Oct 20

Gotta say no to Vlad ….

The Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero will be a free-agent after this season, the last year of a five-year, $70 million contract. Five years ago, cautious about his back, the Mets passed. Of course, Guerrero went on to have some fabulous years with the Angels, including hitting at least 27 homers with 90 RBI in the 2007-8 seasons.

GUERRERO: Too risky for Mets?

GUERRERO: Too risky for Mets?


This year, however, because of a torn pectoral muscle and strained muscle behind his left knee, Guerrero, 33, hit .295 – a good average – but only 15 homers and 50 RBI in 100 games. The question of Guerrero’s durability is now an issue. The Mets, and any other team, would be foolish to ignore his health.

And, being a favorite of Omar Minaya’s is no guarantee, either. Minaya’s job security and the Mets’ finances, along with their other priorities, are all variables.

The Mets are a rebuilding organization that can’t afford to make mistakes. Guerrero won’t go to that kind of team, but one that can afford to take the hit should he flame out. Given that, and all else on the Mets’ shopping list, they should pass of Guerrero this time, too.

Oct 19

Is it better to have loved and lost?

Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?

That’s a tough question, especially at the time when the misery has peaked. The Mets aren’t in the playoffs, they are scattered throughout the country. Some might be watching, others might not care enough to turn on their sets.

This date has not been kind to the Mets in the playoffs, prompting the question.

Today in 2006, Yadier Molina’s two-run HR in the 9th inning off Aaron Heilman is the game-winner as the St. Louis Cardinals win in seven games. The game ends when Carlos Beltran is frozen on a nasty curveball by Adam Wainwright.

The game is remembered for Endy Chavez’s home-run robbing catch of Scott Rolen’s drive, but the Mets can’t sustain the momentum and blow an opportunity in the bottom of the inning to break the game open open.

The season that unfolded with so much promise and potential was over, but little did we know at the time that so was the Mets’ window of opportunity. They blew two September leads the following two seasons and derailed completely this season.

Now, the organization is faced with the question of whether they need tweaking or an overhaul.

Also, on this date in 1999, the Braves defeated the Mets‚ 10-9 in 11 innings‚ to take the NLCS in six games.

The Mets came back from three games down to force a sixth game, and rallied twice from deficits of 5-0 and 7-3 to force extra innings on Mike Piazza’s homer.

However, Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run in the 11th inning to end that dream.

Oct 18

No big names coming ….

The names are enticing with Matt Holliday and Roy Halladay, Jason Bay and John Lackey. Any, and all would make the Mets a better team in 2010. Except, I don’t believe any will be playing in Citi Field next summer in the home whites.

Bay appears to be staying in Boston and Holliday will be costly. The Mets don’t have the prospects package, nor the inclination to pay a package similar to the one they gave Johan Santana, to acquire Halladay. And, reportedly Lackey doesn’t want to play in New York.

More and more I believe the Mets are hoping their injured players return and the best they’ll get in a middle-tier free-agent pitcher to plug into their beleaguered rotation.

It is premature to say the Mets don’t have a plan, but there isn’t a lot of reason to be optimistic right now.

Oct 16

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Tale of two pitchers.

Two pitchers, one the Mets didn’t want and one they’d love to have, will be on display today in the second round of the playoffs.

Pedro Martinez, whom the Mets cut ties with in an effort to get younger and move toward the future, will start Game 2 of the NLCS for Philadelphia against the Dodgers. John Lackey, the pitching prize of the free-agent market, starts for the Angels at Yankee Stadium.

MARTINEZ: Get the ball while Mets stay home.

MARTINEZ: Get the ball while Mets stay home.


If Martinez wins, it will send Philly home with a 2-0 games lead. If Lackey wins, he will give the home field advantage to the Angels.

The Mets are watching at home for the third straight season.

After a series of injuries the past few years, the Mets decided they could live without Martinez, 37, will make his first playoff appearance in five years against the Dodgers, the team in broke in with in 1992. Martinez made nine starts with the Phillies, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA.

He told me last year he thought he could still pitch again, and proved it this year in a limited capacity. Weary of the injuries, and confident Mike Pelfrey would progress and they’d finally get something out of Oliver Perez, the Mets said good-bye to Martinez, who did not want to come back in a limited role or with a limited contract.

If he will be content with a No. 5 slot, he’ll get some attention this winter. No, the Mets won’t be one of the teams, but he could stay in Philadelphia.

Martinez likes the team and it will be good again next summer.

Martinez hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30, but manager Charlie Manuel isn’t concerned, saying, “I think he knows how to pitch.’’

Martinez’s last playoff appearance was in 2004 with Boston, and one of the story lines today will be facing former Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez.

“Well, nobody can say I know how to pitch Manny.” Martinez said. “Manny is such a great hitter, and he’s someone that makes adjustments as he sees the game develop.”

The Angels are a team in a zone, having swept Boston in the Division Series. They’ll face CC Sabathia tonight at the Stadium.

LACKEY: On top of FA pitching list.

LACKEY: On top of FA pitching list.


The Angels know how to beat the Yankees, dispatching them from the playoffs twice since 2002. The teams split 10 games this year.

“I don’t know if you’re ever going to be able to measure yourself against an organization like the Yankees. It might take a century before you would get there,’’ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But I think our guys feel good at the way they go about their business, the way that they play the game hard, the way that they push the game.’’

But, it all begins with pitching, and tonight that is Lackey, who beat the Yankees in July when he gave up two runs in seven innings.

“I’m not going to get intimidated by anybody,” Lackey said.

Lackey is a bulldog type, he gives innings when he’s healthy, but he’s missed considerable time in each of the past two seasons. That will give the Mets pause as they were bitten all year by injuries. It would just be the franchise’s luck to sign him and have him go down.

Lackey leads a relatively thin free-agent market that includes Erik Bedard, Jon Garland, Andy Pettitte, Jose Contreras, Rich Harden, Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro and Randy Wolf.

There are some good names, but nobody outside of Lackey who could be called a No. 1.

Oct 16

It’s about heart ….

In watching the Phillies play, I would think Mets fans would fall in love with this team if they played in Citi Field. They show the heart and hustle and spunk Mets fans demand from their team, but haven’t received in a long time.

The Phillies make things happen, and as powerful as they are, it isn’t always with the long ball. In that regard, they and the Angels are the playoff teams having the grit Mets fans desire for their team.

The Yankees?

The Yankees are the Yankees, they’ll always be good because they can’t accept losing. Mets fans would love that mentality from their management. But, the Yankees, and their fans, also carry a sense of entitlement with them that is annoying.

I believe, that after the disappointment of the 2006 season, the Mets carried with them a sense of expectations of winning. That’s good, but the reality was they overestimated themselves and believed they were better than they were, which isn’t good.

Hopefully, and I have my doubts, the Mets learned from the 2009 train wreck. If they believe that just being healthy will put them over the top, they are mistaken. This team has talent, but not enough. It lacks the pitching, the fundamental base, and all too often, the heart of a champion.

There were far too many times this season when they mailed it in.