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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, April 04, 2004

New York Mets

Acquired C Chris Widger and IF Wilson Delgado from the St. Louis Cardinals for OF Roger Cedeno.

Widger and Delgado have essentially no shot to make the Mets’ squad - this trade is solely about the Mets wanting to get rid of Cedeno.  Cedeno would have come in handy for the Cards last year, which says a lot more about the outfield depth at Busch than anything Cedeno can do.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 04, 2004 at 03:01 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 13, 2003 at 05:02 PM (#563155)
Timo's more offensive as a defensive replacement than as an offensive one.
   102. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 13, 2003 at 05:28 PM (#563157)
Chris J:
   103. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 13, 2003 at 05:28 PM (#563158)
)
   104. Steve Posted: January 13, 2003 at 07:09 PM (#563162)
The only good thing about this move, with the rest of the Mets' off-season, is that if (I mean WHEN) it fails and the Mets fall apart again, Steve Phillips will (please) be fired and then the Mets will have a chance to hire a GM with a clue.
   105. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 13, 2003 at 08:32 PM (#563168)
So the Mets have a strong lineup

The Mets have a strong lineup?
   106. Snowboy Posted: January 13, 2003 at 09:11 PM (#563169)
One poor season is all it takes
   107. Bill Posted: January 13, 2003 at 10:26 PM (#563171)
The Mets have a strong lineup? They have two hitters, three if Alomar rebounds.

This may sound odd, but I like watching Shinjo hit. He strides to the plate with supreme, if totally misplaced, self-confidence. He often takes two huge (and futile) cuts, as if he were, Mighty Casey-like, increasing the challenge. Or maybe he's just warming up. (Two to get loose, one to produce!). Then, when the inevitable strikeout or pop up comes, he looks utterly astonished.

It's not productive, but it's amusing.
   108. Mike Posted: January 13, 2003 at 10:39 PM (#563172)
the most important thing to consider here is that this signing gave Oracle an opportunity to make an archaic elvis costello reference.
   109. billyshears Posted: January 13, 2003 at 11:40 PM (#563175)
It's not one poor season that's the problem. It's the consistent failure to recognize what needs fixing and how to fix it.

Well, there is that of course, but I'm partial to the incredibly inefficient use of resources as being the Mets biggest problem. The Mets have been paying in the neighborhood of 1.30 mil/win for the past 2 years, which has to be close to the worst ratio in baseball. When you have a 100 mil budget, the definition of what constitutes a "poor" season should be a little less forgiving. A chimpanzee should be able to GM a team to an 88 win season on that kind of budget. Steve Phillips' failure to do so for 2 consecutive seasons is damning.
   110. J. Cross Posted: January 13, 2003 at 11:56 PM (#563176)
There's no reason to assume that Cedeno is moving to centerfield. Yes, I know that the Mets SAY that he is but they have all the incentive in the world to say this whether he is or not. If Cedeno has NO position on the Mets that makes him even harder to trade. If the Mets admit that he can't play CF (this seems likely since he can barely play LF) that also makes him harder to trade. Of course it will take a pretty dumb team to trade for Cedeno regardless. Anyway, I'd like to give Phillips some credit and assume that this is setting up the Timo Perez/Shinjo platoon that should be pretty decent. Raul Gonzalez looked pretty bad in CF so Shinjo (who hits lefties pretty well) is a better option. Gonzalez or Brady Clark (do the Mets still have him?) could sub for Burnitz in RF v. lefties. I think the Mets should just let Scutaro, Wigginton and Russ Johnson battle it out for the third base job but Scutaro could be used as the main backup IF.
   111. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 14, 2003 at 12:09 AM (#563177)
archaic elvis costello reference

That's the best kind.

As far as the Mets futility goes, I used be disgusted but now I try to be amused.
   112. Roadblock Jones Posted: January 14, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#563188)
Gary Pettis is the guy they got "working" with Cedeno. I don't think it will matter. I suspect the Mets are trying very hard to move him.

The Mets need a few guys who can hit LHP. Shinjo does that well, plays the outfield excellently, and was a great fan favorite last time around (I know that shouldn't matter but it perhaps does after last season's debacle). Shinjo + Timo Perez = decent centerfielder.
   113. Bill Posted: January 14, 2003 at 08:25 PM (#563191)
There are lots of people in the business world who aren't happy unless they are constantly wheeling-and-dealing, always confusing activity with progress, and ignoring the fact that most mergers and acquisitions don't work out. There have certainly been GM's like this (some of us may be old enough to remember Trader Frank Lane) and I think Phillips fits the mold.
   114. Bill Posted: January 14, 2003 at 09:04 PM (#563192)
I also wanted to point out that the idea of Shinjo as a good hitter against lefties seems to be based solely on a mere 110 AB's last year (.819 OPS). This is too small a sample size for any serious judgment. In 2001, he had 82 AB's vs. LHP's with an OPS of 706. For his career, that gives him 192 AB's with a 338/432. I can't see drawing much of a conclusion from that.
   115. Benji Posted: January 16, 2003 at 06:30 PM (#563201)
Timo is good defensively?
   116. blue Posted: January 26, 2003 at 07:22 PM (#564273)
Bush hasn't done anything terribly amazing as far as I can see, unless you count the super-easy decision to invade Afghanistan as something amazing. Of course, he still has time left, so I won't judge until his term is over. But Clinton got some stuff done, i.e. welfare reform, and he wasn't the first (or last) President to cheat on his wife. (See FDR, for instance. Are you going to tell me he was good for nothing too?) Bush himself knows some things about living on the wild side. He got arrested for DUI, after all. So please please please let's not make this into a debate about which President is worse. It's about Graeme Lloyd, remember?
   117. blue Posted: January 26, 2003 at 09:28 PM (#564275)
I'm not going to argue about your opinions on Clinton because it's not worth it. I agree that Lloyd isn't any good, but what Phillips' poor judgment has to do with Presidents past and present is beyond me.
   118. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 26, 2003 at 09:31 PM (#564276)
Neither one of 'em is a responsible individual, IMO. I think Clinton's record is a little bit less sketchy than Bush's, but you can certainly make a case the other way if you're so inclined. Both have a history of substance abuse, military shenanigans, and illegal corporate deals, and both men have tried to use their office to benefit persons of questionable character. I didn't vote for Clinton in '96 or Bush in 2000, and I don't regret either decision.

