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Posts Tagged ‘David Wright’

10 free agents who should be on the Mets’ radar

Posted by jmkraft on January 7, 2009

With the signings of Pat Burrell and Milton Bradley by the Rays and Cubs respectively, experts are predicting that the floodgates will now open, and teams will actually start to sign players, as opposed to sitting on rumors, which is what they’ve pretty much done for the past few months. 

Before I list the ten players who I think the Mets should consider, here’s something worth considering for Omar & Co. The Mets are one of baseball’s richest franchises, and, being in that enviable position in this year’s harsh economic climate, should really cash in this year. With all due respect for baseball’s “suffering” owners, this is the time that the Mets should act like the Yankees and sign the best talent that they can. Economics dictates to buy low, and that is precisely what the Mets have already done in the case of K-Rod, and what they should be doing from here on out. 

Anyway, here goes:

1) Manny Ramirez. I put Manny first on the list because it’s impossible to stretch how impactful he can be on a team. We all saw what happened when Manny joined the Dodgers last summer, and we all know that he’s a surefire Hall of Famer. But he’s also Manny, the circus freak. Unleashing him in New York could be a huge mistake. But he’s Manny Ramirez. The guy makes a team (some might say he breaks it). Seriously try and make the argument that a platoon of Dan Murphy and Fernando Tatis is an improvement over Manny. Even defensively, try and tell me that two converted infielders can cover left field better than Manny, no matter how dicey his defense may be. I understand why the Wilpons are nervous about dealing with such a high risk personality, but if your ultimate goal is to win baseball games, there is no reason why Manny Ramirez, whose price will ultimately prove too high for almost everyone, should not be a New York Met. If the Wilpons want to contend in the NL East, then they should tell Omar not to sign Manny. If they want to win a World Series this year, they must sign him.

2) Derek Lowe. It’s all but clear that the Mets will sign either Lowe or Oliver Perez. The question is, who is the better choice. Lowe represents the dependable veteran. He won’t blow anyone away, but you know what you’re getting. 

3) Oliver Perez. With Perez, unlike Lowe, there is electric potential. When Perez is on, he is a shutdown southpaw who blows batters away. But when he is off, he can’t make it past the fourth inning. There is no question that Perez needs to get his walks down, something that has always been the case with him. But he can flat out dominate when he brings his “A” game. Plus, he is a whole lot younger than Lowe, which should mean something in a long-term deal for a pitcher. 

4) Orlando Hudson. If hell freezes over and Luis Castillo is somehow unloaded from second base, I would love to make a play for Hudson. He’d be a terrific fit in the number two slot for the Mets; he’s fast, he hits for average, and he has some power. Plus, Hudson is an excellent defender, which is always an improvement over Argenis Reyes. Hudson is well known as a clubhouse leader, something the Mets have been lacking for some time now.

5) Bobby Abreu. Why does everyone love to hate on Bobby Abreu? I’ve never met a Phillies fan who actually liked him. That should be the first reason why the Mets sign him. But seriously, Abreu is a really good player. All he did last year was hit .296 with 20 HR, 100 RBIs, and 22 SB. No big deal. Here’s what Jerry Crasnick has to say about him:

  • This year Abreu joined Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson as the only players to amass 200 homers and 300 stolen bases while maintaining a .400 on-base percentage.
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  • Abreu is one of five players with 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in each of the past two seasons. The others: Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, David Wright and Alex Rodriguez.
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  • His run of six straight 100-RBI seasons is third-longest among active players behind Rodriguez and Pujols.
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  • In 2008, Abreu amassed 35 or more doubles for the 10th straight year, tying the record held by Colorado’s Todd Helton. Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is next on the list with nine straight 35-double seasons, and he did his best work during the Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge administrations.
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  • Abreu has the longest-running streak of 20-steal seasons in the game, with 10. Jimmy Rollins, Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pierre are next in line with eight.
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  • Abreu is currently working on a streak of 11 straight seasons with 150 or more games played. The only big leaguers with longer streaks are Willie Mays, Billy Williams, Pete Rose and Cal Ripken Jr.

6) Alex Cora. First of all, he gives the Mets an improvement over Damian Easley because he’s actually been to the playoffs. Cora has starting experience, so he could certainly give David Wright or Jose Reyes a day off once in a while, which might pay dividends come September. He’d be a nice addition to the bench.

7) Tim Redding. The big news on Redding this morning is that the Mets have reportedly made an offer to the journeyman. Redding is not spectacular by any means. He did win ten games for the Nationals last year, which says something, but he was also dreadful in the second half of the season, which was probably to be expected after Jim Bowden failed to sell high on him, instead non-tendering him this fall. The reason for signing Redding has more to do with Jon Niese than with Redding himself. The biggest mistake the Mets could make this offseason is in failing to sign a fifth starter to compete with Niese for the fifth spot in Spring Training. Without opening that spot up to competition, the Mets are making a huge gamble that Niese is Major League-ready, which probably is not the case. Behind Niese, there is little pitching depth in the farm system, meaning that the Mets would have to turn to an AAAA type pitcher to take the mound every fifth day. While there have been some nice surprises here and there like Brandon Knight and Brian Stokes, I’d feel much more comfortable with a more established starter holding down the spot until Niese is ready, or another pitching prospect emerges, which is also entirely possible.

8 ) Randy Wolf. He’d be the backup plan to Redding.

9) Chad Cordero. If the season started today, the Mets would have a pretty solid bullpen. Led by Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, the pen is also anchored by Sean Green and Pedro Feliciano, who will finally be used in his correct role as LOOGY. But why stop there? The most significant problem in the bullpen last year was the lack of depth. Should one or more of the aforementioned pitchers hit the DL, I would hate to count on Bobby Parnell or Eddie Kunz in a big-time situation. Cordero is a former lights-out closer coming off of a bad injury, so who knows how he’ll rebound. But the potential should be enough to convince Omar Minaya, his former GM in Montreal, to sign him. Should Cordero return to form, imagine a 7-8-9 combination of Cordero, Putz, and K-Rod. Holy @*#$!

10) Adam Dunn. Ahh, the other guy everyone loves to hate. But seriously, someone tell me how a guy who hit 40 HR with 100 RBI last season, who also posted an OBP of .386, is still on the market. “Yeah, but he strikes out too much,” everyone loves to whine. The truth is that Dunn is one of the most misunderstood players in baseball. Putting a player like Dunn in the middle of the Mets’ lineup automatically ensures that David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado see better pitches. Sure, his defense is sub par. But as with Manny or Abreu, tell me how that would be a downgrade from the Murphy/Tatis platoon.

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David Wright, no one else, to play in World Baseball Classic

Posted by jmkraft on December 23, 2008

According to the New York Post, among others, David Wright has agreed to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Because Alex Rodriguez will play for the Dominican Republic, Wright will start, alongside Derek Jeter

I think it’s great that Wright is playing for his country, and I’m ashamed that, unfortunately, he will not be joined by the best players that we have to offer. A laundry list of stars, including Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge, Cole Hamels, Brandon Webb, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Josh Beckett, have decided not to play in the biannual event, because they would rather hang out in Florida or Arizona, and not risk injuring themselves before the season begins.

The injury claim has some merit, but it harkens back to a similar type of excuse, which is the one that football players use to turn the Pro Bowl into a joke. There are many WBC detractors who say that the event is a farse, and has no legitimacy. But the question is, how does the World Baseball Classic gain legitimacy if some of the top players in the game stay away? 

As a fan of the game of soccer, I cannot even begin to imagine the reaction should David Beckham refuse to play for England, Cristiano Ronaldo not play for Portugal, or Ronaldinho say no to Brazil. Why, then, should it be acceptable for Sabathia, Beckett, or Howard to sit out for Team USA? There is a certain element of pride that comes with playing for one’s country, and it’s a shame that certain athletes can’t see that. Complain all you want about the timing, about how you’d rather prepare for the season, but trust me here, if Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, or Babe Ruth were asked to play for Team USA, they would jump at the opportunity. 

Part of what makes the World Baseball Classic a great event is watching teams like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, or Venezuela play with the ferocity of national pride. It’s a shame that in a country that counts baseball as its National Pasttime, we can’t do the same.

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Welcome

Posted by jmkraft on December 9, 2008

For some time now I’ve been trying to come up with a new twist on a Mets blog until it hit me. Why not use the angle that is so natural to me, writing about the Mets from the point of view of a depressed fan who has been disappointed for his entire life? I’ve been writing about the Mets for a while, first on NLBeast.com (let it rest in peace) and then on my personal blog. I quickily discovered that no one really wanted to read that, so I decided this might be a better idea. Being the cynic I am (thanks a lot, Mets), I’m fairly sure the same will be true here. 

So yeah, I’ve been a Mets fan my whole life, and I’m none the better for it. The Mets last won the World Series the year I was born, and I’m pretty sure that will be last time they win in my lifetime. And I don’t plan on leaving the Earth for some time, thank you very much. I’m pretty convinced that the Mets have, in fact, ruined my life, conspiring with the Jets and Knicks to make me the sarcastic, depressed person who I am today.

But in all seriousness, I do love the Mets, and I love to write about them. More than loving the Mets, I love the sport of baseball, and I’ll write about more than just the Amazin’s when I’m so inspired. I’ll also slip in some other sports, perhaps, because there’s only so much I can write about Francisco Rodriguez in the offseason. 

In terms of how I approach the sport, I consider myself a pretty balanced fan. I’m a fan of sabermetrics and loved Moneyball like everyone else, but I do believe that scouting is still an important aspect of the game. I think John Schuerholz put it well in his autobiography when he said that no team would ever sign a player, no matter how good on paper, without watching him play the game. But at the same time, numbers don’t lie. 

I generally respect Omar Minaya and the team he’s put together, but I do think it has a number of significant faults. The Luis Castillo signing was a significant mistake, for one. Not concentrating enough on the bullpen was another. But I think Omar is a good judge of talent, and I have faith that he’ll put together a competative, if not dominating team this year. And the deal he pulled off for Johan Santana was incredible. If I had to pick a GM who I most admire, though, it would have to be Andrew Friedman of Tampa Bay, who did so much with so little. I’m a pretty big Theo Epstein fan, too.

I hate the Philadelphia Phillies with every bone in my body, but I respect the job the organization did in putting together a World Championship team. I even count Chase Utley as one of my favorite players for his old-school approach to the game of baseball. Don’t worry, one of my other favorites is David Wright (I know its cliche, but seriously, he’s already one of the best Mets ever and I don’t buy the argument that he’s not clutch, he presses at the plate because he gets no support so much of the time).

Let’s move on to the medium of blogging. Blogging is the future (and part of the present) of media, and like it or not, blogs will eventually have to become part of the mainstream sports media. I believe that bloggers should be given more access, and I also believe that bloggers should hold themselves to the same standards as print journalists. It’s a two way street. 

In terms of a day job, well, the current economic crisis has me sitting on the sideline for now, but in short, I have two career interests, sports and politics. Separate, they are each great. Together, not so much. 

My hope is that this blog somehow contributes to the great collection of Mets blogs out there already. Seriously, the Mets are lucky to have so many quality blogs writing about them. But there is always room for more opinion, and Mets fans have never been accused of being quiet (see: response at Shea Stadium to Rocker, John). But hey, that’s why I love this team that ruins my life.

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