Meet the Mets

JMB · June 18, 2005 at 7:45 am · Filed Under General baseball 

Living in New York now, I have a different perspective on the Mets and Yankees than I used to. Still hate the Yankees, of course, but I’ve sort of adopted the Mets for the time being (don’t worry, there’s no conflict at all this weekend).

A couple of things:

As a rule, fans hate Kaz Matsui. He certainly hasn’t been the middle infield version of Ichiro! as everyone hoped, and he’s more or less the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong with the Mets. He gets booed when he’s hitting at Shea and routinely looks awful at the plate. And what do you expect — he’s hitting .234/.284/.321 on the year and making $7M.

Matsui’s OBP is five points higher than that of Jose Reyes, who his leadoff. Yes, the Mets employ a .279 OBP in the #1 slot. Reyes has walked eight times in 287 at-bats this season and is hitting .258/.279/.383 — but the fans love him. Maybe it’s his defense at short, maybe it’s because he’s young and barely making above the minimum, but he appears to get a free pass while Matsui is ripped on a daily basis.

The fans have also been pretty hard on David Wright because he’s made 11 errors already at 3B. Frankly, if they get sick of him, any team in the league would take a 3B hitting .300/.400/.500 at the tender age of 22. Wright’s a stud, better than Hank Blalock and two years younger to boot. I’ll make the Beltre for Wright swap tomorrow, defense be damned, no questions asked.

Pedro goes today. I don’t know about you, but it’s still weird to see him in something other than a Boston uniform. Mets fans say the same thing. He’s been really, really good this year, nearly back to his early Boston days. I suppose it goes without saying that the M’s have their work cut out for them today.

Finally, I hope Mike Cameron is able to make an appearance this series — he’s in for quite an ovation, I’m sure.


36 Responses to “Meet the Mets”

  1. rob on June 18th, 2005 8:32 am

    Matt Thorton and Bret Boone for Mike Piazza? (.259/.324/.429) Don’t know the details of their contracts but, we could use a offensive minded catcher and the Mets could use a new* second baseman to pick on, Thorton’s just a throw in. (who can resist a big hard throwin southpaw)? Just somthin fun to think about.

    Arte’s all about the dominicans though huh?

  2. Colm on June 18th, 2005 8:47 am

    Cool, we could also use a righty PH.
    Do you think Piazza might like that role?

  3. Joe C. in Buffalo on June 18th, 2005 8:56 am

    I do hope you are joking…

  4. BrianV on June 18th, 2005 8:59 am

    Another transplanated Mariner fan living in New York City. Many of my best friends are Mets fans, and i go to a bunch of games.

    Last night was a great time 🙂 Tonight, maybe not so much.

  5. huh? on June 18th, 2005 8:59 am

    Cameron got a nice ovation last night when he took the lineup card out.

  6. jackson argo on June 18th, 2005 9:02 am

    I seem to remember Boone for Kaz Matsui trade rumors last year. Any chance at all of them happening now?

  7. Paul Molitor Cocktail on June 18th, 2005 9:08 am

    #6 –

    No way. That’d be a lopsided trade for the Mets (getting rid of Kaz’s contract for a few months of Boone.)

  8. Colm on June 18th, 2005 9:09 am

    Re.3 Joe C.

    Yes. I was.

    A boy can dream though.

  9. Tom on June 18th, 2005 9:53 am

    Booing David Wright? He’s already the second or third best player on the team after Pedro and Beltran at the age of 22. And given the difference in their contracts, he is way more valuable to the team than either. I thought NY fans were supposed to be baseball-savvy.

  10. Scraps on June 18th, 2005 10:04 am

    New York fans are no more baseball savvy than anywhere else, in my experience (I’ve been living out here for the last twenty years). It’s one of those things New Yorker fans and media inexplicably believe. A few weeks ago I had an argument with a guy in a bar who was incredulous that I could say the Yankees were a lousy defensive team and that that was the main source of their troubles. He didn’t just think they weren’t lousy, either; he thought they were excellent. And he couldn’t name (and “didn’t care”) a pitcher on the Blue Jays; that night the Yankees were up against Halladay.

    Anyway. When I’ve been to Shea, the fans have cheered Wright plenty, but he didn’t make any errors when I was there. They sure do love Reyes, though. The times I’ve been out there, he’s seemed to me to have very limited range, but I have no idea whether the numbers back that up.

    Pedro has been dominant, but he’s been doing it with a very low batting average on balls in play, so I’m not expecting him to be the Great Revived Pedro all year. I hope he keeps it up, though; the Mets are a lot more fun to watch than the Yankees, even with Willie “sac bunt with man on second and no outs” Randolph at the helm.

  11. JMB on June 18th, 2005 10:07 am

    #9: Sorry if I was unclear — they’re not booing Wright (not that I’ve heard at least). This is more along the lines of people calling WFAN to complain about his errors.


  12. JMB on June 18th, 2005 10:47 am

    My friend the Mets fan calls me. “I saw your post on the USS Mariner. You guys can have Kaz Matsui! Seattle’s one of only three teams he can be traded to!” [Angels, Dodgers]


  13. Saul on June 18th, 2005 11:01 am



  14. JCW on June 18th, 2005 11:08 am

    Isn’t Pedro Martinez something like 18-0 against us? I cheered when he was traded to the Mets since we wouldn’t have to lose twice to him this year with Boston. What was I thinking? !@#$% interleague play!

  15. Kaz Matsui on June 18th, 2005 11:14 am

    Hai, boku wa kikisumasu nara Mariners kakeshita.

  16. Mike Barer on June 18th, 2005 11:20 am

    Our Mariners finally met a team on the downslide.

  17. JMB on June 18th, 2005 11:47 am

    #13 — Matsui has a clause in his contract saying he can only be traded to Seattle, LA and LA.


  18. Shoeless Jose on June 18th, 2005 12:21 pm

    Pedro is 13-0 lifetime against the Mariners. Assuming he’s “on” (and so far this season there’s no reason to expect he won’t be) the only hope they have is the unreliable Mets fielding. It’s been a long time since I saw a major league team field as badly as the Mets did last night. As much as Boone has slowed down the last couple of years, he’s still miles ahead of Woodward (isn’t he an outfielder? What was he doing in the middle infield?) And how many balls skipped past diving outfielders? It didn’t surprise me that Safeco deflated the Phillies’ longball, but the Mets were playing like a home grass team playing on artificial turf for the first time in their lives. It’s certainly entertaining when it’s the other team, and certainly reminds me how good defensively the Mariners actually are, and how easy it is to take that for granted. Hopefully the Lopez-Morse middle infield won’t affect that tonight (while giving us some pop offensively), and give us a glimpse of that next contending M’s team.

  19. AK1984 on June 18th, 2005 12:23 pm

    The Mets should be starting Chris Woodward (SS) and Marlon Anderson (2B) in their middle infield . . . there is no reason for Kaz Matsui to be starting, nor should Jose Reyes be on their major league roster.

  20. Jeremy on June 18th, 2005 12:35 pm
  21. Jonathan on June 18th, 2005 1:06 pm

    If Lopez/Morse reslly is the future of the M’s middle infield (and I confess to feeling something like Hope, for the first time in a long time!), then what do we need with Kaz Matsui? Wouldn’t he be awfully expensive bench fodder? Don’t we have Spiezio for that? And Piazza?! Even more expensive pinch-hitting?!?! His catching days are numbered, and I think they’re in the negative numbers at this point. Neither of these guys seem like the smartest use of those oh-so-dear front office dollars.

  22. Jonathan on June 18th, 2005 1:15 pm

    Now espn (paragon of sports journalism, but they do report some stuff) is running a story that the Mets are entertaining offers for Cammy. Top suitors rumoured to be Yanks, O’s, Padres.

