Mets Merized Online » Manny Ramirez Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:46:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MLB: Drug Dealers Welcome Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:06:19 +0000 bosch 60 minutes

Last night, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Anthony Bosch, founder of former South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis.

During the interview (which I admittedly chose not to watch), I have read that Bosch admitted to injecting Rodriguez with PED, an allegation that conveniently came to fruition after Major League Baseball apparently took over paying for Bosch’s legal fees.

Now, I want to stop right there.

Put your anger toward Alex Rodriguez to the side. He’s a baseball player, a very unlikable baseball player who also happens to play for a team many people reading this despise.

But Anthony Bosch is a drug dealer. This is an undisputed fact. He didn’t just deal drugs to Alex Rodriguez or the other few names who were suspended last season. According to the same whistle blower Porter Fischer – Bosch was working with athletes from the NBA, NCAA, Tennis, MMA, boxing, soccer to name a few. He wasn’t MLB’s problem – he was a problem for every major athletic organization in this country – and Major League Baseball is now supporting him.

Let that sink in for just a second. This isn’t the first time Bosch’s name came up with regards to PED. In 2009, his father, Pedro Bosch was named as a supplier to the then recently suspended Manny Ramirez.

So Major League Baseball’s idea to clean up the sport and stop their players from taking banned substances is NOT to help authorities go after those SUPPLYING the drugs to their players – it’s to go after the players using the drugs in an attempt to scare everybody else from ever trying it.

You know who you aren’t scaring?

Drug dealers.


Because you’re paying their legal fees.

The next drug dealer that gets caught isn’t going to go down, they are going to turn over. They are the problem in real life, outside the scope of Major League Baseball.

When you’re trying to clean up a drug problem, explain to me how it makes sense to go after the user and not the dealer?

In what warped universe am I supposed to listen to a drug dealer, a slimy slithering (you like that?) drug dealer and think “he must be telling the truth!”

Now let’s get back to Rodriguez.

To our knowledge, he has failed one test for banned PED substances and that was during the 2003 survey test.

So this leads me to my next point. If Major League Baseball wants me the avid baseball fan to believe they are cleaning up the game with their great drug testing program – then you cannot at the same time be going after a guy who DIDN’T FAIL A TEST!


Because if you’re telling me Rodriguez was taking a banned substance, then you’re simultaneously telling me your testing program DOES NOT WORK!

This entire case to me, sums up what is wrong with the sport of baseball as far up as Bud Selig and as far down as the writers who vote on the Hall of Fame candidacy.

If Major League Baseball has the right to ASSUME a player is guilty and go to great lengths (somewhat illegal lengths) to prove it, then how can we hold even the writers accountable for ASSUMING a player like say Mike Piazza took PED when there is no actual evidence to support it?

The last point I will make it to the MLB Players Union. You know, for years I have heard that they have the strongest union in the country if not the world. Where are they right now? If you want players like Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell for example to get the respect they deserve – then where is the union to stand up and tell the public and the writers who vote that assuming guilt with no evidence is not how we fix this problem?

Where is the union while one of their members is being subject to a witch hunt? Where is the union to stand up and point to the owners and the Commissioner for funding a drug dealer in an effort to rid the game of 1 baseball player?

This isn’t about whether Rodriguez is innocent or not – it’s about the great lengths Major League Baseball is taking in an effort to rid the game of a player, not rid the world of a drug dealer. If Rodriguez is guilty, the correct process should be in place to ensure he is found guilty. The word of a drug dealer is not or should not be the “correct process.”

Baseball wants us to assume players like Biggio, Piazza, Bagwell and now Rodriguez are guilty. If we assume former players were guilty with no evidence – it makes the entire PED problem of the past fall squarely on their shoulders – rather than sharing it between them, the league, the writers and yes, even us fans.

If we assume Rodriguez is currently guilty without credible evidence, it assumes that a person’s rights as a citizen of this country do not exist while in the confines of being a baseball player.

And you know what happens when you assume…don’t you Bud?


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Death. Taxes. Beltran. Sat, 12 Oct 2013 17:21:03 +0000 carlos beltran cards dodgers

Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!

Some people live for the big game.  Joe Montana saved his best efforts for the many NFC Championship Games and Super Bowls he won.  Michael Jordan was excellent at sinking clutch shots and the spirits of opposing teams in his six NBA Finals victories.  (I’m a Utah Jazz fan.  I should know.)  And then there’s one Carlos Ivan Beltran.

Carlos Beltran has never been a player who has sought the spotlight.  But come October, the spotlight has always found him.  And how could it not?  After all, he may just be the best postseason baseball player in history.

On Friday night (and early Saturday morning), Beltran provided all the offense for the Cardinals and prevented the Dodgers from producing some offense of their own.  In the third inning, Beltran doubled above the outstretched glove of Andre Ethier to plate the tying runs.  The game was still tied when Mark Ellis hit a one-out triple for the Dodgers in the tenth inning.  But Carlos Beltran caught Michael Young‘s shallow fly ball and fired a perfect throw to catcher Yadier Molina to nail Ellis at the plate.  Beltran kept the game tied in the 10th.  He untied it in the 13th.

With two men on and one out, Beltran line a Kenley Jansen offering down the right field line to score the winning run for the Cardinals – a hit that would have scored both base runners had the first run not ended the game.

That’s not the first time Beltran has driven in every run his team scored in a postseason game.  It’s actually the fourth time, and the second time he’s done it in a victory.   Beltran’s two-run homer in Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS gave the Mets all the runs they would need in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals.  (Without it, the Mets might never have made it to a Game 7.)  Beltran also drove in the only run scored by St. Louis in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS , a 2-1 loss to Washington.  In addition, Beltran homered and drove in all three runs for the Cards in their 5-3 defeat against Pittsburgh in Game 3 of this year’s division series.

Hey, someone’s got to pick up the slack when his teammates aren’t doing their part.  And who better to do that than Carlos Beltran?

Let’s look at Beltran’s career numbers in the postseason, or rather, let’s marvel at them.

Three is a magic number.  Yes, it is.  It's a magic number.

Three is a magic number. Yes, it is. It’s a magic number.

Beltran turned in a postseason performance for the ages with the Astros in 2004, batting .435 with 11 extra-base hits (eight homers, three doubles), 14 RBI, 21 runs scored and six stolen bases in 12 games.  He reached base a whopping 30 times in those dozen contests and recorded a 1.557 OPS – a number that looks like a typo if we weren’t talking about Carlos Beltran.

