Oct 22

James: Mets’ core pretty good.

James: Likes Wright and Reyes.

James: Likes Wright and Reyes.

The young core some people would like to break up ranks high with analyst Bill James, who ranks David Wright fourth and Jose Reyes ninth in his list of the top major leaguers under 30 years old in his book, “Young Talent Inventory.”

Overall, the Mets are ranked 16th in terms of young talent, which is in the middle of the pack and nothing to get excited about.

Here’s James’ top 25:

?1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
?2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
?3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
?4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
?5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
?6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
?7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
?8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
?9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24

Three other Mets’ prospects, reliever Eddie Kunz, catcher Josh Thole and outfielder Daniel Murphy were selected to play in AFL All-Star Game Friday night.

Oct 16

Wright willing to help

Wright: Only an idiot would think of trading him.

Wright: Only an idiot would think of trading him.

David Wright said he wouldn’t lobby the Mets’ front office as to what free agents they pursue, but is willing to help out should he be asked.

“I stay out of the whole front-office decision making, who they go after, who they are trading for,” Wright said. “But if they ever came to me and asked me to speak to a free agent and show him around New York, I live there now, so I would be more than happy to do that.”

There are those who have foolishly suggested the Mets trade Wright, but he’s not going anywhere. He remains the face of the franchise.

I covered the Orioles for a long time and told him he reminds me of Cal Ripken in how the club promotes him. He said he was flattered, and like Ripken, wants to play his entire career with the Mets.

Quite simply, you don’t trade players like Wright.

Oct 14

Commentary: Trading Murphy.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

There’s a lot to like about Daniel Murphy.

He plays the game hard and smart; he’s the grit the team has been accused of lacking. A third baseman by trade who will not get the opportunity because of David Wright, he was moved to left field, and now in the Arizona Fall League is playing second and first.

Versatile defensively, and patient offensively, Murphy is on the inside track of being a star. All this, and he’s not making any money.

Yes, there’s a lot to like about Murphy, and no doubt, other teams have noticed. He could very well be the Mets most tradeable commodity on the major league level. That’s why the Mets should think about dealing him now when his value is high.

Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t going to deal Wright or Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran’s contract makes him difficult to deal. As far as Carlos Delgado, his age, contract, and the question if his second half was a fluke makes him hard to trade.

Who else on the major league level can be used to acquire the pitching that’s needed. Trust me, I like Murphy. I think he can be a star. But, the Mets’ have pressing needs that maybe he, in the right package, can can solve.

Given that, dealing him might be the way to go.

Oct 07

Fair or not, HoJo on hot seat.

Eyes on HoJo

Eyes on HoJo

Nothing new on the coaching front. Jerry Manuel thinks early next week his staff should be finalized.

On the hot seat is Howard Johnson, who said at the end of the season he believed the club had the right pieces.

Maybe they do, but something is missing, and it’s not all Johnson’s fault.

These are major leaguers and they shouldn’t have to “buy into’’ anything. They should know how to work a count and advance a runner.

It’s an organizational thing, and on the major league level, that’s the manager. We see guys swinging at garbage all the time, and in the case of Jose Reyes, where’s the encouragement to take the walk?

All I hear was they don’t want to take away his aggressiveness. Well, if Reyes walked 100 times and bunted for hits more, he’d be devastating offensively.

There’s more.

Carlos Beltran should steal more. … It wouldn’t kill Carlos Delgado to go to left against the shift. … Perhaps the batting order is flawed. Maybe Reyes shouldn’t be leading off. … David Wright was way too impatient this year.

There are a lot of ways to improve the offense having nothing to do with firing Johnson, but, that’s not how the game is played.

Oct 02

Minaya: “Something is missing.”

Minaya: Has a lot of work to do.

Minaya: Has a lot of work to do.

One of the first things Omar Minaya said this morning on a conference call to announce his contract extension through 2012 (with club options for 2013 and 2014), was to admit something is wrong with the make-up of his team.

“There is something there, something missing, that the club needs to get over,” Minaya said.

Minaya singled out the bullpen as the area of main concern, but did not name and possible FA replacements.

“One of the top areas we need to address is the bullpen and the closer,” Minaya said. “There’s only a few guys in the game what we say can, ‘lock-out an inning,’ so we’ll have to look in the market place, or look internally, because for a championship team that is very important.”

To fill that void, and the projected starting pitching void without Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez, Minaya said he would listen to trade offers for anyone, and that includes core players David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Minaya called the trio, “winning players,” but added, “we owe it to ourselves to look at all areas. I’m going to be open-mined all winter.”

Minaya, however, isn’t shopping these three, and I got the impression this was GM clichespeak, in that all GM’s say they will listen to any proposals that could improve the team.

Minaya also said:

-Discussions are on-going on a contract extension for manager Jerry Manuel. It’s believed the Mets have a two-year deal on the table but Manuel is thinking three.

-The team is interested in bringing back Carlos Delgado, and has told his agent this.

-He’s interested in having Oliver Perez return and said he made progress.

-Said the team is waiting to complete its investigation and let the legal process take its course before making a decision on troubled reliever Ambiorix Burgos.