Feb 28

“There’s no need to fear … ”

I understand the intent of the Underdog T-shirts, I really do. But, doesn’t anybody think these things through?

UNDERDOG: Really?

By accepting the notion you’re an underdog, by extension, you’re accepting you’re inferior. As David Wright said, it only underscores the low expectations outside the organization. Why would you want to to embrace that?

Sure, at the end of the season if they made an incredible run into contention, then go for it as a rallying cry. But to enter the season on that notion isn’t a sound admission. In reality, it’s just a gimmick, and gimmicks never won anything. It’s cute, and cute is for kittens and not baseball teams.

More to the point, claiming underdog status is difficult for a New York team to do, especially one with a new stadium and since 2006 has maintained one of the top payrolls in the game. Claiming to be an underdog now only highlights the team’s downward slide.

 

Feb 27

Fred: “ … we intend to own the franchise for a very long time.”

Whether he was speaking out of defiance or knowledge, Mets owner Fred Wilpon vowed he wasn’t parting with his team. Period.

“Well, (Mets fans) shouldn’t be concerned about us owning the franchise, because we intend to own the franchise for a very long time,’’ Wilpon said this morning in Port St. Luice. “Whether they’re happy about that right now or not, I don’t know. Don’t forget, we cut a lot of payroll that wasn’t producing.’’

JEFF and FRED: Keeping the reins on the Mets.

That much is true, as gone are Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. Also gone are Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, but they were productive Mets last season.

Wilpon reiterated the refrain often sung by the Mets in recent seasons in hoping for bounce back seasons from the injured (Johan Santana, Ike Davis and David Wright) and the non-producing (Wright, Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey). If all those things are realized and GM Sandy Alderson’s patchwork bullpen is productive, the Mets could overachieve.

Perhaps the key personnel issue facing the Mets this year is Wright’s future and Wilpon said he wants him to stay. He did not, however, say he’ll do everything in his power to make sure he stays.

Reyes, Wilpon said, was more a baseball decision than it was an economic choice, although the two are linked. Based on Reyes’ frequent injury history, Wilpon was leery of a long-term deal to Reyes. Wilpon said $100 million was on the table, but was linked to incentives such as games played and at-bats, which Reyes turned down. The rejection spoke more of Reyes than it did Wilpon.

Ideally, the Mets would like to build around a relatively young core and ride out the Santana and Bay contracts. If those two are healthy and productive they could help the Mets overachieve and draw a few more fans, and in the process, not make it necessary to deal Wright. Then Bay and Santana can be cut loose are their contracts expire to give the Mets more flexibility.

Feb 26

Hope it isn’t lip service from Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey came out and admitted it right away. Usually, when he pitches poorly – which was often last season – he’ll acknowledge his flaws.
Speaking to reporters in Port St. Lucie, Pelfrey threw high heat at himself.

PELFREY: He can't just look serious this season.

“I want to play this game for as long as I can and I can’t do that with having the kind of year I had last year,” Pelfrey said. “Going into the offseason, it kind of hits you like, ‘Man, what happened?’ So you go through it, you learn from it and you try to get better. I’m more determined not to let that happen again. Obviously, I need to have a good year or . . . I might not be back.”

Bingo on that part.
Pelfrey has not progressed has hoped for several reasons, including, 1) he loses concentration and poise when things start to unravel, 2) his command can be erratic, 3) his pitch selection is bad (he doesn’t always have to agree with the catcher), 4) he doesn’t command his secondary pitches consistently.
Feb 24

Don’t appearances count for something?

I admit, it’s not my money so the Mets can do whatever they want with theirs. Even so, to pay upwards of $3,000 an hour to charter a helicopter to watch the Knicks last night was in poor form.

This is a team in financial distress and they splurge like that? The statement was the funds didn’t come from the team, so Wilpon must have foot the bill. I don’t see Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson paying for it.

Either way, it just looks bad considering their position.

If you want to take a helicopter, fine. But, don’t land it on the field and be so blatant. They could have taken off from a different location. It just looks cheesy when your team is in such a financial mess and did little in the offseason to get better.

Like going to the unemployment office in a Mercedes.

By the way, the judge’s ruling about making a trial decision regarding the Ponzi scandal means little in the grand scheme of things. Whatever happens, there will be further filings and appeals. This won’t end in March with a full resolution. This will drag on and the Mets will have to get by on what they already have beyond this year.

Or get by on that plus Scott Kazmir. Their former prospect will throw for them today in camp. The Mets are one of six teams interested. If not him, then somebody else because there’s no guarantees on Johan Santana despite his slow progress.

Feb 23

Injuries to the forefront today.

Injury-related news is in the forefront for today in Port St. Lucie, with eyes on Jenrry Mejia, Johan Santana and Ike Davis.

Mejia is scheduled to throw today for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. Kid gloves will be the treatment, Mejia making 15 tosses off the slope of the mound and the catcher stationed well in front of the plate.

Mejia, obviously, is a long way from being ready with no timetable for his return.  Patience must be the key with Mejia, something the Mets have not displayed with him in the past.

The Mets clearly did Mejia a disservice by bringing him up two years ago to work out of the bullpen. That decision was made by Jerry Manuel, who was thinking about his then shaky job security first. Also to blame was GM Omar Minaya, who gave in to Manuel despite the best interests for Mejia was to work in the minor leagues.

Regarding Santana, manager Terry Collins said he expects Santana to be ready for Opening Day.  Maybe he was overcome by the Florida sun, but it’s pointless to make such projections. Santana has already experienced setbacks.

As it is, he’s on his own rehab program for a shoulder injury that traditionally has been difficult to rehab. The Mets have always been poor when it comes to announcing return dates for injured players, with a list that includes Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Duaner Sanchez, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church any others.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything out of Santana is a bonus. It’s best not to expect anything. (That’s why Scott Kazmir will work out for the team tomorrow).

Davis returned to New York for additional testing after an abnormality was found in his physical. Collins said it wasn’t related to his ankle injury and Davis should be in camp today.  I never like the sound of that. The last time I remember a player being summoned for additional tests, Reyes was diagnosed with his thyroid ailment.