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Hasta La Vista

Mike SteffanosMonday, November 19, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

I don't have any big hatred thing going with Tom Glavine although, based on his last 3 starts, I think it's a fair argument that the veteran lefty had as much to do with the final collapse of the 2007 Mets as anyone. Glavine was a good citizen in his time in New York, but was never really embraced as a Met. Perhaps that has to do with the simple truth that he never seemed to have fully, truly left Atlanta. It's a good move for the Braves, landing a still pretty decent innings eater as their third starter and, in the process, bringing an all time great Brave home for what is likely to be his last season in the game.

For the Mets, it admittedly does nothing to remove the questions surrounding their own starting rotation. It's not likely that Pedro Martinez will amass more than 170-180 innings, and even that is dependent on him staying healthy all year. You would expect some physical ups and downs in his first season back from shoulder surgery. In fact, if he wasn't Pedro, it would be very hard to be even that optimistic. The 191 and 177 innings that John Maine and Oliver Perez contributed to the cause make for fewer questions than there would have been had Glavine bolted last season, but they still have to prove they can do this year after year. If El Duque pitches as a starter in 2008, it's likely that he's good for about 150 innings and a couple of stretches on the DL. If Jorge Sosa comes back at all it will be in the bullpen. I'm not down on Mike Pelfrey as some fans are, but he needs to command his fastball better than he did last year or he has no chance. Phillip Humber and Jason Vargas are still huge question marks.

Still, even though I know Glavine walking away weakens the Mets while strengthening the Braves, I'm not all that sorry to see him go. I never completely warmed to Glavine as a Met, and it won't feel weird at all to see him in an Atlanta uniform next season.

I remember watching Glavine win number 299 at the ballpark with Greg Prince from Faith and Fear in Flushing. Glavine had one of those games where he wasn't really sharp. He walked the bases loaded in the first, but survived -- mostly thanks to the fact he was facing the Pirates. Even though he was staked to a 6-0 lead, you never had the feeling that it was safe. He left after 6 innings and 112 pitches up 6-3, and I remember Greg and me were both of a mind that it was harder and harder to watch Glavine's starts. I won't miss all of those innings that Glavine seemed to be behind 3-1 to every batter.

Beyond that, though, I won't miss the fact that the Mets were simply his fallback position to playing in Atlanta. The simple truth is that he never should have left. He came to New York because he was guaranteed one more year on the contract, in what was essentially a business decision. If Glavine carries himself with class and professionalism, there is also that air of cold-blooded businessman that made it very tough to warm up to him. I grew weary of hearing how tough it was for him to go up against his best friend John Smoltz, how hard it was to be away from his kids so much during the school year. It was his choice to come here, and it was his choice to leave. I have no doubt that he would have left last year if the Braves had made an offer.

I'm not angry, hurt nor particularly disappointed by this departure. Tom can go back to playing golf with Smoltz and see his kids a little more in the spring and fall. I have no really hard feelings, and I like the fact that the Mets are walking away with a first round pick and a sandwich pick in return. Maybe one of those players will pan out. Other than that, in my mind Glavine's legacy in New York is that of a player who earned my respect but not my love.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (14)

Perfectly said. I completely agree.

I would only add that his performance while the team was collapsing really stunned me. I had been rooting for him since we got him. But the way he came up so small in his final three starts when the team desperately needed him, made me sick.

His "bad-day-at-the-office" interview after the last game was the final knife-in-the-back, but even if he acted properly--humanly, as we all needed him too, I still would not have wanted him back.

I, feel about the same as you, Mike. I just never got use to Glavine, a Brave, in a Met uniform. He always seem to have a double agent/mole-esque about him. When he first got to the Mets and pitched I thought he was just throwing games against the Braves when he faced them. I grew to appreciate his victories, respected his toughness and endurance, but he never grew on me like some others. Bobby Ojeda, David Cone, Al Leiter were all pitchers that came from somewhere else and I accepted as Mets. Glavine, Saberhagen, Viola (although I liked him), Randy Jones( who was awful) were among some of the pitchers that I just never embraced as Mets. Oh well, he's (Glavine) back at home with his family and his team of heart. Good luck Tom, beat the Phils, and hopefully the Mets will be patient with you and pound the crap out of your pitches as they float across the heart of the plate. Peace! It was real and fun at times, but overall it wasn't really fun....atleast for me. By the way Mike, I'm shooting up to the city Dec 7th thru the 14th, let me know if you ever have time for lunch. I gotta hit Katz for a pastrami on rye, and a few other places for my dose of hometown food.

Mike, your words perfectly express the feelings of most Met fans I know. Well said.

I was never a fan of Tom Glavine, even when he was on the Braves, and I don't really understand why all the papers make it like this is a big loss for the Mets. It always seemed to me that how he pitched during a game mostly had to do with how the umpire was calling strikes behind the plate. If the ump had a narrow strike zone you might as well have pulled him in the first inning. Instead Randolph left him in to get shellacked, even in crucial games down the stretch. Who needs someone to eat up innings that way? Look at his game log. He had seven games where he gave up 6 runs or more. That means about a fifth of his starts you could expect to lose without even having a chance.

I'm also sick of all the talk about the Mets acquiring Livian Hernandez. The guy has a horrible WHIP and ERA. How does that help? The Mets should be concentrating on trading for a #1 starter, even if that means giving up an outfield prospect like Gomez and a pitching prospect like Pelfrey. I'd prefer to keep Milledge and Humber, but for a top notch pitcher they have to be willing to trade a couple of those guys. And when I say a top notch pitcher I don't mean someone like Dontrelle Willis who was a complete mess last year.