I'll argue the claim that Lloyd sucks. He's had one bad season in his career (last year), and you don't have to reach too far to find extenuating circumstances; he spent half of the year pitching for the lame-duck Expos, and in the other half, he pitched for a Marlins team to which he had tried to block a trade (out of dislike for Loria). I suppose it's possible that he's on the long downhill slide at the age of 36, but it's also possible that he experienced random fluctuations in performance, as all relievers do sooner or later. You can say that the signing sucks, as it doesn't address an actual need, but there's no need to tar Lloyd with the same brush you're using for Phillips.
   119. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: January 27, 2003 at 04:36 PM (#564278)
My private nickname for Graeme Lloyd has always been "Swinton", after Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame, who was a British aristocrat involved in politics (he was twice president of the Board of Trade, sort of like being Secretary of Commerce in the U.S.). He later became the Earl of Swinton. (He was also deputy chief whip of the Hosue of Lords, an office which earns you the majestic official title of Chief Yeoman of the Guard).

I get a kick out of imagining Lloyd as a tea-sipping English aristocrat with a whinnying laugh and a monocle. Particuarly since he's an Aussie, and while he's relatively sharp of mind, his small head and long neck make him look a bit microcephalic.
   120. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 27, 2003 at 09:06 PM (#564279)
You left something out of your chronology there, Phillippe: The bit where his wife died unexpectedly shortly before opening day in 2000.

I agree that lots of people performed capably for the Expos last year, but it seems reasonable to me that Lloyd's performance might have been adversely affected by one of the many distractions he was facing: mourning, surgical recovery, professional uncertainty, and a desire to throttle Jeff Loria.

In any case, Lloyd's a lefty. He could lose both legs in a rabid weasel attack and still get NRIs until he's 45.
   121. Alan Posted: February 21, 2003 at 12:54 AM (#565064)
This is a good move. No risk/moderately high reward, and from what I hear he might be able to imitate an outfielder. He could be one of the best bats off the bench in the league, useful trade bait, or possibly their starting 1B or RFer by midseason. And if 2002 is his new level, well then they flush away a couple hundred thousand dollars (it's not my money, and Wilpon is saying money isn't an object, so it's fine with me). For all his faults, Phillips does a very good job picking up and stockpiling cheap talent.
   122. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: February 21, 2003 at 01:55 AM (#565067)
Considering the fodder that passes for most NRIs, taking a flyer on Clark seems a decent risk. Who'd have thunk I'd praise a Mets move?
   123. John Posted: February 21, 2003 at 02:55 AM (#565069)
Couldn't be $550K total for 2 yrs cause the league min is now $300K.
   124. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 21, 2003 at 03:06 AM (#565071)
Yeah. Now if he'd only USE it...
   125. Nasty Nate Posted: February 21, 2003 at 03:28 PM (#565079)
If Tony Clark hits 10 major leage home-runs this year I will eat my hat. He's got all the bat-speed of Dracula on xanax.
   126. Jason Posted: February 21, 2003 at 06:51 PM (#565081)
Slow starter and a notoriously bad back. Hated to see him leave D-town, but in retrospect it was perhaps the best timed Tiger transaction in goodness knows how long.
   127. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2003 at 08:18 PM (#565094)
The Mets DO have a moderately-interesting 1B prospect blocked by this move: Aaron McNeal.

Chalk me up as another vote for Scutaro being more potentially useful than McEwing. Scutaro can handle all three of the hard positions in the infield, and the ability to play badly in the outfield or at first base isn't all that valuable. Both are probably better than Bell at this point (and I say this as a guy who grew up cheering for Jay when he was in Pittsburgh).
   128. Mr. Crowley Posted: February 25, 2003 at 05:03 PM (#565117)
Woe be unto the Mets

Wasn't "Woe Be Unto" one of the Jedi in the rebellion? I didn't know he's with the Mets now.
   129. Eli Hungerford: Cityboy Crypto-Elitist for hire Posted: February 25, 2003 at 06:08 PM (#565118)
I wonder if Donovan Osborne and Joe Magraine ever hang out and talk about what could have been with the Cards' rotation of the late 80s.
   130. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 25, 2003 at 06:38 PM (#565119)
"Finally, it's payback time!!!! Do the Mets play the Cubs early in the season???? I sure hope so; for all the Baylor-tastic torture endured by Wrigley and WGN denizens last year, I think it appropriate that Sammy get to slam no. 500 off D.O."

