Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Round-Up: All The "Fit" That's "News" to Print...or something like that!

Here's today's news, notes and articles about the Mets:

*Alay Soler pitched yesterday, and by his recent standards, it wasn't a successful start- by regular standards, it was an acceptable outing - 6 innings pitched, three earned runs, 4 hits, struck out 5 and walked 1 - and the B-Mets lost. I think we will be seeing Soler pitch with the big league club by the end of June, if not sooner, if John Maine doesn't pitch well upon returning from the DL and/or if Jeremi Gonzalez does not stay in the majors.

*The time has come (actually came a while ago) to smash the clock on Lima-time. I know he's great in the clubhouse and has a hot wife (see the archives in January for some nice shots), but it's insulting that he's still with the club at this point. Let his wife have a nice Mother's Day, and then can his ass tomorrow!!!

*Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere! The use of pink bats is a great idea, and is reinforced by this excellent article from Saturday's LA Times about Dodger pitcher Brett Tomko and his mother's battle with cancer:,1,1290349.column?coll=la-headlines-sports-mlb-dodger Apparently, the Mets' Darren Oliver's mom is battling cancer right now, and we at Trades, Tirades & GM Grades wish her a speedy and complete recovery! Oliver is a big supporter of using pink bats, but since he is a pitcher, he plans on using a pink glove. Real men DO wear pink!!!

*Aaron Sele has his second strong start for the Dodgers yesterday, giving up 2 earned runs in 7 innings - imagine if we had picked him up in place of Lima???

*Fernando Martinez, outfielder with the Hagerstown Suns and one of Omar's major acquisitions in the offseason from the Dominican, was placed on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand. Martinez left the team and reported to the New York Mets' training facilities in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He is expected to be out for 2-3 weeks. Let's hope this doesn't derail the great start that he is off to, hitting .322 with 2 homers and 11 RBI's in 28 games. At 17, he is a legitimate prodigy and proof that Omar will continue to address the team's future while ensuring success at the major league level.

*Israel and Baseball?? According to this article by the NY Times Murray Chass, it could be a reality, and Dan Duquette seems to agree, having signed on as Director of Player Development:

*In Joel Sherman's column in the NY Post today, he recommends a potential trade involving the Mets, Yankees and Pirates - "the Mets get Jaret Wright, the Yanks receive Craig Wilson and the Pirates get to pick three prospects from the New York teams B-list, which includes Andy Phillips, Kevin Thompson, Darrell Rasner and Sean Henn from the Yanks and Anderson Garcia, Anderson Hernandez, Victor Diaz and Heath Bell from the Mets. " Seems like the Mets are making too many decent prospects available for this to happen. I like the idea of getting a starter, but not so keen on Wright, nor potentially giving up a combo of Diaz and Hernandez to get him. You can read Sherman's column here :

* There is a good possibility that Brian Bannister will return to the mound this Thursday evening to face the St. Louis Cardinals. Bannister's return would be a site for sore eyes, as we've had shades of the old "Spahn & Sain and pray for rain" adage with the new "Pedro and Tom and not much else going on". If Gonzalez pitches like he did yesterday and somehow old reliable Steve Trachsel becomes less old and more reliable, this mini-crisis can end now and we can get back on track.

*Jose Valntin did a fantastic job in place of Cliff Floyd yesterday, homering with 4 RBI's. However, his performance serves to shine the light brigher on Floyd, as he seems to have aged terribly overnight at the plate. What we can't understand is his defense, which seems to be pretty good, and was his weaker point, is better then his offense, which is what kept him in the bigs and produced one of the better offensive years by a Mets' outfielder last year. Let's hope whatever malaise is ailing him is over as quickly as our pitching injury bug, and the real Cliff Floyd that we know and love (circa 2005) shows up in a hurry! Otherwise Mr. Milledge may be roaming Left Field in the big show sooner rather than later.

