Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest

What Can Dillon Gee Be?

This entry was posted on April 1st, 2014 @ 7:00 am by Mike Silva.
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An overall awful ending to yesterday’s home opener. Every negative meme spoken about the Mets came to fruition: bad defense, bad bullpen and bad luck. Dillon Gee was the unlikely starter, and for six innings he made you wonder if he is emerging as the ace of this Harvey-less rotation. Then came the bullpen, led by journeymen like Carlos Torres and Scott Rice. If not for Jose Valverde, there wouldn’t have been extra innings. Terry Collins claimed in the postgame that Gee was “gassed” and he was “getting his pitches up.” I wonder if that perception comes from what the eyes saw or what the pitch count- Gee was at 100 pitches exactly upon his exit- on the scoreboard.

Rich Coutinho of SNY was bullish on Gee during my Saturday radio program, proclaiming the righty could be an All-Star this year. I have liked Gee since his call-up in 2010 when he took a blow from Ryan Howard on a Saturday night in Philly with a division-clinching celebration was on the line. That city was looking for blood, and Gee settled in to give a dead Mets team an opportunity to win a tough ballgame. Since his call-up he’s showed moxie, and improved every year, despite a huge setback due to a blood clot in 2012.

The Mets will probably baby Gee like all their starters, despite the fact he was treated the exact opposite upon being drafted in the 21st round in 2007. That summer he pitched for Brooklyn in the NY-Penn League. He started 11 games, won 3, and pitched to a 2.47 ERA in 62 innings. Why are those inning important? It’s because he threw additional 111 in college for Texas-Arlington. Imagine if a top pick threw 173 innings their rookie year in pro-ball? The pitch count police might charge the organization for abuse, and put them before a military tribunal.

Gee was not supposed to be a big leaguer. He wasn’t supposed to matter, as many saw him as, at best, inventory at Triple-A. Now that he’s shown promise it appears he will be treated like a glass vase just like Wheeler, Mejia and the other young arms that will be called upon this summer.

It’s possible that Dillon Gee is no more than a league-average starter that can give you innings at the back-end of a rotation. His career ERA+ of 95 indicates as much. But what if Gee can perform at a higher level? What if the second-half of 2013 (5-4, 2.74) is a harbinger of things to come? Maybe the Mets have a solid, homegrown, top-of-the-rotation veteran starter that can anchor what is an increasingly young rotation. That’s supposed to be Jon Niese, but Gee has looked more the part since the middle of last year.

What can Dillon Gee be? We may not know, but I do believe we won’t find out with 100 pitches and out every five days. I will take my chances with a “gassed” Gee over a journeyman righty and a former member of the Long Island Ducks, any day of the week.

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Listen: WFAN’s Sweeny Murti on 2014 Yankees

This entry was posted on March 31st, 2014 @ 7:41 am by Mike Silva.
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On Saturday’s Weekend Watchdogs radio program, Sweeny Murti of WFAN previewed the 2014 Yankees.

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SNY’s Rich Coutinho Previews 2014 Mets

This entry was posted on March 31st, 2014 @ 6:56 am by Mike Silva.
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On Saturday’s Weekend Watchdogs radio program, Rich Coutinho of SNY and Metsblog previewed the 2014 Mets.

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Yanks Spending Spree Gets Them “In the Mix”

This entry was posted on March 30th, 2014 @ 11:35 am by Mike Silva.
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Normally the Yankees spending $400 plus million in an offseason would lead to assurances of an AL East title and October baseball. This time, all Brian Cashman did by acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann is get the Yanks back into the same Wild Card mix they were in last year. The difference is they’re actually an 85 to 87 win team versus the over performance of what was really a 79-win team in 2013.

