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October 3, 2008
  
Talking Mets Fans off the Ledge
by: Mike Newman on Oct 3, 2008 1:16 AM | Filed under: Articles

Another year, another Mets collapse. The 2006 and 2007 seasons have not been kind to Mets fans as teams supposedly primed for World Series runs simply pulled up lame before reaching the finish line. Since I’m admittedly more of a baseball geek than a “Mets Geek” and have not truly bled blue and orange since my youth, I was able to avoid drowning my sorrows in a bottle of Evan Williams and instead spent the past evenings contemplating what went wrong and where the Mets should go from here. While neither of these questions have definitive answers, I am confident in telling Mets fans that all is not lost. Hopefully reading this will help put things into perspective and show that the Mets window of opportunity is still wide open based on the current roster even if the Mets do not undergo wholesale changes as some are suggesting.

Projected 2009 Lineup (As of Right Now, Best Case Scenario)

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. FA/Trade
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, CF
5. Carlos Delgado, 1B
6. FA/Trade
7. Daniel Murphy, 2B/LF
8. Brian Schneider, C
9. Pitcher

Assuming they pick up Delgado’s option, this lineup reflects each player hitting in in a spot which allows them to be at least major average if not better. Is there any doubt this team should be a playoff team with enough talent to reach the World Series, if not win it? Let’s be honest. It’s a damn good 75% of a starting eight. Murphy as an option in either left field or second base allows the Mets the flexibility to sign two outfielders, or a second basemen and outfielder. Keeping Church as a fourth outfielder adds depth, and Mets fans will certainly cross their collective fingers in the hope Castillo is not back in 2009. Castro, Chavez, and Co. are serviceable off the bench where not much turnover is needed.

Options Outside the Organization

Bobby Abreu, OF: .290/.370/.460 and 20 stolen bases would fit nicely in the two spot. Would he be willing to move across town and back into the NL East to wreak havoc on the Phillies nineteen times per season?

Rocco Baldelli, OF: Oft-injured, but a lifetime .281/.325/.445 when able to play, a move to left may help to keep him healthy. At 27, he could be a low risk/high reward option and a bargain through his prime.

Milton Bradley, OF: Only 30, it seems as if Bradley has been around forever. A likely bet for .310/.415/.550, he’s one of the best hitters in baseball if he can only log enough games to warrant being counted on. He would be a less expensive option than Abreu in the two hole and will sign for less because of injury concerns.

Pat Burrell, LF: Similar to Dunn, he can be counted on to chip in a line of .255/.385/.500 and can likely be had for less years and cash than Dunn will require. What better way to beat the Phillies than to take one of their big bats.

Adam Dunn, LF: At 29, Dunn is what he is. A .245/.385/.520 who would fit in this scenario as an all or nothing six hole hitter capable of picking up the slack when the streaky Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado struggle.

Orlando Hudson, 2B: One of surest players at second base, Hudson plays gold glove caliber defense and is a sure bet for .295/.370/.450. He would fit nicely in the two hole.

Raul Ibanez, LF: With nearly two identical seasons of .290/.355/.480, he’s not a perfect fit in either the two or six hole, but his ability to drive in big runs would be a welcome addition. The Mets should have dealt for him at the deadline.

Manny Ramirez, LF: Arguably the best hitter of the past fifteen years, Ramirez has set himself up for one more big contract after carrying the Dodgers to the playoffs with a .396/.489/.743 line. His addition would force Beltran and Delgado down a spot in the order.

Sleepers: Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Rivera, Ray Durham

Wild Cards: Ichiro may be available via trade. Andruw Jones for Luis Castillo straight up? Each has 18 million in money due to them.

Projected Pitching Staff (As of Right Now, Best Case Scenario)

SP1 - Johan Santana
SP2 - FA/Trade
SP3 - John Maine
SP4 - Mike Pelfrey
SP5 - Aaron Heilman
RP - Scott Schoeneweis
RP - Pedro Feliciano
RP - Joe Smith
RP - Eddie Kunz
SU - FA/Trade
CL - FA/Trade

The addition of a 200+ inning workhorse will be key for the success of the rotation. Maine will hopefully be back at full strength. Pelfrey will enter the season as a pitcher who could quickly rise through the National League starting pitcher ranks. Heilman is in the rotation because I’ll never agree to selling low on a player with talent. Niese will likely break spring training in the rotation, but I would play it safe with him as the Mets are really in no need to rush him.

As for the pen, I’m comfortable with all four pitchers listed, but concede a major upgrade in the eighth and ninth is needed. While throwing a pot of gold at K-Rod would be both an overreaction and mistake, the Mets obviously need to do something.

Options Outside the Organization

Derek Lowe: One of the most underrated starters in the game, he’s a lock for 200+ innings and an ERA under four. He still has a few years left in the tank to boot.

C.C. Sabathia: Arguably the gem of the 2009 free agent class, He will command an enormous sum. However, with his being the true definition of a workhorse, his addition would instantly make a C.C./Johan combination the premiere 1-2 punch in baseball.

Of the other available free agent starters, I do not trust any of them to remain healthy through the life of a long-term deal. With starting pitching options being limited, the Mets will have to act quickly and lock one of these pitchers up.

Juan Cruz: By finishing the 2008 campaign with a 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings, Cruz would be a nice fit in an eighth inning role with the Mets.

Brian Fuentes: With similar peripherals to K-Rod and half the saves, Fuentes could be signed for less than half the cost. At 33, he has a few seasons left in the tank and and could likely be had for three years and $30 million instead of the $75 to $90 million K-Rod would cost.

Trevor Hoffman: Arguably the greatest closer in the history of baseball, Hoffman and his 554 saves would serve a two-fold purpose for the Mets. One, he could close for a year. Two, he could mentor either Joe Smith or Eddie Kunz for the closer spot in 2010. Hoffman has had a remarkable career, but a World Series ring has eluded him.

