Category Archives: Pitching

Santana Contract and Physical Finalized

Johan Santana took his physical examination in New York today and passed. The contract terms were finalized as a six year deal with a team option for a seventh year. The last year could become guaranteed based on performance marks. The total value of the contract could exceed $150 million.

Of course, the value of this contract seems ridiculous. The only method to determine Santana’s value is based on players with similar skills that have recently signed contracts. The closest source of comparison is Barry Zito and his 7 year $126 million contract. That had to be the starting point for the negotiations. In the end, the total value of Santana’s contract is relatively reasonable.

It’s not often that a team gets a shot at a 29 year old two-time Cy Young Award winner. As a matter of fact, it almost never happens. Most of the top performing pitchers that are still in their prime playing years (28-32) never get to free agency. Just look at the Padres contract extension with Jake Peavey. The Mets had to jump at this opportunity.

Even though the Mets will be married to Santana for longer than they probably wanted to be, I believe that it’ll be looked at a successful trade for the Mets. They have plenty of revenue to start with, their own TV station, a new stadium next year, and several big salaries are going off the books after the 2008 season: Delgado, Pedro, Alou, El Duque, and Billy Wagner goes off the books in 2009.

The Mets are in a position of financial flexibility from my perspective. Nice job Omar!

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Santana Rocks!

He’s here… and at a reasonable price. The Mets didn’t have to give up Fernando Martinez or Mike Pelfrey. This could work out to be Omar Minaya’s crowning achievement. Obviously, having the Wilpons checkbook helps but he still had to work the Twins down to four promising young players.

The Twins won’t know if this deal worked out for them for a few years. They have a new stadium coming too, but Carl Pohlad doesn’t empty the safe for players like the Wilpons do. Carlos Gomez should start in centerfield and Phil Humber should get more than a look for a spot in the rotation. I’m still surprised they couldn’t get more out of the Mets though.

I’ve read that the Mets are hesitant to offer Santana more than a five year deal. I think they have to look at the Barry Zito deal with the Giants, and then up the ante a little. The Giants set the bar pretty high but the Mets can exceed anything the Giants can do financially. Zito got 7 years for $126 million.

You’re in luck if you have tickets for opening day… Johan Santana vs. the Marlins in Florida. I’m sure tickets are available for that one. Maybe not for long though.

santana1.jpg

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Waiting for Godot… or Santana

The waiting for Johan Santana seems to have reached the truly gaming stage. He isn’t signing with the Twins. We know that… he already turned down their initial offer. They just can’t afford to keep him.

The richest franchises in baseball are lurking in the weeds. The Mets, Red Sox, and Yankees are the only teams rumored to have any interest in meeting his salary demands. We don’t know exactly what those demands are, but it’s safe to assume that he’ll want Barry Zito money. Something in the neighborhood of 7 years and $125M would be about right for him. Who else could afford that? The Dodgers and Angels… maybe.

I say keep waiting. The price will go down after the season starts. The Mets have enough starting pitching to get things started, but will need to make a trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. I’m okay with Perez, Pedro, Maine, and El Duque. Maybe Pelfrey or Humber can work their way in as well. It’s not enough to scare the best teams in the league, but it can get us started.

Until then we’re stuck waiting for Godot. The pitcher that never comes.

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Understanding Oliver Perez

Currently Oliver Perez is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA. These days statistics like that are very respectable for a starting pitcher. It’s certainly not bordering on Bob Gibson territory, but respectable.

Perez’ stats don’t tell the whole story. He’s been a roller coaster ride full of extreme highs and extreme lows. I have a feeling that we need to get used to that. His story is the opposite of Tom Glavine, who’s been the model of consistency over his long career.

Yesterday, Perez was masterful through the sixth inning.  He ended up going 6.2 innings with 9 K’s and no walks. That’s right… no walks!  Who would’ve ever guessed that?

I can see that Rick Peterson has made some improvements while coaching Perez. He doesn’t look like he’s overthrowing his fastball as often as he used to. Now the key is to start working on consistently good starts.

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Pitching Staff Comes Back to Earth

The first week of the season was like a dream. John Maine and Oliver Perez were lights out. El Duque looked like he was 30 again. This week things aren’t looking so great. The Mets are still tied for first place with the Braves at 7-3. But we can see why everyone was so concerned about the pitchers before the season started. Maine and Perez both struggled in their second starts. Last night Mike Pelfrey came back from the minors and was shaky, wild, and didn’t even make it out of the sixth inning (the benchmark for a quality start).

I know the cold wet weather has been dreadful in the early part of the season. Today is a perfect mid-50’s day for baseball but there’s a big storm coming in that should last for the next three days. There’s no discounting that the terrible April weather has affected the game for many teams.

The Mets really miss Pedro Martinez. They need that #1 starter. For most teams Glavine would be a 2, El Duque a 4, Maine a 5, and Perez and Pelfrey would be honing their skills in AAA. I know that Oliver Perez has flashes of brilliance, but he’s frustratingly inconsistent.  Mike Pelfrey just needs more time to prepare to face major league hitters. He even had a rough start in single A last week in Florida.

Even with these obvious deficiencies, I think the Mets are in better shape than they were last season. Jose Lima made four starts last year. I think that says it all! We’re going to see Aaron Sele or Chan Ho Park making starts at some point in the near future. I’m not excited by that prospect, but it’s no fun watching Perez and Pelfrey walking every other batter either.

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The 2007 NL East Arms Race

After getting swept by the Braves in their opening series, today the Phillies traded cash for Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Rosario. The cash was reported to be $100,000. Rosario is a 26 year old with a 1-2 record and 6.65 ERA last year for the Jays. After both Ryan Madson and Tom Gordon got lit up by the Braves this week, Phillies GM Pat Gillick hit the panic button. Continue reading

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Alay Soler was cut today

Alay Soler
The Mets cut Soler today. I really didn’t see him earning a spot on the major league team. Last year he was 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA, the complete game shutout against the D-Backs was great, but other than that I was never impressed. He looked out of shape, and inconsistent for most of his starts. Read the ESPN report at:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2007/news/story?id=2796854

Personally, I like Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine for the final three spots in the rotation. Sele is totally washed up, Sosa could be the long man, and Humber needs more time. Vargas pitched today, and gave up two runs over three innings. I need to see more of him before I rush to judgment. It looks like Vargas has options so we’ll probably see him in Norfolk for much of the season.

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