Mets Merized Online » Los Angeles Angels Mon, 28 Jul 2014 03:53:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is Towel Waving Our “Thing”? Mon, 23 Jun 2014 16:30:04 +0000 We are all baseball fans so there is no need to talk about how long the season is.  There are so many little things that happen throughout the course of the season that can change the complexion of the entire thing good or bad.  They could be created by the manager, the players, or even the fans that could energize and entire organization propelling them to greatness (or almost greatness).  I’m not talking about any goats or curses here.

I am sure over the history of baseball there are many instances of things like this, but three more recent have popped into the foreground of my mind.  The Rally Monkey used by the Los Angeles Angels, 9=8 by the Tampa Bay Rays, and the moose antlers and claws used by the Texas Rangers.  Not saying any of these assisted the teams in reaching the World Series, but it could be seen as extra motivation.

Rally Monkey

The Rally Monkey was one of the more annoying times in the 2000′s.  You didn’t have to be a fan of the Angels to see videos of it or hear players or press talking about it.  It was almost as if every time that thing appeared opposing pitchers couldn’t get anyone out usually leading to a onslaught of Angels runs.  The Rally Monkey made it’s first appearance two years before the Angels reached the pinnacle, but could be looked at as something that changed the fortunes of a franchise around.


In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, adopted a phrase that stuck with the team unifying them and bringing them to their first ever World Series.  I have to be honest that I really didn’t understand it until it was explained to me, but 9=8 was born nonetheless.  It signifies that it takes nine players nine innings to be one of the eight playoff teams.  It was done to build unity in the clubhouse and it certainly worked.  There were signs all over the place, shirts worn by players, etc..  When it was all said and done, the Rays reached the World Series against the Phillies.  The phrase didn’t help them win, as they lost four games to one, but it changed them from being the laughing stock of baseball to a contender.  Certainly players still have to perform and the right trades need to be made etc.. but it is hard not to think that something like that changed the complexion of the franchise forever.


The third instance that came to mind is the “Claw and Antlers” used by the Texas Rangers in 2010.  The claw would signify that a player did something that was positive on offense.  Could be stretching a single into a double or really anything that is seen as positive obviously.  The antlers portion would be speed related.  I am pretty sure I don’t need to describe what that means.  Both gestures unified a team and brought them into the postseason for the first time in over a decade and ended with them in the World Series.  It ended in a non-Cinderella kind of way like the Rays, but the Rangers were back on top in the American League and have been serious contenders ever since.

Recently, our beloved New York Mets adopted a towel wave in the dugout after every hit.  Something had to be done with a team that has an anemic offense.  Curtis Granderson mentions that he remembers the Chicago Bulls waving a towel all the time during their three-peat of NBA Championships.

“We started thinking about it, and it popped right from my memory” Granderson said “It just popped in my head, and we’ll do that when we get a hit.  We started doing it and then a couple other guys did it and now we just needed the guy on base to do it back.  Then it got a little bigger.  Now we’ve seen the guys in the bullpen doing it, and some of the fans in the stands are doing it” he told reporters.

Now I am certainly not saying this is going to propel the Mets to the World Series, but could this be one of those things we look back on in a year or two and say “Remember how poorly things were going and then towel waving began” as we embrace watching a parade down the “Canyon of Heroes”?


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MMO Game Recap: Angels 14, Mets 2 Sun, 13 Apr 2014 22:58:01 +0000 albert pujols raul ibanez

The New York Mets were trounced by the Los Angeles Angels by the score of 14-2 on Sunday in a 17 hit barrage.

Bartolo Colon started for the Mets and wasn’t fooling anyone as the Angels punished him for nine earned runs on 11 hits including four homeruns (Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Raul Ibanez and Hank Conger) and three doubles. Colon walked two batters and was done after five innings. He saw his ERA climb from 2.40 coming into the game to 6.00 for the season.

Scott Rice, Jeurys Familia and John Lannan worked an inning each and faltered out of the bullpen allowing a combined six hits, four walks, two wild pitches. Lannan was charged with three runs, and Rice gave up a pair.

Juan Lagares had two more hits and a run scored to raise his average to .319 for the season. But the Mets had nothing else doing offensively and struck out eleven times in the game although the home plate ump didn’t help matters.

