Category Archives: Miscellaneous

35 One Hitters

Last night, R.A. Dickey threw the 35th one hitter in New York Mets history, the 27th of which that was a complete game for the starting pitcher.  In discussing this with a couple of women, including my mother, the consistent response I got was that it reminded them of the movie “27 dresses”.  The old “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” idea.  And I think that is kinda appropriate.  The Mets so often have been THAT close to a no-hitter, and yet, they’ve never had it happen.

In fact, 16 different pitchers have thrown no-hitters either before joining the Mets, or after leaving the team.  You can read more about those pitchers here and here.  Nolan Ryan, as most baseball fans know, even threw SEVEN no hitters after leaving the Mets.

Even worse for R.A. Dickey last night was that the sole base hit was earned by the opposing pitcher, Cole Hamels.  Hamels was already high on many Mets fans’ hate lists thanks to his “choke artist” comments.  Now he will join players like Jimmy Qualls and LeRon Lee on the list of less than stellar hitters to break up Mets no-hitters.

7,759 games.  That’s how many games the Mets have played without a single no hitter.  Seven thousand seven hundred fifty nine.  Maybe it will eventually happen…maybe it won’t.  The Mets and the Padres (a team just 7 years younger than the Mets) are the only franchises without no-hitters.  Who knows if any Met will ever pitch a no-no?  From Seaver to Heilman to Dickey, many have come close.  But for now, the Mets lead the MLB with 37 one-hitters, and on a day where R.A. Dickey came as close as he did, that’s enough for me.

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The Santana Mindset

If there’s one thing I love about Johan Santana, it’s his pure baseball and athletic ability.

If there’s two things I love about Johan Santana, it’s his mindset when the team needs a victory.  As we saw in the second to last game of 2008, when the Mets need a victory, Johan is going to get it.  Doesn’t matter the opponent, how many pitches he throws, or what kind of stuff he has that day, Johan won’t give in.

Prior to last night’s game, Francisco Rodriguez was suspended for at least two games by the Mets.  Knowing the only sure thing in his bullpen wouldn’t be available and that his team couldn’t afford to lose another series.

Johan demanded the ball for 9 innings, and threw a complete game shutout.  What’s more shocking is what he told Jerry before the game:

“Right before the game, I told Jerry that I was ready for ten innings…That was my mindset…I was focused to help this ballclub and go deeper in the game, especially after what happened [on Wednesday] night on the field.”

For the 15th time this season, Johan allowed one earned run or less.  He also leads the league having pitched 7+ shutout innings 7 times this year.

Santana has been nothing short of a winner since joining the Mets

There’s been a lot written that Johan wants to win, and might wish he hadn’t come to the Mets, but the fact of the matter is, Johan is a winner.  Wherever he pitches, he’s going to do everything he can to win.  Pitching 10 innings, hitting Home Runs, if he had to manage the team and make pitching changes, he’d do that too.  Johan is the kind of pitcher every team wants on their roster…and for more than simply his talent and statistics.

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For These Mets…Anything Is Possible

…and not in the good way.

The Mets haven’t been very good on the baseball diamond, but unfortunately this year, that’s not where their misfortune ends.  Johan Santana has been dealing with rape accusations, and now, Francisco Rodriguez is being charged with 3rd degree assault after an altercation with his father-in-law after last night’s game.

After the game, K-Rod and his father in law were involved in an altercation that included K-Rod throwing a punch.  The father in law suffered an abrasion to his face and head injuries, and security physically removed K-Rod from a private area of the clubhouse where he was taken into custody.

Because this is considered domestic violence, charges are brought forth against K-Rod regardless of the father in law’s wishes.

Man, presumably K-Rod's father in law, is loaded into an ambulance last night

At this point, there’s no hyperbole that is out of the realm of possibility for the Mets.  I mean, their married ace is being charged with rape.  Their star closer punches his father in law in the stadium.  What’s next?  Jeff Francoeur loses his bat, killing a fan in the stands?  Oliver Perez is throwing long toss and accidentally hits David Wright in the face?  Anything is in play for these Mets, and that’s definitely not good.

As for K-R0d he is still being held in the holding cell in Citi Field’s centerfield as of gametime.  In terms of roster moves, he was placed on the restricted list and Ryota Igarashi has been recalled.  Any chances the Mets had of miraculously challenging the Braves and Phillies just got slimmer.

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A Horrifying Alternate Universe

It’s a story that’s been written by other bloggers before, and especially well by Chris Wilcox of Blue and Orange dot net, but to this day it amazes me how different the Mets could be today if certain proposed trades had happened, or if opposing GM’s had the benefit of hindsight.  As many Mets fans have read, ex General Manager (and pariah) Steve Phillips ran the team from 1997 until 2003.  In that time, Phillips built the 2000 World Series team…but also attempted to trade away two of today’s best Mets.

When the Mets traded for absolute bust Roberto Alomar in 2001, they traded away “top prospect” Alex Escobar.  While unfortunate at the time, Escobar turned out to be a bust.  What wasn’t noted at the time was that Phillips attempted to negotiate a deal with the Indians that allowed the Mets to keep Escobar, and instead send a low-A shortstop….named Jose Reyes.

