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Mets Ice Cold Stove

Shari ForstThursday, November 30, 2006
By Shari Forst


Editor's Note: Most of you know Shari Forst from Take the "7" Train. This is her first contribution to this blog. - M.S.

Hi All- Shari here from MostValuableNetwork.com's Take The "7" Train- I have been less than impressed with the moves Omar and company have been making so far this off season. I don't know about you, but I think the Mets had better pay their gas or electric bill because their hot stove moves have left me ice cold.

Moises Alou? Are they kidding me? A 40 year old guy who can't stay on the field? I could even see this move if they paid him the league minimum or even one or two million, but EIGHT MILLION? Have they learned nothing from Cliff Floyd who is considerably younger but still old by baseball standards? I would have kept Floyd rather than make this move. At least we know Floyd -at the very least was a well liked and respected guy in the club house. People always seem to forget that the club house can be the nerve center of a team. A disruptive atmosphere can make the best teams stink on ice, where as a harmonious one can make even a so-so team competitive. So now we have Shawn Green in left field, and Alou in right. I hope Beltran eats his Wheaties this off season because he will be covering alot of ground in the outfield.

They resigned Jose Valentin which I was not really against. He certainly earned himself another season, but I was hoping that they would go after someone a little younger who is in their prime and could be part of the future. Alou & Valentin are what I like to call "band- aid" players. They are quick fixes for positions that will need to be addressed after 2007. I don't understand why like the Mets with money to spend have such a hard time going after good players in the prime of their careers.

They let Chris Woodward go too, another move I was not particularly fond of. Woodward was an asset on the bench. Granted he had a bad year offensively in 2006 due to a torn labium, but here is a guy who can play every position but pitcher and catcher and was another well liked club house guy. In his place they another older bench guy-Damien Easley.

Then they trade away Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom to the Marlins for Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick. HO HUM. Why they traded away Owens is beyond me, what I saw of him was pretty impressive last season-and Jason Vargas I thought was less than impressive.

With Tom Glavine's return hanging in the balance, they continue to sit on their heels in the Barry Zito auction. I feel whether or not Glavine returns they should go after him. If they wait much longer upon Glavine's decision which should have been make 3 weeks ago, Zito can very well be snapped up by the countless other teams that need a quality left hander.

Finally, they fail to resign rock solid reliever Chad Bradford who had a 2.60 ERA and a 4-2 record pitching in middle relief. They didn't even make him and offer and he went off to Baltimore for a three year deal. The 6th & 7th innings of a game are usually when the turning points occur. Ironically the worst pitchers in baseball usually shoulder the brunt of these innings. Middle relievers are usually just that because they aren't good enough to be starters OR closers. When you have a guy like Bradford in your midst, it would be a wise move to hold on to him.

I honestly don't know what the Mets are thinking, for one thing I am a big advocate of the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" philosophy. Why tinker with a team that was an inning away from the World Series in 2006? Just get the missing pieces and leave the rest alone.

We'll see what the Winter Meetings have in store for us, but so far I am left feeling less than impressed.

About Shari: Hi, I'm Shari Forst-my friends and family call me "Shaz", I am a musician who plays the drums and bass guitar, and life long sports nut. I have been a fan of the New York Mets since 1977 when I was 10 years old, and a a fan of the Jets and Giants and NY Rangers since then too. One of my dreams was to become a rock star, but since that hasn't happened yet I'm living my second dream of being a sports writer for MVN where I cover the NY Mets, NY Jets and the NY Rangers. I am also a frequent commentator on the High Heat Radio Show with Jay Hardin, and Life's A Pitch on sportstalkcleveland.com.

Comments (14)

One of the few anit-Alou posts I have seen. I understand the clubhouse issue, but I also don't know if Alou is good in the clubhouse or not. But other then that is there really a huge difference in this move, as opposed to keeping Floyd. Both have been injury prone, but at least Alou still had a very good offensive season last year when he did play. The money over one year to me is really a non-factor in this whole discussion. And if we kept Floyd or signed Alou if one gets hurt they still do have, at this point, Lastings Milledge and also the newly acquired Ben Johnson.

I agree with you Shari on the Valentin issue. Woodward is kind of ho-hum for me though, but I'd rather like the Valentin instance seen someone younger, but having Woodward instead of Easley wouldn't have made me feel any different.

Ownes and Lindstrom from the times I have briefly seen them in the minors or in the major leagues, I personally have never been that impressed. But with the depth in the bullpen becoming a bit thiner I'd certainly be more then happy to have one of them around.

I think the biggest issue is the Mets starting pitching which to this point hasn't been addressed. Zito sitting out there still hasn't worried me, with Boras as his agent he will take the most money, and at this point I don't think the Mets will get out-bid. Whether that's a good thing or not is a topic for another day, and most likely a scary one. I was hoping though we would have gotten some kind of other arm for the rotation at this point, whether by trade of free agency. And with the bullpen as of now a little weaker and the starting staff still totally up in the air, it is definitely a point of concern. But the winter meetings coming up should hopefully at least allieviate the concern or put us on the road to it.

