Nov 12

2011 Player Review: Scott Hairston, Willie Harris

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. Continuing our review of the 2011 Mets, today we take a look at bench players Willie Harris and Scott Hairston. Tomorrow: Chris Young and Ronny Paulino.

SCOTT HAIRSTON

THE SKINNY: They are role players for a reason: neither Willie Harris nor Scott Hairston are good enough to be fulltime players. Harris, 33, hit .246 with two homers and 23 RBI for the cost of $800,000. Hairston, 31, hit .235 with seven homers and 24 for the cost of $1.1 million. Both were good in the clubhouse, and Hairston contributed off the bench.

REASONS TO KEEP THEM: Teams need role players and they are known quantities. … They are young enough to where they can continue to contribute. … Neither will cost the Mets much.

REASONS TO LET THEM GO: Role players are easily replaceable for a comparable cost. … If the desire is to go into a full rebuilding mode, then let’s see what’s available in the minor leagues.

JOHN’S TAKE: It isn’t as if they can’t be replaced. Traditionally, role players are the last added to the roster so their priorities are elsewhere.

Role players are more important to contenders as missing pieces, and that doesn’t describe the Mets. If the Mets want to bring them back, fine. If not, that’s fine, also.

JOE’S TAKE: Glad we decided to group these two together. It’s hard for me to be too critical of players who were specifically signed for the bench. Of the two, I wouldn’t mind keeping Hairston and I’ll tell you why, he’s right-handed – first, plays a solid outfield – second, and the dude has some serious pop left in his bat – third.

I took a look at his 132 at-bats last season and never mind for a second that he batted .235, but did you know if you prorated his numbers over 500 at-bats, Hairston would have hit 28 home runs with 96 RBI? Of course, hewon’t get that much playing time barring an unforseen disaster next season, but there’s nothing wrong with that kind of potential on your bench. Just don’t bat him against RHP.

As for Harris, he’s a great guy. I love his attitude and his presence in the clubhouse, but we have too many young outfielders we need to get up to the majors and evaluate and in that regard Harris is just clogging up the works. So let him go and start making those spectacular, hit-robbing plays in the outfield again – which he never make for the Mets.

Nov 11

2011 Player Review: Jason Isringhausen

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. Continuing our review of the 2011 Mets, today we take a look at Jason Isringhausen. Tomorrow: Willie Harris and Scott Hairston. Sunday: Chris Young and Ronny Paulino.

JASON ISRINGHAUSEN, RP

THE SKINNY: It was good story at the time when the Mets reached into their past to sign reliever Jason Isringhausen. Pushing 40 and with a tattered bullpen, Isringhausen represented a no-risk proposition. Isringhausen wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster, but accepted an extended spring training assignment and within several weeks the inevitable pen breakdown occurred and he was back. Isringhausen was effective for the most part, and eventually assumed the closer role after Francisco Rodriguez was traded and earned seven saves to reach the 300 milestone. However, Isringhausen struggled and eventually broke down and ended the season on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his back.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: Isringhausen showed he still knew how to pitch and when he needed it was able to pump up his fastball. … His experience and composure is beneficial to a young and inexperienced bullpen.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: He doesn’t make the Mets any younger and the odds are in favor of physical problems. …. The Mets are in a rebuilding mode and he was take an opportunity away from somebody else.

JOHN’S TAKE: If there’s a younger option go with him, but is there? There is value in his experience and leadership, and if they Mets are playing well he could be important to the bullpen.

I’d be willing to invite him to spring training with the provision he could leave as a free agent should an opportunity arise elsewhere. That’s a no-lose situation. Should he make the team and prove healthy and productive, he could be a trade chip in July.
While there exist numerous other options for older, stopgap relievers, Isringhausen is a proven commodity to the Mets, who don’t have a closer, much less a set-up man.

JOE’S TAKE: Call me sentimental, but if Isringhausen is healthy and wants to forgo his retirement for another season, I would bring him back. It’s not like we can’t use the help or experience in the bullpen anyway. Izzy’s 1.28 WHIP was among the best in the Mets bullpen and even topped Parnell’s 1.47 WHIP by a considerable margin. He also didn’t implode whenever he emerged from those bullpen gates in the ninth inning like Parnell did – an important fact to consider.

