Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Not posting much this weekend, but I did find this today...

The next 'Melo?

Yes, it would be about apparent super stud Luol Deng of Duke. 6-8, 220 freshman. It's a good read and very interesting how he's considered the best player on the team already.

Also, while on the subject of college basketball, I got an e-mail from Connor, who goes to Syracuse, who found my blog and agreed with most of the things I had to say with Duke. I hope he keeps reading because I will talk college basketball from time to time and who knows, maybe I cna get a little Syracuse information from him.

Friday, November 07, 2003
The conclusion (sorta). Finally (Thank god).

Yes, its Paul Konerko Watch time. That article explains the premise, but its simple. He sucked in games they lost and was good in games they won. So, how did it work out (full stats for 2nd half are on the sidebar)? Well, first, let's just take the time frame inside "The Watch".

Overall Numbers: 146 AB, .247/.339/.445
Wins: 72 AB, .306/.427/.681
Losses: 74 AB, .189/.241/.216
Team was 28-22.

Yes, they are small sample sizes. But they still stay true to the point of this Watch, which was that he didn't hit when his team lost and hit when his team won. That's why I'm interested to see what other players do in this kind of split. Though I must say, the .216 SLG is even worse than I could have imagined. Here's a reminder of what he was before "The Watch" (I like doing that) started...

Overall Numbers: 298 AB, .228/.287/.376
Wins: 150 AB, .287/.359/.507
Losses: 148 AB, .169/.201/.243
Team was 58-54

He was a little better slugger in the first half in losses, but hit a little worse overall. He did even better in the 2nd half than the first half in wins. So the totals are...

Full Season Stats: 444 AB, .234/.305/.399, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 43/50 BB/K ratio
Wins: .222 AB, 293/.383/.563, 17 HR, 55 RBi, 32/24 BB/K ratio
Losses: 222 AB, .176/.215/.234, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 11/26 BB/K ratio
Team was 86-76

A .946 OPS versus a .449 OPS in the same number of AB's. That's a difference, ain't it? If I had the time to figure it out, I might run P/PA through on his Wins vs. Losses stats and figure out if that has something to do with it and maybe even then do an AtR for him, but those stats take a lot of time to come up with. Maybe I'll find a few boring days in December or January. Anyway, it still proves the theory that he might have been "The most important player in the White Sox's run for the AL Central crown". OK, that's not true, but it seems that when he hit, this team won.

Here are the breakdowns of how he did against different types of teams...

Under .500 teams- 12-8 record, 60 AB, .283/.394/.500
Over .500 teams- 10-11 record, 86 AB, .221/.295/.407
Playoff teams- 16-14 record, 63 AR, .238/.324/.476

He slugs the crap out of the Yankees... anyways, here how it breaks down in wins and losses...

Under .500- 32 AB, .344/.463/.719
Over .500- 40 AB, .275/.383/.650
Playoff teams- 27 AB, .296/.424/.815

He crushed the ball in these games. Want an explanation on why hi sstats go down against Over .500 teams> Well, here it is...

vs. Royals: 13 AB, .231/.286/.308

Struggled against them mightly for some reason (.232/.292/.475 for the season against them in 59 AB, the slugging mostly due to 3 HR in a series from July 29-31).

And for the losses (and trust me, it gets ugly)...

Under .500: 28 AB, .214/.290/.250
Over .500: 46 AB, .174/.208/.196
Playoff teams: 36 AB, .194/.237/.222

He had an OPS of .540 against teams under .500 in losses. It's not good at all. It's just so strange... he was Mario Mendoza in losses and Ralph Kiner in wins. That's what I hope to find out when I look into other players... to see if does occur, even if not to this extreme, to other players. But this is not his only extreme split...

vs. Left: 150 AB, .961 OPS
vs. Righties: 294 AB, .571 OPS

So, I looked to the year before and found this...

vs. Left: 122 AB, .754 OPS
vs. Righties: 448 AB, .885 OPS

I had been wondering about this for awhile, and then today when I read Avkash's post on AtR, I figured, what the heck, let's see if we can find an answer...