Kerry Wood: A successful conversion to closer has Wood in line to close either in Chicago or with another franchise. His peripherals were solid, and his arm remained healthy putting him in line for a multi-year deal. He’s another risk/reward play, but he’s another closer who won’t be able to demand more than a two-or-three-year pact.

Brandon Lyon: An interesting option in that he closed in 2008, but was better as a set up man in 2007, Lyon’s versatility and his being just 28 make him a relatively safe long-term play. He’s not an exciting choice, but he would be a great fit as a setup man and emergency closer.

In all, the Mets have about $30 million coming off the books with the team picking up Delgado’s option. With a new stadium and additional revenue, let’s assume they can sink $30 to $45 million into signing free agents without making any trades. In choosing from the above options, and projecting contract terms based on value and comparable players, my 2009 Mets additions would be as follows.

Pat Burrell: three years, $36 million
Trevor Hoffman: one year, $6 million
Orlando Hudson: three years, $21 million
Derek Lowe: three years, $36 million
Brandon Lyon: four years, $20 million

Total: $42 million

This group of players complements the Mets roster well on many levels. Hudson—and his phenomenal defense—instantly improves the entire staff. Lowe’s sinker and workhorse mentality help take pressure off the rest of a fragile rotation. Burrell settles into the number six hole and spends the next three seasons doing his damage for the Mets and not to them. He also instantly shifts the balance of power in the NL East back to the Mets by simply subtracting his bat from the Phils. Lyon sets up Hoffman and provides a solid second option should Hoffman need a day off here and there because of his advanced age. Hoffman in turn mentors Smith/Kunz and prepares one of them to be the long-term answer in New York. It’s not a romantic group, but the Mets need to spend money responsibly and in a way that helps bridge the current Mets team with the future of the franchise. Just look across town for an example of what happens when a franchise throws unlimited amounts of money at a roster. Follow the Red Sox blueprint of responsible spending and player development and the Mets will be the team to beat in the east for years to come.

Now that you’ve read my take on things, can you improve on it? What combination of players would you like to see the Mets sign within similar salary restraints?


78 Responses to “Talking Mets Fans off the Ledge”

  1. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 3, 2008 at 2:40 am (#872045)

    I never thought that I would see Brian Schneider and “best case scenario” in the same sentence.

    Too much to chew on in one shot. Better to focus position by position or offer an interesting, subtle move, in my opinion. Otherwise we’re spinning in circles playing fantasy GM and repeating the obvious.

  2. Comment posted by WilmerHasArrived on October 3, 2008 at 6:26 am (#872046)

    I wouldn’t touch Pat Burrell or Orlando Hudson with a long stick. Very long stick. I’d take a flier on Rocco (if he doesn’t sign an extension) and Milton Bradley.

  3. Comment posted by Ed in Westchester 2 on October 3, 2008 at 6:52 am (#872049)

    Forget Rocco. We have a bad history signing injury prone guys.

    I’d love Board Games, but I don’t see the Wilpon’s allowing it. Too much baggage. Too bad.

    Whateve position guys they get, they need to be right handed hitters.

  4. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 7:32 am (#872050)

    I´d try to sign OHudson for 2nd, then do the flip of Castillo for Eric Byrnes. Byrnes and Murphy could play in left, or Byrnes could spell Church in RF or Beltran in CF.
    I´d then go hard after Derek Lowe. Hesitant on Ben Sheets, given his injury history.
    I´d stay away from KRod, but I´d try to get Fuentes as closer, with Juan Cruz as primary target for 8th inning guy.
    If someone made me a good offer for Delgado I´d have to consider it, especially if it made the team younger or gave us some good pitching depth. To replace Delgado we could trade for Aubrey Huff, who wouldn´t be ideal but could do the job at 1B.

  5. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 7:36 am (#872051)

    p.s.- I´m not that excited by Burrell or Lyon, and I don´t think Trevor Hoffman will come to the East Coast after spending almost his entire career in SD.
    I´d stay away from Baldelli.
    Abreu a maybe.
    Manny is tempting, but maybe a misfit for NY, considering his main complaint about Boston was the intrusiveness of the media and lack of privacy. Still, the guy just clobbers the ball, and on a 3 year deal….

  6. Comment posted by Hubie on October 3, 2008 at 8:27 am (#872052)

    Abreu is overrated. His power numbers are down and he is bellow average defensively. Ever see him go back on a fly ball. Terrible.

    Hoffman is washed up. He’ll never hold up agst a good line-up. The Phils would hammer him.

    I like Juan Cruz in a set-up role. He’s worth a gamble.

    Hindsight is 20/20 but Manny would have been the difference this year.

  7. Comment posted by dcrockett17 on October 3, 2008 at 8:46 am (#872054)

    An interesting take, and I’m inclined to agree in principle. The mantra for the offseason is bringing the non-stars on the roster up to basic competence. We really don’t need to mess with the core. I’m not against it, if for example Manny becomes a real possibility, but we don’t necessarily need to add more stars to the core.

    The two things I’m definitely on board with…

    * Hudson at 2nd base. I am rarely so willing to cut bait on a guy who has been a quality player the way Castillo has, but his knees aren’t going to get any better. That fact alone robs him of so much of his offensive value (baserunning).

    * Derrick Lowe in the rotation. I love the idea of getting one more ground ball prone starter for this rotation (even moreso if Hudson is signed).

    I could be convinced about getting Pat Burrell for LF. I could see kicking the tires on both he and Abreu.

    Right now, it’s still too close for me to talk about he bullpen.

  8. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 9:01 am (#872060)

    Good article. Only thing I disagree with is Heilman being a 5th starter. Heilman has shown NO ABILITY in starting…..zero.

