Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, December 18, 2004
 
I'm waiting

Patiently. I think. Anyway, just two quick things for now...

The Mets are in stealth mode on Carlos Beltran.

Adding to the mini-Calloway rant from yesterday is the fact that the Mets 40 man roster now stands at 41. The Mets have 10 days (I believe) to make a move to get it back down to 40. I wouldn't be shocked to see Jeff Duncan be the casuality.

And no, Jeff Duncan for Ron Calloway still doesn't make any sense. Yes, Jeff Duncan was a waste of a 40 man roster spot... but so is Ron Calloway.

Friday, December 17, 2004
 
Omar likes his Expos

Unfortunately, its not Nick Johnson or Brad Wilkerson...
Mets claimed outfielder Ron Calloway off waivers from the Nationals.
This doesn't make sense.

Here are Ron Calloway's major league statistics. Here are the minor league statistics. Look familiar? It does to me.

It's essentially every OF the Mets have in their system right now, save Milledge and Diaz. Can't hit, but is athletic and plays good defense.

The Mets could do better than this on the FA market if they wanted a 5th OF and could essentially do the same as Calloway with an in-house option (assuming Diaz is at AAA or starting), without having to waste the 40 man roster spot.

I know, its only the 5th OF spot (I'm supposing here), but I find benches to be very important, especially the OF if Cliff Floyd is still here next year.

Omar, thumbs down. Way down.

 
The Empire Strikes Back

Not that Evil Empire. The real empire...
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were rumored to be pursuing Hudson, but the Braves swooped in and got the Oakland ace for outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer.
If you are interested in what the Braves gave up, both in this deal and the Kolb deal, go check our friend Brad Dowdy's site.

I just fear the possibilities of Hudson under Leo Mazzone in the NL. That's the Braves for ya... just keep retooling.

As for Mets news? Newsday has some interesting stuff...
The Mets are thinking about laying low in the coming weeks to let the market for Beltran develop, and if his price stays within reach, they hope they can jump in near the end and grab him.

The Yankees and Astros are viewed as the leading contenders to sign Beltran. However, the Mets hope their signing of Martinez could influence Beltran.

The Mets have been pursuing free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado, but they currently appear to be hesitant to raise their offer from three years to four. Their reluctance to do so might be related to their pursuit of Beltran.

Delgado figures to be in the market for a deal similar to the four-year, $50-million contract first baseman Richie Sexson signed with the Mariners. Because Seattle also signed Beltre yesterday, the Mariners could drop out of the Delgado chase, leaving only the Mets and Baltimore Orioles.

The Mets are attracted to the power Delgado brings from the left side, especially given that an internal study recently showed that more home runs hit at Shea leave the ballpark in right-center than in any other area. But Delgado is a mediocre defensive first baseman with limited range, making the Mets wonder what the 32-year-old will look like in the field during the fourth year of his deal.

There are no such questions about Beltran's ability, only conjecture about how much money he will get and whether he would choose to go to the Mets.
What's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah... wow.

I like the fact that the Mets aren't giving in to Delgado just because they could use a big time 1B. That's good. I also like that they still consider Beltran an option, I just hope they have a decision made on whether they want Beltran soon and how long they will wait on Delgado, so that they don't end up with no one.

But, for a moment, imagine if they got both. That would be amazing and might be possible under budget (with a trade of Floyd and Diaz/Valent playing left).

And that's what the offseason seems to be about now. Optimism. Catch it!

Thursday, December 16, 2004
 
Next movement

Well, Pedro passed the physical and had a news conference today. He's a Met. So, what's next?

No one is quite sure, as rumors are abound (as always), but the Delgado ones of course are most intriguing. Well, Omar set to clear those up...
Minaya, attending the club's Christmas party for New York City school children at Shea Stadium, wouldn't comment on specific free agent negotiations or trade rumors.

..."We have to fill all our holes," Minaya said. "We have to fill first base and we have to get outfield help. We need some offense. I'm also hoping to improve the bullpen. We lost a lot of games last year. One move [Martinez] is not going to make us a contending team."
Or not.

But, what would be best for the Mets? Well, let's take a look at some numbers and we can figure it out (at least for next year)...

