Archive for the ‘Trade Deadline’ category

Carlos Beltran out of New York but is he the 2nd greatest Mets hitter of all time?

July 30, 2011

This is an interesting article written by Matt Meyers of ESPN Magazine discussing Beltran’s success in New York compared to other Mets players. It’s a good read…

Via ESPN New York:

Carlos Beltran has a gift. It’s the gift of effortlessness, the ability to do the spectacular while appearing to barely break a sweat. Problem is, that gift comes with some serious baggage.

If you spend any amount of time listening to local sports radio — which is usually a decent proxy for the typical fan — you know that there is a large section of New York Mets fans who perceive Beltran’s smooth style as indifference, and view the called Strike 3 he took in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS as a microcosm of his passive approach to the game.

That perception, coupled with the expectations that came with Beltran’s $119 million contract, led some to believe that Beltran isn’t all he was cracked up to be.

Now that he has been traded to the San Francisco Giants, it’s time to reflect on Beltran’s legacy. Though some will say he was never worth the money, his production says he is among the best players in franchise history. In reality, he lived up to that contract as well as could have been expected and became the Mets’ most productive player since Darryl Strawberry.

In some ways, this isn’t a particularly controversial statement; the Mets haven’t exactly been churning out superstar players over the past two decades. The only other players who are seriously in the conversation are David Wright and, of course, Mike Piazza. While many would concede that Beltran was a better player than Wright during his Mets tenure, it’s much tougher to convince Mets fans that Beltran had a better career with the team than Piazza did.

If you head to Baseball Reference and check out the Mets’ career leaders for wins above replacement — which measures hitting, defense and baserunning — you’ll see that Strawberry is the franchise leader, Beltran is second and Wright is just behind him.

Piazza? He’s No. 8, despite the fact that he had 300 more plate appearances with the Mets than Beltran did. This is relevant because WAR is a counting stat, so more playing time should, theoretically, mean a higher WAR, and explains why Mookie Wilson ranks ahead of John Olerud. It also explains why the gap between Beltran and Wright is even larger than it looks. Despite the fact that Wright was called up to the big leagues half a season before Beltran signed with the Mets, Beltran still has him beat.

You may not put much faith in WAR, and while there are year-to-year quirks, it’s useful for judging player performance over a number of seasons. (For example, the top five players in baseball history are Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays and Cy Young. Not bad, right?)

So why does Beltran rate so much higher than Piazza? There’s a couple of reasons. For starters, although they both played premium positions, Beltran played his very well. He also had great value as a baserunner, succeeding on 100 of his 116 steal attempts during his career in New York. Lastly, after a poor first season with the Mets, Beltran has performed like a superstar ever since. In fact, his 151 OPS+ this year is the highest of his career, even higher than his 2006 season.

Piazza, on the other hand, finished out his Mets career with three mediocre seasons at the plate while supplying no defensive or baserunning value. And if you want to talk about peak value, forget it. As good as Piazza was, nothing he did compared to Beltran’s 2006 season, when he set the team record with 41 homers while posting a .982 OPS and playing stellar defense in center.

Bill James once wrote that players who do one thing really well are typically overrated, while those with a broad set of skills are usually underrated, and Beltran most certainly falls into the latter category. Much of his greatness is subtle, such as his fantastic defense and baserunning.

You want to knock him for his injuries? That’s understandable. But keep in mind that he is one of just five Mets to ever play in 161 or more games in a season. And when he was on the field, he always produced like the star he was paid to be.

Sure, he struck out to end the 2006 NLCS, but is it his fault that Billy Wagner gave up the go-ahead home run to light-hitting So Taguchi in Game 2 of that series? Or that the Mets started John Maine, Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez in five of the seven games? It’s easy to forget, but on the last day of the 2008 season, when the Mets were in the middle of their second straight collapse, Beltran hit a two-run homer off the Marlins’ Scott Olsen to tie the game at 2-2. The Mets would lose the game, but through no fault of Beltran, who almost saved their season.

Point is, if you’re going to criticize the guy for when he didn’t come through, you also need to give him credit for when he did. (And don’t forget the 1.086 OPS he had during that final month of the 2008 season.)

Over the course of his Mets career, Beltran posted a .280/.367/.500 line while averaging 29 homers and 108 RBIs, playing stellar defense in center and stealing bases at an efficient clip. If you expected the Mets to get more for their money, then your expectations are entirely out of whack.

None of this is to say you have to like Beltran, because choosing a favorite is extremely subjective. But there is no denying that he was an extremely productive player who should be remembered as one of the greatest Mets of all time.

