Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Merry Christmas to all the readers who stop by here every day.

Friday, December 24, 2004
Ice Cold

Minor League Contract Craziness
Mets general manager Omar Minaya, still not sure which direction he will be taking when it comes to bringing in a first baseman for 2005, signed Andres Galarraga to a minor league contract on Thursday and invited the aging slugger to big league camp in February.

The club also announced the signing of nine others to minor league deals, including relievers Grant Roberts and Scott Strickland, each of whom are coming off surgery. Catchers Ramon Castro and Andy Dominique, utility men Marlon Anderson and Luis Garcia and outfielders Kerry Robinson and Gerald Williams were also inked to minor league deals, as was pitcher Juan Padilla.
I've talked about Andres, Kerry and Ramon Castro.

There are some good names on there (Scott Strickland and Luis Garcia), some interesting names (Marlon Anderson and Grant Roberts) and some I couldn't care about (Juan Padilla and Andy Dominique).

And then there is "Mr. Athletic". Gerald Williams is back in the Mets minor leagues. So, anyone doubt he'll be the starting CF opening day (if you are wondering, he did play 20 games out in center last year)?

Everybody have a safe Christmas Eve, whether you celebrate it or not.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Moises Alou is a Giant
. *chuckle*... *full out laughter*... Wow, two years at $13.25 million. So glad he is not a Met.

Galarraga signed to minor league deal by Mets. Personally, I have no problem with this. If he shows up in spring training and beats the crap out of the ball, why not? The other backup 1B options, Brazell and Phillips, aren't exactly exciting.

Ramon Castro and Kerry Robinson sign minor league deals
. Well, at least Kerry is a minor league deal, unlike Calloway, so he won't be on the 40 man roster. True AAA filler... whatever.

As for Castro, I really really like this move. I know, he has massive baggage off the baseball field. But on it, while he strikes out a ton and doesn't hit for great average, he does walk and he can hit for great power. I wish he would be the backup catcher next year, but that would require a Jason Phillips trade and Vance Wilson losing all his "veteran presence" and "clubhouse ladership". And I highly doubt the latter, so, except for injury, we won't see Castro in the majors. Which sucks, because I'm sure he could out-perform Vance.

Finally, its not a signing, but its damn good news on the subject of Miyana and signing...
An executive for another club said Minaya is definitely trying to make a quick, stealth attack to see if he can land Beltran. Minaya has told upper management that his persona is to be pro-active and that if the Mets get into this that they should not make a low-ball offer, like the organization did last year for Vladimir Guerrero.
Now, that... that's good news.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

That's pretty much me right now, so I'm basically mailing it in today. Exhausted, worn down, weird feeling stomach and a torn right labrum (actually, my shoulder just hurts, but I like saying that) are the symptoms.

And anyway, who the hell wants to talk about the Byrnes rumor Jay linked to today?

God, what stupidity.

EDIT: It seems taking the Sam M. approach was the right move. Orber Moreno is back...
Mets re-signed RHP Orber Moreno to a minor league contract.
Moreno should have been able to do better elsewhere after getting non-tendered, but if he's content to settle for a minor league contract, then that's just good news for the Mets.
Which also means he doesn't have to be on the 40 man roster. So now he can tool around in AAA in 2005. Great.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Cult Heroes

We here in the internet baseball community and the bloggers themselves build up players a little higher or trash players a little lower than where they deserve to be. And so we end up with enemies and cult heroes. Jeff Keppinger and Mike Stanton became enemies. Danny Garcia became a cult hero.

But the biggest cult hero of last year? Orber Moreno.

He was the answer to all the Mets bullpen woes. He was pitching great, but never pitching in a high leverage situation. And so, he became the answer we had for who should take some of Weathers and Stanton's innings.

Of course, he was also injured at times last year. And has a long injury history.

My point in all this? The Mets non-tendered Orber Moreno. If the Mets do not re-sign him (which is still an option), its not the end of the world. I'll miss him like hell (he became one of my favorite players last year), but he has never stayed healthy. Production is great, but having him on the DL all the time doesn't help either. I think he deserves a spot in the bullpen and definitely a spot on the 40 man and I think the reaction on the move should be negative from Mets fans, but no one should go jumping off a bridge either. Maybe his arm is more messed up than we think? He's a great producer, when healthy, but that isn't as often as it needs to be. If Minaya moves in a different direction, I think he's wrong, but I can't blame him.

