Aug 04

Mets Shouldn’t Mess With R.A. Dickey

The Mets lost Friday night in a game they might have won had they had any offense – or anything left over from their last game in San Francisco. Unfortunately, we all know it doesn’t work that way.

DICKEY: Don't mess with him. (AP)

R.A. Dickey pitched well enough to win most games, and that’s the real point. Dickey has pitched well on traditional rest. Going to three days might be a huge mistake. Reportedly, the Mets aren’t sold on it and let’s hope it they don’t buy.

The only answer is more major league arms, of which the Mets don’t have. I’m not saying Derek Lowe is the answer, or any recently released starter. But, the closest thing the Mets have to an option if they are to remain competitive for the rest of the season is to keep Dickey on normal rest.

Yes, he’s a knuckleballer, but not in the conventional sense. Also, it isn’t just taxing the arm, but the entire body. Dickey has developed into one of the game’s most reliable pitchers, and part of his success in his routine.

Don’t mess with it.

Nov 12

Men on base ….

Welcome to a new feature on the blog. This will be a thread with several items attached. Random thoughts, if you will. There are a lot of things happening, some directly relating to the Mets and some not.

* If you’re a season ticket holder, have you received your 2010 invoices? When is payment due? Is there a price break? I’m under the understanding there won’t be any increase. You tell me what’s going on.

* Bobby Valentine has been passed over for three jobs since returning from Japan. Cleveland, Houston and now Washington. Doesn’t that tell you something? Yet, there are those still on his bandwagon. Sorry, not happening, even if Jerry Manuel gets fired during the season.

* The Phillies are talking about Mark DeRosa to play third base. Would be a nice pick-up for them. They’ve already taken care of some off-season business. Adding DeRosa will make them that much better.

* Word is Atlanta might trade Javier Vazquez and/Derek Lowe. They must be sold on their young pitching to entertain those thoughts. You can’t have enough pitching. And, forget it, they won’t trade a starter inside the division.

* Carlos Beltran says Carlos Delgado is in good shape and said he’d love to have him return. No surprise there.

Sep 09

Maine has test tomorrow.

Of all the injured Mets who had a chance of returning this season, seeing John Maine again was easily the most important.

Billy Wagner returned, showed he was healthy and sent the Red Sox. We are finally seeing Carlos Beltran, although he might still be gimpy. Mets doctors say Johan Santana and Oliver Perez should make successful recoveries from surgery and be ready for spring training.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.


Then again, that’s what they said about Maine.

Maine, on the disabled list since June 7 with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder, will throw a simulated game tomorrow, and barring any complications, start the second game of Sunday’s double-header at Philadelphia.

“It feels good,’’ Maine told reporters yesterday. “Strength-wise, it’s not quite 100 percent. But as far as the pain, it’s just not there. I think with a good off-season, I’ll be able to put it behind me. It should go away and should be fine.’’

The operative word being off-season. If Maine somehow didn’t pitch again this year, the Mets would have nothing to evaluate and might opt to non-tender him a contract. The risk being somebody else would take a chance on him and he’d bounce back.

Personally, I think they’ll tender the contract anyway because the money is rather small and would be for one year, and because the Mets don’t have that many minor league options, and they are unlikely to splurge on the free-agent and trade markets. The inclination wildly spend is not there. Look on whom they passed last winter (Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf).

However, should Maine make it out of Sunday’s 60-pitch audition without difficulty, he should get three more starts before the end of the season. Four starts is roughly a short spring training, but it this case it might be enough for the Mets to start formulating some plans.

Maine has as much to gain as the Mets by pitching in September, because if he proves he’s healthy, and the Mets inexplicably don’t tender a contract, he would enter the free-agent market.

If the Mets are able to pencil in Maine for one rotation spot, it would eliminate one of the many headaches the Mets will have to contend with this winter.

Although there has been some discussion about putting Maine in the bullpen, I don’t see the Mets using this window for that kind of experiment.

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.

Feb 03

Did the Mets really get their man?

The numbers are three years and $36 million, a little less than double the $6.5 million Oliver Perez got last season with the Mets to win 10 games.

The big question, at least to me, is whether Perez will interpret this as a snub or will he use this as a motivator?

“I feel very confident that he has taken steps to becoming a real good pitcher,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s still very young. If he is added to the mix, it only strengthens us in the starting pitching, which would be a big plus for us, a very big plus for us.”

Hopefully, Perez will do the latter and pitch with a burning desire the next three years. Remember, at 27, he’s young enough to do this again.

Do you believe Perez will be in the right frame of mind, or should the Mets have overpaid for Derek Lowe?