Lets start with the positives.  The Yankees may have the best fifth starter in baseball in Michael Pineda. Their bullpen has interesting arms such as Vidal Nuno, David Phelps and Adam Warren that provide some upside. Any of those individuals could step-in to the rotation, and give Joe Girardi quality innings. Gone are the days where injuries lead Cashman and company to turn to the trash heap for the Sidney Ponson’s of the league. In the bullpen,  Dellin Betances and Shawn Kelley will potentially miss a lot of bats.  David Robertson is replacing the “Babe Ruth of closers,” but his process- high strikeout rate and a decreasing walk rate – makes him a good bet to be among the elite closers in baseball. Not Mariano Rivera, but you can’t ask for anything better. The free agent acquisitions should all perform to historical levels, a tremendous upgrade from last season, with Tanaka possibly becoming the ace that CC Sabathia once was.

So why the pessimism? There still are too many question marks on this roster. Any sane baseball analyst that doesn’t wear pinstriped-colored glasses knows that, in best case, question marks falls somewhere down-the-middle of the outcome scale.

So what’s different than prior spending sprees? Cashman knew the “magic beans and pixie dust” patchwork that led to an 85-77 finish last year would not be sustainable in 2014. The problem is $400-million isn’t enough as he needed a bit more to fill his holes at second, third and bring in veteran bench insurance for the aging Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. I believe the infield will ultimately be one of their glaring weaknesses.

I expect a post-wrist surgery Mark Teixeira to lack the power of prior years, and be more of a defensive-minded first baseman. Derek Jeter, despite staying healthy this spring, will be asked to become the first 40-year old shortstop to perform at an elite level since Honus Wagner.  In other words, not since Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States have we seen that kind of combination of age and performance at the position.

What about the top-of-the-rotation? Tanaka better be good as advertised since both Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are no sure bets to repeat their prior performances. Hearing Sabathia talk about “re-inventing” himself should be a clue as to what we should expect from him going forward. There are far more examples of aces struggling with a compromised repertoire later in their career (see Randy Johnson), then those that returned to their prior All-Star level (Tom Glavine).

What should be even more concerning for this Yankees team their Plan B for Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson. Roberts would be a great option at second, and probably the leader to become a fan favorite, if this were 2005. It’s been four years since Roberts stayed on the field and performed acceptably to be considered an everyday player at the position. Johnson has some interesting left-handed pop for Yankee Stadium, but profiles better as an “around-the-world” bench player than alternative to Alex Rodriguez at third. If they fail, then what? Dean Anna? Yangervis Solarte? Eduardo Nunez? Those are the kind of alternatives that got the Yanks in trouble last season.

I believe this Yankees team has too much age, too top heavy in talent and lacks appropriate depth. We all praised Hal Steinbrenner for ignoring the luxury tax threshold and bringing on Tanaka, but he still pinched pennies when it came to critical parts of the roster. If you were going to splurge, go all the way and step up for Cano at second. That would have made the offseason that much different.

Vegas has the Yankees over/under around 86-87 wins, and I believe that is exactly where this team will end up.  Is that enough for a one-game playoff? Maybe, and once you get in the tournament that is the modern MLB playoffs anything can happen. On the flip side, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees finished in the low eighties and towards the bottom of the AL East. Not a bad “worst-case” scenario, but not what this organization and fan base has experienced the last two decades.


Listen to Sweeny Murti of WFAN preview the 2014 season on the Weekend Watchdogs.

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Mets Have Hope in ’14, But Still in Baseball Purgatory

This entry was posted on March 29th, 2014 @ 1:48 pm by Mike Silva.
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There isn’t a realistic scenario where anyone could rationalize Sandy Alderson’s 90-win prediction this coming season. For three years, all the coverage surrounding the Mets has been on the finances – or lack thereof- of the ownership group. That won’t go away anytime soon as long as ownership continues to display financial restraint in the mold of Tampa Bay and Oakland. The lack of financial resources, as Rich Sandomir of the NY Times pointed out earlier this week, means that attendance at Citi Field becomes essential to the Wilpons investing in the roster going forward. Can 2014 yield the type of performance that will finally bring the fans to Citi Field the way we saw those final seasons at Shea? No, but there may be some hope for the first time during this five-year streak of losing.

The Mets win total won’t change the perception of where they are as an organization. Any team that is in the 75-81 win range- which is where I expect this team to end up- is considered to be in baseball purgatory: not among the dregs of the league, but not serious contenders for even a second Wild Card spot. Expect more of the same from this group as they will tease you with good play for some stretches, awful play during others, and probably leave you wanting on most nights.

