Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, April 24, 2004
The NFL Draft is today and I just realized the Jets traded their second round pick to the Titans for Justin McCariens. I'm very happy about this, as I love McCariens, but could anyone tell me when this happened... I was shocked to find that out.

As for the Mets, they face Kerry Wood today. 0 runs, anyone? Tyler Yates goes for the Mets and hopefully he doesn't suck.

Because of the Mets injuries, we get articles like this... Zeile playing more than expected. Doesn't that all make us happy? It's what you would expect... talk about injuries, Wigginton and Phillips sucking... I'm dissapointed that there was no mention of how Zeile was "money" though... Speaking of Howe, this is where I was afraid of something that would piss me off in the article...

Howe said it is more than the raw numbers that are the reason he is writing Zeile's name into the lineup every day lately.

I got 5 bucks down on veteran leadership!

"He's had quality at-bats," Howe said. "That's the bottom line. A lot of times people look at outcomes, rather than process. He's seen a lot of pitches and gotten the pitcher to work. That's important."

Holy crap... that was intelligent. I'm shocked.

For a look at Lenny Dinardo, check out Avkash's ramblings
For a look at a lot of former Mets, check out Matt's post. This is my favorite...

Today the Indians called up Jason Anderson to help out with the bullpen. Tomorrow, they will send him back down.

I got a laugh out of that, even if I have always liked Anderson.

Friday, April 23, 2004
Taking a page from Norm, I've put my best posts on this blog at the top of my sidebar. Partly because I want something on the sidebar, partly because its for people who are new here to see some of my work and partly because I want to remind myself that I have written some worthwhile long articles here.

If you think there is anything else that deserves to be up there, tell me in the comments. If you think something up there doesn't deserve to be there, leave one in the comments too.

As of this point...

Among qualified players, Ricky Gutierrez is last in the league in OPS. Whee!

Among qualified players, Jason Phillips is last in the league in AVG (Sorry Matt). He also owns the worst slugging percentage among qualified players. Yes, his SLG% is lower than Pokey Reese. Whee!

I'm home on a Friday Night! Whee (my social life blows big time). The Mets lost 3-1! Whee. The Mets signed Gerald Williams! Whee.

That is all.

Alex at TCR has the pitching matchups covered. I really think we'll win 1 game, on Sunday, when Leiter pitches. It looks like another long series for the Mets.

I'm opening up the comments to you guys today to chat it up. Talk about the game tonight or anything else Mets on your mind (Joe McEwing over Danny Garcia is a good topic. Or Spencer batting 2nd vs. righties).

Finally, in a bit of sad news, Pat Tillman died today in Afghanistan. If you don't remember who he is, he is the Arizona Cardinal safety who gave up a 3 year, 3.6 million dollar contract to enter the military after September 11th. I can't say I would have done the same...

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Ty Wigginton is dizzying his way to the DL. Danny Garcia gets called up and hopefully gets the 2B job right away until Reyes comes back, if that ever happens. He's better defensively than what we are throwing out there and has a better bat. What are Ricky Gutierrez's and Joe McEwing's uses on this roster? Oh yeah, so we can't have Scutaro and/or Bellhorn! And if Cameron ever takes a day off from center, Garcia should play in his spot too... I'm pretty sure he's played some CF in his minor league career (And no, not Jeff Duncan. He shouldn't be up here... he needs to work on his bat. I want to see what Danny Garcia can do).

The Mets head off to Chicago tomorrow with a matchup of Jae Seo vs. Greg Maddux. Considering Maddux's slow start, could this be the offensive breakout game we've been praying for? Can Jae Seo pitch well? Decently? Passably? With my extreme pessimism kicking in, we'll probably make Greg Maddux look like he's in his Cy Young form of the 90's and the Cubs red hot offense will smack Jae Seo all the way back to Triple A Norfolk.

As for the last homestand, the Mets went 4-6. They gave up only 3.6 runs per game. Unfortunately, they scored 3.2 runs per game and that includes the 10 run effort vs. the Braves. I don't know how much they will help the offense, but Floyd and Reyes need to hurry back because I don't know how much longer I can stand this anemic offense or watching Joe McEwing look like he's chopping wood at the plate.