David Wright and Daniel Murphy were both ejected in the seventh by plate umpire Toby Basner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It was Wright’s fourth career ejection.

The Angels battered Mets pitching for eleven extra-base hits in the game including five home runs, five doubles and one triple.

This was brutal to watch my friends…

Note: During the game, the Mets announced they traded minor-league catcher Blake Forsythe to the Oakland Athletics for future considerations. Forsythe hit .192 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 307 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton last season.

Up Next: The Mets now head to Arizona for a three game set with the D’backs beginning on Monday. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) will go for the Mets in an 9:40 PM start.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Angels 5, Mets 4 Sat, 12 Apr 2014 06:58:17 +0000 josh satin

Ugh… Jeurys Familia working in his third inning of relief, hit Hank Conger with the bases loaded in the 11th inning to give the Los Angeles Angels a 5-4 victory over the Mets in the series opener on Friday night.

Here’s the skinny…

Travis d’Arnaud hit his first home run of the season to pull the Mets to a 2-2 tie. He last homered 110 at-bats ago…

Josh Satin started at first base and ripped a two-run double to give Mets a 4-2 lead at the time…

In his third start of the season, Dillon Gee lasted just 5.2 innings, walked four, allowed six hits including a pair of homers and failed to hold a two-run lead. I’ve said this twice before during Gee’s last two starts… Gee is a solid pitcher, but his effectiveness vanishes the third time through a lineup… Why can’t Terry get that through his thick skull?

Though I was shocked to see him after throwing two innings the night before, Carlos Torres was amazing again getting four big outs, but than Collins used three more relievers to pitch just one inning – the eighth…

Enter Familia who then had to carry the full load from the ninth inning on… He was done in by his wildness after his first two tiring innings which saw him throw one 96-98 mph fastball after another… This kid was throwing gas, but also looked gassed when he came out for the 11th inning…


Exactly what purpose does John Lannan serve in our bullpen? Someone please remind me…

Anyway, Jon Niese makes his second start of the season on Saturday and opposes Jered Weaver for the Angels in a 9:05 PM start.

I’m dead tired… Good night, folks…

Presented By Diehards

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: The Possible Granderson Calls Edition Wed, 11 Dec 2013 17:28:21 +0000 granderson

Yes I know Opening Day is about three months away yet I found myself daydreaming during the Curtis Granderson introductory press conference yesterday. Who/what could I be daydreaming about you may ask?

Was it Jennifer Love Hewitt ? No.

Was it Jessica Alba in a string bikini ? Nope .

Could it be about the ’71 Dodge Demon 340 that I lusted over since I was 13 ? Nuh-uh.

Then what could it be that I was fantasizing about while our newest outfielder was talking about all the good things he heard about the Mets faithful (a mixture of good old-fashioned playing to the fan base with a pinch of brown-nosing thrown in for good measure). Try possible enthusiastic calls by either Howie Rose or Gary Cohen when The “Grandy Man” hits a game changing or game winning homerun or makes a stellar catch in the outfield.

So here are the Top 5 calls for Curtis Granderson when does something amazin for the Mets.


2. “IT’S A GRANDER- SON!!!!!”




But then after I stopped fantasizing I realized that our broadcasters are not named John Sterling and realized that this exercise was a moot point…

And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:

Utility infielder from the ’03 season, Jay Bell is 49 (1965).

Mets outfielder from the ’00 season, Derek Bell is 45 (1968).

Other transactions of note includes:

The New York Mets traded utility infielder,  Felix Mantilla to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher, Tracy Stallard, third baseman, Pumpsie Green and utility infielder, Al Moran on December 11, 1962.

The New York Mets traded utility infielder, Ted Martinez to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder,  Mike Vail and utility infielder, Jack Heidemann on December 11, 1974.

The New York Mets released pitcher,  Bob Apodaca on December 11, 1979.

The New York Mets traded gold glove second baseman, Doug Flynn and middle reliever,  Danny Boitano to the Texas Rangers for pitcher,  Jim Kern on December 11, 1981.

The New York Mets traded shortstop, Frank Taveras to the Montreal Expos for pitching prospect,  Steve Ratzer on December 11, 1981.

