Sep 14

The key issues remaining for the Mets

The Mets have made it clear they are thinking toward next season with their decisions to activate Carlos Beltran and John Maine from the disabled list. As this disappointing year draws to a close these are some of the key issues remaining that need to be addressed.

1) John Maine proving he’s healthy over the next three starts?
My take: This is a key domino because it dictates in large part what the team does in the off-season.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.

MAINE: Needs to close strong.


2) Jose Reyes being activated from the disabled list?
My take: With how long it has taken him and talk of surgery, Reyes playing can only lead to bad things.

3) Carlos Delgado being activated from the disabled list?
My take: I don’t think he’s coming back, so no, especially if they are still high on Daniel Murphy at first base.

4) Mike Pelfrey putting several consistently good starts together?
My take: It would be good for his self-confidence, which right now has to be close to rock bottom.

5) David Wright regaining his power stroke?
My take: I think Philadelphia was a start. He’s had such a streaky season. I’d like to see him go long at Citi Field to get that out of his head.

6) Francisco Rodriguez being healthy and not making every save an adventure?
My take: He hasn’t pitched to expectations, especially after that game at Yankee Stadium when Luis Castillo dropped the pop-up. Something isn’t right with him.

7) Angel Pagan getting a clue on the bases?
My take: If it hasn’t happened now, it won’t the rest of the way. If he’s to contend for the left job next year he has to be smarter, both in the field and on the bases.

8) Daniel Murphy improving at first base?
My take: Important, because if they are confident in Murphy that’s one less thing on their plate this winter.

Sep 10

Delgado in 2010?

Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.

“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”

DELGADO: Do you want him back?

DELGADO: Do you want him back?


An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.

Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.

Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.

He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.

Agree or not?

Aug 31

Proactive selling ….

With the competitive aspect of the season long since over, the Mets are planning for 2010 with every move they make. The decisions on surgery and the disabled list were made to protect players and give them proper rehab time.

Time to be proactive

Time to be proactive


Sticking with Daniel Murphy at first base and Bobby Parnell in the rotation were made with an eye on holes that need to be filled over the winter.

Economically, the Mets should also be thinking about next season.

With Mets tickets on the Internet at times selling for less than face value, and the economy still in shreds, the franchise could be faced with a large number of season ticket cancellations for next year in light of how the team has performed.

Business-as-usual for the Mets would be to send out renewal notices after the playoffs. But, these are not normal times and they should be considering a more aggressive approach to get their ticket holders to return.

With 15 home games remaining and nothing to play for, the Mets should consider giving season-ticket holders the opportunity to credit September’s unused tickets toward next year’s packages. If there’s no reason to go to the park, many ticket holders will be likely to dump their tickets for whatever they can get to cut their losses.

For those ticket holders who already decided about not renewing for 2010, there’s nothing the Mets can do. However, this gesture might push those sitting on the fence to renew.

Here’s a chance for the organization to thank its ticket holders for supporting the team during this lost season, and at the same time make a dent in its off-season sales.

It’s not as if the team would lose money because the Mets could always re-sell the returned tickets, or donate them to charity for a tax write-off.

And, the team should also be considering selling one-month packages, perhaps at a discounted rate.

I can’t imagine the Mets doing this because the first impression would be they would be making less money, but with how things have gone, and taking the economy into consideration, it could turn out to be a win-win for everybody.

The Mets might be in fourth place in the NL East, but this is no time for fourth-place thinking.

Aug 27

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #128; Can’t anybody here play this game?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It was the Mets’ first season when Casey Stengel asked: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

It has proven a timeless quote, as the same question must be asked this season. Sure, there have been injuries that crippled this year, but even so, the Mets should be better. As much as they miss David Wright, John Maine, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and now Johan Santana, they are also missing something else. They are missing the intangibles possessed by all winning teams.

The Mets have given up on the season and you can see it in their faces. You can also see it in their efforts and attention to details and fundamentals. Part of this responsibility must be assumed by Jerry Manuel, who has not always cracked the whip. He treats his players like men, assuming they will focus, not like the minor leaguers they often resemble.

The Mets don’t consistently do what winners do. They don’t take the extra base. They don’t advance runners. Manuel said it himself, they habitually leave runners on third with less than two outs. They give away far too many at-bats.

Defensively, and we saw this last night, they don’t consistently execute the double play and often give the opposition extra outs. Some of this is due to players, such as Daniel Murphy, learning new positions. But, Luis Castillo has played second for a long time.

And, the pitching. Injured as it is, walks far too many batters and doesn’t finish them off when they are ahead in the count. Staggering are the number of two-strike and two-out hits, and pitches left over the plate.

And, it isn’t all Oliver Perez, either. Mike Pelfrey, a supposed rotation stalwart of the future, has taken a step back.

STENGEL: Would he be mystified?

STENGEL: Would he be mystified?


This is not a healthy team, but it is also not a fundamentally sound team, either. You are what you are, and the Mets aren’t a good team. They have been a study in creative losing.

They are in Florida today, the site where Murphy dropped the fly ball that beat Santana. … There was blowing the five-run lead to the Pirates. … The Ryan Church game in LA. … The Castillo pop-up. … The triple-play game. … The wild-pitch loss in Philly.

As Stengel once said, and we can repeat it this year: “Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose ‘em I never knew existed before.”

They have lost five straight and are on the verge of being swept today by the Marlins. Standing in their way is, gasp, Tim Redding, and this line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Wilson Valdez, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
Tim Redding, RP

Aug 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #122; Playing out the string.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

With 40 games remaining, tonight was supposed to be the start of a hot series with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Fueled by Cole Hamels “choke” comments about the Mets last winter, there was to be heat and spice in this rivalry, which for the past two seasons featured a Mets’ collapse down the stretch and being overtaken by the Phillies.

Not only did the Mets blow two sizable leads to their neighbors at the other end of the Jersey Turnpike, but watched them win the World Series and in the process tweak Jose Reyes for his hot dog ways.

Reyes is nowhere to be seen tonight, and we might not see him for the rest of the season. The Phillies, meanwhile, cruise into Citi Field with an unfathomable 16-game lead. It could be 20 by Monday afternoon.

After trading for Cliff Lee, and with four players with at least 20 homers, five with 15, and two more with nine, the Phillies have all the pieces needed to repeat.
The Mets, however, are a team in disarray. Their entire core of David Wright, Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Degado is on the disabled list with no projected dates for their returns. Only two players from the Opening Day line-up – Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy – are playing regularly. Two of their five starters – Livan Hernandez and John Maine – are out.

Gary Sheffield represents the power with ten homers and he could be gone any minute.

It has been a Twilight Zone season: the power disappeared; they sacked their assistant general manager; Oliver Perez and tonight’s starter, Mike Pelfrey, have been erratic; and injuries have also claimed time from Maine, JJ Putz, Brian Schneider, Perez and Alex Cora.

In some ways, Pelfrey personifies the Mets. A 13-game winner last season, he was supposed to take a step forward and emerge as the No. 2 starter. He takes an 8-8 record and 4.75 ERA to the mound tonight. He has a three-balk game on his resume and has four of his last five decisions.

Pelfrey has become positively Perez-like, being unable to limit the damage and lets innings get away from him. Against a power-laden line-up such as Philadelphia’s things could get out of hand early.

Here’s tonight’s line-up against Hamels:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP