Jun 14

Is there a reason to bring Santana back this season?

Come on, did you really expect smooth sailing on Johan Santana’s rehab and comeback attempt for this season?

SANTANA: Will we see him again this year?

Santana shut it down about ten days ago after complaining of soreness in his surgically-repaired left shoulder. He is back to long-tossing on flat ground with the hope of returning to the mound later in the week. Considering how long it took Santana to graduate to the mound from flat ground initially, that’s an ambitious goal.

GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets’ recent success from their rotation removes the urgency to bring back Santana quickly. That comment brings about an interesting conclusion question: If the intent is to bring Santana back soon, shouldn’t the assumption be they are doing it because they believe they can compete for the playoffs, and if this were true, then what is the point of dealing off players at the deadline?

The only other conclusion I can draw from wanting Santana back soon is to ascertain his health with the purpose of dealing him and the remainder of his contract, which is for $24 million next year and $25.5 million in 2013. The Mets hold a $25 million option for 2014 or a $5.5 million buyout. Only a healthy Santana can be traded.

The rehab guideline is to bring Santana to a point where he would be at physically to start spring training, which is a six-week progress.

Conservatively, I would estimate at least another three weeks, barring further setbacks, to where he would reach that point. Such a projection would put us at around July 4, and six weeks on top of that would bring it to around mid-August.

If it lasts much further than that, I wonder it the Mets would consider not bringing him back at all this year. If the team is out of contention, the only reason would be to see where he stands physically in preparation for 2012. And even then, the window would be fairly small to make an accurate decision.

 

Jun 07

Mets doing well despite all that’s happened.

PELFREY: One of the players who haven't performed.

Believe me when I say this, but I am not taking a drink of the Kool-Aid. I never expected the Mets to contend this season and don’t expect that to change.

I still think over the next six weeks the Mets will attempt to shed payroll in the names of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez. I don’t know what will become of David Wright, but I know they won’t, and can’t, trade him now because he’s injured.

Despite the low expectations from this team coming out of spring training, and regardless of the maddening ball they play at times – they still don’t hit with runners in scoring position and I can’t believe Reyes didn’t get that ball the other night – they are fortunate to be 28-31, an amazing three games under .500.

If they had any kind of bullpen, the Mets would be over .500 and we’d be thinking about the wild card.

Even though that’s not the case, the Mets are playing some surprising ball considering all that’s gone awry. Truth be told, when you look at all their issues, they are  lucky they aren’t ten games or more under.

Let’s look at it:

* They haven’t have Johan Santana all season and don’t figure to get him until July, if at all. That’s an immeasurable loss.

* Their de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey, has been inconsistent. Not Oliver Perez inconsistent, but he hasn’t taken the next step expected of him after last season. There were many who thought he could evolve into a 20-game winner this year.

* Chris Young is out for the season. He was a reach anyway, but pitched well in spots before he was injured.

* R.A. Dickey, last year’s surprise, has been off, although he’s pitched better lately despite being 3-6.

* Jon Niese had high expectations, but is 4-5 after a slow start.

* The Mets’ bullpen is ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.37 ERA, and has a 10.43 ERA over its last 14 games. The Mets have been outscored 42-18 in the seventh inning and 38-26 in the eighth. They have been outscored 103-65 from the seventh inning on.

* The Mets have lost eight games when leading after the sixth inning.  The Mets have lost nine one-run games and four two-run games.

* Josh Thole has been hot lately, but overall his .234 average has been a disappointment. Defensively, he’s had his problems with passed balls and throwing out runners.

* Ike Davis has been on the disabled list since May 12, and there’s no word on his return.

* Wright is on the disabled list with a stress fracture of his lower back, but prior to that was hitting .226 with 18 RBI.

* Jason Bay was on the disabled list to start of the season, but has rebounded to hit .216 with two homers and 10 RBI. Rebounded, of course, was written with sarcasm in mind.

* Angel Pagan was on the disabled list for a month, and last year’s surprise is hitting .229 with home homer and 10 RBI.

This was supposed to be an ugly summer, and despite all that’s gone wrong it hasn’t turned out that way. The Mets have been remarkably competitive and it makes one wonder what things could be with a healthy roster, some players performing to their expectations and a better bullpen.

When you look at the total picture, which also includes the distractions from ownership and the potential of a roster purge, the Mets have played surprisingly well and fortunate to be where they are record-wise.

If we could be sure the team would stay intact the rest of the year, and even add a piece, it could make for an interesting summer.

Would be nice to find out, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

 

May 26

Dickey injured; DL expected.

The news isn’t encouraging for R.A. Dickey, who traveled back to New York this evening with crutches and a boot on his right foot after injuring his Achilles heel.

DICKEY: DL expected.

Dickey described the feeling as if he stepped on a spike, and the club is expected to place him on the disabled list tomorrow. Pat Misch, who hasn’t pitched well since being promoted, is Dickey’s logical replacement in the bullpen.

Another possibility is Chris Schwinden, but manager Terry Collins didn’t mention D.J. Carrasco, who opened the season on the 25-man roster.

Depth was always going to be an issue in the rotation, and the Mets are now without two of their Opening Day starters in Dickey and Chris Young. Don’t forget, the team is also minus Johan Santana, and Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese haven’t been effective.

 

May 14

Will Martinez ever make it?

Fernando Martinez is 22, still young enough in the sport where he’s graded most on potential. However, the past few years have been rough on his body and he’s lost more gams due to injury than anybody his age should have the right to.

MARTINEZ: A glimpse into what was supposed to be.

At one time Martinez was part of a group of three Mets outfielders who were going to race their way to stardom. Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez and Martinez were three raw talents blessed with speed, quickness and the potential – there’s that word again – for power.

They represented a bright future for the Mets, young, athletic and talented. They would be something to see, and teams were always rebuffed when they called. Reportedly, the Mets said no to Manny Ramirez for the cost of Milledge.

However, the opportunities given Milledge and Gomez – especially the former – didn’t pan the the Mets relented and Milledge was sent to Washington for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, and Gomez was part of the package that brought in Johan Santana.

With Santana’s injury, there’s nothing left to show for the trade. Once one of the top prospects in the majors, Martinez isn’t even one of the top five Mets’ prospects. Times have changed.

Martinez, called up Friday night as a patch in the Mets’ outfield, hit a two-run, pinch homer to remind us once again what all the fuss was about. But, did he show us a glimpse into the future or into what was supposed to be?

Apr 01

Pelfrey rocked in opener

The Mets’ 50th season opened tonight in Florida in much the way many thought it would, with the Mets losing to the Marlins, 6-2.

PELFREY: Didn't have it tonight.

Not really a surprise considering Mike Pelfrey’s track record against Florida (now 1-7) and Josh Johnson’s while facing the Mets (now 8-1).

The night was about dominance, as Johnson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Wouldn’t it have been just like the Mets to be no-hit in the first game of a new era?

Pelfrey unraveled in the fourth when he gave up a grand slam to John Buck in his first jam of the season. The Mets gave up 12 slams last season, most in the majors.

The Mets looked listless as they mustered just four hits, with half of them coming from Willie Harris. Four hits just won’t get it done.

The rotation this summer, with Johan Santana out, will be all about Pelfrey. He’s their ace, their top gun, and not making it out of the fifth is something they can’t afford.