Nov 06

Mets free agent filings ….

From the MLBPA: Mets’ infielders Alex Cora and Ramon Martinez filed for free agency.

Cora played in 82 games, mostly in place of the injured Jose Reyes. He .251 with one home run and 18 RBI, but tore a ligament in his thumb and missed the rest of the season.

Martinez replaced Cora, but injured his thumb in June and missed the rest of the season.

May 21

OFF DAY: Licking their wounds edition.

It’s almost noon on the East Coast. Most of the Mets are probably snoozing right about now after their red eye flight from LA. I know most of you are thinking they’ve been snoozing the last three days against the Dodgers.

I take four positive things from the last three days, but two of them are tempered:

1) Daniel Murphy seems comfortable at first base after the horror show that was left field. His bat, however, needs to come around again. I believe Murphy will get through this, so right now he’s gone down on my worry meter.

2) Tim Redding came back with a strong effort Monday night. It’s a good sign. Better, of course, than if he were bombed. But, he has to keep doing it.

3) I was encouraged by Livan Hernandez’s strong outing last night in the terms of innings. Still, he’s a question because you can’t rely on him every fifth day to give you what he gave them last night.

4) David Wright continues to hit as is Carlos Beltran. They are the only players performing to their capabilities offensively.

All that being said, there are more than enough areas of concern for the Mets, beginning with the leg injury to Jose Reyes. He reinjured his calf last night after missing five games and his availability for the Boston series is questionable. Ramon Martinez and Fernando Tatis aren’t the answers, which gives you an indication of how much they miss Alex Cora. The injuries to Reyes and Carlos Delgado are emblematic of the franchise’s lack of depth in the minor league system.

What else is going wrong?

* I have no idea what to get from start to start from John Maine and Mike Pelfrey is becoming a source of concern also. These are your Nos. 2 and 3 starters and they take the ball every fifth day more as question marks than exclamation points.

* Luis Castillo has returned to earth following a fast start. His range is limited and he’s in an offensive funk. Also struggling offensively is Tatis, especially with runners in scoring position.

* JJ Putz has not been as good as advertised.

* Ryan Church used to be a doubles machine but he’s not driving the ball anymore. He’s of little value as a singles hitter.

* Collectively, the offense has packed it in the last four games and they face three good arms in Fenway. This is not the weekend that screams breakout.

* The defense has been spotty, something you can’t afford with spotty starting pitching and a comatose offense.

Nov 01

Mets free-agent update ….

The following Mets have filed for free agency as of today:

Today (Nov. 1):
-RHP Orlando Hernandez: Nice knowing you.

Friday (Oct. 31):
-RHP Pedro Martinez: Would want him back as a fifth starter.
-Moises Alou: Say good-bye, but you know Omar.
-RHP Tony Armas: No interest.
-RHP Luis Ayala: Would re-sign for bullpen depth, but if it doesn’t work out no real loss.
-INF Ramon Martinez: Would be interested for bench depth, but no worries if it didn’t happen.
-LHP Ricardo Rincon: Being lefty helps him.

Thursday (Oct. 30):
-LHP Oliver Perez: You know what he is. Will be pricey.
-INF Damion Easley: I’ve always liked him, but don’t see him returning.
-RHP Matt Wise: Good-bye.

Oct 20

On the Table: Mets free-agent list. Who stays or goes?

Perez: Is he worth the bucks?

Perez: Is he worth the bucks?

When you come down to it, it’s not a “must have’’ list of the Mets’ own free-agents. Sure, they’d like lefty Oliver Perez back, but nobody really expects it, and truth is they can live without him.

The follow is a list of the Mets’ free-agents to be and those players arbitration eligible.

FREE AGENTS

-LF Moises Alou: Say good-night, Moises.

-INF Marlon Anderson: Nice knowing you.

-RHP Luis Ayala: Could be brought back.

-OF Endy Chavez: Could be brought back, but never as a starter.

-2B Damion Easley: I like him, but Mets should go younger on the bench.

-RHP Orlando Hernandez: Time to write his autobiography.

-RHP Pedro Martinez: Doesn’t want to retire, but is only fifth starter caliber right now.

-2B Ramon Martinez: Made impact, but age won’t let Mets consider him for job.

-LHP Oliver Perez: Wants mega bucks. Doesn’t deserve them.

-LHP Ricardo Rincon: Won’t be missed.

-OF Fernando Tatis: Deserves to return.

-RHP Matt Wise: Good-bye.

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE

The following are arbitration eligible: RF Ryan Church, LHP Pedro Feliciano, RHP Aaron Heilman, RHP Duaner Sanchez, RHP John Maine and OF Angel Pagan.

Sep 29

Issues, issues and more issues ….

The Mets have as many issues as a year of Sports Illustrated. They also have a general manager, Omar Minaya, poised for another four years to answer them. Here’s what I see as the most pertinent issues facing the Mets.

1. JERRY MANUEL: Will Minaya bring back the manager who took over a floundering team and guided them into contention until the final day? And with him, his coaching staff? The Mets were fading under Willie Randolph when Manuel replaced him in June. With pretty much the same talent, the Mets turned it around. MY OPINION: Manuel should be brought back. This team worked hard for him and hustled. Talent issues beyond his control is why they failed.

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?


2. CARLOS DELGADO: The struggling first baseman transformed into the slugging first baseman shortly after Manuel took over. Coincidence? Delgado says no and is annoyed with the suggestion. But, his numbers were impressive enough to merit MVP consideration. The Mets could pick up his option for $16 million or offer a $4 million buyout. Was Delgado’s second half a fluke? That’s a tough one. MY OPINION: If the Mets believe they are a contender and make some early moves to fix the pen, then Delgado should be brought back. It would be one less hassle. Should they go this route, there should not be an extension. Make him earn it. HOWEVER, if the Mets remain stagnant and believe they are in a rebuilding mode, then give him the buyout and go young. In this case, I would send Daniel Murphy to the Arizona Fall League for instruction at first. Nick Evans, too.

3. SECOND BASE: Ramon Martinez was a spark the final week of the season, but in the end, he’s still a retread player. Damion Easley is a role player I want back. Luis Castillo is not the answer. MY OPINION: Castillo can’t play here. I would try to trade him with the understanding of eating most of his salary. If they can’t do that then dump him and eat the whole thing. If this is a platoon position next year, so be it.

4. LEFT FIELD: Moises Alou can’t go in a time machine. The Mets finished the season platooning Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans and Fernando Tatis, with Endy Chavez coming in late for defense. I can see them doing that again, but acquiring a full time outfielder would be better. MY OPINION: Whatever they do, it should not be Manny Ramirez. I think they should look for a full time outfielder, but don’t overpay because they have more pressing issues.

5. STARTING PITCHING: They have two spots that are in question, Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez. Martinez was never completely healthy and was lost with the death of this father. His fastball faded and he proved to be a five-inning guy. Half of Perez’s 34 starts were no-decisions and he finished at 10-8, the numbers for a fifth starter. MY OPINION: Perez won’t come at a fifth starter’s salary. With agent Scott Boras, he’ll demand a lot. If the Mets want him, they should make their best offer during their negotiating window and sign him before CC Sabathia sets the market. If Boras says no, then fine and move on. I don’t see Perez ever becoming a No. 1. As far as Martinez, he wants to pitch and I’d bring him back as a fifth starter.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.


6. BULLPEN: With the exception of Joe Smith, I can see a complete housecleaning. Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis are under contract, but so what? Twenty-nine blown saves should mean everybody is vulnerable. MY OPINION: Minaya won’t bring back seven new arms. I’d look at Brian Fuentes before Francisco Rodriguez as the closer because of economics (they are already paying Billy Wagner $11 million not to close next year). The bridge is essential. I’d give Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell a shot in spring training to close. Winter ball might not be a bad idea, either. Brian Stokes, Smith, Luis Ayala and Pedro Feliciano I can see coming back. They’ve listened to trade offers for Heilman before. Now is the time to do it, because he’s gone once he’s a free agent. It’s one thing to think overhaul, but it’s another to actually do it. They have to realistic in that the entire pen can’t be replaced.

This will be the offseason Minaya earns his money.