Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mets Central, Only Worse

  • Mirror images:

In watching the Cleveland Indians and how atrocious they are, I've been speculating that they would be willing to listen to offers for would-be superstar and object of stat zombie lust, Grady Sizemore. But I made the speculation blissfully unaware of how serious Sizemore's knee problems are.

According to the following clip from Hardball Talk, it ain't sounding good:

We haven't heard much about Grady Sizemore since he was placed on the disabled list last week and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com wonders out loud where this situation is headed.

I'm not a doctor and don't play one on TV. I am not medically qualified to know about treatment options for a "deep knee bone bruise." But I do know that Grady Sizemore is seeing not one but two specialists this week (in Vail, Colo., and New York City) for second and third opinions on how to treat his condition. Clearly, this is not your standard bruise. Surgery remains a possibility. We should know more later in the week.

Similar to Castrovince, I do not claim to be a doctor, but as a Mets fan, this sounds all too familiar to the Carlos Beltran situation. Just sayin.

Unlike many of the remaining big contracts on the Indians roster (Travis Hafner and Kerry Wood), Sizemore was very, very movable and would've brought back a lot in terms of young talent. Personally, I've always thought Sizemore was a bit overrated because he was adored in stat zombie circles as one of the "best" players in baseball; I can't put Grady Sizemore into a category with Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer; but he did put up big extra base numbers; very good defense; speed; and pop all in a marketable package of humility; plus he signed a team-friendly contract extension that pays him $5.6 million for 2010; $7.5 million in 2011; and an $8.5 million club option for 2012 with a $500,000 buyout.

He was a high-ceiling, inexpensive player who put up big numbers from 2006-2008 until the injuries hit him last year in the Indians disastrous 2009 campaign. Now, it's not sounding as if he's even going to be on the field anytime soon making the burgeoning horror of the Indians 2010 season reach critical mass.

I don't know who in their right mind could've looked at this Indians roster and thought they'd contend. The one thing that shouldn't have been the issue though was the lineup if they were healthy; they should've scored enough runs to be reasonably competitive; it's the pitching that was the clear preseason problem...which is only leading into my point.

The Indians pitching over the first two months of the season has been quite respectable and they're still 16-27 and sinking like an anchor. So, what's going to happen when a team that can't score; has former star bats inhabiting the disabled list because of recurring and none-too-treatable, short-term injuries; and a suspect pitching staff that's bound the fall back to earth?

It's not good.

Let's just say that Fausto Carmona continues his resurgence; then what? Is pleasant surprise Mitch Talbot going to keep pitching as well as he has? Jake Westbrook has been serviceable in his return from Tommy John surgery and could bring back a moderate prospect or two via trade for the impending free agent. (Westbrook to the Mets or Phillies isn't a bad idea.)

Then what? The rest of the rotation is struggling; Justin Masterson belongs in the bullpen; Kerry Wood is a train wreck as the closer; and Rafael Perez is routinely getting hammered. Where's the contender that some saw before the season?

Here's the gist: because the Indians have a GM in Mark Shapiro who's well-versed in numbers and has the courage to make aggressive trades and has to deal with payroll constraints, he's given a pass for the awful team he's put together.

I'm no Mets apologist, but is why Mets GM Omar Minaya the regular subject of roasting? How is overt disrespect doled out on the organization by "experts" with impunity? (Most recently by Tim McCarver and Joe Buck on Saturday night----I'm wondering if anyone let them know that they're being watched for said breach of etiquette for broadcasters.)

Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes is under similar attacks for the way his club has struggled and that his moves have failed.

Why does Shapiro get a pass?

The Indians are awful; poorly constructed and dismal, but no one pays any attention to them or savages Shapiro because he's one of "them" and had a viable statistical reason and monetary excuse for the collapse of the club from being one game away from a World Series in 2007 to the monstrosity they currently are.

With Sizemore's injury sounding like a mirror image of Carlos Beltran's, and the Indians in far worse shape than the Mets, where's the criticism for Shapiro?


