Aug 24

Free fall personified by non-slide

The freefall some have been waiting for all season is here. After being blown out last night in Philly for the second straight game, the Mets have lost 17 of their past 22 games. Some were in excruciating style. Some, like the past two games, were simply ugly.

PAGAN: Shameful display.

Nothing was more ugly, or discouraging than Angel Pagan’s non-slide into the plate to open the game.  He was either lazy, stupid, not paying attention or faked out by catcher Brian Schneider. Your choice which is worse.

He should have been benched on the spot. When you stop thinking, you stop trying, and there appears no stopping the Mets in their fall to the basement.

To me the whole night was summed up by that play. He should have put Schneider on his butt. It was the type of play Pagan made two years ago excuses were made for his inexperience. Those excuses don’t apply any longer. Probably, with Scott Hairston injured, Terry Collins had no other choice but to start him today.

Ugly was also compounded by the loss of Jon Niese with a rib cage pull. Niese iitially injured his back last week in San Diego, and aggravated it pitching to Hunter Pence last night.

He admitted he should have said something, but didn’t. Just a dumb, dumb thing to do.

Niese has been in a funk for awhile, with a 6.82 ERA over his last six starts, lasting an average of 5.1 innings. If he’s been hurting even before San Diego, then add another dumb to the list.

The Mets are now at the point with Niese that they should consider shutting him down for the season. Seriously, what’s to be gained by throwing him out there again?

Niese wasn’t the only disappointment last night.

The frustration started early when they stranded five runners in the first two innings courtesy of five strikeouts. All of them looking.

Defensively, this was a spring training game with players over throwing the cutoff men and going to the wrong base.

The only positive coming out of last night was Lucas Duda’s continued hot inning. He was in right field last night where he should have been for the past two weeks.

He’ll be in right again this afternoon when the Mets try to avoid being swept. Mike Pelfrey will have the honors.

I don’t know about you, but I have little faith in Pelfrey today, and with good reason: He has a 7.58 ERA in two defeats against Philadelphia this year.

Here’s this afternoon’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Ruben Tejada, SS

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Nick Evans, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Justin Turner, 2B

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

Aug 23

Salvaging the season. Duda in right tonight.

The Mets will take the field shortly in an effort to avoid falling eight games below .500. After stumbling out of the gate, the Mets have been playing competitive baseball for a good part of the summer.

August has been a disaster.

The Mets have a little over five weeks remaining before winter, but David Wright said there’s a lot to play for.

“We just can’t allow ourselves to just play out the season,’’ David Wright said. “It’s obviously a bad situation to begin with. And the last thing you want to do is just go out there and play the games for the sake of playing the games. Hopefully people realize that there’s a lot on the line going into next year, and we clean some things up and get some things going.’’

After missing two months with a stress fracture in his lower back, one might think Wright is trying to salvage 2011 from a statistical perspective, but collectively the rest of the season is to set up 2012. Wright isn’t about the stats as much as he is trying to establish a mentality to build on.

For one, Terry Collins said he wants to see more of Lucas Duda in right field, something he’s hinted at several times. Duda will be in right field tonight, and Collins said he’ll play there more often with the rosters are expanded in September.

Aug 22

August 22 lineup at Philly

It’s always interesting when the Mets play the Phillies, but unfortunately since the teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum there’s little steam to the rivalry.

The Mets make their final trip to Philly beginning tonight, with Dillon Gee going against Cliff Lee.

Here’s the Mets’ batting order:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Scott Hairston, RF

Ronny Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Dillon Gee, RP

Comments: Once again, Lucas Duda is at first base instead of right field. Assuming Ike Davis is healthy next season, he’ll play first base. However, the Mets do not have a right field option.

Terry Collins has hinted, but won’t pull the trigger on Duda playing right field for the rest of the season. Why? I don’t know.

With the competitive part of the year over, this is when the Mets should be looking for some answers, and one of them is where Duda should play.

I’d also like to see Jason Bay in the second spot of the order, as Collins also suggested earlier this year, but never tried.

 

Aug 22

Mets Crossfire: The Jose Reyes Dilemma

In a new feature that we will be doing from time time to time, myself and Joe D. from Metsmerized.com will do a point/counterpoint on various Mets hot button issues. This week, we share our opposing views on whether the Mets should re-sign Jose Reyes or just cut the cord and move on from him already.

John Delcos On Reyes – Lets Move On From Him Already

In an ideal world, Jose Reyes would stay healthy, be running free and sparking the Mets to the playoffs, as he did in 2006 – five long years ago and the only year in which the team made the playoffs with him.

However, it is not an ideal world and it might take another five years before the Mets see October again. By that time, Reyes would be at the tail end of the longest contract I’d be willing to give the All-Star, but fragile shortstop.

Reyes’ blistering first half took him off the trading block, and his second trip to the disabled list now makes him impossible to deal by the waiver deadline. He might still be disabled by the end of the month and the Mets will forced to settle for the compensatory pick because that’s all they’ll get when he signs elsewhere this winter.

The gamble at a boat load of prospects has passed.

With no chance to move him, the Mets are faced with the paralyzing choice of coming up with a long-term contract north of $100 million to keep Reyes or going the unpopular route and continuing their rebuilding program without him.

I’m inclined to choose the latter, because after all, it is not an ideal world, and the world that has been Reyes saw one playoff berth, several trips to the disabled list and leaving us with a feeling of wanting more than being satisfied with what we had.

