Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Francoeur’

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 »

The End Of An Error

Posted by JD on August 8, 2010

Well, that’s done: the Mets have released Alex Cora. The move, in conjunction with the demotion of Jesus Feliciano, was made to free up space for the return of Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez. It also comes after his 62nd game, leaving him 18 games shy of vesting the 2011 option on his contract, saving the Mets another $2 million next season.

I love these moves. Cora was well past his prime and the thought of bringing him back for more next year was aggravating me to no end. I’m sure he’s a good guy. He’ll probably make a good manager someday, too. But watching him play was seriously testing my patience, so I’m glad that’s no longer a problem.

Of course, these moves aren’t going to make enough of an impact this late in the season. Even if you factor in the decision to bench Luis Castillo and (maybe) platoon Jeff Francoeur and F-Mart, the Mets would still need returns to full health from Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran (and a return to form from Jose Reyes) to make a run of any kind. When you consider how far they’ve fallen behind, it would also take some seriously average performances from the teams in front of them to make it a serious run.

No, these moves do not a contender make. But they do make our team a little more competitive and a lot less frustrating to watch. Considering how this season has developed, I’ll take the good news when I can get it. And on that note, I’m going to make myself a nice cold drink and get ready to watch one of the more intriguing pitching match-ups of the season: knuckle-ball tossing revelation R.A. Dickey versus hard-throwing Roy Halladay. Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

That Carlos Beltran, He’s Pretty Good

Posted by JD on July 29, 2010

I know there’s a lot going on today, what with Roy Oswalt joining the Phillies and R.A. Dickey holding the Cardinals to just three hits over 8 1/3 innings, but I’d like to address something that’s been festering with me for the past two weeks. It’s become pretty clear that Mets fans have split into two camps: those who properly value Carlos Beltran, and those who think he’s some sort of clubhouse cancer. I’m so deeply embedded in the first camp that I struggle to comprehend the second camp’s argument.

Beltran has now appeared in 13 games for the Mets. He’s still a bit tentative in the field and his .702 OPS is well below his career .855 mark, but he’s still more productive than Jeff Francoeur (.670 OPS after today’s game). Of course, the anti-Beltran camp’s argument isn’t rooted in statistics: they seem to be fascinated with the all-important (and ambiguous) factor of “chemistry”. According to one theory, Carlos Beltran and Oliver Perez destroyed the the team’s chemistry as soon as they walked in the door. The Mets’ 2-9 road trip happened because Beltran and Perez simply don’t play well with others.

That’s unacceptable to me. Yes, I understand that you’re still mad that Beltran took that curveball in 2006. I wish he’d swung at it, too. Heck, I wish he’d hit that pitch over the Whitestone Bridge. But that was just one sour moment in a fine Mets career. He’s played 689 games for the Mets, in which he has hit 128 home runs (6th in franchise history), scored 473 runs (11th), and has an .870 OPS (5th). Beltran also has accounted for 26.7 WAR (using Baseball Reference’s calculation), good for 5th in franchise history. Simply put, he’s one of the very best position players this franchise has ever fielded. Any “chemistry” concerns can go pound sand.

That brings us to the heart of this (pointless) debate: those fans who don’t care for Beltran also don’t care for statistics, advanced or otherwise. They “know what they see” and don’t need to dig any deeper. A part of me understands this: I can’t tell you how to calculate WAR, and I struggle to understand some of the more advanced statistics. But I can tell you this: I’ve been to plenty of games at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, and I’ve seen Carlos Beltran steal bases, make gravity-defying catches, and hit titanic home runs. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And the fact that some Mets fans haven’t makes me wonder what they were watching.

Carlos Beltran is awesome, and your argument is not valid.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Mets, Oliver Perez | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

A Star Returns, And A Role Player Departs

Posted by JD on July 15, 2010

Carlos Beltran is back! That’s the main story tonight as the Mets return from the All-Star Break. I’m sure he’ll be rusty and I’m sure he’ll need time to get his game back, but he’s an instant upgrade over Jeff Francoeur and a boost to the offense. It feels like forever since I’ve seen him play (or 10 months at least) and I can’t wait for his first at-bat tonight. It’s a much needed jolt of energy for me (as a fan): I look forward to watching him again.

This being the Mets that we’re talking about, of course there’s negative injury news to balance out my Beltran euphoria. Jose Reyes has again been limited to swinging from the right side only and is riding the pine tonight as the San Francisco Giants start Tim Lincecum tonight. I’ll admit to waffling on this one: half a Reyes is so much better than a whole Alex Cora that I can see why the Mets are reluctant to bench him. I can’t shake the feeling that this will end poorly, but I hearby waive my right to criticize the Mets for this move: I don’t think they’re wrong to keep him active. I’d much rather just continue to slam them for not signing Felipe Lopez instead of Cora in the offseason.

But I digress: the departure I refer to in my post title is that of Fernando Tatis, who was moved to the 60-day DL after he went under the knife on Wednesday. This move almost definitely ends his season, and most likely, his career. I know Tatis has been ridiculed by many Mets fans for the better part of two seasons, but I never quite thought that was fair. Signed to a minor league contract in 2008, Tatis was a revelation that year. He hit 11 home runs and had an 123 OPS+ while backing up in right and left field and first and third base.

He re-signed for $1.7 million in 2009, and while his 13 GIDPs earned him the wrath of many a Mets’ fan, he hit 8 homers and had a 105 OPS+ while adding second base and shortstop to his defensive resume. He wasn’t a whiz with the glove at those positions but he didn’t embarrass himself, either. Add in the fact that he served as the Mets’ emergency catcher and it’s clear that he was worth more than Cora, who had a 69 OPS+ last season while making $2 million dollars. Tatis was actually one of their better players during that lost season, and he took far more criticism than he deserved.

He re-signed again, this time for just $850,000 (or $1 million less than the aforementioned Cora). 2010 was admittedly a down year for Tatis, who found himself in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse, who limited him to a mere 72 plate appearances this season. Still, his 59 OPS+ is higher than Cora’s 58*.

*Can you tell I don’t care that much for Cora as a player?

When all was said and done, he was worth 3.3 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) for the Mets, not a bad return for the roughly $3 million they spent on him. By comparison, Cora has been worth -1.6 WAR. I’ll say it again: Tatis was worth almost five wins more than Cora. Think about that the next time you want to run him down. His career with the Mets may not be over, but if it is, this fan will remember him as a useful bench player acquired for a reasonable price. Tatis may not have helped them reach the playoffs, but he wasn’t the reason why they missed them either. I thank him for his service and wish him nothing but the best in the future.

That said, it’s time to watch the return of Carlos Beltran. The rest of the season starts today, and hopefully Beltran’s return key’s a successful road trip. Let’s Go Mets!

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Morning Musings

Posted by JD on June 27, 2010

A few thoughts before I head off to Citi Field for a rubber match with the Twins:

  • American Idle: I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that Carl Pavano threw a complete game three-hit shutout, or that he almost had as many hits as the entire Mets lineup. Pick your poison, because both were fatal to the Mets yesterday.
  • Jeff Francoeur: One of those three hits was a bunt single from our OBP-challenged right fielder. He made an outstanding throw to nail Denard Span at third, but if Angel Pagan doesn’t take his spot in the lineup when Carlos Beltran returns, it will be a crime.
  • Dueling Mustaches: At some point during the game, SNY ran a side-by-side photo of Pavano and Keith Hernandez, comparing their mustaches. I saw it at the stadium so I couldn’t hear the commentary or take a screen-cap, but the awesomeness of it all was not lost in translation.
  • Johan Santana: I think it’s unfair to pin this loss on Santana alone (the lineup generated absolutely nothing), but it’s reasonable to wonder what he has left: he’s really struggled this season. He’s coming off of elbow surgery and dealing with troubling accusations of sexual assault, and he’s not getting any younger. The Mets will be paying him a lot of money over the next three or four years ($78 – $97.5 million, depending on whether his option is picked up), and it’s safe to say that they won’t receive proper value for that money. But what’s done is done, and they’ll have to make the most of it. We would do well to adjust our expectations for him: Santana will be up-and-down throughout the rest of the season, and the end results will be thoroughly mediocre. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are.

Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Idle Thoughts, Jeff Francoeur, Johan Santana, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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