Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, December 20, 2003
 
Sorry bout no post yesterday, internet access wasn't going so well...

McEwing and Timo resigned

McEwing got 2 years! 2 years! For being able to play every position (who knows how well) and being a .253/.308/368 hitter. He doesn't even have a good left/right split. This roster spot could have been used for a lot more with a free agent or even with a non-tender.

And Timo. He got a year. I'm very soft on Timo, only because I've always personally liked him. He doesn't have the best outfield instincts, and in my opinion, is a mess in centerfield, but in one of the corner spots, provides good defense because of his speed. And at least he has a decent left/right split, hitting .290/.325/.420 vs. righties. As a backup outfielder (and I mean backup), he provides speed and decent hitting off the bench against righties.

Jeff Cirillo exercised no trade clause

Thank you Jeff. Oh and for Bill Bavasi, you might just have done one of the worst offseason jobs in sports history.

By the way, other than the fact Jeff Cirillo can't hit, look at this quote...

Asked if he saw a release coming, Cirillo told the paper, "It's a big check to write." Cirillo is still owed $15.125 million on his contract.

So, let's see. Can't hit and seems like a butthole. Jeff, stay in Seattle, far far away from here.

And that's your Mets news. Seriously, that's been it. When I get a good list of non-tenders, I'll review them and see if there is a right fielder in the bunch. But for right now, here is the bench...

C- Wilson
OF- Timo
OF- Rual Gonzalez
UTIL- McEwing

There is one bench spot left (that assumes Cedeno playing RF). It has to go to a backup infielder. We'll discuss that along with the RF non-tender options when I get the list.

If your looking for other things to read, check these out...

Overheard in New Orleans- Will Carroll's account of various quotes from his time spent in the Winter Meetings. Very funny, and here are two of my favorites...

"When Chris Singleton is the answer, you're asking the wrong question."

"Ugly girls like to dance too."
"But no one pays to dance with the ugly girl."
"Could we please stop comparing Kenny Lofton to an ugly girl?"


As you can see, it is a must read.

A Gleeful Interview With The New Aaron of Baseball- Rich Lederer continues his series of interviews, this time grilling the best baseball blogger out there (at least in my and many other people's opinions), Aaron Gleeman. The interview is very interesting, and includes this gem...

Aaron: I have enough trouble with English as it is. Trying to get me to master another language is like trying to teach Rey Ordonez a better home run trot. It's just not needed and there are plenty of other areas to work on first.

All I can say is... Amen.

That's all for today. Check back tomorrow, because I'll be back with something. And for all you out there who do celebrate, Happy Hanukkah.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
 
"Not so fast my friends"- Lee Corso

That's one of Lee Corso's big quotes. Why do I lead off with that? Well, this news, from the Seattle P-I...

Jeff Cirillo deal hung up on money issues

You know, sometimes the cheapness of the Wilpons gets in the way. Here, its good. Hopefully, this won't go down, for reasons I explained yesterday. I swear, when I read that this morning, it made my day.

So, with that squashed for the moment, we move to the newest rumor, being floated by the Daily News...

Cedeno-for-Lawton latest Mets scheme

Matt Lawton was with the Mets before, in 2001, in the trade that involved Rick Reed. Before that he had played his whole career in Minnesota, and was then moved to Cleveland in the Robbie Alomar deal, the place he has been in ever since. With the Mets, he hit a disgusting .246/.352/.366 including a .250/.313/.352 in Shea in 88 AB's. For his career, he's a .267/.370/.421 hitter. He's 32, but you can expect a fairly good OBP from him (more walks than K's in career). He does have a problem though... you know what that means... its SPLITS TIME!

2001-2003 Splits
vs. Left- .204/.305/.323
vs. Right- .274/.376/.440

He's a lefty who, well, can't hit lefties. At all. As you know already, I'm not overly thrilled with guys like this.

He's owed 14 million over the next two years, so let's assume its 7 a year. It's about 2 more million than Cedeno. But, do remember, Weathers contract comes off after this year, so my plan to sign a pitcher will still have all the money from the Leiter contract.