I see nothing wrong with giving him the same kind of deal he received last season. Remember, Sandy Alderson specifically said on more than one occasion that he didn’t trade Izzy, despite some offers for him, because he was a great influence on the younger relievers. So what’s changed? He could still assume that role and at the same time be one of the more effective relievers out of the Mets bullpen once again in 2012.

Jason Isringhausen… You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right… Come on down…

Nov 10

2011 Player Review: Chris Capuano

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. Continuing our review of the 2011 Mets, today we take a look at Chris Capuano. Tomorrow: Jason Isringhausen.

Chris Capuano

THE SKINNY: Desperate teams take desperate measures, which is why last winter the pitching-thin Mets signed left-hander Chris Capuano to a free-agent contract. Coming off arm problems, the Mets took a $1.5 million gamble on the career 57-64 record, including 11-12 this season. The gamble paid off and Capuano stayed healthy and now wants two years. The Mets aren’t interested.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: He gave the Mets 34 starts and 186 innings and those will be hard to replace. … The Mets’ rotation is thin and lefthanders are hard to come by.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: He’s only had one winning season and that was in 2005. … He has an injury history and a career losing record. … The Mets got lucky last year. Will they do so again?

JOHN’S TAKE: Capuano gave the Mets more than they could have expected. I’d give Capuano one year or one plus an option, but would consider two because the Mets aren’t loaded with options.
The Mets have limited depth in their rotation and little immediate sources for improvement and can’t afford to discard pitchers who have been productive for them.

We know the Mets are deeper in a rebuilding plan then they are willing to admit, and if Capuano could remain healthy he could be an innings bridge until some of their younger pitchers are ready.

JOE’S TAKE: Let me begin by saying that Chris Capuano delivered one the finest pitching performances of the 2011 season when he hurled a complete game shutout against the Atlanta Braves on August 26. His 13 strikeouts were a career high and he faced just one batter over the minimum. Remarkable.

That said, as much as I loved that memorable moment, I would have to take a pass on Capuano based on two things. First, is his 1.35 WHIP and 4.55 weren’t reason enough, what about his road splits of a 5.42 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP? I mean come on, that’s absolutely brutal and how do you think that will translate in a smaller Citi Field which was just changed to aid right-handed hitters who teed off on Capuano to the tune of an .818 OPS? How you like me now?

Second, Capuano is now seeking a multi-year deal. No need to expand further on this, right?

Sorry Cap, but thanks for the memories…

Nov 09

2011 Player Review: Angel Pagan

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets. Continuing our review of the 2011 Mets, today we take a look at Angel Pagan.

ANGEL PAGAN

THE SKINNY: You look at this guy and wonder why he’s not better with his physical tools. Pagan appeared to have a breakout year in 2010 when he hit .290 with 11 homers, 69 RBI and 32 steals. In 101 less at-bats last season Pagan hit four fewer homers with 13 less RBI. Not only were his numbers off, but he regressed in his defense and decisions on the bases. This is not a fundamentally sound player.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: The Mets are thin in the outfield, don’t have many options on the minor league level and don’t figure to get any help in the free-agent or trade markets. … Should Jose Reyes leave, the Mets don’t have any leadoff options.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: He could get up to $5 million in arbitration, which is a lot considering his production. … After last summer, it appears 2010 was a fluke. … Is there any reason to believe he’ll be better?

JOHN’S TAKE: The word is the Mets will tender Pagan so this might all be a moot point. I would still rather them take the gamble with Grady Sizemore, or if nothing else, see what somebody else can do. The Mets aren’t loaded with outfield options, but if Pagan produces as he did last year, he’s not offering much.

For a team wanting to get better defensively and fundamentally, Pagan doesn’t bring much to the table. Defensively, he doesn’t judge balls well and has a below average arm. In 2010 it appeared he was ready to take over centerfield, but I don’t see that anymore. For all his speed, his .322 on-base percentage is poor and his strikeouts-walks ratio is roughly 2-to-1. Let him go and move on.