Also, I'm hoping to get out longer thoughts (and maybe finally a complete rant on the Trachsel contract) next week since I have Spring Break.

They won. Barely. Two errors in that 9th innings. It's never easy. But also remember, they split with the Expos. That's sad.

Fun Fact: They teams combined for 16 runs in the 4 game series.

You know what... it is time to face facts. This team won't be good. Kill the optimism, we are in for a long season.

Matt Galante is the goat of last night's game after getting Piazza throw out after inexpliciably sending him and having Garcia thrown out in a position where it wasn't a bad idea to send him (Cameron is a K hitter up next). Wilkerson, who I love, unfortunately made a great throw.

The offense is still anemic, the pitching is still good. Example of how much the bench sucks...

Vance Wilson pinch hit for the pitcher with 2 outs in the 9th. And he was the best option.

News of the Day: Wiggy dizzy and going on the DL

Maybe its from hacking at too many first pitches... in all seriousness, the Mets injury line continues. Everyone would love to see Danny Garcia get called up and for him to get the 2B job, but I got a sneaking suspicion we might see Wilson Delgado, who is hitting .368/.442/.500 in 38 ABs at Norfolk.

Mike Piazza just doubled, putting the Mets up one (2-1) with runners on 2nd and 3rd and Jason Phillips up with 1 out in 7th inning. Of course, then Art Howe pinch ran for Piazza with Vance Wilson... why does he do this? Can someone give me a good explanation?

EDIT: Wilson Delgado is not on the 40 man roster, at least according to the Mets 40 man roster on their official site. So we may see Danny Garcia after all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Neyer on Pickering
Avkash on Al Leiter and his future

The Pickering article is more just for information after yesterday's post. As for Avkash's, I agree completely and also really noticed that trend without looking at the stats and pretty much felt it was because of more balls... Along with what Avkash posted, the other scary trend has been this...

2001: 2.21
2002: 3.04
2003: 4.68

Those are his BB/9 the last three years. That's very scary. Another 4.5 BB/9 wouldn't suprise me...

As for the Mets as they are currently put together, here is your report...

Offense: Anemic
Starters: Awesome
Bullpen: Craptastic

I flipped on the TV, saw Vidro hit his home run, turned it off and went to go study for a test. I watched one batter of the game last night.

So, afterwards, I headed over to the Game Chatter to read up on the game and read an interesting discussion about Art Howe... the main question being, just how much of our whining about him does he deserve? I've been thinking about this since and while this will come off as a ramble (I don't write down my ideas), it is something I want to comment on...

First off, Art Howe is a bad manager. No one will deny that. But how bad? And how much of a difference is there between a good and bad manager? Most of these are hard to answer, though I really don't believe its a lot, except in rare cases like Larry Bowa and maybe Earl Weaver.

More importantly, what exactly does Art Howe have to work with? He's not Larry Bowa... he's not screwing up a playoff caliber team. He's screwing up a badly constructed team. And I'm not just talking about whether or not this team will make the playoffs... I mean the actual construction of the manager's resources. The bench is horrific and the bullpen has been bad so far this year and is filled with a bunch of old guys who don't really throw the ball hard (or all that differently from each other).

We complain about Art Howe's bullpen use. We complain about his usage of Stanton and Weathers and Franco, all old guys we can't stand. But they are on the roster and they are getting paid a fair amount of money... they have to pitch! How much of this blame can go on Duke? Well, he resigned Franco stupidly (hello Jaime Cerda) and if he was really creative, he probably could have gotten rid of Weathers. Stanton... he was stuck with him from the Phillips Era, but if the bullpen was better constructed, he wouldn't be used in as many high leverage situations (and if he was, then Art Howe is truly dumb). Now, Art does have some things to work with out there and makes very bad decisions on...

a. When to pull pitchers
b. Which pitchers to use

But if he didn't have a bunch of old farts who can't get it over 90 MPH, would his decision making be better? That's tough to say, but I don't think as many things would go wrong. I mean, he did coach teams in Oakland who won... I don't care how much control Beane supposedly had... they won, he has to know something.

As for the bench, its bad. Real bad. If Duke had been smart/creative, he could have kept Scutaro and gotten Fick, Bellhorn (the Red Sox gave up some cash and a piece of crap for him) and Branyan and still kept Wilson and lets say Timo or someone like him who can give some real OF defense (I would hope the better bullpen would only need 6 pitchers). But, unfortunately, he didn't and the bench sucks. Yet, we complain about Art Howe's moves. To be honest, I don't know how to use this bench. It doesn't even have a go-to pinch hitter, unless you want to count Todd Zeile... and I don't care how "money" he is, when he is your best/most trusted pinch hitter, you are in trouble (then again, right now its Jason Phillips).

Look, I'm not giving Art Howe a pass... he's still bad... but I think Mets fans, me included, have been somewhat unfair to him. He doesn't have much to work with. The front office was very bad in making its small moves and constructed a very bad bench/bullpen. Anyone (except Bavasi) can get Mike Cameron right. Its the small moves they didn't get right. How much impact did Art Howe have in those moves (like Joe McEwing)? Who knows, though I suspect a little bit... but not enough to really effect any of these moves to happen (except maybe Super Joe... that's just a gut feeling).

I think when looking at this, blame should pass to both. Art Howe for not being very good at his job, the front office for giving him little to work with and not doing its job well (at the moment, I give the new regime a C for what its done so far. It's been better, but really average... which tells you how much Phillips stunk). So next time you are watching a game, remember, Art Howe didn't sign John Franco...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
The Mets needed that win last night. OK, maybe not needed, but it was important. After getting swept by a team that sucks and playing a team that sucks more, they should win and they did 4-1. Yates was pretty good, the offense provided enough punch and the Mets bullpen held on. Here is the important stuff from the game...

-Wigginton refuses to stop swinging at the first pitch and unfortunately (for the long run) got a home run on one of them. I love Sam M's idea of fining him when he does it, though I'm not sure a team would go to that extreme. But anyways, Ty, take a lesson from Zeile and take a pitch!
-Stanton looked good. He pitched 2 scoreless innings, stirking out 2 (One was Tony Batista, but Ks have been one of his big problems that has caused his dropoff). He wasn't that effective, throwing 37 pitches, but some of his stuff looked real good. It's a positive, though a few less balls would help.

Yeah, Art is still an idiot after pinch running for Piazza with Wilson and Looper almost blew it, but those two are the most important things. Leiter vs. Day, two in a row would be nice.

As for the injured list, Reyes looks like he's returning in LA. I can't wait... other note from this column I want to point out is that Jae Seo will get his start in Chicago. We can only hope it goes a little better.

JD Arney suggests the Reds should talk to the Mets about trading them Steve Smitherman. Steve Smitherman is an OF in the Reds system. He's 25 and all he's done since getting drafted is rake, going .402/.534 in AA last year. He has a projected .316/.441 (4.4 VORP) from PECOTA, but more importantly, has upside. If the Mets could get him for not a lot, I would put him on the bench immediately and send Valent back down. I would also get him a few start in RF, even after Floyd comes back. The interesting thing is what the Reds would want. I would hope Vance Wilson and a pitcher like Jeremy Griffiths would do it, but I'm not sure if the Reds are that stupid. Since JD is closer to the situation, I'd like to hear his thoughts on who he thinks (or what type of players) it would take to get Smitherman.

Finally, speaking of the bench, you think the Royals would give the Mets Calvin Pickering (scroll down) for Vance Wilson (or a low level prospect... or reliever)? Pickering is a 1B and is nothing special in the field, so he can't play OF, but he can rake. He's projected at .340/.449 (4.7 VORP at 1B) by PECOTA and is currently terrorizing Triple A at Omaha right now. He wouldn't field, but if he could replace Vance on the bench just to hit, it would be worth it. The bench needs pop badly (Plus, he's lefty!).