The New York Mets traded outfielders, Kevin Mitchell, Stan Jefferson and former first round draft pick, Shawn Abner to the San Diego Padres for outfielder,Kevin McReynolds, pitcher, Gene Walter and minor league infielder,  Adam Ging on December 11, 1986.

The New York Mets traded shortstop,  Rafael Santana and minor league pitcher, Victor Garcia to the New York Yankees for reserve outfielders, Phil Lombardi, Darren Reed and minor league pitcher,  Steve Frey on December 11, 1987.

The New York Mets traded utility infielder,  Jeff Gardner to the San Diego Padres for pitcher,  Steve Rosenberg on December 11, 1991.Rosenberg never appeared is a game for as a Met.

The New York Mets signed 2 free agent pitchers, Steve Trachsel of the Toronto Blue Jays and Kevin Appier of the Oakland Athletics on December 11, 2000. I hated those signings at the time and I still dislike them today because this was when the Mets ownership and front office announced that the were not going to spend the money on a certain shortstop/third baseman who happens to be facing a 200 game suspension for PED use and instead gave us 2 mediocre pitchers.

The New York Mets signed free agent outfielder, Tsuyoshi Shinjo on December 11, 2000.

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder,  Bubba Trammell to the San Diego Padres for middle reliever, Donne Wall on December 11, 2000.

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder,  Alex Escobar, middle reliever, Jerrod Riggan, reserve outfielder, Matt Lawton, pitching prospect,Billy Traber and minor league first baseman,  Earl Snyder to the Cleveland Indians for  second baseman, Roberto Alomar, pitcher, Mike Bacsik and Danny Peoples on December 11, 2001. This trade should have been the steal of the century – intead it turned out to be one of the worst Mets trades ever !

The Los Angeles Angels signed spot starter/middle relievers,  Darren Oliver of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 11, 2006. I like most Mets fans wished that the Mets made an attept to re-sign him.

The New York Mets traded starting pitcher,  Aaron Heilman, reserve outfielder, Endy Chavez, and middle relievers Joe Smith, Jason Vargas,along with  minor league first baseman,Mike Carp, pitching prospect, Maikel Cleto and minor league outfielder, Ezequiel Carrera to the Seattle Mariners for relievers, Sean Green, J. J. Putz and reserve outfielders, Jeremy Reed on December 11, 2008.

The Mets drafted middle reliever, Darren O’Day from the Los Angeles Angels  on December 11, 2008.

One year to the day, the Chicago White Sox signed set up man, J. J. Putz of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 11, 2009. Putz should have been part of a completely overhauled bullpen in ’09 but by mid-season he sustained a shoulder injury. Needless to say a firestorm of controversy Putz claimed the Mets tried to steer him away from surgery and pitch through the injury !

The Houston Astros signed middle reliever, Jon Switzer of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 11, 2009.

There were reported sightings of Mo Vaughn in Orlando yesterday- but it turned out to be Shamu at SeaWorld!!!!

shamu whale

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In Baseball You Get What You Pay For? Not Really… Thu, 17 Oct 2013 15:33:16 +0000 Albert-Pujols

I was having an email discussion with one of my writers this morning about the virtues of WAR (Wins Above Replacement). It’s not a perfect stat by any means, but most of the time it gives you a fair indication of how good or bad a player performs overall.

I was kind of curious after our discussion and decided to do some research over at FanGraphs which has become one of my favorite haunts lately. In addition to some great reading backed with solid analysis, you can find numbers and rankings on just about anything you could possibly want.

But for this post, I’m going to present some research on WAR (I’m sure some of you will damn me for this) and also corresponding payrolls.

The following are the Top 10 Teams in Offensive WAR for the 2013 season:

  1. Boston Red Sox* – 36.6
  2. Tampa Bay Rays* – 30.3
  3. Oakland Athletics* – 27.6
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers* – 27.5
  5. Baltimore Orioles – 26.6
  6. Detroit Tigers* – 26.5
  7. Los Angeles Angels – 26.4
  8. San Francisco Giants – 26.3
  9. Atlanta Braves* – 25.3
  10. Cincinnati Reds* – 24.4

* Seven of the ten teams made the post season.

Only four of the top ten teams in Pitching WAR made the post season in 2013. (Surprising, huh?)