*Mets 2, Devil Rays 0 - as in injuries in the Kazmir-Zambrano trade. The Mets announced yesterday that righty reliever Bartolome Fortunato, who pitched in two games last weekend against Atlanta, and probably shouldn't have, will have Tommy John surgery Thursday in New York, ending his season (like Zambrano before him). Fortunato missed all of 2005 after a diskectomy for a herniated disc, and while we have nothing to show for this deal right now, Kazmir has righted himself after a rough start and has looked dominating again. We have really tried to forget about this trade, but like the immortal movie line, "just when I think I'm out, they pull me BACK IN!"

*Combined, we have watched nearly 80 years of baseball. David's father has been watching baseball since 1935 (live and of course, via TV when broadcasting of games began). In all this time, none of us have complained about the state of umpiring in baseball, believing that their job, while unsung, is very difficult and since there is no instant replay, there is no use in crying about blown calls. However, that aside, this has been the absolute worst string of blown calls that any of us have ever seen, flaring up again yesterday with Prince Fielder's homer that wasn't a homer. Willie should have protested this more vehemently, waiting too many additional innings to get thrown out! We're glad Delmon Young is in the minors - what would he have done if faced with some of the gaffs major league umps have made recently? In David Lennon's excellent (as usual) article in today's Newsday, he discusses whether or not the Mets are getting a bad reputation amongst umps. Here is the link:,0,38066.story?coll=ny-sports-mezz In this same article, Lennon also discusses a Trades, Tirades & GM Grades favorite, Carlos Gomez. We hold out hope for a Milledge, Beltran, Gomez outfield in 2008, which would feature 3 centerfielders at once- oh, the defense we'd have...

*Speaking of Delmon Young, why does Iriki get thrown out for 50 games for testing positive for an illegal substance, yet Young throws a lethal weapon at an umpire and only gets the same 50 games?? He should be thrown out for the year. This is the same Delmon Young who proclaimed at the start of the season that he'd better begin the year in the majors or his team would be sorry. Maybe they knew more about his make-up then they let on. Let's hope he begins to emulate his older brother, Dmitri, who is a class act in Detroit.

*McFarlane Toys recently released a 3" Billy Wagner figure, in the same series with a 3" John Smoltz figure. They will be releasing a 6" Carlos Delgado in early June, so be on the look-out for it in Toys 'R Us at that time.

*As great as it was to see Mikey P win a game for the Padres last night (again), it was even greater seeing his replacement, Paulie Lo D, win it for us with a dinger yesterday. Imagine if we had ended up with Bengie Molina, whose playing time has been cut substantially in Toronto in favor of journeyman Gregg Zaun. Toronto pitchers hate pitching to Molina, while apparently Mets' pitchers seem to love Paulie. Another good move by Omar.

*Speaking of Marlins-Mets trades, the Marlins have brought up Yasmiero Petit to replace an injured starter, Sergio Mitre (ex-Cub). However, rather than going into the rotation, Petit will be placed in the bullpen for the first time in his career. He has been amazingly hittable at AAA for the fish, so it will be interesting to see if his deceptive motion actually works in the majors. With Mike Jacobs struggling, Gaby Hernandez struggling, and Petit, the Mets might not have been so dumb in the trade market this winter after all, huh, all of you nay-sayers? Mr. Delgado has been amazing, so why don't those who knocked Omar show him some love for a change...and we still believe that, when the year is over, Jacobs will have a very productive rookie season (we predict 23 homers, 78 RBI's and an average around .280).

*Speaking of the fish (once again), here are some batting averages for their regulars:
-Ramirez: .336
-Cabrera: .341
-Willingham: .306
-Uggla: .299
and then there's Jacobs: .196 (below the dreaded Mendoza line).
It seems to us that if we were fish-fans, and Jonathan actually is one, living in Florida and all, we'd be pretty excited about the future of their team. Is Dontrelle wilting under the pressure of being the only proven starter on a roster of tadpoles? He has been lit up lately, and has given up way too many hits. Perhaps this will make him more tradable? This is one story that won't go away quickly, especially as writers have slower news days.

