Archives for the month of: December, 2009

Some quite random and disorganized thoughts while I enjoy a quiet hour alone, undisturbed, and with some whiskey a friend today called “proddy garbage” (it’s Bushmill’s, and I’m drinking it because it was cheap and the only thing left in the liquor store on Christmas Eve):

–Jason Bay can hit home runs.  It’s proven he can hit home runs.  I don’t know how many home runs he’ll hit in 2010 for the Mets, if all goes well and he DOES sign, but as of yesterday the Mets didn’t have a guy in left field who could hit home runs.  Now it seems as though they might.

Good.

–Sixteen million dollars is a lot of money.  Sixty-six million dollars is a lot of money.  Eighty million dollars is a lot of money.  The interest earned on a three-month CD purchased at $16 million could retire my debt, my parents’ debt, and leave money for season tickets.

–I should come up with a novel way to make seven thousand dollars.  Like that guy who traded up from a paperclip and wound up with a house.

–Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” might be underrated.

–Humble Pie’s version of “I Can’t Stand The Rain” is mesmerizing.

–What kind of season will 2010 be if Jose Reyes clocks in 2007 numbers, and David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Jason Bay manage to hit one hundred homers between them?

–Oliver Perez is still a Met.  Goddamn it.

–I’m glad I was back-breakingly equivocal about free agent pitchers.  Lackey?  Gone.  Halladay?  Gone.  Marquis?  Gone.  Garland? …Hold on… Nope, still free.

–I’ve been away QUITE awhile.  Next year, I purposefully go dark in the off-season so as to avoid the guilt of dropping off the planet.

–I need to know more people in high finance.  Honestly.  If anyone out there lives in the New York City area, has three to five years of managerial experience in the realm of finance and administration, and is interested in a non-profit career, email me.  Great pay, better benefits.  And you get me as an underling.  Exciting, nay?  Email me at omniality@gmail.com.  This is one hundred percent legit. 

Think of how cool it’d be that we have that going for us.  “How’d you find your new gig, [Director of Finance and Admin]?” “I was reading a blog about the Mets, and I was intrigued.”

–I’m a desperate, desperate man.  And we just started the search yesterday.  Christ.

–The Mets are still missing massive production from first base.  There was a time when Beltran and Wright were chasing 30/30 seasons, Moises Alou seemed to have found an endless supply of cartoon spinach, Jose Reyes was stealing underwear without taking off peoples’ pants, AND Carlos Delgado was crushing the ball to a reasonable degree.

Can Daniel Murphy manage twenty-four home runs in a season?  Can Jason Bay manage more than thirteen, and an OPS over .900 at once?

–Can Jason Bay stay healthy enough to play at least 150 games?

–Jason Bay’s not one of those outfielders that doesn’t give a damn about pesky things like stats, is he?  I mean, not like the guy out in right.

–I miss shouting, “Hit the ball, Chowdah!” at Jeff Francoeur.  Baseball’s been gone far too long.

–Even so, you wouldn’t catch me out at Citi Field tonight on a bet.  It’s FREEZING out.  And I know from freezing.

–No; Jason Bay’s a solid guy.  His numbers last year are quite solid.  An all-star, for Chrissakes. 

–That voting for all-stars is beyond reproach, too.  Also the plural isn’t “hanging chads.”  It’s “hanging chad.”

–Most people named Chad seem to be cruisin’ for a hangin’.

**

Credit where it’s due: the format of this post is inspired by “Jenna Is Awkward”‘s blog, The Art Of Awkward, which is refreshed most every Wednesday with a stream-of-consciousness assault on the rude, the oblivious, the downright creepy, and the obnoxiously entitled.  She also enjoys alcohol and keeps clear of children, and that speaks to me.  Furthermore, she’s a Mets fan.  Give her all the traffic you can by going to http://artofawkward.com.

The Wife is in town until the 12th, and as I may have suggested, I’m a little inundated with work that’s not Mets-related.  As much as I hoped I could get back to a normal schedule, I don’t really see that happening for awhile.  I will post as often as I can, but that will be really sporadic.  Fortunately, the forecast calls for things to ease up right around the start of the season.

So as Mets business heats up and I spend more time in front of the television or at games, I’ll post more.  Have yourselves a safe and great new year.  Pray for Oliver Perez, and by extension the Mets, in 2010.

Cheers.

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This one’s too brilliant not to give over in full, and for that, my apologies to the Times and Mr. Wakefield, whose words are reproduced wholesale, here.

But generally, if you’re not going to the paper’s site every Monday to check out the “Metropolitan Diary,” you’re missing out.  Find the rest of this week’s here.

For those who’ll get to it later, however:

Dear Diary:

Flash back 40 years. The world champion Amazin’ Mets were the toast of the town.

My wife worked on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I was always assigned a volunteer job of meeting a
limousine early Thanksgiving morning at my Chelsea apartment building,
and then picking up a celebrity for one of the floats.

