Nov 01

What exactly is Sandy Alderson’s definition of competitive?

Sandy Alderson expects the Mets to be competitive next season, but did not define that to mean they’ll be in the playoff hunt. He also said he doesn’t foresee the Mets being big players in the free-agent market.

There’s nothing down below that is major league ready to drastically improve the team, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll deal any of their three biggest major league commodities – David Wright, Jose Reyes or Mike Pelfrey.

Translated: Alderson believes the Mets can be competitive with pretty much the same team they had this season if their injured players can return productive and sound, which is what Omar Minaya said last winter. The Mets won 79 games this year, two below .500, which is merely average. They would figure to improve with full and healthy seasons from Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Reyes, but there are no guarantees.

But, how much better? Ten games? That would be 89, but the NL wild card team, Atlanta, won 91 games. So, winning ten more falls short, and that’s even before considering their other issues.

The first, and most important, is the expected absence of Johan Santana. Some projections have him missing most, if not all of the season. Assuming no Santana, the Mets will need two other starters to fill out their rotation.

If the Mets go the same route as they did last winter and not add an arm in the free agent market, we’ll be looking at a front end of the the rotation with Pelfrey, Jon Niese and RA Dickey, with Dillon Gee and Pat Misch among those competing in the back end.

Other issues will be hoping for the continued development of Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Angel Pagan.

Alderson has already told us he won’t have a lot of payroll flexibility this winter, but even if he were to shed the Mets of Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo, that doesn’t mean he’ll find an extra $18 million to play with for 2011.

So far, the first impression has been a good one of Alderson, and part of that has been him being forthcoming about the obstacles.

We’re all assuming the Mets will make major moves for the 2012 season. That doesn’t mean they can’t take a step up next season. How big remains to be seen.

Oct 01

Mets facing last stand.

Game #160 vs. Nationals

I hoped the Mets would close out this disappointing season strong, if for no other reason than to leave a fresh taste in their mouths.

It won’t happen.

For the 25th time in their 49-year existence, the Mets will finish with a losing record. They enter the final weekend of the season against the Washington Nationals having lost nine of their last 12 games, including three straight to Milwaukee.

Nothing could have saved Jerry Manuel, and this finish only underscores change is needed.

There are a lot of glaring records that explain the Mets’ demise this season, including a 7-8 record against Washington, of which they are 2-4 at home.

How can a team call itself a contender when it routinely loses to the worst team in the division?

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Sep 26

New Chat Room; don’t hate, admire Phillies.

Game #155 at Phillies

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I know most Mets fans hate the Phillies, but I was wondering whether that hate was really directed at Philadelphia’s obnoxious fans? I would guess that it was.

About Chase Utley’s slide. Hmm. Wouldn’t you like to see the Mets play with such a chip? Here are the Phillies, they are about to win the NL East for the fourth year in a row – something the Mets have never done – and one of their key players goes all out.

Dirty? I don’t know. But, I sure wish the Mets would play with such aggressiveness all the time. I wish they went all out 100 percent of the time. If they did, they wouldn’t be close to 20 games out. The Phillies have their flaws; all teams do. But, playing with a lack of hustle isn’t one of them.

Will watching the Phillies clinch in front of their eyes give the Mets motivation? Does it really matter. If the Mets aren’t disgusted by now, then will they ever be? Motivation must come from within. If the Mets need the external stimulus of watching the Phillies to motivate them, then they are in more trouble than I could imagine.

Sep 17

Encouraged by Pelfrey

PELFREY: On the cusp of stardom

The qualifier, of course, is it was against the Pirates, but it was good to see Mike Pelfrey throw a good game last night. His July swoon was alarming, but he seems to have corrected his mechanical and concentration problems that slammed the brakes on a potentially great season.

It is premature to say he’s completely there as a starter, but he could win 16, 17 games this year which is a watershed mark for a pitcher. And, if he even went .500 during his slide he could be looking at a 20-win season.

Pelfrey worked quickly and efficiently last night. He mixed his pitches well and worked both sides of the plate. The movement on his pitches was excellent, just the way it was at the beginning of the season.

I said going into the season Pelfrey might be the key Met, and it should be that way again next season. This guy is on the cusp of being right there and there will be more pressure than ever in 2011 because we don’t know what, if anything, the Mets will get from Johan Santana.

Sep 07

Pelfrey remains enigma

Good morning.

I hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend. I was away, but still followed the Mets scores even though I wasn’t able to watch the games.

PELFREY: Is a concern.

The last two days typified the season in that it was a blowout win followed by a blowout loss. Two opposite ends of the spectrum. Good and bad. It has been that way all season. Consistency, but in a mediocre way.

It was disappointing to see Mike Pelfrey’s performance. He’s been great for an extended period, then lousy for a time, seemed to turn it around and now has lost it again.

Of all the issues in the final weeks of the season, the question of Pelfrey is the most pressing to me. I was optimistic of a strong finish to enter the offseason on a positive note, but now I’m wondering what it’s going to take for Pelfrey to put it together for a full season. Even Jerry Manuel called him “an enigma,’’ after the game. That’s a word that has been tossed around for several years about Pelfrey.

At one time Pelfrey was 9-1 and cruising. Now he’s 13-9, sputtering and there’s nothing you can hand your hat on with him. Pelfrey, his skills and potential notwithstanding, is a career 41-40 after yesterday’s loss.

This year was supposed to be a breakout season for him. Instead, it has defined him as an average pitcher with a lot of work to do.