That same offseason, Phillips attempted to acquire Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.  Cruz was a mediocre player from that point on in his career, but he was probably no worse than the Roger Cedenos and Jeromy Burnitzes that played the outfield for the Mets of the early 2000’s.  When Phillips called Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi about Cruz, however, he offered a low-A third baseman….named David Wright.

Let’s just ponder that for a moment.  Phillips attempted to trade the two biggest pieces of the current Mets core (admittedly before they were sure things) for two players who didn’t have a particularly good  year left in their careers.  And sure, we have the benefit of hindsight, but it’s incredible to think about how different the team would be had Phillips’ mistakes been accepted by other GM’s.

Phillips’ assistant Jim Duquette is known for trading stud prospect Scott Kazmir for bust Victor Zambrano just 3 years later, and because Phillips’ moves, he tends to get less criticism (although, plenty all the same).

Can you imagine if the Mets had traded away Wright, Reyes, and Kazmir in a 3 year span?  Mets fans curse Duquette to this day over Kazmir who never turned out to be what was expected of him.  If Wright or Reyes had been traded away, Phillips would arguably be considered the worst GM of the decade.  The Mets would never have had the financial flexibility with Alomar and Cruz to go after Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, etc.  Perhaps some of those guys still come to the Mets, but even so, they play in Queens without Wright and Reyes.  The Mets wouldn’t have been NL East Champs in 2006, and they certainly wouldn’t have been in position to collapse in 2007.  The team would be even more of a laughingstock than some fans will have you believe they already are.

I guess the point of this post is…as bad as things are…when you’re a Mets fan…they could have been exponentially worse.

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1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Backward

After Tuesday night’s victory over the Braves, I (and a surprisingly large group of Mets fans) as reinvigorated and felt as though the Mets could pull themselves back into the NL East race.  Well, after a miserable loss last night it appears that by the end of this weekend, those hopes could be completely dashed.

Coming into this week, Kevin Burkhardt tweeted that the Mets players knew their season was on the line this week.  Well, half of this week’s games are over, and thus far the Mets have lost 1 game in the division and .5 games in the wild card.  Next, the Mets go to Philadelphia, and while the Phillies have been hit by a string of injuries, they’ve still managed to keep winning.  Without Utley and Howard, and Polanco out for a while, the Phillies are still just 2 games out of the division.

A win yesterday would have put the Mets just 5.5 games behind the Braves, and just 3.5 behind the Phillies.  Instead, we’re a game farther back, and tied with the Marlins for 4th place.  The more I watch, the more I believe that this team is exactly what we are seeing.  They aren’t the team from June, that team apparently was overachieving.  But a part of me refuses to sit here and think that the Mets are THIS bad.

But honestly, it’s tiring.  Watching a team like this that has talent, and just plays….terribly…isn’t fun for the fans.  The 2010 Mets, to quote ex-NFL Coach Denny Green “are who we thought they were”.  No one came into 2010 expecting the Mets to be as good as they appeared in June.  In fact, the only reason their record was as good as it was was to good hot streaks.  The Mets are a .500 or so team, and the fans know that (whether they’re ready to admit it or not).

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?  I’d say yes.  A Mets source says that the team is open to a long term extension with Jose Reyes.  It will have to wait until the winter, but the team is at least somewhat interested in making sure that the first of the two homegrown core players is here for the long run. David Wright has said he wants to spend his career here (and hopefully the failures of the past few years haven’t changed his mind), and so, if he is resigned after his current contract ends in 2013 and Reyes is resigned as well, the Mets will maintain one of the best left sides of an infield in the Majors.  There is promise in Jon Niese, and even Mike Pelfrey(should he ever right himself).  The farm system is slowly being built up with prospects like Kirk Niewenhuis, Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia, etc.  Over the next year and a half the Mets will likely cut ties with many of their albatrosses (Jerry Manuel, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Jeff Francoeur, and maybe even Omar Minaya).

The Mets will not contend for the playoffs in 2010, that much I’m confident in.  And they probably won’t be Championship contenders in 2011 either.  But the Mets have a (slightly less than) middle of the pack farm system and a solid core of Reyes, Wright, Santana, Beltran, Niese, and Pagan locked up for the foreseeable future(assuming Reyes is resigned).  There’s plenty of holes that need to be filled around them, but for some irrational reason I still believe in the future of the Mets.  I believe that there will be a plan.  I believe that the team will eventually climb back to the top of the National League. I think a lot of Met fans have this same irrational belief.

But that’s because we’re Mets fans, and 37 years ago fan favorite Tug McGraw told us something that rings true to this day:  Ya Gotta Believe!

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What To Make Of The Mets

We’ve now spent over four months watching the Mets and trying to determine whether they are actually in contention for a playoff appearance, or whether that perception from June was simply the result of two prolonged hot streaks that weren’t an indication of the true ability of this team. Now that we’re past the Trade Deadline, Omar Minaya and the Wilpons have pretty much made their decision as to whether they expect this team to seriously contend or not.  The question now is, what do the fans think? (and more accurately, what SHOULD the fans think?)

