Sep 23

Capuano non-trade underscores Mets’ pitching concerns

That the Mets turned away Boston’s overture for Chris Capuano can only mean he’s in their plans for next year. Sandy Alderson’s string of reasons for why the deal didn’t go through may all ring true, but the Mets looking ahead is the primary explanation.

Capuano pitched well enough this year to warrant an extension, but the Mets’ interest in retaining him suggest the team’s long-standing concerns over its starting pitching.

CAPUANO: Mets want him back.

The 11-12 Capuano is a 57-64 lifetime pitcher with an ERA north of four runs a game. He is what he is, which is a No. 5 quality starter. Capuano, a risk that paid off, is a left hander, which makes him worth the gamble again, especially considering the Mets’ questions in that area.

Johan Santana is recovering from shoulder surgery and  had setbacks. The Mets can’t write him in with ink for next year, and who is to say if he returns he’ll even be close to his former self? As far as Santana is concerned, the Mets can’t bank on anything with him.

Jonathan Niese also pitched well at times this season, but finished on the disabled list with a pulled side muscle and therefore is a concern. This is twice now Niese finished a season on the disabled list with a pulled muscle.

There are no givens with the rest of the rotation, either, with the possible exception of R.A. Dickey, he of the unpredictable pitch. After a slow start, Dickey has closed well.

Mike Pelfrey remains an enigma. He regressed greatly this season to the point where questions are being asked if he’ll ever live up to expectations. Can anybody honestly say they have confidence in Pelfrey, when time after time he has spit the bit?

Then there’s Dillon Gee, who started hot, but hit a rocky stretch. There’s no guarantee he won’t regress like Pelfrey. Other teams have scouts, too, so he’s not surprising anybody anymore.

The Mets have pitching prospects below, but Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are at least two years away and Jenrry Mejia is coming off Tommy John surgery.

Chris Schwinden will be invited to camp in the spring, but he doesn’t get one salivating.

You can scan the free agent lists all you like, but the Mets won’t spend for a long term deal for a CJ Wilson, Rich Harden or Mark Buehrle. There are the likes of Freddy Garcia and Jason Marquis and a handful of other retreads they’ll scan, but hardly anything you could build around.

The Mets are hardly dealing from a position of strength when it comes to their 2012 rotation, so wanting to bring back Capuano is the obvious thing to do. That is, of course, if they can sign him.

Sep 20

No answers from here on out.

With the Mets out of contention awhile ago, it was hoped September would be the month where some 2012 answers could be found. It has not turned out that way.

GEE: Rocky finish to a good year.

Only .500 remains, but the Mets must run the table for that to occur, and that would mean nine straight against Cardinals, Phillies and Reds. They couldn’t win nine straight against their own minor league system.

The one slot where it was hoped could be definitive was the closer role, but Bobby Parnell has spit the bit. He’ll get another chance in spring training, that is, unless the Mets sign a qualified, veteran closer, but that would require some spending. That’s not going to happen, either.

Ruben Tejada has played well, but not well enough to see if he will be able to assume Jose Reyes’ role. We might never know that answer.

The only comfort I see has been Lucas Duda in right. So far, he’s fielded the position cleanly, but we need a full year at the plate and in the field to see for sure. And, there are usually hills and valleys in the first year as a starter.

I like how R. A. Dickey is finishing, and Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee pitched well enough this year to warrant a chance in next year’s rotation. Gee, however, is struggling, with his ERA jumping nearly a run a game over his last ten starts.

There’s too many unanswered questions Sandy Alderson must spend the winter trying to answer. There are holes in the rotation that can’t be masked by a thin bullpen. There’s a lack of power from David Wright and Jason Bay. Angel Pagan has regressed. There’s nothing that suggests Johan Santana will make it back.

There’s also no indication the Mets will be a heavy player to retain Reyes.

 

 

 

Aug 30

Greetings …. hope you’re all safe.

