Sandy Alderson and the Mets Baseball Ops Explain the Facts of Life to Season Ticket Holders

Last night at Citi Field Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta, JP Riccardi and John Ricco sat down for a Q & A session with Mets season tickets holders.  Of the season ticket holders in attendance were the first couple of Mets Blogdom Ed Leyro and Taryn Cooper.  On Ed’s Studious Metsimus site he gives a recap of the some of the questions posed to the group and the answers given by the Baseball Ops members assembled. Some of these stood out to me, such as being asked why it’s taking so long for Alderson to make the Mets a contender. And Alderson replied “”We don’t want to be there one year and gone the next.” There is segment of Metsfandom whose craniums are as thick as a milk shake at the Shake Shack. When you inherit a holy mess both personnel and cash flow wise, it’s going to take some time to straighten things out. Alderson and his crew have the Mets on the right path and the impatient Mets fan (who I believe like Chipper Jones said puts a Highlander cap on when the Bronx Bastards play in October)  is either too dense or quite frankly too ignorant to see this. In case you missed it, MLB on its 2013 Prospect Watch ranked three Mets in the top 30 of its top 100 list, Travis d’Aranud  at #6, Zack Wheeler #8 and Noah Syndergaard #29 . Wheeler and d’Aranud will be up by no later than mid-season, Syndergaard in two seasons at least add them to Matt Harvey and you have a nice foundation for the future. Oh yeah I know what you’re saying but the outfield sucks!!!!

Alderson has let it be known in interview after interview that yes, the outfield is a problem spot and yes, I could have spent money to find a bonafide ML outfielder but he wasn’t happy with the sticker price, something he also admitted he has to get over:

  “We understand what the market dictates and we have to be prepared to exist in that market,” said Alderson, who indicated there is an urgency to winning, and that he has not set out on a 10-year plan

Seems Alderson felt there were a couple or three players out there he could have signed but was unwilling to match the price set by the market. I wonder if he could have a do over, if he’d been a little more aggressive in bidding for Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross or even Reed Johnson as any of those three would be the Mets top outfielder and none of them broke the bank in their newly signed deals. Ross was a player I wanted badly on the Mets as he hits with some pop from the right side of the plate and would have been a big upgrade in right field.  To be fair here as well, there was not much else to choose from in the outfield free agent pool since there was no way in hell Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher were going to be Mets, nor should they have been and my other wish list outfielder Shane Victorino got a year a couple of million dollars more than I thought he would from Boston and even though he’s born and bred  Phuck Phace  I’d have taken a run at him. Would you be happy with a Duda, Victorino, Ross/Baxter outfield? I would.

The best part of all this is in 11 days Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Port St Lonesome and 5 days after that the full squad will be there and then we can see for ourselves what we have in store in 2013 with our own eyes (and the eyes of those covering the camp) and be done with all this off season speculation.

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Dispatches From Mets Holiday Party

I’m back from covering the Mets holiday party where the club invited about a 100 kids from P.S. 43 and The Scholars Academy both in Far Rockaway to meet Santa (John Franco) Claus and his Elf’s R.A. Dickey and Ike Davis. Also on hand was Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

After spending time with the children and giving out gifts the players and the GM were available for some Q & A time.  After spending some time with all three I have some observations:

R.A. Dickey looked and sounded puzzled, hurt and a bit defiant when he spoke of his situation now with the club. From the way I see it, the Mets first priority with Dickey is to trade him and they are waiting out teams that are interested in trade to offer more in return to the Mets than has been offered now. How long this plays out is anyone’s guess right now but make no mistake for the Mets this is a stone cold baseball business decision and honestly I hate it and from listening to Dickey this morning he understands it’s business but he’s not happy with the way it’s played out so far either.

Dickey also declared that once the season starts he will not negotiate a contract extension, nor should he.  I don’t know which end of the organization is playing by these hardball rules whether its Sandy Alderson looking to fill the massive gaps in personnel this team has or if it’s The Skill Sets looking to nickel and dime the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. If it’s the baseball ops guys being hard ass’s I can understand it, that doesn’t mean I like but if it’s  Jeffey trying to win at a negotiation, then I’ll be totally outraged.

