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Friday, February 29, 2008

Pedro Alvarez Out Indefinitely


Most of you probably don't know who Pedro Alvarez is.. Well, I'm here to inform you and inform you I will.

Pedro Alvarez is noted as one of the best prospects coming into the 2008 MLB Draft. He attends Vanderbilt, is a junior and is a 3B. Alvarez is regarded as the best college hitter since Mark Texiera. His stats the past few years have been off the charts and he should be at the major league level in about 3-4 years.

Why did I post this about him? Well, he was ranked as the best prospect in the NCAA by Project prospect. He recently broke his hand, and as a result of losing time to injury, he could fall in the draft.

Just think, the Mets have two first round draft picks, 18th and 22nd. If he fell to #18, I would be STOKED! If we were to draft such a talent, he would obviously have to change positions because David Wright will man 3B for the next 15 years. Lets just hope this super-prospect is demanding a ton of money and will fall to #18 in the draft!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Realignment Anniversary.

The 2008 season marks the 15th anniversary of baseball’s “realignment.” Hard to believe, but it was 1993 when major league baseball last had four divisions, rather than today’s six. Everything about realignment has pretty much worked out. The wild card gives many more fans many more months of hope. Inter-division rivalries have far more time to soak in and be rivals. Travel on the player has become easier.

But, to me, it still needs a little tweaking. Milwaukee? In the National League? Okay over time I've come to accept this, but there is no reason why we can't have six division of five teams each.

The fix:
To make this work inter-league play will have to be done throughout the full season. It looks more and more likely that the Marlins will get their new stadium. Both Oakland and Pittsburgh have hinted at relocating. Portland has been trying for years now to land a major league team. So lets give them a team!

If the Marlins new stadium deal falls through yet again, and I think it will, you can move them out to Portland and into the AL west and move Pittsburgh to the NL east. MLB should seriously consider this option. This would be the easiest fix. Another easy fix would be for the Pirates to move to Portland and into the AL west. Oakland could still move to their number one choice, Fremont.

Department of Justice to Investigate Clemens.

I take no particular joy in the news that Congress has asked the Department of Justice to further investigate whether or not Roger Clemens lied under oath during the recent grand jury hearings.
I could feel sorry for him — if he wasn’t such a clueless, self-centered, belligerent, lying, holier-than-thou moron, that is.

Whatever happens to Clemens at this point, he has only himself to blame. His reputation is in toilet, his career accomplishments are in question, and he may have a better chance of landing in prison than he does of ever getting elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Start with whatever Clemens allowed McNamee or anyone else to put into his backside, and at this point if you believe Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs during the latter part of his career you might be a bigger idiot than The Rocket himself.

More important, though, has been Clemens’ unbelievable denials that he ever did anything wrong.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis said Clemens’ testimony “warrants further investigation.”

They wrote:
“Our only conclusion is that significant questions have been raised about Mr. Clemens’s truthfulness.”

Clemens is, obviously, is deep trouble here. He has been for a while and, amazingly, he still doesn’t seem to get it. He spent the day working out at Houston camp and acting like nothing had ever happened. It didn’t have to be this way.

From FOX Sports' Ian O'Connor:
"None of this had to happen. Upon the release of the Mitchell Report, Clemens could’ve remained silent or made a brief declaration of his innocence before refusing further comment.
He didn’t have to launch a full-blown attack that would leave him so vulnerable, so weak, so unlike the fierce dominator who ruled from sixty feet and six inches away. Now Clemens is drowning in a pool of his own hubris, with the Justice Department closing in."

On the mound, Clemens knew no other way. Challenge him and you would get a 95-mph fastball aimed at your head — or a broken piece of a bat.
There are some situations, though, that you can’t bully your way out of. For Clemens, this is one. Unfortunately for him, it might be too late to turn back now.

Scott Spiezio Is On the Run!

Apparently drinking, driving, barfing and fighting is the best way to get kicked off of the St. Louis Cardinals. Troubled utility man Scott Spiezio is neck deep in trouble of misdemeanors, felonies and arrest warrants.

The Cardinals’ super sub/”rehabed” substance abuser allegedly got plowed on vodka in an LA bar and decided to go for a drive. After weaving in and out of traffic he eventually crashed into a fence and stumbled to his nearby condo where he was found by a neighbor. Helping out his pal, the neighbor brought Spiezio inside and cleaned him up. Scott promplty vomited in the man’s apartment and kicked his butt. (This is why there are so few good Samaritans in Los Angeles.)

Apparently Spiezio took offense to the man commenting on his vomiting performance and pummeled him for it.

The kicker is, all of this happened back on December 30th. Spiezer has been dodging the authorities and his 6 arrest warrants for nearly 2 months now. He arrived early at the Cards’ camp in Jupiter and went about his baseball-related business as if no one was the wiser. It didn't take very long for someone to notice he'd been busted for: driving under the influence, hit and run, aggravated assault, assault and battery and fleeing the scene of a crime. What a mess.

This was either a huge relapse or the guy just never got clean in the first place.

Spiezio seemed to have it all worked out. After posting just about the worst batting average ever (.064) in 2005, the Cardinals gave him a second chance. He signed on with the Birds in 2006 and made an instant impact, catapulting them into the playoffs, which ultimately delivered the team its first World Series title in 24 years. Becoming an instant fan favorite he inked a generous 2-year $4.5 million contract last season. Life was good for Scott Spiezio… and then the wheels came off.

Drug problems landed Scott in rehab last August, causing him to miss about 5 weeks of the season, but he seemed hell bent on beating it. Eventually all signs pointed to complete rehabilitation and the Cardinals welcomed back a “clean and sober” Spiezio with open arms. Looks like the Spiezer had them all fooled and was just as accomplished at lying as he was delivering clutch hits.

The Cardinal brass must be familiar with the old adage: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Because they weren’t about to be fooled again. They instantly terminated Spiezio’s employment with the Cardinals and bought out his contract in full, including the 2009 option… to the tune of $2.5 million.

The organization made the right decision, and set a good and necessary example for the myriad of impressionable youngsters that will be filling out a sizeable chunk of the roster this season. The team doesn’t want to become the divorced dad that looks the other way, lets his kids get away with everything and ends up getting walked all over. That’s not the best first step to jump starting a rebuilding era. So...

So long Scott. I hope you get your life together!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Mets Realist, Part 1

To introduce myself to the Mets4Life world, I’ve been a Mets fan for the last 40 years (yeah, I’m getting old), I attend about 15 games a year and see most of the rest, and I am perhaps too much a student of the game. I know baseball will always finds its audience through offense, but I love pitching. Here in late February, the season is on the rubber and moving toward the wind-up.

This looking forward is the second best time of the year. My evil empire Yankee friends insist our Mets credo is always “Wait till next year.” It is true that, like many of you, I tend to be an optimist but I’m a realistic one…and I believe this requires a degree of pessimism. During the off-season I envision the best that can happen in the coming season while preparing my dreams for the most likely and still keep worst case scenario on the far periphery. In 2008, Mets’ dreams of a championship are probably the most reasonable they have been since the late 1980s. As for the very worst case, we just lived through it in September ‘07. So, what is that “Most Likely?”

For this and my next piece, here in the blog world—where Mets fans will be ripped by Phillies fans and Red Sox fans and those who “know” Jaba/Hughes are Koufax/Drysdale—we’ll look at what might be realistic to anticipate.

We’ll begin with the whole shebang—end of season predictions—to provide a sense of the numbers meant by being realistic. We’ll go from there to pitching. Then in Part II we can look at the lineup, fielding, and intangibles. Of course these are all pure opinions but real ones, we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The big picture probably puts us in the World Series…but losing.
It is not that there is a specific American League team that will definitely be there and definitely beat us (although a Boston 1986 reversal is a strong possibility). But a realist has to accept that making the playoffs, winning the first round, second round, and the series is a lot to assume. In fact the math is amazing, if we were a 4:1 favorite for each step (which we won’t be), that makes it 2:3 against our winning it all…luckily the game isn’t played in a calculator.

Pitching looks good, particularly starting…less so in relief.
Starters
I was a big fan of the Pedro trade (of course I loved Roberto Alomar and knew we blew it with Edgardo Alfonzo). A proven, aging AL pitcher, in a hitter’s park, with innings issues moved to a pitcher’s park without DHs and good fielders, and you’re looking good. Downside = injuries. When healthy Pedro rarely has pitched badly for the Mets.

Johan (even September ’07 Santana) should be a true #1 as long as he is healthy…so put in 7 missed starts for pessimism and you’d still have 15-19 wins, say 17 wins.

Pedro
starts healthy and should be at least as good as his short stints in ’06 and ’07. If pessimism puts him out half the season and still gives him 12 wins.

El Duque
…okay, who knows? Forget pessimism his last 5 seasons he’s had 8,8,9,11,9 wins. Even older this year but with a deeper staff and lower expectations. Lets say 9 wins.

Maine and Perez
were pretty darn impressive last year. No one would have said 30 wins from them and the Mets miss the playoffs! One year more experience and less pressure…and probably a few fewer starts pending the injuries above. One probably improves and the other fades a bit. That’s 17 and 13, add a pessimistic injury and you have a combined 27 wins.

Pelfrey
(and Vargas or Sosa or…)--the sixth starter is sure to get innings if any pessimism above becomes reality whether off the bench or up from AAA. Yet with no permanent ‘08 position, pressure will be lighter than ‘06-07. A fairly modest prediction would be 8 wins.

So, Starters total 73 wins.
Before you say that’s crazy or horrible, that’s exactly what the Red Sox 6 starters had last year! 3-4 wins per middle and late reliever and we’re in the mid-high 90s (Vegas line 93)! If you want to be optimistic 100 wins, but be realistic.

Mets relievers
Everyone points here as a concern and my realism and memory (albeit aging) support this thinking, but not where others imagine. The assumptions seem to be that long relief has enough depth and our closer will be solid with an occasional lapse, and middle relief is the concern. I reverse these.

Long relief
might be okay, but it is no certainty. Pelfrey and El Duque are not relievers, so just assuming one will do this well (like in a World Series) is foolish; and given the likelihood of injury openings in the rotation their availability will be rare. There is a lot of potential and choices for middle relief, but it is realistically a crapshoot.

Billy Wagner
has been a very good closer for us. There are no lights-out closers, but he has surpassed realistic expectations with some major exceptions. The problem is that history is not kind to relievers and neither is Shea Stadium, very few excel for 2-4 years. And as simply as that, it is more possible that this one-person position has a letdown than any other.

Short relief
by contrast has a number of possibilities. Aaron Heilman has been far from a guarantee but has his days, Duaner Sanchez is a (taxi-)fair possibility with great history, and Sosa leads a group of specialists and hard throwers who have shown strength. There is good reason to expect those 3-4 wins from each.

On the mound, it seems realistic to expect a high 90s number of wins, with the risk of our handing half dozen back to the other team in late in the 9th and beyond.

The interesting thing is that apparently the Mets do have to hit, field, and face others. We’ll look at those in Part 2.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Welcome To Citi Field

When the corporate partnership with Citigroup was announced last year, and the name “Citi Field” was given to the new stadium, Mets fans were cautiously optimistic. After all, Citigroup is a NY-based company.

Many hoped that people would soon adopt “New York Citi Field” as the name, simply because it rolls off the tongue. Yet others are even tagging it “The Bank” which works on multiple levels, and more importantly, doesn't suck.

However, this logo does.

My first thought was that stupid looking logo looks like an edited version of the Domino's Pizza logo. It looks like a small company web site logo from 1995.

At no point in laying eyes upon this rectangular abortion do I see the words “New”, ‘York” or “Mets”. Nor do I see any design element that recalls Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, old-time baseball, or the great city of New York. The only red I want to see in this logo is a rusty, dented mechanical apple — not the stupid arch in the blatantly oversized Citi logo. Gotta love tradition, right?
I realize corporate sponsorship is a necessary evil in modern sports. In exchange for a crappy park name, we get to drink beers for less than $10 a pop. Fair enough.

But when a retro-styled stadium displays meaningless commercial logo treatments every five feet, it kills any sense of tradition and goodwill that the stadium designers had intended, and tradition is exactly what we want from this new ballpark.

Click Here for Citi Field Images.

Sanchez Back on the Mound!

The New York Mets' intra squad scrimmage Monday meant a lot more then a mere early season workout for Duaner Sanchez.

Sanchez pitched in a game for the first time since July 2006, when he separated his right shoulder in a taxi accident in Florida. He gave up two hits and walked one, while striking out one in a scoreless inning.

Sanchez was the primary setup man for closer Billy Wagner at the time of the accident. He had a surgery, then showed tardy for several spring training meetings last spring and was disciplined.

The shoulder was again injured and Sanchez again underwent surgery. He missed the entire 2007 season.

Sanchez could go a long way towards helping the Mets bullpen here in 2008. The Mets bullpen fell to eighth in the NL in ERA last season.

Sanchez threw all of his pitches, a curve ball, a change-up, a cut fastball and his fastball. His one strikeout came against Fernando Martinez on a change-up. Sanchez has said that the rehabilitation has made him stronger.

Juan Padilla also recovering from multiple surgeries, pitched well, throwing a few innings with his fastball topping out at only 85 mph.

Minor leaguer Jon Niese pitched a great inning. He threw consistently in the low 90s with his fastball and a few curve balls as low as 72 mph.

Joe Smith got hammered giving up two hits , one being a two-run triple to Jose Reyes. Smith also hit a batter. He said his slider was not working for him yesterday. On the positive side Smith did strike out David Wright and his fast balls were up around 90 mph.

Another minor leaguer pitched yesterday as well, Bobby Parnell. He started off great, but then failed to close the door with 2 outs already recorded. After getting the two outs Parnell give up three straight hits to Reyes, Angel Pagan and David Wright before closing out the inning.

For the intersquad play-by-play.

The Mets played the University of Michigan, owner Fred Wilpon's alma mater, this afternoon. The game finished in a 4-4 tie. Jason Vargas and Aaron Heilman both allowed a run apiece, while Wagner and Eddie Kunz pitched a scoreless inning. Wright hit a 2-run homer, and minor leaguer Michel Abreu tied the game with a 2-run homer of his own. Adam Rubin gave the play-by-play on his Daily News blog.

Wayne Hagin Joins Radio Booth.

Guess we were asleep at the wheel last week when New York's WFAN announced that Wayne Hagin was joining Howie Rose in the Mets' radio booth for the 2008 season.


A 24-year veteran of the Major Leagues, Hagin — the odd man out in St. Louis when John Rooney came over from the White Sox in 2005 — previously worked for the Cardinals, A's, Giants, White Sox and Rockies. He once got himself in trouble for implying Colorado first baseman Todd Helton used steroids.

Hagin replaces Tom McCarthy, who left the Mets in November to return to the Phillies.

New Writers revealed...


Over the past week, DJ and I have recieved multiple e-mails and inqueries about the open writing slots on Mets 4 Life. We feel that we were able to fill these slots with quality writers and we hope that you will think so too.

Here is the Mets 4 Life lineup now:

1: Tyler
2: DJ
3: Brooklyn Matt
4: SD Surfer
5: Has not signed up to blogger.com yet...

They will be posting in the next couple of days.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Johnny, Timmy, Tommy and who?


The Braves enter training camp this year with at least eight pitchers that are serious candidates for the starting rotation. Clearly, not everyone’s going to have a chair when the music stops. Time will tell who’s in and who’s out, but here’s a look at the emerging battle royale:

John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, and Tom Glavine: are all locks.

So then what? In a world of no sure things, the other Braves vying for pitching spots are bets just waiting to be hedged.

Lefty Mike Hampton is: the wildcard.

At this point, there are only two important things to know about Mike Hampton. One, he hasn’t thrown a major league pitch since his own Tommy John surgery in 2005 and several subsequent setbacks, elbow-related and otherwise. And two, he’s under contract for an awful lot of money ($15M) in 2008, so the Braves will give him every opportunity to prove he has something left after nearly three years out of the game. And maybe Hampton will show something akin to the guy who compiled a 32-20 record in 72 starts after being acquired by the Braves in 2003.

Though his elbow is reportedly a-okay — as is the hamstring he ganked in his first inning of winter ball — I give Hampton no better than a 50-50 chance of making it through April in the rotation. He could bump a door or slip in the shower tomorrow, and another season’s lost in the blink of an eye.

Come to think of it, he probably shouldn’t blink, either. He’s likely to sprain an eyelid.

Southpaw Chuck James is: the bubble guy.

James has experience going for him, having put up a respectable 4.00 ERA and 22-14 record in parts of three seasons with the Braves. But he has two problems — one of which is currently compounding the other.
First, James is suffering from a slight tear of the rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder. As-is, the team doctors say it’s treatable with rest, though there’s no way of predicting how another few thousand pitches this season will affect it. For the moment, James is limited to light work and long-tossing, with his first spring start currently slated for March 20.

That puts James behind in his preparation, and that’s especially bad news in his case. James’ biggest problem in the majors has been home runs allowed — 52 in 57 games to date, and a whopping 32 in 30 starts last season. His troubles are directly attributable to good power hitters waiting for his fastball, which they can often do because James only throws two pitches. Though his changeup is above-average, it isn’t enough to keep savvy hitters from sitting on the heater and parking it in the seats. A solid third pitch would keep hitters honest and likely tab James as a top-of-the-rotation candidate for Atlanta’s future — but he can’t practice new pitches while he’s sitting on the sidelines. And a late-March start won’t help his cause.

Righty Jeff Bennett is: the ‘arm of all trades’

Late last September, the Braves asked reliever Bennett to make two starts, in his first major league action since Tommy John surgery (are you sensing a pattern here?) in 2006. Bennett performed so well in those starts (plus one relief appearance) that the Braves appear to be strongly considering him for a rotation spot this spring.
Why, I’m not so sure.

