Positive or negative?

On one hand, perhaps baseball’s worst bullpen has been improved. The Mets blew 29 save opportunities last season, but the additions of Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz has to close the one-game gap on the Phillies assuming all else is equal.

That’s the strongest positive.

Another positive is the time Daniel Murphy  spent last season in the majors and the addition of Tim Redding improves the fifth spot in the rotation. The overall depth of the bullpen is better.

The rest isn’t so much glaring negatives as they are questions. Yes, if there’s no improvement from Luis Castillo, that becomes a glaring negative.

The following Q and A gives a thumbnail perspective of the other hand.

Q: How’s Johan Santana’s knee?
A: Nothing negative to report, but we’ll know when he he gets on the mound.

Q: How’s John Maine’s shoulder?
A: Reports are surgery went well and he should be ready for spring training. But, we really won’t know until he starts throwing.

Q: Is Mike Pelfrey ready to continue his progress?
A: Sometimes, after a large jump in innings, a pitcher hits a growth wall. We’ll have to see. You can’t just pencil him in for 200 innings and 18 wins. It’s not that simple.

Q: Who is the real Carlos Delgado?
A: Can anyone say for certain it will be the second half Delgado or the first half Delgado?

Q: How healthy is Ryan Church?
A: The Mets say he’s fine, but will be pick up where he left off before the concussion?

Q: How productive will the Murphy-Tatis platoon in left be?
A: The Mets will take what they got last year, but nobody is making any promises.

Add it up, if the Mets produce the same as they did last year, the bullpen improvement should pick up a game on the Phillies. Then again, we don’t know if the Phillies won’t be any better. However, there’s no guarantee the Mets will get the same production, or if it will be better or worse.

Given all this, with the start of spring training less than two weeks out, what’s your confidence level?

33 thoughts on “Positive or negative?

  1. Which is why I gave Omar a B and said outside of the relief pitchers for the 8th and 9th inning it was a paint by numbers approach to the offseason by the GM.

    Without KRod/Putz I give him a C.

  2. Omar gets a “B” at best from me … great job with the bullpen, but we have basically the same position players returning and for all practical purposes, the same starting rotation … OK, Pedro is gone and hopefully the Garcia/Redding tandem is better, but who knows.

    I am a very disappointed Met fan as we start the 2009 season.

    For Omar and the ownership to just assume that the offense is fine based on scoring 799 runs last year is a mystery to me … the Mets need another bat — preferably in LF — which automatically improves the bench with Murphy and Tatis there … does anyone really think that Castillo is the everyday second-baseman?

    Honestly, does either of these lineups really excite you??

    Reyes
    Castillo
    Wright
    Beltran
    Delgado
    Church
    Murphy
    Schneider
    Pitcher

    Reyes
    Church
    Wright
    Beltran
    Delgado
    Tatis
    Schneider
    Castillo
    Pitcher

  3. I give Omar an A.
    He fixed the pen
    The oldest starting pitcher is now Redding at age 31.
    remember last year the Mets had Pedro and El Duque on the team.
    Plus you have Niese ,Parnell and Garcia in reserve.
    Murphy / Tatis will be fine in LF
    why have a farm system if you are not going to use it.
    Who know maybe we will see F-Mart in July.
    Need to look at the glass half full with Church and Delgado.
    Castillo scares everyone.
    The hope is if Hudson does not get any good offers he will wait till April or May.
    If Castillo bombs big time, then sign Hudson.
    Catching is adequate for now but will have to be addressed before 2010.
    My surprise bench guy this season will be Bobby Kielty. In his career he always hit LH pitching well but was lousy against RH pitching. Kielty will be the 5th OF and right handed bat off the bench.

  4. For a lot of Met fans, Omar and the Wilpons are bums because they didnt bring Manny in. I give them an A-. There are questions on the mets just like there are on any other team. Take the Phillies:
    1. How is Utley going to be affected by his injury?
    2. Can the elderly Moyer repeat his 16 win performance?
    3. Can Lidge come close to his perfect save season?
    4. Will Myers be the one who was sent to the minors or the one who came back much improved?
    5. Will Jimmy Rollins say the Phillie fans suck if they boo him for being late again?
    6. How will Romeros suspension affect the bullpen?

    Everything went right for them last year. A lot went wrong for the Mets. Bullpen is going to be much better. That will take a lot of pressure off everyone else.

  5. …. and just to add to my concern about the 2009 team and offense in particular:

    While there is power potential in the lineup — Carlos Delgado will have a big say in exaclt how much — and how CitiField plays is still in question, the amazing 2008 offense that was tied for 2nd in the NL with 799 runs scored hit 172 home runs ( tied for 13th in MLB w/Orioles). The Phillies hit 214 (#2 in MLB) and the Marlins hit 208 (#3 in MLB.

    - the Mets batted .253 with RISP (#24 in MLB)
    - with RISP and 2-out that average drops to .223 (25th in NL)
    - with the bases loaded, the Mets’ average was .216 (29th in MLB)

    These numbers don’t lie, and the lineup is basically the same heading into 2009 as it was last season.

  6. (4) In response to your question #5…. The Phillie fan suck no matter what Rollins says.
    As for Minaya grade. I give him A- on pen. Putz is not the guarantee everyone is making him out to be. An injury plagued year and the worst since he was a rook. A+ for ridding the team of Heilman and Schoen. Even if Putz is fine it still a pen with 5 question marks and a Feliciano as the Loogy who was pretty bad last year..
    Starters: C+ maybe a B- I do like Redding as a 5 ….If you watched the Nats play defense his ERA has to come down.
    Offense: F…. No change is usually a mistake in baseball.
    Bench is a D: Easley was a good sub and pinch hitter, but Cora can play more positions. But any GM who hasn’t cut Marlon Anderson does not get a good grade on the bench.

    Delcos: What team doesn’t have a ton of questions.

  7. Just for the record Ray (#4) … I do not consider either Omar or the Wilpons “bums” … I appreciate what they have done — especially a projected $138M payroll imvestment — in the 2009 Mets.

    However, I am stating my honest opinion here … I strongly believe the Mets needed to address the 2009 offense and they did not even try.

    I think this is shortsighted on management’s part and in my opinion, the grade of “B” I offered in #2 is valid.

  8. roksolidmets(2)

    I’ll take door number 2.

    I want Church early in the lineup. He has a bit of speed and can hit.

    I want Castillo hitting #10, but I’ll settle for #8.

  9. I do not see how you guys give the GM an A.

    Other than Putz/KRod the team is the same as last year.

    Did we not fail 3 years in a row? With the market in our favor, and presumably whatever players we need to be better affordable we laid an egg.

    Our lineup is mediocre, we lack a RH bat and our bench sucks.

    Oh yeah. Our rotation and OF need to wait till we see them play before we know if the season is lost by May or we have a chance for October.

    Not exactly an A.

  10. Dave (#8)… both scare me some … I just put together a couple of sample lineups — one with Murphy in LF and the other with Tatis in LF.

    If Castillo bats 2nd, the lineup is not all that bad but that block of leftys is scary … with tatis, the 7-8-9 is atrocious.

    Frankly, I don’t see how Castillo could be the #2 batter but I just get the sense he will be there barring injury on opening day.

  11. (7) Ok Rok, Forget Manny. Name the player or players you think Omar should have brought in.

  12. Ray (#11) … there are so many variables involved with answering your question. How can I state definitievly that Pmar should have “brought in” any specific player …. that is not my point …. my point is that he never even consifdered an offesnive upgrade.

    To even try to answer your question I would need to know who was available in free agency or via trade? What would other teams want in a trade? etc., etc.

    A trade for a power RH bat in LF (maybe a Dye from CWS) would have been something to pursue … sign Orlando Hudson for 2B might be another option to pursue.

    From all accounts — including Omars own mouth — he approached this off-season serially … (1) Bullpen, (2) Starters, (3) Bench …. he has stated numerous tinmes that the offense is not an issue …

    I disagree …. I think the 2009 offense as currently constructed will be an issue.

    So, I take it that you are 1100% comfortable with the team as currently constructed and belive that this is a Championship team? If so, great — I hope you are right … God knows I spend enough money going to games to want you to be right … unfortunatley, I just don’t see more than 85 wins and a 2nd/3rd place finish out of this squad ….

