Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dirty Duaner and Other Tidbits

So it's another lazy Sunday in baseball land. However, while waiting for my morning bagel, I was very pleased to read an interesting story on Duaner Sanchez, the most powerful man on the Mets, in the Daily News this morning. "Do You Remember Duaner Sanchez" was a great piece written by Adam Rubin, and I have to say it does paint a fair picture of Duaner.

Also those pics of Dirty are HOT!

Some interesting information though -- though many reports pointed to Duaner being out at midnight, Sanchez says that the accident happened around 9 pm (though police reports also back it up being around midnight). All other stuff seems to pan out -- the fact they took a cab, to be responsible, blah blah blah. It's a very good read and I highly recommend it.

Nothing new to report in Met land. But I do have to say that as a result of the blogosphere, I have met some interesting people. I have been gallivanting with Zoe many times since the Mets' season ended. I saw Metsgrrl and her TBF last night. And I have to plans to see my girl SNK in about two weeks.

Of course, we have tons more in common than baseball. But the Mets did bring us together and inevitably, all conversation turns to our mutual love for that team in Queens.

It's like baseball season never ends in the Blog World. And what a perfect world that would be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Comes Early For Mets Fans This Year...I Think

So the big news of the day is - The Mets trade Guillermo Mota!!! The man responsible for terms such as "Mota-itis" or "This is your brain on Mota" or "Mota-ified," the man responsible for these sets of pictures (all courtesy of Zoe) is now a Brewer.

And the even better news is...Mota is traded for a warm body!!! I'd have been happy with a free medium cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee next year in exchange for Mota. But seriously in one trade, we get rid of some of the dead weight (seriously, I think he would have been booed out eventually) and take care of the "passed balls" problem by inking Johnny Estrada from the Brew Crew.

This almost seems too good to be true. Mota, who gave us odge most of the time he went out to the mound with any kind of lead, is traded to fill a need we have. And not to mention...Estrada is actually pretty good. Apparently, in an "off-season" for Estrada last year, his stats were pretty respectable, especially that of a catcher -- .278 (123-for-442) with 40 runs scored, 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 54 RBI in 120 games with the Brewers last year, according to the Press release. And well, we all know how Mota was for us last year (do I need to link the pics again?).

So...what's the bad news?

Well, I couldn't remember where or why I remembered Johnny Estrada. Then it hit me! Or rather - he hit his former manager, Ned Yost, in a clubhouse brawl in a game I was actually at! From what they leaked to the press, it was a misunderstanding, everything was fine, blah blah blah...but it was ill-timed, since the Brew Crew was in the midst of a pennant race then.

According to Brew Call Ball (hat tip to Matt "The Stat" for the link), Estrada is a clubhouse cancer. But even in the comments section, no one is exactly torn up about losing Estrada nor about getting Mota. My thoughts are after reading their responses...Milwaukee isn't exactly schooled. In fact, when Metsgrrl and I were there in August, they thought we were entertaining because we'd get pissed off at the team. So just because they are not exactly upset about either, doesn't mean they shouldn't be? Or something?

I don't know -- I am just trying to stay happy. I should be happy. Mota is not a Met! Ding dong - The pitcher's dead!!

But Estrada can't trade brains or heart with Paul LoDuca. He might hit better though.

Oh and before I forget, the Mouth of the South (Philly) Jimmy Rollins, won the NL MVP today. I'd say congratulations, but I think it's a known fact he takes performance enhancers...he's on Viagra.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Feel Like Elisabeth Hasselbeck Defending George W. Bush

On the morning talk show, The View, four to five very opinionated and educated women sit around a coffee table and share their perspectives on not only current events, but their own political and social views.

None of these women stand out more than perhaps Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the young former Survivor contestant and known George W. Bush and staunch right-wing party supporter. While on one hand, we can admire her for her unwavering support and her beliefs, on the flip side she can come across as somewhat uneducated and not willing to accept other’s points-of-views.

Now, most of my colleagues and faculty at Flushing University know me to be, well, opinionated to say the very least. My unabashed and unashamed admiration for Oliver Perez. My somewhat dislike of Willie Randolph. My understanding and defense of Omar Minaya.

