There is an old proverb “Wise GM not lose talent within division”. Thus I’m not quite sure exactly what to make of the Nats acquisition of Paul Lo Duca from division rival Mets. What does it say about a club when they upgrade the team by scavenging another team’s refuse? There is a reason the Mets went to a lot of trouble to replace Lo Duca.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Lo Duca fan from way back. And I think he’s a valuable addition to the Nats, providing veteran leadership and mentoring for the young Nats. This won’t make the Nats competitive, but it is a positive development for the Nats. I’m thrilled to have Lo Duca with the Nats. No, my comment is a reflection on the difference between being a predator in the hunt for a division title and a bottom feeder trying to climb out of the cellar.
Ironically, the one looking up is the one who came out on top. Lo Duca became available because the Mets traded for the Nats backstop. Effectively the Nats have swapped catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church for catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Lastings Milledge. I would make that trade any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
— Michael Norton
Matt from Diamondhacks misses nothing.
Rumor has it I’ve been traded.
In his comments on the Mets clinching, Matt penned a mock letter from the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. His reference was to my hometown Norfolk Tides choosing not to renew the player development contract with the Mets. It appears a relationship that has existed since the Miracle Mets of 1969 is soon to be no more.
Ironically it is the club the Mets vanquished in that historic series that is destined to usurp their role in Norfolk. I’ve written on the switcheroo in my column for Spike’s Ballparks, so I won’t repeat all the gory details here. But here is the essence: The Tides president, Ken Young, is part of an ownership group that purchased three Orioles farm clubs over the summer. The Tides management have kept up appearances that they were entertaining consideration by the Nationals, Orioles, Mets and even Yankees, but my suspicion is this deal was done months ago.
The Nats got smart and, realizing Norfolk was going to the Birds, signed up with Columbus. The Mets got caught with their pants down and are now swamped in New Orleans. The spin is laughable: "We are excited to relocate our top Minor League operation to New Orleans to become a part of the rebirth and renaissance of one of America’s great cities," said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. Right. Having an affiliate in the PCL (Pacific Coast League) is a disadvantage for eastern seaboard clubs. That is why the Nats wanted out of New Orleans.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. It may not be a bad thing. The Orioles are a rich team but they cannot compete via free agency. They must develop through the farm system. So I don’t know how to feel. I do know I wish they had the decency to wait until after the season. Suddenly I am not really a Met. Now I know how Xavier Nady felt. Of course the fans’ voice was not even a consideration. Baseball is a business.
Think I’ll go golfing.
The 2006 Champions of the National League Eastern Division: the NEW YORK METS!!!
Cheers to all the wonderful MLBlogs Mets blogs, and the friends I’ve made here and on Metsville:
There are some new blogs I haven’t got around to yet, and some old friends who are no longer with us to share the moment (RADIOMAN, we miss you!).
— Michael Norton
Well, they are finally underway in the Bronx. I love this interleague rivalry. It’s like a House of Mirrors with all the New York logos. And in the spirit of reflection, we are midway through the season. My, oh my, where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday we were dreaming of spring… — Michael Norton
"You can take the man out of New York, just don’t F**K with his baseball." — RadioMan
Mets are 8-1!!! Mets are 8-1!!! Mets are 8-1!!!
Of course 5 of those wins are against the hapless Nats, two against the even more hapless Marlins and the other against the not quite so 5-0 anymore Brewers, all teams the Mets should beat. But a too often overlooked secret of winning is not losing the games you are supposed to win.
The first real test comes early this week when the Mets confront the Braves. Even though its early in the season, this series is a critical contest in the struggle for primacy of the NL East. There was a similar series last year when the suprising first place Nats faced the surging Braves, and lost the series on a called third strike in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run on base. It was figurative of the Nats uncertainty they really belonged in the same league as the Braves. Having walked on water the first of the season, they slowly sank in doubt.
But having watched a few Braves games, there is something vulnerable about this year’s tribe. I read where Jeff Francoeur, mired in a horrific slump, had to remind himself that he was a good player and belonged in the bigs. Francoeur came out of his slump in a big way Thursday, blasting two homers, but the Braves still lost as 22 year old Kyle Davies got shelled, giving up three taters in the first five batters. In all fairness, the youngster regained his composure and pitched reasonably well the rest of the game, but how often do you see batters let up when they’re up five runs with nobody out?
Hope the Mets don’t let up. They’ve got a four game lead in the NL East, facing Ohka of the Brewers, who was tossed from the Nats last year for not handing Frank Robinson the ball. Ohka hasn’t looked nearly as good outside of RFK. Here’s hoping he looks worse in Shea today. — Michael Norton
While the Norfolk Tides were playing the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Durham Bulls, the parent club of the Tides, the Mets, meanwhile, started a series with the other fish from Florida. Everyone loves talking about Jeff Loria’s fire sale, but looks to me like they are reloading. Just saw Eric Reed make a remarkable catch of a drive which saved two runs. The commentators noted many scouts consider rookie Reed a better centerfielder and faster than former Marlin and current Cub, Juan Pierre.
The Mets got two of My Favorite Marlins, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado, but the Fish got Mike Jacobs, who impressed everyone last year. A favorite with Tides fans, he hit four homeruns in his first four games after his callup at the end of the season. He blasted one again tonight, against the Mets. I hated losing Jacobs, but Delgado and Lo Duca made Jacobs, a C/1B, expendable.
Saturday’s game was postponed because of rain, so we’ll be playing two on Sunday. — Michael Norton