Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Omar

Congratulations on your extension. You'll notice I left out the "well deserved" that you may think is forthcoming. The reason I did so is that I do not think it is well deserved. I understand why the Wilpon's gave it, but disagree.

You see Omar, you're scaring the fanbase right now. You've said some pretty scary stuff. Things like "Damion Easley had a good year". Omar, the dude had an OPS of .692. That is far from a good year. Yeah, I know he had a couple of good games, but the dude is not a starter, and is barely a competent bench player. In 31 PH appearances, his OPS was .515. That is NOT A GOOD YEAR.

You also stated "The Brand is Strong." No, it is not. A strong baseball "brand" is one that makes the damn playoffs. You know who has a good brand? The Phillies. Because they won the damn division 2 years in a row, and are, as I write this, up 3-2 in Game 5 of the World Series, possibly on their way to a trophy. That is a strong brand. Your brand is strong when you make the playoffs back to back, not when you make it once, then blow two leads the following two years. Your brand is strong when you have a good bullpen.

You also stated you think Luis Castillo can bounce back. Let me clue you in on something Omar. He sucks. Sucks at defense, sucks at hitting. Now, I like saber, and I get OBP is an important factor. But Luis' OBP is empty when you factor in the multiple double plays he hits into, and the key groundouts. Not to mention his inability to hit the damn ball out of the infield. His OPS while playing 2nd base? .666. That's a sign Omar. Not to mention the fact that Mets fans, well, hate his ass. Did you not hear the boos? Now, I know, you will say "Well, the booed Delgado too." The difference is that Delgado can hit home runs. Fans dig the longball. Luis cannot hit home runs.

I know you signed him to a 4 year deal, and he has 3 years left. Big deal. The Wilpon's can be persuaded to eat the contract. They paid Mo Vaughn. They are still paying Bobby Bonilla for fuck's sake. If you can't trade him, cut him. We will not care if he comes back to someone else and suddenly finds the fountain of youth. We do not like him.

Now, let's think about who can play 2nd next year. Easley and Castillo are gone. You could use Argenis Reyes, but that would be stupid. Ypu could throw money are Orlando Hudson, which the press will love since he has "attitude" (we'll get to this). Or, you could do the smart thing and LET DANIEL MURPHY PLAY! He has already shown he can hit the snot out of the ball. His line last year, .313/.397/.473. That's a .870 OPS. That's good. He's young, unlike Hudson. He can hit, something Hudson does not do away from Chase Field. And he's under contract and cheap, which means you can spend money where you need to, the BULLPEN.

Yes Omar, you need to spend money on the bullpen. There are NO internal options for closer. Sign Fuentes, or trade for Putz or Soria. Get Dennys Reyes (we need at least 2 Reyes' on the team). Juan Cruz is an intriguing idea. This is where you need to focus your time and effort and money. Not on 2nd base. You need to sing guys who are not ROOGY's or LOOGY's. You need to sign guys who can face both. In reality, not in your world where Scott Schoeneweis is able to. The real world.

Lastly, there has been a lot of talk about attitude on the team. You know where attitude comes form? Winning. Yeah, it helps to have some hard nosed guys who could NOT care less what people think. The key is to make sure they are actually good (in other words, not a PLD type.) If Jose wants to dance, let him. If Keith Hernandez doesn't like it, TFB. Just remember, it does help to have the stats that Jerry commented about. You know, it is hard to drive guys in if they are not on base.

The last thing is to either resign Ollie or get a reasonable replacement. Derek Lowe is nice. Burnett would be nicer. See, I'm a little worried about Pelfrey coming off his innings. And Maine with his surgery. So, no Pedro. You need depth. Get a couple of guys for AAA while you are at it. I'm fine with Niese as #5, so long as the pen is strong.

Forget the brand being strong. Make the TEAM strong. Fix the pen. Find a Leftfielder. Build a better bench. Put Murphy at 2nd.

Just Fucking Win.

Ed in Westchester

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Open Letter to Mike Francesca

Dear Mike,

On your radio show on WFAN on October 15, 2008, you made two claims:
1. That there are 20 players comparable to David Wright.
2. That David gets a pass from the press.

I would like to ask you to provide the listing of the 20 players, as well as prove that he gets a pass from the press. What’s that you say, you can’t? That’s what I thought.

David took a lot of heat towards the end of the season, both in the local media and the national media. Many blamed him for the losses to the Marlins and Cubs, and said he was not “clutch”. Some fans even bought into this line of thought. Of course, when you look at a single game, you are likely to find fault and be able to point out a failure. This is what you have done. However, when you look at the numbers on an overall basis, the theory holds no water. For instance, here are David’s numbers for the month of September:
.340 Avg
.416 OBP
.577 SLG
.993 OPS

Here are his numbers for the entire season:
.302 Avg
.390 OBP
.534 SLG
.934 OPS

So September was better than his total numbers. In fact, it was better on an OPS basis than any other month save for July when he put up the following stats:
.317 Avg
.431 OBP
.574 SLG
1.005 OPS

Mind you July was when the Mets went 18 – 8, moving back into contention.