Well, these are his numbers for 2003 in AtR....

Right: 294 AB, 88.563 AtR
Left: 150 AB, 94.122 AtR

This year, 88.56 would be below the 25th percentile and 94.122 would be in the middle of 25 and 50... So, 2002...

Right: 448 AB, 99.74 AtR
Left: 122 AB, 95.74 AtR

Well, he jumps just over the 50% range (you also have to remember, Barry Bonds does throw these numbers a little out of whack...). Versus lefties he is about the same, yet hit worse. I sent these to Avkash in an e-mail asking him what he thought of these being used to explain weird differences in splits. I hope to get his answer on this, plus on why he believes Konerko hit much better this year against lefties with about the same AtR. I said part of it could be a fairly small sample size, though it does double the number of AB's needed for Voros' Law. I only sent the 2003 and 2002 stats to Avkash, but I figure, why not go back to 2 more years and go out to 2000...

Right: .851 OPS, 471 AB, 99.18 AtR
Left: .876, 111 AB, 93.42 AtR

Right: .856 OPS, 428 AB, 103.86 AtR
Left: .793, 96 AB, 99.72 AtR

Vs. Lefties goes the opposite way we would think. The less pitches, the better he does. Maybe that has to do with small sample sizes (since we don't know what number of pitches or AB's is a small sample size for this stat) or maybe when he's swinging at lefties early it means he's seeing them better. But against righties, where there seems to be enough pitches and AB's, he needs to see pitches and work counts. He had done it up until this year and had OPS's of .856, .851, and .885. When he didn't (I think he was frustrated by how the season was going), he got a .571 OPS.

Anyway, I sent this information along to Avkash, hoping to maybe see what he thought of it and what he could figure out. I also told him I was going to use it today in my e-mail and have not gotten an e-mail back from him yet, so I hope it was OK for me to use AtR. I'm pretty sure it is, since I think it would be nice to see it used so that he (and we) can see what happens when its used. I would like to thank him if he was OK with it, as it seems like a stat that could be very useful.

Anyway, now that I completely sidetracked from the Paul Konerko Watch's main purpose, let's wrap it all together...

The fact that he wasn't working counts against right-handed pitching is why I think he struggled in the games his team lost (meaning I think he did work the counts in the games his team won). Of course, I would like to do a study on this and get the stats on it, but that will take a lot of work, so I might get around to it in the boring moments of December and January.

But first and foremost, for the purpose of "The Watch", it was true that when...

Paul Konerko hits, his team wins.
Paul Konerko doesn't hit, his team loses.

It's all so simple sometimes... so White Sox's fans, blame it on Paul Konerko (and on Robbie Alomar too, just for the hell of it...)

Before I start today, you must go visit Avkash today and read about AtR. It's very interesting and plus, I'm going to use it a little today (meaning I'm sidetracking) and you need to read the article to understand it.

Since I feel bad about not posting yesterdy (I probably could have), I'm covering two issues today. The first being Vladimir Guerrero. My decision on why the Mets shoud sign him came down to this...

I think he's the best all around player in the game.

And I always have. Now, while the true answer is probably A-Rod, I have a biased mind. But anyways, I have always loved Vladimir Guerrero and have always wanted him on my team. So why did this even take considering? Well, here are the reasons (in no particular order)...

1. His back
I've read reports that don't favor his back too much. But he played well when coming back, and even if it hurts his defense a little, he still has a monster arm and good range. So, in the end, its really a non factor.

2. The draft pick
The draft pick, number 40, the ones the Mets would give up. It came down to this though. Vlady Guerrero from 28-32 (I want a five year deal) or a player that could hit or miss. Even if this team isn't ready till 2006, you still get 3 years of Vlady in his young 30's on a competing team.