SO little to be concerned about. Its very early yet,hang in there and have faith. I think 2 starters will be added before opening day and the pen will be solid and filled from spring time on, also at 2nd base. This glass is half full and the best is yet to come.This is the last day of Nov. not the last day of spring taining, its going to be o.k. I trust the "O MAN" and looking forward to a Christmas prsent for us Met fans.

Hi Hojo- I honestly don't know how Alou is in the clubhouse either, but what did make me raise my eyebrows was David Wright's comments-which you can see on the mets official website. He really was mentored by Floyd, and feels a sense of uncertainty with Alou coming in his place.
I don't know what David Wright knows, but he may have heard something that has caused him a little worry.
I agree that the starting pitching is the biggest issue, and has been throughout the 2006 season as well. With the liklihood of Glavine not returning and Pedro not being able to pitching until late 2007 (and thats being optimistic) it is the biggest concern for eveyrone. it is early and I don't mean to sound panicked, but I was alot more pleased with the moves made last year at this time. I guess expectations change when a team is toiling in last place 2 years ago and almost goes to the WS.

Rev AL- I hope your right about the 2 starters, aside from Zito and Peavy as far as outside sources go, I dont see very much talent out there.

Shari--

Really nice post. I thought it was great, especially for your first time here. However-- with that said, it's nothing personal but I disagree with you on some issues.

IMHO, Alou was a brilliant signing. I hear your point loud and clear about clubhouse chemistry, and there's no question Floyd brought it-- but you can't bring him back at the deal he wants (and, in this market, will get). Signing him to a multi-year deal is bad on three fronts-- first off, you have to deal with ever-increasing injury over the course of the contract; second, you plug up the position for that much more time when you have three stud prospects waiting to take over his spot; and third, you put another left-handed bat in the lineup that absolutely cannot hit left-handed pitching. Alou's contract avoids AT LEAST two of those problems, and though I don't know about his clubhouse demeanor, he's won a World Series ring, and you could tell by his reaction to Steve Bartman that he's a competitor. Throw in the fact that he is a Latin-American veteran ballplayer and I don't think chemistry will be an issue with him. He will destroy lefthanders and allow us to protect D-Wright effectively-- and, as you can see from his stats last year, doesn't have to stay on the field very long to put up nice numbers. With Endy and Ben Johnson there to platoon for him and Shawn Green, he'll have an easy year.

As for Valentin, we got him back at the hometown discount. It's only one year, and I have a feeling Omar has designs on bringing in Luis Castillo or Michael Young next season. Jose comes off a career year, and did show signs of fatigue. However, platooning with him will be Damion Easley, who comes off a MUCH better year than Woodward in many respects: his batting average and OBP were significantly higher, he had twice as many homeruns, and he struck out 30% less often. Considering the labrum problems with Woodward, I can't say I'm sorry to see him go.

Onto Chad Bradford-- we can't pay him that much for that long. Minaya was able to find relievers left and right to perform brilliantly for us last year, and I'm pretty sure Octavio Dotel is next in that vein. Standridge, Soler and Bannister all look like other options, and we can possibly move Pelfrey there in the first half of the year.

Finally, Zito-- I am honestly indifferent as to whether or not we sign him. He won't be a number one pitcher, we're probably trading for another guy just like him (Peavy, Dontrelle, Vazquez/Garcia, et al), and he's coming in at a pretty hefty price tag. However, being with Peterson, having a great infield defense and centerfielder behind him, and switching to NL hitting will possibly lower him to a league-leading ERA. I would personally rather be patient and wait for the younger and more fiery Carlos Zambrano. Next year looks better for us-- Humber, Maine and Pelfrey will probably be completely integrated to the pitching staff, and we'll probably just need the BETTER Zambrano to get over the hump.

I completely disagree about Alou, I think given the market, its a terrific signing. He IS a good clubhouse guy, a solid professional who has done nothing but produce throughout his career. He'll start 110-120 games, with a combination of Milledge, Johnson, Chavez, and maybe even Gomez in September filling out the rest. And unlike Cliff Floyd, he produced last year despite some injury problems. Cliff did not. Don't get me wrong, I love Cliffy, and part of me really wanted him to return, but pragmatically it just wasn't a good move. Alou gives the lineup some much needed balance since Omar's hand was forced at the deadline and he dealt Nady. And when you really think about it, Shawn Green will be an improvement from Floyd in 2006 and Alou will be an improvement from Nady. Its the perfect stopgap until the Mets young and budding outfielders mature.

