Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, July 24, 2004
 
The Mets gained a half game on Florida and Philly in the standings yesterday because of the rainout and Floirda's 2-1 loss and Philly's 5-1 loss. This tends to happen every time the Mets have a rainout. Go rainouts!

Here's the story on the pitching matchups...
Last night's rainout will be made up as part of a twi-night doubleheader on Sept. 13. Al Leiter (6-3, 2.24 ERA) faces John Thomson (7-7, 4.85) tonight. Steve Trachsel (9-6, 3.72) opposes Mike Hampton (5-8, 4.95) tomorrow. Scott Erickson, who had been scheduled to pitch today, instead will go Monday in Montreal to allow Trachsel to throw on his proper day. The Mets will miss Atlanta's Jaret Wright (7-5, 3.21) as a result of the rainout.
I've always heard Trachsel doesn't do well when he's taken off his normal day, so I guess it must be true. I think this means, without looking, that Erickson will only start 3 times in the Mets 18 game stretch. And missing Jaret Wright? Whew (I can't believe I mean that half seriously).

Kris Benson- not a rental (its the same link)...
Kris Benson wouldn't necessarily be a rental player if the Mets obtain him from Pittsburgh. One insider said the pitcher would be willing to sign an extension with the Mets rather than test the free-agent waters, while he wouldn't do so with the Twins, the other primary suitor. That should allow the Mets to be more aggressive than Minnesota with their offer. The Mets reportedly have offered Ty Wigginton and pitching prospect Matt Peterson, though one team official said he was unaware of Peterson being offered. The Giants, Dodgers and Phillies also have emerged as suitors.
First off, I think the Dodgers are involved for talks on everyone. I think its something DePo learned from Beane. I also find the bolded quote funny.

Anyway, I think this is the biggest gripe of a lot of people. I was talking to fellow blogger Matt last night, who I know is very high on Peterson, and his only gripe with the deal is if Benson walks at the end of the year. While I like the thought of getting draft picks, as long as Benson is pretty good here, I would want him re-signed, unless one team jumped in with an atrocious contract way over market value.

I also would like the Mets to make Benson their first option, as I believe the innings he can eat (while pitching effectively) will help the bullpen more (by making them less tired and by not having them out there), then bringing in another reliever, who will...

a. probably be abused
b. more importantly, might not get as much work as we like in certain spots because who says Art Howe will stop his stupid usage patterns.

Kris Benson is a sure bet to help the bullpen, as long as he doesn't stink, which I don't see happening. Also, remember, he allows Erickson or Seo to move down to the pen, giving them a fresher arm and a longer stamina arm. Add that, and the Mets hopefully turning Ginter back into a short inning reliever and I think they can build a nice pen (Say goodbye to Wheeler, Bottalico, who needs a freak DL stint, and Franco, but that wouldn't happen. And yes, that means Parra is coming back into my pen).

Now, if the Mets can't get Benson, then I'd like them to go for a reliever, as none of the Lidle, Wilson type ilk impress me much. And Ramon Ortiz should only be a reliever...

Mets 7:05 start for the now two game series. There is rain predicted all weekend, so who knows what will be played (it hasn't rained for at least 10 hours or so here and I live 10-15 minutes out of NYC). Let's Go Mets!

Friday, July 23, 2004
 
The Mets are rained out tonight. Shucks.

In more roster fun, Shane Spencer is going on the DL (after stepping on broken glass) and is being replaced by Dan Wheeler, giving the Mets their much needed seventh pitcher and Joe McEwing the duty of 5th OF.

 
Two quick links...

More for Benson?...
While the Mets are ready to give up Ty Wigginton and Double-A pitching prospect Matt Peterson in a trade for Pittsburgh starter Kris Benson, it may not be enough.

Right now, the Pirates are favoring a deal with the Twins over the Mets, according to a major-league official who has discussed the Benson scenario with the Pirates.

The Pirates, who originally asked the Mets for David Wright and were quickly rebuffed, came back and asked for Wigginton and Peterson. After initially hesitating, the Mets said they would be willing to do that deal, but Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield is holding off because he currently likes what the Twins are offering better.

It is believed the Pirates were rebuffed in their efforts to get first baseman Justin Morneau from the Twins, and are now discussing a possible deal involving outfielder Michael Restovich and a minor-league player.
I guess we'll see how this plays out.

Avkash gets hilarious reader mail
on the failed Joe McEwing trade.

If you want newer stuff from me, below you'll find my obiligatory John Franco post from late last night.