In 2006, Beltran continued to rake the ball in the postseason.  Beltran was held without a hit in his first two playoff games with the Mets, but still reached base four times in the dual victories over the Dodgers.  After his two oh-fers, Beltran batted .323 over the Mets’ next eight playoff games, collecting three homers and five RBI.  He also continued to score better than one run per game, as he crossed the plate nine times in those eight games.  And once again, his OPS remained at an otherworldly level, as Beltran registered an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.062 in those final eight games.

After a five-year playoff absence (which surely made opposing pitchers quite happy), Beltran returned to the playoffs in 2012 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.  What did he do in 12 postseason games with the Redbirds?  He absolutely raked it.  Beltran batted .357 with nine extra-base hits (six doubles, three homers), six RBI and eight runs scored.  He also reached base 22 times in the 12 games and had a 1.154 OPS.  And lest ye forget, in the fifth and deciding game of the division series, Beltran started the pivotal ninth inning rally against the Nats with a double and scored when Daniel Descalso hit a game-tying two-run single.  That leadoff two-base hit in the ninth was the fifth time Beltran reached base in the game.

That brings us to this year.  Fourth verse, same as the first (and second … and third).  In six games versus the Pirates and Dodgers, Beltran has reached base nine times and driven in nine runs, including all three runs in Friday’s Game 1 victory over Los Angeles.  He has also made excellent contact in this year’s postseason, striking out just two times in 27 plate appearances.

To sum it all up, Beltran is batting .345 in 40 career postseason games.  He has reached base an incredible 80 times in those 40 games and has 28 extra-base hits, including 16 home runs.  His .750 slugging percentage is the third-highest mark in postseason history and his 1.199 career OPS ranks fifth.  Only seven players have hit more postseason home runs than Beltran, but all seven (Manny Ramirez, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Albert Pujols, Jim Thome) needed at least 267 postseason plate appearances to show off their prodigious power.  Beltran has come to the plate a mere 178 times.  And just think, Beltran has never gotten the opportunity to add to those tremendous postseason numbers in a World Series game.  But that might change this season.  And Beltran might have a lot to do with it.

There are very few sure things in life.  One is death, as it will come for all of us eventually.  Another is taxes, as even Jerry Koosman and Pete Rose couldn’t evade the IRS.  But if there can be only one other certainty in life, it has to be that Carlos Beltran will turn the postseason into a one-man wrecking crew.  He’s not perfect (who put that Crazy Glue on his bat before Wainwright’s 0-2 curveball?), but he’s as close to being perfect on the October stage as any player in baseball history.

Death.  Taxes.  Beltran.  Is there anything more certain in life?

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David Wright Nominated For Hank Aaron Award Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:52:11 +0000 david wright

The New York Mets, Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media today announced that David Wright was named the club’s nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.  Fans can vote exclusively online at and

Wright, who was named to his seventh All-Star team (fifth as starter), led the Mets with a .307 batting average.  The third baseman hit 18 home runs with 58 runs batted in, despite missing six weeks with a right hamstring injury.  Wright homered in three straight games twice, and also passed Mike Piazza to move in to second on the Mets all-time home run list with 222. On June 23rd, Wright collected four extra base hits (two doubles, one triple and one home run) to tie the franchise record. Wright was named the fourth captain in club history by his teammates in March.

For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.  These Hall of Famers – who combined for 15,581 hits, 6,902 RBI and 1,334 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.

Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.

“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

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Trade Ideas: Marlon Byrd for Joe Nathan Mon, 29 Jul 2013 21:00:05 +0000 byrd hrAh, the trading deadline; my favorite time of year. It’s the midseason plot point where words like “blockbuster” are thrown around like clothes in a dryer and can change the fate of any team.

I don’t think a blockbuster is in the Mets’ near future. I do believe there are trades that can be made if Sandy Alderson decides to lift his backside from his chair and pull his hands out.

One idea I’ve been pondering is trading Marlon Byrd for Texas Rangers reliever Joe Nathan.nathan

Nathan, 38, has been reported on the trade block for the last few days now. In 44 games for the Rangers this season, he’s 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 44 strike outs and 11 walks.

It’s also been reported that the Rangers are looking for another right-handed power bat in the lineup. That’s been made all too obvious by their recent admissions that they would actually play Manny Ramirez. I’d like to think that Byrd is a step up for the Rangers from Ramirez.

Byrd also has some experience playing in Texas. He spent some of his best years there, including a career-best, 20-home-run-89-RBI season. Byrd hit .283 that year, which is right around the average he’s at now. The Rangers are familiar with Byrd. I would think they would rather plug him in than a deteriorating Ramirez. It’s a low-risk acquisition that also allows them to not have to eat up what remains of Alex Rios’ seven-year, $69.835 million contract, a player they also considered pursuing according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Heyman also mentioned that the Rangers were looking at Byrd as a backup plan if a Rios deal fell through.

The beauty is that Byrd won’t have to play in the outfield every day in the American League. Byrd has played a great right field, which will only add to his current value, but we’ve seen the effects of playing every day on Byrd. Despite that, he’s still batting .281 with a career-high in slugging percentage (.513). That slugging, in part, comes from the 17 home runs, 17 doubles and three triples he’s already hit. He’s on pace to surpass his season-high home run total (20). With 59 RBIs to this point, he could also break that season-high RBI total (89).

What all this means is that Byrd would be a good addition to a Rangers lineup that is sure to be buyers at the deadline. Whether Byrd could net Nathan is another matter. I think the trade can benefit each team. The fear is that Nathan is an old reliever that may not last long enough to make an impact with the Mets in years to come. I’m not saying the Mets should pursue this trade with vigor, but it poses an interesting scenario for them before the deadline. It’s a longshot, but as we know, anything can happen at the trade deadline.

What do you think about trading Byrd to the Rangers for Nathan?

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Mets Brace Themselves For A Rockie Series Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:00:06 +0000 rockies coors fieldNot surprisingly, yesterday’s game at Minnesota was bagged by the weather, which doesn’t figure to be much better in Colorado this week.

I wrote last week Matt Harvey could pitch against Stephen Strasburg in the first game of the Washington series, and depending on possible postponements it could still pan out that way.