As for the 20 players comparable to David, I can only imagine what that list looks like. Let me guess, two of the members on your list are Jeter and A-Rod. Let's look at the stats for 2008 shall we:
Jeter - .300/.363/.408/.771
A-Rod - .302/.392/.573/.965
I'd say David stacks up pretty favorably there wouldn't you?

Now, I do grant that there are some players who are better than David. The name Pujols comes to mind, as do Manny Ramirez and a few others. I’m sure there are some players older than the 25 year old David Wright who have put up better stats over the past few years. But the number is not 20. You may be interested in this little stat - Only 5 players have put up a OPS over .900 in the past 4 seasons. Including David.

Now, I do grant that David had a poor year with RISP. Of course, you would think based on listening to your show that this is his history. You would be wrong of course. His RISP the last 3 seasons: .310 (2007), .365 (2006), .298 (2005). The history shows 2008 to be an outlier.

I know things are tough for you right now. Your beloved Yankees failed to make the post-season. Your partner left you all alone, and your ratings have probably suffered, so you need to stir the pot. Here’s the thing, try to at least get your facts straight. Now, knowing your history and how you have treated people who did not appear on your show, there is the thought that you are singling out David because he refused to go on your show after you claimed he told Carlos Delgado to not take a curtain call earlier this year. Of course, David denies this, yet you refuse to acknowledge your error. Instead, it appears to be a case of “How dare David refuse to appear on my show!” If David did indeed refuse to go on your show because you LIED about him, I commend him. If he refused just becuase he thinks you are a pompous windbag, I commend him again.

You use this team as a punching bag all the time, from attacking how Willie was fired, to lying about David to claiming Ryan Church does not like NY (another lie). I wish the team would change stations, but they won’t do that. I do hope the players tell you to stuff it though.

And I hope Mets fans stop listening to you. I did years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making a List

Well, after a few weeks of gnashing of teeth and reading all the puke coming out of the PC’s of twits like this guy, it is time for Ed to make “The List”. “The List” of who stays and who goes.

Let’s begin with the Brain trust shall we?

Omar will be back, we all knew this was going to happen. Despite my issues with some of his moves (it’s the bullpen stupid); I do not have a huge problem with his being given an extension. I do have a problem with the length of it, as it is one year too many IMNSHO. My concern is knowing how the Wilpon's operate, if they wind up firing him, and having to eat his salary, they will use that as justification towards not spending on players. Omar’s job right now is to do two things. First, blow up the pen and replace what is left. Second, get Luis Castillo the hell out of here.

Jerry Manuel will be back as well. Now, I liked the job he did. He brought a team that was basically left for dead in the middle of June by most to 1 game out of the Wild Card. The problem is that he seemed to go a little Willie on us when it came to the bullpen. Remember in 2007 how Philip Humber sat and rotted on the bench after being a September call-up while the likes of Mota and others kept blowing games? Remember how we thought Jerry would be different? We thought wrong, as Bobby Parnell became this years Humber. Once again, the manager let a call up rot while the bullpen shat the bed. Now, I don’t totally blame Jerry for not making the playoffs. The team lost its #3 starter in Maine for a month plus, and lost it’s closer in Wagner for nearly 2 months. The fact they finished where they did shows me the team gave it’s all. Now, his comments about stats and grit give pause, but I think we all know managers use stats; they just don’t use them as the sole reason for making a decision. A good manager blends stats and gut. Jerry seems to do this well for the most part.

As for the rest of the coaches, I could NOT care less if any of them are back.

Tony B – I hope you get the job in Seattle.


David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have to come back. A trade of any one of these players would be the stupidest move in Mets history. I don’t give a rat’s ass if David had a poor final weekend. The dude had a great month overall. Jose did better than September 2007, and had many games during the season where he was the team’s best player. Beltran is Beltran. The dude just plays, day in, day out, hurt or not. The next person who calls him a pussy is going to get a beating. He’s the best CF in baseball.

Daniel Murphy needs to be back. I don’t expect him to hit like he did last year. I do expect him to be a good ballplayer. Let him play left field if they decide 2nd is not going to work out. He has great plate discipline (though he needs to work on sliders in). Plus, he’s gritty, which everyone tells us this team lacks.
Brian Schneider can come back so long as he promises to be the defensive catcher we were told he was.

Fernando Tatis can come back as a 4th outfielder and bat off the bench. So long as he signs cheap in terms of $ and years.

Ryan Church should be back. I don’t think he will be as good as he was the first half, or as bad as he was towards the end of the season. Hopefully, an off-season of rest will help heal his hip. Now, if someone offers a nice return, I can live with his being dealt, but then Omar would need to find a RF. That will not be easy.

Endy – sorry, this team cannot have your bat on the bench, unless it is as the 5th OF.

Marlon Anderson – make him a coach. Just do not let him have a spot on the roster. Dude is done.

