Aug 20

Bay remains enigma

Jason Bay is back in the lineup for today’s game against Milwaukee following a one-day benching on the heels of an 0-for-20 funk. He might hit a home run today, or two. Or, he could have another 0-for-4 with three punchouts. Not that it matters anymore.

Several months ago, when there was still a worthwhile part of the season left and Jose Reyes at the top of his game, Terry Collins suggested moving Bay to second in the order to get him more fastballs. Collins never moved on it and now that boat has sailed.

Even when Reyes returns his legs won’t be the same and the experiment will be a moot point. The Mets have tried everything with Bay, but his mechanics are so fouled up right now that it seems nothing will work. Maybe Bay will snap out of his funk. Maybe it won’t, but for now it seems no other conclusion can be drawn other than this signing was a bust.

And, there are two more years at $16 million per to endure. Sandy Alderson managed to get takers for Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Maybe next year he’ll get lucky again. One can only hope.

Jul 31

Analyzing where the Mets stand today.

If the Mets were truly in a fire sale mode there was more they could have done prior to the 4:00 p.m., trade deadline. As a competitive team that to many overachieved through July, the Mets had plenty of chips they could have played to bolster their depth.

Chris Capuano and Jason Isringhausen both could help a contender, but are the types of players the Mets would need to plug in next season Capuano has been effective and warrants a chance to pitch for a spot in the rotation next spring.

Like all teams, the Mets need a closer, and unless Bobby Parnell makes progress the remaining two months – and during spring training – who is to say Isringhausen won’t get that chance for one more season? His potential to contribute in that forum likely exceeds whom he might have brought it. Isringhausen becomes even more important to the Mets when one watches Parnell struggle as he did this afternoon in Washington.

The one Met I thought might go was outfielder Scott Hairston, who homered twice this afternoon at Washington. He would have been perfect as a spot starter or pinch hitter, which is why Atlanta made a late run at him. But, with Beltran gone and questions persist surrounding the Mets’ outfield, there’s nothing wrong with having him around another year.

There’s something different about the make-up of this Mets’ team that was missing in previous seasons when the playoffs were not an option with two months remained in the summer. Then, there was nothing to play for. Now, they are playing to build a foundation.

Manager Terry Collins has impressed to his team these Mets are being seriously evaluated for 2012. When he said the Mets are trying to win as many games as possible, while the wild-card remains a long shot creating a winning chemistry is not out of the realm of possibility.

With today’s loss, the Mets are 7.5 games behind Atlanta for the wild-card with three teams they must leapfrog.

The Mets probably had a better chance to make a late wild-card run had they kept Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, but with October a distance away, they made the right trade decisions to prepare themselves for the future in that they freed salary and acquired a power arm to develop.

In the interim, this team has played shorthanded, but with a grit and intensity is worth building around. Hopefully, their offensive deficiencies created by losing Beltran could be offset with David Wright’s return from the disabled list. Then again, we’re always waiting for Jason Bay to hit.

So far, Isringhausen and others have offset losing Rodriguez in the bullpen.

When teams talk fire sales usually there are more bodies leaving than just Rodriguez and Beltran.  What remains intact is something for the Mets to build on, as what we have now is not the sign of desperation we envisioned coming out of spring training.

 

Jul 22

Wright to return tonight; won’t be enough.

The Mets expect David Wright back in the lineup, hitting fourth behind Carlos Beltran tonight in Florida. Beltran, on the trade block, isn’t expected to be dealt by game time, but his days as a Met are getting shorter. Getting Wright back will not change GM Sandy Alderson’s thinking regarding Beltran.

The All-Star outfielder is drawing considerable interest, and he’s playing at a rate where he’ll likely command a prospect, not a throwaway player.

WRIGHT: Back of DL tonight.

Wright went on the disabled list May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. He sustained the injury nearly a month earlier.

Even though the Mets have played shorthanded, they managed to tread water. However, the Phillies and Braves have opened up sizeable leads in the NL East and wild-card races that make competing difficult and the Mets are in trade mode.

