Tag Archives: Mets

Broxton’s Return: Velocity is Back, Movement is Not (Plus Some Kenley Jansen Stuff).

If you saw Jonathan Broxton‘s performance on Saturday, you were probably a little relieved. Broxton faced eight batters, gave up no hits and got six outs. The two walks made it interesting, but that seemed to be a little rust he was shaking off as they came against two of the first three batters.

The point, though, is that nobody really touched Broxton’s stuff. (All graphs provided by BrooksBaseball.net, please go visit their site and say thank you for all of the info).

Broxton's Box Score July 24, 2010

I don’t understand the bunt groundout–I do, but it was a silly move with Reyes at bat–but after the bunt, he got two strikeouts and three groundouts. Nobody hit anything to the outfield, which is lightyears better than he did last week, and best of all he mixed in his slider.

The funny thing is the velocity on his fastball is there, but the movement isn’t.

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Trading Ethier: Where Would He Land?

This is gonna sound incredibly lame, but a rumor by Peter Gammons was confirmed by Ben Maller that the Dodgers may put Andre Ethier out on the open trade market to see what he could bring back. So if you’re counting, one guy said one thing that maybe the Dodgers might want to trade a player before the trade deadline. Perhaps.

Ethier signed a 2-year/$15 mil contract in the off-season to buy out his arb. 2 and 3 years–Ethier has a fourth arbitration year in 2012–and not many players are going that cheap in baseball right now.

Ned Colletti gets a lot of flack for being dumb, and unfairly so. He’s made some very good deals in the past off-seasons–getting Manny Ramirez for spare parts–even though he’s been burned on one bad one.

While moving Ethier would be horribly unpopular, it might be the right move. Ethier’s value is at its peak and he’s 28 years old. He’s hitting well against left-handed pitchers, too, and that production may not continue next year. He was never expected to be this good and for that we’re all grateful. But that also means the chances of him repeating this production for the rest of his career are pretty slim. Very few baseball players beat the scouting reports to have an above-average career and many, many baseball players lost their groove after the age of 30. So why not see what you can get?

The Dodgers right now have two corner OF minor leaguers who make intriguing options for 2011 and Andrew Lambo specifically could see a late-season call-up if the Dodgers are out of it. Lambo’s ceiling appears to be Ethier’s production, so there’s not a lot of hope in that, but

With no further ado, here’s where Ethier could land:

Chicago White Sox: White Sox currently have a .360 wOBA coming out of right field and rumor has it they’re hot on Adam Dunn, even though Nats GM Mike Rizzo is asking a lot (Hudson AND Viciedo are the rumors). White Sox GM Kenny Williams and Colletti have a good relationship and made a trade during the off-season, so maybe they go back to that well.

New York Mets: The Mets surprisingly have the worst wOBA out of the position out of all major league teams, despite being in the hunt for the NL East title. Ethier would be a huge offensive upgrade. The Mets also have some intriguing prospects in Jenrry Mejia and Ike Davis.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves would be the only team to move Ethier to a different part of the field, and they’d probably move him to left with All-Star teammate Jason Heyward fielding right. Left field has been abysmal for the Braves, fielding six different players in the position and Ethier would be such a great improvement that it’d be worthwhile for both teams. Heyward and Ethier would be an impressive duo and the Braves have some good starting pitching pieces they could send the Dodgers way (Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran, for two, though it’s unknown how much their production is affected by the Braves’ extreme pitchers parks in the minors). It’s certainly intriguing what can come of a trade between these two teams.

Anaheim Angels or Oakland A’s: I can’t ultimately see either team trading for Ethier, but there’s an outside chance that the Angels forego the usual decent-defense-decent-offense plan and the A’s try to plug him in at DH. The Angels don’t have a lot to offer unless they’re willing to give up Mike Trout. But the A’s have a few interesting parts, like Michael Taylor or Jemele Weeks. This’d be weird, though, since the A’s are further out of the AL West than the Dodgers are out of the NL West.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays like team-friendly contracts and Ethier has one. He makes a little less than what Pat Burrell made and could be a decent fit for the DH spot. But knowing the Rays’ management, they’d look down on his defense and his LHP/RHP splits and decide to look elsewhere.

Within the Division: The Giants, Padres and Rockies could all use some OF offense and the Dodgers could provide it at a premium cost. Ethier’s shown he can put up some awesome numbers in the heavy-pitchers division, so it’s worth looking into.

