Jeremy Heit's Blog
Thursday, November 13, 2003
 
My head is spinning with all the rumors flying around. Anyways, thanks for stopping by today, but your not getting much from me. My mind is everywhere but sports and especially baseball. Here's how the next couple of days look...

Friday- Slight chance (maybe 10%) that I post
Saturday- No chance. I won't be home all day.
Sunday- Either early morning (it depends when I roll out of bed after Saturday) or at night. Review of the first round Clifton game, and whatever other assorted stuff I don't get to talk about Friday and Saturday.

So basically, not a lot of content from me the next couple of days. Use the links on the right if you need some good reading. There is a lot of good work being done around the baseball blogosphere.

So, see y'all at some point.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
 
Three Mets rumors and a sorta Mets realted story...

QuesTec is back- Which as we all know, means more Tom Glavine whining next year. I talked about this here and it was really the launching pad for my blog to get noticed (Thanks to Damien from Shea Daily, who will always be at the top of my list, since I truly believe he was the first one to help me get noticed by some bloggers). Anyways, Tom better realize that its not QuesTec, but partly himself, partly luck, and partly the fact that he came to a... I don't wanna say bigger ballpark, but more of a ballpark that allows more bloop hits. If he doesn't, that's another 15 or so million down the drain.

First Rumor: The Mets talk to Ugueth Urbina

I talked about Ugueth Urbina here (flip past the football stuff) and came to the conclusion that he needs to be in a park that tailors to flyballs to be effective. Shea is flyball hell, but Urbina is still Urbina, and has the flair for the exciting, and well after Benitez, the Mets don't need another high priced closer who has a tendency to make things interesting. Oh yeah, and the Mets also don't need a high priced closer, but I figured you that already.

Second Rumor: The Mets talk to Kelvim Escobar

I like Kelvim. He's going to be 28 next year and has been very effective when starting (and not so much when closing). I mentioned him the article the other day as someone I would like the Mets to go after. As a starter last year, he had a 3.92 ERA in 26 GS. He pitched 163 innings with 162 hits allowed, 136 K's and 70 BB's. The walk number is a little high (3.87 BB/9), but the K numbers are very good (7.51 K/9). He only gave up 12 homers (.66 HR/9) and is really only starting at the starting thing. He's young, hitting his prime, and considering he won't cost that much as a mid-level free agent, I think he's worth a 3 or 4 year contract. I hope the Duke pursues this further, but hope that he doesn't overbid for him (I would go 4 years at 5 mil a year. Yes, I think that highly of him).

Third Rumor: The ongoing talks of swapping Roger Cedeno for Billy Koch

I've been mean to Billy Koch on this blog, but I'm in favor of this move for a couple of reasons...

1. It means Roger Cedeno is gone. More importantly, Koch's deal is only year of a bad contract. Cedeno's is two.
2. Koch will be reunited with Rick Peterson, who was his pitching coach in Oakland, a place where he had a very good year.
3. For all that I rip Koch, he throws gas close to 100 MPH. Unfortunately, you just can't teach that (Speaking of which, does that mean Peterson might be able to figure out Jeremy Hill, who is a flamethrower with no control, since he was able to figure out Koch).

Today, Steve of The Eddie Kranepool Society brings up the possibility of Maggilo Ordonez also being involved in the deal. The White Sox's are shopping him, and he is a mighty good player, but there are a few flaws to this...

1. Who would have to be thrown into this deal to make it happen? I mean, the Mets would probably pay the contract (we'll get to that in a second), but the White Sox's will want something more than Cedeno and a bunch of money flexibility.
2. He's being paid 14 million dollars. Maggilo is good, but not that good.
3. How much money will he want on his next contract? 2004 is the last year on his contract and if he asks for anything near the number he's making this year, I certainly wouldn't give it to him. He's good, but he'll be 31 in 2005 (which isn't old, but not young) and is really only average defensively. One of the important things when making a deal for Maggilo would be locking him up for another 3 years or so after this one.

