Aug 14

Mets Chat Room; K-Rod back and Misch starts.

First things first, Francisco Rodriguez apologized to the Mets ownership, fans and teammates and acknowledged entering an anger management program.

Game #116 vs. Phillies.

This is his statement: “First of all, I’m extremely sorry. I want to apologize to [owners] Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Mr. [Saul] Katz for the incident that happened Wednesday night. I want to apologize also to the Mets fans, to my teammates. I want to apologize, of course, to the front office for the embarrassing moment that I caused. I’m looking forward to being a better person.

“Right now the plan is I’m going to be going to [an] anger management program. And I cannot speak no farther about the legal stuff that we’re going through right now. I want to apologize. Sorry.’’

It’s a start.

But before you start thinking all Rodriguez got was a two-game suspension and the loss of $120,000, think again. This is not the case of a rich player skating. Rodriguez is in the system now and could face jail time it convicted. If that happens, his career could be over.

Let’s see how this plays out before making any assumptions. And, until he goes to court he’s entitled to work like anybody else awaiting trial.

Rodriguez will be available for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, where the Mets will try to make it three straight behind Pat Misch.

Misch could’ve, and perhaps should’ve been brought up earlier, but was not because of the selfishness of Oliver Perez, who refused to accept a minor league assignment to work out his pitching problems.

It is Perez’s right to decline, but he’s ineffective and isn’t being used, effectively forcing the Mets to play with 24.

That Perez is still around symbolizes the Mets’ rudderless leadership. There’s no one willing cut the cord with Perez or seemingly explore any legal options against the left-hander.

Aug 02

Time to cut losses with Perez.

It is the deal that keeps on taking.

PEREZ: Cut him.

Keeps on taking money from the Mets’ coffers, keeps on taking life out of a team that is fading away, keeps on taking the enthusiasm we once had for this team.

Oliver Perez will be paid $13 million this year to languish in the depths of the bullpen, to see light only on the blackest of days like yesterday. He will be paid $13 million next year to do the same.

Because Perez will not accept a minor league assignment to work out his obvious problems, he has forced the Mets to play with 24, hamstringing them as they fight to stay above .500. It is his right through collective bargaining to do so, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

It is selfishness to the highest degree.

The Mets tried to get somebody to bite at the trade deadline on Perez’s ridiculous contract – ditto that of Luis Castillo, too – but came away with no takers. Undoubtedly, he’s already cleared waivers, but don’t expect a deal of that kind in August.

Continue reading

Jul 21

Roster move: Perez activated.

PEREZ: He's back.

Oliver Perez was activated following yesterday’s game. To make room for him Justin Turner was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, leaving Josh Thole around to catch another day.

Jerry Manuel lobbied hard to keep Thole, his third catcher, and got his way. Manuel said as long as Thole is on the roster he’ll play. This does leave a void as David Wright’s back-up. Henry Blanco?

But, what to do with Perez? Manuel said he’ll be the first lefty out of the bullpen. Despite Hisanori Takahashi’s recent problems, he’s still on to start Thursday at Los Angeles. There are no thoughts as of now of starting Perez.

And, falling under the category of: Let’s not hope that’s all there  is.

The Mets signed free-agent reliever Chad Cordero, who missed all of last season following labrum surgery. Cordero briefly pitched for Seattle last month but opted to become a free agent rather than take a minor league assignment.

Jul 12

Update on first-half questions.

When pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 18, I posted five key questions the Mets faced heading into the season. Let’s revisit those questions at the All-Star break.

1) Question: What is this team’s attitude?

Assessment: By all accounts, it has been superb. There is a different chemistry in the Mets clubhouse than I have previously seen. The Mets have shown a remarkable resiliency to bounce back from adversity and Sunday’s win is just another example. There have been no issues about a lack of hustle, and no finger pointing. Both Jeff Francoeur and Angel Pagan said the right things about the prospect of reduced playing time as Carlos Beltran is about to be activated from the disabled list. The only sour note was, surprise, Oliver Perez’s refusal to accept a minor league assignment, instead, waiting for the disabled list to leave the roster to work on his issues.

2) Question: How healthy is this team?

Assessment: Injuries sabotaged the 2009 season, and injuries have cost Beltran and Daniel Murphy in the first half, and Jose Reyes for nearly a month. Beltran is due back to start the second half, but there’s no timetable for the return of Murphy, who reinjured his knee while on a rehab assignment. Murphy was playing second base at the time in preparation for a position change. After treating Reyes with kid gloves in the wake of his thyroid issue, the Mets rushed him back from an oblique injury, which he aggravated Saturday. There’s no telling how long he’ll be out. Luis Castillo is on the disabled list and his is another injury where the Mets tried to have him play through. Fortunately, his replacement, Ruben Tejada, has been more than filled the void. Reliever Kelvim Escobar, penciled in as a set-up man, is out for the year with a shoulder injury. The Mets are still trying to find an eighth-inning solution. Oliver Perez and John Maine are currently on the disabled list.

3) Question: What is the status of the three pitching questions, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine?

Assessment: Pelfrey made a point of saying he understood this trio represented a significant key to the Mets’ success this season. Perez and Maine are on the disabled list, but the team upgraded with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi. Pelfrey was superb for much of the first half but has been going through a dead arm period and has been largely ineffective over his last five starts. Perez balked at a minor league assignment, but an injury was found that conveniently landed him on the disabled list. He has been sound, and somewhat effective, in his rehab assignment. Look for the Mets to activate him shortly after the break and send Takahashi back to the bullpen. There’s no timetable for Maine’s return.

4) Question: Who is fifth starter?

Assessment: Fernando Nieve, Jon Niese, Nelson Figueroa and Hisanori Takahashi were in the mix in the spring, but Niese won the job and has been very good since coming off the disabled list. Niese has been so good that management tabbed him untouchable when Seattle asked for him in trade discussions surrounding Cliff Lee. Figueroa is now in Philadelphia, while Nieve is in the bullpen. Takahashi replaced Perez in the rotation and pitched well at first, but clearly showed he’s more valuable in the bullpen. The Mets are searching for a fifth starter in the trade market, as there are lingering questions about Perez and Maine.

5) Question: What is the make-up of the bullpen?

Assessment: Jenrry Mejia went north in the pen in an undefined role, but eventually went to the minor leagues to work on being a starter, when he was injured. Losing Escobar went a large part in opening the door for Mejia, who threw hard, but never grasped the eighth-inning role. Bobby Parnell, who appeared to wash you last year, now appears to be the arm having the inside track in the eighth inning to start the second half. Ryota Igarashi was the guy at one time, but pulled a hamstring and hasn’t been the same since. He’s now in the minor leagues. Nieve and Pedro Feliciano were over worked early, and still have heavy workloads. The distribution of work should be improved when Takahashi goes back to the bullpen.

Jun 22

Beltran to begin rehab games.

BELTRAN: Getting closer.

The clock is about to start for Carlos Beltran, who has been running the bases in extended spring training games. The next step is minor league rehab games, and GM Omar Minaya said today that will be Thursday in Port St. Lucie.

Once the rehab games begin Beltran has a 20-day window to return to the Mets. That would be after the All-Star break. If the window expires and Beltran isn’t ready, the Mets would need his permission to stay in the minors.

As of now, both Beltran and the Mets see the player as a center fielder, which would mean a platoon role for Angel Pagan.

The club also announced John Maine will seek a second opinion on his shoulder.  Based on his contractual status the Mets don’t need Maine’s permission to go to the minor leagues.