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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Road not Travelled

Great series this weekend. I would have loved the sweep, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

I caught myself wondering about the road not traveled this off-season. As I don’t usually care what happens in the American League, much less Canada, I don’t know the events surrounding the 21.1 innings that these numbers occurred in. However by road not traveled, I speak of course of B.J. Ryan.

To be upfront, when looking at available closers I had the same mindset of Omar Minaya: Sign Wagner, whatever it takes, no exceptions, no substitutions. Some may have considered Ryan, but I was a Wagner guy. In fact, my favorite gift this year was my Wagner pinstripe home jersey.

None the less:

Billy Wagner:
20 games, 21.1 innings pitched, 12 save opportunities, 9 saves, 17 hits, 8 earned runs, 3 HR’s, 11 walks and 30 K’s- 3.38 ERA
4 years $43 Million and an option for $8 in year 5

B.J. Ryan
19 games, 21.0 innings pitched, 10 save opportunities, 10 saves, 9 hits, 8 earned runs, 0 HR’s, 5 walks and 22 K’s- 0.43 ERA
5 years $47 Million

I don’t usually play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game but it makes you think, eh?
Sorry, last bad Canadian reference.

Is Ryan’s early success a fluke? Maybe, we will see. I don’t think Omar made a mistake and I would still go with Wagner over Ryan. Maybe that will change in 07, 08, or 09 but for now I think Wagner is in his own league as a premier closer.

And no I don’t think the malnourished cross town closer is as good or better.

I don’t know if you can say Wagner has pitched poorly but as far as expectations thus far he has fallen short of them.

All that said, is there some kind of curse surrounding Mets closers? If Sanchez was promoted to closer, would he get lit up? What about if it were Ryan instead of Wagner? Did Franco’s alleged mob ties give him some sort of old world curse that was passed to Shea stadium?

I offer no proof or explanation to back up my answers to any of those questions, but all four answers are yes.

Maybe I am knee-jerking but the Phillies and Braves are getting pretty big in the rearview mirror and not going away anytime soon.

What’s my solution? I would like to start a collection to pay the tuition for the class: Managing your bullpen 101.

If this pen, for all the accolades thrown to it, becomes vulnerable, (or gulp, injury ridden) the Mets have the wrong man to try and counterbalance any relief shortcomings. Ever since he came to town, or cross town I should say, Willie has been making strange and illogical decisions with his lineup, particularly the man on the mound. I know it’s not the American League and requires a little more strategy to get the most out of the 9 slot in the order, but come on- this is the Majors. It seems that he does not know his players strengths and weaknesses. From everything I have read on Filthy, he is a rubber arm that is at his best with regular innings. Wagner and the Mets may lead us to believe the injury fairy came and cured Wagner’s finger.

Make model airplanes says the fairy, well I’m not buyin it. Pretty soon there’s money missing and your daughters knocked up. I’ve seen it a hundred times…

The use of Wagner in the ninth was a judgment call and not indefensible but the latest in a long line of suspect decisions. I know Wagner should be able to get 3 outs every night but have to pitch him in every 9th inning lead situation.

I wonder how much it would take before we se this man in the dugout at Shea.

Take solace in one thing Mets fans; the nowhere on the bullpen roster does it read Mike Stanton or Ricky Bottalico. That alone makes this pen better than recent Mets teams.

Speaking of Omar’s decisions, Soler is scheduled to make his MLB debut Wednesday. Again, I think Pelfrey should get all the time he needs in the minors. Soler had velocity troubles in spring training and I don’t know how ready he is for minor league pitching or if he will be anything but a back of the rotation guy but he is older, he has played for the Cuban team and his name isn’t Jose Lima. As always expect the worst and hope for the best.

The very last reason is probably warrants a start the most.

On a final note, I utilized my day off from Mets baseball to spend time wisely. I was watching an old re-run of Married with Children. It was an episode from the 94 season and contained cameos from players as themselves working in everyday jobs as they had no baseball to play. The Cameo’s included Bret Saberhagen, Dave Winfield, Frank Thomas, and Mike Piazza. Piazza played a camera operator that was supposed to be filming an interview with Al Bundy as he had just taken led NO’MAAM group in jumping the fence at Wrigley to play baseball. Mike instead chose to divert the camera's attention to Kelly while Al was speaking. Kinda funny.

I love that show, I should right a blog about it.

But I probably won’t.

Anywho, tonight Steve Trachsel leads the Mets at Shea as they attempt to put some distance between themselves and the Phillies.

My lovely wife has agreed to give up her time with the Laptop so that Nancy the Mets Dog Blogger and I can enjoy the game on MLB TV.

Let’s go Mets!


  • As a fan who lived the 1969 Mets, I found your blog one of my favorite bookmarks!


    By Anonymous Spyware Removal, at 7:54 AM  

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