baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Midseason's Night Dream

Halfway through the 2007 baseball season, and the Mets and Yankees are having strange seasons. The Yankees are one of the streakiest teams of modern times, with a 9 game winning streak closely followed by a 2-9 streak. Now they are on a mini hot streak, playing very well for the past two games, and looking like the Yankees of old. Don't get used to it. The only real question for this team is who to get rid of, rather than who to add. If I were Brian Cashman, I would take this opportunity to trade some overpaid, over the hill players like Damon, Mussina, Abreu, and Matsui for as many prospects and young major leaguers as possible. Joel Sherman suggested trading A-Rod, with the idea of resigning him next year, and that is not a bad idea, too. Each of these veterans might be attractive to a contending team looking for one more experienced hitter, and the Yankees need to get younger and more energetic sooner rather than later. These moves would actually make it more likely that the Yankees would make the playoffs this year, counter to the usual thinking. Last year's Phillies made a great playoff push after trading Abreu to the Yankees, and this happens because it takes some pressure off the guys that remain, and it injects new life into a tired clubhouse.

As for the Mets, they might be in for a tough stretch, with two sudden injuries to starting pitchers Jorge Sosa and Oliver Perez. I have to question the choices for replacements that the Mets have made. I would have called up Brian Lawrence and Dave Williams for recent starts made by Mike (I'm not ready) Pelfrey and Jason (I need a year at AAA) Vargas. This is the time for veterans to fill in, not young guys who have very limited major league success. Both Lawrence and Williams have been much more effective in their time at New Orleans recovering from their injuries. It's not too late to make a switch, though, as they can still send Pelfrey and Vargas down before they get another chance to decrease the Mets' lead in the division.

I would also recall minor-league veteran Andy Tracy, a right-handed hitting first baseman, to replace Julio Franco. Tracy is having a great year at New Orleans, and this might be his last chance to contribute to the major league team since he is in his early thirties. Every time Julio Franco starts at 1B, I want to cringe, not because he can't field the position, but because he can't hit nearly well enough to play there. And, when he starts, he can't do the one thing he can do adequately, namely pinch-hit.

To give credit where credit is due, Willie Randolph finally left a reliever in to pitch the 9th inning. A few days ago, he let Pedro Feliciano finish the game and get his first save of the year, instead of bringing in Billy Wagner with a four run lead, like he usually does. Feliciano has been the team's most effective and reliable reliever for two years, and Randolph is usually much too quick to take him out. Thank you, Willie!

Paul Lo Duca is a decent player, and brings some needed fire to the Mets, but he is also incredibly immature. I saw a recent interview, and he sounded like a whining seven year old who wasn't getting his way. Now that he has promised to stop talking to the media, maybe some of the team's more mature and controlled players will have to step up and speak once in a while. Maybe the reporters will have to be more creative when collecting post-game quotes, and go to some new voices. It can only help the team. Next year, it would be nice to see Ramon Castro as the number one catcher, or at least splitting the job with someone new.

At first, I was against the Mets trading for a starter like Mark Buehrle, but now I think they need to upgrade. In addition to the two injured guys (and three if you include their best starter, Pedro Martinez), they have an injury-prone Orlando Hernandez, showing signs of fatigue or injury recently), and a less-reliable Tom Glavine. John Maine has become the ace, but they need more reliable pitchers in their prime. I would be willing to trade Pelfrey and a mid-level position prospect for Buehrle, on the condition that the Mets sign him to an extension. I don't think Pelfrey will ever develop into a dominant starter, because he doesn't seem to have that killer instinct that guys like Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Josh Beckett have.

Caroms Off the Wall

The Red Sox should trade for Omar Vizquel to replace the fatigued/burnt-out Julio Lugo at SS. Since the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra, the position has been cursed, except for the sorely-missed Orlando Cabrera. Omar Vizquel would look awfully good for the Sox in the playoffs, making every play, and contributing a big hit or two along the way.

© Judy Kamilhor 2007


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