Dec 15

No need to panic

Sandy Alderson said Philadelphia’s stunning signing of Cliff Lee will have no great bearing or impact on his plans for putting together the Mets for 2011. Nor should it.

Alderson says the Mets can be competitive, but there’s room for interpretation on what that means. Will the Mets make a run at the wild card or just play tight, close games they’ll more often than not eventually lose? With the way the roster is compiled and limited spending to them, it is probably the latter.

The Mets talked bravely about the Phillies being better on paper, which is undoubtedly true, but they still have to play the games. That’s the way to slip into cliche mode. Adding Chris Young or Jeff Francis isn’t going to make a world of difference for the Mets. Fact is, with the Yankees losing out on Lee I can see them swooping down on Young to bring into camp. The $4 million he wants is chump change to the Yankees.

Alderson can’t write off 2011 entirely because he still has tickets to sell and he needs to change the culture by improving the remaining product on the field. A panic signing now, with all that payroll coming off the books later, does the team no good.

Just get used to it. This will be a rough year, but it is the needed medicine to cure the ills of the previous regime.

Oct 04

With changes, 2011 is underway.

Jeff Wilpon didn’t wait long.

Wilpon, doing the right thing, acted quickly and decisively today in announcing GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel are no longer a part of the Mets. There was no need to delay the inevitable.

Here’s his statement: “We are extremely disappointed in this year’s results and the failures of the past four seasons.  We need to hire a new General Manager with a fresh perspective who will transform this club into a winner that we want and our fans deserve.  We appreciate all that Omar and Jerry have done for the Organization and thank them for their time and effort.  Changes like these are never easy, especially when you are dealing with people you like and respect.”

It was a clipped, cliche of a quote, offering nothing new. That might come in a press conference this afternoon. Probably not, as the real story never is told in these types of gatherings.

Both handled their dismissals with class and dignity, qualities you admire and respect. They aren’t always qualities that translate to winning baseball games.

Manuel was very classy yesterday in his post-game remarks and during the game when he prompted Mike Pelfrey to take a bow and removed David Wright and Jose Reyes so they could receive ovations. It was a small gesture, but it meant a lot to the players involved. Minaya was the same this morning, saying: “I think we needed a change here. The bottom line is we had three years where we didn’t finish the job, and I’ve been in this town long enough to know that we’re expected to win.”

Minaya and Manuel are gone, as we’ve anticipated since the end of July when the Mets plummeted out of contention after a freefall West Coast trip.

In particular, Minaya’s decisions on Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo have hamstrung the Mets financially, which was underscored in Perez’s awful performance yesterday after a month of inactivity. Watching Perez soil a strong pitching performance by Pelfrey and the bullpen might be Minaya’s legacy with the Mets.

However, before we pile on Minaya, let us remember that ownership signed off on those moves and did not spend the money wisely.

Ownership vowed Minaya and Manuel would be held accountable in 2010, and that they have been. However, ownership promised, but did not deliver on its vow to make significant player acquisitions. And, ownership has not delivered to its fan base a concrete blueprint for change.

Minaya and Manuel are gone, but unless ownership makes a dramatic hire to lead its front office, they will merely be scapegoats.

Change is underway, but will there be real change?

Aug 15

Mets Chat Room; where’s the hope?

Game #117 vs. Phillies

Every day I look at the standings and wonder if it’s possible. Can the Mets actually turn this thing around and make this season one to remember?

Not so much anymore.

The Braves won big today and the Mets are 9 1/2 games out. It’s double digits if they lose tonight. With each passing day it is becoming more and more that this is a season to forget.

The starting pitching is getting better, but the offense – despite its talents – is listless and stagnant. The bullpen, as we long suspected, is worn and frayed. There’s no spark. No life. No reason for hope.

The Francisco Rodriguez incident really brings this into focus. The players spoke in cliche about supporting a teammate when they should have condemned the action and demanded an apology. The manager, instead of recognizing the severity of the incident and speaking out, said he was willing to pitch him.

The owners issued an 18-work statement expressing their “disappointment” when they should have been expressing their anger. Then again, ownership hasn’t taken a leadership role all season.

Hope? Hope is not an action plan.

Oct 01

Examining Perez’s comments.

Bury him on his pitching, not his comments.

Bury him on his pitching, not his comments.

Here’s what Oliver Perez had to say about coming back to the Mets and the free-agent market: “This is the team that gave me the second opportunity to come back to the majors and I was really happy, but I have to look at everything and see what team gives me the best opportunity to win.”

To look at surface value, if Perez had come through the Mets would be playing this week, perhaps even hosting a game. But, he didn’t. He had 17 no-decisions in 34 starts. Talk about not completing your work.

I don’t think Perez was throwing his teammates under the bus. Perez is not a great speaker and gets overwhelmed at times talking to the media. He has a tendency to speak in cliche, and that’s what he did there. Scott Boras had him primed on what to say during the season and that was a stock quote.

However, the question should be asked whether Perez gives the Mets their best chance to win. If the dollar figures are true of five years at $75 million to start, is Perez the answer? He won 15 games last year and only 10 this season. That’s a huge drop and injuries aren’t to blame.

Do you really want this guy back or should the Mets spend the money elsewhere?