Jun 22

Willie Randolph Deserved Better From Mets

It was nice to see the Yankees honor Willie Randolph, but it was also a reminder of how shabbily he was treated by the Mets during his short tenure as manager. Randolph’s lifetime 302-253 record is the third highest record among Mets’ managers, behind Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine.

RANDOLPH: Back stabbed in the end. (AP)

RANDOLPH: Back stabbed in the end. (AP)

The Mets were on the verge of becoming a National League power when they last made the playoffs in 2006. Their payroll was over $140 million, and this team could hit with a healthy David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

Hitting was no problem, with the primary issues being the back end of the rotation and bullpen, which was exposed in 2007 when the Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining. The Mets also coughed up the NL East on the final weekend in 2008.

The Mets’ pitching began to decline at this time because of injuries and ineffectiveness, and as the team started to lose Randolph found himself unfairly in the crosshairs in 2008. Johan Santana was injured; Mike Pelfrey failed to reach his potential; and Oliver Perez was a mess. In 2008, Randolph’s last season, the Mets used 24 pitchers.

Randolph’s tenure was also sabotaged by the front office, which made increasingly bad acquisitions, but worse spied on the manager as assistant general manager Tony Bernazard was a constant presence in the clubhouse. There were also reports Delgado, who was not a Randolph fan, ripped the manager to Jose Reyes.

So much was going on behind Randolph’s back and he was powerless. That he was fired shortly after midnight after a game in Anaheim – 3 in the morning in New York – was an inevitability.

Too bad, because the last time the Mets were formidable was under Randolph.

 

Jun 20

Not Enamored With Collins’ Decisions Or Reasoning Friday

Jacob deGrom had only thrown 97 pitches when he was pulled in the eighth inning of Friday night’s 2-1 loss at Atlanta. He deserved better, from his defense, his bullpen, and his manager. Come to think about it, he deserved better from his general manager, too.

DE GROM: Should have stayed in. (AP)

DE GROM: Should have stayed in. (AP)

Betrayed is too strong a word, but he was definitely let down. DeGrom took a slim 1-0 lead into the eighth because the Mets’ anemic offense stranded six and was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. This offense has done little for much of the year, and even less the past month.

After Andrelton Simmons doubled to lead off the eighth, most everybody in the park knew Eury Perez was going to lay down a bunt to the third base side. DeGrom pounced on the ball and immediately looked to third, but Ruben Tejada wasn’t by the bag. Had he been there, deGrom would have nailed the runner.

Not a natural third baseman, Tejada botched the play, but manager Terry Collins said he had no problem with his handling of the play.

“We’re trying to get an out there,” Collins told reporters, adding Tejada did the right thing.

I beg to differ. Strongly. Yes, they are trying to get an out, but that out needed to be at third and not first. How were they going to do that if Tejada wasn’t covering third?

I can buy Collins if he was trying to protect the inexperienced Tejada’s fragile ego. But, here’s where I have a problem with GM Sandy Alderson. HIs job is to ensure the Mets have the appropriate talent needed to win games and this is not the first time they’ve been left with a thin bench and poor bullpen choice.

Pedro Ciriaco followed with a grounder to shortstop Wilmer Flores, who took too long looking the runner back to third and couldn’t get the runner at first.

The Braves now had runners on the corners with one out when Collins summoned Sean Gilmartin.

“I thought it was time,” said Collins. Yes, time to lose the game.

DeGrom is the Mets’ best pitcher and only had thrown 97 pitches. Collins mentioned the pitch count, but deGrom’s defense opened the door.

There was nothing deGrom did to warrant being pulled. Collins knows he has an unreliable bullpen with the exception of Jeurys Familia. If deGrom is to be considered ace-like his manager must show him the confidence to make it through the inning.

Collins’ best choice was to stick with deGrom or go to Familia to close the eighth.

Gilmartin was not the best decision, evidenced by Jace Peterson promptly doubling in two runs to waste another good start.

Yes, deGrom deserved better. Much better.

 

Jun 19

Mets Should Sign DeGrom Over Harvey

Should the Mets opt to sign just one of their wunderkind pitchers to a long-term contract, my choice would be tonight’s starter, Jacob deGrom. And, if they opt to trade one, I’d first offer Matt Harvey.

Ideally, after this season they should make a run at signing all three to long-term deals. The money would be high, but not nearly what it will eventually be. They must be aggressive and determined, but do you really see that happening?

