Jul 22

Tejada Shining At Most Important Time

In 2012, the Mets’ first year without Jose Reyes as their shortstop, they gambled on Ruben Tejada. Nobody thought Tejada could duplicate Reyes’ dynamic style of play, but if he would give them something offensively, with his defense they could live with him.

TEJADA: Coming through. (AP)

TEJADA: Coming through. (AP)

Tejada was superb that season hitting .289 with a .333 on-base percentage. In fact, the Mets thought so highly of Tejada, at that time manager Terry Collins believed he could be the leadoff hitter the team so desperately needed.

Sure, the window is small, but since reshuffling their infield by putting Tejada to short, Wilmer Flores to second and Daniel Murphy to third, Tejada has produced. Maybe he has produced to the point where Collins might revisit the leadoff hitter idea, which could move Curtis Granderson‘s bat to the middle of the order.

Tejada worked his at-bat in the ninth the way he played in 2012. Tejada had a superb eight-pitch at-bat against Tanner Roark by fouling off five pitches before a RBI single to right that extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Can this last? Tejada is hitting .333 since July 3 to raise his average from .236 to .254.

Again, Tejada’s window has been small, but for now at least shortstop doesn’t have the same sense of urgency, and last night he and the Mets were fun to watch.

 

Jul 18

Lagares Deal Not Panning Out

The Juan Lagares I saw last night couldn’t have been the same player the Mets signed to a five-year, $23-million contract. Could it be?

Two balls were hit over his head. There probably weren’t two balls hit over his head every two months last season. If that many. He’s not Paul Blair; he’s not good enough to play that shallow.

LAGARES: What happened? (AP)

LAGARES: What happened? (AP)

We know something is wrong with his arm. We’ve known that all year. He has no chance at getting a runner at home, and they routinely challenge him first-to-third and second-to-home.

However, it makes you wonder how badly his elbow impacts him at the plate. The Mets are saying it isn’t an issue. If it isn’t, then what is?

I can’t help but think being yanked from the leadoff spot must have some effect. After spending all spring training developing patience and an eye at the plate in the leadoff spot, he was dropped to sixth. There was some debate as to whom made the call, manager Terry Collins or GM Sandy Alderson, but we really know, don’t we? Lagares has hit everywhere south of fifth, including ninth behind the pitcher.

The Mets, at least publicly, hesitated moving Wilmer Flores off shortstop for feat of bruising his psyche. How come they didn’t show the same thought process with Lagares?

Surely, the game’s smartest general manager must have an explanation. Instead, he’s waiting for Lagares to kick into full gear, like he’s waiting for David Wright to return, like he’s waiting for Travis d’Arnaud to comeback, like he’s waiting for Michael Cuddyer to hit, like he’s waiting for the offense it pick up, like he’s waiting for Matt Harvey to pitch like an ace.

And waiting, and waiting, and eventually the trade deadline would have passed and another season would have faded away.

 

Jul 13

Not Expecting Wright Back Any Time Soon, If At All

As much as I would like to see David Wright play again this summer for the Mets, I’m not holding my breath. Neither should you.

On Sunday afternoon, manager Terry Collins said he spoke with Wright that day and he had begun doing some baseball activities. What those activities were, Collins wouldn’t say. Maybe Wright was asked to right the word “baseball” on a blackboard ten times.

However today, GM Sandy Alderson said Wright’s status hasn’t changed and he hasn’t been cleared for baseball activities. The timetable is at least three weeks from the time he is cleared to when he’s able to play again. Of course, that means if there are no setbacks.

It will be three months tomorrow from when Wright last played in a game. He went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, and while rehabbing it was determined he had spinal stenosis.

Ideally, the Mets would have listened to offers for Daniel Murphy, a free agent whom the Mets aren’t inclined to bring back next season. However, with the Mets legitimate contenders, there’s no way they’ll deal Murphy now.

Meanwhile, when the Mets were in Los Angeles last week Wright said he planned on playing again this season. It’s not looking good.

 

 

 

Jul 10

Matt Harvey Misses The Point … Again

Trust me, I don’t hate the Mets’ Matt Harvey. It’s just he does and say things making it hard to like him or give him the benefit of doubt at times.

On the Mets’ West Coast trip, Harvey rented a private jet to go to the Post Ranch Inn resort located in Big Sur, Calif. To break away from the team on a road trip, Harvey needed permission from Terry Collins, the manager he undercut last Saturday when he moaned about the six-man rotation.

