Dec 11

Omar kept his word ….

MINAYA: Came through in the clutch.

MINAYA: Came through in the clutch.

After the season, GM Omar Minaya vowed to fix the bullpen. It’s one thing to get one stud closer, it’s another to get two. And, he did. The need was to add power arms to the bullpen, and he couldn’t have done better.

That JJ Putz is looking forward to setting up Francisco Rodriguez, eliminates the ego problem. Also encouraging is both players want to play in New York. Rodriguez has thrived under pressure in big games before, so this in not a new environment for him.

Minaya isn’t done. There’s still a starter that needs to be added, but so far he’s done real well. Real well.

Dec 11

Analyzing the deal ….

The Mets’ weakness could now be considered a strength, especially if the issues surrounding Francisco Rodriguez don’t materialize. Putz becomes the closer if they do.

Duaner Sanchez now becomes the primary seventh-inning guy, and they still have Scott Schoeneweis and Pedro Feliciano for match-ups. With who is remaining the pen should be strong enough.

HEILMAN: It was time to leave.

HEILMAN: It was time to leave.

In losing Aaron Heilman: The Mets say good-bye to a pitcher whose heart wasn’t in his role. It has been getting increasingly difficult for him to pitch in New York.

In losing Endy Chavez: The Mets lose late-inning defense and a strong sub. His loss might accelerate Fernando Martinez to the major leagues in that role. Reportedly, the Mets are talking to Los Angeles. Andruw Jones anyone? Or Juan Pierre?

In losing Joe Smith: The Mets lose a quality reliever whom they’ll miss, but they are so much better now.

Nov 20

On the Table: What is Heilman’s future with Mets?

HEILMAN: Where should he pitch?

HEILMAN: Where should he pitch?

We’ve had this conversation before about Aaron Heilman and we’re having it again because he brought it up. Heilman’s agent, Mark Rodgers, said the pitcher wants out of the bullpen, and if not, then out of New York.

“The object the entire time has never been to get out of New York,” Rodgers told The Daily News. “The object is to get out of the bullpen. The most success he’s ever had as a pitcher has been as a starting pitcher. He was drafted by the Mets as a starting pitcher.”

Currently, the Mets, who have contractual control, favor the status quo while they shop for a starter. Heilman made made 25 starts from 2003 to 2005, going 5-13 with a 5.93 ERA, but was moved to the pen in the spring of 2006 when Brian Bannister – since traded – won a spot in the rotation. Heilman was 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA and five blown saves.

The Mets are attributing much of Heilman’s bad year to a knee problem, which if healed by rest, would make trading him a hasty decision.

Well, what to do?

-Should they trade him and risk him healing and being productive elsewhere?

-Should they give him a chance to compete in spring training for the fifth starter role, with the understanding he’ll go back to the pen if he doesn’t earn the job?

-Should they tell him to shut up and pitch in the pen, knowing he’s gone once he becomes a free agent?

Nov 11

What about Trevor Hoffman?

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

In a previous thread, Dave wondered about Trevor Hoffman. Well, what about him?

The San Diego Padres are rebuilding and withdrew a contract offer to Hoffman. The Mets, however, playing in New York, aren’t in a rebuilding mode despite being old in several areas.

They call it retooling.

So, should they “retool” with Hoffman if they aren’t able to land a marquee closer in the free-agent market? Hoffman is 41, and signing him does nothing about breaking away from Omar Minaya’s reputation for signing older players.

The Padres pulled off the table a one-year, $4 million deal, with a $4 million option for 2010. That’s not a lot of money. Hoffman converted 30 of 34 save opportunities, including 16 straight during one stretch.

Assuming Hoffman is willing to come to New York, and there’s been nothing written indicating he doesn’t want to, he would presumably fill the closer void until Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz are ready. That’s a plus.

Said agent Rick Thurman: “He’s a free agent. So many teams consider him to be a San Diego Padre. Not a lot of teams took him very seriously as a free agent. We’ll find out very shortly. A lot of teams need a closer. He’s the cream of the closers, and we’ll see what teams have interest in him.”

Last year’s numbers indicates he can still get the job done, but his age will be a concern, because you have to wonder when will the breakdown start?

Signing him does nothing about getting the Mets younger, but it does buy time for Parnell and Kunz, and gives them a mentor. It also addresses a need at a reasonable cost and enables them to spend most of their money on starting pitching.

While the first impression would be his age, remember the priority is winning and he’s a plus toward that goal. I know there’s not a groundswell for bringing in a 41-year-old closer, but if he makes them better it’s something they should consider.

Nov 09

Good morning ….

Greetings friends. This morning I’d like to introduce you to a new venture, a blog on New York football. We’ll be talking Jets and Giants during the games the way we did Mets.

I figure it will be slow at first, so I’m asking your help to bear with me and to spread the word. And, if you have a baseball question or comment, just post it here and I’ll get to it between the football games.

As usual, thanks for your support. Please click here to go to the football post: