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?

Nov 19

Changes in attitude ….

There were some interesting comments late last night on the Manager of the Year post. I was asked whether I saw young guys seemingly not care after a loss.

I sure did. Saw it during the games, too. And, yes, Tom Glavine and Billy Wagner spoke out about it. I wrote it several times. Some guys, Lastings Milledge for one, and Jose Reyes was another, who came across as not caring at times.

GLAVINE: Quote misunderstood.

GLAVINE: Quote misunderstood.


Although Carlos Beltran is quiet, I never got that impression from him. Carlos Delgado? Well, let’s just say he never wore a loss on his face.

As far as Glavine being a fraud? I don’t buy it. Never have and never will. Yes, he got shelled, and yes he answered a question by saying “this is not devastating.” Glavine’s problem was he was too literal in his use of the word. The rest of the quote, and I’m paraphrasing, “is losing a child or a loved one is devastating not losing a baseball game.”

In that context he’s right. Believe me, he was embarrassed and angry at his performance. He just wasn’t devastated.

May 28

Was an opportunity wasted?

MARTINEZ: Was a teaching lesson lost?

MARTINEZ: Was a teaching lesson lost?

Did Mets manager Jerry Manuel miss an opportunity last night to set a career molding example for Fernando Martinez?

There’s no doubt Manuel talked to Martinez after the 20-year-old rookie gazed at his pop-up, and only failed to run after it was dropped by the catcher.

I’m thinking more should have been made of it, and a mold would have been set had Manuel pulled Martinez from the game with the warning if it ever happens again he’ll go to the minor leagues. If such a reprimand scars Martinez, then doesn’t it show he’s not mentally tough enough?

I throw this out there because Martinez was warned two years ago by Tony Bernazard when he wasn’t running out ground balls. Maybe Martinez had a brain cramp, maybe he was upset because he isn’t hitting, but it doesn’t really matter.

They tell you in Little League that when you hit the ball you run hard, and don’t stop running until the play is over. And, you’ll know when the play is over.

Lastings Milledge never got it and the Mets gave up on him. Don’t you think if Milledge’s attitude was better he’s still be here? But, Milledge didn’t give the Mets hope he’d change.

And, Jose Reyes? Well, they’ve already lost him. The Mets have coddled Reyes to the point where discipline won’t help. There are too many times when Reyes fails to run hard, or loses focus and muffs a play in the field, or give away an at-bat.

What, all of a sudden they are going to clamp down on him? Don’t think so.

Martinez is a different story. By all accounts he’s a good kid with a load of talent. No ceiling, the scouts say. Now is the time to put a harness on Martinez.

I just wonder if Manuel missed an opportunity last night.

Oct 01

Mets to announce Minaya contract tomorrow

Four more years.

Four more years.

The Mets scheduled a telephone news conference for tomorrow to announce a new contract for general manager Omar Minaya. After Minaya, the Mets are then expected to finalize a contract for manager Jerry Manuel.

I’m sure plenty of you have thoughts on this, many of them heated as the Mets lost on the final day of the season for the second straight year.

This season brought several defining moments in Minaya’s career, beginning with the trade for two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins. Minaya also traded prospect Lastings Milledge to Washington for outfielder Ryan Church and catcher Brian Schneider.

The Mets, and Minaya, were criticized for their handling of Church’s concussion, and for circumstances surrounding the firing of manager Willie Randolph.

Minaya’s first order of business will be signing manager Jerry Manuel to an extension and patching a bullpen that blew 29 save opportunities.

Sep 24

The Minaya Extension

The news is Omar Minaya will be the Mets’ general manager for the next four years. How many of them will be championship seasons? None … if the bullpen isn’t repaired.

Quite simply, the Mets are a better team today than they were when Minaya was hired. There is discontent from the fandom to be sure, but that’s in large part because the expectations remain high after the 2006 disappointment.

So, what are your thoughts on the Minaya Era? By no means are the following lists conclusive, but there to give you a working reference.

Highlights

1. Signing of Carlos Beltran.
2. Signing of Pedro Martinez, which gave the franchise credibility.
3. The trade for John Maine.
4. Acquiring Carlos Delgado.
5. His ability to bolster the bench (Tatis, Easley, Chavez, etc.)
6. The acquisition of Oliver Perez after the Xavier Nady injury in 2006.
7. The trade for Johan Santana.
8. The Lastings Milledge trade.

Lowlights

1. The extension given Luis Castillo.
2. The two years given Guillermo Mota.
3. His reliance on older players such as Pedro Martinez and Moises Alou.
4. The inability to repair the bullpen after last season.
5. The organization’s handling of the Ryan Church injury.
6. The Lastings Milledge trade.
7. The handling of Willie Randolph.
8. Not trading Aaron Heilman when he had the chance.