The Mets announced a minor trade today with the Dodgers to acquire infielder Chin-lung Hu for Michael Antonini. We saw a bit of Hu in 2008 when the Mets were in L.A. playing the Dodgers. At the time, Hu was playing shortstop for an injured Rafael Furcal. He got into 65 games that season and looked like your typical backup middle infielder. Good glove and can’t hit. He’s a career .191 hitter in 96 big league games. That’s been a major disappointment as Hu is a .299 career hitter in the minors over parts of seven seasons.
Hu’s presence on the roster will allow the Mets greater flexibility with Ruben Tejada. Sandy Alderson has talked about wanting Tejada to get more minor league at-bat’s this season. Hu will compete for playing time at second base with Brad Emaus, Luis Castillo, Luis Hernandez, and Justin Turner.
The contract situation for Hu is favorable as well. He only has 0.153 MLB service time and won’t be arbitration eligible until 2012. He isn’t eligible for free agency until 2016.
Michael Antonini rose to Triple-A Buffalo last season but his 4.49 ERA was disappointing. He was taken in the 18th round of the 2007 draft the first two seasons were impressive for the lefty starter. But his 5.74 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2009 and his aforementioned 2010 ERA were cause for concern. He certainly wasn’t looking to be a factor at the Major League level in 2011.
The 2008 draft saw the Mets with two first round picks. Omar Minaya went after seasoned college bats who could make an impact in the immediate future. He took a first baseman with doubles power in Ike Davis. The Mets believed those doubles would soon develop into home runs. They also took a gritty shortstop with a left-handed stroke that made him a target for Theo Epstein in Boston. Reese Havens was drafted and, upon his move to second, it was said he would become the top second baseman in the system.
The 2011 Mets field a team that is set at every position with only one exception: second base. The farm system does not have a second baseman ready to seize the position. Ruben Tejada can field the position but his bat needs tuning at Triple-A. Daniel Murphy has been experimenting for a second time at second base. Murphy has proven he can handle big league pitching, but his fielding leaves much to be desired. Up the middle defense is crucial to a baseball team and especially a sinker baller like Mike Pelfrey. Eventually, Murphy’s experience at different positions could make him a nice utility player but as a regular he would be exposed. The Mets also have Justin Turner who came to the team last year but didn’t set himself apart. Continue reading
I hope all Mets fans have had a good year and are able to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Thanks for reading The Mets Report this year. All of us that have been writing this year appreciate your support and comments.
Let’s wish for a positive future for the team. And a season without Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.
This week Sandy Alderson has been trying to get the fans excited about the prospects of activity at the MLB Winter Meetings this week. I don’t know about you but it’s not working on me. I know the reality of the Mets situation. They have $5 million or less to spend on free agents within the 2011 budget. That’s not good enough to bring back Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, or any other player remotely as skilled as they are.
Frankly, I would more excited if the Mets were able to dump Luis Castillo or Oliver Perez on another team. That’s the best possible scenario. And that’s a pretty sad state of the team.
Alderson was talking pretty tough to reporters this week when he said:
“I can guarantee you, we’ll come back with some good players,” Alderson said. “I can’t guarantee how high-profile they will be. Or how many. If nothing else, we’ll pick in the Rule 5 draft, just to say we brought a player back.”
We’re smart enough to understand the reality though. Alderson is trying to find a low-budget starting pitcher like Chris Young or Jeff Francis. They’re guys coming off injuries or severely under-performing seasons looking for a short-term deal until they can get back to a more “normal” performance level.
The Mets are also looking to add some bullpen help with the recent losses of Raul Valdes, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, and Hisanori Takahashi. Middle relievers signing doesn’t generally get the fan base out in mass to buy tickets.
There is the outside chance that Jose Reyes could get traded. The one team that I think would be a good trading partner for Reyes is the Reds. I don’t think the Reds want to start 2011 with Paul Janish as their plan for the season at shortstop. They won the Central Division with 91 games and are bringing pretty much everyone of value back again except Orlando Cabrera. By the way, Brandon Phillips is making the exact same salary as Reyes in 2011, the last year of his contract with the Reds. Although the Reds do have a club option for 2012 at $12 million. Keep that in mind.
If you missed it, and most people did, the Mets lost to the Marlins last night by a score of 5-2.
Although the Mets have not been a part of this pennant race for at least 6 weeks, they were finally mathematically eliminated from the wild card very quietly in front of a crowd of maybe 500 people. Mike Pelfrey pitched another good game giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits in 7 innings but the Mets offense, which actually managed 11 hits, couldn’t generate any run support aside from 2 solo homers, 1 each by Lucas Duda and David Wright. Sloppy plays by Wright and Jose Reyes in the 7th resulted in back to back errors and the Mets went quietly in the 9th to be mathematically eliminated yet again while playing the Marlins.
It’s been almost relaxing to watch these last Met games knowing they are absolutely meaningless games, especially from here on out. It’s also comforting to know that there are finally going to be significant changes this offseason.
The changes that I have been hoping would happen last winter are now well overdue. A new GM and new manager really should have been done last winter. This winter a new GM can start entertaining trades for the clubhouse cancers Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo, attempt to drop a few bad contracts like Oliver Perez and K-Rod and really explore options for Wright and Reyes. If we can get some value for them, great. If not, build an entirely new team around them. Continue reading
This week’s saga of three Mets skipping the teams appearance at a local hospital is just another negative story that has surrounded Carlos Beltran and the New York Mets this season.
In case you haven’t heard, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Carlos Beltran all skipped a visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C.
David Wright had a thought about that “You’d Like to see everybody. I don’t think it’s big enough until you get everybody.
Still some Met fans don’t see the big deal. The visit to the hospital wasn’t mandatory but however you slice it the visit or non-visit by the three Mets is a distraction in what has a terrible season.
For Beltran his behavior has been uncalled for, for a while now. Many fans and people in the front office still don’t understand why the center fielder waited until February to get surgery on his knee when he knew about it since October. Continue reading
Saturday night’s game had about as much intrigue as watching coffee brew. However, I continued to watch because of an ensuing conversation between Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen. The story started with an anecdote about Gregg Jefferies and the ’88 club. The newcomer to the big leagues had an impressive short stint in the majors in ’87. Apparently, he was already acting like a perennial All-Star, much to the dismay of the actual All-Stars. Jefferies did not want his bats grouped together with the rest of the team’s bats. Instead of scoffing at this request by the young player, the Mets happily indulged him. Jefferies gave a veteran request from a rookie mouth and was obliged. Keith told of the “team justice” which occurred after a loss. A teammate noticed the equipment manager packing the separated bats and he took the bag and hurled the bats onto the floor. Hernandez laughed but then continued on about his old Cardinal club. The team he broke in with had arguably the most intense and intimidating pitcher in history: Bob Gibson. He insisted the consequences of Gregg Jefferies’ diva request would have been swift or that Jefferies would not have had the nerve to request that in St. Louis at all. This lack of accountability is a recurring theme for the Mets. Let’s look at some of the 2010 examples. Continue reading
The Mets season slipped away and it looked like they were just going through the motions tonight. Jon Niese wasn’t sharp at all allowing 8 runs (3 earned) in 4.2 innings. He gave up 10 hits and there are no excuses for that. But Luis Castillo let a double play ball go under his glove for an error with no outs in the fifth inning that could have made a big difference in the how the Braves 7 run inning turned out. David Ross hit a grand slam in the inning to cap the loss.
The Mets weak offense only mustered 7 hits and 3 walks in the game without Angel Pagan playing because of a sore wrist. They scored both runs in the fifth on a hit and three walks plus two sac flies. That was it for the night. The only good news was that Ruben Tejada went 2 for 4. He wasn’t the automatic out that he has been for most of the season in the bigs.
The Mets have two more games in Atlanta before heading to Chicago as they play out the string.