The Mets Are Losing

I saw the second to last game ever at Shea Stadium, where Johan Santana pitched a complete game in the drizzle.  Thanks to that purchase, which had everything to do with Shea Stadium and nothing to do with my affinity for the Mets, this weekend I received a glossy flier advertising the 2010 Mets season.  The slogan?

It's only March, but the Mets are already losing, apparently.

I’m no one to judge, rooting for a team whose motto last season sounded like the slogan of a losing political candidate (“A New Day, A New Way” – Seattle Mariners 2009).  But as my housemate pointed out, “Boy, the Mets seem to be admitting that they’re already losing.”

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Coping with Mediocrity: The Golden Age of Humor

Ok, so the Mets haven’t been mediocre these past few years, but they have been the wrong side of good. And last season was just a long reminder of WHO THE HELL DO WE EMPLOY IN THE TRAINING ROOM? Even now the Mets are stockpiling backups for First Base and Catcher without a true starter in place…which is beginning to become something of a joke. And that’s how a large portion of the fan base is coming to cope with an odd stage (and final legs of Minaya regime?) of their team’s existence. I’m sure the Phillies went through such a run from ’94 through the early 2000s. I’m even more sure of the fact that Pirates and Royals fans have passed this phase and are gradually being whittled out of the fan base.

Francouer easing Met fan woes with a spot of comedy.

So, quick rundown: The past year has played out like something out of the first half of Major League (the “Ha-ha, incompetence” thing) with an unremitting string of injuries, re-injuries, and DLing of insanely crappy pitching (Oliver Perez). Tony Bernazard had a remarkable string of incidents that was cut short of a possibly incredible climax by his termination (of contract). Bare-chested brawl offerings, stolen seats, and confronting closers are all part of his repertoire, which may have gotten him a place with Boras Corp. His firing then led to Omar Minaya angrily implying that NY Daily News journalist was aiming for a place in the Mets. I don’t know about you, but working for the NY Daily News is surefire way of pigeonholing yourself into the unskilled labor market. David Wright wore an enormous helmet, Luis Castillo is a horrible fielder, and Omir Santos is extremely overvalued by anyone working for the Mets. The Mets gave Matt-Holliday-money to the less Holliday-ish Jason Bay. K-Rod has a ridiculous final option for a $17 million season. Oliver Perez still has two overpaid seasons left. The Mets gave Billy Wagner up for two prospects who will likely never see the MLB instead of picking up two drafts picks. This is all very funny…even for Met fans. Granted, the first couple incidents will induce groans and forehead slapping, but once it becomes more or less the M.O. all you can do is laugh. “Oh those Mets!”
But there’s more! J.J. Putz never received a physical and it showed. Carlos Beltran went off the grid to get needed surgery. Kelvim Escobar apparently cannot pick up a baseball. Spring Training just freaking started and Escobar is already injured. That is quick work. I mean, there has to be something really weird going on if you are unable to grip a baseball (maybe he has really, really tiny hands?).

Now for an extremely long list of blog posts from a couple Mets blogs who dealt with misery through satire:

Amazin’ Avenue has become a somewhat daily read for me and a personal favorite of mine is the Mets Organizational Flowchart
A run through of the New York Post’s more (depressingly) memorable Met back pages.
Asking readers for a new slogan for the Mets.com banner such as: Come see the Mets at Citi Before Jason Needs an MRI.
An interpretation (or true story) of what Oliver Perez is up to in the offseason.
Also a look into how his daily rehab routine works (lots of cereal and Spongebob).
Brian Stokes developed something of a cult following on Amazin’ Avenue. This helped.
Stokes really didn’t get used enough in relation to others.
Pedro Feliciano was called upon to pitch far too frequently, in part because the starters didn’t go long enough and also because the rest of the bullpen was downright shite.
A FanPost gets recognition for creating Minaya’s UltiMets. Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia makes the cut.
Another FanPost disregards Met commentary (not another loss/injury) in favor of early ball journalism.
A horrifying reminder of the past that was a harbinger of things to come (injuries!).