As for Glavine, I wish Mets fans would cut the guy a break. He's a professional baseball player with a decision to make. He made that clear from the beginning, and he restructured his contract during the season to benefit the organization under the agreement that he would have this opportunity. He always said a decision wouldn't be made right away, and never seemed like that decision would come well before the Winter Meetings. Its early, and Zito is in no rush to sign anywhere. If you want to take this situation out on someone, take it out on Omar for giving the Braves too much leeway. I'm now hearing that the Mets might not even offer Glavine arbitration, which would be ridiculous because it would mean that they wouldn't even get any draft picks if the Glavine signs with Atlanta. And get mad at the Braves organization, because they are holding this process up at this point. Glavine's agent is now reduced to issuing public statements implying that Glavine is leaning towards the Mets so that Atlanta will get the ball rolling. No matter what though, I'm sure the front office has a couple of different plans, one for if Glavine returns, and one for if he doesn't.

The Mets are in a great position right now. They have a high payroll, but they're making a ton of money over the next few years. This offseason is a perfect one to take a break from Omar's gung-ho attitude of the last couple. He's done a great job so far, but the market is so crazy this offseason, and the Mets have so much talent already, that its unwise to enter the market. What did you want Omar to do? Offer Gary Matthews Jr. $60 million to play in the corners?? Until things settle down a little and the winter meetings begin, he's done everything right. He put together a team that he's comfortable with. Now if he can add a righty second basemen platoon, and then sure up the bench and the back half of the pen, he should be in business. Zito seems like the only clear big move to make. If a trade presents itself, I'm sure he'll take it, but other than that he shouldn't be doing anything besides waiting till a few weeks before spring training to see who's out there that's worth gambling on a la Roberto Hernandez in 2005 or Darren Oliver in 2006.

Why do I get the feeling Cliffy is gonna be back better than ever next season? If we could sign him to a one-year deal with incentives and an option for 2008, I'd love it. If we had an outfield of beltran, alou, and Cliffy and those 3 guys were healthy, with Endy and Johnson to fill in...

I'd trade Green for Cliffy in a second.

I second everything Matt said. (Except Zito). In Zito we get a younger Tom Glavine (+/-) 3 wins.

Hi Matt-First thank you for the kind words-second it's fine that you disagree with me.
Thats what these blogs are all about. I stand firm on my position on Alou - personally I think $8.5 million on a 40 year old prone to injury is nuts.

As for Glavine, I did hate him when they first signed him-but given his perfomance the last 2 years of his contract I changed my tune and admitted I was wrong. I would like for him to return, but regardless of whether or not he does, I think they should pursue Zito either way.

I do hope you are right about Floyd, I'd love to see him come back. I liked Green at first too, but his play in the outfield was less than average- especially in the NLCS.
His hitting I can live with, even his numbers are down from what they were they are still better than most.

Hi Mark- As I said to Matt, I stand by what I said about Alou, i think it is way too much money to pay for a guy his age. Like you said the Mets have money to spend and I can't understand why they can't go after a player in his prime.

Shari, always good to read your stuff, whether I agree or disagree. Yeah I read the Wright stuff, and I tend to think it may have to do more with losing his friend Cliff Floyd then gaining Alou. I really think this is a strong clubhouse and they aren't going to allow someone to come in and disrupt it. Not that I think Alou will do that, as I have nothing to go on that he will.

And yes, pitching, and especially starting pitching is of major need, and I look forward to seeing what the Mets do, and also to continue to see the development of our young core of starters.
That's probably one of the more interesting things to me, the development of Pelfrey, Maine, Humber, Bannister, Perez and whomever else I am forgeting. Can't wait for spring training already, haha.

Hi Hojo- Thanks again, it's always nice to hear people say that, and believe me it's appreciated.
I do think Omar will make a very big move regarding a starter, as you pointed out he has to. I think Perez has absolutely earned a chance, as did Maine. If there was ever a test as to how Perez would handle a pressure cooker of a game, the 2006 NLCS proved that much.
Bannister was OK before he went down, but if you remember correctly, he was going 3-2 on just about every hitter he faced before the injury- whether his injury was the reason I don't know for sure. He did show alot of poise being able to pitch out of those jams, but I don't know if he will make the rotation now that Maine and Perez are in the picture. As far as Pelfrey, I think his performance in spring training will be scrutinized witha fine tooth comb. I can't wait for spring training either!

Shari,

Hope you're feeling better about the formerly cold stove than you were yesterday. I know I am. One signing is the start of much, much more.

I'm definitely counting the days until the Mets' obligatory March trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports to play the Braves. I'll be there in orange and blue, as several thousand transplanted New Yorkers usually are.

On top of that, I need to calculate the distance between my home in Orlando, FL and New Orleans, LA. I need a road trip to see my Zephyrs, quite possibly the best AAA team out there.

Hi NostraDennis- Yes I do feel a little better (See my latest 7 train Post)
I hope it's the start of alot of hot stove action. I hope you enjoy that March game-
I'll sure be there in spirit!

Hi NostraDennis- Yes I do feel a little better (See my latest 7 train Post)
I hope it's the start of alot of hot stove action. I hope you enjoy that March game-
I'll sure be there in spirit!

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