Aug 20

Mets activate Wagner; release Hernandez

As expected, the Mets activated Billy Wagner from the 60-day disabled list this afternoon. Not so expected, that in order to make room they released Livan Hernandez.

Wagner made remarkable progress from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, but don’t expect to see much of him at Citi Field. He’ll get a few showcase appearances and then the Mets will attempt to make a waiver deal.

WAGNER: Here today, gone tomorrow?

WAGNER: Here today, gone tomorrow?


Wagner has a no-trade clause but would waive it in order to go to a contender. He says he could live for being a set-up man for the rest of this season but wants to be a closer next year. The Chicago Cubs, for one, need a closer.

I’ve always liked Wagner, especially for his outspoken nature. He’s always been a stand-up guy as knows the pulse of the clubhouse.

As for Hernandez, he started at 5-1 and then hit a wall. He was 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA, but had a 7.33 ERA in July and an 11.30 ERA in August.

There are contenders who need innings, and Hernandez pitched well enough to where some team will take a look.

Jun 18

Perez update

Oliver Perez, on the DL since May 7, threw three shutout innings in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie. He gave up three hits and one walk with five strikeouts and reported no pain.

“I felt really good,” Perez said. “I’m a little tired because it’s hot, but I feel strong. I threw three innings, and I was using all my pitches. I used my slider, backdoor, in good situations, behind the count, my change-up, too. I’m happy I had good command, and I was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Perez will throw again Tuesday.

While the news is encouraging, it must be tempered with the fact he’s basically starting over and will need at least three more games before he’s ready. That puts his return in early July at best.

Never mind the results, the important thing is he felt no discomfort in his knee.

In other injury news: John Maine threw in a simulated game and still feels a pinch in his shoulder. … Angel Pagan could be back in New York within two weeks. … Billy Wagner could face hitters by the first week in July.

Dec 01

Closer or bridge?

Since most of the Mets’ 29 blown saves came before getting to the closer, I have to wonder which is more important, getting two viable arms for the set-up roles or a closer.

I don’t think Francisco Rodriguez, for the asking price that’s been noted, is worth it. The Mets aren’t salivating for K-Rod or Brian Fuentes,for that matter, the way they did Billy Wagner, yet both could end up getting as much as Wagner if the reported prices are true.

I believe a closer is important, but I think the bridge is more important. Why? Because three innings are more significant than three. I would feel better about the Mets’ bullpen if they were settled in the seventh and eighth innings, but had a question in the ninth, instead of a closer in the ninth but a paper mache bridge.

Nov 16

So grateful ….

I logged on this morning with my fingers crossed … hoping for a comment because I didn’t like how things unraveled and wasn’t sure if you’d get the message.

Thanks guys.

The free-agent market is underway, and we know the Yankees are being piggy again. Or are they? They want to win and they are going for it. That’s something you have to admire. But, in looking at the Yankees’ riches, what truly separates them from the pack is not only the ability to throw out a figure like $140 million to CC Sabathia as a starting spot, but to take a hit.

They can overcome a bad move by throwing more money at the situation, something other teams – including your Mets – can’t do, or aren’t willing to take the risk.

That’s why I don’t see them making the big K-Rod splash, which, to listen to his agent, begins at $75 million over five years. The Mets are thinking three, which would be more acceptable to their thinking.

Here’s what’s going through Omar Minaya’s mind right now:

1. With $11 million tied up in Billy Wagner, who won’t throw a pitch for them this year, the Mets can’t see investing $26 million for the closer role.

2. Rodriguez has already lost three mph. off his fastball and has become reliant on his change. On the surface that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but if he loses anymore it closes the gap on his change and makes it less effective.

3. His delivery is violent with a lot of torque. Scouts fear an injury. It’s bound to happen within the life of the contract. However, three years might be a different story.

4. In examining the 29 blown saves, seven came in the ninth inning, which averages out to a reasonable one a month. Brian Fuentes would come cheaper and would likely come close to that conversion rate. The bullpen’s collapse primarily came in the seventh and eighth innings. For the price of K-Rod, the Mets could get a closer and another reliever.

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.