Sep 29

Issues, issues and more issues ….

The Mets have as many issues as a year of Sports Illustrated. They also have a general manager, Omar Minaya, poised for another four years to answer them. Here’s what I see as the most pertinent issues facing the Mets.

1. JERRY MANUEL: Will Minaya bring back the manager who took over a floundering team and guided them into contention until the final day? And with him, his coaching staff? The Mets were fading under Willie Randolph when Manuel replaced him in June. With pretty much the same talent, the Mets turned it around. MY OPINION: Manuel should be brought back. This team worked hard for him and hustled. Talent issues beyond his control is why they failed.

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?


2. CARLOS DELGADO: The struggling first baseman transformed into the slugging first baseman shortly after Manuel took over. Coincidence? Delgado says no and is annoyed with the suggestion. But, his numbers were impressive enough to merit MVP consideration. The Mets could pick up his option for $16 million or offer a $4 million buyout. Was Delgado’s second half a fluke? That’s a tough one. MY OPINION: If the Mets believe they are a contender and make some early moves to fix the pen, then Delgado should be brought back. It would be one less hassle. Should they go this route, there should not be an extension. Make him earn it. HOWEVER, if the Mets remain stagnant and believe they are in a rebuilding mode, then give him the buyout and go young. In this case, I would send Daniel Murphy to the Arizona Fall League for instruction at first. Nick Evans, too.

3. SECOND BASE: Ramon Martinez was a spark the final week of the season, but in the end, he’s still a retread player. Damion Easley is a role player I want back. Luis Castillo is not the answer. MY OPINION: Castillo can’t play here. I would try to trade him with the understanding of eating most of his salary. If they can’t do that then dump him and eat the whole thing. If this is a platoon position next year, so be it.

4. LEFT FIELD: Moises Alou can’t go in a time machine. The Mets finished the season platooning Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans and Fernando Tatis, with Endy Chavez coming in late for defense. I can see them doing that again, but acquiring a full time outfielder would be better. MY OPINION: Whatever they do, it should not be Manny Ramirez. I think they should look for a full time outfielder, but don’t overpay because they have more pressing issues.

5. STARTING PITCHING: They have two spots that are in question, Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez. Martinez was never completely healthy and was lost with the death of this father. His fastball faded and he proved to be a five-inning guy. Half of Perez’s 34 starts were no-decisions and he finished at 10-8, the numbers for a fifth starter. MY OPINION: Perez won’t come at a fifth starter’s salary. With agent Scott Boras, he’ll demand a lot. If the Mets want him, they should make their best offer during their negotiating window and sign him before CC Sabathia sets the market. If Boras says no, then fine and move on. I don’t see Perez ever becoming a No. 1. As far as Martinez, he wants to pitch and I’d bring him back as a fifth starter.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.


6. BULLPEN: With the exception of Joe Smith, I can see a complete housecleaning. Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis are under contract, but so what? Twenty-nine blown saves should mean everybody is vulnerable. MY OPINION: Minaya won’t bring back seven new arms. I’d look at Brian Fuentes before Francisco Rodriguez as the closer because of economics (they are already paying Billy Wagner $11 million not to close next year). The bridge is essential. I’d give Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell a shot in spring training to close. Winter ball might not be a bad idea, either. Brian Stokes, Smith, Luis Ayala and Pedro Feliciano I can see coming back. They’ve listened to trade offers for Heilman before. Now is the time to do it, because he’s gone once he’s a free agent. It’s one thing to think overhaul, but it’s another to actually do it. They have to realistic in that the entire pen can’t be replaced.

This will be the offseason Minaya earns his money.

Sep 27

Mets Chat Room: Santana defines greatness.

Santana: An afternoon of greatness keeps the Mets alive.

Santana: An afternoon of greatness keeps the Mets alive.

Johan Santana came to New York with as much pressure on him as any other coming to this city. Santana more than did his job this afternoon, coming back on three days rest to throw 117 pitches in a 2-0 victory over the Florida Marlins to keep alive the Mets’ season for at least another day.

“I made up my mind I was going to do it,” Santana said of the complete-game shutout. He said the chanting of his name by the crowd motivated him and he was as proud of this effort as any in his career.

As to why he wanted the ball, he said, “there was no tomorrow.”

Well, thanks to Santana, there is for the Mets. If you were at Shea today, tell us what you saw. If you watched on TV, tell us what you thought.

Sep 26

Tonight’s lineup vs. Florida

I like it. Ramon Martinez is back at second base. He’s the best alternative with Damion Easley not 100 percent. Catcher Brian Schneider, who didn’t play last night because of a sore back returns to the lineup.

Here’s the METS lineup vs. Florida:

SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
2B Ramon Martinez
C Brian Schneider
RH Mike Pelfrey

Sep 25

Mets lineup vs. Cubs

Well, what do you know, Ramon Martinez is playing second base. After last night, play the guy who has a chance of making something happening. Luis Castillo is just frustrating to watch.

Here it is, the lineup the Mets hope will save their season.

METS

SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
2B Ramon Martinez
C Brian Schneider
RHP Pedro Martinez

Sep 24

Tonight’s lineup vs. Cubs

So far, it really doesn’t matter who the Mets put at second base. Neither Argenis Reyes nor Luis Castillo have produced. You know, I felt a sense of comfort with Damion Easley at second base. I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s better than either one of them. When the Mets are constructing their bench over the winter, I hope they don’t overlook Easley.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

METS

SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
RF Ryan Church
C Brian Schneider
2B Argenis Reyes
LH Oliver Perez