I was listening to the radio this morning on the way home from the auto body shop – had a little problem this weekend – and the topic was how to fix the Mets.
I could have driven to Ohio and back and not touched on all the issues, but the synopsis was to cut loose Gary Matthews, Fernando Tatis and Oliver Perez – the dead wood they were called – and replace them with warm, eager minor league bodies.
Yup, that will do it.
“It will get the players’ attention,’’ was the conclusion. The Mets are a .500 club for a lot of reasons, the least of which are Matthews and Tatis, who, although hardly productive, don’t play that much to make an impact either way.
The fear is there, but is it any worse than the embarrassment?
The fear is the Mets will cut loose Oliver Perez and he’ll find out what ails him under another pitching coach – maybe worse, it might be somebody in the NL East or The Jacket.
But, is that any worse than the embarrassment of watching Perez make a mockery of the concept of teamwork and force the Mets to play with what is a 24-man roster because of his refusal to accept repeated requests to go to the minor leagues to attempt to iron out his problems?
I would love to see the Mets attempt to suspend Perez for his selfishness for his unwillingness to make himself better, and label it conduct detrimental to the team. If an athlete doesn’t condition himself, doesn’t work out, then the team has some recourse. How is this not the same? How is refusing to go where you’ll get work different?
After starting the week in scintillating fashion with a three-game shutout sweep of the Phillies, the Mets are in danger today of being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s something to mull over: The Brewers had won only six home games this season, and could have half that with a victory today.
It has been a disappointing first two games, with Jerry Manuel pulling Johan Santana after eight scoreless innings Friday and Fernando Nieve spitting the bit yesterday, turning his start into nothing more than a long relief appearance.
It was infuriating to learn Manuel didn’t consult Santana on how he was feeling before yanking him. What a disrespectful thing to do to the ace of your staff.
The Mets will attempt to snap their road doldrums tonight in Milwaukee when Fernando Nieve (1-2, 5.09 ERA) comes out of the bullpen. It’s not as if this is new to him, as he was 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA in seven starts last year before a torn right quadriceps ended his season.
“If he does well, he will continue to get the ball,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “And if we come into a situation where we have too many starters, I think that’s all good, too.’’
The start comes after a rocky May in which had a 7.20 ERA for the month, perhaps brought on by over use. Nieve said he prefers this role.