Jan 19

On honoring Gary.

It is very sad to hear the discouraging medical reports about Gary Carter. After reading doctors are evaluating their next course of treatment I know from my father this isn’t good news. All you can do now is pray and hope he’s not in too much discomfort.

CARTER: In a happier time.

Not surprisingly, Carter’s illness raised the question of whether his No. 8 should be retired.

There is little question Carter was an integral part of the Mets’ 1986 World Series winning team, but in truth he played only four full seasons with the team, and 50 games into a fifth. Retiring a player’s uniform number should be based on long term contributions to the team and not as a sympathy gesture because of his illness.

If the Mets were to do it, they should have done it years ago. Doing it now would be cheesy and an almost empty gesture. If the Mets do it now, entering the 50th anniversary of their existence, it wouldn’t mean anything unless he went in with company, meaning Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, the only others from that team worthy of that honor. In looking at Mets history, also worthy – and overlooked – is Jerry Koosman.

I was glad to see Carter inducted into the Hall of Fame, an honor he truly deserved. At the time Carter said he was torn between going in as a Met or Montreal Expo. The Hall of Fame rules state a player would go in wearing the cap of the team where he carved his niche, and with Carter, that was Montreal, regardless of the ring he earned with the Mets.

And, that ring, as good as it was, isn’t enough to putting No. 8 on the outfield wall.

 

 

Jan 02

The Dirty Dozen: Twelve questions for 2012.

We are seven weeks from the start of spring training, and that time will fly. The NFL playoffs start this weekend, and when they conclude pitchers and catchers aren’t far behind.

The Mets will face a myriad of questions and issues this spring, with the following dozen the most prevalent:

1) QUESTION: To what degree will the Wilpon’s financial problems impact the Mets?

SPECULATION: To think fallout from the Ponzi scandal won’t influence things is naïve. Jose Reyes is gone because the Mets didn’t have the resources to compete. GM Sandy Alderson anticipates a payroll of close to $100 million, which would be $40 million less than in 2011. Maybe the Mets should consider a bake sale outside Citi Field this summer.

2) QUESTION: Will the roster significantly change between now and spring training?

SPECULATION: I doubt it. There’s been no indication of them pursuing any name talent, and who expects that to change? Any additions the Mets do will be strictly tweaking, which doesn’t help when there are positions needing an overhaul.

3) QUESTION: What will we get from Johan Santana?

SPECULATION: I’m not counting on it. Santana’s shoulder injury is similar to that which effectively ended Mark Prior’s career. Santana  has already had several setbacks and regardless of Alderson’s spin, nobody can say definitively when Santana can, or if, he can pitch again.

4) QUESTION: How long will David Wright remain a Met?

SPECULATION: I can’t see him being traded prior to spring training, and believe he’ll be here for the entire season because there’s an option for 2013, which means they don’t have to do anything this year. The Mets want to be sure of Wright’s health and his production (with the fences brought in) before doing anything. If Wright is sound and hitting, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s dealt. At this point, expect anything to happen.

5) QUESTION: Which Mike Pelfrey will we see?

SPECULATION: Your guess is as good as mine. After a seemingly breakthrough 2010 season, Pelfrey regressed dramatically last year. I don’t have that much more confidence in Pelfrey than I had in Oliver Perez, which pretty much says it all. The Mets must do some serious soul searching on all levels concerning Pelfrey, including whether pitching coach Dan Warthen is the answer to if they should cut ties with him. Clearly, he has not lived up to expectations.

6) QUESTION: What is the configuration of the bullpen?

SPECULATION: The depth chart on the Mets’ official web site lists 10 relievers, which is about right. The Mets have long hoped Bobby Parnell would seize the closer role, but that hasn’t come close to happening. Former Blue Jays Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco are expected to compete for the closer role, but one can’t forget why Toronto didn’t want to keep them in the first place.

7) QUESTION: Is Ruben Tejada the answer as Jose Reyes’ replacement?

SPECULATON: Absolutely not. Trying to fill the hole left by Reyes’ departure probably puts as much pressure on Tejada as any other Met. Reyes is a unique player not easily replaced. The Mets probably won’t see a fall off defensively, but Reyes has a dynamic offensive presence. Losing Reyes will gnaw at the Mets all summer and there’s nothing Tejada will be able to do.

8) QUESTION: Can Daniel Murphy make it at second base?

SPECULATION: Murphy was having an outstanding season at the plate before he injured his knee covering the bag. There were times it appeared Murphy was making defensive strides, but he had enough head-scratching moments, also. Murphy didn’t take to the outfield, his natural position is third, but that won’t happen because of Wright and he played well at first, but Ike Davis precludes that from occurring.

9) QUESTION: How healthy is Ike Davis?

SPECULATION: A freak ankle injury cost the Mets Davis for most of the season and any off-season prognosis is simply a guess. If Davis can’t play for some reason, Lucas Duda will play first which will create a hole in right field. Davis has loads of potential and doesn’t cost much, which is the kind of player the Mets need.

