Nov 17

Chat Room Tonight …. 7 p.m.

I’ll be hosting a Mets Chat Room tonight at 7 p.m. Come armed with your questions and comments. Among the topics that could be on the table:

1. Fuentes or K-Rod or somebody else?

2. Will they really keep Castillo at second base?

3. Now that he’s signed, should they think about trading Carlos Delgado?

4. What should they do with Aaron Heilman and Pedro Martinez?

My thinking is Fuentes over K-Rod; it looks like Castillo could stay; ditto Delgado; they’ll probably bring back both. Let’s have yours.

Nov 01

On The Table: The Indispensible Met.

Let’s go under the assumption the Mets won’t break up their core, meaning David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and now, Carlos Delgado, will be around to hopefully torment NL pitchers or frustrate you guys with RISP.

The Mets don’t have a deep farm system, but there is talent down below.

Of this group, F-Mart, Niese, Parnell, Kunz and Murphy, who is the Met you’d least like to deal?

Oct 31

Mets bring back Delgado, Tatis; Perez files.

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

The Mets picked up the $12 million option on first baseman Carlos Delgado, signed outfielder Fernando Tatis for $1.7 million, and learned Oliver Perez filed for free-agency where he stands to make much more.

By acting quickly, the Mets are addressing their offensive obligations before concentrating on pitching.

Bringing back Delgado should stifle most of the trade rumors and signing Tatis should lessen the need to go after an outfielder this winter (toward that end, Pat Burrell rejected a two-year, $22-million package from the Phillies).

Delgado, who made $16 million last year, turned around his season, and that of the Mets, with a hot second half, and over the final 85 games hit 27 homers with 80 RBI to merit MVP consideration. Tatis, who hit .297 with 11 homers and 47
RBI, is expected to share left field with Daniel Murphy.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the FA filing period, Perez, Damion Easley and reliever Matt Wise all filed.

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.

Oct 24

Commentary: Can HoJo really have an impact?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

Howard Johnson is back as Mets’ hitting coach, which is fine by me because I enjoy talking with him. However, I’m not so sure things will be any different next year, and I wonder whether it is because of the same hitting coach or the same players.

I’m thinking the latter.

I hitting coach can go over film and mechanics with a hitter, but once he’s in the box, that guy is on his own and he’d better know what to do.

Every situation calls for a specific fundamental approach.

-It begins with getting on base, and it doesn’t matter how. Take the damn walk. And, this includes everybody, not just Jose Reyes, who fails to work the count. When they win and the offense clicks, David Wright likes to say, “we kept the line moving.” Well …. ? Why don’t they have that approach all the time. The Mets wasted way too many at-bats last year, and that starts with the approach by the hitter, who should have learned what to do in high school.

-Runner on second, no outs, hit the ball to the right side of the infield.

-Runner on third, less than two outs, hit a fly ball.

This isn’t brain surgery, it’s baseball.

Reyes need to bunt more, increase his walks and decrease his strikeouts. He needs to hit the ball on the ground. … Carlos Delgado must discover left field more than he does. … By his own admission, Wright must learn to relax and not try to do it all when runners are in scoring position.

Johnson is there to remind the players and work with them on mechanics, but it’s up to the players to be thinking the right approach. Johnson can remind them, but it’s up to Jerry Manuel from Day One in spring training to harp on them what to do.