As it happens, the Cubs start the year off against the Mets.
   131. Mark S. is bored Posted: April 24, 2003 at 03:47 AM (#565751)
The Mets then promptly sent Strange back to Norfolk and brought up Astacio.

Is anyone else seeing problems with the comments box in Netscape? It kinda works in IE, but I can't find the box at all in Netscape.
   132. NTNgod Posted: July 28, 2003 at 11:22 PM (#564281)
Lloyd sent to the Royals for RHP Jeremy Hill (converted catcher, isn't he ?):
   133. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 09, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#565104)
No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#### you Duquette. I'm sick and tired of this bullshit organization. I don't care what they do anymore, this team is doomed.
   134. NTNgod Posted: October 10, 2003 at 12:07 AM (#565105)
I'm sick and tired of this bullshit organization. I don't care what they do anymore, this team is doomed.

Err, I assume this about Oakland claiming Scutaro (and Matt Watson) off waivers from the Mets?
   135. Mark S. is bored Posted: December 08, 2003 at 05:08 PM (#569474)
it looks like Victor Diaz will in fact need a new team or a new position to play as a regular in the majors

From comments I've heard about Diaz's defense, he might have needed a new position anyway. How about RF?

I wouldn't count on the Mets winning 90 games, but this looks like a better lineup than they trotted out last year.

2B Reyes
   136. Brian Posted: December 08, 2003 at 06:53 PM (#569477)
Matsui, Kaz - 2004 ZiPS Projection------------------------------------AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB BA OBP SLG 510 84 145 30 5 14 67 46 126 18 .284 .349 .445

If the Zips projection is right, and I thinkit is, the Mets are paying an awful lot of money to displace their most valuable property from his natural position. Kaz better be the best defensive shortstop in MLB to justify the $7mm per.
   137. J. Cross Posted: December 08, 2003 at 07:01 PM (#569480)
JHP, those are projected numbers of what he will do at Shea in 2004. His #'s from Japan are much better, ofcourse.

Victor Diaz supposedly runs well but has trouble with his footwork on the infield. Maybe he's like a stocky young Soriano at 2nd. It seems like he could play something a little tougher than first base. Maybe a corner outfield or third.
   138. Chris Dial Posted: December 08, 2003 at 07:16 PM (#569481)
The Mets didn't offer Clark arbitration, so he's gone.

A good fielding SS with a .800 OPS? And he'll sell additional tickets (he will, really). He is 28, so a 3-yr deal is about right.

THe money the Mets spent on him doesn't matter. They didn't grossly overpay, and they are getting tons of stew back from Mo and Burnitz, so there shouldn't be an issue. Reyes is so young that a few seasons at 2B before returning to SS is fine too.

Diaz should replace Wigginton - who really sucks. Reyes at second won't significantly decrease his value. Depending on BIP distribution, the 2B gets as many opps as the SS often and turning the DP is critical. The offensive step up will matter, but that's mostly going to hinge on Marcus Giles.
   139. Steve Posted: December 08, 2003 at 09:05 PM (#569482)
Welcome to MLB my pretty little data point!
   140. Sam M. Posted: December 08, 2003 at 10:50 PM (#569483)
Diaz should replace Wigginton - who really sucks.

I think that makes a great deal of sense. In the short term, though, while Diaz learns to play 3b (or, more accurately, we learn whether he can learn to play 3b), the Mets should look for a platoon partner for Wigginton. Wigginton did very well against lefties (.835 OPS in 155 AB) in 2003, and if he has value for the long term it's going to be in a platoon role. I'd give him the opportunity to show that the plus side of his platoon differential is a genuine strength, because if it is, he's got real value.
   141. Snowboy Posted: December 09, 2003 at 02:00 AM (#569487)
He'll more often be "Kaz Matsui" than "Little Matsui" but the "Little" will stick, esp. since he decided to play in the same city as Hideki.
   142. pyrite Posted: December 09, 2003 at 04:47 AM (#569492)
Would Mets fans be OK with this signing if the extra $$ generated by having Matsui on the team allowed Wilpon to open up the purse strings a touch? Say, if Matsui generated enough extra revenue to make up the difference between Vlad and Reggie Sanders or between Mike Cameron and Doug Glanville?

I don't know if that's even close to true, but if the 90M payroll suddenly finds it way up to 110M after this, I wouldn't be surprised. Not that Matsui will generate 20M/year on his own, but that Wilpon might not want to surround his investment with an 80 win team.

Also, remember Reyes moving to 2nd isn't necessarily written in stone. If Reyes is struggling adjusting to 2nd in spring training, Matsui can be the big selfless hero by offering to go to 2nd or 3rd (with Wiggy at 2nd) for the good of the team.

How do you say PR Grand Slam in Japanese? Especially when the crosstown shortstop wouldn't even switch positions for ARod?

