Comments on: Losing 11+ Of Your First 15 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Q Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:08:27 +0000 @24 Neil,

Part of the problem with the Mets is that The Yankees had a 60 year head start and they had Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Mantle and something like 20 championships before the Mets ever played a game. In an effort to excite the fans and create instant credibility, they have felt the need to bring in the established Star rather than develop one in their own system. At first it was to bring in old Dodger & Giant players, later it was stars around the league.

Most of the time this has been a disaster for the Mets both financially and with young players lost. Even when it has been successful in the case of Hernandez, Carter, Piazza, and Beltran the tail end of their years end up being disappointing and costly because of their age or injury.

I think John Olerud may be the only star player they acquired who was consistently healthy and played great for his entire tenure.

But ironically even as the Mets struggled in the 60's I believe they still outdrew the Yankees. This was mainly due the fact that the Giants and Dodgers had moved to the west coast and the NY fans wanted something to root for.

The Mets were actually the much more popular team in the late 60's to mid 70's. I remember when I started following baseball in the early 70's, most of the kids in school were Mets fans. That lasted to about '77 and then almost overnight most of the kids switched their allegiances to the Yankees. That lasted to about the mid 80's and then you started seeing a lot of Mets merchandise. The Mets took a hit in the early 90's with those lousy teams and things were kind of even. Things really started to go in the Yankees direction around '93-94 and By '98-99 it seemed everyone rooted for the Yankees.

A second problem the Mets had was when the Braves switched to the Eastern division in 1994. Basically the Mets had to battle the two best teams in baseball from 1994-2005. One was their cross-town rivals, the other the dominant team in the division.

The Mets have also suffered from a bit of bad timing. The Mets won 90+ games 6/7 seasons from '84-90 but only made the playoffs twice. If they had played with the Wild Card, they would have made the playoffs 7 years in a row.

Another problem was the Death of their original owner which left the franchise in a bit of chaos during the late 70's. This also coincided with the advent of Free Agency which the original owner (Joan Payson) would have definitely embraced had she lived.

Another problem was the death of Gil Hodges in '72 which left a power void. And to compound things even worse they did not promote Whitey Herzog as Manger. He left at the end of the year and the rest is history.

The Mets have also suffered from a slew of bad General Mangers/owners making terrible decisions and I'll throw in one terrible Managerial decision:

1-George Weiss not picking Reggie Jackson first overall in 1966. Supposedly because Jackson had a mixed race girlfriend and Weiss was a noted racist.

2-Trading Amos Otis for Joe Foy

3-Trading Nolan Ryan, Frank Estrada, Don Rose, and Leroy Stanton for Jim Fregosi

4-Trading Ken Singleton, Tim Foli, and Mike Jorgenson for Rusty Staub.

5-Pitching Tom Seaver on short rest in Game Six of the '73 series up 3-2 rather than save him for a possible game 7.

6-Trading Tug Mcgraw for Del Unser and John Stearns.

7-Trading Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolitch.

8-Trading Tom Seaver for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman.

9-Trading Jeff Reardon for Ellis Valentine

10-Trading Mike Scott for Danny Heep

11-Trading for George Foster and then signing him to something like a $10 million 5 year contract which was huge money back in '82.

12-Even though they played in the biggest market in baseball they agree to go along with collusion.

13-Trading Kevin Mitchell, Sean Abner, Stan Jefferson for Kevin McReynolds and Gene Walter.

14-Trading Lenny Dykstra & Roger Mcdowell for Juan Samuel.

15-Signing Vince Coleman to something like a 4 year $12 million dollar contract.

16-Signing Bobby Bonilla and making him the most expensive player in baseball when he was essentially a DH and they played in the NL.

18-Trading Bret Saberhagen for Juan Acevedo

19-Letting Dallas Green destroy Generation K.

20-Trading Jeremy Burnitz for Jerry Dipoto, Paul Byrd and Dave Milicki

21-Trading Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino for Carlos Baerga and Alvero Espinosa.

22-Trading Carl Everett for John Hudek

23-Not re-signing John Olerud in 2000

24-Trading Kevin Appier for Mo Vaugn

25-Signing Kaz Matsui to a big contract.

26-Trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano

27-Signing Pedro Martinez to a 4 year $50 million dollar contract.

28-Signing a 41 year old Moises Alou to a 7.5 million dollar contract in '08 and he had 54 plate appearances.

29-Signing a ??? year old El-Duque to a 7.5 million dollar contract in '08 and he did not pitch one inning.

30-Siging Luis Castillo to a 4 year $24 million dollar contract

31-Signing Oliver Perez to a 3 year $36 Million dollar contract.

