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8.16.2006

A Tipping Point : Why The Nady Trade Still Sucks


Not really a ton to say about tonight.

It was awful. The Mets were shredded by Jon Lieber for their third consecutive loss.

And while the 3-0 score makes it look like a much closer game than either of the prior two, it really wasn't. It just was a testament to how well Glavine pitched.

Glavine, who allowed a mere three runs in seven innings, was outpitched by Lieber, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. Lieber's stuff wasn't excellent. It looked like he just had command of every pitch all the time. And the Mets played an unspired, lackadaisical, and lollygagging game. They deserved to lose.

With Petey injured now (again), Glavine has been picking up the slack in the starting rotation, which can at least inspire some confidence in this feeble team.

There are a bunch of automatic outs in this lineup right now, like Mike Tucker/Lastings Milledge and the slumping Big Three of Delgado, Beltran and Wright. At least the Duck has managed to stay hotter than his own sex life.

Maybe that's contributed to the trouble. A vocal and upbeat team leader has been dragged through the muck by the press recently. And that came on the heels of losing one of the most integral components of the squad to a season-ending injury.

I was telling somebody earlier today that the Nady trade was to blame for a lot of this. He was skeptical at first. But in essence, Hernandez replaced Sanchez while Firstings/Ledee/Tucker replaced Nady. Both of those moves are significant downgrades.

The Sanchez thing couldn't have been avoided, except maybe if he had worn his seatbelt. But it made no sense, and I repeat, NO SENSE, to trade Xavier Nady.

This page hated him. Maybe hate's too strong. But I lambasted him, time after time, for not hustling and making weak plays in rightfield and striking out on every breaking ball thrown to him. But he was a major league rightfielder. That's more than any of the other three can say. The Mets have painted themselves in a corner by making a short-sighted and stupid move.

I hated it from day one. You all know that. But I didn't hate it just because the Mets got back a wildly overrated aging reliever in exchange for a young hitter with power who could play five positions. It was because the entire blogosphere started talking about how great Oliver Perez is. And how he wasn't like Victor Zambrano.

But Perez has no hope to be any more than Jose Lima as a part of this club. Why? Because that 2004 season, so oft referenced in Oliver's defense, was an aberration. I'll say it again. It was an aberration.

No question about it. Every single peripheral was a career high for him. His hits and walks rates were the lowest they had ever been; his strikeout rate the highest. He was pitching, during that season, to a ridiculous 6.66 H/9 rate. For reference, Roger Clemens' career rate is 8.16 H/9. Pedro Martinez has a 6.81 career H/9 rate.

In 2004, that number was third in the league to Randy Johnson, one of the all-time greats at limiting hits, and to Jason Schmidt, who was having a year far better than his career rate as well. That could have been used to forecast his decline.

So what to make of Perez's great season? Not all that much really. His next year, obviously a likely decline, was awful. He got shelled, then hurt himself by kicking a laundry cart. Ugh. And people talk about his great arm. The arm isn't that great. It gives up a bunch of walks, a bunch of hits and a bunch of homers.

Oh, you were talking about arm strength? Well, even according to MinorLeagueBall.com, who said that there was hope for Oliver Perez, he isn't throwing as hard as he used to. So don't talk about the pitcher being young when he's deteriorating arm strength-wise at his age.

I'm mad. Dave Littlefield fleeced us. Omar should have gotten a reliable reliver for Nady along with Hernandez like Mike Gonzalez, Salomon Torres or Damaso Marte instead of a futile project like Perez. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, they lost. Three in a row. I'm in no position to know what's causing this little slump. But you're lying if you wouldn't prefer Nady in right instead of the three-headed monster of uselessness that is Lastings-Ledee-Tucker.

Let's not make it a four-game sweep. The lead is twelve, gentlemen.

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So, some good news with '86. Straw is coming to the reunion, according to Ron Darling on the SNY Post-Game show. Yours truly has tickets but will probably not be attending.

The Mets reconciled with HoJo, ending his suspension. Come on, Howard. Don't pull what you pulled ever again.

So no Ray Knight, no Doc, no Davey and no Mazz. That's okay. I can deal. I was just wanting to go for Doug Sisk anyway.

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In tune with the whole 1986 thing, there's a big ol' Mookiefest tomorrow promoting The New York Mets 1986 Collector's Edition DVD Set, which is the games of the '86 World Series on DVD as well as Game 6 of the NLCS and some special features.

The crazy train gets rolling at Borders in NYC (100 Broadway) from 1-2 PM. Then the former Mets OF goes to the Best Buy in Westbury and signs DVDs from 6:-7:30 PM.