This is good analysis by Matt Meyers regarding Beltran and the Mets. I think he was huge during the Mets playoff runs. In 2006 he hit 41 homers and he was a run producer while batting in front of Delgado, Wright, and Alou during that time. I honestly see him as the 2nd best hitter but also one of the most superb fielders I have ever watched. He ran down balls in the gap and could get to any ball that not many center fielders could run down. But one thing you got out of Beltran was a guy who played every single day and was competitive even when the team was not winning every single day. It was an honor to watch him play and I think that was one signing that Omar Minaya hit on the money and wish him the best of luck in the future. Switching to right field will lengthen his career and I think it will be fun to see #15 in any ballpark playing the game he loves…  

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Carmelo Anthony savior to the Knicks season?

February 24, 2011

Here is an article from ESPN and it states from a New York Knicks perspective of why this deal could backfire and not be what they wanted right now.

Via ESPN Commentary:

The New York Knicks just figured out a way to give up everything but the coasters for a borderline franchise player and still be a couple of years away from being ready to compete for an NBA championship.

In this case, a three-team, nine-player trade isn’t worth what some are going to try to make you believe. The Knicks gave Denver a king’s haul of three starters (Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari), a raw (but promising) 24-year-old 7-footer (Timofey Mozgov) and their 2014 first-round draft pick, yet the assumption will be that acquiring Carmelo Anthony will put New York right there with the Miami Heat in challenging the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy.

But instead, the Knicks didn’t get a savior in Anthony, they got a big piece of bait. And in the process, they relinquished some of their most encouraging talent.

Yes, Anthony gives Amare Stoudemire a bona fide partner, one who can be a big help in matchups against the superstar-heavy Celtics and Heat. He finally gives the Knicks the relevancy they’ve craved.

But let’s briefly allow the facts to intrude on the fantasy. The Knicks already are the second-highest-scoring team in the NBA, and they just traded away half their roster for another offensive-minded player.

Right now, New York is slightly better than a .500 team, and it likely will stay that way for the rest of the season because the trade leaves it with a thin bench, an aging point guard (Chauncey Billups, who comes along with Anthony from Denver) to run a fast-paced offense and a nonexistent defense.

 Supposedly, one of the biggest reasons Anthony was worth getting at any cost was that it’s assumed he’ll coax Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard to come to New York when they become free agents next year.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

But while we don’t know what the salary cap will be in the next collective bargaining agreement, it’s very likely the Knicks will have limited payroll space if the cap is anywhere near what it is now. No matter how trendy it becomes for stars to join up with other stars, as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did in Miami, I can’t see any quality superstar giving the Knicks the kind of discount they might need to complete a Heat-like triumvirate.

I’m not ready to call the Anthony trade a bad deal for New York, but I am saying it’s less than ideal. The Knicks’ reality is selling another fantasy.

For the Nuggets, this was a best-case scenario. They didn’t receive equal value for Anthony, but they got more than enough, including second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, which the Knicks had acquired from Golden State when the Warriors signed David Lee last summer.

Anthony, by the way, deserves credit for that. By making his intentions known to the Nuggets from the beginning, Denver had the opportunity to recoup its losses.

Just ask Cleveland how important a heads-up from a superstar can be.

I’m not suggesting the Knicks don’t need Anthony. Who can’t use a 25-points-per-game scorer who can fill up the basket from any spot on the floor?

 But I question their strategy. I’m just not convinced this is the best way for the Knicks to make themselves championship contenders.

And their own history proves it.

When they were consistent competitors in the 1990s, they put a terrific group of role players around their superstar, Patrick Ewing. Those Knicks teams had ferocious defenders who exuded toughness. The Knicks’ championship team in 1970, revered for winning the franchise’s first title, was built around Willis Reed and also had the NBA’s top-ranked defense.

Prior to the Melo deal, the Knicks seemed to be building their team in that mold. Felton and Chandler have become very solid players. Gallinari is finally proving why he was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft; he leaves the Knicks averaging a career-best 15.9 points per game. Of course, none of them have Melo’s star power or his individual offensive ability, but they are better pieces in a team’s whole than people realize.

The Melo deal is troubling because it seems as if New York is more concerned with restoring its reputation as a franchise that can attract big stars than setting up a viable long-range plan.

Remember, the Knicks were once convinced they would get James, too. Despite the now-infamous toast Paul made at Anthony’s wedding last year, which indicated he was open to joining Stoudemire and Anthony in New York, a lot can happen between now and the summer of 2012.

There’s no question it played to Melo’s advantage when James shunned New York for Miami. It made the Knicks desperate, and I’m not so sure they needed to be.

As special as Anthony is, he isn’t James. He doesn’t have the kind of game, leadership or charisma that can instantly transform a team. There’s a reason Anthony’s teams have been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs six times in seven years, including once by the Clippers.

But let’s not let those inconvenient facts spoil this for New Yorkers.

They’ve landed their bait.

