Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Avkash gives Wigginton some love and I have to agree. His trade value is shooting through the roof at this point, especially since he's hitting an amazing .344/.382/.844 this month and had another homer and 2 RBIs in last night's 6-3 win.

Randy Johnson? The Mets?
The Mets, however, have diligently worked to stay within a financial plan. With an $85-million payroll, management might be hesitant to instantly jump into a higher stratosphere. That could change, however. Mets officials still are waiting for the price to come down on the Pirates' Kris Benson; Johnson would cost even more, both in terms of salary and what it would take to get him.

One Mets official considered his team an extreme long shot to land Johnson, citing the Yankees and Angels as significant favorites and adding that there had been no contact with the Diamondbacks as of Friday night....

...The Diamondbacks certainly would ask for third baseman David Wright, but he has been considered untouchable to this point and is likely to be promoted from Triple-A Norfolk after the All-Star break. Lefthander Scott Kazmir, recently promoted to Double-A Binghamton, is considered one of the most coveted pitching prospects. The Mets held both players out of previous trade conversations, but they might be persuaded to change their minds now that they are within striking distance of first in the NL East.
Randy is a great pitcher, but let's hope not for Kazmir or Wright if the Mets are even in the race for him.

Friday, July 09, 2004
A couple of things from the blogosphere...

Vinny takes a look at Ambassador Tom's idea to lure John Smoltz to New York.

Jason and Matt chime in on the Benson rumors and it seems, so far, the blogosphere agrees this is an easy no brainer.

I missed last night's loss (and I will miss tonight and tomorrow night too), so I can't comment on much, but I do have a few observations...

1. Matt Ginter is still on shaky ground. The start was enough for the Mets to seem to consider to bring him back again for his next start, but I'm doubting it.
2. The Mets need a lefthanded reliever bad. Nostradamus, I mean Matt, details for us.
3. We are tied for 2nd with the Braves, 2 games back. Yuck.

It looks like the Benson rumors might be heating up...
The Mets had offered Ty Wigginton in recent weeks but were rebuffed. However, a baseball official who has spoken with Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield in the past few days said Littlefield has been asking about Wigginton and is starting to show serious interest.

The official said that if the Mets are willing to trade Wigginton to get Benson, which they are, the deal could happen very soon. Besides Wigginton, the Mets have also offered the Pirates Jason Phillips and minor-league slugger Craig Brazell in an effort to get the right-hander, who will be a free agent after the season....

... The Mets would probably be willing to trade Wigginton and a marginal minor-leaguer for Benson. If that doesn't work out, they can turn back to Ramon Ortiz. The Orioles have made Sidney Ponson available, but the Mets have very little interest in the contract he just signed.
I don't think there is any one of us out there who doesn't do 2 or all of Wigginton, Phillips and Brazell for Benson. Hell, Newsday throws in a better name...
With starting pitching at a premium throughout baseball, the Mets are discussing a trade that would send third baseman Ty Wigginton and prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for righthander Kris Benson.

The Mets are one of eight teams, including the Yankees, who have been negotiating with the Pirates for Benson.

In addition to Wigginton, who likely will lose his job to highly touted prospect David Wright after the All-Star break. First base prospect Craig Brazell and outfield prospect Jeff Duncan could figure into the deal.
Jeff Duncan. Imagine Wigginton and Duncan/Brazell for Benson. That would be sweet.

The Karim Garcia roster decision has been made... and the winner is... Matt Ginter...
Ginter said that he understood the move, pointing to the fact that unlike potential option candidates Jose Parra and Orber Moreno, he wouldn't be able to pitch for the next five days.

"I'm pretty much a dead player now," said Ginter, who hopes to rejoin the Mets on July 19, the next time New York will need a fifth starter.

While at Triple-A Norfolk, Ginter said he does not expect to make any starts. He's been told he'll throw his regular bullpen session on Sunday and might be in line to pitch an inning on Thursday, but will be kept available in case the Mets recall him on July 19.

New York's other option would figure to be right-hander Scott Erickson, who has made two good starts in a row at Norfolk.
I've come around on this move since yesterday, especially when Orber Moreno became a serious option to be sent down. I hope, assuming no injuries, that they still actually do have a plan for when Scott Erickson (or Matt Ginter) comes back up, but having a full bullpen for this weekend is a good thing.

Tonight the Mets roll into Florida for a three game series. Tonight's game is Jae Seo vs. A.J. Burnett... Let's Go Mets!

Thursday, July 08, 2004
Two more things floating around...

Scott Kazmir promoted to Double-A. Well deserved and it will be fun to see what he can do in Binghamton.

