Nov 01

What exactly is Sandy Alderson’s definition of competitive?

Sandy Alderson expects the Mets to be competitive next season, but did not define that to mean they’ll be in the playoff hunt. He also said he doesn’t foresee the Mets being big players in the free-agent market.

There’s nothing down below that is major league ready to drastically improve the team, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll deal any of their three biggest major league commodities – David Wright, Jose Reyes or Mike Pelfrey.

Translated: Alderson believes the Mets can be competitive with pretty much the same team they had this season if their injured players can return productive and sound, which is what Omar Minaya said last winter. The Mets won 79 games this year, two below .500, which is merely average. They would figure to improve with full and healthy seasons from Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Reyes, but there are no guarantees.

But, how much better? Ten games? That would be 89, but the NL wild card team, Atlanta, won 91 games. So, winning ten more falls short, and that’s even before considering their other issues.

The first, and most important, is the expected absence of Johan Santana. Some projections have him missing most, if not all of the season. Assuming no Santana, the Mets will need two other starters to fill out their rotation.

If the Mets go the same route as they did last winter and not add an arm in the free agent market, we’ll be looking at a front end of the the rotation with Pelfrey, Jon Niese and RA Dickey, with Dillon Gee and Pat Misch among those competing in the back end.

Other issues will be hoping for the continued development of Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Angel Pagan.

Alderson has already told us he won’t have a lot of payroll flexibility this winter, but even if he were to shed the Mets of Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo, that doesn’t mean he’ll find an extra $18 million to play with for 2011.

So far, the first impression has been a good one of Alderson, and part of that has been him being forthcoming about the obstacles.

We’re all assuming the Mets will make major moves for the 2012 season. That doesn’t mean they can’t take a step up next season. How big remains to be seen.

Jul 31

Mets Chat Room; Playing out the string.

Game #104 vs. Diamondbacks.

Well, another trade deadline has come and gone without your Mets doing anything substantial. Wait, I meant, without doing anything at all. I have no problem with the organization wanting to protect its prospects. I can’t get on Omar Minaya for that.

As a general manager, his job is to protect the franchise, and that’s what he did when he said no to those vultures wanting Ike Davis, or Jonathan Niese, or Josh Thole, or Jenrry Mejia.

What I can find fault with is ownership not moving in the offseason to address its pitching needs. I didn’t like it at the time, and I’ll repeat: Their priority last winter was pitching and not Jason Bay.

With what Bay has given them, it isn’t out of line to wonder if his contract will fall in the same bin as that of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. It might be too early to jump to that conclusion, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one to wonder.

What the Mets have done today and for the last month as they floundered was choose their future over their present. They have told us they do not think they are good enough to win this season without a miracle finish.

They were further behind with less time remaining in 1969, but won. Mathematically, it is still possible. But, I’m not counting on any miracles this time around.

Hell, they haven’t been able to beat Arizona. How can we expect them to run the table?

Apr 21

April 21.10: Although news not good on Beltran, it was still a good signing.

The news isn’t good on Carlos Beltran, who was examined Tuesday in Vail, Colo. Beltran remains in neutral with no word on a potential return that is anything other than guesswork.

Beltran, who underwent knee surgery in the offseason, hasn’t been cleared to start running. And, until he runs there’s no telling when he’ll begin baseball activities, and after that a return to the line-up.

Initially, the prognosis was up to six weeks following running for a return in May. That’s not happening. Try June now, or maybe after the All-Star break. Who is to say? I mean, who is to say with any authority?

“It’s kind of unfortunate,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “But what we have to do is we have to continue to play the way we have the last three or four games and hope that Carlos recovers quickly. He’s obviously an integral part of our lineup, but Angel (Pagan) is playing real well.’’

Maybe so, but there’s a reason why Pagan is a role player and Beltran a perennial All-Star.

Let’s assume at least until the end of June at the earliest. For now, Pagan is the center fielder. Gary Matthews will be kept for insurance. For now I don’t believe they’ll bring up Fernando Martinez as long as Pagan is producing.

I’ve always liked Beltran. He works hard, he hustles and he plays hurt. This was an unfortunate injury, but it would be unfair to say he was a bad signing.

This is a player who played hurt. I don’t think it would be fair to say just because this injury has lasted that the Mets should regret signing Beltran. This guy showed what he is made of when he played with a broken face after his collision with Mike Cameron.

The only thing of hindsight was the issue of the surgery. It should have been done last year, not last winter. Had it been done in September instead of trying to get him back in a lost season they might have him now.

Feb 03

Feb. 3.10: Straw not pleased.

Even the alumni are unhappy with what the Mets did over the winter. Darryl Strawberry, speaking at the 30th Annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner last winter, wasn’t pleased with GM Omar Minaya’s work.

“I’ll put it like this: It could’ve been better,” Strawberry said. “You could’ve put a couple more pieces into that puzzle for them. I know they signed Jason Bay, but the big loss was the (Carlos) Beltran (injury) situation.”

The Mets, believing they’ll get Beltran back sooner than later once the season starts, just used patching.

Strawberry also said the Mets needed more pitching. Minaya did nothing to upgrade their starting rotation. There’s little, if any, quality left on the pitching market. Kind of like the last scraps at a buffet table.

Sep 19

About Last Night …. Santana does it again.

Last winter I wrote how I didn’t want the Mets to trade for Johan Santana. I was thinking he would cost too much in prospects and money, and would break down before the end of the contract. Who knows about injuries?

But, he’s been worth it. Every time he goes out there you expect him to throw a good game and have the feeling the Mets will win. He provides a sense of confidence. You are surprised when he doesn’t pitch well.

That’s an ace.

The man should have 20 wins this season. Seven games the bullpen coughed up for him. Many more times the offense snoozed.

If he keeps pitching like this and the Mets give him some help, he will win a Cy Young Award here. I’m glad he’s here. I always enjoy seen the best perform.