Nov 28

Mets’ Top Five Issues Entering Spring Training

I trust you all enjoyed Thanksgiving with your families. With Christmas fast approaching, followed by the Super Bowl, it is time to forget about the Jets, Giants, Knicks and Nets, and focus on hockey and the upcoming baseball season.

The spring training countdown begins at the conclusion of the Super Bowl. With that, I’ll take a look at what I consider the Mets’ top five issues entering the season.

HARVEY: No hiding he's a key. ESPN

HARVEY: No hiding he’s a key. ESPN

If you disagree, and that’s the point of this exercise, I would be interested to hear your issues.

1. DAVID WRIGHT’S HEALTH: I touched on this the other day, and rank it first because it is the lead domino. If Wright returns to All-Star status it alleviates a lot of pressure from the offense. It takes away a potential distraction and goes a long way toward making the Mets whole.

2. MATT HARVEY’S RETURN: If not Wright, then it has to be Harvey’s return from Tommy John surgery. The Mets have to handle him with kid gloves whether he likes it or not. There will be an innings limit, which has yet to be disclosed which figures to become an issue.

3. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BULLPEN: For as long as Sandy Alderson has been here, building the bullpen has been a major issue. With Bobby Parnell’s injury, the Mets went with a patchwork bullpen last year that saw the emergence of Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Manager Terry Collins said the job is Parnell’s when he returns, but that’s premature. Let Parnell ease into form. As of now, Mejia, Familia, Parnell and Vic Black bring a lot of heat from the sixth through ninth innings. The Mets need another lefty to complement Josh Edgin and there’s a need to bring back Carlos Torres.

4. THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF JACOB deGROM AND ZACK WHEELER The Mets claim their foundation is young pitching, which means they need an encore year from deGrom and Wheeler to pitch up to expectations. For Wheeler, that means lowering his pitch count and giving the Mets depth. It can’t all be Harvey.

5.  WILMER FLORES’  ABILITY TO TAKE TO SHORTSTOP: Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t going to land a marquee shortstop, either through trade or free agency. It is time to see if Flores can produce. This should he his shot.

 

Aug 16

Don’t expect Reyes before September

Jose Reyes is starting swinging a bat and taking grounders, but that’s the extent of it. He won’t test is strained left hamstring until the weekend.

REYES: Losing money as he waits.

Even if he is cleared to begin running this weekend, there are several steps to the process: 1) jogging, 2) half speed, 3) three-quarters speed, 4) full speed, 5) changing directions defensively, and 6) running the bases.

The Mets are saying they don’t expect Reyes back when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list, Aug. 23. Considering their history in this, we might not see Reyes before September, and after his return there will be questions about his capacity.

Health has always been a factor with Reyes, and two stints on the disabled list on top of his injury history won’t keep the suitors away, but he’s losing money daily.

There will also likely be a reduction in years offered. Seven years is off the charts. There’s no way the Mets will offer that, and also out of the question is the early reported figure of $120 million.

If Reyes’ return is delayed much past September, you might be seeing the contracts offered in the four, five-year range.

Nov 29

Listening to offers about Reyes doesn’t mean he’s leaving.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving weekend with your families.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately that the Mets’ new management is listening to offers for shortstop Jose Reyes. The responsible thing for the Mets to do is to listen to proposals, but that doesn’t ensure he’s going anywhere. He’ll be a free agent after this season so the prudent thing would be to ascertain the market before thinking about a long term extension.

There are teams with shortstop holes, namely San Francisco and Boston, but the Mets will want a lot in return. With a player of Reyes’ potential, who can blame them?

However, teams thinking about Reyes have to be cautious for several reasons:

1) Because he’ll be a free agent, they’ll want a window of opportunity to sign him to an extension because they don’t want to overpay for a rental.

2) Reyes is coming off back-to-back years in which injuries sapped his playing time and his health remains an issue.

3) Reyes is two years removed from being the dynamic leadoff hitter and impact player we expect from him.

4) With holes in their rotation and bullpen, not to mention now the hole at shortstop, the Mets’ asking price would be high.

For those reasons, I don’t see the Mets easily finding a trading partner. I would rather see the Mets pay Reyes the $11 million for 2011 and give him the year before making any decision on him, whether it be signing or dealing him.

Sep 25

Mets Chat Room: Good for Jerry Manuel.

Word is Jerry Manuel is saying “no” to John Maine and won’t let him pitch again this season. Manuel said his conscience won’t let him use Maine, who will undergo shoulder surgery on his right shoulder.

The doctors said Maine can’t reinjure himself, but they really don’t know. Should Maine try to overcompensate with his delivery, it could place stress somewhere else. That’s what the doctors ARE NOT taking into consideration.

That Manuel won’t risk Maine’s health with the season being on the line, and consequently possibly his job, shows his integrity. He’s doing the right thing.

Martinez: Pitching for October.

Martinez: Pitching for October.


Pedro Martinez is starting what could be his last game for the Mets tonight if they don’t get into the playoffs.

Should they somehow squeeze their way in, I can still see Manuel giving Martinez the ball by citing his experience.

That said, I don’t have faith that experience will last long then, or tonight. Not with these numbers: In his last three starts, Martinez has worked 16 innings and given up 14 earned runs on 24 hits and eight walks.