Jun 23

Mets’ Matt Harvey Good, But Hold Off On Great

Matt Harvey is having a terrific season for the New York Mets, and the team and its fan base should be thrilled and excited about his future. But, can we have a little perspective please?

I read a blog post where the writer said he wouldn’t trade Harvey for any pitcher “on the planet,’’ which is an overused expression to begin with, one having cliché proportions.

HARVEY: Good, not great. (AP)

HARVEY: Good, not great. (AP)

Harvey will be making his 26th career start this afternoon, so that’s clearly jumping the gun. As good a season as he’s having, there are others having better years; others with better career numbers; and others with futures seemingly as bright.

Clayton Kershaw and Clay Buchholz, Patrick Corbin and Jordan Zimmerman, Adam Wainwright and Felix Hernandez. They are all good, young pitchers with bright futures as gleaming as Harvey’s. And, don’t overlook Stephen Strasburg.

There’s also the majors’ best pitcher this year in Detroit’s Max Scherzer, and his teammate, Justin Verlander, who is regarded as the best pitcher in the majors overall.

Twenty-five career starts is not enough of a sample to say he’s the best. Very good, but let’s have a reality check for a moment.

It is understood Harvey pitches for a bad team this year, but in the 15 starts he’s made he’s had eight no-decisions. That’s not a great ratio. Great pitchers, regardless of the quality of their teams, usually find a way to win.

Like most everybody else this spring, I am fascinated by Harvey and he is must-see for me, whether at the park or on TV. But, he’s not the best pitcher “on the planet.’’ He’s trying, which is the best thing to like about him, but he’s not there.

If Harvey is to become a great, franchise pitcher the way Tom Seaver once was, he must find a way to convert those no-decisions into victories. And, if you think I’m dumping on Harvey, he would be the first to agree.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Mar 06

Mets On Tap Today: Wonder What Johan Santana And Ike Davis Are Thinking?

Good morning from Port St. Lucie, where there’s a chill in the air and the sun is just coming up.

Had dinner last night with a friend on the Mets’ beat and like most people I speak with in the media he’s not enthusiastic about them having a good season.

Drove around a little last night and this place has changed over the past few years. Really built up. New hotels and restaurants, including a sushi place not far from where I am staying.

Walked into the lobby and three hotel staffers remembered me by name. Felt like Norm for Cheers. Was a good feeling.

Heading to camp in a few minutes. David Wright is at the WBC and Johan Santana is still here from when I traveled with the team on a regular basis.

Will make a run at Santana for obvious reasons, including a new one – the president of Venezuela died yesterday. Need to get a reaction from him. Ironically, the Mets are playing the Venezuelan team today.

Also Ike Davis to see what he knows about being added to the WBC now that Mark Teixeira is injured. Yankees can’t be too happy about that. I never have, and never will, be a fan of the Classic. It means so much more to players from other countries, especially Latin America than it does to players from the US. But, Felix Hernandez isn’t pitching (could it be that new contract?) and the Japanese players in the majors aren’t all participating.

Wright is on board, but many big name players are not. Have to wonder why.

No, there are no plans to ask Sandy Alderson whether he plans to jump out of any airplanes. Insert your reaction here.

Lot of Mets fans in the lobby. One lady I remember is a regular. She holds court every morning at breakfast. Had cards promoting the blog made up to pass around. Have to think differently now.

Have a great day folks and I’ll be posting regularly.

 

Mar 02

Trying To Understand The World Baseball Classic; David Wright Departs

David Cone once told me there could never be a true World Series after the real one because there are only so many pitches in an arm.

It just wouldn’t be practical for one to put his career in jeopardy for a mythical world tournament. Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander – neither of whom are in the World Baseball Classic – instead remain in their spring training camps preparing to pitch for teams that pay them.

WRIGHT: Playing for USA

WRIGHT: Playing for USA (AP)

Make no mistake, the World Baseball Classic is about two clashing financial perspectives. First, there is the noble objective of trying to promote baseball globally, and yes, that means selling even more Yankees and Dodgers caps in countries where the $20 to buy such a hat could more than feed a family for a week.

The other financial viewpoint is from the athletes who are training for their jobs. Mike Trout, arguably the best player in the sport last year, isn’t playing. There are dozens of others staying home.

David Wright is going. This is important to him.

However, baseball is not like soccer or basketball, sports that can be played in a tournament format. Excellence in baseball takes a month in the United States, with three levels of competition. And, that’s with ten teams.

To do a baseball justice on a world stage would require at least two months, not the two weeks they are trying to jam this in.

And, can it be a true tournament if many of the best players in the major leagues aren’t present? Another thing I find puzzling is why don’t the major leaguers – who represent teams in the United States – not play just for the United States. There is not even a masking of their loyalties.

Johan Santana wanted to play for Venezuela, his native country and not for the United States, the home of his employer who will pay him $31 million this season whether he throws a pitch or not.

Continue reading

Dec 04

Could Orioles Be A Player For Josh Hamilton?

HAMILTON: Pointing towards Baltimore? (AP)

There are answers that can only be found by looking into a man’s eyes. Even then, there’s an element of doubt.

Looking into R.A. Dickey’s eyes, the Mets must know he wants to play here and believes his Cy Young was no fluke. Even so, there’s always some pause.

If there’s a reluctance with Dickey, imagine that with Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who, when healthy and off the wagon, is one of the sport’s top five talents, if not the best.

We know the Mets won’t, and the Yankees say they want to cut payroll to be below $189 million for the 2014 season and beyond, so they aren’t player for Hamilton.

That doesn’t mean it is an empty market for him. The Rangers are playing it wisely and letting Hamilton field offers. They believe they have sufficient talent without him, but also think Hamilton might come around and believe the team that cared for him is his best option.

Continue reading

Nov 17

AL Cy Young today ….

This much we know, a Cleveland Indian won’t be the AL Cy Young Award winner for a third straight season.

CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee won it the last two years, but this season the overwhelming favorite appears to be Kansas City’s Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.16, 242 K).

The other contenders are Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49, 217 K), Toronto’s Roy Halladay (17-10, 2.79, 208 K), the Yankees’ Sabathia (19-8, 3.37, 197 K) and Detroit’s Justin Verlander (19-9, 3.45, 269 K).