So, maybe it's not the perfect move for the Mets, it might be too risky, but it's got upside. And it's not Micheal Tucker.
   143. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 09, 2003 at 05:24 AM (#569494)
I don't think the Mets should move Wigginton, he is just a stopgap til David Wright arrives (ETA opening day 2005). Diaz should be either traded or moved to RF.
   144. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2003 at 01:45 AM (#569496)
That doesn't sound to me like a guy who is as large of a baserunning threat as the guy (Reyes) who he's displacing.

For purposes of baserunning, Reyes is not the guy he's displacing. Joe F. McEwing is the guy he's displacing. Care to debate whether he'll be a greater baserunning threat than McEwing?

Every observer, from Bobby V. to scouts to rival GMs, sees Matsui as an outstanding fielder with outstanding speed. I'll take their word over yours, Big Guy. Maybe Kaz is about to start his decline, I don't know. But in terms of the player's location on the hill, it's just nothing like signing Tom Glavine and Mo Vaughn. They were over it; there's little basis for claiming Kaz is. (His SB were down last season primarily because he moved to the # 3 hole in the order.)

BTW, Gammons reported that the Yankees came in late with an offer for more money than Matsui took from the Mets, but Kaz turned 'em down, having committed to the Mets and feeling they'd wanted him more all along. I guess the Yankees were idiots for wanting him, too, eh?
   145. Benji Posted: December 10, 2003 at 07:36 AM (#569497)
Sam, you let Steinbrenner manipulate you! George Mikan used to make huge offers to college seniors when he was the ABA Commisioner, but only after they had signed. This "we made this huge offer" serves the Yanks two ways: if Kaz is what certain fans (e.g. you) and baseball people say he is, then "well, what did you want from us? we made a bigger offer". If he becomes the power threat Shinjo and So Taguchi are, then "if we really wanted him, we woulda got him. We just wanted to made the Mets outlay bigger bucks than we knew he was worth" will spew from Cashman, Waldman, Kay, etc.
   146. Sam M. Posted: December 15, 2003 at 01:07 PM (#570046)
My guess is it takes 3 weeks for the lower IQ segment of Mets fans to scream to talk radio about Mike Cameron and his strikeouts.

True. But here, having Franco and Leiter as Assistant GMs (and Glavine as AGM-in-training) will come in handy. Because they will actually be vocal in the tabloids about how great he is defensively. They should have a package for the Diamond Vision screen of his defensive highlights ready to play in the early innings every game the first month of the season. Nothing like conditioning the masses . . . .

If he produces those numbers (a center fielder with a .359 OBP and 20 HR -- we didn't know such a thing existed), along with the defense he provides, he'll be the best overall center fielder the Mets have had since Dykstra, and maybe ever.
   147. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 15, 2003 at 02:40 PM (#570047)
Can't believe he didn't get $8M. Nice signing by the Mets.
   148. scott Posted: December 15, 2003 at 07:05 PM (#570050)
this is a solid solid deal. i mean, just the upgrade over timo perez or whoever else they would throw out there is huge.
   149. mommy Posted: December 15, 2003 at 08:31 PM (#570052)
if cameron hadn't been playin in safeco the past few seasons, i think he'd be considered a superstar right now. that said, i have this feeling he's gonna collapse in the next season or two, and not really look like such a great deal.
   150. jeff angus Posted: December 15, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#570053)
Factoid-ette of minor importance:

Given the way Cameron grumbled about playing in the M's home park (especially the batters' eye), I was confident he'd opt for a team w/a home park favoring hitters, or at least an unremarkable one. So I was pretty surprised he chose the Mets.

But when I looked at his 2001-03 #s on espn,in his tiny sample playing at Shea, he was 5-for-13, 1 BB. only 1 K. So maybe for him, it's more a batters' eye issue than a park size/prevailing winds issue. And Shea will give him the opportunity to make those long running catches he seems to relish.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=5492
   151. Sam M. Posted: December 15, 2003 at 10:04 PM (#570054)
that said, i have this feeling he's gonna collapse in the next season or two, and not really look like such a great deal.

Well, his OPS+ numbers have declined from 124 (2001) to 114 (2002) to 106 (2003). That's a trend I'd certainly like to see reversed, but I think it makes only a very thin case that his offense has started to decline. On the surface, certainly, his numbers should perk up this year based simply on the move away from Safeco.

If I were Cameron, it'd be the Mets' recent history in big acquisitions that would frighten me -- Vaughn, Alomar, Glavine. Even Floyd, though he hit well, could be seen as continuing the gloomy trend, having undergone surgery. We can only shudder to contemplate the macabre fate that awaits poor Mike Cameron (not to mention Kaz-Mat) . . . .
   152. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 01:11 AM (#570055)
I think the reason why some of the recent acquisitions haven't paid off its because they were bad acquisitions.

Floyd was a solid signing, and it certainly looked that way all year long (132 OPS+). He only had surgery so that he can be ready for spring training.

For the next three years, Floyd and Cameron will be making 13 million combined. I'd say thats pretty good bang for the buck.
   153. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 17, 2003 at 08:54 PM (#570059)
A starter would be okay, but i trust Peterson being able to make Heilman better next year. Ditto for Moreno/Yates/Ring and the closer position. RF on the other hand...

