Debate disappointing teams with Jerry Crasnick
Tuesday's topic, courtesy of Nathan from Minneapolis:
Which team is more of a disappointment, the Mets or the Tigers?
THE CASE FOR DETROIT
After all that Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis-related euphoria in December, the Tigers never contemplated being 21-30 and tied with Kansas City the day after Memorial Day.
THE CASE FOR THE N.Y. METS
Manager Willie Randolph is in trouble, there's a new soap opera every day, and Carlos Delgado has a lower slugging percentage (.387) than Skip Schumaker.
THE CASE FOR COLORADO
September's darlings have encountered a serious case of growing pains. The Rockies are 20-31, tied with San Francisco for third in the NL West, and Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Clint Barmes are all on the disabled list.
THE CASE FOR SAN DIEGO
The Padres rank 29th in the majors with 181 runs scored, one more than the Kansas City Royals. At least they haven't been no-hit yet.
THE CASE FOR CLEVELAND
A chic American League World Series pick, the Tribe have a .677 team OPS that ranks 27th in the majors. Who are those guys masquerading as Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner?
THE CASE FOR SEATTLE
The Mariners? 18-34 record is the worst in the majors. If you figure it's going to take 90 wins to make the postseason, Seattle has to play .655 ball the rest of the way to have a shot. It ain't happening.
Sure, the expectations might have been out of whack in Seattle. But after trading for Erik Bedard and signing Carlos Silva to a $48 million contract, the Mariners never envisioned being 12½ games out of first place and this far gone by the end of May. They've earned our vote. (On second thought, maybe "earned" isn't the right word.)
Every week, we'll give you the topic and then we'll have one of our writers stopping by to debate the issue with you. To suggest a topic for "That's Debatable," go here. Or check out the full archive.
Jerry Crasnick (2:00 PM)
OK, guys. Let's get started. This should be one gut-wrenching chat. But maybe the opportunity to vent will do you diehards some good.
Rick (Boston, MA)
How can you go with Seattle? Based on off-season predictions that Detroit was targeted to win the world series. Seattle and world series were never mentioned. Detroit only has 3 more wins than Seattle. Detroit gets my vote!
Jerry Crasnick (2:02 PM)
Rick, Just for fun, I went back and checked, and nine of 19 ESPN.com "experts" picked Seattle to win the AL West. Fortunately, I wasn't among them. But if you recall, there was a late push for Seattle based on the injuries to Lackey and Escobar in Anaheim. The Mariners were hardly an afterthought.
Kyle (Troy, NY)
I think you have to look at the Yankees too. The expectations for Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy were through the roof. Not to mention the semi-justified Joba-fever. Now New York is last in the East with a record of 25-26! When's the last time they were so low in the standings this late in the year?
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Kyle, This has been tossed around a lot, but as recently as 2007, the Yankees were 21-29 and 14.5 games out of first place on May 29. They're not nearly as buried today as they were a year ago at this time.
Samir (Milwaukee, WI)
Um...the Brewers? Brewers' fans are in an uproar about how poor our team is performing this year. They should be on this list.
Jerry Crasnick (2:04 PM)
Samir, In a typical year, the Brewers would be right up there. I just think their omission reflects the wide array of underachieving and/or disappointing clubs this season.
Jim G. SLC, UT
I'll admit that I'm not sure what the expectations were in Seattle, but regardless the Yanks HAVE to be the biggest disappointment of the '08 season thus far. They are 1 game under .500 and their payroll is the highest in the majors @ $207. The next two teams are the Mets and Tigers @ $137. That difference of $70 is more than the total payroll for 11 MLB teams (Including Colorado). How in the world can you look at that and think ANY team other than the Yanks are the most disappointing thus far?
Jerry Crasnick (2:06 PM)
Jim, I thought this would be a tough, transitional year for the Yankees because they were relying so heavily on quality innings from young, unproven starters. Sure, their payroll is huge, but a select few players (A-Rod, Jeter, Abreu, Mussina, Giambi, to name a few) make up a disproportionate share of the overall amount. And unlike the Mariners, the Yankees are hardly done. They still have an opportunity to recover. The Mariners are already finished.
