Aug 10

The best of Beltran over?

Remember all that talk in early July about how things would be different when Carlos Beltran returned from the disabled list.

BELTRAN: Are the good times over for him?

Getting Beltran back was like making a trade for another bat and it would only help the Mets and possibly spark them into making a run.

Some rust was to be expected, but nothing like this. Beltran isn’t hitting, he’s a step or two slow in the outfield, and his presence has forced Angel Pagan to play out of position.

Based on the numbers, both Beltran’s and the team’s W-L record, it appears the Mets pushed his return too soon. And, batting clean-up and playing center was a definite mistake.

But, he’s going to keep playing. That won’t change. Hopefully, he might play well enough for a team to make a waiver deal for him, although with $18.5 million remaining it’s a longshot anybody would claim him.

The Mets, of course, have to test those water to see what interest is out there if any. Thinking practically, nobody would trade for Beltran with that contract and injury history, leaving one more year of this for the Mets next season. Beltran’s value to the Mets lies in the potential of his recovery, of which there’s been little positive signs.

Assuming this is the end of the line for Beltran as a full time productive player let along being a star, then it doesn’t bode well for the Mets.

Along with Beltran, the Mets are saddled with contracts of $12 for Oliver Perez and $6 million for Luis Castillo. That’s roughly $40 million, or maybe 25 percent of their payroll on non-productive players.

So, it’s hard to imagine any substantial additions or spending in the offseason. It’s hard to imagine 2011 being much different from 2010.

Jul 22

Mets Chat Room; patchwork lineup and Takahashi tonight.

Backed by a patchwork lineup, the Mets’ Hisanori Takahashi is being asked not only to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, but stop a free fall.

Game #96 at Dodgers

The Mets have lost six of seven since the break – and should’ve lost the game they won – and eight of ten. Once 11 games over .500, tonight they are only three.

They are hitting .192 with 15 runs in the seven games since the break, prompting tonight’s sitting of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Rod Barajas. Enter Jeff Francoeur and Chris Carter in the outfield and Josh Thole behind the plate.

Francoeur, acknowledged as a team leader, has been in a long funk even before losing his job with Beltran’s return from the DL. His public image is one of happy-go-lucky, but in the end it’s all about playing time and Francoeur said he’d welcome a trade. Perhaps even requested.

Against that backdrop is Takahashi, who didn’t make it out of the third in his last start, Saturday at San Francisco.

Impressive when he first entered the rotation as a fill-in, Takahashi has struggled, going 1-2 with a 10.90 ERA in his last four starts. In that span he’s given up seven homers.

This stretch is why the Mets believe he’s better suited for the bullpen, which is why it is surprising he’s getting the ball despite other options.

The Mets won’t give Pat Misch a start and the Mets refuse to start Oliver Perez, despite giving him medical clearance. Jerry Manuel said Perez will work out of the bullpen, something he proved last night he’s not equipped to do.

Jun 23

Would you deal Pagan?

I’m throwing this out there for you to mull over, much like Omar Minaya will be asked to do in the upcoming weeks.

PAGAN: Teams like him.

Other teams aren’t stupid, they see what is going on with the Mets rotation and in their outfield. They see, like most of us here, that the rotation, although going well now is not a sure thing. We don’t know how long Hisanori Takahashi and RA Dickey will continue this run. They also have no interest in sending a veteran pitcher to the Mets for the likes of John Maine and Oliver Perez.

The Seattle Mariners are on record for saying they want major league ready hitters; players they can immediately plug into their lineup.

The Mets have precious few of those to offer, but there is one whose trade value is high. Don’t think about Carlos Beltran. With his injury history and salary, he’s not going anywhere.

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Jun 12

Jerry: There’s no mute button.

Sometimes, I wish Jerry Manuel came with a mute button. Or at least a filter. Considering all that Carlos Beltran has gone through, to think he’d even consider activating him now for these games as a designated hitter is absurd.

BELTRAN: Not ready yet.

Just because he’s playing extended spring training games doesn’t mean he’s even close to being ready, even as a DH. I can understand him thinking it would be nice, but to suggest it out loud is just ridiculous. It’s like when he suggested Jose Reyes hitting third.

Doesn’t he think these things through before saying them?

Beltran doesn’t go full speed in these games, even if he’s playing in the outfield. I’m even concerned about the outfield in these games if he’s not able to go full speed.

The Mets botched this with Beltran from the outset, and to think otherwise is being naive. If the Mets are lucky, they’ll have Beltran back in August. And, that’s after an extended time in Buffalo.

Mar 29

March 29.10: Wrapping up the Day.

Jose Reyes took batting practice today, but didn’t do anything distinguishing against minor leaguers Mike Antonini and Dillon Gee.

Reyes hadn’t faced a pitch since last May, and the Mets are debating whether to force-feed him six at-bats a day in minor league games for several days before giving him a couple of exhibition games.

“I feel good. I don’t play since last May, so I can’t wait to get on the field,’’ Reyes said this afternoon. “Right now, I’ll take it one day at a time and see what happens next.’’

Reyes said he’s been running 100 percent for the past week without any problems to his hamstring. Even so, there’s a difference between running sprints in the outfield and the type of running – stopping and starting and changing of directions – done in a game.

NIESE NOT SHARP: Projected fifth starter Jon Niese had a rough day, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Marlins.

Even so, Niese was given credit for the victory today over the Marlins by the official scorer.

NOTEBOOK: Today was supposed to be Johan Santana’s turn to pitch, but the Mets didn’t want to start him against the Marlins, the team he’ll face next Monday on Opening Day at Citi Field. Santana will get his work in minor league games this week. … Jenrry Mejia gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings today. … After a sluggish spring, Jeff Francoeur is starting to come around with three hits, including two doubles. … Infielder Ruben Tejada, who could stick with club if Reyes opens the season on the disabled list had two hits to raise his average to .339. … The Washington Nationals claimed reserve catcher Chris Coste on waivers.