32-I forgot this one but Not making Whitey Herzog the manager in '72.

33-I forgot this one as well, trading Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick.

34-Another one, trading Jason Isringhausen for Billy Taylor.

In hind sight the Mets could have had a 70's outfield of Jackson, Otis and Singleton with Seaver, Ryan, Koosman and Matlack and Whitey Herzog as their manager.

By: Neil L. Wed, 20 Apr 2011 03:37:16 +0000 Double, an aunt? I always assumed you were male. My huge bad!

By: DoubleDiamond Wed, 20 Apr 2011 03:15:46 +0000 1991 was a season filled with streaks for the Phillies. That early stretch of 11 losses in their first 15 games included a 6-game losing streak in games 6-11 but also a 3-game winning streak in games 3-5, which means that they were 3-2 after four games but 3-8 after 11.

In a four-week stretch beginning on July 15 and ending (and including) August 12, they played 25 games, all of which were part of three separate streaks of at least five games each: 5 wins, 7 losses, and 13 wins. I became a first-time aunt early in the morning following the 2nd of the 13 consecutive wins, so this was a well-remembered time for me.

By: Neil L. Wed, 20 Apr 2011 01:01:58 +0000 @17

"But I find your description puzzling"

John Autin, your comment made me check my thinking. A 0.514 winning percentage over the span of time you refer to is fairly impressive when compared to maybe the Pirates but not the Yankees.

I was probably thinking of not being competitive very often from the late nineties to the present.

I guess why an outsider expects more of the Mets than has been delivered over the years is that they are a NY team. Like it or not, they are perceived as a big-market financially-unlimited franchise.

The Yankees almost always get it done, why not the Mets?

Perhaps it is the curse of being a NY team, but the loveable losers still seem to make more than their share of bad personnel decisions. And their big signings always seem to come up injured.

By: John Q Tue, 19 Apr 2011 19:01:52 +0000 @20 John A,

There has been this odd habit to shake the "Expansion Team/Lovable Losers" mindset. Yes, it's part of their history but that was 50 years ago in an era before free agency in a time when the small market teams could win all the time. I think the whole "lovable loser" label is just an easy excuse for years of mis-management. And the term "miracle" does not have to be applied to everything positive that happens to the this team. And the term miracle is really a misnomer for those '69 Mets. That was a damn good team that won 100 games that year and showcased two of the best pitcher in the majors.

The Mets have an unbelievable advantage in that they play in the largest market in the U.S. in a sport that does not have a Salary cap and very little revenue sharing. But the Mets act sometimes like they're the Pirates playing in Pittsburgh. With a half-way decent GM this team should be no less than a 85-88 win team every year.

The Mets have had a tendency to sign or trade for the established star in lieu of developing stars of their own. Part of that problem is that they've had to give up a lot of young talent or Money for a player that's around 30 years old and usually past his peak. They've also had an odd tendency to sign/trade for the defensively challenged/offensive minded star players even though they play in a pitcher's park: Fregosi, Staub, Foster, Coleman, Bonilla, Baerga, Piazza, Delgado, Alou and Bay. Even when they've gotten good productivity from a star player there's usually a 2-3 year period at the end of the contract that the star player is mediocre or downright awful.

For example: Mike Piazza '03-05 when the were paying him about $45 million for basically replacement level performance. Gary Carter '87-89 was paid about $6 million (which was huge money in the late 80's) for basically replacement level performance.

Santana was a decent gamble because he's great but the Mets are still on the hook for about $100 million.

I didn't like the Jason Bay signing, $56 million for a 31 year old defensively challenged/Power hitting outfielder for Citi Field??

The problem with the Omar regime was that he was very good at getting the bargains from dumpster like Dickey, Pagan, and Fernando Tatis. But he was horrible at getting the high priced former stars like Pedro, Alou, El Duque, Castillo, Sean Green. It's kind of like the guy that goes to Tiffany's and buys the refurbished solid brass & gold espresso maker, then he's surprised when the machine stops working after a year.

The Castillo and O. Perez deals were just dumb, kind of like going to Target and buying the refurbished margarita machine and putting it on your credit card with 20% interest.

The Big problem this year is that you have about $54 million in payroll in Santana, Bay, Ollie and Castillo that isn't doing anything for you. Then they have another $12 million in K-Rod and $19 million in Beltran.

By: Johnny Twisto Tue, 19 Apr 2011 15:51:26 +0000 I believe Church had a concussion and was never the same after that.

By: Neil L. Tue, 19 Apr 2011 04:29:11 +0000 JA and John Q,

Holy flippin' smokes!

