Posts Tagged ‘New York Mets’

After 22 Seasons, Tom Glavine Calls It A Career

February 12, 2010

After not pitching an inning in 2009, Tom Glavine was unofficially retired. Yesterday, he made his retirement from the game of baseball official.

Glavine officially retired from baseball after 22 seasons and will join the Atlanta Braves, the team he spent 17 seasons with, in the front office. He will be a special assistant to team President John Schuerholz.

Glavine officially retired yesterday

He will work with Schuerholz on baseball and business projects as well as assisting GM Frank Wren and manager Bobby Cox on occasion. Glavine will also work on the team’s TV and radio crew from time to time.

Glavine will finish his Hall of Fame career with 305 wins, a 3.57 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and two Cy Young awards with the Braves and the New York Mets. Glavine will go down as one of the top-10 best left-handed pitchers of all-time.

Glavine will be remembered for his almost effortless motion, the way he was able to work each corner of the plate, and a ridiculous change up. His ability to control his change up allowed him to get away with an average fastball.

He would throw that “dead fish” at 78 mph, low and outside to a right-handed hitter and then on the next pitch, bust him inside with a 90 mph fastball. That hitter didn’t have a chance.

I think I will remember Glavine for two games. One good, one not so good. First, the good.

I don’t think you can talk about Glavine without mentioning his performance in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. He beat the Indians 1-0 that night and the Braves finally won a World Series in the 1990’s.

Glavine pitched one of the all time great World Series games that night. He hurled eight innings of one hit baseball, while walking three, and striking out eight. Home plate umpire Joe Brinkman gave Glavine the outside corner that night and he took full advantage.

What was so impressive about that performance was that Glavine did it against the Indians. In 1995 the Indians were in the height of their resurgence in the 90’s. That team was an offensive juggernaut in 95′ and had a lineup that featured Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, and Carlos Baerga and Glavine made them look like little leaguers that night.

Now the bad game I will remember Glavine for.

It was Sept. 30th, 2007 and the Mets needed to beat the Florida Marlins to clinch the National League East or force a one-game playoff with the Milwaukee Brewers. On the mound that day was Glavine.

I don’t think I have ever seen a Hall of Fame pitcher come up as small as Glavine did that afternoon. His outing in all honesty was pathetic.

He give up seven runs on five hits and walked two in just one-third of an inning. The highlight of the inning came when he plunked the opposing pitcher, Dontrelle Willis in the chest.

That was the last batter Glavine faced that day and his last in a Mets’ uniform. The game was over before it even started and the Mets suffered one of the worst end of season collapses in baseball history.

Regardless of whether you have a good memory of Glavine or a bad one, there is no denying he is a first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher.

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

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The Mets Look To The Far East Again, Sign Hisanori Takahashi

February 12, 2010

The New York Mets dipped into the far east once earlier this offseason when they signed relief pitcher Ryota Igarashi, so they figured why not take another shot at it later in the offseason.

According to various sources, the Mets have signed Japanese left-handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi to a one-year, minor league contract. The contract will be worth $1 million if Takahashi makes the team and he can earn an extra $2 million in incentives.

Takahashi, 34, pitched for 10 seasons with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. He posted a career record of 79-66 and last year he had a 2.94 ERA in 25 games. Takahashi could pitch in relief or could compete for the fifth starter spot in the Mets’ rotation.

I have no idea what Takahashi will bring to the table in 2010. He could be Hideki Okajima or he could be Hideki Irabu, I have no idea. But here is what I do know–the Mets need all the starting pitching help they can get.

Outside of Johan Santana, the Mets have a bunch of question marks. As I mentioned before, the Mets starting rotation in 2010 is a lot like the Boston Red Sox rotations of the late and early-2000’s.

Those rotations consisted of Pedro Martinez and a bunch of clowns. Unless one of the quartet of Oliver Perez, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, or Takahashi step up, then the Mets are facing the same situation as the Red Sox did back in the day.

It’s really hard to win that way. That type of rotation really puts a lot of stress on the bullpen and by the end of the year, the bullpen is usually warn out.

Takahashi could compete with Jonathan Niese for the fifth starter spot.

Here is a look at Takahashi via YouTube:

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

Mets Sign Mike Jacobs, Find Their First Baseman?

February 11, 2010

For those of you Lost fans like myself, do you ever just watch the show season and after season and ask yourself “How is this all going to come together?” I think if you religiously watch Lost, you probably ask yourself that question all the time.

I am starting to get the sense that New York Mets fans are starting to ask themselves that question in regards to the Mets’ offseason. How on Earth is this puzzle going to come together at the end?

Well, just when you think the Mets had all the pieces to their puzzle, they go ahead and add another piece to throw their fans off.

