NY Sports Dog: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fellow Mets Bloggers (and our readers)

Times are tough, and some have it tougher than others.

If you haven't found Mack's Mets yet, I encourage you to give it a look.

Mack could use a hand, and I know many of you are in position to maybe kick a few bucks his way.

Now I'm not in the business of telling anyone what to do with their money, but if you're a Mets fan and a reader of Mack's work, I know he'd truly appreciate anything you can do.

-- Dave

Interesting Signing: Frank Catalanotto

Nothing wrong with giving a guy a look and a spring training invite.

He's a longshot to make the team, but Frank can still hit a bit and is a solid citizen.

One thing is for sure, if he does get any at-bats this year with the Mets it will be against righthanders only.

Catalanotto is one of the worst lefty on lefty hitters in the game, and in the last 3 seasons he has hit .167 against them in only 36 at-bats, while hitting .274 against righty's in over 680 at-bats.

Career: Batting |
1997 Det 13 26 2 8 2 0 0 3 3 7 0 0 .308 .379 .385 .764
1998 Det 89 213 23 60 13 2 6 25 12 39 3 2 .282 .325 .446 .771
1999 Det 100 286 41 79 19 0 11 35 15 49 3 4 .276 .327 .458 .785
2000 Tex 103 282 55 82 13 2 10 42 33 36 6 2 .291 .375 .457 .832
2001 Tex 133 463 77 153 31 5 11 54 39 55 15 5 .330 .391 .490 .881
2002 Tex 68 212 42 57 16 6 3 23 25 27 9 5 .269 .364 .443 .807
2003 Tor 133 489 83 146 34 6 13 59 35 62 2 2 .299 .351 .472 .823
2004 Tor 75 249 27 73 19 1 1 26 17 33 1 0 .293 .344 .390 .734
2005 Tor 130 419 56 126 29 5 8 59 37 53 0 2 .301 .367 .451 .818
2006 Tor 128 437 56 131 36 2 7 56 52 37 1 3 .300 .376 .439 .815
2007 Tex 103 331 52 86 20 4 11 44 28 37 2 1 .260 .337 .444 .781
2008 Tex 88 248 28 68 23 1 2 21 20 29 1 1 .274 .342 .399 .741
2009 Mil 77 144 18 40 6 3 1 9 14 23 2 0 .278 .346 .382 .728
Total -- 1240 3799 560 1109 261 37 84 456 330 487 45 27 .292 .358 .446 .804

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Tatis/Murphy Platoon Makes Sense

The more I think about Tatis coming back, the more inclined I am to like the idea based on the statistical evidence before us.

First off, Tatis, who had a dreadful first 2/3rds of a season in 2009, hit very well in August and September.

In August he hit .310 with an .811 OPS, and in September he hit .353 with an .883 OPS (he was 4 for 8 in October as well).

His overall splits were:

2009 Batting Splits
vs. Left1331637933191542501.278.364.459.823
vs. Right2072659121529752940.285.321.425.746
Last 7 Days1126200300110.545.500.7271.227
Pre All-Star1732443924201181531.249.320.393.713
Post All-Star16718531224281113910.317.359.485.844

If you look at his numbers vs lefty's, the picture becomes even clearer: a decent .278 BA, .364 OBP, and .823 OPS, and that includes the numbers from his putrid May, June and July.

Similarly, Daniel Murphy had a horrendous May, June and July, and it seemed to click for him a little bit in August and September, especially in the power department.

Murph had a very respectable .556 Slg % in September, though he hardly walked at all during the entire season.

2009 Batting Splits
vs. Left94102160414601910.223.267.415.682
vs. Right414501143248493205032.275.324.430.754
Last 7 Days1515101200100.333.333.600.933
Pre All-Star24230601115282503011.248.314.364.678
Post All-Star26630752737351303931.282.313.485.798

You'll notice that his numbers against RH pitching are much better than his numbers vs LH'ers. Moreover, his 20 doubles in 203 August/September at bats is simply outstanding.

