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.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Now the real work begins

This is the time of the year when I wish I would have pursued working in baseball when I was a lot younger, so I could be part of the planning process for the coming baseball season. Most of what happens between now and pitchers and catchers happens behind closed doors or on cell phones, with only bits and pieces being reported. I would love to help make the decisions for once.

I will say, without reservation, that if I were a general manager, or anyone connected with the player development department of a MLB team, I would not sign Alex Rodriguez under any circumstances. It's not even the exorbitant salary requirements that have convinced me, but something much more basic. Alex Rodriguez is not a winner. All the talent in the world is not enough to overcome his emotional fragility that plays out by sucking the life out of his team. I would take Mike Lowell over A-Rod any day, and best of all, Lowell is much cheaper, allowing a team to spread the money around.

Even if A-Rod were not a proven playoff disaster, I would still not tie up 20-30% of my payroll in any one player. This is not the NBA, where one superstar can have such a huge impact that it may be worth it when a once in a lifetime player becomes available. I firmly believe that any team that signs A-Rod is guaranteeing that they will not win the World Series as long as he is the center of attention. The best thing that can happen for the Yankees in 2008 is for the Red Sox to sign A-Rod.

Nothing would make me happier than for A-Rod and Barry Bonds to remain unsigned on April 1, 2008. Maybe they should apply for an expansion team and play together, along with a bunch of undrafted college players, or more realistically, just the two of them, one on each side of the field, or taking turns pitching.

2008 Mets

I am so disappointed with last year's finish, that I would put every single Met on the trading block, except for David Wright. Players I would like to see in Flushing include Yorvit Torrealba, Johan Santana, Scott Kazmir, Joe Nathan, Aaron Rowand, and David Eckstein. I wouldn't mind Curt Schilling replacing Tom Glavine, because even though Schilling has a big mouth, he is obviously a better big game pitcher than Glavine. I think Glavine's last start is the most disappointing pitching performance I've ever seen. I respect what Glavine has done in his career, and much of what he did for the Mets, and I think he's a stand-up guy, but it's time for him to go.

Repeating something I've said many times, I don't think a team with Billy Wagner as its closer will ever win the World Series. The more important the game, the worse he pitches. He also has a big mouth, and is often saying things that should not be said to a reporter. I trust Pedro Feliciano and Aaron Heilman more to close under pressure than Wagner, but I know the Mets won't make a switch like that until Wagner's contract expires. I would trade Wagner now, while he still has some value, and even pay part of his salary, to get some top prospects or young players to help now.

I wonder how much the loss of Jose Valentin affected Jose Reyes last year. Valentin seemed to be a real mentor for Reyes, and that's what he needs right now: someone to push him to get the most out of his off-the-charts talent. Maybe Luis Castillo can be that person, I don't know, but Reyes made so many mental errors the second half of last year, that he made me lose faith in his value to a winning team.

The moment I knew the Mets were in trouble this past season: when the announcers and reporters were debating whether John Maine or Oliver Perez should be moved to the bullpen for the playoffs. Very premature, and foolish when you consider how Orlando Hernandez and Tom Glavine finished up.

Next year, the rotation includes Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and an ace acquired by trade. The fifth guy will probably be whichever prospect they don't trade, of Kevin Mulvey, Phil Humber, or Mike "Charlie McCarthy" Pelfrey. Not too bad, really.

The reconstruction of the bullpen will be the greatest task ahead, and I think the Mets need to go for quality and quantity. J.C. Romero would be a good pick-up, to replace Schoeneweis. It's time to release Guillermo Mota, before a deranged fan runs onto the field and pretends to be Mike Piazza.

Picking up Moises Alou's option was smart. With Beltran, Milledge, Chavez, and Gomez, there is no real need for another outfielder, although I would shop Beltran, just to see what's out there.

Catching is going to be interesting, as all four of their current catchers have already filed for free agency. I would try to resign Castro and sign Torrealba to start. Castro's arthritis was a shocker, and makes him questionable as a number one catcher from here on out. He's the best backup catcher in the game, in my opinion, so the Mets should definitely bring him back.

At second base, I really like Ruben Gotay, and think he can be an excellent all around player. I wouldn't mind signing Luis Castillo or David Eckstein for 1-2 years, but if they don't, it wouldn't be a terrible thing.

The Mets have enough talent to win, what they really need is an attitude adjustment. They could use someone like Jason Varitek to kick their butts once in a while, because I don't think Willie Randolph really commands that kind of respect at this point.

Next time, the Yankees . . . .

© Judy Kamilhor 2007


At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

I like your analysis of the Mets this year. I wouldn't trade all of them, though, because I like Wright and Alou, and Reyes (even though he does seem a bit unpredictable). But I think that's part of what makes it fun to watch, never knowing what will happen. Will they win, or will they crash and burn? Always the question...

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Judy Kamilhor said...

Thanks, Lisa.


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