This isn't a terrible move. ZIPS projects him to be .251/.349/.411 in 435 AB (501 PA). He sits at aboue 23 RC below Cruz, which would bring down the offensive projection I had, but he would not be a terrible fill in at right (certainly better than Cedeno). He got 1.33 WS on defense in 99 games, so we could say somewhere a little over 2 in a full season.

Since the non-tender market is pretty dry, especially in OF and the right fielders out there now are not particulary appealing (No Juan Gone. Please. And Mondesi... great arm, stone hands, no plate patience. I wish the Mets would listen to Avkash and go after Robert Fick), I would not be against this move. The money thing is not an issue (and I know, it wouldn't be with Cirillo either now that I think about it, but the trade would still be, as Adam put it, garbage) and Lawton would probably be at least average defensively and would not be a bad offensive player who we could at least expect to put up a .350 OBP.

So, if all else fails, Matt Lawton, despite the fact that he can't hit lefties, would be a viable option, if it means dumping Cedeno (by the way, Trot Nixon still doesn't work because the Mets would have to give up a big prospect to get him. Well, at least I think they would).

That's all for today. Sort of a slow news day, as everyone is waiting for the A-Rod-Manny deal to go down. So, I'll see you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
 
First off, Avkash has his new movable type blog up. You can find it here.

Now, on to the news. Here's the Mets story of the day...

Cedeno to M's for Cirillo

I seriously can't believe they traded for Jeff Cirillo, who as Rob Neyer one said, is (I can't seem to find the exact quote, but its something to this effect) the biggest bust in this quadrant of the universe. He's been bad. Real bad. I'm not going to talk about this too much because my head might explode. There is one positive...

The Mariners are expected to give the Mets $5 million to cover the difference [in salary].

That makes me a tiny bit happier because it allows the Mets to still have all the room from Leiter's contract coming off the books to get a pitcher after thsi season. If the 5 million wasn't coming, they would have about 2 million more locked up in him. So, basically, the playroll stays the same, but we replace Cirillo with Cedeno. Yuck. I would rahter have Cedeno. He would be more valuable to the Mets than Cirillo (did I just say Cedeno would be more valuable than someone?). Why? Well, Cedeno is an OF and Cirillo is 3B. Despite the fact that Cedeno's defense is downright disgusting and apparently Cirillo's is fairly good, the Mets need outfielders. I would much rather pick up an Erick Almonte-type to backup 3rd then have Timo and Rual Gonzalez be the backup outfielders. Cedeno, who hit fairly well down the stretch, has shown that as a fourth OF, he can have some value. Cirillo? Well, he's shown this...

2002- .249/.301/.328
2003- .205/.284/.271

That's no misprint... that's what he has hit the last two years. And please don't turn this into a Safeco thing...

2002- .278/.319/.371
2003- .230/.329/.319

Those are his road stats the last two years. While better, I wouldn't exactly say he's been tearing it up.

You could argue he's been in a two year funk, lost confidence with all that Safeco hurt him, and could find some sense of a stroke (at least equal to Cedeno's) back in the NL next year. Well, he's two arguments against that.

1. He's 34.
2. Look at his 2001 season, when he played for Colorado...

Home: .362/.404/.571
Away: .266/.327/.383

And how about his 2000 season in Colorado...

Home: .403/.472/.607
Away: .239/.299/.329

Yeah... so let's see, in his last four years on the road, where the park factor is basicaly neutral, he's done this...

.239/.299/.329
.266/.327/.383
.278/.319/.371
.230/.329/.319

Do you really want that player on your team? And then combine the fact that he'll be playing in Shea, a pitcher's park. Now, granted, Cedeno ain't much better and is worse defensively, but if you are spending 5-6 million dollars a year, wouldn't you at least want that player to fill a hole on your team? At least, Cedeno, by being an outfielder, is doing that. Duke, you got some explaining to do...