Now here are the Top 10 Teams in 2013 Payroll:

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers** – $220,395,196
  2. New York Yankees  - $203,445,586
  3. Philadelphia Phillies – $170,760,689
  4. Detroit Tigers** – $148,414,500
  5. Boston Red Sox** – $140,657,500
  6. San Francisco Giants – $136,042,112
  7. Los Angeles Angels – $127,896,250
  8. Chicago White Sox – $119,573,277
  9. Toronto Blue Jays  - $117,035,100
  10. Washington Nationals  - $114,194,270

** Three of the ten teams made the post season.

It’s amazing to see low revenue teams with bottom tier payrolls ranking in the top ten in offensive production. Tampa Bay and Oakland have been doing this for years now, with the Rays checking in with a $58 million payroll and the A’s residing in the $60 million area code. Both of them were in the bottom four with only the Marlins and Astros having spent less.

Of course Billy Beane has gotten plenty of notoriety for what he’s done and still doing in the Bay Area, but one general manager you hear or read so little about is the Rays’ Andrew Friedman.

Friedman doesn’t have any screenplays being written about him, but should be equally recognized for how he manages to keep the Rays in contention year in and year out in the toughest division in baseball – the American League East.

The Houston, Texas native initially started out as the Director of Baseball Development for the Rays from 2004 to 2005, before being promoted to general manager and eventually vice president as well. Friedman took over a team that lost 101 games in 2006 and were in the World Series two seasons later.

In the six years spanning 2008-2013, the Rays have posted a 550 – 423 record with a .563 winning percentage while making four post season appearances. It could have been five post season appearances, but despite winning 90 games in 2012, they were eliminated on the last day of the season.

I hear the word “genius” thrown about way too often in describing our general manager as well as others. But lets call a spade a spade here, and admit the real star among all general managers is Andrew Friedman – and what he’s done with the few financial resources he’s been given to work with, has been nothing short of genius and spectacular.

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Quantum Physics, Mets Fans, And Winning Sat, 05 Oct 2013 21:03:33 +0000 einstein-1

Quantum physics states that everything is made up of energy—simply stated, all physical reality is energy which is in constant motion. The chair you are sitting on and the cup you are drinking out of can be broken down to it’s simplest form—energy. Our thoughts are no different. They also give off energy. Scientists are actually able to measure the frequency of our thoughts and have found that positive thoughts give off more energy than negative thoughts.

Quantum physics is beginning to teach us that our thoughts are very powerful and actually can affect what happens to us in the future. The power of the mind truly is great. It has been proven that with focused and concentrated thought, you can direct yourself to a desired outcome. It’s what leads to the sayings that “anything is possible” or “the body can achieve what the mind perceives.”

The problem is, most people don’t grasp these concepts—either that, or they don’t want to believe them. The concept is quite simple—our thoughts transform into words, our words put a stamp of approval on our thoughts advising the universe this is what we want, and everything gets set in motion. The stronger your belief, the more likely it is to happen. In other words, thoughts become things.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right. -Henry Ford

So what does this have to do with the New York Mets, it’s fan base, and winning?

Isn’t it obvious?

The New York Mets fan base doesn’t want to believe this, but according to quantum physics, the current team situation (losing) has all been brought on by ourselves.

A person who sets his or her mind on the dark side of life, who lives over and over the misfortunes and disappointments of the past, prays for similar misfortunes and disappointments in the future. If you will see nothing but ill luck in the future, you are praying for such ill luck and will surely get it. -Prentice Mulford

The fans have to tip the scales back into the positive mind-set when it comes to the Mets. We give twice as much energy to the negative aspects of any given player, game, or season, as we give to the positive aspects.

We point our fingers at the ownership, at the General Manager, the coaches, and the players—but as fans we are abandoning this team. There were nights at Citi Field where I swear there were more fans sitting in Shea Stadium on the day I played in the 1999 Knickerbocker Conference Championship game—that’s sad. Viewership of Mets games is at an all-time low. The fans have to take some ownership of the problem, and stop pointing fingers.

If we stop going to games and stop viewing on television where is the team going to get the money to bring in quality players? Unless the Wilpons have a money tree in their back yard, we are only contributing to the problems.

The fan base has come to expect this team to lose, so it loses. Science has proven that this mindset will ultimately lead to it playing out this way since thoughts have frequencies. It explains why teams with miserable and negative fan bases tend to turn out teams with terrible records every year. In other words, if 51% of the fan base can believe this team can win, they will.

