Mar 19

Who Is Sold On Mets’ Rotation?

By default, the one-time Mets’ vaunted rotation will enter the season intact. Jason Vargas fractured right thumb opened the door for Steven Matz, who, by his credit, made a strong bid for the spot when he gave up two runs with nine strikeouts in six innings against Houston on Monday.

Working in Matz’s favor is the Astros played with the same lineup that won the World Series last season.

“You saw it, and obviously, the strikeout total was high, but that’s maybe the best lineup he is going to face all year,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s a pretty potent lineup and he went after them. That is what I thought was best about him today.’’

But, don’t be fooled by this bit of news because the Mets’ pitching is far from settled.

Despite Monday, Matz is far from a done deal. Likewise with Zack Wheeler. And, despite his vows to the contrary, is anybody really sold on Matt Harvey?

Jacob deGrom experienced back stiffness earlier in camp but insists he’s fine now. The same applies to Noah Syndergaard, who missed most of last season with a torn lat. He’s throwing over 100 and is blowing away hitters, but I have reservations with him.

I hope I’m wrong but to me, Syndergaard is suffering from the same malady that has stricken Harvey, and that is falling in love with his press clippings and Comic Book persona.

Thor was an immortal fictional character; Syndergaard is a mortal who spends too much time on Twitter.

Oct 07

Mets’ Dismal Managerial Search

A show of hands please, who is exactly blown away by the Mets’ managerial search?

“Right now, we have a very long list,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said this week. “We will have it shortened after we have had internal discussions, and then talks with people outside the organization to make sure we have a list that is all inclusive and go from there.’’

GIRARDI: Mets should be so lucky. (AP)

GIRARDI: Mets should be so lucky. (AP)

The Mets’ current list stands at seven, which really means there’s no top candidate. Seriously, if you have seven choices you really have none. The list includes Robin Ventura, Kevin Long, Alex Cora, Joe McEwing, Sandy Alomar Jr.,, Bob Geren and Chip Hale.

From that group, who blows you away?

When Alderson said after the season those minor leaguers promoted at the end of the season – notably Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith – had holes in their game, had to make one wonder why they won’t consider Wally Backman.

Alderson’s first managerial search after the 2010 season which resulted in the hiring of Terry Collins lasted three weeks and there’s no reason to believe this one will last any shorter.

From that above group, only Ventura has had any success, and it was minimal at best, going 375-435 (.463) in five seasons with the Chicago White Sox (2012-2016). He had only one winning year, going 85-77 in his first season.

Of course, things can change, but there’s nothing on Ventura’s resume that suggests that will happen.

YANKEES FANS BACK TO NORMAL: By all accounts, the Yankees exceeded all expectations this season to reach the AL playoffs as a wild-card.

It’s premature to say the Yankees are back, but their fan base was in championship entitlement form this morning after listening to the radio call-in shows this morning, many calling for the manager’s head.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was roasted for several decisions, beginning with pulling C.C. Sabathia after 77 pitches, but most notably for not using a challenge in the bottom of the sixth when plate umpire Dan Iassogna ruled Chad Green’s pitch clipped hitter Lonnie Chisenhall’s hand and not the bat knob as television replays did.

Chisenhall went to first to load the bases and set up Francisco Lindor’s grandslam, which pulled the Indians within 8-7.

After the game, Girardi said he didn’t challenge because he didn’t want to disrupt Green’s rhythm. It was clearly a panic response, one Girardi retracted today at Yankee Stadium.

“I screwed up,’’ Girardi told reporters today. “It’s a hard day for me, but I’ve got to move forward. … I feel horrible. Does it change the complexion of the game? Sure, it could have. … It’s a tough loss, a tough situation.’’

Girardi, of course, was ripped on social media, which was to be expected because Twitter and Instagram are the wild, wild west. However, what Girardi shouldn’t have had to endure was to get roasted by one of his own players.

Aroldis Chapman, who last year criticized how Cubs manager Joe Maddon used him in the World Series, liked an Instagram post that read: “Let’s hope Joe Girardi’s contract is not renewed after this season. He is a complete imbecile.’’

Chapman, of course, is blessed with the million-dollar arm but a 10-cent head. Here’s hoping the Yankees have the guts to fine him. The Yankees will bring back Girardi, who is a Manager of the Year candidate, but if they don’t the Mets should jump on him.

Chapman reportedly apologized, but what does it matter if it is already out there?

Reportedly, lost in all this is had Girardi challenged, it wouldn’t have been a called third strike, but the pitch would have to be replayed.

 

Aug 03

Rosario Should Be Hitting Leadoff

The early returns on Amed Rosario are good, giving us a positive glimpse into 2018. With the Mets looking toward next season, with his speed shouldn’t Rosario be leading off?

