Jul 27

In defense of Adam Rubin ….

There are few reporters I admire and respect as much as I do Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. He is among the first to arrive and last to leave. He works the clubhouse as well as any colleague I have competed against. I consider my work ethic one of my strong suits and I envy his. As far as I am concerned, his integrity is above reproach.

Rubin has been critical of the Mets, and rightfully so. Just look at their record. Also look at Rubin’s record for being right.

I believe Rubin when he said he once probed Jeff Wilpon about how to get a job in major league baseball, “but that’s it.” I don’t believe for a second he torpedoed Tony Bernazard to get a job in baseball. Rubin is right, the accusation from Omar Minaya toward him was “obscene” and “deplorable.”

If Minaya had a problem with Rubin, he should have addressed it privately behind closed doors as part of his in-depth investigation. Bernazard, an embarrassment to the Mets, has been fired and is gone. The Mets’ embarrassing behavior still remains.

The bottom line is Bernazard is gone by his own doing, with his behavior coming to light as the result of solid, ethical reporting.

Jul 24

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #95; facing the Astros.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Before we get going tonight I hope you’ll take a moment to read an earlier post I had on the need for the Wilpon ownership to speak out on the direction of the team. Feel free to post your comments either there or here.

I believe it is time for some clarity from the top because Omar Minaya isn’t really saying anything.

Meanwhile, as the Mets continue to unravel, the Phillies are reportedly close to landing Roy Halladay from Toronto, which should make them favorites to repeat as champions.

After dropping two of three at Washington, the Mets are in Houston for the weekend, not an easy place for them to play.

Here’s the line-up tonight behind Johan Santana:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Angel Berroa, SS
Johan Santana, LP

PREGAME NOTES: Billy Wagner could begin a rehab assignment next week. … Gary Sheffield remains day-to-day. It’s been that way for a week and the Mets continue to play shorthanded. … Carlos Beltran’s knee will be re-examined. … Alex Cora’s thumb continues to bother him. … Jon Niese will come up from Triple-A Buffalo to start tomorrow. Niese gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings in a May 13 start against the Braves.

Jul 24

Bottom line: Wilpons need to speak up.

First things first, the Wilpons aren’t selling the Mets. The future of the team is in their hands, and whomever they entrust with the reigns. Right now it is Omar Minaya, and most aspects of the franchise is heading south.

The major league team and two top minor league affiliates are all playing below .500. The drop is worse below, which tells you the talent there is not adequate either for immediate help or in making a big time trade. And, for the latter, there aren’t enough chips to patch all the holes.

WILPONS: Need to speak up.

WILPONS: Need to speak up.


Tony Bernazard, whose responsibility it is to stock and train that farm system, shares greatly in that.

A substantial part of the team is on the disabled list, and the medical staff is under scrutiny. However, there is no real common thread to the injury other than some players tried to push themselves. There is always the wonder, after the Ryan Church episode last season, of injuries being mishandled. Of those players on the disabled list, only Carlos Beltran has raised the issue, and he’s a big enough star to where what he says must be taken seriously.

There are rumblings about the job security of Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. Despite the supposed vote of confidence, we know those aren’t etched in stone. Teams always say things like that before dropping the ax. If a significant number of the injured returns and the Mets make a run but fall short, injuries should give them a pass.

However, it would be a grave mistake throwing everything about this season under the umbrella of injuries because there is no much wrong with this team.

It doesn’t hit well, especially with runners in scoring position. Howard Johnson has to take some responsibility there. David Wright’s power outage has been a mystery. Why would he change his mechanics because to the stadium? Why would anybody let him? He’s always been around .300, which is where he is now. If he mechanics were changed and he was hitting .350, it would be more acceptable. What isn’t acceptable are the number of strikeouts.

Then there is Daniel Murphy. He appears rushed. A bust in left, he’s comfortable at first defensively, but his offense – the strength of his game – has deteriorated.

Look at also what Johnson has had to work with. Fernando Tatis played over his head last season, and this year is more his norm. Most of the starters started the season as role players and are getting more time than they should.