Edit: An earlier draft of this article said the deal reached between Andre Ethier and the Dodgers this past off-season, a two-year deal worth $15 mil, bought out Ethier’s arbitration years. It bought out Ethier’s year 2 and 3 arbitration years, but because Ethier was a Super 2, he has a fourth arbitration year in 2012.

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Dodger Trade Rumors Popping Up Now

From MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Speaking of Lee, Seattle is telling clubs that they want young hitters in return for the ace. It’s a desire that could be a hurdle for several interested clubs. The Mets, for example, wouldn’t part with Ike Davis in order to land the hurler on a rental. Meanwhile, the Dodgers wouldn’t want to give up Matt Kemp or James Loney.
  • Rosenthal adds that the Dodgers may have a hard time landing the elite starter that they seek. The Astros are looking for financial relief and top prospects in return for Roy Oswalt. Pulling off a deal for Dan Haren of the Diamondbacks could prove to be difficult as Arizona likely doesn’t want to trade him within the division.

Just before that, Rosenthal said the Twins could be major players in the Lee sweepstakes. Trading for Dan Haren is intriguing. Mets sound like the smartest landing spot for Lee, they’ve been more free-wheeling in regards to giving up prospects and have the ones most prepared for the majors in Ike Davis. They could just as easily go for Haren, though, which would be awesome since CitiField is good for flyball pitchers and Haren’s been burned all season on the HR/FB ratio.

I guess Oswalt just won’t go anywhere.

As we’re nearing the deadline, it looks like the Dodgers are less and less likely to make a deal for a top-tier starter. The biggest move the Dodgers make sounds most likely to be for another relief pitcher, which wouldn’t be bad–the bullpen does need help.

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What’s going on with David Wright

David Wright hasn’t reproduced his amazing seasons from 2005 to 2008 and his ability was called into question after last season’s 10 home run performance.  There’s a few things to blame for that, one being he suffered a pretty brutal injury on Aug. 15 when a fastball hit him right in the noggin (yeah, remember that?). He had to miss 18 games, whereas in previous years he played almost all 162. He hit eight home runs before the incident and only two after.

That would account for some, but Aug. 15 is still more than half-way through the year.  So when he averaged 30 home runs between 2005 and 2008, he would have finished with only 15 all things permitting in 2009.

One thing that was brought up was the change from Shea Stadium to Citifield.

I thought that made the most logical sense, since Citi is a pretty good pitcher’s park, but B-R park factors have them at about equal (even though a three-year sample size is necessary for judgment, we’ll just assume 98 was average for Citi).

Let’s test it out anyway.

Here’s where the outfield lines begin and end for both fields:

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CRUCIAL SERIES FOR DODGERS; THEY MUST WIN

Not really.

The Dodgers are visiting the Nats (April 23-25) and the Mets (April 26-28) before coming home to play a four-game series with the Pirates (April 29-May 2).  That May 2 game against the Pirates will conclude a 6,000-mile road trip and a streak of 13 games played in 13 days.  Yeesh.

Better to face Washington and Pittsburgh now before they both start bringing up their future stars (Strasburg and Alvarez should be up before the season is over), so that’s fine.  Just maybe if they didn’t have such a long trip … would’ve been nice.

Just a bit of perspective on the start of the season:

-Matt Kemp is on a TEAR.  A .735 slugging and a .405 on-base have him ripping through opponents.  He’s gotten two “just enough” home runs, but hit-tracker says he’s averaging 399 feet on homers, so they’re all legit. Last year, he led the league with four “lucky” home runs.  Maybe a sign of improved strength and contact?

-In fact, the whole offense is doing amazingly well right now. By OPS+:

Russell Martin: 141
James Loney: 90
Blake Dewitt: 88
Rafael Furcal: 134
Casey Blake: 118
Manny Ramirez: 209
Matt Kemp: 198
Andre Ethier: 208

Good lord that’s a powerful outfield.  Obviously they’re not gonna keep this up, but what a great start.

-Dylan Hernandez announced on twitter Manny is going on the 15-day DL and Xavier Paul is up in his place.  I imagine this means more time for Reed Johnson with Garrett Anderson filling in once every couple of days and Paul coming in as a defensive replacement. I kinda like Johnson and want to see him get a good shot in Manny’s absence.