*Last night on ESPN's Baseball Tonite, Tino Martinez and Buster Olney picked Tom Glavine to be amongst the NL League Leaders in ERA at the end of the season, believing that Glavine's remastery of the strike zone is not a temporary thing and that his current run will last the season (we pray every day)! They also picked Mike Mussina to be up there in the AL, so let's hope they are at least half right (the NL side, of course)!

*Will Aaron Heilman EVER get a shot to join the rotation? How disheartening must it be for him to see Lima take the hill every 5 days and become a batting practice machine while he toils in the bullpen waiting for his chance to prove himself?! Why can't Heath Bell or Royce Ring take his place in the bullpen for now, and give Heilman a chance, once and for all, to prove his worth as a starter? This is a frustrating situation that does not seem to have happy ending waiting just down the road...

*Jon Heyman of Newsday weighs in with his opinion about the coming trade market, and believes that the Yankees will make a concerted effort to land Willis (,0,819855.column?coll=ny-baseball-headlines). About the Mets chances, he states "The Mets, who rejected Florida's spring training request of David Wright, as Newsday reported, could become a player if they loosen their grip on one or more from their "core" (surely not Wright or Jose Reyes but possibly Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman, Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez or Phil Humber)." Well, if we had traded Wright for Willis, there would probably be a blood-letting in Queens the likes of which we have never seen (and I believe no one would have made THAT trade). Heyman also believes that the best move the Mets could make to bolster their staff would be the addition of Livan Hernandez from the Nats, who is toiling with a terrible record and a bloated contract. Maybe we could make it a blockbuster and get Soriano, too? He also reports that Edgardo Alfonzo would like to come back to the Mets, a return we'd personally love to see, as any positive link to that 2000 team would be appreciated. Remember, when Alfonzo left town, he took out thank you ads on taxis all over the city- he has been, and remains, class-personified, and would be a great teacher for both Reyes and Hernandez, not to mention Matsuii if he isn't traded for him (as was rumored long ago, back in the dog days of winter).

*Before I forget, a big mea culpa to Jonathan, my co-writer/editor/conspirator. We recently posted that my father and godfather, like Willie Randolph, are Tilden High graduates (Brooklyn). Well, I forgot to list Jonathan's late father as a grad of Tilden as well. Our dads witnessed virtually every great athletic feat of the 20th century, and they passed that knowledge to us, which is why we are the crazy fans that we are. So if our wives need someone to blame....but we'd have it no other way!

*NOT good news for Mets fans - Cole Hamels, the Phils top prospect, made an excellnt debut on Friday evening, striking out 7 in the Phils win. He and Pelfrey have been given a ton of coverage in recent weeks, and if Hamels reaches his potential this season, the Mets are really going to need fortification to their starting rotation!

*Here is a round-up of some of today's (and recent days') prime Mets articles from the NY papers:

-In David Lennon's (always) great column in Friday's Newsday, he asks if the Mets are risking the wrath of umpires in the NL, as their seemingly adverserial relationship continues (and this was written BEFORE Fielder's non-homer!):,0,38066.story

Newsday's busy Anthony Rieber believes Cliff Floyd needs HITS, not Rest, in his column (one of his 4 for the day):,0,5205061.story?coll=ny-baseball-headlines

Newsday's Mark Herrmann nuses that the upcoming Mets-Yankees series is always a treat in his article:,0,4477189.column?coll=ny-baseball-headlines

-The NY Post's Mark Hale confirms that Brian Bannister is a good shot for starting this Thursday against the Redbirds:

-Pat Borzi of the NY Times writes that it's time for Jose Lima to look in the mirror (ouch- that horrible blonde hair!):

-The always awesome Murray Chass writes in his column in today's NY Times about what a difference White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper has made for that team. Can Rick Peterson get some love- the Mets DO have the second lowest ERA in the NL prior to today's game, at 3.86. Here's the link:

-Eric Barrow, of the NY Daily News, writes a great piece about phenom Mike Pelfrey in his column:

*And that's a wrap for today. We'll probably have more to post either later tonite or tomorrow. See you soon, and always remember - LET'S GO METS!!!

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