The Mets first baseman hit .237/.326/.368 last year. Unfortunately, when looking at BP's statistics, they do not list players individually by how they played at first base (Piazza is listed as a 1B for his whole season, Phillips isn't), so its a little tricky to figure out the Mets 1B VORP last year. The closest player to the Mets 1B numbers is Robin Ventura, who had 3.1 in 175 PA for the Dodgers last year. Take that out to a full season and let's say the Mets first baseman were 12 runs over replacement player. Factor in some of the D played over there (even against replacement level) and I think its fair to say the Mets were essentially a replacement player over at 1B last year. And the candidates?

Carlos Delgado (2004)- 551 PA, 41.4 VORP
Tino Martinez (2004)- 538 PA, 31.8 VORP
John Olerud (2004)- 500 PA, 13.8 VORP

All of them are probably about equal defensive players (maybe Olerud gets a little bump, but he's not the young Johnny O anymore).

John Olerud is likely to get you 10-15 VORP in 500 PAs. Pass...

I think Tino seriously regresses from that 31.8 number. Let's say 2 wins.

Carlos... he hit .269/.372/.535 last year for that 41.4 VORP. I could see him doing something very similar in Shea, so let's say he's worth 4-4.5 wins.

To me, even coming off an injury, the best call of the 1B is Delgado. He is by far the best shot to give the Mets 3 years of solid production, much less one. But would the high price on him be better spent in RF? Let's take a look (with the assumption that Diaz or Floyd plays left with the Mets getting a bat)...

Mets 2004 RF (listed by BP)
Hidalgo- 359 PA, 7.4
Garcia- 202 PA, 0.1
Diaz- 53 PA, 3.6
Total- 614 PA, 11.1 VORP

As you can see, the production was not great, but the defense was above average (combining them all together). Candidates?

Carlos Beltran (in CF)- 708 PA, 74.5 VORP
J.D. Drew- 645 PA, 78.7 VORP
Maggilo Ordonez (2003)- 674 PA, 51.6 VORP
Mosies Alou (in LF)- 675 PA, 51.5 VORP

You all know my feelings on Moises. I doubt he gets close to 51.5 VORP and he isn't good defensively. I doubt he's much improvement on this year's group.

Maggilo? Maybe worth a little more than 4 wins. Average defensively, I guess. He gains about 2 wins over this group.

J.D. Drew? Can he do that again? I don't know, but his defense would check pretty well with the Mets group and he might be able to hit 6.5-7 wins above the Mets group.

Carlos Beltran? So many issues here. Let's assume he would play centerfield. Mike Cameron put up a 27 VORP last year. Let's say Cameron is a run or two better defensively, putting them about 4.5 wins apart. Mike Cameron would probably be slightly superior defensively to the Mets RF group and might be about 1.5 wins better than them with the bat.

So, it looks like Drew would probably be worth the most, a slight margin ahead of Beltran.

(NOTE: Since you have all been waiting for it, yes, contract money and years, plus injury history are concerns in all signings. But, I am doing this to get a feel for the numbers.)

So, we decided Pedro might do two games on Leiter's 2004. So, let's say the Mets get the best improvement they can of this group, Drew or Beltran. That's another 6-7 wins. Of course, then they can only afford the 1-2 wins of Olerud or Martinez. That would give the Mets 9-11 wins on last year, assuming all goes well. That would put them at 80-82 wins.

Instead, let's say the Mets opt for the 4.5 wins or so of Delgado, plus Ordonez. Now they have improved themselves about 7 wins, plus Pedro's 2 and are at 80 wins. Of course, the RF hole could be open next year for them, instead of being locked up. And its more likely there are more RF options out there than 1B options (Konerko is the only one I know of) after 2005.

But wait, you might be thinking, why not sign a 1B and RF? Well, that's a improvement of 11-12 wins (Delgado and Beltran/Drew). But, the pitcher? Well, let's say you give it to Heilman... that's down about 3 runs (assuming Heilman can hold a 15 VORP for a full year). If you add someone mid-level like Perez, you might get about the same production, so let's call it 11 wins. That's 82 and probably the most upside for the additions for more.

So, yes, maybe the best strategy was getting a RF, 1B and mid-level productive pitcher. It's always been my thought, but if Omar does things right this offseason, the Mets could have a true ace at the top of their rotation for a few years and a very competitive team this year (there are a lot of other factors, like LF, Reyes and Wright playing a full year and Matsui's improvement we didn't discuss) with room to build (both with open holes on the team and money) in the future with young players in the fold.