When you focus on lack and scarcity and what you don’t have, you fuss about it with your family, you discuss it with your friends, you tell your children that you don’t have enough – We don’t have enough for that, we can’t afford that – then you’ll never be able to afford it, because you begin to attract more of what you don’t have. If you want abundance, if you want prosperity, then focus on abundance. Focus on prosperity. -Lisa Nichols

Let’s stop talking to each other about what the Mets don’t have and start focusing on what they do have. Let’s not talk about all the lows and start focusing on the highs. As fans, let’s start with a new positive attitude this offseason and focus on winning. It’s not always about who is on your roster as the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Angels proved this year.

It’s time to tip the scales. It’s time to bring winning back to Queens. It all starts with us…the fans.

ya gotta believe button

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Check Out Last Year’s Off-Season Grades On Jays, Red Sox, Angels Fri, 04 Oct 2013 16:39:17 +0000 One of our readers, Rob Aguilar, sent me a link to February’s Off-Season Report Cards by the Sporting News. His point, as he indicated in his email, was that nobody was gloating over the Red Sox model before this past season began. Anyway, it’s funny looking back and reading these three particular capsules in hindsight.


Toronto Blue Jays: A

When general manager Alex Anthopoulos finally made his move, he didn’t mess around. The impact was felt all the way to Las Vegas. When Anthopoulos convinced the Miami Marlins to make their salary dump in Canada, the Blue Jays became favorites to win the World Series.

What a dump it was, with the Blue Jays acquiring one of the game’s top shortstops in Jose Reyes, two proven starters in Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, and speedy second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. The deal was expensive—the Blue Jays took on nearly $150 million—but Rogers Communication can afford it.

Dealing for R.A. Dickey put the odds even more in the Blue Jays’ favor. I would have added a plus to their grade if Anthopoulos hadn’t given cheater Melky Cabrera a $10 million raise.

josh hamilton

Los Angeles Angels: A

Having a local TV deal that brings in $150 million a year sure is nice. It allowed owner Arte Moreno to nab the top player on the free-agent market for the second consecutive year. Josh Hamilton, armed with a five-year, $125 million contract, should fit nicely hitting cleanup behind Albert Pujols.

The Angels also brought in a new closer, Ryan Madson, and remade the bottom of their rotation by acquiring Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton and the underrated Jason Vargas.

stephen drew walkoff

Boston Red Sox: C

No team overpaid more free agents. The Red Sox overextended for a shortstop, Stephen Drew, one starter, Ryan Dempster, two outfielders, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, and a backup catcher, David Ross. Only the Mike Napoli signing looks reasonable, and they needed nearly all winter to complete that.

There is good news, though. The six signings combined will cost around $100 million, or about $40 million less than what they threw at Carl Crawford two offseasons ago. The Red Sox fared better on the trade front, acquiring All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates.

Based on what players are saying, Boston’s best move was hiring John Farrell to replace Bobby Valentine as manager. Of course, most players would have considered a statue an upgrade over Valentine.

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Mets Trade Collin Cowgill To Angels For Kyle Johnson Tue, 25 Jun 2013 22:53:53 +0000 collin cowgillThe Mets have traded Collin Cowgill to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league right fielder Kyle Johnson.

Johnson, 23, was batting .310 with with a .414 on base and had 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 30 RBI in 67 games for Single-A Burlington. He also had 30 stolen bases.

The right-handed hitting outfielder was drafted in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft from Washington State University. He will be assigned to Low-A Savannah.

Cowgill, 27, was designated for assignment after batting .173/.189/.327 in 53 plate appearances for the Mets this season.

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Everything’s Coming Up Apples… Thu, 20 Jun 2013 12:00:30 +0000 So all of a sudden these strangely colored orbs are appearing all over our great city.

Have you come across any of them?

Most of you have probably seen this one, which stands outside the Mets Shop at Citi Field, but what about all the others?