Steve (Duluth, MN)
I say Cleveland. Hafner and Martinez have been invisible, while Sizemore is alteast turning it around somewhat. If it were for Cliff Lee, they wouldnt be as good as they seem right now
Jerry Crasnick (2:08 PM)
Steve, The Indians' offense is a mystery, but the pitching has been tremendous. So they'd probably qualify as half the most disappointing team in the majors.
The Mets are the most disapointing team so far. When you have a lineup that includes Reyes and Wright and a rotation that includes Santana, you have got to be better than .500. Every player on this team seems to be struggling and with Pedro out for who knows how long, the Mets are in serious trouble. And I believe the other New York team needs to be in this debate as well.
Jerry Crasnick (2:10 PM)
Nick, You could definitely make a case for the Mets, but they're also still in the hunt, in large part because the NL East is so jumbled. Interesting column on the ESPN.com site by Peter Gammons, who points out that the Mets are 79-83 over their last 162 games. Maybe Omar Minaya needs to come to grips with the fact that this club needs some major changes. Maybe they're just not that good.
Chad (Auburn, WA)
Hands Down..Seattle!!! They have spent way to much money to be last, and to top it off they traded away young talent so future looks even worse. Only hope is to cut losses and work for future. Goodbye Sexson, Vidro, Batista, Rhodes, trade Beltre even thou he and Ichiro only sure things on team. Future is all we have, because this year they are done!!
Jerry Crasnick (2:12 PM)
Chad, I catch a lot of Mariners games on my MLB package late at night, and watching their offense is like watching an oil painting. Then I checked today, and they're last in the majors in team ERA as well. They've invested more than $100 million in Washburn, Silva and Batista at the back end of the rotation, and not one of those guys has an ERA under 5.00. That's a killer.
Jasin, Atlanta, Ga.
I watched the Mets come down here and lose a double header and all four games of that series last week with the Braves. They were not playing baseball. The whole team looked lifeless. What will it take for the Mets' team to regain consciousness? Will they?
Jerry Crasnick (2:15 PM)
Jasin, I don't know if you can blame it all on Willie Randolph. But when a team makes dumb baserunning mistakes and fundamental errors, I think more of the blame has to start falling on the manager. Even with the latest votes of confidence, this Willie sideshow has become an ongoing soap opera. I think he gets until the All Star break to turn it around (if that long). But they need to do something to radically alter the dynamic there, and a managerial change seems like the most likely scenario.
Robert. New York, NY
The Mets talent-wise are way better than they are performing. Every player on that team (including Wright)with the exception of Church and Wagner are playing below what is expected of them.
Jerry Crasnick (2:17 PM)
Robert, But are they? Guys like Beltran, Castillo and Delgado are getting older and starting to show signs of wear and tear. And it's hard to count on consistent quality starts from the Mike Pelfreys and Oliver Perezes. Maybe this is what the Mets are -- just an 83-85 win tease.
I have to go with Detroit. So much hype, Cabrera MVP, a line-up for the ages, many experts pick as the World Champions... From those lofty hights to the reality is a long, long distance.
Jerry Crasnick (2:19 PM)
Nick, I don't disagree with people who consider the Tigers a huge disappointment. All's I'm saying is, I wouldn't count them out of the AL Central race yet. The starting pitching has been better of late, and if Zumaya and Rodney return in the next month or so, it will help stabilize the bullpen. The Tigers at least have some reason to hope -- while the Mariners are a lost cause. And we haven't even reached June.
Anthony (Columbia, SC)
The trading deadline is coming. And to be honest...Seattle's roster is so bad (especially the contracts Beltre, Sexton, and Washburn) they will be the most disappointing team of '09 and '10 as well. What if anything can be done?
Jerry Crasnick (2:21 PM)
Anthony, I think the Mariners should start looking toward the future and offer Erik Bedard back to Baltimore for Adam Jones, George Sherrill and a package of young pitchers. Think Andy MacPhail would go for that?
You have to put Boston on this list. Most people in MA expected them to go 162-0 and then lose in the WS and they've already lost some games this year. Very disappointing.
Jerry Crasnick (2:22 PM)
Chris, Didn't you mean go 162-0 and win the World Series?
