Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Can Chris Carter be the next Quadruple-A sensation?

Perhaps you remember Kevin Maas' thunderous arrival in the major leagues, back in 1990. Or Shane Spencer, in 1998. Or Shelley Duncan, in 2007.

You're a Mets fan? Then you surely reflect fondly upon hearing "Mike Jacobs" and "2005," right?

We are talking, of course, about the Quadruple-A sensation. The old-ish slugger who arrives on the scene with low expectations, pops a bunch of homers, gets the home crowd riled up and fades away almost as quickly as he arrives. Of the four gentlemen we just mentioned, Maas was 25 when he struck gold, Spencer 26, Duncan 27 and Jacobs 24 - which explains why Jacobs still had a little "prospect" vibe to him before the Mets smartly sold high and included him in the package for Carlos Delgado.

Following their frustrating loss to the Nationals last night, the Mets designated Smithtown's Frank Catalanotto for assignment and recalled 27-year-old Chris Carter from Triple-A Buffalo. Catalanotto spoke afterward of retirement.

For Mets fans, however, the focus understandably is not on Catalanotto, but on Carter, who has been tearing it up at Triple-A Buffalo.

Can Carter, who had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2008 and 2009, be the next Jacobs?

It's asking a bit much of Carter to put up the sort of instant numbers  Jacobs did five years ago. For one point, Carter won't get the same sort of opportunity. But he'll be pinch-hitting plenty, and maybe he'll even get a start in one of the corner outfield spots against a righty. Neither Jeff Francoeur nor Jason Bay is distinguishing himself at the moment.

If Carter does start poking homers at an impressive rate? Then the Mets can't fall too head-over-heels in love, like they did last year with Omir Santos, or like the Yankees did when they regarded Duncan as a useful piece in 2008 only to see him falter. They have to remember there's a reason Carter is so old and shows such little big-league experience on his resume.

But now we're getting ahead of ourselves. The Mets made the right call in seeing what Carter has, even if, as usual, that call came considerably later than when their fans wanted it to happen.

--For my column, I offered advice to the Mets regarding future moves. For my first-edition column, I suggested calling up Carter and releasing Catalanotto. It's apparent that the Mets have access to Newsday.com and read that. So maybe they'll release Gary Matthews, Jr., also.

We knew at the time that the "Maybe Matthews just needs a fresh start" logic was highly questionable. Now, it's time to give up.

--I get that Bay strikes out a lot. The numbers show it. If you look at his career numbers and his 2009 numbers, you can see that he's not whiffing at a higher rate than normal this year.

What does strike me, though, is how many of those Ks result from at-bats in which Bay looks like he just doesn't have a chance. It's not like he's making the pitcher work. Case in point: Bay's game-ending strikeout last night, which featured a quick, four-pitch at-bat against the Nats' unimposing closer-for-a-night Miguel Batista.

The Mets haven't seen a bona fide Bay hot streak yet. They could use one.

--Speaking of strikeouts. Bob Klapisch writes about the preponderance of them. Thanks to Klap for putting his column on Twitter, which is where all of the cool kids hang out.

--I didn't see the Yankees game, aside from some highlights, but apparently this theme of "Tigers get the better of the Yankees" recurred. We need more time to see how the Curtis Granderson-Austin Jackson trade plays out, yet it is amusing to note that Brian Cashman has never "won" a trade with Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski.

When Dombrowski ran the Marlins, he acquired Mike Lowell from Cashman for three pitchers who didn't pan out. Then, in 2002, the Yankees picked up Jeff Weaver and the Tigers Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Pena (and the A's Ted Lilly) in an ill-advised deal. And after the 2006 season, Cashman swapped Gary Sheffield to Detroit for three more pitchers who did nothing. The Kyle Farnsworth-for-Ivan Rodriguez deal proved equally terrible for both sides.

Meanwhile, Joe Girardi says it's too early to judge the Yankees' decision to sign Nick Johnson instead of Johnny Damon. Joel Sherman writes that you can see how the Yankees miss Damon.

--Javier Vazquez returns to the mound for the Yankees tonight.

--Interesting piece here by the Associated Press, on teams that scout umpires.

--An ill Dontrelle Willis didn't start against the Yankees last night, yielding to Brad Thomas.

--Speaking of Kevin Maas, NoMaas points out that Derek Jeter is not performing very well at the plate. Once again: Jeter's 2010 will absolutely matter when the time arrives to negotiate an extension. The Yankees will not be handing over a blank check.

--Strong column by Larry LaRue, of The News Tribune in Tacoma, on Ken Griffey, Jr., who is purportedly in his final days with the Mariners. We were baffled at the time why the Mariners would bring Griffey back. Too bad it seemingly has to end like this.

Tags: Johnny Damon , Chris Carter , Mike Jacobs , Kevin Maas , Shelley Duncan , Shane Spencer , Ken Griffey , Jr. , Carlos Delgado , Mike Lowell , Brian Cashman , Dave Dombrowski , Jeff Weaver , Ted Lilly , Jeremy Bonderman , Carlos Pena , Gary Sheffield , Kyle Farnsworth , Ivan Rodriguez

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