The Mets are playing the Oliver Perez saga down to the very end.
PEREZ: Down and just about out.
In holding to their word they’d give Perez a chance to make it as a starter, GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins made the trip Tuesday to watch Perez get whipped by Houston, giving up three runs in three innings in what would be his last start with the Mets.
Alderson confirmed that today, saying Perez’s slim chance of sticking with the team was now out of the bullpen.
Kudos to Collins for sticking to his word making the two-hour bus ride to Kissimmee to watch Perez when the easy thing to do was let pitching coach Dan Warthen scout the long-shot for him. It will go a long way toward Collins gaining credibility with his new team.
BELTRAN: Not running any time soon.
The Mets say they aren’t worried, which considering the past two seasons is far from believable. Carlos Beltran will will be out at least was week with left knee tentinitis, presumably caused by compenstation for the pain in his chronic right knee.
Let’s see. He’ll be down a week. Then need at least four or five days to get ready to try it again, which puts us after March 20. Anybody else out there thinking he might start the season on the disabled list?
Beltran said this morning, “I’m going to continue to work and try to put myself in shape, but the field things, it’s going to be off [for] a little bit.”
The Mets have even eschewed minor league games where he could DH, but not run. Beltran said he’s been feeling discomfort since the start of spring training, which precipitated his move to right field.
There’s nothing you can do with injuries but look at them at the worst case scenario. There’s no indication Beltran will be a viable player anytime soon, and of course, this minimizes his trade value to next to nothing. The worse possible thing to happen to the Mets would be for Beltran to be sidelined and unable to play or be traded.
I hope I am wrong, but the odds aren’t looking very promising.
F. WILPON: There's a Ponzi connection to the field.
Some have suggested the product on the field has not yet been impacted by the Ponzi scheme, but that is hardly close to the truth. In fact, much of what the Mets are doing with their team is directly resulted in the fallout from the Madoff situation.
There were rumblings of the Wilpons being in financial straits for over a year now, with a clear sign last July at the trade deadline when the Mets, within striking distance of the wild card, stood pat and did nothing to improve their club. It takes money to win and the Mets added no significant payroll at a time when they could have improved their team and made a change in the attitude at Citi Field.
A second clear sign – although we didn’t learn of this until recently – was receiving a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball at the end of last season. This is a team, despite a new stadium, that was beginning to swim in debt. If we had known it then, we could have been spared the off-season angst of them not doing anything in the winter.
Sign three, and very significant, was the hiring of general manager Sandy Alderson at MLB’s urging. Commissioner Bud Selig took a proactive approach in getting Alderson hired by the Wilpon’s, perhaps in large part, to be a caretaker for the franchise as it explores minority ownership investors and later a possible sale.
PEREZ: Still holding on.
OK, Oliver Perez was dreadful in his first spring training appearance, but don’t expect the Mets to cut him loose already, despite what most fans might want.
Nobody gets demoted or cut after one appearance, especially somebody who is scheduled to make $12 million this season. Nor should he be.
As much as Perez wants to make the team as a starter, his best chance – slim as it is – will be coming out of the bullpen. The Mets will run Perez out there several more times and won’t make a decision until they are absolutely sure he w0n’t make the team.
That means they could keep him late until March. The Mets’ hope is, as far-fetched as it is, will be for Perez to turn it around to the point where he could attract interest. That’s not likely to happen because a team won’t give up something if it believes Perez will eventually be waived.
As tight as the Mets’ money situation is, they are obligated to pay Perez $12 million this season and are hoping the long shot comes through and he’ll be able to contribute something. I know you’ve heard that before, but nothing has changed, even with that putrid first outing.
Don’t read too much from the early glowing reports about Ruben Tejada swinging the bat well in Port St. Lucie. Don’t forget, until now it has simply been batting practice. Today, it will be an intrasquad game and then the early days in the exhibition schedule.
Of course, it is better than him not hitting.
The Mets have four second base candidates, with the speculated platoon of Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus each starting today. Then there is Luis Castillo and Justin Turner, the latter with two options remaining which makes him the odd-man out.
Regarding Tejada, the plans are for him to play shortstop at Triple-A Buffalo. With the Mets having other second base options, that’s important because of the uncertainty regarding Jose Reyes’ future.
If the Mets sign Reyes to an extension, then Tejada could move to second if the others flame out or he could be used in a trade. If Reyes leaves, then it is important to have a ready alternative.
TODAY’S PITCHERS: Josh Stinson and D.J. Carrasco will be the respective starters, followed by: Taylor Tankersley, Mike O’Connor, Manny Alvarez, Tim Byrdak, Ryota Igarashi and Blaine Boyer.