What Dickey is asking is not just more than fair; I believe he’s selling himself short. Dickey’s agent has proposed a 2 year extension for $28 mil, how in the hell is that excessive? Dickey should have proposed a deal well north of $30 mil for 2 years. As much as I want to believe it’s the Skills Sets acting like hard ass’s here I feel it’s more Alderson and his baseball ops who are dragging this out to see if they can get a trading partner who will send back quality and quantity in a trade.  The worst part of this situation is it’s starting to get ugly and could breakout in a lot of nasty if not rectified soon.

It was Ike Davis’ turn to meet with us and as down and dourer as Dickey was Davis was very upbeat and effervescent.  It could be that Davis is 100 % healthy as he said he just had his lungs x-rayed and they are clear so he has no more effects from Valley Fever and his ankle is a good as ever. He was very happy that Wright received his contract extension and he hoped that something can work out with R.A. Dickey staying with the Mets.  You can check out the conversation with Ike by clicking here

Sandy Alderson made his way into the press area and I don’t hide the fact that I’m an Alderson fan. I think he has a plan to rebuild this organization (even though he’s not allowed to utter the dreaded “R” word because it gives any Mets fans a case of the vapors) but I think the reason I admire him is every time I talk to him he comes off very cool and collected. You can’t make him flinch. There is no emotion in how he is running the baseball operation of this organization in that way he’s the anti-Omar.

Alderson was bombarded as expected with question on R.A. Dickey and his status with the Mets. Alderson gave a name, rank and serial number answer saying that he is still speaking to clubs about dealing R.A. and at the same time looking to negotiate contract extention as he said the situation is the same as it was last week. The contrast in Alderson talking about this situation and Dickey talking about it are quite a contrast. Dickey’s answers were of an emotional nature whereas Alderson was from the business end. Alderson has no problem trading R.A. Dickey but he wants a solid return back, he’s not going to give him away.  If he can’t find the right trade for Dickey I think he’ll sweeten the extension offer and get Dickey under contract for an additional two years.

Alderson claims there is money to spend but he’s not going to spend just to spend, he doesn’t seem to care about winning the back pages of the tabloids in December. The impression I was left with is Alderson will not be the first to blink. He’s not tipping his hand on who he’s looking at to sign or trade for.

I’m as confused and frustrated as any Mets fan, in fact coming back for Citi Field today with Ed Marcus we were both in such deep discussion about what we just heard from the Mets GM we kind of forgot what a pain in the ass traffic jam we were stuck in trying to get back to Staten Island.  No matter if you like or dislike Alderson you have to admit he’s one shrewd dude. Now if nothing changes personnel wise between now and spring training I may have to alter my view but I’m trying to stay patient which is very hard for me to do but I’m trying my best.

To hear my chat with Sandy Alderson click here.

To hear the total media Q & A click here.

 

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Devastation

How much ranting and raving can I do? I left a good amount of anger on Twitter last night as the NY Mets added another chapter in this embarrassing season.

When asked if his team has quit, Terry Collins refused to let his inner thoughts public. After a pause, he told Kevin Burkhardt to go ask the players that question. Of course that statement alone says that Collins believes there are some on the team that have thrown in the towel. He even mentioned something about conduct in the dugout and then held up Juan Pierre as the guy who should be the Mets players role model as a guy “who plays the game the right way”.

The 2012 NY Mets do not play the game the right way, they are not a motivated bunch who maybe in their hearts want to win but their actions on the field say they don’t  or maybe a better way of saying it is, they can’t. You could be the biggest rah-rah, run through a brick wall player but if you lack major league talent all the hustle and heart doesn’t mean a damn thing and this Mets team suffers from a serious deficiency in talent.

I don’t know how Terry Collins and this coaching staff escape this disaster without termination or re-assignment.  I’m starting to think my prediction of Collins getting re-assigned to a job in the front office in the minor league or scouting department will come to fruition.  Collins has tried to protect his players and in my opinion to a fault, where I start to question his credibility. I’m a Terry Collins fan and I feel any organization that has him in their baseball ops is a plus but he just could not get this team to play motivated or fundamental baseball. It’s a shame but there really is no way to justify brining Collins and this staff back in 2013.

