Sep 23

Help is not coming ….

By all reported accounts, the Mets don’t expect to be big players in the off-season FA market. Read that as follows: No John Lackey, no big name power bat, no dramatic improvement.

The Mets front office will continue to say things like “we’ll look for the best fit,” and “if it makes sense, we’ll do something,” but essentially, not much will change from this year’s team and the one the team will throw out there next year.

Mets likely to go minimum wage in getting help.

Mets likely to go minimum wage in getting help.


So, here’s the strategy the best I can see:

Catcher: A Josh Thole and Omir Santos platoon.

First base: Daniel Murphy with Carlos Delgado not returning.

Second base: Luis Castillo because the team won’t be able to unload his contract.

Shortstop: Hoping for a healthy return by Jose Reyes.

Third base: Hoping for David Wright to rediscover his power stroke.

Left field: Here’s where they might attempt to sign a middle-tier player, but don’t be surprised if Angel Pagan is out there.

Center field: Hoping for a full and healthy season from Carlos Beltran.

Right field: Jeff Francoeur could amount to their biggest signing.

No. 1 starter: The return of a healthy Johan Santana.

No. 2 starter: Hoping Mike Pelfrey rebounds.

No. 3 starter: Hoping for a healthy return of Oliver Perez.

No. 4 starter: Hoping for a healthy return of John Maine.

No. 5 starter: Wide open. Bobby Parnell could get another chance. Don’t be surprised if they go for a middle-of-the-road starter and slot him in at No. 3 and move everybody back.

Set-up reliever: I was probably wrong about Putz. With his option they won’t bite on him. Could go with Parnell if he doesn’t start.

Other relievers: Will bring back Pedro Feliciano. I can see them bringing back Sean Green.

Bench: Should re-sign Alex Cora and will likely bring back Fernando Tatis.

So, essentially, the Mets will take the approach injuries were the primary cause for this season’s blowout and they’ll hope for the best in everybody coming back healthy. Pitching is a concern, so that’s where they’ll spend their attention in the FA market. However, they aren’t likely to splurge.

Sep 15

Pitching issues should determine Delgado’s fate with Mets.

Carlos Delgado had arguably of the best offensive seasons in Met history last year, with much of the production coming in the second half. It is tempting to look at the numbers and hope he can do it again.

I wouldn’t underestimate Delgado, and wouldn’t be shocked, but I would have to be conservative on this one. At his age, his injury history, and this year, if pushed I would bet against such a comeback.

The Mets can bring Delgado back at any time because the rosters have expanded, but they haven’t. Not even for a token PH appearance. I don’t see it happening based by the playing time Daniel Murphy is getting.

The Mets are hoping with maturity and increased knowledge of National League pitchers, Murphy will be able to increase his home run and RBI numbers, which would preclude the need for Delgado. Considering Murphy’s improvement after a slow start, it is not an unreasonable assumption.

Clearly, a healthy Delgado would be a better choice for a team with pennant aspirations, but considering their myriad of issues and needs, the Mets have to realistically evaluate whether they can even be a contender next season. And if not, what’s the point of having him around, even for $10 million?

They definitely can’t think of themselves as a contender, even with a healthy Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes with the current state of their pitching. OK, Johan Santana is likely to be fine, maybe so will Oliver Perez. However, Perez, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine are all serious questions. Given that, the Mets need to add two, maybe three quality starters.

Should they even be so bold to go after the Cubs Carlos Zambrano, who reportedly will be shopped this winter, that might not be enough. Zambrano comes with his own baggage, including a $50 million contract and two trips to the disabled list this summer. He’s no given, either.

The best FA pitcher is John Lackey, but he also has an injury history. The rest of the FA list includes Rich Harden, Randy Wolf, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro. You can also add Pedro Martinez, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets.

The Mets had their chances at Harden, Wolf, Marquis and Pineiro, but either weren’t willing to pay enough in talent or dollars. Will they go down that path again?

The passed on re-signing Martinez. Smoltz, Bedard and Sheets have their own injury histories. Penny might be intriguing, but the Mets also passed on him.

And, let’s face it, the Mets don’t have enough resources to trade for Roy Halladay.

When look at those factors, can you really see the Mets dramatically improving over the winter?

Probably not, so why invest in Delgado? Murphy will do for another year until Ike Davis is ready.

It is better to get younger, save a little money, and yes, maybe even improve the clubhouse chemistry.