  9. Comment posted by Danny on October 3, 2008 at 9:11 am (#872067)

    A lot to digest here.

    Throw me in the “I don’t understand why people think Heilman will be a good starter” camp.

    I think Burrell would be a great addition if Murphy takes to second base in the Fall League. That was hard for me to write.

    Damn you Mets!

  10. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 9:55 am (#872101)

    I have long been in the “I don’t understand why people think Heilman can start” camp. I truly believe that Heilman can no longer succeed in NY. I think the fans constant booing is in his head at this point. It’s not to say he doesn’t have talent, but I don’t get how if you can’t get 3 outs, you’re more likely to get 27.
    I still think he has value to another team who’s willing to give him a fresh start away from the boo birds at Shea/Citi.

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  12. Comment posted by sweetlew on October 3, 2008 at 10:01 am (#872103)

    Not a bad article except for two things:

    1) Church will be in RF come April, no doubt about it. He will be given a mulligan on the stats after returning from two concussions.

    2) Heilman WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER START ANOTHER GAME IN A NY METS UNIFORM!!!!! Why in the world do people think he can suddenly get lefties out as a starter? Comeon. The same people who want to completely dismiss unquantifiable emotions like “leadership” and “clutch-hitting” seem to think that because Heilman is “happier” he will pitch better. Give me a break!

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  14. Comment posted by sweetlew on October 3, 2008 at 10:07 am (#872105)

    I am a huge fan of signing O-Dog.

    I think he is the vocal leader the team is missing, the guy who will fire up the players and get them to play loose and confident. Besides, he is one of the best defensive 2B in the game.

    I like Castillo and think he could be solid next year, but I think O-Dog is the personality cog the team is missing. Keep Murphy in LF hitting 2nd and O-Dog ar 2B hitting 7th, and I think this team makes a deep run (depending on pitching of course)

    This line-up is primo:

    Reyes
    Murphy
    Wright
    Beltran
    Delgado
    Church
    O-Dog
    Snido

    Pick up a solid RH OF bat to spell Church/Murphy and that line-up would score a lot of runs

  15. Comment posted by Hubie on October 3, 2008 at 10:16 am (#872115)

    Don’t people understand that starting and relieving are two different animals. It does not make sense to write off Heilman as a starter. Everyone whines about Heath Bell never being given a chance, but Heilman was never given a chance to be a starter. They moved him to the pen and he had some success, albeit he usually came up small in big spots.

    Omar has to consider the following though:

    Do I move Heilman even though his value has taken a huge hit. This goes agst the basic premise of SELL HIGH and BUY LOW. If we are unable to add another starter or lose Ollie, I believe Heilman would be insurance to compete for a rotation spot. Nothing would be handed to him though.

    On the other hand, so many fans are so anti-Heilman. Will this guy ever be able to have success in NY again? So if you think no, if Heilman has maintained some semblance of value, perhaps he could be packaged with another player to get something in return (preferably bullpen help).

  16. Comment posted by Danny on October 3, 2008 at 10:20 am (#872121)

    Don’t people understand that starting and relieving are two different animals.

    Yep, starting is about a million times more difficult.

  17. Comment posted by Hubie on October 3, 2008 at 11:03 am (#872146)

    Yep, starting is about a million times more difficult.

    Just a bit of an exaggeration. It obviously depends upon the individual.

    If I had to bet on it, Heilman will be starting for another team come next April.

  18. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 11:04 am (#872147)

    Don’t people understand that starting and relieving are two different animals.

    yes, we do Hubie. We also understand that getting an out is getting an out. My somewhat limited pitching knowledge tells me you have to do that as a starter as well. If you can’t, you won’t be very successful ;-)

  19. Comment posted by Danny on October 3, 2008 at 11:07 am (#872151)

    . It obviously depends upon the individual.

    Not really. Starting is just harder. You don’t think Johan would be a lights out closer?

    Guys are relievers because they aren’t good enough to start. Not the other way around.

  20. Comment posted by madisonmetsfan on October 3, 2008 at 11:12 am (#872154)

    Your preferred shopping list consists of 5 players, each of whom is probably a Type A free agent. Aren’t there limits on how many Type As a single club may sign? I seem to recall that it’s 2, and possibly 3 if the FA pool is large enough. So I think you need to edit your list-which, in your opinion, are the 2 (or 3) most important?

  21. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 11:20 am (#872160)

    Don’t people understand that starting and relieving are two different animals.

    Yes. Starting pitchers are better lol. Thats why they are starters. Getting 18-21 outs a day is alot harder then getting 3 outs. Heilman has a tough time right now getting 3 lol.

  22. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 3, 2008 at 11:22 am (#872161)

    I don’t understand why people think that Murphy is going to provide the offensive production you want from a left-fielder. He has never shown that much home-run power, and at this point in his career, I don’t feel confident that his bat will fill any position besides second base. This, and the fact that he is a career infielder (the 3rd base to 2nd base transition is not unheard of) is the main reason why at least attempting to put Murphy at 2nd is the most sensible move. It’s putting him in the outfield that’s the real gamble.

    I don’t trust Burrell. Philadelphia inflates home runs by about 35% and his home-run power is only moderate in Philadelphia. His IsoD is very good, but his average is generally low, resulting in an OBP that is only OK for a corner outfielder. And his defense is impressive in its awfulness. But considering our left-field situation now, you’d have to look at his price and at least consider it.

  23. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 3, 2008 at 11:24 am (#872163)

    And Heilman? Unless you get an very good offer, do not trade a guy who has given you 2.5 good years for one bad season that, for all we know, is a fluke. At least give him a chance to work up his trade value in ‘08.

  24. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 11:34 am (#872176)

    Actually Heilmans had TWO bad seasons in a row. His periperhals were trending downward as well. Surprisely his K rate did rise this season, but the walk rate and increasing HR rate is downright scary.

