Jun 02

Ripe for a June swoon?

PUTZ: What's wrong?

PUTZ: What's wrong?

One game does not make a month, but last night was not a good way to start June. Maybe the Ryan Church game in LA was worse, but it’s hard to image any more disheartening defeats than last night.

I’ve called the Mets a flawed team, and such was the case against the Pirates. The offense called it a game after the third inning and JJ Putz imploded in the eighth. Jerry Manuel didn’t help matters when he let the struggling Putz stay in after two or three hitters. It was obvious he wasn’t going to find the switch.

I wrote prior to the game that it was encouraging for the role players to step up and Reed and Valdez did that. However, role players are role players for a reason and the Mets need the return of their core big time.

We might not see Carlos Delgado this year and Jose Reyes is on the horizon. David Wright continues to slump, Carlos Beltran missed another game and there’s Putz.

The guy isn’t right. He needs to be looked at again and if something is wrong then go on the DL. He’s not doing anybody any good the way he is now.

Until Putz gets it together, Bobby Parnell should assume the eighth inning role as the bridge to Francisco Rodriguez.

Apr 07

About Yesterday ….

A lot of things stand out about Opening Day, but two in particular are important to me.

The first is the effort by Sean Green who finished for Johan Santana and worked the seventh. We’re optimistic about JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez on the back end, but the bridge to them was an issue. If you go by the weakest link in the chain theory, then there were none yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how Jerry Manuel juggles the back end when he wants to give K-Rod or Putz a day off. Having confidence in a guy like Green makes it all the more easier.

What I didn’t like yesterday was how the Mets hit with RISP. That’s been an on-going problem the last two years. It’s only one game and the weather yesterday was horrible, but another hit or two and the game was a blowout. Playing with a lead is always easier and you know there will be games when the pitching gives it up and it’s not Santana on the mound.

Jan 09

Putz to play for Team USA

Reliever J.J. Putz will join David Wright on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic this spring.

Also representing the Mets this spring will be: outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado and reliever Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico); closer Francisco Rodriguez and pitcher  Johan Santana (Venezuela) and shortstop Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).

Jan 02

An honest look at the Mets ….

Even if you look at your glass being half full, it is still half empty. In that regard let’s take a look at the Mets’ questions, position by position:

Starting rotation: Have three quality starters, with one, John Maine coming off surgery. Still need to fill four and five. The fifth could be Jon Niese, who is unproven. That’s two questions out of five slots. They have marked, in order, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. It would be nice if they could land two, but I’m not betting on it. There’s been little mention of re-signing Pedro Martinez, but that could be a viable option as the fifth starter.

Bullpen: A tremendous job by GM Omar Minaya to land Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. The back end of the pen is solid. Duaner Sanchez’s health (shoulder) remains a concern, but with Putz, there should be less pressure. Pedro Feliciano is the lone situational lefty. The bullpen is greatly improved. Brian Stokes could be the long man.

Catcher: Sure, you’d like Brian Schneider to hit more, but this is not a weakness.

First base: Carlos Delgado returns, and if he hits as he did from June on, things will be fine. But, there’s always the chance he could hit as he did in 2007 and the beginning of last season. He was brought back in large part because of economics. The Mets are banking on him to continue as he did last year. Because his contract, injury history and running hot and cold the past two seasons, made him impossible to deal, his value to the Mets is in the hope of him staying hot.

Second base: The Mets would love, but won’t be able to, take a buyer for the remaining $18 million over the next three years on Luis Castillo’s contract. His value to the Mets, like Delgado’s, is in the hope of a bouncing back. Orlando Hudson’s name is on some’s wish list, but if Castillo stays, he plays.

Left field: Currently, we’re looking at a Daniel Murphy-Fernando Tatis platoon. Both overachieved last season. Things will be fine if they duplicate last season’s success, but Tatis came out of nowhere and Murphy wasn’t listed as one of the club’s top prospects. Yes, Manny Ramirez is out there, but I prefer Adam Dunn if the Mets are going to open their wallets for a slugger. Ramirez is a headache waiting to happen, although he might be on his best behavior if given a one-year deal. I like Dunn because he can buy time for Fernando Martinez and in 2010 can replace Delgado at first base.

Right field: Ryan Church wasn’t the same player after sustaining a concussion in May. If he plays like he did early last season, the Mets won’t have a problem in right.

Dec 11

Mets make huge deal to shore up bullpen ….

PUTZ: Perfect bridge to Rodriguez.

PUTZ: Perfect bridge to Rodriguez.

We’ve talked about it all along, that the closer means little if he’s on the other end of a rickety bridge. The Mets have solidified their bullpen with the addition of Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz. The Putz deal will be announced this afternoon.

Here’s how the 12-player, three-way deal with Seattle and Cleveland shakes out:

Coming to the Mets:

From Seattle – J.J. Putz, Sean Green.
From Cleveland – OF Jeremy Reed

Coming to Seattle –
From Mets – Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, Ezequiel Carrera
Jason Vargas, Mike Carp
From Cleveland – Franklin Gutierrez

Coming to Cleveland –
From Mets – Joe Smith
From Seattle – Luis Valbuena