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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vecsey: An Underachieving Symbol of the Mets’ Lost Decade

Why do they always misspell Beltran…Minaya?

As the Beltran era ends, he was not the only one caught up in the miasma of underperformance. Omar Minaya, brought back to run the club after the 2004 season, brought in not only Beltran but Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez, all of them now gone except for Santana, who is trying to pitch again after surgery.

The managers were Willie Randolph, who was sabotaged by the front office — not Minaya — and by some players in the clubhouse, too. Jerry Manuel was decent but diffident, as if awaiting the chop.

Now that era is over, and Beltran has his name attached to it because he lasted more than six and a half seasons, and personified the time with one signature called third strike to end the seventh and last game of the 2006 National League Championship Series. Even if he had taken one last lusty “Casey at the Bat” swing, and missed, perhaps his fate would have been different. But he gawked.

Repoz Posted: July 28, 2011 at 02:29 PM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, mets, sabermetrics

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   1. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3887490)
Go #### yourself.
   2. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3887496)
To expand, although Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and Delgado was a very good core, there was basically NOTHING surrounding them. Pedro, as much as I loved him, wasn't really a huge factor and the rest of the staff was inconsistent to awful. Beltran lived up to his contract, more or less. The time missed was unfortunate, but I think if I was given the option to redo the contract with the same performance, I would.

I do admit it's somewhat close though, but not to the point where I'd consider him a free agent disappointment. Of course, the Mets history in that arena might have lowered my standards....
   3. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3887500)
Now that era is over, and Beltran has his name attached to it because he lasted more than six and a half seasons, and personified the time with one signature called third strike to end the seventh and last game of the 2006 National League Championship Series. Even if he had taken one last lusty “Casey at the Bat” swing, and missed, perhaps his fate would have been different. But he gawked.


Dear ####### lord! It was an Adam Wainwright curve ball! It was a great, great pitch, the kind that is supposed to freeze hitters. It was Adam Wainwright, who, it turns out, has one of the best curves in the game, and is one of the best pitchers in baseball.
   4. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3887501)
And BBREF has him at 32.1 WAR over the course of the six and a half years with the Mets.

His years: 2.1, 8.0, 5.3, 6.8, 4.4, 1.9, 3.6

So, an average of like 4.7, prorated out. So, at 17 million a year... yeah, he was fine.
   5. AROM Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3887515)
By Fangraphs count Beltran was worth $129 million over his time with the Mets. As far as 9 figure free agent contracts go, this is one of the closest you'll ever see to provding fair value. Seems like more than 50% of them turn out to be disasters, but I could be wrong. Deals like Carlos Lee, Zito, Soriano, Hampton, Giambi are stuck in my mind.

For 2006, give the credit to Wainwright for throwing a great pitch. And remember that Beltran hit 296/387/667 (3 homers) for that series. Without him Mets probably don't get to game 7. His 2 run homer was the only scoring play in the game 1 victory.
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3887520)
Having actually read this column, it's a better than the excrepts make it seem. There's some silliness, for sure. And ultimately, I think Vecsey is right, it's unfair, but Beltran looking at strike three--which, was #3 point out, was a helluva pitch--is going to be the symbol for the Minaya Mets. Close, but not quite there. Wright (and if they keep him, Reyes) has enough time to create a new image, the "Wright Mets" but the mid-late decade group is ultimately going to go down, again somewhat unfairly, as an overpriced failure that never quite got over the hump.
   7. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3887523)
I had always thought that the Giambi deal wasn't that bad, but he did only put up 21.8 WAR over his Yankees deal. So like 3 WAR a season for a 16.5 million average. That isn't very good.

It's still not a disaster signing though.
   8. zack Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3887525)
I'm not reading the rest of that tripe, but from the excerpt, hey guy, #### you.

And ultimately, I think Vecsey is right, it's unfair, but Beltran looking at strike three--which, was #3 point out, was a helluva pitch--is going to be the symbol for the Minaya Mets.


No, the symbol for the Minaya Mets is Tom Glavine on 162.
   9. Sam M. Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3887534)
Don't kid yourselves. Fair or not, Carlos Beltran WILL be a big symbol of the disappointments of the last half-decade. Teams and fans ALWAYS blame their best players; Bill James made that point back in the 80s (I believe with reference to the Expos, who in many ways were a great comparator to these Mets). And one of the signature reasons for the Mets failures has been injuries, and while it's not his fault, Beltran is certainly symbolic of that.

The Wilpons. Omar. Beltran. They are going to be used to tell the story. Wright and Reyes... very likely, but the ending is yet to be written in their cases.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3887535)
The kneejerk groupthink in this thread was entirely predictable. I guess the years of Beltran being underappreciated have made everyone sensitive to even the mention of taking that strike.
   11. Swedish Chef Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3887540)
The kneejerk groupthink in this thread was entirely predictable.

It's not like the kneejerk contrarian is any more unpredictable.
   12. Dudefella Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3887541)
Would it have been better if he'd flailed at it ineffectually?

edit: every time I see the phrase "kneejerk groupthink," my kneejerk reaction is to think that the writer is being needlessly contrarian.

edit edit: coke to the swede.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3887550)
I'm not really contrarian about this: I think Beltran was great for the Mets, and overall their struggles happened in spite of him, not because of him.

But the end of an LCS game 7 is a huge, memorable moment.
   14. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3887559)
I don't disagree with that the called third strike will be a lasting symbol either.

But watching it, real time, I was disappointed, but it never occurred to me that he NEEDED TO SWING OR ELSE. I just thought it was a good pitch. The life that it's taken on since then is mostly the creation of ill-informed fans and media-types who DO think that Beltran was an overall disappointment. That's why I can't even stand to see the strike referenced. The use of that as a symbol is a symbol of something else.

And really, anything that gets Aaron Heilman off the hook for giving up that homer to Yadier ####### Molina is just wrong. Let's not forget that Heilman was the worst! He should be a symbol of something.
   15. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3887563)
But the end of an LCS game 7 is a huge, memorable moment.


No disagreement here. I suppose what I was responding to was Vescey's use of the word "gawked".
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3887568)
It was a nasty ####### curveball. Sometimes you just get beat. If Beltran goes up there with the mindset of - "I just need to put this in play so I don't look pathetic" - Mets aren't going to win that game anyway.

I'm with Banta. Fixating on the curveball is mean, it's misguided, and it also suggests a lack of understanding about baseball. (Like when people equate a pitcher's wildness with some sort of failure of intelligence or morality)
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3887576)
But watching it, real time, I was disappointed, but it never occurred to me that he NEEDED TO SWING OR ELSE.


what do you mean by this? ...in retrospect he did need to swing or else (the else being the season is over and they lose the pennant).

I see what you mean about it being linked to an overall Beltran bashing, but from the excerpt and post #6 this article doesn't seem to be doing that.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3887586)
It was a nasty ####### curveball. Sometimes you just get beat. If Beltran goes up there with the mindset of - "I just need to put this in play so I don't look pathetic" - Mets aren't going to win that game anyway.


