May 01

Mets Make Right Move By Sticking With Flores

It wasn’t that long ago when Mets manager Terry Collins said his team would eventually run into problems – “blips,” he called them – but vowed “there would be no panic.”

COLLINS: Stays with Flores. (AP)

COLLINS: Stays with Flores. (AP)

In the wake of Wilmer Flores’ costly error Thursday night that lead to a three-run inning for the Nationals, if there were a time the Mets would have panicked in the past, this would have been it.

The defense of their middle infield of Flores (six errors) and Daniel Murphy (four) was a question entering the season and remains so; the Mets have lost seven of their last nine games, and they are no longer in coast mode.

Flores made no excuses and said he botched the play. Normally, that’s enough, but the last 24 hours have seen a lot of Flores bashing, which, although deserved in part, is also shortsighted. Much of that bashing was from former-Met-turned analyst Nelson Figueroa.

“I wish I had the answer to it,” manager Terry Collins said. “When we decided he was going to be the shortstop, you realize there might be a couple rough spots.

“But, you realize the minute you jerk him out of the lineup and throw him on the bench because he’s not good enough to play shortstop, you might as well put him someplace else because those days are over playing shortstop. … You have to be a little patient.”

Collins is 100 percent on the mark about this, as patience is the Mets’ only option. What, do you want to play Ruben Tejada full time? And, before anybody brings it up, Troy Tulowitzki has an injury history and $129 million remaining on a contract that runs through 2020 (with an option for 2021). And, we’ve danced through this before; the Mets don’t want to part with any of their young pitching in a trade.

Until next year’s free-agent market develops, it is pretty much Flores or bust.

The Mets’ only option is to fiddle from within, which is what they did when they promoted second baseman Dilson Herrera after Thursday’s game and said Murphy will move to third base while David Wright remains on the disabled list for at least another week.

Consequently, the Mets will move Eric Campbell to the bench and demote lefty reliever Jack Leathersich to Triple-A Las Vegas.

This might not be a palatable option, but it is the only one. And, more to the point, it means Collins is staying true to his word and not panicking.

After all, we are only one month into the season and the Mets are perched atop the NL East which nobody expected. It is way too soon to shut the window on Flores.

ON DECK:  Why I like Matt Harvey

Apr 30

Mets, Nationals Starters

Here are the starting pitchers for this weekend’s Mets-Nationals series at Citi Field:

Thursday: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-2, 2.96) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 4.88), 7:10 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 3.04) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (1-2, 1.26), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jon Niese (2-1, 2.74) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 4.26) vs. RHP Doug Fister (1-1, 3.28), 1:10 p.m. ET

 

Apr 30

An Open Letter To A Reader

This is in response to a reader’s comment. I wanted to take it a step further because he made several well-written comment.

An Open Letter to Bill:

My obligation is not to cheer for the Mets. It is to give my interpretation of the news and what I see. Under no circumstances do I dislike the Mets or Matt Harvey. I covered the team full time as a reporter for a main stream newspaper for several years.

I am disabled and the Mets, from ownership on down, have been very good to me in terms of still giving me information, access and keeping me in the loop. I go to the games when I can and will go more year. For that I am grateful and wish them well.

The players, coaches, manager and management have been respectful and I try to respond in similar fashion and they understand I will be critical at times.

Given that, I have no animosity or agenda regarding Harvey. My obligation is that if I see something I will respond with my honest opinion.

I’ve covered this game for a long time and have seen many pitchers not be able to come back from an injury. I don’t want to see that with Harvey, which is why  I have been hard on the innings issue. I love good pitching and want to see Harvey do well and am excited in his potential.

Thank you for for reading and the times you have commented. I hope you reconsider and keep reading and posting your comments as they are valuable to me. I welcome opinions different than mine.

That is what sports is all about. I am sorry you misinterpreted my writing as disliking the Mets and Harvey as that is not the case.

Best to you.-JD

 

Apr 28

Six-Man Rotation Not Practical For Mets

For more than five innings in tonight’s 4-3 loss at Miami, the Mets were treated to a solid performance from Rafael Montero to where the idea could be floated of considering a six-man rotation.

Doing so would give everybody an additional day of rest. Specifically, the real goal would be to give Matt Harvey an additional day and ultimately preserve his workload.

While that objective is worthwhile, why do something to impact all the other starters, while the prudent option would be to stick with – but so far ignored – plan of reducing his innings on a per start basis?

The Mets could have shaved three innings off Harvey’s last start, and two the one before that, which would have given him five to play with in September.

However, could a six-man rotation work for the long term? For something that unconventional to work, it can’t be imposed a month into the season. I suggested something similar in the offseason that would have enabled the rest of the rotation to get into a routine.

At one time teams utilized four-man rotations, which ultimately were expanded to five-man rotations. With teams looking to protect their investments in young pitching, I can see them wanting to reduce the number of starts for their frontline pitchers.

The plus is it saves wear-and-tear. The downside is many rotations are already thin and this makes them thinner. Another downside is the inevitable need for relievers, which subsequently creates a thin bench like the Mets had at the start of the season.

For this to work the entire season would have to be mapped out in advance factoring in off days.

For now, the Mets could keep Montero for the bullpen until David Wright is activated, but I don’t like the idea of going into the Washington series with a short bench.

The game is constantly changing and perhaps someday a six-man rotation could come into play, but it would have to come with an expanded roster. For now, the Mets will have to do what they’ve done all year with their pitching – play it by ear.