09 January 2005

Beltran the Met...



Carlos Beltran has agreed in principle with the Mets for a 7 year, $119 million dollar contract that (presumably) completes Met GM Omar Minaya's winter shopping. In sum, it appears he got not only the best all-around player on the market (Beltran), but the best pitcher (Pedro). For a franchise as mired in embarassment as the Mets, it was high time they did something to make good-faith to their fans.

The first thing I thought when I heard Beltran had chosen New York over Houston was to last offseason, when Jim Duquette could have outbid Anaheim for Vladimir Guerrero's services, the services of a player better than Beltran, and apparently, cheaper. Instead, they squinched their wallets save for overpaying for an aging Japanese shortstop- when their franchise player of the future, Jose Reyes, was a shortstop.

Omar Minaya did get the best players, that much is true. With Cameron and Beltran in the Met OF (I'm betting already Randolph makes the mistake of moving the more defensively talented Cameron from CF for the new star signee), they have a remarkably strong defensive OF for a flyball (Glavine/ Martinez especially) staff. Reyes and Wright will be another year more mature, the latter a guy with the chance to truly break out. A rotation of Martinez, Glavine, Zambrano, Benson and Trachsel is very, very solid, and Piazza still has some pop in his bat.

There are huge problems still- the Mets don't have a single go-to arm in their bullpen, their infield defense is suspect, 1B is a black hole, and Piazza is an awful defensive catcher. Willie Randolph will do fine, but injuries are a question mark on a team that Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza, Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui start for. Mike Cameron has never been much more than a strikeout machine, and there's a really decent chance that Beltran, yanked from a career in bandboxes (Kaufmann Stadium, Minute Maid Park), will take a hit in production at such a drastic pitcher's park.

They'll probably fight to finish second in the NL East and have no shot at the Wild Card, but they'll be improved. What I would seriously hesitate against doing though is lauding Minaya too much. Minaya's track record for talent evaluation and success in trades has been abhorrent, and while now flush with money to deal with from the embarassed Wilpons (who also have a new-found desire to make big splashes free agent-wise where they haven't in the past; they're starting a YES of their own), it is kind of silly to pat a guy on the back for throwing insane amounts of money at the two clearly best players on the market. Savvy it wasn't, but in terms of talent, Minaya has, right now, improved the club.

But if the Mets don't perform, and if the revenue stream of that club is not improved, the contracts of Pedro Martinez and, possibly, Carlos Beltran will really tie this team down in the future. Add to that Minaya's well-littered track record of being fleeced in trades, and there's not a great chance he'll pull anything but salary dumps off the trade deadline scrap heap. It's nice to see the Mets do well- I'll always have an affection for them, and I hoped hard they'd pull out of their embarassing mismanagement of the last few years. They're getting better, but I'm still holding onto my guess that Minaya isn't the answer.

And not to get Yankee on y'all again, but does that other New York team really expect to survive well with a full season of Bernie Williams in CF? That might be the worst range-OF in any kind of memory- Matsui, Williams and Sheffield. Their infield defense still sucks, especially the drop from Cairo to Womack (oh, right, Buster said Womack was better with the glove... riiiiiigggghhhhttttt). I don't care how many Gold Gloves Derek wins too, he ain't a good shortstop.

I just don't get it- they had a GLARING need in CF, and they had the best player available in said position. And they didn't get him. Huh? They spend $200 million+, and they can't add $17 more? Whatever. Their offseason moves this year have, even considering the great addition of Johnson, a net positive for Sox fans.

**********




Meanwhile, Derek Lowe and Shawn Green have found new homes (barring any unforseen blips). Shawn Green has agreed to a 3-year, $32 million dollar extension in Arizona waiving his no-trade clause to be dealt for mL C Dioner Navarro and P William Juarez. In a semi-related story, Derek Lowe appears to be on his way to LA on Monday to take a physical, cementing a 4-year, $36 million dollar deal to pitch for the Dodgers. I think he'll succeed in LA with great infield defense, a pitcher's park, the NL- but that is a TON of money for Derek Lowe. Hey, it's their money.

The Diamondbacks, man- I mean, what the fuck? They trade Randy Johnson, and sign Russ Ortiz to the most ridiculous contract ever given a starting pitcher, get Javier Vazquez but make no secret of their desire to spin him off, overpay for Troy Glaus, and trade a viable catching prospect for aging, overrated, and now overpaid Shawn Green. So now, they have a very young (and bad) rotation, anchored by Russ Ortiz, they have a middle of the lineup that consists of Shawn Green, Troy Glaus, and Luis Gonzalez- good, but seriously injury prone and aging. Add to that the lineup surrounding it is all marginal major leaguers and AAAA and literally no bullpen.

Why didn't they just keep Johnson? Their moves this offseason make as much sense as that first Mission: Impossible movie.

**********





Tony Batista, goin' to Japan to play for the Fukuoka Hawks. Decent hitter, good power, pretty good defensively.

And one night at Yankee Stadium during his time with the Blue Jays, I swear to God I helped force him into no fewer than 2 errors. We rode poor Tony. Great seats. Bill had the hook-ups that year...

**********





I keep forgetting to mention this, and I don't know why, seeing as I'm a shameless self-promoter. Anyway, Leigh Montville, the great former writer for the Boston Globe and the author of the titanic, stunning biography Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero, recently threw his hat into the "Red Sox fans react to Series win" ring. Why Not Us?: The 86-Year Journey of the Boston Red Sox Fans from Unparalleled Suffering to the Promised Land of the 2004 World Series, is the chronicling of Red Sox Nation's cultural interpretation of the 2004 triumph, from large to small, general to specific.

In it, Montville chronicles the genesis and story of SoSH's beautiful "Win it For" thread, which was also accompanied by a sister one at RedSoxNation.net. Basically, the threads were tributes to certain people who, in the imminent moments of the Red Sox' defeat of New York in the ALCS, posters were interested in honoring. My post, on RSN.net, was chosen by Mr. Montville for inclusion as one of the examples of posts in the thread(s) for his book.

Such a total thrill, considering how much I love Leigh Montville, and the odd feeling knowing my grandfather did as well, only to have him publish an anecdote about him years later. Funny thing, this season for the Sox.

**********



I had to include this, too. Poor Dan Shaughnessy. No more "curse." Actually, poor Doug Mientkiewicz. Now, there's no "curse" for Danny to fall back on, and he's feeling it.

Napoleon Shaughnessy (Danny Dynamite?), your "Curly Haired Boyfriend"
(courtesy AnalogKid, via RSN.net)

"What are you going to write about today, Dan?"
"I'll write about whatever I want to, GOSH!"

______________________________ |

5 Comments:

Tim,
Your PaPa would be, and always was, so proud of you.
his daughter,your mom:)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/10/2005 7:46 AM  

Great stuff. Nice site. I love the CHB thing.

El Guapo's Ghost

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/10/2005 2:49 PM  

Now the main question is, will Napoleon Shaughnessy's theme song be "Eye of the Liger?" :)*Corny joke overload*

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/11/2005 4:07 AM  

liger: 1.Bred for it's skills in magic.
2.Pretty much my favorite animal.

By Blogger Mike Rogan, at 1/11/2005 10:49 AM  

Beltran looks like he's got quite the amount of lipstick on. Does he get his makeup tips from A-Rod?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/12/2005 1:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home