Yes, he just got beat by the pitch. But putting it in play isn't about avoiding looking pathetic, it's about giving them even a tiny chance to come back in that game. Retroactively it was a mistake not to swing, this is undeniable - but it was a mistake caused by a great pitcher and presumably not some moral failing of Beltran.
   19. Dudefella Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3887587)
Memorable, perhaps, but it's one pitch over the course of 27 outs over the course of a 7-game series. What happens if Billy Wagner doesn't give up a homer to So Taguchi in the 9th in game 2? What happens if anyone other than Steve ######' Trachsel is pitching game 3? etc.
   20. Lassus Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3887599)
Good work on being as petty and pea-brained as your brother, Vecsey.
   21. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3887606)
Wait trachsel pitched for the mets in that series? Then yeah they should be lucky to have gotten to game 7 to begin with
   22. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3887610)
edit: every time I see the phrase "kneejerk groupthink," my kneejerk reaction is to think that the writer is being needlessly contrarian.


I just think of changing it to "groupjerk kneethink".
   23. Bug Selig Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3887612)
VESCEY MAKES ME LOOK POSITIVELY INTELLIGENT, MR. PRESIDENT
   24. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3887617)
Yes, he just got beat by the pitch. But putting it in play isn't about avoiding looking pathetic, it's about giving them even a tiny chance to come back in that game. Retroactively it was a mistake not to swing, this is undeniable


Retroactive to when? The whole point of a knee-buckling curve is that you don't think there's any chance it will be a strike and then, holy ####, that was a strike. The point where Beltran realizes he needs to swing is too late to begin a real swing. Should he have made a weak little emergency swinging bunt attempt? I don't think this is even true, you're more likely to get lucky with the ump calling a ball than you are to get on base with an emergency stab. And just imagine how the play would live on in memory if he had missed, or dribbled the ball a foot in front of home. If you're telling me that in hindsight he should have decided to swing before the pitch was even thrown, then it's a useless comment. Might as well say that "retroactively, it was a mistake not to play 23-04-66-34-82 on last week's lottery, this is undeniable."
   25. Banta Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3887620)
what do you mean by this? ...in retrospect he did need to swing or else (the else being the season is over and they lose the pennant).

Yeah, I didn't phrase that really well. I was trying to say there have been occasions where I'll watch a hitter and say "How the hell could you let that pitch go by?????" or feel that the player was trying more to walk than hit the pitch (see Luis Castillo's entire career). That pitch was not one of those occasions. Beltran just got frozen. It happens.

However, you're right, Nate, I did overreact to the excerpt and it isn't fair of me to do so, as I didn't even RTFA. But, I'm not really interested in discussing the article as much as discussing the overall culture that surrounds the Third Strikers, which is very real and very disappointing to me, as it undermines the wonderful career of a player who deserves better recognition.
   26. Joe OBrien Posted: July 28, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3887621)
Ryan Howard ended last year's NLCS by taking a called third strike, and he's going to have a harder time than Beltran living up to his contract. Of course, 2008 means it won't sting nearly as much for Phillies fans. But the biggest difference is perception. Ryan Howard is liked by the fans and media and Beltran isn't.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3887673)
If you're telling me that in hindsight he should have decided to swing before the pitch was even thrown, then it's a useless comment. Might as well say that "retroactively, it was a mistake not to play 23-04-66-34-82 on last week's lottery, this is undeniable."


heh, fair enough. But one can acknowledge that the at-bat was a failure and think that he should have been more aggressive without automatically stepping into the idiotic territory of thinking it was a choke or a blunder.
   28. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3887678)
The Beltran Era took a lot out of my baseball-fandom, but I'm glad to see my initial reaction was the same as the groupthink: great player, no regrets about watching him for the last six+ seasons and there's enough blame for the 2006 NLCS to go around that freezing on a ridiculous curve can go to the end of the line. Trachsel and Heilman have already been mentioned, but how about this series of events:

Game 2
Top 7, Mets ahead 6-4
Two out, no one on for...Guillermo f'n Mota
Single to Pujols
Walk to Edmonds
Triple to Scott Spiezio. Pujols, Edmonds score.

I don't have kind thoughts for Mota, but giving up one base each to Pujols and Edmonds is no great crime. It's been almost five years since I've seen video fo the play, but my thoughts turn to History's Greatest Monster, Shawn Green, completely botching that play in right field. Would have been nice if they carried Mr. Milledge in that series.
   29. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3887692)
I was there. From my vantage point in the LF bleachers, I couldn't tell what happened until Yadier F. Molina started jumping up and down. If Carlos had just been able to foul it off...
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3887700)
The excerpt gets it totally wrong. As a Mets fan, I was upset that they lost in 2006 but I don't feel like the team let me down. They were a great team, they had a great season, they lost in Game 7 of the NLCS. That kind of #### happens to great teams every year.

What was disappointing about that era was 2007, when they dropped 6 of their last 7 and finished 1 game out, or 2008 when they basically did the exact same thing (dropping 6 of their last 9). When you think of all the wasted at-bats or innings on guys like David Newhan, Jorge Sosa, of the early-season games that they pissed away by not running their best lineup out there, of all the times that Scott Schoenweis was allowed to pitch to right-handed batters with the game on the line...

This was a team that should have at least gone to the playoffs three consecutive seasons. The real failure was only going once, not in losing the one time they went.
   31. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:26 PM (#3887702)
I was in LF, too. Couldn't see the LF wall from our seats, but I happened to be walking through the upper deck on my way back from the bathroom when Rolen was up. So I was able to see Endy's catch and my friends back at the seats couldn't. Fast forward an hour and some missed opportunities later and I just remember the St. Louis bullpen pouring out onto the field and me being terrible confused.

Still, as crushed as I was, there were two mitigants: (i) the Endy catch, an incredible, once in a lifetime moment; and (ii) the feeling I and many had walking out that 'this really (really) sucks, but we'll be back'. Spoiler: we were never back.
   32. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3887703)
If you want a symbol of futility for this iteration of the Mets, wouldn't it be easier to cite Castillo's drop of A-Rod's pop up? Scapegoating Beltran for not swinging assumes several things out of his control: he would make contact, the hit ball would be in the field of play and that the ball would land safely as a base hit. It's not as if Beltran was swinging (or non-swinging) at a ball set up on a tee. He was facing one of the better pitchers on the Cardinal's staff. There were a ton of bizarre and outrageous performances or gaffes that were self-inflicted by Mets players during Beltran's tenure that cost them games, series and playoff appearances, using his at bat as a symbol of the team's mediocrity makes absolutely no sense. I don't think if I was a Mets fan, I'd be any less unhappy if Beltran struck out swinging.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3887706)
Scapegoating Beltran for not swinging assumes several things out of his control: he would make contact, the hit ball would be in the field of play and that the ball would land safely as a base hit.


or he hits a foul ball.

Using the Beltran play as a symbol is actually more kind than using the Castillo play or some other gaffe. It says of the era: "good but not good enough by only a small margin." The Castillo play says "bad news bears."
   34. Stosman Posted: July 28, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3887724)
It's a shame that the non-swing is what the NY media chooses to focus it on when talking about Beltran's Mets legacy as the guy was probably the best all around talent the club ever had the pleasure of putting out there over the years. I really don't know that many Mets fans who hated on him for that (though I don't spend that much time with fellow Mets fans, so that probably helps); those that I do know always praised him for being the talent that he is. I mean, without him manning center, the team doesn't even get to that moment for him to strikeout on, so it's hard for me to look at it as his defining moment.

Besides, he's not Gregg Jefferies. Dear God do I still hate Gregg Jefferies.
   35. AROM Posted: July 28, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#3887726)
Retroactive to when? The whole point of a knee-buckling curve is that you don't think there's any chance it will be a strike and then, holy ####, that was a strike. The point where Beltran realizes he needs to swing is too late to begin a real swing. Should he have made a weak little emergency swinging bunt attempt?


For an example of this, look at Jose Bautista striking out last night against Chris Jackabasselope, or whatever his name is.

A cool thing MLB Trade Rumors has is a contract database that easily lets you search contracts. Of the players who have signed 9 figure deals, 12 are less than halfway through, too early to judge. 10 are either over with, or in the last year. Another 4, signed in the awful year of 2007, have a bit to go but are complete disasters (Soriano, C Lee, Wells, Zito).

Only Pujols, who gave up some arb years in his deal, comes out as a great bargain going by the Fangraphs dollar values (and using 2.5 m/WAR for years before 2002, the first year they list a dollar value). Beltran gave the Mets their money's worth. A-Rod, Jeter, Giambi, Manny, Helton, and Brown were valuable, but not quite as much as the contracts they received. Then you have Griffey and Hampton as disasters.
   36. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3887739)
Remember Luis Ayala? For me, he's kind of the mascot of the '07-'08 Mets.

If you want a symbol of futility for this iteration of the Mets, wouldn't it be easier to cite Castillo's drop of A-Rod's pop up?


The Castillo drop is representative of the '09-'10 Mets, who were just bad. Not heartbreaking or wasteful. Just a shitty team.

The Beltran K symbolizes nothing for me. '06 Mets were a fantastic team that lost in the playoffs. It happens.
   37. Sam M. Posted: July 28, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3887777)
If you want a "best symbol," you first have to decide what was the most "essential" failure of the era. Here are some candidates:

* Injuries, and the failure to properly diagnose, treat them, and respond to them. How many seasons were lost because the Mets suffered cataclysmic, ill-timed injuries that were made worse because they were poorly diagnosed, or because the Mets crossed their fingers and hoped (or pretended) the star player would be back sooner than he would to contribute down the stretch or in the second half? So they were left short-handed, or with a player coming back too soon . . . . If you want a symbol for that, it could be Pedro or John Maine or Jason Bay or Duaner Sanchez or Billy Wagner or Jose Reyes or Cliff Floyd or . . . . this place.

* The inability of the farm system to supply the Beltran/Wright/Reyes core with capable complementary players. How many players drafted during the Phillips, Duquette, or Minaya regimes graduated from the Mets system to help the team win during the 2005-2011 era? All credit in the world for signing/developing two perennial all-star players of the caliber of Wright and Reyes, but once you have them your farm system is judged by whether it brings along the talent to fill in the blanks. It's certainly fair to give Minaya an "Incomplete" on this because much of the product of his drafts is still in the system, but boy -- one of the big reasons the era as a whole fell short is because the system as a whole failed. The symbol for this? Eddie Kumz comes to mind (one of the worst draftees of the whole bunch), Tony Bernazard is another obvious choice.

* One really, really awful trade. The Mets win the division in 2007 and 2008 if they had never traded Scott Kazmir. We'll never know what would have happened in the post-season those years, but the whole era is seen in a different light if the team went to three consecutive play-offs. It remains controversial whether the best symbol for that is Jim Duquette, a picture of Rick Peterson checking his watch, or Jeff Wilpon cracking a whip, but no one will ever convince me that the groundwork for the failures of the second half of the decade wasn't laid that day. Perhaps the Mets would have ended up signing the hero of their 2007 world title, Kazmir, to what would now look like a terrible contract -- who knows? But wherever you lay the blame, and whatever you think is the truth of that trade, that has to be on the list. We hated it at the time, and we were right. It cost the Mets immensely.
   38. thetailor Posted: July 28, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3887792)
With all this talk of Beltran being unable to get the bat off his shoulder against Wainwright, I forgot that he swung at strike two. When I rewatched the at-bat, I was shocked. It was just a regular-looking at bat against a guy who was dealing, like Eric Gagne in his short prime.
   39. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3887799)
Actually, the first pitch of the at-bat was the killer. It was a fastball right down the middle that he let pass.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 07:31 PM (#3887809)
The Mets win the division in 2007 and 2008 if they had never traded Scott Kazmir.


Impossible to say, of course, because the outcry over the Kazmir trade was what led to Omar's return. And Omar spearheaded the new strategy of paying for stars (Beltran, Pedro) as opposed to second tier guys (Burnitz, Zeile, Appier etc). If Duquette remained in charge, maybe they sink Beltran's money into Odalis Perez and Richie Sexson, or some such nonsense.
   41. thetailor Posted: July 28, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3887818)
I know that this might be an unpopular thing to say, but much of the success we've seen this year has been a direct result of the Minaya era. Look at the players who have contributed most this year to the Mets surprising year: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese. These players are the products of Minaya drafts and Minaya free agent signings, both big and small. He also had a pretty good track record with trades as well -- Santana was an obvious success, and the only major loss that comes to mind right now is Heath Bell.

Aside from K-Rod and Jason Bay, I really don't have a lot of qualms with Minaya or the way he handled the team. Perhaps if he had been given more time, he would have been able to pair his blueprint of bringing in stars along with a strong and productive farm system. Unfortunately, we didn't have a Justin Turner in 2008 -- we had Damian Easley. Is that Minaya's fault, or was is the fault of the prior regime leaving no help in the upper minors?

It just seemed like things would always conspire to make the Mets fall just short: the Wagner injury, the Santana injury, Wright's sudden crater. If the Mets of 2011 had the stars of 2006, it'd be an unstoppable juggernaut. But things never came together at the same time. But I do think its noteworthy and not accidental that a lot of the Mets current strengths stem from good moves Minaya made.
   42. Sam M. Posted: July 28, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3887827)
It just seemed like things would always conspire to make the Mets fall just short: the Wagner injury,

But that's a good example of Minaya's failure, Brian. The loss of your closer is a major problem, but it should never be the disaster that it was. Minaya simply froze and did nothing (we're not going to mention the unmentionable, I hope) to repair the massive hole that ended up destroying the season. In part, that was because he hadn't built the depth in the farm system he had promised to build to make him comfortable enough to trade away pieces to get the relief pitcher they needed. In part, it was because he overrated the team he'd assembled. But you can't just say the injuries got them. The injuries got them (in part) because Minaya didn't do enough to respond (and because of the failures of the medical/training staff, and ultimately that has to be Minaya's responsibility, too).

All that said, I think Minaya ends up with a mixed record -- some pluses that (as you note) didn't bear fruit in time to help him. But also a lot of minuses, many of them in the people he hired and failed to adequately supervise.

Minaya doesn't get credit for signing Jose Reyes, though. He was signed by the Mets long before Minaya was GM.
   43. thetailor Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#3887850)
True, but the favorable extensions were Minaya's work. And whose to say that Minaya couldn't have gotten something better than Luis Ayala had he been willing to part with something better than Anderson Hernandez? Perhaps a young nondescript lefty in Double-A named Jon Niese? Maybe youngsters named Lucas Duda or Mike Carp could have done it?