Jacobs is returning to the Mets

According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter,  the Mets have signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league contract. The deal would pay Jacobs $900,000 if he makes the majors as well as an additional $1.15 million in incentives.

The Mets already have Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis on the roster, so my initial take on this signing is that the Mets are hoping that Jacobs can be a left-handed power hitter off the bench against right-handed pitching for them in 2010.

Other than that, I have no idea what he can do for the Mets because he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. He can’t run, he can’t hit for average, he can’t get on base, he can’t hit lefties, and he can’t field.

Jacobs hit a healthy .178 against left-handed pitching last year. .178!!! He is an automatic out against lefties, so he can’t be an everyday player in the major leagues. He did hit 18 of his 19 home runs and his OPS was 258 points higher against righties last year with the Kansas City Royals.

I will say this about the Mets’ first base situation–Murphy better have his act together in spring training. If Murphy doesn’t hit well during the spring and Jacobs does, it wouldn’t shock me to see Jacobs as the starting first baseman against righties in 2010. Tatis would presumably play against lefties.

This scenario would lead to two things.

First, if Murphy loses out to Jacobs, his career in New York is over. There is no way he could have a career in New York after that.

Last year the Mets front office hyped up Murphy as a future star. Now a year later he gets beaten out for a job by Mike Jacobs? He would get kicked out of New York like Gregg Jefferies was years ago.

Second, if Jacobs is the Mets starting first baseman headed into the 2010 season, then the Mets are admitting they have given up on their season before it even starts. I already think the Mets have given up on the 2010 season, but this would really put the final nail in the coffin.

Jacobs has played five years in the major leagues and has a career .254 average with 99 home runs, 114 doubles, and a .313 OBP with the Mets, Florida Marlins, and Royals.

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

Seattle Mariners Bring In Eric Byrnes

January 30, 2010

One of the first posts I had ever written on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham last December was that the New York Mets should trade for Eric Byrnes. At the time–and I still believe this–the Mets needed a player likes Byrnes.

Byrnes is a gritty, hard-nosed, gamer who is great for any team’s clubhouse. I thought the Mets could use a personality like Byrnes to help bring their team together. Now, a little over a year later, he was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Byrnes hopes to be sliding for the Mariners in 2010

Any team was free to sign the 33-year-old.

Since Arizona is paying Byrnes’ salary in 2010 ($11 million), any team could have had Byrnes for the league minimum. The team that is hoping Byrnes’ hard-nosed attitude helps them next season is the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners signed Byrnes yesterday to a one-year deal. If Byrnes makes the team out of spring training he will serve as a backup outfielder along with Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders.

There is also the possibility that if the Mariners don’t add another outfielder this offseason, Byrnes and Langerhans could form a platoon in left field for Seattle. I am guessing the Mariners don’t want Milton Bradley in left field too often.

This is a good low-risk signing by the Mariners. Remember, this is a guy who just two years ago finished 11th in the National League MVP voting with a .286 average with 21 home runs and 50 stolen bases in 160 games.

Byrnes will be entering his 11th season in the majors and has a career .260 average with 109 home runs, 128 stolen bases, and a .763 OPS with the Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, and Diamondbacks.

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

Random Thoughts From Around Baseball

January 29, 2010

Since there is nothing going on so far today in baseball, I thought I would just give some random thoughts from around the majors.

Orlando Cabrera is deciding between the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals today. The guy is a winner and will get a chance to win next year if he signs with the Rockies.

I can’t believe there was a “sweepstakes” for Derrick Turnbow. The guy hasn’t been good in four years. The Florida Marlins were the luck winner of the Turnbow “sweepstakes.”

On this day two years ago, the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana. Despite not making the playoffs in his two years with the team, Santana has been everything the Mets hoped he would be.

Santana was acquired by the Mets 2 years ago today

I waiting in line for Shake Shack today at Madison Square Park in NYC in 16 degree weather. Yeah, it’s that good.

Sticking with the New York theme, the Mets are getting crushed in the Big Apple right now. They have had a rough offseason and a lot of fans are losing faith in his ownership group.

Ken Griffey Jr. apparently got “ripped” this offseason. I still think the Seattle Mariners need a better DH option in 2010.

Thanks to injuries, Erik Bedard has probably cost himself close to $75 million the last two years. Ouch.

I would say it would be a major upset if the Cleveland Indians land Orlando Hudson. I still think the “O-Dog” ends up on the Nationals.

Watching Nolan Ryan’s seventh and final no-hitter from 1991 on the MLB Network now. From the first pitch, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t stand a chance that night. Glenallen Hill looked as befuddled as any hitter I have seen at the plate against Ryan that night.

Francisco Liriano was dominant in the Dominican Winter League. In the final game of the DWL World Series, Liriano struck out 10 in five innings and was consistently in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball.

