Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Rotoworld reports that the Mets are likely to sign Todd Zeile as a backup corner infielder.

Yes, the Mets need one. But they also need one that does the two things Ty Wigginton doesn't do well. Those are, for those of you who haven't been paying attention much...

1. Hit righties
2. Play good defense

We'll tackle 2 first, as its probably less important (apparently McEwing is fairly decent with the glove at third... I have nothing to back that up). Zeile is old. Zeile has never had great movement or range. He'll probably be an upgrade on Wigginton defensively (who isn't though?), but I still think he'll be below average (makes you almost wish for Cirillo).

As for righties, well, here's what he's done the last three years...

.257/.341/.372 in 988 AB's

Not a terrible OBP for a 3B, but no power. Better than Wigginton's numbers last year, but not good. And as for last year...

.224/.302/.323 in 201 AB's

Which is worse than Wigginton (if your wondering, Wiggy put up a .239/.295/.373). For his career he's a .265/.343/.418 hitter against righties.

So, the conclusion? Not a good move by Duke at all if it goes through. It's nice to bring back a member of the 2000 team, but he doesn't hit righties well enough to merit a platoon and I just don't think he'll be good enough defensively to be a good defensive replacement (he'll be like Damian Jackson for Todd Walker).

If your looking for a little something on Vlady, look below. Just wanted to post this before I forget and its too late...

I went 3-1 last week picking the winners (not the spreads) of the football games, only losing on Dallas (what was I thinking?)

So here ya go...


Carolina 22-21 over the Rams
Packers 24-14 over the Eagles

Tennessee 20-10 over the Patriots
Indy 34-21 over the Chiefs

Yes, I know I picked all roadies. Oh well.

Optimism? What is that? Well, I got it, as does every Mets fan.

Will the Mets pull off Highway Robbery?

It's about Vlady... here's the most important part...

A Mets employee....It's 80 percent done.....I hope they don't screw up the last 20 percent.

Great discussion on Primer on this article (Speaking of which, I'm getting hooked on reading Primer now... just what I need, more baseball).

Avkash weighs in on Vlady himself today.

As for me... I'm excited. The Marlins are apparently lurking with a one year deal, and he wants to go there, but it doesn't seem like it will be worth more money than the Mets are offering. Adam is probably right in that I should follow my own "see it when I believe it" advice from Wednesday, but I don't think I can. I love Vlady, has always been one of my favorite players, and has always been the guy I would take if you gave me one position player to start a team (well, until this year, when I became a stat head and realized that its probably A-Rod... but I still hold a grudge against him, despite the fact that I should hold it against the front office).

So, what does that mean for next year? Well, this is what I had to say on Primer today...

"I see a chance for a 90-92 win team if luck bounces right for them, but what might be the second worst bench in the league scares me (Seattle's is the worst) along with the pitching staff. The bullpen is still has a few old guys Art Howe will go to too much. Stanton has fallen off a cliff, Franco walks too many people, and Weathers is inconsistent. Art will never go to guys like Cerda, who could do fairly well. Plus, he'll do a Jerry Manuel and lose confidence in Looper atfter two blown saves in May.

As for starting pitching? I like Seo to improve, especially with a better defense, since he doesn't have an extremely high K rate. Traschel should be his usual slow self and the 5th spot, whether given to Heilman and Griffiths, should be league average (I have confidence in both and hopefully Duke won't ruin this by signing someone like Ponson). The issues are Leiter and Glavine. I just get this feeling lately that Leiter is ready to fall off the face of the Earth... maybe that's just me. And Glavine? Well, a lot of his struggles last year had to do with the terrible defense at home (I have looked at his BIP-H% a couple of times home and away), but if he starts out bad, the Ques-Tech thing creeping into his head scares me.

Overall, I see a reason for optimism and a chance for a good team. But playoffs? I don't think so, unless they get a lot of luck."

There's that pessimism again. But still, Vlady gives me optimism. I really think they could be good, in the race, but not quite good enough. And that makes me happy, because Leiter falls off the books next year as long as they don't give him the Team Option (along with a few others) and that gives the Mets the chance to sign the young starting pitcher they are missing.

So, despite the fact that's its freezing cold outside, be happy, because there just might be hope this season for the Mets.

Thursday, January 08, 2004
3 posts in one day... what is wrong with me?

Actually, this one is some bad news, well at least for Avkash.

D-Rays sign Fick to one year deal

Avkash's hope for RF is gone. Here and here is you don't know what I'm talking about. Still some good cheap options left out there, but it will be interesting to hear Avkash's say on the matter.

Thanks to Baseball Primer and in particular, post 17 in this clutch hit for the news.

Meanwhile, with this move and the re-signing of Aubrey Huff, do you realize the D-Rays have made two smart moves? A little scary, isn't it.

The rumors are swirling that Rafeal Palmeiro will be in a O's uniform next year? God, how much money does Angelos have? Are they backing off Vlady? Who knows at this point, but they still can't pitch...

Why do I even bring this up? No, not Vlady... But instead, Jay Gibbons. You may remember k d's little suggestion. Well, it could be more possible now... (This is stolen straight from Bryan Smith's article a week or so back. Thanks Bryan!)

Baltimore Orioles
C- Lopez
1B- Gibbons
2B- Hairston
SS- Tejada
3B- Mora
LF- Bigbie
CF- Matos
RF- Cust
DH- Cordova/Segui

That is how the lineup looks right now. Let's add Palmeiro and Vlady

C- Lopez
1B- Palmeiro
2B- Hairston
SS- Tejada
3B- Mora
LF- Bigbie/Cust
CF- Matos
RF- Vlady
DH- Gibbons

I made my own editorial changes. Gibbons, being the best of the bnuch, DH's. Bigbie has won a job in left, and could split time with Cust. But Cust could also DH. Not to mentions Segui and Cordova are making a pretty good buck, and the O's probably don't want both getting 150-200 AB's off the bench. Therefore, Gibbons, whose salary rises this year, could be available.

For what? Probably Griffiths (or Heilman, but Griffiths seems less likely to get a shot), since they need major league pitching. Could they swing Cedeno into it? Maybe, considering the O's have no problem taking on money. If not, it could be a relief arm or Tyler Yates, another guy who could start.

Is this gonna happen? Probably not, as the O's might be content eating money on Segui and Cordova and letting Gibbons have his DH spot (since Bigbie seems like he'll be playing left). But, Gibbons, who is a good hitter, could be available, and if the price is right (meaning no Wright, Huber, Kazmir, Peterson, etc.), then the Mets should jump at it.

Did this really happen? For that amount of money? Look at these stats. Makes me feel better about Looper.

Klaspich writes on Guerrero today. I took this away from it...

"From this point on, however, the storyline is all about money. The Mets' payroll currently stands at $80 million, which is Duquette's limit. He's under orders to never again spend $120 million as foolishly as predecessor Steve Phillips did in 2003 -- an edict that has teeth, considering the Mets no longer have former partner Nelson Doubleday's assets as a backup, nor does the team have its own cable outlet as a revenue source, like the Yankees' YES Network."

I was really hoping for an answer on this, but there isn't one. But this is my problem with all the Guerrero talks? Where is this magical 13-15 million going to come from? If Wilpon doesn't want to spend it, how is he going to sign Guerrero. I hope he realizes releasing Cedeno (can we just do it already?) doesn't mean he doesn't have to play him. And then, if he spends that money there, will he be willing to give other guys big contracts when Lieter's, Piazza's, and Glavine's contracts fall off the table. Maybe I'm buying into the anti-Wilpon pessimism, but I just don't see 13-15 million dollars being spend at this juncture.

And that's what I'm really doing today... I'm just going to sort of think out loud...

The Mets are apparently going to lowball Guerrero more than he perceives the O's are already lowballing him (something in the 11-13 million range). It will be for 3 years, which isn't a bad idea, though I think his back is fine. Going two or three years for 13-15 million even, with a games played (or at bats) clause for an extra year in the final year of the contract might not be a bad idea.

BUT, is Guerrero going to take less money to come here? He's not taking the 13 from the O's (who apparently have given himn 48 hours) and turned down 15 from the Expos. The Mets apparently have "karma" (Klaspich used it), meaning they have Guerrero's other wants. The Dominican fans and players (Jose Reyes) and his roots as a National Leaguer (that one makes me laugh). I don't really think those could sway him from taking a few million more a year, but apparetnyl he is an eccentric guy.

And finally, the third part that interests me. The Mets think they are a 90 win team with Guerrero. Before you go jumping around and think they are nuts, its not out of the realm of possibilities. Of course, it will require a little luck. I see a .500 team right now depending on who the RF is. A 90 win team with Guerrero could happen, but luck would have to help them out. I see something closer to 85, which still wouldn't be bad.

So, am I for signing Vlad? Of course, but there is something in me that won't allow me to think it will ever happen.

I might be back later, depending on something.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
I'm a pessimist. You know that. Therefore, show me when Vlad signs. Otherwise, I don't believe it.

And that's all for today. Yes, that's all. I got some studying and other stuff to do and I wasn't expecting to have to write today (You'll see what I mean tomorrow).

Meanwhile, check out another Mets (and Red Sox) blog, East Coast Agony.

See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Nothing big right now that I really feel like I can talk about...

Avkash is back from his mini-break with a few posts. As always, its good, as he's the best Mets blogger (no offense to anyone else, just my opinion) and one of the best baseball bloggers out there.

I won't comment on the Pete Rose thing, if only because I don't really feel like hearing or talking about it anymore. That, and the fact that I was 2 was he was banned from baseball make it hard for me to really have a say on this.

Tug McGraw passed away. Another guy I can't say much about, but check about Jay Jaffe's post on the matter. It also includes Tug's quotes, which includes my favorite...

"On the difference between natural and artificial playing surfaces: "I don't know, I never smoked Astroturf.""

Seemed like a great man and a great player.

And finally, when Robby Alomar hits better next year in Arizona, don't be surprised at all...

Park Factor- Batting
Shea- 99
Bank One- 111

That's all for today.

Monday, January 05, 2004
Just a few quick hits today...

I've come around more on the Looper signing since Saturday. We had a few posts in the comments and I have to say that I mirror the view of Mike Marino most. I think its a tiny bit much for Looper, its not something the Mets needed to send a good 3.25 million on, but I can accept it, mostly because I think Looper is a pretty darn good pitcher.

Sticking with the Mets (well, sort of), another RF option (another sort of) has fallen off the board, at least reportedly... His name... Juan Gonzalez. Of course, I say sort of on both those counts because the Mets didn't seem too crazy about getting him and well, he's injury and not quite as agile as he used to be (if he ever was really agile). I wouldn't want him out in RF and he's injury prone, making me worry the Mets would be spending their money on 100 games.

But I'm not really bringing this up because of the Mets, because I don't think there was any chance he was coming here. I'm bringing it up because KC signed him. The terms of the contract are 1 year, 4-4.5 million dollars. This is the same team who can't afford Carlos Beltran? Just think about this for a second...

Players signed this offseason...
Brian Anderson- 2 yr, 6.5 M (3.25 per year)
Joe Randa- 1 yr, 3.75 M (MO 2005)
Curt Leskanic- 1 yr, 1.375 M
Juan Gonzalez- 1 yr, 4 M

Add that up and you get 12.375 million. You mean that couldn't sign Beltran? I really think he's going to get something in the 11 per year range and they would have 12 to spend. Now, granted, you get one player vs 4 and locking up a player long term for a smaller market team is dangerous, but this would be well worth it. Carlos Beltran is going to be a superstar, both offensively and defensively. He's got an eye, power, speed, and range. And, really, those four players above aren't much. It's a bullpen arm in Leskanic, and by bringing back Sullivan and Grimsley with MacDougal, they have a few good arms out there that they could sign a very cheap 500 K player to come in or use a farmhand. Joe Randa is a nice .340 OBP kind of guy who plays some decent defense at 3B, but he's nothing special, and the 3B position doesn't demand much hitting these days. And you know what, Tony Graffinino, who they signed this offseason too, could play 3B for them. Last year he hit .260/.331/.428 and hits lefties very well. A .330 OBP at 3B with a little pop would be fine. Brian Anderson? Mediocre starter... I don't think he's that good.

So, taking those four players out, here's your starting 9...

C- Benito Santiago
1B- Mike Sweeney
2B- Desi Relaford (who can spell Graffinino against some righties while Febles plays second)
SS- Angel Berroa
3B- Tony Graffinino
RF- Aaron Guiel
CF- Carlos Beltran
LF- David DeJesus
DH- Matt Stairs

That's not a bad starting 9 at all, and wouldn't make a bad lineup. All that, and Carlos Beltran stays around. So, I really think the Royals could have signed him, but they decided not to.

Aaron, who is in Vegas (and losing money fast... look at the top of the sidebar), had John Sickels as his first guest writer. That's just cool. Sickels also had the quote of the year, at least so far (you know, 5 days). I'll give you the whole paragraph, with the quote bolded, because part of what makes it so funny is how he snuck it in there...

"One bit of good news is the level of competition in the Central Division in '04. The White Sox look dysfunctional to me. The Royals have improved this off-season and could finish over .500 again, but I can't see them winning 90 games just yet. The Indians need another year of rebuilding. The Tigers are the personification of suck."

I found that hilarious. Now I'm just looking forward to seeing who else he has lined up this week.

Speaking of John Sickels, he has a new Down on the Farm featuring a Mets farmhand. The farmhand would be Kyle Strayhorn, who was acquired in the Burnitz's deal...

"I think his future looks pretty good, in that the move to relief should help him stay healthy. It doesn't guarantee it, of course, but it helps. If he avoids the doctors, and continues to sharpen his command, he could be an impressive reliever by 2006."

Sounds pretty good to me, and adds to a list of many potential good relievers the Mets have.

Finally, I was thinking about the Yankees not getting David Wells and how they won't have a lefty in their rotation (Can anyone say Brandon Claussen?). Then I thought about the Red Sox and how it seemed they struggled more against lefties. Well, Ben Jacobs beat me to it, with the difference being about 20 points in OBP and 50 in SLG. It would have been nice to have a lefty in their rotation, but I don't think its a big deal, in regard to the Red Sox's. Everyone on their team is basically even or hits lefties better other than three guys, who we all know suck against lefties. They are David Ortiz, Trot Nixon, and Pokey Reese (that was a cheap shot...). Now, David and Trot will play everyday, but I don't think it would have been a big deal if the Yankees had had one lefty in their rotation.

That's all for today... that wasn't quite quick... Anyways, see you all tomorrow.

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