  13. (11) Sadecki: I ain’t the Rok, but I would have signed Burrell. He’s only 32 and got I think a 2 year deal. He hits over 25 HRs a year and by having him here he’d never hit one against us again. Then I would have traded Church for more releif pitchers and given Murphy the other outfield spot, It would give us the ability to move Burrell to first in 10 or Murphy or Evans, and made one of them very tradeable at the ame time, making room for F-mart and given us more of a lefty/righty balance in ’09. Church has never produced over a full year. He has shown that he can’t bounce back from any injury neither here or in DC.
    (8) dave: If Castillo has his legs the # 2 spot works. He’s patient and can advance Reyes if he’s not stealing. Even with his horrible year last year he had an OBP of 355 and stole 17 bases. Of course if he continues to slide I think the # 10 spot you propose is too high!

  14. Harry(14)

    I didnt like Castillo last year.

    He couldnt hit. Stood at the plate with the bat on his shoulder. If Church ( who you said you don’t like ) can play like he did early in the year, he has a bit of pop, runs better than avg and had a good average. That is why I liked him at #2. It makes the lineup better. I rather hide castillo in 7 or 8 even if he is hitting 290 or whatever.

  15. roksolidmets(10)

    I agree 7/8/9 is terrible. I guess the lineup would change and you might be able to hide castillo at #2, but I prefer a productive hitter at #2 making the first 6 something to worry about and just give up an inning twice a game..

  16. (15): Can we get rid of both and then we’d both be happy? I’d like to get rid of both catchers as well but there’s not much out there in Catcher land except in Texas apparently. There’s not much out there at 2B either. I haven’t seen this Hudson much but there sure seems to be a lot of negative about him going downhill fast.

  17. 1) Santana-Agree with you JD. Not a problem until it becomes one

    2) Maine-I’m not worried about him, but we all do need to see him healthy and throwing pain-free with his usual velocity to say definitively.

    3) Pelf-I think he’s going to be a key contributor to this team. Only thing that holds him back is a possible injury. Otherwise, on a good team, he’s a 12-16 game winner with a mid-3 ERA and an innings eater. Maybe better on occasion.

    4) Delgado-I don’t get this. In three years as a Met, his “worst” was ’07 when he had 24 homers and 87 RBI while missing 23 games. Yes, he was horrendous the first 2+ months last year, but why is a borderline HOFer who has had one “bad” season in his career a question mark? Age may take a toll, but it has nothing to do with “which Delgado” shows up. The real one is the one who’s been a deadly hitter his entire career.

    5) Church-Big key to the offense. Assuming he’s healthy and plays everyday, could be a .275 20 90 guy with the multiple RBI opps he should get in front of him. But a mystery until he proves it.

    6) Murphy/Tatis-I expect Murphy to play well..not at the level of last year, but well. Though I expect power from Tatis, I don’t think he’ll be nearly as productive in ’09. I think the Mets can ultimately get by with this platoon because of their other offensive players, but actually counting on it when there are viable options out there for pennies on the dollar is taking a risk a big-market team shouldn’t have to take.

    I think they’ll be right there and *should* make the playoffs. Then again, they should have last year and the year before too.

  18. Chiti (11) I appreciate that you have at least given a thought out answer. I see your point about needing a righty, but Burrell doesnt hit so many home runs off the Mets anymore and I dont like his game. Church is a much more all around player. He hit 43 doubles in ’07. Id say he was healthy then. Rok (12) I would say this team is way better than last year. Better BP, more pitching depth and better manager is worth at least 7-8 wins in my book. Put me down for 95 wins.

  19. Ray (#19) … just curious, are you suggesting I did not give a well thought out answer?

    On your comment about about 7-8 more wins, I repeat an earlier comment made in another section — I hope you are right.

  20. (19): Burrell will not hit many homers this year for sure against the Mets. Here’s what I liked about him. He was a truly hated player in Philadelphia and yet he always had about the same kind of year. He also goes on those super hot streaks that can carry a team like Delgado did for a couple months last year. Anyway, a guy who could be oblivious to the fans in Philly would have easily survived Queens. He is also loyal to his teammates. When poison Wagner started bad mouthing his mates, Burrell shot him down and undressed him in public. when poison pulled that crap on OP, not a player came to OPs side. And Look at his numbers they were close to the same in the old park and the new park. He is very consistent, albeit not great. A lot of people want Dunn, but Burrell is a much better player. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. We have Church and Tatis and Murphy again.

