• vontreba maddux: I saw a fantastic catch by a female fielder. It was on Facebook. She ran up ...

Back in October, the New York Mets once again played the role of the little orphan children looking into the window of an aristocratic family serving Christmas dinner by a roaring fireplace in a Dickens novel. And although we’re already in February, the majority of the team remains interestingly unchanged save for one area – the bullpen.

Let me just state that on paper, the Mets bullpen didn’t need much fixin’. Yes, they were awful down the stretch. Down. Right. Awful. Luis Ayala is not a man who should be pitching meaningful innings. But their collectively terrible performance was an unlikely occurrence. Had the Mets kept the francisco-rodriguezentire corp in tact, I’m confident that the pen would have been better in 2009. You can’t keep rolling snake eyes for that long.

But Mets fans wanted a change and a change is what they got. Francisco Rodriguez was signed to take over the closing duties. New York traded for J.J. Putz, who may actually be the team’s best reliever, and they received groundball machine Sean Green in the same deal. They also signed Tim Redding who will most likely be the long man, and acquired Connor Robertson by dumping Scott Schoeneweis on Arizona’s lap. For better or worse, the Mets bullpen will have a very different look in 2009.

At this point in the post I should point out that 2008 was a fluke, and bullpens are almost never as big a factor as they were in last season’s NL East race. While the Mets pen imploded, the Phillies enjoyed a perfect season from Brad Lidge. How often do such extremes occur? The majority of a single baseball game is played with the starters still on the mound, so more often than not, it’s the guys taking the ball at the onset of the game that makes the bigger impact.

The Mets brought in some new names on the starting pitching front but whether they’re better than their replacements is unclear. Gone is the ever-entertaining-unless-he’s-on-the-mound-at-that-moment Pedro Martinez. His spot will most likely be taken by Freddy Garcia, who signed an incentive-laden deal that could be worth as much as $8MM. Although just giving the keys to Jonathon Niese may have been the more cost-effective move with the same payoff, Garcia should be fine as a back of the rotation pitcher.

But the team also re-signed lefty Oliver Perez to a three-year $36MM that I knew was coming the moment Derek Lowe signed with Atlanta. Once the Braves ponied up, the Mets lost a ton of leverage in their negotiations with daniel-murphyScott Boras. Oliver Perez is a league average pitcher. And apparently, this still costs you $36MM. I kind of want to weep.

For all the Mets’ moves, the fans are fixated on the player the team didn’t sign — Manny Ramirez. The team currently plans on sending out a platoon of lefty Daniel Murphy and righty Fernando Tatis into leftfield and to say that neither is of the caliber of Ramirez is quite the understatement. However, if the Mets were to get involved in the Manny hunt, the organization would dramatically increase Boras’ leverage once again.  Ramirez has already turned down $25MM/1 and $45MM/2 offers – and that’s with only one team (Dodgers) actually bidding.

The true motivation behind the Mets’ refusal to become involved in the Ramirez sweepstakes is unclear. Are they wary of signing a 36-year old to a three-year deal worth what could be $75MM? Did they determine that his bat isn’t worth his antics? Or did the Madoff ponzi scheme (Mets co-owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz reportedly lost hundreds of millions) drastically change any plans Omar Minaya had drawn up?

The only excuse that won’t sit well with me is #2. Clearly, Manny did not prevent the Red Sox from winning two championships. Joe Posnanski thinks he’s a winner. And that’s good enough for me. While his defense in left may be comedic, how much worse is he than Tatis or Murphy – neither of whom were outfielders before 2008?

