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.

Jul 11

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #86; Francoeur arrives.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

It is thought a change of scenery will snap Jeff Francoeur out of his funk, and he’s also a believer, saying the energy of the city might be the trigger he needs.

“I’m excited to be in New York, I’ve always enjoyed playing here,’’ Francoeur said. “I’ve always loved the city, so to finally get this chance, I’m excited.’’

One of the first calls he received came from Tom Glavine, who, despite the venom he took from Mets fans, endorsed them and the city to Francoeur.

From Glavine: “Make the most of it, if you play hard, hustle, and do things right, the fans will love you.’’

FRANCOEUR: Mets need his spark.

FRANCOEUR: Mets need his spark.

Francoeur said that’s him.

“I like to think I’m that kind of player, who gets dirty and plays the game the right way,’’ Francoeur said. “I’m 25 years old, and I feel like my best years are ahead of me… and I look forward to driving in runs, and throwing people out.’’

Francoeur starts in right tonight.

Here’s the line-up behind Johan Santana:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Alex Cora, SS
Johan Santana, LP

Santana is 9-7, but the Mets are 2-5 in his last seven starts.

Jun 18

Perez update

Oliver Perez, on the DL since May 7, threw three shutout innings in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie. He gave up three hits and one walk with five strikeouts and reported no pain.

“I felt really good,” Perez said. “I’m a little tired because it’s hot, but I feel strong. I threw three innings, and I was using all my pitches. I used my slider, backdoor, in good situations, behind the count, my change-up, too. I’m happy I had good command, and I was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Perez will throw again Tuesday.

While the news is encouraging, it must be tempered with the fact he’s basically starting over and will need at least three more games before he’s ready. That puts his return in early July at best.

Never mind the results, the important thing is he felt no discomfort in his knee.

In other injury news: John Maine threw in a simulated game and still feels a pinch in his shoulder. … Angel Pagan could be back in New York within two weeks. … Billy Wagner could face hitters by the first week in July.

Jun 03

Rain out edition: What about Glavine?

Tonight’s game with the Pirates has been rained out, and despite this being their last trip to Pittsburgh, there will not be a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon.

That means a rushed trip to Pittsburgh in August or September when the Mets will need the day off. It’s just as well they aren’t playing as they need a breather. This is a bruised and battered team and the bullpen needs a rest.

Around the Horn ….

-Tom Glavine was released by the Braves which begs the obvious: Would you take him back to add some depth to the rotation which still has some issues. Glavine underwent elbow and shoulder surgery in the offseason, but said he’s ready and will pitch again this season.

-Assistant GM John Ricco said Jose Reyes experienced pain again in his calf during an extended spring training game today and will return to New York for additional tests. Translation: He won’t be back any time soon. I can’t see him back for the Philadelphia series.

-Manager Jerry Manuel said Gary Sheffield will not play during tomorrow. He’s still nursing his leg. He didn’t run well at all the other night.

-Manuel also said JJ Putz will move to the seventh inning. Hardly earthshattering news.

-Ryan Church played in an extended spring training game and says he’s feeling better. He might be ready to be activated for the Phillies series.

-Oliver Perez threw off flat ground today but there’s no timetable for his return.

Apr 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #7; The doors open.

The new home of the Mets.

The new home of the Mets.

Finally, the doors to Citi Field are open for business. A new era in New York baseball history begins tonight with the Mets and Padres in Queens.

From first, second and third glances, this is a beautiful ballpark. We’re all trying to see how it plays, but we won’t know until the weather gets warmer. Plenty of quirks, nooks and crannies in the outfield for some weird bounces meaning you can expect a lot of triples and maybe and inside-the-parker or two for Jose Reyes.

This is supposed to be a pitcher’s park, but the overhang in right could be generous to Carloses Delgado and Beltran.

It should be a busy night. I’ll live blog, of course, but until game time if you want to note your favorite Opening Day memories, this is the place to do it.

Here’s the line-up:
J Reyes SS
D Murphy LF
D Wright 3B
C Delgado 1B
C Beltran CF
R Church RF
B Schneider C
L Castillo 2B
M Pelfrey P