3. His free swinging plate disclipline
We all know Vladimir Guerrero is a free swinger. But he gets it done and his walk rate has gone consistently up (though he does get IBB's a lot). He has a career OBP of .390 and while his P/PA is not great (3.16 career... though did get up to 3.33 this year), his AtR (told ya you need to read it) in 2003 is 96.25 which is slightly below the median of the league who had 240 PA's. Of course, if you take out his IBB's (as Avkash did suggest), you get 90.8 AtR, which is below the 25th percentile (BTW, I just assumed each IBB was 4 pitches and took out the pitches from the total # of pitches. I'm not sure if that's the way you would do it, but it seems the only way to me...). Anyways, that's not good, though I'm sure its improved over the years. But even with that, you can't deny the fact that he gets it done, plus, you can have a lineup that has a few players like him and still tire out a pitcher or force a pitcher to throw pitches.

After considering those, I can't deny these facts.

He plays OF, a place where the Mets need help
He's a good defensive RF
He has an amazing throwing arm
He gets on base
He slugs

And that's enough for me. Even with the talk about him not wanting to play here, I would still talk to him about it. Maybe that's not true and maybe you can convince to play here (instead of having Glavine convince Millwood here). He's too good not to try to get, though I would try to keep the contract to a 5 year deal so you get him from age 28-32, in case the back starts to fall apart in his early 30's.

So there is issue one for today. I'll be back later with a look at Paul Konerko's stats from the Paul Konerko Watch, plus a look at one of his splits with AtR.

Thursday, November 06, 2003
I'm skipping a post today. I just don't have the energy to do it. But I will tell you the answer is yes, the Mets should sign Vlady Guerrero. I'll get to the reasons (pros and cons) tomorrow. Thanks if you stopped by today and I'm sorry for not posting.

Oh, if you want something good, go to Wait Til Next Year. Good originaztional meeting about the Red Sox's.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
New day, new review. NFC this time. You can find the preview here.


Washington- Projected Record- 6-10 (4th in NFC EAST)
-This might have been the easiest thing in the world to call. Seriously, they suck... actully worse then I thought.

Dallas- Projected Record- 8-8 (3rd in NFC EAST)
-Not enough trust in a team I liked. Why? I guess I thought Quincy was good, but wouldn't play that well (at least the first 6 weeks). I still hate Troy Hambrick, but had a feeling on Terry Glenn. Top ten reciever if he ever cared. And the young defense was a little better than I thought. And Bill Parcells. Well, damn it, he's just amazing.

Giants- Projected Record- 11-5 (2nd in NFC EAST/6th seed)
-This was my end comment on them...

"Overall, the team is talented, but they are the Giants, which means they'll lose games they should win and finish second in the division."

Well, now I'm not so sure they are making the playoffs. Actually I don't think they are (we will get to that)

Philadelphia- Projected Record- 12-4 (1st in the NFC EAST/2nd seed)
-Really, I don't have an answer for all the struggling and things going on. Maybe Andy Reid isn't that great of a coach?


Detroit- Projected Record- 4-12 (4th in NFC NORTH)
-Detroit and Chicago. Bottom feeders we all knew that... of course, what I said about Chicago was just plain stupid...

Chicago- Projected Record- 6-10 (3rd in NFC NORTH)
-And I quote...

"I like Kordell Stewart as a QB. I'm one of the few. And remember, its not Kordell's fault."

Um, yeah, Chris Chandler is starting now. I'm stupid.

Green Bay- Projected Record- 10-6 (2nd in NFC NORTH)
-I called Minny over Green Bay. I just had a feeling the time had come...

Minnesota- Projected Record- 11-5 (1st in NFC NORTH/3rd seed)
-And I quote...

"Daunte Culpepper is going to have a huge year this year. I mean, HUGE."

I was right about one QB. I also believe this will be the difference in the division...

"Plus, they get them [Green Bay] week 1 in Lambeau, meaning they don't have to go there in December."

