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Autonomy, Pitching Surplus, Reyes Negotiations, Mets Bullpen



By Mike Silva ~ July 7th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Back on September 9th, 2009 Derek Jeter needed 3 hits to tie Lou Gehrig for most in Yankees history. The starter that night was Tampa’s Jeff Niemann. Jeter would get the necessary hits off him Niemann that night. Tonight’s Tampa starter? Jeff Neimann. Maybe you should head out and buy a ticket.

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NYBD contributor Joe Delgrippo and I had a brief exchange off the air yesterday about Joe Girardi‘s autonomy. On Tuesday, Girardi appeared ready to sit Jeter for yesterday’s game. Jeter wound up playing and going 1-3 with a walk.

So why did Jeter play? Did he talk his way into the lineup or tell his way into the lineup? Was Girardi told to play Jeter by management?

Brian Cashman made it clear that Jeter never wanted to go on the DL, and the decision was one that required him to go up all the way to ownership.

Does Girardi really have autonomy to run his team the way he sees fit? Or does he have to answer to the front office on decisions that other skippers wouldn’t have to?

With Jeter, the latter seems like a real scenario.

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Ken Davidoff of Newsday praises the decision by Girardi to play Jeter saying it’s one of those rare times he didn’t go by the book.

It’s not like the result of Girardi’s decision produced great fruit for the short term. Yet the process displayed a manager willing to listen to his player. Girardi and Jeter spoke late Tuesday night at the ballpark and then exchanged text messages, and Girardi woke up Wednesday ready to try a new lineup.

“What I realized is, none of us know what it’s like to be in his shoes, going for 3,000 hits,” Girardi said before the game. “We don’t know what’s going through his mind. I thought maybe it’s worse, in a sense, if you’re sitting around thinking about it.”

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It appears that both the Mets and Jose Reyes are serious about contract talks. Mike Puma of the NY Post reports that secret talks with the Reyes camp in hopes of reaching agreement in the coming weeks on a new contract.

Again, I have said many times here and on the radio show that I would offer Reyes a 5 year contract for $100 million, with some sort of option for a sixth year that could bring the total to 6 years/$120 million.

You could also do a shorter deal for more money. Something like 3 years/$75 million.

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Why is this information leaked now? Funny how it happens just days after Reyes suffers a hamstring injury. I believe this is Reyes’s team leaking the information to put pressure on the Mets to make a deal.

Look at it logically. Greenberg had all the leverage in the world through Saturday afternoon. Reyes was healthy and playing better than anyone in baseball on both sides of the ball. Now, the old questions about his durability have cropped up. The Mets are winning, and you never know if the front office starts to think they can survive post-Reyes.

I have never been in the camp that Reyes will have a huge level of demand this offseason. Brian Cashman already said the Yankees won’t pursue Reyes. The Red Sox are a team that loathes the luxury tax, and it might require them to go significantly over to bring Reyes in the fold. Another logical American League team that probably won’t be in the hunt is Anaheim. There has been talk they will sell off their most expensive assets if the Angels fall out of the pennant race. They were disappointingly tame during this previous offseason as well. The Phillies? They have a debt service problem.

I might see Washington, Milwaukee, or St. Louis make a run for his services. St. Louis if they lose Pujols and Milwaukee if they lose Fielder. Even if they do, will they go significantly higher than a 5 or 6 year deal? I think not.

Other than those teams, who else? I can’t think of anyone.

I believe Reyes is the Mets to lose if they have the money to offer a deal like the one I mentioned above. Reyes’s team may need the Mets engaged in this process more than we could ever think.

I predict Reyes stays with the team. From day one I have never thought it was a fait accompli that he was gone by the 31st, or at the end of the season.

If I am Greenberg I find a way to work out a deal now. Waiting might be a risky game not worth playing.

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Who would have thought the Yankees starting pitching would be in better shape than the Red Sox? The Yanks actually have a pitching surplus. I am not surprised, as I have said a few times the Yankees could go 13+ deep this season if they want. Take a look:

Sabathia

Burnett

Colon

Garcia

Hughes

Noesi

Pendleton

Minor Leagues

Nova

Gordon

Warren

Phelps

Mitchell

Brackman

Banuelos

Betances

I don’t know how realistic the bottom three options are, but you could call on the Killer B’s for a start or two if in a bind.