If we combine Tatis against LH and Murph against RH using their 2009 splits we can forecast a worse case "player" with about a .280 BA, .350 OBP, and .450 Slg % and 15 HRs and 80 RBIs.

While those numbers are still very average compared to most first basemen in the league, they are not terrible.

I think the two players will actually outperform their 2009 seasons based on the end of season trends, and they can very easily attain a combined 20 HR and 90 RBI season and get on base enough times with gap power to make a decent contribution.

That is good enough.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Would a 2010 Youth Movement Be More Fun?

With the same tired, one dimensional or injured names being thrown around, (Ryan Garko, Ben Sheets, Carlos Delgado), along with the recent signing of Gary Mathews, Jr, it's becoming more and more apparent that 2010 would be a lot more fun if we could all just take a breath and resign ourselves to the fact that watching a bunch of young guys play baseball would be a lot more fun than trying to hope for a miracle on an injured arm, an older fading never was, or a broken down former star.

Let's play Thole, Nick Evans, Daniel Murphy, even Ike Davis to platoon with Murph.

Why not have Chris Carter as the 4th outfielder?

Let Angel Pagan play CF for as long as it takes to get Beltran back.

Let's look at our "youth team" to start the season and a lineup that could work well:

SS-Jose Reyes (26)
CF-Angel Pagan (28)
3B-David Wright (27)
LF-Jason Bay (31)
RF- Jeff Francoeur (26)
1B-Daniel Murphy (25) and Ike Davis (23)
C-Josh Thole (23)
2B-Luis Castillo (34)

The same can be said of the pitching: Tobi Stoner, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, Jay Marshall, all young and talented. Ollie Perez is still only 28 heading into the season, and I expect Big Pelf to have a superb year.

Here is a simple question--would you rather watch Ike Davis or Fernando Tatis in 2010?

The Mets don't need to go into 2010 with any lofty expectations, because every realist out there knows that this is likely not the year, nor is it the team that should expect to win right now.

That said, it is a team that can win, and by playing the younger talent, you'll likely get an inspired brand of fun baseball that would be competitive without breaking the bank. You also just might be surprised at the results.

It's the kind of thinking that would set up the more legitimate possibility for 2011 and beyond.

Play the kids now.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mets Blood Drive at Citi Field

Mets Blood Drive Give Blood

The Mets will be hosting their annual Winter Blood Drive for the New York Blood Center on Wednesday, January 27, in Citi Field's Caesars Club from 10 am to 5 pm (First Base VIP Entrance). Donors must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 lbs and be in good health. Each donor will receive a pair of tickets to a select Mets game in April. Bring ID with photo or signature. Call 1-800-933-BLOOD for more information.

Give the gift of life, give blood.

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Chat Live with Daniel Murphy at 2PM

Chat Live with Daniel Murphy Today at 2pm ET

Daniel Murphy will be chatting live on Mets.com--the chat can be accessed through the link here:.

Murph will take your questions--I'm sure Beltran will get mentioned.

NOTE: You must be a registered user on mets.com to participate.
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Staying Optimistic on Beltran

Although news of Beltran's knee surgery came as a surprise, now that we've had a night to let it sink in, there are reasons for optimism.

By way of background, Carlos Beltran had surgery on his troublesome right knee Wednesday and the All-Star center fielder will miss the start of the season. There are conflicting reports on whether or not the Mets gave their permission, but there is no question that Beltran and his doctors felt he needed the procedure to have a productive 2010 campaign.

And that's the real point here--having the surgery in mid-January, almost 3 months prior to the season's April 5th Opening Day, or having it later and delaying his season even further.

If the doctor's 8-12 week estimate is true, Beltran can reasonably be expected back in the lineup in mid-May.

Yes, this is absolutely bad news for the Mets, especially on the heels of 2009 when it seemed every player on the team went down with one ailment or another. In fact, the Mets had more disabled list days than any other team in history, and the record certainly showed it.

There is still the issue of whether or not Beltran's physician spoke with Mets medical personnel, but according to Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, Dr Steadman spoke with Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Monday and again after Beltran was examined in Colorado on Tuesday, and that Steadman obtained Altchek's consent for the surgery.