We'll have more festivities related to the event later this weekend.

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SNY and WFAN are two arms of the Mets' organization. The Mets control the press. And they don't make it very good.

Earlier today, Joe Benigno on WFAN threw Lo Duca a bunch of softball questions.

I quote:

Joe B.: "The bottom line on the gambling, at least the way I understand it, is that it's strictly on horses and that's it. Right, Paul?"

The Duck: "That's it." ...meaningless blah blah about people and MLB standing by him...

Joe B.: "And there has not been in your career, either with the Mets or with Florida, anybody that was a loan shark or anything like that looking for you because you owe them some kind of big money. How about that?"

The Duck: No. No. I don't think anybody came after me.

Joe B.: How about these two girls now? These two nineteen-year old girls. One in New York and one in Philly. What's the deal there?

The Duck: Like I told you, I'm not going to comment about my personal life and about the nonsense that gets written. That's the bottom line. I've been advised not to talk about that. . . .People close to me know what's going on.

Joe B.: Paul, I almost get the feeling, by reading all of this stuff, that it's almost like somebody's out to get you for some kind of reason. Because I'm sure, no matter what the deal may be, with the girls, with the gambling, whatever the deal is, there's a zillion guys in baseball. You know, what's the big deal? I mean stuff like this may be going on. I almost get the feeling that somebody is like out to get you, Paul Lo Duca. How about that?

The Duck: You know, I don't know. I mean, a million things go through your mind, a million things go through your head, you never know what's happening or what's going on with certain people. . . . It's too hard to comment on it wondering 'what if?'. We're just going to go on with the rest of the regular season and get to the World Series and forget about it. You know, it's just a part of life. I spent nine years in the minor leagues and it took me a while to get where I'm at and I enjoy every day going to the ballpark and this is the hardest year I've had and this is not only the best team I've ever been on, but it's the closest team and a great team and my teammates have been awesome, I mean awesome, to me. . . .

Joe B.: I'm going to ask you one more question about this and then we're going to get on to baseball. Is there anything else, any more of these reports

The Duck: (laughs) I can't even answer that anymore! You never know, I mean, the spaceship might come down and I mighta been on it. So I don't even know anymore, so I can't comment on that.

Joe B.: The one thing I'll tell you is that, with all of this stuff swirling around you, it has not affected you on the field. I give you tremendous credit, because your focus has certainly continued to be on the field even with all this controversy going down.

. . . baseball talk begins . . .

I'm not even sure whether or not I should break down this ridiculously absurd interview or not. It makes Mike Wallace's sitdown with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the weekend look hard-hitting. Joe B. is coaching the Duck through it, almost as if to say, just all you have to say is yes. I'm prompting you. No need to worry. We'll use about three minutes on this stuff and then start talking about baseball.

I don't approve of Lo Duca's love life being front-page stories day after day after day. But come on. Joe B resembled Mike Francesa in this interview, as he was so worried about offending the athlete and possibly ending a friendship that he just accepted Paul's flimsy "No comments." He even went as far as to praise him at the end of the non-baseball section. It's too much, boys. I don't want to hear anything about an interview with the Duck unless I get one.

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Earlier this year, Crosstown Rivals mentioned Charles Euchner's quality read The Last Nine Innings. Euchner has now brought us another good book, Little League, Big Dreams, this time about Little League Baseball. We've all experienced it. I played. And hit about .100. But there is a national market for all of this stuff.

Connecticut, my home base, has seen only one LLWS title of late. Our star pitcher? None other than then-chubby pitcher and now ripped Buffalo Sabres C Chris Drury. He was throwing for Trumbull, Connecticut (right). Wow.

I also have a couple other books to recommend.

Baseball Behind the Numbers, or as I call it, the VORP book, is a great debunking of all of baseball's conventional wisdom. It's written by the BP team, so you know, with the exception of Dayn Perry, you're going to have a team of quality writers and baseball thinkers.

The Big Bam is a riveting read, even if you hate the Yankees, like yours truly. It's not quite the caliber of author Leigh Montville's Ted Williams book, but it's close. Pick it up if you can't stomach the VORP book.

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I think that's all for today. Eat your Wheaties, Metsies. Because the Phillies picking up two games in the standings is a whole hell of a lot better than them picking up four. Once again, the lead is twelve.

Crosstown Rivals is sponsored by JustGreatTickets.com, your home for Chicago White Sox Tickets.

1 comment:

fezzhead said...

That trade does suck.I like Nady. He brought a lot to the team.
Nice writing. It's some good stuff.