May 21

May 21.10: Chat Room, Game #43 vs. Yankees: Mets come limping home.

Both the Mets and Yankees limp into this weekend’s series at Citi Field, but as usual there are more issues in Queens than the Bronx.

“I always look forward to these series,’’ Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “You find out where you are as a team, and how you perform in that type of environment.’’

Doesn’t he know by now?

The Mets, despite winning last night at Washington, are reeling, almost in a free fall, and could very well be there after back-to-back series against the Yankees and Phillies.

The last-place Mets are coming off a 2-6 road trip in which they lost, by injury or performance, three-fifths of their rotation. Jon Niese, the most consistent of the three, went on the disabled list and could be joined there by John Maine, who was yanked after five pitches last night. Oliver Perez was exiled to the bullpen.

Journeyman knuckleballer R.A. Dickey replaced Perez and performed well, and long reliever Hisanori Takahashi will start tonight in place of Niese against the Yankees.
Takahashi’s move to the rotation, even temporarily, further strains the bullpen. Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano, so effective in April, have been hit lately.

Further complicating matters has been an unproductive offense, which is relying on a journeyman catcher Rod Barajas and rookie first baseman Ike Davis because of the season-long power drought of Jason Bay and David Wright’s assault on the strikeout record.

Bay, although he’s been making contact lately, in on pace for four homers, while Wright is on pace for 223 strikeouts. Jeff Francoeur and Jose Reyes also aren’t hitting.

As bad as things have been, one can logically assume if Wright and Reyes, the cornerstones to the franchise, were hitting according to expectations, the Mets would be over .500 and there wouldn’t be so many rumblings about Manuel’s job security.

Despite COO Jeff Wilpon’s impromptu meeting in Atlanta in which he said he wasn’t about to fire Manuel or GM Omar Minaya, the whispers persist and are even louder after last night’s Manuel-Maine dugout blowout.

“When the owner comes down, you know something is going on,’’ said Francoeur. “But at the same time, you have to be professional. At times it can be tough, all the speculation, but I try to just play. That’s the easiest way to deal with it.’’

Manuel didn’t do much to get Wright and Francoeur on his side when he rested both this week. Both expressed displeasure at sitting, but neither criticized Manuel.

Also, neither offered much verbal support.

Before he was sacked, Willie Randolph had more verbal support from his players than Manuel has received, but the players are still hustling. That is a saving grace, but will it be enough if the Mets are pasted by the Yankees and Phillies?

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ line-up behind Takahashi:

Jose Reyes, SS
Alex Cora, 2B
Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Angel Pagan, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Hisanori Takahashi, LP

NOTE: Luis Castillo was scratched from the line-up with a bruised left heel. … After throwing five innings in relief last night, Raul Valdes is not expected to be available for the Yankees series. … With Takahashi starting, R.A. Dickey will be the long man.

PREVIOUS POST: Feel free to comment on the Maine vs. Manuel thread.

May 07

May 7.10: Should the Mets sit Pelfrey tonight?

Are the Mets pushing it with Mike Pelfrey?

After complaining of stiffness in his throwing shoulder following his last start – he was ripped in Philly last Saturday – Pelfrey underwent an MRI and threw an abbreviated bullpen session this week.

“I’ll be able to make it,’’ Pelfrey said of tonight’s start against San Francisco at Citi Field.

Pelfrey said he pushed it in his bullpen session and that he felt fine. Then again, what else did you expect him to say?

Even so, an argument can be made for pushing Pelfrey back a start, much like the Yankees are doing with Andy Pettitte.

It’s still early and it isn’t as if one start is a make-or-break deal on the season. Why push him? Give him the extra rest and let him throw a full bullpen to make sure.

It seems the Mets are taking an unnecessary risk. When it comes to a pitcher’s arm, it is better to always land on caution. What good is tonight if he misses his next two or three or more starts?

Jan 16

Jan. 16.10: Can’t anybody around here communicate?

MINAYA: Said team didn't give OK.

MINAYA: Said team didn't give OK.

Mets GM Omar Minaya said things are good between the Mets and Carlos Beltran. Among other things, he did say he spoke with Beltran before the surgery, but didn’t OK the surgery.

He said there was no need for any side to apologize, but also said: “I did not say not to have surgery. What I said to him was, ‘I’m happy to hear there’s a plan in place, but we have to go through the protocol.’ He said the plan was to be operated on (Wednesday). At that point in time, I had not heard from my doctors on whether we had agreed to it or not. I didn’t tell him not to do it. I said as long as the protocol is met, that type of stuff.’’

So, the team endorsed the idea of surgery but didn’t OK it? Sounds muddled to me.

I’m thinking Beltran figures since he spoke with Minaya that he believes protocol was met. OK, so the Mets didn’t take out an ad to say go ahead and do it. But, since their was communication, they had plenty of opportunities to say NO, if they were uncomfortable. But, if they were uncomfortable why would they have sent the workers compensation papers needed for the surgery?

Either way, I wouldn’t be too quick to believe it’s paradise with Beltran and the Mets.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks designated Eric Byrnes for assignment. He is to make $11 million next year.


* FoxSports reported the Mets are in contact with free-agent Jerry Hairston Jr., who can play both the infield and outfield. Hairston, 33, hit .251 with 34 extra base hits in 131 games for the Reds and Yankees last season.

* On the arbitration front, John Maine avoided the process and signed a one-year deal worth $3.3 million plus incentives.

Also, Pedro Feliciano, Jeff Francoeur, Sean Green and Angel Pagan filed.

No surprises on any of that, as the Mets traditionally avoid the arbitration process.

Dec 24

Dec. 24.09: On the Night Before Christmas ….

…. And all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, and that includes the Internet. In Ohio visiting my father for the holidays, and I won’t have reliable Internet until I get home Monday. I will try to post something on a daily basis and as often as possible. I did want to explain the lull between threads.

I did hear the Red Sox might not be done with Jason Bay. Playing it close to vest like they did with John Lackey. Maybe they heard the rumblings about the Yankees sniffing around and got antsy. Maybe it was fallout from the Javier Vazquez trade. Whatever, if true, and the Red Sox want him, there’s precious little the Mets can do about it.

It is quite possible the delay by the Mets might cost them Bay. But, I wouldn’t jump all over them for that. Bay is not worth the five years, whether or not the Red Sox are in it or not.

But, what remains clear is that the Mets remain stagnant, and on the night before Christmas, the Mets aren’t doing much stirring.

Dec 22

Dec. 22.09: Does Vazquez deal hurt Mets chances at Bay?

The Javier Vazquez deal both helps and hurts the Mets.

It helps in that the Braves are worse today than they last night. Vazquez is worth more to them than Melky Cabrera. This was a cost cutting move on their part. However, before judging this completely, realize the possibility the Braves might do something else with their savings. For one thing, Adam La Roche is still out there.

It hurts, because the Yankees now have a hole in left field that can be filled by Jason Bay or Johnny Damon. It would not surprise me in the least if the Yankees made a run at Bay, even if it means having their payroll swell over $200 million.