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  26. Comment posted by Peter H on October 3, 2008 at 11:41 am (#872186)

    I’m being emotional here, but there’s no way I can handle the sight of Pat Burrell in a Mets uniform.

  27. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 3, 2008 at 11:43 am (#872188)

    I am indeed aware that Heilman’s peripherals have declined since he came to the bigs, but there’s no way you can compare his 2007 to his 2008. 2007 was not as good as 2006, but it was good. There is little chance that he will be as bad in 2009 as he was in 2008, and if he is, you can always make him a mop-up guy. He’s still under team control.

    I’m beginning to think, as much as I hate throwing money at problems, that outbidding the Yankees for Sabbathia is the the best alternative we have. We have a vacancy in the rotation, he’s better than Perez, who will also demand money, and he’s a much better investment than any other free agent available, especially K-Rod. There is no free agent that comes close, and we will trade picks with whoever gets Perez and get a sandwich pick if we let Perez go.

    Problem is, when the Yanks decide to overpay, they overpay. 30 million a year for like 10 years for the decline of ARod? You have to pass if they make such a ludicrous offer to CC.

  28. Comment posted by Hubie on October 3, 2008 at 11:47 am (#872191)

    Yes. Starting pitchers are better lol. Thats why they are starters. Getting 18-21 outs a day is alot harder then getting 3 outs. Heilman has a tough time right now getting 3 lol.

    If things were that simple, you would not need pitching coaches, lol!!

    Heilman certainly has the repertoire to be a starter. The reason he could not get 3 outs this year is his command was way off and his confidence was shot. Do I think Heilman is a shoo-in as a starter? No, but if we lose Ollie and can’t trade for or sign other options, it would be foolish to throw Heilman to the scrap heap.

  29. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 11:52 am (#872200)

    I am indeed aware that Heilman’s peripherals have declined since he came to the bigs, but there’s no way you can compare his 2007 to his 2008. 2007 was not as good as 2006, but it was good. There is little chance that he will be as bad in 2009 as he was in 2008, and if he is, you can always make him a mop-up guy. He’s still under team control.

    I totally get what your saying……i mean he is under our control……you’d hate to just give up on the guy. I just worry…..the trend is downward. I do believe he’ll be better in 09 then 08 but Im just not sure how much.

    He needs to get the changeup back. Righties have hit simlar against him all three years…..its the lefties thats killing him…….and its because he’s throwing 10% less changeups to them.

  30. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 11:53 am (#872202)

    If things were that simple, you would not need pitching coaches, lol!!

    Heilman certainly has the repertoire to be a starter

    Actually it is that simple. And im unsure about repertire……he has a good fastball but he’s completely lost faith in his changeup. Lefties will eat him for lunch.

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  32. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 3, 2008 at 11:54 am (#872203)

    Free Agency Rules..

    Top free agents are classified as Type A (the top 20 percent at their position as determined by the Elias Sports Bureau), Type B (between 21 and 40 percent at his position). If a Type A free agent who had been offered arbitration signs with another team, the team receives two first-round draft picks the following June – either a first- or second-round pick of the new team (depending on a team’s record the previous season) and a “sandwich” pick between the first and second rounds. Type B free agents earn just a “sandwich” pick.

    If there are 14 or fewer Type A or Type B free agents available, no team can sign more than one type A or B player. If there are between 15-38, no team can sign more than two. If there are between 39 and 62, there’s a limit of three. However, teams can sign as many Type A or B free agents as they’ve lost, regardless of the limits above.

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  34. Comment posted by Peter H on October 3, 2008 at 11:54 am (#872206)

    John, why do you say Heilman had a bad year in 2007? His stats (3.03 ERA, 20 BB, 63 K) seem pretty good for that year. And IIRC, he pitched much stronger in the 2nd half.

    I’m with MightyJoeOrsulak on Heilman - it doesn’t make sense to trade him for pennies on the dollar. Bring him back for spring training in 2009. If Aaron regains command of his changeup, give him a spot in the pen. If not, get rid of him.

  35. Comment posted by Danny on October 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm (#872230)

    I’m all about giving Heilman another chance to stick in the bullpen. It’s the throw Heilman into the starting rotation thing that confounds me. I don’t know how anyone could have any confidence that Heilman would be an effective starter in NY. I barely have confidence he can stick in the bullpen next year.

    The fans don’t exactly like him.

  36. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm (#872262)

    and if he is, you can always make him a mop-up guy. He’s still under team control.

    Great leave a spot in the bullpen for a mop up guy. perfect. And how many times did we need one of those? When you score early and never after, you rarely have a spot in your bullpen for mop up.

  37. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 3, 2008 at 12:33 pm (#872264)

    Mr. Denizen, the point is that he is under team control, and you don’t want to lose those players unless they don’t give you any other option.

    If Heilman proves totally ineffective next year and you do not wish to make him a mop-up man, then trade him or release him. The greater picture is what happens if you just let him go for nothing and he is not totally ineffective, and you’ve just thrown away two years of cheap setup work or middle relief.

  38. Comment posted by lostmet on October 3, 2008 at 12:36 pm (#872269)

    I wouldn’t mind:

    A trade for Peavy -Fmart, Murphy, and Neise

    Sign Burell and Hudson

    Sign Lowe, Fuentes, and Cruz

    Lineup:

    Reyes
    Hudson
    wright
    Beltran
    Delgado
    Burell
    Church
    Schnieder/Castro

    rotation:

    Santana
    Peavy
    Pelfrey
    Lowe
    Maine

    Bullpen:

    Fuentes
    Cruz
    Sanchez
    Smith
    Stokes
    Ayala
    Feliciano

    Bench:

    Chavez -of
    Castro - c
    Reyes - 2b/ss
    Evans - of/1b
    Easley - inf/of

    trade: Heilman, Schoenwise, Castillo for prospects

  39. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm (#872283)

    Mr. Denizen, the point is that he is under team control, and you don’t want to lose those players unless they don’t give you any other option.

