Aug 25

Wagner deal complete ….

Billy Wagner gave in on one of his two demands and accepted a deal this afternoon to the Boston Red Sox for two lower-tier minor league players to be named later. In addition, the Mets save $3.2 million, which includes a $1 million buyout for next season.

WAGNER: In tears after learning he'd need surgery.

WAGNER: In tears after learning he'd need surgery.

Wagner was claimed off waivers last week by the Red Sox, but wanted assurances Boston would not pick up his $8 million option for 2010 – so he could test the free agent market to be a closer elsewhere – or offer him salary arbitration. With arbitration, the signing team would be required to offer a compensation draft pick and Wagner thought that would hurt his chances in the market.

Wagner has 385 career saves and it is his goal to reach 400.

The Red Sox didn’t plan on picking up the option, but with reports Jonathan Papelbon might be available in a trade after this season, they wanted to hedge their bets. Papelbon has been vocal in saying he doesn’t believe the Red Sox needed Wagner, but he has idiot tendencies.

The Red Sox do need a set-up guy for the remainder of this season, and if they didn’t claim him, the Yankees most definitely would have.

While the Mets aren’t getting blue chippers, something is better than nothing for a player they had no interest in bringing back. Wagner, who has spent the last 11 months recovering from Tommy John surgery, has pitched two quality innings since his return with four strikeouts and a fastball topping out at 96 mph.

In explaining the trade, GM Omar Minaya said: “Billy, basically, had an opportunity to pitch in the pennant race and we were able to get two prospects for him, and we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Wagner performed for the Mets; he was a positive signing for Minaya. However, he was a squeaky wheel which didn’t always endear him to his teammates. Notably, he called out the veteran position players – of which Carlos Delgado was one – for not talking to the media.

They were offended, but Wagner was right. Wagner was also correct in his pointed criticism of Oliver Perez not concentrating and living up to his potential.

Personally, I always liked Wagner. He was stand-up whenever he blew a save and never failed to answer the tough questions.

Aug 17

Wright on DL ….

By this time, I’m sure you are aware the Mets placed David Wright on the disabled list after yesterday afternoon’s game. The wisest of decisions.

WRIGHT: Placed on DL.

WRIGHT: Placed on DL.


Wright was examined by neurologists twice and stayed overnight at the Hospital for Special Surgery before being discharged Sunday. GM Omar Minaya said the Mets’ medical staff consulted with an external specialist in concussion management.

The recommendation was unanimous to sit Wright.

“This is not a baseball decision,” Minaya said. “This is a medical decision.”

There’s no telling, when or if, Wright will rejoin the team. With the season seven weeks away from its merciful ending, and with Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado doubtful to return from their injuries, there is no point in pushing Wright’s return.

The Mets might not be worth watching without Wright and the rest of the core, but in doing the right thing, they will be worth watching in the future.

“At this point, it’s the right thing to do,” Jeff Francoeur said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that; I hate to hear it, too, because we need him so bad. But the last thing we want is for him to go out there and dive for a ball and get hit again, and the next thing you know something’s seriously wrong.”

That was the case with Ryan Church last season. He was flown from Atlanta to Denver, but also had a handful of pinch-hit appearances that aggravated his condition. With Church, the Mets listened to what he told the training staff rather than just shutting him down. Later, Church, to his competitive credit and his foolishness, acknowledged he was driven to prove that he could play hurt.

Manager Jerry Manuel said Wright tried to fight him on the DL decision: “David wanted to try and give it a chance, and go out there and play – but, we decided to take it away from David. He really wanted to try and play, but based upon our doctors and specialist recommendations we said no… He tried to fight me, he said, ‘Come on, man, give me a chance,’ he definitely wants to be here, but he understood.”

To their credit, the Mets learned from Church. They will treat concussions more aggressively, which includes not relying on the player’s input.

Jul 28

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #99; building on yesterday.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

The Mets are still crawling out of the rubble from yesterday’s disastrous press conference. Jeff Wilpon talked to the press today and admitted GM Omar Minaya created a huge mess when he called out the Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

Wilpon apologized to Rubin on and said Minaya would do the same. Wilson said the club was embarrassed and hurt by Minaya’s actions. He also reiterated Minaya still is, and will be, the Mets’ general manager.

Manager Jerry Manuel said Jose Reyes is still progressing, but there’s not a definitive timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, the Mets will try to pick up another game on the Colorado Rockies in the wild-card race as they go for four straight victories.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Brian Schneider, C
Alex Cora, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

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.

Jun 16

Where’s the biggest hole?

I see where the tabs are calling for Omar Minaya to make a trade. So, what else is new? They are always calling for Minaya to make a trade.

But, which hole do you fill?

Do you go after a first baseman to replace Carlos Delgado and the impotent tandem of Fernando Tatis/Daniel Murphy? Delgado says he’ll be back this year, but there are no guarantees.

How about a shortstop to replace Jose Reyes, who apparently isn’t any closer to returning now than he was when he was placed on the disabled list? Alex Cora won’t hurt the Mets defensively and so far hasn’t been a offensive liability. Cora has been a fulltime player, but he won’t give them the spark of Reyes.

There’s always pitching. John Maine and Oliver Perez are on the disabled list. Mike Pelfrey has been erratic. They’ve gotten a lot from Livan Hernandez, but how long will that continue? They can’t count on big numbers from Tim Redding.

The Mets could contend with what they have at first and shortstop, but not if their pitching collapses. If they make a trade, and I believe they have to, it has to be adding pitching. I just don’t know if they have the chips to make a trade.