JOE’S TAKE: The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or so it would seem where Angel Pagan is concerned. A year ago fans were clamoring for Pagan to replace Carlos Beltran in center field for his defensive exploits and some even mentioned him in the same breath as David Wright for his offensive showing in 2010. Gulp.

Pagan was a big letdown in 2011. He got off to an atrocious start at the plate to start the season batting .159 in April before hitting the DL with an oblique injury and missing nearly a month. His bat looked great when he returned, but that was offset by big declines on defense and base-running.

Pagan is proving himself to be wildly inconsistent and that’s usually the sign of a platoon player or even worse – a fourth outfielder. Is it smart for this front office to pay $5 million for such a player when the utilities at Citi Field are in danger of being turned off? Probably not, but they will anyway. It’s not like they have any better options.

One year at the helm and the new Mets caretakers now have less center field depth than last November. That means they will have to keep Pagan, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. These are strange times in Flushing.

Nov 08

2011 Player Review: Mike Pelfrey

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets.

Today we begin a series on the Mets where we will take a look at each player from the 2011 season beginning with arbitration eligible players and Mets free agent players. Each day we will focus on a new player in a point/counterpoint debate on who the organization should keep or cut loose. Today we start with Mike Pelfrey.

MIKE PELFREY

THE SKINNY: Will it ever happen for Mike Pelfrey? Big things were expected from Pelfrey when the Mets made him their first-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2005. However, Pelfrey is 50-54 with a 4.40 ERA lifetime, including 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA last season.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: He’s still relatively young, inexpensive and has an upside. The Mets have precious little depth in their rotation and their prospects are years away.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: After parts of six seasons, Pelfrey has a losing record and appears to have regressed from 2010, when he won 15 games.

JOHN’S TAKE: Pelfrey has become frustratingly inconsistent during his Mets’ career, almost to the point where Oliver Perez comparisons are being made. Pelfrey appeared to have a breakout year in 2010 when he won 15 games, but last year took a giant step back into his previous world of losing focus and command. At this point of this career, Pelfrey is a No. 3 starter at best, but the reason to keep him is that he’s a No. 1 to the Mets.

With Johan Santana coming off surgery, and every other pitcher in the Mets’ rotation having significant issues in terms of health and production, little help on the minor league horizon, and the team not expecting to make a free-agent splash, the Mets don’t have many options other than to bring him back. Pelfrey earned just over $3 million last year, so it isn’t as if he’ll break the bank.

Pelfrey is still young and healthy enough for the Mets to hang on to him, especially since they aren’t expected to make a significant run at contending for the playoffs. At this stage of his career, Pelfrey’s value to the Mets is in the hope he’ll touch his potential. It’s not too late.

JOE’S TAKE: No one player on the current roster infuriates me more than Mike Pelfrey. As a gangster in a gangster movie once said, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent”. That’s how I see Pelfrey – just a big hunk of wasted talent.

In 2010, I had some hope that maybe Pelfrey finally figured things out, but as the season wore on his amazing first half looked more and more like a fluke… Too bad. Pelfrey has had more excuses than wins in the last two seasons. His problems range from the mechanical to the physical to the psychological to the bizarre. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said something about fixing him during Spring Training, but instead he regressed terribly.

When given the Opening Day assignment be Terry Collins, Pelfrey spoke about what it felt like to replace Johan Santana and he said he was up for the challenge and looking forward to it. On Opening Day he folded like a cheap chair. On April 1st he only lasted 4.1 innings against the Marlins allowing five runs, and it got worse from there. Truth be told, if he is still on the team next spring he should not be assured of a rotations spot and he should earn it along with the rest pitchers vying for a spot.

As far as tendering/non-tendering goes, the better question is why didn’t Alderson try and move him last season. Teams take chances on pitchers with potential all the time and if you’re waiting for Pelfrey to boost his value that may never happen while he’s a Met. I could think of a dozen other productive things the Mets could do with $5 million dollars than give it to Pelfrey.