Oct 13

Looking ahead to 2010 ….

Just a blog note: This is the 800th post since I started this blog. Thanks to you for reading and your responses. You don’t always agree with me, and in fact, a lot of you don’t, but I always appreciate the give-and-take.

This blog carried me in a lot of ways as I job search and I’m always grateful for the input of my readers. For as long as I am in the area and have access to the Mets, I will continue the blog. Thanks.

Brand New World Awaits.

Brand New World Awaits.


That being said, let’s take a quick look at 2010. In projecting the Mets’ line-up, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be much difference from the group that played so well this summer.

The Mets have promised trades and free-agent signings that could make it all better, but if history is an indication, there will be more smoke than fire.

Here’s what I see:

CATCHER: Brian Schneider is gone. They would like to add a veteran presence, preferably one with some offensive capabilities. That unknown would platoon with Omir Santos, who played well then faded down the stretch after Josh Thole was added. I’m projecting Thole to start the season in the minor leagues, but he’ll play during the year. There’s a lot of promise there, but he’s learning the position and now to hit on this level.

MURPHY: Showed enough to get chance at first.

MURPHY: Showed enough to get chance at first.


FIRST BASE: The Mets haven’t said they won’t re-sign Carlos Delgado, but those odds are long, especially since he never came back from the disabled list and was reinjured during his rehab. Daniel Murphy, who was force-fed the position, showed improvement over the past two months where they should be comfortable with him in the position until Ike Davis is ready – assuming, of course, Davis does get ready. Adam LaRoche and Aubrey Huff are available on the free-agent market, but neither will lift the franchise to the next level. LaRoche likely will stay with Atlanta.

SECOND BASE: Who would have thought Luis Castillo would hit .302 this year. The Mets believe they might find a taker, but they are dreaming. There are still two years and $12 million on his contract, and just because he stayed healthy for one season doesn’t mean he will in the future. Castillo’s offense was surprising, but his defense regressed. If the Mets can deal him they should, but that’s so unlikely.

THIRD BASE: David Wright has three years and $39 million remaining on his contract. He’s the face of the franchise and here for the duration. There were noticeable flaws in Wright’s game this season, notably dramatic drop in home runs and alarming spike in strikeouts despite hitting over .300. Wright will work with hitting coach Howard Johnson in an attempt to regain his power stroke. And, the power drop wasn’t just Citi Field because he didn’t go deep on the road, either. This is a big offseason concern, and the hope of Wright hitting for more power will shape the Mets’ offseason thinking.

WRIGHT: Needs to regain power stroke.

WRIGHT: Needs to regain power stroke.


SHORTSTOP: A hamstring injury that will require surgery limited Jose Reyes to 36 games in 2009. They expect him back, but nobody is making any promises as to what they believe they’ll get. No doubt, a quality back up should be added, and that means Alex Cora. For the Mets not to have a healthy Reyes, or an ineffective one in 2010, wouldn’t be a reach.

LEFT FIELD: The free agents are enticing. Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Bobby Abreu, and yes, even Manny Ramirez. A quick rundown: Bay will stay in Boston; Abreu likes the Angels; Holliday’s price tag will scare the Mets; and everything about Ramirez should frighten the Mets. There might be a middle-of-the-board option, but isn’t that the same thing as saying Angel Pagan? I’d like Holliday, but my gut tells me the Mets won’t spend.

CENTER FIELD: There are two years and $37 million left on Carlos Beltran’s contract, one with a no-trade clause. Beltran wants an extension, but his injury history should give the Mets pause on that option. A healthy Beltran should help fill the power void.

RIGHT FIELD: Jeff Francoeur will be a free agent in two years, and if the Mets are smart, they’ll lock him up before then. He played with a grit the team has long been accused of lacking.

STARTING ROTATION: If the Mets changed nothing, and that wouldn’t be a shock, they’ll have this rotation: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine and either Jon Niese or Bobby Parnell. All of them have issues. Santana, Perez, Maine and Niese have injury issues; Pelfrey took a step back and Parnell’s confidence could be shot. The free-agent market isn’t deep, with the Angels’ John Lackey the premier choice, but he’ll be pricey and has an injury background.

BULLPEN: Closer Francisco Rodriguez had breakdown signs this year with most every save opportunity an adventure. Nothing was ever easy for him. J.J. Putz can forget about having his $8.6 million option picked up. Parnell could get the set-up role, and if he does he should be left alone. Count on lefty Pedro Feliciano returning. After that, it’s back to square one in rebuilding the pen.

Sep 30

Reyes news gets worse ….

The diagnosis on Jose Reyes is a torn right hamstring, which happened when he was running the bases earlier this week. I wrote several times letting Reyes run would only make matters worse. I’m not the only one with that opinion.

Surgery seems inevitable, even though the team made no such announcement. How can it not be? Every time Reyes tested his hamstring he had a setback, which means there was a slight tear that gradually got worse until it was a full blown rip job from the bone.

REYES: Has complete hammy tear.

REYES: Has complete hammy tear.


By not completely shutting him down, and not having surgery earlier, Reyes and the Mets wasted at least two months of what could have been valuable recovering time. There’s no telling when he’ll have surgery now and now long it will take to recover, so there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready for spring training.

The Mets could now be faced with the prospect of needing a shortstop for next season. Alex Cora should be re-signed, but he’s not enough. The team with countless holes likely has another.

Jul 29

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #100; Santana tries to increase streak.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets (48–51) go for five straight wins tonight against Colorado, with Johan Santana (11–8, 3.12 ERA) going against Jason Hammel (5–5, 4.28 ERA).

The game could be delayed, but they are saying they’ll play.

A lot going on with the Lee trade to the Phils and Maine’s injury.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Omis Santos, C
Alex Cora, SS
Johan Santana, LP

Jul 18

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #90; sinking fast.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

I would rather not use the word “freefall” but the options are getting fewer. Realistically, I don’t see much cause for optimism. This is a team with too few healthy parts, and those that are, aren’t playing well. Can they turn it around? Yeah, it’s possible, but do you see any signs of life indicating they will?

I don’t.

I also don’t see any help on the horizon. Matt Holliday isn’t coming. Neither is Roy Halladay. Neither is Adam Dunn. Neither is anybody else of substance. The Mets simply don’t have the chips – without scuttling their farm system – to make a significant deal.

They will wait for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran to get better and consider them as “the best trade we could make.” What nonsense. They weren’t playing well when those guys were healthy. As far as Carlos Delgado is concerned, frankly, I see him wanting to come back for only one reason, and that is to prove he’s healthy enough to sign with another team this winter.

They will add Julio Lugo to rest Alex Cora, but let’s face it, who really cares? The best thing about Lugo is it might force the Mets to release Tim Redding.

Johan Santana goes today in an effort to stop the slide. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve written that sentence this season. Trouble is, Santana has been less than an All-Star since he was roughed up in San Francisco. The home runs keep coming off him.

There were no signs of life in last night’s debacle. One has to wonder if internally the Mets aren’t thinking among themselves that it is over.

Jul 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #88; second half begins.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

One of the major storylines last offseason was the Mets’ decision to give Oliver Perez three years instead of four years for Derek Lowe.

The pitchers face each other tonight in Atlanta as the second half of the season begins. My confidence level in Perez is about zero. There’s just something about him that screams bust.

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?


The Mets are within striking distance in the NL East. Teams have come back from a lot greater holes in far less time. The Mets know that from blowing a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007. It has been done, but rarely by a team with as many glaring deficiencies as these Mets.

1. Perez is only one of three major concerns in the rotation. There’s John Maine’s shoulder, which nobody really knows will be ready. Plus, Livan Hernandez has been hit hard lately, so the bloom is off his fast start.

2. Don’t expect Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back before the end of the month. Carlos Delgado will be back sometime in August, but by that time the competitive part of the season might be ove.

3. The bullpen started off so well, but has been worn down by the workload. Sean Green and Bobby Parnell have run hot-and-cold. Pedro Feliciano is being run into the ground and JJ Putz is on the DL. The way things are going, Billy Wagner, if he returns, won’t be a luxury but a necessity.

4. There’s been little consistent power production. It’s hard to believe Gary Sheffield leads the team in homers. Jeff Francoeur might add something, but the hitter they really need is Wright to step up.

5. The farm system is barren as we’ve frequently heard before. There are few major-league ready players to come up to help the Mets, which also means there are limited trade options. The Mets will not make a blockbuster kind of deal at the trade deadline.

Here’s the line-up that will take a crack at Derek Lowe:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Perez (2-2, 8.78 ERA) will make his second start for the Mets since coming off the disabled list. Perez earned the victory against the Dodgers, but threw only five innings and gave up seven walks. Perez had no record against the Braves last year, but had a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings against them.