Apr 20

Where’s the light for the Mets?

The Mets didn’t exactly win one for Brad Emaus last night, but in his honor played crappy baseball as they were stuffed by the Houston Astros, a team they should handle.

Guess not.

“Our team has not played well in any aspect,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said last night, narrowing it down. The Mets were supposed to be under talented on the field, but they were supposed to hustle and play sound fundamentally. That was going to keep them competitive.

The foundation is pitching, but the Mets have cracks all over. Jon Niese was behind in the count all evening and it is somewhat of a surprise he only gave up two runs through six innings.

RA Dickey goes tonight. He kept the ball around the plate for the most part last season, but that’s past tense. His control, like that of Mike Pelfrey, is also off. Dickey is no longer a surprise, he no longer sneaks up on teams. Teams are waiting for him.

The bullpen has been a disaster, and now we learn Bobby Parnell has numbness in his middle finger and can’t properly grip the ball. His velocity has been down. So much for him being the eighth-inning set-up reliever and future closer. There are just too many issues for him. Should the numbness persist, the disabled list can’t be far away.

Numbers wise, the Mets are averaging giving up roughly three runs a game after the fifth inning, a clear indictment of their bullpen. On the bright side, Francisco Rodriguez in on a pace to not reach 55 competed games.

But, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Jason Bay is back tomorrow.


Apr 19

Emaus DFA’d; tonight’s line-up.

The Brad Emaus era didn’t last long, as the Mets gave their Rule 5 second base man just 37 at-bats  (.162 with one RBI) to prove himself. Emaus must go through Rule 5 waivers before being offered back to Toronto for half the claiming price worth $25,000. If he clears, the Mets could trade for him and send him to the minor leagues.

EMAUS: We hardly knew you.

I don’t believe the Mets gave Emaus a fair enough shake, with 37 at-bats barely a glimpse. The decision tends to refute the notion the Mets are using 2011 as a throw-away, stop-gap season.

Replacing Emaus will be Justin Turner, who was hitting .300 (12-for-40) with one RBI at Triple-A Buffalo.

The promotion of Turner could open a second base platoon with Daniel Murphy.

Turner is in the line-up, batting eighth in tonight’s game against Houston.


Here’s the line-up:

Jose Reyes, SS

Josh Thole, C

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Ike Davis, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, LF
Justin Turner, 2B

Jon Niese, LP

The Mets must make a roster move Thursday to clear room for outfielder Jason Bay’s activation from the disabled list. Most likely reliever Ryota Igarashi will be send down.


Apr 19

Dealing Beltran, Reyes will be difficult.

The more I think of it, the less I believe the Mets will pull off a significant deal at the trade deadline involving Carlos Beltran and/or Jose Reyes.

REYES: Don't see him, Beltran, going anywhere.

The Mets would love to rid themselves of the balance of Beltran’s contract, but several scouts have reportedly said they couldn’t recommend a trade for the often-injured outfielder based on his age, salary and injury history. Even should Beltran stay upright and hit until late July, there is the fear he could break down as he has in each of the previous two seasons. I see a team not going overboard on the players it would send the Mets, but also envision the reluctance or not wanting to pick up the rest of Beltran’s $18.5 million contract at the end of July.

It would be too risky a move for a contender, especially if there are other alternatives on the market. Why take that risk when the odds are Beltran will hobble again between now and the end of the season? Any team interested in Beltran is likely to wait until the winter when it wouldn’t have to surrender talent and would have the leverage in the money.

For now, the Mets are waiting for a desperate team.

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Apr 18

Collins manages big; Wright gets it.

I loved the way Terry Collins managed yesterday afternoon, using RA Dickey and Chris Capuano in relief. After losing seven straight, Collins pulled out the stops yesterday in how he handled his overworked bullpen. Yesterday was their throw day anyway, so why not use them in the game to take some of the pressure off the pen.

WRIGHT: Brought some smiles yesterday.

The message was also clear to his team that every game is important. It’s something neither Willie Randolph nor Jerry Manuel would have done. There are times a manager might sacrifice a game in April or May to save his pen for later which I understand. But, all too often a manager doesn’t fully utilize a starter’s throw day, which is something Collins did and I hope isn’t reluctant to do again.

I also like how he moved Josh Thole to second. Angel Pagan hasn’t been producing and Collins took advantage of what Thole brings to the table. I also hope Collins sticks with Brad Emaus at second base. This could be construed as an experimental season and I’d like a real look at Emaus. It couldn’t couldn’t hurt.

By this time, you’ve probably seen the video of David Wright playing catch with Braves fans from the field. Wright hasn’t played well recently, but rather than sulk he continued to be a good ambassador to the sport that pays him well. There are a few guys who truly understand their role to the public and Wright is one of them. This guy gets it.

Long after those kids forget what happened in the game, they’ll remember their moment with Wright. Maybe he turned them into Mets fans, who knows? The important thing is he made a memory and there’s no price tag you can put on that.

On the field, however, Wright is again striking out too much and not delivering in the clutch, and twice this week ended games by making the final out with the tying and winning runs on base. I’m not going to bury Wright. He’s not a guy like Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard or Alex Rodriguez, who can carry a team on his back. He’s a hitter at his best when there are others around him producing. He is what he is, and that’s not going to change.


Apr 17

Mets stop slide behind Gee, Thole.

Well, you didn’t think they’d lose them all, did you?

GEE: Gives Mets solid start

The Mets snapped their seven-game losing streak this afternoon behind the strong pitching of Dillon Gee and timely hitting of Josh Thole to beat the Braves, 3-2.

Gee was brought up from Triple-A Buffalo and Thole was elevated to second from eighth in the batting order, and for one afternoon at least all seemed right in the Mets’ universe.

Gee had a rough travel day that included his luggage not arriving, so he had to borrow a glove and spikes. He was called up to replace the disabled Chris Young, and given the state of the Mets’ pitching he should get another start Friday in New York against Arizona. Thole will likely stay in the two hole for a while.

One of the interesting things to come out of the day was the news the Mets considered bringing up Jenrry Mejia to start over Gee. Mejia has been pitching well in the minors, but wisely GM Sandy Alderson eschewed the temptation of Mejia’s crackling fastball to allow him to continue to grow on the farm.

Using Mejia for this start would have come across as a panic move and been reminiscent of a decision from the Omar Minaya era. As bad as the Mets have been lately, it’s still only April and way too early to bag their building plans regarding Mejia.

On another positive note, word is Jason Bay is making progress and could be activated from the disabled list Tuesday.