Saturday, January 06, 2007

What The Heck Is A Zephyr?

The Mets have named Ken Oberkfell the new manager of their new AAA franchise, the New Orleans Zephyrs. What is a zephyr? A zephyr is kind of an obscure word meaning "a light breeze," and coincidentally my dad used to be on a softball team that named their team "The Zephyrs" as a joke. Why would a team name themselves that without irony?

Prior to 1985, and while the franchise operated out of Denver, the Zephyrs called themselves the Bears. Their current logo features a rodent, a coypu, representing their mascot who's named Boudreaux D. Nutria. Doesn't quite roll off the tongue like "Mr. Met," now does it? But back to the question at hand: Why did a baseball team named the Bears change it's name to Zephyrs, move to New Orleans, and adopt a muskrat-like animal for a mascot?

Wordnet says a Zephyr is the Greek God of the West Wind. Boy, nothing screams Creole heritage like Greek mythology.

This franchise is screwed up. I hope the Mets affiliation with the Zephyrs is short-lived.

By the way, Ken Oberkfell played 16 seasons as a major league player, mostly with the Cardinals, where he won a World Series in 1982. A lifetime .278 hitter, he was best known for his glovework. He asks that you please not confuse him with Ken Ober, former host of MTV's Remote Control.

Hello, Newhan.

The Mets signed supersub David Newhan to a one year contract yesterday. Newhan, a 33 year old lefty, has played every position on the field except pitcher, catcher, and shortstop, but has mostly appeared as an outfielder. Even though Newhan is 33, he has only 293 games on his resume. Newhan's a career .256 hitter, with 20 homeruns. He played just 39 games for the Orioles in 2006, missing most of the season with a broken leg, suffered sliding into second base in April.

Interestingly, Newhan had been signed by the O's last Spring to be a reserve outfielder, but played so well that he found himself starting regularly until the injury. Newhan will have to be twice as effective this spring if he wants to find playing time in the Mets crowded outfield, but may see playing time in the infield if Jose Valentin takes a step backward. Figure Newhan to be this year's Chris Woodward.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Which Free Agent Pitcher Should The Mets Sign?

Let me borrow a technique from Rob Neyer.

Consider these still available free agents, with their 2007 ages and their 2006 regular season stats:

Pitcher A (RHP, 30 years old) 8-14, 5.76 ERA, 107 K's in 172 innings
Pitcher B (RHP 31 years old) 4-5, 4.82 ERA, 50 K's in 97 innings
Pitcher C (RHP 29 years old) 9-12, 5.03 ERA, 97 K's in 154 innings
Pitcher D (RHP 36 years old) 15-8, 4.97 ERA, 79 Ks in 164 innings

Pretty much a no-brainer to try and sign Pitcher D, huh? Problem his, Pitcher D is one Stephen Christopher Trachsel. Of course, there's hardly a chance of the Mets re-signing him. And can you believe with the contracts handed out to pitchers this offseason that we haven't heard a rumor of him signing anywhere?

Now, I'm not advocating re-signing Trachsel. But, if we don't think much of Trachsel, why should the Mets sign any of the other guys. If they are worse than the guy they'd replace, then why bother? I've got a lot more faith in Perez, Maine, Pelfrey or Humber than:

Jeff Weaver (RHP, 30 years old) 8-14, 5.76 ERA, 107 K's in 172 innings
Tomo Ohka (RHP 31 years old) 4-5, 4.82 ERA, 50 K's in 97 innings
Tony Armas (RHP 29 years old) 9-12, 5.03 ERA, 97 K's in 154 innings
Steve Trachsel (RHP 36 years old) 15-8, 4.97 ERA, 79 Ks in 164 innings

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Transplanted Ex-Mets Update: Minky's a Yankee

Transplanted ex-Met Doug Mienkiewicz is headed back to the Big Apple, coming to terms with the Yankees to back up Juicin' Giambi at first base.

Everyone knows that Minky made the put out that brought the Red Sox their 2004 World Championship, and that he stunk up the plate at Shea Stadium so badly he resorted to booing himself. What nobody knows is how to spell his name.

Offensively, Dougie Eye-chart had a bit of a bounce-back year for the Royals last season, hitting .283 with 43 RBIs in 91 games before his season ended in August due to back problems. He had season-ending back surgery on August 29th.

Thanks to Metsblog for the news.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How about Ohka?

So, this is what it's come to, huh? We dreamed of Dontrelle Willis, came within an eyelash of Roy Oswalt, flirted with Barry Zito, but now the top remaining free agent pitcher available to us is one Tomokazu Ohka. Oh boy. Mets fans have a right to be less than excited about the prospects of signing this guy, as he has a lifetime 3-7 record with a 4.10 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mets. He went 4-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 18 starts in 2006, missing two-and-a-half months with a partial tear in his right rotator cuff, following a season in which he was run out of D.C. after showing up Frank Robinson. For his MLB career, the Japanese righthander is 48-58 with a 4.04 ERA.

Most people will say the Mets desperately need an ace, but what they really need next season is quality innings from their starters. The Mets got just five complete games last season, with one from Steve Trachsel and one from Alay Soler. None of the starters logged 200 innings, and bringing in Ohka wouldn't solve that issue. He's never pitched 200 innings in his career, and he's coming off surgery. On the other hand, he'd essentially be replacing Steve Trachsel, who only logged 201 innings over the past two seasons, while Ohka pitched 277 over the same time period. And while Ohka got in trouble for not wanting to get taken out of a game, Trachsel's reputation was marred for the opposite reason.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Photos of Citi Field Construction

My buddy Tubby and I drove to Shea Stadium last week to try and get some photos of the construction of Citi Field. You can't see anything from the parking lot, so we had to buy a Metrocard to get onto the subway platform.

Here are the shots I was able to get, on Flickr.

For more photos, visit the stadiumpage website.

Let me tell you, it will be a nightmare to park at Shea the next two seasons. Mass transportation will be the way to go! Or, you can do what Derek Bell used to do: park your yacht at the marina, and ride your bicycle over to the stadium!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Mets fans! I look forward to this space being even more heavily posted than in 2007. Check back here often for all things Mets!