Metsradamus also likes to pile on the sarcasm when it comes to the Mets.
For some reason Josh Fogg has the nickname Dragon Slayer despite being a superlatively awful pitcher.
The Hate List Hall of Fame has only one Phillie and quite a few Mets. I hate Armando Benitez.
Angel Berroa’s signing and subsequent play signaled the beginning of a new era.

So those are a few favorites and there’s bound to be tons more out there, because there certainly wasn’t any praise for the Mets finding its way onto all of the Internets (ALL OF THEM).

Other things to start/note on:
Fernando Martinez’s nickname should be Fartinez, not F-Mart (especially applicable if he goes the route of every other highly touted Mets OF prospect…and that would be maddeningly inferior crapball).
I’m pretty sure the players should report the training staff to the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
The Mets quickly replaced Ken Takahashi with Hisanori Takahashi, based on this system I believe they will promote Carlos Muniz or make a boneheaded move for Carlos Lee to claim Carlos Delgado’s empty Carlos-Beltran-name-buddy spot.
The Mets are “finished” spending money quite possibly due to the Wilpon’s dupification by Bernie Madoff. This counters all previous claims that the Madoff scandal would not affect payroll. Lesson: when the Mets deny something, they’re probably covering up some massive crapstorm.
Keith Hernandez is helping Daniel Murphy out with his 1B defense, because if there is one thing he needs to work on it certainly isn’t his decline at the plate (hint: NO).

And some random good news. Forbes did a list of top 10 most valuable sports team brands in the world (so Brand Value, which disregards players, stadium, etc.). There are three MLB teams with Yankees at 2nd, Mets at 9th, and Red Sox at 10th. Laugh at us now for creating a Latin American identity! …said the White Blogger.

Best Trade Ever! LOL!1

….since that Zambrano-Kazmir sweetness…am I right?

Three Team Deal, from a year ago today:
Mets – J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed all from Seattle.
Seattle – Ezequiel Carrera, Maikel Cleto, Mike Carp, Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas from the Mets and Franklin Gutierrez from Cleveland.
Cleveland – Luis Valbuena from Seattle and Joe Smith from the Mets.

Cleveland didn’t receive all that much since Luis Valbuena, while having some power for a 2B/SS, can’t hit worth a damn nor is he all that impressive as a fielder and Joe Smith, while he improved on his so-so numbers, still doesn’t make up for trading Gutierrez (more on him in a bit). Smith may improve even more and turn out to be another Mets regret, but he probably won’t.

Seattle receives a handful of Mets minor leaguers including Jason Vargas who is one of those “He will be great one day, but that day never comes” kind of guys and Mike Carp who may actually have a decent future with the Mariners. Also from the Mets came Endy Chavez, which was really kind of disheartening since he was a great guy (and that catch!), but to be honest the Mets were too thick to give him enough playing time (Willie liked him). Aaron Heilman was the final jettison by the Mets and he was shortly flipped for Ronny Cedeno and Garret Olson of the Cubs. Then Cedeno was moved with a butt-load of minor leaguers and Jeff Clement (crap) for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson of the Pirates…so a win there for the M’s again (Mariners, not Mets). Finally, from Cleveland, someone had the boneheaded idea that including Franklin Gutierrez in the deal would just be the tits, man. And so Seattle obtained possibly the most underrated OF (def. best defensive OF, Fielding Bible – Winners) and, just wow, he even had a pretty decent year at the plate. Just imagining Chavez, Suzuki, and Gutierrez running and bouncing around out there like gas particles is insane.

Hi, I'm Franklin Gutierrez and I'm really freaking awesome. Just look at my hair!

Now the fun part. The Mets received Jeremy Reed, who was a “defensive 4th OF,” which essentially means the Mets got shafted because he was slightly good defensively, but he couldn’t swing his way out of a batters box…well, he could, but out is the key word here. Sean Green is a “He’s got great stuff ,but he just really really sucks” type of guys…and he spent his season with the Mets proving that (he could have been worse I guess, but we have other pitchers to do that). J.J. Putz appeared in 29 games before crapping out entirely meaning that the Mets paid him $6 million for a K/BB ratio of 1…yup. So for every K he got paid about $315,000. For each inning he pitches he received roughly $205,000. He allowed 29 hits in 29 1/3 innings. His ERA and WHIP were his career worsts and he just sucked so much. Instead of paying him $8.9 million to get injured again or suck more the Mets paid him $1 million to not be overpaid. The possibility of getting him back was still there, which I was open to since he can’t really suck for too long (right?), but that door just closed since he signed with the Chicago White Sox for one year at $3mil.

