Jan 07

Mets Should Say NO To Pavano

I keep hearing rumblings the Mets are interested in Carl Pavano, who made $8.5 million last year with Minnesota at age 36.

Why?

While the pressures pitching for the Yankees are different than they are the Mets – the expectations in the Bronx are always greater – this is not a move they should be making.

I wouldn’t want Pavano in the Mets’ rotation if he were willing to pitch for the major league minimum.

Pavano’s New York track record was mostly a long line of injuries – including not reporting being in an auto accident – and coming up small in big moments. At the time, his nickname was “The American Idle,’’ for all the time spent on the disabled list.

As much as I want the Mets to make a move to show they have a pulse, let alone the desire to prove they want to be competitive, Pavano is notoriously thin skinned and not a good fit for New York. It was tough enough for him with the Marlins and Twins, so I wouldn’t expect much in Flushing.

After all, after 14 major league seasons, he is 108-107 with a 4.39 ERA, so why should this year be different? How much of a pay cut he would be willing to take, I don’t know, but can’t they get a win-one, lose-one pitcher for half the price? I would think so.

Covering Pavano in the Yankees clubhouse was frustrating. He was short-fused, testy and without humor, and this was with a winning franchise. I can’t imagine him being a day at the beach in Queens with a losing franchise.

I listed several pitchers still on the market yesterday, with several being a better fit than Pavano.

I also keep hearing the Mets have money to spend, but there aren’t many signs showing that inclination. If it is the same media sources doing the shouting, one has to wonder the motivation. Is it real news or somebody doing a PR favor for ownership? It wouldn’t be a stretch for it to be the latter.

That being said, if the Mets genuinely have dollars, they would be better spent on the mound on a fifth starter than in the outfield. Should the Mets land a legitimate starter, it could help in two categories in that he could take some of the load off the bullpen.

Conversely, unless they acquire a stud bat – and they don’t have the money for that – a middle-tier outfielder won’t improve the Mets significantly.

Oct 04

Explaining What Went Wrong For The 2012 Mets

Other than a lack of overall talent, there’s never just one reason why a team fails to win. The Mets began the season projected for the basement, with some corners speculating 100 losses.

So, at 74-88, 14 games below .500, and in fourth place, the Mets did better than expected, but in the end were still disappointing and kicked a promising season away with a dismal second half.

The Mets were 46-40 at the break, but ended the first half on a sour note by losing two of three at Citi Field to the Cubs. This coming after losing two of three to the Cubs at Wrigley Field a short time earlier.

You can’t consider yourself a serious contender when you lose consecutive series to a team that lost 100 games. You just can’t do it.

So, what went wrong?

STREAKY BAD: The Mets’ longest winning streak in the second half was four, accomplished twice. Conversely, they had five such losing streaks, including dropping six straight three times. When a team is streaky bad like that players begin to press, which is what happened in July and August.

STAYING WITH A PAT HAND: GM Sandy Alderson said several times the team had the resources to add talent if they were in contention at the trade deadline. But, that doesn’t meaning waiting until July 31. The bullpen had shown signs of breaking down in late June and early July, and there was a woeful lack of power with Ike Davis, Jason Bay and Lucas Duda doing nothing, but Alderson was content to believe things would get better and was satisfied at the break with a 46-40 record. The Mets opened the second half with two losing streaks of at least five games and by that time it was too late.

INJURIES: All teams have them and the Mets were no exception. It’s hard to win when three-fifths of your rotation goes down. First, Mike Pelfrey, then Dillon Gee and Johan Santana. The Mets simply didn’t have the replacement parts they needed, although the got more from R.A. Dickey than they could have wished for and Matt Harvey made a good first impression.

THE BULLPEN COLLAPSED AGAIN: The wasn’t bad in April, but was non-existent in the second half. The pen’s failures can be summarized by just 36 saves, and a 20-22 record in one-run games and 3-7 in extra innings. Clearly, they couldn’t slam the door late. The problem wasn’t really the closer as much as it was the bridge leading to the closer.

NO OFFENSE: The Mets had three players with 20-plus homers, but that’s not enough. The Mets went 15 straight home games in the second half where they scored three or fewer runs which lead to a minus-56 runs differential. If Davis had any kind of a first half he might have finished with 40. David Wright couldn’t carry the team from July on and one wonders if he’ll be a 30-homer player again. The Mets received very little from Bay, Duda, Josh Thole and Andres Torres. Who would have thought Scott Hairston would lead the outfield with 20 homers?