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS:

Added: Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, Freddy Garcia, Sean Green, Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, Cory Sullivan, Rob Mackowiak, Bobby Kielty, Valerio de los Santos, Alex Cora, Jeremy Reed, Casey Fossum, Connor Robertson, Rocky Cherry, Darren O’Day

Lost: Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, Endy Chavez, Joe Smith, Luis Ayala, Mike Carp, Jason Vargas, Ambiorix Burgos, Damion Easley, Orlando Hernandez, Ricardo Rincon, Matt Wise

jose-reyesPROJECTED LINEUP:

C: Brian Schneider
1B: Carlos Delgado
2B: Luis Castillo
3B: David Wright
SS: Jose Reyes
LF: Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis
CF: Carlos Beltran
RF: Ryan Church

PITCHING:

SP1: Johan Santana
SP2: Mike Pelfrey
SP3: John Maine
SP4: Oliver Perez
SP5: Freddy Garcia/Jon Niese/Livan Hernandez/Tim Redding

CL: Francisco Rodriguez

GRADE: C-

I suppose it’s to Omar Minaya’s credit that he didn’t push the panic button after two consecutive late-season failures. Then again, the Mets didn’t have many tradable assets. The only area of the team that received much attention was the bullpen, which is, on paper, improved quite a bit. However, the Mets cannot count on Murphy and Tatis to perform as well as 20070626bkt-244they did last season. And the clock is ticking on Carlos Beltran, who is no longer young. Plus Delgado, Schneider and Castillo are past their primes and in decline. If logic holds, the Mets will not score as many runs this year as they did in 2008.

So the question becomes: can they prevent more from scoring? Johan Santana is still among the elite. While he had a very strong 2008, Mike Pelfrey needs to prove that it was no fluke. John Maine is coming back from shoulder surgery and Oliver Perez will continue to give fans occassional major headaches. So the key once again may be in the hands of the bullpen. Anddue to the nature of relievers – having so few innings to perform at a high level – that is always going to be a crapshoot.

- Hot Offseason Action Index -

35 Responses to “Hot Offseason Action: New York Mets”

  1. a C- Really? Lets see the 2cnd worst bullpen in baseball would automagically be much better this year with the same guys. I am not following that logic at all especially if they were at least league average they would have won the division easily.
    The number 1 need on this team was a bullpen upgrade. I would say Omar has done a great job upgrading that by acquiring the 2 finest relievers available.I agree that he has also added an impressive bit of depth to the roster as well. I would give him an A- at worst.Also in a very tough division I think that the Mets have the most improved team.
    I would love to see Manny in a Met uniform he is clutch and I think they would be the favorites in the division instantly. That is if you get the happy Manny who does not feel insulted by his low offers.

  2. Gobias Industries says:

    I’ve been a Mets for 25 years, but unless you tell me that picture of Jose Reyes is photoshopped, I’m becoming a Yankees fan.

  3. Paul, you said “I don’t think (nor do the stats show) that one guy who pitches 70 innings in one year has THAT big an impact”. Let me point out that too many times Heilman and the other culprits in the Mets pen came into games in critical situations and didn’t register an out – therefore getting NO credit for even a portion of an inning pitched.

    I also think you have to look at more than the stats. I have vivid memories of more than one Santana gem being turned into a no-decision. Those bullpen implosions were devastating to morale. Amazingly Santana always seemed to shrug them off, but it wasn’t easy for the hitters to come back time after time to try to stage a rally in the late innings.

    Baseball is a team sport and when one component is consistently bad as was the bullpen, it puts added pressure on others.

    Stats may show bullpens in general don’t have that big an impact but you can’t win a championship with a mediocre (at best) pen. There is no way that pen would do better in 2009, especially without a Wagner in it. That makeover was essential.

    Considering the Mets were in the hunt til the last day of the season tells me the rest of the team was pretty solid, so it makes sense to leave them intact.

    Time to reconfigure your offseason grade. The Mets got Putz and K-Rod for a song and a bag of spare parts they didn’t need. They got a younger backup infielder, Alex Cora. They did no worse than break even at replacing Pedro, and possibly improve there too. That’s not a C-; give Omar a solid B.

  4. ken dynamo says:

    wilpon et al didnt personally lose millions in the madoff scandal. that wasnt reported anywhere. the investment firm wilpon controls had hundreds of millions invested with madoff, but it unknown how much that investment company lost, if they actually lost any at all.

  5. Ken, it’s both. Sterling Equities took a huge hit (exact amount unknown). The Wilpon family had dozens of accounts with Madoff through their investments at Sterling. The list of victims is now public and Wilpon family name is everywhere, including Fred by name.

  6. And to those of you saying that the Mets deserved a “B”, I’m not going to argue with you since that’s just your opinion. But why are causing such an uproar over the difference between a “c-” and a “b”? Is it really that huge?