It's a big deal. Big, big deal.


New Orleans- Projected Record- 5-11 (4th in NFC SOUTH)
-Here are some things I said about a team that is 4-5 and beat TB...

"Aaron Brooks is one of the most inconsistent QB's I have ever seen. Sometimes he's Dan Marino, other times he's Heath Shuler."

And ya know what, I still believe that.

" I think with Aaron Brooks's inconsistencies and a defense that just doesn't seem THAT good, this team will struggle. Plus, Haslett should be fired."

And I still believe that, though the big win over TB didn't help.

Carolina- Projected Record- 8-8 (3rd in NFC SOUTH)
-Another team I liked a lot more than 8-8, but didn't have the guts to put higher. I really just wasn't sure about the QB's because I knew the D was set, I liked Stephen Davis for John Fox, and I love Steve Smith. Sometimes you gotta go with your gut (and stop dreaming about a 6-10 Kordell team).

Atlanta- Projected Record- 12-4 (2nd in NFC SOUTH/5th seed)
-If I had a bigger group of readers or even had e-mailers who cared about football and what I had to say (or e-mailers at all), I would have been ripped apart for this...

"Mike Vick is out the first four weeks. I haven't even looked at the schedule and I'll guarantee you this team goes 4-0 with Doug Johnson. That's how much confidence I have in him."

Umm... Let's just go to Tampa, why don't we...

Tampa Bay- Projected Record- 13-3 (1st in NFC SOUTH/1st seed)
-A team I didn't like as much but put them really high. I always thought playoffs, but didn't always believe 13-3. In football, you go with your guts...


Arizona- Projected Record- 3-13 (4th in NFC WEST)
-I did say something very smart about them...

"The guy to watch is Marcel Shipp though, who could be a very good RB in this league if he gets a shot."

And he has two straight 100 yard games. Woo... something right...

St. Louis- Projected Record- 5-11 (3rd in NFC WEST)
-Here's what I said on the QB situation...

"Kurt Warner. Nope. Don't believe it. Also, will left in too long before Martz realizes the starter should be Bulger. "

Well, it acutally wasn't, because of injury. If I had known that, I would have picked them to win the division.

Seattle- Projected Record- 7-9 (2nd in NFC WEST)
-A Mike Holmgren collapse is bound to happen. Eventually...

San Francisco- Projected Record- 10-6 (1st in NFC WEST/4th seed)
- And I quote...

"Jeff Garcia. Garrison Hearst. Kevan Barlow. Terrell Owens. Tai Streets. A good O-line. A decent defense lead by good linebackers. That's all you need to win this division... and get a quick first round exit from the playoffs."

Meaning: "I think this division sucks, but they have the best team by default."

If I had thought about Dennis Erickson I would ahve changed my mind.

Here are my new playoff teams...

1. KC
2. Tenn
3. NE
4. Balt
5. Indy
6. Denver

1. Minny
2. Carolina
3. Dallas
4. St. Louis
5. Tampa
6. Philly

And here was my Super Bowl pick...

Atlanta vs. Tennessee
Tennessee- 23 Altanta- 14
Steve McNair, the MVP, is just too much for everyone in the playoffs. Plus, Jeff Fisher creates a scheme to confuse Vick.

And I'm sticking with Tennessee and Steve McNair as the League MVP, but they ain't playing Atlanta. New Pick...

Tennessee- 23 Minnesota- 10

There you have it... again.

Back with baseball tomorrow, probably the answer to the Vlady question... which I might just talk out on this blog as if I were thinking to myself...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Today we're talking my football previews because

1. I still can't decide on Vlady.
2. The stats on the other players in the Paul Konerko Watch aren't done (and don't be afraid to e-mail me with suggestions for other players. Or even if you have a player you have in mind that you want to do. I'll plug ya here.)

Today the AFC. Here's the link to my AFC Preview (I'm only giving the projected records and will quote cetrain things, use the link to read the whole thing).


