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Mets As Sellers, Tex vs. Giambi, Matsui and New HOF, BBWAA Dilemma



By Mike Silva ~ July 22nd, 2011. Filed under: Hall of Fame, Morning Digest.

Carlos Beltran likely played his final home game as a member of the Mets yesterday. Today is just another day where we read rumors and wait for the eventual announcement that Beltran has been dealt. I know that the blogosphere and Twitter will “light up” with a polarizing reaction. This won’t be like the K-Rod deal- which even brought some wrath from the kool-aid portion of the fan base- this is one of the best positional players in Mets history.

A while back I wrote how the Mets have never been great sellers in deadline deals. They never have pulled off a Doyle Alexander/John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell/Larry Andersen, or produced the kind of return Seattle received for Randy Johnson in 1998. To be fair, the Mets have rarely been in a position like they are with Beltran throughout their history. They blew the Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen deals in the mid-nineties. The closest example was when they dealt Tom Seaver to Cincinnati in 1977. Dealing Beltran won’t be of the same epic proportions, but they need to not make a “Seaver-type” deal with their All Star outfielder.

Sandy Alderson must see what team offers up the best individual prospect; whether that’s Domonic Brown, Mike Minor, or Josh Reddick. Once you have that type of prospect agreed upon, the rest of the deal is fungible. Can Alderson get his version of Freddy Garcia, John Halama, and Carlos Guillen? Those three were important parts of the Mariners 116 win 2001 campaign. History tells us he’s unlikely to get a worthwhile quantity haul, so Alderson must focus on a quality haul.

The fact the Mets are willing to eat all of the salary makes it even more imperative to remain adamant about top talent coming back in this deal.

***

Moshe Mandel of The Yankee Analyst had an interesting tweet during yesterday’s Yankees game.


Giambi had a 143 OPS+ as a Yankee. If Teixeira puts up Giambi numbers we should be thrilled.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Sometimes fans forget how good Giambi was in pinstripes. Yes, he was aided by a certain drug, but since I didn’t study pharmacology (and none of the writers did either) I am going to consider all things equal.

During his Yankees career, Giambi posted a 143 OPS+; hit .260 with 209 homers and 604 RBI. There were a couple of huge valleys thanks to injuries. His 2004 and 2007 seasons were very pedestrian due to health issues, but by and large Giambi was good for a majority of his 7 year deal.

Teixeira is in the third year of his deal, and offensively he hasn’t been as good as his later years in Texas, and his stints in Atlanta and Anaheim. 2009 was a MVP-type season (Joe Mauer won the award), but the last two years have been full of “all or nothing” type of offense. Some have compared Teixeira to the Yankees version of Dave Kingman (very unfair).

His career numbers to date are 97/297/.267 with an OPS+ of 132. Most of that production came during the aforementioned 2009 season. From 2004 -2008 Teixeira was posting an OPS+ of 140, with an average season producing 35 homers, 118 RBI, and a .295 batting average.

Teixeira post 2009 seems to be a player that simply is not as consistent with the bat. A player that flirted with .300 every year now is languishing around the .250 mark. He goes through extreme peaks and valleys. He appears to be an “all or nothing” home run hitter at times.

What does this mean from a value standpoint? Teixeira’s defense still doesn’t seem to make up for the difference with Giambi. Baseball-Reference has an average Giambi season to be worth about 7 wins. Teixeira is around 4 wins.

It’s too early to say Teixeira is a disappointment- he’s not- but he certainly hasn’t been the consistent hitter the Yankees saw in 2009. With A-Rod out, Derek Jeter in decline, and Nick Swisher very average they need the old Teixeira to reappear.

The only theory I have is the new Yankee Stadium and its cozy confines may have pushed him to swing for the fences more than at other point in his career.

***

Its Hall of Fame weekend and Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar will headline the festivities in Cooperstown. I also think it’s time to evaluate the Hall of Fame and make some significant changes to the process.

It’s time to have an International Component to the Hall of Fame.  The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts combines both American and International candidates. It’s probably the most comprehensive Hall of Fame in all of sports. Maybe it’s time for baseball to be as progressive with their Hall of Fame.

With the game becoming more global you have international stars such as Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki producing at a high level the last decade. These players also produced in Japan, which is why many were confused when the headlines earlier this week touted Hideki Matsui as hitting his 500th home run.

Mike Cardano of Xlog had this to say:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attempting to diminish what Matsui did in Japan, the numbers he put up there were of legendary proportions. Matsui didn’t do much in his first three professional seasons there but then put together a stretch that got him noticed around the world and eventually landed him contract with the Yankees. His breakout season came in 1996, when he batted .314 with 38 home runs and 99 RBIs. A three-time MVP in the Japanese Central League (1996, 2000, and 2002), Matsui led his team into four Japan Series winning three titles (1994, 2000 and 2002). Godzilla as he was affectionately known made nine consecutive all-star games and led the league in HRs and RBI three times (1998, 2000, and 2002). His single season high mark for home runs was 50 in 2002, his final season in Japan. In the ten seasons he played in Japan, Matsui totaled 1268 games played, 4572 AB, 1390 hits, 901 runs, 332 home runs, 889 RBIs, a .304 BA, and a .582 SLG. His streak of 1,250 consecutive games played was the second longest in Japan.