I will try to never again post lazily.

May I have a day or two to digest what you have written here?

Will reply.

JA, do you also bleed Mets?

By: John Autin Tue, 19 Apr 2011 02:57:20 +0000 @19, John Q, that was an excellent breakdown of Mets franchise history.

A minor quibble: I don't think the malaise around the current club is mainly due to overpaying established stars who then break down in ways that should have been foreseen:

-- Carlos Beltran broke down in 2009 at age 32. Sure, 32 isn't young, and is usually well past a player's prime. But Beltran played 161 games the year before, and played very well, on offense and defense; he was 3rd in the NL in WAR for position players, and he had 25 SB with only 3 CS. I try not to look at the Mets through rose-colored glasses, and certainly injuries to a player in his 30s are no big surprise, but I had no feeling that Beltran was on borrowed time.

-- Johan Santana was 29 in his first year with the Mets, with no history of overwork. His first pro season over 160 IP came at age 25, and he pitched a steady 230 IP a year during his 5-year prime, always on a close pitch count (he's never thrown more than 125 pitches). Again, we aren't shocked when a 31-year-old pitcher breaks down. But do we say the Phillies are foolish for relying on 34-year-old Halladay, 33-year-old Oswalt and 32-year-old Cliff Lee?

I think the Beltran and Santana deals were reasonable risks for extraordinary talents. Having them both hurt for parts of the last 2 seasons was unlucky.

-- Carlos Delgado was signed to a 4-year deal at age 34, definitely risky. But in 2008, age 36, he had a good year for the Mets, and missed just 3 games; is it an absolute given that he's going to go down a month into the next year (while hitting very well), and never play again?

-- Jason Bay was signed at age 31, coming off a very productive year in the AL East. First his power mysteriously vanished (and don't ever blame the Mets lack of power on the new stadium; their road totals have been no better), then he ran into an outfield stanchion and missed the last 9 weeks of the year with concussion syndrome, which has nothing to do with age.

-- Francisco Rodriguez was signed to a silly contract at the height of his market -- but it was silly only because even an excellent closer isn't worth that kind of money. Did anyone doubt that he was still an excellent closer, coming to the Mets at age 27? He had a spotty first season -- easily the worst of his career -- but was pitching very well last year until he injured himself in a very stupid and troubling incident.

The only significant contract the Mets have given out in the last few years that I totally rolled my eyes at was the 4-year, $25 million deal given to the 32-year-old 2B Luis Castillo -- an absolute brain fart.

But can we at least acknowledge some bad luck? Jose Reyes was one of the best and most durable players in the NL in 2006-08, ranking top-10 in position-player WAR all 3 years while missing just 14 games total. In '09, age 26, he got hurt and missed 3/4 of the season. Last year, he missed the start of the season with a thyroid condition; since returning, he seems somehow tentative -- he attempted just 40 steals last year, after topping 70 tries for 4 straight years.

David Wright was also one of the best players in the NL in 2007-08, ranking 3rd and 9th in position-player WAR. He has mysteriously regressed.

The Mets made a trade in 2008 to acquire the 29-year-old Ryan Church. He had a 119 OPS+ over the previous 3 years, while playing pretty good defense. But Church lost his power; and after they dealt him to Atlanta, he really fell apart.

They've definitely had problems building a pitching staff. They haven't been able to find good starters (except for the occasional random Dickey), and they've made horrendous decisions in letting go of bullpen arms. (See Bell, Heath; O'Day, Darren; Oliver, Darren; et al.) But I can't specifically fault them for overpaying for established players. They have overpayed, but the players they overpayed were players I was glad to have on the team.

What ails the Mets most these days, I think, is psychological. Wright and Reyes are the team's best players, but neither one is any kind of a leader, and neither is Beltran. There is a leadership void in the clubhouse. And over the previous few years there was a leadership void in the front office; while I never thought Minaya's track record on individual moves was as bad as some people thought, he never seemed to have a coherent plan, and his mishandling of the Tony Bernazard incident and others created an aura of a rudderless team.

And while I respect Sandy Alderson, I don't think anything can truly change until the Wilpons give up control.

By: John Q Mon, 18 Apr 2011 04:42:05 +0000 @15 Neil,

I'll try to answer your questions on the Mets since I've been following them since '73.

The Mets have had many time period were they were competitive: '69-76, '84-90, '97-01, and '05-08.

The Mets were more popular than the Yankees during two periods in NY: '68-76, '84-90. Even though they were lousy in '62-67 I think the Mets outdrew the Yanks. '91-93 was kind of a draw between the Yankees & Mets. The Yankees really started changing things in 1994 and have basically been the more popular team since then.

Mets history basically breaks down to these time periods:

1962-1967: The Expansion Mets
1968-1976: The Seaver/Koosman Mets, 69 WS champs, '73 NL Champs
1977-1979: The Disco Mets (Unbelievably Horrible)
1980-1983: The Mookie Wilson/Hubie Brooks Mets (Horrible but hopeful, New Ownership as well)
1984-1990: The Davey Johnson/Strawberry Mets, 86 WS Champs, 88 East Division, (6) 90+ win seasons.
1991-1993: The worst team money can buy Mets (Horrible)
1994-1996: The Generation K Mets, promising but very disappointing
1997-2002: The Bobby V/Piazza Mets, Overall very good but terrible ending in '02. Two 90+ win seasons, '00 NL Champs, '99 Wild Card.
2003-2004: The Art Howe Mets
2005-2008: The Wright/Reyes Mets, (1) 90+ season, '06 NL East champs, +2 horrible collapses.
2009-2010: The Citi Field/Disabled List Mets, Everyone got hurt, Omar falls apart, they play in grand canyon.

The time-lines don't exactly meet cleanly but those are decent lines of demarcation.

Part of the problem is that they were an expansion team and they share the town with the most successful sports franchise in U.S. history. They've had this mindset of constantly overpaying by signing or trading players who were established former all stars who then struggle as they age in NY. Few have been successful, Hernandez, Carter, Piazza and Olerud. Most of the time it's the Fregosi or Foster or Bonilla situation.

Often they've traded very good young players to get the established star like Otis for Foy, or Ryan for Fregosi or Singleton for Staub or Reardon for Valentine.

I would think this new regime would put an end to that mindset.

By: John Q Mon, 18 Apr 2011 03:24:43 +0000 @15 Neil,

I'm a Mets fan but I became a fan of those late 80's early 90's Royals mainly because they beat a team I really hated, the '85 Cardinals. I didn't live in the NY area during the late 80's-early 90's so I kind of followed the Mets and the Royals.

It's odd in retrospect, John Schuerholz was the G.M of those teams and he did such a poor job with the 1990 team that he was eventually fired and went to Atlanta.

It's hard to remember now but the Royals actually had the highest payroll in 1990. Collusion was over in 1989 and MLB got a ton of money from CBS so contracts suddenly started going through the roof.

Schuerholz signed M. Davis to a then Insane "13 million dollar contract". He became the highest paid player in baseball and it was a move that killed the Royals. Davis was a relief pitcher and then he was pretty awful with the Royals. What really doesn't make any sense is that the Royals already had a very good reliever in Jeff Montgomery so the M. Davis signing was odd.

Signing S. Davis to a $6 million dollar contract which was huge back then was just dumb. Davis got that contract mainly because he won 19 games for the A's in '89. But if you go back and look closely he didn't have a good season and his 19 wins were a result of playing on a great offensive team in a pitcher's park. He was awful in his limited time with the Royals.

Schuerholz never really took care of the SS & 2b position for the Royals. He traded Danny Jackson for Kurt Stillwell which was a terrible trade and eventually they replaced Stillwell with Howard which was even worse. Things didn't really improve until they brought in Greg Gagne in '93.

They never really had a replacement for Frank White which hurt at 2b. Terry Shumpert, Keith Miller, and then Jose Lind who could field but couldn't hit a lick.

Bo Jackson got hurt in 1990 and then got hurt in the NFL and was never the same player and was eventually released. Danny Tartabull was not re-signed after the '91 season.

George Brett was an institution and was allowed to be the full-time DH pursuing 3000 hits which wasn't a good idea. The Orioles did the same thing with Ripken and the Astros did the same thing with Biggio.

Saberhagen had that odd Great yeat/terrible year thing going on.

I don't remember if Mark Gubiza got hurt but he was one of the great young pitchers in the AL during the late 80's and then he really struggled for most of the 90's. There were flashes when he was great in '92, 94 & 95, but he was no longer the consistently great pitcher he had been in the 80's.

Herk Robinson took over for Schuerholz and he made some moves. The Saberhagen/Jefferies, McReynolds, Miller trade never worked out. He signed Wally Joyner who was a bust in '92 but bounced back in '93. He signed David Cone which was a good signing in '93. Appier became a great pitcher in '90 and should have won the Cy Young in '93. As it is, he's one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball history.

The '93 team was in 1st for a couple of weeks during June & July of that season and the '94 team was about 2 games back when the Strike happened. The Royals never seemed to recover after that strike.

I moved back to the NY area and Brett retired in '93 so I didn't really follow the Royals after that.