Here’s a map of where all these forbidden fruits can be located… And you can check out the many Met fans who are submitting pics of these Apple Sightings by searching the hashtag #ASGApples on Twitter. Apples Parade 1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Atlanta Braves*
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Chicago White Sox
7. Cincinnati Reds
8. Cleveland Indians
9. Colorado Rockies
10. Detroit Tigers
11. Houston Astros*
12. Kansas City Royals*
13. Los Angeles Angels
14. Los Angeles Dodgers
15. Miami Marlins*
16. Milwaukee Brewers
17. Minnesota Twins
18. New York Mets*
19. New York Yankees
20. Oakland Athletics
21. Philadelphia Phillies
22. Pittsburgh Pirates
23. San Diego Padres
24. San Francisco Giants
25. Seattle Mariners
26. St. Louis Cardinals
27. Tampa Bay Rays*
28. Texas Rangers
29. Toronto Blue Jays
30. Washington Nationals
31. MLB All-Star Game
32. American League*
33. National League*
34. Brooklyn Dodgers
35. New York Giants
Modell’s: 1293 Broadway @ 34th Street
TBS: Time Warner Center – Columbus Circle
Chelsea Market: 75 9th Avenue btwn 15th and 16th Street
Party City: 223 West 34th Street btwn 7th and 8th Avenues
Staybridge Suites: 340 West 40th Street btwn 8th and 9th Avenues
Toys “R” Us: 1514 Broadway @ 44th Street
Modell’s: 607 Sixth Avenue @ 18th Street
Topps: 1 Whitehall Street @ Bridge Street
World Financial Center: 200 Liberty Street @ West Street
Duane Reade: 1657 Broadway btwn 51st and 52nd Streets
Westin: 212 East 42nd Street btwn 2nd and 3rd Avenues
FOX: 1211 Avenue of Americas btwn 47th and 48th Streets
Bed Bath and Beyond: 410 East 61st Street @ 1st Avenue
T-Mobile: 322 West 125th Street @ 8th Avenue
Grace Building: West 43rd Street @ 6th Avenue
Office of the Commissioner: 245 Park Avenue @ 46th Street
Best Buy: 1 Union Square South @ 14th Street
SNY: 75 Rockefeller Center btwn 5th and 6th Avenues
Modell’s: 234 West 42nd Street btwn 7th and 8th Avenues
Modell’s: 795 Columbus Ave. @ 100th Street
Party City: 38 West 14th Street btwn 5th and 6th Avenues
Niketown: 6 East 57th St btwn Madison and 5th Avenues
Sony: 550 Madison Ave btwn 55th and 56th Streets
Tommy Bahama: 551 5th Ave @ 45th Street
Nintendo: 10 Rockefeller Plaza @ 48th Street
Buy Buy Baby: 270 7th Ave btwn 26th and 25th Streets
120 Park Avenue @ 42nd Street
Zuccotti Park: 1 Liberty Plaza btwn Broadway & Church Street
Intercontinental: 111 East 48th Street @ Lexington Avenue
Intrepid Museum: 1 Intrepid Square @ West 46th Street
Citi Field: 123-01 Roosevelt Ave @ 126th Street
NY Public Library: 11 West 40th Street @ 5th Avenue
NY Public Library: 11 West 40th Street @ 5th Avenue
Grand Central Terminal @ 42nd Street
Grand Central Terminal @ 42nd Street
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Angels And Marlins Pace Winter Meetings. Thu, 15 Dec 2011 13:25:54 +0000

Each year, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings are the best time for teams, executives, and agents to make deals, whether they’re free agent signings or player trades. After the busy week finishes amongst some of the most powerful figures in professional baseball, a lot of the most sought after free agents have either been re-signed to their original team, or find a new home for the next few years. This year at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, two teams made bigger splashes than the others: the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I think that the biggest shock for not only the Winter Meetings, but for the entire off-season thus far is the willingness of the Miami Marlins front office to open their pockets and court the biggest free agents of the winter. The organization made three major signings, agreeing to terms with closer Heath Bell (3-years/$27 million), shortstop Jose Reyes (6-years/ $106 million), and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (4-years/ $58 million). In a span of about a week, the Marlins spent $191 million. That’s a heck of a lot of money, considering the organization has never been known to be a big spender and sells off most of their old talent once they’ve become too expensive.