The Mets will have the back end of their rotation in the first three games of the Colorado series, with Dillon Gee, Aaron Laffey and Jeremy starting in the Coors Field bandbox. Who doesn’t believe the bullpen will get a lot of work?

Jon Niese is scheduled to start Thursday afternoon, where the temperatures could be in the teens.

It’s hard to hit in the cold, but might be more difficult to pitch as the ball is difficult to grip and the pitchers’ command is usually off.

In looking at the Rockies series, there are several things in addition to the Mets’ bullpen we should be curious in seeing:

* There’s the sizzling John Buck, who needed yesterday’s day off. Buck is the first player in history with 19 RBI in his first ten games with a new team. Buck is also one of four players with 19 RBI in his team’s first ten games, joining Lou Gehrig (1927 Yankees), Manny Ramirez (1999 Indians) and Chris Davis (this year’s Orioles).

Buck’s streak of homers in four straight games was snapped, but his six homers is more than Mets catchers hit last year (five).

* Marlon Byrd went deep yesterday to give the Mets a franchise-record 11 straight games with a homer to start a season. It’s the longest since the Rays homered in 12 straight in 2007.


* Whether Jordany Valdespin hits leadoff tonight. Despite their winning record, the Mets have not found a consistent leadoff hitter among the four they have used. Like him or not, Valdespin does generate a buzz.

* How long will Ike Davis’ slump last? He’s hitting .128 with a .244 on-base and .205 slugging percentage.  Coors Field was built to end slumps. Of all Davis’ poor numbers, 12 strikeouts and just five hits might be the most stunning.

* Will Daniel Murphy continue to sizzle? He’s hitting .381 with hits in seven of his last eight games. Murphy has 16 hits, with eight going for extra bases. He has a .413 on-base percentage and .690 slugging percentage.

* Will David Wright get his first homer? Coors Field has always been kind to Wright. He is a lifetime .385 hitter with a .461 on-base percentage, eight homers and 33 RBI in 29 games in the Rocky Mountains. In comparison, he has 14 homers and 35 RBI in 74 games at Turner Field, and seven homers and 41 RBI in 58 games at the Marlins’ old park.

The Mets return home Friday to start a three-game series with the suddenly vulnerable Nationals this weekend.

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How It All Went Wrong For Lastings Milledge Sun, 07 Apr 2013 12:53:41 +0000 lastings milledge 2I will remember it as if I saw it yesterday for the first time.

A sheet of notebook paper, with the words, “Know your place, Rook … signed, your teammates,” was taped over Lastings Milledge’s locker in the Mets’ clubhouse in old RFK Stadium. This, in the late summer in 2006.

The Mets were en route to the playoffs and a veteran laden team was rubbed the wrong way by Milledge’s brashness and arrogance. Then-manager Willie Randolph – who reprimanded Milledge several times that summer – ripped down the sign, but knew he hadn’t ripped away the problem.

The Mets labeled it a misunderstanding, and Randolph called Lastings Milledge “a good kid,’’ but this clearly was not a misunderstanding with a teammate. It was the accumulation of several incidents that rankled several teammates.

Milledge burst upon the Mets, hitting over .300, was dazzling on the bases and showed a strong arm. He was going to be the next “fill in the blank.’’ Willie Mays? Roberto Clemente?

However, things quickly cooled after his first career homer, when on his way to the outfield he high-fived fans down the right field line in Shea Stadium. Randolph sensed how the Giants seethed in their dugout, especially since he saw some of his own players do the same.

Randolph reprimanded Milledge on the unwritten laws in baseball, but it didn’t take. There were ground balls he didn’t run out and times he didn’t hustle in the outfield. He was flash with the jewelry swinging wildly on the field, but in the clubhouse he often sat buried in his locker wearing headphones or playing a video game.

milledge 3He came off as sullen and angry and clearly couldn’t be bothered by getting to know his teammates. Or, a baseball legend for that matter. During spring training then-GM Omar Minaya brought Milledge to the Nationals dugout to meet Frank Robinson, but Milledge was came off as being in-different.

Finally, he arrived in the clubhouse in Philadelphia an hour before a day game. Although it was early, the veterans made it in on time. David Wright had enough when Milledge strolled in with sunglasses and an iPod as if he owned the place and told him this wasn’t acceptable.

Wright wouldn’t belabor the issue Opening Day, only managing to say “seniority is big in this game,’’ which is the politically-correct translation for Milledge hadn’t earned his stripes.

Milledge popped into my consciousness today when I learned it was his 28th birthday, an age when he should be in the prime of his career. Instead, Milledge is one of hundreds of baseball prospects given the label of “can’t miss, but eventually did.’’

Seven years ago – the career lifetime of a select few – the Mets had three prized outfield prospects in Milledge, Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez. One by one they arrived, fizzled to the point of exasperation and were traded. Not one of them hustled like journeyman outfielder Collin Cowgill.

After turning down several proposals for Manny Ramirez, the Mets eventually traded Milledge to Washington as part of a trade that brought Ryan Church – he of the concussion fiasco – and catcher Brian Schneider. Milledge had his coffee to go with Washington, then Pittsburgh and finally the White Sox before heading to Japan. Milledge had his head-scratching moments in each place, but basically stopped hitting.

At 28, Milledge is still young. It’s about discipline in Japan and if Milledge comes back with a changed attitude perhaps he’ll get another chance. It’s a long way to Japan, and perhaps an even longer route back to the major leagues.

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Jeff Francoeur: The Other Side Of Yesterday Fri, 03 Sep 2010 16:13:28 +0000 Yesterday I posted a widely controversial blog about my disdain over much of the internet reaction to the Jeff Francoeur trade on Wednesday night. The post was intended to characterize the stark differences between internet savvy Mets fans and those who follow the team in more traditional ways. It was also my own personal reaction to the hate-fest that took place that evening on Facebook and mostly Twitter. Surely, no Mets player who gives 110% deserves the barrage of vile jokes and personal attacks that Frenchy got that night. And you wonder why the Mets have to always overpay to get a decent free agent to play in Flushing…

I have more respect for a player like Jeff Francoeur who gives it his all and busts his ass day in and day out, rather than a Manny Ramirez who is a tremendous athlete and one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

Unfortunately, going full tilt and giving 110% is one thing, but performance is clearly something else. Effort is an amazing thing, but unless you have the production to match it, it doesn’t always translate into wins.