Maybe in his surgery the docs replaced his elbow with some sort of supercharged bionic model, but otherwise I don’t see any strong evidence of Bennett being an effective starting pitcher. In the two seasons prior to his surgery, he made over 100 appearances (with the Brewers and their AAA affiliate) — but not a single start. In 2003, he made seven starts in AA/AAA in the Pirates organization — but he managed just a 5-7 record overall.

So Bennett had some nice appearances last year, and I do believe he’d be a great long reliever/swing man in the bullpen. But, for reasons that aren’t fully evident on the surface, he could also end up in the rotation. Go figure.

Jo-Jo Reyes and Jair Jurrjens are: the prospects.

Ideally, some combination of the hurlers above will man the rotation coming out of camp, allowing the Braves to get Reyes and Jurrjens a bit more seasoning. Reyes, a 23-year-old lefty, shot through the minor leagues last year, compiling a 12-1 record and 2.72 ERA in his only AA and AAA action to date. The big leaguers were not so kind, however, and Reyes managed only a 2-2 record and 6.22 ERA in 11 games with Atlanta. Another few months of minor league action may be in order to help Reyes hone his pitching skills — and regain some confidence in his own talent.

Jurrjens likewise rose quickly through the ranks, seeing action in 7 games with Detroit last year and bypassing the AAA level altogether. Atlanta would no doubt prefer to unleash Jurrjens on International League hitters for a while, rather than throw him into the fire of the National League East. The big question is whether they’ll have that luxury — and whether the young righthander will show enough during the spring to be considered.

With so many questions, factors, and health issues to consider, it’s hard to say what the Atlanta rotation might look like in August, or even April. All we know now is that it’s likely to contain at least two lefties, and it’ll probably be on the old side

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mets-Phillies Rivalry.


As Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post writes - "Well, hell, it's about time."

This is becoming an intense rivalry, sometimes called the "Turnpike Series" due to the New Jersey Turnpike connection between the two cities.

The Mets-Phillies rivalry has been said to be the second best rivalry in baseball after the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. I'm would not go that far as of yet, but it sure has the potential to be.

Back in Jan. 2007 Rollins made a quote that may have set the rivalry in a dead heat. Rollins stated that: "I think we are the team to beat in the NL East -- finally." Many Mets fans and players laughed at the prediction, but the Phillies dominated the Mets in wins that season. On the final day of the season, the Phillies won the division, backing up Rollins' quote.

This month Beltran stated that, "Without Santana, we felt, as a team, that we had a chance to win in our division. With him now, I have no doubt that we're going to win in our division. I have no doubt in that. We've got what it takes. To Jimmy Rollins : We are the team to beat."
Mets fans often show up at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park in large numbers, while smaller pockets of Phillies fans attend games at New York's Shea Stadium.

The Phillies are fighting the Curse of William Penn - sometimes used to explain the failure of professional sports teams based in Pennsylvania to win championships since the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn's statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. Since then, no Philadelphia major sports team (baseball, football, basketball, or hockey) has won a league championship.

The last professional team to win a championship in Philadelphia of the four major sports was the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1983.

There is even a movie on the curse by the same name, The Curse of William Penn, was produced in 2006.

The Fanbase:

  • Mets' fanbase comes from the New York metro area, as well as southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey
  • Phillies' fanbase generally draws from the Philadelphia metro area, as well as eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and parts of Delaware.

History:
  • Both team won a World Series during the 1980s. The Phillies in 1980 and the Mets in 1986.
  • 1st meeting April 27, 1962
  • number of meeting 783
  • all-time series - PHI leads, 419-364
  • current streak - PHI 8 straight wins
  • Longest Mets winning streak - 10
  • Longest Phillies winning streak - 10
  • Both teams have a historic collapse. The Phillies gave up a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 to play in 1964 - the Mets gave up a 7 game lead with 17 to play in 2007

The Phillies: Established in 1883

  • 1 World Series Championship
  • 5 League Championships
  • 7 Division Championships
  • 0 Wild Cards

The Mets: Established in 1962

  • 2 World Series Championship
  • 4 League Championships
  • 5 Division Championships
  • 2 Wild Cards


In the 46 year history between the two teams they have only finished 1-2 four times.

  • 1986 Mets 1st place Phillies 2nd place
  • 1995 Tied for 2nd place
  • 2006 Mets 1st place Phillies 2nd place
  • 2007 Phillies 1st place Mets 2nd place

Do you welcome the Rivalry?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lenny Dykstra Sued.


Lenny Dykstra said he's looking forward to fighting a lawsuit brought by an accounting firm Thursday that claims he owes at least $111,000 because he wants people to stop trying to rip off ballplayers.

"Did they actually think I would pay that much for a tax return? That's insane," Dykstra said in a telephone interview from Thousand Oaks, California, where he now lives.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's U.S. District Court, claims Dykstra failed to pay DDK & Co. LLP, of Manhanttan, for accounting and tax work done last year.

The company says a bill for $111,097 was sent last June to Dykstra and his wife.

"I looked at that and I laughed," said Dykstra, who played for the Mets and the Phillies during a 12-year career.

He said he was amazed a company would charge so much for one year's tax return.

The company said in the lawsuit that the tab has since grow to about $138,872. Company lawyer Benjamin J. Golub declined to comment further.

Dykstra said he was working to create a monthly magazine and a club that players could join to protect themselves in dealing with issues like this.

Turning Back the Salary Clock.


In baseball, 21 years is a veritable eternity. Though I clearly remember being a baseball fan 21 years ago, I don’t at all remember thinking about salaries, luxury taxes or minimum payrolls. I just sat back and daydreamed about how great it would be to play on some of those great 1980s teams.

Sure, playing pro ball would have been amazing regardless of pay (and make no mistake, MLB players have done very well financially for most of baseball’s existence), but you have to wonder how many of those late 80s/early 90s stars are bitter that their parents didn’t get busy a few years later.

Murray Chase published an article for the New York Times back on April 12, 1987. Which discusses the (then) exorbitant salaries of some of our childhood heroes. Below I'll touch on the highlights.

Fifty-seven players began the baseball season (1987) assured of earning $1 million or more this year. Sixty-six players of the 663 who were on opening-day major league rosters or the disabled list will earn $62,500, the minimum salary.
  • The Dodgers have soared to the top of the average-salary list with a season-opening average of $579,785.
  • The Angels have plummeted to 17th at the start of the 1987 season with an average salary of $408,632, just below the major league average of $412,606.

The Highest Paid Players:


  • Jim Rice of Boston, $2,412,500

  • Dan Quisenberry of Kansas City, $2,293,509

  • George Brett of Kansas City, $2,205,000

  • Eddie Murray of Baltimore, $2,153,000

  • Mike Schmidt of Philadelphia, $2,127,333

The Mets don’t have anyone in the top five, but they have five million-dollar players, which was more than any other team had. The Mets also have four players making the minimum. The Yankees have three players on the million-dollar plateau but none at the bottom rung of the salary scale.

Five clubs - Seattle, Texas, Montreal, Pittsburgh and San Francisco -have no million-dollar players. Atlanta is the only team besides the Yankees without a player at the minimum salary. Montreal has seven players earning $62,500 and Baltimore six.

No surprises here. Seattle, Montreal, Pittsburgh were never huge spenders. Ever. Texas and ‘Frisco must have been saving up for the then 11-year old A-Rod and 9-year old Zito, respectively. Now this, my friends, is good scouting.

These are the season-opening average salaries of all of the teams:



  1. Los Angeles $579,785

  2. Chicago Cubs $576,273

  3. Yankees $562,758

  4. Kansas City $531,552

  5. Atlanta $527,756

  6. Baltimore $523,658

  7. Boston $520,758

  8. Mets $519,429

  9. Philadelphia $488,613

  10. Detroit $486,272

  11. Minnesota $431,926

  12. St. Louis $429,019

  13. Oakland $426,582

  14. Houston $421,796

  15. San Diego $412,000

  16. Toronto $411,687

  17. California $408,632

  18. Chicago White Sox $372,386

  19. Cleveland $361,917

  20. Cincinnati $332,285

  21. San Francisco $309,846

  22. Milwaukee $281,781

  23. Texas $226,755

  24. Pittsburgh $221,380

  25. Montreal $204,740

  26. Seattle $181,580.

The Expos are one of four clubs - Seattle, Texas and Pittsburgh are the others - whose total opening-day payrolls are less than the combined 1987 income ($6,431,805) of the Royals’ three highest-paid players: Quisenberry, Brett and Willie Wilson

Welcome Back Ollie!


SP Oliver Perez won a $6.5 million salary for the 2008 season in his arbitration hearing. The Mets had offered him $4.725 million.

Last year, Perez went 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He struck out 174 batters in 177 innings.

He is the first player to win in an arbitration hearing against the Mets since David Cone in 1992.
Cone was awarded $4.25 million that year. "The Mets have won 11 of the 20 cases in their history."