Once again, I'd like to say that a lot of the above applies to next year and then I'm assuming everyone is healthy and only guessing at what they are likely to do. So, take the above for what its worth: A look at what players could help do for this team's W-L next year. Obviously, when considering all options for these players, cotract terms, health and future plans (both coming FAs and minor leagues) have to be considered.

All this said, if done right, I think this team should be at least .500 next year, with a decent shot at 85 and an outside shot at 88.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
 
Define "right"

Is the Pedro signing "right"? Well, as the title says, define "right". I see it as two ways...

1. Pedro will bring excitement to the Mets and more revenue, plus give them a player to market when the TV channel comes in '06.
2. Pedro is a truly great pitcher and I think he's worth the risk of putting that much money on him. The fourth year isn't ideal, but sometimes you gotta do a little more to get someone.

#2 is purely opinion. And everyone has one and I can't really convince you one way or the other at this point.

But #1, while true, has shocked me a little bit. People, aside from the lovable BTF group, don't seem to be truly excited. Some seem mad and unhappy with this. Still, I think the general reaction among the Met fan group is excitement.

Of course, the question of whether this was the "right" way to approach the offseason comes up. That's a little tricker. Let's start with this...

2004 VORP
Leiter: 46.2
Martinez: 51.2

Last year, Martinez was worth .5 of a win more than Leiter, despite his horrific peripherials. While next year we expect them to be miles apart, Martinez, if he returns to somewhat younger Pedro form will probably be 2-2.5 wins better than Leiter was last year. For comparision, here are a few FA pitchers...

2004 VORP
Pavano- 62.4
Clement- 36.9
O. Perez- 49.7

So, Clement would be a win worse than Leiter from last year. Assume he improves? Maybe, but I personally doubt he is worth more than Leiter was last year.

Pavano? 10 million a year for a guy who finally this year put together his first big year? Here are his VORP 2000-2003...

2000- 27.8, 15 GS
2001- -4.1, 8 GS
2002- -5.1, 22 GS
2003- 22.3, 32 GS

That's a big time jump in VORP this year for a player with very similar peripherals. Well, except for hits. He played in front of a good defense in a pitcher's park. I like Pavano, but I'd be leery. I don't think he outdoes Leiter's 2004 VORP.

Perez? This is a tough one. Really. Odalis likely makes 6, 7 million tops over 3 years. Here is his 2002-2004 VORP, basically since he's been in LA...

2002- 45.2
2003- 9.3
2004- 49.7

I honestly don't know what to make of him. He's 28 this June, but saw a drop in K:BB the last three years and is HR happy in a pitcher's park. Here's what BP2004 said on him coming into the year...
Where in 2002 Perez was among the luckiest pitchers in MLB-allowing one of the league's lowest BABIP figures-last season he regressed to the mean, despite maintaining excellent walk and strikeouts numbers. That gaudy home runs-allowed total played a big role in his regression. The Dodgers have been discussing dealing Perez for a mid-level bat all off season. He could go eitehr way in 2004: Perez does the important things well, like keeping runners off base, but that home run rate coule be a killer. He could easily return to ace level in 2004, or put up numbers more befitting a fifth starter.
And he apparently went more for the ace thing.

I think he equals Al Leiter's 2004 numbers going forward, but there is a risk of collaspe there.

So, really, of all the free-agent pitchers, Odalis is the only one I feel is worth a shot against Pedro when considering money and future value. I see Pedro as the only one adding wins to this team next year and I feel that over the next four years, as long as he is healthy, he will out-perform or at least equal the rest of these guys in performance.

Now, whether you feel the Mets were better off signing Beltran, a big 1B and no pitcher (or maybe Perez or Radke), is a whole different discussion and one I'm not sure its worth bringing up. The Mets wanted a big pitcher splash and have never seemed in it that much for Beltran. You can argue that might have been the better way to go (Even Perez/Delgado/Drew), but, if the Mets were dead set on getting a big FA pitcher (which I'm not sure Perez qualifies as, in terms of media respects), I think they snagged the right one.

Well, that leads us to the next question (which I was going to attack Thursday, but I changed my mind)... Where do we go from here?

Well, first off, Pedro is taking that MRI. Good. Hopefully all goes well and he is pitching in a Mets uniform.

As for the rest of the team, here is some good news...
Two sources told SportDesk's John Giannone Tuesday that the Amazins have stepped up in their attempts to add slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado by increasing their offer -- reportedly made last week -- to a three-year deal in the neighborhood of $40 million.