Pitching? Well, so much was counted on from Oliver Perez, but his failure falls on many levels. No way, is he worth the contract. Choosing Perez over Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf is on Minaya. Letting him play in the WBC is also on Minaya, and the Wilpons, who give their unconditional support to the meaningless exhibition series. Pitching coach Dan Warthen hasn’t been able to harness him. Then, there is Perez himself, who believes walks aren’t such a big deal.

Personally, I think Perez is as good as he’s going to be. I’m tired of hearing about his potential. If the Mets can’t trade him, perhaps they should consider putting him in the bullpen, where he can be overpowering for an inning or two.

BERNAZARD: Shameful.

BERNAZARD: Shamed Mets.


With everything unraveling with the Mets, now the team is being embarrassed by Bernazard’s behavior. Bernazard is currently under house arrest in New Jersey with the perception his relationship with Jeff Wilpon could save his job.

If it does, who will be surprised?

If it does not, there will be no impact on the field as Bernazard can’t do anything about the team scoring runs or all the problems listed above.

Bernazard’s firing, which would be deserved, will only act as a diversion and him being made a potential scapegoat.

The hard core fans are upset, but many of those who go to Citi Field are numbed by the excitement of the new park. Let’s go get some BBQ or clam chowder. How many types of beer do they sell?

However, even in New York, the newness of the park won’t last long if the team doesn’t perform. It was that way in Baltimore. In Toronto. In Pittsburgh. In Washington.

Build it and they will come. Play well and they will stay.

During this tumultuous time with the franchise, the lone voice has been Minaya’s, and that’s not good enough. Times are strained enough now where the Wilpons, preferably both, step up with their state-of-the-team address.

The ticket-buying public must be assured of what direction is the team headed. Among other things, it should include statements on whether the team is a buyer or seller at the trade deadline. Are they waiting for the injured to return? They should state firmly all aspects of the organization will be under review after the season and nobody is safe. They should state what direction they will take in the offseason to rebuild. They should state its concern on the medical staff and is there blame for the injuries or bad luck.

No aspect of the team should be spared the scrutiny, because few things are right with it.

Jul 21

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #93; Why do you need Halladay when you’ve got Ollie?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

I am kidding, of course, with the headline. Not surprisingly, multiple media outlets have shot down the published report that had the Mets turning down a trade proposal for Roy Halladay.

As we discussed last night on the blog, it is unlikely Halladay will be moved for several reasons, beginning with the Blue Jays’ asking price and their refusal to give a negotiating window to a prospective buyer.

Tonight, the Mets will try to make it two in a row behind Oliver Perez against the hapless Washington Nationals. Gary Sheffield is out of the line-up for a fourth straight game, and here’s a surprise, he could go on the DL if there is no improvement by the end of the week.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Muprhy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Alex Cora, SS
Oliver Perez, LP

Jul 20

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #92; Finally, a team with even more troubles.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

According to reports, GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel will get a pass on the season, presumably because of the number and severity of the Mets’ injuries.

That’s now, and things could change if they lose 20 in a row or some other unfathomable number.

Of course, the last time such a conversation circulated about the Mets Willie Randolph was fired, so, who really knows?

The offensively challenged Mets have lost 14 of their last 20 games, and nine times in that span they’ve scored no more than one run.

They are in Washington tonight against the Nationals, who have lost 10 of their last 11. If the Mets are to get on a little run, it has to start tonight. Nine games behind the Phillies, and 10 in the loss column, the Mets have nowhere to go but up.

Technically, that’s not true, but you get the idea.

“Where do we go from here?’’ Manuel said. “We have to sit down and make some decisions. We talked about that today. We feel like we still can get some things done.’’

What those things are, he wouldn’t say, but they’ll have to be accomplished without Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, both whom remain without a return timetable.

The Mets will go tonight with Livan Hernandez, who is 2-0 with a microscopic 0.56 ERA this year against the Nationals. However, once 5-1, Hernandez has lost his last four starts and is winless since June 7.

He has given up 15 runs on 21 hits with eight walks in his last two games, totaling just seven innings.

The Mets will be without Gary Sheffield again tonight, and will go with this line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Jeremy Reed, LF
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Livan Hernandez, RP