-At the start of the year, pitching was supposed to be a problem, but not this bad.  Everyone’s favorite boating enthusiast Chad Billingsley and 1880s carpet bagger George Sherrill are off to bad starts while Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz, Charlie Haeger and Vicente Padilla have all been worse than expected–and the expectations were pretty low to begin with.  The offense is good enough to get around that for the foreseeable future, but the doom-and-gloom predictors are smiling right now.

-James Loney is currently posting a slugging worse than he posted last year.  ……..

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Idea: A third team in New York (New Jersey)?

On Friday, I posted this article about Rosenthal’s realignment proposals (lol) and in one of the proposals, he suggests a third team in New York (the New Jersey A’s) to dilute the financial power of the Yankees and Mets from other divisions.

I thought originally the reasoning was poor for a number of reasons, but Rosenthal’s not far off on the team.  The A’s have terrible attendance right now and their bid for a new stadium was shot down in the development stages.

New Jersey’s also not a bad spot. Although I don’t seem to have baseball TV markets by viewers available, there’s a lot of Yankees fans there. That this New Jersey team would dilute fans and revenue from the Yankees (who are, may I remind you, a national and international commodity, not a local one) and Mets, as Rosenthal suggests, is dubious. But that aside, there’s some merit to the argument of putting a third team there.

There’s a willing team, there’s a potential for a fan base, and there’s probably a good owner in New York that’s wanted to buy a team out there.  But there’s still more problems that arise.

My biggest concern is a baseball metaphysics question: how do you build a fanbase with two already great franchises in the Yankees and Phillies less than 80 miles away and the Mets?  The Mets were created to fill the void left from the Giants and Dodgers shipping west, so they already had that built in upon arrival and they still struggle to compete for fans with the Yankees.

At least when the Expos moved to Washington, there was precedent in the Senators and the Orioles were having some bad years. The market was ripe. For any team moving to New Jersey, any potential owner would be more attracted to leaching off revenue-sharing and a low payroll. I mean, why compete with the Yankees or Phillies when it’s easier to make money?  It seems like there’s more potential for a New Jersey team to be seen as a bastard step-child than a baseball team.

My second biggest concern is that it shifts a lot more balance to the east coast, making travel easier on the Atlantic seaboard and more difficult on the western teams.  There’s already a team from Texas in a West division, how much more unbearable would it be if a team as far west as Oakland moved as far east as possible?

Maybe the best option to add a New Jersey team is to add a 31st and 32nd team and put one of them there (and another in Riverside, which is surprisingly baseball’s largest “city” without a team).  Even then, it makes more sense to not have a New Jersey team.  Rosenthal seems to think it’d be good to dilute the Yankees’ fan base, but I think that’s a paradox.  As much as I hate to admit it, baseball’s success is due partly because of the Yankees’ success, not in spite of it. So why screw up a good thing?

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Castillo as Mets lead-off hitter is, surprisingly, the best choice

I make a joke on Twitter today that, in the wake of the announcement that Reyes will be batting third while Beltran is on the DL, Luis Castillo batting lead-off creates “a level of depression in futility only Mets fans can feel.”

After posting it, a few people pointed out that Castillo had a .387 on-base percentage last year and that the guy has done a very good job of getting on base for his career with no power.  Looking over it now, holy moly, the guy is very good at it. His career on-base percentage is .369 (with a .292 batting average) while the league average for on-base has been roughly in the mid-.330s for his career.

Part of that, someone pointed out, is because Castillo rarely swings at anything.  Literally.

Fangraphs has him with a 35% swing percentage, which means he swings at 35% of the pitches thrown to him–the league average for 2007, 2008 and 2009 was 45.9%, 45.9% and 45.2%. This is very low, and especially low for a guy who has 35 home runs in 7,000+ plate appearances.  In contrast, both Albert Pujols and Mr. Three True Outcomes (Adam Dunn) both have higher career swing percentages.

(Just a side note: Castillo is very, very good at hitting balls he swings at, with a 95% contact rate inside the strike zone and 75% contact rate outside it).

As for his teammates, Jose Reyes and David Wright both have a career 44% rate and Jeff Francoeur has a ridiculous 58.6% career rate.  So yes, this is a very smart decision, even if Castillo has bad knees and almost 35 years old.  Just don’t let him run the bases too much, jeez.

Just because Francoeur’s was so high, I checked around to see who had a higher one and Vlad Guerrero career swing percentage is only .1% higher than Francoeur’s (58.7%), though Guerrero has played over many more seasons.

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