From the AP:
"Dr. Steadman has represented to us that he spoke with the Mets' physician and he received consent to go forward with the plan and the surgery," Boras said. "Dr. Steadman has told us that his office contacted the Mets trainer and obtained the appropriate insurance forms and received approval for payment to go ahead with the surgery."

"The doctor said eight weeks, possibly, and a window to 12 weeks to resume baseball activities. With elite athletes, the timetable is sometimes shorter than the original prognosis," Boras said.

In a statement released Wednesday night, the Mets said Beltran's osteoarthritis worsened during the offseason and he decided to have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the arthritic area of his knee.

The procedure was performed by Steadman, considered one of the top knee surgeons in the world. He is noted for his work performing microfracture knee surgery on basketball players.

Boras said Altchek had been examining Beltran once a month during the offseason.

"Since the beginning of November, he was feeling discomfort and pain," Boras said. "They found some fragments in there that had to be removed."

Mets fans are rightfully worried about these events, especially given that the team's rack record on injuries has been less than stellar. I also think they should remain optimistic that 4-6 early season weeks without Beltran is much better than the alternative of missing major chunks of time mid to late year.

For now Angel Pagan looks to be the leading contender to start the year in CF, though Rick Ankiel could be a decent stop-gap or platoon option and 4th outfielder.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Talk Me Off the Ledge: Bengie Molina

All of the pundits are saying the signing of Bengie Molina is not only imminent, but that's it's also a foregone conclusion, and that the deal will be a compromise 2-year package.

Why, why, why?

This is the same Bengie Molina that put up the following stats in 2009:

  • .189 BA with 2 outs and RISP
  • .225 BA and .250 OBP on the road
  • 3 walks in 312 plate appearances in the first half of the season
  • .165 BA and .183 OBP in games played that his team lost
  • In 14 plate appearances in which he worked the count to 3-1, he walked twice
  • .286 OBP with RISP
  • When he faced a SP the third time in a game, he hit .194 wit a .212 OBP
What's even worse, is that his fielding stats have declined and he was worse than league average as a catcher.

Finally, he threw out 23% of basestealers.

Some pro-Molina folks point to the 80 RBIs as proof of his production, but they fail to mention this: he bat cleanup the entire year! That means he had more men on base than anyone else in that lineup, yet only put up 80 RBIs, largely because of his putrid 86 OPS+.

I've been hoping beyond hope that all the Bengie Molina talk would fade away, but not only hasn't it faded, the Mets are actually going to sign this terrible athlete, hitter and sub-par fielder.

Talk me off the ledge please.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Help Former Met Ed Hearn Fight Kidney Disease

This is a very easy cause to get behind, and it's easy to do by using your Facebook account and voting at Nephcure.

Ed Hearn is a terrific guy and played an important role caddying for Gary Carter on the 1986 championship team, including starting a lot of key games when Carter got hurt.

He's had three kidney transplants and is a true inspiration and leader as a motivational speaker and author.

More can be seen in the video below, on Ed Hearn's website, and on this website, Nephcure.

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Keith Speaks Out on Steroids

We recently spoke to Keith Hernandez about steroids, and he relayed the following story:

During one of my recent walks in the Hamptons out on Long Island, a young lad in a Yankee cap came up to me and asked me about steroids. He told me he wasn't sure what they were or what the word even meant.

He was concerned about some of his favorite players, namely
Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi, and what impact steroids would have on their chances for the Hall of Fame.

He noticed I was snacking on a wheel of cheese and asked me innocently, "Mr Hernandez, is cheese a

I thought to myself, "what a great question!" I tore off a hunk of the cheese, autographed it for him, and sent the kid on his way.

Let me clear up any misconceptions kiddies and tell you right now that High Cheddar is not a steroid, but it is a drug....a fascinating drug.

You stand in the box, absolutely mesmerized, and you just see this pill, or 'fastball' coming at you at 98 mph....let me tell you it's a rush like no other.