Internal options are:
   154. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 18, 2003 at 05:03 AM (#570438)
Heck, Franco's older than some of the '86 Mets.
   155. Joe Morgan Posted: December 18, 2003 at 05:47 AM (#570441)
That Al Mays, he may have a decent ERA, but he's not a good pitcher because he doesn't know how to win.
   156. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 18, 2003 at 06:00 AM (#570442)
Incredible waste of a roster spot and resources. The difference between Cerda's and Franco's salaries is half of what the Mets have refused to take on to get Billy Koch.

Can't blame it on the Duke though.
   157. Dudefella Posted: December 18, 2003 at 06:03 AM (#570443)
I'm waiting for Benji's head to explode in 5...4...3...
   158. Sam M. Posted: December 18, 2003 at 06:03 AM (#570444)
This is one of those Good Soldier contracts. My guess is that the ZiPS projection here is overly pessimistic, in part because his role will be diminished enough that he'll be spotted in situation where he's likely to be relatively successful.

I do think the Wilpons ought to treat this off-budget, because it's $1 million they really shouldn't be spending, and which I'm confident Duquette would not have spent had it been his call.
   159. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: December 18, 2003 at 11:03 PM (#570453)
Alright, Kranepool50, once more, with feeling.
   160. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 19, 2003 at 04:22 AM (#570456)
You mean Cirillo, no?
   161. Roadblock Jones Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:46 AM (#570458)
What I fear about this deal is the babying Franco's required, which really goes all the way back to '01. Even if he's effective, which I'm optimistic he can be, it's going to take a lot of caution and massaging his appearances to get there. I'd just as soon treat my grizzled veteran middle inning guys like the palookas they are.
   162. scott Posted: December 19, 2003 at 07:16 PM (#570460)
oh cmon, franco is a class act. he almost certainly won't make the hall of fame, and he gave you the jibbles even when he was at his prime, i'd still rather see him up there than david freaking weathers or some other schmo.
   163. Lester Posted: January 06, 2004 at 07:45 PM (#571054)
Looper has a reputation for throwing smoke, but his K-rate throughout his career has been pretty pedestrian. Anyone watch him and know what's up? Any reason to believe that he will breakout and harness his stuff?
   164. Darren Posted: January 06, 2004 at 09:45 PM (#571057)
Why can't Franco or Roberts or Strickland (when he's back) or Moreno be the closer?

Why? Because Art Howe needs a PROVEN CLOSER! Despite being in the cellar the 2nd half of last year and "rebuilding" this year, Howe refuses to explore making anyone a closer. He used a committee approach last season rather than try out Moreno or Ring or someone. Then this winter he's talking about how hard it was for his pitchers to not know their roles, and how getting a closer would fix that.

I think Duquette's throwing Art a bone on this one. But if I were Duquette I'd be pretty frustrated that I went to all the trouble to acquire 248 relief prospects last year so that I could now sign Looper.

And what's the deal with RF for the Mets. Player after player goes off the board and they do nothing. Are they looking for a star? Get Vlad. Did they want to avoid a long deal--they could have had Gonzo for 1 year, $4 mil. Did they want defense--why not Guillen? Who will they end up with out there, Cedeno?
   165. CrosbyBird Posted: January 06, 2004 at 11:13 PM (#571058)
This offseason, the Mets have made one good signing (fills and important need well) in Mike Cameron, one signing that would be good for another team, but didn't really fit the Mets needs, in Kazuo Matsui, and one signing that probably wasn't so smart (Looper).

I agree with you on Cameron (great signing) and Looper (not a wonderful signing although not a tragedy), but I think Matsui is another excellent signing. The Mets went into the offseason with holes in the lineup at CF, 2B, and RF. After Cameron and Matsui were signed, the only blatant hole in the lineup is RF.
   166. Sam M. Posted: January 06, 2004 at 11:42 PM (#571059)
This fixation on $3 million/year for Looper as if he's wildly overpaid is, with all due respect, nonsense. First of all, the money a team pays is relevant only if it constrains other, better moves they would otherwise have made. I see no evidence that this is (or is likely to be) the case with Looper, either in 2004 or in '05. Second, this is a stop-gap signing. They clearly didn't want to invest in a long-term deal for a Foulke (which, BTW, would have involved giving up a draft pick -- not so w/ Looper), because of those 817 minor league relievers Duke acquired and their belief that either Ring or Yates will be ready relatively soon to inherit the position. So they filled a (perceived) hole in their bullpen for the short-term with a guy who has never had an ERA+ under 100, has been durable and consistent, and will take innings away from Franco and Stanton -- all those are good things.

Ask yourself this: are the 80 innings or so Looper will pitch next year likely to be better pitched than they would have been in his absence? I think the answer is clearly yes.

Moreover, there is a good to excellent chance that Looper will blossom under Peterson (see Taylor, Billy; Isringhausen, Jason; Koch, Billy; Foulkes, Keith) in the magical "Proven Closer" role, pumping up his value and making him eminently tradeable in mid-season 04 for decent prospects. So for about $5 million, they'd get a year and a half of reasonably competent closing, very possibly upgraded by Peterson to better-than-competent, until Ring or Yates is ready, and whatever Looper might then bring in trade.

It's a debatable move, for sure. But absurd, or awful? Not by a long shot.
   167. Sam M. Posted: January 06, 2004 at 11:44 PM (#571060)
making him eminently tradeable in mid-season 04 for decent prospects

That should have been mid-season '05, by the way.
   168. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 12:00 AM (#571061)
For all the deal being made about Looper's salary over the next two years it bears mentioning that the Mets paid Benitez the same amount for last year alone. Also i don't think the Mets could have gotten Urbina since its been reported that he is asking 5 million a year and saying that he is staying in Venezuela if he doesn't get it.

