Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, August 14, 2004
 
Just as a thought on Hopeless Optimism Weekend!!!... The Mets have to go 34-14 the rest of the way (a .708 winning percentage) to make it to 89 wins. And who knows if that makes the playoffs... Plus, without Reyes, Piazza and Matsui for some amount of time. Alas, this weekend is about believing.

Pedro Feliciano was brought up for Reyes, as I guessed yesterday. Thinking it over again, I realized that Glavine's spot, which comes up on Monday, will be skipped completely with the rest of the crew starting Tuesday-Friday with Glavine on Saturday. So, Matt Ginter, who I would have preferred, could have been called up, though I guess he's still a little tired from Wednesday's start. I hope to see him soon.

Leiter vs. Gonzalez today, which is one of the biggest mismatches ERA wise this year.

Friday, August 13, 2004
 
Hopeless Optimism Weekend has started out well, with the Mets winning 10-6. They grabbed an early 5-0 lead which was helped in part by a 3 run shot by Danny Garcia (who had 2 hits, 4 RBIs and best of all, batted leadoff). Kris Benson gave some runs back, but at least he threw strikes being that far ahead.

With the Padres and Giants being the only teams in the wild card chase other than the Mets that won, they are now 6.5 out of both the Cubs and Padres, who are tied at the top with the Giants one game behind.

The bad news came down after the game though... Jose Reyes is out 4-6 weeks.
Shortstop Jose Reyes, already limited throughout much of this season by lingering hamstring issues, has a stress fracture in his left fibula and will miss an estimated four to six weeks, the team announced. Reyes originally hurt his leg in a July series in Philadelphia and aggravated it this week legging out extra-base hits Tuesday and Wednesday against the Astros.

"I've been feeling this for four weeks but not that bad," Reyes told MLB.com on Thursday. "But after the triple it got worse and I couldn't handle it. It was sore [Wednesday] morning and I aggravated it [Wednesday] night. It hurts now when I walk."
This is getting really bad. His legs are just not strong and he should definitely not be trying to play through this stuff. So, he'll be shut down for the season, right? Right?
Duquette believes the 21-year-old will return before season's end.

"The typical recovery time is four to six weeks," he told The Associated Press. "Right now, we're not planning on him being out the rest of the season."
This would be a terrible move, just to bring him back to play two weeks at the most. Even if the Mets do get in it like I'm hoping this weekend and beyond, its not worth it to jeopardize his future even further. Oh, and if the new running style they tried will prevent injuries, then force him to use it.

No word on who is being called up, though I assume its a pitcher, since there are only six in the pen right now. Not Ginter, since he'll probably do Glavine's next start. I would venture to guess Feliciano, but we will find out tomorrow.

Have a good night and see you all tomorrow with whatever news comes around.

 
Avkash looks on the Tom Glavine injury and comes away with the fact that everyone loves him. Not.

After Vic Zambrano's good start yesterday, the Mets out 7.5 out of the Wild Card.

WARNING: HOPELESS OPTIMISM RANT!

With that said, the Arizona Diamondbacks roll into town this weekend. With the Cubs playing LA this weekend and the Padres playing the Reds, if there was ever a chance to salvage hope, its here. A sweep would be needed. Is needed. It's a Mo Vaughn special "Must win weekend". Hell, just like in 2002, its the Diamondbacks again. And Randy Johnson is pitching the last game of the series (I was at that RJ game in August 2002, by the way).

Before we go completely insane, do I even want this team to make a run? I don't like most of the players and always have more stress them enjoyment watching the game. I think this sums up my feelings well. Actually, I should have saved that whole conversation. Would have saved me typing time today...

Anyway, is there a remote chance the Mets could get back in it? It's improbable. Three players are out of the lineup, Mike DeJean and Braden Looper are the only really good bullpen arms (maybe Ricky too) and the offense has been bad no matter who is out there anyway. The starting staff might be solid though. But think of it this way. Let's say the Cubs drop 2 of 3 against LA this weekend. Let's say the Padres, 1 back in the WC, take 2 out three from the Reds. These are the matchups for the Mets this weekend...

Friday: Benson vs. Fossum
Saturday: Leiter vs. Gonzalez
Sunday: Good Trax vs. Johnson

And with McEwing playing, Johnson is very beatable. A sweep? It's Arizona... its possible and would leave them 5.5 out of the WC, which is not a good number, but not that bad.

Am I dreaming? Hells yeah. The Mets have to go 35-14 in their last 49 to win 89 games, which might not be enough anyway. But if the Mets want to prove to anyone that they should be in this, this is the weekend. They have to sweep Arizona.

Knowing them, they'll get swept by the worst team in the league.

Thursday, August 12, 2004
 
Interesting discussion going on in the Art Howe post from yesterday.

