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Things Getting Tight in Boston, Perspective on Jason Bay, Sausage Shenanigans, Griffey Jr. Folklore



By Mike Silva ~ September 10th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Are we about to see the next great Boston collapse? It’s been a long time since the Red Sox and choke have been synonymous, but the Sox lead over Tampa Bay is just five games in the loss column after their loss to Tampa last night.

They have six more games with Tampa the next two weeks. They also have Anaheim nipping at their heels only six game back. This is a very doable scenario for the Rays if they can win 4 or 5 of those games. Not easy, but doable.

The Sox starting pitching is in shambles. Look at their projected starters the next week:

Kyle Weiland

Jon Lester

Tim Wakefield

Andrew Miller

John Lackey

Other than Lester what game do you feel comfortable going into? With Tampa’s strong staff they could shut down the Sox offense. Yes, the Rays have a pop gun offense, but good pitching always beats good hitting. Not to mention a bullpen that has been anything but shutdown.

Before you point out Lackey as reliable, his ERA in the second half is 5.20 and that is 1.5 runs lower than what it was at the All Star Break.

The Sox non-Tampa games are against the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Yankees. The Rays non-Boston schedule includes the same three teams. It will come down to whether the Rays could do what the Phillies did to the Mets in 2007 and just sweep through their head to head matchups.

Wouldn’t it be a delicious scenario for the Yankees if the late September three game series in the Bronx would be necessary for the Sox just to survive? Actually, the Yankees might regret seeing Tampa get into the playoffs since their starting pitching might be the deepest of any of the potential American League playoff teams.

Even if the Sox beat the Yankees can they win a short series? Can they beat Texas or Detroit? If Josh Beckett is healthy and effective, yes; but it’s far from a guarantee. Would you take the Sox as a favorite against any American League opponent in a short series right now? Including the Rays? I don’t know about that.

As for the Rays making the playoffs, I can’t see the Yankees losing to Tampa in a 7 game series. Actually, I don’t know if the ghost of George Steinbrenner would allow it. It would be a long series that would go six games. Would a Yanks-Tampa ALCS could be called the “Steinbrenner Series?”

I do think a Sox collapse would be ironic after some members of Red Sox nation proclaimed them to be the 1927 Yankees.

***

Jason Bay is hitting .353 with 3 HRs and 10 RBI during the month of September. He appears comfortable and confident at the plate. A big September from Bay is huge for two reasons:

1. It gives him some positive momentum going into 2012. The Mets are not going to have any budget to sign a middle of the order hitter in the mold of Bay. They need Bay to return to form and complement David Wright, and the lefty power bats of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.

2. It increases the possibility that a team who feels they are a bat away may go out and deal for him. A team that acquires Bay this offseason would be taking on a 2 year/$32 million dollar contract plus a $17 million dollar ’13 option based on plate appearances.

It’s very unlikely the Mets get a taker, not without eating money. There are teams that have been bad for a while and might not be able to play in the big boys market, but start to dabble in the high mid-tier level of Bay money. Not likely, but not impossible.

I still wonder if calling up the Cubs and doing a Jason Bay for Marlon Byrd/Carlos Zambrano deal is feasible. Check out the details in the post as I explain how the finances could work for both teams.

***

As much as Bay has struggled I don’t find him unlikeable. He hasn’t gotten booed to the level you would expect for a player that, to date, has been one of the worst free agent signings in team history. Everyone talks about Bobby Bonilla, but he was very productive during his first stint with the Mets. Mo Vaughn was fairly productive in 2002, and fans forget they dumped Kevin Appier in the deal. It was bad money for bad money scenario.

Right now, Vince Coleman is probably the Mets worst free agent signing, but if Bay doesn’t turn it around this could go day as a colossal mistake. Add in the fact he could hamstring the payroll for 3 years and Bay’s impact extends off the field.

With that said, Bay always hustles and stays positive. Even when he was benched earlier this year he didn’t complain. If Bay can produce at Pittsburgh levels for the next two years would you feel the same about the contract? Think about it; if Bay had 2 great years and slumped to this level in the backend of the contract, would you be surprised? I wouldn’t, and if not for the payroll restrictions of the Mets it probably wouldn’t be a big deal. You always expect some dead money on a 5 to 7 year deal. Even Carlos Beltran had dead money.

***

Another Jesus Montero home run has the fans drooling, but the quote by Mark Teixeira about the Yankees young DH speaks volumes. ““He’s not afraid to be here,” he said. “He’s not afraid to let it fly and if he’s going to be as good as everyone thinks he is, he’s going to have to face a lot of these guys. And he’s showing right away that he’s not afraid of them.”