    Love him though I do, I can’t recommend pursuing another outfielder, even one with his D. But I’d loooooove to see a Baltimore/NY bidding war, and there’s nobody I’d rather see cash-in than Cammy.

  23. Jon Wells on June 18th, 2005 1:44 pm

    Interesting sidenote — I was surprised to learn that Jose Lopez’s stolen base last night was the first of his major league career — he didn’t steal any in 57 games in ’04…guess Bob Melvin had the red light on…

  24. Metstradamus on June 18th, 2005 3:22 pm

    David Wright isn’t being booed. Trust me when I tell you that Mets fans understand that Wright is a stud. In fact the prevailing thought among us Mets fans is that Wright’s numbers are deserving of the 5th spot in the order, rather than the 7th spot that he’s languished in all season. Randolph put him in the 7th spot to go lefty/righty/lefty/righty, but Wright should be hitting 5th while Piazza is dropped to seventh. He certainly shouldn’t be hitting behind Marlon Anderson or Doug Mientkiewicz. Wright is only batting second now until Cameron comes back, and Cameron is going to take over for Reyes (for now) at the leadoff spot. Reyes has been frustrating with his lack of walks leading off.

    The other reason why Mets fans boo Matsui is that he has made a ton of errors…the Mets moved Reyes to second to make room for Matsui, and Matsui, who had a rep for being a defensive whiz, couldn’t catch the ball! So yeah, you can have him. His numbers over the last two seasons are very similar to Marco Scutaro, except for the errors. And Scutaro makes $300,000 while Matsui makes 7 million. I can’t imagine the Mets getting anything more than a can of coffee beans for him, but I’ll take them.

  25. semajllibfonaf on June 18th, 2005 3:41 pm

    The Mets and NYC were exactly the wrong place for Kaz, my intuition from the announcement of the deal said. Yeah, so don’t believe me, but I don’t lie this way, believe me or not.
    He got injured early, and for the first time in his career found he wasn’t easily better than the challenge before him. He’s sensible, but has a different (and more ordinary) sense of pride than Ichiro, who could care less what anyone else thinks since he knows, or Hideki, who’s too good-natured and talented to be affected by negativity.
    NY being NY, he had no room to adjust, and was quickly shown the team had no real confidence in him. Of course, they had paid $7M, but…

    When he IS dumped (since when have the Mets shown any savvy except in spending more than the Yankees on occasion?) I very much hope it’s to Seattle. He wasn’t overhyped. He can play shortstop, well, and he can hit, well, and can run, very, very well, given another real chance.
    If the Mets show exceptionally insight, they’ll pick up part of his contract as well for us, and American fans will get to see the real Kazuo Matsui play, for the Mariners.

  26. Mr. Egaas on June 18th, 2005 3:45 pm

    They say Matsui had a difficult time adjusting to natural grass of the MLB. He is one of the first (the first?) everyday infielder to come over…

    I love Reyes. I’ve had him on fantasy teams dating back to late 2003, it’s good to see the guy finally stay healthy. I think he’ll be an electric player in this league for a while, once he develops some kind of eye at the plate. Kid currently ranks 4th in the majors in SBs and has 7 triples, leading the majors.

    And we love Cammy. I hope he does get an opportunity to play, receive his ovation in Seattle, and if he does get traded, to a contender where he will go far in the playoffs. I can’t believe the Mets want to get rid of him, having 2/3 of your outfield be Beltran and Cameron, those guys can cover a lot of ground.

  27. jackson argo on June 18th, 2005 3:46 pm

    I wouldn’t mind Kaz Matsui coming here in a salary swap. You take Boone, maybe Speizo and we take Kaz and the difference in money owed to him vs. our guys.

  28. Dave on June 18th, 2005 3:55 pm

    The M’s should jump for joy that they didn’t get Kazuo Matsui. He’s got serious issues with his swing, and unless he makes some adjustments, is going to be a groundball machine. There’s just no way he hits for any real power with his current hitting mechanics.

