Jun 20

Santana resumes throwing; return not soon.

Johan Santana resumed his throwing program and told ESPN Radio he believes it is possible to return in late July.

SANTANA: Throwing again.

That falls under the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it category. Athletes are always putting a positive spin on the return dates of their injuries, and Santana is no exception.

The most hysterical thing I’ve heard lately was on a call-in radio show when the topic was who Santana would replace in the rotation.

There’s no way of telling when Santana would return as evidenced by his setback in June when he complained of soreness in his shoulder. Santana underwent surgery last September to fix a torn capsule in his left shoulder.

The protocol in these things is to throw off the mound to build up this arm strength and work on all his pitches.  From there, it will be throwing to live hitters in batting practice, until graduating to rehab games.

It takes a pitcher a six-week spring training to be ready for the season and that puts us into early August. As of now, Santana isn’t even at the first day of spring training.

 

Jun 16

Sandy Alderson speaks, but what is he really saying?

ALDERSON: What's he really saying?

As usual, there’s a lot of issues floating around the Mets, and general manager Sandy Alderson touched on several this morning on WFAN.

Not all his comments can be interpreted in the positive, and for the most park he spoke in GM-speak, which means more smoke than fire and nothing definitive.

Among the issues:

Jose Reyes: Alderson recognized the year Reyes is having, but said he doesn’t know if the shortstop intends to test free agency and hasn’t determined the parameters of a contract offer.

This seems incomprehensible. First of all, How can Alderson not plan on Reyes testing the market? He can’t be naïve enough to believe the player will take what the Mets offer in the offseason without testing the market. The only way he won’t is if he commits to the Mets now and he certainly won’t without a contract offer.

For an offer to be made, Alderson has to have limits and I can’t see how an opening offer hasn’t already been determined, even with the Wilpon’s financial troubles. The Mets must know the price keeps rising the better Reyes performs and they need to make a decision now on whether they want to keep him.

Reyes has played well enough, and long enough, so far for that decision to be made. If the Mets are waiting to see if he’ll make it through the year healthy, then they seriously risk losing him. The longer this drags on, the odds get longer on him staying with the Mets.

As far as trading him, Alderson won’t tip his hand, but must realize that with how well the team is playing he risks the fans losing interest if the Mets deal Reyes.

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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.