Big series for the Mets starts tonight... Let's hope for a good start.

Thursday, July 22, 2004
 
I was at work for today's game. My brother, who replaced me at work today, comes in and gives me the score. Then he tells me, "The big shot was a Tony Batista 2 run HR. Guess who gave it up?"

Without thinking, "Mike Stanton!" And he's tells me I'm wrong. I looked perplexed. "Uhh... Glavine did it!" Nope. "No, not Moreno..." No, but he gave one up in the ninth. "Whatever. Oh, Bottalico." Nope. "DeJean... there goes the prediction." Nope, not that either. "Looper was in that early?" Nope. I stared at him. I had named all the righties and the one lefty that faces righties... "Glavine?" You said that. "I did, but Wheeler got sent down, no one is... no frickin' way... it can't be Franco..."

At this point, he nods. I get a pained expression on the look on my face.

"What in the hell was he doing in facing a righty. Did he come in to face other lefites and the other runner was inherited?" He shakes his head and tells me Franco gets out two lefties, but puts on Vidro, who batted righty, and then gave up the bomb to Batista.

"He faced two righties? And one that is the caliber of Vidro!" At this point I walk out of my workplace and scream onto the street.

Then I get home and see the pitch. 83 MPH high heat. High heat to Batista? The guy who might just swing at more crap than Ty Wigginton. If Franco is going to face him, which is a massive mistake, throw him the slop crap. He will swing at it!

I would rant on the bullpen, from the pitchers in it, to Art Howe's management of it, to the front office and how they put it together, but it is probably a worthless exercise. I think we all understand every party is partially to blame.

As for the Mets, they slip back to fourth place and find themselves 3 out of Atlanta and Philly with Atlanta rolling into Shea for 3 games this weekend.

Tomorrow's matchup features Al Leiter vs. John Thomson. I'll actually be able to see most of the game for a change...

 
Morning News, Notes and Links

Avkash's minor league report, tackling everything from bullpens, Milledge, Yunir Garcia and Justin Huber.

Speaking of Huber, he was promoted to Triple-A two weeks before he heads off to Athens.

Apparently, the Mets tried to trade McEwing to the Padres, but the deal fell apart at the last minute. Looking at the Padres roster, I'm not sure why they want him or need him, but, then again, I guess he can't be worse than Jeff Cirillo.

Matt decides to take a look at all the possibilities for the Mets roster over the next 10 days.

If you are looking for extended thoughts from me, here is my post from late last night (the one that said I wouldn't do anything this morning...) on the Benson trade and the good things that occurred yesterday.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
I'm late night posting because I'm busy between 11-9 tomorrow (Day Game too... Glavine vs. Day if you are interested) and don't feel like getting up before 10 AM tomorrow.

Let's just say everything is great tonight on the field, off the field and in the Mets blogging field...

On The Field
-Mets win 5-4 over Expos.
-David Wright makes debut... he may have went 0-4, but apparently looked sharp in the field.
-Jae Seo gave the Mets 6 strong innings, giving up 3 runs, 8 hits, walking three and striking out 1.
-Ty Wigginton walked THREE TIMES and apparently looked good at first.
-Richard Hidalgo took another ball deep, a three run shot.
-Kris Benson gave up 2 runs in 8 innings in Pittsburgh's 4-3 win over Atlanta.
-Philly beat Florida 2-1 tonight, bringing the Mets and Florida into a tie for third place, 3 games back.

Off the Field
I guess it depends on the definition of "good news", but Jason e-mailed Peter Abraham (the link isn't up now) and asked him about his report earlier today. He basically said the Benson deal is pretty close, but hinges on the Mets willingness to give up the now DLed Matt Peterson. So it would look something like Wigginton, Peterson, Brazell/Pagan/Duncan. Do you do it?

I say yes. If you put a gun to my head and told me that deal and told me to decide right now, I say yes. Matt Peterson is a good, possibly great, pitcher, but not a dealbreaker.

Of course, this depends on your thoughts on Benson. But I see it as a no lose situation. If he pitches well and you re-sign him, you can get him at probably 6 a year for 3 years. If he pitches well and jumps ship, get the draft picks. Same thing if he pitches average. If he pitches average and you bring him back, you can probably getting him at a Trachsel contract. If he blows, you lose. 80% chance something positive happens.