Over the years, we have seen and heard all the rants and all the reports on how lazy and lackadaisical Manny Ramirez is. His massive ego can easily overwhelm an entire clubhouse and if you so much as utter a simple word of advice to him, he will either pout and dog it even more on the field or he evolves into a highly paid clubhouse cancer that eventually must be cut out, leaving a bloodied and beaten team morale in its aftermath. Manny is the antithesis of a player like Jeff Francoeur… He is Francoeur’s polar opposite… And yet, if you were building a team, you would select Ramirez over Francoeur every time without any second thoughts.

Why is that?

Because in the end what matters most is winning. The Dodgers knew exactly what they were doing when they traded for Manny Ramirez, as did the Boston Red Sox when they signed Manny as a free agent in 2001. They both knew all to well what type of personality they were getting themselves involved with. They both knew there was a very good chance his tenure with the team would be oftentimes controversial and sometimes even detrimental to the team. But the reward was so much greater than the risk of his temperamental and volatile personality. In the end, the Red Sox got five post season appearances and two World Series rings out of it, and the Dodgers went to the post season twice in their two seasons with Manny. As I said, winning is what matters most.

And that brings us back to Jeff Francoeur.

Many mistakenly took my post yesterday to mean that I disagreed with trading Francoeur, and I’ll say it again, I was upset with the foul reaction to the trade and not the trade itself. While I was on Twitter Wednesday night, I actually defended the trade as a good one for the Mets and wrote via Twitter,  

“We traded a player in Francoeur who wasn’t coming back and got a 26YO 2B who is better than Tejada/Castillo right now. Nobody liked Francoeur more than me, but he was gone at end of season and we got a 2B who can hit better than Tejada & Castillo.”

After a tremendous start to his Mets career during the second half of last season, I thought Francoeur’s worst days were behind him and said as much repeatedly on this site.

When this season finally started and Francoeur, along with Barajas, was carrying the team throughout the month of April. I was absolutely ecstatic.

However, my enthusiasm would be short-lived.

As April turned into May things started to dissolve quickly for Jeff Francoeur… a two week slump turned into a one month slump… and then a one month slump turned into a two month slump… and finally it was August and Frenchy was batting .225 for the season.

It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the saber heads had been screaming all along. Francoeur had reverted back to his old habits and in the end, our friend James K. from Amazin Avenue put the cherry on top when he posted the following:

Frenchy’s final slash lines with the Braves and Mets:

Braves: .266/.308/.424
Mets: .268/.311/.423

It all came crashing down.

$5 million dollars is way too much money to pay for that type of production, and I now knew the writing was on the wall because there would be no chance in hell that the Mets would be bringing Francoeur back for the 2011 season. (Rightfully so.) 

As August wore on, Francoeur would eventually lose his everyday job in rightfield, and things really began to hit rock bottom for him emotionally as well as competitively.

That the Mets even got a player in return for him was rather surprising.

I thought Francoeur would just finish the season out and then get non-tendered leaving the Mets empty handed, so I applaud Minaya for getting us a 26-year old infielder who could eventually help the team in a variety of ways.

So is there a lesson to be learned in the aftermath of all this rancor?

Yes. A great personality and work ethic won’t take you very far if you can’t back it up with production. And the bottom line is that Francoeur’s production reverted back to the same level that caused the team who drafted him in the first round of the 2002 amateur draft to give up on him last season.

Hopefully Joaquin Arias will fare much better in the next few years than Ryan Church did.

I do have one redeeming grace… I was right about one thing…

Francoeur, as bad as he was statistically, was still outperforming Ryan Church who currently sports a slash line of .192/.249/.318 in 213 plate appearances. My buddy Mark owes me $50 bucks, and my cousin owes me a steak dinner at Peter Luger’s.

Small favors…

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There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute Mon, 09 Aug 2010 14:00:35 +0000 “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

The great showman P. T. Barnum is credited with first saying those words, and his quote has been well preserved throughout the years. It’s intended to mean that there are, and always will be, a lot of gullible people in the world.

I’m convinced, that the Wilpons live by that credo.

This weekend, baseball fans saw the future of the New York Mets. With the inclusion of prospects Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada in last night’s lineup, the Mets had achieved the remarkable feat of fielding a team using seven homegrown players. An achievement so rare that the last time it was accomplished, Dwight Gooden was on the mound.

Somehow, this resonated with the base and with the media so much so that it spawned a hundred blogs and thousands of tweets. My take on it? Big freaking deal!

For the last few years the Mets have aggressively hyped their prospects in a campaign to condition the minds of Mets fans into believing that somehow all these prospects are among the best in baseball. They include the current top three organizational prospects led by Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia and Fernando Martinez. Neither of them have done anything noteworthy though we are to assume that they are the cream of the crop because the Mets say so. Actually the Mets have us over a barrel and they know it.

Including our new young second baseman Ruben Tejada, the Mets have given us four prospects that were all undrafted, international signings. They have no college record for us to gauge, they have no baseball pedigree, no bloodlines, no record of competing in the Olympics or playing in organized international baseball, nothing.

They were seen kicking a can around, throwing rocks, running through the streets, or swinging an ax to cut down a tree for lumber. Somehow they found their way to the Mets new baseball academy and became uber-prospects… Blue chippers…

It was a real nifty trick when you think about it. All of a sudden that barren wasteland the Mets called a farm system, was now bursting at the seams with prospects so good that any mention of them in trade talks was quickly dismissed. This only added to their growing legends and to their mystique.

Boston wanted Fernando Martinez for Manny Ramirez? What are they kidding? Manny Ramirez and what else? We’re talking F-Mart here…

Jenrry Mejia in a deal for Doc Halladay? Dude, seriously, we weren’t born yesterday… You go ahead and keep Halladay, Mejia is staying put right here. What do you think, that we were born yesterday?

They got so good at hyping these international signees, that it quickly spread to their traditionally drafted prospects like Josh “Holy” Thole, “Captain” Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Jonathan Niese “And Easy”. None of them ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 this year, but all of them are now untouchable and the future of Flushing.