Hello all. I hope you and your families are safe after the weekend. Coming to you from an Apple Store, where I can briefly log on to the Internet to post this. Joe D. from Metsmerized will be posting on my blog. I’m in Connecticut and still don’t have power, phone or Internet.

I have to go to my car to power up my phone. Other than that, it is like being on Gilligan’s Island. Only there’s no Ginger or Mary Ann.

It was good to hear the Mets swept a doubleheader. They’ve won four straight, which isn’t hard to imagine considering their starter’s ERA in that span is 1.25. When this team pitches, it wins, which is par for everybody else, too.

However, their pitching remains spotty. Nobody knows from start to start what Mike Pelfrey will do. RA Dickey seems to have righted himself, but Jon Niese hit a slide. Maybe he’s shaken it, but we need to see it three, four times in a row.

I think Chris Capuano has been terrific in spots and is worthy of being brought back, especially since he’s a lefty. Dillon Gee is coming off a good start after a spotty month. Growing pains for him, but overall, I like what he’s done. He deserves a spot in the 2012 rotation.

I’m starting to look ahead to 2012, and I see questions in the rotation, the bullpen, at second, at shortstop assuming Jose Reyes leaves, right field and possibly center and left. I’m betting Angel Pagan and Jason Bay both stay, although unloading Bay’s contract would be an huge coup on Sandy Alderson’s part. Of course, not holding my breath.

In the interim, I would like to see .500 because it is a sign of progress. With three games left this week against Florida, Washington over the weekend and Florida again next week, it is possible. Being .500 can give an energy boost to a team that has struggled the last four seasons such as the Mets.

It is a sign of progress and development. Sure beats the past couple of years.

Have to run because the Apple people are looking at me kind of strange. Until I can log on again, all my best to you. There will be some kind of activity on my blog, so please check in. Best, JD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 26

Santana to play winter ball? Irene washes away weekend.

GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets are considering the instructional league and winter ball for Johan Santana, whose rehab had a setback a couple of weeks ago.

Alderson said it is possible Santana could get another rehab start at St. Lucie, but offered no promises.

The Mets must be prudent with Santana. He’s already had one setback, and another could derail his comeback permanently.

Not that they had much choice with mass transit shutting down Saturday afternoon because of Hurricane Irene, but the Mets rescheduled their games for Saturday and Sunday as part of a single admission doubleheader, Sept. 8.

However, tonight’s game is still on, with Chris Capuano starting against Tim Hudson.

Jason Bay was scratched with a jammed right shoulder.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Ruben Tejada, SS

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, RF

Nick Evans, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Justin Turner, 2B

Jason Pridie, LF

Chris Capuano, LP

 

Aug 12

Dillon Gee is this year’s surprise

In forecasting the Mets’ 2012 rotation, there has to be a spot for Dillon Gee, just as this year’s staff held a role for R.A. Dickey as the result of this out-of-nowhere season.

GEE: This year's surprise goes tonight.

Chris Young’s injury was the opportunity Gee needed to build on his designation as an organizational arm to one with a future.

Gee, tonight’s starter at Arizona, has impressed with his guile and ability to challenge hitters. He gives no quarter and so far has been exceptional in spotting his 90 mph. fastball to set up his changeup, which is his best pitch.

“When I look at my stuff on video, I say, `Hey, it’s average,’ ’’ Gee said earlier this season. “But, guys tell me my changeup is a plus-plus pitch.’’

Catcher Josh Thole said Gee’s control carried him in the minors and has stayed with him on this level, but has deserted him recently as he has walked 12 over his last four starts.

Gee, of course, will carry into next season the specter of whether he can duplicate what he’s accomplished. The same questions were asked of Mike Pelfrey this spring.

Gee and Niese have been the Mets’ most effective pitchers. Pelfrey remains an enigma, Dickey can be upgraded and Johan Santana’s remains a question. Chris Capuano has been effective at times and should be brought back.

As they did last year, the Mets will explore the free-agent market for middle-tier arms, such as Jon Garland. There is talent in the minor leagues, but it is at least two years away.