Dec 28

Dec. 28.09: What to do with Parnell?

Since the Mets have Kelvim Escobar plugged into the set-up role it leaves them with a decision to make on Bobby Parnell.

PARNELL: What to do with him?

PARNELL: What to do with him?


Do they leave him in the bullpen in a less pressurized role, or if their long-term projection is for him as a starter, do they send him to the minors in that capacity?

The Mets bounced Parnell around last year from a seventh-inning reliever, to set-up reliever when JJ Putz was injured to the rotation when the roof caved in.

Parnell has a starter’s arm, but is lacking in the development of his secondary pitches. That was apparent in his stint last September as a starter. Parnell did not pitch well, but with the season lost, I thought the Mets should have stayed with him longer in the rotation. It could have only helped in his development.

I don’t know where the Mets’ thinking currently is on Parnell. If they like him in the pen, then keep him in the pen on the major league level where he had some success. But, if they believe he’s a starter, then they should have him start the season in the minors in that capacity.

However, and this is where the Mets’ lack of depth hurts them again, their bullpen is so weak they might not have any other option but to use him in relief, further delaying his development as a starter.

Jan 02

An honest look at the Mets ….

Even if you look at your glass being half full, it is still half empty. In that regard let’s take a look at the Mets’ questions, position by position:

Starting rotation: Have three quality starters, with one, John Maine coming off surgery. Still need to fill four and five. The fifth could be Jon Niese, who is unproven. That’s two questions out of five slots. They have marked, in order, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. It would be nice if they could land two, but I’m not betting on it. There’s been little mention of re-signing Pedro Martinez, but that could be a viable option as the fifth starter.

Bullpen: A tremendous job by GM Omar Minaya to land Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. The back end of the pen is solid. Duaner Sanchez’s health (shoulder) remains a concern, but with Putz, there should be less pressure. Pedro Feliciano is the lone situational lefty. The bullpen is greatly improved. Brian Stokes could be the long man.

Catcher: Sure, you’d like Brian Schneider to hit more, but this is not a weakness.

First base: Carlos Delgado returns, and if he hits as he did from June on, things will be fine. But, there’s always the chance he could hit as he did in 2007 and the beginning of last season. He was brought back in large part because of economics. The Mets are banking on him to continue as he did last year. Because his contract, injury history and running hot and cold the past two seasons, made him impossible to deal, his value to the Mets is in the hope of him staying hot.

Second base: The Mets would love, but won’t be able to, take a buyer for the remaining $18 million over the next three years on Luis Castillo’s contract. His value to the Mets, like Delgado’s, is in the hope of a bouncing back. Orlando Hudson’s name is on some’s wish list, but if Castillo stays, he plays.

Left field: Currently, we’re looking at a Daniel Murphy-Fernando Tatis platoon. Both overachieved last season. Things will be fine if they duplicate last season’s success, but Tatis came out of nowhere and Murphy wasn’t listed as one of the club’s top prospects. Yes, Manny Ramirez is out there, but I prefer Adam Dunn if the Mets are going to open their wallets for a slugger. Ramirez is a headache waiting to happen, although he might be on his best behavior if given a one-year deal. I like Dunn because he can buy time for Fernando Martinez and in 2010 can replace Delgado at first base.

Right field: Ryan Church wasn’t the same player after sustaining a concussion in May. If he plays like he did early last season, the Mets won’t have a problem in right.

Dec 09

Bullpen notes ….

Bullpen bits:

-Free-agent reliever Chad Cordero will meet with the Mets about a set-up/situational role. Cordero is coming off shoulder surgery so there is trepidation.

-Houston GM Ed Wade to ESPN.com: “I don’t like to talk publicly about potential trades, but I can assure that (Jose) Valverde is not being traded.’’

-The Mets do not have a meeting scheduled with Kerry Wood.

-The Mets have talked to Brian Fuentes and have mentioned money. However, there has not been an offer.

Nov 06

On the Table: What to do with Heilman?

Let’s go under the assumption Aaron Heiman’s bad knee was the real reason for his miserable year and he could be a viable pitcher again. Before we torch the guy, remember he was very effective in 2006 (save that one pitch) and for the most part in 2007.

Here are the options:

-Never mind, just trade him for what you can get.
-If the Mets are unable to land a significant starter, finally give him a chance in that role.
-If the Mets are unable to obtain a significant closer, give him a chance in that role.
-Keep him in the bullpen as a set-up 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.