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.

Mar 26

WBC set back Perez

PEREZ: Where is this pitch going?

PEREZ: Where is this pitch going?

It’s all well and good that Johan Santana took the time to counsel Oliver Perez after yesterday’s torching. What’s not all well and good is the need for him to do so: Perez had another devilish outing, giving up six runs on six hits with six walks in 4 1/3 innings.

“I am concerned because I don’t see arm strength,’’ pitching coach Dan Warthen said, who, for one, thinks Perez fell behind because of the WBC, where his ERA was 9.45 in two starts.

“I was a little bit reticent when he left [for the Classic], and my worries have come to fruition,’’ Warthen told reporters.

Warthen said Perez put on some weight and doesn’t have the arm strength he needs this late in camp; manager Jerry Manuel said Perez lacks command and velocity.

The Mets were one of the biggest proponents of the WBC, but there’s a difference between pitchers and position players when it comes to getting ready for the season.

Considering how long Perez stayed on the market, and after signing a below-than-what-he-expected three-year, $36 million contract, one would have thought he would have done everything he could to stay in shape and prove his doubters wrong.

Mar 05

On Santana: Are they really sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

He’s easily the most important Met. How far they go this season is dependant on Johan Santana’s elbow, his shoulder, and his knee – every part of him.

October will be yet another empty month if Santana is injured and misses a substantial part of the season.

The appearance is the Mets aren’t on the same page on a timetable when a day after pitching coach Dan Warthen’s itinerary had Santana missing Opening Day the two-time Cy Young winner said he thought differently.

Santana threw 46 pain-free bullpen pitches Wednesday and the tenor has changed. Santana, manager Jerry Manuel said, isn’t a like everybody else, telling reporters in Port St. Lucie: “You have templates that you like to follow, and everybody don’t fit those templates. That’s why he is who he is.’’

I don’t think anybody doubts Santana’s competitiveness. All you have to do is think back to his last start of the season on a bum knee that required surgery.

This guy throws with his guts as much as he does his arm, and part of me can’t help but wonder if the Mets are doing with Santana what they did with Pedro Martinez, which is let him call the shots.

If they thought he needed a MRI a week ago, then why not go through with it and be sure?