10) QUESTION: What’s the make up of the rotation?

SPECULATION: There were stretches last season when the rotation pitched well, but not enough of them and there are significant issues with every arm. Santana and Jon Niese are coming off injuries; Pelfrey is an enigma; RA Dickey was 8-13 last year and 41-50 in his career; and Dillon Gee has only 32 lifetime starts.

11) QUESTION: Will it ever happen for Jason Bay with the Mets?

SPECULATION: This is an annual question, and there’s nothing to suggest he’ll ever become the player the Mets have hoped. So far, this looks like $66 million flushed down the toilet.

12) QUESTION: Will moving in the fences matter?

SPECULATION: No. The theory is to add power, but the Mets actually showed they could score last year. Then again, they had Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Perhaps the new dimensions will help Wright and Bay, and maybe provide them a jolt of confidence. Could happen. Then again, bet on the opposition hitting more homers, too. Count on that.

 

Dec 27

A matter of time.

I guess I’m just like the Mets in a way, just passing the time until spring training. Even for teams with little chances, spring training brings anticipation and hope.

WRIGHT: Will Mets hold onto the dream?

I’m not going to bother you with posts about the Mets not going after guys like Matt Garza and Prince Fielder, because you know as well as I do that’s not going to happen. That’s not news, it is stating the obvious.

To answer the question everybody is asking: I don’t know when Bud Selig will step in and do something about the drowning-in-red-ink Mets. He does have a double standard, going hard after the Dodgers’ ownership while letting the Mets skate. Selig has agendas; it has been that way with him for a long time.

The Mets have close to a billion dollars in debt they must pay off in the next few years, and that doesn’t even count what they might be on the hook for in the Ponzi scandal. It’s not going to get any better any time soon.

Jose Reyes is one thing. They could justify not bringing him back based on their economics and his injury history. But, David Wright is another. He’s arguably the the image of the franchise the Mets haven’t had since Tom Seaver. Reading tweets the Mets aren’t going to trade him to the Phillies offer little consolation, because we can only imagine it is a matter of time.

Wright will be a Met until at least the end of July, but other than that there are no guarantees. Privately, the Mets regret not dealing Reyes when they had the chance to get something back. They gambled and lost they could compete in the second half. Privately, they realized they had no chance in keeping him.

They can’t afford to make a similar mistake with Wright. If he’s healthy and playing well and the team is going nowhere, then what’s the point in holding on to the dream that never happened?

Dec 19

Endy Chavez Signs With Orioles

Former Met Endy Chavez is headed to the Baltimore Orioles according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Chavez will earn $1.5 million in 2012 with the potential to earn another $500,000 in performance bonuses.

Chavez, 33, played in 83 games last season with the Texas Ranger, batting .301 with five homers, ten stolen bases and 37 runs scored in 256 at-bats.

The Mets were reportedly interested in bringing Chavez back, but Endy may have become too costly for the cash-strapped Mets who seem to be at their spending limit.

Chavez enjoyed his best year as a Met in 2006, when he drove in 42 runs, stole 12 bases and set career highs in batting average (.306) and on-base percentage (.348), but is best known for making one of the greatest defensive plays in postseason history; a leaping catch at the wall to rob Scot Rolen of a home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. Chavez then threw the ball into the infield for an inning-ending double play.

Jul 22

Wright to return tonight; won’t be enough.

The Mets expect David Wright back in the lineup, hitting fourth behind Carlos Beltran tonight in Florida. Beltran, on the trade block, isn’t expected to be dealt by game time, but his days as a Met are getting shorter. Getting Wright back will not change GM Sandy Alderson’s thinking regarding Beltran.

The All-Star outfielder is drawing considerable interest, and he’s playing at a rate where he’ll likely command a prospect, not a throwaway player.

WRIGHT: Back of DL tonight.

Wright went on the disabled list May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. He sustained the injury nearly a month earlier.

Even though the Mets have played shorthanded, they managed to tread water. However, the Phillies and Braves have opened up sizeable leads in the NL East and wild-card races that make competing difficult and the Mets are in trade mode.

They’ve already unloaded Francisco Rodriguez and are actively shopping Beltran. Beltran said he’s like to stay with the Mets, but it is all public relations.

Even should Beltran stay, Wright’s return will not greatly improve their status, regardless of what some players believe.

“You forget what he brings, because this has been our team for so long,’’ Jason Bay said. “It’s almost like we’re making a trade. We’re getting a premier player, adding an impact bat, and even though he’s our own guy. It’s going to be big for us.’’

Players say that all the time when a player comes off the disabled list, but even with Wright the Mets didn’t have enough parts, especially on the mound.

If history is an indication, Wright will need a monster night to overcome the disappointing Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA.

If you think that’s bad, consider he’s 1-7 lifetime against the Marlins, including seven straight losses in his last 13 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten Florida since July 8, 2006.