    I still expect the Mets to win. If the unthinkable didn’t keep happening, they would’ve won in 07 and 08 too. The Mets could have stayed put and I still would’ve picked them to win. They just didn’t have a great off season in my book. It was OK. They didn’t make any huge mistakes that I can think of.

  7. Notphilbin says:

    When I was in school, a “C” grade was pretty mediocre. So I took your C- to mean the Mets took a step backward in the offseason. Could be I just don’t understand your rating. But I do disagree with your implication that the Mets would contend if they hadn’t revamped the bullpen. And from a business point of view, you’d have a tough time getting fans to pay top dollar to watch the bullpen give away games like they did last year.

  8. Sarah Green says:

    C is average. So C- is slightly below average.

    Grade inflation = lame.

  9. yeah the holding company and their names show up on lists but no one knows if they lost any money. pyramid schemes make money for the people that get their money out first. however if that is the case it gets tricky because of they knew that madoff was phoney and still took their money out then it is illegal.

    im not saying i know they did or that that didnt necessarily lose butt loads of cash, im just saying no one does. also its silly to point out the wilpon’s connection to madoff when they could have just as easily lost more money in other legitimate ventures.

    i know its a petty quibble but if the wilpon’s non-mets related budgets are relevant than its worth bringing up.

  10. Paul

    You say “I have no idea if you’re serious. If you are, may god have mercy on your soul” as if I’m coming straight out of left field, as if I am a raving lunatic. So once again let me break it down for you.

    I guess this will require a thinking cap.

    Would you say “I have no idea if you’re serious. If you are, may god have mercy on your soul” if I told you Manny Rameriz would put up the numbers I predicted for Carlos (.286, .370, .588, .970, 42-HR’s, 132 RBI’s)…..NO

    Since 2000 Carlos Delgado’s averaged 36-HR and 114-RBI and Manny’s averaged 38-HR and 116-RBI. Considering it’s a CONTRACT YEAR for Carlos adding on roughly 10% isn’t exactly lunacy as you make it out to be. Yes it’s in all likely hood the ceiling, but it’s far from beyond the realm of possibility.

    As far as your comment about Delgado being past his prime. You obviously didn’t watch the Mets play last year. Carlos Delgado finished top 10 in the NL-MVP with 96 points, just 44 shy of third place. His numbers were phenomenal(38-HR’S, 115-RBI’S) despite entering 2008 with a recently healed broken wrist.

  11. I actually watched the Mets a lot. I am a New Yorker and I’ve been an avid fan since the championship year of ’86 (I was six). I had the Saturday ticket plan and watched the games from home whenever I could.

    Here’s the problem – you’re using evaluation methods that mean very little. I think that the MVP voting system is totally flawed. In my mind, Wright, Beltran and Reyes (and possibly Santana) were all more “valuable” to the Mets than Delgado was. And if you’re going to talk about how good Delgado was in 2008, you can’t possibly ignore how awful he was in April, May and June. His performance during those three months – half the season – was a total detriment to the team.

    And I assume that very few Met fans would equate Manny Ramirez’ offense to Carlos Delgado’s. But if you want to go there, you have very little backing you up. Ask every scout/front office exec/pretty much anyone and I’d be surprised if one person would say that Manny isn’t a superior hitter.

    And Delgado is on the decline. He was pretty bad in 2007 too in addition to the first half of 2008. In those two years, he had three months (the second half of 2008) where he was helping the team. Whereas between April 07 – June 08 the guy hit .248/.324/.438 which are bad numbers for a first baseman with no defense.

    I was ecstatic with how well he hit from July-Sept last year. But I also know that his performance during that span is not repeatable. Now I don’t think he’s as bad as he was during April 07- June 08, but he’s also not as good as he was in the second half of 08 either. His true skill level is somewhere in between.

    Regarding “contract year”, if you can prove to me that a 10% improvement is the norm, I’m all ears. I know that a lot of people expect big years when their contract is up, but personally, I think it’s a myth. If they had the skill to perform at such a high level, they’d be doing it from the get go. Or else it means that they were dogging it during those other years.