So no
Mets fans, High Cheddar is not a steroid, but it does act like a drug.

Did you see that moon Gary? That's something else that has been compared to cheese.

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Mark McGwire on Steroids: "I did it"

Mark McGwire finally came clean Monday, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998.

McGwire says in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade and he apologizes for his actions.

"I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come," McGwire said. "It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected."

"I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids," McGwire said. "I had good years when I didn't take any, and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry."

"After all this time, I want to come clean," he said. "I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I'll do that, and then I just want to help my team."

"I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again," McGwire said in his statement. "I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season."

"During the mid-'90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years," McGwire said in the statement. "I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too."

Well, I'm sure the acts of steroid use comes as no surprise to any of you, but it sure is nice to hear the man finally come clean.

In another bit of "yeah, no kidding" news, another source is telling us, "Clay Aiken might be gay"....stay tuned.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Aroldis Chapman is a Cincinnati Red

Updating our earlier news, it is now appearing more likely that Aroldis Chapman will be a Cincinnati Red.

Besides our sources, the Reds themselves are announcing the news stating, "MLB.com has confirmed from a National League source that the team involved is the Reds."

We are also hearing this elsewhere, such as from Jeff Blair of Toronto's Globe and Mail, who also confirmed that Aroldis Chapman has agreed to a five-year, $30 million contract with the Reds.

He writes:
The Cuban left-hander drew bids this winter from baseball's biggest spenders and several surprise teams, but the Reds stepped forward and grabbed him with an overwhelming offer. Chapman's fastball has been clocked in the triple-digits but he has no major league experience and his first year in the show may be an adventure.

No word on whether the similarities in hats had anything to do with his decision.

Again, none of this is 100% confirmed, but it is the latest news.

We'll update when more news comes in.

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Aroldis Chapman has Agreed to a $30MM Offer from NL Team

according to a tweet from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

The question now is, "which team?"

Last we heard on Chapman, the main suitors were American League teams (the Angels and Blue Jays) and the largest offer he'd received was around $23MM, so this would qualify as a major surprise.

Passan reports:

Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, whose defection sparked a bidding war among major league teams that coveted his 100-mph fastball, agreed Sunday morning to sign for $30 million with a National League team, according to a source close the negotiations.

The 22-year-old Chapman’s value has steadily climbed since a Dec. 15 workout in Houston in which he wasn’t throwing at full speed and still hit 97 mph. His potential as a front-of-the-line starter intrigued teams from coast to coast, as the Los Angeles Angels, Florida Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays were reportedly strong suitors.

The bidding increased from an initial $15.5 million offer from the Boston Red Sox in early December when Chapman to the highest reported proposal of $23 million from Toronto. In recent days, the unidentified National League team trumped them all with an offer still far short of the $50 million Chapman initially sought.

Few NL teams beyond the Marlins have been linked to Chapman. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals sent their general managers to the workout. The New York Mets are an intriguing possibility as well, fulfilling Chapman’s desire to play in a big city. The Cincinnati Reds were “going after him like crazy,” according to a source, but were skeptical about landing him.

The increased interest around baseball coincided with Chapman firing Edwin Mejia, a fledgling agent who helped him establish residency in Andorra after he defected from the Cuban national team over the summer. His new agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, are well-respected around baseball, and officials said they appreciated the transparency the Hendrickses applied to Chapman.

More to follow.

UPDATE: There is no definitive word, but it looks like the Reds are the team.
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Putting What Sanchez Did in Perspective

I'm taking a quick break from baseball this weekend since we have the NFL playoffs and not much going on in Mets land.

From what I can tell, only 9 rookie QBs have started an NFL playoff game since 1970.

Some of them have gone on to have superb careers, even a HoF career, while others didn't fare well.

Now Sanchez is the great unknown--he was very up and down in 2009, but one thing is for certain....he had an amazing game yesterday and he has the pedigree to be a great one.

Every throw was on point, he moved in the pocket well, and he was in command all game.

They will probably lose next week, but if he can play the same type of game against the Colts (I'd rather see them play the Colts than SD), it will be a heck of a ball game.

