Feb 13

Where does Castillo fit in the order?

CASTILLO: All eyes on second baseman.

CASTILLO: All eyes on second baseman.

The most scrutinized Met figures to be second baseman Luis Castillo, the player GM Omar Minaya would have unloaded in an instant, but nobody was willing to come up with a bag of balls.

Harsh, yes … but Castillo has $18 million remaining on his contract, and is coming off a horrible, yet, injury plagued season. No Met has more pressure to come up with a fast start.

To put the odds in his favor, Jerry Manuel has to put Castillo in the spot in the order to best utilize his offensive skills, and that’s second. When Castillo is on his game, he can slap the ball around, bunt and work the count …. all which help Jose Reyes when he’s on base.

And, if Castillo is getting on base, he can be a distraction to the opposing pitcher, and as a base stealer, draw more fastballs. All this, of course, is theory based on Castillo’s performance before coming to the Mets.

All eyes are on Castillo this spring, and they won’t miss anything.

Feb 12

Dunn, Abreu off the market …. Mets missed chance.

I’ve been barking about the Mets signing Adam Dunn since the moment Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza walked out of Shea together after the final game ceremonies.

He’s now with Washington for two years at the cost of $20 million, where he’ll get a chance to maul Mets pitching for 19 games this season. Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels for $5 million for one season.

I wanted Dunn for his power and because I’m not convinced the left field platoon of Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy will be the answer. I know Dunn will strike out a lot (not as much as Ryan Howard), but he’ll also hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs. He’ll also take his walks and be on base enough to where he should scored close to 100 runs. Plus, he’d be around to take over when Carlos Delgado leaves.

Abreu is also a consistent run producer. Either would have upgraded the Mets’ offense, which needs a little more pop.

The Mets upgraded their biggest need, which was the bullpen, but 29 blown saves also tells you the games were tight in the late innings. More firepower is needed because the Mets did not sufficiently upgrade their rotation.

Feb 11

Let it stand ….

SHEA: Honor its legacy.

SHEA: Honor its legacy.

There is one remaining wall of what was Shea Stadium that’s still standing. I know it won’t happen, because such decisions are never made on the fly, but I’d like to see it remain standing. It would make a great gesture to the past.

However, the Mets could still honor their Shea history by outlining a replica of the playing field in the parking lot and denote where some of the most memorable plays occurred with statues. Such of Seaver on the mound when he struck out 19 Padres, or Buckner, or the Swododa and Agee catches, of Cleon catching the final out of the 69 Series.

In Atlanta, the Braves have a replica of an outfield wall and mark where Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record, so it’s not like this hasn’t been done before.

Feb 09

I want the damn asterisk

Of course, it isn’t fair players from the steroid era are all painted with the same brush of suspicion and scorn reserved the cheaters. It’s painful players who had nothing to do with steroids are lumped in with the others just because they played in this era.

It’s not fair, but since when is “fair” ever the issue?

There was the dead ball era, the lively ball era, the pitching era (take a look at some of the pitching numbers from 1968), and now we have the steroid era.

Steroids are part of baseball’s history, and we all know history isn’t always pretty. Sometimes, it is dirty and distasteful, which defines the steroid era. However, Major League Baseball, and I’m talking about Bud Selig and the MLB Players Association, can’t stick their heads in the sand a second time.

They did so when McGwire and Sosa danced pretty around the bases and that night in St. Louis when the former embraced Roger Maris’ kids. How upsetting to think of that now. The media, of which I am a part of, cheered them on with only a minority bothering to ask the disturbing questions or look under the dirty rocks.

And, it is being done so again without any label to this era.

I want the damn asterisk. I want this to be known as the steroid era, and I want every player linked to steroids to have the asterisk next to his career numbers. I want the notation they aren’t recognized as all-time record holders.

It won’t totally clean things up, but it will out those recognized as cheaters and define this disturbing era.