Apr 13

April 13.10: A troubled team heads on the road.

It wasn’t too long ago that it was March and the Mets were telling everybody who was asking that spring training records and statistics mean nothing.

Well, the games and numbers count now, and the Mets are 2-4, losing consecutive series to the Marlins and Nationals, teams they should at least be beating at home.

Pitching will decide this season and already the winter concerns resurfaced during the first week. Mike Pelfrey pitched better, but he’s had moments like that before and then regressed. For Pelfrey to be lit up in his next start, Thursday night in Colorado, wouldn’t be a surprise.

John Maine did not pitch well in his first start and neither did Oliver Perez. While Maine goes tonight against the Rockies, look for the Mets to skip Perez to keep Johan Santana on regular rest.

Jon Niese was strong in his start, but still lost – primarily because the offense is still in Port St. Lucie – and Santana has had both a good and bad outing.

The pitching has not been good with an average of just under five a game. Everybody has been wild and no starter has made it past the sixth inning, and everybody save Pelfrey has an ERA over 4.50.

Is there help on the horizon? Nope, and let’s not even think about trading for Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang, who is due $25 million over the next two years. Despite the talk on the call-in shows, Bronson Arroyo is not available.

Let’s face it, any pitcher of substance would, 1) be not be offered, and 2) if he were would cost a lot in prospects.

Help, quality help, isn’t coming. These guys have to pick it up for themselves.

If they don’t the bullpen will be quick to fall.

Without the bullpen, the Mets are 1-5 and there would be more wailing than wondering. Even so, a trend of recent seasons has returned, and that is an over reliance on the pen. At this rate, before you know it, the innings will have piled up and we’ll be talking about the holes in the bullpen.

Fernando Nieve has the hot arm and he’s been in four of six games already. With how Jerry Manuel has used the pen before, it won’t be long before Nieve is burned out.

Some of the pitching problems would be offset if the team was hitting, but it is third worst in the National League at .245, and .189 with runners in scoring position.

All of the losses can be traced to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

It’s too early to panic, but not too early to recognize a trend and how the Mets aren’t headed on a good path.

And, that path takes them into Colorado and St. Louis this week, two of the more difficult venues to play in the National League. Those aren’t places where a team gets well.

Dec 21

Dec. 21.09: Should Mets dip into Torreabla waters again?

TORREALBA: Is peace possible?

TORREALBA: Is peace possible?

The last time the Mets looked at Yorvit Torrealba, they backed out of a three-year, $14.4-million deal following a physical a couple of years ago. The Mets had health concerns and pulled out of the signing. When the Mets played the Rockies the following year, Torrealba had no arm strength.

Torrealba, who has since filed a grievance against the Mets, is on the market again. Both sides say they are open to the other.

Bengie Molina, however, is their first choice, but he’s seeking three years.

Torrealba, 31, hit .291 with two homers and 31 RBI in 64 games for the Rockies last season.

If Torrealba’s arm is sound, and the parties can let by-gones be by-gones, it is something to dip into again. Especially since his age is more appealing than Molina’s.

Dec 13

Non-tender list ….

There were no surprises in the list of players the Mets non-tendered yesterday, beginning with pitchers Lance Broadway and Tim Redding, and outfielders Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan. It’s not as if losing these guys will make a difference, but they are four more spots that need to be filled.

A couple of names did pop out to me. But, I do realize these guys were non-tendered for a reason.

Left-hander Scott Olsen as a possible fifth starter and Mike MacDougal as a possible set-up reliever (both of the Nationals) are intriguing. Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes as a bench player. The most interesting to me are Oakland outfielder Jack Cust and Giants first baseman Ryan Garko. I also wrote yesterday of taking a gamble on Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.

Here’s the list of non-tendered players. Those with asterisks are injured.

Angels: RHP Jose Arredondo*, INF Matt Brown, RHP Dustin Moseley
Athletics: OF Jack Cust
Blue Jays: C Raul Chavez
Indians: RHP Adam Miller*, RHP Anthony Reyes*, RHP Jose Veras
Mariners: OF Ryan Langerhans
Orioles: RHP Brian Bass
Rays: OF Gabe Gross, C Shawn Riggans
Red Sox: OF Brian Anderson
Royals: OF Josh Anderson, C John Buck
White Sox: RHP D.J. Carrasco
Yankees: RHP Chien-Ming Wang*

Braves: OF Ryan Church, 2B Kelly Johnson
Brewers: RHP Mark DiFelice*, RHP Seth McClung, C Mike Rivera
Cubs: LHP Neal Cotts
Diamondbacks: 1B Josh Whitesell
Giants: 1B Ryan Garko
Marlins: INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga
Mets: RHP Lance Broadway, RHP Tim Redding, OF Jeremy Reed, OF Cory Sullivan
Nationals: RHP Mike MacDougal, LHP Scott Olsen
Padres: RHP Jackson Quezada, RHP Mark Worrell
Phillies: RHP Clay Condrey
Pirates: RHP Matt Capps, LHP Phil Dumatrait
Reds: OF Jonny Gomes
Rockies: 3B Garrett Atkins

Dec 01

Men on Base …. Notes

As expected, the Mets did not offer arbitration to Carlos Delgado, Fernando Tatis, JJ Putz, Marlon Anderson and Gary Sheffield.

There was no way they were going to do Delgado, who could have come away with a $12 million deal had he accepted. That would have been just dumb.

Not that the Mets had a chance at trading for him anyway, but Roy Halladay says he won’t approve a deal after spring training. That means, in order to get prospects instead of compensatory draft picks, the Blue Jays better push it now or have him walk after next year. This can only mean a bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees. He will not fall back to the pack the way Johan Santana did and was snatched by the Mets.
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Nov 18

Manager of the Year ….

The Manager of the Year for both leagues will be announced in about an hour. I’ve voted for this award several times and the criteria varies as it does this year.

Most often the award goes to a manager who leads an under achieving team into the playoffs or to a dramatic improvement. That’s the case this year with my choice, Jim Tracy of the Rockies. The Rockies entered the season ranked behind the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West, and in some circles behind Arizona.

But, the Rockies got hot in the second half, much like they did in 2007, and rolled into the playoffs. They lost to the Phillies, but that didn’t change the fact they had a surprising season.

Another variable is a lifetime achievement award when there’s no surprise winner. That would go to Mike Scioscia of the Angels, who always has his team playing alert, aggressive and fundamental baseball. OK, except for the ALCS this year, but the voting is done prior to the start of the playoffs.