Jimmy, Hoboken, NJ
I just don't buy it when people say, "The Yankees have been down before. They'll be fine." That rotation is awful... How can they possibly make a serious playoff run with Wand, Mussina, Pettite, Rasner, and Kennedy?
Jerry Crasnick (2:25 PM)
Jimmy, I'm not saying that Brian Cashman was willing to sacrifice this year entirely for the sake of the future. But the Yankees are trying to go in the same direction as Boston -- with an emphasis on young starting pitching -- and acquiring Johan Santana and a $150 contract obligation didn't fit into the plan. If the Yankees didn't trade for Santana, there weren't a lot of great free agents out there. Should they have spent $50 million on Carlos Silva? I think we have to wait and see how Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain pan out before we render a final verdict.
John Apex, NC
Seattle is correct with out a doubt. A few years ago it was all about "We need offense" Last year it was "We need pitching" This year we are supposed to have it all and win the west. They are sad to watch. The team has a loosers mantality. Nothing is going to break them out of. They are looking as they may finish dead last in the majors.
Jerry Crasnick (2:27 PM)
John, This is my thing. The Mets, Tigers, Indians & Co. have been exasperating at times, but at least they've had some encouraging stretches. Seattle has been wall to wall awful, and there's no end in sight. Even people who didn't consider the M's a serious AL West contender penciled the team in for 83-86 wins, right? They'd have to catch absolute fire over the next four months just to finish .500.
Eric Troy NY
The Mets will right the ship. Pedro back on the hill and a healthy Church will go a long way to boosting this team's confidence. They are on a slide. It was not long ago that they were in second place just a couple games behind Florida. Mets fans need to relax and stop booing!
Jerry Crasnick (2:30 PM)
Eric, Wow -- a patient Mets fan. (And I thought they were extinct). Given that the Phillies have rotation problems, Atlanta can't win on the road and Florida still might be a mirage, the Mets at least have the luxury of some time to turn this thing around. That's the saving grace to playing in such a flawed division. But I wouldn't count on Mets fans relaxing anytime soon.
Bill (Fair Haven, NJ)
Here's the thing Jerry. Start watching the Mets play, and during the game, wonder which play it will be that will cost them the game. Somehow this team just seems to give away runs. Misandle easy plays in the field, and just completely collapse when opportunities arise for them to perform. They spank the Yankees, and then go on to lose 7 of their next 8. Disappointing is an understatement when it comes to this Mets team.
Jerry Crasnick (2:31 PM)
Bill, That's the galling thing for Mets fans, I'm sure. I was watching the game in Colorado the other night when Reyes got picked off second base in extra innings. Those are the kinds of mistakes that drive fans nuts.
Jason, Miami, FL
Hey Jerry, why are we talking about the disappointments? The New York teams have been atrocious and that is all we hear in the headlines. Let's talk about a Marlins v Rays World Series. Who woulda thought that would blow some minds now!
Jerry Crasnick (2:32 PM)
Jason, I think Jayson Stark did that chat two weeks ago. You're a little late to the party on that one.
Matt (Peoria, IL)
The defending National League champion Rockies are 10 games out of first place in the NL West. They have the worst shot (besides the Mariners) of making it back to the Playoffs.
Jerry Crasnick (2:34 PM)
Matt, It's been the perfect storm in Colorado. Lots of injuries. Lots of growing pains for the young starters. And the D-backs and Dodgers have played well enough that they already trail by double figures. I just don't see any way Clint Hurdle & the boys can extricate themselves from the hole they've dug.
David S. (San Diego)
The Padres are absolutely maddening this year. Estes comes off the DL, and Peavy and Young go on. Our outfield is terrible, our bullpen is overworked, run production is atrocious outside of Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?
Jerry Crasnick (2:37 PM)
David, In a word, no. I think the Pads need to punt on this season, sell off the veterans they can, and take a look at Chase Headley and some of the other kids on the farm. That team just has too many offensive deficiencies to make an extended run.
Cleaver (San Diego)
How could you not pick San Diego? All the other teams have their issues: Seattle's unreal expectations, Cleveland's great pitching, the Mets still collapsing, Detroit never having the pitching to match the offense and Colorado having to win 20+ games in a row to make the playoffs! Every one of those teams have a looming negative (except the Indians, which at least has great pitching) that was a question mark before the season. The Pads did not.