I would not be against a deal for Maggilo, but it depends on who gets traded (they could demand some good prospects) and how much money he wants on his next contract.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
 
I was considering doing rambling notes, but I did get dropped an e-mail about yesterday's article (By the way, do you now understand why I don't title articles... that was a terrible name), so I'll get to that, plus something about the NL Rookie of the Year and some football stuff.

The e-mail comes from reader and Mets fans Anthony Hardwick, who writes...

"I agree, trading Piazza is fine idea and Beltran can definitely help us. But Phillips is a problem. He is perhaps the slowest man in baseball and batting him second invites 6-4-3 on daily basis. Other than that, I like your thinking."

Well, first thanks to him for liking my thinking and for reading, what I hope, is everyday. Now, to his problem with Jason Phillips...

First, he does make a true point. Jason Phillips might be the slowest man on Earth. Some 300 pound offensive linemen could probably outrun him, but fortunately, that doesn't mean he can't bat second. Traditionally (meaning the Joe Morgan way), you need speed at the top of the lineup. Speed at the top of the lineup means nothing. If any of you read Larry Mahnken (if you don't, you should), you know he's talked about this issue many times when discussing Alfonso Soriano (Use this article on game 1 of the World Series if you are looking for an example).

Basically, the best example I can use against speed at the top of the lineup, and particulary in the 2 hole, is Luis Rivas. Luis has good speed. Unfortunately, his OBP was .308 this year and his OPS was under .700 (He had 222 AB's in the 2 hole). You don't bat someone up high just because they have speed. Sure, it would be nice, but it would be nice if everyone on your team had speed. You need a productive, patient hitter, who does a good job getting on base, no matter how ugly he does it or how slow he is. Phillips, by that point, would be the best candidate on that 2005 team I outlined yesterday. You would be wasting Floyd's, Guerrero's, and Beltran's power by batting them second and Wright and Huber would only be rookies at that point and you would want to leave the pressure off them. And Wigginton... we'll get to that in a second actually. And Luis Rivas was not that. He was just fast. And, as Aaron Gleeman has pointed out, that killed the Twins in the postseason. I'm not sure which Twins site it was on, but one of them always said Doug Mientkiewicz should be the two hitter. Think he's fast? He's not. It's because he's a good hitter. And the DP factor... sure, 2 or 3 more might happen during the season because Phillips is slow, but he is a good hitter and should ground into less. On the other hand, if a player who was faster was up there, but maybe not as good of a hitter, he might ground into more because they don't hit well. I'd much rather have a .370-.380 OBP in the 2 hole with two or 3 more DP's than a .320-.325 OBP, less DP's, and speed.

Basically, to wrap it up, if you have plate disclipline and can hit, then you should bat at the top of the order. Speed is only a bonus.

Now onto rookie of the years, where I'm going to go nuts. I'm not going to talk about the top of this list, but instead the bottom. Two guys did not get votes ... Jason Phillips and Jae Seo. And two guys on it who they should have beat out... Ty Wigginton and Jeriome Robertson. We'll take the pitchers first, since that's the easier one.

This is Jeriome Robertson's stat line....

2003- 160.2 IP, 15-9, 5.10 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 23 HR, 99 K, 64 BB

And Jae Seo...

2003- 188.1 IP, 9-12, 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 18 HR, 110 K, 46 BB

As Rich Lederer points out today in his article about Webb and Willis, the writers seem to choose Willis because of wins. I think the reason Robertson got a vote and Seo didn't get one is the records. Really, which looks better, 15-9 or 9-12? Well, its 15-9 to most writers. Of course, anyone could notice the almost one run difference in ERA that makes Robertson's over 5. Add into that more HR given up in less innings and a significantly lower K/BB ratio, and I just don't get it. It's not important, as it was a couple of third place votes, but just something I thought you might have missed. Plus, if you use Win Shares (thanks to Baseball Graphs on this one), Seo has 9 and Robertson has 5 (neither of which are great, but you get the point).

I'm not going to argue against Reyes getting votes for two reasons...
1. That media thing. He's the bright star of the future and was bound to get votes.
2. He got 12 Win Shares in 69 games. That's impressive.

