman, Sanchez and Felciano are fine as setup men. There aren't better available.
   7. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#3025072)
i dunno, i bet Juan Cruz will have a better season than all of them.
   8. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#3025073)
Two seasons, basically, have now been lost to bets that went wrong in the bullpen, and pitchers who were tossed into the high-leverage innings
Excuse me? What "went wrong" in the bullpen in 2007 and 2008 other than Heilman in 2008?
   9. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:37 PM (#3025096)
i dunno, i bet Juan Cruz will have a better season than all of them.
Okay, what's the bet? There are restrictions. He has to have a floor of IP and ERA+ and Cruz can't be in the closer role (because the Mets can't sign him to close, and if that's what he can do elsewhere, he will).
   10. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:41 PM (#3025108)
This doesn't exist. *That* is the point.

It does exist. First of all, pitchers who want to be relievers do exist, Chris. And second, this notion that there is no such thing as reliable relief performance is to me one of the most indefensible in all of baseball analysis. Brian Fuentes is a reliable, consistent relief pitcher. So is Trevor Hoffman. The idea that a team should have to settle for a crapshoot, and have its entire investment in a season depend on one, is just wrong. Of course there is no absolute certainty, and because of the smaller sample involved in a season's worth of relief pitching, a guy can have an ineffective season that is not in keeping with his career norms more often than will happen with starters. But these things don't mean that a team can't achieve greater certainty, by paying for pitchers with a higher level of performance to begin with, so that even if a downward dip does happen, it is likely to still leave the pitcher involved as at least effective. You can also acquire a guy with a proven track record that is more consistent, over a longer period, so that a downward dip is less likely. And these things don't mean that every drop in effectiveness is just a random fluctuation, and that every drop is equally likely to have a corresponding bounce-back. I don't happen to think Heilman is such a great candidate for a return to effectiveness, especially not if he stays in the bullpen, and particularly not in the Mets' bullpen.

We aren't too "OOGIFGIED" We have two OOGIES. THat's what you are supposed to have.

Well, on that we just disagree. In terms of performance I am willing to depend on, I see Smith, Feliciano and Schoeneweis as reliable only when they have the platoon advantage. And that ought to be the standard: acquisition or development of pitchers who can be utilized with confidence against hitters from either side of the plate.
   11. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#3025113)
What "went wrong" in the bullpen in 2007 and 2008 other than Heilman in 2008?

He did.
   12. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:09 PM (#3025160)
He was never good, Sam. That's just the manager - and he's gone.
   13. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#3025167)
TREVOR HOFFMAN@!!!!!??!?!?! He's 41, and had a lower ERA+ than Feliciano, Smith or SS.

Fuentes is a closer - he's not coming here to play second fiddle.
   14. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#3025179)
Of course there is no absolute certainty
Name a reliever. Name one. You can't do it. Hoffman was an excellent choice for you since he was worse than everyone but Heilman.
   15. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#3025180)
The point, Chris, is that when Sanchez got hurt, the Mets didn't have a "good" alternative on hand. They had Mota. And yes, it was a problem that Randolph kept going to him and going to him . . . No, it wasn't a problem; it was a nightmare. But it wasn't just Randolph. It was the lack of a good, reliable alternative when Plan A (Sanchez) fell through.

I want the Mets to have truly good alternatives. You think they have them on hand; I don't. I think Heilman and Sanchez are the fall-backs, good enough bets to be there for the low-leverage situations and good enough bets that one of them (and maybe Pedro II) might come back to handle some of the higher-leverage innings. But counting on them to the exclusion of another acquisition? That's just risking too much on Sanchez's return to health and Heilman's return to form (and health, by the way).
   16. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:34 PM (#3025210)
He's 41, and had a lower ERA+ than Feliciano, Smith or SS.

None of whom can be counted on to get hitters out if they don't have the platoon advantage. Come on, Chris.

Name a reliever. Name one. You can't do it.

Huston Street. By all accounts, there to be acquired. Has the stuff to get both lefties and righties out, has done so consistently (even when he had one of those dips last year, it was to a level where he was still at least effective). If you'd rather have Heilman than him, so be it.
   17. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:35 PM (#3025211)
The point, Chris, is that when Sanchez got hurt, the Mets didn't have a "good" alternative on hand.
This is kooky. No one really does. If you have a "good alternative", then they are already pitching. When Alou (and Castillo) got hurt we didn't have a good alternative either - and those are MUCH more significant issues than the differencve between your Hoffman (ERA+ 101) and my Feliciano (ERA+ 104).
   18. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#3025213)
Huston Street. By all accounts, there to be acquired. Has the stuff to get both lefties and righties out, has done so consistently (even when he had one of those dips last year, it was to a level where he was still at least effective). If you'd rather have Heilman than him, so be it.
Can you get off closers? Closers aren't coming to the Mets to pitch in a setup role.
   19. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:38 PM (#3025216)
Maybe Street will. Of course, he blew up in 2008. His last three years aren't as good as Heilman's 05-07. He's also on a bad trend.
   20. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:38 PM (#3025217)
Can you get off closers? Closers aren't coming to the Mets to pitch in a setup role.