Trade Grades
Indians: Fail
Mets: Epic Fail
Mariners: A+

Ok, now I have to go read more about how the Mets are destined to sign Bengie “Suckface” Molina.

The Cycle: Mets Play Winning Baseball in 2012!…?

One of my friends has developed a theory that the Mets have fallen into a baseball cycle wherein they advance in the playoffs every 6 years. And a quick look at the past decade gives us no reason to argue otherwise:

2000: 94-68, lose WS to bat-tossing Clemens’ Yanks.
2003: 66-95, low point of sucking.
2006: 97-65, lose NLCS to suddenly hot, crappy Cards.
2009: 70-92, injuries prevent Mets from blowing season late.
2012: ??-??, despite massive success they lose somewhere in playoffs?

Now comes the fun part where I try to picture what the 2012 non-crappy Mets will look like. Fortunately there are a few tools at my disposal to futz around with their farm system and free agents.

Using Cot’s Baseball Contracts we see that the Mets have a few players under contract in 2012 and several more under arbitration. (contracts in millions)

SP: Johan Santana – $24
CP: K-Rod – $17.5 option based on performance (somehow this will probably be enacted, but this contract is just ridiculous)
3B: David Wright – $15.25
Arbitration Players (will be signed, possibly to extended contracts)
OF: Angel Pagan
SP: Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Nieve
RP: Sean Green, Brian Stokes

First up, just looking at what they currently have, I piece together a team assuming they only sign or let go their own players and/or promote prospects. We all know this is very unlike the Mets, but bear with me as this will lay a foundation that I can gradually tear apart.

C: Josh Thole – Has no power, but can hit 1 for 3 every game.
1B: Ike Davis – Has shown promise and power. Could be up for 2011 season. And he can field.
2B/SS: Jose Reyes will probably be re-signed, but the Mets have an odd amount of prospects at SS, so one or two or all of them will be converted to 2b or traded for crap. Jordany Valdespin gets credit as the only actual 2B prospect, but the SS’s in no particular order are Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, and Reese Havens (one of these three would be manning second).
3B: David Wright
OF: The Mets will make the odd decision of re-signing Carlos Beltran to another ridiculous contract, fortunately he will make less than $17mil per year. Fernando Martinez takes one corner. Jeff Francoeur gets signed for 3 years at the stupid lopsidedness of $5, $10, $15. If not then one of the aforementioned SS’s moves to OF.
Bench: Angel Pagan is 4th OF, Nick Evans is a 1B/OF, Daniel Murphy is worthless as a fielder and finds work as DH somewhere else, another one of those SS’s gets a backup infielder job, Jefry Marte is a defensive infielder, Omir Santos is a useless crapbag so pick from Francisco Pena or Rene Rivera, neither of whom may amount to much at all.
SP: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese gets to pitch a full season in the majors!, Oliver Perez is useless and John Maine will get dumped after missing most of any other season he gets signed for, most minds have Jenrry Mejia and Brad “I wish his name was Steve” Holt as the next best arms in the system.

Now pitching for your New York Mets.

RP: K-Rod finishes his stupid contract, Fernando Nieve plays long-man, Brian Stokes and Sean Green stick around until management realizes they aren’t all that great (which means they stay forever), Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell fight out for being the other crappy reliever, Pedro Feliciano and/or Pat Misch get to stay around for being lefties (Misch can also play the long game).
Coach: Jerry Manuel is no longer the coach following 2010. New guy will be…flashback to 2000! Bobby V!

The mustache is key.

GM: Omar Minaya has a weirdly impossible stranglehold on the position that he can’t lose unless the Mets go 0-162.

