Posts Tagged ‘Angel Pagan’

With Beltran Injured, The Mets Turn To Gary Matthews Jr.

January 23, 2010

Any excitement the New York Mets and their fans had from the Jason Bay signing was somewhat tempered with the news that star center fielder Carlos Beltran had knee surgery and would miss some time during the regular season.

When the Mets learned Beltran would be out for an extended period of time, they had two options. They could either go with an internal option, such as Angel Pagan or look outside their organization and make a trade or sign a free agent.

Matthews will call Flushing, NY home in 2010

While the Mets still might go with Pagan, they added some insurance yesterday.

As first reported by SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Mets have acquired OF Gary Matthews Jr. from the Los Angels of Anaheim for RHP Brian Stokes. The key to this deal is that the Angels will pay $21.5 of the $23.5 million left on Matthews’ contract.

How bad does a player have to be for a team to eat $21.5 out of the $23.5 million remaining on his contract? Well, Matthews is pretty bad.

Everyone except the Angels knew that giving Matthews a five-year, $50 million contract was a mistake. Matthews had a career year in 2006 and the Angels fell for a time honored tradition in sports where a guy has one great year in his life, it just so happens to be his walk year, and some silly team signs that player to an overbloated contract that he doesn’t deserve.

It took the Angels only one year to realize the error of their ways as they signed Torii Hunter to replace Matthews in 2008. Since the start of the 2008 season, Matthews has been an afterthought for the Angels and quite frankly a terrible player.

Here is a scouting report given by a talent evaluator on Matthews via Buster Olney’s blog:

Matthews is a player to be avoided. Slow bat. Declining range. And above all else, a player who wants to be a regular and will be an unhappy distraction in your clubhouse when he’s not in the lineup every day.

Not the most ringing endorsement. However, despite being a terrible hitter, a terrible fielder, and potential a clubhouse distraction, I don’t think I can fault the Mets for making this move.

What’s the worst thing that can happen when you pay a guy $1 million for a year? Matthews hit .250 with four home runs and .697 OPS last season. As pathetic as that hitting line is, if he does that in a Mets uniform, then he is worth the million.

I wouldn’t worry about Matthews being a clubhouse distraction because this regime in Flushing clearly doesn’t factor in intangibles when assembling a team. The Mets’ clubhouse has distractions throughout.

If Matthews becomes that big of a distraction, then the Mets can just release him. Again, they are only paying him a total of $2 million.

Despite the acquisition of Matthews, I still expect Pagan to start in center field for the Mets. He is not the smartest baserunner in the world, but he has shown potential.

Pagan’s average has increased each year since he arrived in the major leagues in 2006 (.247-.264-.275-.306). He also had a career high .838 OPS in 88 (also a career high) games last season with the Mets.

Defensively, Pagan is much better than Matthews in center. Pagan had a -0.3 UZR in center last year compared to Matthews’ -13.7 UZR, which was one of the worst in baseball.

The Angels in this deal get Brian Stokes, who is nothing more than a fifth or sixth inning reliever. Last year in a career high 70.1 innings, Stokes had a 3.97 ERA with 45 K’s and a 1.56 WHIP.

Again, I know Matthews is virtually useless, but it’s hard to kill a team when they are only paying a guy $1 million a season.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Carlos Beltran Has Knee Surgery, Out Three Months

January 14, 2010

Update

The New York Mets held a press conference today to discuss the Carlos Beltran situation. Mets’ Assistant GM John Ricco conducted the press conference.

Here are the highlights from the conference:

Dr. Steadman recommended to the Mets and to Beltran, that Beltran undergo knee surgery.

The Mets according to Ricco wanted Beltran to get a third opinion.

Beltran decided not to get a third opinion and went ahead with the surgery anyway.

The Mets had no idea Beltran had the surgery until mid-day yesterday.

Ricco said the Mets are upset with the “process” in which Beltran had the surgery.

When asked if the surgery was elective or necessary, Ricco danced around the question and said he didn’t want to get into the legality of things.

When asked how long Beltran will be out, Ricco said he didn’t have a crystal ball and couldn’t predict the future.

Ricco believes Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon have spoken to Scott Boras since the surgery.

Here is my take on this press conference. Things are going to get ugly between Beltran and the Mets–very ugly. I will even go as far as saying Beltran won’t play an inning for the Mets in 2010.

Beltran won’t play in 2010, come back in his walk year in 2011, have a great year, and then get the heck out of Flushing.

And why is Ricco doing this call and not Omar Minaya? What other team in baseball sends out their Assistant GM and not their GM when talking about a major issue in regards to a star player?

Would Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, or Billy Beane let anyone else speak on a conference call to talk about a major issue besides themselves? Not a chance.

The Mets have officially become a joke.

Original Post

Man oh man, the New York Mets just can’t catch a break. It seems like every step forward, they take two steps back.

Less than a month after landing one of the best hitters on the open market in Jason Bay, Bay’s outfield sidekick goes down. According to ESPN.com, Mets’ center fielder Carlos Beltran had arthroscopic surgery to clean out the arthritic area of his knee.

Beltran had knee surgery yesterday

Here is the press release issued by the Mets:

“Carlos Beltran had worsening of osteoarthritis of the right knee during the offseason.  He had not been experiencing pain following the conclusion of the season and into his early offseason conditioning. The symptoms returned to the point where pre-spring training conditioning became too painful.  He elected to undergo arthroscopic clean out of the arthritic area of his knee by Beltran”s personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman today in Colorado.  He is anticipated to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks.”

While this nicely worded statement makes it seem like the Mets and Beltran were on the same page with this surgery, they were not. As a matter of fact, it is being reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that Beltran had the surgery on his own and without the Mets’ blessing.

Sherman is also reporting that ‘‘the Commissioners Office and the Players Association have been alerted the Mets are claiming this was done without clearance and that the Mets are threatening to take some form of action. There is a potential issue out there.’’

SNY’s (Mets’ cable network) Kevin Burkhart is calling this a “flat-out disaster.”

This story is just in its infancy and looks like it could get ugly real quickly. This is why under Omar Minaya’s regime, the Mets have become the most dysfunctional organization in baseball.

You can say this has nothing to do with Minaya, but what Beltran did happened under his watch and no matter what the organization or company is, it all starts at the top.

What other team does this happen to in baseball besides the Mets?

And forget about the stuff behinds the scenes, this really puts the Mets in a bad spot on the field. Pitchers and catchers report in little over a month.

What do the Mets do?

Do the Mets put Angel Pagan in center until Beltran is ready–and who knows when that will be–or do they go out and find a replacement such as Rick Ankiel?

The Mets have so many other needs as it is. The Mets are in a real bad spot here.

An injury like this could derail the Mets’ season before the season starts. Like I said, this story is just in its infancy and I will update this story as it progresses.

It looks like 2010 is starting right where 2009 left off for the Mets.

Unreal.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg