Archive for December, 2008

The Mets Need Eric Byrnes

December 29, 2008

If there is a team I have always rooted for to do well besides the Red Sox it has been the New York Mets. I think this is for 2 reasons. 1. I grew up 5 minutes from Shea Stadium and I probably have attended over 200 Mets games in my life. 2. Besides his family one of the things that gives my dad great joy is to see the Mets win. 

So on September 28th, when for the 2nd year in a row the Mets collapsed down the stretch the question that my dad and all other Mets fans had was “what is wrong with the New York Mets?” The common answer and the scapegoat for their collapse was the bullpen. A bullpen era of 4.27, 29 blown saves, a save % of 60% and having Louis Ayala as your closer in the final month of the season makes for an easy scapegoat.

While Mets GM, Omar Minaya has done a good job of addressing the bullpen in the offseason with the signing of Francisco Rodriguez and trading for J.J. Putz, I believe the Mets problems run a little deeper.  The Mets as currently constructed are lacking “Gamers”. Those gritty, dirtdog, get-under-your-skin types that every winning team has. The Yankees had them in the 90’s (Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez), the Phillies have them now (Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino), and so do the Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis). The Mets do not.

The Mets do not have a player on their roster who would punch a wall after he struck out, they don’t have a player who would take out a SS while sliding into 2nd and they certainly don’t have players who will run into walls to win a game.  This is why the Mets need to trade for Eric Byrnes.

Byrnes is a perfect fit for the Mets. Besides the Mets needing a left fielder (it was clear last year Daniel Murphy can’t play left), the Mets need a player who’s nickname is the “crash test dummy,” they need a player who is a gamer and will get his uniform dirty every game and they need a player who brings energy and intensity to the ballpark everyday. Byrnes was the heart and soul of a Diamondbacks team that made it to the NLCS in 2007 and it is no coincidence that when Byrnes was lost for the season with a hamstring injury the Diamondbacks missed the playoffs in 2008.

The Mets have the talent, now they need the heart. Eric Byrnes has the heart the Mets need.

Books for Every Baseball Fan…

December 24, 2008

If you are looking for a last minutes holiday gift, these 10 books are a great read for any baseball fan:

1. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

2. The Glory of Their Times: The Story of Baseball Told by The Men That Played It by Lawrence S. Ritter

3. Heat by Mike Lupica

4. Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

5. The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History by Jayson Stark

6. Ball Four by Jim Bouton and Leonard Schecter

7. Summer of ’49 by Dave Halberstam

8. We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseballby Kadir Nelson

9. Teammates, The: A Portrait of a Friendship by Dave Halberstam

10. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James

Happy reading and Happy Holidays from The Ghost of Moonlight Graham!!

Teixeira Signs with Yankees…

December 23, 2008

According to John Heyman of SI.com and MLBTradeRumors.com free agent 1st baseman Mark Teixeira has signed with the New York Yankees

Coming Soon to a Ballpark Near You…

December 23, 2008

 

In this section I will talk about some of the top minor leagues prospects that will be coming to a ballpark near you in the not too distant future.

I will also talk some of the best minor league teams in baseball and see what players will have an impact on your favorite team.

The Unexciting Teixeira

December 23, 2008

I was sitting on my couch late Thursday night watching ESPN News when I saw the ever so exciting Breaking News flash at the bottom of the screen. It read “Red Sox flying to Texas to meet with Teixeira.” In baseball, when the upper management of a team flies out to meet a player and his agent, there is a very good chance that team will sign that player.

As I Red Sox fan, here the Red Sox were, about to sign a switch-hitting, gold glove 1st baseman and I wasn’t the least bit excited.   Shouldn’t I be excited for a guy with a 162 game avg. of .290/36/121/.390? Shouldn’t I be excited for a potential 3-4-5 of Ortiz, Teixeira and Bay? Shouldn’t I be excited to sign a guy who by all accounts seems like a good clubhouse fit and has never been an off the field distraction? I wasn’t excited at all.

In the winter of 2000 when it was rumored the Red Sox were going after Manny Ramirez, I was glued to my TV. I read every article and updated ESPN.com as much as possible because I was giddy with the thought of one of the premier sluggers in Manny Ramirez crushing balls over the Monster. I don’t have that same feeling with Teixeira.

Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras is positioning him to teams as a great power hitting 1st baseman who will the cornerstone of their team for the next 10 years. Is Teixeira a great player? Hardly.  Before being dealt to the Angels at the trading deadline last year, Teixeira never played on a team that finished higher than 3rd, he has never finished higher than 7th in the MVP voting and only once has finished in the top 10 in adjusted OPS. According to Baseball Reference  similar batters through age 28 are Kent Hrbek, Richie Sexson and Paul Konerko. Not exactly murders row and not exactly players you would build your team around.

In the last couple of days Red Sox principal owner John Henry has declared the Red Sox out of the Teixeira sweepstakes and Angels owner Arte Moreno has done the same. Whether or not they are really out of running for Teixeira or they are calling Boras’ bluff, one thing is for sure….what ever teams signs Teixeira they will be getting a complimentary player, not a great one.

And that is not something to get excited about