…This is the greatest article I have read about the deal. It comes from my perspective of the deal but it also states that right now the Knicks gave up the future for a scorer. Is that the right thing to do? For me, it hurt a lot because you gave up 4, twenty to twenty-six year old kids who were coming into their own. They got 3 thirty year olds out of this deal. How bad is that? I am sorry but right now the Nuggets got the best out of that deal. They are ready to win while the Knicks are ready to form their Big three with Melo, Stoudemire, and CP3 in 2012. As a Knicks fan, I loved the team that I was watching for part of the season because they were a team to like. They only had one superstar and they played for the heart of the game…

…That is why I love the Nuggets now and everyone on this blog knows that I am a Memphis Grizzlies fan because they don’t have a superstar. I hate that word when it comes to the NBA. SUPERSTAR. What a bad word and I hate the meaning of it when you are talking about the NBA. Does anyone remember the #8 seed Warriors beating the #1 Mavericks in 2008. Who was a star on that team? How bout the 1999-2000 Knicks when they reached the Finals. Who was their star? I can’t stand that word and it makes me realize that the NBA is all about these great big market teams and then small market teams will literally have to will their own way to win. That is why if you love the game of basketball you root for teams like Thunder, Warriors, and Sacramento Kings. They don’t have stars but play as a Team and love of the game…

…This deal showed to New York and the NBA that we are all about the money and winning later in life when we get the best players in the league. This needs to change soon because I am sick of that. I love Carmelo and what he brings to the table but let’s see if the Knicks can be playing playoff basketball come the summer time…

The Sports Cycle Report #1

September 7, 2010

Check out the new video series here on The Sports Cycle:

MLB Trade Dealine Deals

August 2, 2010

The MLB Trade Deadline approached yesterday and there were many deals that improved teams and many teams that didn’t feel like they needed to make any moves by the end of 4 PM eastern time mark. This deadline comes at a time where a team notices the weaknesses they have and try to make themselves better and win more games by bringing in new players. Here were some deals that went down…

Angels get Dan Haren from the D’backs for Saunders and prospects

Hurt Tigers get Johnny Peralta’s bat from the lowly Indians

Phillies make a huge deal and get another Roy in Roy Oswalt

Padres pick up much-needed veteran bat in Miguel Tejada

Rangers get First Base help with deal for Jorge Cantu

Twins give up top hitting prospect Wilson Ramos for Nationals Closer Matt Capps

Chicago White Sox pick up pitching arm in Edwin Jackson from the D-backs

St. Louis Cards pick up needed Starting pitcher in Jake Westbrook from Indians.

Yankees get another All Star in Astros Lance Berkman for prospects

Dodgers make big deal and get Scott Podsednick, Ted Lilly, and Octavio Dotel

Braves get Royals Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth for Triple A prospects

Yankees pick up Austin Kearns and Reliever Kerry Wood for more prospects.

…Those are a lot of deals but from all of these deals there are a few things in common. The Astros are in rebuilding mode because they gave up their franchise pitcher and the final Bee of the Astros original Bee squad in Berkman. But in return they didn’t get that much. They received J.A. Happ who will pan out nicely but I don’t think he will ever become what Roy Oswalt has done for that Franchise and Berkman has always been a great bat and a great team leader that will now be missed a lot by fans. It is sad to see them go. But give kudos to the Phillies and the Yankees who got themselves great players to make deep runs in October…

…Another team that dumped a lot of players is the Indians. They have given up so much. From Lee to Sabathia to now pretty much the starting lineup and the bullpen. They must really be making a huge change and try to come with a result like the Padres have done this year. Get younger and play with more toughness and maybe that will get you wins. But there is a big mess in Cleveland counting back the days to when a guy named Lebron chose to go somewhere else. The only good part of their season is to see rookie catcher Carlos Santana destroy the ball and become hopefully the next Victor Martinez that was once on the club…

…My favorite team that really made great deals was the Texas Rangers. To get Lee, Cantu, Molina, and Guzman it makes this team so much deeper. They hit every single whole they had and made some great deals. Lee will be great and is making a difference already, Cantu is giving them a consistent hitter in the lineup for a team that didn’t have that at first base, Molina is giving them help with his bat and working with the young pitching staff, and Guzman helps on the base to help out Kinsler, Young, and mentor Elvis Andrus. They really get an A+ for this deadline and watch out everyone, the Rangers are looking to do some damage…

…Finally, The Yankees just keep adding. This is why the sports world calls them the Bankees. They just added Berkman as a DH. Like that was the biggest of their worries? Berkman is a top 10 player in the NL and now is the 6th best player on the Yankees. They also have a guy named Mark Teixeira at first base so it’s so confusing. They also get a power bat in Kearns and arm in Kerry Wood for basically nothing. It is really unfair to the game and something needs to change. This is why everyone routs for the Padres because they have the lowest payroll but are still in first place. Wins don’t come with money, the come with heart and who has got it more. But for the Yankees the dollar bill is more important and it always has…

 For more information on the MLB and the recent Trade Deadline go to ESPN.com and MLB.com