New England- Projected Record- 5-11 (4th in AFC EAST)
-I was dead wrong here (they are 7-2 right now). I might have been blinded by hatred here, but they are a lot better defensively than I thought and well, Tom Brady has one of those "just win" Joe Morgan complexes. And really, who thought Faulk and Smith could get them an average of over 100 rush yards a game?

NY Jets- Projected Record- 7-9 (3rd in AFC EAST)
-I won't talk much about this, but they are very close to be 4-4. They don't have "Chad's magic" this year.

Miami- Projected Record- 9-7 (2nd in AFC EAST)
-They are 5-3. I've basically said they wouldn't make the playoffs by not being explosive enough in the passing game, which I still think its possible... And of course the other reason...

"Expect the usual December flop."

Miami's history plus Brian Griese in big games could lead to the biggest late season flop ever....

Buffalo- Projected Record- 10-6 (1st in AFC EAST/4th seed)
-I said they would win the division because they are the most balanced. This is what Drew Bledsoe has done in the 4 losses...

1 TD pass, 6 picks

Let's say my fantasy team is also dissapointed. It's been tough for Drew this year and he's bothered a lot by the blitz (he's not very mobile).


Baltimore- Projected Record- 5-11 (4th in AFC NORTH)
-At least I was smart enough to pick Jamal Lewis in my fantasy league. I called the D overrated. I'm an idiot.

Cleveland- Projected Record- 6-10 (3rd in AFC NORTH)
-I really thought this team was too weak defensively to win games. They've only given up 16.3 points a game. And scored 14.4. Who knew the offense would hurt them. But either way, I have them prety well pinned.

Cincinatti- Projected Record- 8-8 (2nd in AFC NORTH)
-They blew their season to Arizona. And that prediction is why I'm mad. I would like to take credit for this though...

"Chad Johnson will be a star in this league..."

Well, will be, once he stops getting in trouble (he's heading into Terry Glenn territory).

Pittsburgh- Projected Record- 11-5 (1st in AFC NORTH/3rd seed)
-They are 2-6... 2-6. With that offensive talent...

"Tommy Maddox has proven me wrong by being able to play NFL QB."

Let's make that had... Charlie Batch should be starting next week. Seriously.

Houston- Projected Record- 3-13 (4th in AFC SOUTH)
-They are 3-5. A little better than expected, but still not great.

Jacksonville- Projected Record- 5-11 (someone in this division has to win some games) (3rd in the AFC SOUTH)
-And that someone bottom feeder is Houston. They suck. Really bad.

Indianapolis- Projected Record- 10-6 (2nd in AFC SOUTH/6th seed)
I thought they would be solid, not great. I knew Reggie Wayne would improve and that Dwight Freeney is a monster, but I thought pass D might give them more of a problem. Apparently not.

Tennessee- Projected Record- 12-4 (1st in AFC SOUTH/2th seed)
-I love Steve McNair. Steve McNair was my MVP pick before the season and still is now. This is what I said about him in the preview...

"Steve McNair is tough. Amazingly tough. And is going to have a massive year this year."

And his year has been amazingly massive. And Joe Nedney isn't kicking anymore, which is good, because he misses every big kick ever.


Kansas City- Projected Record- 6-10 (4th in AFC WEST)
-Here was my final statement on them...

"Basically, come back to me when this team can play D."

They've played defense and I've looked like one of the biggest idiots ever. Maybe I thought they were too popular of a choice, but I was just plain wrong on this one.

San Diego- Projected Record- 8-8 (3rd in the AFC WEST)
-Here are some things I said...

"I like Drew Brees a lot, but I'm not sure he has an explosive throwing arm. Not tha tthat matters, because this is Marty Ball and LT might get two million carries this year. I love LT and he is going to be the leading rusher in the league."

And Drew Brees has stunk. Bad. LT hasn't gotten two million carries and won't lead the league in rushing. I was hoping that because he was my first pick in Fantasy Football. And then there is this...