The Caribbean World Series starts next Tuesday. Those games will be on the MLB Network starting at 2:30 pm ET. Always good talent in those games.

My trivia team is still in first place after two weeks. Questions are much harder than the ones we were faced with in Milwaukee.

Tim Wakefield expects to be a full-time member of the Boston Red Sox rotation in 2010. Umm yeah, I am not sure about that one Tim. Unless Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, or Clay Buchholz get hurt (knock on wood), he will be used an old-fashion swing man.

I still haven’t figured out why the Chicago White Sox didn’t bring Jim Thome back. They need a DH and he could have helped.

That’s all for now. Have a good weekend everyone!!!

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

MLB Network Announces Top-50 Prospects In Baseball

January 28, 2010

Last night, MLB.com announced their top-50 prospects in baseball through a special on the MLB Network. While there were few surprises on their list, there were a couple of players that caught my eye.

No. 8: Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Pirates promoted Andrew McCutchen to the major leagues last season, Alvarez became the jewel of the Pirates’ farm system. The Pirates really need Alvarez to become the player they think he can be.

No. 24: Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay Rays. Beckham was the No.1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. As a matter of fact, Alvarez was the No.2 pick in that draft.

The Rays took a chance on the less polished Beckham and he struggled somewhat in his first year of professional baseball. Beckham is only 19, so he has plenty of time to figure things out, but 2010 is a big year. The Rays could have drafted Buster Posey.

No. 28: Casey Kelly, Boston Red Sox. Kelly and the Red Sox organization were faced with a big decision in 2009. Where was Kelly going to play full-time moving forward? Shortstop or pitcher? Kelly is now a full-time pitcher and it was the right decision.

Kelly had a 2.05 ERA in 95 minor league innings last year. He could be in the Red Sox starting rotation by 2012.

No. 30: Yonder Alonso, Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are going to be faced with an interesting decision a year or two from now. Alonso is a first baseman and the Reds already have a star in waiting at first in Joey Votto.

Alonso isn’t as athletic as Votto, so I suspect Votto will be moved to the outfield. A broken bone in Alonso’s hand limited his power in 2009, but this guy can rake. Once he figures out how to hit lefties, he will be good to go.

No. 40: Drew Storen, Washington Nationals. Not only is Storen fun to follow on Twitter, but he is also on heck of pitcher. Stephen Strasburg is getting all the hype, but Storen isn’t far behind him.

Storen is being groomed at the Nationals’ closer of the future. He could be their closer by 2011.

The Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals led the way with four players in the top-50. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets (Ike Davis could have been on this list), and St. Louis Cardinals were the only teams not to have a player in the top-50.

You can find MLB.com’s complete list of top-50 prospects here.

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

Oakland A’s Sign Ben Sheets

January 26, 2010

There were a lot of teams interested in Ben Sheets. Rumor had it there were at least 15 teams that watched Sheets workout at the University of Louisiana at Monroe last Tuesday.

I thought the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, or maybe even the Seattle Mariners were his most likely landing spots. However, it was another team that swooped in and signed the 31-year-old right-hander.

Sheets is headed to Oakland

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Oakland A’s have signed Sheets to a one-year, $10 million contract. The deal will also include performances bonuses that can net Sheets an extra $2 million.

Well, I am going to have to admit I am a little surprised by the amount of money Sheets got, but I understand the signing for both parties.

For the A’s, this is the same move they pulled last year when they traded for Matt Holliday and signed Orlando Cabrera and Jason Giambi during the offseason. These moves weren’t made so the A’s can win the AL West, they were made so the A’s can get top prospects back.

The A’s are a young team right now and won’t be competing for the AL West crown in 2010. The A’s signed Sheets in hopes that he comes back next year healthy, so they can trade him for some top hitting or pitching prospects.

Pitchers hold more value at the trade deadline than hitters, so if Sheets stays healthy in 2010, then the A’s can get a significant return for him. If Sheets gets hurt again next year, then he is only on a one-year deal and the A’s aren’t stuck with a long-term disaster.

For Sheets, the A’s make sense for a couple of reasons.

For one, I don’t think any other team was willing to go to $10 million for one year of his services. That is a lot of money for a guy who has made 30 starts just once in the last five years and missed all of 2009.

Sheets took the most money offered and who can blame him? I would have done the same thing.

Secondly, pitching in Oakland is probably good for a pitcher trying to make a comeback. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a pitcher’s ballpark.

With its large foul territory and pitcher friendly dimensions, any pitcher wouldn’t mind pitching in that stadium. Also, the air at night in Oakland gets pretty heavy and a lot of home runs go to die, which helps. Sheets can make some mistakes in Oakland that won’t cost him like they would in let’s say Milwaukee or Texas.

Sheets will be entering his ninth season in the major leagues and has a career record of 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA and is a four-time All Star with the Brewers.