I considered ranting today. The proof that Gerald Williams, after not getting down a bunt, should be cut. That Danny Garcia is a better Joe McEwing and that after Reyes/Matsui get healthy, he should be cut/traded (Wilson Delgado is in AAA for emergencies). That Vance Wilson, just because he can throw, is the most overrated defensive catcher of all-time. Seriously, 4 SBs against, one by Kent and one by Ensberg in a big spot when he triple clutched. Cut him too. At least Tom Wilson walks.

But, other than that paragraph, is it really worth my time ranting about things you know about? That Williams, McEwing and Wilson are part of the epitome of what's wrong with this team. You know that, I know that and I'm not wasting internet space repeating it again.

So, instead, I'll bring you today's lineup for the 12:10 start...

G. Williams, LF
J. McEwing, SS
T. Zeile, 1B
R. Hidalgo, RF
M. Cameron, CF
D. Wright, 3B
J. Phillips, C
D. Garcia, 2B

I just threw up in my mouth... Why isn't Wright batting third? Or Garcia second?

That's right, Art Howe is dumb.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004
 
Avkash has the Happy Recap and the latest news on Glavine.

In the papers lately, a lot of Art Howe bashing/Art Howe needs to be fired stories are being written. Most of them say that Art Howe is the biggest (or at the top) problem for the Mets.

I don't like Art. I think his bullpen management is completely horrible, I think he doesn't pull pitchers at the right times, he doesn't use the right pinch hitters, etc. But still, the above is an overstatement.

He won in Oakland as manager. The team got to the playoffs. What's the difference here and when he was with Oakland.

Talent.

Should Art Howe be moved out after the season? Yeah, probably. It's time to move on, bring in a little brighter of a manager (though wasn't part of Peterson's appeal to come here Art Howe?).

But along with that has to come talent. It's not Art Howe's fault this team isn't in playoff contention. That's Duke's fault. And more importantly, its really no one's fault, because the Mets were not expected to win this year. Just cause the division stunk for half the year, the expectations and larger view change. I guess the trades are partly responsible for that, but still, the Mets were never a playoff team this year.

It's not Art's fault he has John Franco and Mike Stanton as his two lefties, when you know he'll adhere to L/L matchups. 62 appearances? OK, that's overkill, but still, his other lefty option isn't much better.

It's not his fault the Mets didn't sign someone like Miguel Batista and threw out Yates, Ginter, Baldwin and Erickson in the fifth starter spot. That certainly helped their position.

It's not his fault Kaz Matsui's defense didn't come as advertised or that Reyes got injured for three months and Ricky Gutierrez took up part of that time doing nothing productive.

What's my point? There are legitimate reasons to fire him, reasons I totally agree with. But there are more important issues than Art Howe. Like a big bat... someone to replace Leiter and you know, a bullpen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
 
Great discussion going on in the comments from yesterday's post on Mike Piazza. Go chime in.

I just got home and found out about Glavine's injuries. Matt Ginter will start tomorrow and most of the reports out are fairly ambigious. Norm has some info, though any of the fine Met blogs to you right have information on it.

Maybe more later, maybe not. Been a somewhat busy day for me to find posting time.

Monday, August 09, 2004
 
Norm at Shea Hot Corner has a great interview with Will Carroll on the Kazmir-Zambrano trade. Will provides some great unbiased insight on Kazmir.

Speaking of Will Carroll and Baseball Prospectus, Avkash points out that there is a Pizza Feed at Shea Stadium in the Picnic Area on Friday night. If only I had known sooner, I could go...

Finally, I was flipping around Baseball Reference today and came upon John Franco's page. The sponsor tagline is amusing...
Mr. Wilpon, I sponsored this page so you wouldn't waste another penny on this guy.
That's good stuff. And think, for 15 dollars, Mike Stanton's page is available.

 
Mike Piazza sat out yesterday and here is a little information...
Piazza, who began uncovering the mysteries behind his horrendous skid on Saturday, revealed yesterday he's been undergoing treatment on a swollen left knee since he injured it on Memorial Day. Both wrists also are sore.

"I realize playing with pain is part of the game, especially at this point in my career," Piazza said before the 6-2 loss to St. Louis. "There really hasn't been one day in the last three or four years that something hasn't hurt.

"That, combined with poor performance, is doubly frustrating. I told Art [Howe], 'I'll do whatever you want me to do, but it's just obvious.'

"I need some time to, No. 1, heal, and also try to get myself right mechanically... I totally left it in his hands. I told him how I felt, told him how I needed to feel. I'm not saying I don't want to play, I'm not saying that I do."
The emphasis is, of course, mine. And it makes you wonder.

I'm not going to discuss 1B/C catcher today. I'm of the belief, now, that Piazza should play catcher next year, the Mets should get the 120-130 games they can get out of him and let him go after the year. Gonna happen? Unlikely the Mets give him up before he retires, though he's a much more valuable player at C and its easier to find a bat at 1B.

