Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mets bestride the N.L. like a colossus

The four game humiliation of the Arizona Diamondbacks is in the books. 37-9 on aggregate. The Mets have the best record in the National League at 39-23, and enjoy a 6.5 game lead on the Phillies.

This afternoon, The Team and the Time hung 15 on Russ Ortiz and friends, without benefit of a home run. Carlos Beltran is very locked in, going 2-4 with a double to raise his average to .297 (also still on pace for 50 homers).

The only starter to go hitless was Reyes, but even he drew three walks and stole two bases. The D-Backs managed only a solo HR against Pedro, who was more or less his usual self for five innings and 91 pitches. It was a low-stress affair.

On Saturday, Alay Soler threw a complete game shutout on 108 pitches, lowering his ERA from 5.00 to 3.33. It's good news that he has performances like these in him. I still worry about the poor peripherals, but maybe he's just got that Brian Bannister mojo.

Kaz Matsui was traded to the Rockies for Eli Marrero. I think it's a fantastic move.

For starters, Matsui wasn't doing anybody any good. Jose Valentin, whose head I was calling for after in May, has really come on strong at the plate. His defense is a little shaky, but not terrible.

I held out hope as long as anyone, but now it's time to make my peace with the fact that Kaz was really, truly awful. There was just no getting around, or past, the .504 OPS that was his swan song in a Mets uniform.

I agree with Joe McDonald that you can't really blame a guy for being terrible. I would even go a step further and say it's hard to blame the Mets (under Duquette, I think) for signing him. Remember at the time how huge a phenomenon Ichiro was for the Mariners, both on the field and financially. In Kaz, the Mets saw a guy who the scouts supposedly said could be one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. And most importantly, his offensive numbers in Japan suggested he could hit at least a little bit in the majors.

Obviously that wasn't the case, but who knew?

Meanwhile Marrero might have some real value. His average has fallen off precipitously in various part time gigs (for four different teams) in the last two years, but he appears to still have some decent pop. Encouragingly, his unconventional but wholly decent batting line of .217/.347//.467 owes more to his road games than those at Coors. Plus, he's played four different positions this year: catcher, both outfield corners and first base.

One question the trade does raise is whether the Mets are being a little disingenuous about the condition of Cliff Floyd. If he weren't going to miss at least enough time to warrant a retroactive move to the 15-day DL, this trade would make for a rather crowded outfield. I don't really understand why Floyd is expected to just shake off a high ankle sprain, an injury which has put far more durable players than Floyd out of commission for longer than two weeks.

Even if Floyd proves me wrong, the Matsui deal is something for nothing. At the risk of damning with faint praise, I think it's clearly Omar's best minor move for the Mets.

1 comment:

stumped1 said...

damning with faint praise, i love it. you may come around just yet.