Now, of course, this is easier for me because I believe he'll be a 3.25-3.50 ERA pitcher here. That is all explained here (and yes, I've since changed my mind on Peterson, mostly for the reasons above and the reasons in the post linked to). I think with Peterson (who he wants to work with), an improved defense (especially with Wright manning third) and how hot he's been lately, he'll be very good and can slide into a nice 2/3 role next year. A rotation of Glavine/Benson/Trachsel/Seo/Heilman would not have any extraordinary pitchers, but it be solid one through five. You wouldn't get many great starts, but a hell of a lot of good ones.

So, I say yes, if it comes to Peterson, pull the trigger. But I have a lot more faith in Benson than most.

Mets Blogging News
Avkash is back, using typepad for now, since weblogs.us is still down. It's good to see, because I'm sure we've missed tons of great stuff he would have had if he had been around the last week or so.

Glavine goes for the much needed sweep tomorrow. I might be back with a late post again... we'll see. Anyway, Let's Go Mets!

 
Ed Coleman reports on the FAN:

-No trade could be worked out, Dan Wheeler is sent down to Triple-A as the roster casuality. With the work the bullpen gets both because of Howe and because the starters don't go deep into games, I don't expect them to go to 11 pitchers for long. Wheeler cannot be called up for 10 days unless there is an injury.
-Piazza has no structural damage on the wrist and is not going on the DL. He is Day-to-Day and could be present sometime during the Atlanta series.

There you go. No DL and Dan Wheeler.

 
Well, Roster Crunch 7/21 is winding down and some interesting things are being said.

First, Peter Abraham...
There are indications that the Mets will complete a deal in the next 24 hours with the Pittsburgh Pirates that will bring them right-hander Kris Benson.

"We have a couple of things in the works that could clear a roster spot," general manager Jim Duquette said.
Woah.

Of course, after Erickson's last start, there are plenty of things to discuss. Who is the fifth starter now? (Seo) Who should the Mets bring up when they send down Erickson/Seo? (D. Garcia) But not so fast... I then went over to Jason's site and found this from Jayson Stark....
Jack (Pittsburgh, PA): What is your best guess where Kris Benson will end up and what will the Pirates receive in return? Could Jason Kendall be packaged with Benson?

Jayson Stark: (12:05 PM ET ) The Mets have been as aggressive as any team. But it's the Pirates' call. If they continue to hold out for David Wright, he won't be a Met. Texas isn't giving up Laynce Nix. Minnesota isn't giving up Michael Cuddyer. And Philadelphia isn't giving up Chase Utley. I'd guess Mets or Twins. And there has been speculation that because of the Mets' callup of Wright last night, they were on the verge of trading for Benson. I haven't heard they were that close, but I'll look into it later today.
So Stark seems to doubt Abraham's report. Hmm...

Also, if you notice, Stark ignored part of Jack's question... the part about Kendall. But we've got Bill Madden on that...
As for their designs on Benson, there is another way the Mets could go that would virtually assure them of obtaining him while also upgrading their offense and not having to ask Piazza to assume the lion's share of the catching again. The Pirates have made no secret of the fact they would give the highest preference to any Benson bidder willing to take catcher Jason Kendall as part of the exchange. Problem is, Kendall has $34 million remaining on an egregiously escalating contract through 2007.

There's no way Duquette would dare even broach such a deal to the Wilpons, much less push for it. Yet as one baseball official suggested last night: "Who says the Mets would have to take on the whole contract? Everybody knows how desperate the Pirates are to unload Kendall, just as (Texas owner Tom) Hicks was to unload A-Rod's contract last winter, and look how much money he gave back to the Yankees. If the Pirates could get out from even half of Kendall's contract, they'd still be coming out way ahead."
Now this is some food for thought.

A lot of this depends on your thoughts on Huber. I think he'll need 2005 in AAA and with the questions about his defense, will he be ready by '06? And if he is, wouldn't it be smart to platoon him or have him share time with another catcher and let him take over in '07? Kendall will still be useful on the roster in that regard and since Piazza's contract goes after '05, the Mets could use Kendall at 1B a little bit (when the guy they get is not playing or if Piazza is still manning it) or maybe even in the OF. He won't hit for much power, but he gets on base at at least a .380 clip.

That's the latest on Roster Crunch 7/21. I'll be back as details come in.

 
Last night didn't start so well. Steve Trachsel gave up 6 runs in the first inning, the Mets actually fought back against Nate Bump and Co. to take the lead, only to surrender it with the bullpen and lose 9-7.