Obviously, this team is flawed, we all know that.  There are players that don’t belong on a Major League roster, there are players under-performing, and there are flawed people in charge from the Ownership to the General Manager to the Manager.

Jeff Francoeur would best be served learning plate discipline.  Oliver Perez would best be served in the minors.  Luis Castillo would probably be best getting foot rubs on a beach in the Caribbean all day.  Jerry Manuel makes for a nice calming influence, I’m sure, but his strength is NOT as a tactician.  The team not only has all these flaws, but I’m sure that everyone from the Wilpons to Omar Minaya sees them, there just isn’t much they can do to solve them right now.

The Mets are not committed to Francoeur or Manuel beyond this season, and in all likelihood, neither will be back next year (a stupendous conclusion to this year notwithstanding).  Perez and Castillo (along with Carlos Beltran, who could and should be shopped in the offseason) are under contract for just one more season after this one.  Perhaps next year they could actually be moved to a team looking for a half season rental/reclamation project?

As much as we (like to) believe otherwise, Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya are not idiots.  They may not always make great (not even always good) decisions, but the truth is they both want the Mets to be successful.  Truth be told, the thing that impressed me the most at the Trade Deadline was Omar Minaya.  He knows as well as we do that over the rest of this season and next, his job could be on the line at any moment.  Let’s be honest here, put in a situation where we know that any lack of success could have us fired, most of us would make a flashy change (whether for the best or not).  Omar resisted.  Omar decided (correctly, in my mind) that Roy Oswalt/Kerry Wood/Scott Downs/Ted Lilly were not going to save the 2010 Mets, and to give up 2011 Mets like Jenrry Mejia, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Josh Thole or others would be simply looking out for his own security and not the team’s.

And that kind of decision takes guts and integrity, if you ask me.  We can argue all day whether he should or shouldn’t have made a trade for a star pitcher and said prospects be damned.  But, at the end of the day, if he and his scouts came to the determination that there was no one player that would be the difference between the 2010 Mets as constructed right now and a Championship….then good for him for not panicking.

So, as constituted right now, the Mets are probably not playoff contenders.  Their playoff odds are just 4.5%.  They have 3 teams to climb over in the division and 5 in the Wild Card.  Their team is full of players not living up to their worth (ex: Jason Bay), players struggling to return to form (ex: Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo), and players who just aren’t very good (ex: Francoeur, Cora, Perez, Castillo). The Manager is terrible at utilizing a bullpen and at times seems ill-fit to manage a McDonalds, let alone a Major League Baseball team.  This team is at a point where even though they gave us hope in June, they are showing us now what they really are.

Omar Minaya has been (deservedly) criticized for many things, but one thing that he should not be massacred for is his judgment of talent.  Certainly he’s given out bad contracts, but those contracts aren’t bad due to the players earning them as much as they are bad due to the annual salary or the number of years.

Luis Castillo’s contract would have been tolerable if it were for just 2 seasons (and been done after 2009).  Oliver Perez would have been tolerable at 3 years/6 million per season.  Should he have succumbed to the contracts that these players got? Absolutely not.  Should he have instead found cheaper options with arguably less upside? Absolutely.  But Omar has built the Mets’ farm system from a laughingstock to league-average.  He’s not the utter failure he is made out to be by some fans.

The Mets may not be a power team, but they still have a very solid core of Wright, Reyes, Santana, Niese, Pelfrey, Thole, Davis, Pagan, and even K-Rod.  The Mets will almost assuredly not be playing come October 2010, but by not making a move, even if it meant infuriating fans, they may have given themselves more hope for 2011.

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Deadline Day Eve News and Notes

-Jason Bay has officially been placed on the Disabled List and has been replaced on the roster by Jesus Feliciano.

-Mike Jacobs has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later.  Good riddance.  Nick Evans was promoted to AAA to take Jacobs’ spot.

-The Mets are NOT done talking to the Cubs about a trade, they are still apparently talking about Ted Lilly, and also Tom Gorzellany.  However, the Cubs seem disinterested in trading Gorzellany, and are talking to the Dodgers about a package of Lilly and Ryan Theriot.  The Cubs want money back in any Lilly trade, and they asked the Mets for Josh Thole, which Minaya does not want to do.  The Mets seem unlikely to make a deal with the Cubs before tomorrow’s deadline.

-The Mets are apparently involved in talks with the Pirates (as are the Dodgers and Padres) interested in acquiring left handed starter Paul Maholm.  Maholm is a guy the Mets would love to have, but I’m not sure what price the Pirates would want.  Maholm is 28 and would make for a solid 3-4 starter in expansive Citi Field, but if Minaya can make a deal without surrendering too much, it could be a move that benefits the Mets in 2010, and beyond.

-The Mets seem to have had internal discussions about Texas Rangers pitcher Rich Harden.  Harden is a talented yet injury prone pitcher, and I think for a fair price, would be an interesting risk for the Mets to take, but I think that the Rangers would probably ask for more than Omar wants to give.

-The Mets are “not very close” to any deals right now, and unless something drastically changes in the next 24 hours, they’ll be waiting for waiver wire trades.

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