That year, two limousines were dispatched; we went to Shea Stadium in a convoy, and picked up six Mets for a key float. Three of them were Tug McGraw,
Ron Swoboda and Ed Charles; I can’t remember who the other three were.
After dropping them off at the staging area on Broadway at 79th Street,
I hopped a subway to Herald Square and went to an upper floor, where
coffee and maybe a little Irish whiskey awaited.

When the parade
reached its final destination, some of the Mets joined workers and
Macy’s employees and their families for drinks and snacks. The son of a
Macy’s employee was observing his 9th birthday, and he told the Mets
that.

Without so much as a word, but cackling, Swoboda picked him
up, turned him upside down, and McGraw smacked his bottom nine times. I
have never seen a 9-year-old with bigger eyes.

Dean M. Wakefield

Fan-bloody-tastic.

The word is (from Jon Heyman of SI.com, found at Metsblog) that the Phillies got Roy Halladay, the Mariners got the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Toronto Blue Jays (Halladay’s initial team) got prospects from Philadelphia and Seattle.

And John Lackey’s in Boston, getting checked out. (Same sources as previous.)

You know what this really means?

It means Cliff Lee–an amazingly dominant pitcher in this most recent World Series–has moved from the National League to the American League.  It does not mean the Phillies have both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay as a one-two punch.

It means the Phillies have given up Cliff Lee, money, and prospects for some unspecified number of years of Roy Halladay.

It means John Lackey, who could’ve wound up in our local market and given Mets fans who sweat the latest Yankee move, has become a problem that’s solely the province of Yankee fans.

It means the Mets have not signed a pitcher with elbow problems or a pitcher who’s about to enter the second phase of his career–one that could be defined by increasing decrepitude just as easily as it can be defined by greatness.

I think the Mets come up aces here.  They’ve got Johan Santana; they can still hunt for Jason Marquis (unless I’ve lost total contact with the world and Marquis has moved–if so, please email me about it, ’cause that’s the only way I’ll know).  Is Garland still free?  I’ve eaten three meals in three days; please send word and a Five Guys cheeseburger.

Furthermore, two teams with relatively sensible GMs have just set the bar for free-agent pitching contracts.  Other pitchers, whose hype has not dominated the wires over the past weeks, will fall short of said bar.

Cerrone’s freaking out a bit.  And he has legitimate concerns.  But I think the Mets are astoundingly lucky here.  The Phillies could’ve managed Cliff Lee AND Roy Halladay; the Yankees could’ve had Sabathia, Burnett, and Lackey in their rotation.

Frankly, as fans we’re at the exact same number of wins and losses we were at when the week began.  As Neil Mink tells Tony Soprano at the end of “All Due Respect”: be of good cheer.

I posted more recently than twenty-eight days ago, but talking about Chip Caray doesn’t count.

So what’d I miss?  Plenty.  And nothing.

Luis Castillo is gone.  No, he isn’t.  Yes, he is.  No, he isn’t.  Roy Halladay will be a Met.  No, he won’t.  Yes, he will.  Not unless the Mets pick up and move to the West Coast, and take their Dodger-esque ball park with them.  John Lackey’s a bigger wild card than It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s Charlie Kelly. (The preceding link is intended only for mature audiences.  Viewer discretion is advised.)

Alex Cora signed and Elmer Dessens either has or will very soon.  Brian Schneider, who was not on the radar, is completely off the radar, and Chris Coste is a Met, but he barely registered when he wasn’t, and I’m fine with keeping our relationship at that level.

So there.  That’s what’s transpired, it seems.  And a lot of maybes, coulds, and possiblies.  Enough to make me glad I’m not a sports journalist.  Not enough to make me stop daydreaming about it when I’m trying to calculate a company’s overhead, but enough nonetheless.

There’s vitriol, here.  Not seething; not yet.  But looking at my notes for the free agent starting pitchers posts that I either bailed on or got shanghaied away from (you choose your perspective), I’m dismayed by the prospects.  Todd Wellemeyer?  I was going to try and make a case for Todd Wellemeyer?

There’s more.  Oh, believe me, there’s more.

Ben Sheets’ only definitive, demonstrable use at this point would be as a prognosticator of rain delays.  Pay the man a token for his elbow, stick that by the home run apple in center, and designate the $10MM or $12MM that would’ve gone for the rest of him, for something else.

Hey, you know who’s a bajillion million trillion years old?  Bartolo Colon.

If Braden “Blooper” Looper, a former Met reliever, is considered for a spot in the team’s rotation, then I imagine Aaron Heilman’s head will explode.  And that might be reason alone to do it.  In an odd bit of confluence, Looper told Sporting News (you’ll click here for the report via Yahoo! Sports) that he’d be cool with signing with the Cubs.

And speaking of Cubs both potential and former, word is the Texas Rangers just paid $7.5 million for a year of Rich Harden.  Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times‘s Mariners Blog shows a northwesterner’s measured equanimity
in discussing the Mariners’ fortunes, in light of their NOT getting
their man.  I have a friend who called me up as the news was breaking. 
She sounded ready to throw a chair. 