"I love David Boston too and he should be good."

Is there a bigger waste of talent in the league? This guy should be on the list with Moss, Harrison, and Owens.

Oakland- Projected Record- 11-5 (2nd in AFC WEST/5th seed)
-I really thought that they would last another year only because I always thought they would fall apart and don't...

"So why is this team only second? I really think there age will catch up to them. They are good and explosive, but I'm not sure how long it can lastwith a team this old."

Well, its really caught up with them. If the Jets don't beat them on Sunday with Rick Mirer starting I will disown myself from the Jets and no longer be a fan of them.

Denver- Projected Record- 13-3 (1st in AFC WEST/1st seed)
-Yes, my eternal love for Jake Plummer... This team was 4-1 with him starting and the loss was a 1 point loss to KC. So this team should be fine when he's back. I also said this...

"Clinton Portis, second leading rusher in the AFC behind LT this year...

That's still a possibility...

Tomorrow is the NFC review, which brings these points plus others...

- How could I be stupid enough to think Atlanta would start 4-0 under Doug Johnson?
- How did I know the Rams would win with Bulger and lose with Warner?
- Why did I make a TB team that I didn't like that much 13-3?
- Why did I make Carolina and Dallas, two teams I liked a lot, only 8-8?
- How did I know Minny would win the division and that Daunte would have a huge year?
- How could I possibly think Kordell has any worth as a QB?
- And finally, how did I know Quincy would be a solid QB, that Troy Hambrick stinks, and that Terry Glenn should be a top 10 reciever?

So much to bring up and talk about. Hope you come back for it, should be fun.

Monday, November 03, 2003
Did Cinci really blow their season with a loss to the Cardinals? I mean, that just makes me sick.
And did Rick Mirer really throw 28 passes in a real live NFL game? That makes me sicker.

In baseball news, Bily Wagner was traded to Philly (woo!). Good move for the Astros with closer ready Octavio Dotel (don't get me started on that trade... I was so high on Octavio Dotel as a pitcher I almost cried when that trade was made) and get out form under Wagner's 8 million while getting one my personal favorites, Brandon Duckworth (and yes, I owned this guy for a month in fantasy baseball this year. Him, Brian Giles, and Johan Santana were the only guys on all my teams. I was right to be high on to of the three...). Meawhile, I'm dissapointed that their is no more blue glove specials from Mesa. It's sad to see the end of that era (And if Bob Klapsich even suggests bringing in Mesa to close, I will go nuts).

In other parts of the blogging world...

Aaron talks OF free agents.

Avkash talks Mets' pitchers and brings up his obsession with P/PA.

Ben Jacobs talks Managers of the Year.

And in sad news, The Cub Reporter lost his house in the SoCal fires. Show your support and if you got a little money to give, thrown it in the PayPal tip cup.

And as for my part of the blogging world, here are some things coming up in the next week or so...

-Halfway Point Review of my Football Preview (otherwise known as "How Stupid I am")
-I finally answer the tough question of Vladimir Guerrero to the Mets (I swear, I can't make up my mind)
-Paul Konerko Watch stats plus comparisions

The comparisions part basically means that I am going to show you his stats, but then I'm going to compare him to Barry Bonds, Albert Pulojs, and A-Rod (arguably the three best hitters in the league this year, plus one played for a playoff team, one in contention, and one completely out of contention) to see if the dropoff in how the best of the best play in the games their teams lose is the same as Konerko's.

Plus, I'm also looking for suggestions for players who struggled this year like Paul Konerko to see if this is something that's true in most player's that struggle. The only thing I don't want is players who switched teams (like Roberto Alomar). If you can think of anyone, E-mail me. Otherwise, see y'all again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2003
And yes, I did start this at 11:42 this morning...

First off, in once again, the thing that only interests me, Clifton's home playoff game hopes come down to one game...