And anyway, hold up on criticisms for now... let's see where he ends up (Sam, you are rubbing off on me. I'm not going crazy yet).

The other non-tendered Met? Scott Strickland. This, in my opinion, is wonderful news. The Mets have more than a couple pitchers in AAA who deserve a shot to pitch at the ML level (Bell, Yates, Heilman) and Scott Strickland hasn't been healthy for a while now. And during his comeback rehab starts at the end of last year from TJ surgery, all I remember is the outings not being pretty.

Tendered? Victor Zambrano, obviously. And Vance Wilson? I'd prefer they would go Piazza/Phillips at C and FA/Brazell at 1B, but... whatever. I knew this was coming.

Hold up!

So maybe these numbers weren't need quite yet...
Also, an Internet report stating Alou had agreed to terms with the Mets was bogus, Fernando Cuza, former Cub outfielder's agent, told The Post. Cuza was reluctant to talk about where negotiations were as of yesterday afternoon.

Asked about Alou, Minaya said, "I've said all year, we are going to explore the free agents that are interested in coming to New York."
We'll see where things go from here...

Other interesting tidbits from the above...
Minaya spoke with the Diamondbacks about dealing Floyd for corner infielder Shea Hillenbrand, which would certainly kill two birds with one stone. The Mets GM would be unloading Floyd's burdensome contract (in which he'll make $13 million over the next two seasons) and landing an offensive first baseman.

Hillenbrand, 29, batted .310 with 15 homers and 80 RBIs. He's two years away from free agency and can also play third base.

If Minaya deals Floyd, that gives him the ability to go after free agent Carlos Beltran.
I'd pass on that deal. If things get to a spot where they seem close, I'll dig deeper.
The Mets also are close to signing former Blue Jays shortstop Chris Woodward.
Oh god.

Remember my rant a few days ago on Ron Calloway? And the essential idea is that he was a complete waste of a 40 man roster spot because of what the Mets have there already.

Chris Woodward: IF version of Ron Calloway.

As you can tell, I'm not pleased.

But, in the good news of the day, Orlando Cabrera is an Angel. Whee! Reyes should now definitely be the opening day SS!

Finally, I'd like to point you to Jay's, who I get most of my links from everyday, usage of the lyrics from the Green Day's song "Pulling Teeth" today. One of my favorite Green Day songs and personally, I think its a nice fit.

Monday, December 20, 2004
Moises Alou- The Numbers

So, nothing is really official yet. No big media source has reported the signing, but I just am getting the feeling this will go down. Either way, there is no harm in spouting off some numbers and a few opinions. First of all, 2002-2004 with the Cubs...

2002: .275/.337/.419/.756
2003: .280/.357/.462/.819
2004: .293/.361/.557/.918

Yup, those are the age 36-38 seasons. An odd trend for an aging player. VORP spells it out pretty well too...

2002: 9.9
2003: 23.0
2004: 51.5

That's generally not the way players age and it can be seen even better by individually breaking down his stat lines...

AVG 2002-2004
2002: .275
2003: .280
2004: .293

BB/PA 2002-2004
2002: .088
2003: .099
2004: .101

IsoP 2002-2004
2002: .145
2003: .182
2004: .265

His average went up every year, his walks per PA went up every year (despite Dusty Baker) and his IsoP went up went up considerable amounts from between years.

What does it all mean? I'm not sure, but its quite odd. Especially the power jumps. But then again, take a look at this...

2004 Home/Away
Home: 301 AB, .339/.405/.714/1.120
Away: 300 AB, .247/.316/.400/.716

Yeah. Someone got a little help from Wrigley, which had a 106 park factor this year. And its not a one year thing either...

2002 Home/Away
Home: 207 AB, .285/.365/.435/.800
Away: 277 AB, .267/.316/.408/.724

2003 Home/Away
Home: 274 AB, .281/.366/.482/.848
Away: 291 AB, .278/.349/.443/.792

As you can see, he's been better at Wrigley his whole enitre time as a Cub. But I think this better represents the issue at hand, which is really his massive power jump in 2004...