I know it's not possible, but I'd love to witness an alternate universe where Minaya was able to continue to GM the Mets through 2012 and where there was no Jason Bay signing (I'll never be able to prove it, but I'm positive that signing was a mandate from ownership).
   44. studes Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:16 PM (#3887853)
Whoever wrote that headline should be fired. The article was pretty fair, I thought. I wrote a long article defending the Beltran contract earlier this year, and of course he's made the contract even more valuable since.
   45. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#3887880)
And whose to say that Minaya couldn't have gotten something better than Luis Ayala had he been willing to part with something better than Anderson Hernandez? Perhaps a young nondescript lefty in Double-A named Jon Niese? Maybe youngsters named Lucas Duda or Mike Carp could have done it?
To me, that's a strike aganist Minaya more than a plus. Niese isn't a bad pitcher, but any means, and who knows what Duda or Carp will become useful, everyday players. But the Mets missed the playoffs--missed the playoffs!--by one game two years in a row. If trading Jon Niese gets them into October 2007 or 2008, maybe they put a run together and leave Shea Stadium with another title. Those guys you listed are nice names to have, but none of them seem likely to be a Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen situation.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:44 PM (#3887888)
New debate:

Daniel Murphy: BABIP fluke, or legit quality hitter?

Fangraphs' in season projections have his average dropping by 20 points, but with increases in both walk rate and power. Or has he reinvented himself as a slappy happy hitter? His BB% and K% have both fallen two years in a row.
   47. thetailor Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:47 PM (#3887889)
All I've got to say is that as a General Manager, the temptation to pillage the farm system when you are in the playoff race must be absolutely overwhelming. All it takes is one year of good success to secure your job for a number of years -- but failure means you're usually gone after your first bad year.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3887892)
What was disappointing about that era was 2007, when they dropped 6 of their last 7 and finished 1 game out, or 2008 when they basically did the exact same thing (dropping 6 of their last 9).


I'm obviously not a Mets fan, but that is what I immediately thought about when it came to disappointments of that franchise, yes game 7 sucked, losing to a team that was so much inferior must have stung, but the Mets had positioned themselves for a stretch of good years, and ended up "failing" to live up to that promise. If the Mets win the World series in 2008, that Beltran strikeout now becomes the story of legends of coming back from bitter disappointment to taking the crown, and it would be portrayed much differently. To me the disappointment as a Mets fan has to be the teams inability to capitalize on what should have been a pretty good era.

Still, as crushed as I was, there were two mitigants: (i) the Endy catch, an incredible, once in a lifetime moment; and (ii) the feeling I and many had walking out that 'this really (really) sucks, but we'll be back'. Spoiler: we were never back.



This is what I mean. After the series all the Mets fans around here were exactly like this, heartbroken, but full of optimism for the next few years.
   49. PreservedFish Posted: July 28, 2011 at 08:57 PM (#3887899)
All I've got to say is that as a General Manager, the temptation to pillage the farm system when you are in the playoff race must be absolutely overwhelming. All it takes is one year of good success to secure your job for a number of years -- but failure means you're usually gone after your first bad year.


Perhaps General Managers should be elected in pairs, with strict term limits, as in the Roman Republic. Also, the people's Tribune has veto power over ass-stupid moves, like the Kazmir trade.
   50. Benji Posted: July 28, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3887907)
   51. Benji Posted: July 28, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3887908)
Why I'll always have a soft spot for Omar is that for his entire tenure, we Met fans never had to hear "oh we can't compete with the Yankees for.....". He got in there, got Pedro, got Beltran, even Bay. Before him, we got the Karim Garcias and washed-up Eddie Murrays. Maybe we didn't win the WS,but the front office didn't get to position itself as the poor cousins.
   52. Sam M. Posted: July 28, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#3887910)
All I've got to say is that as a General Manager, the temptation to pillage the farm system when you are in the playoff race must be absolutely overwhelming. All it takes is one year of good success to secure your job for a number of years -- but failure means you're usually gone after your first bad year.

Look, I don't want a GM who will do anything like "pillage the farm system." I want a GM who will be judicious. I especially want a GM who will have done the things necessary to have a strong enough system that the pieces will be there to make the needed trades when the team is in the race, so that you can have your cake and eat it too: acquire what you need for short term success, AND still supply the major league team with young talent. That is what good organizations do. It's because they have excellent scouts and spend wisely and aggressively in the draft and in Latin America and they have a terrific development and instructional system throughout the minor leagues to make sure the talent reaches its potential. A lot of the Mets' failure in this regard during the Minaya era is on him (who, after all, hired and failed to supervise Tony F'ing Bernazard???) and a lot of it isn't (it wasn't Minaya who refused to go over slot in the draft to sign the best talent). But the Mets during the years in question -- when it could have made a difference -- didn't have enough chips, and Minaya didn't pull the trigger using the chips he had. At least part of the blame for that is on him.
   53. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 28, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3887912)
With all this talk of Beltran being unable to get the bat off his shoulder against Wainwright, I forgot that he swung at strike two. When I rewatched the at-bat, I was shocked. It was just a regular-looking at bat against a guy who was dealing, like Eric Gagne in his short prime.

Yeah, Wainwright was dominant that year. (his rookie year, and his only year as a reliever, I now see.) He pitched 9.2 scoreless innings in the postseason with 7 hits and 15 strikeouts. It's not like Beltran was going up there hoping for a walk against Randy Flores.
   54. base ball chick Posted: July 28, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3887941)
sometimes i wonder if beltran wishes he had stayed in houston

criticizing beltran for not swinging at that curve ball? i mean, please. it was joe morgan's famous mother****ing curve. not even albert EFF pujols woulda hit THAT one

and it is interesting that it is his homer offn lidge in game 5 that everyone remembers about the 2005 "world series" - that and doug eddings stupidass blown call on punch AJ
   55. Sam M. Posted: July 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3887949)
David Wright appears to like playing without a broken back. Since returning from the DL (seven games)

15/33, 2 HR, 3 2B, 12 RBI

.454/.454/.727

In those seven games, he's lifted his season line from: .226/.337/.404/.741

To: .268/.354/.464/.818

Daniel Murphy's OPS now -- even though Murphy is outhitting Wright .320-.268 -- is only ahead of Wright, .820-.818.

Anyone care to take back the obits they've written on David Wright's career as an elite hitter? People still want to talk about how "boring" he is and advocate trading him? As amazing as Jose Reyes has been this year, and as exciting he is, David Wright remains the best position player the Mets have ever developed. Glad he's back and hitting this way to remind us of it.
   56. formerly dp Posted: July 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3887950)
That curve will always be a defining moment in Met history, but that's not an indictment of Beltran. He was a great player for the team, and I don't understand how anyone could not view that contract as a smart one that worked out well for both sides, especially given how well 2011 went and the return they were able to get for him as a result. OB%-heavy, 900 OPS OFs are a rarity this year.

Nice game for the sweep against the Reds. Hoping that Beltran's spirit is inhabiting Jason Bay for the last couple months of the season.
   57. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: July 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM (#3887956)
The Beltran strikeout sucked, but I can't blame him for losing that series. That goes to Wagner + Mota + Shawn Green in game 2. Thanks for nothing guys.