Oh by the way, I'm not going to talk about the possibilities of Timo playing everyday RF and Wigginton being traded to open up 3B for Cirillo. Then, my head would explode.

In other news, I would like to mention two trades that I think might slip udner the radar. Well, one will be mentioned, but not though of all that much. The other will definitely slip under the radar. First, the "mentioned one"...

Mark Redman to Oakland for Mike Neu

Mike Neu is a replaceable bullpen arm, so basically they are getting Redman for almost nothing. Mark Redman becomes the fourth starter in this rotation...

Mark Mulder
Barry Zito
Tim Hudson
Mark Redman
Rich Harden
NOTE: The top three are in no particular order...

So why is this move so great? Well, for one, I like Redman. While having his team play half their games in a very comparable park to Oakland's with Florida (both have park factors of 94 on pitching), Redman put up these numbers...

190.2 IP, 14-9, 3.59 ERA, 7.13 K/9, 2.48 K/BB, .76 HR/9

Those are good numbers, probably questionable two starter, but certainly a three. And he'll be a four in a rotation with the Big Three and the man whose supposed to make it the Big Four.

But even still, Billy could have gotten by on pitching using Justin Duchscherer as the fifth starter and spending 2 million less. So, why is this that good of a move? Redman is a lefty. The main competition for the A's? The Mariners (the Angels are lurking, but not the main competition). Here's what the Mariner players have done against lefties the last 3 years.

C- Wilson- .282/.320/.446
1B- Olerud- .258/.347/.360
2B- Boone- .328/.401/.572
SS- Guillen- .262/.319/.372
3B- Spiezio- .281/.356/.406 (but he also hit .223/.282/.338 last year against them)
RF- Ichiro- .344/.383/.439
CF- Winn- .323/.379/.490
LF- Ibanez- .253/.294/.399
DH- Martinez- .281/.438/.542

Now, yes, some of them hit lefties, but those are the guys you would expect to hit well no matter what. This lineup has major holes against lefties, and it looks worse if you take just last year's stats. Plus, most of these guys are only getting older, meaning they should go down more.

With Redman, the A's have three lefties (Mulder and Zito). Billy Beane realizes that he can shut down the M's offense by having lefties, because most of the M's lineup can't hit them. Angels, say hello to second place.

Now, the move that will completely slip under the radar...

Boston acquires Mark Bellhorm for a PTBNL

Mark Bellborh will play second base for the Red Sox's next year. And after his solid season (I say .260/.365/.450), he'll be another "Bill Mueller" or "Kevin Millar" that Theo Epstein did such a good job picking up. Why will he do so good and why does no one seem to care at this point. Well, for one, this is what he did last season...

.221/.353/.293

While we at least see a good OBP, mainstreamers see .221, 2 HR, 26 RBI. OK, so last year, he sucked. I'll give you that. But that's why Theo could get him so cheap.

Mark Bellhorn is what I consider to be the "sabermetric prototype" middle infielder. I put that in quotes because I really don't think there is a prototype, but that sabermatricians (and, to be clear, I'm not even close to being one) see the value in these players. This is what he did for the Cubs the year before...

.258/.374/.512

That was with 27 HR and 56 RBI. Do I expect him to hit that many HR again? No, that's why I have him at a .450 SLG. But .365/.450 gives him a .277 GPA, which would tie him for sixth with Mark Loretta last year and put him 21 points ahead of Todd Walker's porduction. And guess what... he costs pratically nothing (especially for a team shifting around 20 million dollar contracts). This might be one of the solidest pickups of the whole offseason and no one knows it. That's why Theo Epstein is a genius.

So, there is your news for today. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments, I'll be looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
 
I'm adding comments, prompted by what I've heard from David Pinto and Avkash on the matter. Also, I just want more feedback then I get, and I figure comments are an easier way for you to do that then having to use e-mail. But please, keep the language clean.

