Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Hisanori Takahashi’

The Best Single Season Pitchers

Posted by JD on February 24, 2011

As one commenter noted, my previous list didn’t address pitchers who only played one year with the Mets. So, in the spirit of completeness, we’ll tackle that today. This list also has a caveat: I left R.A. Dickey (3.4 rWAR; would have tied for second on this list) off because, barring a surprise trade or some very unfortunate circumstances, he’ll be pitching for the Mets this year. With that being said, here we go:

9. & 10. Jack DiLauro and Juan Padilla (1.1 rWAR, 1969 and 2005): DiLauro was on the postseason roster in 1969 but didn’t appear in the NLCS or World Series. He was removed from the 40-man roster that offseason and selected by the Houston Astros. Even though DiLauro’s major league career lasted only two seasons, he had an interesting journey, bouncing around AAA before retiring at the age of 29.

Padilla represents a mild case of “what might have been”. Signed as a free agent after unsuccessful stints with the Reds and Yankees, Padilla had a decent season in 2005. His 1.49 ERA is a bit deceptive (he only struck out 17 in 36 1/3 innings of work and his 2.05 BABIP and 4.90 xFIP indicate he was more than a little lucky), but he should have been a part of the 2006 bullpen. Instead, Tommy John surgery wiped out his 2006 season. The Mets signed him to a minor league contract before the 2008 season but released him after only 14 innings and he’s been kicking around the independent leagues ever since.

6. 7. & 8. Hisanori Takahashi, Mark Bomback, and Kenny Rogers (1.3 rWAR, 2010, 1980, 1999): Takahashi’s stay with the club is still fresh in everyone’s mind, so I’ll just say this: I stand by this post. Omar Minaya should have traded Takahashi when he had the chance. He was a luxury item at the time and should have been converted into a younger, cheaper asset with more potential.

According to poster JFK at the Ultimate Mets Database, Bomback was given his nickname “Boom-Boom” from “the sound one heard when he was pitching–the sound of the ball off the bat and the sound of the ball hitting the wall afterwards.” He did lead the 1980 Mets in hits allowed, so there was probably more than a little truth behind it.

I’ve got nothing nice to say about Kenny Rogers, so I won’t say anything at all.

4. & 5. Mickey Lolich and Mark Guthrie (1.4 rWAR, 1976 and 2002): Lolich was acquired from the Detroit Tigers after the 1975 season, a season which saw him lose 18 games despite being worth 4.1 rWAR. This deal was unpopular with Mets fans at the time because the price to acquire Lolich was fan-favorite Rusty Staub, who was coming off a 105-RBI season (which was worth 3.1 rWAR). Although Staub never really came close to being the player he was in 75 again, Lolich “retired” from the Mets before the 1977. Staub went on to be worth 6.3 rWar to the Tigers, while Lolich was literally worth nothing.

Guthrie was acquired from the A’s (along with Tyler Yates) for David Justice, who had been acquired from the Yankees for Robin Ventura. So, in a way, you could say that the Mets acquired Guthrie for Ventura, I guess. I had been under the impression that Guthrie was a lefty specialist for the Mets, but his splits don’t really show it: he faced 103 righties vs. only 87 lefties. He held lefties to a .187 average, but righties only hit .221 against him and he actually had a slightly higher OPS+ against righties than lefties (60 to 57). That being said he was a decent reliever in a bullpen that, despite being maligned, wasn’t all that bad.

3. Orel Hershiser (1.9 rWAR, 1999): The Bulldog was a nemesis for Mets fans during the late 80’s, having a ridiculous Cy Young award winning season that culminated in shutting out the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS. I know they won the World Series that year, but I really only remember one unbelievable at-bat from it: I wasn’t paying close attention after the Mets were eliminated. He signed with the Mets 11 years later He appeared in three games that post-season, the final one being the fateful Game 6 against the Atlanta Braves. Again, since I can’t say anything nice about Kenny Rogers, I won’t say anything at all. But I find it fascinating that Orel Hershiser appeared in two of the most painful post-season losses for the Mets.