  21. Rok (20)In a word, yes.

    To even try to answer your question I would need to know who was available in free agency or via trade? What would other teams want in a trade? etc., etc.

    A trade for a power RH bat in LF (maybe a Dye from CWS) would have been something to pursue … sign Orlando Hudson for 2B might be another option to pursue.

    Now look at Chitis. He has everything mapped out. I like your answer a whole lot better than the one mr.met gave me last week, though. :D

  22. Since this is most likely the team that will go to spring training. I think it is better in some ways than the 2006 team at the same time.
    Ray you estimate of 95 wins is realistic.

    The best news is that Omar will have some chips to spend at the trade deadline to fix whatever needs to be fixed.

  23. I give Omar a B.
    Ryan church needs to play and boost his confidence. we need a first baseman. Because if the “other” Carlos shows up then that Carlos needs to be benched or moved way down the lineup. (MrMet) Delgado had more than 1 bad season back to back.
    Ollie will need to be wrangled and pitch consistently.

    I am confident we will see the thrilling ball we call the Mets. they will drive us nuts with the ups and downs. Will we win? I hope so! :-)

  24. (25) SteveC- When did he have more than one bad season b2b?? The second half of ’07 is actually when he started hitting. The first half of ’08 was horrible. Even in ’06 when his overall nos. were solid, he was streaky.

    The guy is just a streaky player at this point in his career. I hate to say it, but unless he discovers his play from 10 years ago, he’s going to have weeks where he does little and then a week where he carries the team.

  25. JD: I’m not sure how much of an improvement Tim Redding is going to be. I know he had a foot injury, but after starting out strong in April and May he was awful the last 4 months of the season. Redding was 4-8 with a 5.68 ERA from June 1 until the end of the season as opposing batters hit him at a .302 clip. Oh, and that was with 5.4 runs per game support.

  26. (23) One reason. All the guys who wanted Lowe, should have wanted this guy. Same MO. Plus, good protection for Wright/Beltran if Delgado shows his age. Phils will miss him.
    (24) Gotta disagree about being better than in 06. We are worse at C, 1B, 2B, RF. We are not better at any position. The pen is worse than 06. That 06 pen was very deep. This one isn’t. Maybe the rotation but that rotation was battered by injuries and thisrotation isd coming in with lots of ???? So that is only maybe that I can see. That team also benefitted from a very weak NL that year, as was shown in interleague play.

  27. Chiti. We wont know for sure until the season is over, but Just the pitching staff itself will be a huge improvement over ’06. In 2006 Glav and Pedro got off to great starts then Pedro got hurt. Does anybody miss tracshel? Dont forget Lima time and the parade of other scrubs who tried to fill the end of the rotation. Maine was a Godsend in the midseason. OLD duque was a help, but of course he broke down when we needed him most.
    Now we have a young stud ace in santana and a young starting staff with lots of upside behind him and depth at the minor league level which hasnt happened since the 80′s.

  28. (29,30): I’ll give you the staff if they are all OK. The ’06 staff would have been OK to if Pedro, Bannister stayed healthy. And someone does mis Trax; the concession sales guys. Plenty of time to get on line and not miss anything,
    No, I don’t put Green over Church. I put Nady over Church. He did a fine job. If the Yanks would trade him here, I’d put him in either RF or LF without blinking.

  29. I think that 2006 team was two different teams. The first half team was tremendous. In the second half injuries and age took a toll. No more Pedro, then Sanchez is gone, forcing a trade of Nady, then bringing in Green. Valentins miracle comeback petered out. Almost forgot about uncle Cliffy, who Willie insisted play every day until his legs gave out. At least this years team will be a lot younger. BTW old friend Julio Franco will coach one of the Mets A teams this year.

  30. (32): You sure he’s not going to be given a chance to compete with Marlon for the last PH job? HaHa!