Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Omir Santos’

Moving On

Posted by JD on November 22, 2010

It’s over, it’s done, let’s turn the page (please). Now that the Mets have named Terry Collins as their next manager (and announced that Chip Hale and Dan Warthen will remain on as the third base and pitching coaches, respectively), we can move on to a (much, much) more important matter: building a roster for 2011. There are a couple of key dates coming up:

  • November 23: Last date to offer salary arbitration. In the Mets’ case, this applies to Pedro Feliciano. Despite the fact that Feliciano can expect to be awarded a contract of about $4 million in the arbitration process, the Mets should offer it to him. Yes, rumors have swirled that the Mets’ offseason budget may be limited to $5 million, and at 35, Feliciano’s an increasing injury risk. But he is a premium left-handed reliever who would likely command a multi-year deal from another team (the Yankees are already rumored to be interested), so the odds of him accepting would seem to be slim. And if he does? Those same teams might be willing to trade for him. Either way, the Mets should be able to turn Feliciano into some sort of longer-term asset.
  • December 5: Last date to outright a player before the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft is designed to prevent clubs from stockpiling talent in the minor leagues by allowing other clubs to select players who are not on the 40-man roster. The Mets have already made some moves in this area, outrighting Jesus Feliciano, Raul Valdes, Mike Hessman, Omir Santos, and Eddie Kunz, waiving Joaquin Arias, and adding Manny Alvarez, Zach Lutz, Jordany Valdespin, Josh Stinson, and Armando Rodriguez. There will be other moves made, as John Maine, Luis Hernandez, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo still have roster spots.
  • December 6: The Rule 5 draft. This will be interesting. Considering their budget limitations, the Mets will probably make a few picks. I expect them to take a pitcher or two to compete for the open spots in the rotation or bullpen. It’s my goal to go through the other 29 rosters and identify a few targets before the draft but, given my recent track record, there’s a great chance it won’t happen. But I’ll give it a shot. Keep in mind that any players picked must stay on the major league roster the entire year or they get offered back to their former organization (for $25,000).

As an added bonus, there will likely be a free agent signing or three sprinkled in (though maybe not until January). We’re not going to see big signings, but we might see the next R.A. Dickey sign in the coming weeks. This is the fun part of the offseason, watching the moves that shape the roster for next year. Anything is better than watching beat reporters and fans try to read the tea leaves of a managerial search, then endlessly venting over the results (accurately depicted here). We can’t turn the page fast enough, in my opinion.

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Posted in Mets, Offseason Moves, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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 »

Better Late Than Never

Posted by JD on June 4, 2010

Gary Matthews, Jr. was finally designated for assignment today (Omir Santos was called up to replace him). I was never a fan of this move (even though Brian Stokes was pretty bad for the Angels, it never made sense to me to give up an asset AND pay GMJ $1.8 million), so I’m glad to see Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel admit it wasn’t working and release him.

It’s another “better late than never” move from Minaya and Manuel (I couldn’t tell you who deserves more blame, so I’m applying it evenly). It took them too long to cut Mike Jacobs, too long to cut Frank Catalanotto, too long to remove Oliver Perez from the rotation, and far too long to cut GMJ. Now that it’s done, we can turn our attention to the bullpen, where it’s taking them too long to realize that Perez is a sunk cost, too long to realize that Fernando Nieve and Raul Valdes are shockingly mediocre, and far, far, FAR, FAR too long to realize that the bullpen is retarding Jenrry Mejia’s development.

So sure, it’s good to see them improve the 25th spot on the roster (I’m assuming that Santos is only here temporarily and that Jesus Feliciano will be taking his place shortly…and yes, I know what happens when you assume). But how long are we going to have to wait to see them improve the 24th, 23rd, 22nd, and 21st spots? Clearly, there’s still a long way to go.

Posted in Jerry Manuel, Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Bandwagon Rolls Again

Posted by JD on March 8, 2010

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that I lead an ill-fated Oliver Perez bandwagon last year. Well, the Loopy Lefty has suckered me again. After watching his Spring Training debut, I feel I have little choice but to crank up the bandwagon yet again. I know it’s not worth it. He’ll probably implode again and make a fool of me once more, but I just can’t help myself. Be warned: you’ll be peppered with a lot of pro-Ollie posts and tweets from this point on.