    I totally get that. I believe that the NY fans will not allow Heilman to succeed in any capacity. I understand you don’t want to trade for ten cents on the dollar. But I do believe there are teams that will give you something because they believe the same thing…..that Heilman could be successful, but not in NY. I’m used to seeing players succeed out of NY. It happens all the time. I wish him well. There’s also the scenario where he’s brought back and still stinks. Then what? We can agree to disagree. I have no problem with that. And btw, I’m Ms. Denizen.

  40. Comment posted by Danny on October 3, 2008 at 12:54 pm (#872303)

    I wouldn’t mind:

    I wouldn’t mind that either but that’s way too much of a payroll hike to be plausible.

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  42. Comment posted by Peter H on October 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm (#872347)

    Granted, the fans don’t like Heilman. It’s a problem. But that can change if Heilman turns it around. I don’t want to trade a guy for below-value, the way we did with Cameron, Milledge, etc.

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  44. Comment posted by sweetlew on October 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm (#872384)

    I am totally for leaving Heilman in the pen for the 2009 NY Mets.

    I think he needs to regain confidence in his change-up to be effective vs. LHs.

    Trading him now would not be smart b/c all he would bring is a bag of balls. If he can reestablish himself, he will either be good for the team or bring a bigger return.

    The guy was good for 2.5 years, if he was battling a knee issue, I am willing to give him a second chance — albeit on a very short leash.

  45. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 1:59 pm (#872385)

    John, why do you say Heilman had a bad year in 2007? His stats (3.03 ERA, 20 BB, 63 K) seem pretty good for that year. And IIRC, he pitched much stronger in the 2nd half.

    A couple ppl last year actually had a talk about this in 2007. There’s nothing wrong with the overall stat line but there was red flags there which stated that this may happen in 2008. The K rate was on the decline. The HR rate was up. The GB rate was down. He had a negative WPA so in other words he couldnt be counted upon in a tight spot. Actually if u go to baseball-reference and go to splits and look at his splits broken down into high-med-low leverage for 07 and 08 you’d see what I mean.

    If we are going to get on the mets offense for not hitting in the clutch or not hitting late in games then we must get on the guys in the pen that had decent stat lines but didnt performed in the high pressure spots.

  46. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm (#872387)

    I am totally for leaving Heilman in the pen for the 2009 NY Mets.

    Whatever. But here’s what I’ve been reading from everyone….not specifically on this thread, but since last Sunday.
    Heilman….worth keeping. he’ll come around
    Sanchez……worth keeping. he’ll come around
    Feliciano…he’ll be fine as the LOOGY
    Smith…..he’ll be fine as the ROOGY
    Ayala……worth keeping
    Stokes…..worth keeping

    so the bottom line….we’ll trade Schoenweis and all will be right with the world? huh!

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  48. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm (#872392)

    K-Rod will be priority #1 and he’ll end up signing here for crazy money.
    Minaya couldn’t be more obvious in his recent statements that building
    a championship team here (in his mind) starts with an elite closer.
    In the case of the Mets, I wholeheartedly agree with him. Get K-Rod.

    As for the rest of the pen/rotation (imho):
    - Heilman, Show, Ayala are goners
    - Smith, Feliciano, Stokes will return
    - Darren Oliver will be back as the long man
    - Mets will eventually balk at Oliver Perez’ asking price and let him walk
    - Mets will try to get either Derek Lowe or Bronson Arroyo

  49. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm (#872394)

    so the bottom line….we’ll trade Schoenweis and all will be right with the world? huh!

    Nope.

    The more guys we get rid of in the pen the better off we are IMO.

    Only person I’d want back is Joe Smith. Everyone else IMO is expendable. Some can be useful 6th/7th inning…….but we need a setup guy and closer.

    I’d give Parnell seriously consideration to at least be a part of this unit.

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  51. Comment posted by Peter H on October 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm (#872426)

    John - Thanks for your response. Yeah, those numbers in high-leverage situations were pretty scary. And the numbers against the Philles (7.94 ERA, .375/.448/.708/1.157) were awful in 2007, as they were in 2008 (6.52 ERA, 308/.438/.590/1.027).

    If Heilman continues to struggle in spring training, would it be possible to send him to the minors? Does Aaron have any options left?

  52. Comment posted by Tim in LA on October 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm (#872496)

    I’ve been avoiding baseball since Sunday, but coming back today, I’m really annoyed at the way the dialogue is going about this season. The story isn’t that the Mets collapsed in September yet again. The story is that the Mets failed to climb out of the whole underperformance dug them in the first half, after loser their closer, and having the bullpen implode from over- and improper use.

    We don’t need big changes and a blown up roster. We need Orlando Hudson or Murphy at 2nd, Murphy or a righty FA in LF, a new closer, and a couple new pieces in the bullpen. Thats IT! This is a good team. The offense doesn’t need more production — they were like 2nd in the league. The defense is great. The starting pitching is great. The bullpen is two pieces away from being great.*

    ________

    Great, meaning World Series contender in this new age of NL parity.

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  54. Comment posted by sweetlew on October 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm (#872515)

    We don’t need big changes and a blown up roster. We need Orlando Hudson or Murphy at 2nd, Murphy or a righty FA in LF, a new closer, and a couple new pieces in the bullpen. Thats IT! This is a good team. The offense doesn’t need more production — they were like 2nd in the league. The defense is great. The starting pitching is great. The bullpen is two pieces away from being great.*

    I concurr most whole-heartedly.

    If Omar could sign Hudson, Fuentes, and a decent RH back-up OF for Murphy and Church, I would be very, very happy.