Here are the rookie year playoff game stats for all rookie QBs that started at least one playoff game in their rookie year.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Elvis, I Need a Cure for the Winter Blues

Holidays are over, the Giants are done, it's cold, basketball sucks, hockey is hockey, the NFL playoffs will be OK, but if the Cowboys or Eagles win the big one it will just worsen this creeping malaise, and worst of all, the Mets don't head to Florida for over a month.

Work is piling up, my iPod broke, and the blogs don't seem quite as funny this year--likely because the Mets had such a rough season in 2009.

I need an action plan....

Buy a new iPod (tomorrow)
Listen to a lot of Elvis on the new iPod
Read funny blogs (Metstradamus is a chuckle fest, and the Kranepool Society is often hilarious)
Find pictures of hot girls in Mets gear

I feel better already.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Love Delgado, But...

You're going to hear a lot from the blogs today about Delgado's HR and his lofty .364 BA and .417 OBP....those are terrific numbers for a player coming back.

But at least consider this: he hit his homerun off Todd Moser.

Yes, THAT Todd Moser (You're forgiven if you've never heard of him).

Todd Moser pitched in the Independent Leagues since 2005, the majority of his "professional" career.

The 33-year old Moser's complete stats can be found here.

Now in Moser's defense, he did lead the Chinese Professional Baseball League in saves in 2007 with 13.

And the best part, the scouting report:

"Despite his size, Moser is considered a finesse pitcher with the changeup being his most effective pitch. He also throws a two-seam fastball that sits in the upper 80s, a curve and slider."

So great for Delgado--I really want him back here, but let's at least temper our enthusiasm a bit when talking about the homerun.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jubilant with Jason Bay

The Mets pulled off a great move in securing Jason Bay. Matt Holliday has marginally better numbers, but it's much closer than many are making it out to be, and you might just be surprised by the fielding stats.

4yr/$66 Mill ($16.5 per) or 5yr/$80 Mill ($16 per)
- 31.3 years old

Holliday: 7yr/$120 Mill ($17.1 per) or 8yr/$137 Mill ($17.1 per)
- 30.0 years old

First the OPS+ over the last 5 seasons:

Bay: 150, 138, 94, 134, 134 (131 average)
Holliday: 114, 137, 151, 138, 139 (137 average)

RBIs over the last 5 seasons:

Bay: 101, 109, 84, 101, 119 (103 average)
Holliday: 87, 114, 137, 88, 109 (107 average)

There are a few other things--Bay has actually averaged 31 HRs to Holliday's 28 over that span, though to be fair, Holliday does edge him out in runs, BA, Slg, and doubles. Both players hit LH and RH pitching almost equally.

The bottom line is they are close...very close.

The fielding thing is being blown way out of proportion. The "Holliday is a good fielder" statements being told hither and yon are simply not supported by the numbers.

In 833 games as a LF, Holliday averages -2.5 rTot/Yr. Bay, the "bad fielder", averages -9.5.

The interesting thing about Bay is that his total is amplified by his 2008 numbers--the worst of his career--at -30.7. He turned it around in 2009 and came in at a solid 7.4 in 2009 while Holliday put up a 0.0.

Bay also had a career high with 15 OF assist in 2009 compared to 1 for Holliday.

Lastly, let's look at their RF/9 (putouts + assists divided by innings played). Bay comes in at 2.09, whereas Holliday is only at 1.91.

So while the jury still may be out on Bay's ability in LF, saying Holliday is a "good fielder" isn't supported by the math.

The Mets made a great move signing Jason Bay--he's a difference maker and a big bat smack dab in the middle of the lineup.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

90 Days Until Opening Day

Last year's opening day was the fulfillment of a long winter of hope, and a spring training in which many believed the Mets would fight for a World series title.

I'm sure you remember the Sports Illustrated prediction.

Instead it turned into what many believe was one of the most frustrating seasons in team history.

