Jan 26

Jan. 26.10: Sheets seems headed to Oakland; the rest of the market.

Ben Sheets appears to be headed to Oakland, yup, as far away from Citi Field as possible. That’s Oakland, a team, that does things on the cheap.

I can’t say how serious the Mets were, but they couldn’t have been that intent on getting.

Who’s left?

Jon Garland, John Smoltz, Jarrod Washburn and Chien-Ming Wang. Garland and Washburn are starters, and could pass as No. 5s, but didn’t we open the offseason thinking the Mets needed a No. 2?

Wang won’t be available until May and Smoltz would go to the pen.

The Mets are also looking at bringing back Fernando Tatis to platoon with Daniel Murphy at first base.

Jan 23

Jan. 23.10: What’s the plan?

SHEETS: Would he make the off-season?

SHEETS: Would he make the off-season?

It’s strange asking this inside a month before spring training, but do the Mets have a plan to get better? With all their talk about pitching and defense/speed to complement Citi Field, what exactly have the Mets done to become that kind of team?

The best available pitcher in the market went to the Red Sox, with hardly a whimper coming from the Mets’ camp. Come to think of it, all of the available pitchers on the market went elsewhere or are lingering in the discount aisle.

Of course, adding Ben Sheets changes that to some degree. Sheets is still an injury gamble, and even with him, there are three more questions in the rotation. But, it’s better than remaining stagnant.

The biggest acquisition is an outfielder, with reports now coming his former team wanted to redo its offer because of health concerns. Adding Jason Bay without improving the rotation doesn’t improve the team dramatically, at least not to where they should be considered legitimate contenders.

Gary Matthews Jr., only illustrates there’s nothing in the minor league levels to promote in case of emergency. Don’t you think if Fernando Martinez were ready it would have been him?

The bullpen remains a mess and the rotation is Johan Santana and the Four Questions.

Plan?

The plan was to wait for everybody to get healthy and better and hope for the best. I wrote that last October. That was shot when Carlos Beltran went down. There is no real plan, at least nothing of substance.

I wonder if they have any new concession stands this year?

Jan 18

Jan. 18.10: Spring training questions.

Questions, questions ....

Questions, questions ....

With a month before the start of spring training, let’s take a look at the ten top issues surrounding the Mets when the arrive at Port St. Lucie:

1) Who are the fifth starter candidates?
A: Jon Niese is from the organization. It could also be Oliver Perez or John Maine if the Mets should add another arm. Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland are still out there, but they are also linked to other teams. There’s no guarantee the Mets will bring in somebody else.

2) Where is Johan Santana?
A: Santana is coming off surgery. The Mets are saying he’ll be ready, but they said the same thing about John Maine last spring.

3) What is Jose Reyes status?
A: Reyes says he feels good, but he hasn’t tested that hamstring in game-type conditions. And, how much speed has he lost?

4) Did David Wright find his home run stroke over the winter?
A: Maybe it was Citi Field, maybe not. But, Wright did not hit with power last season. That has to change if the Mets are to do anything.

5) Carlos Beltran is how many weeks away?
A: Originally, they said 12 weeks. He won’t be ready by spring training to do baseball activities, but maybe they’ll have a better timetable by then.

6) What’s the catching situation look like?
A: The Mets have plenty of reserve catchers, but not a No. 1. They hope it will be Bengie Molina. They really don’t want to rush Josh Thole to the majors.

7) Who is the real Mike Pelfrey?
A: Pelfrey appeared on the verge of breaking out in 2008, but regressed last season. It’s about time he gets to the next level.

8) Where does the coin land?
A: Will Coinflip Perez show consistency beyond being inconsistent? He’s also coming off surgery. The reports are he’s working hard, but he’s worked hard before with no results.

9) What are the bullpen roles?
A: They could change if they sign John Smoltz. I’d rather have him in a set-up role than Kelvim Escobar. That way I could also drop Bobby Parnell down to a lower pressure slot.

10) What kind of camp will Jerry Manuel run?
A: Lax or clamp down? There were injuries last season, but the team also played fundamentally poor baseball and that’s his responsibility.

Dec 20

Dec. 20.09: Not knocking on Damon’s door ….

There was a time when I would have jumped at Johnny Damon coming to the Mets. But, that was several years ago. Damon, coming off a fabulous postseason, has renewed interest in some. Mostly, his agent, who is salivating with thoughts of another payday.

But, even Scott Boras wasn’t able to fake the Yankees this time.

Damon is a good player, but he’s an aging one with an inevitable breakdown in his immediate future. There’s no DH to hide him. If they won’t to go one year, OK, I’ll do it, but that’s not happening.

Damon wants three, and as good as he was hitting at Yankee Stadium, I don’t see that production in Citi Field. I’m passing on Damon.

Dec 15

Minaya promises better team ….

In the wake of yesterday’s big splash by the Phillies, Mets GM Omar Minaya promised a better team next year. Speaking to reporters at Citi Field, Minaya said: “I feel like, in past years, we have always found a way to improve our club, and I feel comfortable we will continue to work hard and, when it’s all said and done, when we get to Opening Day, our team is going to be better than they way they ended last year.”

Assuming Jose Reyes returns, David Wright regains his power stroke and a full, injury-free season from Carlos Beltran, not to mention, Johan Santana, the Mets can’t help but be better next year.

The injuries were the storyline last season, but even so there were plenty of times in which they did not perform, especially on the mound.

Minaya said the Mets aren’t done, and didn’t express discouragement as to how things have progressed.

“We have a plan, and our plan, I like our plan,” Minaya said without telling what it was. “We know who we’ve targeted, and we feel comfortable if we get our guys we’re gonna have a very good team on the field and we’re going to be a team that will compete for our division and compete for the pennant.”

The Mets ended the season needing at least two starters to address the concerns over Oliver Perez, John Maine and Mike Pelfrey. They also needed a catcher and left fielder.

As of now, none of those needs have been filled.

I don’t share Minaya’s confidence. Whether or not you guys do, let me know in the newest poll.