    I would add Parnell to the pen to replace either Sanchez or Heilman and would be willing to keep most of the rest. I believe that Sanchez and/or Heilman (most likely the former) will revert to past form.

    We definitely need one more starter.

  55. Comment posted by Hubie on October 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm (#872572)

    The offense doesn’t need more production — they were like 2nd in the league. The defense is great. The starting pitching is great. The bullpen is two pieces away from being great.*

    You are way too optimistic. Status quo offensively is risky. That means you are counting on Delgado to carry us again. You can’t anticipate him having another big year. Too much risk if he has a downer. Another bat is needed. Starting pitching is far from great too. Johan was great and Ollie and Pelf were decent but not good enough down the stretch. Rolling the dice on maine is risky too and we don’t have a 5th starter right now unless you think Niese makes the jump, but based on his september getting shelled twice, he may need a little more seasoning.

  56. Comment posted by john on October 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm (#872588)

    If Heilman continues to struggle in spring training, would it be possible to send him to the minors? Does Aaron have any options left?

    Not sure but if the mets do keep him possibily they should consider 6th inning type guy…….less pressure.

  57. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm (#872603)

    MightyJoeOrsulak=bcuster

  58. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm (#872608)

    Top priorities:
    Derek Lowe
    Brian Fuentes
    Juan Cruz
    either ODog or a righty corner OFer.

    I´m not sure why everyone is so much higher on KRod than on Fuentes. Fuentes has great numbers (saves aside, and that´s very team dependent), and he amassed them at Coors Field. With lesser hype he might be a little cheaper too.

  59. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 4:01 pm (#872612)

    Question:
    Will the Cubs (likely) quick exit from the playoffs make Kerry Wood more or less likely to re-sign with them? Or no effect at all?

  60. Comment posted by Tim in LA on October 3, 2008 at 4:08 pm (#872627)

    I’d vote for K-Rod. I think much of the bullpen would be fine, if they were allowed to fall back into less stressful situations. We need a closer and a setup guy who can get both lefties and righties out. Heilman used to be that guy, but Heilman is done as a Met, I think, sadly.

    We need another starter (I’d slot Niese in at 5 and let him figure it out unless he drowns), but with Ollie and Pedro coming off the books, we can afford it.

    I think my desires for the team are different than most Mets fans. What I really care about most is just 162+ relevant games every year. We’ve had that three years in a row now, I’m happy. I don’t think you can just build a championship, unless you do what the Marlins did, and blow up the team the next year. And I don’t want that at all. I want lots of meaningful games. And if we’re in the position to make the playoffs every year, we’re bound to win a few championships.

  61. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm (#872651)

    Tim, I think you hit the nail on the head. The best you can do is put yourself in a position to win it all. The rest is luck/fate/the baseball gods/whatever. The sense of entitlement, or the expectation that you have to win in the postseason to enjoy the season, is what we hate about Yankee fans.

  62. Comment posted by Tim in LA on October 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm (#872661)

    I´m not sure why everyone is so much higher on KRod than on Fuentes.

    Um…K-Rod is 6 years younger, has no history of injuries, and has the nastiest repertoire in baseball. 9.9 k/9 does not come close to 11.7 k/9. And Coors Field isn’t Coors Field anymore.

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  64. Comment posted by Eric Simon on October 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm (#872665)

    A likely bet for .310/.415/.550

    Bradley *could* hit that, but he’s certainly not a likely bet to do so. Considering that he’s a career .280/.370/.457, expecting him to hit almost 100 points above his career SLG just because he did it this year in Arlington is probably wishful thinking. His home/road splits this year were very dramatic. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a great player for the Mets, just that he probably won’t OPS .965.

  65. Comment posted by Tim in LA on October 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm (#872667)

    The sense of entitlement, or the expectation that you have to win in the postseason to enjoy the season, is what we hate about Yankee fans.

    So true. The Yankees, in my opinion, is the worst thing we could possibly become. And having the story of this season be told as another collapse, rather than a great second-half comeback that fell short, is taking another step down that road. When Omar came in he promised consistent contention, and an end to the Muts. And that’s exactly what he’s done, and now suddenly that’s not good enough for most fans.

  66. Comment posted by ajsmith on October 3, 2008 at 4:38 pm (#872681)

    Ya gotta know that Ryan Church is your starting RF next season. Not only because they gave up LM for him, but because he looked great - really, he was our MVP for a couple of months - before bumping his keppela a couple of times. I’m happy with him there (as long as he’s healthy). Guy can play the outfield, too. Don’t mess with what’s not broken.

    While I’m happy about that certainty, I’m less so with my strong suspicion that they’re gonna try to go into next season with Castillo as their first 2B option. I don’t have a lot of faith in Murphy - who really didn’t have a solid position all through the minors - suddenly discovering that he’s a big league 2B. It would be nice, and his bat would make up for some defensive liabilities there, but with a GB-heavy staff, defense at the keystone is important. Not sure what I would do - but it wouldn’t be Gimp, and I’m afraid that’s what we’re gonna get.

  67. Comment posted by §Ø©ª£ μΣŦƒдⁿ on October 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm (#872704)

    I like the idea of Burrell in LF, particularly if Murphy can play 2b. Burrell could even spell Delgado as first once in a while against tough lefties. Dude absolutely murders lefites. Concerns over CBP infating his power numbers are overblown, his home/away splits over the last 5 years are nearly identical, and actually had a 162 OPS+ on the road last season.

  68. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm (#872711)

    If Heilman continues to struggle in spring training, would it be possible to send him to the minors? Does Aaron have any options left?

    No. They’d have to get his permission to send him to the minors.

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  70. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 3, 2008 at 5:06 pm (#872727)

    How I broke down the FA’s:

    Burrell - Won’t be offered Arbitration. Phils current salaries for 2009 are over 100 million without his number factored in. He’s currently at 14.25 million and the Phils can’t afford to risk having to pay him 16-18 million if he accepts arbitration. He will get multiple years on the open market, but not the dollars.