 
Damien takes on the Mets and the NL East today. He comes up with his own RS/RA numbers and gets a record of 82-80. He mentions my post from yesterday. His numbers are 714 and 704. He uses an estimate of 50 saved runs, which I also used but then subtracted a few from because I'm a pessimist (of course my estimate also includes Jose Cruz Jr). He uses 125 more runs based on last year's RS numbers, I used ZIPS RC numbers. But, the key thing, as Damien points out is...

"An interesting comparison and quite telling that we're within three wins of one another."

And later says...

"I'm firmly in the positive camp, though, and this time next year I hope to be "uber-positive."

It's so strange what's happen. All of us bloggers, ready for the rebuilding process and ready to throw this year away at the end of the last one, now have a sense of guarded optimism. We don't see playoffs, but we see .500... we see a competitive team. But not a competitive team that has the "chasing that 75th win" mentality Avkash and Al talk about. This team is building toward the future, when they'll get their big name prospects in the majors and free up room with big contracts coming off the books. All of us Mets bloggers were ready to throw this year away, happy to look to the future and hoping to see a plan in development. But we weren't expecting to be thinking .500. We weren't expecting to be optimistic about the prospects of the 2004 team. Now granted, .500 in not playoffs, but I think most people are optimistic about a team in baseball when they see one that can be competitive. And quite honestly, that's what I see. And I'm damn happy because of it.

The only news in the RF hole story is the signing of Reggie Sanders, which now leaves Jose Guillen as the apparent leading candidate. Ugh (read yesterday's article on RF for a better explanation than "ugh").

Other than that, I don't see much else going on Mets-wise. That's the only main thing involving the Mets right now, as 5th starter and closer have sorta been pushed back (and hopefully they won't sign a free agent for either one).

So, until I'm back tomorrow, I know I'll be proud to be optimistic about a .500 season in Flushing.

Monday, December 15, 2003
 
A few other things before we hit the RF hole...

Aaron Gleeman takes a look at Mike Cameron in NY.

Eric of Saber Mets realizes that when he made his assessment of Cameron, he looked at him purely on offensive merit. I bring this up because I think I should check myself a little too. Yesterday, I said...

"Let's just hope he [Duke] stays on the right track (not that I'm for Matsui, but in the defensive realm of things, its a good move)."

The more I think about it, the more I like the Matsui move. I still don't think he'll be anything than an average to slightly above average hitter who will have none of the power he's known for in Japan, but if he's as good defensively as he's supposed to be, then its a great move. I mentioned how a team in Shea needs to play good defense, and while I think they are still overpaying him, they are the Mets, and they have money. So what if you spend a 1 or 2 extra on a guy who plays good defense but doesn't quite knock the crap out of the ball? The Mets have money to spend and they should use it (God, I feel like a Yankees fan right there...). The point being is that if Matsui learns to be more of a contact hitter here, he could go .290/.350, which would be perfectly fine. He apparently has good speed, which is not essential, but certainly a plus. I might be weakening my stance on Matsui only because he's signed and I have to learn to live with him, but I think I might have overreacted on him because I was looking purely at his offense.

With that out of the way, let's get to the RF hole. Last night, I made up my mind on who I thought the Mets should sign. Then, this happened...

The D-Rays sign Jose Cruz Jr.

Yes, my answer was Jose Cruz. Of course, he was picked up by the D-rays for 2 years and 6 million dollars. Guess what? That was the exact contract proposal I was gonna lay out for the Mets to give him. But, as to not waste the numbers I crunched, let's fire up another edition of "What Jeremy Heit would do if he was Jim Duquette".

This week's epidose- The Right Field Hole

After fishing through the many trade offers Jeremy had on the table, ones that included Trot Nixon, Maggilo Ordonez, and Terrence Long, he decided the best way to go would be to go to the free agent market and pick up Jose Cruz Jr. He sees the a gold glove winner who picked up 5.29 defensive Win Shares last year and a player who is patient at the plate, with some pop in his bat. He would offer him a simple 2 year, 6 million dollar contract, which is his market value. With that, Jeremy truly believes he had a team that would be over .500 next year.

Lineup
2B- Reyes (I put SS before his name... I really gotta kick that habit...)
1B/C- Jason Phillips
1B/C- Mike Piazza
LF- Cliff Floyd
CF- Cameron
RF- Jose Cruz
SS- Kaz Matsui
3B- Ty Wigginton

Based on just the starting 8, Jeremy used Diamond Mind ZIPS Projections to find that they would hit .277/.348/.456 for a .271 GPA. Of course, after factoring in a bench and the pitcher's spot, Jeremy believes he would see a team GPA around .255, which would have been middle of the pack in the NL last year (instead of the .235 they put up last year, which made them second to last).

Then, using those same projections, Jeremy can project the starting 8 to have 686.1 RC (runs created). After factoring in pitcher's (worth about 10) and the bench, Jeremy sees a number somewhere around 775. But, after factoring in Shea and his own pessimism, he sends that number down to 750, which would have been middle of the pack in the NL last year.

Jeremy then sees that the Mets gave up 754 runs last year, slightly below the middle of the pack in the NL. Jeremy, after factoring in his new and improved defense and Aaron Heilman providing more stability in the 5th starter spot, sees the Mets saving about 50 runs. Jeremy lowers that estimate a little and comes up with the number 710, providing for a little decline in Leiter, Trachsel, and Glavine.

Using pythagorean standings, Jeremy comes up with an expected record of 85-77, 4 games over .500. Even with luck this team probably won't make the playoffs, but Jeremy sees it as a positive movement toward the future.

So, to close another epidose, Jeremy says that the signing of Jose Cruz Jr. would have been a positive signing that would have helped moved this franchise into the future, without taking up too much money and doesn't block the RF spot in the future.

(Fade back into first person...)

OK, now obviously that can't happen, but I'm going to play GM for just a while longer. But this will get my point across of why the Mets shouldn't give anyone more than a 2 year deal to play RF.

Let's just assume, just to make this easier, they signed Jose Cruz Jr. This is the 2004 Lineup and Rotation...

Lineup
2B- Reyes
1B/C- Jason Phillips (And yes, I believe he should be batting 2nd)
1B/C- Mike Piazza
LF- Cliff Floyd
CF- Cameron
RF- Jose Cruz
SS- Kaz Matsui
3B- Ty Wigginton

Rotation
SP- Glavine
SP- Leiter
SP-Trachsel
SP- Seo
SP-Heilman

Meanwhile, the bullpen, over the next three years, will build on all the young arms (and find a closer in Moreno or Ring) and sign a few veterans when the other ones leave (like Stanton and Weathers).

So, we move to 2005. No one in the lineup is leaving, but Ty is moved to the Util INF spot as David Wright takes his spot at 3B. Also, Jeff Duncan gets his 4th OF spot. The rotation... well, Seo and Heilman are still here. Glavine still has a contract till 2005, with a MO (mutual option) for 2006 worth 6.5 million. But Leiter and Trachsel both have team options in 2005. Trachsel costs 5 million, and I give it to him. Leiter and his 10 million dollar TO can go walk away. So, here's 2005...

Lineup
2B- Reyes
1B/C- Jason Phillips
1B/C- Mike Piazza
LF- Cliff Floyd
CF- Cameron
RF- Jose Cruz
SS- Kaz Matsui
3B- David Wright

Rotation
SP- Big name FA signing replacing Leiter
SP- Glavine
SP- Trachsel
SP- Seo
SP- Heilman

This team has an outside shot at the playoffs, and even if they don't make it, they'll be competitive. So, now we hit 2006. Mike Piazza's 16.1 million dollar contract is off the books. Jose Cruz Jr. (or whichever RF it is) and his 2.5-3.5 million dollar contract is off the books. Trachsel's 5 million dollar contract is off the books. Tom Glavine is up for a 6.5 MO. Guess what? He's gone. Kazmir replaces Trachsel. That gives the Mets somewhere probably around 30 million dollars to spend on another frontline starter, a big time hitting 1B (who can play some decent D at 1B) and a good defensive RF who can smack the ball around. Also, Justin Huber takes the catching role, so Jason Phillips becomes the backup C/1B. So, here's the 2006 team...

