San Francisco's Randy Winn exemplifies their concerns. The Giants are trying to deal the switch-hitter. The Mets like Winn, but he lacks the power they want in a corner outfield addition. Also, if traded, Winn's salary for 2009 grows to $8.625 million. At present, San Francisco has been unwilling to eat much of that salary and without that the Mets will have no interest.So far so good. Winn is a mediocre 34-year old outfielder. Since when do the Mets commit themselves to mediocre, over-the-hill players? Seriously though, that this Mets official said such a thing is encouraging. As basic it as it is. Why deal prospects for a fourth outfielder who won't make an impact? But this is the Mets we're talking about here. No on Winn. Good job.
"That is a lot of money," one Mets official said. "And you tie yourself up and miss out on somebody else you really want (for 2009 and beyond)."
Mets officials continue to find reports linking them to San Diego's Brian Giles surprising because two executives said the club has never discussed Giles with any seriousness during a meeting.Well that's kind of weird. Why would the mets adamantly deny even discussing a player with a career line of .293/.404/.511? Who, even at the age of 37, is hitting .299/.395/.425 (even if that's a little flukey). Who only makes $10 million this year and is a free agent afterward. Who is a gamer. (Sure, why not?). Giles is precisely the kind of player the Mets should be trying to acquire: an underrated player in a walk year playing for a losing team.
The Mets worry that Boston's Manny Ramirez is too much of an investment in their prospects, money and patience. Nevertheless, his availability, general manager Omar Minaya's long obsession with Ramirez and the reality of what his bat could mean will keep the Mets engaged with Boston, despite the extremely strong belief there is no deal to be made.I defer to The Book Blog. Manny Ramirez is extremely overrated, because analysts and organizations fail to account for the atrociousness of his defense. Even though Boston is aware of his true value, they don't have a better option and are engaged in a tough divisional race. They won't trade him. They are just floating their displeasure with him in order to justify what would otherwise be an inexplicable decision (in the eyes of the ignorant media) to pass on his $20 million option. However, as I said on that blog, I am quite fearful that Omar Minaya will give Ramirez a ridiculous deal-- something like 4 years, $90 million. He's not worth that. Not even close. But the Mets will probably give him that anyway. Because they are fish.
The Mets did consider Cincinnati's Adam Dunn, but his poor defense, historical problems in clutch situations and high strikeout rates have eliminated interest.Waiting for incensed wrath to pass...
First of all, "poor defense"? That doesn't concern them when considering Ramirez and another outfielders we'll get to? Poor defense? Really? His defense is like, a little below average. I guess the Mets prefer their outfielders to be either really good at defense, or really terrible.
Next, "historical problems in clutch situations"? What the fuck? Does anyone still believe in that shit? Do major league organization believe in that? Even then...
He's career .247/.381/.521 hitter. In the arbitrary selection of plate appearances known as "runners in scoring positions" he's a .224/.413/.476 hitter. That's a difference of 14 points of OPS. The 23 points of batting average are more than made up for with 32 points of on-base percentage. One could make the argument (and it's a good one) that Dunn is actually a better hitter in clutch-situations because on-base percentage correlates more strongly with the scoring of runs than does slugging percentage. It's obvious what's happening here. Adam Dunn is very patient at the plate. Among players with at least 200 plate appearances, he's currently 14th in the league in swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. In situations in which a hit can score a run, pitchers throw more balls and Dunn, smartly, does not swing at them. Consequently he loses points of batting average and picks them up, and more, in his on-base percentage. By the way, the same is true of Carlos Beltran, an awesome player who is also greatly derided by the ignorati.
And finally, the "high strikeout rates." How many times do we have to say this? FOR BATTERS, STRIKING OUT IS NOT VERY MUCH WORSE THAN OTHER WAYS OF MAKING AN OUT! Hitting for contact does not correlate with run production. Luis Castillo hits for contact. Paul Lo Duca is (was) a great contact hitter. Here are the top players in the game at making contact. You've got some good players and some bad players. Dustin Pedroia is a nice little hitter. Jason Kendall is terrible. Sure, hitting for contact has its merits sometimes. Part of what makes Albert Pujols so awesome is that in addition to hitting for power and drawing lots of walks, he also makes very good contact. That's better than just hitting for power and drawing walks, while striking out a lot. But the latter, while not as good, is still fucking awesome. Hitting home runs and drawing walks are the two best skills a hitter can gave. Hitting for a high average is a distant third.
Three points against Dunn, all of them stupid.
One point for him: he's undervalued. Take it from Ted Berg on this one. And if you're looking for comic relief, read the comments over at MetsBlog. Me, I haven't been over there for months. I took MetsBlog off Google Reader. I figured I needed to cut redundant sources of news and subpar analysis out of my Mets reading diet. I had pretty much forgotten about MetsBlog until Berg pointed me to that thread. You can do it, too. You won't miss anything, I swear. Moving on now:
The Mets dislike[Jason] Bay's defense and that he has never played in meaningful games.There's that defense thing again. I'm baffled. But not as much as the criticism that Bay "has never played in meaningful games." And whose fault is that, exactly? In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?" What is going through their stupid little heads that they think a professional baseball player at the top of his game and performing very well at the highest level of play in his sport will suddenly crumple up and die when introduced to more competitive games? If anything, wouldn't he, after years of putting up great numbers in meaningless seasons with a terrible team, be more-than-ready to put his skills to work for a competitive franchise?
One Mets official did say, "[Raul] Ibanez is the interesting guy." The Mets like that he is a proven run producer, is considered a high-character player and despite being left-handed hits southpaws well. Nevertheless, he is 36, is a free agent after the season, is a below-average defender, and is having a good year (14 HRs, 61 RBIs), but not up to his previous norms. A scout who has seen a lot of the Mariners said Ibanez is still a high-caliber hitter who is a frustrated victim of the terrible lineup around him. The scout theorized that in a better atmosphere, Ibanez's production would revive fully."Proven run producer." Nice. I bet the Mets source used that phrase, too. By "proven run producer," he means that Ibañez has a history of putting up above average on-base and slugging percentages, not that he has some special "run-producing" ability in addition to his talents as a hitter. At least, that's what I hope he means.
Now, normally I would leave the "high-character guy" thing alone. But Ibañez (as I like to call him) is one of those guys who likes to play through injury to show his grit and determination, thus making his team worse and jeopardizing his health and production in the long term. If that's character, I'll pass.
"...despite being left-handed hits southpaws well..."? What? Where do you get that? He's a career .265/.320/.404 hitter vs. lefties compared to .291/.354/.493 vs. right-handers. It could be worse, I guess.
And of course, "below-average defender"? What? That's like sort of a consideration for Ibañez but the deal-breaker for Dunn, Ramirez and Bay? We've been over this before. In case you missed it, Ibañez is really, really, really, really, REALLY bad at defense. He is not "below-average." He is a butcher. He is atrocious. He did beat out Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Chris Duncan and Pat Burrell last year in David Pinto's Probabilistic Model of Range. That's generous.
Also, I love the line: "The scout theorized that in a better atmosphere, Ibanez's production would revive fully." Well, no shit (I'm assuming by "production" he means dumb stats like runs and RBIs). Did you see some hitch in his swing that was caused by being bummed about his shitty teammates? Or was it rather the OBVIOUS CONCLUSION that a hitter, when placed in a better lineup, will score and drive in more runs? If by "production" he means actual hitting skills that matter and are not entirely context-dependent, then he is wrong. The 36-year old Ibañez is not going to suddenly reverse his natural and inevitable career decline because he's excited about playing for a winner. He's a DH, and not a very good one. I will cry when the Mets trade for him.