  • To me, infighting isn't a bad thing:

Passion is imperative to a successful team and if that leads to confrontations between players, coaches and whoever, it's okay with me.

Such is the case with the Mets as Francisco Rodriguez having a near fistfight with bullpen coach Randy Niemann----NY Times Story.

K-Rod's got a bit of a temper as he's shown during his Mets career. Last season, he had a near brawl with then-Yankees reliever Brian Bruney after Bruney condemned K-Rod's post-save histrionics; then there was the confrontation with former Mets executive Tony Bernazard; and this year, he almost got into it with Nationals utilityman Willie Harris after hitting him with a pitch.

I have no issue with this; nor a problem with the way manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen called out pitcher John Maine for his now acknowledged dishonesty of shoulder pain. In fact, they were too nice to Maine----he hurt the team with his attempts to be a warrior and pitch through pain when he knew he wasn't able to perform well enough to compete effectively.

It's the teams that get along and never have any inside fighting that are generally big time losers. They show up; play the games; collect their paychecks; and go home. There's no excitement; not feistiness; nothing to exhibit that they care enough to confront a member of the "family" if necessary. The Yankees championship teams of the 70s and from the late 90s always had their share of inner turmoil ; the Oakland Athletics of the early 70s were always brawling----literally and figuratively----with one another; the manager; and the owner.

But on the field? You went after one of them, you went after all of them.

I like it.

It means they care; and sometimes all that energy creates something good.

It's far better than the alternative of everyone being buddies because misery loves company and all they do is lose.

  • Trading Strasburg?

I'm not spending too much time on this, but there's been a lot of play over Steve Phillips's suggestion that he'd trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt if he were running the Nationals. You can listen to Phillips's entire appearance on Mike'd Up with Mike Francesa here----Link.

On the surface, the suggestion was laughed at as the ravings of a lunatic, but Rob Neyer makes a viable case for the idea in practice with the following (the entire posting can be read here):

But what if you're a contender, and the money's not all that important? Who's more likely to get you into the playoffs this season, and help you win the World Series?

Oswalt, clearly. Strasburg's going to pitch maybe 110 innings in the majors this season, and he'll burn those up before October (if not September). If you were really trying to win, you might remove him from the rotation in July or August and deploy him for the rest of the season as your not-so-secret bullpen weapon, like the Rays used David Price in 2008. But if you'd given the Rays a choice between Price and Oswalt that summer, wouldn't they have chosen Oswalt?

And what about 2009? Oswalt missed a few starts last year and was bizarrely unlucky, going just 8-6 in 30 starts. But Price spent part of the season in the minors and wasn't terribly impressive during his time in the majors. Obviously, the Rays wouldn't trade Price for Oswalt today ... but it's worth mentioning that Price is now in his third major league season, and he's still not the pitcher we once thought he would become.

He might still. But you always wonder. With Roy Oswalt, there's very little wondering. Take the money out of it, and if I'm trying to win right now, I would rather have Roy Oswalt than Stephen Strasburg in 2010 and '11, because I think Oswalt is going to win more games in these two seasons. I'm not worried about babying his tender right arm, and I'm not worried about adjusting to pitching against the best hitters in the world.

I wouldn't even consider trading Strasburg for Oswalt and not just because of the obvious reasons that the entire future (on and off the field) for the Nationals is tied in with Strasburg; but because I don't trust Oswalt to stay healthy; and the short-term reward is such a minuscule possibility----The Nationals winning the World Series in the next two years? Really?----that it's not going to happen with Oswalt or Strasburg.

The argument could be made that even if Oswalt showed up healthy and was able to lead the Nationals into the playoffs and pulled an Orel Hershiser and carried them almost singlehandedly to the World Series, it wouldn't be worth the fan interest, buzz around the ballpark and "stuff" they'll be able to sell with Strasburg as the young ├╝ber pitcher upon whom the franchise hopes are centered.

Phillips sometimes says things to get attention and play the devil's advocate; I doubt he'd even consider moving Strasburg for anything less than a Joe Mauer-type, guaranteed long-term star.

