Aug 18

Questions for 2011

Let’s face it, we’re down to miracles and hoping for historic comebacks now. The Mets lost with their ace last night and find themselves 11 games behind Atlanta.

How many days before spring training?

As far as I’m concerned the next six weeks should be about laying the ground work for 2011, a time to find some answers. Here are the most important issues:

JENRRY MEJIA: Mejia is pitching in Double-A, experiencing no shoulder problems and will be recalled when the rosters expand Sept. 1. He should immediately be slotted into the rotation to find out what is there. And, if he takes his lumps, well, that’s part of the learning process.

PELFREY: Can he finish strong?

MIKE PELFREY: Once again, Pelfrey has shown us two personas. After a 9-1 start he’s 1-5, but has pitched well in his last two games. It is important to see if he learned anything during his horrid July that he can build off of.

JON NIESE/R.A. DICKEY: Just keep on doing what they’ve done. Two of the bright spots need to build on their success.

RUBEN TEJADA: Can this kid hit in the major leagues? Let’s give him steady playing time to find out. No need to platoon with Luis Castillo as we know all about him.

CARLOS BELTRAN: It would be nice if he finishes strong and ups his trade value, but who are we kidding? Who’s going to trade for that $18.5 million contract? I’d see what he’s capable of doing in right field.

JASON BAY: It is a lost season for him. There’s no need to bring him back. What’s he going to accomplish? Hit 10 homers? Make sure he’s healthy and start again next year.

HISANORI TAKAHASHI/BOBBY PARNELL: As of now, it appears Takahashi is the closer. If that’s the case, leave him there and let him take his lumps and see what is there. The assumption must be made that Francisco Rodriguez is not coming back. If the Mets decide Parnell is a better fit long term for the closer role, then give him the ball. The goal should be to end the season with an idea of your closer for 2011.

IKE DAVIS/JOSH THOLE: Both these guys will start next year so give them the time. I especially want to see them hit against left-handed pitching. No more platooning in that situation.

Aug 10

The best of Beltran over?

Remember all that talk in early July about how things would be different when Carlos Beltran returned from the disabled list.

BELTRAN: Are the good times over for him?

Getting Beltran back was like making a trade for another bat and it would only help the Mets and possibly spark them into making a run.

Some rust was to be expected, but nothing like this. Beltran isn’t hitting, he’s a step or two slow in the outfield, and his presence has forced Angel Pagan to play out of position.

Based on the numbers, both Beltran’s and the team’s W-L record, it appears the Mets pushed his return too soon. And, batting clean-up and playing center was a definite mistake.

But, he’s going to keep playing. That won’t change. Hopefully, he might play well enough for a team to make a waiver deal for him, although with $18.5 million remaining it’s a longshot anybody would claim him.

The Mets, of course, have to test those water to see what interest is out there if any. Thinking practically, nobody would trade for Beltran with that contract and injury history, leaving one more year of this for the Mets next season. Beltran’s value to the Mets lies in the potential of his recovery, of which there’s been little positive signs.

Assuming this is the end of the line for Beltran as a full time productive player let along being a star, then it doesn’t bode well for the Mets.

Along with Beltran, the Mets are saddled with contracts of $12 for Oliver Perez and $6 million for Luis Castillo. That’s roughly $40 million, or maybe 25 percent of their payroll on non-productive players.

So, it’s hard to imagine any substantial additions or spending in the offseason. It’s hard to imagine 2011 being much different from 2010.