As for the defining moment of this era...well that has to be Tommy Glavine's last start. I don't care what you have to do, but you can't give up 7 runs in the first inning of the last game of the season with the playoffs on the line. I haven't been able to take the Mets seriously since that game...
   58. True Blue Posted: July 28, 2011 at 10:47 PM (#3887964)
You don't get paid $119 million to end the season standing at the plate and get struck out with your bat on your shoulder. Even if it's a hellacious pitch. You foul it off, prolong the at bat. Yes, there are a lot of other people who deserve blame for the 2006 loss. Just as a lot of other people than Bill Buckner deserve blame for 1986. But hey, if the people want to console themselves with "it's a crapshoot", I am sure they will swarm into Citifield in 2031 for the 25th anniversary of Heilman, Mota, Wagner, Traschel and cheer Beltran like they cheered Cokehead Keith Hernandez returning from his courthouse testimony in 1985.

Beltran was hardly the worst Mets acquisition but he's a steroid user. A fraud. The kind of cheater that the braindeadstatboygeeks LOVE. He can find plenty of suppliers in Baroid Bonds old home town.
   59. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 28, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#3887965)
If the Mets fill their LF sinkhole with Bonds instead of a parade of palookas, collapse #2 doesn't happen and neither does this retroactive and unfair "Symbol of the Era" conversation. Of all the teams that privately and independently arrived at the same decision, but especially the five or so plausible ones, nobody got burned worse than the 2008 Mets. Although how any of that translates to Carlos "75 M'Fing HRs In 12 ABs" Beltran being a postseason disappointment is preposterous. Bob Gibson lost Game Seven too, what a bum.
   60. formerly dp Posted: July 28, 2011 at 11:36 PM (#3887982)
Anyone care to take back the obits they've written on David Wright's career as an elite hitter? People still want to talk about how "boring" he is and advocate trading him?

I never wrote him off, but you're drawing conclusions based on 7 games. I really hope he's back to being a .400/.500 guy, but I think we'll need to see a little more out of him before we call him an "elite" hitter again.

The more important thing is that it looks like they handled the injuries to Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and Pagan properly, not rushing anyone back before they're ready.

Beltran was hardly the worst Mets acquisition but he's a steroid user. A fraud. The kind of cheater that the braindeadstatboygeeks LOVE. He can find plenty of suppliers in Baroid Bonds old home town.

I can't telling if this is a serious post or not...

Edit: from Rotowire-
The Phillies are willing to trade Brown in the right deal, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports.

Beltran for Dom Brown would have rocked the house.
   61. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#3887997)
The more important thing is that it looks like they handled the injuries to Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and Pagan properly, not rushing anyone back before they're ready.

Ike "Nobody Bothered to X-Ray My ####### Ankle" Davis might wonder if you're jumping to premature conclusions from a small sample size about the improved handling of injuries . . . .

I never wrote him off, but you're drawing conclusions based on 7 games.


Not only that, but seven games against the Marlins and Reds (the latter at the Great American Launching Pad). Still, I hope people who were just casting DW off as yesterday's news and tomorrow's trade bait will remember that he was playing the last month before going on the DL with a damn broken back, and treat those particular stats accordingly. What really bothered me the most was what began to emerge early in the year, when Reyes was so scintillating and Wright was struggling, was the sudden outpouring of previously-hidden hostility towards Wright for being "boring." As if there isn't room for both flash/pizzazz and rock-steady in our hearts.
   62. formerly dp Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:02 AM (#3888021)
Ike "Nobody Bothered to X-Ray My ####### Ankle" Davis might wonder if you're jumping to premature conclusions from a small sample size about the improved handling of injuries . . . .

He still has his foot, doesn't he? If this was last year, that would have been no sure thing.

What really bothered me the most was what began to emerge early in the year, when Reyes was so scintillating and Wright was struggling, was the sudden outpouring of previously-hidden hostility towards Wright for being "boring." As if there isn't room for both flash/pizzazz and rock-steady in our hearts.

There's no play more exciting to me than a Jose Reyes triple. Subjectively, I think Reyes is more fun to watch. And with the Mets possibly facing a choice between keeping one or the other, it's understandable that people pick sides. I hope they keep both for another 5 years.
   63. PreservedFish Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:16 AM (#3888026)
Wright is only boring when he's not playing well.
   64. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:38 AM (#3888033)
I hope they keep both for another 5 years.

I hope they both retire as Mets, damnit. There is no reason at all that once we get past the present and temporary unpleasantness associated with easing out of the owners' suite the Walking Dead Wilpons™, the Einhorn-owned Mets can't make sure that happens. And they should.
   65. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#3888037)
The Beltran strikeout sucked, but I can't blame him for losing that series. That goes to Wagner + Mota + Shawn Green in game 2. Thanks for nothing guys.

As for the defining moment of this era...well that has to be Tommy Glavine's last start. I don't care what you have to do, but you can't give up 7 runs in the first inning of the last game of the season with the playoffs on the line. I haven't been able to take the Mets seriously since that game...


I was at both games with my daughters. For some reason, they aren't rabid fans these days.

For $119 million the Mets got the best centerfielder they ever had by far. I think one of the issues many have with him is that he went about his business quietly instead of smashing water coolers after lossses and dating Selena Gomez. I can't think of any Mets free agent contracts that were better and from what I have read they continue to pay Bobby Bonilla even now that they are finished paying Beltran.
   66. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:59 AM (#3888040)
I hope they both retire as Mets, damnit.


I agree. Someone has to replace Ed Kranepool.
   67. Srul Itza Posted: July 29, 2011 at 02:38 AM (#3888047)
I can't telling if this is a serious post or not...


If it came from True Blew (I am guessing because I have him on ignore), it is just more trolling.
   68. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3888053)
I think one of the issues many have with him is that he went about his business quietly instead of smashing water coolers after lossses and dating Selena Gomez.


Paul LoDuca was a much more popular Met than I remembered.
   69. Karl from NY Posted: July 29, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3888074)
I know that this might be an unpopular thing to say, but much of the success we've seen this year has been a direct result of the Minaya era. Look at the players who have contributed most this year to the Mets surprising year: Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese. These players are the products of Minaya drafts and Minaya free agent signings, both big and small.


Most of those players were with the team in 2009 and 2010 as well, for forgettable results. Minaya did find some good players, but he was also terrible about leaving black holes of suck unfixed. Alex Cora's 60 OPS+ was somehow given 600 PA! Ruben Tejada hit for a 72 OPS+ over 450 PA. The Santos/Barajas/Blanco catching monster performed similarly. I don't even want to look up Gary Matthews Jr. Much of the team's resurgence this year is thanks to Alderson and co being able to keep the lineup free of giant sucking sounds and instead plug the holes with solidly average players like Duda, Hairston, and Paulino. I solidly believe Minaya seriously could not distinguish between these obscure but valuable players and the likes of Mike Hessman (42 OPS+) and Jesus Feliciano (54 OPS+).
   70. Something Other Posted: July 29, 2011 at 04:59 AM (#3888080)
Yes, he just got beat by the pitch. But putting it in play isn't about avoiding looking pathetic, it's about giving them even a tiny chance to come back in that game. Retroactively it was a mistake not to swing, this is undeniable

Retroactive to when? The whole point of a knee-buckling curve is that you don't think there's any chance it will be a strike and then, holy ####, that was a strike. The point where Beltran realizes he needs to swing is too late to begin a real swing. Should he have made a weak little emergency swinging bunt attempt? I don't think this is even true, you're more likely to get lucky with the ump calling a ball than you are to get on base with an emergency stab. And just imagine how the play would live on in memory if he had missed, or dribbled the ball a foot in front of home. If you're telling me that in hindsight he should have decided to swing before the pitch was even thrown, then it's a useless comment. Might as well say that "retroactively, it was a mistake not to play 23-04-66-34-82 on last week's lottery, this is undeniable."
Yup. To fault Beltran for the manner in which he made the final out is ludicrous, and can only be put forth by someone who has no idea about, well, anything. You simply don't know how a batter hits if you think he can simply choose to end an at bat, one way or another, by swinging. It's such a thoroughly odd thing to say with such apparent sincerity that I suggest you find a coach or pro hitter to chew this over with--someone who can tell you why it doesn't work that way. It would involve essentially committing to swinging at any pitch within a foot of the strike zone. Why do you think a hitter's obp would be higher that way than if he took his normal approach?