The Mets also need another quality long reliever in their bullpen. Why they let Darren Oliver go I have no clue, but he did a great job for the Mets pitching multiple innings and keeping them in the ball game. Randolph did a poor job managing the bullpen last year which really seemed to tire them out. The bullpen is full of question marks though and I think that's going to be their biggest weakness again next year.

Katz... pastrami on rye. Wow! my mouth is watering. a real deli! Up here in the poconos, they think the new subway on rt# 739 is a deli. does katz ship doggie bsgs? just send me the emty bag I'll enjoy the smell. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I got good news from my doctor and could go back to work Dec. 1st with no restrictions.everything and I mean everything is back to normal. I am very Thankful, Selma also. Now we just got to get our Mets back on track. Thanks for all your prayers.

One thing I should mention is that at the time of Glavine's signing I never thought the Mets would get even three pretty-good years out of him; and they actually got five. Kudos to Tom for figuring out a way to defy the actuarial laws.

I remember a video clip from Glavine's late 20's, of him driving somewhere with Mark Lemke. They were talking about hitting on the major league level. Glavine: hitting's not so hard. I can hit. Try getting major league hitters out when you throw 84 miles an hour, that's hard.

Totally agree Mike...

well said.

I am confused though, we get 2 picks for Tommy? I thought you only got a sandwich pick if the other teams first rounder is in the top 12? My understanding was we are getting the 18th pick only from the braves.

Hey Rev, if you can make it to the city your welcome to come too. I am glad your feeling better and you have been cleared to go back to work. Along those lines though, don't do too much too soon, we need ya. Yeah, I have not had a pastrami sandwich since May of 2006 since my youngest sister graduated from Queens College. That was the last time I was home, but as I said your more than welcome.

Barry - I didn't care for that interview, either, but I'm not really angry at him. I just think I want to see guys pitching here next season that really want to be here.
LJ - Excellent list of pitchers, who I felt the same way about. Shoot me an email and we'll try to work something out for lunch.
Thanks, Salman.
Gregg - I think they're going to make some bullpen moves this off-season and go into next year with the 'pen as a strength again.
Happy Thanksgiving, Al. Keep getting better.
dd - He only wishes he could bring it at 84 now.
gbaked - We get Atlanta's first round pick and a sandwich round pick. The sandwich round is between the first and second, the picks don't come from any team. The Mets got a first round and a sandwich round pick when Hampton went to the Rockies. The first rounder was Heilman, the sandwich pick was David Wright. Nice if they could pull something like that off again.

Hi Mike, Iam reading alot about Mets and Twins. Gomez for Matt Garza qnd maybe expanding the trade to add AAA (c) Jose Morales. any thoughts?

p. s. trade news. Estrada for Mota. bargin for what we gave up.And Mota gone is very good for my re-hab. A very good move Omar, keep it going,we still need a ace pitcher.Iam feeling good and my faith is starting to grow again in the "o" man. Lets go Mets.

Hey: before the moment fades, there is a "how- does-he-do-it" piece on Tom Glavine at the Hardball Times site.

That writer's idea is that Glavine's success derives from the fact that Tom's fastball looks almost exactly like his changeup. Now don't be snide; he means in terms of break and movement; his change doesn't give itself away by doing more or less than his #1.

And so it's effective, even though it's only a few miles per slower than his fastball; in fact the differential between the two pitches is noticable less for Glavine, than is it with many pitchers.

To which I say, okay, fine. But what's the difference between throwing that sort of changeup, and simply taking a bit off of your fastball, like pitchers used to do all the time? If that really is effective why don't more pitchers vary the speed on their heaters, like, oh geez, a million guys in the past, though I'm thinking of Sal Maglie in particular. EVERYBODY can do that; it doesn't involve learning much of anything.

Guess the hard throwing boys fall in love with the heater and resist the thought of easing up with it. Pity.

The Mets made the biggest deal of the season yesterday. Im really surprised it hasnt gotten a post here. Johnny Estrada is the key to the Mets winning next year and he doesnt have to do one thing to be my hero !! Estrada can go hitless all year and never throw out a runner and the Mets are a better team. How can that be you may ask? Two words...........Guillermo Mota !

Getting Mota out of town is the the best move the Mets have done since shedding Mel Rojas !

Al - Garza is an attractive young pitcher, but I'd be surprised if the Twins would give him up. I don't know anything about Morales. I agree on the Mota-Estrada deal.
dd - Did you catch this by Keith Law?


Glavine's stuff is just about gone. His fastball is only 80-84 mph and looks softer than that, almost like BP fastballs. His curveball is a big slow roller around 75-77 mph, and his changeup -- once a plus pitch -- is fringe-average, mostly 74-75 mph, but the way his arm slows as he throws it is a tip-off to observant hitters. His command is good, but needs to be almost perfect, and his game plan is to avoid contact at all costs. If he's not getting a generous strike zone, he's in trouble because his stuff is so hittable, and he doesn't have a pitch with which he can fool hitters.

I don't think I'm nearly as pessimistic as Law, but interesting none the less.
Bryant - Finding any time to put into this blog is an ongoing struggle right now. On the other hand, this deal was such a no-brainer it didn't really need any detailed analysis. I'm trying to knock off a quick post on it now.

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