In 2006, my support of Omar Minaya made me – and several others, no doubt – look like Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. In 2005, Minaya made several moves that not only strengthened the team, but altered them from cellar dwellars to competitors in just one year. Now, some have argued that the reason for this was due to the emergence of players who were already on the payroll, in Jose Reyes and David Wright. We cannot discount Minaya’s changing the landscape of the team by signing one of the best pitchers in baseball, Pedro Martinez, but also capturing who was perceived to be the “crown jewel” of that season’s free agent class, Carlos Beltran.

But in 2006, Minaya’s moves took the cake. Trading for Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, who were both key contributors to the Mets’ playoff run that season, and also trading for low cost, high-return outfielder Xavier Nady (who in turn, became 2007 pitching ace, Oliver Perez)…and not to mention netting the “other” 2007 ace starter John Maine by trading away Kris and Anna Benson…what would Minaya do next to solidify the team’s chances of not only making the World Series, but winning it as well?

Um… Not much of anything really. And lately, talk surrounding potential Met moves are making Omar Minaya tougher to defend than ever.

Some may argue today, that after the Mets disastrous collapse in 2007, in hindsight, Omar Minaya’s moves or non-moves really impacted the team last season. But I argue that, well, if we all had 20 / 20 hindsight, maybe he wouldn’t have traded away starting pitcher Brian Bannister (legit rookie of the year candidate for the Royals) for young middle reliever Ambiorix Burgos (out with injury for…well, a long time). In an argument with someone, I may say, we can’t really judge this move yet. In a few years when Burgos returns, he may be dominant. And Bannister may hit the wall. We don’t know. But in year one, the move did not look good.

What about the letting go of Chadwick Bradford, by refusing to give him the extra year that Baltimore guaranteed? Well, at the time, I understood it, as I’m sure many others did. Not only was Bradford perceived as an injury risk, the Mets didn’t believe they would need the extra arms in the ‘pen. They would surely get innings-eaters from signing either Dice-K or Barry Zito. Of course, we know what happened there, for better or for worse. Dice-K’s team won a World Series (though he didn’t figure much into it) but Zito was barely a .500 pitcher for the Giants. I call it a draw.

But extending the contracts of Guillermo Mota who was an admitted performance enhancement drug user, signing Scott Schoeneweis to a multi-year contract, essentially the same contract that was NOT given to Bradford…well, again, this is 20 / 20 hindsight. And we have no idea how those two relievers will figure into the plans of the Mets for 2008.

Although I understood the Moises Alou signing last season, but wasn’t too enthused about exercising his option to bring him back, I can’t exactly knock the move of bringing him back.

One thing Mets fans like to point to are unproven rumors that Omar turned down a straight-up trade for Danny Haren with Lastings Milledge – well, to me it seemed a bit far-fetched. A.) Why wouldn’t he make that trade? B.) Why would Billy Beane come out and say on radio that he and Omar Minaya never spoke? Maybe because they (gasp!) hadn’t? Shudder the thought. In any case, I will defend Omar on that one till I am blue in the face. That trade was never ever ever ever EVER on the table. Got it? I am willing to bet my left kidney on that one. And Beane basically came right out and called Minaya an idiot in Moneyball years ago. I doubt they are doing business together any time soon.

But I would say that Omar Minaya has even his most optimistic supporters have had a tough time defending his moves or non-moves thus far, in response to the 2007 disaster. All of this doubt stems from the non-signing of catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Now, Torrealba is coming off handling National League champion Colorado Rockies’ pitching staff, is 29 years old, but is a bit offensively challenged to say the least (okay, defensively too). And the idea of $5 million per for a three-year contract to be a platoon character with Ramon Castro…this made the Mets fan base collectively say, “Huh?”

So now we all know that the Torrealba deal has been all but cut at the knees. Yorvit will not be a Met in 2008…but neither will fan-favorite Paul LoDuca, free agent who apparently is asking for a three-year deal. Not that the Mets know that for sure – according to LoDuca’s agent, LoDuca was never approached for anything. This leaves the Mets in a potential quandary. If a deal is not met for a catcher soon, as Casey Stengel used to say, there will be a lot more passed balls in 2008.

Perhaps this need would be a non-issue if Minaya and his cronies had protected Jesus Flores in the Rule V draft. When left unprotected, Flores was picked up by the Washington Nationals. The lowly Nationals who have former Met coach-with-an-ax-to-grind Manny Acta leading them, the same Acta who knew of Flores and openly coveted him.