They’ve already unloaded Francisco Rodriguez and are actively shopping Beltran. Beltran said he’s like to stay with the Mets, but it is all public relations.

Even should Beltran stay, Wright’s return will not greatly improve their status, regardless of what some players believe.

“You forget what he brings, because this has been our team for so long,’’ Jason Bay said. “It’s almost like we’re making a trade. We’re getting a premier player, adding an impact bat, and even though he’s our own guy. It’s going to be big for us.’’

Players say that all the time when a player comes off the disabled list, but even with Wright the Mets didn’t have enough parts, especially on the mound.

If history is an indication, Wright will need a monster night to overcome the disappointing Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA.

If you think that’s bad, consider he’s 1-7 lifetime against the Marlins, including seven straight losses in his last 13 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten Florida since July 8, 2006.

 

Jul 15

Would sweeping the Phillies make a difference regarding Beltran?

Even should the Mets sweep the Phillies, I’m not buying it will have a great impact on what Sandy Alderson does  with Carlos Beltran. If he gets a deal, he’ll take it, regardless of where the Mets are in the standings.

Make no mistake, the Mets are in the rebuilding mode Alderson vowed when he came to town. The Mets are playing better than anticipated, which has shed a different light on things in the eyes of the fans, but hasn’t altered Alderson’s plan.

The trade of Francisco Rodriguez, and the possible trading of Beltran, has been met with more resistance than expected largely because of the Mets playing .500 ball and Jose Reyes’ strong first half. Those two things have given the impression of the Mets being a contender, but they still have the same issues as they had coming out of spring training.

Jul 12

Beltran showcased tonight at All-Star Game.

Carlos Beltran, potentially a future former Met, has the national stage in tonight’s All-Star Game to showcase his talents for a potential trade.

Of course, if teams have been paying attention during the first half they will know he’s physically holding up, that he’s adjusted to right field without a problem, and is playing well.

BELTRAN: Who is watching?

Beltran will start tonight as the designated hitter and bat second.

The Mets have exceeded expectations at 46-45, but are 11 games behind the Phillies and 7.5 behind Atlanta for the wild card. The only concession the Mets are making toward investing for the future is saying it is unlikely Jose Reyes will be traded.

Not so with Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Beltran knows the Mets are trying to move him, and jerked around by the organization over his knee surgery, his relationship with the team isn’t warm and cozy despite his guarded comments yesterday at the All-Star media sessions.

“A lot of teams this time, they’re looking to improve, some others are looking to rebuild,’’ Beltran said. “Right now, the Mets are playing good baseball.  I like where I am. We’re having fun and we just hope to continue to improve.’’

Beltran is in the last year of a seven-year, $119 million deal. Roughly $9 million will be paid Beltran in the second half, but if the Mets aren’t a contender, and they know they won’t bring him back, their best option would be making a trade.

San Francisco and Boston are two of the teams with a reported interest in Beltran.

Beltran went through this in 2004 when he was with Kansas City, so he’s treading familiar waters.

“I guess that experience makes you understand the business side of baseball a little better. You can’t take it personally,’’ Beltran said. “Having the no-trade clause gives me a little bit of control. I will choose if I like the trade. This is my 12th year in the big leagues, so at this point, all I want is to win and to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs.’’

Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras, who recently convinced Francisco Rodriguez to abandon his agent. Paul Kinzer to sign with him. On the surface, dumping Boras shows loyalty isn’t one of Rodriguez’s strong suits, so the Mets shouldn’t expect anything from him.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he doesn’t know how signing with Boras will impact Rodriguez’s future with the team. Rodriguez said he would accept a deal to a contender and work as a set-up reliever if there’s a contract extension in the picture.  If Rodriguez completes 55 games this season, a $17.5 million option will kick in, and that’s something the cost conscious Mets can’t afford.

Boras will not make things easy for the Mets regarding Rodriguez.

“Francisco Rodriguez is a historic closer,’’ Boras told reporters yesterday in Arizona. “He’s not going anywhere to be a setup man. … Closers don’t make good setup men. Does anybody want an unhappy setup man in their clubhouse?’’