It's not happening anyway, so it's a wasted argument at the outset.

  • Hmmmm.....

This looks familiar. Here's Joel Sherman's Hardball Blog regarding Roy Oswalt, published today----Link.

Here are the clips I found strikingly familiar to...to....something I may have read somewhere before....hmmmmm:

Here could be one key to getting this trade done: Would the Astros take Kazmir back? On the surface, they should not. The idea of dealing Oswalt would be about the Astros finally accepting that it is time to rebuild, and rebuilding teams should not accept back overpaid, under-performing players whose name recognition is far better than their actual performance.

But there is a Drayton McLane factor. The owner of the Astros has refused over the years to trade established players such as Oswalt. A former Astro employee said McLane’s “overriding thing is always to give fans hope so they stay fans and buy tickets. … Giving up a brand name for him is a hard to do.”

I doubt the Astros players op department would actually want Kazmir. But he is a Houston native with a level of renown, the kind of combo McLane would probably think is saleable to the fan base. Also, if he pitched in the NL, maybe his performance would improve and give the Astros a worthy starter to keep trying to win this year.

The key thing is that he makes $8 million this year, $12 million next year and has a $13.5 million option in 2012 with a $2.5 million buyout which would offset, to some degree, the $15 million Oswalt is making this year, and the $16 million he is due in 2011 plus a $2 million buyout.

The Phillies could use Oswalt, but wouldn’t it look silly to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason because you say you need to restock your prospect base and then trade prospects for Oswalt, who is inferior to Lee?

Where have I seen this before...um...where, oh where?


I know where I saw it.

It emanated from the brilliant head and lightning shooting fingertips of yours truly...ON SATURDAY!!!!!

Here's the full link and following are the relevant clips:

Oswalt will be 33 in August. He's receiving $15 million this season; $16 million next season; and has a 2012 option worth $16 million with a $2 million buyout. With a full no-trade clause, he has the right to block any deal or demand that the option be exercised to okay the trade; since he desperately wants out of Houston and has often spoken of early retirement, it's quite possible (even likely) that he won't demand the option be automatically picked up if he agrees to be traded.

Los Angeles Angels

Without question, the Angels would love to be rid of Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is from Houston; is making $8 million this year; $12.5 next year; and has a $13.5 million option for 2012, with a $2.5 million buyout. McLane likes bringing in players from Houston as well.

Philadelphia Phillies

They need pitching, but do they have the money? Do they have the remaining prospects? It could mean the difference between getting whacked in the playoffs or another World Series.

Will Ruben Amaro Jr. be willing to absorb the obvious question of why they traded The Stone Cold Killer, Cliff Lee if they were going to turn around and trade for Roy Oswalt at mid-season?

And what of Astros GM Ed Wade?

Unless the Phillies offer is too good to pass up, it's hard to see him willingly helping the team that fired him as their GM.

It's not out of the realm of possibility especially if McLane is heavily in on the deal.

That voice in my head sometimes sends me veering off in strange directions, but right now it's telling me to watch the Angels.

And I believe it.


Um. Yah.

You steal from me, you answer to me.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and Noble.com. It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.

Give yourself to the Dark Side.

I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve. Way ahead.


She-Fan said...

Does K-Rod's fights with people mean he cares? Or does it mean he's as annoying as I thought?

Jeff said...

K-Rod's fierceness is what I like about him... that and that nasty awkward motion.

Still, he makes a good case for NOT having HD-TV. I hate to hate on anyone, but dude is so ugly he's ooogly.

As for the plagiarism... do you really expect anything else from the NY Post?

Joe said...

Shapiro shouldn't be criticized for 2010, because they are rebuilding. Small market teams have to go through this much more so than large market teams. I picked them to finish poorly, understanding what they were doing. Shapiro shouldn't simply get a free pass just because, he should get it because they are exercising the plan they intended on going with, once they traded Lee and V-Mart. And again, it is the plan to rebuild for the future