You might want to read the Basic Agreement. If the Mets acquire Street in a trade with the Rockies, he will be coming to the Mets. In a set-up role. Street isn't a FA.
   21. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#3025226)
Of course, he blew up in 2008. His last three years aren't as good as Heilman's 05-07.

Wow. Just . . . wow. Street blew up in 2008 . . . Street??? And that's a reason not to want him, but to want to keep Aaron Heilman??? Blowing up in 2008 is the criteria, and Heilman wins??? You are kidding, right?

So we're judging Huston Street on "his last three years," but Heilman on "05-07"? That lends new -- and comical -- meaning to "selective endpoints." If you're going to have selective endpoints, Chris, can you at least choose consistent ones for the guys you're comparing?

Let me continue. Street "blew up in 2008," huh? His K-W ratio was 69/27. His ERA+ was 109. He gave up six HRs in 70 IP. Obviously, it wasn't what you'd want, but it sure would have given the Mets better 8th inning results than they had in 2008. By leaps and bounds. And after the Save Dwarf™ went down, it would have given them better 9th inning results, too.

# 19 is just . . . I don't know what it is. It's almost beyond belief.
   22. dlf Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#3025230)
You might want to read the Basic Agreement. If the Mets acquire Street in a trade with the Rockies, he will be coming to the Mets. In a set-up role. Street isn't a FA.


But much of your point about Heilman is that he isn't happy in a relief role. What do you think happens when Hudson Street - or any established, consistent, reliable reliever - sees his saves evaporate just before his FA years? Think he'll be happy?
   23. PreservedFish Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:51 PM (#3025236)
I am tempted to dust off an old "get your nose out of your spreadsheet" insult for Mr. Dial.

I honestly don't understand how anyone could watch the Mets of the last two seasons and conclude that there weren't bullpen problems. Or that the current Mets aren't too OOGIfied.

A casual glance at the Mets' B-R page shows decent ERA+s from Show, Smith, Feliciano, Stokes ... anybody that actually watched the games should know that the Mets bullpen was incapable of protecting a 3-inning lead because they couldn't get outs from hitters of opposite handedness. The only pitcher in the entire bullpen without an EXTREME platoon split (a 300+ OPS swing) late last year was Ayala - no surprise that he was named closer after about 3 good-enough innings. If your starter poops out in the 6th inning and you need to get 9 outs from 4 OOGYs, no manager on earth can make the right decisions.
   24. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 10, 2008 at 08:58 PM (#3025248)
Duaner Sanchez actually had a reverse split in 2008. He held righties to a .727 OPS and lefties to a .622 OPS.

Looking at his splits, it is surprising that he didn't have a better season to tell you the truth.
   25. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#3025254)
So we're judging Huston Street on "his last three years," but Heilman on "05-07"? That lends new -- and comical -- meaning to "selective endpoints." If you're going to have selective endpoints, Chris, can you at least choose consistent ones for the guys you're comparing?
Ooof. Can you not follow the conversation?

My position: relievers that throw 60-70 IP in a setup role are genrally unreliable from season to season.

Your position: NO There are lots of them - a dime a dozen. We just have hte four who aren't.

Me: Name one.

You: Street.

OKay, so your claim is Street is one who can't nosedive, and is consistent. Street's last three seasons are VERY similar to Aaron Heilman's three seasons prior to his nosedive.

There is no logical reason why I should think Street in 2009 won't be Heilman 2008. Just as there was no logical reason for me to think 05-07 Heilman would be the 2008 Heilman (prior to events).

You don't seem to understand that in these 60-70 IP, set-up pitchers simply aren't terribly consistent, and anyone of them could go in the tank in short order.

You might want to read the Basic Agreement.
Don't continue being an #######.
   26. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:13 PM (#3025270)
Apparently, the Mets are on Smoltz's list of teams he would go to if he leaves Atlanta. That's interesting.
   27. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:23 PM (#3025283)
My position: relievers that throw 60-70 IP in a setup role are genrally unreliable from season to season.

Your position: NO There are lots of them - a dime a dozen. We just have hte four who aren't.


