Monthly Archives: July 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End

So the Mets winning streak has come to an end after five straight wins against teams ahead of them in the Wild Card. The winning streak ends now with the Mets six games away from the Wild Card and with the trade deadline past and no moves made the Mets will hope that the current roster and perhaps some injured players coming back are enough to propel them to a playoff appearance.

While it was nice to see the Mets go on this streak and prove that they can in fact play sound baseball I take the lack of trades to be reason the final nail in the coffin as i believe that the Mets will not make the playoffs. Omar continues to say that they are waiting for their injured players to get back, but that does not look like it is happening anytime soon. Reyes had a set back recently and if he is coming back would be playing hurt. There have been reports that Beltran could come back but will be playing hurt as there is a belief he needs surgery, something that might keep him out for a large portion of next season, and Delgado has not even had a rehab game yet. We have already heard reports that Maine is not likely coming back, so the most promising news is on Wagner a player who does not seem to have a lot of impact as the team already has a closer and have already tried the experiment of having a closer set up. In addition the bullpen has been a strength so while it might make it that much better, it still is not a huge upgrade.

If the Mets plan on making the postseason they have to hope that this recent streak was not a fluke and that they are capable of playing like they have here on out. They also need to get lucky and hope that the other seven teams in front of them play poorly enough that the Mets can make up enough ground because even with them playing well it is going to be tough to make up the ground the Mets have to cover. Here is hoping there is enough magic left for the Mets to make a true run for the postseason but either way, I just hope for good baseball to at least give me hope over the next two months.

Jets Offseason

Now that we have begun to recap the Giants offseason it is time to do the same for the Jets. The Jets followed up an eventful offseason that saw them acquire nose tackle Kris Jenkins, Outside Linbacker Calvin Pace, Offensive Guard Alan Faneca, and of course quarterback Brett Favre to go along with a few other small signings, with another spending spree. They also fired Eric Mangini and replaced him with the highly regarded defensive coordinator Rex Ryan of the Baltimore Ravens.

Ryan’s goal going into this season was to turn the Jets defense into one as intimidating as the one he has run in Baltimore for the past several years. On offense the plan is to keep it conservative with an emphasis on the run. To help him execute this plan the Jets made moves to solidify their linebackers and secondary. The focus in this article will be the addition to the linebacking core.

The Jets biggest acquisition on the defensive side this offseason has been adding the former Raven Bart Scott. He brings with him leadership, an understanding of Ryan’s defense, and great talent something the Jets need with only two true starters out of the four needed; this becoming especially important in a 3-4 defense as the linebackers carry with them great responsibility. The addition of Scott helps to solidify the front seven that already got a big boost last offseason with the additions of Jenkins and Pace. If they can get production out of last year’s first round pick Vernon Gholston the Jets will have a very formidable front seven capable of putting plenty of pressure on the quarterback, something that is very important to having a good defense and something Rex Ryan loves to do. Next article will highlight the additions to the secondary with the last article talking about the draft.

Should the Mets Make a Trade?

This topic was debated more fervently earlier in the season when the Mets were still close in the race, but as the trading deadline is coming closer I believe it is about time to revisit the issue. The logic behind a trade is that the Mets went into this season expecting to compete and with their proximity to a possible playoff birth they might need that extra boost to get there. The question is, is that boost worth mortgaging their future?

With their recent “winning streak” the Mets might again be interested in possibly acquiring a player to keep them in the race until their reinforcements come. If they can stay within 4-6 games of the wild card they have a good chance of making a run when they get their big bats in Delgado, Reyes and possibly Beltran back. It would be a nice way to save the season and while there are reports that both Minaya and Manuel are safe, nothing is written in stone (especially after Minaya’s most recent press conference) and I am sure they would feel a lot safer if they made it into the playoffs or at least close with the way this season has gone.

The problem with this is there is not one player that I see as really helping the Mets. Right now unless they can find themselves a first baseman of the future I think you have to hope that Pagan and Francoeur continue to play well and forget about a trade. A trade just hurts you for the future as any trade is likely going to cost you Jon Niese, Fernando Martinez or both, two players that could possibly come out and help the team next year. In addition unless they plan on acquiring a player like Halladay the chances of the player being worth the prospects they give up is slim especially with the Mets past luck in deadline deals.

Like I keep saying, at this point in the season the chances of the Mets making a run is slim. It is still possible, especially if they can consistently play the way they have the past three days, but as even that is a question a run is not likely. Unless the Mets see it as a trade that is going to help them next season and beyond without costing too much the Mets should just hold on to their prospects. The Mets farm system is depleted enough as it is and they can’t keep trading away their closest major league ready prospects. This season is most likely a wash so just spend the rest of the season hoping the current roster can get you to the playoffs and if not keep an eye to next season.

