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Say it with me: Looper. Looper.

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 07:17 AM

That's for 2 blown saves in one game.
At least this wasn't a "big" game. Or maybe it was, I don't know.
It might have been "meaningful."


Once more, in stereo, with disdain.


Looper.


Looper.

(I know that it would be nice if the Mets scored more than 2 runs per nine innings, and that Benitez hasn't exactly had a stellar year, and relief pitching may be the least forgiving position in the game... but please humor me on my Looper bashing.)

cooby
Sep 08 2005 07:20 AM

Looper is soon to be an ex Woolie.

We knew you'd be here today, jb

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 07:50 AM

I think the second one was just a blown win --- a loss

I think you have to trot out to another position and then return to the mound in order to get to two blown saves.

Yeah, I'm ready to join the Heilman-for-Closer movement. Not that I'm not more frustrated with the offense. I am.

smg58
Sep 08 2005 07:57 AM

True, a little bit of the hitting we had for two days in Arizona would have won us most of the games this week. But everybody remembers when the closer doesn't get the job done.

Takatsu would be the one charged with the blown save for the 10th.

I wouldn't be against using Heilman or Bert as the closer the rest of the way, but Looper is officially a lame duck as it is. Besides, Heilman would have to pass Takatsu on the depth chart...

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 08 2005 08:24 AM

Looper.

He's having an awful year, but if they gave blown saves to offenses we'd have racked up 12 or 13 in this series alone. Looper.

Looper.

Looper.

Mark Healey
Sep 08 2005 08:31 AM

IMO, the entire front office and field staff is to blame for the fact that this bullpen rotation isn't set yet. It's September for God's sake.

When did Mr. Zero become the go-to guy in big spots?

MFS62
Sep 08 2005 08:36 AM

Looper, Looper
Pennant pooper

Heals, I absolutely agree.

Later

seawolf17
Sep 08 2005 08:53 AM

The Great Looper Experiment didn't work.

However, we know (hopefully) that he's gone next year. What do they do? I don't want to see Bert around in '06, and I don't know that I trust Heilman in that spot either.

I nominate Heath Bell.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 08:59 AM

Billy Wagner is a free agent. It would be a nice thumb in the eye of Philadelphia if we got our claws on him.
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This post had the designation 161) Johnny Lewis

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 08 2005 09:03 AM

I'm all for guys who throw 98mph, but before we go get one with the idea he's infallible, Wagner torched the Astros' playoiff chances in Sept. 03, his absense due to injury last year may have killed the best chance for Philly and his back-to-back blown saves this week may prove to kill Philly again this year.

Looper.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 09:04 AM

Johnny Dickshot wrote:
I'm all for guys who throw 98mph, but before we go get one with the idea he's infallible, Wagner torched the Astros' playoiff chances in Sept. 03, his absense due to injury last year may have kkilled the best chance for Philly last year and his back-to-back blown saves this week may prove to kill Philly again this year.


I guess he sucks in big games. I never said he was infallible.

Looper.
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This post had the designation 161) Johnny Lewis

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 08 2005 09:10 AM

The point was, all closers blow 'em and unfortunately you dont get to choose when. It's just that some blow more than others. Looper.

Looper.

Maybe it wasn't by design, but I'd say the fact we had Hernandez pitching in the 8th inning probably "saved" us more wins than Looper in the 9th. There's no question Hernandez has been the better pitcher this year and as things have shaken out I'd say on balance the 8ths have been hairier than the 9ths this season.

Can you imagine if their roles had been reversed?

Looper.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 09:12 AM

Looper.

I'd agree with everything you said. Loo-- I think Wagner is sick and has disgusting stuff. ---per I'd like him on my team.

Looper.
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This post had the designation 161) Johnny Lewis

Mark Healey
Sep 08 2005 09:12 AM

]The Great Looper Experiment didn't work.


That's what happens when you sign a guy based on a single at-bat.

]However, we know (hopefully) that he's gone next year. What do they do? I don't want to see Bert around in '06, and I don't know that I trust Heilman in that spot either
.

I don't trust AH to be the closer yet either, but I blame that on how he's been completeley mismanaged by the organization. He should have been pitching the eighth inning at certain points this season, IMO.

]I nominate Heath Bell.


IMO, Ring, Bell and Blake McGinley should have been here since July1, trying to prove if they were viable options for '06. IMO, their production would have been as valuable as Graves, Santiago and Koo.

and a helluva lot cheaper, meaning if they proved themselves in certain roles:

Blake - long man
Ring - lefty setup man
Bell/AH seventh inning
AH/Bert eighth
Loop closer

as a group, a better mix than they have now...I have seen all of these guys pitch enoughnt op know how they can perform.

now had that happened, the money spent on the bullpen could have been significantly less...

now the Mets need

a closer and a left-handed reliever
a cleanup hitter at either RF/1B
an upgrade in the "other spot"

and IMO, a lefthanded starter to replace Zamby (i like lkefties what can I

cooby
Sep 08 2005 09:14 AM

What is Zambrano's role in the bullpen? He could close

seawolf17
Sep 08 2005 09:15 AM

You might be right, but the way Bert had pitched the last couple of years, there was no way Willie was going to risk putting him in the closer's spot in April. I'm glad he's pitched the way he did; I'm officially going back and retracting my Mel Rojas comment from the spring, because he's been a rock. But you can't displace a guy who's had a modicum of success over the past few years -- and for all our current hatred, the guy wasn't terrible until this year -- with a guy coming off two mediocre middle-relief seasons in which he gave up a lot of homers.

sharpie
Sep 08 2005 09:19 AM

Looper.

Zambrano is an interesting case. I'd like to see what he can do in the pen.

Paul Konerko is a free agent, having another big season at 1b.

Rotblatt
Sep 08 2005 09:22 AM

Johnny Dickshot wrote:
Maybe it wasn't by design, but I'd say the fact we had Hernandez pitching in the 8th inning probably "saved" us more wins than Looper in the 9th. There's no question Hernandez has been the better pitcher this year and as things have shaken out I'd say on balance the 8ths have been hairier than the 9ths this season.

Can you imagine if their roles had been reversed?

Looper.


According to the Leverage stat from Baseball Prospectus, Looper has on average pitched in higher-leverage situations than Robo, to the tune of around 1.72 to 1.48. I may be off by a bit there, but it looks like Loop has been put in to more important situations than Robo.

Meaning switching them might have netted us a game or two.

Using Hernandez as the closer & Heilman & Loop in the set-up role would probably have been our best bet, in retrospect.

I really like Bell, but he HAS struggled a bit this season. Still probably our fourth-best reliever, but he'd have to get back to dominating to earn the closer's role, IMO. Still, he should never have been sent down, at least not for as long as he was.

I don't think Willie's ever going to use either of them as a full-time closer and I suspect Minaya will try like hell to get a "name" closer, nevermind that they too once started off as no-names like Heilman & Bell.

sigh.

Looper.

MFS62
Sep 08 2005 09:22 AM

Mark Healey wrote:
That's what happens when you sign a guy based on a single at-bat.


Or a hot late/ post season.

And I like your recommendation for the bullpen, too.

Later

ScarletKnight41
Sep 08 2005 09:24 AM

I hat Looper.

seawolf17
Sep 08 2005 09:24 AM

Can we go back in time and sign Bruce Sutter? Another solid year or two from him and he's a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 09:26 AM

I don't "trust" anybody Looper except the official scorer recording a Looper win. I mention Heilman because Looper he's ahead of Looper Looper on the ladder, does not have the age issues Looper of Hernandez, and hasn't pitched himself off a team this year Looper like Takatsu.

That said Looper, Takatsu has me curious. I forgot Looper to give him the P-Funk cheer last night and so blame myself for the Looper loss.

Spacemans Bong
Sep 08 2005 09:33 AM

I'd go for B.J. Ryan over Wagner. Wagner has the better ERA, but Ryan just has insane strikeout numbers - 90 in 60 innings!

Valadius
Sep 08 2005 09:45 AM

I'd rather have Captain John Franco over Looper, at this point.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 09:51 AM

Now you're just being silly.
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This post had the designation 161) Johnny Lewis

metirish
Sep 08 2005 09:52 AM

Maybe the closers role for the Mets is cursed.

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 09:54 AM

No --- Pooper's poopy season aside --- it's the general perception of closing that is cursed.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 09:56 AM

From Auggie/Orosco/McDowell to Myers to Franco to Benitez the Mets' recent history has been pretty darn good, closer and short relief-wise.