With four of the eight starting position players coming out of the spring as huge question marks, a shaky bullpen and a manager that seems to be overmatched in the dugout, this Mets team lacks impact talent up and down the roster to be taken seriously. It’s really no different than 2011-2013, just new names on the back of the uniform. The difference this year, however, is the young pitchers may finally be on the verge of contributing; with the possibility of an all-homegrown staff as early as the second half of this season.

Rafael MonteroJacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could be candidates for the rotation later this season. That trio, along with Jenrry Mejia and Zack Wheeler, make for the real story of the 2014 Mets. These young arms will not only give the Mets the kind of arms to make for a potent rotation, but they all fall under the young and controllable pre-arbitration umbrella that will allow this cash-strapped ownership group to potentially invest in the rest of the ball club; something they haven’t done in half a decade. They also provide depth that Sandy Alderson can use to acquire an in-prime star in the mold of Mike Piazza, which helped turn around the franchise in the late nineties.

The problem is that pitching prospects never are a sure bet. Matt Harvey was pitching at the level of a Seaver and Gooden last year, but now is a huge question mark due to his injured elbow. Even the most bullish prognosticators have to think that one or two arms, at best, will emerge as consistent contributors out of that group. Notice I said contributors, not stars. Anything worse won’t be a surprise, but it will certainly put this franchise in a position where they can’t fill the roster appropriately for years to come. That means more lean summer nights at Citi Field where the big news is the band that plays postgame, or watching the kids run the bases on a Sunday afternoon.

You can enjoy the Bartolo Colon starts, David Wright 2-homer games and the theatrics of Jose Valverde as a way to fill your 2014 spring and summer sports fix until the NFL returns. None of it will matter, as this Mets team will join other teams in franchise history that fell into the bland mid-seventy win territory. What happens in Vegas, and hopefully on the Citi Field mound later this summer, will ultimately determine the success of this franchise in 2015 and beyond.

If the results are positive, then perhaps next year we can seriously talk about meaningful September games, and perhaps a playoff spot.


Listen to Rich Coutinho of SNY preview the upcoming Mets season on the Weekend Watchdogs with my co-host, Joe Buono, and me.

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Mejia Should Take the 5th

This entry was posted on March 23rd, 2014 @ 4:08 pm by Mike Silva.
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Jenrry Mejia tossed a solid 5 innings of 1-run ball this afternoon against the Washington Nationals. Going into the ballgame, Mejia was reported to still be “in the mix” for the fifth spot in the rotation. There shouldn’t be any more discussion as Mejia should be given the spot over Daisuke Matsuzaka.

This season will not be about a contention for the Mets. There still are too many holes in the lineup, bench and bullpen to compete in a division that features Washington and Atlanta. The Mets need to use 2014 to see who are the “keepers” from their highly publicized stable of young pitchers. Mejia – who came before Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Montero and Syndergaard – needs to show that he can physically handle the rigors of the starting rotation. This won’t be accomplished in Las Vegas or the bullpen. At 24-years old the time is now.

What about the alternative? There is no upside to Matsuzaka getting the fifth spot. Even in his best season (2008), Dice-K allowed too many base runners to employ any level of sustained success. All you could hope for is a league average season from the veteran righty, with plenty of TV-turning off performances. Last September showed you the best and worst of Matsuzaka, and the in-between (ERA+ of 81) is probably easily achieved by Mejia.

Worried about rotation depth? You should be as Jonathon Niese is a sure bet to miss time to the disabled list. No worries, as Dice-K has a May 30th opt-out in his contract. Let him start the season in Las Vegas, and I suspect you will have a clear idea of whether you will need him by that date. The need for a veteran diminishes as you get into the summer months since deGrom, Syndergaard and Montero will be available.

There is no reason to plead the fifth when it comes to Jenrry Mejia in the rotation; the spot should belong to him.


