Jan 21

Jan. 21.10: One more pitcher off the board.

Joel Pineiro wanted four years and $40 million. He got two years and $16 million, numbers the Mets easily could have matched. But, they didn’t, and I don’t even know how serious they were about getting him.

And, with spring training inside a month away, it doesn’t appear they were that serious about improving their rotation.

Pineiro is a shade over .500 for his career, so it’s not as if they are losing an ace. But, he was coming off a good year and has been consistent, something the rotation could use.

It sounds like the usual group of suspects for the Mets this year. I can hardly contain myself.

Jan 18

Jan. 18.10: Spring training questions.

Questions, questions ....

Questions, questions ....

With a month before the start of spring training, let’s take a look at the ten top issues surrounding the Mets when the arrive at Port St. Lucie:

1) Who are the fifth starter candidates?
A: Jon Niese is from the organization. It could also be Oliver Perez or John Maine if the Mets should add another arm. Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland are still out there, but they are also linked to other teams. There’s no guarantee the Mets will bring in somebody else.

2) Where is Johan Santana?
A: Santana is coming off surgery. The Mets are saying he’ll be ready, but they said the same thing about John Maine last spring.

3) What is Jose Reyes status?
A: Reyes says he feels good, but he hasn’t tested that hamstring in game-type conditions. And, how much speed has he lost?

4) Did David Wright find his home run stroke over the winter?
A: Maybe it was Citi Field, maybe not. But, Wright did not hit with power last season. That has to change if the Mets are to do anything.

5) Carlos Beltran is how many weeks away?
A: Originally, they said 12 weeks. He won’t be ready by spring training to do baseball activities, but maybe they’ll have a better timetable by then.

6) What’s the catching situation look like?
A: The Mets have plenty of reserve catchers, but not a No. 1. They hope it will be Bengie Molina. They really don’t want to rush Josh Thole to the majors.

7) Who is the real Mike Pelfrey?
A: Pelfrey appeared on the verge of breaking out in 2008, but regressed last season. It’s about time he gets to the next level.

8) Where does the coin land?
A: Will Coinflip Perez show consistency beyond being inconsistent? He’s also coming off surgery. The reports are he’s working hard, but he’s worked hard before with no results.

9) What are the bullpen roles?
A: They could change if they sign John Smoltz. I’d rather have him in a set-up role than Kelvim Escobar. That way I could also drop Bobby Parnell down to a lower pressure slot.

10) What kind of camp will Jerry Manuel run?
A: Lax or clamp down? There were injuries last season, but the team also played fundamentally poor baseball and that’s his responsibility.

Jan 14

Jan. 14.10: Beltran undergoes surgery …. out 12 weeks.

BELTRAN: Out 12 weeks.

BELTRAN: Out 12 weeks.

Twelve weeks is roughly the beginning of the start of the season. It will also be the time when Carlos Beltran starts working out. Mid-April at best when he starts to play. The Mets announced late last night Beltran’s knee has gotten worse, he underwent surgery and it will be at least 12 weeks before he assumes baseball duties. Beltran had the surgery in Colorado by his own physician.

The Mets statement read: “Carlos Beltran had worsening of osteoarthritis of the right knee during the offseason. He had not been experiencing pain following the conclusion of the season and into his early offseason conditioning. The symptoms returned to the point where pre-spring training conditioning became too painful. He elected to undergo arthroscopic clean out of the arthritic area of his knee by Beltran‚ÄĚs personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman today in Colorado. He is anticipated to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks.”

The statement did not answer the following questions:

1) If Beltran’s knee was so bad why wasn’t surgery performed earlier?

2) Did Beltran apprise the Mets of his condition? If so, when?

3) If so, why was there a delay in surgery?

4) If Beltran did not inform the Mets of his condition, then why not?

5) Why does this stuff only seem to happen with the Mets?

Beltran suffered a bone bruise last June and was limited to only 81 games.

Believe me, fingers are going to be pointed in the coming days. This is inexcusable. If Beltran’s condition was a deterioration, then it was progressive and something should have been done earlier because somebody should have known. As an injured player, the Mets should at all times be aware of his progress.

This nonsense about “should be ready for spring training,” is nuts to me. They’ve got to examine him on a regular basis, and if Beltran was progressive, he shouldn’t been more diligent in informing his employer about his condition.

Neither Beltran nor the Mets look too sharp in this. So much for all the changes.

NOTE: Please vote in the new poll on who should take the hit for this.

Jan 06

Jan. 6.10: Your confidence level in the Mets is ….

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?

Oct 24

Commentary: Can HoJo really have an impact?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

HoJo: How effective can he be really?

Howard Johnson is back as Mets’ hitting coach, which is fine by me because I enjoy talking with him. However, I’m not so sure things will be any different next year, and I wonder whether it is because of the same hitting coach or the same players.

I’m thinking the latter.

I hitting coach can go over film and mechanics with a hitter, but once he’s in the box, that guy is on his own and he’d better know what to do.

Every situation calls for a specific fundamental approach.

-It begins with getting on base, and it doesn’t matter how. Take the damn walk. And, this includes everybody, not just Jose Reyes, who fails to work the count. When they win and the offense clicks, David Wright likes to say, “we kept the line moving.” Well …. ? Why don’t they have that approach all the time. The Mets wasted way too many at-bats last year, and that starts with the approach by the hitter, who should have learned what to do in high school.

-Runner on second, no outs, hit the ball to the right side of the infield.

-Runner on third, less than two outs, hit a fly ball.

This isn’t brain surgery, it’s baseball.

Reyes need to bunt more, increase his walks and decrease his strikeouts. He needs to hit the ball on the ground. … Carlos Delgado must discover left field more than he does. … By his own admission, Wright must learn to relax and not try to do it all when runners are in scoring position.

Johnson is there to remind the players and work with them on mechanics, but it’s up to the players to be thinking the right approach. Johnson can remind them, but it’s up to Jerry Manuel from Day One in spring training to harp on them what to do.