September 10, 2007

2007- An Early Recap - Part 2

A-Rod is just unreal! He might not be the best clutch hitter of all time, (okay - FAR from it!), but he's certainly the best at boosting his stats in the season before his contract expires (opt-out clause.) He has gone 5 games in a row with at least one homer, and is up to 52 dingers and 140 RBI's, with 19 games left! What does this have to do with the Mets? Well, as you may remember, his first choice was to sign with the Mets, while Steve Phillips did everything in his power NOT to let that happen. The rise of David Wright and Jose Reyes allows us to sweep this under the rug, but the thought of an infield composed of Wright, Reyes and A-Rod boggles the mind! Don't ask me where each would play - would it even matter? The only poetic justice would be for A-Rod to complete one of the best statistical seasons of all time, only to leave the Yankees in the off-season (and believe me, if he opts out and nullifies the $29 million that the Rangers are on the hook for, he WON'T be a Yankee next season. What are the odds that with an agent named Scott Boras that he won't opt out? Brittney Spears has a better shot at winning the presidency!) This is certainly one of the most interesting stories of the season/off-season.

The Detroit Tigers were selected by a majority of publications as either the AL Pennant Winner or the eventual World Series winner this season. It's not looking to good right now for Mr. Leyland's crew, as they are 6 games back of the Indians, 4 in back of the Yanks for the Wild Card. Their failure to perform to expectations certainly cannot be blamed on the injuries to set-up man, Joel Zumaya, and starter, Kenny Rogers, as one look at the Mets' DL debunks that notion. Curtis Granderson, their free-swinging lead-off hitter, is having a season that only 2 players before him have matched (including Willie Mays), with 20 homers, triples, stolen bases and doubles, and outfielder/dh Magglio Ordonez is right in the MVP-mix, if anyone can be classified near to eventual MVP winner A-Rod. Just shows that even the most knowledgable writers (and fans - and bloggers) - can be wrong!

Sometimes, trades work out for both sides in a deal - take the Red Sox - Marlins deal of November, 2005. The Sox received pitcher Josh Beckett, currently 18-6 with a 3.27 ERA, and third baseman Mike Lowell, who has hit 18 dingers, knocked in 103 runs and is batting .324 while fielding quite a bit less than his gold-glove level of the past (some 15 errors so far this season, as opposed to 6 last season.) Defense aside, both players contributions are significant reasons as to why the Sox are the most dominant team in the majors this season. The Marlins, on the other hand, received soon-to-be-perennial all-star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, whose stats we discussed in our previous column, as well as starter Anibel Sanchez, whose season was cut short due to injury but who, on top of a no-hitter last season, finished 10-3 and will be a mainstay of the Marlins' rotation for years to come. Ramirez is going to be a star for years to come, and Julio Lugo is surely nothing to write home about at short for the Sox, but Beckett and Lowell are exactly what the Sox need, and the benefit is that they will almost assuredly reach the World Series (or pretty darn close) while the Fish got their stars for tomorrow at a price they can afford now. As Hannibal from the A-Team used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together!" No trade-backs for either team!

The Minnesota Twins are facing a crisis that could benefit both the Mets and the Angels. Their payroll is lower, mid-market level, and both Justin Mourneau and Joe Mauer are deserving of long-term deals similar to those the Indians used to use to lock up their young talent with. However, that leaves CF Torii Hunter, having a career year, and starter Johan Santana, perhaps the best pitcher in the game, getting the short ends of the stick, so to speak. Hunter is a free agent this season, and there's no way Terry Ryan will accept a draft pick or two in exchange for Santana's services, as he is due to become a free agent after the 2008 season. The Mets will be at the top of the suitors list for Santana, and could offer a package containing higher end minor league talent such as Humber, Gomez, Guerra and Mulvey. Hunter will surely be on the Angels' agenda, as even with CFer Gary Matthews onboard, it becomes clearer every day that Vlad Guerrero (another should-have-been Met) would be the MVP every season if he only had another hitter on each side of him who could possibly strike some fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. It's a shame, as while I'd love to see Santana take the mound for us every fifth day, the thought that the fans in Minnesota have to go through this decomposition yet again is discouraging for the sport in general. Let's hope somehow that the Twins can at least keep Hunter in the fold for another 3-4 seasons. And by the way - the Mets will be playing the Angels next season, adding another 3-game series I can attend (Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres & Diamondbacks)!

Will the REAL Mariners please stand up? Ichiro has continued to do his part, but the Seattle club has been withering on the vine, so to speak, losing 13 of the past 14 games to virtually fall out of the play-off race altogether (and there goes one of our possibilities to overtake the Yanks.) Teams get hot, like the Phillies, and teams go cold, like the Braves, but the truly good teams, like our own Mets, somehow find a way to play through adversity, regardless of the situation, and that's what seperates the Mets from the Mariners (amongst other things). Perhaps Ichiro was too hasty re-signing with the M's?...

Finally, whether it's Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel or our own Mr. Mota, there has to be a complete reckoning where performance-enhancing drugs are concerned. HGH doesn't have an accurate test - fine, do everything within your power to encourage the powers that be to increase their efforts to make one. Players had legitimate injuries requiring a prescription for HGH or similar drug? Fine - register it with the commissioner's office, to ensure they are covered (CYA!) and there are no future recriminations. Don't accept any more excuses, as the game is still, in my opinion, America's game (less the gambling, of course!) Let's make sure that the game is cleaned up so that kids in America are encouraged to play the game without thinking they need to inject themselves and grow a few hat sizes (and neck sizes) just to play the game. And here's a thought - can the fact that pitchers, in particular, are recovering from Tommy John Surgeries far quicker than in the past be due to the fact that drugs like HGH have helped them to recover quicker? And should it be allowed to be utilized, under a doctor's care, if it does, indeed, have this effect? More food for thought...

See you in a few days when we analyze the Mets' struggles and successes to date...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

good post

Anonymous said...

well lets see wat arod does in the post season

Anonymous said...

man, the indians taking care of business with the tigers

Anonymous said...

but the marlins got ramirez out of that deal

Anonymous said...

i dont know who got the better deal

Anonymous said...

yes the twins are falling apart

Anonymous said...

hunter has got to be moving on...santana is prob gone too

Dan Marcus said...

Dave,

Did you guys know that Matt practically flat out stole your site lay out? Just wanted to let youknow about the theifery going on.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Man are the Mariners surprising everyone including me

Anonymous said...

they'll fall apart in the post season if they make it

Anonymous said...

i would gladly give all those prospects up for Santana...go Omar and do us proud

John Young said...

Yes Dan, we did notice it, but there is nothing that we can do because he will just say that he had it first and so on. It will start a whole riot with us two sites and in this case David is just not ready to face Goliath.

Keep the faith and what goes around will come around.