Nov 16

Men on Base …. Backman leading off

Just a few things:

* Single-A Brooklyn named Wally Backman as manager today. In a release by the team, Backman said: “I am thrilled and grateful to be coming back to the Mets organization. The greatest days of my professional career were spent here in New York, and I have always felt a special connection to the city.”

BACKMAN: Once a Mets' sparkplug.

BACKMAN: Once a Mets' sparkplug.


I like the idea of Backman returning to the organization and getting another chance after he was unceremoniously dumped by Arizona. Backman provides an energy and a link to when the Mets were a great team. Guys like Backman, who relied on guile and grit as players, often make good managers.

To see him grow within the organization would be a positive, and welcomed, change from how things have been done in the past.

* Reportedly, Eric Wedge is candidate for the Mets bench coach job. Sure beats Razor Shines. Yeah, I know there will be rumblings about Jerry Manuel looking over his shoulder. If Manuel is any kind of manager, if this happens he’ll pick Wedge for all the knowledge he can. You can’t have too many brains on the bench. Just look at Joe Girardi’s and Joe Torre’s supporting staffs.
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Nov 15

What would it take to get Halladay?

Roy Halladay in the Mets’ rotation sounds appetizing. With the Blue Jays willing to deal, there are only a handful of teams that fit economically, with the Mets among them, presumably able to come up with a $20-million per season contract.

HALLADAY: Would cost a fortune.

HALLADAY: Would cost a fortune.


So are the Yankees and Red Sox, who figure to be greater factors in trade talks this winter than at last July’s trade deadline because the Blue Jays appear more inclined to be willing to trade him within the AL East. If trading within the division is feasible, the main unanswered questions are whether the Blue Jays want to trade. If Toronto believes it is able to compete for at least a wild card, then the decision could be to hold him for this year knowing he’ll walk next winter.

As the Blue Jays prepare for 2010, dealing Halladay now would send the white flag message to its already shrinking fan base. The fallback would be to wait until the trade deadline and assess things then. That way, if they are struggling, they would get more than compensatory draft choices.
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Nov 14

Poll: Do you want Delgado back?

When Carlos Delgado is healthy and hitting, there are only a handful of first basemen I’d take over him. You know who they are. Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira. There might be a few others.

DELGADO: Should they or shouldn't they?

DELGADO: Should they or shouldn't they?


But, Carlos Beltran’s learned medical diagnosis aside, nobody knows for sure what Delgado can do following hip surgery. At 37, that’s a tough injury to rebound from, which is why GM Omar Minaya will be in Puerto Rico next month to watch him play winter ball.

In 26 games last year, Delgado hit .294 with a .393 on-base percentage, four homers and 23 RBI. Projected over a 162 games, that would be 25 homers and 143 RBI, numbers that would entail a no-brainer when it would come to picking up his option.

Wanna bet he would’ve kept that pace?

Delgado is 37, coming off an injury, and before that had a hot-cold 2008. He is not what the Mets need if their intent is to get younger, more athletic and pare salary.
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Nov 11

Perez has the right idea ….

Newsday’s Ken Davidoff is one of the sharpest baseball writers around, and he has this story today that Oliver Perez is working hard in Arizona at the Athletes Performance Institute, which is a comprehensive fitness camp.

Call it marine training for athletes, with a focus on nutrition, metabolic testing, cardiovascular work, drills and media training.

PEREZ: Getting his head on straight.

PEREZ: Getting his head on straight.


Perez hasn’t always been in the best physical or mental shape, and the thinking here is if he can master the latter he’ll do the same with the former, and consequently results could be seen on the mound. It’s worth a try, and it is a sign Perez is taking last season’s wash out seriously.

Among the Institute’s alumni are Curt Schilling, Justin Morneau, Carl Crawford, Kevin Youklis and Dustin Pedroia.

Said Red Sox manager Terry Francona during spring training in 2008: “These guys have access to so much. They take advantage of it and when they come in [to camp], it makes the baseball part easier.”

Perez, 3–4 with a 6.82 ERA in 14 starts last season, has always been an uncashed check when it comes to his performance. The potential has always been greater than the production, and the Mets gambled $36 million over three years that might change.

So far it hasn’t, but the first step in correcting the problem is in its acknowledgement.

Nov 10

Why trade Castillo?

I find it amusing some people still believe the Mets would, should or could trade Luis Castillo.

CASTILLO: Two more years.

CASTILLO: Two more years.


After a dreadful 2008 season in which injuries limited him to 87 games and a .245 average, Castillo showed up to spring training 17 pounds lighter, and except a brief stumble down the dugout steps, was healthy for much of a rebound season in which he hit .302 with a .387 on-base percentage.

Q: So why trade him?

A: The Mets are fearful last season might be a fluke, that at 34 he might have had his encore. The Mets are wondering if his knees will give out again and that he’s always on the edge of the DL. There’s also concern about his shrinking defensive range, and the frequency of lapses when he does reach a ball. The Mets also would like to shed themselves of the remaining $12 million left on his contract over the next two seasons.

Sure, the Mets would love to get out from under his contract and not be around for his fall.

The only problem, is that for the same reasons the Mets should deal Castillo are the same reasons no team wants to trade for him.