Nov 08

2011 Player Review: Mike Pelfrey

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets.

Today we begin a series on the Mets where we will take a look at each player from the 2011 season beginning with arbitration eligible players and Mets free agent players. Each day we will focus on a new player in a point/counterpoint debate on who the organization should keep or cut loose. Today we start with Mike Pelfrey.

MIKE PELFREY

THE SKINNY: Will it ever happen for Mike Pelfrey? Big things were expected from Pelfrey when the Mets made him their first-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2005. However, Pelfrey is 50-54 with a 4.40 ERA lifetime, including 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA last season.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: He’s still relatively young, inexpensive and has an upside. The Mets have precious little depth in their rotation and their prospects are years away.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: After parts of six seasons, Pelfrey has a losing record and appears to have regressed from 2010, when he won 15 games.

JOHN’S TAKE: Pelfrey has become frustratingly inconsistent during his Mets’ career, almost to the point where Oliver Perez comparisons are being made. Pelfrey appeared to have a breakout year in 2010 when he won 15 games, but last year took a giant step back into his previous world of losing focus and command. At this point of this career, Pelfrey is a No. 3 starter at best, but the reason to keep him is that he’s a No. 1 to the Mets.

With Johan Santana coming off surgery, and every other pitcher in the Mets’ rotation having significant issues in terms of health and production, little help on the minor league horizon, and the team not expecting to make a free-agent splash, the Mets don’t have many options other than to bring him back. Pelfrey earned just over $3 million last year, so it isn’t as if he’ll break the bank.

Pelfrey is still young and healthy enough for the Mets to hang on to him, especially since they aren’t expected to make a significant run at contending for the playoffs. At this stage of his career, Pelfrey’s value to the Mets is in the hope he’ll touch his potential. It’s not too late.

JOE’S TAKE: No one player on the current roster infuriates me more than Mike Pelfrey. As a gangster in a gangster movie once said, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent”. That’s how I see Pelfrey – just a big hunk of wasted talent.

In 2010, I had some hope that maybe Pelfrey finally figured things out, but as the season wore on his amazing first half looked more and more like a fluke… Too bad. Pelfrey has had more excuses than wins in the last two seasons. His problems range from the mechanical to the physical to the psychological to the bizarre. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said something about fixing him during Spring Training, but instead he regressed terribly.

When given the Opening Day assignment be Terry Collins, Pelfrey spoke about what it felt like to replace Johan Santana and he said he was up for the challenge and looking forward to it. On Opening Day he folded like a cheap chair. On April 1st he only lasted 4.1 innings against the Marlins allowing five runs, and it got worse from there. Truth be told, if he is still on the team next spring he should not be assured of a rotations spot and he should earn it along with the rest pitchers vying for a spot.

As far as tendering/non-tendering goes, the better question is why didn’t Alderson try and move him last season. Teams take chances on pitchers with potential all the time and if you’re waiting for Pelfrey to boost his value that may never happen while he’s a Met. I could think of a dozen other productive things the Mets could do with $5 million dollars than give it to Pelfrey.

Nov 08

Mets have been fair with Reyes.

To those who believe the Mets haven’t been fair with Jose Reyes, I beg to differ. Reyes is coming off a five-year, $33.75 million contract. Five years ago, when the Mets’ playoff window seemed wide open, they signed cornerstones Reyes and David Wright to long-term deals at a time in their careers when they didn’t have to.

The Mets did so because Reyes was starting to raise a family and was concerned about money. The Mets weren’t being totally altruistic because their belief was Reyes was becoming an impact player and wanted to avoid arbitration and put off free agency.

Signing them young is usually a good move, but in retrospect with Reyes, the case could be made they paid him for three injury-riddled years. Even so, the market has dramatically grown more expensive the past five years, so the reverse is true that the deal might have kept Reyes from getting more.

So, it’s a gamble by each side.

This time, there would be more of a gamble by the Mets because of Reyes’ recent injury history. With Reyes seeking nearly triple of his last deal, that’s a lot of money earmarked for a player with a propensity for breaking down.

While it is true that nobody can realistically expect Reyes to give the Mets a hometown discount and leave money and years on the table, so is the reverse in that how can one expect the team to give extra years and dollars to a player who may not be healthy during his contract?

The wild card in any contract is an injury, and that is the case with Chris Capuano. The Mets took a gamble on Capuano last winter when they signed the left-hander off an injury. The Mets were rewarded when Capuano proved healthy and received a solid season. Now, Capuano wants two years, something the Mets aren’t willing to do.

 

Nov 07

The dealing has begun shaping market for Reyes; Mets miss out on pitching.

Jose Reyes has his first suitor and it isn’t the Mets. As suggested, the Miami Marlins spoke to Reyes, something we knew would happen once friend Hanley Ramirez said he’d be willing to move to third base from shortstop.

CABRERA: Does his trade lessens Giants' interest in Reyes?

Thoughts Ramirez would be wasted at third are nonsense, as his value to the Marlins is as an offensive force. The Mets made no overtures to Reyes during their exclusive negotiating window following the World Series, and aren’t expected to until they see how Reyes’ bidders set the market.

Reportedly, Reyes wants at least $100 million and six years. Sources with the Mets are saying they don’t want to go more than four years at around $18 million.

The Marlins want to move into their new stadium with an impact signing. They have some good, young pitching, but lack a proven leadoff hitter to set the table for Ramirez.

As I suggested, the Mets should view the Marlins and Washington as more a threat to snagging Reyes from them than the Phillies. However, even with the Marlins’ interest, it is premature to think he’s already looking for a home on the beach.

Continue reading

Nov 07

Good for Backman

I like that Wally Backman was finally offered the Mets’ Triple-A managerial job. It appeared Backman would take a bench coach job with Washington, which I said he should take because at the time the Mets didn’t offer him the Triple-A position.

Well, the Mets did offer that job and it is good he stays in the organization.

Backman could learn a lot by working with Davey Johnson, but he would learn significantly more by making his own decisions. Backman would stand to better his future position by managing in Buffalo rather than interning under Johnson.

Of course, we don’t know who will be on the managerial market when Terry Collins leaves, but should Backman steadily progress and he’s still in the organization, it stands to reason he’ll have the inside track for the Mets’ job.

Yes, Backman is showing loyalty to the Mets, and the organization is doing the same for him. But, this is also a business decision for Backman, who realizes his fastest road to the majors goes through Buffalo.

 

 

Nov 05

Will there ever be a new culture?

We heard a lot about the Mets’ culture changing when Sandy Alderson was hired as GM and Terry Collins as manager. The atmosphere changed t0 a degree, but the Mets’ talent level remained roughly the same with once again, the pitching faltered and took the team down with it.

Looking back on the season there were three significant story lines outside of the newness of the front office and manager. The first half when the Mets found themselves over .500, the swirling question was whether, or when, they would deal Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez.

When the pitching went south it was about the thinness of the rotation and weak bullpen, highlighted by not having a closer, who was in Milwaukee because the team feared Rodriguez’s option.

The season was played against the backdrop of the Mets not being able to re-sign Jose Reyes because they wouldn’t want to – or don’t have – the resources to retain the All-Star shortstop.

All three were about money and the Wilpon’s legal and financial troubles because of the Madoff Ponzi scandal. The Wilpons received positive news in the courts that would reduce the damages, but those damages would still be significant. And, it doesn’t help that the team has a $25 million debt to Major League Baseball.

You can change the manager, general manager and upper management and that could change the culture somewhat, but real change begins with ownership and that hasn’t changed. With the budget always an overriding issue, we can never expect things to really change and Mets being an elite franchise.