    Me, here, on 3/16/04

    Everyone waiting for Matsui to “break out” is going to be really frustrated. The Mets scouts did a terrible job on this one. It was pretty clear to me, before watching him play a major league game, that he wasn’t going to hit over here.

  29. Jeremy on June 18th, 2005 4:07 pm

    Say no to Kaz Matsui.

    If I didn’t want him when he was available in the first place, what makes me think he’s alright now?

  30. Metstradamus on June 18th, 2005 4:51 pm

    There’s been a lot of spec about Cameron being moved. But he’s in a spot now where he’s cut down on his K’s, and he’s hitting the ball to right field (hence his impending move to the leadoff position. Many have said that his fast start is a fluke, but I think he’s a different hitter this year. And his transition to right field has been spotless. I think the Mets would be nuts to move him at this point, especially since Victor Diaz has done nothing since his recall from the minors. He’ll be good but right now Diaz is a fourth outfielder.

  31. Jim Osmer on June 18th, 2005 5:20 pm

    #23 Lopez is not a good base stealer. In fact he and Morse could have an ugly running contest. Otherwise I won’t complain about either one of them.

  32. Shoeless Jose on June 18th, 2005 5:30 pm

    Given Morse at the league minimum and Matsui at what, $7million, Matsui would have to turn into a completely different player (eg the other Matsui) to make it worth displacing the former with the latter. I’m more willing to believe Morse will (continue to) be an offensive surprise than Matsui — especially since Morse is 6 years younger and looks like he could gain some more muscles over the next few years.

    Speaking of the other Matsui, isn’t his contract up at the end of the year? Not that the M’s should be in the offseason FA market for any position players beyond catcher: they’ve got too many pitching holes to fill.

  33. msb on June 18th, 2005 6:44 pm

    #22==Jonathan said: “Now espn (paragon of sports journalism, but they do report some stuff) is running a story that the Mets are entertaining offers for Cammy. Top suitors rumoured to be Yanks, O’s, Padres.”

    fwiw, it was started by the Post, and they seem to have missed that his knee is all messed up: “According to a person familiar with the Mets’ thinking, the Yankees, Orioles and Padres have interest in Cameron, who has missed the past four games due to a knee problem.
    “I am having conversations, ’tis the season,” Cashman said before last night’s 9-6 win over the Cubs at Yankee Stadium. “We will see what’s out there. The talent level is here. I am not looking to trade prospects for veterans, but if we run into something that makes sense . . .”
    A healthy Cameron certainly would make sense for the Yankees. He would stabilize the outfield and put Bernie Williams into the DH mix.

    Because the Orioles are in the hunt for Cameron, the Yankees may have to overpay for him simply to keep the O’s from running away with the AL East.

  34. msb on June 18th, 2005 6:47 pm

    ok, I admit it, I used to get marked down on reading comprehension due to reading the item too fast obviously; The Post did notice he was out with a knee… 🙂

  35. murton on June 18th, 2005 7:07 pm

    Didn’t Matsui bulk up in his last years in Japan in an effort to increase his power. I remember reading an article about it and hoping that he didn’t overdo it.

    Whatever the reason, there is a noticeable change in his statistics starting in 2002. His homeruns rose to 36,33 in 2002-2003 from 23,24 in 2000-2001. His strikeouts shot up to 112,124 from 60,83. And his speed on the basepaths diminished (though maybe it was because he was becoming a slugger): 26/3, 26/0, 33/11, 13/10. In his last two years, he became a one-dimensional all-out power hitter. That was no way to transition to American baseball. I doubt if that style of play was what got him all the praise in the first place.

    The Matsui pre-2002 version might have been pretty good over here.

  36. Colm on June 18th, 2005 10:54 pm

    Funny to note:
    About six hours after making that crack about Piazza pinch hitting for the M’s, I walked right past mighty Mike in the lobby of the Westin Hotel. He was talking on his cellphone and looked pretty intent up that, so I didn’t ask him if he was interested.