I think we all knew Perez was going to win. $6.5 is still a good price... It's still less than half of what he is going to earn per year after he goes 20-8 this season or 8-20. This decision shows how much the Mets need to win it all this year. Given the enormous contracts being handed to consistent SP, Ollie is ours this year only. If Ollie pitches well, he's gone to the highest bidder. If he pitches DOWN to his contract, we are no closer to a WS title.

Bold Prediction!

The general public is well aware that Bobby Thompson hit the “shot heard ‘round the world”, and that Bon Jovi was shot through the heart...both dramatic shots in their own right. But some new drama has erupted in the National League this off season, perpetrated by the shot calling of a twosome of amateur soothsayers. Carlos Beltran and Ryan Dempster have made two very bold claims (one of which is outlandish) this winter regarding their respective teams. This approach worked out well for Babe Ruth, Kirby Puckett and Jimmy Rollins in the past, but I wouldn’t exactly take their words as gospel.

After the Johan Santana signing Beltran, usually soft spoken and averse to media attention, guaranteed that the Mets would win the NL East this year, as did Jimmy Rollins in 2007. A terrifying lineup and much, much improved starting rotation (see: Santana signing) adds a substantial amount of weight to Beltran’s claim. So what’s standing in the Mets’ way? A little thing called the Philadelphia Phillies. The upstart Phils took advantage of New York in the waning hours of the 2007 regular season and will be gunning for the Mets once again… regardless of that new left arm they’ve added.

Cole Hammels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Rollins and the rest aren’t about to roll over and hand the Mets the division crown. And don’t count out the Atlanta Braves either. A solid mix of youth and experience with master of the ejection, Bobby Cox, at the helm could prove to be a burr in New York’s saddle. Beltran’s Mets are the clear favorites, but the NL East won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.

Former Chicago Cubs’ closer, Ryan Dempster, also predicted his team would excel in 2008, but with a much loftier claim than Beltran’s. To quote the hard throwing ginger kid, “I think we’re going to win the World Series this year. I really do.” Now Ryan, that is very different from saying you “want” to win the World Series this year. Carlos Zambrano made the same declaration last season and we all know how that turned out. (Zambrano also predicted that he would win the Cy Young in 2007. Soooo, Big Z is 0 for 2). Can a century of baseball lacking in WS titles really be reversed that easily?

Let’s think about this. Yes, the Cubs haven’t won in 100 years, and they’re bound to win sometime. And yes, they have a fairly impressive team and are favored to win the NL Central (not a monumental feat). But they too will have another team gunning for them. The Brewers last year ended up leading the NL Central for all but 29 games, only to falter in August and cede first place to the powerhouse 85-win Cubs. And I see the Reds as being the burr in the Cubs' saddle.

This is quite the audacious statement, especially from someone like Dempster. If Lou Pinella or Derrick Lee, or even Aramis Ramirez predicted a World Series title, it wouldn’t seem so off the wall. Still highly irrational, but not quite as ridiculous. Dempster is a failed starter/amateur magician/unsuccessful closer/soon to be middle reliever. Unless he’s relying on an elaborate magical ruse to bring the Cubs back to glory, he doesn’t seem to be the right fit for making such eccentric predictions.

The angry and superstitious Cubs fans have already littered the message boards with chiding remarks towards Dempster, saying that he’s jinxed the team by flapping his gums about a world championship in February. The fact of the matter is that the Cubs are the Cubs, and even if they have a championship caliber regular season they’ll find a way to screw the pooch in October. It’s what they do.

Regardless, talk is cheap. That’s why they play the games people.

Baseball Prospectus thinks Mets are the best..

This year, the Mets have been predicted to finish the 2008 season with a record of 96-66, by the web site www.baseballprospectus.com. And even better; the Braves are predicted to finish 2nd…10 games behind us (with the Phillies a distant 3rd at 12 back!)

So according to BP, the division standings will look like this after 162 games..

1st place: New York Mets 96-66
2nd place: Atlanta Braves 86-76
3rd place: Philledelphia Phillies 84-78

Hopefully BP is right, I'd love to see another blowout of the division, just like in 2006... but this time, we're gonna go deep into the playoffs, just ask Fred Wilpon..

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Lineup Predictions...

A few weeks ago, I started to predict the statistics for each individual player on the Mets. I waited to post them because I wanted to see what others thought. Here are my predictions compared to others predictions...

SS #7 Jose Reyes

My predictions: .301 AVG, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 67 SB
Mlb.com's predictions: .294 AVG, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 73 SB
The Man's predictions: .295 AVG, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 68 SB
Eli's predictions: .289 AVG, 14 HR, 62 RBI



2B #1 Luis Castillo

My predictions: .295 AVG, 1 HR, 48 RBI, 15 SB
Mlb.com's predictions: .298 AVG, 2 HR, 44 RBI, 25 SB
The Man's predictions:
.302 AVG, 2 HR, 55 RBI, 25 SB
Eli's predictions: .295 AVG, 3 HR, 46 RBI



3B #5 David Wright

My predictions: .327 AVG, 30 HR, 124 RBI, 28 SB
Mlb.com's predictions: .322 AVG, 32 HR, 111 RBI, 27 SB
The Man's predictions: .330 AVG, 34 HR, 128 RBI, 31 SB
Eli's predictions: .312 AVG, 34 HR, 123 RBI



CF #15 Carlos Beltran

My predictions: .281 AVG, 37 HR, 117 RBI, 23 SB
Mlb.com's predictions: .274 AVG, 34 HR, 115 RBI, 18 SB
The Man's predictions:
.280 AVG, 31 HR, 116 RBI, 25 SB
Eli's predictions: .273 AVG, 28 HR, 105 RBI



LF #18 Moises Alou

My predictions: .307 AVG, 18 HR, 73 RBI
Mlb.com's predictions: .315 AVG, 20 HR, 75 RBI
The Man's predictions:
.305 AVG, 16 HR, 65 RBI
Eli's predictions: .272 AVG, 16 HR, 73 RBI



1B #21 Carlos Delgado

My predictions: .270 AVG, 27 HR, 96 RBI
Mlb.com's predictions: .272 AVG, 28 HR, 94 RBI
The Man's predictions:
.270 AVG, 28 HR, 94 RBI
Eli's predictions: .262 AVG, 23 HR, 86 RBI



RF #19 Ryan Church

My predictions: .278 AVG, 14 HR, 80 RBI
Mlb.com's predictions: .275 AVG, 18 HR, 74 RBI
The Man's predictions:
.278 AVG, 16 HR, 81 RBI
Eli's predictions: .269 AVG, 16 HR, 71 RBI



C #23 Brian Schneider

My predictions: .249 AVG, 8 HR, 56 RBI
Mlb.com's predictions: .254 AVG, 7 HR, 60 RBI
The Man's predictions:
.255 AVG, 10 HR, 60 RBI
Eli's predictions: .246 AVG, 6 HR, 48 RBI



When Mets 4 Life expands, our new staff of writers will predict the statistics of each individual. When they are completed, they will be posted..

NL Central: At A Glance.



Chicago Cubs:
Manager: Lou Piniella - 2nd season
Last Season: 85-77, 1st place
Training Site: Mesa, AZ.
Park: Fitch Park, HoHoKam Park
He's Here: OF Kosuke Fukudome, RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Jose Ascanio
He's Outta Here: OF Jacque Jones, OF Cliff Floyd, LHP Will Ohman, C Jason Kendall, OF Craig Monroe, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Mark Prior

Outlook: Fukudome gives the Chicago team a left-handed, high on-base hitter who should complement such slugging run producers as Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs have hopes that a healthy Alfonso Soriano to be even better than in his first season with the team. The biggest question mark is centerfield, where speedy Felix Pie must hit.

Milwaukee Brewers:
Manager: Ned Yost - 6th season
Last Season: 83-79, 2nd place
Training Site: Phoenix, AZ.
Park: Maryvale Baseball Park
He's Here: RHP Eric Gagne, CF Mike Cameron, C Jason Kendall, RHP David Riske, RHP Salomon Torres, RHP Guillermo Mota, LHP Randy Choate, C Eric Munson, OF Gabe Kapier, INF Abraham Nunez
He's Outta Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, LF Geoff Jenkins, C Johnny Estrada, 3B Corey Koskie, LHP Ray King, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Matt Wise, INF Tony Graffanino, OF Kevin Mench, C Damian Miller

Outlook: The Brewers, who were in first place for 133 days last season, look to finally snap a postseason drought that dates to 1982. The biggest change will be NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun's switch from 3B to LF.

St. Louis Cardinals:
Manager: Tony La Russa - 13th season
Last Season: 79-84, 3rd place
Training Site: Jupiter, FL.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium
He's Here: 3B Troy Glaus, RHP Matt Clement, SS Cesar Izturis, C Jason LaRue, OF Brian Barton
He's Outta Here: 3B Scott Rolen, CF Jim Edmonds, SS David Eckstein, RHP Kip Wells, OF So Taguchi, C Gary Bennett, LHP Mike Maroth, RHP Troy Percival

Outlook: The 2006 World Series champions appear to be in rebuilding mode after jettisoning three core players; Rolen. Edmonds and Eckstein. The Cardinals did get the power hitting Glaus for Rolen.

