Oct 30

Welcome to the 2009 Hot Stove season ….

As the Phillies were rolling around on the infield last night much to the dismay of most Mets fans, take solace in that 2008 is officially over. The last out of the World Series officially brings with it the start of the 2009 season, although the Mets have been thinking for the past month about what went wrong and what to do about it.

It’s time to build GM Omar Minaya’s shopping list for the Hot Stove Season.

Here’s my list:

1. Starter #1: Fixing the bullpen begins first with fixing the rotation. They need to add a starter to begin shaving innings from the bullpen total. They will attempt to re-sign Oliver Perez and add a solid, but not spectacular starter such as Derek Lowe.

2. Closer: The Phillies proved a dominant closer is better than a closer-by-committee format. Brian Fuentes appears first on their list. The money is too steep for Francisco Rodriguez.

3. Starter #2: The Mets need fifth starter. They could go in the market, they could gamble with Jon Niese or they could bring back Pedro Martinez.

4. Adding bullpen depth: The Mets’ bullpen blew 29 saves, but Billy Wagner only coughed it up seven times. There were a lot of collapses in the seventh and eighth innings. Help is needed.

5. Bench (right-handed hitting outfielder): Fernando Tatis should be re-signed, I could go with the platoon of he and Daniel Murphy. Adding a proven bat would be beneficial, but not at the expense of adding pitching.

6. Re-signing Carlos Delgado: It’s doubtful Delgado will duplicate last season’s second half, but there shouldn’t be that big a dropoff. I don’t understand the eagerness of some to trade him. Afterall, for a team with holes, trading him adds another. Delgado does have a no-trade clause so it will cost something to get him to waive it.

Sep 25

Bringing back Manuel

Manuel deserves to continue.

Manuel deserves to continue.

If the Mets continue their fast fade in the NL East for the second straight season, should Jerry Manuel be brought back as manager?

That’s the question the Mets are wrestling with, but in the wake of news general manager Omar Minaya will get a four-year extension, how can they not extend Manuel as well? Afterall, part of bringing back Minaya was his decision to ax Willie Randolph and how the team responded.

The Mets were sinking when Randolph was replaced by Manuel, but they’ve rebounded and are tied for the wild card. They still control their destiny despite last night’s miserable showing.

The players responded to Manuel. He has their attention and respect. They play hard for him. The bullpen is awful, but players are trying. Nobody is dogging it.

Manuel has shown he can manage this team and he should get the opportunity to continue with better pitchers.

Sep 12

Do the Braves still matter?

The Braves are in town tonight to start a three-game series. I might be in the minority on this but I still believe the Braves to be relevant. Afterall, they do have a winning record against the Mets this season. Of course, that was when the season was young, but it would be a mistake to discount them or take them lightly.

Hell, the Mets were fortunate to hang on against the Nationals, and they are far worse than Atlanta.

David Wright said the other day that the Mets have been finding ways to win, “which is the mark of a championship team.” True enough. But, another mark is putting away teams with losing records. These are teams they must get to early and take away their will to win. If you let a team like that hang around and let it think it could win, that’s dangerous.

That’s what happened last September.