But Wigginton over Phillips... well, here are Win Shares...
Wigginton- 15
Phillips- 13

But break them down a little more...
Hitting:
Wigginton- 11.28
Phillips- 11.08

Fielding:
Wigginton- 3.66
Phillips- 1.26

And as you know, Wigginton plays a more important defensive position. So you coudl make an argument that that could be part of it. But, at least to me, look at the hitting lines...

Wigginton- 573 AB, .255/.318/.396 (.714 OPS)
Phillips- 403 AB, .298/.373/.442 (.815 OPS)

That's a difference on 101 points in OPS. I think the hitting stats for win shares are the same because of the extra 140 AB's (I was surprised Phillips had 403 AB's. I didn't think he got that many). Anyway, not another big deal. This could be partly influenced by my love for Jason Phillips, but I still think if Wigginton got a vote, Phillips should have gotten a vote before him.

Now that I've followed up an important talk on speed at the top of the lineup with senseless talk about voting at the bottom of the rookie of the year lists, let's go to a couple of football thoughts...

Why does Chad Johnson have to be like every other superstar wide receiver. This guy is going to be a star and is going to be great in this league, but please dude, shut up. First predicting 1800 receiving yards for this season and then a guarantee that you'll beat KC this week. I mean, I love Chad, and I think he's the most underrated receiver in the game, but dude, just catch the damn ball. You're turning into your cousin (That would be Keyshawn, if you didn't know).

Speaking of receivers, Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh University is a monster. He is going to be special in the NFL. And the best part... after every touchdown he does the Barry Sanders thing and just hands the ball to the ref.

The Jets allowed 24 points to a team quarterbacked by Rick Mirer. They needed OT to beat a team QBed by Rick Mirer. Something about that makes me sick.

Ray Lucas! Anthony Wright! Chris Redman! At this point, why doesn't Billick just call in Eric Crouch and give him his dream of a start in an NFL game. Actually, in all seriousness, I think Ray Lucas will be starting next week. I think that he can do a good Trent Dilfer type job. He's athletic and can do some things well and I think he can get the job done. Chris Redman certainly can't, and while I always liked Anthony Wright in Dallas, I can't choose him over Lucas, who I love.

And in the final note of the day, the NJ High School Football Playoffs start this weekend, and my high school, Clifton, is at Morristown as the 5 seed. It should be an interesting game and depending on how it goes, I might even talk about it Sunday.

And with that, I hope you all come back tomorrow, and remember, feedback is always appreciated (You wouldn't believe how happy I was today when I found an e-mail from a reader in my mailbag).

Monday, November 10, 2003
 
NOTE- I was working on this post for about 30-40 minutes before my computer shot it down. So unfortunately, all the links I had in it (which were many) will not be showing up. Sorry, I'm a little unhappy.

Mike Piazza- The Great Trade Debate

If you've read this blog for a while, you know I've always been in favor of trading Mike Piazza. I would like to get younger, trade him while he has some value, and really, not let him become a free agent without getting anything for him (he won't be back... he won't be good enough defensively at first base, however unimportant that is, and won't be happy there... and Justin Huber is the catcher of the future, period). You've all heard the Baltimore rumors, but I don't really know who the Mets would get. So, I've been tossing it around in my head, and well, I've got an idea. I don't base this on a rumor, I don't base it on inside information (where the hell would I get it from?), but just on a simple idea in my sick twisted mind. And away we go...

First, Vlad Guerrero must be signed.

When that happens, trade Mike Piazza and Aaron Heilman to Kansas City for Carlos Beltran.

Now, of course, there are are money problems here. But let's say they are worked out and that Beltran can be signed here in the future. This works for Kansas City since they need a catcher, and Piazza can give them 100 games. They can get a backup catcher to play those games, play Sweeney at 1B and let Piazza DH some of those games. When he catches, let Sweeney DH (injury prone) and find a cheap good hitting 1B (i.e. not Ken Harvey). Throw in Aaron Heilman to give them something for the money problems they might have with this and the fact that Beltran is 27 next year and Piazza is 36.

