Jun 03

Johan Santana No-Hitter Fallout

Much like Red Sox fans who said, “now I can die and go to heaven (although that might be a bit presumptuous),’’ after their team finally won the World Series, so too are Mets fans saying the same thing after Johan Santana’s no-hitter Friday night.

SANTANA: Taking another bow yesterday. (AP)

You’ll start reading stories about long-time Mets fans who missed the event, just like there will be those who saw history in their first game watching the team. It’s all part of the fate when it comes to baseball. You just never know.

It does remind me of when I started covering the Yankees in 1998. I worked a month straight before my first day off – which turned out to be David Wells’ perfect game.

It’s all part of the maddening charm that is baseball.

R.A. Dickey said following Santana would be a tough act to follow, but a shutout isn’t a bad way to do it.  Dickey’s gem yesterday is part of the fallout of the no-hitter:

* The Hall of Fame will be collecting items from the game for display in Cooperstown. Sadly, he won’t be using it for a while, but a nice touch would be to show Mike Baxter’s glove. We knew Baxter was injured selling out to make that spectacular catch, but he’ll be gone at least six weeks. Ouch. Baxter’s absence hurts the Mets on several levels in that he played good defense but was also a pinch-hitting savant.

 

* From the “It Can Only Happen To the Mets Department,’’ reliever Ramon Ramirez strained a hamstring running in from the bullpen for the post-game celebration. He went from sitting for three hours to a full sprint, so it isn’t all that hard to imagine.

* Manager Terry Collins is considering bumping up Chris Young’s return date next weekend to give Santana extra rest. Wise move. Pitchers are a creature of habit, so it will be interesting to note if Santana changes his routine at all this week.

* Speaking of Collins, imagine the pressure he was under in deliberating keeping Santana in the game. The human part of him wanted to extend Santana so he’d get the no-hitter. Then, there was part of him that wanted to protect his pitcher. Coming off surgery, it was a gamble, one in which we might not know the outcome for awhile as it isn’t always the next start in which the 134 pitch-count could come into play in a negative way. Here’s hoping it never does.

Finally, a classy comment from Carlos Beltran, who had a extra-base hit taken away by a blown call from umpire Adrian Johnson, saying he was happy for Santana and was being rewarded for all his hard work in his rehab.

May 16

David Wright Should Be Named Captain At The Right Time

I’ve advocated David Wright as Mets captain several times on this blog, first at the end of the 2006 season. There’s nobody else remotely close to consider, but like the others this would be an awkward time.

WRIGHT: Captain material.

Before, there was the fear of how much weight he would carry in a room that featured veterans Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Jose Reyes, you might recall gravitated toward Delgado for advice despite his well publicized friendship with Reyes.

Then, when Beltran was injured and everybody knew he was leaving, there was the risk of alienating the temperamental Reyes.

Reyes is gone now, but the Mets still aren’t moving, and won’t do so until Wright’s contract is resolved. How embarrassing would it be for the Mets to name Wright captain and have him leave as a free agent? That could only happen to the Mets.

Continue reading

Apr 08

Lucas Duda Powers Mets

Out of the ashes of last season we might have uncovered some life, that being Lucas Duda’s power. The guy is frighteningly strong and homered twice yesterday to beat the Braves.

DUDA: In HR trot.

With last season a washout from the beginning, it was a matter of time before Carlos Beltran was traded and that opened the door for Duda. That, and Ike Davis’ freakish injury.

After the Beltran trade the Mets finally acknowledged Duda’s future was in right field and played him there at the end. When you have a losing team, you must always think ahead and that’s what the Mets were able to accomplish last year with Duda.

“Lucas benefited from last summer when he was in the lineup every day and he realized he belongs,” manager Terry Collins said. “He put good swings on mistakes, he’s got the strength to hit it out of anywhere. He’s got a chance to be some kind of power hitter.”

Duda took advantage on the shorter dimensions with one of his homers, but the ball was still crushed. Later, he admitted to a confidence burst.

“Any time you produce a little bit you get that confidence going, and its carried over,” Duda said. “I think everybody [has doubts]. I don’t think you’d be human if you don’t.”

With Duda, Davis and David Wright, the Mets have some potent power potential in the middle of the order. They’d have even more if Jason Bay would produce.

 

 

Feb 23

Injuries to the forefront today.

Injury-related news is in the forefront for today in Port St. Lucie, with eyes on Jenrry Mejia, Johan Santana and Ike Davis.

Mejia is scheduled to throw today for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. Kid gloves will be the treatment, Mejia making 15 tosses off the slope of the mound and the catcher stationed well in front of the plate.

Mejia, obviously, is a long way from being ready with no timetable for his return.  Patience must be the key with Mejia, something the Mets have not displayed with him in the past.

The Mets clearly did Mejia a disservice by bringing him up two years ago to work out of the bullpen. That decision was made by Jerry Manuel, who was thinking about his then shaky job security first. Also to blame was GM Omar Minaya, who gave in to Manuel despite the best interests for Mejia was to work in the minor leagues.

Regarding Santana, manager Terry Collins said he expects Santana to be ready for Opening Day.  Maybe he was overcome by the Florida sun, but it’s pointless to make such projections. Santana has already experienced setbacks.

As it is, he’s on his own rehab program for a shoulder injury that traditionally has been difficult to rehab. The Mets have always been poor when it comes to announcing return dates for injured players, with a list that includes Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Duaner Sanchez, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church any others.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything out of Santana is a bonus. It’s best not to expect anything. (That’s why Scott Kazmir will work out for the team tomorrow).

Davis returned to New York for additional testing after an abnormality was found in his physical. Collins said it wasn’t related to his ankle injury and Davis should be in camp today.  I never like the sound of that. The last time I remember a player being summoned for additional tests, Reyes was diagnosed with his thyroid ailment.

 

Nov 09

2011 Player Review: Angel Pagan

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. Continuing our review of the 2011 Mets, today we take a look at Angel Pagan.

ANGEL PAGAN

THE SKINNY: You look at this guy and wonder why he’s not better with his physical tools. Pagan appeared to have a breakout year in 2010 when he hit .290 with 11 homers, 69 RBI and 32 steals. In 101 less at-bats last season Pagan hit four fewer homers with 13 less RBI. Not only were his numbers off, but he regressed in his defense and decisions on the bases. This is not a fundamentally sound player.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: The Mets are thin in the outfield, don’t have many options on the minor league level and don’t figure to get any help in the free-agent or trade markets. … Should Jose Reyes leave, the Mets don’t have any leadoff options.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: He could get up to $5 million in arbitration, which is a lot considering his production. … After last summer, it appears 2010 was a fluke. … Is there any reason to believe he’ll be better?

JOHN’S TAKE: The word is the Mets will tender Pagan so this might all be a moot point. I would still rather them take the gamble with Grady Sizemore, or if nothing else, see what somebody else can do. The Mets aren’t loaded with outfield options, but if Pagan produces as he did last year, he’s not offering much.

For a team wanting to get better defensively and fundamentally, Pagan doesn’t bring much to the table. Defensively, he doesn’t judge balls well and has a below average arm. In 2010 it appeared he was ready to take over centerfield, but I don’t see that anymore. For all his speed, his .322 on-base percentage is poor and his strikeouts-walks ratio is roughly 2-to-1. Let him go and move on.

JOE’S TAKE: The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or so it would seem where Angel Pagan is concerned. A year ago fans were clamoring for Pagan to replace Carlos Beltran in center field for his defensive exploits and some even mentioned him in the same breath as David Wright for his offensive showing in 2010. Gulp.

Pagan was a big letdown in 2011. He got off to an atrocious start at the plate to start the season batting .159 in April before hitting the DL with an oblique injury and missing nearly a month. His bat looked great when he returned, but that was offset by big declines on defense and base-running.

Pagan is proving himself to be wildly inconsistent and that’s usually the sign of a platoon player or even worse – a fourth outfielder. Is it smart for this front office to pay $5 million for such a player when the utilities at Citi Field are in danger of being turned off? Probably not, but they will anyway. It’s not like they have any better options.

One year at the helm and the new Mets caretakers now have less center field depth than last November. That means they will have to keep Pagan, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. These are strange times in Flushing.