Dec 06

No Worries, Mets Land Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson got what he wanted, but the New York Mets got what they needed when the outfielder agreed to a four-year, $60-million contract.

Granderson, at 32, wanted an extra year, while the Mets, desperate to not only add a power bat to their outfield, but avoid the perception of inactivity, acquiesced on the extra year.

It is the largest deal the Mets have given an outfielder since they gave a four-year, $66-million contract to Jason Bay, who flamed out to such a degree general manager Sandy Alderson bought him out of the final year.

After repeated promises they would spend this winter to reach a competitive level, the Mets could not go back on their word, even with the loss of Matt Harvey for the 2014 season.

Even with Harvey this year the Mets wouldn’t be able to add all the pieces they needed to compete for a wild card. And, they certainly wouldn’t have been able to add them all next winter.

If nothing else, the Mets needed to show their frustrated fan base they were making an effort. The perception was the Wilpons were sitting on their wallets, but this dashes that notion to a large degree.

Yes, Granderson is a high strikeouts, low on-base percentage and low average player, but his game is driving the ball for extra bases and scoring and driving in runs. This is what the Mets have been lacking.

On the plus side, Granderson can run, and while he has hit leadoff during his career, he’ll likely bat behind David Wright to offer the protection he’s missed since Carlos Beltran was with the Mets.

Granderson also is a left-handed presence the team has needed because of the inability of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to even come close to expectations.

The Mets have resolved their outfield holes, but with the Winter Meetings set for two days in Orlando, they have a considerable amount of work to do, beginning with their starting pitching.

With Harvey out, the Mets need two starters at the back end of the rotation. The Mets also don’t know if Bobby Parnell will be ready to move back into the closer role, and after him, still need to add to their bullpen.

The Mets are still in flux as to their first baseman, and want to trade either Davis or Duda. They also want to add a back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

The Granderson signing figures to push Eric Young out of the outfield and possibly to second base, which could make Daniel Murphy available in a trade. My first thought is they might offer him to the Yankees as a replacement to losing Robinson Cano.

Oct 03

Mets season ends with disappointment, hope for future

Game #162 vs. Nationals

We’re now done to the final innings, the final pitches of a disappointing season, yet one that ends with some glimmer of hope.

Jerry Manuel spoke of regrets this morning in his final pre-game press conference. He’s been around, he hears the whispers that have become shouts. There will be changes, and therein lies the hope. Maybe the changes will be for the better.

Manuel’s regrets are forcing Jose Reyes in the third slot and rushing players, notably Reyes and Carlos Beltran from injury. I am sure there are other thoughts that will creep into his consciousness in the black of the night this winter.

It’s always that way in every baseball season for every team but one. This year the Mets haven’t been the one as they haven’t been since 1986. There was trepidation for the Mets coming out of spring training, concerns, worries and holes, but during the season there was a turnaround and a flash of hope.

But, the worries and holes resurfaced, along with injuries and poor play and the season faded and then spun out of control and the dreams died.

The Mets will stay home this fall, watching and wondering what might have been. There also will be a time this winter when the thoughts turn to David Wright staring down that pitcher yesterday and saying “enough is enough,” with the high-and-tight fastballs. There will also be thoughts of Mike Pelfrey taking a step forward, of Angel Pagan, or Josh Thole, or RA Dickey and of Ike Davis.

There were things down the stretch that said the situation is not hopeless, that there is reason for hope and perhaps soon a season won’t end in regret.

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Mar 30

March 30.10: Not feeling it.

The phone rang last night around 9:15, and it was a friend who wanted to share some good news. As is the case when we talk the conversation quickly turned to the Mets.

“You know JD,” he said. “Normally, I’d be excited this time of year. Opening Day is a week away, but for some reason I’m not feeling it this year. It’s hard to get excited about this team.”

The greatest concern on his mind was the pitching, which has not been good. All the worries about the Key Three – Pelfrey, Maine and Perez – are still there, hanging over the team like the rain this morning.

They just won’t go away.

“For the last three years they’ve been saying how they need a No. 2 starter,” my friend said. “So, what do they do? They spend it all on a left fielder.”

We can debate whether what was out there is better than what the Mets currently have, but for now, we have to consider there had to have been at least one guy who could help.

I don’t know. Maybe the buzz will hit my friend and he’ll feel it next week. Maybe they’ll get off to a fast start and get us all excited.

But for now, there are more than several issues that have dampened the mood.