Houston Astros:
Manager: Cecil Copper - 1st full season
Last Season: 73-89, 4th place
Training Site: Kissimmee, FL.
Park: Osceola County Stadium
He's Here: SS Miguel Tejada, 2B Kaz Matsui, CF Michael Bourn, INF Geoff Blum, OF Darin Erstad, RHP Doug Brocail, RHP Geoff Geary, RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Oscar Villareal
He's Outta Here: SS Adam Evertt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Luke Scott, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Troy Patton, INF Chris Burke, RHP Chad Qualis, RHP Juan Gutierrez

Outlook: Tejada was the cornerstone of an active off-season. The Astros seem undaunted that the FBI is investigating whether Tejada lied to House committee investigators about steroids. Bourn, a Houston native, will likely lead off and give the Astros a base stealing threat they lacked last season. The switch hitting Matsui replaces stalwart 2B Craig Biggio and could be an offensive upgrade - he hit .288 in 2007 and Biggio hit .251. Slugger Lance Berkman shook off a slow start to hit .278 with 34 home runs in 2007 and LF Carlos Lee batted .303 with 32 homers.

Cincinnati Reds:
Manager: Dusty Baker - 1st season
Last Season: 72-90, 5th place
Training Site: Sarasota, FL.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium
He's Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Edinson Volquez, LHP Jeremy Affeldt
He's Outta Here: Interim manager Pete Mackanin, OF Josh Hamilton, LHP Eddie Guardado, LHP Eric Milton

Outlook: Baker was hired to pull the franchise out of its doldrums; seven straight losing seasons. Owner Bob Castellini also hired Walt Jocketty, a friend and former Cardinals GM, as adviser, putting GM Wayne Krivsky in an awkward spot. Pitching, the team's downfall for years, is the key.

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Manager: John Russell - 1st season
Last Season: 68-94, 6th place
Training Site: Bradenton, FL.
Park: McKechnie Field
He's Here: INF Chris Gomez, RHP Jimmy Barhmaier, LHP Phil Dumarait, RHP Evan Meek, RHP Ty Taubenheim, OF Kevin Thompson, RHP Jaret Wright
He's Outta Here: INF Jose Castillo, INF Cesar Izturis, INF Matt Kata, 1B Josh Phelps, RHP Shawn Chacon, RHP Tony Armas, RHP Salomon Torres, LHP Shane Youman

Outlook: A Pirates team coming off three straight seasons of 94 losses or more is almost unchanged. Russell, fired as a coach in 2005 but brought back by a new front office as the manager, is the only significant new face. Hope is the word.

Spring Training: At A Glance.
AL East: At A Glance
AL Central: At a Glance
AL West: At A Glance.
NL East: At A Glance.
NL West: At A Glance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rollins makes some more predictions..


At SI.com, they write about the recent comments of Carlos Beltran. When asked about Carlos Beltrans comments, Jimmy Rollins had this to say...

"Has anyone ever heard of plagiarism?" Said Rollins, "Sequels are never good,".. Thats a lie, I usually like the sequel better than the original, and the same can be said for this situation.

In the article Rollins also said that he thinks that the Phillies are the best team in the National League East and in the National League. He's wrong. They might have the best offense, but pitching is the key, and our rotation and bullpen are worlds better than theirs. The Braves even have better starting pitching than the Phillies too.

This just goes to show you that Rollins has not been notified that the Mets traded for the best pitcher in the game - Johan Santana.

Fantasy draft results..


So I have officially completed my first fantasy draft on Mlb.com.. It was a fun expiereince, but I didn't get the chance to select any of my favorite Mets... Heres my team..

Round Player
1 Ryan Howard (1B, PHI)
2 Ryan Braun (3B, MIL)
3 Russell Martin (C, LAD)
4 Robinson Cano (2B, NYY)
5 Chris Young (OF, ARI)
6 Edgar Renteria (SS, DET)
7 Jeff Francoeur (OF, ATL)
8 Cleveland Indians (P, CLE)
9 Ken Griffey Jr. (OF, CIN)
10 Kosuke Fukudome (OF, CHC)
11 Milwaukee Brewers (P, MIL)
12 Evan Longoria (3B, TB)
13 Joey Votto (1B, CIN)
14 Ray Durham (2B, SF)
15 Ryan Theriot (2B, SS, CHC)

I didn't draft Young, Theriot or Durham, the computer was messing up but I'll settle. I recently decided to drop Durham for Alou.. I think I have a pretty good chance in this league though..

If anyone else is interested in my private league please contact me at tyflomets4life@yahoo.com.

Reyes "No more Handshakes"


In an article for Newsday, David Lennon writes that Jose Reyes will be much more serious this season. Reyes, as quoted by Lennon…

“No more handshakes. People kept saying we got teams fired up when we did those handshakes, so now I want to focus more on baseball. Nobody said anything to me, but it’s because of what happened last year. That’s why I’m taking this year more seriously. In 2006, everybody loved [the handshakes], but now it’s different. I’m going to enjoy the game, but I’m not going to do the handshakes with the guys. I don’t want people to talk about that. I just want to play baseball. I want to take care of business on the field.”

Thats crazy.. That is his whole image. Why do other teams get pissy about someone celebrating? I'm going to miss his fun-loving handshakes and dances, but as long as he is helping this team win it doesn't really matter.. right?

Searching for quality writers..

As of right now, DJ and I are the only two writers here at Mets 4 Life. We would like to add to our staff. What we are looking for is Mets fan with quality writing skills. By the time the Mets start playing regular season games, I would like to have 4-5 quality writers to contribute here.

So far Mets 4 Life's lineup looks like this...

1. Tyler
2. DJ
3. Blank
4. Blank
5. Blank

Hopefully we can fill those spots with Mets fans who write with passion and precision.

To inquire about this, please contact me @ Tyflomets4life@yahoo.com.

Mets Spring Training Broadcast Schedule.

Now it's easier for you to follow the Mets this spring.

February
Tuesday, February 26 vs Univ. of Michigan 12:00 PM
Wednesday, February 27 @ Tigers 1:05 PM
Thursday, February 28 @ Cardinals 1:05 PM
Friday, February 29 vs Cardinals 1:10 PM SNY

March
Saturday, March 1 vs Dodgers 1:10 PM CW11 WFAN 660
Sunday, March 2 @ Dodgers 1:05 PM WFAN 660
Monday, March 3 vs Braves 1:10 PM SNY
Tuesday, March 4 @ Marlins 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 5 vs Dodgers 1:10 PM SNY
Thursday, March 6 @ Nationals 7:05 PM WFAN 660
Friday, March 7 @ Indians 1:05 PM ESPN
Saturday, March 8 @ Orioles 1:05 PM
vs Marlins 1:10 PM CW11 WFAN 660
Sunday, March 9 vs Astros 1:10 PM CW11WFAN 660
Monday, March 10 vs Red Sox 1:10 PM SNY
Tuesday, March 11 @ Red Sox 1:05 PM MLB.TV
Wednesday, March 12 vs Orioles 1:10 PM SNY
Thursday, March 13 @ Cardinals 1:05 PM
Friday, March 14 @ Marlins 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 15 vs Cardinals 1:10 PM SNY WADO 1280 (Sp.)
Sunday, March 16 @ Astros 1:05 PM
vs Tigers 1:10 PM SNY WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Sp.)
Monday, March 17 @ Nationals 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 19 vs Indians 7:10 PM SNY
Thursday, March 20 vs Orioles 7:10 PM SNY WFAN 660
Friday, March 21 vs Nationals 1:10 PM SNY
Saturday, March 22 @ Indians 1:05 PM CW11 WFAN 660
Sunday, March 23 vs Cardinals 1:10 PM WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Sp.)
Monday, March 24 @ Orioles 1:05 PM
Tuesday, March 25 vs Braves 1:10 PM SNY
Wednesday, March 26 vs Marlins 1:10 PM SNY
Thursday, March 27 @ Braves 1:05 PM ESPN
Friday, March 28 @ Orioles 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 29 vs White Sox 5:00 PM ESPN

Planning a Road Trip?

It’s been along winter, but pitchers and catchers are starting to loosen their arms and head to warmer climes. Those of us in northern climates are yearning for 40-degree weather while dreaming of afternoons spent at the ballpark. In the coming weeks, thousands of baseball fans will gather in dank basements that reek of stale beer and break out their tattered road atlas with dreams of their summer adventures.

With the goal of seeing a game in each Major League City (even Miami), a few more dominoes need to fall this season to get a bit closer to that goal. So, after careful consideration, I've targeted the upper Midwest triangle of Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. There should be some good baseball to be seen in the rust-belt cities, assuming Pittsburgh has a decent opponent on the day you see them.

