Sep 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #151; Nelson, oh boy.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a real major league pitcher on the mound for the Mets? I hope ownership realizes a patchwork rotation won’t cut it next year.

We have, now don’t all scream at once, Nelson Figueroa going for the Mets tonight. I liked talking with Figueroa. A nice guy. I admire his determination and perseverance. I just don’t think he’s anything more than a No. 5 at best, and most likely, a long guy and spot starter. He does deserve a chance in spring training for those slots. If they are going into spring training with anything more than that, it won’t be a good sign.

Figueroa hopes to avoid losing his fourth straight start, and second in a row to the Braves. He gave up six runs in five innings last Thursday in Atlanta. Figueroa is 0-3 with a 6.61 ERA in September.

Overall, the Mets have lost 12 of their last 16 games.

MURPHY: Getting better.

MURPHY: Getting better.


One thing that has become apparent, is with the news Carlos Delgado is done for the year, that the Mets must be looking at Daniel Murphy as their first baseman for 2010. Murphy had two more hits last night, including a homer. Over the past 14 games, Murphy is batting .358 with three homers and 12 RBI.

“I like the way Daniel Murphy is swinging the bat,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s really coming on.”

Murphy is showing more signs of pop as he gets to learn the NL pitchers better, and that’s encouraging. If he could reach 20 homers next year that would be a positive development. I believe he’ll continue to improve with the knowledge of the pitching and the more comfortable he becomes. He might never hit for awesome power numbers, but that’s not currently the Mets’ primary need.

As his average increases, and if he stays in one spot in the batting order, his run production should spike.

Sep 10

Delgado in 2010?

Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.

“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”

DELGADO: Do you want him back?

DELGADO: Do you want him back?


An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.

Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.

Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.

He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.

Agree or not?

Sep 10

Reyes still wants to play

There are games left to be played, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes wants to play in them. OK, maybe a few. All right, at least one.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

With the Mets playing out the string, Reyes wants to test his torn right hamstring one more time. The thought of sitting out the winter and not knowing what to expect next spring training gnaws at him. It’s not much the hitting, or fielding and throwing. It’s the all out running. He wants to know if he can air it out between first and third the way he used to.

This isn’t about the Mets wanting to know his health for the sake of testing the trade market, but for Reyes’ peace of mind. By extension, the Mets would breath easier, too.

“I’m going to still try to come back. I’ve been working so hard to come back, so right now I don’t want to say when but I’m still trying,” Reyes said. “I missed so much time. I’d like to come back to get my confidence back and go into spring training with a better idea.”

Reyes has been on the disabled list since May 26 after sustaining a calf injury that was only supposed to keep him out a few days. He has played in only 36 games with a .279 average and 11 steals.

At the time of the injury, the Mets were in second place, a half-game behind Philadelphia. They are 17 back and should be mathematically eliminated in a few days. Even with nothing to play for, manager Jerry Manuel would like to see Reyes out there.

“The more questions we can answer now, the better off we will be in spring training,” Manuel said.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.


True enough, but Reyes isn’t even doing any baseball drills. The worst case scenario is out there staring at the Mets as if it were in neon. Reyes completely tears out the hamstring, surgery is required and he’s not ready for spring training.

Reyes isn’t ready and the Mets shouldn’t be considering this kind of talk. If the odds are he’ll need the surgery they should do it now and leave nothing to chance.

Another motivation for Reyes to get out there, and it isn’t a good one, although you have to admire his pride, is he’s chapped by criticism – although nobody with the Mets is publicly saying anything – he’s dogging it.

Carlos Beltran’s return, and the possibility of Carlos Delgado coming back. has fueled Reyes’ ire.

“I don’t know why some people think I don’t want to be on the field,” Reyes said. “I live for baseball. I always play baseball since I was little. I love to be on the field. That’s my main goal. If I ready the last week of the season, I’m going to play the last week of the season.”

Aug 25

Wagner deal complete ….

Billy Wagner gave in on one of his two demands and accepted a deal this afternoon to the Boston Red Sox for two lower-tier minor league players to be named later. In addition, the Mets save $3.2 million, which includes a $1 million buyout for next season.

WAGNER: In tears after learning he'd need surgery.

WAGNER: In tears after learning he'd need surgery.

Wagner was claimed off waivers last week by the Red Sox, but wanted assurances Boston would not pick up his $8 million option for 2010 – so he could test the free agent market to be a closer elsewhere – or offer him salary arbitration. With arbitration, the signing team would be required to offer a compensation draft pick and Wagner thought that would hurt his chances in the market.

Wagner has 385 career saves and it is his goal to reach 400.

The Red Sox didn’t plan on picking up the option, but with reports Jonathan Papelbon might be available in a trade after this season, they wanted to hedge their bets. Papelbon has been vocal in saying he doesn’t believe the Red Sox needed Wagner, but he has idiot tendencies.

The Red Sox do need a set-up guy for the remainder of this season, and if they didn’t claim him, the Yankees most definitely would have.

While the Mets aren’t getting blue chippers, something is better than nothing for a player they had no interest in bringing back. Wagner, who has spent the last 11 months recovering from Tommy John surgery, has pitched two quality innings since his return with four strikeouts and a fastball topping out at 96 mph.

In explaining the trade, GM Omar Minaya said: “Billy, basically, had an opportunity to pitch in the pennant race and we were able to get two prospects for him, and we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Wagner performed for the Mets; he was a positive signing for Minaya. However, he was a squeaky wheel which didn’t always endear him to his teammates. Notably, he called out the veteran position players – of which Carlos Delgado was one – for not talking to the media.

They were offended, but Wagner was right. Wagner was also correct in his pointed criticism of Oliver Perez not concentrating and living up to his potential.

Personally, I always liked Wagner. He was stand-up whenever he blew a save and never failed to answer the tough questions.

Aug 17

Wright on DL ….

By this time, I’m sure you are aware the Mets placed David Wright on the disabled list after yesterday afternoon’s game. The wisest of decisions.

WRIGHT: Placed on DL.

WRIGHT: Placed on DL.


Wright was examined by neurologists twice and stayed overnight at the Hospital for Special Surgery before being discharged Sunday. GM Omar Minaya said the Mets’ medical staff consulted with an external specialist in concussion management.

The recommendation was unanimous to sit Wright.

“This is not a baseball decision,” Minaya said. “This is a medical decision.”

There’s no telling, when or if, Wright will rejoin the team. With the season seven weeks away from its merciful ending, and with Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado doubtful to return from their injuries, there is no point in pushing Wright’s return.

The Mets might not be worth watching without Wright and the rest of the core, but in doing the right thing, they will be worth watching in the future.

“At this point, it’s the right thing to do,” Jeff Francoeur said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that; I hate to hear it, too, because we need him so bad. But the last thing we want is for him to go out there and dive for a ball and get hit again, and the next thing you know something’s seriously wrong.”

That was the case with Ryan Church last season. He was flown from Atlanta to Denver, but also had a handful of pinch-hit appearances that aggravated his condition. With Church, the Mets listened to what he told the training staff rather than just shutting him down. Later, Church, to his competitive credit and his foolishness, acknowledged he was driven to prove that he could play hurt.

Manager Jerry Manuel said Wright tried to fight him on the DL decision: “David wanted to try and give it a chance, and go out there and play – but, we decided to take it away from David. He really wanted to try and play, but based upon our doctors and specialist recommendations we said no… He tried to fight me, he said, ‘Come on, man, give me a chance,’ he definitely wants to be here, but he understood.”

To their credit, the Mets learned from Church. They will treat concussions more aggressively, which includes not relying on the player’s input.