This is Carlos F. Beltran, probable Hall of Famer, with a 1302 postseason OPS. If he could do any better by committing to swing, don't you think he would have figured that out at some point? Don't you think we might have heard, oh, somewhere, that with two strikes all sensible players swing at anything remotely near the strike zone?

I don't think if I was a Mets fan, I'd be any less unhappy if Beltran struck out swinging.
Yup. Although if he had, we'd just have a different narrative. It would be symbolic of whatever the hell it would be symbolic of, rather than a great hitter being struck out by a pitcher busy compiling a Hall of Fame resume.

One really, really awful trade. The Mets win the division in 2007 and 2008 if they had never traded Scott Kazmir.
Sure, but if they had done x or never done y or any of 100 other things... Kazmir was just one of the most extreme examples of a FO that was largely clueless about judging talent.

I know that this might be an unpopular thing to say, but much of the success we've seen this year has been a direct result of the Minaya era. Look at the players who have contributed most this year to the Mets surprising year:
Please just stop. The Mets have a huge payroll, and a .500 record. If you want to pat Minaya on the back for this extremely dubious accomplishment, I guess you can. Why you'd want to, though, isn't clear. Besides, you'll have to give Alderson credit for filling in at the margins, something Minaya could never do. Without Alderson clearing out the 1800 PAs of sub .300 OBP deadwood Omar would have saddled this year's team with, we'd be looking at another iteration of the .450 Mets.

Santana was an obvious success,...
This is beyond belief.

Aside from K-Rod and Jason Bay,...
Mrs. Lincoln... play...

Perhaps if he had been given more time, he would have been able to pair his blueprint of bringing in stars along with a strong and productive farm system.
We should vote. Fans around here are pretty knowledgeable. Who thinks we should have hung in there with Omar to see what he and the Wilpons could have come up with, if only they'd been given more time?

Brian, you seem like an otherwise smart fella, yet you wish Minaya had had more time. You're like the nice guy everyone likes who's going out with the fat, ugly girl who treats him like ####, but who continually tells everyone what a beautiful, kind person she really is.


Why I'll always have a soft spot for Omar is that for his entire tenure, we Met fans never had to hear "oh we can't compete with the Yankees for.....". He got in there, got Pedro, got Beltran, even Bay. Before him, we got the Karim Garcias and washed-up Eddie Murrays. Maybe we didn't win the WS,but the front office didn't get to position itself as the poor cousins.
This is about the smallest consolation I've ever heard.

Anyone care to take back the obits they've written on David Wright's career as an elite hitter?
Based on 33 PAs? Sam, Sam, Sam. Love makes us say the darnedest things.

You don't get paid $119 million to end the season standing at the plate and get struck out with your bat on your shoulder.
YahooSports is missing an idiot. How low does Beltran's salary have to drop before it's acceptable for him to be struck out looking by a HOF caliber pitcher?

If the Mets fill their LF sinkhole with Bonds instead of a parade of palookas, collapse #2 doesn't happen and neither does this retroactive and unfair "Symbol of the Era" conversation. Of all the teams that privately and independently arrived at the same decision, but especially the five or so plausible ones, nobody got burned worse than the 2008 Mets.
Yup, only Bonds could have saved those Mets. It wasn't the other fifty idiotic things Minaya did without adding the Barry Circus to the lunacy begotten by the Mets FO...

What really bothered me the most was what began to emerge early in the year, when Reyes was so scintillating and Wright was struggling, was the sudden outpouring of previously-hidden hostility towards Wright for being "boring."
For the last few years, particularly when the subject of keeping him a lifelong Met came up, I opined that Wright was a thoroughly corporatized bore whom the Wilpons could call their ##### without David publicly objecting (and, guess what?); it didn't have to do with him playing poorly, and it wasn't hostility. He's simply the quintessential example of what I dislike about contemporary sports, as is Alex Rodriguez. Wright WAS a great player, and one I had absolutely no feeling for. When he leaves for wherever, he'll exhibit exactly the same personality and say exactly the same things about his new team. I much prefer Reyes, although I was disappointed that Reyes (or Beltran, or Santana--jesus, SOMEBODY) didn't call out the Wilpons while they were busy destroying the team with their cosmic ineptitude. It's a shame we didn't have a few Bronx Zoo types on the 2005-2010 Mets to call a spade a spade and a schmuck a schmuck.

And ultimately, I think Vecsey is right, it's unfair, but Beltran looking at strike three--which, was #3 point out, was a helluva pitch--is going to be the symbol for the Minaya Mets.

No, the symbol for the Minaya Mets is Tom Glavine on 162.
I'm pretty sure the symbol for the Minaya Mets should be a chimp rubbing excrement into its hair. Seriously--we're talking about an extremely wealthy team in the largest market in baseball that was turned in a few years into a laughingstock, a destination even Bengie Molina turned down. We're going to have to be more creative than the Beltran K, or Tom Glavine's meltdown.

Ike "Nobody Bothered to X-Ray My ####### Ankle" Davis might wonder if you're jumping to premature conclusions from a small sample size about the improved handling of injuries . . . .
Wait, what? They didn't, did they? Did they screw this up too?
   71. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:04 AM (#3888083)
And this makes me happier than any 33 pitches in St. Lucie should make rational human being.

Johan Santana: 3 2 0 0 0 3

Express all the caution you want about one outing, Class A hitters, blah blah blah. That has to make you happy.

So much so I'm not even going to respond to what I think is the deeply unfair characterization of David Wright in # 70.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:09 AM (#3888084)
If it came from True Blew (I am guessing because I have him on ignore), it is just more trolling.