Ok, so we know that the Mets tend to trade away 90% of their prospects. Therefore this team will never exist. Also there will be a few free agency periods for the Mets to massively overpay players. I can assure everyone that that will happen (Matt Holliday is drooling). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a list of Free Agents leading up to the 2012 season, but many places have lists for 2010 (which is now) and 2011. This team assumes that the Mets will overspend in the next two seasons so that they can’t sign anyone major for 2012.

C: Mauer and Victor Martinez are free agents after next season. Theoretically the Mets could jump the gun and trade their farm system to the Twins right now and use Thole as the backup (unless he is part of the trade). If not they obtain Ramon Hernandez at some point to split time with Thole (and teach him).
1B: Derek Lee and Carlos Pena are also free agents after this season (I’m guessing Pujols will be extended). Going by past signings, Derek Lee is the older, more injury-prone player and therefore the Mets’ next 1B!
2B: There are some rumors about Luis Castillo moving in a three team trade that nets Lyle Overbay. I doubt that will happen, but I do think Castillo might be gone at some point soon (even though he was one of the few healthy starters) and Orlando Hudson will be ours!
SS: Jose Reyes gets re-signed. Or he gets moved with one or more (probably more) prospects for Carl Crawford. If Reyes leaves I think this is one of the few times the Mets develop a prospect far enough that he becomes something useful.
3B: DAVID WRIGHT LEARNS TO READ!
OF: Beltran, Holliday, and Crawford (possibly) are all massively overpaid. Holliday has his last useful (fielding) season in 2012. If not Crawford then Francoeur and Pagan split time.
Bench: Angel Pagan, Nick Evans, Julio Lugo, Jorge Cantu, Josh Thole.
SP: Santana, Pelfrey. Linked with Lackey and Wolf so far this off-season, but those are mistakes waiting to happen…meaning the Mets sign at least one of them. Erik Bedard might be a nice surprise (until he gets injured). Brandon Webb is a free agent after next season, but the Yankees might as well call dibs now. Jon Niese and Jon Garland (surprise crappy pitcher move, akin to Tim Redding experiment) may also have some time in the rotation.
RP: K-Rod, Stokes, Green. Kiko Calero, Scott Shields, and an assortment of in-house options fill out the bullpen.
Coach and GM: Does it even matter? This is destiny! Hooray being slightly less than the best!

Possibility...or the future?

Another Reason to Hate the Mets – Sorry, Thaddeus

The Mets are going to host a dinner for the Hebron Fund this month, a group that supports the ongoing illegal settlement of Hebron, a city in the West Bank that has some really onerous Israeli religious folk.

Go to this site and tell the Mets to suck it: http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_1227.shtml.

Pretend you’re a Phillies fan and 600 Mets fans come down the turnpike, pick a spot downtown and turn it into an armed garrison. They then proceed to take pot shots at random Philadelphians, walk through town pointing their guns at everyone and being a real nuisance. When there is some violence, New York sends down its police force to keep the peace (if violence is directed at the Mets fans, only).

And then one day you come home, and find David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado telling you to get the fuck out of your house.

The Tensi… – oh, who am I kidding – Depression Mounts

Mets fan? Yes.
Watching the World Series? I suppose.
Is this the worst thing ever? Since ’96 and ’99? Quite possibly.

Do I appease my Long Island friends and ‘root’ for the Yanks or appease my blogmates and ‘root’ for the Phils. Theoretically I could root for the Mets, but that’s just insane (mostly all still injured).

sad mr met

Money
Yanks: Payroll that dwarfs everything…including Ryan Howard’s desire for Subway Subs. The Steinbrenner family could buy me my own island…they would be jerks about it, but they could do it.
Phils: $8 mill less and they would be half of the Yanks. They play in Citizen’s Bank Park…nope, banks no longer have any money.
Winner: Yanks – They would overpay me despite the fact that I’m a scrawny white guy with poor vision. $200,000 a year would be pretty sweet.

Ballpark
Yanks: I went to the previous Yankee Stadium once. Hideki Irabu sucked and they lost 16-5. I don’t know what the new place is like besides ridiculously overpriced in all areas. I hear you have to pay for oxygen. Also, naming a stadium after your team is kind of boring; no identity is formed because you already know who plays there.
Phils: CBP. Nice place. Huge upgrade over the Vet. Cozy place. Great views from any seat. Affordable. Is this one obvious yet?
Winner: Phils – It’s a great park.

