Nov 06

New York Mets notebook

A lot of things happening with the Mets right now, beginning with the managerial interviews:

1) BACKMAN INTERVIEWS TODAY: Sandy Alderson will interview Wally Backman in California today and it is not a courtesy interview as the general manager doesn’t have time to waste. I’ve been hearing the Wilpons have some apprehensions concerning Backman, but nothing specific other than his lack of major league experience has come to light.

I’m still wary about Backman because of the experience factor, believing there are others that bring more immediately to the table.

2) COLLINS THE FRONTRUNNER: I don’t see how anybody can come to the conclusion Terry Collins is the frontrunner without all the interviews being conducted. The Mets do like Collins in his current role working with the minor leagues and could prefer him to stay in that role. Don’t forget, if Collins is reassigned then the Mets will need somebody else for the minor league job.

3) TAKAHASHI GONE: The Mets did not bring back reliever Hisanori Takahashi. The difference in gap  isn’t $1 million as people have suggested, but closer to $10 million if what has been reported is close. At 36, three years is a long time to give to a reliever with only one year in the major leagues.

4) CHARLIE SAMUELS: What was he thinking? The gifts Samuels received from the players is irrelevant. It’s the position he had and the betrayal factor. How much he bet on baseball, or if he bet on the Mets, is uncertain. The argument if he bet on baseball it would be OK if he wagered on the Mets doesn’t make it because of the message it sends if he didn’t bet on the Mets. Why?

I’ve always liked Charlie, but investigations like this don’t happen if there isn’t some degree of truth to the claims.

Too bad.

Nov 05

Tonight is deadline for Takahashi

The Mets have until midnight tonight to sign Hisanori Takahashi or lose the right to negotiate with the left-hander until May 15, which would be moot because he’d be gone by then.

If reports are true, that Takahashi wants a three-year deal at $4.5 million a season, then it is a sure bet the Mets will let him walk. The Mets want to offer a one-year contract with an option with a total value of $3 million.

So, the difference between what the total Takahashi wants (at least $13.5 million) and what the Mets want to give ($3 million) is $10.5 million. Despite how versatile and productive Takahashi was for the Mets last season, considering the potential dollars he wants and his age at 36, I can’t see the Mets bringing him back.

Aug 17

Mets Chat Room; Santana tries to keep it going.

The last time Johan Santana pitched he told manager Jerry Manuel to leave him alone, that he could go ten innings.

Game #119 at Astros

Want to bet there will be a similar conversation tonight?

For the first time in two months, the Mets the first game of a road series last night. They’ll try to make it two in a row tonight behind Santana (10-6, 2.89), who is coming off a masterful 4-0 blanking of the Colorado Rockies. They haven’t won two straight on the road since June 11-18.

Santana admits there’s a certain degree of pressure when he takes the mound considering the Mets’ lackluster offense.

“Every time we go out there, we go out there with the mentality of winning,’’ said Santana, who has given up nine hits in 16 1/3 scoreless innings in his last two starts.

Over his last nine starts Santana is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA. With a little run support he could have 15 victories by now.

Two slumbering Mets showed wake-up signs last night. David Wright had three hits and Carlos Beltran had two, including a home run.

Apr 12

April 12.10: What to make of the first week?

To be sure six games is too small a sampling to get a definitive feel about the Mets. However, it isn’t too small to quash some first impressions.

Among them:

1) The preseason concerns on John Maine. As has been the case with Maine, he throws far too many pitches and labors with his command. He gets his second start tomorrow in Colorado, a place where it is not easy to pitch. Maine is No. 2 in the rotation currently and insists his shoulder is fine. OK, but his velocity is down and control is off. Not good and there have been little signs of turning it around.

2) Oliver Perez is Oliver Perez, which is to say he’s an enigma. Through his first five innings Saturday he threw 12-24-12-24-12 pitches. He walked four or which two of the runners scored. Perez will live and die with his command. When he worked quickly his control was good, but get a runner or two on base and he takes forever and his ball can go anywhere. Perez is not the pitcher you bet on.

3) The offense is as spotty as it was last year. Hitting with runners in scoring position seems to be a foreign concept. It’s not too many games in which they’ll hit four homers.

4) Mike Jacobs is Mike Jacobs. He’s always been a streaky hitter and so far he’s gotten off to a slow start. Maybe the homer Sunday will get him on track. Colorado is often a good place for a hitter, or an offense, to get hot.

5) Until David Wright hits the inside pitch he’s going to be pounded inside and handcuffed. When Wright is on he drives the ball the opposite way, but he’s not getting many pitches on the outside half of the plate. He needs to pull a few to keep the hitters honest.

6) The bullpen will be a key. So far it has been outstanding, and perhaps the biggest reason why these games have been competitive. Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano are in competition for the eighth inning role. If the bullpen can maintain the Mets will be all right. However, it can’t keep throwing three innings a game. That will add up before you know it.

7) I’m not worried about Jason Bay. No homers so far, but he’s making contact and I love his hustle. He’ll be fine.