Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mets Minor Moves - November 06

Just checking in with the Metsies to see whats happened since "the Catch" and Aaron Heilman's last floating change-up of the season.

Mets resigned Jose Valentin and El Duque yesterday, and made a trade today.

The Valentin signing (one year, $3.8M, with option) is not a terrible deal. As much as I hate Valentin, he hits right-handed pitching extremely well (to the tune of approximately .280/.330/.500 for his career) and can field decently. Its not too much money, considering the market, and worst case scenario, Valentin can play versus righties only. A platoon partner to face lefties looks like the best idea, although Minaya has hinted that he'll find an every day guy and relegate Valentin to a utility role.

THe El Duque signing is a little more troublesome. As good as he is when he pitches, he hasn't pitched all that much. Last season Duque put together a 9-7 record with a 4.09 ERA for the Mets. With all the offensive firepower, that's good enough. The contract, however (2 years, $12MM) is a little large OR long. One year at $6M would have been ok... or two years at a lesser rate. But what are the odds that Duque will both a) give us two seasons of pitching and b) have them be league average?

I don't hate the signing, but I don't love it. With age and injury concerns, we may end up with near to nothing for this. The part of the deal that I DO like is that it gives the Mets flexibility without financially handicapping them. $12M might be too much for El Duque, but allowing the Mets to negotiate from a position of strength, and retaining a Mets FA is better than acquiring a FA from another team because it does not require draft pick compensation.

Now the trade:
P Royce Ring and P Heath Bell to San Diego for OF Ben Johnson and P Jon Adkins

Small deal, but potentially revealing. Johnson is a 25 year old prospect - that's already bad. However, scouts like his tools, he had a great 2005, and he lost last year partially to injury. He has a chance to contribute full time. Adkins seems to be a league average or worse innings guy.

I'm sad to see Bell and Ring go- I actually think that if they see time in the majors, that they will both do well this season. I guess that's a prediction. They were two of the guys I rooted hardest for, but with the Mets bullpen depth, they were expendable. If Johnson works out, great, we win. If Johnson doesn't, we don't lose much. I'll be watching his progress closely.

Last thing - Lastings Milledge

This kis is for real. Only in New York would you have a prospect- with GREAT physical tools, who dominated the minor leagues in 2005 and 2006, at levels wayyyy too advanced for someone his age, not to mention bat .241 in the major leagues at the age of 21- get criticized. Everyone shut UP. Give him a chance to mature. He was better than fucking Michael Tucker and he couldn't legally drink until April.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Moises Alou

I've long thought that Moises Alou was one of the most underrated players in the game. He's good. He rakes. The Mets are close to signing him for a 1 or 2 year deal for approximately $8M per. This is a bad idea.

Sign Alou, let Floyd go, and trade Milledge for pitching... seems to be the plan. This is why that's bad.

Alou is 40 years old. We already have a potent offense and a bad corner outfielder (Shawn Green) ... does this team need more offense? Does it need worse defense? Does it need to get older and remain more injury prone?

Alou played 96 games last year. He played 123 the year before. For his career, spanning 16 seasons, he's only played 1839 games out of a possible 2592. Not everyone is going to play every day, but this is 70%. That's not good.

Lastly, the comparison to Lastings Milledge. I love Milledge. He's REALLY GOOD. People dislike him because he's got an alleged attitude problem (which hasn't manifested at all) and the Mets are a likeable team in general with no villains. Gotta hate someone, don't you New York, you stupid assholes?

This is what Moises Alou was doing when he was Lastings' age and older:

20: No games
21: A, 117 AB, .214 batting average, 726 OPS
22: A, 358 AB, .313 batting average, 863 OPS
23: A/AA, 500+ AB, .300 batting average, 840 OPS
24: AAA, 271 AB, .273 batting average, 732 OPS

He made his MLB debut at the age of 24, and was a rookie at 25, when he hit a whopping 8 home runs.

Lets compare Lastings. At the age of 20, Lastings batted .337 at AA, which is BETTER than Alou was at the age of 23. This season, Lastings batted .277 at AAA, and posted an on base percentage of .388, which is outstanding.

Lastings also put up a line of .241/.310/.380 in the Majors this season, which was far below what he was projected to do, while playing good defense outside of two boneheaded plays. But he's only 21.

Michael Tucker, on the other hand, who made the postseason roster, put up a line of .196/.378/.321 and played horrible defense. No complaints there.

This is all I'm saying- Alou was a great hitter with a great career... but the Mets will be lucky to get a full season of him, and even so, he doesn't address any of our areas of weakness (other than left handed pitching, which is a deeper analysis). He's old, and likely to underachieve if he does play.

On the other hand there is Lastings, who is free, young, and likely to have a fantastic career. He might not hit 24 homers this year, but if the Mets let him go, its going to be a horrible mistake. Maybe they can deal Lastings for great pitching, but he's horrendously undervalued right now and to trade him now and replace him with a 40 year old who only plays 70% of the time would be an egregious error.