But a road trip is only half-determined by its destinations, the other half is how you make it happen. Here are a few rules to live by for summer roadies:

  • No expensive beer — This one is usually a fight, because there’s always the one guy that wants to show he’s a connoisseur of fine lagers. But you'll be dropping hundreds of dollars on tickets, so there’s no reason to drink yourself into the poorhouse for a few tasty brews. I shudder at memories of giving a friend $40 to buy beer for a party and watching him walk in with three six packs of beer with fruit in it. Several cases of PBR or High Life will do just fine.
  • The guy with the worst car drives — This may seem counterintuitive, but does anyone really want their drunken, smelly buddies in their new ride? Besides, road-tripping is a link to simpler times when we all drove hoopties with rust holes. If their car happens to break down, it only adds to the adventure and opens the possibility of the trip’s real treasure — a rental car.
  • Pick a side — In a baseball road trip, you're pretty likely to see a lot of games you don't give a dare about. During my west coast swing in ‘04, I saw the Angels (who I briefly forgot existed) on 6 different occasions. Regardless, it’s important to pick a side based on some whimsical or imaginary criteria that the group agrees on. If you can't think of any ridiculous criteria to choose a side for, root for the home team because there are less away fans to throw peanuts at you.
  • No hookers — Try for groupies instead.
  • Tailgate whenever possible — All stadiums are different, of course, but if there’s a parking lot you should have a grill and a cooler in it. If there’s not, hit up a local bar around the stadium. Always, always avoid chain restaurants — there’s nothing worse than a bunch of dudes hanging out at an Applebee’s.
  • No over-planning — take the tourist guide away from “that guy”. The trip is supposed to be fun, not a military operation in checking into hotels at exactly the right time to “get situated.” Wing it a little.


As you plan your road trips this summer, remember the rules — if you got more suggestions, drop a comment. If you've got any epic road trip stories, feel free to drop one of those, too. And if you're planning a road trip of your own, consider this thing the most useful moment in ESPN’s history.

"Door Open."

Astros outfielder Hunter Pence is used to crashing into the outfield wall. But scarcely had Spring Training begun before he crashed through a sliding glass door. “I just didn’t see the door and jumped through it,” he said “I have small cuts everywhere.” Pence had headed out to the hot tub when, as so many of us do, he decided to make a quick pit stop first. Unaware that while he was in the bathroom, an unnamed friend had closed the door, Pence attempted to leap through the portal to get to the other side. Instead of thin air, he found solid glass. Bleeding profusely, he was taken to the emergency room. But the 24-year old was lucky—-he cut no tendons or arteries, though he has lacerations all over his body and was wearing a knee brace today. Even so, he’ll only miss about a week of training as a result of the “freak accident,” as he described it. His teammates, however, are sure to keep the incident fresh in his mind.

Hey, at least he wasn’t also carrying a full cup of coffee at the time.

AL West: At a Glance



Los Angeles Angels:
Manager: Mike Scioscia - 9th season
Last Season: 94-68, 1st place
Training Site: Tempe, AZ.
Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium
He's Here: RHP Jon Garland, CF Torii Hunter
He's Outta Here: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Greg Jones, RHP Chris Resop, INF Dallas McPherson, SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Tommy Murphy, Of Nick Gorneault

Outlook: The Angels are solid favorites to win their fourth AL west title in five years, but that in itself won't be very satisfying. Last year's high hopes were dashed after being swept by the Red Sox in the first round of the playoff. The only off-season additions, Hunter and Garland, are impact palyers. The team will have one of baseball's best defensive outfields with Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero or Garret Anderson. Hunter adds some much needed power. Anderson and Guerrero figure to share the DH duties. Even before the addition of Garland, an 18-games winner in 2005 and 2006, the Angels had one of the strongest rotations, whichis led by John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Jeb Weaver. Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis will compete for the starting SS job with outstanding prospect Brandon Wood in the wings. Escobar's sore shoulder will limit him at the beginning of spring training.

Seattle Mariners:
Manager: John McLaren- 1st full season
Last Season: 88-74, 2nd place
Training Site: Peoia, AZ.
Park: Peoria Sports Complex
He's Here: LHP Eric Bedard, RHP Carlos Silva, OF Brad Wilkerson, INF Miguel Cairo
He's Outta Here: Manager Mike Hargrove, OF Jose Guillen, RHP Jeff Weaver, 1B Ben Broussard, CF Adam Jones, LHP George Sherrill, LHP Tony Butler, RHP Chris Tillman, RHP Kam Michkolio

Outlook: GM Bill Bavasi upgraded the rotation significantly by getting lefty Erik Bedard from Baltimore for talented CF Jones and pitchers Sherrill, Butler, Tillman and Michkolio. The team has a talented rotation in Bedard, Felix Hernandez and Silva. Seattle hopes Wilkerson can come close to the numbers Guillen provided last year in right, but the Mariners did little to upgrade the offense. RHP J.J. Putz is a top closer. McLaren gets his first full season as a big league manager after taking over for Hargrove midway through 2007.

Oakland Athletics:
Manager: Bob Green- 2nd season
Last Season: 75-86, 3rd place
Training Site: Phoenix, AZ.
Park: Municipal Stadium
He's Here: OF Emil Brown, RHP Joey Devine, Of Carlos Gonzalez, LHP Gio Gonzalez, LHP Dana Eveland, OF Ryan Sweeney, LHP Brett Anderson
He's Outta Here: RHP Dan Haren, OF Nick Swisher, OF Mark Kotsay, DH Mike Piazza, OF Shannon Stewart, INF Marco Scutaro, RHP Colby Lewis

Outlook:GM Bill Beane dealt Haren, Swisher and Kotsay when he decided to rebuild because he didn't think he had the pieces to match the Angels. Oakland restocked it's farm system with the Haren and Swisher deals but it will take a few years to determine whether those moves will lift the team. The big question revolve around the health of RHP Rich Harden, 3B Eric Chavez and SS Bobby Crosby, whose injuries last season helped contribute to Oakland's first losing season since 1998.

Texas Rangers:
Manager: Ron Washington - 2nd season
Last Season: 75-87, 4th place
Training Site: Surprise, AZ.
Park: Surprise Stadium
He's Here: OF Milton Bradley, 1B Ben Broussard, RHP Kazuo Fukumori, CF Josh Hamilton, RHP Jason Jennings, LHP Eddie Guardado, INF Edgardo Alfonzo
He's Outta Here: DH Sammy Sosa, OF Brad Wilkerson, RHP Akinori Otsuka, RHP Edinson Volquez, INF Jerry Hairston

Outlook: A healthy Hank Blalock could be one of the most significant additions for Taxas. Blalock didn't play3B after May last season, but the 2-time All-Star says he is "back to normal" following surgery to have a rib removed from near his right shoulder and extra rehabilitation in the off-season. The team filled three holes; CF(Hamilton, RF(Bradley) and 1B(Broussard). But questions persist. Bradley is coming off knee surgery. Broussard was mostly a platoon player the past 2-years. Hamilton, the first overall pick in 1999 whose career was nearly derailed by alcohol and drug abuse, has a lot to prove even after a breakout rookie season in Cincinnati. Dallas native Jennings was addedto the rotation after being hampered last season by elbow problems, as were Guardado and Kukumori. Guardado provided a much needed veteran presence in a bullpen missing RHP Eric Gagne and Otsuka. The closer candidates are CJ Wilson and Joaquin Benoit. The Rangers were 29-28 after the trade deadline and the exits of 1B Mark Teixeira, CF Kenny Lofton, LHP Ron Mahay and Gagne. Without improvement, the AL west basement looms.

Spring Training: At A Glance.
AL East: At A Glance
AL Central: At a Glance
NL East: At A Glance.
NL West: At A Glance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Andy Pettitte Apologizes


Andy Pettitte probably didn’t prove anything or change anyone’s mind Monday afternoon.

I also think this public nightmare is a long way from being over for Pettitte. If Roger Clemens continues to push his charade and winds up in court, Pettitte will be forced to tell the entire sordid story again.

I believe Pettitte was sincere Monday. He used words like “stupidity” and “desperation” to describe why he used HGH. He talked about the “embarrassment” and apologized to both the Yankees and Houston Astros. Really, he is the only person that he should be apologizing to. Andy Pettitte let down Andy Pettitte. The Yankees don’t care that he used HGH. The Astros certainly don’t care. His fans might.

“I never want a young person to do what I did,” Pettitte said. “I’m sorry for the mistakes I have made.”

Once again, it’s all about the kids. The sad thing is that the best way to make sure that kids don’t make the mistake of spending large sums of money acquiring and then injecting themselves with HGH is to educate people that HGH is NOT actually beneficial to healthy people.

He admitted to considering retirement, but said he is committed to the Yankees and that hiding instead of facing the scrutiny was not the right thing to do.

He said things I didn’t like, such as that HGH was not banned by baseball at the time he used it, and annoyed me by referencing his faith on several occasions.

Pettitte definitely didn’t solve anything Monday, though he said now he can sleep better. What he likely did, though, was solidify the good will he has built among Yankees’ fans and baseball beat writers.

Say what you want about Pettitte’s HGH use and how long it took the facts to come out. Since being presented with the evidence, he has not hidden. He has stood up, told the truth and has faced whatever will come from that head on.