This has been a great offseason. The Mets have trimmed about 30 million of payroll, kept ALL of their draft picks and improved their team as much as anyone. Oh and since their payroll is only about 80 million, they'll have enough financial flexibility next offseason to go get a top of the rotation pitcher and a RF and be in a great position to compete for the playoffs.
   169. Sam M. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 03:16 AM (#571064)
The method of bringing in the One True Thing did, indeed, work when the acquired Piazza. It didn't work, though, when they acquired Alomar. The point is there is more than one route to the Promised Land, and none of the roads are guaranteed to get you there. The Marlins didn't have a single player anywhere close to Vlad's quality last season.

Mike Cameron is NOT a "second-tier" guy. He is one of the very best center fielders in the game, taking offense and defense together.

A fine team can be built around avoiding having "black holes" -- god-awful positions that drag the team down. The Mets had three of those last year, and have done a good job of filling two of them. Pokey frigging Reese? Give me a break. You'd honestly rather have Reese and Kaz Matsui? I just don't get that, at all. Victor Diaz will have a position if he proves he can handle the defensive responsibilities and improves his plate discipline. And if he doesn't have a position with the Mets, he'll have value to trade for someone who better fits their needs. That's what increasing the talent base will do for you; it'll give you multiple options and a surplus you can then rearrange into the shape you need.

The Mets didn't NOT go after Vlad because they signed Matsui and Cameron. They didn't go after Vlad because (a) they're gun-shy about long-term contracts, including the problems obtaining insurance, especially for players with recent injury histories, and (b) they believed it would be a waste of time, a judgment the Yankees obviously shared (since they pursued Sheffield instead). I believe if they'd targeted Vlad instead of Matsui and Cameron, they'd have ended up with none of the above. Now, wouldn't THAT have made for a fun 2004!

The Mets have made four post-seasons and two World Series since Wilpon owned the team. There is nothing inherent in his ownership that holds them back. IMO, they've turned an important corner, in several ways, and will in short order (i.e., no later than 2006) be back in contention, following the plan they've put in place. We'll see who is right.
   170. BrandonMO (U L) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 03:21 AM (#571065)
Personal note: during my reign of terror with the Mets on Baseball Mogul 2004, I traded almost everybody and Kazmir was starting in 2003.

But, in the real world, a plan that involves getting rid of alot of junk just doesn't have a shot of happening
   171. Darren Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:15 AM (#571066)
The method of bringing in the One True Thing did, indeed, work when the acquired Piazza. It didn't work, though, when they acquired Alomar. The point is there is more than one route to the Promised Land, and none of the roads are guaranteed to get you there.

I thought the point was don't pursue 34-year-old 2B. (Or maybe it was that the Mets should never ever acquire 2B from the Indians.)
   172. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 04:42 AM (#571067)
I would have liked the Mets to go after Vlad too, but i can't see how staying away from a player with a back condition who wants 5 years plus and whose contract can't be insured is such a bad idea. Or do i need to remind you that the only way the Mets were able to acquire Cameron/Matsui was thanks to Mo's insurance?

As Sam points out, the Mets don't need Vlad to compete. By next offseason the Mets could have as much as 30 million to spend on a RF (Magglio, Beltran, Anderson, Nixon, Hidalgo) and a starting pitcher (Wood, Morris, Millwood, etc). Not to mention some nice trading chips (Victor Diaz, Wigginton, Jason Phillips) to acquire any of those two needs through salary dumps.
   173. Sam M. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 05:55 AM (#571069)
Well, not every team agrees with you on Cameron; the A's offered him a four-year deal.

And if, by 2006, the fans do feel that way, then they'll be rewarded, because the deals will expire when that season is over.

Yes, Cameron's numbers were down last year, even away from Safeco, and that is somewhat worrisome. But the long-term record shows a very good hitter on the road, and a player apparently uniquely harmed by that park. We'll see. But if he just gives us Gold Glove defense and solidly above-average offense for a CF, I'll think it was worth it, by a long shot.

I certainly don't have any objection to making a play for Vlad. But I am quite happy about the moves they HAVE made: deals that are relatively short-term, for reasonable if not optimal money, and without sacrificing any talent or draft picks.
   174. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:29 AM (#571070)
Comparing Cameron to Jay Payton is something i'd expect in a Mets' board not on Primer. Shea is a better hitter's parks for right-handed power hitters than Safeco is so i'd say its likely that Cameron will do better than he did in Seattle:

Safeco 2002-2003
   175. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 07:20 AM (#571071)
I'm pretty much 100% in line with OFF. Cammy's a steal at his current price.

I think the Mets are going to miss Benitez a lot sooner than anybody'd expect. For all the ######## that went on about the man, he did a really good job for the boys in blue and orange.
   176. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 07, 2004 at 09:11 AM (#571073)
I meant defensevely.