This weekend the Mets launched Phase Two of their Master Plan to shave their payroll down to $80 million dollars.  It worked perfectly. The fan base were receptive on all fronts, and by next April, the Mets will have perpetrated the “Greatest Fraud on Earth” instead of the “Greatest Show on Earth”, or at least New York. Barnum would have been so proud.

Move over Washington Nationals, here come the 2011 Mets:

1B – Ike Davis: Watch him tumble and turn for an amazing $500K.

2B – Ruben Tejada Look at his batting average… Now you see it, now you don’t.

SS – Jose Reyes: Watch him juggle and bobble baseballs like no other, all while smiling.

3B – David Wright: No show is complete without a ring leader, give him a “C” and watch him lead!

C – Josh Thole: He’ll hit some of the longest singles you’ll ever see, and boy can he catch a knuckleball.

LF – Jason Bay: The Human Canonball… Watch him crash though obstacles with his bare face.

CF – Angel Pagan: A wave of his wand, and doves, bikini clad women and Carlos Beltran vanish into thin air.

RF – Fernando Martinez: He will dazzle, he will amaze, he will make $400K. A true keeper.

Seven homegrown Mets!

Eight, if you want to give Jason Bay credit for being a former Mets farmhand!

 You gotta hand it to the Wilpons… They’ve convinced the masses that this will be the best ticket in town in 2011. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow they did.

Somewhere in the clouds, ol’ Phineas is smiling down on Citi Field…

So is the rest of the National League East…

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Juan Pierre Traded To The White Sox Tue, 15 Dec 2009 16:35:35 +0000 Add Juan Pierre to the list of players, who won’t be making their way to the Mets next season.

SI’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers have traded the speedy outfielder to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

The Dodgers will reportedly pick up $10 million of the remaining $18.5 million remaining on Pierre’s contract.

Last year, Pierre was great during his time in Los Angeles filling in for superstar slugger, Manny Ramirez. In 380 at-bats last year, Pierre hit .308 with no home runs and 31 RBIs.

There was much speculation going around earlier in the off-season about the Mets swapping second baseman, Luis Castillo, in exchange for Pierre; however it is clear that the trade will no longer happen.

Part of me wishes that the Mets could have found a way to acquire Pierre, because I think it would have killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.

One one hand the Mets would have gotten a solid outfielder for the bench to replace Jeremy Reed, whom they non-tendered and they would have cleared the path for a new second baseman.

To be fair though the team has many greater needs than a fourth outfielder and a new second baseman.

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Is The Mets Organization Falling Apart? Tue, 30 Jun 2009 20:30:50 +0000 It seems to me that the Mets are in a lot of trouble.  I’m not talking about the fact that the Mets are now in 3rd place and are now under .500.  I’m talking about the 9 baseball players that are currently on the disabled list or that their salaries equal almost 70 million dollars.  The organization itself seems to be in disarray.

The organization from top to bottom seem to be throwing each other under the bus to preserve themselves.  Last winter we all know that Manny Ramirez was a free agent.  Before it was revealed that Manny used performance enhancing drugs there was a lot of people who wanted Manny to be part of the Mets.  Omar Minaya we all know had been trying to get Manny to become a member of this team since he became the general manager.  Last year we all found out that the Wilpons were one of the many clients Bernie Madoff cheated out of millions of dollars, but they insisted that Madoff’s lack of a soul had nothing to do with the New York Mets.  In January of this year Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the following regarding Manny Ramirez to

“Mets GM Omar Minaya has not brought the idea to ownership because the baseball staff is not interested in Manny.”

Wilpon not citing a cash flow problem all but threw Omar Minaya and the baseball staff under the bus because as per usual the Wilpon’s refused to admit that there was a problem.

Fast forward to Spring Training and Johan Santana developed some sort of injury in his pitching arm.  There was miscommunication from the start on the exact injury and the severity of the injury.  Dan Warthen was concerned, the trainers were but Santana went out of his way to tell the press that nothing was wrong when other were saying that there was a problem.  Once again there is a lack of communication in this organization.

Santana’s injury was just the start of the Mets feeding misinformation within the organization.  The medical staff and Omar told Delgado that his injury was day to day and that he would be in pain throughout the season, but that he would be able to perform.  Two weeks later and Delgado is having perhaps season ending surgery on his hip.  Jose Reyes goes down next and Jerry Manuel tells us that the training staff has assured him that Reyes is day to day, but Reyes has not played in over month.  Last week Carlos Beltran went down and was placed on the disabled list in what is being called a bone bruise on his knee.  Omar, Jerry and the training staff insist it is only an injury that would heal in 2 weeks.  Beltran has said otherwise, in fact he has gone to Colorado on his own to see one of the best knee surgeons in the country because he believes the injury is worse than what the Mets have told him.

With 3/4 of the core down the Mets are struggling to stay alive in the National League East.  Omar refuses to make a deal, he would rather sit and wait for the guys to heal and then try and catch up to the Phillies.  Reports came yesterday that veteran Mets players are begging Omar to add some depth to this lineup.  The manager also seems to recognize that a bat needs to be added to this team and quick.  Jerry in his post game show has all but begged for Omar to add a bat on Sunday night after the Yanks swept the Mets in their home ballpark.  Last night in his post game show he said about the under .500 team:

“We’re a below-average team — period”

The manager is lashing out at the GM for not doing enough with the team struggling, the team is under-performing and the Mets seem to be coming apart before our eyes.  Departments are not talking to each other and misinformation is being put out into the public and this is causing more harm than good.  The organzation as whole is guilty of this from the owners all the way down to the minor leagues.  This didn’t get a lot of press but the Mets had 3 minor league players suspended last week for the use of PED’s. 

I don’t know when it began or even how it started. Perhaps the collapse, perhaps building Citi Field took too much attention and now the Mets are paying the price, perhaps the Madoff scandal has had more of a negative impact than the Wilpons would like to admit.  But something has happened to this organization since the end of 2006, and needs to be fixed and now. Otherwise there will be more times like this coming.

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MLB All-Star Game Preliminary Voting Thu, 28 May 2009 01:05:38 +0000 Year after year, is anyone really surprised when absurd All-Star voting preliminary voting figures are released. We shouldn’t be, because there will always be the city that bombards the voting, the popularity contest, or the injured player who is inexplicably high. Here’s the rundown of how voting has shaped up across the league:

1B: National League- Albert Pujols. Pujols has almost doubled up Prince Fielder and will likely start in St. Louis. Pujols will and should win, but Joey Votto should be higher. Carlos Delgado is 4th.