Away IsoP
2002: .141
2003: .165
2004: .153

Home IsoP
2002: .150
2003: .201
2004: .375

Anyone see a massive outlier? I do! Yup, a .375 IsoP at Wrigley in 2004. How could that happen? Well, his non-HR XBH were 23 at home and 16 on the road (including 3 home triples to 0 on the road) which isn't that far apart. But HR?

Home: 29
Away: 10

Well, according to ESPN's Park Factors, Wrigley field ranked second in 2004 in favoring hitters for home runs at 1.329 HR. If you are wondering, Shea is 5th worst.

Add in the fact that Alou is a flyball hitter (1.00 G/F for his career) and turning 39 and there is a lot to leery of for him transferring from Wrigley to Shea stadium. Personally, if he gives the Mets .275/.350/.450/.800 and average defense (depending on whether you believe numbers or what people say, the opinion of Alou varies), I'll be estatic.

I don't believe Omar overpaid here, by the way. Based on what he hit last year or if you take Eric's projections like Wes did and look at the free agent market and the salary trends, I think Omar paid fair value. And I'm glad that Omar, if he wants Diaz to work on some things in AAA (other than plate discipline, he should work on defense), has found a true stopgap for RF, instead of piecing together a platoon type thing like last year. There is downside to the Alou signing (which I think is more likely to show up), but there is also considerable upside. And, if nothing else, it should only be a year, two at the most (who knows what the vesting option is).

Finally, just for kicks, here is a final set of numbers. No comments, since I really don't know if there is anything to make of them, but I figured that they were at least interesting (the last number listed, after OPS, is IsoP)...

2002-2004 vs. lefties
2002: .322/.402/.470/.872/.148
2003: .346/.399/.567/.966/.221
2004: .298/.355/.491/.846/.193

2002-2004 vs. righties
2002: .260/.316/.404/.720/.144
2003: .260/.346/.432/.778/.172
2004: .292/.363/.573/.936/.281

Now we just wait for official word from the Mets or the parties involved...

Batting 8th, for the visiting New York Mets, CF... Ron Calloway?

I was watching (As you can tell, I'm into storytelling today) the rerun of PTI on ESPNNEWS today after I got home from work and for a moment, the bottom line caught my eye. It was flipping to "MLB" and what do you know, the first thing up was this story...
New York Mets center fielder Mike Cameron recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left wrist and is not expected to be ready by Opening Day, the team announced Monday.
Isn't that just wonderful?

So, Jeff Duncan? Ron Calloway? Joe McEwing? Or maybe, just maybe for my sanity, Eric Valent?

Carlos Beltran? Hah, that's funny.

Moises Alou

See, I was in school this morning (freezing my butt off). And I had an opportunity to surf the 'net a little bit in one of my classes, since I was done with my other work. And so, I go over to BTF (Yes, my school's blockers allow me on there). And I find out that NYFS is reporting Mets signed Moises Alou.
Although exact terms of the deal are not yet known, the deal is believed to be worth $6-8 million for 2005 with a vesting option for 2006.
That's just wonderful news for me early in the morning.

I don't have the time to dig deep into the signing right now (I have to run to my part time job in a few minutes), but I think this is a complete waste of money. But, while I think this signing has little value, its not the worst thing in the world for the Mets. It's one year (possibly a second) and will allow (if Floyd is still here), Diaz to work on some plate discipline in AAA, which can't hurt, though I'm not sure its necessary (or will be helpful). Alou is a stopgap and while the Mets could do better, they could have also done worse.

If you are looking for some other analysis until I have some time to weigh in tonight, check out Eric's analysis on Alou's 2004 numbers.

Also, use this as an open thread for your thoughts on the deal. I'll weigh in more numbers-wise later.

Sunday, December 19, 2004
Falling into Place

Jay has every link you need this Sunday morning.

Essentially, it looks like things are just waiting to fall into place. Will the Mets get Delgado? Or will someone, like the Red Sox, jump in late and take him away? Do the Mets then have enough to get Beltran? And what happens if they fail at both? Will J.D. Drew still be there? Or will it be Moises? Or Ordonez? And what abot 1B if they miss Delgado?

Its like a game of human dominos. Expensive human dominos.

If nothing else, the next few weeks should be a fun ride.

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