Mar 06

March 6.10: What about Kunz?

Mike Pelfrey is pitching this afternoon for the Mets, but I’m more interested today in Eddie Kunz, the guy who was supposed to be the Mets closer after Billy Wagner.

With the bullpen in shambles in 2008, Kunz got a look-see and disappointed. Kunz, 24 next month, also pitched poorly early this week against the Braves, walking three and retiring only one of the six batters he faced. He gave up four runs, and while one outing won’t determine his fate, it has been awhile since we’ve seen something positive from Kunz other than the scouting reports.

“He’s got great stuff,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “His ball moves. It’s powerful sink.’’

Yes, the scouting report reads the same as it did when he came out of Oregon State, but the results haven’t been there, and the Mets, a team in need of a bullpen, are moving on without him.

Names are bandied about, and Jenrry Mejia is the flavor of the month, but nobody talks about Kunz anymore.

Spring training is for new beginnings, and for Kunz it could be about last chances.

Feb 23

Feb. 23.10: Reports good on Reyes.

The early reports have been good on Jose Reyes and his oft-discussed hamstring. Reyes has been doing a variety of running drills designed to test his explosiveness and well as strengthen his legs.

I wrote several days ago that of all the position players, the Mets need a healthy Reyes most of all as he is the key to their offensive ignition.

That being said, I still don’t like him hitting third. Manager Jerry Manuel wants him there until Carlos Beltran returns and said the move, in part, would be to take his focus off running. But why? If Reyes is healthy, running is what he does best.

Feb 19

Feb. 19.10: Manuel likes Reyes third.

Manager Jerry Manuel, in talking to the press for the first time this spring, said he likes the idea of batting Jose Reyes third. I don’t understand why you’d want to take arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game and tinker with him.

REYES: Leave him alone.

REYES: Leave him alone.


Reyes, if he works on his game – bunting, hitting the ball on the ground, drawing more walks – could become one of the game’s all-time leadoff hitters. A modern day Rickey Henderson, perhaps.

The numbers suggest leaving him where he is. Over the past three seasons, Reyes is batting .293 leading off an inning and .295 with nobody on base. Conversely, he is batting .267 with RISP, .230 with RISP and two outs, and .205 with the bases loaded.

The offensive criticism of Reyes is he sometimes plays outside his game, and once he hits a home run or two starts swinging for the fences, which is away from his strength. Why put him into a slot in the order where he could become prone to bad habits?

The reasons I can fathom moving Reyes to third are two-fold, 1) the Mets don’t expect Carlos Beltran back soon, and 2) the Mets are more worried about Reyes’ running and speed than they are willing to admit.

For years, we’ve been told Reyes was the ignition to the offense, that as he goes so do the Mets. But, that was predicated on him batting leadoff. I have been critical of Reyes at times, but that’s when he takes plays off. However, the Mets’ inability to win since 2006 have nothing to do with him.

Another way to look at this are to examine the other options. There’s nobody comparable to Reyes as a leadoff hitter, but David Wright is capable of hitting third, followed by Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur. It’s not Philly, but it is a good 3-4-5.

There’s plenty of issues with this team, tinkering with Reyes shouldn’t be one of them.

Oct 01

Mets to give fans a break on 2010 tickets ….

The Mets sent the following letter to season ticket holders:

“Everyone at the Mets – our Ownership, GM Omar Minaya, Manager Jerry Manuel, the coaches, players, front office and staff – shares your disappointment with the 2009 season. You soon will hear from Ownership and Omar about how we plan to improve the ball club through a combination of player signings, trades, enhanced player development and continued commitment to one of the highest player payrolls in MLB.

“We are currently finalizing our ticket pricing for 2010. Season Ticket prices will be reduced by an average of more than 10 percent, with several seating areas being adjusted by more than 20 percent. Every Season Ticket Holder invoice for 2010 will be less than 2009.”

Well, I would hope so. There was a lot of promise for this season, from the expectations on the field to Citi Field itself, that went unrealized. It was a terribly disappointing season and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to think this might not be a one-year thing, that the Mets are on a downward spiral they won’t be able to pull themselves out of.

What the Mets are doing is thank the public for its support. This is a good gesture, one which should dispel some of the talk of the team being in financial distress because of the Ponzi scam. Let’s face it, if the Mets were really hurting financially they wouldn’t cut prices.

Sep 30

Pelfrey continues to puzzle.

Mike Pelfrey retired the first seven batters he faced last night, five of them on ground balls. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Then it unraveled for him as it usually does and you knew it would be one of those nights when Ian Desmond homered in the fifth.

I really don’t want to hear how Pelfrey has been distracted with by getting married and having a kid. The bottom line is Pelfrey has regressed dramatically this season to the point where you have to wonder if he’ll ever make it.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.


Manager Jerry Manuel said he’s in the 2010 rotation, but it’s by default as the Mets are so pitching depleted that they have to run with Pelfrey’s potential much the same way they do with Oliver Perez.

The fact is, if the Mets had other options, Pelfrey would have been better off in the minor leagues. He’s done for the season with a lackluster 10-12 record, accumulated by the same old mistakes.

Pelfrey loses his concentration when things go wrong and starts to walk hitters. He’s also not been able to develop his secondary pitches and throw them for strikes.

When he’s on, his sinker is a brutal pitch, but when he gets in trouble he tends to overthrow the pitch instead of taking something off it. When a pitcher overthrows in an attempt to throw harder, the pitch flattens out and rises. It becomes a fastball that doesn’t move, and movement is far more important than velocity.

This is what happens to Pelfrey, and consequently, hitters sit on that fastball and he gets crushed.

The physical tools are there, but he’s not thinking like a pitcher. He’s become a thrower, and far too often what he ends up throwing is batting practice.