Lineup
2B- Reyes
SS- Matsui
RF- Big time hitting FA
1B- Big time hitting FA
LF- Floyd
CF- Cameron
3B- Wright
C- Huber

Rotation
SP- Frontline FA starter
SP- Big name FA 2004 offseason signing
SP- Kazmir
SP- Heilman
SP- Seo

By now, the bullpen has a few vets, a very good set up man in Moreno and a great closer in Ring (hopefully).

Don't tell me you don't think this team is making the playoffs? I would put them as favorites. And guess what... this team might cost 90 to 95 million dollars. With the way contracts work out, I don't think its costs more than 100 million dollars.

But that's why I want a 2 year stopgap in RF. Because I think the contract situation opens up for this to be a very good team in 2006. But that 2 year stopgap should play very good defense and should have some pop in the bat, so that while they are waiting for 2006, this team can progress positively and still be winning some games.

So, now with that explained and Jose Cruz an impossiblity, let's hit some of the rumors.

Terrence Long to the Mets for Roger Cedeno and Kevin Jarvis

Roger Cedeno- fielding and hitting OF abyss
Terrence Long- hitting OF abyss
Kevin Jarivs- age 34, has had arm problems, and gives up the long ball a lot

Let's get a little more techinal. I don't think there is a shot in hell Roger Cedeno will ever become a good hitter again and well, we know about him defensively. Terrence Long is fairly athletic, a good defensive OF when not playing CF, and has showed a little promise at the plate. He's not going to explode, but .275/.335/.415 isn't completely out of the question. Roger Cedeno has two years left on his contract and would be a free agent in 2006 (something I forgot to mention above). The Mets are desperate to dump him, but with my plan above, the only problem would be the spot he's taking up on the bench, as he would give the Mets even more money to use in 2005 offseason. Terrence Long is also a FA after the 2005 season, but is a little cheaper. So, in that alone, I would make that deal...

But then there's Kevin Jarivs. He makes 4.25 million next year. In 2005, there is a TO for 5.25 which I would expect the Mets to turn down, unless of course, Rick Peterson sees something wrong with his mechanics and pulls a miracle. He has a K/9 rate of 5.28 for his career and gives up 1.72 HR/9 for his career. 1.72! I'll pass. As much as I wanna see Roger Cedeno gone, paying Kevin Jarvis 4.25 million dollars is not worth it. He's a struggling pitcher, who is not young, and would be blocking up a chance for Aaron Heilman to get more experience at the major league level. So, no, now that Cruz is off the market, Terrence Long is not the answer in RF next year.

As an aside, I no long believe the Mets should trade Trachsel in the middle of this season, as I showed above by giving him the TO after this year. I would also have Aaron Heilman start the season as the 5th starter, instead of signing Glendon Rusch. If the kid has it, he'll show us. Everyone has to take their hits, and I think this year is a good time for him to take them. Working with Rick Peterson will make him a much better pitcher and I would expect a solid year from him.

So, not T-Long, then who? How about Jacque Jones? Now, where would I be pulling Jacque Jones from... well, this, written by Josh Heit...

The fake hot stove

Basically, the jist of it is that the Twins have a multitude of OF prospects and no middle infield prospects and that the Mets are solid in the infield but are barren in the OF. And basically, he suggests that T-Ryan and the Duke get together and help Ryan get rid of Jacque Jones. This is the deal...

Jacque Jones for Ty Wigginton and a young arm (let's say Jeremy Hill).

First, from the Twins point of view, this is great. Wigginton would go back to playing second. Using Wigginton against lefties and Rivas against righties, you get pretty good production (using last year's stats).