A source also said Delgado - who has shown interest in coming to New York - has expressed to friends that he is impressed with new Mets manager Willie Randolph based on their encounters in American League circles, possibly leading the Mets' hierarchy to heighten their pursuit.
That would be big.

If the Mets could land Delgado, they got a big time 1B and Pedro. The offseason, in my mind, is a success. I'd also like to see Maggilo brought in on a one year (hopefully on the cheap) deal, but if the OF ends up Floyd-Cameron-Diaz, I'll be fine with it, with Delgado in town (Another thing to discuss one day: Minaya doesn't seem dead set on running Floyd out of town). That brings this lineup...

Reyes, Matsui, Wright, Delgado, Piazza, Floyd, Diaz, Cameron

With the potential of the pitching staff the Mets will have, that could be a very competitive group, while still having money and holes (catcher... I'll discuss A.J. Wes, trust me, I will, and corner OF could be one) to get parts in 2006.

See, when I first heard of the Pedro deal, I said this...
Individually, not a bad deal at all for Pedro. Should be well worth it. As for the effect on the team, both in the money he's getting and what his signing represents for the team, its not that good. But what his signing represents from a front office standpoint is good.
In my opinion, the bolded part was a quick overreaction by me to take a shot at Minaya.

Essentially, what I was thinking was that Minaya had blown his load on a pitcher and wouldn't be apt to spend a lot of money elsewhere. Well, I forgot two things...

1. The Wilpons have open their budget up this year.
2. In accordance with #1, Minaya is not afraid to spend money.

Also, I was thinking that by having so much focus on Pedro, he threw away a shot at Sexson and Delgado and was hurting himself on getting a RF. Once again, two things...

1. Getting Pedro will attract FAs. It shows that the Mets want to win.
2. Just because all of the media focus is on Pedro, doesn't mean that Minaya isn't doing work to get other players.

#1 and #2 can be evidenced by the Delgado information out after Pedro's signing.

I really think Minaya is going to pull off a very solid offseason. Maybe not the best, but very good.

And you know what, in my humble opinion, Pedro = "right".

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
 
Torn labrums are cool

Well, there is a little hold up in this whole Pedro thing...
ESPN's Steve Phillips is reporting that one of the items under discussion between the Mets and Martinez's representatives is what specifically will be allowable in the right-hander's physical.

One item being discussed is whether Martinez would be allowed to skip any potential MRI exam as part of the physical and instead merely take a strength test on his arm and shoulder. Martinez has a history of arm injuries. As far back as 1999, Martinez was placed on the DL with right shoulder injuries; in 2001, Martinez feuded with Red Sox management as he claimed to have a slight tear in his right rotator cuff.

What is not yet known is whether the Mets have agreed to this stipulation.
So, the Mets have him signed, essentially, but the physical is getting in the way at the moment.

Well, the Mets need to standfast on this issue. They must make him take an MRI. It's that simple. This isn't a Vlady situation, basing their judgements on medical records to do something stupid. This is guy they are giving a lot of money to for four years and they have every right to want to see how healthy his right arm is. If he is unwilling to take an MRI or fails, the Mets have to pass. I'd be saddened by it, but they have to.

Still, even if this falls apart (I doubt it though, Pedro won't leave that money on the table and Omar won't let his guy get away), Omar Minaya should still be lauded for what he's done. He's accomplished something the Mets haven't done lately... stick his head out for a big time FA and land him.

Steve Phillips had A-Rod, but dropped out when the team, as a whole, wouldn't go the extra distance.

Jim Duquette has Vlady, who he lowballed with an incentive based contract.

In both situations, we were teased, thinking that we were going to get that player. Granted, some of it might have to do with the Wilpons opening the checkbook and giving Minaya autonomy, but still, Omar has done his work here too. He had a target and he got it.

He offered three years when Boston had 2 years and an option. Pedro said he needed a four year in there, Minaya put in the option. Boston went to three years and Omar decided to go for four, knowing Boston wouldn't take it beyond three. He wasn't letting Pedro get away from him. You may not agree with a fourth guaranteed year, though if Pedro stays fairly healthy, the fourth year option was fairly easily attainable. But even if you don't, you have to admire Minaya. He found his guy, he pushed as hard as he could for him and didn't do anything stupid.

And that is something this team has needed. A front office that stands by its convinctions. Hell, Minaya might not always be right, but it seems he knows what he wants and will make sure he gets it, to a certain point (see: Sosa).