In addition to that, Mike Piazza sprained his left wrist trying to catch a bad throw from Ty Wigginton.
Though X-rays of the wrist were negative, the second-inning collision with Juan Pierre left Piazza hurt enough that an MRI will be taken on Wednesday morning, then a decision will be made based on the information gathered.
No one is quite sure whether he is going on the DL or not. It seems most people are doubting it, which set up some more roster shenanigans because of the good news of the night...

David Wright has arrived
. For real.
"We've been talking about it throughout the course of the day. Regardless of whether Mike was going on the DL, we were leaning this way. Even without [Piazza's] injury, we were bringing him up."...

...Wright's presence has an immediate impact on Ty Wigginton, who Duquette said would start at first base on Wednesday against Montreal
Duquette makes it sound like some deal was/is in the works, though references to Ty Wigginton playing first today. I would assume that's a just in case the trade (which would probbaly involve Wigginton) doesn't go down.

The Daily News has other thoughts...
Making room for Wright appeared to be a touchy situation. The Mets don't want to go down to 11 pitchers, given the short outings of their starters, and nobody left on the roster among position players has options - meaning any demoted player would be exposed to waivers. Joe McEwing has a contract through 2005 and would need to consent to a minor-league assignment, but appeared the logical casualty. Duquette said he was holding out hope of making a trade to clear a roster spot.
Unless Duke can pull a trade, this seems like the smartest and most likely solution. We love ya Joe, but you are no longer useful to us.

If you are wondering, if the Mets make a move that only clears a 25 man roster spot, the Mets do need to clear a 40 man spot for David Wright. My bet would be on Pedro Feliciano to be the most likely to go if that situation does somehow occur.

So there it is. The callup of David Wright. And another day to wait on the roster move...

Meanwhile, more good news from the minors as Scott Kazmir goes 8 strong with 10 Ks including being perfect through 6. The other jewel of the system had a good night too.

The Mets are still only 3 games out as the Expos roll into town. Anyone else think a sweep is needed here, both because of the last two games and Atlanta rolling into town for the weekend.

Jae Seo vs. John Patterson tonight. Let's Go Mets and Let's Go Wright!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
 
The Mets let one slip away last night to Florida after getting a good start from Scott Erickson. Erickson went six innings giving up 2 runs on 8 hits with 3 Ks and 1 walk. Orber Moreno continued his inability to pitch with a lead, giving up 2 runs in 2/3IP. Looper then blew the save in the ninth.

Of course, to make room for Erickson, the Mets traded Karim Garcia to the O's for Mike DeJean. Before you get worried about finding a roster spot for DeJean, Jose Parra is going on the 15 day DL with a hip flexor injury.

As for DeJean, he hasn't been met with much warmth in the blogging community (see here, here, here and here). And its not hard to make a case agaisnt him. 6.13 ERA, 36/28 K/BB ratio, 1.94 WHIP, etc. And Matt does list all the BP stats against him...
1.DeJean is the second worst reliever in the majors by ARP.
2.He's the worst in the majors with inherited runners.
3.He's the most overrated by conventional run assignment.
Yeah, that's bad.

Yet, I'm ready to make an argument that DeJean could be a pretty good pitcher here. And away we go...

1. Using Hardball Times, Mike DeJean has a .622 DER. His line drive percentage of .210 is high, but the .622 is still below average. The O's as a team are at .678, 1.1% below average, and second worse in the NL. Looking at the Mets, the closest comparable to DeJean is/was David Weathers. Similar G:F's in the 1.6, Dejean LD% a little higher, Weathers IF/Fly a little lower. David Weathers got a .670 DER here from the Mets. That would be an improvement of 5% for DeJean with the Mets. The Mets do have a .707 DER, meaning that seeing a .670 might be shooting low for DeJean, but with the LD% and a close comparable, let's do the math with .670.

Doing some really bad and quick math, it seems seven less (I rounded up) BIP would fall into play if DeJean had been getting a .670 DER all year, giving him only 42 hits in 39.2 IP. How much does that help him? Who knows, but a much better defense should help him.

2. Take a look at his splits. See how both the ERAs and ratios have gotten better each month...

April- 9.45 ERA, 6.2 IP, 12 H, 7/8 K/BB, 0 HR, .400 BAA
May- 7.62 ERA, 13 IP, 22 H, 11/14 K/BB, 1 HR, .386 BAA
June- 5.11 ERA, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 10/4 K/BB, 1 HR, .227 BAA
July- 2.35 ERA, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 8/2 K/BB, 0 HR, .179 BAA

He has had good years in his career, so this is definitely a positive sign. Mere sample fluctuation or real trend? We'll see...

