Jun 14

Is there a reason to bring Santana back this season?

Come on, did you really expect smooth sailing on Johan Santana’s rehab and comeback attempt for this season?

SANTANA: Will we see him again this year?

Santana shut it down about ten days ago after complaining of soreness in his surgically-repaired left shoulder. He is back to long-tossing on flat ground with the hope of returning to the mound later in the week. Considering how long it took Santana to graduate to the mound from flat ground initially, that’s an ambitious goal.

GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets’ recent success from their rotation removes the urgency to bring back Santana quickly. That comment brings about an interesting conclusion question: If the intent is to bring Santana back soon, shouldn’t the assumption be they are doing it because they believe they can compete for the playoffs, and if this were true, then what is the point of dealing off players at the deadline?

The only other conclusion I can draw from wanting Santana back soon is to ascertain his health with the purpose of dealing him and the remainder of his contract, which is for $24 million next year and $25.5 million in 2013. The Mets hold a $25 million option for 2014 or a $5.5 million buyout. Only a healthy Santana can be traded.

The rehab guideline is to bring Santana to a point where he would be at physically to start spring training, which is a six-week progress.

Conservatively, I would estimate at least another three weeks, barring further setbacks, to where he would reach that point. Such a projection would put us at around July 4, and six weeks on top of that would bring it to around mid-August.

If it lasts much further than that, I wonder it the Mets would consider not bringing him back at all this year. If the team is out of contention, the only reason would be to see where he stands physically in preparation for 2012. And even then, the window would be fairly small to make an accurate decision.

 

Jun 14

Today in Mets History: Mets outlast Maloney.

It was one of those games I had forgotten, but fit in with the wildness and uniqueness of the early Mets. This time they came out on the winning end.

LEWIS: Beats Maloney.

 

On this date in 1965, Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney threw a gem against the Mets with ten innings of no-hit ball and 18 strikeouts. The Mets’ only baserunner came on a leadoff walk to Ed Kranepool in the second. Maloney came out for the 11th inning and gave up a homer to Johnny Lewis, the first batter he faced. He also gave up a single to Roy McMillan later in the inning.

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Frank Lary pitched eight scoreless innings for the Mets that day, giving up five hits and walking one.

Among the notables who played in that game were Pete Rose, Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson for the Reds, and Kranepool and Ron Swoboda for the Mets.

 

ON DECK: Let’s forget about Santana for this year.

Jun 13

Who will represent the Mets at the All-Star Game?

The Mets will have one, perhaps two representatives on the National League All-Star team this summer in Phoenix.

Jose Reyes is having a tremendous season and to date has answered all concerns about his health. It’s his walk year, so a big year isn’t surprising, but it is a big year nonetheless.

Carlos Beltran is also having a good season, but there are too many other good outfielders in the NL that figure to keep him off the team.

One possibility if he keeps it up is Dillon Gee. Should he win another two or three starts, it would be hard to ignore 9-0 or 10-0. The thing about Gee that might work against him is the rule that every team must be represented.

Using that criteria, it could be Reyes who keeps Gee off as the NL leader at shortstop is Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. Often, when the league manager is searching for that player to represent a team he’ll look at pitchers.

 

Jun 13

Tonight’s Mets lineup at Pittsburgh.

Jason Bay is batting fifth tonight in Pittsburgh, so take that Howard Johnson.

I still like the idea of trying him second to see if the fastball theory behind Jose Reyes has some merit.

Once again, the Mets are poised to reach the .500 mark tonight. Here’s the lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Bay, LF

Ronny Paulino, C

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

Jun 13

Today in Mets History: Strawberry delivers vs. Pirates.

Championship teams find a way to win and that’s the way it was for the 1986 Mets, a team loaded with stars and role players.

STRAWBERRY: Clutch in 86.

The Mets won with power and pitching, speed and defense. They were fundamentally sound, and played with grit and guile, but always with a confidence that they knew they were going to win.

On this date in 1986, they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, at Shea Stadium. Dwight Gooden gave up three runs on three hits, but didn’t coast because he walked five. Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez homered of Rick Reuschel, but the Mets needed Darryl Strawberry’s RBI single off Pat Clements in the ninth inning for the game-winner.

After Pittsburgh tied the game with two runs off Jesse Orosco in the ninth, the Mets turned to small ball. Wilson singled with one out, advanced to second on a grounder, then after an intentional walk to Hernandez – the Pirates, like most teams then, feared Mex in the clutch – Strawberry delivered.

And, Strawberry did it frequently. Of his 93 RBI, 19 came in the seventh inning or later when the score was tied or the Mets were ahead or behind by a run. He drove in 28 total when the game was tied at any time.

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