Feb 19

Feb. 19.10: Manuel likes Reyes third.

Manager Jerry Manuel, in talking to the press for the first time this spring, said he likes the idea of batting Jose Reyes third. I don’t understand why you’d want to take arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game and tinker with him.

REYES: Leave him alone.

REYES: Leave him alone.

Reyes, if he works on his game – bunting, hitting the ball on the ground, drawing more walks – could become one of the game’s all-time leadoff hitters. A modern day Rickey Henderson, perhaps.

The numbers suggest leaving him where he is. Over the past three seasons, Reyes is batting .293 leading off an inning and .295 with nobody on base. Conversely, he is batting .267 with RISP, .230 with RISP and two outs, and .205 with the bases loaded.

The offensive criticism of Reyes is he sometimes plays outside his game, and once he hits a home run or two starts swinging for the fences, which is away from his strength. Why put him into a slot in the order where he could become prone to bad habits?

The reasons I can fathom moving Reyes to third are two-fold, 1) the Mets don’t expect Carlos Beltran back soon, and 2) the Mets are more worried about Reyes’ running and speed than they are willing to admit.

For years, we’ve been told Reyes was the ignition to the offense, that as he goes so do the Mets. But, that was predicated on him batting leadoff. I have been critical of Reyes at times, but that’s when he takes plays off. However, the Mets’ inability to win since 2006 have nothing to do with him.

Another way to look at this are to examine the other options. There’s nobody comparable to Reyes as a leadoff hitter, but David Wright is capable of hitting third, followed by Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur. It’s not Philly, but it is a good 3-4-5.

There’s plenty of issues with this team, tinkering with Reyes shouldn’t be one of them.

Feb 09

Feb. 9.10: Mets need a full Reyes.

I’ve been looking at the Mets position players with this thought: Whose season might be the most important for them to reach contending status. That is, of course, under the assumption the rotation pitches well.

REYES: Mets need his spark.

REYES: Mets need his spark.

My first thought was David Wright, but I’m inclined to give the benefit of doubt and believe last season was an aberration, that he’ll be closer to normal this year. Then I thought Daniel Murphy, as with Carlos Beltran out at the start that the Mets would need an infusion of power someplace. But, Murphy is what he is, and he’s not – at least in this stage of his career – a power hitter.

Then it became obvious: The keys to the Mets offense has always been Jose Reyes. When he’s running, stealing bases, legging out triples and beating out bunts, and going into the hole for the ball, that’s when the Mets are at their best.

Of all the position players, he’s the one who needs to be at his best if the Mets are to prove last year was an injury-riddled fluke. If Reyes is on his game, the Mets go from being a listless team to a dangerous one.

The reports so far have been positive on his rebab, but he’s not tested them under baseball conditions. When he does, we might gain a greater insight as to where this season will go.

Pitchers and catchers less than two weeks.

Jan 24

Jan. 24.10: Jets take centerstage vs. real Colts.



Two good football games are on this afternoon: Jets vs. Colts and Vikings vs. Saints.

It’s fashionable to call the Jets a Cinderella, but when you have the No. 1 defense and No. 1 rushing game you’re no fluke. And, as long as they balance the offense enough to keep the Colts’ pass rushers off Mark Sanchez, they should be in decent shape. I’d want to see Sanchez throw more on first down to stay out of third-and-long.

The key, as it was in beating San Diego, is to play virtually error free and hold onto the ball to keep Peyton Manning off the field. But, Manning is so good, and he can score so quickly, that time-of-possession doesn’t always work against him.

As they did against the Chargers, the Jets need to keep this as low scoring a game as possible. The other game, however, I expect to be more wide open with both teams in the high 20s if not the 30s.

I wouldn’t be too quick to downplay Week 15 in this one either. The Colts are miffed at losing, but also teed off at the Jets’ yapping later about wanting “credit” for the win. They were given a gift, they should have kept quiet about it and moved on.

Jan 21

Jan. 21.10: How about those Jets !!!!

Let's Go Jets

Let's Go Jets

A friend of this blog, Ray Sadecki, suggested opening a Jets site. A good idea is a good idea, so let’s go Jets. A good idea is a good idea, so if you want to say something about the Jets, let’s go for it.

I’m thrilled the Jets are doing so well. They are kindred spirits with the team they once shared Shea Stadium with, and not just because of the housing link.

They also have a history of being disappointed.

I covered the Jets during the Joe Walton Era, and I’ll never forget on 3-18 Mark Gastineau being called for roughing Bernie Kosar. It kept the drive alive and the Browns eventually won in overtime. That was the year the Jets started out 10-1 and limped into the playoffs.

Well, they are rolling now. I hope you’ll add to the link, and if I get comments asking me about blogging the Jets-Colts game on Sunday I’ll do it.

Jan 17

Jan. 17.10: Loose threads.

Loose Threads: What's on your mind?

Loose Threads: What's on your mind?

I think we might see the Mets do some things this week. Nothing major, of course, but some fill in stuff, like adding a journeyman outfielder to replace Carlos Beltran. Hopefully, perhaps one good enough to keep Fernando Martinez in the minors to tune his game.

John Smoltz is out there and he’s been linked to the Mets.

Also, there could be the long-awaited arrival of Bengie Molina. Please try to contain yourself when that does happen.

These, and any other Mets or baseball topics are on the table for Loose Threads. So are the NFL Playoffs or anything on your minds. I’ll be checking in especially during the Jets game, so if you have any comments during the game, please post away.


I’m going to hang around the house to watch the playoff games, and later on the season premiere of “24.”