This depth is what probably is going to give them the advantage over 162 games. If healthy, the Red Sox are better, in my opinion, than the Yankees. That appears to not be the case with Lester, Buchholz, and John Lackey on the DL.

I still believe they should go out and get a lefty starter. I don’t think they should overpay either.

Francisco Liriano is probably the most realistic “impact arm” that will be on the market come the deadline. See if they will take Montero and an arm like Mitchell, or maybe Brackman. If they bite, bring in Liriano and accept the injury risk. If not, you might just be better off keeping things in house for the rest of the season.

Of course, Phil Hughes plays a huge Wild Card in all this.

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Great write up regarding Phil Hughes start by Brien of It’s About the Money. On the surface his start looks good, but the underlying numbers tell a different story:

But digging below the top line numbers, there are reasons to continue to be concerned about the young right-hander. Hughes got just two swing-and-miss strikes all night, neither of them coming on a fastball or a cutter, two pitches that accounted for 60 of his 87 pitches. According to Brooks, both of those pitches carried a below average linear weight, even though Hughes’ velocity wasn’t terrible by any means. His curveball and changeup were good, and he actually threw the curve more than the cutter, so hopefully he can continue to refine that pitch.

It reminds me of a story that a pitching coach told me once. One of his starters threw a gem of a game (something like 1 or 2 hit shutout), and the front office was excited after. When they didn’t see the same excitement out of the pitching coach, they asked him why. “I didn’t think he pitched all that well.” The front office was shocked at hearing these words. Why did said coach feel this way? The pitcher got something like two swing and misses; one of which was the opposing pitcher.

Shortly after that season the pitcher was out of the league as he was exposed.

Remember, a couple of key indicators of a pitchers performance are swings and misses and fly ball rate.

It appears Phil Hughes has regained his arm strength, but can he effectively get big league hitters out? Right now, the process states it’s a work in progress.

Hughes is the insurance in case Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia come back to earth. Without him, you might need to consider pushing for a deal even harder.

***

The Mets bullpen is taking shape. Bobby Parnell looked filthy last night. He threw his customary 98 mph, but got ahead of the count and threw 9 of 13 pitches for strikes.

Best part about the outing? He mixed in 5 sliders. That is the key to Parnell’s success. He needs a secondary pitch that will prevent the hitter from sitting on his fastball.

What I saw last night was someone with closer stuff. He very well might get the chance since it appears likely that K-Rod will be traded in the next couple of weeks.

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Pedro Beato deserves some kudos as well. The Rule V pick has a 3.43 ERA on the season, and has pitched better in July after struggling for about eight weeks.

I could see Beato and Parnell taking over the late game duties going forward. Isringhausen hasn’t looked sharp for a while. As mentioned, K-Rod appears to be headed out the door. Guys like Acosta and Carrasco can’t be trusted.

A very inexpensive/high upside late inning tandem the Mets traded away under Omar Minaya.

The real issue is depth, which right now the bullpen severely lacks.

***

The judge in the Roger Clemens trial hopes to be wrapping up jury selection shortly. I hate jury duty, but I might make an exception in the Roger Clemens case. That is, if I am allowed to wear my Mike Piazza jersey the entire time I sit in the box.

The offer stands if they want to come calling.

***

Congrats to Ben Maller of Fox Sports Radio who lost 200 pounds over the last 440 days. How did he do it? Exercise. He exercised 438 of those days. He also cut out snacks and soda.

I have lost 40 pounds since August of last year. Doing a similar workout and diet has been the key. My 40 pounds was more of a toning exercise, Maller has done that and then some. Good stuff.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Autonomy, Pitching Surplus, Reyes Negotiations, Mets Bullpen

  1. Chakrabs

    I don’t think its really possible for the Mets to do a shorter deal. In the short-term, their financial flexibility is in flux with the whole Madoff fiasco and on top of that, for the next few years they’ll be paying out of their nose for Wright, Santana, and Bay. It’ll be a long-term backloaded deal or nothing, I believe.

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