Think back to the offseason of 2006 when the Mets were coming off a division title, but needed a top-of-the-rotation starter due to the injuries to Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox, Yankees and Mets were all rumored to be the favorites for Dice-K’s services. The media was talking about his unhittable “gyroball.” The Sox’s blew away the competition with a $51-million dollar bid, but the Mets- not the Yankees- were second at $39-million.

Theo Epstein would sign Matsuzaka to a 6-year/$52-million dollar deal. With all the bad Omar Minaya contracts this would have been right up there.

Sometimes you win even when you lose, which has been a rarity for the Mets the last decade.

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NYBD Is Back!

This entry was posted on March 7th, 2014 @ 6:07 pm by Mike Silva.
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After a two year hiatus I would like to announce the return of NYBD.

First, before I get into details, let me be clear about the purpose and intention of this site.


Now that we have that on the table, let me explain my return.

Over the last two years I left writing/blogging to focus more on radio ventures and some personal matters. I believed it was time to expand outside of just talking baseball, and add other sports, as well as media, to my repertoire. I felt I could no longer give to the site what was necessary to move it forward. I was fortunate enough to land a weekend job hosting on Champions Radio, the ESPN affiliate on Long Island. Unfortunately, Champions Radio has switched formats and its future with sports talk is uncertain. This led to my return to new media and freelance work. Why not bring back a site that had a great niche, and provided many fans with a place to debate, vent and discuss the latest New York baseball topics.

Additionally, there was some confusion about whether I was affiliated with a publication. Let me be clear: I use this site for non-profit purposes. It’s an outlet to promote my radio work and interact with my New York baseball-loving listeners. I don’t make a dime off it, nor have any intention of putting out any traditional magazine or publication. This is my own personal digest on New York baseball; nothing more, nothing less.

The new NYBD will be focused on opinion pieces. I hope to have some of my old contributors check in here once in a while, as well.

We will have fun here, but quality over quantity is the focus of this site.

I will continue to write about all sports and media at my sister site: Sports Media Watchdog. I also co-host a weekly show on Blog Talk Radio called The Weekend Watchdogs. Additionally, I am working on traditional media projects that I hope to be able to announce in the near future.

Lets talk some baseball and have fun. I believe the New York media landscape has missed the passion this site brought on a daily basis from 2008 to 2012.

I am looking forward to interacting with all of you!

Mike Silva

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Lennon on Hall-of-Fame Voting

This entry was posted on January 5th, 2014 @ 11:00 am by Mike Silva.
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Dave Lennon., baseball writer for Newsday, joined Mike Silva and Joe Buono on the Weekend Watchdog (ESPN Champions Radio 107.1/96.9 FM) to discuss the Hall-of-Fame voting process.

Lennon discussed his ballotas well as how the BBWAA is contemplating some changes to the process.

“The Baseball Writers Association does have meetings at the All Star Game, the World Series, the Winter Meetings to go over a lot of this stuff. There was a lot of discussion about maybe changing some of the thinking that does go into the Hall-of-Fame. Whether it’s the amount of candidates that you can vote for, I think that is going to be reviewed ,and also some of the standards about minimal votes that will keep people on the ballot past that. The systems been the same for quite a long time, and I don’t think it’s changed really at all since we  (BBWAA) started voting for the Hall-of-Fame. So, ya know, there is something to that. You don’t want to change the system too much because in past years it’s kept people off, and if you change it now does that become unfair? Does it change the playing field on how these players compete to get in?  So I think it’s a tricky one.”

To listen to the entire interview click here and go to the 25:30 mark.

To read what my ballot would be, if I had one, you can click here

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Mike Silva Hall-of-Fame Ballot

This entry was posted on January 4th, 2014 @ 11:00 am by Mike Silva.
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My Hall-of-Fame Ballot (If I had one)

1) Edgar Martinez- It might take the BBWAA some time to appreciate the designated hitter, just like they needed some time to warm up to relievers. His production from 1995 to 2003 is right up there with all the all-time greats. Even the move to spacious Safeco Field didn’t slow him down. There is one site that evaluates him based on an award called POP (Premium Offensive Player). A POP season is one in which the player has a BA over .300, OBP over .400, SLG over .500. Martinez has eight POP seasons for his career- more than Mickey Mantle. Every player with eight or more POP seasons is in the Hall of Fame, with the exception of Barry Bonds, who is not eligible as of this writing. Martinez is also one of five players who have had more walks than strikeouts (with at least 1200 or more of each) while hitting .300. The others are Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones.