Yanks Deadline Decision

With the trade deadline looming the Yankees have an important decision to make: should they make a trade this season? Right now the Yanks sport the best record in the American League leading their division by three and a half games. They have gone on a tear to start the second half of play only losing two games since the All-Star break. Joba is pitching the best he has all season, all the offensive players are healthy with the run average these past few weeks being over the five run mark and the Yankees are cruising to the top of thier division making the Yankees look like they will coast to the playoffs even though it isn’t even August yet.

The problem is the Yankees have just put Wang on the DL with the realization that he is definitely done this season and with Hughes playing so well in the bullpen they had to turn to Sergio Mitre as their fifth starter. This is not a huge deal but the Yankees would probably feel a lot more comfortable having a fifth starter with a little better pedigree than this. Also you have to keep in mind that Joba is on an innings limit making it unlikely they will be able to use him for the postseason and with Pettitte not playing that well the Yankees will have to go into the postseason with a rotation of Sabathia, Burnett…Pettitte and Mitre. Simply put a rotation that has a lot to be desired, and with the Angels and Red Sox likely to be in the postseason as well the Yankees can’t just expect to cruise into the World Series.

There are quite a few starters available through trade at this point but as the Yankees are a team that should win now would it be a good move to trade for Halladay? The problem of course is going to be the players it will likely cost the Yankees, something that could hurt them for the future especially with GM Brian Cashman’s new emphasis on developing the farm system. The thing is the prospects of having a rotation that starts with Sabathia and Halladay is almost too good to pass up. If the Yankees can start a short series with Sabathia, Halladay and Burnett they should be in a great position.

I would say as long as you don’t have to give up more than one or at most two players currently on the Major League team the Yanks should do it. Now I wouldn’t want those players to be Joba and Hughes but Hughes, Melky and a couple prospects would be doable. The reason for this is while you obviously are going to have to give up a lot to get Halladay, if the trade also weakens the team for this year then it will hurt their chances of a championship now, the main reason why the trade is being made in the first place. The prospects will be tough to lose as the Yanks really do want to have a strong system but with the way they are playing it would really be a disappointment if the Yankees don’t win it all this year and so making a move to really solidify this rotation will be huge, and while a trade for Halladay can not be expected there should be a move for a quality starting pitcher as the Yanks really can’t have Pettitte and Mitre being their third and fourth starters in the postseason.

Giants Offseason

As we get closer to the start of training camp I feel it is appropriate to recap what the Giants did this offseason as they try to turn things around after the 1-3 mark down the stretch and the early playoff loss to the Eagles. As was well documented Plaxico Burress is no longer on the team as his legal troubles and overall attitude became too much for the Giants and they released him. This caused a fairly large hole as the Giants were without a true number one receiver for the first time since the rookie season of Manning’s career.

So how did they decide to replace Burress’s production? Well it was not the conventional way as the Giants decided to improve an already very impressive defensive unit to try to turn it into one of the most dominating in football to overcome a possible drop in offensive production. They also made a few draft moves to try to replace the wide reciever’s production through a committee. As the first article in a series to recap the offseason we will focus on the free agents the Giants got to improve their defensive line. The players are Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty, both defensive tackles.

Bernard was the first one signed and the initial belief was his signing meant that Canty was no longer a target for the Giants. With the two defensive tackle starters from last year, Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins, expected back this season the need for a fourth tackle seemed minimal. This did not stop the Giants as they still went to their scheduled dinner with Canty and after negotiations managed to sign the former Cowboy to add him to the rotation.

With these moves the Giants have potentially the deepest and most talented defensive line in the NFL. They have last year’s starters Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka at end, and return Osi Umenyoira back to the rotation after spending last season on the injured reserve. At defensive tackle they also sport last years starters like previously mentioned, but with the new additions also have two players that would be starters on any other team in Bernard and Canty not to mention their third round selection from the 2007 draft, Jay Alford. So in total the Giants have seven players that are starting quality, something that should do wonders to keep the line fresh like they were in the 2007 playoff run and unlike the end of 2008. Now not only are all of these players good enough to be considered starting quality but there are also plenty of stars here. Both Osi and Tuck have been to pro bowls, Kiwanuka was a first round draft pick and Canty has been a 3-4 defensive end but with his skill set and physical prowess has the ability to be one of the most dominating 4-3 defensive tackles in football.

As Ernie Accorsi used to love to say, you can never have enough pass rushers. A motto that won the Giants the Superbowl in 2007 and looks to have them set up again for a deep playoff run. If there are not too many injuries and Canty can make a seamless transition to the 4-3 the Giants look to have a flat out dominant defensive line that not only will put tons of pressure on the quarterback but looks to stuff the run as well. With a defensive line like this it should make the secondary’s job even easier, which should create more opportunities for stud corners Aaron Ross and Corey Webster, and allow Kenny Phillips to blossom into the playmaker he is capable of. Our next big blue article will address the remaining free agent pick-ups with the last article detailing the draft.