ROSARIO: Hit him leadoff. (AP)

ROSARIO: Hit him leadoff. (AP)

Rosario has proven he can field the position, and his speed gives him the range the Mets haven’t had since Jose Reyes ten years ago. In three games, he already has two triples, going into third standing up both times. Speed can’t be taught. While that’s been impressive, what I like most about him has been his hustle coming out of the box.

I hope that never goes away.

Rosario should bat first with Michael Conforto dropped to third, which is a prime run-producing spot in the order. That’s the way it will be next year, so why not do it now?

The Mets have him batting seventh to alleviate the pressure of leading off.  But, I want him to experience the pressure to see how he handles it. How he deals with the pressures of leading off is something the Mets need to learn. And, he needs to hit first to learn how to handle that spot in the order, which includes being selective, working the count, bunting and stealing.

That’s what they are doing with playing Conforto is playing center field, which is where he’ll play next year assuming Jay Bruce is brought back. Conforto – who is the Mets’ best fundamental hitter – should be hitting third, with Yoenis Cespedes clean-up and Bruce fifth.

Since the Mets are gearing up for 2018, that should also mean Hansel Robles shouldn’t see the ninth inning. Yesterday I wrote how manager Terry Collins should return if he wants. I also wrote my primary criticism of Collins has been how he handles the bullpen, and that was the case in today’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies, on a bases-loaded walk from Robles, his third walk of the inning. He also hit a batter.

Robles seemed to injure his groin in the eighth, but he threw a couple of warm-ups and stayed in to strike out Trevor Story.

Collins had other options besides Robles, who never should have come out for the ninth, and definitely should have been pulled after he hit Jonathan Lucroy with a pitch leading off.

Robles has been a weak link for much of the season, and we won’t see him in the ninth next year, so why did we have to see him today?

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Jul 15

Rosario’s Tweets Won’t Help Him

Amed Rosario might be physically gifted, and could very well develop into a major league star. While the Mets’ impatient fan base and media might be clamoring for his promotion over GM Sandy Alderson’s judgment, this much is sure: Rosario is not emotionally ready for the major leagues.

If he were, he wouldn’t be going on social media, Twitter to be exact, literally begging for a promotion.

ROSARIO: Needs to put the phone down.

ROSARIO: Needs to put the phone down.

“On my knees and I Just want to propose to Queens — NY that is. AR = Amed is Ready #Facts #DontBeSurprisedBeReady..’’

If Rosario was really ready, he wouldn’t be pleading for a promotion. He would simply keep his mouth shut and let his playing do his talking for him.

That’s old school thinking, I know. I also know Alderson has his reasons and won’t be swayed by what the media reports or what his players may post on social media.

“We want Rosario, we want (Dominic) Smith to come up under the best possible circumstances, and right now, we think the best thing for both of them is to continue to play at Las Vegas until the situation here clarifies one way or the other,’’ Alderson said. “Either we’re back in the race and everybody’s clicking on all cylinders, or we’re not, and we make some other decisions. But right now, I just don’t think it’s the right time.’’

That doesn’t mean Alderson doesn’t believe Rosario can’t play in the major leagues, he just doesn’t think that with the Mets still going for it, there’s not a fit for him in Flushing.

Alderson is figuring he might as well ride Jose Reyes for as long as he can while knowing Rosario, who is hitting .327 for Triple-A Las Vegas, will be there when he wants him.

Dec 09

Mets Find Little Interest In Bruce

Once again the Mets’ eagerness to get rid of a player is hindering their ability to make a trade. And make no mistake, the Mets don’t just want to trade Jay Bruce, they want to dump him.

If they could take back the trade that cost them prospect Dilson Herrera, they would do it in a heartbeat. They’d be lucky to get as much back.

BRUCE: Little interest. (AP)

BRUCE: Little interest. (AP)

The Mets made it clear they wanted to trade Ike Davis and the return was scant. They also made no secret of their desire to get rid of Oliver Perez, subsequently released him during spring training of 2011. While trying him in the bullpen was a natural option, but they didn’t do that and he’s been effective in that role since.

The Mets were also vocal in their displeasure of Jason Bay and had to buy him out. And, what did they get for Lastings Milledge, Francisco Rodriguez or Luis Castillo?

You’re right, next to nothing.

The point is if a team doesn’t want a player, the industry will find out without having to take out an ad or go on Facebook. If you’re that vocal in wanting to deal him, his trade value plummets. In what industry does a corporation (a team) go to such great lengths to devalue the product (the player) it is trying to sell (trade)?

You’re right again, the Mets.

The Mets made no secret their intention was to pick up Bruce’s option first as a safety net and then trade after they extended Yoenis Cespedes.

The New York Post described the interest in Bruce as “tepid” and “minimal.” Maybe the Mets will eventually make a deal, but don’t count on them getting the reliever they need.

The market is such that there is currently a glut of outfielders, which makes it more difficult to trade an outfielder. Why trade when you can sign a player and not having to surrender players or prospects in return?

It’s common sense and the Mets should have seen this coming.

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