Oct 31

Crawford could be available ….

In this lusting over Matt Holliday, who could still stay in St. Louis as Albert Pujols desires, let’s not forget Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, whose speed skills would come into play in every aspect of the game.

CRAWFORD: Good glove in left; solid bat.

CRAWFORD: Good glove in left; solid bat.


Crawford has a $10 million option for 2010 with a $1.25 million buyout. That’s reasonable, so the assumption must be made they way to get him would be in a trade. The Rays, like everybody else, want young talent. Would you be surprised to see them ask for Fernando Martinez? I wouldn’t, as everybody asks for him.

That’s a tough call, but Crawford’s production (four 50-steal seasons and six years with 180 hits) is what the Mets would hope for from Martinez.

I like Crawford for his speed, defense and ability to be a table setter on offense. There’s no question he plugs the left field hole, and he, Reyes, and Carlos Beltran bunched at the top of the order will create many RBI opportunities for Beltran, David Wright and Jeff Francoeur.

No, he doesn’t have the power potential of Holliday, but he helps the Mets in other areas. He’s not going to be a one-year pick-up, either. So, if the Mets could obtain Crawford without giving up Martinez, then having him would give the team the flexibility to deal him for pitching or power.

Oct 10

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Dodgers stymie Pujols; go for sweep.

The Cardinals were a pick of mine to advance. I thought the Dodgers’ pitching was suspect and Albert Pujols could take over a series. So far, I have been wrong. The Dodgers have limited the Cardinals to five runs in the two games and go for the sweep today in St. Louis.

Of course, if Matt Holliday could catch a line drive the NLDS would be tied at a game apiece. He couldn’t and it is not.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

That play was a major storyline. So is the Dodgers’ unwillingness to pitch to Pujols. Like Barry Bonds a few years ago, Pujols is to be avoided.

Pujols, the NL MVP favorite, hit .327 with a major league-leading 47 homers and 135 RBI. He as also intentionally walked 44 times, most in the majors. In the first two games of this series the Dodgers have limited him to a single in six at-bats. They’ve walked him intentionally the three times he came to the plate with runners in scoring position.

“To me, Albert is just out there in a class by himself,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Friday. “It may cost me, you know, a three-run homer instead of a two-run homer. But I’m still going to make somebody else beat me.”

The Cardinals have the power to complement Pujols, but Los Angeles’ pitching has been too good.

“One of the reasons we were a lot better in the last half of the year is we have protection behind him,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “If Albert keeps getting on base, we’ll pick him up.”

For the Cardinals, who stranded 14 runners in Game 1, it has to happen soon.

Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Aug 05

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #107; salvaging the homestand.

Hi guys. Sorry for the late post. I think, if you want to boil down last night’s game, it was the embodiment of all things wrong with the team this season.

Johan Santana, as usual, had a start in which he could have won wasted. The bullpen, especially K-Rod – high expectations gone sour? – let him down. And, let’s not forget about the failure to hit in the clutch.

On a night in which they needed their “A’’ game, the Mets came up with a C at best. Let’s face it, giving up a dozen runs isn’t going to win you many games.

There was a glimmer when Sean Green found it, but he’s lost it again, gone as far as Albert Pujols’ grand slam.

After winning three straight against Colorado to open this home stand, the Mets have hit another skid. Today’s game against the Cardinals is about salvaging the homestand.

This time, the hole indeed might be too deep. West Coast trips are never easy, and we know what happened the last time the Mets were in San Diego. Swept away, they were, and soon after Willie Randolph was gone.

Then there’s Atlanta and Philly looming again. Three weeks from now, they could be 15 games or more behind.

By that time, it might be time to consider shutting down Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran for the remainder of this lost season.

Jun 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #68; Beltran to DL edition?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

When a player says he’s hurting and worried you can pretty much count on a trip to the DL. Such is the case with Carlos Beltran, who had a MRI today on his barking knee. The news isn’t good and word is Beltran will go on the DL and Fernando Martinez will be recalled.
Ailing Beltran sidelined.

Ailing Beltran sidelined.


Beltran had been playing through the pain, but after Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay, said: “I don’t feel I can play a lot of games the way it felt today. I’m a little bit worried, to be honest, because the way it was today, it was painful.”

Don’t forget, this is a guy who played with a fractured face. He’s played through pain before.

Beltran was initially injured his right knee in Los Angeles in mid-May. He served as the DH in the Boston series at Fenway, but missed two games against Washington, May 26-27. Beltran was diagnosed with a bone bruise and a cortisone injection seemed to work until now.

The Mets optioned Ken Takahashi to Triple-A Buffalo and will recall lefty Pat Misch.

Here’s tonight’s line-up for the game against the Cardinals, again, weather permitting:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ryan Church, RF
Omir Santos, C
Jeremy Reed, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Tim Redding, RP

Only Murphy, Wright and Church were in the Opening Day line-up. That Tatis, who hasn’t been hitting lately is at clean-up is a sobering thought. Albert Pujols has more homers than the entire Mets’ batting order. Hell, even if Beltran were in there Pujols would probably have more.