It’s too early to tell if Montero is as good as advertised. We probably won’t know until next year when he gets around the league. Remember an uber-prospect that made a splash for a veteran contending team back in 1988? Gregg Jefferies set the world on fire that September and October. He was one of the Mets best hitters against a lethal Dodger pitching staff.

The next year he was hitting under .200 in June and there was talk of sending him down to Tidewater.

Clearly, Montero has talent. I don’t think we will see him catch very much, but he certainly can be a viable and cost-effective full-time DH option in 2012. You certainly will get more production out of him than you did from Jorge Posada and his $12 million dollars.

The offensive talent is there. The key will be if he can adjust to the league as they learn him. The fact he is beaming with confidence is great news. If you don’t believe you belong in the big leagues no one else will help make you feel that way.

That often is the difference between reaching your potential.

***

Former Mets Carl Everett was arrested this week in Colleyville, Texas on family violence charges. Everett was playing the last four years in the Atlantic League. I interviewed Carl back in the spring of 2007, which you can listen to here.

We discussed his time in New York, breaking up Mike Mussina‘s perfect game in Boston, and getting back to organized baseball.

During his two years in Long Island, Everett seemed committed to staying in shape. He talked about how his family pushed him to continue playing baseball. Although he posted decent numbers from ’09-’10 in Newark, you saw a bloated and out of shape Everett playing the field. It was clear he was treating the Atlantic League like Sunday softball.

Want a piece of Mike Silva history? I wrote an article for Dugout Central opining the Mets should take a look at Everett to play a corner outfield spot in 2008. This was when Ryan Church was injured from a concussion, and they were trotting out tons of replacement levels players.

The good folks at Baseball Think Factory had fun with that one

***

You may have missed it, but Ken Griffey Sr. joined me during our Hurricane Irene show two weeks ago. He managed the Reds High-A affiliate in Bakersfield this year. We discussed his memories in Cincinnati and New York, but when I brought up Junior he told us that he is now a football coach on his son’s team down in Florida. He also dispelled any theories floating around that Junior had an issue with George Steinbrenner, and that he didn’t come to New York or consistently pummeled their pitching because of him.

“No that’s false, period. George Steinbrenner had nothing to do with what happened to Junior; why he said he was not coming to New York. George Steinbrenner really did not know anything about that. So if people are saying it was George’s fault, no it wasn’t. George had nothing to do with it.” 

You can download the entire show here.

***

These in-game races are getting dangerous. Check out the Phillies Pete Orr almost get pummeled by a Polish Sausage in-between innings in Milwaukee.

These sausages always seem to be involved in some sort of shenanigans.

Could this be revenge for a certain former Pittsburgh Pirate who did this to the sausages.

***

Great to see John Franco reach out and offer to mentor Bobby Parnell, but isn’t that what the pitching coach is for?

It always helps to get advice from someone that has been in the baseball trenches, but it seems like there needs to be a cast of thousands helping Dan Warthen do his job.

One of the things that seem to be a common thread is Warthen having players communicate their needs to him. That tells me he would probably do better on a veteran pitching staff; not a staff with underdeveloped young pitchers, and possibly 3-4 kids coming up in the next two years.

The Mets need to be smart and divest themselves of Warthen and move forward with a pitching coach that can develop and keep young pitchers healthy. The veterans like Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey will adjust.

***

Over at our my media commentary site, Sports Media Watchdog, I discussed the struggles that Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is having serving a duel role as a program director and radio host. You can hear some of his comments about Mike Francesa, former Mets GM Steve Phillips, and some audio of the interview courtesy of our friends at Bob’s Blitz.

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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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2 Responses to Things Getting Tight in Boston, Perspective on Jason Bay, Sausage Shenanigans, Griffey Jr. Folklore

  1. Stu B

    Surprising that neither this piece nor the article about Everett’s arrest mentions his domestic violence issues (I think he had dealings with the authorities) while playing for the Mets in 1996.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    Russo is such a monumental tool it defies belief.

    Obviously I don’t listen to NY talk radio, or any talk radio for that matter, but I used to in the early days of WFAN.

    Say what you want about the current state of Mike Francesa, but without him Russo doesn’t have a career.

    Russo having trouble with doing two things at once describes his career..he can’t talk and listen at the same time, either.

    Russo at ESPN? That’s funny, kind of like Al Sharpton running the KKK.

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