2. Kevin Appier: (3.1 rWAR, 2001): Appier signed a 4-year, $42 million contract before the season, largely to replace the next pitcher on this list, and was traded away for Mo Vaughn after it. It seemed like an overpay to me at the time (after all, he only won 11 games that season), but now I’m not so sure. I’ve read several articles about the monetary value of a wins above replacement (I linked to a good one in this post). Though I don’t understand exactly how the values are calculated, I’ve seen them range between $4 and $5 million. In the interest of being extra-conservative (and not having access to the actual data as I write this), let’s say the value of 1 WAR in 2001 was $3 million. Using that scale, Appier was worth about $9 million that season: not much less than what the Mets actually paid him. Not bad, and not at all worth throwing away for Mo Vaughn.

On a related note, this post from Rany Jazayerli makes a great case for Appier to be elected to the Hall of Fame. It’s too late now, but the post is interesting nonetheless.

1. Mike Hampton (4.6 rWAR, 2000): “The Colorado school system”. Those four words will forever be associated with Mike Hampton in the minds of Mets fans. Sure, he spurned our favorite team and gave us a lame reason to justify it. But, through the lens of time, I’d argue that he did us a great favor: he was never the same pitcher after 2000. He struggled with the altitude in Colorado, struggled with injuries in Atlanta, and accumulated just 3.3 rWAR in the years after he left the Mets (or, just about what Appier gave them in 2001). In the end, it all worked out: Hampton put his kids in the school system of his choice, and Mets fans didn’t have to watch him clog their payroll. A reall win-win situation.

Posted in Flushing Frivolities, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Whirlwind

Posted by JD on November 6, 2010

This post is more a recap than anything. I was reflecting on what’s happened since Sandy Alderson was hired as General Manager when I realized just what a whirlwind it’s been over the last ten days or so. Just look at what’s happened:

  • Several scouts departed or were not renewed.
  • Razor Shines was let go.
  • J.P. Ricciardi was hired as special assistant to the GM.
  • Ticket prices were lowered and season ticket holders were given the option to qualify for some (in my opinion, anyway) pretty awesome perks (Caryn Rose of Metsgrrl has a great summary here).
  • Manny Alvarez was added to the 40-man roster.
  • The Mets picked up Jose Reyes’ 2011 option.
  • The Royals claimed Joaquin Arias on waivers.
  • Jesus Feliciano, Mike Hessman, Raul Valdes, Omir Santos, and Eddie Kunz were outrighted to Buffalo, bringing the 40-man roster to 34 (in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft).
  • In a sad and shocking turn, long-time clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels has been suspended indefinitely while the FBI and Queens District Attorney probe his gambling activity.
  • The Mets could not reach an agreement with Hisanori Takahashi, who will not return in 2011.

It figures to continue, too. Alderson is trying to add Paul DePodesta to his staff, the free agent market just opened up, and the search for the next manager continues.

With the obvious exception of the Samuels investigation these changes are largely beneficial. It’s never a nice thing to see people fired but in this case it’s important: it’s definitive proof that Alderson is putting his stamp on the organization. Similarly, letting Takahashi walk shows that Alderson won’t over-react (or overspend) to keep useful players. This in turn bodes well for the free agent market: for the first time in years, I’m confident that any additions will be rational, affordable players who will shore up weaknesses and compliment the players already on the roster. I may be getting ahead of myself, but it feels like the days of grabbing a big name just for the sake of signing him (long-term consequences be damned) are gone.

I’m still skeptical of the Wilpons’ ability to refrain from interfering, but Alderson’s early moves have gone a long way toward quieting my fears (I’m sure that was his number one goal). I can’t wait to see who he selects as manager. I’d be fine with most of the candidates I’ve seen mentioned so far, with one exception: Wally Backman. Maybe I’m just being contrarian, but I just don’t understand the fascination some fans have with him. I get that he’s energetic, fiery, and scrappy, but he’s also had a checkered past and he’s largely unproven. I’m sorry, winning one division championship with a roster that’s largely old for it’s level is just not that impressive to me. Not to paint with a broad brush or anything, but I imagine that the portion of the fanbase that’s overly enamored with Backman has a lot of overlap with the group that can’t stand Carlos Beltran, and it drives me crazy.

But I digress. Sandy Alderson has his hand firmly on the wheel, steering the Mets in a bold, new direction. I like what I’ve seen so far and can’t wait to see how the 2011 roster takes shape.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Mets, Offseason Moves, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lefty Luxuries

Posted by JD on August 24, 2010

All of the waiver-wire action of the past few days (Rod Barajas, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez leap to mind) got me wondering whether the Mets will make any more moves before the August 31st deadline. The Mets have already passed a few players through waivers successfully, but I don’t anticipate any movement on them due to their price tags (Carlos Beltran) or limited value (Jesus Feliciano, Mike Hessman, Luis Castillo, Jeff Francoeur, and Oliver Perez).

There are, however, two other players on the roster who should be placed on waivers immediately: Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi. Don’t get me wrong: both players are useful cogs in the bullpen. But given their respective ages and price tags, they are luxury items that aren’t necessary for a .500 team that’s fallen out of the playoff race.

Ted Berg addressed potentially trading Pedro Feliciano back in July. He was right then, and he’s still right today (the only difference being that the market has significantly narrowed due to the waiver requirement). Feliciano is earning $2.9 million and can expect a raise in the arbitration process this season. While the Mets almost never go in front of an arbitrator, but you can expect them to settle with Pedro somewhere between $3.5 and $4 million. Heck, the Mets signed Scott Schoeneweis to a 3 eyar/$9 million deal just three seasons ago, and I’m sure a) Feliciano is a better pitcher, and b) the market has gone up since then. Can the Mets really afford to pay a lefty-specialist that much when they have so many other roster spots to address?

Takahashi is only making $1 million and to the best of my knowledge (read: the Mets’ page on Cot’s Baseball Contracts), he won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2013, meaning the Mets can retain him until that time while giving him only minimal raises. However, he’ll be 36 next season and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to match his current level of success (a term I use loosely: his 98 ERA+ indicates that he’s a slightly below-average pitcher). Sure, there may not be a market for Takahashi, but it can’t possibly hurt to gauge other team’s interest.

As for Feliciano, there’s an additional wrinkle to consider: MLB Trade Rumors is predicting that he’ll qualify as a Type B free agent. As such, if the Mets offer him arbitration and he declines, they’ll receive a sandwich pick in next seasons amateur draft, which will likely be worth more than any prospect they could land after putting him on waivers. But, there’s definitely a market out there for him. For instance, the Yankees would probably be interested in adding a solid lefty-specialist, and that might force Tampa, Boston or even Texas or Minnesota to be interested, if only to their potential playoff opponents from adding to their arsenal. Heck, I could even see the Phillies claiming Feliciano just to ensure that he doesn’t land on the Braves and wreak his usual havoc on Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, and Chase Utley in the playoffs. The Mets might luck into landing a prospect who can help them more cheaply, but if they don’t find a return that they’re interested in, they can still pull him back from waivers. There’s really no downside (aside from bruised egos, I suppose).

There are several scenarios in play and the Mets should at least take this opportunity to make Feliciano and Takahashi available to other teams.  Get a gauge of their value, see what they’re worth to the contending teams in both leagues. It’s possible that they’ve been placed on waivers and it hasn’t been leaked yet (waivers are intended to be confidential until another team claims a player), but if they haven’t yet, there’s no real excuse for it. They should be making every attempt to maximize their available assets.

Posted in Mets, Trades | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m On A Boat!

Posted by JD on May 21, 2010

I was googling around the internet, prepping for this weekend’s Subway Series at Citi Field when I came across this tidbit in Baseball Reference’s BR Bullpen:

1880 – In Albany‘s Riverside Park, Lip Pike hits a ball over the wall and into the river. RF Lon Knight begins to go after the ball in a boat but gives up. Few parks have ground rules about giving the batter an automatic home run on a hit over the fence.