    And for a 35 year-old hitter like Delgado, averaging out his prime years is a bad way to evaluate future performance.

  12. Paul

    Reply to “I think that the MVP voting system is totally flawed. In my mind, Wright, Beltran and Reyes (and possibly Santana) were all more “valuable” to the Mets than Delgado was”….The Hall of Fame voting is even more flawed than the MVP voting system where Delgado finished 9th, but in my mind he was a sure-fire top 3 guy. That is unless you don’t put a lot of stock in his clutch hits. Then Reyes(24th) and Wright(7th) would fairly catapult over Delgado. Delgado was the guy pitchers feared during the stretch drive. 38-HR’s, 115-RBI, and extremely clutch, were Carlos’ crudentials. Carlos was clearly the Mets most valuable player. The writers left out the clutch-factor when evaluating both Carlos and A-Rod who finished 7th in the AL. What a joke. He shouldn’t have even finished top 100. It appears that the writers obviously put a lot of stock in meaningless tack on 3 run shots, of mop up relievers. The value of A-Fraud’s HR’s in 2008 didn’t matter just the fact that he compiled them was enough. So I basically agree that the system is flawed, but if the writers more accurately evaluated the value of the most worthy candidates, Delgado would’ve have finished much higher.

    Reply to “And if you’re going to talk about how good Delgado was in 2008, you can’t possibly ignore how awful he was in April, May and June” While projecting his 2009 numbers, yes I can, if not I would be putting more stock in a blip on the radar than an entire a body of work. Which is what you are doing. Reference: The back of Carlos’ baseball card.

    Reply to “And I assume that very few Met fans would equate Manny Ramirez’ offense to Carlos Delgado’s. But if you want to go there, you have very little backing you up.” Now your pissing in the wind. I gave you a 9 year window for both players, which by the way are virtually identical. If that’s “VERY LITTLE BACKING ME UP” then (in your words) “I have no idea if you’re serious. If you are, may god have mercy on your soul” Also, Carlos played in more pitcher friendly ballparks from 2000-20, which is worth noting.

    Reply to “And Delgado is on the decline. He was pretty bad in 2007 too in addition to the first half of 2008″….Carlos didn’t exactly beat the doors down in 07, an injury plagued season, but if you were to average his numbers out over 162 games they would be 28 and 101. Considering the injuries, which I do when I make evaluations and predictions, 28/101 is more than respectable. In my original post I mentioned “I’ve heard Carlos is in tremendous shape and predict these numbers” as a reference to why I predicted what I did. Is this something that if were true, you wouldn’t consider when projecting his upcoming numbers? Do you put any stock in injuries being a factor for his numbers being down in 07?

    Reply to “regarding “contract year”, if you can prove to me that a 10% improvement is the norm, I’m all ears…I think it’s a myth” what I said “Considering it’s a CONTRACT YEAR for Carlos adding on roughly 10% isn’t exactly lunacy” a little different than “10% is the norm”, but if you state that think it’s a myth that players tend to step-it-up a notch or two in their contract years then your simply grasping at straws.

    Reply to “And for a 35 year-old hitter like Delgado, averaging out his prime years is a bad way to evaluate future performance.” Your argument would be easily validated if Delgado’s 2008 numbers were worse than an average of his numbers throughout this decade, but his 2008 numbers are better. What numbers would you reference in projecting Carlos’ 2008 numbers? Hopefully not a 3 month clip over a 15 year career, and hopefully not an injury riddled 2007 season in which his numbers still managed to remain respectable.

    Right now I prefer sticking to the Delagdo debate and do not wish to delve into the insanity of your idea that the bullpen would’ve been fine this year. But, FTR what were you watching last year?

  13. Typos.. The 3rd to the last paragraph should read.

    Reply to “regarding “contract year”, if you can prove to me that a 10% improvement is the norm, I’m all ears…I think it’s a myth” what I said “Considering it’s a CONTRACT YEAR for Carlos adding on roughly 10% isn’t exactly lunacy” a little different than “10% is the norm”, but if you state that “it’s a myth” that players tend to step-it-up a notch or two in their contract years then your simply grasping at straws.