2009 Opening Day lineup

J Reyes SS
D Murphy LF
D Wright 3B
C Delgado 1B
C Beltran CF
R Church RF
B Schneider C
L Castillo 2B
J Santana P

For 2010, 2/3rds of the outfield is new, with an enormous upgrade in LF, and a pretty good upgrade in right. Francoeur is likely to put up solid offensive numbers, good defense, and play nearly every day while bringing his energy and enthusiasm to the clubhouse.

There will be a new catcher, though it's yet to be determined which combination of players will fill that key role in 2010. I've stated here many times that Josh Thole is the guy, and we should accept some defensive growing pains for the productivity we desperately need at the bottom of the order. Thole is a "rally enabler".

The remaining questions revolve around Delgado and possibly Castillo, but there is certainly a good chance both players have their final Met year this season.

While many are clamoring for Daniel Murphy to continue in a starting role, I'd personally like to see him in the minors for a full season, though he'll likely fill a slot on the bench with a decent amount of games at 1B if Delgado is signed.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

What If the Mets Players Return to Form?

Looking at the Mets lineup, or the potential Mets lineup, there is definitely some reason for excitement.

For kicks, I looked looked back at the 2007 to 2009 seasons, and picked the best year for each player in our potential lineup.

In this analysis there are more than a few assumptions, so please don't take this for anything more than it is.

I think Carlos Delgado will be back, so I penciled him in at 1B.

I also think Josh Thole is going to win the primary catcher job and turn over partial duty to Santos or Blanco or whomever else looks the best in Spring Training. Now for Thole's stats I used a very scientific method...they are totally made up, and they are conservative.

So with that said, let's look at our lineup and the best season from these guys over the last three years:

Reyes 688 113 204 37 19 16 68 66 82 56 15 0.297 0.358 0.475 0.833
Castillo 486 77 147 12 3 1 40 69 58 20 6 0.302 0.387 0.346 0.733
Wright 604 113 196 42 1 30 107 94 115 34 5 0.325 0.416 0.546 0.962
Beltran 606 116 172 40 5 27 112 92 96 25 3 0.284 0.376 0.500 0.876
Bay 531 103 142 29 3 36 119 94 162 13 3 0.267 0.384 0.537 0.921
Delgado 598 96 162 32 1 38 115 72 124 1 1 0.271 0.353 0.518 0.871
Francoeur 642 84 188 40 0 19 105 42 129 5 2 0.293 0.338 0.444 0.782
Thole 400 50 115 25 2 3 45 40 50 4 3 0.288 0.352 0.383 0.735

Not too shabby! A nice mix of power, speed, average, OBP and an absolute ton of doubles.

Of course this is a dream world, but it also presents us with hope of what could be.

Adding Jason Bay was a terrific move. If the players in front of him all stay healthy and produce, the Mets will not have trouble scoring runs.

Sure, that is a lot of "ifs", but hey, it's January, 20 degrees outside, and the possibilities are endless.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thole Time--It's a Young Man's Game

With all the hand-wringing going on over which putrid veteran catcher to sign, the Mets should go with Thole and Santos.

The more I think about Josh Thole, the more I like the idea of him as the primary starting catcher in 2010.

First off the guy can hit--just flat out rake--he sprays the ball to the gaps and is a great fit for Citi Field. He killed it in Venezuela after hitting .321 with the Mets as a September call-up.

The reason most fans don't want to see Thole as the starter in 2010 is his defense. But truth be told, his defense has improved, and one more year in the minors vice a year in the majors is of marginal difference.

Let's get his bat up here now.

Would Thole and a .370 OBP be preferable to Molina and a sub-.300 OBP? (he had a .285 OBP last year in 491 at-bats)

Could the Mets use more energy and enthusiasm?

Can't you just see Thole bonding with Beltran, Wright, Bay, Francoeur, and our young starters?

Look at Thole's last 7 games as a starting catcher with the Mets in 2009--the team went 6-1 with an ERA of 3.00.

Thole can be our Jason Kendall or Butch Wynegar--if we're lucky he can be our Ted Simmons.

All of these guys were catching and playing major roles for their clubs in their early 20s.

It's Thole time.

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