Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What would the Mets give for Kazmir now?

In 2004 the worst trade in recent history took place when a confused (and one would think psychologically unstable) management team at the Mets decided that they should trade their number one prospect.

New York foolishly believed they had a shot at a World Championship so in a logic defying moment proceeded to trade one Scott Kazmir to the Devil Rays for pitcher Victor Zambrano and young relief pitcher Bartolome Fortunato.

The baseball world scratched its head and looked on perplexed.

What were they doing?

First of all the Mets had no chance of a World Series in 2004, and it was so clear that they were being robbed by Tampa that I am surprised Met fans didn't actually file a police report.

Salt was poured into the wound when Zambrano actually arrived in New York injured and made just three starts before he went to the DL for the rest of the season.

Fast forward two years and what do you have?

The Rays sit dead last in the Al east and the Mets seem to be heading to the post season - and how they could do with their young prospect back.

Kazmir is in his most dominating season yet. The young Rays pitcher has silenced his critics and lived up to his expectations already notching 139 strikeouts and 10 wins.
Zambrano is still a fussy pitcher with good stuff but little control and Bartolome Fortunato has faded into obscurity.

I'm sure New York would be willing to offer some nice players to Tampa to re-attain Kazmir's services but it's not going to happen.

Kazmir's year has been so successful that the Rays have put him on the "untouchable" list and have told everyone to keep their greasy mitts off of him.

I wonder that if that horrible trade in 2004 will come back to haunt the Mets this season.
I think they are going to the World Series and if Kazmir was in their rotation they would certainly have three solid starters with Pedro and Glavine.
Without him, or another pitcher of his calibre, I fear they could be dominated by any of the contenders who take the American League.
The Mets certainly seem to have paid a big price Zambrano and Fortunato but they may end up paying an even bigger price come October.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Braves Bolster Bullpen (Hooray for Alliteration)

Its been said before but it bares repeating, John Schuerholtz is a genius of a GM. It may have taken a while but Atlanta have finally patched up the back of their bullpen and have given up practically nothing to get it done.

Wickman may be at the end of his career but he has a proven track record closing out games and that goes right into this season and with the depth of young catching talent in the system (McCann was an All Star this year and Saltalamacchia looks like being better) they were able to let go of Maximiliano Ramirez who has some good upside but a long way to go.

Time can only tell if the Atlanta brain trust has pulled it out of the fire again.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Boo A-Rod?

OK, before I start I feel I must start by saying I don’t like A-Rod. I don’t like the way he seems to worry so much about how people feel about him which only serves to make him appear a little fake. Now, I dare say he’s a perfectly pleasant and inoffensive guy who no doubt does good work for charitable organisations but the world of sport is a fickle place, especially when it comes to the world of the fan, and I don’t like A-Rod.

Just recently Yankee fans have taken to booing Rodriguez and I ask the question, why? Any fan of a team wants their boys to succeed and A-Rod was the MVP of the league last year so you can’t say he’s deadwood and even though I don’t like the guy I can’t deny that he is one of the very best players in the game so why boo the guy? Its ridiculous, he may have the personality of the fluff I find in my belly button but he’s always a good bet to finish amongst the leaders in every offensive category that matters and while no one is worth the money he gets paid, few get as close to that as he does.

What do people really want from him? Does he have to be a mixture of Rickey, The Wizard and The Babe? Newsflash people, no one will EVER be that. Is he the next Mike Schmidt? Is it fair to really expect that from someone? Can’t people just look at the things he does rather than constantly try to fit him into some kind of predetermined notion of what they think he should be? As much as my friend Neil wants to believe A-Rod is a Gold Glove calibre fielder, he really isn’t but then again he’s not awful and he doesn’t really need to be that good because he’s there to be an offensive juggernaut and players should be used to their strengths.

I could understand if it were road fans who were booing him or if A-Rod had gone out and said how much the Yankees suck (if he said that I think his overall popularity might sky rocket) but for his own fans to boo him is ludicrous. I don’t see Twins fans getting on Santana’s back or Braves fans getting on Smoltz. Besides, there are too many big profile players on that roster that the performance of one guy shouldn’t be the be all and end all for that team.

Yankee fans, show some class because I don’t want to be defending Yankee players, especially ones I really don’t like.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Final Votes For All Star Game

So the bulk of the All Star teams have been selected and the fans get to pick the last of the players who will represent their league. The National League is fairly straight forward with a Nomar Garciaparra playing much like he did when he was winning batting crowns (except for the D). Many, including myself, thought that Nomar was well passed his best and he has certainly been dishing out the humble pie. He is a fairly obvious choice and it really says a lot about the process that a Bobby Abreu with a sub-.500 slugging percentage is even on the ballot. The Phils should plug him into the leadoff spot or deal the guy.

The AL selection is a lot tougher. The idea that we have to select one of Francisco Liriano, Travis Hafner and Justin Verlander because none of them are in the team already is crazy, especially when Mark Redman is there just because we need a Royal. Even Ramon Hernandez probably feels bad because he’s having a career year and a Pudge Rodriguez on the wane gets voted in ahead of Joe Mauer.

I really want Justin Verlander to be there mainly because I had him pegged as the Rookie of the Year before the season started and it’d be nice to massage my ego a bit. What you can’t deny is that 10 wins by the All Star break for a rookie is just outstanding and The Tigers wouldn’t be where they are without him. Having said all that, as good as Verlander has been Liriano has been better and right now he might be the best pitcher in baseball. A sub-2.00 ERA, a WHIP below 1.00, almost five times as many strikeouts as walks and well over a K an inning and you have mini-Santana and the guy who must be voted in.

It would be wrong to talk about the nominees and not wax lyrical about Travis Hafner who has once again been prodigious in the heart of the Indians line-up but I guess he’s destined to be the rough diamond waiting to be cut and dazzle the baseball world in many a pennant race during his career. It is the plague of playing in middle-America rather than in the big cities that someone with this much ability fails to be plugged in automatically. At least we don’t have the Russian roulette of hoping the worthy get in ahead of a Yankee or BoSox player this year.