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

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 Rotation: National League East

January 21, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a look at the starting rotations for each American League team. Now it’s time to switch gears and focus on the National League.

I will start in the National League East and go from there. The NL East is home to perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Not only are there superstar pitchers in this division, there are also some great young arms like Josh Johnson and Tommy Hanson.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League East team as presently constructed.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Roy Halladay, RHP

2. Cole Hamels, LHP

3. Joe Blanton, RHP

4. JA Happ, LHP

5. Jaime Moyer, LHP

Quick Take – The Phillies made the big move this offseason trading for Halladay. In doing such, they had to trade playoff hero Cliff Lee. While I have no doubt Halladay will be a Cy Young candidate in 2010, this rotation will only be as good as Hamels is. They really need him to bounce back this year.

Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe, RHP

2. Jair Jurrjens, RHP

3. Tim Hudson, RHP

4. Tommy Hanson, RHP

5. Kenshin Kawakami, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has so much depth, that the Braves were able to trade Javier Vazquez. I like this rotation because it’s a good mix of young (Jurrjens and Hanson) and old (Hudson and Lowe). If the Braves give him any run support, Jurrjens could be a Cy Young candidate in 2010.

New York Mets

1. Johan Santana, LHP

2. Mike Pelfrey, RHP

3. John Maine, RHP

4. Oliver Perez, LHP

5. John Niese, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation reminds me of those Boston Red Sox rotations back in the late-90’s. They had Pedro Martinez and a bunch of question marks. This is a big year for Pelfrey. Perez is reportedly got in the best shape of his life this offseason, so let’s see if that translates to his performance on the mound.

Florida Marlins

1. Josh Johnson, RHP

2. Ricky Nolasco, RHP

3. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

4. Sean West, LHP

5. Chris Volstad, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, tall, and talented. Johnson leads this staff and is an early favorite to win the NL Cy Young award in 2010. At 6’8″, 240 lbs, West has a ton of potential. This staff also has top pitching prospect Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

Washington Nationals

1. John Lannan, LHP

2. Jason Marquis, RHP

3. Scott Olsen, LHP

4. J.D. Martin, RHP

5. Craig Stammen, RHP

Quick Take – The addition of Marquis will help this staff, but overall, it’s still pretty weak. I really like Lannan. He is a good pitcher, who unfortunately plays on the worst team in baseball. Of course, all eyes will be on the development of Stephen Strasburg. There is a chance he could join this staff by the end of the year.

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

Bengie Molina Spurns Mets, Returns To The Giants

January 20, 2010

I’ll have to admit, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that catcher Bengie Molina would sign with the New York Mets. I know they have been going back and forth all offseason, but in the end, I thought Molina and the Mets would come to a happy medium.

In the end however, it was not meant to be.

Molina said no to the Mets

According to Dennis O’Donnell of CBS 5 Sports in San Francisco, Molina has re-signed with the San Francisco Giants on a one-year, $4.5 million contract. Apparently, Molina turned down more money ($5 million) from the Mets in order to re-sign with the Giants.

This is definitely a turn of events as I didn’t think there was any chance of Molina returning to the Giants. This signing has a couple of domino effects, so let’s take a look at them.

For the Giants, the re-signing of Molina means less playing time for Buster Posey. While I believe Posey should be the Giants’ No.1 catcher in 2010, I am guessing Molina didn’t take less money to be Posey’s backup.

Not only could Posey find himself out of a starting job, he could find himself out of the major leagues come Opening Day. Since the Giants now have a capable starting catcher, the Giants could have Posey start in the minors to increase his service time.

As scary as this sounds, Molina was the Giants’ main power source last season with 20 home runs and should find himself back in the middle of the Giants’ order in 2010. Aubrey Huff is penciled in as the Giants’ cleanup hitter in 2010, so Molina could be batting fifth or sixth in the Giants’ order.

For the Mets, this isn’t a crushing blow, but a blow none-the-less. Molina was the best catcher left on the market and the Mets desperately need a catcher.

The Mets currently four internal options at catcher–Omir Santos, Henry Blanco, Chris Coste, and Josh Thole–and none of them are worthy of a starting position in 2010. Thole is the Mets’ top catching prospect, but he is still a year or two away from being a No.1 catcher.

The Mets could look at the free agent market again and sign Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas. I thought Torrealba would end up on the Giants, so perhaps he could switch places with Molina and end up on the Mets.

One thing to remember about Torrealba and the Mets. There is some history there. Torrealba filed a continuing grievance against the Mets after they backed out of a three-year deal a couple of years ago. I don’t know if the Mets want to go there again.

Barajas might be an option for the Mets in 2010. Despite hitting .226, he did hit 19 home runs in 125 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. I have never been a fan of his, but if the Mets really need a catcher, then he wouldn’t be the worst signing in the world.

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