Forum Home

Master Index of Archived Threads

And Toto, Too

Sep 08 2005 10:56 AM

When I watch this team, I think I'm watching the Wizzard of Oz.

This team needs a brain, a heart and some guts.

How are they going to get them?
Anybody have some ruby slippers? (Some suggestions about where to start would be ok, too. And don't tell me to follow the Yellow Brick Road.)


Edit: tried to fix the link

Sep 08 2005 10:57 AM

Saying this team has no heart or guts is ridiculous. They have an abundance of both.

The brain is a little more questionable. His name is Willie.
This post had the designation 161) Johnny Lewis

Frayed Knot
Sep 08 2005 11:00 AM

Do you [MFS] really think that we're a .500-ish team (about where most thought they'd be btw) due to a lack of effort or committment ("heart and guts)"?
I'd argue against the brains part too; every team makes dumb plays now & then and I don't necc believe we're making more than our share of them.

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 08 2005 11:11 AM

Yes, let's rush to invent character flaws to explain away deficits in talent.

Sep 08 2005 11:13 AM

You guys are probably right.
But I never let that stand in the way of a picturesque analogy. :oops:

I'm just frustrated with the inability of the team to beat the hated Braves.

Forgive me.


Sep 08 2005 11:36 AM

As Coroner , I thoroughly examined them
And they're not only merely dead
They're really most sincerely dead

Sep 08 2005 11:42 AM

I would rather not celebrate Christmas than hang up those two ornaments

SI Metman
Sep 08 2005 03:19 PM

I think they played pretty well for a team with nothing in the bottom of the lineup for most of the season.

Willets Point
Sep 08 2005 03:23 PM

They're a .500 team and right now they're a game above .500. Good job guys!

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 03:59 PM
Not enough offensive talent. It's that simple.

They're not truly bad, and they have some interesting potential, but they don't have enough to compete now. They are nowhere near having critical mass of offensive talent. It's that simple.

The Mets offense is very much a work in progress. There are reasons to be hopeful but not enough players who can consistenly be expected to be very very very good.

Not getting Delgado really hurt (although it wasn't for lack of anyone trying to get him.) I think that Delgado would have been the difference this year between a team that showed tantalizing flashes of adequateness (which might still pull off a mircacle but don't get your hopes up) and a really good team. Delgado, like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, is a top tier offensive player. Teams in true contention have two or more of these players in their lineups and the Mets don't.

First what was supposed to be the current core:
I don't expect Floyd to repeat his early season performance next year. I don't expect Cameron to come back and be at 100%, and I love both of these guys as players. They would be the 4th or 5th best offensive players on a really good team. I sometimes think that when we think of the Mets core, we still think of the Mets as having Piazza in his prime, even while we know that player hasn't been seen for a year and isn't coming back. Wright is for real. He is the closest thing to a sure thing there is, but it is not clear where his ceiling is. It may not be at top tier level, although there is every reason to believe it is close.

Then there is the matter of Carlos Beltran. He will probably have seasons somewhere between this season (for him, a bust) and last season (a best). He can carry a team for brief periods as he did in Houston, and I don't question the aquisition, but it's just not enough, especially while Piazza is exiting, Cameron is out of position, and Floyd is aging. A player like Beltran needs critical mass around him; I would call him a "conditional top tier player".

Next, the "future":
We tend to be prone to wishful thinking about players like Castro and Jacobs and Diaz and even Reyes who is still very much a work in progress. It is great to see younger players contribute, but it is unlikely that more than one of these players will be a true top tier player. Jacobs has been impressive, but it remains to be seen what he will do in the long run. Reyes is a catalyst, but needs to be more consistent, and needs more critical mass around him. Diaz has been very good, but it is not at all clear that over the course of several full seasons he will put up monster RBI numbers. He seems more like the kind of players who make up the bench on really good teams.

At least one or two may of these younger current core players may become a real contributor, but not all of them, and only if they are in a lineup that has at least two or three bona-fide unconditional top tier all stars.

So while we have all been excited by as I am fond of saying, "losing meaningful games in September", the Mets are realistically still right in the middle of being built. Even the "sure things" like Beltran or Wright have unknown ceilings. Given a likely fluctuating downward course for Floyd, Piazza's retirement, uncertainty about Cameron---I'd say the Mets are at least two marquee type offensive players away from strong contention. Not one, but two and probably three.

The biggest complicating factor is timing--namely that the pitching as many have mentioned previously is built around Pedro who may or may not decline over the course of his contract. I actually think he is a saavy enough pitcher to adjust to some decline in his physical game--better than many will expect. He is truly a pitcher, not a thrower--and his brain is not going to decline.

I think, despite all my carping about Looper, and everyone's carping about Zambrano, Benson, Ishii, the aging of Glavine, and the handling of Trachsel, that the Mets have more than enough pitching to win,
Actually, I think the biggest problem pitching wise will be to replace Roberto Hernandez if he starts to look his age. There really isn't anyone else on the staff now from whom one could expect the same performance.

I don't think it's about heart or guts; the team has kept hope alive and probably played a bit above its talent level. Managment went out and took risks to improve, knowing that they might not have enough to win in the end.

