What’s the first thing somebody usually does when caught doing something wrong? That’s right, he tries to shift the attention to somebody else.
That’s exactly what Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did after his team was caught stealing signs in Colorado when he said, “somebody maybe ought to check the Mets if they did that.’’
The Mets? You mean the same team that was pummeled twice in Philadelphia recently and lost seven of nine games there last season?
Yes, those Mets.
“Their [bleeping] home record is out of this world and they’re losing on the road,’’ Manuel said. “Sometimes that’s a good indicator of getting signs. … That kind of crosses my mind. I’m not accusing them, but you look at that. … We’re about the same home and road. I’m just saying their record is much better at home and they hit better.’’
What Manuel didn’t say, but you know he’s thinking, is the Mets are in his head. If Manuel weren’t concerned about the Mets he wouldn’t have said anything. He’s just trying to deflect attention from him and rattle a few cages at Citi Field.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel, who doesn’t seem to be rattled by anything, said: “Tell Charlie our bullpen is a little far and we have a few other things going on.’’
Yes, this will be a nice little race before it is over.
Mike Pelfrey gets his third start of the spring this afternoon against Boston at Ft. Myers. Three starts in, and we should be seeing signs of progress from Pelfrey. So far, we haven’t. In his previous two starts, Pelfrey was hit with a big inning, which isn’t a good sign.
Pelfrey entered camp as the Mets’ No. 2 starter, and we need to see signs of that today. A big inning, and three runs counts in that regard, is an indication of not being able to put hitters away and limit the damage. That was indicative last year when he got into trouble and it is surfacing again.
There is no doubt, out of necessity, Pelfrey has been rushed by the Mets. But, what is done is done, and he’s had enough time where we should be seeing signs of development. It would be nice to see some of that today.
When you look at all the Mets’ issues, it must be remembered the flip side is also true and that the positive could happen. No, today I’m not looking at who I consider the most important Met to be – for me it is Jose Reyes in the field and Mike Pelfrey on the mound – but the guy poised for a breakout season. By that, I mean his best year and finally showing signs of potential.
MAINE: Could this be a breakout year?
What’s your gut telling you?
Will one of the catchers step up and shed the platoon label?
Will Daniel Murphy show some power?
Will Pelfrey, John Maine or Oliver Perez shake the inconsistency label and win north of 15 games?
Will Jeff Francoeur become the power the Braves once projected of him?
Scanning the Mets’ roster, two names immediately grab my attention as possibilities for breakout seasons: Murphy and Maine.
I like Murphy to have a big year because of last year was a learn-on-the-job experience which he picked up fairly well. I also believe with a full year of learning the pitchers and getting stronger, that his power numbers should increase. He won’t hit 40, but 20 would be a significant improvement.
I’m also liking Maine because all indications are he’s healthy. Sometimes, it is the second year after the surgery when a pitcher feels comfortable again. I believe Pelfrey will improve; have no clue about Perez, but I’m trying to think positive; but I think Maine is poised to have a year better than 2007 when he won 15 games.
Spring training is still six weeks away and the Mets have done nothing to remedy the holes in their rotation. However, they quenched their thirst for right-handed power with the acquisitions of Jason Bay over the holidays and Jeff Francoeur. The team is still optimistic David Wright will regain his power stroke.
However, the Mets, save Carlos Beltran, are void of any significant power from the left side, which is why there’s this interest in bringing back Carlos Delgado.
Let’s assume Delgado signs. There’s still questions in the rotation. Would signing Jon Garland or Joel Pineiro boost your confidence level in this team?
Pat Burrell turned down $22 million over two years from Philadelphia and CC Sabathia is about to turn down over $100 million from Milwaukee.
All signs are pointing toward the Yankees getting Sabathia. They don’t appear to have a ceiling. The same can’t be said about the Mets. They’ll have money coming off the books with Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez and Moises Alou going, but they’ll be giving raises to David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Their payroll last year was $143 million, and I don’t see it going much higher.