 

Sep 06

Can The Mets Be Next Year’s Orioles?

The Mets are off today giving us other things to think about, such as the Giants’ secondary and inability to put together a running game. Also a chance to lament about another September of non-meaningful games for the Mets.

The Mets are mired in fourth place, thinking about how a hot run could have them chasing .500, which would be a successful season. Personally, I’d rather have the collapses of 2007 and 2008 than what they are today. At least they were in a pennant race, and if you’re a baseball fan, that’s all you can ask for from your team.

Since 1997, when Orioles manager Davey Johnson was named manager of the year and fired the same day by Peter Angelos, the franchise that long symbolized baseball excellence had hit the skids.

The Orioles showed some improvement last year, but were still projected to finish last in the AL East. But the Orioles have some power, their bullpen has pitched well and they took an impressive 24-7 record in one-run games. That record, despite a negative run differential, is the probably the single most significant stat to explain why the Orioles are in a pennant race.

Conversely, the Mets are 17-18 in one-run games, symbolic of a team with sporadic power and an inconsistent bullpen.

Can the Mets improve enough from within to be a contender like the Orioles?

Baltimore has more power, where the Mets’ anticipated power from David Wright – he’s fallen way for of expectations in that area- Jason Bay and Lucas Duda hasn’t been there. Maybe Wright and Duda will produce next year to bring the Mets’ power numbers up.

Building a bullpen is a tricky proposition and should Sandy Alderson accomplish that objective, perhaps Citi Field will be alive as Camden Yards will be tonight. It could be if the Mets split their losses in one-run games. Add nine wins and subtract nine losses and the Mets are right there in wild-card contention.

Split those losses in one-run games and the Mets are playing meaningful baseball in September.

 

 

 

Jun 29

Bullpen Market Thin For Mets

The Mets have several needs that should be addressed by the trade deadline, but only one THAT MUST be if this team is to continue its development and possibly contend this season.

The inside options aren’t many – or overwhelming – and rushing starter prospects Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey would be a horrendous idea. And, it looks as if Jenrry Mejia’s return the Mets via the bullpen won’t happen. There will be some promotions, such as Pedro Beato, maybe there will be a lightning bolt of some kind and nobody we’d expect could be thrust into the bullpen.

STREET: Would fill huge void.

Trading doesn’t figure to heat up until the last few days as there’s really no reason why a team would deal now without fully testing the entire market. Conversely, if a team is in dire need it might be forced to overpay. The Mets have overpaid in terms of salary, but they don’t have a multitude of chips available to make a big deal. It would have to be a perfect fit.

The most often mentioned names are Oakland’s Grant Balfour, San Diego’s Huston Street and Houston’s Brett Myers. Myers, Street and Balfour – in that order – will be the priciest.

Street has twice saved at least 35 games, and last year had 29.

Balfour is in the second season of a two-year $8.1 million contract and the club holds a $4.5 million option for 2013.

Street is in the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million pact with a $9 million option for 2013 or $500,000 buyout.

Myers, who has been linked to the Mets before, is in the final season of a two-year, $23-million contract, plus a $10 million club option for 2013 or a $3 million buyout.

 

May 25

Mets Can Make Hay With Long Homestand

The Mets got their season-long 11-game homestand off on the wrong foot last night, but at the quarter-pole of what was supposed to be a lost season they are sitting three games over .500. They have by far exceeded all expectations, so there’s no reason to get frantic over a slip or two.

Currently, the Mets are making do with four substantial players down by injury in Mike Pelfrey, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole and Jason Bay. They are getting by with very little from Ike Davis. Andres Torres and Lucas Duda aren’t hitting to what was hoped. Conversely, nobody expected David Wright to still be over .400. We are at the point of the season where the BA numbers should be going down.

More on a bright note, but bullpen has been torn and frayed.

Even so, the Mets keep plugging away and if they can get their injured back – save Pelfrey – by the end of the homestand it could dictate for a promising summer.

The Mets have shown a resiliency and grit we haven’t enjoyed from them in recent seasons and here’s hoping it can continue.

Speaking of resiliency, I have not been what I expect of myself. This surgery has taken a toll. I realize I have missed posts and remain thankful to Joe DeCaro for posting for me. Over the years I’ve developed some loyal readers who have entertained and informed with their comments. I know I can’t go this alone much longer, so if there is anybody who would like the keys to the blog and initiate your own posts I’d like to talk with you.

Please send me an email at jdelcos@yahoo.com. Please include your phone. Let’s talk.