Sep 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #143; Big sports day.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

A lot of things happening today and hopefully we can talk about a lot of them. Of course, we’ve got the Mets and Phillies. Twice. What’s important about today for the Mets is the same thing that has been important for the last two months – a positive sign in this negative season.

Today, we get a chance to look at John Maine for the first time since June. His results aren’t as important as his health. If Maine shows he can get through today – he’ll get about 60 pitches – and a few more starts, it would go a long way toward the Mets’ off-season thinking. If Maine can pitch without pain, the Mets would probably tender him a contract. My feeling is they’ll probably do it anyway because they are so short on pitching and the FA market is thin that it wouldn’t hurt any. Better to sign him and hope for the best rather than let him go and watch him recover elsewhere.

It might just turn out Maine might be better suited for the bullpen, and there’s nothing wrong with learning that this month. Let’s not forget, Maine was once a 15-game winner before things went south for him last season. He’s still young enough to where the Mets shouldn’t give up the ghost on him.

MAINE: Can he come back?

MAINE: Can he come back?


Maine (5-4, 4.52 ERA) last pitched in Washington, June 6, and gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was placed on the disabled list following that start.

Yesterday was supposed to be about Mike Pelfrey taking another step. Too bad it was backwards. Pelfrey gave up eight runs, including three homers, in six innings.

“I thought I made some big mistakes – mistakes over the middle part of the plate…I’m disappointed, but we came back and won,” Pelfrey said. “That takes some of it away.”

Actually, it doesn’t. Not with the season already lost. If the Mets were in a race, maybe so, because the victory would have been needed. However, at this stage, it’s about individuals being accountable and Pelfrey is a big part of the Mets’ future. For him to pitch so poorly is alarming. He is 25, and at an age when he should be making progress, after a 5-2 start through June 16, he is 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA. For his career he is 28-30 with a 4.59 ERA.

Pelfrey began the season as the No. 2 starter, but he’s performed like a back-end rotation arm.

On a bright note, David Wright hit two homers yesterday. I would like to see him finish with a flourish to get a positive feeling heading into next year. Wright changed his approach this season thinking he wouldn’t hit for power at Citi Field. It turned out he was right, but how much of that was him talking himself out of it? Wright is now tied with Gary Sheffield for the team lead with 10 homers. For his average, which is around .320, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

If you get frustrated with the Mets, and that’s easy to do, we could always talk some football if you’d like. If there’s interest, I don’t mind doing a football blog. I do plan on blogging the baseball postseason. There were some good conversations last fall even though the Mets were at home.

Here’s the line-up for the today’s first game in Philly:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP

Jul 29

Phillies add Lee ….

While the Mets were fighting with reporters and embarrassing themselves, the Philadelphia Phillies were doing everything they could to wrap up the NL East and possibly their second World Series title.

While there are no guarantees, the Phillies did real good this afternoon by adding AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee along with outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers.

The sobering news to the Mets and the rest of the NL is the Phillies didn’t have to part with top prospects pitchers J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek or outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, whom the Blue Jays were asking for in exchange for Roy Halladay.

Lee, 31 next month, has a 3.14 ERA with just 33 walks in 152 innings. He will make $8 million in 2010, then be eligible for free agency. Lee said he’ll likely test the FA market, but who is to say if he wins a World Series title or two?

The Indians have now traded the 2008 and 2007 Cy Young Award winners (CC Sabathia).

The deal speaks volumes between the differences of the Phillies and Mets, notably the depth in the minor league system and the aggressiveness of the front offices.

The Phillies were superior before the trade and widened the gap. The Mets will need a monumental offseason just to close it a bit, and from where they stand now that’s not going to happen.

They’ve won four straight and are in contention for the wild card, but there are too many teams ahead of them to leap frog and they don’t have the chips to make much of a wild card run. And, even if they get their injured players back they have a long way to go.

The Mets can’t improve themselves now to make much of a dent. Their opportunity was two months ago when the cracks were starting to show.

This trade should be an awakening to the Mets their window of contention since 2006 is barely a crack if it hasn’t slammed shut and they have a lot of work to do.

Dec 09

Should they add Fuentes, too?

FUENTES: Could he still be in play?

FUENTES: Could he still be in play?

OK, you’re the Mets and you’ve landed the top reliever in the market, Francisco Rodriguez. Pending a physical, of course. So, do you also make a FA play for Brian Fuentes or make a trade for Huston Street?

Considering they first courted him as a closer, the Mets might have to offer more money if they want to Fuentes to take a lesser role. Street, of course, would have to come in a trade for prospects.