2) Jeff Bagwell – is one of the few players that spent his entire career in one city and produced Hall of Fame quality numbers his entire career. He spent a large portion of his career playing in the pitcher friendly Astrodome where he produced an OPS of .996. How can you argue with a career that yielded 449 homers, 202 stolen bases, and a .948 OPS? Bill James said in 2001 that Bagwell is the fourth best first basemen of all time. High praise for someone that plays a position known for offense. Personally, I think only Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols and Jimmie Foxx are better offensive players at the position. If I am going to support Gil Hodges on the Golden Era ballot, I can’t not support other first basemen such as McGwire and Bagwell.

3) Rafael Palmeiro – Wouldn’t be much of a debate if he didn’t have that infamous dialogue with Congress and failed drug test. Palmeiro had 3,020 hits, 569 homers, over 1,800 RBI, and a .885 OPS for his career. Although he never won an MVP, he did win three Gold Gloves (one very dubious one in 1999) during his career. Again, I don’t know the true impact of steroids on these results. I also don’t know how many pitchers were using that Palmeiro faced. The offensive numbers are no doubt Hall worthy. Is that even arguable?

4) Greg Maddux – Has two of the best single season performances of all-time. In 1994-1995 he had ERA’s of 1.56 and 1.63, respectively. Which if you use ERA+ is better than Gibson’s 1968. One 20-win season and that came his last year in Chicago. 4 Cy Young Awards, 18 gold gloves, 1 walk per nine in his 1994 and 1995 seasons. He also had 355 wins.

5) Tom Glavine – 305 wins, five 20+ win seasons, and a very famous reinvention with the Mets. Also won two Cy Young Awards, as well as a World Series MVP in 1995 that included the Classic 1-0 performance in Game 6

6) Barry Bonds – So let’s look at Bonds’ career prior to 1998. Would he still be a Hall of Fame player?

A typical Bonds year was 31 HRs, 91 RBI, 35 stolen bases, 102 walks, and .288 batting average. His OPS .959 and his OPS+ was 162. After the ’97 season he had 374 HRs, 1,094 RBI, 417 stolen bases, and 1,244 runs scored in a career that spanned 12 years. All of those numbers were good enough to be among the best of any Hall of Famer at any position. At that point, the guy averaged a 30/30 season for his career. He also won three MVP awards and 7 Gold Gloves.

Post ’98 we know things got crazy. That version of Bonds had a typical year that included 39 HRs, 90 RBI, 10 stolen bases, 133 walks, and .314 batting average. His OPS was 1.193 and his OPS+ was 209. The totals for that 10 year portion of his career were 388 HRs, 902 RBI, 97 stolen bases, and 983 runs scored. He won 4 MVP awards and only 1 Gold Glove. Defense and speed were the key element of his game that disappeared.

Remember, the book (Game of Shadows) claims he took steroids for about 5 years (98-2003), that is when he became a video game. A typical year included 47 HRs, 108 RBI, 14 stolen bases, 140 walks, and .318 batting average. His OPS was 1.205 and his OPS+ was 214, which is higher than Babe Ruth. During those five years he produced 284 HRs, 648 RBI, 83 stolen bases, and 697 runs scored. He was walked an insane amount (843 times) as well.

7) Roger Clemens – You have to put him in the same category as Bonds. How can you leave someone off with his record, despite the PED use? 354 wins, 7 CYA, 1-MVP/pre-roid (1996) 192-111, 3.06, 3 Cy Young Awards. After roids he was 162-73, 3.21 ERA and 4 Cy Young Awards. Third all-time in strikeouts, sixth in wins, and two 20-strikeout games.