That being said, here are a few notes from yesterday’s game:

1. Ollie got screwed at the start of the in the first inning. He walked Justin Maxwell to start the game, but settled down and got the next batter (Ian Desmond) to an 0-2 count on two swing-and-miss pitches. Omir Santos couldn’t get a good throw off to second (allowing Maxwell to steal) and Desmond dribbled the next pitch into right. Luis Castillo’s total lack of range was blindingly obvious as the Nats scored the first run of the game (not to mention that Jeff Francoeur absolutely air-mailed the throw to the plate). I’m sure this will be an ongoing storyline throughout the season.

2. The next two batters were classic Ollie. First, he induced Elijah Dukes, arguably the Nationals’ best hitter, to strike out swinging. Then he hung a 1-0 pitch to the far-less imposing Mike Morse, who promptly clubbed it way over the fence. That two at-bat sequence could serve as a career synopsis, no?

3. Ollie gave up another run in the top of the second on a Wily Tavares double and his pace slowed WAY down. I thought he was about to go off the rails, but he actually rallied to get Maxwell with a swinging strike out and Desmond with a fly out to Francoeur in right. I admit I’m looking for any positive I can find, but I was encouraged by how Ollie settled down and got the outs he needed. Evil Ollie would have imploded in that situation. I thought it was a good sign that he got out of the inning after surrendering one run.

4. Ollie got Dukes to pop out and Morse to fly out to deep center to start the third before Pudge Rodriguez punched a single into center field. Kevin Mench then plated Pudge with a double. By my count the sequence took less than 8 pitches. Adam Kennedy then grounded a 3-1 fastball into right which (again) Castillo should have grabbed. It would have been the sixth run surrendered by Perez had Francoeur not thrown a bullet* to the plate to nail Mench.

*Frenchy actually had two assists on throws to the plate. I think his arm is over-rated, but he got two out of three at the plate today. I’m hard on him, but credit where it’s due.

All in all Perez threw 49 pitches, 33 of which were strikes. It wasn’t a great outing but it wasn’t as bad as the box score made it out to be. And it was good enough to get me to bring the bandwagon out of mothballs. I guess I’ll be in Ollie’s corner for as long as I can stand it.

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

Barajas AND Lopez. C’mon, You Know You Want To…

Posted by JD on February 17, 2010

It looks like the Mets are negotiating with Rod Barajas. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports that they are making a “hard push” for Barajas, and Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that it might only be a minor league deal (highlighting how badly the catcher and his agent misjudged the market).

I’ll go on record: I like Omir Santos. I know there’s little rational reason to do so. His defensive reputation is horrible and he’s due for a step back this season, but something about the underdog nature of his story and one totally awesome home run (do you believe in Omiracles!?!) have pulled the wool over my eyes. That being said, I’d give his job to Barajas in a heartbeat. And as excited as I am about Josh Thole’s potential, I’d rather see him get more Triple-A at-bats. A Barajas-Blanco catching tandem is far from ideal, but it’s the best they can do at this point and a decent upgrade over their current crew. Let’s hope they can get it done.

Here’s my follow-up question: why can’t they take a shot at Felipe Lopez, too?

I realize that the money and roster situations are different. Lopez will probably want around $1-1.5 million and a major league deal to sign, which means a spot on the 40-man roster would have to be cleared (I’m looking at you, Jason Pridie). Alex Cora already fills the utility infielder role and is signed for $2 million and it’s doubtful that Omar Minaya (or, more accurately, the Wilpons) would be willing to eat that contract.

That’s the biggest hurdle to signing Lopez: getting management to treat Cora’s contract as a sunk cost.  That $2 million is already spent and while $3.5 million* is a lot to pay someone who, in the best case, will be your backup middle infielder, is it really too much to spend? WAR (Wins Above Replacement) says it isn’t. Last year, Cora had a -0.6 WAR (which means he cost the team half a win) while Lopez had a 2.6. To summarize, Lopez was worth 3.2 more wins than Cora. I’m not certain what 1 WAR is worth, but I’m pretty $3.5 million for 3.2 WAR is not a bad deal (and yes, I’m trying not to mention that they never should have resigned Cora in the first place).

*I’m adding their salaries together and assuming that it’s an either/or proposition. God help us if they kept both players on the roster, though you could talk me into it if it resulted in them cutting GMJ.

Now, the possibility remains that the Mets can get Lopez to sign a minor league deal. If it happens, I’ll be first one to credit Minaya for being a savvy buyer. But I’d say that’s still a long-shot: it’s much more likely that I’ll be damning the Wilpons for clutching their purse strings too tightly again.

Posted in Mets, Offseason Moves, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »