Oct 05

The reconstruction of the Mets. Day 1.

It was a busy day at Citi Field this afternoon. Let’s get you caught up on the highlights:

* Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon confirmed GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel would return. “They both deserve a chance to redeem themselves,’’ Wilpon said. “They are very much on the hook now to work hard and correct the problems and flaws of the team. Injuries are not an excuse. We need to be better. … I wouldn’t say (win) or else, but we need to be at a championship caliber level. We need to be competing down to the end.’’

* Wilpon said the Mets would spend to improve. “We will have one of the highest payrolls in baseball as we have had the last number of years,’’ Wilpon said. “There are no handcuffs on Omar. He’s free to go and get this team to be a championship team.’’

* Wilpon said improving the pitching staff and adding a power bat were the off-season shopping priorities.

* Bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. and first base coach Luis Alicea will not be retained. Third base coach Razor Shines will be re-assigned. Pitching coach Dan Warthen, hitting coach Howard Johnson and bullpen coach Randy Niemann will keep their roles. Alomar Sr. will be invited to remain in the organization in some capacity.

* Wally Backman was invited to interview for a minor league job. Reportedly, the Mets have been in contact with former San Diego GM Kevin Towers and former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi.

* Wilpon said the medical staff would be retained but some of the “medical protocols’’ would be re-evaluated.

* Jose Reyes will have surgery on the right hamstring that kept him sidelined since May 20.

Sep 02

About last night: Concern about Pelfrey.

If a lost season is all about searching for answers the Mets are still asking questions when it comes to Mike Pelfrey, whose only consistent aspect of his game is running up his pitches to 100 by the fifth inning.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.


Last season, which began under pitching coach Rick Peterson and ended under Dan Warthen, Pelfrey showed breakout signs going 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA. He explained he was a fastball pitcher and became more aggressive in challenging hitters with that pitch and not fooling around with his secondary pitches when he needed an out. His pitches had enough movement to where a pitch down the middle could move to the corners.

Last night’s loss was just another in a long line of disappointing performances. He was consistently behind in the count, and as his habit, would let one inning get away from him. Given a walk, or an error, or a bad call, Pelfrey lets it stay with him and his concentration would wander. Big innings find him frequently.

All those balks are an indication of a lack of focus.

Pelfrey is 9-10 with a 5.03 ERA, and while it is possible to equal last season’s mark it wouldn’t be indicative of his year. In 150 1/3 innings, hitters are batting .288 against him and he has given up 233 baserunners. Sixth of them have been walks, compared to 64 all last year. Pelfrey gave up 86 runs this year; already he has allowed 91. He has pitched like a No. 5 starter.

PELFREY: Another early exit.

PELFREY: Another early exit.


Yet, there are times he seems untouchable. There are games when you start to think he’s turned the corner, but in the next one runs into a brick wall.

He does sound an awful like Oliver Perez.

We must remember, Pelfrey hasn’t taken the progressive road to the major leagues. He’s been force fed to a large degree and is learning on the job. There’s enough talent there to where the Mets shouldn’t give up on him. I was glad he wasn’t sent to Minnesota in the package for Johan Santana.

I don’t know to the degree having two pitching coaches has hampered his development, or if that’s a moot point. Pelfrey hasn’t gone off on his coaches.

At his present rate Pelfrey won’t come close to the 200 innings he threw last season. But, it has been largely due to ineffectiveness than injury.

As the Mets prepare for next season, Pelfrey is one of the few givens on the staff as in he’ll be back. However, the Mets need to see development in 2010. If not, he’ll go from a No. 2 to a No. 4 in a heartbeat, and not soon after that a No. 5 to just another flameout bust.

Pelfrey is young, but he’s also been around to where he knows he must show something soon.

Jul 24

Bottom line: Wilpons need to speak up.

First things first, the Wilpons aren’t selling the Mets. The future of the team is in their hands, and whomever they entrust with the reigns. Right now it is Omar Minaya, and most aspects of the franchise is heading south.

The major league team and two top minor league affiliates are all playing below .500. The drop is worse below, which tells you the talent there is not adequate either for immediate help or in making a big time trade. And, for the latter, there aren’t enough chips to patch all the holes.

WILPONS: Need to speak up.

WILPONS: Need to speak up.


Tony Bernazard, whose responsibility it is to stock and train that farm system, shares greatly in that.

A substantial part of the team is on the disabled list, and the medical staff is under scrutiny. However, there is no real common thread to the injury other than some players tried to push themselves. There is always the wonder, after the Ryan Church episode last season, of injuries being mishandled. Of those players on the disabled list, only Carlos Beltran has raised the issue, and he’s a big enough star to where what he says must be taken seriously.