Howe gets positive signs from Reyes. The article is about Jose Reyes and how Art Howe is seeing good things from him, but a little note at the end interested me most...
Karim Garcia (wrist) will rejoin the team tonight and be activated for tomorrow's game in Miami, meaning the Mets have a decision to make: Risk waiving Eric Valent or send reliever Orber Moreno down?
It doesn't completely shock me that Art Howe wants Wheeler, who is his long man. Howe is also obsessed with Eric Valent, so I doubt they would risk losing him (plus I'd rather him come up as a left handed bat than Garcia). Which leaves Orber... unless they do Cohen's idea of sending down Ginter after his start tonight since they won't need a fifth starter until next weekend... but I'd prefer to stay away from temporary solutions.

Best. Game. Ever. So, that's probably an overstatement, but it was definitely fun. And the last few weeks have definitely been fun. Just think about it...

One game out of first place with a chance to tie for first place tonight.

Just let that thought soak over for a moment.

Isn't that amazing? It's unreal. It's unbelievable.

To be perfectly honest, the Mets aren't far off that .500 pace we all set for them before the addition. And if you count the addition of Richard Hidalgo over the RF mess we had, being 3 games or so over .500 wouldn't seem like a complete shock with a little luck (but, of course, Richard has been around for a little over two weeks and not a whole season).

Now that we've all had our happy moment, let's get down to some of the important things going on...

In the Mets last 20 games, here are what some Mets have hit (courtesy of Doug Stats)...

Matsui- .305/.337/.451
Phillips- .286/.318/.357
Wigginton- .263/.317/.526
Cameron- .296/.406/.667

You can't expect that kind of production from Wigginton and Cameron to keep up, but if they start hitting, things are good. As you can see, Matsui has come around and even Phillips is at least hitting for a decent average, which would at least make him somewhat productive to have in the lineup.

As for the Mets tonight, the most important story might not be the chance to get into first place... its probably Ginter's last chance to ward off Scott Erickson. There's not much to say at this point... Seo got the message two starts ago. Ginter has had fielding problems the last two games plus he just hasn't pitched that great. The ability is there... at least enough to ward of Erickson.

Then again, Erickson might have someone else to ward off... Adam Rubin is reporting that the Mets signed Alain Soler to a 3 million dollar deal. Apparently Soler won't be ready until much later this year (if he is ready this year), so Erickson will still be the number one choice to replece Ginter. Avkash has the rest of the scoop.

Meanwhile, maybe we should temper our David Wright expectations...
While David Wright may be the greatest Wright since Wilbur and Orville, the Mets have no plans to bring him to the big leagues next week.

Contrary to some reports, Duquette said the Mets have not set a day to promote Wright.

"There is no schedule. Frankly, we probably won't decide until the night before it happens," he said. "There are so many factors, including how we're playing. Right now the lineup is clicking."

While Wright is the third baseman of the future, the third baseman of the present hasn't been too bad. Ty Wigginton was 2 for 5 with a home run and a triple last night and is hitting .272 with 37 RBI, the fourth most on the team.

Wigginton has hit safely in eight of the last nine games with nine RBI and has four home runs in the last five games.
You can't argue much with that at this point. At least Duke understands that Kris Benson isn't worth David Wright.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
OFF, who pokes around here from time to time, wants Richard Hidalgo to be president. I, personally, am willing to go one step further and give him the crown of "Ruler of the World". Now, of course, no such thing exists, but I'm sure Met fans could make it happen after hitting .348/.403/.788 in the 17 games since the trade including two hits (one triple) and 2 RBI's last night in the Mets 4-1 win.

Al Leiter, who will for now on be known as "Houdini", now leads the league with his 2.05 ERA. He pulled out of tight spots again yesterday and was fairly economical, throwing 102 pitches in 7 innings, especially when you consider Randy Wolf, who threw 111 pitches in 4 and 2/3 innnings.

Of course, that leaves the 8th inning after Leiter comes out and before Looper comes in. And what duo comes in? Mike Stanton and Ricky Bottalico (now known as "The Secretly Injured One"). "The Injured One" walked Polanco, then got Michaels. Stanton came in a followed suit, walking Abreu and getting Thome. Looper came in to get Burrell to end the threat.

But the point of me bringing this up is the dread I have when I see them warm up. You know about Mike Stanton, the inherited runners, the pure hatred we have for seeing the man walk out of the bullpen. But "TSIO"? I loved him earlier this season. He was SO effective. Then, I heard about shoulder tenderness. I realized he has started to struggle out there. I realized he was pitching a lot. Which has lead me to one conclusion... Art Howe is turning "TSIO" into... him. And that's just scary.