You missed some championship level trolling, I'm reminded of the Billy Madison quote when I read his comment.
   73. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:13 AM (#3888086)
Oh, and there's a hell of a game just ended in Harrisburg, where the Binghamton Mets (with Matt Harvey on the mound) lost to Harrisburg (and Bryce Harper), 2-1 in 14 innings. Obviously, Harvey wasn't around to take the loss; here was his line:

7 4 1 1 2 10

Including in those 10 strikeouts were two against Harper, in the second and fourth; he also got Harper to ground out to end the seventh and finish his night. All in all, a great night for Mets' pitching in St. Lucie and Binghamton.
   74. Karl from NY Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:14 AM (#3888087)
This is Carlos F. Beltran, probable Hall of Famer


Probable Hall of Meriter I'll give you, but his HOF chances have to be considerably under 50% at least right now. His value is in all the wrong places to be recognized by old stuffy writers - defensive range (as opposed to hotdog catches and fancy jumpy throws), SB success rate, walks, and CF positional scarcity. He rarely hit .300, earned almost literally zero black ink, 295 career HR excites nobody, and his stellar postseason record is equally shadowed by the lack of a title and that iconic strikeout. Barring a resurgence of four or five more all-star-level years, he's going to need a Blylevenesque stathead campaign to get in.
   75. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:49 AM (#3888098)
If Beltran had struck out swinging against Wainwright there isn't a Mets fan on the planet who would have said, "Oh well, at least he didn't get caught looking."
   76. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: July 29, 2011 at 09:05 AM (#3888103)
I can't believe it's been 5 years since that game. It doesn't feel like it. The only Mets left from that team are Reyes, Wright, and... Pelfrey, who got the first few starts of his career that season. I remember his first 2 starts pretty well, yet I had completely forgotten that Chris Woodward, who had 250 PAs, was even on the team. My memory is terrible. I'll always remember that team both fondly and a bit sadly, just like the '98-'00 teams.

As for Beltran, on a game for game basis, of everyone who spent any significant time with the team, he might have been the best position player the Mets have ever had. Even if they had gone down quietly in the ninth and Beltran never got to bat, I don't think most Mets fans would have any understanding of how good he is/was. As others have said, his skill set just isn't one that most non-statheads fully appreciate, and the fans had already soured on him long before that. They were really rough on him in '05 and early in '06 before he turned it on, and he made it clear that he didn't like their treatment of him. He was the best player in the league in 2006, and I think a lot of Mets fans still felt disappointed even before Game 7. The expectations were absurd.
   77. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM (#3888113)
I'm trying to remember without looking up - in 2006 he was on an MVP pace and then crashed into a wall in Houston in late August? Giving Ryan Howard a clearer path some hof monitor points?
   78. bobm Posted: July 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM (#3888120)
[37] If you want a symbol for that, it could be Pedro or John Maine or Jason Bay or Duaner Sanchez or Billy Wagner or Jose Reyes or Cliff Floyd or . . . . this place.

Leaving aside the Hospital for Regular Surgery and Bernie Madoff, I'll take the 2006 non-waiver-trading deadline injury to Duaner Sanchez (and the Mets' apparent failure to institute seat belt wearing rules in cabs after Glavine's minor 2004 accident.). No accident means the Mets keep Nady and never acquire Ollie Perez or re-sign him after his deal with the devil in the 2006 post-season. Also, no Mota, no K-Rod, no Putz if Duaner plausibly develops into a closer candidate and Minaya does identify the bullpen as a root cause of team failure.

The Mets may not have won it all in 2006 in this scenario, but they have a much better shot not to miss the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 when Wagner goes down.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM (#3888133)
Yup. To fault Beltran for the manner in which he made the final out is ludicrous, and can only be put forth by someone who has no idea about, well, anything. You simply don't know how a batter hits if you think he can simply choose to end an at bat, one way or another, by swinging. It's such a thoroughly odd thing to say with such apparent sincerity that I suggest you find a coach or pro hitter to chew this over with--someone who can tell you why it doesn't work that way. It would involve essentially committing to swinging at any pitch within a foot of the strike zone. Why do you think a hitter's obp would be higher that way than if he took his normal approach?

This is Carlos F. Beltran, probable Hall of Famer, with a 1302 postseason OPS. If he could do any better by committing to swing, don't you think he would have figured that out at some point? Don't you think we might have heard, oh, somewhere, that with two strikes all sensible players swing at anything remotely near the strike zone?


If this is a response to my post you have a vivid imagination and maybe some other problems.
   80. Banta Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#3888137)
Duaner Sanchez's accident is what started all the bad luck, everything was going perfect before that.

I agree what others comments about Omar. In the end, he was too passive at correcting in season mistakes and overvalued shitty vets.
   81. Conor Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3888139)
This sort of seems like a catch all Mets thread for now, so here are some thoughts...

1) Murphy. He really seems to have reinvented himself, for better or worse. When he first came up, he was a very patient hitter. (If I remember correctly, this is part of what made Sam so fond of him). He had an 11.9% BB rate in 2008. He's now all the way down to 5.8%. He's also conversely cut the K rate from 18.5% that first year to 10.2%. He's got a 345 BABIP this year, his career is about 320,s o th at does seem a little high. His rest of the season projection is for a wOBA of 344, compared to a 356 so far this year. I'm just not sure where his long term future is with the Mets. If you have Wright and Davis on the corners, can you try him at 2B? Something I also noticed; he hit 397/473 in 2008, for a RC+ of 128. He's hit 363/457 this year, for a RC+ of 127. If he's a legit 115 or so RC+ hitter, is he worth more to the Mets as a reserve who can fill in at a number of positions, or do you dangle him to someone who maybe needs a third basemen?

2) Duda. He's got a 129 RC+. His walk rate is solid (10.5%), the K's are in check (14.5%; that's even lower than his AAA numbers, somehow), and now that he has started to hit for power, I'm beginning to hope he is at least somewhat legitimate. Could be be a 120-125 RC+ guy? And if so, is that good enough to handle his probable defensive liabilities?


3) Pagan-I've read on Metsblog the FO isn't in love with him and he's a possible non tender candidate. I believe they control him for one more year, so I'd go year to y ear with him. If you look at his BB and K numbers compared to 2009 and 2010, he's improved them both. BB% is 9.7%, K is also 9.7%. His BABIP is down to 255 from about 340 in his good years. But his LD% is actually higher than 2009 and 2010. He's already 30, so I don't think lokcing him up for the long term is prudent, but I'd definitely bring him back next year, especially since we don't have any other CF options that seem to be ready for opening day next year.

4) This would probably be a very bad defensive team, but imagine if this was the lineup the Mets had next year

C- Thole/Paulino
1B- Davis
2b- Murphy
ss-Reyes
3B- Wright
LF- Bay )sigh)
CF- Pagan
RF- Duda

They'd score a ton of runs, and the pitchers would probably hate them. I'm not advocating it. Think Sandy is going to need to figure out something with Duda and/or Murph if they both continue to hit.
   82. Something Other Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:17 AM (#3888828)
2) Duda. He's got a 129 RC+. His walk rate is solid (10.5%), the K's are in check (14.5%; that's even lower than his AAA numbers, somehow),...
Well, remember that Duda had a brutal, long-lasting wrist injury that only seemed fully healed in 2010, so he's only been hitting at full strength since then. I don't doubt he's still feeling his way, so I'm not surprised to see his ML numbers improve over his AAA peripherals. The Mets would be fools not to give him every chance, and fools to trade him for a modest return. His future might be Manny Lite. I suppose it depends on what you think you need to dock him in OPS (or RC) if his glove is -10.


3) Pagan-I've read on Metsblog the FO isn't in love with him...
Any idea why, or whether that's supported? Pagan had an excellent 2009, and no one on the Mets was better in 2010. What's not to love?