That’s one helluva lot more than you can say for Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmiero, Barry Bonds and just about everyone else.

You have to give him credit for that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

REDS Fans Do You Make The Trade For Blanton?


Could you pull the trigger? Could you make the deal to bring Joe Blanton to Cincinnati? I don’t think I could. It would be great, a third solid starter. A young guy, with a controllable salary for the next 3-4 years. He eats up innings, he throws ground balls, he strikes people out but doesn’t walk them. He’s a Kentucky boy for Pete’s sake! He’s perfect.

Unfortunately, the deal it would take to get it done is not perfect. Billy Beane usually gets what he wants. With Blanton being the “top pitcher available” on the trade front, Beane is holding the cards. He doesn’t have to trade Blanton, but he’s let everyone know that he is available. Oh, and Bedard and Santana are not available. He’s salivating at the mouth as we speak.

It would take a package of youthful prospects to attract Beane’s attention. For Cincinnati, that means including a Bruce (never gonna happen), a Votto, a Bailey, or a Cueto along with say a Maloney or a Volquez and throwing in a Stubbs for good measure. Would you have the guts to ship that kind of deal out.

I like Blanton. I really like Blanton. He’s the A’s number one starter at this point. He would fit in Cincinnati like a glove. I just don’t think I could deal a young stud. However, If it happened I would live with it and move on. I just couldn’t do it myself.

Who would you deal? Could you ship out a possible commodity for a proven arm? If forced I would probably try a Cueto and 2-3 minor league prospects deal. If that were passed on, I’d let it go. Bruce is untouchable, Votto is a nice fit, Bailey has too much local build up to not give a proper chance. Cueto seems to be the guy to fit the bill, although he could be the best of the Reds young bunch. What do you do?

AL Central: At A Glance.



Cleveland Indians:
Manager: Eric Wedge - 5th season
Last Season: 96-66, 1st place
Training Site: Winter Haven, FL.
Park: Chain of Lakes Park
He's Here: RHP Masahide Kobayashi, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio
He's Outta Here: OF Kenny Lofton, OF Trot Nixon, RHP Jason Davis

Outlook: Here's a plus, The Indians are bringing back virually their entire roster from last season when they ran away with the rugged AL Central, knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs and had Boston down 3-1 in the ALCS before losing 3 straight games. Wedge's greatest challenge will be getting his young club to the next level. Ace C.C. Sabathia, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, is back and may soon have a new contract. Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey and Cliff Lee are in the competition for the #5 starter's spot.

Detroit Tigers:
Manager: Jim Leyland - 3rd season
Last Season: 88-74, 2nd place
Training Site: Lakeland, FL.
Park: Joker Marchant Stadium
He's Here: 3B Miguel Cabrera, SS Edgar Renteria, OF Jacque Jones, LHP Dontrelle Willis
He's Outta Here: 1B Sean Casay, INF Omar Infante, LHP Andrew Miller, OF Cameron Maybin

Outlook: The Tigers are title contenders again. Detroit followed a 2006 World Series appearance by fighting for a playoff apot deep into last season. They want more this year. In the first major deal of the off-season, the Tigers acquired All-Stars Cabrera and Willis from Florida, trading top prospects Maybin and Miller. GM Dave Dombrowski also got Renteria and Jones, and resigned C Ivan Rodriguez, LHP Kenny Rogers and closer Todd Jones.

Minnesota Twins:
Manager: Ron Gardenhire - 7th season
Last Season: 79-83, 3rd place
Training Site: Fort Myers, FL.
Park: Hammond Stadium
He's Here: OF Delmon Young, 3B Mike Lamb, SS Adam Everett, SS/2B Brendan Harris, CF Carlos Gomez, OF Jason Pridie, RHP Phil Humber, OF Craig Monroe
He's Outta Here: LHP Johan Santana, CF Torii Hunter, RHP Carlos Silva, SS Jason Barlett, RHP Matt Garza, OF Lew Ford, OF Randell White, OF Jason Tyner, INF Luis Rodriuez

Outlook: The Twins pulled off the long awaited trade of 2-time Cy Young Award winner Santana to the Mets. He leaves a huge hole in the rotation. 2006 All-Star Francisco Liriano may be back, provided he's strong enough after his Tommy John procedure nearly 17 months ago. The rotation is a question as a handful of unproven young hurlers fight for the five spots. Closer Joe Nathan anchors a good bullpen. Hunter is gone to the Angels but the team got Young from the Rays. The Rookie of the Year runner-up could have an impact on what was a tired lineup last year. Gomez, who came over in the Santana trade, is the front-runner to lead off and play center.

Chicago White Sox:
Manager: Ozzie Guillen - 5th season
Last Season: 72-90, 4th place
Training Site: Tucson, AZ.
Park: Tucson Electric Park
He's Here: SS Orlando Cabrera, Of Nick Swisher, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Octavio Dotel, OF Carlos Quentin, OF Alexel Ramirez
He's Outta Here: RHP Jon Garland, OF Scott Podsednik

Outlook: The White Sox missed making major trades in the off-season. Still, they added Linebrink and Dotel to a bullpen that was 19-25 with a 5.49 ERA and 23 blown saves for a bridge betwee the starters and closer Bobby Jenks. There's a logjam at thirdbase, where Josh Fields showed promise as a rookie while Joe Crede missed most of last season with a back injury.

Kansas City Royals:
Manager: Trey Hillman - 1st season
Last Season: 69-93, 5th place
Training Site: Surprise, AZ.
Park: Surprise Stadium
He's Here: OF Jose Guillen, RHP Brett Tomko, RHP Yasuhiko Yabuta, LHP Ron Mahay, C Miguel Olivo, INF Alberto Callaspo, RHP Hideo Nomo, RHP Brain Lawernce, LHP Chin-hui Taso
He's Outta Here: Manager Buddy Bell, DH Mike Sweeney, OF Emil Brown, Of Reggie Sanders, C Jason LaRue, LHP Odalis Perez, RHP David Riske, RHP Scoot Elarton, RHP Billy Buckner

Outlook: Hillman is the big change. He's the only big-league manager this year who didn't coach or play in the majors. He spent years managing in the Yankees' minor league system and for the past five season was the highly successful manager of Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters. He inherts a young team that will be trying to escape four straight last place finishes in the tough AL Central. Last season the Royals had four impact rookies; RHP Joakim Soria led the club with 17 saves, RHP Brian Bannister led the team with 12 wins, 3B Alex Gordon led AL rookies with 55 extra base hits and DH/1B Billy Butler hit .292 at age 21.

Spring Training: At A Glance.
AL East: At A Glance
NL East: At A Glance.
NL West: At A Glance.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fantasy Baseball...


In a recent post, I wrote that I have a private fantasy baseball league going. I still need six more teams in order to draft. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me in the comment box of this post, the c-box on the right side of this blog, or my e-mail address (tyflomets4life@yahoo.com).

Hurry up.. the draft is on February 24th @ 12:00 noon.

If you would like to join the league, but the draft time is not a good time for you, just ask and i may be able to change it.

Beltran fires back..


Last spring in training camp, the Phillies shortstop - Jimmy Rollins - said something that pissed off most Mets fans. He said the Phillies were the team to beat in 2007. The worst part about it is, he was right. The Philadelphia Phillies won the division and went on to the post season, only to be swept. This year, its the Mets who are the team to beat. Who says? Carlos Beltran says.

When Carlos Beltran was asked about the division, he had this to say:

“With (Santana), I have no doubt we’re going to win our division. I have no doubt about that…So, this year, tell Jimmy Rollins we are the team to beat.”

Now tell me, who expected Carlos Beltran to say something like this? Not me. Usually, Carlos Beltran never talks with the media... that was Paul Lo Duca's job last year. It looks like Beltran is finally showing some leadership, and voicing his opinion. Now if only he could back it up like Jimmy Rollins did.

Lets take a look at the stats for Rollins and Beltran for the '06 and '07 seasons.
Rollins:
AVG-Runs-HR-3B-Hits-RBI-SB-OBP-SLG
2006: .277 127 25 9 191 83 36 .334 .478
2007: .296 139 30 20 212 94 41 .344 .531

Beltran:
AVG-Runs-HR-3B-Hits-RBI-SB-OBP-SLG
2006: .275 127 41 1 140 116 18 .388 .594
2007: .276 93 33 3 153 112 23 .353 .525

Now if Carlos Beltran had the same increase in numbers as Jimmy Rollins had his season stats for 2008 would look like this...

2008: .295 105 38 14 174 123 28 .363 .578

Now if Beltran had the same exact increase in numbers as Rollins, that is what his stats would look like at the end of this season. That would be an amazing season for Beltran, 38 homers and 123 RBI? This probably won't happen but maybe and hopefully, Beltran can back up his words and deliver another division championship and another World Series Championship back to Shea for the last time.

NL East: At a Glance.