The reeling Morristown (who has lost two straight) against a 3-4 Columbia team that I know nothing about (like even where it is). Morristown has had injuries and I don't know which of their players will be back. Of course, if Clifton does pull an upset against a very high ranked St. Joe's team, then they have a home playoff game anways, but that seems unlikely (considering St. Joe's just got wrecked 63-17 by Don Bosco, who is ranked 4th in the country by USA Today. Let's just say they won't be happy).

Other Random Thoughts of the Day...

Basketball: Go Nuggets! 2-1, win over the Kings. I'm on the bandwagon. Them and the Grizzles, because the Grizzles only have my favorite basketball player ever, Shane Battier.

Football: I can't believe I'm starting Antwaan Randle-El over Peerless Price in my fantasy league. My team is 5-2, despite Peerless and Bledsoe stinking. But's that's probably because I have Hines Ward, Chad Johnson, LT, and my third round pick, Jamal Lewis.

Now on to some Mets stuff, where Bob Klapsich (who I generally like) writes an interesting article about the Mets' future under the Duke this year. Many GM's think highly of Duke and apparently he gets it already. But Klaspich also makes some suggestions under the headings, "Best Case Scenario", "Worst Case Scenario", and "Most Likely Scenario". Let's breakdown each one (BTW, if you havent' gone to read the article, he suggests holes at one OF spot, 2B, the no. 5 starter, and closer)...

"BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Mets would love to have Gary Sheffield, assuming he'd be modest enough to accept a one or two-year contract. That's so unlikely, however, Duquette probably won't even bother pursuing him. Same goes for Vladimir Guerrero, who's told colleagues he'll take less money just to remain in Montreal. His second choice is the Marlins."

First off, Gary Sheffield for one or two years would be what I would sign him for if I was a contending team. Unfortunately, this team isn't, and he'll probably be a A list free agent, meaning goodbye early second round pick. Not worth it at all.

As for Vlady, I love him, but if I sign him, I would lock him up. But for the Mets, I'm scared about his back and he just doesn't wanna play here. Imagine if they Marlins can find a way to get him while keeping some of their other players. Possibility of Cabrera, Vlady, and Lowell/Lee (or I-Rod if he stays) in the middle of that lineup.

"The Mets' perfect-world options at second base include Jose Vidro, Fernando Vina, or Todd Walker of the Red Sox, who's also about to become a free agent. Duquette loves his bat, but there's obvious concern about Walker's defense, which is below average."

Let's tackle the easier ones first....

Fernando Vina has always been injury prone, he'll be 35 next year, and his career line is .284/.350/.384. A .350 OBP is fairly decent and good for a light hitting position like 2B, but for his career, he only had one year over an .800 OPS, which is 1998. His last two years, his OPS has been below .700. So, injury prone, declining hitter who is 35 next year. No thanks.

Todd Walker is a pretty good hitting 2B. He's 31 next year, has a .346 OBP for his career and had .333 last year. He slugs very well for a 2B (.434 career) but can't play D for anything. That, combined with the fact that he'll be 33-34 when this team is ready to compete makes me stay away from him, plus his D can only get worse. Also, he has a .643 OPS against lefties

Now, Vidro. That would have to happen in a trade. I think this depends on what the Mets have to give up, because I would take him in a heartbeat. I've never heard anything against him defensively, and offensively, he's at the top of the leauge for 2B's. A career .306/.367/.473 hitter whose OBP's the last four years have been .379, .371, .378, and .397. As long as one of the big three don't go in this trade, I'm all for it. He'll only 30 next year too.

He also mentions Wigginton to second and trading for Lowell, but that's highly unlikely.

As for another starter, the Mets won't waste anyone's time calling Andy Pettitte: He's either going to the Rangers or remaining with the Yankees. Instead, Duquette will chase a more realistic target such as Carl Pavano. The closer? Keith Foulke, who is about to defect from Oakland via free agency, is a perfect fit, considering he was tutored by Rick Peterson, the A's pitching coach who's about to assume a similar post with the Mets.