8) Frank Thomas – Had 8 POP seasons (.300 batting average, .400 OBP, .500 slugging). 969 games at 1st and 1,300 at DH. 521 home runs, .419 OBP, career batting average of .301 and two MVP awards. You have to put both Thomas and Martinez in the Hall-of Fame.

9) Mike Piazza – Most home runs as a catcher (427 overall) , his 1997 where he was 40/124/.362 might be the best individual season for a catcher all-time. When you factor in the travel and wear and tear of the position, a career .308 batting average is amazing. We are crucifying him for bacne, but how many of us would have lousy skin carrying around the tools of ignorance for nine innings on average of six days a week?

10) Mike Mussina - – He only has 270 wins, but he is 100 games over 500. That should count for something. Some other Mussina facts:

- Only one losing season in 18 years.

- Statistically compares to HOF pitchers like Jim PalmerClark GriffithCarl HubbellJuan Marichal.

- Also compares through age 39 to Future Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

I would vote for if there were more room on the ballot

Jack Morris – He doesn’t have the peripheral numbers of other Hall of Famer’s, such as Bert Blyleven, but that shouldn’t take away the fact that he won 254 ballgames. He also was a big time postseason pitcher for Detroit and Minnesota, of course winning that classic Game 7 in the ’91 World Series against Atlanta. With the advent of bullpens 250 should be the new 300 and Morris clearly knew how to pitch well enough to win. Let’s not make wins the end all, but let’s not diminish the fact that is ultimately what pitching is all about.

Tim Raines- He is one of the individuals that I examine every year. Part of me believes he doesn’t have enough Hall worthy seasons (I count 9 out of 23). The presence of Rickey Henderson in the eighties sometimes overshadows Raines who was his National League counterpart. He had speed and hit for power and average. His 13 years in Montreal were impressive, and he tacked on in Chicago and New York. If he didn’t chase a ring as a part time player with the Yankees I suspect he might have collected 3,000 hits. For his career he had over 2,600 hits, 808 stolen bases, and a career OPS of .810. Time to recognize “Henderson lite” and put him in the Hall. If you added 400 more hits and subtracted 400 walks this wouldn’t be a debate because he would have the magic number of 3,000. I would have kept him on my ballot if there were more room because I do believe he is a Hall-of-Famer.

Mark McGwire – For the first-timers to the site I will repeat my position on steroids. Unlike many members of the BBWAA, I don’t get offended by the use of PEDs during the 90s. Perhaps it was because this is the generation in which I “cut my teeth” in learning the game, but more likely because there never has been definitive scientific proof as to the cause and effect. Both pitchers and hitters were using drugs that were not against the rules of the game. We all know that McGwire is currently 10th all-time in home runs with 584, but his numbers are comparable to other Hall of Fame first basemen such as Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, and Willie McCovey. We have racists, tax cheats, drunks, and spit ballers in the Hall, so there is no reason why we can’t honor someone that used enhancements, some that were not outlawed at the time. What really puts me over the top with Big Mac is that his at-bats from 1995-2000 were an “event” like no other in the history of the game. Not even Barry Bonds (who I will support when he is eligible), garnered that much interest across all 30 big league ballparks. He will never get in, so why waste a vote, but should be considered by the Vets Committee. Now that he is coaching I wonder if the powers-that-be will eventually move past McGwire and PEDs.

Jeff Kent – His years with San Franciso yielded 29/115/.297 BA/ .903 OPS There was an MVP award in that time- all at 2B. My issue is that he was very good, not great in New York, Houston, Los Angeles. I still think he is a Hall-of-Famer, but is left out on this crowded ballot. I believe he will have to get in via the Veterans Committee.


Craig Biggio – Hall-of-Fame run for six year period from about 1993 to 1999 where you could count on him for 20 home runs, high OBP, gold glove defense up the middle. His defense is even more remarkable as he started as a catcher and even played the outfield. My issue is he compiled 3,000 hits and he wouldn’t even be considered without it. Now that the BBWAA has “thrown away” the automatic qualifiers (see Palmeiro) because of PEDs, I am ok with throwing them away all together. I am more about quality than quantity.