Monday, April 19, 2004
"The Mets have a game tonight. Crap. The Expos. Yay."

That's a trip through my mind during school today (well, one of many. I'll save you the others). I'm serious. I had my pocket Mets schedule, flipping through it to see what games I want to go to during the summer (and yes, Josh, I'm gonna make you take me) and I looked at today. I swore, for some reason, the Mets were off. Maybe I wanted that after the horrific weekend series... anyway, I was not happy when I saw that... but then I saw "MON" and got very happy. The Expos have scored about 2 runs per game this year! If the Mets don't beat them, I go crazy.

Its Yates vs. Ohka tonight. Tyler Yates needs a big bounceback game after the non-rainout disaster against the Braves...

As for the offense, it just needs to freaking score. They are missing Floyd and Reyes, but I'm somewhat non optimistic (I guess that's pessimistic) for when they come back because I really think the starting pitching, minus Seo's start yesterday, can't be this good throughout the whole season. The pitching will be worse (though hopefully the pen gets a little better) and the offense will be better, but it will still all be .500.

Fun Fact #1: Grant Roberts is 361st out of 368 players in ERA... in all of MLB... qualified or unqualified (Mike Stanton is 339).

Fun Fact #2: Ty Wigginton is 203rd out of 206 players in OBP... in all of MLB... qualified players.

As for the game tonight, you can probably catch me in the game chatter... they like to win when I listen on the radio...

Sunday, April 18, 2004
There's only so long I can keep supporting Jae Seo... hell, Peterson might have been right after all. More on the game and the Mets tomorrow...

For now, check out this article on blogs in the York Sunday News that features a half decent quote from me.

A few notes I found while wandering the internet...

Vance Wilson... starting catcher?- Talks of Vance Wilson, No. 3 catcher on the Mets, being traded to another team in need of help. The Mets really don't need Vance with Piazza and Phillips at C/1B and with the fact that Zeile and, if you are really looking for a stretch, McEwing can play catcher. If the Mets could trade Wilson for a prospect of semi-value or a guy who could hit off the bench (regardless of positon, though an OF would be nice), they should do it... but here's the better question...

Why would you trade something for him? Vance Wilson is as replacable as it gets. He's Brad Ausmus with a lower salary. A nice defensive catcher who can't hit squat. He hit .243/.293/.373 last year. He is the pure definition of replacement level and all teams should be able to do better than that. He is a backup catcher who is servicable for about 30-40 games and if any team needs him for more than that, they are in real trouble. So, the Mets should go ahead and trade him if they can.

He's back!!!- Ricky Bottalico, who surprisingly did not get a job with another team, is back with the Mets at Norfolk. If the bullpen keeps up its tricks, then expect him up in a week or two.

Speaking of the bullpen, here might just be the best blog post never to feature a word of text.

Pirates 2-1 over Mets

I like Oliver Perez a lot, but damn it. We can't score when our pitchers pitch well and when we do score enough, our pen sucks. Getting swept by the Pirates would be embarassing... At least Art Howe didn't do anything mind numbingly stupid in this game (Except maybe not using Jason Phillips to pinch hit for Gutierrez).

Speaking of Art Howe and stupid, an interesting idea is getting tossed around lately. Would we rather have this team "chase that 75th win" (or .500) or bomb out and get Art fired? I really think I'd rather see them win. Who's to say they would hire a better manager (all managers do bad things... Craig Wilson 7th... in that lineup!)? And Art doesn't cost us THAT many games like Larry Bowa (still convinced he costs five games a year). I don't know if I could stand another 65 win year... then again, this .500 year might drive me insane the way its going... OK, more insane.

Today's game features Kris Benson vs. Jae Seo, who is making his first start this year. Important game for him and he gets a good matchup with a very bad Pirates lineup. Hopefully the Mets can do something against Kris Benson because I don't feel safe for Jae unless he gets the win. Plus, losing to the Pirates again would be really bad.

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