Apr 05

April 5.10: Chat Room, Game #1, Opening Day, vs. Marlins

There should be no pressure on Opening Day, but that’s not the case with Jerry Manuel, who was thrust under the microscope the day after the 2009 season ended when COO Jeff Wilpon said he expected better things this season from his manager and GM Omar Minaya. And, with 16 of their first 22 games at home, there an even greater sense of urgency to get off to a fast start.

And, that fast start start has to come without Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, and with a suspect rotation.

“We need to get off to a good start but what we need more is consistency and so to merely focus on a good start is not enough,” said Manuel, who knows a slow start could doom him before the All-Star break.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be the case, but the Mets were 70-92 last season following two late-season collapses.

The season is underway, so let’s talk about it. I plan to blog the games with you as I have the last three seasons, and hope this time we’re talking late into October.

Here’s today’s line-up vs. Josh Johnson of the Marlins:

Alex Cora, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B,
David Wright, 3B
Mike Jacobs, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Gary Matthews, CF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Johan Santana, LP

Don’t forget to go to the previous thread to post your favorite Opening Day memories.

Feb 21

Feb. 21.10: Catching up on the weekend.

WILPON: Distancing himself from Omar?

WILPON: Distancing himself from Omar?

Fred Wilpon held court today, and his words gave the impression of separating himself from his baseball people – Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel.

It’s his money, but they make the decisions, Wilpon said.

“I understand from the fan’s point of view, because I am one myself, and I’m very, very sensitive to what their feelings are, and I understand some of it,’’ Wilpon said of the fans’ angst, but added, “I think that we have to be guided by our baseball people, and our baseball people evaluated, for example, some of our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market.

“Our baseball people evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff (Wilpon) followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s what they wanted to do.’’

In addition:

* If Jose Reyes does bat third, Manuel said it is possible Gary Matthews Jr., could lead off if he wins the center field job until Carlos Beltran returns. Again, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, and Reyes is one of the game’s best leadoff hitters.

* Manuel also said prospect Jennry Mejia could compete for the eighth-inning set-up role, which indicates two things, 1) a concern about Kelvim Escobar, and 2) and doubts about Bobby Parnell.

* Jon Niese appears the leading candidate for the fifth starter spot. Kind of expected that all along. That Manuel would suggest that suggests good news on his hamstring.

* Rod Barajas was finally signed, which gives Josh Thole a chance to develop his game at Triple-A. Not good news for Omir Santos.

Jan 27

Jan. 27.10: What would change?

Maybe this will be the summer in which the Mets fire Omar Minaya. It also might be the summer in which they get it all together.

Care to guess which one has a greater chance of happening?

MINAYA: Just how much power does he have?

MINAYA: Just how much power does he have?


At the end of last summer’s disaster, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Minaya said there would be trades and free-agent signings. Nothing has happened between then and now to indicate there will be a real change – and, spare me Jason Bay.

It’s known throughout the industry that the Mets just don’t do it the way the model clubs do – and that includes the Yankees and Phillies. There is no definable budget, or at least one that can be easily recognized. And, there was no real setting of priorities.

How else can you explain the setting the goal as pitching at the end of the season, and yet having your key offseason move be a hitter who really had nowhere else to go?

It was reported Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis set the Mets as their priorities, but the Mets did not respond. No, neither is John Lackey, but either would have made the Mets’ rotation better and deeper than it is today.

The Met were more content to look at last season as an injury-plagued fluke, and ignored such factors as not improving their pitching depth in the 2008 offseason or building their long-criticized farm system as to provide replacements when a starter went down.

OK, the Mets have Bay, but with no other real bidders they coughed up a fifth-year option. … They got into a spitting match with Carlos Beltran, their best player, over surgery, which should have been avoided with surgery in November. … There were no decisive changes in their coaching staff. … And, their pitching remains the same.

Randy Wolf, Pineiro and Ben Sheets all went elsewhere for salaries that didn’t break anybody’s bank. The Mets by the way, had an ERA of just under five a game.

Minaya has made his share of mistakes, beginning with the Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez contracts, but truth be told, ownership signs off on those type of deals. They weren’t done without Wilpon’s blessing.

So, a miserable start – and with that pitching, who doubts that could happen? – could mean the sacking of Minaya. But, that won’t change anything because they are the same old Mets.

Dec 27

Dec. 27.09: Here’s quantifying what the Mets are thinking ….

The Mets were 70-92 last season, 11 games off the pace to finish .500 and 22 behind the wild-card Colorado Rockies. For the record, they were 23 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

METS: Wishing and hoping.

METS: Wishing and hoping.


They have done precious little this offseason to make anybody believe they will cut substantially into those deficits. At least, little in comparison to the front office comments spouted by Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya in the immediate days following the end of the disastrous 2009 season.

Because they know it won’t go over well in selling tickets and creating goodwill, the Mets can’t articulate that their plan is to bring back their pieces intact and hope for the best.

With each passing day that becomes clearer and clearer. Let’s try to put numbers to their thinking.

With the healthy comebacks of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, and return to power for David Wright, the Mets picture 85 victories, going under the assumption each player individually accounts for five more wins over the course of the season. That’s roughly three more victories per month.

That’s doable. It gets them over .500, but still out of the wild card picture.
Continue reading

Dec 21

Dec. 21.09: Mets miss out on Marquis ….

MARQUIS: Now a Nat.

MARQUIS: Now a Nat.

I spent most of the afternoon in the dentist’s chair. Drove home with the news Jason Marquis – somebody who wanted to play for the Mets – signed a two-year, $15-million deal with the Washington Nationals and bit my lip. Good thing the novocaine hadn’t worn off.

I never had the Mets getting any of the big pitchers, like John Lackey and Roy Halladay, but would settle for a middle-tier arm such as Joel Pineiro, Marquis and Jon Garland.

It’s not that they didn’t get Marquis that is so disturbing, but for how cheaply he went (maybe that does tell you something), but the Mets needed any and all pitching help.

My confidence level in the Mets bringing in an arm of substance is waning, especially considering the news that ESPN is reporting they are considering bringing back Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal at $8 million.

I keep going back in my mind Jeff Wilpon’s vow after the season and Omar Minaya’s pronouncement “we have a plan.”

Think it might be a good time to hear it.