Sep 10

Missed opportunities ….

You’re a Mets’ fan, so you’ll watch the final games of another disappointing season. Some will watch with the morbid fascination of a rubbernecker passing a freeway accident. Others will watch because its your team and you won’t see them again until April.

Others will try to watch with an analytical eye towards next year. In that regard, there have been several interesting story lines to watch, but they’ve been ignored by the Mets.

1) Carlos Beltran: The Mets missed an opportunity to try Beltran at one of the c0rners in preparation for 2011. He’s impossible to deal because of his contract and injury history, and Angel Pagan has proven to be a better center fielder. This is being shortsighted, typical of the Mets in so many ways. What would have been the harm in trying him in right for a few games? The more information, the better. And, I don’t buy that is a move you do in spring training. Beltran is an accomplished outfielder; he could’ve moved relatively easily.

Jerry Manuel doesn’t have the backbone in the best of times to do this move, so with his lame duck status he doesn’t need the aggravation.

2) Oliver Perez: The Mets hate Oliver Perez and Oliver Perez hates the Mets. The only way the Mets rid themselves of that contract is to see if he has any trade value. You can’t do that with him buried in the pen. Get over it, Perez won this battle. It’s time for the Mets to salvage something. Their only hope is if he’ll find something pitching in the Mexican Leagues.

The Mets and Manuel went eye-to-eye with Perez on this, but there was no way they could have won. Since they wouldn’t eat the contract, they needed to find another use for Perez and they didn’t. Perez deserves the lion’s share of the blame, but Manuel and Minaya didn’t handle this well, either.

3) Hisanori Takahashi: The Mets like Takahashi as a reliever, but Takahashi fancies himself as a starter. Takahashi did well in that role in several opportunities, enough to where he’ll attract some attention. Takahashi holds the cards in this, and can you picture him staying when there’s money to be made as a starter? Nope.

With Francisco Rodriguez out and perhaps questionable for next year, the Mets could need a closer. The closer in waiting is Bobby Parnell, he of the 100 mph., fastball. The Mets have control of Parnell, not Takahashi. Parnell is the one with the closer’s future. He should’ve been given the opportunity to close. Instead, in this lost season Manuel thought Takahashi gave him a better chance to win a handful of games. Big deal. This was an opportunity lost to learn something.

There comes a time in a season when the competitive fires are doused and the playoffs stop becoming a dream. For the Mets, the end started with the West Coast trip after the All-Star break, with the finishing touches put on after losing consecutive series to Philadelphia and Atlanta.

From that point on, the season was lost and the balance should have been directed toward looking ahead to next year.

Who knows? Perez is probably a lost cause, but the answers on Beltran and Parnell could have been useful.

Jun 07

Expect Jesus Felciano shortly.

In what has the potential to be a feel-good story of the highest degree, the Mets are expected to call up 31-year, 13-year minor league outfielder Jesus Feliciano from Class AAA Buffalo for the San Diego series.

If the Mets make the announcement today, it would fall on his 31st birthday.

FELICIANO: Another bat is coming.

“All he does is hit,’’ said a minor league scout. “The issue is where to play him. They’ve had him play some center, but he doesn’t have great range and he doesn’t have the arm to play right.’’

The Mets have had Feliciano play center in preparing him to back up Angel Pagan, but because of his range questions that might be better off on the road. Initially, he might be used to give Jason Bay a day off or as a pinch-hitter.

Feliciano, who had five hits Saturday – his second five-hit game of the season – leads the International League in hitting at .392. Amazingly, despite his age, he’s never even had the proverbial cup of coffee in the major leagues, most likely because he doesn’t fit the speed or power prototypes.

But, he does stroke line drives.

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Jun 04

Mets Chat Room: Limping home with Dickey

The Mets limp home tonight from their 2-4 road trip to face the Florida Marlins at Citi Field, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey going against Anibal Sanchez.

Game #55 vs. Marlins

Dickey has been surprisingly good since he was brought up from Class AAA Buffalo, May 19, going 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA. He did it against Washington, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, all three possessing strong offenses.

“He battles,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “I think he deserves another shot, no doubt about it. In all of his starts he’s given us a chance to win. When you get that, you’ve got to keep going with it.’’

Since beating the Marlins on Opening Day, the Mets have lost six straight games to them. Something has to give because the Mets have won their last five at home and 15 of 19.

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Jun 04

Mets DFA Matthews

MATTHEWS: Wasn't contributing

Outfielder Gary Matthews was designated for assignment this afternoon and catcher Omir Santos was recalled from the minor leagues. Odd choice to carry three catchers. I would have thought they’d bring up outfielder Jesus Feliciano, who has been scalding the ball at Class AAA Buffalo.

Matthews had been playing terribly and getting less and less opportunities. Fans and posters here have been calling for his release.

Still no word on whether Luis Castillo has been placed on the DL. If so, expect infielder Ruben Tejada to be promoted from Buffalo.

The Mets won’t likely officially activate tomorrow’s starter, Jon Niese, until game time.

Apr 13

April 13.10: Chat Room, Game #7 at Rockies: Maine needs a big night.

With the 2-4 Mets six games into the 20-game plateau manager Jerry Manuel defined as fair to evaluate the start of the season, the team begins its first road trip to Colorado and St. Louis, perhaps two of the more unfriendly venues for visitors.

After losing two each to the Marlins and Nationals – teams they should handle at home at least – the mood of the Mets isn’t panic as much as it is urgency.

There have been three bad starts by the rotation, a trend that would wear down the bullpen eventually, and no hitting with runners in scoring position.

“It’s six games,’’ said outfielder Jeff Francoeur. “With that being said, we’d better get it going quick, because we’ve got some teams coming up that are really, really good.’’

Manuel ripped his team for being unprepared – for which he assumed responsibility – and others wondered about the intensity level.

If the Mets are going to get it started, they’ll have to do it tonight behind John Maine, he of the 7.20 ERA and slow fastball.

Maine has lost some of the velocity, and worse, some of the movement off his fastball, a byproduct of shoulder problems. He says he’s fine, but he still needs to build up strength.

“We’ll continue to hope for that,’’ Manuel said of Maine building up his shoulder strength. “He’s healthy and I don’t see why, being free from setbacks and those types of things, we won’t see that at some point.’’

Maine is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts versus the Rockies, so there’s some reason for optimism.

NOTE: I am taking classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights for the next few months, and won’t be around for the start of the game. With the game at 8:40 p.m., I’m expecting to be back by nine, so I might miss the first inning or two.