Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, November 20, 2004
 
Depressed over Sammy Sosa? Confused by the various reports over Al Leiter and where he'll be next year? Just plain pissed that Omar Minaya seems ready to throw the Mets down the crapper?

Well, read this. Maybe one positive thing will happen this offseason.

 
Well, in the one piece of good news (at least to me), Jose Guillen is now a Washington Somethingorother. It's better if the Mets avoid a troublesome guy with a new manager at the helm, plus a trade involving Piazza would have required the Mets to bring back crap along with Guillen.

But there's bad news...
In roster moves, the club added outfielders Ambiorix Concepcion and Angel Pagan, as well as pitcher Matt Lindstrom to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 37.
Assume Leiter (or Leiter's pitching spot, which could go to Heilman eventually, but that doesn't help for protecting players who needed to be projected 40 minutes before I started writing this), Benson, a 1B and whoever the OF is that takes Floyd's spot when he leaves.

So, this is the 40 man roster (Soler is the 37th person missing). Who's missing? How about two lefties, Blake McGinely and Royce Ring (I'm positive McGinely is Rule V eligible and I've been hearing Ring is too)? And look at some of this roster! Jeff Duncan? Wayne Lydon? Pedro Feliciano? Hell, Mike Stanton and Pedro Feliciano are taking two lefty bullpen spots on the 40 man and I'd prefer them both to go to the guys unprotected.

These are the important things. The little things. Will McGinely or Ring ever make a huge impact for the Mets (or any other team)? Highly unlikely, but they have the potential to be much better players then some of the ones on the 40 man roster. These moves show how organizations think and prove whether or not they are headed the right way.

The Mets? You knew that already. I can't wait to see Sammy manning RF next year.

Thursday, November 18, 2004
 
Well, one FA pitcher down. Not to much to say here, so I'll point back to a little research I did towards the end of the season on Kris Benson.

Basic jist: By using the rough measure of Game Scores, you can see that...
As you can see, his 60+ starts have gone way up as his middle starts have fallen. His bad starts have fallen a little too, but not THAT much.

Explanation? It seems as though he's taking some of those mediocre starts and turning them into very good starts. It also seems he's taken one or two bad starts and made them mediocre. But that will still make him a low 4.00 ERA pitcher, most likely.
So, essentially, its all about consistency.

When you watch Kris pitch, you can see that he has "IT", essentially the makings of a very good pitcher. But he is wildly inconsistent start to start. If he can figure out how to make a few bad starts decent ones and maybe pick up one or two more very good starts, he could be real good. Real real good. And with his talent and Rick Peterson at his side (who he said he wanted to work with), I think it will happen.

I'd like to end this with that positive note, but here's something I found while reading Mike at the Metropolitians...
The Daily Southtown reported that a Sammy Sosa-Cliff Floyd deal could be nearing. The report stated that Cubs officials are not talking about the speculated deal, but some in the New York media have predicted a trade is on the horizon and that it could be done as early as this week. While it seems unlikely a deal would be struck that quickly, there are reports the Mets are intensifying their talks with the Cubs and trying to rid themselves of the oft-injured Floyd in the process. Likewise, Sporting News columnist Ken Rosenthal said on the radio Tuesday night that he expects Sosa to be a Met.
Woo-frickin'-hoo!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
 
Obligitory Sammy Sosa statement of the day:

When Bob Klaspich knows your wrong, you are definitely wrong.

Moving on, it looks like Kris Benson might get a deal...
Benson is expected to get a three-year contract worth roughly $23 million, and signing the 30-year-old righthander has remained one of the Mets' early priorities as they dive into a busy offseason. Locking up Benson during the same week when Al Leiter was cut loose with a $2.1-million buyout is a strong indication that general manager Omar Minaya has no qualms about shaking up the roster in the next two months.
I added in the second sentence for fun.

I'm perfectly OK with this deal, even if it is probably a little expensive.

Finally, if you are looking for a little laugh, read this great write-up on potential FA Mo Vaughn at USS Mariner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
 
Here is some Dominican League stuff, including a typo about Vic Diaz's position that got us all excited yesterday.

We will skip Sosa talk today, just because I can't stand it anymore. Instead, enjoy the fact that Al Leiter's option was turned down.

Also, at the bottom, there is a note about the Benson negotiations. I wanted to bring this up because I normally attempt to think GM style in terms of player movement and not in terms of a fan, but...

Could you let Benson, after July 30th and its aftermath, walk away without pitching anymore for the Mets, knowing all you got from all of that anguish was Victor Zambrano and a slap happy utility infielder?

I couldn't. I want Benson signed and while I like him a lot and think he has a chance to be very good (a better chance than Zambrano under Peterson, in my opinion), part of it is emotional.

What about you?

Monday, November 15, 2004
 
Monday November 15th- Can't all the rumors just end?

First up... Sosa Central...
Sources have confirmed that Sosa's agent Adam Katz has made inquiries to the MLBPA about the possibility of waiving a provisional clause in the slugger's contract - which calls for an $18 million option for 2006 to automatically become vested if Sosa is traded - to help facilitate a potential move out of Chicago. The Mets appear prepared to take on Sosa's $17 million price tag for next season if they are able to move Cliff Floyd, who is owed $13 million over the next two years, in the deal, and possibly Mike Piazza.
And every day it seems like the move is getting closer and closer. There are just so many better ways to spend that type of money, but be prepared.