    Swap out Lowe for Perez because they will both be type A or B free agents so the Mets won’t have to use their guy.

    Brandon Lyon may not be offered arbitration to receive type A or B status as the D’Backs are said to be going with Qualls at closer and have Rauch waiting in the wings. With Juan Cruz having a better season than Lyon, they may not want to risk having relievers due raises accept arbitration.

    This leaves Hoffman and Hudson who I expect to be able to sign as Type A/B guys with the the Mets reaching the limit of their two signings.

    That’s how I came up with the 5 number and made signings accordingly.

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  72. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm (#872736)

    Response to the calls for Heilman’s head:

    Remember, with relievers throwing so many fewer innings than starters, two or three bad outings can raise a pitchers ERA by a run or more. You would be hard pressed to find any reliever with a substantial number of years who hasn’t had at least one blip. The fact of the matter is that Heilman still has a career ERA of 4.21 if I remember correctly which if he replicates, will likely be better than what Niese can do and will allow Niese to truly be ready before he is called upon to pitch big games. Niese has been good, but he is not an uber-prospect as some would like to believe leaving prognosticators not knowing if he’s another John Maine or Brian bannister.

    Giving Heilman a shot at the #5 starter slot is the most cost effective and makes a lot of common sense when you look at the organization from top to bottom. To deal him now for what would amount to a top 10-15 prospect in the organization would be a total waste of time considering the draft pick and years they put into him.

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  74. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm (#872750)

    Bradley - My numbers for Bradley came from both his time in SD and Texas. He was just as good for SD after being dealt as he was for Texas. Additionally, his career totals are in almost 3k at bats which gives a view of the whole body of work, not what he is doing when healthy in his prime.

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  76. Comment posted by warren c on October 3, 2008 at 5:34 pm (#872753)

    omar got off to a good start re-upping delgado. he showed he still has something left, so i would be content to see him back. if omar was to trade him (not what i’m completely advocating for) lets hope we get younger and a bit more right handed (conor jackson?).

    something needs to change with this team. the culture that is set here is screaming for a change. maybe that change needs to come from within the clubhouse. the leadership role that delgado has assumed within the clubhouse has been his almost by default. the core of wright, reyes and beltran wouldn’t step up to that role with a veteran like delgado in the clubhouse. maybe with a trade of delgado it would force someone else to take the clubhouse leader mantle and run with it. and maybe that’s what this club needs.

    i hope this doesn’t sound like i am slamming delgado; because i’m not. for the most part he has been money while a met, both on and off the field. but maybe the change that is really needed to get this team over the hump of the last three years of disappointment is some new team leadership. let wright step up. give beltran or reyes the oppurtunity to take charge. lets see if that’s the answer.

    btw, i say goodbye ollie and your inconsistency. hello derek lowe and your sinker.

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  78. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm (#872754)

    Both Murphy and Church as starting outfielders…Teams don’t usually win titles with 60 total home runs coming from your three starting outfielders.

    Church had a nice couple of months, but he is what he is. .275/.350/.460 which is good, but not enough for a #6 hitter IMO. If he only averages 300-400 at bats per year anyways, why not have him get his at bats playing all three outfield spots and maybe even first base in a pinch?

  79. Comment posted by levinhatz on October 3, 2008 at 11:49 pm (#872799)

    As much as I would love for the Mets to snatch Pat Burrell away from the Phils, or for them to sign Vlad Guerrero to usher in their new ballpark, I don’t think either of them will do well next year. Burrell can’t hit on the road, and Vlad seems done for. But you KNOW Minaya is going to make a run for him.

    Juan Rivera would be a huge steal. He should be the #1 free agent hitter targeted by the Mets this year.

    That said, as far as pitching is concerned, the Mets are dreaming if they think they can pull off another Santana-like deal for Jake Peavy using the prospects that they have. Obviously it’d be nice to go after CC Sabathia or someone like this, but they also need to think about trading either Maine or Perez… To me the problem in these past two years has been that the Mets don’t have enough starters who can give you 200 innings, and these two have been pariahs in that regard. Replace 150IP of John Maine with 220 from Sabathia and you’ve got yourself a rested bullpen that can come in and throw heat.

    That being said the Mets need a closer, plain and simple. #1 priority.

    Now I just hope Omar knows all of this. I’m not confident that he does.

  80. Comment posted by levinhatz on October 4, 2008 at 12:02 am (#872800)

    Here’s what I hope the Mets look like on April 1st, 2009:

    Jose Reyes, SS
    Ryan Church, RF
    David Wright, 3B
    Carlos Delgado, 1B
    Carlos Beltran, CF
    Juan Rivera, LF
    Brian Schneider, C
    Adam Kennedy, 2B
    P

    Johan Santana
    CC Sabatha/Derek Lowe/Joe Blanton
    Oliver Perez
    Mike Pelfrey
    Jon Niese/trade

    Kerry Wood
    Luis Ayala/trade
    Brian Stokes
    Joe Smith
    Duaner Sanchez
    LOOGY in a trade (not Heilman or Feliciano!)

  81. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on October 4, 2008 at 3:36 am (#872807)

    If I´m not mistaken, Juan Rivera had an OBP under .300 this year. Bad sign…

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  83. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 4, 2008 at 9:54 am (#872811)

    I am COMPLETELY against signing Fuentes.
    That reeks of the 2nd coming of Braden Looper.
    I don’t want anyone who’s formerly LOST their closer job.

    Besides, why shoot low for a second tier reliever
    when a top tier reliever is available (K-Rod)??

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  85. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 4, 2008 at 10:08 am (#872814)

    Take whatever the reliever the Mets sign and add about 11 million to cover Wagner’s contract. I just don’t think any team can afford 25-30 million of your budget on the closer position.

