Sep 16

Mejia shelved for season.

Jenrry Mejia has a right shoulder strain and will be shut down for the remainder of the season. It’s his second shoulder injury of the year and you have to wonder if how he was handled this year was a contributing factor.

The Mets have to be cautious with him in spring training, perhaps to the point of being overprotective. This is a valuable commodity, one groomed as a starter, then had his role changed.

It’s only speculative, of course, but how he was handled this season has to be a factor in the bad news we have this morning.

Sep 13

Next year’s staff ….

The Mets began the season with questions concerning all five starters in their rotation. Despite a productive season with Johan Santana’s shoulder injury they will end it the same way. There are reasons to be optimistic, such as the emergence of Jon Niese, R. A. Dickey and progress made by Mike Pelfrey.

SANTANA: Can't depend on his return.

Those are also the same reasons to be cautious.

1) JOHAN SANTANA: There are all kinds of projections on Santana’s recovery, all of the them pointless until he has the surgery. However, three surgeries in three years since signing with the Mets is a red flag. His velocity was already in decline before the injury, and by all accounts this is not an easy injury to come back from. The Mets must assume Santana’s best days are behind him and have to shop for a front end starter. It would be nice to expect a full recovery, but the Mets have long since lived on Fantasy Island when it comes to injuries.

2) MIKE PELFREY: There was significant glimpses for reason to be optimistic, but also enough to be concerned. Pelfrey is barely a .500 career pitcher, and there were times this summer when he was horrible. His last start was something to build on, but haven’t we said that a lot about Pelfrey. Pelfrey has been good roughly half the time this season. He needs to up that to 75 to 80 percent. Right now he’s a No. 2 to an ace, maybe a No. 3, but I’d be wary entering the season with him as the No. 1.

3) R.A. DICKEY: His performance warrants going into spring training with a spot in the rotation. However, look how long it took for him to have a breakthrough season. How can we adequately predict for the man with the unpredictable pitch? The Mets can’t look at this year and say he will repeat. And, if he does duplicate this year, that’s only 10 wins so far, good for a No. 4 or No. 5. He’s been good, but he’s not an anchor.

4) JON NIESE: He developed this year, but it is only one season. Who is to say he won’t have a setback or growing pains like Pelfrey? I’m glad the Mets held on to him and there’s a bright promise ahead, but there were enough glitches to indicate he’s got much more to learn.

5) DILLON GEE: He was stellar in his debut, but there wasn’t Triple-A domination to project he’ll immediately step in to produce. He’ll get another look-see tonight, but we really don’t know enough about him.

6) HISANORI TAKAHASHI: We don’t even know if he’ll be around next year. The Mets like him in the bullpen but he wants to start. He’s also a free agent. The Mets are probably right about his role in that he was vulnerable the second time through the batting order.

7) PAT MISCH: Has had some good moments, but also a few times when he’s been roughed up. Right now, he’s no better than to compete for a No. 5 spot. Don’t forget, there’s a reason why he’s spent so much time in the organization.

8) OLIVER PEREZ: He’s on the team; he’s got to be mentioned. The Mets want him gone but won’t eat his contract. Until there’s a resolution to the stalemate, there’s the possibility of playing with a man short again next year. With Santana gone and the Mets monitoring the innings count for Niese, he should get a start or two, if for no other reason than informational purposes. He’ll pitch in Mexico during the winter, but will he find it there? Doubtful.

9) JOHN MAINE: Almost forgot about him. The Mets may not even tender him, but if they do what can they reasonably expect? He’s still damaged goods and it is anybody’s guess what he’ll be, or even if he’ll pitch again.

Sep 10

Missed opportunities ….

You’re a Mets’ fan, so you’ll watch the final games of another disappointing season. Some will watch with the morbid fascination of a rubbernecker passing a freeway accident. Others will watch because its your team and you won’t see them again until April.

Others will try to watch with an analytical eye towards next year. In that regard, there have been several interesting story lines to watch, but they’ve been ignored by the Mets.

1) Carlos Beltran: The Mets missed an opportunity to try Beltran at one of the c0rners in preparation for 2011. He’s impossible to deal because of his contract and injury history, and Angel Pagan has proven to be a better center fielder. This is being shortsighted, typical of the Mets in so many ways. What would have been the harm in trying him in right for a few games? The more information, the better. And, I don’t buy that is a move you do in spring training. Beltran is an accomplished outfielder; he could’ve moved relatively easily.

Jerry Manuel doesn’t have the backbone in the best of times to do this move, so with his lame duck status he doesn’t need the aggravation.

2) Oliver Perez: The Mets hate Oliver Perez and Oliver Perez hates the Mets. The only way the Mets rid themselves of that contract is to see if he has any trade value. You can’t do that with him buried in the pen. Get over it, Perez won this battle. It’s time for the Mets to salvage something. Their only hope is if he’ll find something pitching in the Mexican Leagues.

The Mets and Manuel went eye-to-eye with Perez on this, but there was no way they could have won. Since they wouldn’t eat the contract, they needed to find another use for Perez and they didn’t. Perez deserves the lion’s share of the blame, but Manuel and Minaya didn’t handle this well, either.

3) Hisanori Takahashi: The Mets like Takahashi as a reliever, but Takahashi fancies himself as a starter. Takahashi did well in that role in several opportunities, enough to where he’ll attract some attention. Takahashi holds the cards in this, and can you picture him staying when there’s money to be made as a starter? Nope.

With Francisco Rodriguez out and perhaps questionable for next year, the Mets could need a closer. The closer in waiting is Bobby Parnell, he of the 100 mph., fastball. The Mets have control of Parnell, not Takahashi. Parnell is the one with the closer’s future. He should’ve been given the opportunity to close. Instead, in this lost season Manuel thought Takahashi gave him a better chance to win a handful of games. Big deal. This was an opportunity lost to learn something.

There comes a time in a season when the competitive fires are doused and the playoffs stop becoming a dream. For the Mets, the end started with the West Coast trip after the All-Star break, with the finishing touches put on after losing consecutive series to Philadelphia and Atlanta.

From that point on, the season was lost and the balance should have been directed toward looking ahead to next year.

Who knows? Perez is probably a lost cause, but the answers on Beltran and Parnell could have been useful.