Oct 30

Welcome to the 2009 Hot Stove season ….

As the Phillies were rolling around on the infield last night much to the dismay of most Mets fans, take solace in that 2008 is officially over. The last out of the World Series officially brings with it the start of the 2009 season, although the Mets have been thinking for the past month about what went wrong and what to do about it.

It’s time to build GM Omar Minaya’s shopping list for the Hot Stove Season.

Here’s my list:

1. Starter #1: Fixing the bullpen begins first with fixing the rotation. They need to add a starter to begin shaving innings from the bullpen total. They will attempt to re-sign Oliver Perez and add a solid, but not spectacular starter such as Derek Lowe.

2. Closer: The Phillies proved a dominant closer is better than a closer-by-committee format. Brian Fuentes appears first on their list. The money is too steep for Francisco Rodriguez.

3. Starter #2: The Mets need fifth starter. They could go in the market, they could gamble with Jon Niese or they could bring back Pedro Martinez.

4. Adding bullpen depth: The Mets’ bullpen blew 29 saves, but Billy Wagner only coughed it up seven times. There were a lot of collapses in the seventh and eighth innings. Help is needed.

5. Bench (right-handed hitting outfielder): Fernando Tatis should be re-signed, I could go with the platoon of he and Daniel Murphy. Adding a proven bat would be beneficial, but not at the expense of adding pitching.

6. Re-signing Carlos Delgado: It’s doubtful Delgado will duplicate last season’s second half, but there shouldn’t be that big a dropoff. I don’t understand the eagerness of some to trade him. Afterall, for a team with holes, trading him adds another. Delgado does have a no-trade clause so it will cost something to get him to waive it.

Oct 20

On the Table: Mets free-agent list. Who stays or goes?

Perez: Is he worth the bucks?

Perez: Is he worth the bucks?

When you come down to it, it’s not a “must have’’ list of the Mets’ own free-agents. Sure, they’d like lefty Oliver Perez back, but nobody really expects it, and truth is they can live without him.

The follow is a list of the Mets’ free-agents to be and those players arbitration eligible.

FREE AGENTS

-LF Moises Alou: Say good-night, Moises.

-INF Marlon Anderson: Nice knowing you.

-RHP Luis Ayala: Could be brought back.

-OF Endy Chavez: Could be brought back, but never as a starter.

-2B Damion Easley: I like him, but Mets should go younger on the bench.

-RHP Orlando Hernandez: Time to write his autobiography.

-RHP Pedro Martinez: Doesn’t want to retire, but is only fifth starter caliber right now.

-2B Ramon Martinez: Made impact, but age won’t let Mets consider him for job.

-LHP Oliver Perez: Wants mega bucks. Doesn’t deserve them.

-LHP Ricardo Rincon: Won’t be missed.

-OF Fernando Tatis: Deserves to return.

-RHP Matt Wise: Good-bye.

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE

The following are arbitration eligible: RF Ryan Church, LHP Pedro Feliciano, RHP Aaron Heilman, RHP Duaner Sanchez, RHP John Maine and OF Angel Pagan.

Sep 18

A couple of questions to ponder

-Damion Easley’s quad isn’t getting any better. He could be lost for the season. Who do you want to see play the rest of the way, Argenis Reyes or Luis Castillo?

-Fernando Tatis has a Grade 3 shoulder separation. The Mets are saying with rest and rehab he might be available in three weeks. That would be the NLCS. Would you take your chances with a gimpy Tatis or keep somebody like Nick Evans on the playoff roster?

Sep 17

Mets Lineup at Washington

Finally, Daniel Murphy is back in the lineup, batting second and playing left field in place of the injured Fernando Tatis. Murphy has been a spark plug since he joined the Mets when the team was in Houston last month. His numbers have been good, but he’s seen limited time since Ryan Church’s return.

Argenis Reyes is playing in place of Luis Castillo.

Here’s the lineup:

METS

SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
2B Argenis Reyes
C Brian Schneider
RH Brandon Knight

Sep 17

Some perspective on Tatis

This quote from Jerry Manuel on Fernando Tatis is surprising: “”When we lose Tatis, we definitely have to reassess where we are offensively.”

Huh?

He came out of nowhere and had a good season, but the truth is he is a role player. He was part of a platoon. You reassess with a full time starter.

The Mets will miss Tatis, and the cynic in me says they’ll do so because the Big Three has stopped hitting. Losing Tatis should mean more Daniel Murphy, and hopefully that will include against lefty pitchers.

There was a spark to the offense with Murphy batting second that has gone. The Mets need that back.

As far as Tatis is concerned, he gave the Mets more than they could have hoped for when they signed him and he deserves to be brought back.

Tatis separated his shoulder trying to make a diving catch on pitcher Odalis Perez’s double. He is gone for the remainder of the season and that includes the playoffs.

“He’s done,” Manuel said. “That’s very discouraging, to lose a big piece of where we are and what we’ve accomplished so far.”

Tatis hit .297 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI filling in for Moises Alou and Ryan Church.

Alou, by the way, hasn’t said anything about retirement.