Even at Pagan's current disappointing pace he projects to be worth more than a win, and worth more than his salary. He's capable of a 4-5 win season, and in his off years he still has value. Isn't that one of the things you look for? Nontendering him seems extremely foolish.

...especially since we don't have any other CF options that seem to be ready for opening day next year.
Good point. He's not holding anyone back, and if Kirk N or someone else catches fire, Pagan is a gem of a 4th OFer, particularly if you think about the even more gruesome numbers Jason Bay might be putting up in 2012. You have to be stupid cheap to dump Pagan on that basis; of course, with the Wilpons in charge, that could be the basis...

I haven't heard anything lately that makes me think the Wilpons are moving further towards the door. Didn't they get some good news recently in the form of the trustee, Picard, dropping a punitive portion of the damage claim?
   83. robinred Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:37 AM (#3888839)
Hmmm. I was not aware that the Wainwright/Beltran thing was such a, well, thing. Beltran played a lot of good ball for the Mets, and Wainwright made an asskicking pitch. I didn't see it as a chokejob at all.

I agree with the guy above who talked about Tom Glavine Game 162/2007. As a neutral who neither likes nor dislikes the Mets, when I think of their shortcomings/failures over the last few years, that, not Beltran/Wainwright, is what comes to mind. Indeed, the whole last two weeks of 2007 is what I think of in that context.

Reds beat the Giants in 13...after the Mets ended their season this week.
   84. Sam M. Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:07 AM (#3888850)
I haven't heard anything lately that makes me think the Wilpons are moving further towards the door.


Did you miss this article in the Times from a couple of days ago? It says the Einhorn deal is basically wrapped up, essentially because they found a way to satisfy JPMorgan, whose objection had been holding up the deal. Of the $200M he's loaning the Wilpons, $25M is going to replay the loan MLB floated last year, and $75M is going to pay down the $500M or so owed to JPMorgan. That appears to have been the price to get them to agree to allow Einhorn to be paid back his $200M (in the unlikely event that the Wilpons are able to do so when they are required to), ahead of the money JMMorgan is owed.

So now that they (just about) have their $100M to keep operating the team, the clock is ticking until the time comes when they either have to repay it, or Einhorn has an option to acquire controlling interest.
   85. Lassus Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:08 AM (#3888852)
4) This would probably be a very bad defensive team, but imagine if this was the lineup the Mets had next year

C- Thole/Paulino
1B- Davis
2b- Murphy
ss-Reyes
3B- Wright
LF- Bay )sigh)
CF- Pagan
RF- Duda

They'd score a ton of runs, and the pitchers would probably hate them.


Bay has been fine in LF, and has in the past two weeks made a number of excellent plays. Other than Duda and the catchers, I'm not really sure why you consider this a "very bad" defensive team.
   86. Sam M. Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3888857)
Other than Duda and the catchers, I'm not really sure why you consider this a "very bad" defensive team.

Does Murphy really have to wear a red nose, oversized shoes, and a bright striped or polka dot onesie when he goes out to play the field to make the answer to that question more obvious?

OK, that's mean. But we have no more real reason to believe Murphy can play 2B now -- including especially turning a competent and consistent DP -- than we did when this whole issue first arose. All we know now, more than we ever have before, is that maybe his emphatic bat can carry his defense.
   87. Lassus Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:36 AM (#3888864)
Sam, outside of LF, Murphy has been quite far away from clown shoes, at both 1B and 2B. It's not mean as much as it's simply inaccurate.
   88. Sam M. Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:43 AM (#3888866)
Sam, outside of LF, Murphy has been quite far away from clown shoes, at both 1B and 2B.

He (and Turner, for that matter) have been very weak on double plays, and Murphy has a troubling tendency (at both positions, actually) to rush plays unnecessarily -- it appears to me that he's thinking about what he wants to do and starts to do it before he's really ready or has his body in position to do it. That's why he will make plays that seem klutzy or strange, because he's out of position or slipping to reach or tripping . . . . He does have a reasonably good arm and is adequate on simply fielding-the-ball type plays. But when he has to make and execute a decision, not so much.

Clown shoes, no. But if he's the Mets' regular second baseman, IMHO, it will absolutely be a defensive issue. As well as a big-time offensive strength. Thole, Duda, and Murphy would be the defensive liabilities, and Pagan would be only average in CF.
   89. Sam M. Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:06 AM (#3888873)
There is an absolutely hysterical Freudian slip in this article in the Times, discussing the similarities and differences between Wang's injury & rehab and Johan's. Here it is:

When Dr. David Altchek, who performed Santana’s injury, opened Santana’s shoulder, he saw a relatively strong and healthy labrum and rotator cuff — in contrast to Wang, whose labrum and rotator cuff were torn.


I know the Mets' medical staff has had a troubled history, but this is the first documented instance of one of them actually causing a serious injury, instead of just mistreating one!
   90. Lassus Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:35 AM (#3888876)
He does have a reasonably good arm and is adequate on simply fielding-the-ball type plays. But when he has to make and execute a decision, not so much.

I'll agree that that he can certainly make errors in judgment, but again, the former is just not accurate. He has proven himself incredibly quick and soft-handed in the infield. As inveterate grump Hernandez says so, I'm going with him - while he is a home announcer, he is incapable of not being straight with fielding judgments. Murphy is simply not a defensive liability in the infield. Is he Hernandez or, say, Gonzalez? #### no. But that's certainly different from being a liability.
   91. PreservedFish Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:56 AM (#3888888)
Murphy looks pretty solid at first base. He makes too many errors due to awkwardness, but when that's not happening he looks smooth. Definitely good range at the position. I think he's fine there.

I have a feeling that he'd be a disaster at second base, but I also think it's a good idea to try him there. (I always thought that Doug Mientkiewicz was capable of playing second)
   92. Lassus Posted: July 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM (#3888933)
I have a feeling that he'd be a disaster at second base, but I also think it's a good idea to try him there.

Murphy has played 23 games at 2B this year. He hasn't been Brandon Phillips, but he hasn't been a disaster.
   93. Sam M. Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3888952)
Murphy has played 23 games at 2B this year. He hasn't been Brandon Phillips, but he hasn't been a disaster.

"Disaster" is a word I'd reserve for Todd Hundley-to-the-outfield level fiascoes. So no, Murphy at second base hasn't been a disaster. But I don't think Hernandez' praise (# 90) has been given with respect to his play at 2B, either -- it's been about 1B. And again, it has been about the kind of play that involves simply fielding the ball -- ranging to get it, often on a throw similar to that which a third baseman would make. That's really the best description, I think: on plays most similar to a third baseman, Murphy is at his best: react and do. Get it, glove it, throw it. On plays involving decision-making, teamwork, or serious footwork, not so much.

I'm sticking to what I said when I wasn't kidding around with the clown stuff: at second base, he will be a defensive issue. Not a disaster, but an issue. And I doubt first base will be open, unless they cut off Ike Davis' foot during surgery, which is probably only about 40% likely.
   94. Lassus Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3888957)
Sam - that makes more sense, and I'd certainly agree that of the three infield spots he's played, 2B is his worst. I can cop to "issue" - even if my use certainly isn't as pejorative as yours - but issues can be both dealt with and/or improved without rending of garments and tearing of hair . I'm just not seeing "liability" and "disaster", the two other words that have been used so far.

Thanks for the note on the Harvey start in the other thread, BTW. Fun.

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