Reyes makes his living with his legs and by the end of his contract his salary would become an albatross, much like it was with Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and Jason Bay. He’s not running free now and there’s no guarantee about the future.

That Reyes is breaking down again, as he has the past two years, is not shocking. But, it would be a surprise is if Reyes were to stay healthy for the duration of his deal, whether it be four years, seven, or anything in between. That’s a long shot.

General manager Sandy Alderson should not be seduced by Reyes’ first half and realize numbers in a walk year must be scrutinized carefully. Reyes hasn’t played this well in three years.

Looking at the Mets and it isn’t hard to see next year could be the same as this if the team stays intact and Johan Santana returns. But, even then, there are holes in the rotation and bullpen, a health question in Ike Davis at first, David Wright trying to rebound at third, and questions in all three outfield positions.

Assuming Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler are the real deals, we’re still roughly three years away. And, how healthy Reyes will be then is anybody’s guess.

Perhaps the Wilpon’s financial problems will be resolved by then. Maybe not. However, the $100 plus million it would take to keep the risky Reyes might be better spent on filling the myriad of holes on their roster.

And, with that kind of money, they should do better than the patchwork likes of Chris Young, Willie Harris and R.A. Dickey.

The Mets could move to rebuild with that money, or they could dig themselves into a deeper hole if Reyes doesn’t stay healthy. In his nine major league seasons, he’s only done it four times.

It’s time for the next chapter.

Joe D. On Reyes – Special Players Like Him Are Irreplaceable

While I clearly understand the rationale of those who are unwilling to see the Mets pony up the big bucks to keep Jose Reyes in Flushing, I on the other hand emphatically disagree with that strategy.

For all those who are constantly chirping on our comment threads about rebuilding the farm and building a winning team from within, why are many of those same folks the ones championing the exit of our one homegrown All Star, Jose Reyes?

Did I suddenly wake up this morning and find myself in Kansas City – Where home grown stars are traded or simply allowed to walk once they reach free agency? Is that what the Mets have been reduced to while playing there home games in the largest and richest sports market and the grandest stage in the world?

I don’t think and Bronx Bombers fans had this debate before Derek Jeter signed his first mega-deal in 2001 – a ten year $189 million dollar whopper of a deal. That was ten years ago, right after Jeter put up similar numbers in 2000 (.339 BA, 50 XBH, 22 SB) as Reyes has this season (.336 BA, 36 XBH, 34 SB).

Is the debate really about making the Mets better? Or is this really about money?

Yes, I agree that Jose Reyes is always an injury risk and there is no arguing that point, but does that mean we simply let a team like the Yankees, Phillies or Red Sox take the risk while we play it safe even at the risk of winding up with more egg on our face?

Did we nurture and develop Jose Reyes from a raw 16-year old, just so we can see him play the prime years of his career for one of our rivals?

Even if you were to convince me that letting Jose Reyes walk at the end of the season is a good idea, can somebody please tell me who replaces him at shortstop or at the top of the order? How do you replace a catalyst like Reyes? How do you replace the best shortstop and only All Star on the team?

Ruben Tejada at shortstop? Justin Turner? Angel Pagan leading off? Don’t make me laugh…

This front office already has a daunting task in trying to replace Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez this offseason on top of a dozen other concerns, and you want to add replacing Jose Reyes into that mix?

I’ve already see what this team looks like without Jose Reyes in the lineup, and excuse me for telling you they are dead in the water without him. It will take years and maybe decades before we ever develop another homegrown player like Jose Reyes.

Reyes is probably the best position player the Mets have ever developed in their almost 50 year history. Sure… Let’s just let him walk away… Great idea…

Aug 22

What to do with Pelfrey and Parnell?

It was interesting to hear the Mets are thinking of converting Mike Pelfrey to the closer role. Such a decision touches on two issues, neither of them of an immediate positive nature.

The first, of course, is concerns whether Pelfrey will ever be the dominant starter envisioned of him, and signs of which he flashed last season. The second is their doubts on Bobby Parnell becoming a closer.

PELFREY: Could he be a closer?

Pelfrey has regressed. His command is erratic and he continues to have trouble putting away hitters and closing innings, which is the prime requisite of being a closer, so it  makes me wonder if it will work. Then again, Pelfrey tends to run into trouble the second and third time through the order after hitters have had a chance to look at him. One inning might be the change of scenery he might need. It is definitely worth trying instead of dumping him.

As far as Parnell is concerned, he has trouble in the eighth, so the ninth is alarming.

If the Mets are serious about this, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try the last five weeks of the season. What do they have to lose? After all, does it matter whether they finish in fourth or fifth place in the NL East?

The Mets wanted Parnell to start a couple of years ago, but Jerry Manuel did him a disservice when he yanked him from the rotation when the season was already lost. At the time, Parnell’s problem was commanding his secondary pitches and finding away to work out of jams. He was never going to learn without the opportunity, and when he went back to the bullpen it became easy for him to rely mostly on his fastball.

If there is a possible experiment for Parnell the remainder of the season it could be as a long reliever, where he gets two, maybe three innings.

The Mets’ bullpen is a disaster so looking at Pelfrey is worth a shot. It might provide an indication of what direction to go this winter. With Parnell, there’s not enough time to stretch him out now so if they want to go back to him in the rotation that would be a spring training project.

The Mets don’t figure to spend much this winter again so it doesn’t hurt to look at internal options. There is young talent in the lower minor leagues and Jenrry Mejia is an injury concern, so there’s no immediate help available.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.