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Game #146 vs. Pirates
Yes, it has been a disappointing season. There was reason for optimism around the All-Star break, but then things went south.
The Mets stand 72-73 heading into tonight’s game against Pittsburgh, already two wins better than last year’s win total. At 70-92 last year, most everybody would have grabbed a .500 season if guaranteed during spring training.
Finishing at .500 would represent significant improvement, and it could be better than that. And, it could be done with a nothing year from Jason Bay, a half-season from Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes missing significant time.
This isn’t to say all is well, because it is not. It is to say they are better than they were last year.
Brooklyn’s season is over and the waiting game begins for Wally Backman. Quoted earlier about saying he could do some things better than Jerry Manuel, Backman took the high road yesterday, saying he’s not guaranteed of a job next year and the Mets aren’t on his mind.
Of course, they have to be on his mind, but when given a second chance to comment on the Mets’ job and Manuel, Backman took the high road, which won’t go unnoticed by management.
On a related note, Manuel knows his job is in jeopardy. He might even know he’s not coming back. But instead of crying or lobbying, he goes out there and does his job every day. That’s a professional thing to do and that won’t go unnoticed, either.
With the season dwindling away, there are fewer and fewer things worth watching. R.A. Dickey is one of them.
Dickey (10-6, 2.91 ERA) with career highs in wins and ERA after being thrust in a stop-gap role this season has been one of the bright spots in this gray summer. When he starts tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he’ll also be continuing his audition for the 2011 rotation.
Dickey, 35, is 6-1 with a 1.85 ERA in eight starts at Citi Field.
“I’ve just really tried to be consistent,” Dickey said. “The better I bounce back after tough outings, the more I show that I can be trustworthy.”
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Carlos Beltran will make $18.5 million next season, a contract, that couple with back-to-back injury seasons, will make him impossible to deal. The Mets could try packaging him, but would undoubtedly be stuck with paying a high percentage of the remaining contract.
In addition, considering Beltran’s injury history it is unlikely he’ll command in return the talent that would equal his history when healthy.
The Mets will have a lot of money in contracts earmarked for 2011, but Beltran’s has the greatest chance of bringing a positive return.
He’s not moving well, and right field does remain a topic to be discussed, but the Mets’ real hope in getting something from Beltran is for him continue rehabbing his knees and coming back strong next season. The motivation of Beltran in his walk year could be the best thing for the Mets.
Mike Pelfrey, who turned his back to Jerry Manuel Saturday in a show of disrespect, has endorsed pitching coach Dan Warthen’s return next season. So too, has R.A. Dickey. It’s a nice gesture, but it is uncertain as to the weight it will carry.
Assuming Manuel is gone and a veteran manager is named to replace him, he would want to name his own pitching coach and staff. That the Mets’ have shown significant improvement – you can chalk that up to not having John Maine and Oliver Perez- is a positive reflection on Warthen to where he merits an interview.
However, Warthen’s best chance would be if the Mets hired young and inexperienced, say Wally Backman, who might have a staff assigned for him.
Either way, the rate of progress from 2009 to 2010 has been significant and he deserves an interview at least.
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