Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 17, 2004
BASEBALL: Closing the Chapter

Sad but encouraging news yesterday, as the Mets let Al Leiter go after a desultory attempt to re-sign him on the cheap. Leiter will be remembered well by Mets fans not only for quality pitching but also for being an all-around gritty, emotional guy who took his job seriously, bonded with the fans and was always accessible to the media. No game he pitched was bigger or better than the utterly dominating 2-hit shutout he threw at the Reds in a 1-game playoff for the Wild Card in 1999.

On the other hand, the team needs a new direction, and tossing overboard a 39-year-old who's been known to meddle in the GM's business is a must. Leiter was still very effective this season, but his durability is questionable - he's thrown less than 190 innings three of the last four years - and he's playing an unsustainable game by nibbling around the corners, walking more batters and striking out fewer:

YearBB/9K/9K/BB
20003.298.652.63
20012.216.823.09
20023.047.582.49
20034.686.921.48
20045.036.061.21

It's to Leiter's credit that he's managed the guile and guts to stay effective against such an evident pattern of declining ability, but he can't keep it up much longer. Let the Yankees have him back.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:59 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Iíll miss Leiter quite a bit, but the Mets do need to get younger.

Of course, Iíd feel better about it if they werenít simultaneously bending over backwards to bring in 36-year-old Sammy Sosa.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at November 17, 2004 10:04 AM

It was all Leiter could do this past season to gut out five innings -- and five innings where he was forced on more than one occasion to work himself out of some horrible messes.

I'd love to see him come back to the team as a broadcaster. After his turn with Fox during the ALCS, I really missed what he had to say during the Series.

Posted by: Eric at November 17, 2004 12:22 PM

Thank God I don't have to watch another Al Leiter outing where he runs a 3-2 count on practically every batter only to barely make it to the 5th inning. Let him drive someone else nuts this season.

Hopefully Piazza & Floyd are the next 2 out the door.

Should the Mets trade for that piece of garbage Sammy Sosa, I will be forced to find another team to root for. All we need is another over the hill player who has no heart. Maybe we can find Ricky to bring back to play cards with him in the clubhouse on the 10% of days he does not feel like earning his paycheck. I hope if he comes to Shea the first time he does that idiot hop out of the box, the oppsing catcher bashes his head with the bat.

Posted by: Russ at November 19, 2004 11:33 AM
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