American League: Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis has had a productive season, even though he spent time on the DL, but he has an equalizer; the Boston fan base. To his credit though, he leads in OPS. Miguel Cabrera leads all 1B (and the American League) is batting avg. Carlos Pena leads the AL in HR. Justin Morneau is leading in RBI, and is having perhaps the best all around season. Mark Teixeira is close in stats and votes. Any of them are deserving, but it will likely be Youk or Tex.

2B: National League- Chase Utley. Brewer fans have jammed the ballots for 2nd place Ricky Weeks (who is out for the season), but if you take out his votes, Utley has almost doubled up on 3rd place Orlando Hudson. Luis Castillo is 5th.

American League: Ian Kinsler. Kinsler is beating out his former Arizona St. teammate Dustin Pedroia, but Toronto’s Aaron Hill is having the best season among AL second basemen.

SS: National League- JJ Hardy. Okay, this is Milwaukee ballot stuffing in effect. Hardy leads Hanley Ramirez by 37,000 votes, the closest of any margin. Hanley will likely take it as voting goes on. Jose Reyes is 4th.

American League: Derek Jeter. Jason Bartlett of the Rays is having a better season, but Jeter’s a Yankee.

3B: National League- David Wright. Wright leads Bill Hall (Brewer ballot stuffing), who leads Larry Jones, who leads Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman and Wright are having the two best years for 3B’s, but it will likely be Wright.

American League: Evan Longoria. Longoria is blowing all other AL third basemen out of the water, in stats and in voting.

Catcher: National League- Yadier Molina. Molina leads Jason Kendall of the Brewers. Yadier Molina isn’t even the best Molina, as Bengie of the Giants is having the best season. But he’s a Cardinal, so he will likely start.

American League: Joe Mauer. Mauer leads Victor Martinez, but Mauer has been nothing short of amazing since he returned from the DL. Mauer’s finally showing power to go with his high average.

Outfield: National League- Ryan Braun, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Beltran. The Ballot stuffin’ Brewers have three outfielders in the top seven. Raul Ibanez of the Phillies is 6th. And the most notable story of the day is that Manny Ramirez is 4th, 34,000 votes behind Beltran. It would be a hilarious disaster if Manny was voted in.

American League: Jason Bay, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro has had a bad year, but he gets Japanese votes. Bay is deserving, but there are other outfielders having a better season than Hamilton, who spent time on the DL. Nick Markakis and Carl Crawford are 5th and 6th. Torii Hunter, who has been having a great season is 10th. Also, Ken Griffey Jr., who is living off past popularity, is 1,000 votes behind Ichiro for 3rd.

Voting ends July 2.

Trivia: Who was the first Met outfielder to be voted in as a starter in the All-Star game, and in what year?

Till Next Time

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PED’s: Which Player Would Really Shock You The Most? Fri, 08 May 2009 18:40:55 +0000 When the news broke yesterday about Manny Ramirez being suspended for using a banned substance, many expressed surprise and some shock.

It was the same when Alex Rodriguez admitted he lied and that he did in fact use steroids.

When two big players such as A-Rod and Manny Ramirez get thrust into the performance enhancing drugs controversy, it’s going to become a tabloid-like, National Enquirer-esque sensation.

The rumors of PED use had already been tied to both these players for quite some time. Jose Canseco mentioned both Ramirez and A-Rod as being cheaters. As despicable a person as Canseco is, he’s shown a remarkable accuracy in singling out the offenders, so while yesterday’s news may have a shock to it, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

I wondered which players would really shock me if they were found to test positive for steroid use or PED’s…

The one name that immediately jumps out at me is Ken Griffey Jr.

I think if he were to fail a drug test, it would truly be the most shocking and surprising revelation of them all. He remains the most credible and trustworthy of all the recent additions to the 500 homerun club. He still maintains that wholesome youthfulness and enthusiasm  that endeared him to so many over the years.

Derek Jeter is another player who would send shockwaves through baseball if he were ever caught.

What players would totally blow you away if they were caught using Performance Enhancing Drugs?

I’ll also be polling my Twitter followers today and I will share those results tonight.

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Will Manny’s Positive Test Change Anything? Fri, 08 May 2009 00:49:03 +0000 As we all know Manny Ramirez has tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) and will serve a 50 game suspension under the drug policy instituted by Major League Baseball.  To be clear Manny did not use a steroid.  The drug found in his system Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (HCG).  Wikipedia identifies the intended use for the drug as:

a glycoprotein hormone produced in pregnancy that is made by the developing embryo soon after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast (part of the placenta). Its role is to prevent the disintegration of the corpus luteum of the ovary and thereby maintain progesterone production that is critical for a pregnancy in humans.

Now I’m not one to look into a players personal life but I don’t think Manny was using the drug for it’s intended use.  From the research I have done HCG is used primarily by steroid users when they come off of a cycle to get the production of testosterone started in their bodies again.

Manny is now the 2nd most high profile player to test positive for PED’s.  The first being New York Yankees 3rd Basemen Alex Rodriguez.  I’ll admit here and now that I wanted very much for the Mets to sign Manny Ramirez in the off-season.  I’ve been saying through this short season so far that the Mets should have signed Manny Ramirez to a contract.  It looks like the Mets did dodge a bullet here.  With everything else that is going on with this team, this was the last thing the Mets needed to happen to them.  Unfortunately while the Mets have dodged a bullet the Dodgers and more importantly Major League Baseball have not.

Some of the sports best players in recent years have tested or are highly suspected in using steroids or some other form of PED’s.  Manny Ramirez up until today I believe was a lock for the Hall-Of-Fame.  Players such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa at one time were also locks for Cooperstown but most likely won’t get voted into the hall now.  While these athletes are at fault for using roids and PED’s the blame also has to fall on Major League Baseball.

For years the home-run totals were getting higher, guys were getting bigger in their final years of playing than they were in their prime, pitchers were throwing harder than ever but Bed Selig ignored the problem until Congress got involved.  The Mitchell Report was conducted and a new drug policy was implemented to the approval of the Players Union.