DE GROM: A keeper. (AP)

DE GROM: A keeper. (AP)

I can’t say for sure deGrom would be easiest to sign or cost less. That’s a hunch. But, it certainly wouldn’t be Harvey, whose agent, Scott Boras, is known for not leaving any money on the table. Boras’ plan has traditionally been to wait until a player reaches free-agent status and play the market. Undoubtedly, this is what he wants with Harvey, and ideally, he wants to play the Mets against the Yankees.

I’ve said numerous times Harvey yearns to be a Yankee. If I am right, that’s fine, that’s his prerogative, that’s his right, but the Mets shouldn’t get caught up in a bidding war. If they want to keep Harvey for the duration of his career, they need to strike before the market opens. But, I don’t think Boras will let that happen, unless, of course, the Mets would be offering 2019 money, which is the year he becomes a free agent.

I don’t believe that will happen, either. However, if the Mets are as committed to building a winning team as they claim to be, they must dig deep.

The guess here is deGrom and Noah Syndergaard might be easier to sign.

DeGrom (7-4, 2.33) is pitching the best so far this season – he is 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA over his last six starts – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He could have won another had his defense and bullpen not coughed it up for him tonight.

There’s a lot to like about deGrom, including his mound composure, command and ability to locate his pitches. Harvey has those things, too, but this year his command has been off as evidenced by all the home runs he’s given up.

So, if it boils down to one in deGrom vs. Harvey and whom to keep, I’m going with deGrom. He has about the same amount of talent, could be financially a better investment, is not a diva, and ultimately, I can’t shake the belief Harvey’s heart is really in the Bronx.

That’s what I believe. I also believe if the Mets had to trade one, my first choice would be Harvey for the same reasons.

Jun 18

What Is The Value Of Colon?

Watching the Mets unravel tonight behind Bartolo Colon brought to mind the obvious questions: Should they trade him and what could they get in return?

Since the Mets, as erratically as they have recently played, are sitting on top of the NL East, there should be no rush to make a trade. However, should Steven Matz emerge as the Mets anticipate, the prospect of trading Colon becomes very real.

COLON: What is his value?

COLON: What is his value?

If the Mets stay in contention, then no, they should keep him. However, if they are fading – a possibility with their offense – then they should get whatever they can.

How Colon has pitched so far – excluding tonight – would undoubtedly be attractive to a contender who believes ten solid starts could make the difference making the playoffs and an early winter. And, the balance of Colon’s $11-million contract would be a minimal investment for a chance to play in October.

However, he’s 42 and not signed beyond this season. He would strictly be a rental, and unless he’s part of a big package, I can’t see the Mets getting more than a mid-level prospect at best. That’s the value of 42-year old pitchers.

If the Mets are willing to accept that – and GM Sandy Alderson always wants more which explains in part their inability to deal – then he’s gone. So, if they are holding out for more, they’ll be waiting a long time. The Mets’ best hope for Colon is to win themselves, because his real value to them comes when he’s on the mound.

 

Jun 17

Gee Deserves Better … Hopefully He’ll Get It Elsewhere

Unfortunately, the relationship between Dillon Gee and the Mets represents the norm in the player-team relationship.

The Mets have acquiesced to just about everything Harvey wants, and the decision to scrap the six-man rotation – designed to preserve his arm – is eventually what cost Gee his job.

GEE: Hopefully he'll land somewhere. (AP)

GEE: Hopefully he’ll land somewhere. (AP)

The Mets first sent Gee to the bullpen, then subsequently designated him for assignment, which is the first step to outright departure, either by trade or minor league assignment.

If the Mets are unable to work out a trade, they will surely stick him back to Triple-A Las Vegas where he will be at their disposal should somebody get injured or Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz – when they eventually bring him up – spit the bit.

To be sure, Gee has not pitched well this season, in part because of a groin injury, but for the most part he has been more than a serviceable starter for the Mets. What was it … over 50 straight starts of at least five innings?

Hopefully other teams were paying attention, for example, Toronto, which is in need of pitching. The Mets could have traded Gee if they wanted, but GM Sandy Alderson was more determine to hold up the other team and nothing was done.

Hopefully, Alderson learned from this winter and realizes there’s limited interest in Gee. Perhaps he’ll then take what he can get and let Gee go to an organization that can really appreciate him.

Gee deserves it.