I don’t know.  I’m with Baker.  Name a season in which Rich Harden’s thrown more than two hundred innings one hundred fifty innings.  …

An out below one hundred ninety in 2004.  He gave up five runs in one inning to the 2004 Reds, and Griffey had nothing to do with it.  Positively Perez-ish.

And speaking of that game? Justin Duchscherer replaced Harden during that inning.  Jerry Crasnick’s report from back in August may jog your memory re: Duchscherer.  I’m not pointing that out to say the guy couldn’t take the heat in New York or should have a strike against him as a result of his condition–far from it.  He’s either a competitor and should want to play where he can show he’s the best, or he should stop playing the game and do something else, which would be fine and great.  But he can’t come to the Mets after the Mets’ 2009 season, unless he’s literally made of steel.  Heavy-gauge steel.  Non-corrosive… you get the point.  A hip injury will lead to some kind of metal eventually, but certainly not now, and not in time to be a reasonable and inexpensive option.

And while I’m complaining about people with extended stays on the DL, I remain unconvinced that paying Erik Bedard anything more than a year, a plane ticket, and room and board is a good idea.  Bringing us back to the Seattle Times and Geoff Baker: word is he’ll already miss part of 2010.

Joel Piniero seems like a trap.  And Jayson Stark (as I read from Matt Cerrone’s redesigned Metsblog) is saying Piniero’s agent is worth more than a three-year, $10 million deal.  Expensive trap for a guy that just recently seemed to figure things out, at the Mets’ expense.

Noah Lowry hasn’t been right since 2007, and recently had a rib removed to help relieve a syndrome I’ve never even heard of.  And I once spent sixteen hours with Wikipedia, the complete Talking Heads discography, and a bottle of whiskey (a blizzard knocked out my cable).

Jarrod Washburn?  Uninspiring. 

And the only good thing about Brett Tomko, since at least 2005, has been Julia Schultz.

I can see Jon Garland as that aforementioned reasonable option in a typical off-season, but the dearth of real, electric talent means an inflated market for guys like Garland.  You don’t need me to tell you this; everyone’s shouting about it and, in this rare instance, it bears the rasp of scrutiny.  So Jon Garland’s $6.25 million in 2009 becomes 2010’s $10 million, or $6.25MM a year for multiple years, because the guy’s gotten tired of seeing his reaction to bad news caught by game cameras.

And that’s the thing.  There are two free agents out there who I’d hate to say anything bad about.  And I’ve had a rough four weeks, so I’m looking to say a bad word about any- and everyone I can.  And they will cost scads of cash.  SCADS, I tells ya.

First guy is Jason Marquis.  He’ll ask for A.J. Burnett numbers in cash if not years, and if you look at his 2009 quick line and Burnett’s 2009 quick line, they’re nearly identical (Marquis’s BAA is twenty points higher and his WHIP is two points lower).  So I think he’d have a solid case. 

Mostly, though, whenever I watch Jason Marquis pitch, I don’t get that knot in my stomach like I do when I watch A.J. Burnett.  Marquis doesn’t worry me.  I know his stats show a Romo-esque knack for fading down the stretch, but he doesn’t worry me.

So much of the conversation surrounding the 2010 Mets is going to be about peace of mind.  In the rotation, whoever follows Johan Santana has to inspire confidence.  That guy’s going to have to be a master craftsman, or a bulldog.

Or both, as the case may be.

I’ve made my feelings on John Lackey plain, at one point using the phrase “out of your gourd” to explain the mess that the 2010 rotation would look like given the numbers that were, then, kicking around about the man.  Five years, $80 million.  Six years, $100 million?  Who’s to say, besides his agent?

I forgot to mention that I’m writing not from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, but from my exceedingly cold bedroom.  I have no idea what Garland, Marquis, or Lackey are asking for, cash or years-wise.  The trend appears to be richer contracts for lesser talent.

Brinkmanship is another trend, one that’s come together as I’ve read snippets of, and heard on the radio, and watched while putting up my Christmas tree and repainting walls has been alarming.  Seems as though everybody’s screwed, and have pushed their clubs to the limit in fear of being caught as last guy screwed. 

Despite talk of restraint prior to the meetings, there’s been no restraint. (Picking through Ken Rosenthal’s reports here.) Three years and $15 million for Brandon Lyon does not constitute restraint.  Neither does the aforementioned Harden deal, some $9 million for the wisdom of Kevin Millwood, nearly $12 million for Andy Pettitte (that’s just galling), or three years and $30 million for Randy Wolf.  This, good people, is King Midas in reverse.

Does not bode well.  Maybe I’ve had my nose in projected budgets and vendors’ insurance quotes for too long recently to see any sign of brightness in people throwing money, like confetti, out the figurative window, but I don’t think so.  I’m quite concerned that those three guys–Garland, Marquis, and Lackey–will slip to a team with a GM even battier than Omar Minaya, and we’ll be watching a Spring Training full of Kelvim Escobars and Lenny DiNardo retreads.

On that unhappy note, I’m going to bed.