OE: I'M KAZ!!!
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This post had the designation 160) Kaz Matsui

sharpie
Sep 08 2005 10:14 AM

Well, there was Anthony Young.

OE: Looper.

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 10:18 AM

Looper
When was he the designated closer? During a Johnny injury?
_____________________________
This post had the designation 160) Kaz Matsui

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 11:08 AM

Young did perfectly fine as a reliever for the 1992 Mets.

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 12:05 PM
OK, I perpetrated this.

The truth is, except for the more recently human Mariano Rivera, and maybe Trevor Hoffman for a few years and Armando (minus "big" games of course, and prior to this year), can anyone think of a current closer who can meet up to the expectations of perfection that we all have?
As usual, I am too busy/lazy to gather the data together to address this question. The worst part is that closers who look great this year can easily tank the following year.

Actually, if Pedro didn't have a record of giving up a lot of his runs early on, I'd say he'd make a great closer for the next 10 years.

In other words, as much as I like to mutter (and lead others in muttering) "Looper," I'm not sure that I can be sure anyone else would be too much better.

Maybe the mets should focus on putting together a line up of healthy, proven,offensive players who are not slow and play at least adequate defense, peppered with at least two or three real sluggers who strike fear in the hearts of pitchers.


SHORT VERSION OF THIS POST:

Closing is hard. Finding great closers is hard. Other areas of the team may be easier to improve.

MFS62
Sep 08 2005 12:17 PM
Re: OK, I perpetrated this.

old original jb wrote:

Maybe the mets should focus on putting together a line up of healthy, proven,offensive players who are not slow and play at least adequate defense, peppered with at least two or three real sluggers who strike fear in the hearts of pitchers.

jb, that roar you just heard was a hearty "AMEN!" from this pew in the congregation.

Later

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 12:28 PM
Re: OK, I perpetrated this.

old original jb wrote:

Maybe the mets should focus on putting together a line up of healthy, proven,offensive players who are not slow and play at least adequate defense, peppered with at least two or three real sluggers who strike fear in the hearts of pitchers.

True, but there's no reason that a good closer can't be signed while all of this is going on.

MFS62
Sep 08 2005 12:38 PM

Also true.
I think their ability to get it all done will depend on how much money comes off the payroll (Piazza, Traschel's option, trades, etc.).

Later

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 12:39 PM
Can someone with a lot of time and good stat access help us?

If we were to plot the percentage of blown saves for all the closers during each of the past three years plus this season to date, 1) How far from the center of the bell curve is Looper and in which direction? 2) Where was Benitez when he was traded? 3) How many closers were more than one standard deviation better than the norm in three of the past four seasons including this one and 4) How many of those were not in the upper 25% this season?

(If I had unlimited funds, a staff, and unlimited time, I'd do this myself, and I'd do it for performance at other positions as well to test my gut theory that it is harder to pick a good closer for any given season than it is to pick a player who will perform well at any other position for a given season(which in and of itself is not easy.)

Elster88
Sep 08 2005 12:39 PM

Yeah, Wagner's probably going to get a lot. Luckily the Skankwhores won't be involved to drive up prices.
_____________________________
This post had the designation 160) Kaz Matsui

Willets Point
Sep 08 2005 12:39 PM

The talking Baseball Barbie doll says "Closing is hard!" Pull the string again and she says "Looper!"

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 12:40 PM

The closer is the last guy a team needs to build a win, and I think there's every reason to believe he's about the last guy a team needs to build a winner.

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 12:42 PM

Willets said: "The talking Baseball Barbie doll says "Closing is hard!" Pull the string again and she says "Looper!"


Does she also say "We battled?"

Valadius
Sep 08 2005 12:44 PM

Here's what we do: trade for Colorado's Brian Fuentes. Send them Zambrano.

cooby
Sep 08 2005 12:45 PM

And Looper

MFS62
Sep 08 2005 12:45 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
The closer is the last guy a team needs to build a win, and I think there's every reason to believe he's about the last guy a team needs to build a winner.


WOW!
That was very good.

Later

Valadius
Sep 08 2005 12:47 PM

cooby wrote:
And Looper


Oh yeah, true. I guess I just really want to forget about him right now...

cooby
Sep 08 2005 12:48 PM

Yeah, at least until the next game :(

SI Metman
Sep 08 2005 01:17 PM

I don't think any closer will ever succeed in Queens again. Ever.

Rivera directly blew as many championship seasons as he saved ('97, '01, '04), but yet Yankees fans haven't booed him out of the Bronx.

But go 117 for 129 in save opps over a 3 year period and you are worse than Hitler because a few of those 12 blown saves came late in the season.

on edit: Looper.

smg58
Sep 09 2005 07:28 AM

The two spectacular blowups against Atlanta killed the 2001 season, and Benitez was never going to be forgiven for them. Yankee fans have forgiven Rivera because nobody has matched his consistency, and it's not like you could easily find somebody whose postseason record has been better.

I don't know if it would be impossible to succeed as a closer in Queens, but you'd certainly have to be more effective than Looper, and you might want to avoid blowing a big lead at exactly the wrong time.

metirish
Sep 09 2005 07:28 AM

]Loop looks to set up his future



BY ADAM RUBIN
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

ST. LOUIS - Met fans may want to run Braden Looper out of town after Wednesday's debacle in Atlanta, but the Mets closer says he would like to stick around - possibly even in a setup role.
One night after serving up what appeared to be the death knell on the Mets' season, Looper said he wants to stay, even though it's extremely unlikely the Mets will pick up their option on him for next season that could be worth up to $6 million.

Looper believes it might be possible to negotiate a two-year deal or longer at a lesser annual amount. His agent met with Omar Minaya on Aug. 30 while the Mets played host to the Phillies.

"The way I told my agent was, if it was a situation where they paid me like I felt I should be paid and the Mets said, 'Hey, we'll pay you whatever amount and we're going to sign Billy Wagner, too,' how can I say no to that? That makes our team that much better," Looper said. "But it would be very few instances where that would be the case."

Mets brass figures to explore other options trying to improve the closer's role, but the answer might not be out there. Wagner - who had his own meltdown on Wednesday - has been engaged in contract-extension discussions with the Phillies and may never enter the market. And beyond Detroit's Ugueth Urbina, there doesn't seem to be much available via free agency.

The Mets don't have any true internal candidates according to team insiders, though one suit mentioned Aaron Heilman, who closed early in his career at Notre Dame. Asked before last night's Mets-Cardinals game, Willie Randolph indicated Heilman could be a closer down the road, but not soon.

"From what I understand, I don't know what to say other than the fact Omar said he would like to have me back and we'll go from there," Looper said. "That doesn't mean it will get worked out."

Looper has converted 28 saves, one shy of his career high set last season. He also has blown six chances. Of the 16 closers with more saves than Looper, one has a worse save percentage than Looper's 82.4% - Texas' Francisco Cordero (31-for-39, 79.5%). Looper's .333 on-base percentage allowed is higher than anyone in that group.

His blown saves have come in key spots, costing the Mets an Opening Day win and also a sweep at Yankee Stadium.

Looper has had particular trouble with lefties, who have a .327 average against him, as opposed to .203 for righties. His slider generally moves directly into their wheelhouse, leaving him largely limited to fastballs and splitters to retire them.

One possible reason for his struggles: According to a team insider, Looper has been pitching with an injury behind his right shoulder that likely would've prompted surgery had it been detected before the season.

Regardless, Randolph doesn't plan to depose him as closer. That would only be a sign of panic, which Randolph doesn't feel.

"I've always shown a lot of confidence in my players," Randolph said. "I'm not wishy-washy."

Originally published on September 9, 2005



Fresh stories hot off the

Elster88
Sep 09 2005 07:29 AM

Looper did give us one of the better back cover pictures in recent years, the one after closing out the second 2004 Subway Series on the Post that had the caption "Kings of New York".
_____________________________
This was Elster88’s last post with the designation 160) Kazuo Matsui. Bye Kaz! I hope to post as you again.

smg58
Sep 09 2005 07:35 AM

The option won't be picked up; he's not worth $5M as a closer, much less a setup guy. As for bringing him back cheaper as a setup guy, 1) you could bring Bert back for less, if you have one setup spot to fill, and 2) I'm not blocking any young guys for Looper.

Elster88
Sep 09 2005 07:49 AM

IMHO, people make waaaaaay too much of the impact of blocking young guys.
_____________________________
This post had the designation 159) Bob Shaw

Edgy DC
Sep 09 2005 08:06 AM

Loo needing surgery might explain a lot. His strikeout rate is way down (from 6.50 per nine in 2004 to 4.18) and he doesn't seem to have confidence in getting anything past batters.

