Jul 19

Perez coming and other notes.

* Oliver Perez is en route to Arizona but might not be activated immediately. Jerry Manuel said when Perez returns it would be as a situational lefty with Hisanori Takahashi remaining in the rotation.

The Mets would like to unload Perez’s contract in a trade for a pitcher.  With the asking price for Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren too high for GM Omar Minaya’s liking, the Mets are concentrating on a middle-tier arm such as Ted Lilly, Brett Myers, Ben Sheets or Jake Westbrook.

For some reason, they won’t give Pat Misch a chance. Misch pitched well for them last year and represented Triple-A Buffalo in that league’s All-Star game.

* We are expected to see Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes in the lineup tonight at Arizona. It will be the first time in over a year they’ve been on the field together.

* It is anticipated Luis Castillo will be activated for tonight’s game. Ruben Tejada, who played well in the field, but had his problems at the plate, is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo where he’ll get regular at-bats.

Jul 15

Second-half opens with questions.

The Mets open the second half of what has been a surprising season tonight in San Francisco a team with confidence and resiliency – just four games behind Atlanta despite several questions.

Many of those questions were only partially addressed and remain to the point where they are issues.

Here’s the top five questions for the Mets entering the second half:

BELTRAN: Back tonight, but at what percent?

1. QUESTION: How healthy is this team?

ASSESSMENT: The Mets will get Carlos Beltran back tonight, but don’t know how he’ll respond to a heavy workload. For now the plan is to juggle playing time between Beltran, Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur, with the latter’s time reduced the most. Beltran returns to center and the clean-up, but don’t expect him to immediately be in All-Star form.

Another pressing issue, or at least it’s turning out that way, is Jose Reyes, who strained his right oblique muscle, June 30. Reyes sat out a handful of games before the Mets foolishly let him return only to bat right-handed, even against righty pitchers. Had Reyes been placed on the disabled list originally, or continued to sit until he was 100 percent, he might be fine today.

Instead, Reyes is still ailing and considered day-to-day. The Mets are still toying with him batting right-handed exclusively and not waiting until he’s 100 percent. Reyes aggravated the injury and the Mets are pushing their luck.

Also, Mike Pelfrey, after a string of non-descript to poor starts, says he might have a dead arm, although not an injury it is physical related.

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Jul 09

Tonight’s lineup vs. Braves; Reyes shuffled.

REYES: Not 100 percent.

That Jose Reyes is batting right-handed against a right-handed pitcher, hitting second in the order and saw a doctor today suggests he’s not right.

Of course, they’ll push the envelope with the Braves in town, but had they rested him for the Cincinnati series perhaps there would be these issues.

I think the Mets might have forced it with Reyes. Not smart.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Jose Reyes, SS

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Ruben Tejada, 2B

RA Dickey, RP

NOTES:  With Cliff Lee seemingly headed elsewhere – a lot of heavy speculation today has him headed to the Yankees – and Roy Oswalt perhaps out of their price range, the Mets have turned their attention to the Cubs’ Ted Lilly. … Nick Evans was recalled from Double-A Binghamton and RP Ryota Igarashi was optioned to Single-A St. Lucie.

Jul 08

Mets’ pitching options: Perez first.

PEREZ: In a happier time.

If you’ve been following the Mets it’s not hard to read the tealeaves as far as which direction they’ll go in adding a starter to their rotation.

I know a lot of you aren’t going to like this, but my guess is their first option will be Oliver Perez.

Perez’s rehab so far has gone well, and with around $20 million still remaining on his contract, I see them spending that money first because finances are a big issue with the team. They aren’t going to eat the contract and Perez’s contract, injury history and erratic performance make him impossible to deal.  Therefore, his real value to the Mets isn’t as a trade commodity but in the hope he’ll find it.

From what I’ve heard, the asking price in terms of prospects is high for Cliff Lee, and regardless of their supposed interest in him over Roy Oswalt, I believe the Mets find it distasteful to offer all that for a rental, and that’s what it will be because they won’t pay what he’ll be asking.

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Jun 29

Oswalt over Lee

Both Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee are available on the trade market, but considering all that’s going on around the Mets these days with Johan Santana, Oswalt is the best fit.

With Santana struggling, and reports he’s lost three to four mph. off his fastball and he’s no longer as elite as he used to be, the Mets must be farsighted about whom they bring in, as they are looking to bolster the front end of the rotation.

Given that, unless there was a chance to sign Lee long term, I believe the proper route would be Oswalt as you are addressing your pitching needs over the next three years for the cost of top prospects, presumably guys like Angel Pagan and Jenrry Mejia.

To surrender your blue chips for answers down the road is one thing. To surrender them for a rental is quite another. This thinking might be different if Santana were Santana, but he’s not, and that must be factored into the equation.