Instead, today is about Mike's spot in the lineup. Should they move him down? Not so much this year, when the talent really isn't there. But looking ahead to next year...

Let's start with a look at Mike. Here is his OPS year by year since coming to the Mets along with his age.

1998 (29)- 1.024
1999 (30)- .936
2000 (31)- 1.012
2001 (32)- .957
2002 (33)- .903
2003 (34)- .860
2004 (35)- .840

Decline. Here are his walk rates (BB/PA) and isolated power rates.

1998- .105, .259
1999- .086, .272
2000- .106, .290
2001- .117, .272
2002- .105, .264
2003- .128, .197
2004- .131, .192

The walk rate is high then earlier in his stint with his Mets, but you can see the big decline from his isolated power, something that you can expect with age. Here are his AVG over his time with the Mets...

1998- .348
1999- .303
2000- .324
2001- .300
2002- .280
2003- .286
2004- .276

This chart isn't supposed to say much, only that he's no longer a .300 hitter. He's more of a .280 hitter, in a good year. With all this considered, is it that far off to think in a year behind the plate he could hit .270/.365/.450 in 450-500 ABs. Still very good, especially behind the plate, but very un-Piazza like.

Which, in my estimation, answers the question above. But for who(I'm only thinking to 5th, from the 3rd spot... still, that would be a BIG deal)? Let's, for a moment, assume he catches.

Candidate #1: David Wright

He's the longshot. I think he could/should eventually bat third, though I'm not sure they'll give him the opportunity next year, while he's still learning. How about 6th?

Candidate #2: Mike Cameron

Maybe when he's on the road (.254/.354/.571), though he makes too little contact either way for my liking.

Candidate #3: Richard Hidalgo

I believe your best hitter should hit third and he's only the best hitter on a team in certain weeks. I like him in the four hole.

Candidate #4: Cliff Floyd

Unlikely. Though how about providing the #3 hitter...
Cliff Floyd's going to get his wish to be traded to an American League team this winter. If not sooner. Floyd has annoyed his bosses by publicly proclaiming his desire, and therefore hindering his trade value. Such as it was.
Getting a new LF could provide a three hole hitter, whether in the trade or through FA. The options...

Candidate #5: Manny Ramirez

I've heard the rumor, but I doubt it. He is the best hitter in the American League. I doubt the Red Sox give that up, though they'd like to move the contract.

Candidate #6: Outfielder FAs

J.D. Drew, Magglio Odronez, Lance Berkman, etc. I like Berkman most without much research, though I think that partly have to go with J.D. Drew's injury past and Maggilo's knee injury this year. This is probably the best way to find a candidate.

Candidate #7: Jason Phillips

Just making sure you are awake.

Candidate #8: 1B FAs

Namely, Carlos Delgado. Not to high on this idea either.

Personally, I'd like to see something in this look...

Reyes
Matsui
FA LF
Hidalgo
Piazza
Wright
Cameron
FA 1B (could flip with Cameron depending on who he is)
Pitcher

Maybe half way through the year, Wright flips with Piazza? Maybe Wright bats third if they don't sign a LF/1B, though if they want to win now, they have to.

Above are the ways they can get him out of the 3 hole and in my opinion, they have to. He just isn't Mike Piazza anymore. He's just Mike Piazza.

Sunday, August 08, 2004
 
Or Al Leiter could stink.

No matter how the defense played, allowing 6 baserunners to get on without putting the ball in play in 4 innings is horrible. Plus, throwing 90 pitches in 4 innings, 45 for strikes and 45 for balls. Woohoo.

Matsui played, Piazza (knee and wrist) didn't.

DeJean pitched two solid innings, giving up 3 hits while striking out 3.

After sweeping the Brew Crew, getting swept has taken all the life out of me as a Met fan. Thank god for the off day tomorrow.

Speaking of the off day, I'll try to cobble something together worthy of an off day.

 
I came back to the computer to link to one article, but Avkash beat me to it.

Mike Stanton haters, be happy. Mike Stanton fans (if they even exist), don't look.

 
Some things are unreal.

Some things are laughable.

This falls under the latter. There are only so many times you can repeat the same mistake before I'm just going to start laughing at it. I'm so glad I wasn't home for this (when I left the house, the Mets were still get no hit though).

Kaz Matsui error Friday, Mike Stanton blowing game Saturday... that means Franco hands St. Louis the sweep, doesn't it?

Kaz Matsui might go on the DL
. If he is out for more than a few days, hopefully, because seeing McEwing drop balls at second base is not fun.

The bright spot yesterday was Kris Benson's outing. Of the two, I'm more confident that he will become a better than average pitcher...

Leiter takes the mound today to try to salvage a game against St. Louis. He faces Jason Marquis.


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