After watching him blow four games in early April last year that effectevely ended any hope for the season, i doubt Mets' fans will be sad to see Benitez gone. He was great for us, but he is not the same pitcher he used to be.
   177. Toolsy McClutch Posted: January 07, 2004 at 06:56 PM (#571074)
Yikes, is Jim really that good defensively? I always thought it was hype created by some highlight reel catches. Do the numbers back that up?
   178. Lester Posted: January 07, 2004 at 07:41 PM (#571077)
I agree with Sam M and OFF. The Mets got the mid-tier FA bargains of the winter in Matsui and Cameron. (Also remember, no draft picks forfeited for either player) As a Dodgers fan, I am extremely jealous. Those two affordable players would have made us contenders.
   179. Walt Davis Posted: January 07, 2004 at 08:04 PM (#571078)
Wasted money is wasted money, no matter how rich the team is. Wasted money is a sign of a GM who doesn't quite know what he's doing. That's $6+ M that would have been better spent filling their RF hole (Reggie Sanders or Jose Cruz, say).

The Mets bullpen last year was hardly awful. The problems they had were injuries, not quality:

Benitez -- 3.10 (49 IP)
   180. Sam M. Posted: January 07, 2004 at 08:27 PM (#571079)
As to flipping Looper, don't count on it. First, the whole notion of flipping is about buying low and selling high. Instead, in a market that overvalues saves, the Mets outbid other teams for Looper's services, which means they bought at the top of the market. In order to break even, they'll have to sell at the top of the market too.

Or change the value of the commodity, Walt. The argument about flipping him is integrally tied to the argument about Peterson: they bought at the "top of the market" for a guy who's been a decent, consistent relief pitcher. If Peterson can help him be better than that in the next year and a half, then he's in a very different market. I genuinely believe it is worth what they're investing here because of the chance that he will, working with Peterson, substantially "beat" the projections. (And, I might add, I'll stick by that even if the investment doesn't pay off -- not all of them do, after all, even those that made sense at the time.)

Plus, the market involved for a trade is talent, not $$$ as it was in signing him. Right now, teams are clearly valuing $$$ higher than they used to relative to talent. In July 2005, Looper won't cost a team that might be looking for a closer all that much, and his value (paradoxically) as a short-term rental will be higher -- and the market for him deeper -- than it was for a two-year contract. The Mets might well be able to get more talent (and more useful long-term talent) for him then than they could purchase for the same $$$ right now.
   181. J. Cross Posted: January 07, 2004 at 10:39 PM (#571081)
Looking at Looper's 4.22 projected ERA (with half his games at Shea) says that, going by the numbers, he's not worth $6.5M over two years. If all he's just another 4.2 ERA reliver for two years that might be worth $3M over 2 years.

In order to argue that this is a good signing we need to talk about Looper's stuff (fastball in the high 90's) and Peterson's ability to help pitcher's (like Isrinhausen and Koch) harness their stuff. Peterson can't help every pitcher. I read somewhere that the reason Oakland acquired or drafted some pitchers was b/c Peterson saw something that could be easily improved. Supposedly Peterson thought Lilly could add velocity by improving his hip rotation and this was one of the reasons he was acquired. Maybe Peterson sees a way for Looper to be more consistent with his fastball. Ofcourse, that's all speculation and pretty optimistic. Chances are Looper will be just a 4.2 ERA pitcher and the Mets overpaid.

As for flipping him I think the Mets chances are okay. After 50 innings Looper's ERA will have as much to do with luck as with ability. With a little luck he'll have some good looking numbers at the trading deadline and some GM will see a healthy 29 yr old closer with a big time fastball and numbers to back it up. I'm guessing that Looper is a lot easier to market to GM's than a David Weathers with the same numbers.

Anyway, it was almost inevitble that the Mets would acquire some closer and almost inevitable that they'd have to overpay to get someone who's closed games. Even a progressive front office like Boston's feels the pressure to have a "closer." (I'm not making that up; I've heard from someone in the Red Sox organization that the Foulke signing was at least partially motivated by a desire to avoid media scrutiny) The Mets have always been very sensitive to media pressure and it was probably a stretch to think that they'd let Orber Moreno close games. Given that, the Mets could have wasted more money in other deals. The Looper signing is far from disasterous.
   182. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 08, 2004 at 03:12 AM (#571082)
I don't see the reason why we shouldn't be excited. The Mets have had a great offseason. Here is what they have done:

- Kept ALL their draft picks
   183. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 01, 2004 at 01:09 AM (#572279)
These are the type of signings Duquette should be doing more often- No risk, and a chance for potential reward. Spencer is not really the answer, but he is a better bet to outproduce Roger Cedeno, Karim Garcia and Timo Perez against LHP.