The payroll in Miami will be jumping to over $100 million for the first time in the team’s history, quite a large increase from the 2011 payroll of $57 million. So, how in the world can the Marlins afford these top tier free agents all of a sudden? Well, as most of you know, they will be opening up a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium right in downtown Miami. Tim Kurkjian reported on ESPN this week that the Marlins are not only getting out of one of the worst leases in the MLB with the opening of their new stadium, but they are projecting to sell a lot of tickets this year and beyond, creating a new revenue level they’ve never been able to achieve before. So, instead of waiting until they reach that point to spend money on free agents, they have decided to do so now, creating more excitement to the team. The one thing that makes me suspicious is that none of these contracts includes no trade clauses, and when they were courting Albert Pujols, they wouldn’t bend on their stance. In my eyes, it is because of their past fire sales once they won their two World Series titles in 1997 and 2003. They have successfully created more excitement; now it will be a question as to whether it puts people in the seats and if these big time free agents stay in Miami for the length of their contract.

The other team that made a big splash at the end of the Winter Meetings was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, by singing first baseman Albert Pujols (10-years/ $254 million) and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (5-years/$77.5 million). LA was rumored to be linked with Wilson for most of the winter, mostly because he is originally from Southern California. Before Angels GM Jerry DiPoto swooped in and signed Wilson, his agent proclaimed that his pitcher was less than an hour away from signing with the Marlins…imagine if they signed him too?

Overall, I think that Wilson fits in nicely with the Angels, and partnering up with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana, they form one of the scariest pitching rotations in the league. The bigger surprise was the organization’s ability to steal Albert Pujols from re-signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. There were some whispers going on around the league that Pujols wasn’t too happy with St. Louis for a number of reasons, and it seemed to be enough of a problem not to re-sign with the team that he won three MVPs, two World Series titles, and spent 11 seasons with. So, the new Angels first baseman will be in SoCal for the next decade, signing the second most lucrative contract in MLB history. LA’s payroll will be projected at $140 million for 2012, much higher than the front office anticipated, but owner Arte Moreno felt that signing these players and spending $331.5 million this off-season would pay dividends.

The next step is to actually play…these signings are great, but like the Red Sox learned last year, you don’t win championships on paper, but on the field. It will be an interesting 2012, that’s for sure!

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Joel Pineiro To Angels Thu, 21 Jan 2010 03:24:50 +0000 Free Agent sinker-baller Joel Pineiro, one of the top free agent pitchers left on the market, is available no more. Pineiro has agreed in principle to a $16 million/2 year deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Pineiro started his career with Seattle, as a starter, before shifting to a bullpen role with mixed results. He made his way to the Cardinals in 2007, and as many down-on-their-luck pitchers do when they come to a Dave Duncan team, they improve. Pineiro finished 15-12 with a .5 HR/9 innings ratio, and 3.49 ERA.

Pineiro drew interest from other teams, most notably the Brewers, Mets, and Dodgers. He recorded two dominating compelete game shutouts against the Mets, including a gem in the final week of the 2007 collapse, and a 2-hitter this season, that would have been a no-hitter had Luis Castillo not hit a single to CF, and Jeremy Reed not get a pinch-hit in the 9th. The 2009 gem only took 100 pitches.

With the impending signing of Pineiro, it appears that Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn and Jon Garland may be the best pitchers left.

Till Next Time

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Four Way Trade Involving The Mets Fell Through Mon, 21 Dec 2009 17:33:19 +0000’s Jayson Stark is reporting [hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors] that at the winter meetings earlier this month, the New York Mets were involved in a four team trade proposal with The Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels.

Had the deal of went through here is how things would have panned out:

New York Mets Trade: Luis Castillo
Tampa Bay Rays Trade: Pat Burrell
Chicago Cubs Trade: Milton Bradley
Los Angeles Angels Trade: Gary Matthews Jr.

New York Mets Receive: Gary Matthews Jr.
Tampa Bay Rays Receive: Milton Bradley
Chicago Cubs Receive: Luis Castillo
Los Angeles Angels Receive (Presumably): Pat Burrell

However, as Stark points out the deal fell threw for an unknown reason. I’m merely speculating here, but when dealing with such large and huge contracts it probably came down to money.

Last season with the Angels, Matthews hit .250 with only four home runs and 50 RBIs in 316 at-bats. Those numbers are rather unimpressive to say the least and to be honest I think the Mets are better off holding onto Castillo.

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