That, for the future, gives me optimism. Maybe, just maybe, Maggilo Ordonez and Carlos Delgado will be on the 2005 Mets. I certainly have more hope than I did before yesterday.

Minaya got Pedro and if healthy, Pedro Martinez is a Met.

Pedro Martinez is a Met. I doubt that line will ever get old.

(NOTE: Tomorrow we'll talk about if this was the "right" decision. And Thursday will cover where the Mets go from here.)

Monday, December 13, 2004
 
Never ever wake me up. Please.

Pedro Martinez. This Pedro Martinez. The one who put up a season like that in 2000. The one on top of this list.

I'm shocked. Floored, to be honest. Look, there are some concerns I have and we'll be over those the next few days, but, tonight, we celebrate. And tomorrow (more on that later). Then, we'll tackle concerns.

But, Pedro Martinez. In a Met uniform. I'm so happy. I love Pedro... he's probably my second favorite pitcher in the league, right behind, who would have guessed it, the "Next Pedro", Johan Santana. I have something for changeup pitchers I guess...

I've always wanted Pedro on my team, so, tonight, we will be happy. Actually, we'll be happy for the next four years. And tomorrow we will show some praise to Omar Minaya, who did something the last few Mets GMs haven't accomplished. Put themselves out there on one big name target and landed him. Then, Wednesday and Thursday, we'll chat about some little concerns and where the Mets go from here.

Granted, this deal isn't done quite yet... but this, I think, pretty much puts the nail in the coffin...
"He was a great member of the Red Sox team for seven years, and a certain Hall of Famer," Lucchino told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "He will be missed, and we are disappointed to have lost him to the Mets and the National League."
When the team president declares it, its over.

Pedro is a Met. Don't pinch me. Ever.

 
Miss... Miss... HIT!

The Boston Herald reports...
The three-time Cy Young winner reportedly agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Mets worth $56 million, or $14 million a year. That deal is a year longer and approximately $500,000 more a year than the Red Sox were willing to spend in order to retain Martinez, according to a baseball source.
So its 4/56. I'll have more a little later, but for now, here's the quick few sentence take.

Individually, not a bad deal at all for Pedro. Should be well worth it. As for the effect on the team, both in the money he's getting and what his signing represents for the team, its not that good. But what his signing represents from a front office standpoint is good.

Like I said, much much longer thoughts in a little while.

UPDATE NUMERO UNO: Boston.com...
At the Anaheim Marriott, where baseball’s winter meetings are taking place, Mets general manager Omar Minaya would not confirm nor deny reports his team had agreed with Martinez, or if they had even offered him a fourth year. He told the Boston Globe's Gordon Edes he would not comment on negotiations.

"On that front, all I'm going to say is we're having dialogue," Minaya said.
Granted, this is probably just because the Mets haven't totally signed the papers or something, but still, its why I am keeping my long thoughts until this deal officially goes through. When it does, I'll get them up.

 
Brain overloading...

Things aren't as quiet as I expected today...

The Mets kept McGinely and Ring. It is a joyous day.

The Mets have reportedly offered Pedro a guaranteed fourth year. Ack!

Richie Sexson is off the market. Down to 1 big time 1B bat left!

Finally, the continuing story of the day... It started as Manny Ramirez for Cliff Floyd. The latest, from ESPNradio apparently (I'm getting this from other people) is Ramirez, Kim and cash for Floyd and a pitching prospect. A few things...

A. I want Manny. Bad.
B. I like Kim. He can be a very good reliever in my mind. He's stretched as a starter, though I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be their intent. He takes up room in the pen from a young arm, but I like him a lot. Still.
C. The pitching prospect... yes, I do fear it being Petit. That woudl damper this trade a lot for me.
D. How much cash can we get? Not only do we take on Manny's big contract, we take on Kim's overpriced contract and only give up Floyd's.

I'm for this trade, though depending on the pitching prospect, my emotions could be mixed. For now, I'll leave it at this and save later analysis (numbers wise) for if and when the trade goes down...

Sunday, December 12, 2004
 
Rumors...

I am holding out. I'm sick of rumor posts. I'm waiting until something goes down, which is why you saw no post yesterday and not much of a post today.

But, even if the Mets make no moves today, I'll wrap up the past weekend at the Winter Meetings for Omar tomorrow.


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