Dec 14

Phillies land Lee in stunning turnaround

On a day Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Johan Santana won’t  be available until July at the earliest and Oliver Perez had a chance of going to spring training with a chance to compete for a job, the Philadelphia

LEE: Back in Philly

Phillies stunned the sport by bringing back Cliff Lee.

Ouch.

Lee left money and years on the table to return to Philadelphia, the place where he was most comfortable, now even more cozy because he’s joining  a rotation that includes Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. The Phillies’ team he left is better now than when he was there, and now arguably is the best in baseball.

Never mind that the Yankees were spurned. No tears for them as they’ll sign Andy Pettitte as a stop gap and add somebody at the All-Star break. I feel a little for the Texas Rangers, but they probably made off better in the long run by not being saddled with a huge contract. With Lee, they might have become the Mets in four years.

The Mets and Phillies are close in payroll, but there’s such a disparity in talent. So much so, that adding Lee wouldn’t have put them over the top. Adding Santana didn’t put them over the top, either.

You can try to convince yourself  Halladay and Lee are 32, that Oswalt is showing breakdown signs, that Lee had a bad back, and Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, that Jayson Werth is gone so there is a closing window in Philadelphia. Maybe so, but before it slams shut the Phillies will have played a lot of October baseball games. Maybe even spilled some champagne.

For the past four years the Phillies have been more aggressive and smarter than the Mets, and eclipsed them in the standings despite similar resources. The Mets have spent money since 2006, but not wisely. The Mets, in essence are starting over with a plan to make up for the poor choices of the past. The Phillies’ choices in that span have worked and they continue to feed the monster.

Maybe, when it is done eating, the Mets will be in position to do something. But, it won’t be anytime soon.

Sep 22

Should Reyes play again this season?

Jose Reyes is taking batting practice and continues to hope he’ll play again this season. I considered changing my mind with the thought that learning where Reyes really is with his hamstring is important regarding their off-season planning.

But, is it really?

REYES: Mets lost without him.

REYES: Mets lost without him.

If he’s not completely healthy now, he’s not going to be ready by Friday, or next week. He needs the surgery and as much time as possible to recover. That’s why this has all been wasted time for both the Mets and Reyes, and why there is the potential for another lost season.

I was thinking whether the Mets should trade Reyes, but it is a moot point. Only a dumb general manager would trade for a player whose game is about running and not knowing whether he’ll be able to run or not.

The rap on Reyes is he hasn’t lived up to his potential, that he loses focus and concentration. That he gives away too many at-bats, and for as gifted as he is in the field, he botches the easiest of plays. All that is true.

There is also concern he burns the candle at both ends regarding his penchant for the night life.

However, if Reyes has lived up to his potential, it’s still a pretty good player. If this is as good as it gets for Reyes, then what team wouldn’t want him? Right, he’s not as good as Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki and Jimmy Rollins, and will never live up to the Derek Jeter comparisons – looking back, they were stupid to begin with – but, that’s still a good player.

Most any team would want Reyes – but that is a healthy Reyes.

Everything Reyes does is based on his legs, and now he has a flat tire. Because he can’t run he’s useless. And, we won’t know if he can run until next season.

Manager Jerry Manuel said of all the injured Mets, the one missed most is Reyes. If Reyes comes back healthy next season and doesn’t get any better, general manager Omar Minaya will have to decide if that’s something the team could live with or is he of greater value in a trade where he could fill two or three of the team’s many holes?

That decision will define the Mets for several seasons, but it can’t be made until next year.

However, if the Mets find a team dumb enough to unload three or four players now while not knowing if Reyes can run or not, Minaya needs to jump at that offer. If I’m the Mets, I can live without knowing if Reyes has reached his potential. But, I can’t live with not knowing if he’ll be able to ever air it out again.

Not only do the Mets have to face to prospect of Reyes not living up to his potential, but of not being a viable player of any kind.

Oct 28

Thank you MLB ….

The World Series will resume tomorrow at the earliest. Thanks for not pushing us through another bad night of rain, wind and cold. Waiting an extra day is the right thing to do. Trying to force it tonight would have been a mess.

The announcement is play will resume at 8:37 p.m., which is truth in advertising. Actually, this would have been a perfect opportunity to try an earlier resumption time, but you can’t have everything.

MLB also gets kudos for an admission of a blown call on Evan Longoria’s tag of Jimmy Rollins. I’ve ripped MLB a number of times on a decline in the quality of umpiring, but an admission of bad calls is a step in the right direction.