Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Mets Should Get Santana

Johan Santana is on the trading block and the Mets should do almost anything it takes to get him.
I am almost always opposed to trading talented prospects for high-priced veterans but Santana is a special case.
He is the best pitcher in baseball. And he's only 29. And some team is going to trade for him this year so waiting for him to hit free agency is not an option.
The Mets are reportedly ready to offer a deal centered around Carlos Gomez. The Mets would have to give up one of their top two pitching prospects, Pelfrey or Humber, but they can't afford to give up both because then they'd have no Pedro/El Duque injury insurance.
The Mets would probably have to offer two more prospects in the deal, though I can't imagine who, Kevin Mulvey, Mike Carp, Anderson Hernandez?

Johan Santana would look good in orange and blue

Other options for the Mets include Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Dontrelle Willis. Blanton and Willis have been two of my favorites for a couple years now, but I would rather give up Gomez and 3 others for Santana than just Gomez for one of those three.
The reason being, in a short playoff series Santana provides a huge advantage because he's better than anyone the other team has. That pushes everyone else down, making Pedro (when healthy), Maine and Perez, the 2, 3 and 4 starters, much better and deeper than what almost any other team would have.
I know the danger of trading prospects, but we are not talking about Viktor Zambrano here. We are talking about the best pitcher in baseball.


Monday, November 26, 2007

The Mets Don't Learn

It seems that the Mets are content to spend this offseason acquiring mediocre old players instead of getting better or younger.
First the Mets resigned Moises Alou for $9 million, hoping he can play 100 games.
Then they gave $25 million to Luis Castillo who can't hit and can't run, and made big errors last year when his defense was supposed to help steady the sinking ship.
When they failed to get mediocre offensive catcher Yorvit Torrealba, the Mets instead traded for mediocre catcher Johnny Estrada.
While none of these are terrible moves (especially because we got rid of Mota), together they give me the impression that the Mets are not going to be better next year than they were this year.
And they are going to continue with their maddening refusal to give a young player a chance to play.
If the next move is signing Carlos Silva to fill up the back end of the rotation with a 14-14 record and a 5.00 ERA, I'm going to be furious.


Friday, November 16, 2007

He's Not Just Yorvit, He's Our-Vit

The Mets signed former Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba (yor-VEET tor-EE-all-buh) to a 3-year contract worth $14.4m. There are a few great things about this signing. First, that means no more Paul LoDuca. Second, it saves the Mets a little over what they paid LoDuca last year. Third, it will be a lot of fun to say Yorvit Torrealba over the next three years.
But the downside is the Mets refuse to give Ramon Castro a chance to win the starting job. However, they did keep Castro with a 2-year, $4.6 million deal.
2007 was the first season in which Torrealba played in more than 66 games.
Here are 2007 stats for the three catchers:
Torrealba: 396 AB 8 HR 47 RBI .255 BA .323 OBP .376 SLG .699 OPS
Lo Duca: 445 AB 9 HR 54 RBI .272 BA .311 OBP .378 SLG .689 OPS
Castro: 144 AB 11 HR 31 RBI .285 BA .331 OBP .556 SLG .887 OPS

From those stats you can see that LoDuca and Torrealba are comparable and both are far inferior to Castro, for 2007.

It's clear the Mets think two things about Castro. They think he isn't a good defensive catcher, and they think he can't continue his offensive performance for an entire season.

I'll concede point one only because it's subjective and impossible to prove (you have caught stealing percentages, but you can't judge how someone handles a staff) but I disagree with number 2. The best way to figure out how someone will hit in the future is to look at how he's hit in the past. That is why I think the Mets should have given Castro the starting job. But I will embrace Yorvit and hope he provides steady hitting and good defense behind the plate for the Mets.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Golden Boy

David Wright won a Gold Glove for National League Third Basemen in 2007.
As with many awards that are voted on by writers, this makes no sense. While I love Wright, and think he is a great player, his defense is his weakness.
Wright made 21 errors this year (including a couple key ones during the collapse), more than 8 other qualifying third basemen.
But errors aren't always the best indication of defense because they are subjective and not everyone has an equal number of chances.
Fielding percentage removes the number of chances from the debate, but again Wright finishes 9th.
How about some more sophisticated statistics? Range factor counts the number of plays someone makes, as opposed to those they don't. There Wright improves to 7th. But range factor may be biased against Wright since he plays on a team with a lot of fly ball pitchers.
Let's look at zone rating which determines the number of plays a player makes on balls hit in a certain "zone." Wright finishes 8th in the NL in that category.
Adding that, and my own view of his performance from having seen 90% of the games and the evidence doesn't seem to indicate that Wright was the best defensive third baseman in the NL this year.
I don't want to say who deserved it more because I haven't seen the other guys play (and that's exactly why I'm complaining about the voters), but based on these stats Pedro Feliz and Scott Rolen were definitely more deserving, and Ryan Zimmerman despite 23 errors was even more deserving that Wright.

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