Rumor has it (and not sure The Coop totally buys into it), as a way of keeping the likes of Omar buddy Julio Franco on the roster, Flores was left unprotected. If true, though, what a bunch of crap.

Is it because Minaya has a habit of hiring his “buddies” whether by favor or perceived detriment to the team? Or did Flores simply slip through the cracks? Whatever the case, I hope whoever was responsible for leaving Flores unprotected was fired. But if that someone was Omar, maybe he should have been too.

Now, Omar detractors tend to point to his days as the Montreal Expos GM when he traded the whole team away. I always defend him there. MLB was handling the payroll, they were going to be defunct in a few years, blah blah blah. Yet I’ve had people ask me – but is that any excuse, Coop? Truth is, we weren’t Omar. We can’t judge what his motives were. Plus with Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson on the team, did he truly do that bad of a job?

The other detractors say still, all he knows how to do is spend the Wilpons’ money. That’s true, but we cannot argue that he didn’t significantly improve the team prior to 2006 by trading for Nady, Delgado and LoDuca. He also didn’t do Steve Phillips-esque trades like the potential disasters that could have been had the Pelfrey and Humber deal for overrated middle reliever (repeat after me: MIDDLE RELIEVER!) Chad Cordero or potentially the mid-2006 season for Barry Zito (which was never even close to happening as some would think, I would bet).

The trades that almost were but never will be – Manny, Oswalt – would have significantly improved the team if there was no third party interference. So for those trades that didn’t happen, why is Omar thrown under the bus for stuff that really wasn’t his call? My point is, he makes those trades, he goes down as one of the best GMs in MLB history.

Plus, I usually like to play the Omar didn’t trade Kazmir card. That may not be enough, but it was certainly the catalyst for getting rid of dead weight that existed in the organization. Would the Mets be competitive if not for Omar Minaya?

Does it sound like I’m flip-flopping yet? Well, this is exactly my point on how I feel about Minaya right now. I still feel like the 2007 offseason could be his shining moment. And keep in mind, we are shortly upon Hot Stove season. Anything can happen between now and pitchers and catchers. And also bear in mind, that prior to the 2005 season, Carlos Beltran did not sign with the Mets until January.

But Mets fans and the New York media are an impatient lot. We want things to happen rightnow. Of course, when the Yankees net A-Rod, Posada and have a deal in principle with Mariano, this makes the Mets look even worse by holding their cards so close. Oooh, the Yankees signed all their overpriced free agents that no one else wanted anyway. Big deal.

I have to admit though, I am having a tough time defending Omar Minaya’s moves or lack thereof…Which brings me back to the ladies on The View. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, in defense of another move by our fearless leader (I say that with my eyes rolling in the back of my head), said, “President Bush, you are making it very hard for me to defend you right now!”

Omar Minaya, you make it very hard for Met fans to defend you right now. Unless you pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, you are going to have a lot more detractors next season. More than you can ever imagine. And I can guarantee though, Minaya will be feeling the heat from the hot stove. Big time, especially if he stands pat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Full Authority? Yeah, right!

Hey guys, sorry I have not been around lately. Besides work handing my ass to me, my car dying and other little dramas, let's just say that taking a break from baseball is actually betty betty good to me right now.

However, that doesn't mean I've been completely out of the loop. Check out my column over at Flushing University today, about how I feel Omar's not actively pursuing Paul LoDuca (which i actually don't have a problem with) but actively pursuing the likes of Yorvit Torrealba has everything to do with him not having the full authority he says he has. Read on at Full Autonomy, My Foot.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Same Old Song

Well, glad to see that the Mets are not disappointing in their usual Hot Stove rumblings. From Jason Jennings rumors to What's on Second (translation: A-Rod or David Wright), never a dull moment.

I've been crazy busy with work and preparing for year-end, so I won't bore you with regurgitated materials. Check out my post over at Flushing U today (and tomorrow!) on how Jason Jennings is not the answer. War isn't either.

But Jon Garland could make me horny.

Smell yas later.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

WTF, Omar?