In other NL East news, Florida beat Pittsburgh six to three as the revelation that Mark Corey stinks arises (insert drug joke here). Altanta beats the anemic Expos offense 1-0, with J.D. Drew getting the RBI for the Braves win. After last night's action, the division stands with the Phillies in the lead, the Mets and Marlins 2 games back and the Braves 2.5 games back.

If you need your minor league fix, Avkash covers yesterday's games, which include another good performance from Aaron Heilman.

Tonight's pitching matchup features Brett Myers vs. Steve Trachsel in the third game of the series...

Brett Myers hasn't been particulary good at all this season, with a 5.28 ERA, but has pitched a lot better at home (in 6 starts) with a 4.54 ERA and a much better K/BB (24/5 vs. 35/24) and HR rate (2 HR in 33.2 IP vs. 9 HR in 53.1 IP). He still gives up a ton of hits though (39 hits in 33.2 IP), so that probably explains the 4+ ERA. Still, I'm not sure why he pitches that much better in what Matt still tells me is Coors Field Jr.

As for Trachsel, well, Bad Trach walks into Philly tonight, where you could guess by the nickname Coors Field Jr., the balls fly fast and far. And that's not good for Trachsel... let's review again...

Home: 1.59 ERA, 2 HR in 73.2 IP
Away: 7.88 ERA, 10 HR in 32 IP

So Bad Trach is walking into a park that is a home run heaven... this might not go well. Then again, with the way Myers has pitched this year, this could be a high scoring affair. Whatever the case... Let's Go Mets!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004
David Waldstein takes a look at the Mets at the halfway point. I can't argue with most of what he says and I especially like one of his choices...
THE DUD: Most people would say Matsui, but he has done a lot to help the team offensively. Jason Phillips, however, has been woeful offensively all season and hasn't given the team much of a boost at all.
It's easy to bash on Matsui and even easier for the media to do it, but Waldstein correctly points out that he hasn't been bad offensively (he's a SS... keep the numbers in context). Meanwhile, Phillips hasn't done much at all worhtwhile this season.

It's nice to see the media not take the easy way out for once.

If Tom Glavine ever complains about run support again, I will personally find him and slap him. Thanks a lot Tom. Thanks a friggin' lot.

Hopefully I'll be back later with more rational thoughts once I get through the orthodonist and work this afternoon and am not making a post ten minutes after I wake up on a little more than 6 hours of sleep.

But no matter all the circumstances, the above still stands. Thank you Tom!

Monday, July 05, 2004
I'm pretty much speechless.

To be honest, I saw about 2 innings of the game on Saturday on TV. And that's about it for my TV watching. I listened to the game on the radio on Friday (while waiting for fireworks), listened to a good half of the game on Saturday while going somewhere and couldn't get a radio connection at all yesterday as I went down to Cape May (I found out what happened at 1 in the morning... coming back). Sweeps against the Yankees are sweet, but a sweep against anyone is good. Especially when we roll into Philly with momentum and the massive mismatch of All-Star Tom Glavine vs. Paul Abbott.

Richard Hidalgo HRs are becoming commonplace these days. Ty Wigginton just keeps on hitting and increasing his trade value, though he shouldn't be traded if they can't get anyone really good back. He's still a nice bench player next year (and makes a nice IF combo of D. Garcia and him if they give McEwing his outright release). Hell, Orber Moreno pitched in the 8th inning of a close ballgame yesterday, even if he did give up a run (meaning we won't see him there till after the break). Jae Seo pitched fine yesterday too, with 2 ER in 5 2/3 IP. If he's back on track at the end of the rotation... well, then its flowing good. There are only 3 really bad things going on right now...

1. Mike Stanton's continued use- It can't be stopped and probably can't be contained. Live with it... and pray.
2. Ricky Bottalico's overusage- I swear, he's turning into Weathers. He hasn't been bad his last few games, but its just not there anymore and its not sharp.
3. Matt Ginter i.e. Worst. Fielding. Pitcher. Ever.- While that might be an overstatement, he is bad and has plain out sucked... We are going to see Scott Erickson... its only a matter of time.

But considering those are two bullpen guys (where a lot of praying is involved anyway) and a fifth starter, things are looking up, especially when you look at the standings and see the Mets 2 games behind Philly and even with Florida. The next stretch, against Philly and Florida, is huge. Really huge.

On Saturday, I discussed believing in this team for real. And I think the time has come. I'm sucked in... but I think most of us are. How much? It depends on your point of view I guess, but you can't help but be impressed right now.

Now, if the Mets lose to Paul Abbott tonight...

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