Luis Castillo – GONE. For the love of all that is good and holy, please get rid of him.

Damion Easley – gone. Not good off the bench. Not good as a starter. He could be a good 25th man, but nothing more.

Ramon Castro – gone. Dude cannot stay healthy.

Argenis Reyes – gone. Dude cannot hit.

Nick Evans – AA or AAA. First guy called up in case of injury to an OF.

Carlos Delgado – This is a toughie. I would like him back. I do not think he can hit like he did the 2nd half, but if he puts up similar #’s, that will be sufficient. The problem is that he is probably the most marketable trade chip. Even with only 1 year left, an AL team may take the chance, allowing him to play 1st and DH. The question is what is the return? With nobody in the system ready to take over and replace his production, I think he will be back. Unless they sign Teixeira, which is a longshot.


Johan is going nowhere. Neither is Pelfrey. Same for Maine (and I mean this in terms of staying with the team AND in the rotation. You do not rob Peter to pay Paul. Moving him to closer means you need another starter.

I’d like Ollie to come back. I like his stuff. I think he is a guy who can be a very good #3 starter. The problem will be what he costs, so I am prepared to see him go.

As for the bullpen, I am torn here. Let’s list them out.

Heilman – his value among Mets fans is at an all time low. His value among other teams is the same. For some reason, he got away from his change-up, which hurt him against lefties. I predict he will be back, and if he has a good spring, will make the team. I see him with the Mets until the Trade Deadline at least.

Parnell – keep him in the pen.

Smith – keeper. Had a nice year overall.

Stokes – keep him. Live arm. Potential 8th inning guy.

Pedro Dos – buh-bye.

Sh!tScho – As unpopular as this will make me, I want him back. He has 1 year left on the deal. He is a LOOGY. But I want a collar around Jerry that will zap him if he so much as THINKS Scho should face a righty.

Al Reyes – keeper. 8th inning guy. I like his desire to challenge guys. I just don’t like him as closer.

Figeroa – gone

Brandon Knight – gone

Pedro – Thank you, but no.

NotSoClean Sanchez – Gone. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that a full season under his belt will help. The dude was awful at the end of the year. You would think that if there was going to be improvement with work, we would have seen it in September.

So endeth The List. At some point, I will give my take on potential targets, either through trade or Free Agency. There are some holes to fill. Let’s hope Omar fills them wisely.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Goodbye Shea Stadium, and Thanks

So, we say goodbye to Shea Stadium. No playoffs this year. A season that started with high hopes ended with a last day loss for the second year in a row. I don’t want to talk about the season yet, I will do that another day. Today, I want to talk about what Shea meant to me.

Growing up, Shea meant a chance to spend time with my dad. You see, growing up, things were tough. Dad worked 6 days a week, and there were many years where he worked a night job as well. So time with Dad was at a premium. Once spring came, hope of being able to go to Shea with him, to tailgate and take in a game grew. Now, Ed was a wee lad, so tailgating meant a sandwich, hot pretzel and soda, but all the same, it was fun, because I got Dad for a few hours.

The games all blend together, but what I remember is the feeling when we would get there and walk in. Dad buying a program, and the two of us keeping score. Walking out of the tunnel and seeing the field in front of me, watching batting practice, watching the guys stretch. As a young kid, seeing that field as we walked in was amazing. To this day, I get that same feeling of anticipation. The early years of my going to games were of course not as much fun, as it was the late 70’s, and the Mets, well, they stunk. But as the 70’s turned to the 80’s, hope began to grow.

Keith joined the team. And Gary. Doc and Straw came up. And a couple of times a year, Dad would get tickets from vendors at work and we would make the trek from Eastern Long Island to Shea on a Sunday. Take in the view, and watch our guys mature from perennial losers to winners. All along, Dad would teach me about the game. How pitchers would change things up. How fielders had to watch the ball off the bats, and account for the wind, or just the angle. I recall a time where some guy near us was blasting Straw for a misplay on a hard liner. Dad explained to me, loud enough for the fan to hear, how a ball off the bat of a lefty hit to right field was hard to track because of the pull and angle and so forth. The little things you can see live, but maybe not on TV.

Dad taught me many things, from how to keep score, to how to watch, to how not to boo your team. Even when things were bad we never booed. We saw the lows and the highs (an NLCS game against the Astros in 1986). And we enjoyed every minute.

Time has gone on. Dad and I don’t get to go to games too often. The last time we went was a few years back, me, my younger brother and Dad. This time, my brother and I took him. It was like old times. A little tailgate before (and this time, a beer was allowed). Then, a program, pretzel, hot dogs and watching our Mets play. The next time we go will not be at Shea, and that will be fine with me, since it will be time with Dad again. In a few years, once my kids are a little older, I will take them. And show them what Dad showed me.

Many will recall specific games or sights from Shea. What I will recall is a few hours a couple of times a year with Dad. Time well spent.

Thank you Shea Stadium. Thank you Mets. And thank you Dad.