I also don't think it's about brains. The overall strategy is paying off; the Mets have been more able to attract top talent than in prior years. And while there are many individual things about Willie Randolphs' managing that I might not agree with, I can't say that he has gotten a really poor result with great talent. He has not markedly overachieved, but neither has he markedly underachieved. That honor goes to battling Art Howe who got nothing out of his players and seemed permanently asleep at the switch.

Sep 08 2005 04:06 PM

KC wrote:

As Coroner , I thoroughly examined them
And they're not only merely dead
They're really most sincerely dead

Call me an orange and blue optimist, but I actually prefer this:
]Reports of my death were greatly exaggerated

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 04:10 PM

Hmmm, needs more references to "critical mass," I think.

JB's point, I think, is that the Mets need one or two or more excellent offensive players apart from Wright. Beltran may be borderline and Cammy and Floyd can't sustain excellent performance for a full season.

Three positions are otherwise wide open next year.

old original jb
Sep 08 2005 04:24 PM
Thanks Edgy for summing up my post.

My point is also that it's not lack of heart, guts, or brains by either players or management.

What I was really trying to say is that through our blue and orange glasses, I think we often really way overestimate what a lineup truly lacking in Critical Mass ought to be able to do.

I guess I figured I'd make up for a low number of posts with a high number of words. You can bench me if my posting gets any worse.

Johnny Dickshot
Sep 08 2005 04:35 PM

I remember having this same difference of opinion with jb last season and it looks like it again: I don't think the 2005 Mets are superstar-challenged as much as they're league-average-or-better-offensive-player challenged.

Sure Delgado would be better than Average Joe to play 1st base but Average Joe would have better than Minky/Andersons/Offerman and THAT would have made a difference. Same at second base where Cairo & Matsui were among the worst 2 players in all of baseball to log regular time at 2nd base this year. Upgrading to average-or-slightly-better (Ray Durham anyone?) would have made a big difference.

I think we got sort of unlucky in that both Minky and Matsui had the opportunity to be average ravaged by respective injuries. In addition, WWSB made a bad situation worse by slotting Cairo in to hit 2nd and leaving Beltran, who was quite average, in the 3rd slot every day.

Sep 08 2005 04:40 PM

]Three positions are otherwise wide open next year.

I wouldn't call second base wide open, as Matsui will most likely be kicking around next year.

Anyway, I doubt we're going to find a top-tier offensive player at either second base or catcher. Even if we break the bank to sign Ramon Hernandez, he probably won't even represent an offensive upgrade over Castro/Piazza. His career OPS is .734, he hasn't managed 400 at bats the past two years and his career high is only 486.

Castro's got a .787 OPS right now, which is pretty darn good. Who knows if he can sustain that over a year, but I wouldn't mind sitting tight on him and seeing what he can do next year, especially if we're saving $26M over 4 years in the process.

As for second base, pretty much anyone would be an upgrade over the production we got this year, but who's out there? Grudzielanek, maybe, or Garrafino, both of whom would be fine . . . If we want an offensive force at second, however, we're going to have to trade for it. Soriano or Kent are probably the most likely, but they're bad defensively and Soriano's prohibitavely expensive in terms of prospects while Kent's an injury risk.

First base is more interesting, but again, any true 1B powerhouses are going to have to be traded for, unless you count Konerko. I'd be down with signing Konerko, but he's not great defensively and he's had back problems this season. Most of the trade candidates have question marks.

We're just not likely to get a huge bat in our lineup unless we trade for Manny (might be okay, depending on who we give up) or Soriano (whom I don't think would BE a big bat outside of Texas). IMO, however, we don't really need one. Would it help? Sure, but I think just getting average production from 2B & 1B should be enough to make us competitive. Replacing Cairo/Matsui & Mientkiewicz/Cairo/Woody with Garrafino/Matsui & Konerko should be enough.

If we hang on to Cameron, Floyd & Diaz, we'll have a good offensive corner OF, even if one of them goes down for an extended period. Reyes, Wright & Beltran should get better & if we get a decent backup for Castro, we should be okay in the catcher spot as well.

I really don't think we're in bad shape for next year, but I'm nervous we'll overreact to our struggles this year and do something stupid like sell the farm for Soriano.

Time will tell, I suppose . . .

Edgy DC
Sep 08 2005 04:44 PM

The 2005 Mets: Where We Ravage Average

Sep 08 2005 05:56 PM

]I'd be down with signing Konerko, but he's not great defensively and he's had back problems this season.

He's played in 134 of the Chisox 138 games. 9 of those games were at DH, the rest at first base. He played 155 games last season. I think he's worth it healthwise. He's quietly become a really good player over the past 5 seasons ('cept for his subpar '03). His defense isn't spectacular but it's acceptable (better than Delgado).

Sep 08 2005 06:00 PM

Konerko has never been a good contact hitter. I always think of him as batting .230 with 30 home runs.

Sep 08 2005 06:12 PM

You think wrong.

04 41hr-117rbi-.277avg-.359obp-.535slug-.894 ops
05 36hr-89rbi-.281avg-.372obp-.540slug-.911 ops

Career obp is .348.

Sep 08 2005 07:02 PM

It's how I always think of him, though. Maybe because he tends to get himself in an early rut.