Curt Schilling – He seems to be garnering favor thanks to a couple of big postseasons (2001, 2004) and a bloody sock. I don’t see a long enough string of quality to call Schilling a Hall-of-Famer. I see two years in Philadelphia (97-98), two in Arizona (2001-2002) and one in Boston (2004). The difference between Schilling and Jack Morris is consistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets Vets Committee consideration the first year he is eligible. I won’t be upset if he makes it, either (see Catfish Hunter).

Sammy Sosa – Never failed a test, but a very strange career arc. Before the historic 1998 an average Sosa season (’96 to ’97) was very good (37 HR/113 RBI/.263 BA/.831 OPS), after (’98 to 2004) he became a video game (52 HR/127 RBI/.308 BA/1.006 OPS). Despite McGwire’s home run record, Sosa won the MVP in 1998 as the Cubs made the playoffs. Having watched his career it’s hard for me to take him seriously with these huge jumps in production.

Larry Walker – His best seasons came in Colorado (.334 average, 1.006 OPS), which was a joke pre-humidor. Walker was a very good player in Montreal, but his career road numbers (.278 BA and .865 OPS) make me think he belongs in the Hall-of-Very-Good.

Alan Trammel – Nice run in the mid-to-late 80s, but fell off after the age of 32. He is in the top-10 in Wins Above Replacement for his position, tied with Barry Larkin, but I wouldn’t have voted for Larkin, either. I don’t see a long enough run, historic event or total numbers. The position he played is the only argument. He may get in on the Vets Committee at some point, which wouldn’t bother me. I don’t see him as a Hall-of-Famer.

Don Mattingly – Great five-year run. Career was ruined by a back injury, and if he didn’t wear pinstripes he would have been off the ballot after year one.

Lee Smith – We all know that saves are overrated. It’s the process of how you gain it, not the results. There was an argument based on his work with the Cubs, but he was just another very good reliever once he left the Windy City.

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Curtis Granderson a Nice Start for the Mets

This entry was posted on December 7th, 2013 @ 11:00 am by Mike Silva.
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Curtis Granderson is not typically the type of offensive player I prefer. Yes, he has tremendous power, but he strikes out a ton, has a good, but not great OBP, and is average defensively. The Yankees traded for a player in 2010 that many thought would make them forget Bernie Williams. Unfortunately, outside of two outstanding regular seasons (regular is the key word) in ’11 and ’12, he wasn’t worth the price of Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

Earlier in the offseason I wanted nothing to do with the big outfield free agents i.e. Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson – both were too Jay Bay-like for my taste. Shin-Soo Choo was desirable, but if Jacoby Ellsbury is able to obtain a 7-year/$153 million dollar deal, then Choo will be in that neighborhood and then some.  My preference was to bring back Marlon Byrd and seeing what the trade market could yield for an impact hitter (see Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki).

My attitude has changed after seeing how expensive rumored trades can be (reports were that top pitching prospect Shelby Miller would have been the price for the Cardinals to obtain J.J. Hardy from Baltimore), and the insane contracts given out (see Jacoby Ellsbury). When it’s all said and done, four years for Granderson at $60 million dollars is a very reasonable contract. Furthermore, it doesn’t require the Mets giving up any of their upper- level pitching prospects.

What are the Mets getting with Granderson? A player that will play 150 games, hit 25-30 homers, steal 15 bases and bring a professional winning presence to the clubhouse. The concerns over his ability to hit LHP have been alleviated since his work with hitting coach Kevin Long. The last three years have seen him hit nearly identical against LHP and RHP pitching, and in some cases, better against the southpaws.

This move has been compared to the Mets signings of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran in 2004- that’s nonsense. Those were impact players that were sending a message to the league the Mets were major players again. Granderson is a complementary player that shows the Wilpons actually have the means to commit to a long-term contract. Granderson improve an anemic offense that was towards the bottom of the National League.

In other words, this was a nice move for Sandy Alderson and company, but not a difference-maker in of itself ala Beltran and Martinez.  What’s next will determine how far along the Mets rebuilding program has come.

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