Philadelphia Phillies:
Manager: Charlie Manuel - 1st season
Last Season: 89-73 1st place
Training Site: Clearwater, FL.
Park: Bright House Networks Field
He's Here: RHP Brad Lidge, 3B Pedro Feliz, OF Geoff Jenkins, OF So Iguchi, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Chad Durbin
He's Outta Here: OF Aaron Rowand, OF Michael Bourn, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, RHP Geoff Geary, INF Abraham Nunez, RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Freddy Garcia

Outlook: The Phillies finally got a taste of the postseason, ending a 14-year drought by winning the NL East on the final day of the of the regular season. But Philadephia was swept in the division series by the Rockies. All-Star CF Rowand's loss might be bigger in the clubhouse than on the field.

New York Mets:
Manager: Willie Randolph - 4th season
Last Season: 88-74 2nd place
Training Site: Port St. Lucie, FL.
Park: Tradition Field
He's Here: LHP Johan Santana, C Brian Schneider, RF Ryan Church, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Matt Wise, RHP Ruddy Lugo, RHP Brian Stokes, RHP Steven Register, LHP Ricardo Rincon
He's Outta Here: LHP Tom Glavine, C Paul Lo Duca, RF Shawn Green, RHP Guillermo Mota, OF Lastings Milledge, RHP Aaron Sele, OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Phil Humber, OF David Newhan, C Sandy Alomar, 1B Jeff Conine, C Mike DiFelice, LHP Dave Williams

Outlook: It took nearly all the off-season for the Mets to make a big splash, but they landed the biggest pitching prize on the market. New York got Santana from the Twins for four prospects and signed the 2-time Cy Young Award winner to a $137.5 million, 6-year deal, a record for a pitcher. Now, the Mets have the durable ace they sorely lacked while chasing a pennant the past two years. The addition of Santana makes them an NL favorite and helps them move beyond last September's embarrassing collapse, when New York squandered a seven-game NL East lead with 17 to play and missed the playoffs.

Atlanta Braves:
Manager: Bobby Cox - 19th season
Last Season: 84-78 3rd place
Training Site: Kissimmee, FL.
Park: The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports
He's Here: LHP Tom Glavine, CF Mark Kotsay, RHP Jair Jurrjens, LHP Will Ohman, OF Josh Anderson, C Javy Lopez, INF Omar Infante
He's Outta Here: CF Andruw Jones, SS Egar Renteria, INF Willy Aybar, OF Willie Harris, RHP Jose Ascanio, RHP Oscar Villarreal, RHP Chad Paronto

Outlook: The Braves, 3rd in their division for the second straight year, tried to fix the rotation. Glavine is back and the team hopes for 200 IP and double digit wins from him behind John Smoltz and Tim Hudson. The team might not have to rely on Mike Hampton's comeback if Jarrjens, acquired from the Tigers for Renteria, makes the rotation, possibly pushing Chuck James to the fifth spot.

Washington Nationals:
Manager: Manny Acta - 2nd season
Last Season: 73-89 4th place
Training Site: Viera, FL.
Park: Space Coast Stadium
He's Here: C Paul Lo Duca, C Johnny Estrada, INF Aaron Boone, OF Lastings Milledge, Of Elijah Dukes, OF Rob Markowiak, Of Willie Harris, RHP Tyler Clippard
He's Outta Here: C Brian Schneider, OF Ryan Church, 1B/c Robert Fick, OF Nook Logan, INF Tony Batista, INF D'Angelo Jimenez, RHP Jason Simontacchi, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo

Outlook: Milledge could bring excitement to the the lineup, but otherwise the Nationals didn't add much this off-season. Their most expensive acquisition, Lo Duca, had nearly identical offensive stats as Schneider in 2007, and is sidelined for at least the start of spring training after a left knee operation.

Florida Marlins:
Manager: Fredi Gonzalez - 2nd season
Last Season: 71-91 5th place
Training Site: Jupiter, FL.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium
He's Here: LHP Andrew Miller, CF Cameron Maybin, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Rabelo, LHP Mark Hendrickson, INF Dallas McPherson, INF Jose Castillo, INF Jorge Cantu
He's Outta Here: 3B Miguel Cabrera, LHP Dontrelle Willis, 1B Aaron Boone, RHP Armando Benitez, OF Joe Borchard, Of Reggie Abercrombie

Outlook:The Marlins must rebuild after yet another payroll purge, this one sending the teams's two most popular players - Cabrera, and Willis - packing to Detroit. Florida received six players in return, including top prospects Miller and Maybin. The Marlins hope the 22-year-old Miller is ready to jon a rotation that ranked last in the majors in ERA in 2007 after being ravaged by injuries.

Spring Training:At A Glance
AL East: At A Glance.
NL West: At A Glance

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NL West: At a Glance.




Arizona Diamondbacks:
Manager: Bob Melvin - 4th season
Last Season: 90-72 1st place
Training Site: Tucson, AZ.
Park: Tucson Electric Park
He's Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chad Qualls, INF Chris Burke
He's Outta Here: 1B Tony Clark, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Jose Valverde, OF Jeff DaVanon, INF Alberto Callaspo

Outlook: The Diamondbacks return just about everyone from their surprise 2007 team that had the NL's best record and beat the Cubs in the division series before being sweep by Colorado in the NLCS. They bolstered their rotation greatly by acquiring Haren from Oakland. Brandon Lloyd takes over as closer from Valverde, traded to Houston after leading the majors with 47 saves last season. One of the biggest questions this spring is the recovery of 3B Chad Tracy from microfracture knee surgery. The team does have MArk Reynolds at 3B. Another question is how LHP Randy Johnson, now 44, comes back from another back surgery.

Colorado Rockies:
Manager: Clint Hurdle - 7th season
Last Season: 90-73 2nd place, Wild Card, NL Champions
Training Site: Tucson, AZ.
Park: Hi Corbett Park
He's Here: OF Scott Podsednik, 2B Marcus Giles, 2B Jayson Nix, RHP Kip Wells, RHP Luis Vizcaino
He's Outta: 2B Kaz Matsui, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio, LHP Jeremy Affeldt

Outlook: The NL champion Rockies have just one position up for grabs at spring training, secondbase. They lost Matsui to Houston in free agency. Candidates include former 1st-round draft pick Nix, ex-SS Clint Barmes, corner prospect Ian Stewart, and free agent signee Giles

San Diego Padres:
Manager: Bud Black - 2nd season
Last Season: 89-74 3rd place
Training Site: Peoria, AZ.
Park: Peoria Stadium
He's Here: OF Jim Edmonds, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, LHP Randy Wolf, RHP Mark Prior, INF Robert Fick
He's Outta: OF Milton Bradley, OF Mike Cameron, 2B Marcus Giles, INF Geoff Blum, 3B Morgan Ensberg

Outlook: The Padres have top pitchers, but the big question will be whether their popgun offensive can keep the squad contending after San Diego fell one win short of the playoffs. Unanimous NL CyYoung winner Jake Peavy got a $52 million, 3-year contract extension, the biggest deal in club history. On the flip side, OF Brian Giles is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee, and Edmonds is coming off a subpar season after shoulder and toe surgeries, although he is returning to his native Southern California. Wolf had shoulder surgery, but he's ready to go as opposed to Prior, who won't be ready until mid-to-late May after shoulder surgery.

Los Angels Dodgers:
Manager: Joe Torre - 1st season
Last Season: 82-80 4th place
Training Site: Vero Beach, FL.
Park: Holman Stadium
He's Here: OF Andruw Jones, C Gary Bennett, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Tanyon Sturtze
He's Outta: Manager Grady Little, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Lieberthal, RHP DJ Houlton, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Chin-hui Tsao, LHP David Wells, INF Olmedo Saenz, INF Shea Hillenbrand, INF Mark Sweeney

Outlook: After managing the Yankees to 4 World Series championships during his 12-year tenure, Torre should command everyone's respect. The addition of Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, figures to add much needed power and better defense. The rotation should be improved after getting Japanese star Kuroda and the hoped-for return of RHP Jason Schmidt, who underwent season-ending surgery last June. C Russell Martin became an All-Star last year in his first full big-league season, 1B James Loney displayed star potential after being recalled from the minors June 10th, and young OF Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could follow suit. Kemp, Ethier, and Juan Pierre will compete for the corner outfield spots, and verteran Nomar Garciaparra will battle rookie Andy LaRoche for the 3B job. Otherwise, the Dodgers seem pretty set.

San Francisco Giants:
Manager: Bruce Bochy - 2nd season
Last Season: 71-91 5th place
Training Site: Scottsdale, AZ.
Park: Scottsdale Stadium
He's Here: OF Aaron Rowand, RHP Keiichi Yabu
He's Outta: OF Barry Bonds, 3B Pedro Feliz, 1B Ryan Klesko, RHP Scott Munter, RHP Russ Ortiz

Outlook: The post-Bonds era begins in San Francisco after the team decided not to bring back the home run king for a 16th season. That leaves a big void in the middle of the lineup, but also removes a cloud of controversy that has followed the team in recent years. With Bonds gone, the focus in San Francisco is on pitching and defense.

Spring Traing: At a Glance
AL East: At a Glance.