While on the jet, Harvey posted a photo of him to Instagram. It’s his money, and he can do with it what he wants. However, instead of staying with the team and trying to come up with a solution on what to do with that extra day, Harvey thought it would be a good idea to go big time as, “superstars’’ sometimes like to do.

Only, Harvey is no superstar. Harvey seemingly forgets he has a lifetime 19-16 record, which isn’t exactly superstar stuff. He is, 19-16 lifetime, so spare me the indignation of your comments telling me Harvey is the Mets’ future. We don’t really know that, but we can guess he’ll bolt the Mets when he becomes a free agent.

Does anybody really believe Harvey won’t listen to a pitch from the Yankees.

When you go on social media to boast living the high life when you’re only 7-6 this year, you take the risk of getting roasted, which is what happened.

Not getting it, the thin-skinned Harvey took to Instagram again to post another photo of himself landing in New York on the Mets’ charter, with this message: “Just landed back in NYC on `THE TEAM FLIGHT’ WITH THE TEAM.’’

Harvey, don’t forget, had a photo of himself coming out of Tommy John surgery flipping the bird to his critics. Then, to emphasize his disdain for his critics – which are growing – by having a snow globe of an extended middle finger in his locker. Total class. Can you in your wildest dreams ever think Tom Seaver would have done anything remotely arrogant?

No, I don’t hate Harvey, but right now he’s awfully difficult to like. It’s not my responsibility to be Harvey’s cheerleader. There are enough of you out there who swallow his arrogance to do that. My responsibility to you is to call it as I see it and this is what I see.

If don’t agree, I can live with that.

Jul 08

Mets Mishandle Mejia Return

After having a night to sleep on it, there’s a lot not to like about Jenrry Mejia’s return to the Mets from an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs.

MEJIA: Not a good move. (AP)

MEJIA: Not a good move. (AP)

Unfortunately, Mejia, GM Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, when pulling their collective heads from the sand, spoke as if testifying before Congress.

Mejia channeling his best Mark McGwire, told reporters in San Francisco: “I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system. … That was in the past. It is what it is. I did what I did. Now I come here to move forward and do the best I can on the field.’’

At least he didn’t pull a Sammy Sosa and claim he didn’t speak English.

Memo to Mejia: Before you face the future, you must first confront your past.

Alderson, as he usually does, responded as if he believed everybody – including the Mets’ fan base – were idiots.

“He made a mistake,’’ Alderson said. “He admitted that. He’s paid a penalty. Whether I think he needs to express some public contrition or not? I know that privately, he’s done so. I’ve talked to him, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s over.’’

“Over? Did somebody say it was over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?’’

It’s never over for a drug user. There are always lingering questions.

“It doesn’t matter,’’ Collins said when asked if Mejia was contrite. “It happened. The guy’s back. I’m not going to live three months ago.’’

As for as contrition goes, Mejia at least owes it to his teammates to acknowledge his actions. In that regard, he talked to a few of his buddies, but that was it.

Good job, Terry. Good job, Sandy. Good message you’re sending there.

Look, I know Mejia is no McGwire, no Barry Bonds, no Roger Clemens. Not even a Rafael “I have never used steroids’’ Palmeiro. He’s none of those players in stature, but I don’t believe him when he said he has no idea how the drugs got into his system.

Oh well, he’s back. Ready to lead the Mets to the playoffs. Except, in the off chance they get there, he’s not eligible.

“He’s here to give us another option at the end of the bullpen and hopefully get some big outs,’’ Collins said.

The guy who was getting those big outs was Logan Verrett, but gets shipped out to make room for Mejia. He’s the one sent to Vegas.

What a good message that is to the players. “Do your job, but when the guy is done with his suspension for cheating, you’re going to the minor leagues.’’

That just stinks.

The Mets claim they are about winning now, so the guy who pays the price for Mejia is Verrett, who was pitching lights out.

For the record, Verrett had given up only one run in his last six appearances spanning 12.1 innings going back through June. That included a three-inning save Sunday in Los Angeles.

Verrett goes because he has options remaining, which is the path of least resistance. Meanwhile, Alex Torres’ ERA has an 8.10 ERA in his three July appearances. Torres was brought here to get left-handed hitters out, but they are stroking him for a .271 batting average, .417 on-base percentage and .833 OPS.

Does anybody else see the disconnect here?

Yes, Verrett, because of options remaining was the easy choice. But, that doesn’t make it the best choice.