Mike Piazza? Who would want him? Gotta love those free spending Angels...
Guillen, earning $3.5 million next season, also could be involved in a Piazza trade; he could replace left fielder Cliff Floyd, who is expected to be the centerpiece of any Mets' deal for Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa.

Besides Guillen, the Angels could send the Mets lefthander Jarrod Washburn, who stands to earn approximately $6.5 million in arbitration. Righthander Ramon Ortiz, who is being shopped, would be another possibility; the Angels are expected to decline his $5.5 million option. It also is not inconceivable that the Angels would move first baseman Darin Erstad, who is guaranteed $8.25 million next season.
I've touched on Guillen here. As for everyone else? Darin Estrad? Plays snazzy D at 1B, but expensive and bad contract (2 years, 8 million per year left) for a subpar hitter. Ramon Ortiz? Maybe Rick Peterson could fix him in ten minutes too... That type of money for Jarrod Washburn? Hell, I'll take Leiter over him. So, essentially, no, I don't do this trade, but then again I want Piazza here catching in 2005.

Speaking of Leiter, could he really be gone? The New York Times...
The Mets, who must pick up Leiter's $10 million option today or risk losing him to another team, plan to decline the option and attempt to re-sign him at a reduced rate. But they have been negotiating with his representatives since the end of the season and have been unable to reach an agreement. Starting today, negotiations will become trickier because other teams can enter the bidding.

The Mets have offered Leiter a one-year guaranteed contract worth about $4 million, with incentives that could increase its value to about $7 million. There is some concern in the organization that another team, specifically the Yankees, may offer him a one-year guaranteed contract of $6 million or $7 million.
We'll see what happens. Also, I know there was a comment about this... I doubt the Mets offer arbitration to either Leiter or Hidalgo, their Type A FAs because of the rule that states that a player can't make less than 20% of his previous salary in arbitration. Hidalgo and Leiter would both be making much more than the Mets want them too, so the only hope for getting picks for them is to hope they get signed before the offering arbitration deadline, a la Raul Ibanez last year.

But if Piazza gets traded, who plays catcher? Jason has some interesting information at Always Amazin' on that subject. Let me just say, if Diaz can catch... that would be amazing. And Phillips for Bradford? Sign me up.

Finally, if you read nothing else today, read this article by Jon Weisman on baseball blogging.

Sunday, November 14, 2004
 
Sosa-to-Shea now an Option

So much fun-ness in this one...
A proposed trade between the Mets and Cubs that would put future Hall of Famer Sammy Sosa in the Shea Stadium outfield is gaining momentum. The Players Association appears ready to permit Sosa to negate the part of his contract that has been slowing the deal down.

There is a provision in Sosa's current deal that would add $18 million to his price tag if he is involved in a trade. But because Sosa wants out of Chicago, and because the additional money is not guaranteed, the union could be prepared to allow Sosa to remove the provision from his deal.
So the Mets are adamant about making this deal occur without the option year, essentially making him cost 21.5 million over one year (if you count the 4.5 buyout after the season). That's a little better than before...
Another source close to the situation cautioned that the union has not yet signed off on any proposal involving Sosa. "Even if a player would agree to waive such a clause, it would still take approval from a number of other parties," said the source, referring to the union and the commissioner's office. "It would be premature to assume these parties would simply sign off."

If Sosa and Katz can convince the union to allow him to drop the provision - and they might insist he ask for compensation of some sort from either team for facilitating a deal - Mets GM Omar Minaya would be very close to making a big splash with the first major deal of his tenure.
Go union! Screw this one up!
Said the club source, "Nothing is imminent here, but getting Sosa at a decent price would be good."

A Major League Baseball official said the trade has a "better than 50-50 chance of happening."
The club source sucks at life. The major league baseball official... thanks for that... is it 75% or 51%... I need to know these things!
The next issue facing the teams is determining what the Cubs would get in return for Sosa. The Mets aren't likely to add Sosa's $17 million salary for 2005 and remain within their budget without shedding Cliff Floyd, who is owed $6.5 million the next two seasons, and Mike Piazza, who is owed $15 million next season.

The Cubs are expected to tell the Mets this week what they would take in return, although they are said to have no interest in Piazza; Minaya talked with Cubs GM Jim Hendry on at least two occasions last week at the general managers' meetings in Key Biscayne, Fla.

"The Mets won't make that deal without the Cubs taking Floyd or Piazza," the official said. "And if the Cubs take only Floyd, the Mets will demand they pick up some of Sosa's (salary)."

The club source said Minaya is trying to bring a third team - an American League club - into the negotiation with the goal of moving Piazza to a team that would utilize him as a designated hitter.
But who is just going to take Piazza's contract? Unless we get a overpaid piece of crap back? And I doubt the Cubs pick up much of Sosa's contract... maybe the buyout (4.5 million), though I doubt that's enough to get the deal done (The difference in salary is still around 10-11 million for this year).
Another baseball source said the way the Mets handle this negotiation could be a strong indication that the organization has changed its operating philosophy and has given Minaya autonomy. The source said the front office is not unanimous about the pursuit of Sosa, who is not coming off a great season.
We'll see, though I'm expecting this to happen at this point.


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