  86. Comment posted by scottf on October 4, 2008 at 10:11 am (#872815)

    We need to try and sign Orlando Hudson. I’m not sure why the above poster wouldn’t touch him with a “very long stick” but I surely would. Hudson fits in the club house being young, talented and a good player to have at second. Ramirez would be nice to have, but honestly I wouldn’t mind him staying in Los Angeles (which it’s a good shot he may do anyway). I like the Mets because they are NOT the Yankees and I hope it stays that way.

    As for pitching staff. With Pedro leaving we’re going to need to get a started anyway. NOT to replace that broken down has-been (I’ve said that before he came to the Mets, and still say it now) but because we need one more pitcher if one is leaving. I think getting Lowe would be a huge addition only because I know if CC comes to New York it will be in a Yankee jersey and it will make me hate him.

    Remember, CC wasn’t bad in the playoffs this year. He was tired. It was a wonder the Brewers didn’t make him cut his arm off after the last game. They did everything but tell us they were using him and didn’t care about CC’s health or condition. Brewers disrespected him, and CC took it on the chin. He has the perfect attitude for New York but come on, there is no way he signs.

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  88. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 4, 2008 at 1:48 pm (#872829)

    I just don’t get all this love for Juan Rivera.
    Shaky career at best, imho.
    Between the two, I’d grab Burrell over Rivera.

    Burrell can’t hit on the road

    Not when he’s been in Queens :)

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  90. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 4, 2008 at 1:52 pm (#872830)

    I just don’t think any team can afford 25-30 million of your budget on the closer position.

    With all due respect Mike, look at what a huge part Mariano played in the Yankee dynasty.
    K-Rod is about as close to Mariano as you’ll ever get.

    The Mets would be foolish not to bid on K-Rod and I don’t think the Wagner money will prevent them from.

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  92. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm (#872831)

    Trevor Hoffman: Arguably the greatest closer in the history of baseball

    Huh? No way….
    Without question, the greatest closer in baseball history is Mariano Rivera.
    I’d put Lyle, Gossage, Eckersley, Fingers, Sutter and probably even Lee Smith all ahead of Hoffman.

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  94. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm (#872837)

    fact is, Hoffman has 70+ more career saves over his career than Mo and was the first to hit 500. Based on that, he deserves to be in the discussion for greatest closer ever. Mo would definitely be in that discussion as well.

    Personally, I feel it’s Eck because of his coming close to both 200 career wins and 400 saves. I’m not sure that will ever be replicated.

    As great as Mo has been, the evolution of the closer’s job description over the past 30-40 years leaves too many variables to determine whether one player is “without question” the greatest closer ever.

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  96. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 4, 2008 at 5:41 pm (#872838)

    Response to post 70:

    Without blowing the theme for my next piece, I can add this…

    Mets payroll is projected at 130-140 million. 30 million in 2009 allocated to a closer? It’s just not a winning philosophy. Mo’s highest salary has been 15 million I think. if K-Rod was a FA after next season, I might say it’s worth it. At the moment, I don’t think it is.

    Report: K-Rod seeking fortune

    The Jersey Journal (1 day ago)
    For those who want to take a dip in the Francisco Rodriguez sweepstakes, his agent was quoted by SI.com this morning that it would take five years and $75 million.

    I’m not confident K-Rod’s arm will make it through five seasons. He has been relatively healthy, but his violent arm action has to catch up to him in time.

  97. Comment posted by Super T on October 4, 2008 at 10:14 pm (#872853)

    70+ posts and hardly any mention of Oliver Perez. Is everyone just writing him off already or what? This is the guy that we need to get locked up before we do anything else. He is young, durable, lefthanded, and can handle NY. Not to mention he shows up in the big games.
    CC will cost too much money.
    Sheets is too injury prone.
    Lowe is like 7 years older and has alot more mileage on his arm.
    Pedro is a shadow of his former self.

    We get Ollie signed and we arguably have the best 1-4 SPs for years to come with Santana 29, Maine 27, Perez 27, and Pelfrey 24.

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  99. Comment posted by Future, now with a present J.D. on October 5, 2008 at 12:00 am (#872864)

    A name out of left field:

    Rafael Furcal to play second base.

    If his back is OK, think about that middle infield.

  100. Comment posted by sheadenizen on October 5, 2008 at 9:05 am (#872872)

    Not to mention he shows up in the big games.

    It depends on your definition of big games. Last Wednesday night, Ollie was handed a 5-1 lead and promptly gave it back. The Mets went on to lose. My point is that only beating the Phils and Yanks does not necessarily make him a big game pitcher. I’m not against resigning ollie, but let’s not make him more than he is….a good, young left hander who is very erratic.

  101. Comment posted by Super T on October 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm (#872932)

    It depends on your definition of big games. Last Wednesday night, Ollie was handed a 5-1 lead and promptly gave it back. The Mets went on to lose. My point is that only beating the Phils and Yanks does not necessarily make him a big game pitcher. I’m not against resigning ollie, but let’s not make him more than he is….a good, young left hander who is very erratic.

    Hey Shea :0)
    While I won’t argue that he is erratic, he has had a knack of showing up in big games since the 2006 playoffs. My good friend who is a Braves fan often reminds me that Ollie is the Mets pitcher who in his mind has had the most success against the Braves. And with the way the Mets have played the Braves the last couple of seasons, that is saying something. Unless, he asks for some ridiculous contract, we need to get him signed and start worrying about the bullpen, 2B, and the OF.

  102. Comment posted by Danny on October 6, 2008 at 9:37 am (#873030)

    In the interests of accuracy…

    Burrell at home, 2008: .230/.348/.439/.786
    Burrell on road, 2008: .270/.387/.577/.964

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