The testing that major league baseball does is not enough.  They do not test for human growth hormone (HGH).  There is a blood test that could test for the use of HGH but MLB doesn’t use it.  MLB also does not test for masking agents that hide the use of steroids and PED’s.  Once again it’s a simple test but it’s not implemented.  The 50 game suspension in my opinion is not enough.  Manny will lose approximately 7.7 million dollars due to his suspension.  I believe that if players are still trying to get away with steroid use in this day and age when they are being tested then the penalty needs to be higher.  The penalty should be a suspension for one season.  I know the Players Union will never approve of this but this is the only way to ensure that these players will stop using.  You take away their salary for a year that will make them think twice before injecting PED’s into their bodies.  If it’s a players walk year they’ll be afraid of getting caught using PED’s.

Fans, writers, broadcasters, bloggers and everyone else who cares about the game will be talking about this for days on end.  In the end though the fact that Manny Ramirez, one of the best right handed hitters in the game tested positive for a PED will change nothing.  Until the drug policy is tougher these guys will continue to use PED’s.  They will use it to get higher numbers that will ensure more money.  They will use PED’s to heal from injuries and get their spots back.  They will use PED’s to cheat the game and the fans who watch and love this game.  They will break the records of guys who got those records using their ability, not PED’s.  If  MLB wants new records set by younger athletes to mean something they must make the changes to the drug policy.  If MLB wants fans to continue to show up to games and to watch their TV network something needs to change and that change must happen soon.

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Breaking News: Manny Ramirez Suspended For Banned Substance Thu, 07 May 2009 16:05:22 +0000 The LA Times is reporting that Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended 50 games starting today. Apparently, the test result and suspension is expected to be announced later today.
The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, or roughly 31% of his $25-million salary. Players in violation of baseball’s drug policy are not paid during suspensions.

Ramirez is expected to attribute the test results to medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue, according to a source familiar with matter but not authorized to speak publicly.

The Dodgers informed triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul this morning that he was being promoted to Los Angeles.

The report says that the suspension will take effect with tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium, Ramirez will not be eligible to return to the team until July 3.

Ramirez joins A-Rod as the two biggest stars who have been implicated with banned substances.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and Manager Joe Torre said they were unaware of any failed test or pending suspension.

Ramirez leads the Dodgers in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.492) and slugging percentage (.641), and he is tied for the team lead in home runs with six.

He signed a two-year, $45-million contract with the Dodgers in March, with the first year guaranteed at $25 million and the second year at his option at $20 million.

Could you imagine if the Mets had signed him?

Two words… Holy Crap!
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Are The Mets Holding Out For Matt Holliday? Mon, 02 Mar 2009 20:25:12 +0000 What if there’s a method to the Mets madness?

Could it be possible that the Mets refrained from pursuing Manny Ramirez or any other left fielder because they believe they have a real chance at securing Matt Holliday at the trade deadline?

Adam Rubin of the Daily News hinted as much today when he opened his article with the following:

All along the Mets have been thinking, privately at least, that they could be in a position to trade for Matt Holliday in late July, and add the big bat they passed on this winter. As in, you know, Manny Ramirez.

It’s not unreasonable to believe that the Mets are capable of thinking that far in advance.

Maybe this whole everday leftfielder talk is because they are going to showcase Dan Murphy as the prized jewel of a mid season trade package?

After all, Murphy perfectly fits the mold of those hitters the A’s have always coveted. He’s got the strike zone judgment that they crave coupled with the patience to draw a walk or wait for a pitch to drive in the gap.

Holliday would be the perfect jolt for the Mets as they enter the stretch run of a pennant race, and wouldn’t he look perfect patrolling leftfield in CitiField?

Maybe Adam Rubin is onto something…. 

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What If These Things Happened? Thu, 08 Jan 2009 03:57:37 +0000 Hypothetically speaking… let’s just imagine for a second that the players we hear on the HotStove are interested in the Mets. Now, let’s also imagine that Omar could sign most of them, be somewhat reasonable and not press “Force Trade” from a baseball video game like signing EVERYONE (we’re not the Yankees). Anyway, the players we hear
in the news are: Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez, Manny Ramirez, Orlando
Hudson, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, and Ben Sheets. There’s more names out
there, but we don’t hear that at all, obviously.

Ok, there are a
few situations out there. We have a void spot for starting rotation.
However, in my opinion, it’s actually two. I love my boy Jonathon Niese
and all, but I think he still needs to tune a third pitch to be
successful. Enter Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland,
Ben Sheets, and Tim Redding. Who do we choose? Well, it looks like Omar
is picking Derek Lowe and staying with Niese. In my opinion, I’d either
sign Derek Lowe AND Oliver Perez or sign Ben Sheets AND Oliver Perez. I
really think Ollie should be a Met again. Why? He’s a Phillie killier
and he’s a lefty. The Mets only have Johan as their only lefty starter.
Ollie is still young and has a great upside. Derek Lowe is Mr.
Consistent and Ben Sheets is just scary, both good and bad. Yes, good
being he’s absolutely filthy when healthy, and bad being he’s almost as
bad as Carl Pavano, injury-wise.

–Signing two pitchers = reasonable and very do-able at this point.

#2, left field. We currently have Fernando t-t-t-t-TATIS and Daniel
Murphy. While that’s a good platoon, it could easily be insanely
upgraded with one player. Enter Manuel Aristides Ramírez Onelcida
(thanks Wiki). Sure, he’s a crazy act in the clubhouse; yet players,
coaches, and managers love him, or at least a good chunk of them do.
He’s deadly with the bat, but an absolute clown on the field. I don’t
care, but with him in this already punishing lineup, the Mets would
instantly be the team to beat around the NL.

–Costly + Scott Boras = not AS reasonable, but very managable if price drops.

I’m Luis Castillo. I make a very good amount of money, even though my
knees are about to break in pieces. I also can’t run anymore and I
can’t hit. I could bunt though! What do we do about this? I don’t think
we can do anything about this situation anymore. What an ideal
situation would be to ship Castillo somewhere, eat some of his
contract, and wish Orlando Hudson could drop his price just a tad bit.
Hudson brings that nitty-gritty attitude needed for this team, much
like Wally Backman was for the ’86 Amazins. Oh, and I love the double
flapped helmet. It looks much better on him that it does for that man
named the Flyin’ Hawaiin (still bitter about them winning).