But, Jacque Jones for the Mets. Not for me. I've already talked about how I don't like half of a platoon hitters when I talked about Trot Nixon. And well, Trot is a better hitter than Jacque. Last year vs. lefties, Jacque hit .269/.310/.393. Over the last three years he's hit .231/.274/.336 against lefties. He has a career .332 OBP with his career high being .341. He's not a patient hitter at all (17 AB/BB in his career). On the defensive side, he's athletic and pretty good. Apparently, he can play CF, but he was a much more attractive candidate for the Mets when they had a CF hole. The Mets need more than a .335 OBP from the RF position, and they just won't get that from a guy who just can't hit lefties. And as for Wigginton, I'd like to have him around as a Util INF when Wright comes up and would rather not lose him for 2004. I don't want to fill a spot by giving up someone in another spot so that that spot has to be filled.

So, if not T-Long and not Jacque, then who? Well, k d takes a look at the free agent possibilities today. I've already commented on Trot Nixon, and Vlady and Ordonez are out of are league money wise, according to the budget. That said, Hildalgo is too. Somehow, he got a contract that pays him 12.5 million dollars in 2004, with a TO in 2005 for 15 million. Forget about that. That leaves Reggie Sanders and Jose Guillen. I'm not going to talk much on Reggie. He's not a great defensive player (a little over 2 defensive win shares) and while being a pretty good hitter, seems motivated by 1 year contracts and well, I wanna give the RF we sign a 2 year deal. Plus, he's not the greatest man in the world. Maybe I have something against Reggie, but he's also 36 and just seems to be an inconsistent hitter (you know, only hitting when he's going to be an FA). He also turned down a 2 year, 6 million dollar deal. If he wants more than that, the Mets better not give it to him.

So, we've gotten rid of T-Long, Jacque, Reggie, Trot, Hidalgo, Vlady, and Ordonez for various reasons. That leaves us with one more... Jose Guillen. In a simple word, no. In a more detailed explanation, he has no plate disclipline, isn't a great hitter (he was massively helped about by the Great American Launching Pad), and isn't nearly the defensive player most would have you think (combined win shares defense is under 2 for last year). Here's more help explaining the hitting part...

1997- 83
1998- 84
1999- 67
2000- 88
2001- 83
2002- 66
2003- 141

Those would be his OPS+ numbers for his career. And let's split 2003 up.

2003 CIN- 159
2003 OAK- 107

Yes, he was still above league average in OAK, but hardly the hitter he was in CIN. And his .311 OBP was below the AL average OBP of .324. He has a 21.125 AB/BB ratio in his career, showing no plate disclpline. The park factor is worse for hitters in Oakland, but Shea still hurts hitters. If he was to come here, I see something in the realm of .260/.305/.450 (The numbers I sent Bryan Smith earlier in an e-mail about his article today were lower on the slugging numbers, but I think I underestimated his power there (I think I put something in the .420 realm)).

Those numbers don't do it for me. Even if it was a .315-.320 OBP, his defense isn't nearly good enough to overcome that. Plus, I think he'll want more than the 3.5 million per year I would want to spend on a RF. He would also probably want more than 2 years.

So, I've eliminated all possibilities. So, what do the Mets do? They could go back in time and sign Jose Cruz Jr., but that's not logisitically possible (as far as I know). The only thing to do now is wait for the list of non-tenders to come out next week and hope an attractive name pops out. I plan to re-visit this subject (if RF is still a hole) when the non-tenders come out, and hopefully I'll find a name there that suits the Mets.

So, Mets fans, pray hard that there is an attractive name on the list of non-tenders. If there is not, it could be another interesting year in RF for the Mets.

Sunday, December 14, 2003
 
Sorry about no post yesterday, I just didn't have much to say. But today, we have a big signing, so lets get started...

Mike Cameron signs with the Mets

Mike Cameron, age 30. I'm been wishy-washy on this for so long, but in the end, I'm coming around on this move and actually like it (though it does take the Mets out of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes). Here are some stats...