Jerry Crasnick (2:39 PM)
Cleaver, I thought the Padres were pressing their luck by putting so much faith in guys like Jim Edmonds and Scott Hairston -- although I never would have thought the offense would be this feeble.
Paul, Las Vegas-Phila.
Hey Jerry- I would love to break out the I-told-you-so to all the Mets fans, but it seems P. Gammons has finally brought up how awful their team really was. Going into the season with that roster, I don't know how anyone thought they would beat the Phillies and Braves over 162! games. But since i expected the Mets to flounder, I did NOT see the Mariners being absolutely horrible. So, my vote goes to Seattle as the biggest disappointment of the season as of now.
Jerry Crasnick (2:41 PM)
Paul, Thanks for the note. I think a lot of people felt the Mets were a house of cards. They needed Pedro and El Duque to stay healthy, Moises Alou to stay off the DL and Carlos Delgado to show that last year's slide was aberration. Of course, none of that has occurred. That's a lot of worst-case scenarios coming to fruition, isn't it?
The Yankees are not in trouble. Tampa needs to prove they can do this for an ENTIRE season and all the other preseason wildcard contenders are in worse shape than the Yankees are. I think the Tigers are the biggest disappointment so far. They were suposed to have the greatest lineup ever, score 1000 runs, win the world series, etc...But with all of that, the Tigers still aren't out of it. Seatle is a disappointment and is finished...
Jerry Crasnick (2:43 PM)
Vinny, Given the mediocre-to-poor play of clubs like the Indians, Tigers, Yankees and Blue Jays, it's really made the AL wild card a potential free-for-all this season. So as much as fans of those teams are suffering now, we could be in for a very interesting September.
Rich (Cleveland, Ohio)
Lets talk perhaps the coldest team in the majors right now, the Indians. Guys like Hafner, Garko, Peralta, and Martinez (power numbers) have all disappeared. Pitching has been good but, that alone cant get a team to the playoffs, scoring runs is a big part of the game!
Jerry Crasnick (2:45 PM)
Rich, It's awfully tough to win when it's almost June and Victor Martinez doesn't have a home run yet and Hafner is hitting .220 or whatever. We're starting to hear little dribs and drabs now that those guys aren't healthy. If they even perform close to their career norms, they should have pretty productive second halves.
Shawn (Greenwich, CT)
It definitely has to be Seattle. They just made two teams on this list (Detroit and the Yankees) look like the best teams in baseball over the past week. Any team that can do that belongs at the top of this list. And yes, I'm bitter because I picked them to win the AL West.
Jerry Crasnick (2:46 PM)
Shawn, Good point. Any team that's near the top of our "most disappointing" list suddenly doesn't feel so downbeat after a series with Seattle.
Chris (Bellingham WA)
If these teams are done, when do we see them start blowing up the rosters with trades?
Jerry Crasnick (2:48 PM)
Chris, It's still too early, but you're already starting to hear whispers out of San Diego. I know the Mets, Tigers, Indians and Yankees aren't pulling the plug anytime soon. Seattle needs a rebuild, but Bill Bavasi is going to have a tough time getting rid of those big contracts.
John T. Seattle
Its obvious the mariners have manager issues in putting this team together since the pinella era. Season is over. You think they will still trade for Griffey?
Jerry Crasnick (2:49 PM)
John T., If the Mariners' 18-34 start has done anything, I think it's put those Griffey trade rumors to rest. The last thing they need at this point is another big ticket veteran contract.
Eric (Detroit, MI)
The Tigers have to get the vote. A team that was expected to score 1,000+ runs this season can barely score 1. It's extremely painful to watch them waste at bats.
Jerry Crasnick (2:51 PM)
Eric, The Tigers are seventh in the majors in runs, but they've been awfully inconsistent -- outburst some nights followed by extended fallow stretches. They're old and slow, and a station to station type club. So if they're not hitting homers, they're going to look very lifeless.
Jerry Crasnick (2:51 PM)
Thanks for the emails, everybody. Hope this gave you a chance to vent on the lack of performance by your favorite club. Have a great week.
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