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.

Oct 23

Quote of the Day: Gillick: Hatred for Mets spurred Phils.

Gillick: Hatred of Mets spurred Phillies.

Gillick: Hatred of Mets spurred Phillies.

Retiring Phillies general manager Pat Gillick told Bill Madden of The New York Daily News at the World Series his team’s hatred for the Mets, coupled with the disdain other teams in the NL East had for the Mets, acted as inspiration. Teams just didn’t like the celebrations and their swagger, perhaps sense of entitlement, they’ve had since 2006.

Said Gillick: “If you want to know the best thing we had going for us this year, it was the fact that all the other teams in our division hated the Mets’ guts. It started with Atlanta and all the hostility they had with the Mets through the years. Then Fredi Gonzalez left Bobby Cox to manage the Marlins and he didn’t forget everything that went on between the Braves and Mets. Look what Florida did for us the past two years (beating the Mets two out of the three in each of the last series of the season to prevent them from making the postseason). Washington doesn’t like them very much either, and all those teams seemed to really get up for the Mets.”

Both Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado took the celebrations outside the dugout, but each said they weren’t hurting anybody. In the end, they may have just been hurting themselves.

Hey, it’s not a shot at Reyes, but when an executive of your bitterest rival says the perception of your team is poor, you’d better listen. If the Mets are listening, they should realize Gillick is doing them a favor.

Oct 22

What if?

Kazmir: What if the Mets won that trade?

Kazmir: What if the Mets won that trade?

It goes without saying the Scott Kazmir trade was disastrous for the Mets. But, imagine for a moment, the trade worked and Rick Peterson was able to fix the very damaged Victor Zambrano.

Let’s say the Mets turned it around in 2004 and made a run at the playoffs. They were four games under .500 at the time of the trade and finished the season 20 games under. That brought the end of Jim Duquette as general manager and ushered in Omar Minaya.

Would Minaya have come if the Mets finished that season as a competitive team? With Minaya came Pedro Martinez, then Carlos Beltran, then Carlos Delgado. It’s interesting to wonder what might have happened had Zambrano panned out.

We all know what happened with Kazmir.

Oct 20

You are invited: Mets Chat Room, tonight at 7

On Monday evenings at 7, I will host a Mets Chat Room, where we can talk all things Mets.

Let’s see, there’s who among the Mets’ free agents they should retain, and who out there they should throw money at. … Willie Randolph, once rejected by Milwaukee, is a candidate. … Five days after the Series they must decide on Carlos Delgado.

And, of course, we will preview the World Series.

So, there’s a lot to discuss. I hope you’ll join me tonight and every Monday at 7 during the off-season.

Thanks, JD.

Oct 14

Commentary: Trading Murphy.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

There’s a lot to like about Daniel Murphy.

He plays the game hard and smart; he’s the grit the team has been accused of lacking. A third baseman by trade who will not get the opportunity because of David Wright, he was moved to left field, and now in the Arizona Fall League is playing second and first.

Versatile defensively, and patient offensively, Murphy is on the inside track of being a star. All this, and he’s not making any money.

Yes, there’s a lot to like about Murphy, and no doubt, other teams have noticed. He could very well be the Mets most tradeable commodity on the major league level. That’s why the Mets should think about dealing him now when his value is high.

Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t going to deal Wright or Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran’s contract makes him difficult to deal. As far as Carlos Delgado, his age, contract, and the question if his second half was a fluke makes him hard to trade.

Who else on the major league level can be used to acquire the pitching that’s needed. Trust me, I like Murphy. I think he can be a star. But, the Mets’ have pressing needs that maybe he, in the right package, can can solve.

Given that, dealing him might be the way to go.