Could Mets be interested in Royals' Guillen?

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jose-guillen-ap2.jpgAdam Rubin of the Daily News writes that the Royals have identified the Mets as a potential trading partner for Jose Guillen.
According to the report, the Royals aim to acquire an inexpensive
outfielder in return for Guillen and are impressed with Angel Pagan.




Limited to just 81 games in 2009 due
to various injuries to his right leg including with a ligament tear in
his knee and hamstring discomfort, the 33-year-old Guillen batted just
.242/.314/.367 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. Meanwhile, the
28-year-old Pagan batted .306/.350/.487 with six home runs, 11 triples,
22 doubles, 32 RBI, 14 stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 343 at-bats
in 2009.




According to Rubin, the Royals are
willing to kick in some of Guillen’s $12 million salary for 2009, but
the Mets have doubts whether he can be a full-time player anymore. And
with good reason. Guillen ranked as one of the worst defensive
outfielders in the majors last season,
according to UZR
(Ultimate Zone Rating) and he completely collapsed against left-handed
pitching, batting just .181/.245/.309 with four home runs and nine RBI
in 94 at-bats.




Forget that Guillen is often viewed
as a malcontent, having played with nine different teams in 13 seasons.
If he was productive, nobody would care. However, aside from his 2003
campaign, Guillen has been merely average or worse throughout his
career. His 5.1% career walk rate almost touches Francoeur territory.
And imagine if the Mets signed Bengie Molina and his 4.0% career walk
rate? Five through nine of that lineup would be scary, and not in a good
way.

Dealing the inexpensive Pagan for Guillen would be the very
definition of half-witted, so I don’t see much to this one. Mets fans should hope that he is pretty low
on the contingency plan if a contract for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay doesn’t pan out.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.