Of course, the Mets could forego any other financial ventures by trading for Alex Rodriguez, who's apparently being made available by the Rangers. But the Mets are trying to slash payroll, not expand it, and they're committed to developing Jose Reyes at shortstop only. That's why the Mets regard Kaz Matsui as a last option only.

And don't waste time with Pettitte, who is 32 next year and became unusually HR happy this year, while striking out more people. I've always thought he was good but never great and would ask for too much money (especially with the Yanks trying to re-sign him).

Now, Carl Pavano. I would love that. You can read about some of my Carl Pavano obsessions here and here. He's 28 next yearand won't cost that much. He's solid and I would be happy with him.

You all know I'm don't want the Mets to spend millions of dollars on a closer (especially when this one might make them give up their early 2nd round pick, which is exatly what Billy Beane wants). They have a billion arms in house and I'm sure one of them could do a good enough job closing until Ring is ready.

And A-Rod. Umm, no. And Kaz Matsui. Umm, hell no. You don't want to get me started on talking about those two.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Foulke gets scooped up by, say, the Red Sox. And Ugueth Urbina ends up re-signing with the Marlins. That leaves Armando Benitez as the best free-agent option as a closer. Would the Mets dare lure him back? "Never," said one club official, too chilled by the thought to explain any further. No need.

Did he really suggest that? Is he a frickin' nut? And by the way, New York would be sick of Urbina in two months.

The Mets also could be confronted with a doomsday scenario with Mike Piazza, assuming he refuses to play first base, and as a 10-year veteran uses his right to refuse any attempt by the Mets to trade him. If Piazza's offensive decline continues in 2004, and he's become a mere .275 hitter, then, as one major league executive put it, "They're stuck with him for good."

The Mets intend to speak with Piazza face to face this winter, gauging whether his professed willingness to become a first baseman is outweighed by a desire to become a DH for, say, the Orioles. Fred Wilpon is devoted to the idea of keeping Piazza at Shea for the rest of his career. But the owner is alone in that sentiment, too.

I've been on the trading Piazza bandwagon a little bit. I think you have to trade him while you can get something really good back. (The Eddie Kranepool Society takes a look at this part of the article today)

As for the starting rotation, the Mets look everywhere - and take a gamble on Jeff Weaver. Don't laugh, it's been discussed, whether Weaver's failure with the Yankees was a Bronx syndrome, or if he needs to be traded out of New York altogether. The Mets ultimately decided on the latter.

I liek Jeff Weaver, I really do. If you want my thoughts on him coming to the Mets, go here.

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO: How about Trot Nixon in right, Jeff Nelson as the set-up man, and Mike Cameron in center. All possible. All affordable.

Nixon is exactly the kind of player the Mets covet in 2004 and beyond - in his 20s, still improving, and not yet ready to nuke the payroll. Nelson could replace David Weathers, and Cameron, despite his unacceptable strikeout-ratio, is the defensive wizard the Mets haven't had in center since Lenny Dykstra in his prime.

Here are my thoughts on why Mike Cameron is a bad choice.

Jeff Nelson. Death against righties, killed by lefties. His only purpose in life: Come in out of the bullpen to walk someone.

Now, Trot Nixon. He's an interesting choice. He turns 30 next year and won't cost a lot (in money and in a pick). Had a nice .306/.396/.578 this year and can play average OF defense, but this scares me....

2000-2002 vs. lefties: .221/.303/.341 (.644 OPS)
2003 vs. lefties: .219/.296/.375 (.671 OPS)

He can't hit lefties, plain and simple. I'm not toally against platoons in Duke can find a rightfielder would can hit lefties, but if wants him to be the everyday RF, I'm not sure if I'm for that.

Overall, I think this article has some interesting ideas for guys to bring in and it will be interesting to see what Duke does with this team during the offseason. But hopefully, he won't give away the early second round pick.

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