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

Jul 18

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #90; sinking fast.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

I would rather not use the word “freefall” but the options are getting fewer. Realistically, I don’t see much cause for optimism. This is a team with too few healthy parts, and those that are, aren’t playing well. Can they turn it around? Yeah, it’s possible, but do you see any signs of life indicating they will?

I don’t.

I also don’t see any help on the horizon. Matt Holliday isn’t coming. Neither is Roy Halladay. Neither is Adam Dunn. Neither is anybody else of substance. The Mets simply don’t have the chips – without scuttling their farm system – to make a significant deal.

They will wait for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran to get better and consider them as “the best trade we could make.” What nonsense. They weren’t playing well when those guys were healthy. As far as Carlos Delgado is concerned, frankly, I see him wanting to come back for only one reason, and that is to prove he’s healthy enough to sign with another team this winter.

They will add Julio Lugo to rest Alex Cora, but let’s face it, who really cares? The best thing about Lugo is it might force the Mets to release Tim Redding.

Johan Santana goes today in an effort to stop the slide. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve written that sentence this season. Trouble is, Santana has been less than an All-Star since he was roughed up in San Francisco. The home runs keep coming off him.

There were no signs of life in last night’s debacle. One has to wonder if internally the Mets aren’t thinking among themselves that it is over.

Jul 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #88; second half begins.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

One of the major storylines last offseason was the Mets’ decision to give Oliver Perez three years instead of four years for Derek Lowe.

The pitchers face each other tonight in Atlanta as the second half of the season begins. My confidence level in Perez is about zero. There’s just something about him that screams bust.

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?

PEREZ: Who knows what to expect?


The Mets are within striking distance in the NL East. Teams have come back from a lot greater holes in far less time. The Mets know that from blowing a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007. It has been done, but rarely by a team with as many glaring deficiencies as these Mets.

1. Perez is only one of three major concerns in the rotation. There’s John Maine’s shoulder, which nobody really knows will be ready. Plus, Livan Hernandez has been hit hard lately, so the bloom is off his fast start.

2. Don’t expect Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back before the end of the month. Carlos Delgado will be back sometime in August, but by that time the competitive part of the season might be ove.

3. The bullpen started off so well, but has been worn down by the workload. Sean Green and Bobby Parnell have run hot-and-cold. Pedro Feliciano is being run into the ground and JJ Putz is on the DL. The way things are going, Billy Wagner, if he returns, won’t be a luxury but a necessity.

4. There’s been little consistent power production. It’s hard to believe Gary Sheffield leads the team in homers. Jeff Francoeur might add something, but the hitter they really need is Wright to step up.

5. The farm system is barren as we’ve frequently heard before. There are few major-league ready players to come up to help the Mets, which also means there are limited trade options. The Mets will not make a blockbuster kind of deal at the trade deadline.

Here’s the line-up that will take a crack at Derek Lowe:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Alex Cora, SS
Brian Schneider, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Perez (2-2, 8.78 ERA) will make his second start for the Mets since coming off the disabled list. Perez earned the victory against the Dodgers, but threw only five innings and gave up seven walks. Perez had no record against the Braves last year, but had a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings against them.