    Typos.. The last sentence in the 2nd to the last paragraph should read

    What numbers would you reference in projecting Carlos’ 2009 numbers? Hopefully not a 3 month clip over a 15 year career, and hopefully not an injury riddled 2007 season in which his numbers still managed to remain respectable.

  14. Don’t worry about the typos, man. I’m sure some of my comments are riddled with them.

    Anyhow, good lord. It took me ten minutes to read and comprehend all this you’re throwing my way.

    Look, you’re not speaking my language. You put far more stock in RBIs than I do. Again, RBIs don’t tell you much of anything. It has WAY more to do with where you’re batting in the order and who’s hitting ahead of you than your own personal skill. When you have Reyes, Wright and Beltran hitting ahead of you, you get RBI chances up the wazoo thanks to their abilities to get on base. If you didn’t get 100 RBIs with so many chances, then you’re just a bad hitter. It doesn’t make Delgado look any better in my eyes.

    You still can’t prove to me that the 10% bump in a contract year performance is truth. Mark Teixeria had a .963 OPS in 2007. In his contract year of ’08, he had a .962. No bump. Sabathia had a 3.21 ERA in 2007. Before being traded to the inferior NL Central, Sabathia’s ERA with Cleveland was 3.83 in 18 starts. Orlando Hudson – .817 OPS in ’07, .817 in ’08. Pat Burrell – .902 in ’07, .874 in ’08. Oliver Perez – 3.56 ERA in ’07, 4.22 in ’08. Adam Dunn – .901 OPS in ’07, .899 in ’08. Some guys do better in contract years, some guys don’t, and the others play exactly the same. But the same can be said of any year, regardless of contract status. Again, if these guys perform at such a high level only in contract years, then that means that they’re punking out in non-contract years by not even trying. I’m not grasping at straws here and I’m not just making things up.

    And no. I put zero stock in what beat writers tell me in regards to how great of a shape player X is in on the first day of camp. Nor should you. Take a look at this list: http://www.rotoauthority.com/2008/01/spring-traini-1.html

    This is the list from last year’s “great shape/new workout routine” garbage from last year’s spring. Again, like any other year, some of these guys did better, some did worse, others played exactly the same. This isn’t to say that gaining 100lbs is inconsequential. But “in great shape” doesn’t necessarily lead to good things.

    What’s far more predictive is age, player type, and past performances of both the player (in this case, Delgado) and the other players in MLB history who fit his age, type, and career trend. People far smarter than me have created systems that are, way more often than not, far more accurate than what you or I can do off the top of our heads. And pretty much all of them think that Delgado’s going to have an average season for a first baseman. Which isn’t bad at all and I’d be happy with it. But if you’re predicting an MVP type season, you’re probably going to be disappointed. I just think you should be tempering your expectations.

    And you’re looking at the wrong data for Manny and Delgado. Manny’s held up his level of production far longer than he should. Because he’s a freak. Delgado’s career trend has been much more predictable. From 98-05, (Delgado’s prime years) comparing them isn’t so crazy (Manny was still better, but again, not crazy to compare). But since then, Delgado’s OBP has been .361, .333, .353. Manny’s has been .439, .388, .430. There’s no comparison whatsoever. Manny Ramirez is a much better hitter right now. Again, temper your expectations for Delgado.

    I have a feeling that what I say above is totally moot for you. You seem to think that HR and RBIs are all that matter for a guy like Delgado. I think that OBP and SLG are leaps and bounds more descriptive of a player’s abilities.

  15. Eric Lubetzki says:

    Right now I think the Mets deserve a B with the way they r playing.

Leave a Reply

    Recent Comments

    • vontreba maddux: I saw a fantastic catch by a female fielder. It was on Facebook. She ran up a corner putting a foot...
    • Marmadook: Dead.
    • Smithd553: Very nice! kdfbdddkdb
    • Latest sports news India: For Brazilians, not winning the World Cup would be bad enough. Even worse would be bitter...
    • Andy: Awesome list and very useful.

Marketplace

    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:

    Archives

What's Popular

Featured posts

220px-Bbwaa_logo_web

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

According to the internet, "The Little Napoleon" John McGraw was the greatest manager of all time.

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]