Nonetheless, there's still some guile there. He's 28 for 34 in saving this year (vs. 29 for 34 in 2004), though his ERA is up a run (to where it was his last year in Florida, in fact). The Mets can certainly do better, but I suspect he'll be a good pitcher for somebody again someday.

Rotblatt
Sep 09 2005 08:58 AM

Speculation from Rotoworld:

]New York Mets – Braden Looper has done a solid job for the Mets in his two seasons as their closer, but the team still figures to try and upgrade the position as they make a strong push for the playoffs in 2006. Looper had a 2.70 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP with a 60/16 K/BB ratio and 29 saves in 34 chances over 83 1/3 innings for the Mets in 2004. He’s regressed a little this season, posting a 3.70 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP, a 26/20 K/BB ratio, and 28 saves in 34 opportunities. That K/BB ratio is troubling and a $250,000 buyout on their $5 million team option isn’t very prohibitive, so expect the Mets to part with Looper this winter. That’s just too much money for a soon-to-be 31 year-old reliever who has one season with an ERA under 3.00 to his credit. The Mets aren’t going to turn the closing duties over to an ancient Roberto Hernandez or a youngster like Aaron Heilman, so expect them go shopping with a credit card that they’re ready to max out. With Mike Piazza, Steve Trachsel, Looper, and others coming off the books, the Mets will have no problem finding the cash for big free agents again this winter. With a core of players around their primes and Pedro Martinez’s arm ticking, the next two seasons are when the Mets are going for it all. Combine all of the above and I can’t come to a conclusion other than the Mets signing one of the top two closers on the market. That means Billy Wagner or B.J. Ryan. Wagner is open to returning to the Phillies, but he insists on getting paid market value. Most assume the Orioles will re-sign Ryan, but I’m really expecting the Mets to go after him hard. If the Mets can’t lure one of the top two closers, I still think it’s more likely that they look at bringing in a veteran before allowing Looper to return. Shea Stadium can help any of the above pitchers, with Wagner or Ryan being top-5 closers should they choose New York.

Elster88
Sep 09 2005 09:19 AM

I see nothing wrong with letting Looper come back as a setup man IF there are no better in-house options.

And that's a big IF.
_____________________________
This post had the designation 159) Bob Shaw

Valadius
Sep 09 2005 10:32 AM

I want B.J. Ryan. He is INSANELY overpowering. He shuts teams DOWN.

MFS62
Sep 09 2005 11:30 AM

="metirish"]
]Loop looks to set up his future

BY ADAM RUBIN
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

ST. LOUIS - Met fans may want to run Braden Looper out of town after Wednesday's debacle in Atlanta, but the Mets closer says he would like to stick around - possibly even in a setup role.


Shows you what Adam Rubin knows.
After his recent performances, I'd bet that Met fans would just as soon kill Looper, mutilate his body, then leave it out in the hot sun to rot.

Looper
Looper


(not much) Later

Mark Healey
Sep 09 2005 12:51 PM

(sing along with the music from Louie, Louie...it may make you feel better)

Looper, Looper....oh, oh

I say away you go....

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Looper, Looper...oh, oh

I say you really blow

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah....

Vic Sage
Sep 09 2005 02:50 PM

reported on "Rotoworld"...
]Looper has blown six saves, more than all but three other closers, and left-handed batters are hitting .327 against him with six home runs. His ratio of ground balls to fly balls has dropped this season, with ground balls usually an indication of his success, and he's striking out fewer batters over nine innings this season (4.18) than last season (6.48). One possible reason for his struggles is that according to a team insider, Looper has been pitching with an injury behind his right shoulder that likely would've prompted surgery had it been detected before the season, which may explain the fluctuation in velocity on his fastball during the year. The Mets hold a $5 million option, with a $250K buyout, on him for 2006, which hasn't been exercised yet, and the team may pursue Billy Wagner, who is a free agent, in the offseason.

Benjamin Grimm
Sep 09 2005 05:27 PM

]Braden Looper was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on April 5, 2005, and September 8, 2005.


The perils of being a 9th inning closer. People only pay attention to you when you fail.