–Big ass contract isn’t gonna help at all, but there’s still a small chance of him leaving and the O-Dog coming to Citi Field.

with all that being said, if all of the above move happen (chance is
probably 1%) the opening day lineup and rotation would look like this.

1. Jose Reyes (SS)
2. Carlos Beltran (CF)
3. David Wright (3B)
4. Manny Ramirez (LF)
5. Carlos Delgado (1B)
6. Ryan Church (RF)
7. Orlando Hudson (2B)
8. Brian Schneider (C)
9. Pitcher

1. Johan Santana (L)
2. Derek Lowe (R) / Ben Sheets (R) **
3. Oliver Perez (L)
4. Mike Pelfrey (R)
5. John Maine (R)

The lineup only looks like that because if I had Delgado, Church,
Schneider as 6,7,8, it would be too lefty heavy, thus me having Hudson
at the 7 hole to break up the lefties.

Now isn’t that just crazy folks? I wish it would happen, HEY, maybe it’ll happen. A Met fan can only dream right?


That’s right ladies and gentlemen. Your own Minor League Reporter for two years has started his own blog, entitled ‘Retire 31‘. I just started it a few days ago, but if you like what you read, please make sure to give it a look. Just click this link and read away! Thanks to everyone!

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My Interview With Baseball Analysts’ Rich Lederer Thu, 18 Dec 2008 15:31:45 +0000
Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts, was kind enough to take some of my questions this week. I frequently visit his website for some great baseball insights. I hope you check it out and add him to your favorites. Enjoy the interview.


The Mets just made great strides in upgrading the bullpen with the additions of Putz and K-Rod. Will that be enough to secure a division title?


The Mets are looking good.  Adding J.J. and K-Rod to a nucleus of Johan Santana, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado may be enough to put the Mets over the top.  However, it seems from afar that Omar Minaya still has some work left.  The starting rotation remains unsettled and the incumbents at catcher, second base, and the corner outfield spots are nothing to write home about.  The Mets have the makings for a very good team, but I’m not ready to etch their names on the NL East trophy just yet.


The Yankees just spent almost $250 million in two days by signing C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. There are several reports that they will secure either Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez as well. Is it time to fix the system?


The Yankees fixed the system a long time ago.  Just kidding.  Look, as a capitalist, I’m totally fine with a team like the Yankees paying a gazillion dollars for guys like Sabathia and Burnett.  However, baseball isn’t a true free market. It’s a closed economy.  A private country club, if you will.  For example, if you and I wanted to put a new team in New York, Major League Baseball wouldn’t allow it.  Therefore, it’s not a free market at all.  The truth is, there should be more than just two teams in the New York City area.  At least three.  Maybe four or even five.  Think about it for a minute.  If there were several teams in New York dividing up the fan base, corporate market, and broadcasting revenues, the Yankees’ and Mets’ competitive advantage would dissipate in a hurry.


On the one hand, the baseball fan in me doesn’t want more teams in New York and fewer franchises in smaller markets around the country.  On the other hand, I don’t like the fact that the large-market clubs have more resources than everyone else. The solution to this dilemma is that the playing field needs to be leveled one way or the other.  Major League Baseball can accomplish this via a free market approach or by capping payrolls at a much lower level and/or re-distributing revenues to a much greater degree.  Unfortunately, the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago teams are never going to allow the first or third ideas, and the MLBPA won’t even hear of the second.  Therefore, like it or not, we’re just going to have to learn to live with the way things are now (or at least something close to it).


In your opinion, who are the top five general managers in baseball?


That’s a tough question.  If I were an owner, I would want Billy Beane or Theo Epstein to be my general manager.  Epstein has been blessed with more resources than Beane over the years but both have been on the cutting edge of so many issues, staying ahead of the crowd in an increasingly sophisticated competitive environment.


I also respect several old-timers like Pat Gillick, Walt Jocketty, and John Schuerholz.  It is hard to argue with their success.  Mark Shapiro deserves to be in the discussion as well.  There are also a few young guns (such as Andrew Friedman) who could work their way into the conversation over time.


Mets fans have been yearning for Gil Hodges to be elected to the Hall of Fame for a long time. Does he merit consideration, and were there any big snubs this year?


Hodges was one of the best first basemen of his day.  However, he doesn’t really measure up to the standards of Hall of Famers as a player only.  Hodges belongs in the Hall of the Very Good, along with dozens of other players.  That said, you could make a case on his behalf if one was willing to give him a lot of credit as a manager.  Joe Torre has an even better resume though, both as a player and as a manager.  As such, if Hodges is deserving, then Torre is as well.


As it relates to the recent selections (or lack thereof) by the Veterans Committee, I believe Bill Dahlen, a turn-of-the-century shortstop, and Sherry Magee, an early 20th-century outfielder, have been two of the most overlooked candidates for decades.  But it appears as if their time has come and gone.  I would also like to see Ron Santo get his due during his lifetime.


While I was happy for Joe Gordon and his children, I don’t see how any objective analysis can rank him over Bobby Grich, a player who was on the ballot for one year only.  Grich was a fantastic defensive second baseman who could also hit for power and draw a walk.  He just may be the most unappreciated player of the post-WWII era.  Let’s hope that Grich gets a second chance (although I’m not at all optimistic that he will be voted in, given how difficult it is for the Veterans Committee comprised of living Hall of Famers to agree on such things).


Who were the biggest winners and losers at Baseball Winter Meetings?


The Yankees and Mets did more to improve their teams than any other franchises in baseball.  There hasn’t been enough activity yet to cite other winners or losers, but the Dodgers and Angels are in a position where they could be left on the outside looking in if they don’t sign Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira.  Sure, both clubs may be able to sign an Adam Dunn or a Pat Burrell as a replacement but neither is going to provide the type of production that Manny and Tex did during the final two months of the 2008 season.


Between CC Sabathia at an average salary of $23.3 M, and Johan Santana at $22.9 M, which pitcher will prove to have been the best investment over the next six seasons?

Boy, six years is a long time to not only judge Sabathia and Santana but any pitcher.  While CC and Johan are two of the best, my gut instincts tell me that I would prefer Santana to Sabathia over that time frame.  He isn’t carrying 300 pounds around and his outstanding changeup may give him an edge as these two power pitchers age and gradually lose velocity.


To read more great baseball insights from Rich, please visit him at the Baseball Analysts. 

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