While that’s all well and good, none of it was done in Major League Baseball and I’m sorry but it doesn’t count. 

Cardano foolishly goes on to compare his stickball exploits as a way to make his point. Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of opening up baseball to the world does not understand where things are going. The internet and technology has shrunk borders to almost nothing. Yesterday Mickey Sutherland, a Yankees fan in Australia, was able to communicate news via Facebook that I opined about on the site. Later in the day Mickey stopped by to add his two cents to the situation. Within a few hours two individuals in completely opposite ends of the world communicated fast, easily, and for free. Baseball is no longer just America’s Pastime.

I believe we will see a more diverse player base in the game going forward. The NPB is not just some stickball league; it’s highly organized and has been a home to American ballplayers as well. There is a long list of Japanese players currently active in American pro baseball.

If you look at Matsui’s numbers his 2004 and 2005 seasons are of Hall of Fame caliber. The rest appear more to be of a very good/ borderline All Star player. If, however, you include his career in Japan he is clearly a first ballot Hall of Famer. His international profile is every bit the level of a Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez.

Ichiro is another interesting case. At 37 years old he may be finally slowing down as he will have his first MLB season where he won’t collect 200 hits. The single season hit leader is a Hall of Fame player just based on his body of work in Seattle. If you add his NPB numbers, he is challenging Pete Rose for the all-time lead in hits.

I predict the BBWAA might make Ichiro a polarizing Hall of Fame candidate. If he plays long enough to collect 3,000 hits they will have no choice but to vote for him. If he doesn’t, which is likely, then the whole debate on longevity and whether his NPB numbers should count will reign.

The solution is simple. First, create a committee and take away the BBWAA’s vote. There just doesn’t seem to be enough progressive ideas in that group. Next, add an international component to the vote just like basketball.

This will help market the game globally, and move America’s Pastime into the 21st century.

***

Speaking of Hall of Fame, it appears Johnny Damon wants go in as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Damon might become the poster child for the new BBWAA Hall of Fame dilemma.

There is the whole tired steroid/moral debate issue, but the other burgeoning controversy will be very good players that collect 3,000 hits. Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu both might hit that milestone without have a period of dominance. Damon is 37 years old and has 2,669 hits. Let’s assume another 50 hits this year that will bring him to 2,719. That would mean he is 281 hits away from the magic 3,000. Based on recently historical performance he would be able to reach that sometime in 2013. Is Johnny Damon a Hall of Famer? I wrote this back in December:

 Damon is the consummate supporting player that plays a key role on a good team. I don’t see one season that could be considered “historic,” much less a period of time. The fact that he plays the outfield, a position ripe with offensive stars, makes this fact stand out even more. If he were a catcher, second basemen, or shortstop the discussion would be much different. Let’s not even talk about his defense. To be fair, I can’t say longevity doesn’t count for Damon when I have for others. The difference is most other Hall of Fame cases have some sort of period in their career that you could justify their entry. I don’t see that with Damon. Of course, Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS at Yankee Stadium is a big enough moment that all the facts might not matter.

Abreu is not quite as close as Damon to the 3,000 hit mark (currently 2,347). Also 37 years old, Abreu would probably need another 4 years to reach the magic number. With the DH position it’s not crazy to see him average a 150 hits a season till the age of 41. I do, however, don’t believe he is as likely as Damon.

What is the BBWAA going to do? They created the 500 home run/3,000 hit benchmark years ago. Baseball never seems to think about the future and how decisions made today can become issues down the road. They have always lived in the moment, and stubbornly remained steadfast in their flawed principles while the world around them changes.

Johnny Damon collecting 3,000 hits – a very likely scenario right now- is going to really box their ideology into a corner.

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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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3 Responses to Mets As Sellers, Tex vs. Giambi, Matsui and New HOF, BBWAA Dilemma

  1. Stu B

    “…the Mets have never been great sellers in deadline deals. They never have pulled off a Doyle Alexander/John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell/Larry Andersen, or produced the kind of return Seattle received for Randy Johnson in 1998.”

    That these trades stand out shows how infrequently they happen and means that most teams haven’t been great sellers in dealine deals.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    “It’s time to have an International Component to the Hall of Fame”

    No, it’s not.

    To be in the MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME you need to be a major league baseball player.

    If someone like Ichiro comes over here and plays well enough to get in, then he will.

    To honor someone for ten years of what essentially amounts to AAA ball somewhere else is, quite frankly, dumb.

    Sorry.

    What the HOF did with some of the Negro Leaguers was dumb, this is worse.

  3. Rob

    Great post on the Mets and Beltran. I couldn’t agree more. You neglected to mention the Cone trade. I put the Cone trade a close second behind the Seaver forfit. Jeff Kent put up serviceable numbers as a Met… but he wasn’t a star. He was merely a decent player. Meanwhile, Ryan Thompson was Gary Matthews Jr. lite. I worry about this deal… The Mets need top-talent in return. I’d like to see him go to the Giants for Zach Wheeler. We might hold a toast to Theo Epstein for raising the price (as the Sox often do).

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