Aug 17

Slipping away

We knew they weren’t going to win this season, but for awhile there they were fun to watch. They were aggressive, hustled and more importantly, competitive and made us think of what could have happened had they been intact all season.

The Mets missed David Wright for two months, are without Ike Davis for the rest of the season, haven’t had Johan Santana all year, watched Mike Pelfrey regress, had Jose Reyes on the disabled list twice, and haven’t gotten a thing from Jason Bay. All this under the specter of a possible fire sale, which saw only Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodrigue depart.

Even so, the Mets have hung around the .500 mark, but lately they’ve started to play like we thought they might. The Mets have lost 12 of their last 16 games after last night in San Diego. And, it won’t get any easier with Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta coming up to close out the month.

Remember when Fred Wilpon said he wanted the Mets to play meaningful games in September? There are different interpretations of the word “meaningful.”

There’s no pennant race, and won’t be for awhile, but I’d like to see the Mets close with a spark and intensity they’ve had for much of the season.

I’d like there to be some fun down the stretch.





Jul 13

Alderson dances around trade and future.

What else was Sandy Alderson going to say?

In a classic case of GM-Speak, Alderson said today in a conference call, “I certainly wouldn’t draw any conclusions from this transaction,’’ regarding this morning’s trade of Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee.

ALDERSON: Dances the dance.



He might be the only one.

This was about dumping salary, totally understandable considering the Mets didn’t want to pick up Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option. How well the Mets have played was irrelevant because clearing themselves of the option was their primary objective, although Alderson downplayed this issue.

He wasn’t believable.

Alderson insisted the Mets’ goal the rest of the way will be winning games, but that’s a tough sell considering he just traded their closer, and is actively looking to move Carlos Beltran, and wouldn’t say no to anybody asking about Jose Reyes.

Trading Rodriguez offers payroll flexibility, but realistically we’re only talking about 2012, and Reyes reportedly will seek six or seven years.

Alderson said there’s no connection between Rodriguez and possibly trading Beltran, but what other conclusion can you make? The Mets want to shave payroll and aren’t a realistic contender, so the fire sale seems the only realistic way for this season to play itself out.

Anybody can see that, so why can’t Alderson just admit it and spare us the GM-Speak?


Jul 11

Today in Mets’ History: Seaver gets save in 1967 game.

Tom Seaver starred on this date in 1967 at the All-Star Game in Anaheim when All-Star Games actually meant something and were more than an encore for ESPN’s Home Run Derby.

SEAVER: Gets save in 67 game.


As a rookie, Seaver threw a hitless 15th inning to earn the save in the National League’s 2-1 victory. Seaver’s Hall of Fame career included 12 All-Star selections.

An oddity about this game was in that all the runs came on solo homers from third basemen: Philadelphia’s Richie Allen, Baltimore’s Brooks Robinson and Cincinnati’s Tony Perez.

This was a time when the starting pitchers worked at their three innings and there were pitchers available for extra innings. Unlike the disaster game in Milwaukee several years back when Commissioner Bud Selig called it a tie because the teams ran out of pitchers.

In this game, Seaver’s one inning was the shortest stint of the night as all the other pitchers worked at least two innings, with five pitching at least three innings, and Catfish Hunter throwing five as he took the loss. Don Drysdale was the winning pitcher.



UP NEXT: How spring training issues have been addressed in the first half.


Jun 08

Capuano good pick-up, but how long will he stay?

Yesterday, I wrote how the Mets were playing well considering a mountain of adversity and last night they received a strong pitching performance from Chris Capuano to win at Milwaukee, 2-1.

CAPUANO: A trade piece? (AP)

The Mets are two games below .500 and 4.5 games behind the Brewers in the wild card race. Too soon to be thinking of such things, but not too soon to recognize things aren’t totally in the toilet as had been projected.

Last night was the first game of 10-game road trip, and who knows where they will be when they return from Milwaukee-Pittsburgh-Atlanta? A lot of things can happen in two weeks. If the Mets continue to receive the strong starting pitching they’ve gotten the past ten days, including last night from Capuano, they could put an interesting, and unexpected, spin on this season.

Capuano was a bargain basement purchase that so far as pitched well considering a lack of offensive support. He gave up a run in six innings last night to go 4-6. He has pitched better than his record.

Unfortunately, every bit of success Capuano enjoys brings about the harsh reminder the Mets figure to be sellers at the deadline, and a lefthander who can provide innings is a commodity. What the Mets might get from Capuano is uncertain, but when you’re in a rebuilding mode you tend to collect prospects.

I’d like to see the Mets attempt to compete this year and go for the wild-card, but that means adding instead of subtracting. However, all indications point toward further rebuilding, which includes the possibility of a purge.

Not that the Mets will build around a guy like Capuano, but he can be a valuable part to the right team. And, it would be nice if the Mets were that team.

NOTEBOOK: Gary Carter underwent his first radiation treatment yesterday. … Carlos Beltran played despite a bruised right shin. He went 0-for-4 and didn’t look comfortable running.