Apr 07

Collins Does A Complete 180 On Tejada

It looks like the injury to Andres Torres has not only led to what will be the major league debut of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but has also prompted manager Terry Collins to do a complete 180 on how he intended to treat shortstop Ruben Tejada this season.

Going all the way back to a conference call Collins did with bloggers back on February 28th, the Mets manager was very firm on his stance that we would not use Ruben Tejada as the team’s leadoff hitter in 2012.

In response to a question by New York Baseball Digest’s Mike Silva, Collins told us:

“As far as leading off, the one thing this kid is facing right now is replacing Jose Reyes. That’s a huge thing to put on the shoulders of a 21-year-old baseball player. He’s got enough on his mind to replace Jose defensively, let alone to say, ‘you’ve got to get on, you’ve got to get into scoring position because you’re replacing Jose Reyes.’ That’s an awful lot to ask of that young man.”

Terry Collins echoed those exact sentiments later on when he was a guest of Mike Francesa on WFAN:

“No. I won’t put that king of pressure on that kid. He has more than enough on his plate as it is replacing Reyes at short. We need him to go out there and focus on being the best shortstop he can be. That’s his main focus this season and I won’t add to that.”

So here we are, just one game into the season, and Terry Collins has already scrapped the plan to let Tejada play the 2012 season without the added pressure of batting leadoff.

Tejada will now have the dual role of replacing Jose Reyes defensively in the field, and now offensively as the leadoff hitter of the New York Mets as well. Wow. He’ll be doing this under the gaze of tens of thousands of Mets fans who still resent the fact that Jose Reyes is no longer here, and under glaring spotlight of the New York media who will hound him at his locker at the first hint of trouble.

Ironically, I can’t really blame Collins here because Sandy Alderson gave him little choice. The depth on this team is going to be a huge problem all season long. One day in and already our sixth ranked prospect in the system will be debuting in center field today regardless of whether he is ready or not.

The choices at leadoff hitter beyond Andres Torres were who exactly?

David Wright? Daniel Murphy? Jason Bay?

There was no thought given to this situation after Reyes packed his bags for Miami, and even less thought was given when they traded another likely leadoff hitter in Angel Pagan. Torres was a terrible option to bat leadoff right from jump-street, and everybody knew it.

Anyway, the deed is done, the course has been charted and it’s full steam ahead with Nieuwenhuis in center field and Tejada batting leadoff.

All we can do now is hope for a successful outcome, but make no mistake that so far this season, Collins and Alderson are flying by the seats of their pants.

Mar 14

Wright update; Mets lose again.

First it was going to be a game or two, then at the end of this week, then next week and now David Wright hopes to be ready by Opening Day. Knowing these are the Mets, why didn’t they just throw Opening Day out there from the outset.

Why did it take them so long to send him to New York for this latest diagnosis of an abdominal tear? Why does this stuff always seem to happen with the Mets? Wright is easily the Mets’ most valuable commodity, so why do they treat this with such ambivalence?

I’m glad to see Wright playing this smart and taking his time, but wonder why the Mets were slow on the MRI.


The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow and everybody is wondering what will become of Dwight Howard. Reminds me of Jose Reyes when we all knew he wasn’t coming back. Would have hoped Orlando would have learned from the Denver Nuggets, who fleeced the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony, who has been nothing but a selfish headache for New York. In hindsight, the Mets knew Reyes wasn’t coming back and should have gotten what they could.

First Howard is leaving, then he’s staying. Make up your mind. In absence of something definitive, the Magic have to deal him and get what they can.

By the way, did you hear Reyes’ response the other day when he said he had “put the Mets behind him?” He did that when he left that last game after the bunt.


Dillon Gee pitched well in today’s loss to Detroit, save a homer to Prince Fielder. But, that’s going to happen. Terry Collins is still having difficulty putting together his patchwork bullpen.




Mar 12

Time to re-evaluate conditioning program

The Mets’ medical staff has been under scrutiny for years, but maybe it is time to re-evaluate the team’s off-season and spring training conditioning programs.

