Jun 09

Bullpen a major concern; Bay benched tonight.

I recently wrote where the Mets have played exceedingly well despite a myriad of issues and stand by those words.

Not much was expected from these Mets coming out of spring training, but for the most part have played inspired, scrappy, ball. But, just when you thought it was safe to root for the Mets, along comes something like last night.

There they were, on the cusp of their fourth straight victory, the bullpen collapsed again to give up four runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth to watch it all slip away.

So, instead of playing for .500 tonight, the Mets are again three games under.

Also slipping away was a strong performance from Mike Pelfrey, which we haven’t had an abundance of this spring. Another good game from Jose Reyes was also wasted.

The bullpen, after a brief strong stretch, has been awful over the last 16 games with a 12.36 ERA in the seventh inning or later, with the opposition outscoring the Mets, 56-23.

Amidst the rubble of the collapsed pen has been Pedro Beato’s slide.  Hoping for Beato to recapture his early season form forced Terry Collins to, 1) stay with him too long and watch him give up three runs in a third of an inning, and 2) go to Jason Isringhausen when he wanted to rest him last night.

Collins relied on Isringhausen because he doesn’t have much faith in anybody else in the pen, especially with Francisco Rodriguez gassed lately.

There are no viable options on either the major league or minor league options, and until the bullpen rights itself the Mets improve much beyond where they are right now.

All this is a reminder what a disappointment Bobby Parnell has been. Even before his injury, he failed to perform as the set-up reliever and this has been one of the most important issues of the season.

Another key issue is Jason Bay, who is benched tonight amidst a 0-for-27 freefall. Bay, who hit 36 homers two years ago in Boston, is down to .207 with two homers and ten RBI.

I suppose it can get worse, but seeing if it does is like watching a car wreck on the highway. You watch out of morbid curiosity.

Jason Pridie replaces Bay in left tonight.

Here’s the lineup at Milwaukee:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Pridie, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Jonathan Niese, LP


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.


Jun 03

David Wright update; talks with Fred.

WRIGHT: Wants to stay.

David Wright is expected to have another X-Ray taken on his back today. Obviously, there’s no timetable for him, and there won’t be until the tests are completed.

It bothers me it took so long for him to be diagnosed with the stress fracture. Blame him for putting the tests off and the Mets for not being insistent. There’s no reason why he played another month in discomfort.

Meanwhile, Wright reportedly has spoken with owner Fred Wilpon, and said: “All is well. I think it’s been well documented that I enjoy playing here and I hope I can be doing that for a long time.’’

Trade rumors are part of the game and they continue to swirl around him and Jose Reyes because of the Mets’ financial problems.

Trading Wright might bring back several prospects in return, but the loss of what a healthy Wright can do on the field and the marketing of him is hard to measure.


May 25

How much does Alderson know about Wilpon’s finances?

GM Sandy Alderson said a $100 million budget is news, and he hasn’t spoken with owner Fred Wilpon about next season. Alderson anticipates a payroll between $100 million and $145 million. That’s a wide berth, and the spectrum ranges from being able to compete to being a bottom feeder.

ALDERSON: How much does he know about Wilpon's finances?

When he took the job, Alderson said expectations are high in this market and meeting them means spending. Alderson said it is not guaranteed the Mets won’t make an offer to Jose Reyes. There can be no assumption made, Alderson said, Reyes will be is gone.

Alderson has made some conflicting comments regarding his role and the Mets’ financial picture. He said going in he knew money would be tight around the Mets, and indicated just because money will be come off the books doesn’t mean there will be wild spending next winter. He also said he’s been assured there’s enough money to make a contract proposal to Reyes.

How big that proposal is uncertain, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication it will be made any time soon.

Considering Alderson’s reputation, I find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have greater knowledge of Wilpon’s financial problems then he is letting on. Maybe not to the penny, but definitely with a handle on next season’s budget.

How do you take such a job without knowing that information?

Or, considering he took the job at the urging of commissioner Bud Selig, maybe he knows it all and is just minding the store until it is sold.