If this happens, it might not have the biggest effect on 2004. But we are looking to 2005, when we have most of the big prospects coming up...

1. Reyes-SS- Above average defense, great speed, needs a little more patience at the plate, but good slap hitter who can get on-base.
2. Phillips-1B- Very Doug Mientkiewicz-like at the plate. Good OBP, patient, gap power with a little pop. Good 2 hitter.
3. Guerrero-RF- I don't need to say anything, do I?
4. Beltran-CF- Great defensive CF, good speed, and a good hitter with some great power.
5. Floyd-LF- Fairly patient, was good last year and wasn't healthy, decent speed, and good defensively when healthy.
6. Wright-3B- Might not be totally ready, but is apparently good defensively and can hit average for a 3B by 2005
7. Huber-C- Catcher of the future. Good defensively, great arm, can hit a little too.
8. Wigginton-2B- Stats will look better as a 2B. I think he'll hit righties better and he's a good defensive player.

Wild Card- Victor Diaz-2B/3B- He hs great power, but I have two questions marks...
1. Will he improve his plate disclipline? Right now, its very Alfonso Soriano-ish. He apparently is very similiar to Carlos Baerga (the good CLE years), but I'm not sure.
2. Will he improve his defense? He's more likely to be playing second, where defense is important, and apparently, he doesn't play it too well.

Overall, its a young lineup (only Cliff, at 32, will be over 30 in 2005) and can improve greatly over time.

Now, to the bullpen and starting rotation... first the pen...

Basically, the Mets have a bunch of young arms. You can find a good bullpen out of that. When 2005, maybe sign a good veteran who doesn't cost a lot to help set-up.

The rotation...

Guys who are still here...
Glavine- 4th starter
Seo- 5th starter

I think by then Kazmir will be ready, and for at leeast 2005, he's the 3rd starter. So what do I do about the 1st and 2nd spot? For the 2nd spot, sign Kelvim Escobar this year. He won't cost that much and has been very effective as a starter, plus he's still young. And in the 2004 offseason, sign a #1 starter to be at the front of the rotation (Maybe Javy Vazquez, if he isn't traded by then).

This is what my 2005 team would look like with all this...

Lineup:
1. Reyes- SS
2. Phillips- 1B
3. Guerrero- RF
4. Beltran- CF
5. Floyd- LF
6. Wright- 3B
7. Huber- C
8. Wigginton- 2B

Bench includes Vance Wilson, Victor Diaz, a backup 1B, a backup OF, and a player who can play many different positions (but has to play SS)

Bullpen:
Cl- Ring
Set up- Veteran
And then your choice of Roberts, Yates, and the other millions of arms in the system.

The rotation:
1. 2004 Free Agent (hopefully Vazquez)
2. Kelvim Escobar
3. Scott Kazmir
4. Tom Glavine
5. Jae Seo

Sure, I'm giving up a couple of draft picks along the way, but remember, the Mets have money to spend, and if they spend it right, can be a very very good team. Plus, not all baseball players come from the first three rounds of the draft. If you draft smart, you can make some finds later in the draft.

I think the team above could be a very good contender in 2005 and certainly by 2006 or 2007 (When Glavine will finally be gone... and Floyd will have to be replaced). Of course, that all relies on the trade for Beltran, which probably won't happen, but why not take a look at the possibilities.

I'll be back tomorrow, with something a little more sane.

Once again, I am sorry about this post. It should have been a lot more in-depth and a lot more linky, but I just don't have the time or energy to re-link everything (or write everything out) and I still wanted to get this post up today.

Sunday, November 09, 2003
 
In a thing that only concerns me...

Final Power Point Standings for NJ High School Football are done (these are unofficial, the real ones comes out tonight on the NJSIAA site, but they are right...)

So, that leaves my high school, Clifton (Go to North 1, Group 4)... 5th, at Morristown next week. It seemed so close to a home game too. Should be an interesting playoff game...


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