WRIGHT: Was his injury preventable?

Seven Mets, including David Wright, who returned to New York for further exams today on his side, have rib cage, oblique or upper body injuries. Manager Terry Collins offered several theories, none of which are acceptable from a team that should know what it is doing. Collins mentioned excessive weight training, overworking in pre-game warm-ups, too much caffeine and not stretching properly or seriously.

All these suggestions are preventable, and honestly, inexcusable. One or two issues is one thing, but the Mets have seven players ailing since spring training. That doesn’t suggest a team with a handle on things.

Wright, Kirk Niewenhuis, Scott Hairston, and Robert Carson have side muscle injuries. Lucas Duda, Daniel Herrera and Reese Havens have back issues. To be fair, I don’t know what it is like with these injuries in other camps, but seven is an epidemic.

Either the players haven’t been schooled or given the proper conditioning programs, the teaching of such is inadequate, or these guys don’t know what they are doing. When it comes to the body core, flexibility is as important as strength.

When Sandy Alderson and Collins took over last year, they promised a return to basics and fundamentals, and that should include conditioning, too. The Mets aren’t a team that can afford any setbacks, and this shouldn’t be occurring, at least not to this degree.

Mar 12

Looking at the weekend; Santana sharp again.

Obviously, the most important thing that happened this weekend was Johan Santana’s continued progress.

SANTANA: So far, so good. (AP)

Santana threw 42 pitches Sunday against Miami, but once again reiterated how he responds will tell most of the story.

Santana isn’t concerned with his velocity, and said he threw his change-up and slider more than in his first start. Barring a setback this week, his next start will be Friday against Detroit.

Terry Collins insists on saying Santana will be ready by Opening Day, but for that to happen he’ll need to build himself up to 90 pitches. There’s a long way to go.

Also this weekend:

* Jason Bay got his first hit of the spring after a 0-for-8 slide out of the gate. You’ll get no projections from me on Bay. There are no expectations.

* David Wright (rib cage) and lefty reliever Tim Byrdak (left knee) will go to New York today to be examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Both are expected to get cortisone injections. Two things: 1) why wasn’t this more in-dept exam be done earlier, and 2) there’s no doctors in Miami they could go to?

* If Byrdak isn’t ready by Opening Day, Garrett Olson could be a candidate for the lefty slot out of the bullpen.

* Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter are competing for a lefty-hitting reserve outfield role. Both have the ability to play center.

ON DECK: Mets’ conditioning methods must be re-evaluated in wake of upper-body injuries.




Feb 29

It’s not going to end here

They are still talking about adding an extra wild card , but it won’t end there. The one-game playoff is bound to drag on to three games, then five ….

I realize the old format will never be again, but the more you add to the playoff format the more the sport is diluted. The season drags on long enough as it is and this won’t help matters. What if there’s two teams vying for the final seed? Do you add another game?

The suggested format would allow the three division winners first-round byes, but what if one of the wild cards has a superior record to a division winner.  That’s not entirely fair, either.

As it is, the integrity of the regular season is compromised because of interleague play the unbalanced schedule as not every team runs the same race to October. Unfortunately, I never see them doing away with interleague play although it is not nearly the success Major League Baseball portrays it to be. Interleauge play is compelling in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but other than that, who really cares?

Yes, they’ll show up in Pittsburgh when the Yankees are in town, but there’s nothing exciting about seeing the Royals or Mariners come in. There’s just not the draw MLB executives believe.

Sadly, as long as Bud Selig is commissioner, interleague play is here to stay.

If they really want to do something about the integrity of the regular season, and by extension, the playoffs, here’s a system that could work.

I’d do away with the division format and simply have the two leagues. If they insist on interleague play, they could structure it where every team plays the same schedule. The same schedule promotes fairness.

From there, I’d take the top four teams and seed them so one plays four and two plays three. That would  be a fairer and more equitable solution.