There are rumblings about the job security of Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. Despite the supposed vote of confidence, we know those aren’t etched in stone. Teams always say things like that before dropping the ax. If a significant number of the injured returns and the Mets make a run but fall short, injuries should give them a pass.

However, it would be a grave mistake throwing everything about this season under the umbrella of injuries because there is no much wrong with this team.

It doesn’t hit well, especially with runners in scoring position. Howard Johnson has to take some responsibility there. David Wright’s power outage has been a mystery. Why would he change his mechanics because to the stadium? Why would anybody let him? He’s always been around .300, which is where he is now. If he mechanics were changed and he was hitting .350, it would be more acceptable. What isn’t acceptable are the number of strikeouts.

Then there is Daniel Murphy. He appears rushed. A bust in left, he’s comfortable at first defensively, but his offense – the strength of his game – has deteriorated.

Look at also what Johnson has had to work with. Fernando Tatis played over his head last season, and this year is more his norm. Most of the starters started the season as role players and are getting more time than they should.

Pitching? Well, so much was counted on from Oliver Perez, but his failure falls on many levels. No way, is he worth the contract. Choosing Perez over Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf is on Minaya. Letting him play in the WBC is also on Minaya, and the Wilpons, who give their unconditional support to the meaningless exhibition series. Pitching coach Dan Warthen hasn’t been able to harness him. Then, there is Perez himself, who believes walks aren’t such a big deal.

Personally, I think Perez is as good as he’s going to be. I’m tired of hearing about his potential. If the Mets can’t trade him, perhaps they should consider putting him in the bullpen, where he can be overpowering for an inning or two.

BERNAZARD: Shameful.

BERNAZARD: Shamed Mets.


With everything unraveling with the Mets, now the team is being embarrassed by Bernazard’s behavior. Bernazard is currently under house arrest in New Jersey with the perception his relationship with Jeff Wilpon could save his job.

If it does, who will be surprised?

If it does not, there will be no impact on the field as Bernazard can’t do anything about the team scoring runs or all the problems listed above.

Bernazard’s firing, which would be deserved, will only act as a diversion and him being made a potential scapegoat.

The hard core fans are upset, but many of those who go to Citi Field are numbed by the excitement of the new park. Let’s go get some BBQ or clam chowder. How many types of beer do they sell?

However, even in New York, the newness of the park won’t last long if the team doesn’t perform. It was that way in Baltimore. In Toronto. In Pittsburgh. In Washington.

Build it and they will come. Play well and they will stay.

During this tumultuous time with the franchise, the lone voice has been Minaya’s, and that’s not good enough. Times are strained enough now where the Wilpons, preferably both, step up with their state-of-the-team address.

The ticket-buying public must be assured of what direction is the team headed. Among other things, it should include statements on whether the team is a buyer or seller at the trade deadline. Are they waiting for the injured to return? They should state firmly all aspects of the organization will be under review after the season and nobody is safe. They should state what direction they will take in the offseason to rebuild. They should state its concern on the medical staff and is there blame for the injuries or bad luck.

No aspect of the team should be spared the scrutiny, because few things are right with it.

Jun 20

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #66; all eyes on Santana.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It will be very interesting to watch Johan Santana this afternoon. He really hasn’t been himself since the San Francisco game. He’s won, but he’s been vulnerable. After getting shelled by the Yankees last weekend, Santana insisted nothing is wrong physically.

He and pitching coach Dan Warthen worked on mechanics this week, and everybody us saying he’s fine. He goes into today’s game against the Rays with an extra day of rest. If his velocity is off again today with the extra rest, there might be some cause for alarm.

The Mets are sure to watch him closely and give him a short leash.

Here’s today’s line-up:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Church, RF
Jeremy Reed, LF
Omir Santos, C
Luis Castillo, 2B
Johan Santana, LP

May 04

Minaya, Wilpon head in Atlanta

Reports have Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon in Atlanta to meet with Jerry Manuel and Oliver Perez to best figure out how to handle the disintegrating lefty.

The options:

1) Convince him to accept a minor league assignment. As a veteran of at least five years he has the right of veto. The pros of going to the minor leagues is it could demoralize the already shaky Perez emotionally beyond repair. Nobody has a way of knowing for sure. Theoretically, he’ll get consistent work in, albeit away from pitching coach Dan Warthen.

2) Keep him around where he could work with Warthen and pitch out of the bullpen in a to-be-determined role. The disadvantage is not getting consistent work against live hitters.

3) Put him on the DL with a knee (injury). All of a sudden Perez was wrapped in ice after Saturday’s start and said it had been hurting him all year. This is the path of least resistance because the Mets can bring somebody up and Perez can still be around the team to work out.

We’ll know tonight.