2001- .267/.353/.480, .279 GPA
2002- .239/.340/.442, .264 GPA
2003- .253/.344/.431, .263 GPA

2001 Splits
Home: .220/.310/.359
Away: .310/.392/.591

2002 Splits
Home: .218/.334/.370
Away: .258/.345/.509

2003 Splits
Home: .235/.329/.429
Away:.268/.357/.432

2001-2003 Splits
Home: .224/.324/.385
Away: .278/.364/.510

Safeco killed this man. It's death on hitters, but especially death on righties. 2003 can be explained by the massive slump the whole Seattle team went into in the 2nd half that had Cameron hitting .227/.319/.368. Cameron does strike out a lot, but this is my theory... If you get on-base at a good clip, then what is the difference in how you get out? Sure, if you don't strike out a lot, a couple of more balls might fall in, but getting out is getting out. You can reasonably expect Cameron's numbers to go up because Safeco is a worse park to hit in than Shea and Shea doesn't kill righties like Safeco does. I'm expecting something in the range of .270/.355/.490 (.282 GPA, would be 8th best hitting CF in 2003), with his numbers still a little down at home. But that's not why the Mets made this move. They made it because of defense. They did it because they realize that to build a winning team in their park, you can't try to outscore people (look at what they tried to do the last few years). Shea is a pitcher's park, and you need to have good defense to help the pitching staff and enough offensive production to score enough runs to win games. You need guys who do a pretty good job getting on-base, not guys who just slug the ball, because they'll fail at Shea. So, how good is Cameron? I think he's the best defensive CF in the game. And, guess what? Someone very smart agress with me...

"Beane produced statistical evidence that no one in baseball saves more runs than Cameron - not even Minnesota's Torii Hunter - and was so persuasive, agent Gene Casaleggio said, 'Billy just blew us away.'"

That would be from Bob Klapisch's article in today's Bergen Record on Mike Cameron. And also this...

""I could show you how many runs Mike saves a year, and what he means to a team," Beane had said. "He'd be great for the Mets. That's why I don't want them to get him. With that ballpark, and that [fly-ball] pitching staff, Mike would be perfect.""

Exactly. Seo has a .94 G/F ratio. Trachsel had a .85 last year and a 1.27 for his career. Leiter had .99 last year and 1.14 for his career.

But the person happiest about this move. Tom Glavine. With this, and the signing on Kazou Matsui, the Mets have built the defense Glavine needs to be successful. He's about normal, at a 1.43 G/F clip for his career. If you remember awhile back, I did an article on Glavine's QuesTec problems and came up with this...

Home: 48 IP, .332 BAA (63 hits allowed), 1.5 HR/9, 3.94 BB/9, 3.56 K/9, 6.56 ERA
Away: 51 IP, .247 BAA (47 hits allowed), 1.24 HR/9, 2.65 BB/9, 4.94 K/9, 2.82 ERA

With those stats, I figured that the big difference was the 16 hits more allowed at home in 3 less innings, not really the walks (though that and down stirkeout numbers do hurt). So, with that in mind I figured out BIP that result in hits...

Home- 35%
Away- 30.9%

30% is about normal. As you can see, the defense at home, in a big Shea Stadium, killed him. So, for the hell of it, let's see how the end of the year looks...

Home: 3-9, 5.22 ERA, 91.1 IP, .312 BAA (114 hits allowed), 1.08 HR/9, 3.65 K/9, 3.75 BB/9
Away: 6-5, 3.82 ERA, 92 IP, .263 BAA (91 hits allowed), .98 HR/9, 4.40 K/9, 2.74 BB/9

Yes, striking out less people than walks is a problem at home, but I think that is part mental. On the road, the K/9 number in down from his career numbers, but his 1.6 K/BB is only slightly below the 1.77 for his career. And BIP/IP for hits...

Home: 33.5%
Away: 29.2%

Luck and defense killed him. Balls dropped in in spacious Shea beacuse that defense was no good last year. Tom Glavine, if he knew about himself, would be excited, but knowing him, he's probably still moaning about Ques-Tech.

With the additions of Matsui and Cameron, Duke is realizing that he needs to build a solid defensive team in Shea. Let's just hope he stays on the right track (not that I'm for Matsui, but in the defensive realm of things, its a good move).

Back tomorrow, with a look at the RF hole and the possibilities of T-Long.


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