3. In Rick Peterson I Trust. Here's what he said about DeJean...
"He's got a slider and a split, but the scout who saw him said his fastball was 89-94 [miles per hour]," Mets' pitching coach Rick Peterson said. "All the ingredients are there. Now it's a matter of consistency."
Peterson seems to believe he has things to work worth. Benefit of the doubt always goes towards him.

4. To be perfectly honest, this one doesn't mean much to me, but its a fun little tidbit, so here are his home/road splits...

Home- 20 IP, 32 H, 2 HR, 17/15 K/BB, .360 BAA, 9.90 ERA
Away- 19.2 IP, 17 H, 0 HR, 19/13 K/BB, .243 BAA, 2.29 ERA

Was it Camden Yards? Unlikely, but its fun to think it might have been.

With the above list, I believe Mike DeJean could be a pretty good pitcher here. How good? Here is the prediction I started to unveil last night in the game chatter. It's now two-fold.
Mike DeJean will have an ERA under 3.50 as a Met this year

AND

Mike DeJean will not be on the top ten list of worst pitchers at allowing inherited runners to score.
Am I crazy? Probably, but I truly believe he'll be a better pitcher here.

Good Trax vs. Nate Bump tonight in the second of two games... The Mets could really use this one.

Monday, July 19, 2004
 
I apologize for yesterday's post... When that combination of little time, frustration with the team and cool new features come about, I go a little insane. Acutally, a little more insane.

Anyway, the Mets took the final game of the 4 games series yesterday 6-1, to get a split with Philly. It leaves the Mets in the same spot they were when the series started, 2 back of Philly. The rest of the NL East stands with Atlanta tied with Philly and Florida three games back.

Al Leiter gave the Mets 6 strong innings and then the bullpen helps to seal the deal (all 5 of them). Two interesting developments out of that pen though.
  1. Ricky Bottalico couldn't find the plate again, giving up 2 BB and a hit in 1/3 IP. He threw 26 pitches, 14 for strikes.
  2. After John Franco walked a batter and got an out, Dan Wheeler came in to pitch with 2 outs and the bases loaded in a 4-1 game. He got Polanco to ground into a fielder's choice.
But the interesting thing about this is the usage of Dan Wheeler, the supposed long man. Here's what Art Howe had to say...
"That's possible," Howe said when asked if Wheeler would continue to be summoned in pressure situations. "Last year he pitched in a lot of tough spots."
I won't throw a massive fit on this one if it means less Stanton in these situations, but this is something I don't want to see a lot of. Dan Wheeler is a nice long man to eat innings. Not a bad pitcher, not a great pitcher. Meanwhile, all Orber sees is 4-1 deficits.

The Mets welcome Florida to town tonight and we get to welcome Scott Erickson to Shea. But the roster move? Don't expect the decision until later this afternoon... though it looks like Garcia (from Newsday article above)...
General manager Jim Duquette has been trying to trade outfielder Karim Garcia, a move that would allow the Mets to retain 12 pitchers. One option would be for the Mets to designate Garcia for assignment, or they could chose to demote a pitcher.
The Mets are seemingly still trying to draw interest for Garcia, but I just don't see it happening. It's likely he'll get DFAed. If its not him, I'd say the next best bet is a pitcher... my odds would be on Orber. Vinny covers some of the other and weirder roster moves the Mets might take.

Finally, in some minor league news, Aaron Heilman had another good outing. 7 IP, 3 R (2 earned), 4 H, 8 K, 2 BB, 0 HR. So far this month, in 4 games, Aaron Heilman has pitched 26 innings with a 2.42 ERA. He has a 9 K/9, 3.81 BB/9, 2.36 K/BB, 6.58 H/9 and a 0.69 HR/9. He might not be back all the way yet (I'd like to see a higher K/BB), but he's definitely getting there.

The first of two against the Marlins tonight. Unluckily for Scott, he gets to face the Met killer (at least as pitchers go), Dontrelle Willis. Good luck Scotty!

Sunday, July 18, 2004
 
Blogger seems to have added some new buttons to play around with. Like Colors.

And lists. Lists are cool...
  1. Gogs sucks.
  2. Gogs sucks.
  3. Gogs sucks.
Or bullets...
Or hell, I could center something...

Gogs sucks.

Hell, I can still blockqoute...
Gogs sucks.
See how much fun this is. For more on Gogs, check out Matt's post on Gogs.

Hopefully Leiter will pull some Houdini magic today. And I'll become sane again.


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