The average RF last year posted a 275/350/459 line, is it unrealistic to believe that a platoon of Garcia/Spencer could approach that mark?
   184. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: February 02, 2004 at 02:57 AM (#572285)
Actually it looks like the Mets are signing all the players who played for the Indians and the Yankees. I sort of expect David Justice and Alvaro Espinoza to come out of retirement and sign for the Mets.
   185. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: February 02, 2004 at 05:30 AM (#572286)
   186. Benji Posted: February 07, 2004 at 10:06 AM (#572290)
Already vented on this ludicrous signing, so now SCOTT ERICKSON?? Scott F'ing Erickson?? Why? What does he bring to the team that makes the Heilmans, Griffiths, Roaches, etc pale? I have a new theory about Fred, Jeff and Howdy. Their desks are too far from the window, so they call the agents of every useless player they can think of, and hand them the money rather than walk all the way to the window to throw it out. Maybe Piazza thinks he's cute or something. They are the unfunniest joke in baseball. Only Glen Sather keeps them from being the biggest travesty in sports.
   187. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: February 15, 2004 at 12:34 AM (#572527)
The guy I work for is best buds with Botallico. I give Ricky props for making it all the way from an undrafted catcher at that baseball powerhouse known as Central Connecticut to where he is today. But that was over ten years ago. At least the Mets don't seem to be paying much (are they?) to see if he's still servicable.
   188. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 15, 2004 at 12:57 AM (#572528)
As bad as those ZIPS ERA's look, they are a vast improvement over the collective ERA of the Mets' 5th starters last year.
   189. Mark S. is bored Posted: February 15, 2004 at 04:21 AM (#572531)
I disagree. This is what teams with little chance of winning should be doing. Sign some risky, but cheap, veteran talent. If they don't produce, then cut them. If one, or more, gets on a hot streak, then turn them over to a contending team for some prospects.
   190. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 15, 2004 at 04:53 AM (#572532)
I disagree. What's the point of flipping guys from prospects when you're just going to play the new crappy veterans over them before flipping them before the next prospects that you screw over?

Signing Randall Simon is the type of signing that keeps a bad team in a #### cycle. Signing Randall Simon for trade value is ridiculous - nobody wants him now, so it's essentially like driving your 1983 Chevy Chevette around town to tempt someone into buying it.

I'm actually of the belief that bad teams actually want to play players with the potential to be good that could actually win games and be a bargain for 6 years.

Matt Stairs was the best player of the "Veteran guy we can flip" the Pirates have picked up recently and they forgot the part about flipping him.
   191. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 15, 2004 at 04:56 AM (#572533)
Crap, I'm getting my threads confused.

Of course, this triumvirate of trash fits in just as easily.

If signing James Baldwin to fetch trade value later made sense, the Mets might as well just stop signing free agents and spend the dough on lotto tickets.
   192. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 15, 2004 at 05:07 PM (#572534)
I think Reggie Sanders might have been more desirable as a trade commodity than Stairs, though it's a debatable point. And given the ridiculous contract the Cardinals gave Tavarez, you might be able to make a case for him as well.

Good thing DL forgot to trade all three, isn't it? That way, we can have interesting discussions like this one.
   193. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2004 at 07:16 PM (#572536)
Despite all our fun, the ZIPS projection of 4.94 for Baldwin suggests he's a perfectly adequate emergency starter. Unless he and Erickson are blocking some kid at AA from moving up to AAA, I don't see any harm in these signings.

Now if they make the team and take away time from ML-ready prospects, that's a problem.
   194. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 15, 2004 at 08:13 PM (#572537)
Unless Peterson thinks Heilman, Yates and Griffiths need some time at AAA, its hard to imagine that Baldwin and Erickson will make the team. Heck, even if that happens, i don't think they'll outpitch Roberts for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Whatever the case, with Peterson at the helm of the organization's pitching, i'm sure the Mets will make the right decision.
   195. Mark S. is bored Posted: February 16, 2004 at 04:15 AM (#572539)
I disagree. What's the point of flipping guys from prospects when you're just going to play the new crappy veterans over them before flipping them before the next prospects that you screw over?

If the crappy veterans are better than the prospects you have now, then maybe your prospects aren't that good. Out of Heilman, Yates, etc., none of them have looked good at the MLB level. None of them have looked that great at AAA either.

If a crappy veteran can play better until Peterson can help them the current prospects, then play the veteran and flip them for a prospect later. We're not talking about anyone playing in front of Reyes. This is for 5th starter and middle relief.

My guess is that none of these 3 guys plays an inning for the Mets this year.
   196. Benji Posted: February 18, 2004 at 09:31 AM (#572541)
I can't add anything to Ska's take on this. Boy they must hate their fans.
   197. Mike Posted: February 19, 2004 at 03:18 AM (#572542)
Yeah, how dare they invite people to camp on non-guaranteed deals.
   198. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: March 30, 2004 at 07:53 PM (#573195)
In the few (maybe 3) times I have seen Gutierrez this spring, he looked pretty decent. Well for Rickey Gutierrez he looked decent. I am amazed that Shapiro talked anyone into taking him. Does this mean we might be able to look foreward to Matt Lawton moving on soon?
   199. Cferejohn Posted: March 31, 2004 at 01:08 AM (#573197)
Bernal, did he ever fling his bat into the crowd on his followthrough. I swear I've seen him do that about 4 times; he must grip the bet very lightly or have very small hands or something...
   200. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: March 31, 2004 at 05:27 AM (#573199)
Ludwick is tradebait. The Indians OF is going to be very crowded so someone has to go. You have Gerut(staying) Sizemore (staying) Escobar (staying) Bradley(staying) Crisp (tradebait) Ludwick (tradebait)and Lawton(tradebait). Plus you have to figure out what to do with Broussard and Hafner. One could possibly end up in the outfield or traded (Hafner). Michael Aubrey could be the wild card in what happens. If he is as good as he is supposed to be then I see Hafner gone, Broussard staying and either DHing or in the outfield.
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