Ok, so the over-the-wall home run hadn’t been institutionalized at the time, but the mind races nonetheless. Just how close to the river was this ballpark? How slow was Pike that Knight actually thought that jumping the fence and hopping in a boat would still give him a chance to throw him out at home? Was this the fore-runner of the kayaks that currently patrol McCovey Cove? And what the hell kind of a name is Lip?

The BR Bullpen is an awesome time-killer and historical resource. Sure, not everyday is the 130th anniversary of some guying attempting to field a live ball in a boat. But the site is full of tidbits and well worth your time if you’re interested in baseball history. Another example, from 2005:

As Dae-Sung Koo stands in against Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza confides to David Wright in the dugout, “If he gets a hit, I’ll donate a million dollars to charity.”

You’ll have to click the link to get the end of that particular story. But when you do, bookmark BR Bullpen. You won’t regret it.

Programming Note: I was going to preview the Subway Series, but that’s been covered so well by so many others that I gave it a pass. If you’re looking for quality previews, I suggest you check out ESPN New York’s Series Preview, On The Black’s Mets vs Yankees Interview and, if you’re looking for video, SNY’s The Baseball Show’s Mets-Yankees Preview. I won’t offer a prediction, but I will say I’m excited to see how Hisanori Takahashi, Mike Pelfrey, and Johan Santana handle one of the best lineups in baseball. I think they’re up to the challenge, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Posted in Flushing Frivolities, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Little Drama

Posted by JD on May 17, 2010

It got a little crazy this afternoon, didn’t it? On the heels of Omar Minaya’s announcement that he would accompany the team to Atlanta, Jeff Wilpon changed his plans and flew down, too. I read Metsblog at least 10 times a day and I happened to check in as this post was published…and that was effectively the end of my workday. The various beat writers were tweeting minute-by-minute status updates, so I pulled out my Blackberry, fired up the Ubertwitter app, and hit refresh approximately every two minutes.

Given how poorly the Mets have played recently, I initially thought we were witnessing the end of Jerry Manuel’s managing tenure. Wilpon, Manuel, Minaya and Assistant GM John Ricco were locked in discussions behind closed doors and I was sure that Jerry would soon be an ex-manager. The doors opened, Jerry walked through, the question was asked, and…Jerry laughed it off and quickly returned to the room with Dan Warthen, Randy Niemann, and Ray Ramirez in tow. Ok, I thought, we’re going to have a new pitching coach.

Not so fast. Warthen, Niemann, and Ramirez left the room a few minutes later, still gainfully employed. Well, that could only mean one thing: upper management was discussing whether they could afford to cut Oliver Perez. But as the minutes crawled by, it slowly dawned on me that they were just getting an update on Jon Niese’s status. Sure enough, word soon came from the beat writers that there was a locker with R.A. Dickey’s name on it, and that Hisanori Takahashi would be taking Niese’s next turn in the rotation.

Wednesday’s starter is still up in the air, but that’s about the only unresolved issue. Jeff Wilpon spoke to the beat writers shortly after the 90-minute ordeal ended, saying “I came to talk baseball… If I felt good about what is going on, I wouldn’t be here.” And that was that. Manuel, Warthen, and Perez kept their jobs, and the Mets got ready to face the Braves.

Oh, that’s right: they also played a game, which the Mets won 3-2. Chris Carter started in right field and had a double and an RBI before being lifted for Jeff Francoeur in a defensive switch…in the 6th inning. GMJ started and did GMJ things again (0-3 with a strike out and a big GIDP with the Mets threatening in the seventh), and Francisco Rodriguez made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth before striking out Nate McClouth to end the game.

Plenty to write about there, but I have no energy for it: getting my hopes up earlier in the afternoon left me spent. The win postponed the Manuel-watch for at least another series or two (I doubt they’ll make a move until after the Yankees series now). But rest assured, we’ll surely be treated to more management-driven drama before long.

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jerry Manuel, Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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