So after Tom Glavine (41 y/o) blows the last game wide open, not to mention tosses away all Mets fans hopes and dreams of a Rockin' October, after John Maine singlehandedly ups the dreams of all Mets fans the second to last day of the season, after our two aces have a combined age of 51, after Moises Alou spends 2/3 of the season on the DL, after Carlos Delgado doesn't feel privileged enough to be on a talented team to not show up and AFTER cutting best friend Julio Franco for the puppy farm...

Haven't we all learned one thing?

That youth and hunger will always trump the Proven Veteran theory? I mean, just ask new Yankees manager Joe Girardi on that one when he was able to get his payroll of $15 million to play hard for him each and every day. Ask Jack McKeon about that when we had a bunch of rookies beat the Evil Empire in 2003 with young ace and newest hottest big game pitcher Josh Beckett.

What's my point?

My point is - Omar, what the fuuuuuuuuuuuck?

Let me preface this by saying -- I have heard rumblings in Met Bloggerland about how we are all but silent...only rumor mills spinning (and I address that here at Flushing University - sorry guys, i've been too busy to write about it till now), not to mention the bajillions of articles on how A-Rod has always wanted to be a Met, but we all know he's always wanted she-males and lots o' dough.

But exercising Moises Alou's option is one thing...which I detailed here also at Flushing U...After all, Alou has mentioned he is damn angry about 2007.

But Damion Easley is the last straw.

Don't get me wrong. I like Easley. I thought he was under-used at first, and Willie would always place him in no-win situations. Not to mention, Jose Valentin was technically Willie's "guy." But when Valentin went down for the stretch, it was Easley's time to shine. And he did. He showed he could really handle his share of the shit.

But...this move screams of Jose Valentin nepotism. When Valentin was re-signed for 2007, we all in Mets land were - WTF? It was totally lightning in a bottle in 2006, we're going to tempt fate again? Whatever.

That's my point - Damion Easley served his purpose in 2007.

I guess these might be some non-moves that Omar is doing. But unless he trades Delgado's fat-ass contract along with his equally as fat-ass for the Manolos I have dancing in my head (size 7.5, Omar!), I guess I'm okay with this.

But we desperately need youth. Another choice for Willie to use so he doesn't run his vets into the ground.

So what else is old? I've been a little absent from this, now that Hot Stove is officially on to keep me warm during the cold winter months, I can rant about certain things.

Like A-Hole, oops, I mean A-Rod. What a jack ass. If anything makes us forget that he has absolutely no respect for the sport that he is so naturally gifted at and makes girls and she-males everywhere horny with the swing of his bat, he pulls a stunt like this and lets us know one thing -- he is the biggest A-Hole in sports. Well, maybe not as big as his agent. But that's besides the point.

Now the question begs - COOP! What about A-Rod on the Mets?

I think it's absolutely crazy. Crazy in a bad way.

I just don't see A-Fraud filling a need on the Mets. Sure, you can't deny - his stats are impressive. Really really really fucking impressive. I mean, let's face facts -- he is the best player of our generation. But he also embodies what is wrong with our generation of sports. He tries to fleece teams out of dough and perks. And he delivers. Just not when the team needs him most.

I mean, I can't be the only Met fan out there who recognizes the need for youth. True, Pay-Rod is early 30s. And he's a hitter. Dude can mash. That's not going away soon.

But by youth I mean, young PITCHING. I'm not talking Johan Santana. As I detailed here, since when did we become Yankees fans (figuratively of course)?

We all should know Omar's M-O after watching him for three-plus years. He likes young talent, low cost, high-return. Don't tell me about "luck." Don't talk to me about trading Bannister for AmBurglar. Don't tell me about how he tried to turn Oh-Pea around for Linebrink.

Omar is going to surprise us all. I said he would do it last season but for some reason, not only did his moves blow up in his face, his non-moves really came to bite us too.

So I go from - Omar, what the FUCK are you doing here - to defending him. How did that happen?

Well, I guess that I still have faith that he'll try to get it right.

After all, the baby step with Moises Alou, which I was officially against but I'm okay with it now, I knew it would happen -- at least he's getting a pissed off veteran who was actually upset about the way things turned out.

And maybe pissed off veterans are what we need here. Guys who don't get complacent. Now if Delgado can wake up and smell the Java, I won't call for bomb testing anymore. Which as you all know, I am a pacifist and mean figuratively not literally.