That is not my position. My position is that there are some of them. That it is thus possible, at least, for a team with a sufficient combination of intelligence and resources to identify and then acquire them. It need not settle for year after year of hoping that its current crop of inadequate guys with get better or more reliable, recover prior form, become more versatile, or suddenly realize that the bullpen is their own personal Garden of Eden. If the team has had serious bullpen issues for two years running, which I believe the Mets have had (but which we disagree on, at least as to nature and extent), then it ought to proactively go out and seek to correct that problem by acquiring those pitchers whom it can identify. That doesn't mean I think there are lots of them, that it is easy, or that it will be a sure thing. But it can increase its odds, as I said in # 10, by acquiring pitchers with better and longer track records.

OKay, so your claim is Street is one who can't nosedive, and is consistent. Street's last three seasons are VERY similar to Aaron Heilman's three seasons prior to his nosedive.

There is no logical reason why I should think Street in 2009 won't be Heilman 2008. Just as there was no logical reason for me to think 05-07 Heilman would be the 2008 Heilman (prior to events).


Again: no, my claim is not that Street can't nosedive. There are no sure things. My claim is that he is a better bet than Heilman. As I have already pointed out, if you acquire a guy with a higher-level norm, his "nosedive" is likely to leave you with a better floor. Do you deny that Street was a better pitcher from 2005-07 than Heilman? You have already said that he "blew up" in 2008 -- and look at what happened when he did -- he was still a reliable, useful pitcher, unlike Heilman when HE blew up.

Is there any logical reason why Street in 2009 won't be Heilman 2008? Well, by your own reasoning you should be thinking of him as a candidate for a bounce-back season rather than a collapse -- he is more likely to regress back to his career norms (up) than the opposite. But more to the point, I think it's very difficult to think of any basis NOT to see Street as simply a better pitcher, period. That's why you should prefer the Mets to have him. He has never had a season close to as bad as Aaron Heilman has had, and thus is less likely to ever be that bad, as long as he is healthy.
   28. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:28 PM (#3025291)
My claim is that he is a better bet than Heilman. As I have already pointed out, if you acquire a guy with a higher-level norm, his "nosedive" is likely to leave you with a better floor.
Actually my claim is that they are both equally likely to pitch at about 120 ERA+. And Heilman (for these purposes) is already on the roster. We don't have to give anything to get him. Street isn't free. And there are no guarantees. Why would they move Street? Isn't he likely to be their closer?
   29. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#3025296)
The # of runs you are looking for our of the pen is less than the addition of a good LF.
   30. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#3025300)
Why would they move Street? Isn't he likely to be their closer?

Depends on how they see Heilman. If they see him as a starter and value/need that more, it would make sense to do that deal. That would certainly make Heilman happy. Or if the Mets throw something else into the deal.
   31. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#3025323)
Heyman is reporting that, in addition to targeting Street, the Mets are also looking at a possible trade for Matt Capps. I wonder what ransom that would take . . . .
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#3025334)
I think Chris' point is that relievers are so unreliable, it is a fool's errand to try to buy (with $ or talent) consistency in your bullpen.

Much better to use the resources to improve elsewhere where the returns will be more consistent (i.e. offense), and let the pen sort itself out.

I tend to agree with Chris. The Mets didn't need to be 2 wins better in the bullpen to make the playoffs, they just needed to be two wins better.
   33. billyshears Posted: December 10, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#3025345)
Intellectually, I get it - Heilman, Sanchez and Feliciano all should be better in 2009 than they were in 2008. But sometimes, you have to choose the evil that you don't know. I think there is value in the Mets replacing the components of the bullpen even if it doesn't significantly improve the projected performance of the bullpen as a whole, if only to prevent Mets fans from going into a collective psychosis every time Manuel pulls the starter in the sixth inning of an August game with the Mets clinging to a 2 run lead.
   34. Chris Dial Posted: December 10, 2008 at 10:19 PM (#3025368)
I think there is value in the Mets replacing the components of the bullpen even if it doesn't significantly improve the projected performance of the bullpen as a whole, if only to prevent Mets fans from going into a collective psychosis every time Manuel pulls the starter in the sixth inning of an August game with the Mets clinging to a 2 run lead.
Well, I can certainly understand that.

I would have thought Maddux would have been a decent setup guy.
   35. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 10, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#3025387)
Apparently, the Mets are on Smoltz's list of teams he would go to if he leaves Atlanta. That's interesting.

NO!
   36. Raskolnikov Posted: December 10, 2008 at 11:37 PM (#3025476)
Are you kidding me? I love Smoltz. Let's get him, Omar!
   37. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: December 11, 2008 at 02:29 AM (#3025628)
Your support for Smoltz is clear and overwhelming evidence that you hate gay people.

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