Looks
Yanks: Jeter – Herpes? A-Rod – Frosted Tips. Posada – He looks like a two-handled cup. Matsui – Ugliest thing since…Godzilla. Sabathia – Linebacker? The Rest – They’re all men.
Phils: Howard – Slimmed down…and besides his annoying affiliation with Jared this is very positive. Werth – Looks kind of like an alien. Utley – Ok, actually pretty hot. Feliz – Phils’ Matsui. Lidge – A man of Herodotus! Hamels – Needs a haircut. The Rest – I’m seriously not gay.
Winner: My girlfriend. I really do have one.

Talent
The Mets have more talent in their injured everywheres than both of these teams together….right?
Winner: Everybody loses. Except the World Series winner.

Luck
Yanks: I will go out on a limb here and say when you buy everything there isn’t much need for luck. And when several very obviously blown calls go your way over the course of several games…luck leaves the equation and you can start positing other theories.
Phils: Over the past two seasons the new Big Red Machine has managed to push through with no major injuries to any big player. Sure, some players have missed time, but no starting fielder not playing catcher has played less than 133 games. This season, Ibanez was the low at 134, but no one else played less than 155. In ’08 they had 4 starters with 30 or more starts. This season, the main reason they failed to hit that goal again was because they had to move healthy starters to bullpen duty for trade acquisitions. When Pedro is using the old “I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years” line (Mets fans know this one well) and it turns out to be true there is something afoot (the truth?). Perhaps there was some magic in those old red hats they wore.
Winner: Yanks. Who have also managed to remain eerily healthy. Matsui showed up for 142 games…and he looks like he’s 50…a real ugly 50.

Tabloids
Yanks: NYC…NYY…A-Rod…Jeter…that’s like a daily newspaper right there.
Phils: If a Phil does something it probably gets second status to a Yank scoop…unless you punch your wife in public. Although if Howard smashes Subway Jared’s face in then I will wholeheartedly root for the Phils.
Winner: Yanks – But this is a really stupid category to win.

Former Mets
Yanks: I was sad when the Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates, but at least we got Oliver Perez. The Mets almost signed A-Rod, but some random agent (yes, Boras) convinced him to take more money instead of signing for the preferred team…Reyes softened that blow by missing large amounts of time because his hamstrings suck. Finally, the Mets, in a scouting move that was quite unlike them, snatched A.J. Burnett up in the 8th round of the ’95 draft. Before he could appear for them, Mets management made amends for actually picking a good pitcher and traded him to Florida in a deal where Leiter became a familiar face. Leiter, who won a WS with the Marlins in ’97 (against Lee and Sabathia’s former employers, the Indians), helped the Mets almost do that (against the Yanks), while Burnett, who never helped the Mets win anything, won a WS with the Marlins in ’03 (against the Yanks). Stupidly weird, right?
Phils: Well, there’s Pedro. Part of me hates him for all his failings as a Met and part of me wants him to do well because he was an absolutely brilliant pitcher (at least his first Met season wasn’t a washout). Chan Ho Park made one start for the Mets where he absolutely blew it. I saw that game. One game was enough for Park, but this past season they kept giving Redding and Parnell starts. Miguel Cairo, who isn’t on the WS roster, spent an unspectacular season with the Mets, sandwiched between two Yank seasons.
Winner: The Mets! It’s like we’re really there!

Being the Yankees
Yanks: …are the Yankees.
Phils: …are not a bunch of overpaid tax-evading twits.
Winner: The Bush White House. Spending tons of money with repeated letdowns and the very occasional success…who else does this?

Recap
Yanks have the money, Phils have the park, I have a girlfriend, Everybody can suck it, Yanks are slightly mysteriously luckier than the Phils, Everybody wants to read about Yankee players waggling their dicks at assorted women, The Mets had players that are now former Mets, 2000-2008 was a letdown.

Final Winner: Barack Obama! Is there anything he can’t do!

Who I Will Root For: Being a Mets fan I have to remain true to my roots. The NHL’s NY Islanders will help me stay in the losing groove.