Same for David Wright, it’s time for the Mets and Wright to go their separate ways. It’s not Wright’s fault he has gone above and beyond what any player in the history of the Mets has done for this organization. He is a gentleman and a fine baseball player but the best thing for him career wise and the Mets organizational wise is to move on. Sure the fangirls will weep and the lunatic fringe will go ape shit stupid but it makes baseball and business sense to trade Wright and allow him to pursue that World Series ring he craves. It won’t happen here in NY. I would have no problem with Wright getting dealt to our arch rivals Braves or Phillies but would rather see him go to either the Dodgers, Angels or Blue Jays because this organization is so devoid of immediate talent that you have to have to throw emotion out the window and make the best deal possible with the highest percentage of return. Sandy Alderson and his front office have a huge job in front of them this winter to not just make the 2013 Mets competitive but he has to fortify the upper levels of the minor league system so injuries or ineffective play is not a death knell as it was this season.

In a perfect world the Wilpon’s would sell the team and live happily ever after in a beach cabana at Del Boca Vista Phase II but the sad part of their reign as owners, they  have made myself and the majority of Mets fans root for them to fail financially.  As much as I detest their stewardship of the team I love, I hate that they put me in a position where I want them to go broke to force a sale of the team.  Since Nelson Doubleday was bought out of his share of the club, the Wilpon/Sterling Equities leadership has been an unmitigated disaster. If the Mets were a publicly held company, the shareholders would have run Fred, Jeff and Saul out of town on a rail. Bottom line, if Fred Wilpon really loves the Mets, he’d sell them to an ownership group that has the capital and vision to make the Mets the first class organization this fan base deserves.

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I’m SHOCKED That Mets Are SHOCKED That Jason Bay Is Still A Met

 

There is a growing segment of the Mets fan base that have quite the thick craniums, they have a problem of figuring out fact from fiction and if they are not directly told the facts about something they have a tough time comprehending events that go on in the Mets front office.

Terry Collins is Jason Bay’s Kevlar vest; question after question to Collins at his press conferences deal with answering questions about Bay and the bullpen but now Bay is the beat the dead horse subject of the week. Collins has tried and tried to resuscitate Bay’s offensive game even though it flat lined a long time ago. From where I sit, I can see the baseball ops folks telling Collins it’s time to cut bait on Bay but Collins asked for more time with the front office saying Bay has the end of the road trip to show a pulse or he’s done.

Back from a 6-5 trip Collins was met at the door by Sandy Alderson with his hand up saying here is how we will deal with Jason Bay, he will now play against left handed pitching only. No discussion.  Now fast forward to the afternoon and the quote by Alderson pertaining to Bay:

“Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract; there are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract.”  

Does that mean you will see Jason Bay in LF for the Mets in 2013?  Of course not. As Alderson stated there are times to eat a contract when it’s appropriate, on August 8th it’s not the time to chow down on dead presidents. Why would you? The plan going forward is to platoon Bay with Jordany Valdespin in left and I’d guess Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston will spilt the time on right, which is the best game plan available right now.

If you are a Mets fan who wants Jason Bay out of town, you had better root hard that he shows some ability to produce some offense against left handed pitching so it makes him a more attractive trade chip.

So today Alderson explains that Bay is still a Met and will be a Met for the rest of the season, he will try hard to deal Bay to save some Skill Sets cash but please don’t tell me you are that naive to think that plan C, buying out Bay’s contract has not been discussed. You don’t believe the GM should tell you today “yeah Bay looks done as Sunday dinner and no one is ringing my phone to obtain him. Can you blame them? Yup we are up the creek without a paddle”

Do not be shocked and dismayed if Bay reports to St. Lonesome in February if he’s not dealt its part of the plan but I would bet Jason Bay won’t be on the opening day roster in 2013.

 

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Who Needs TRAIDS ? It’s Matt Harvey Day

I’m positive that the Mets front office would love to make a deal or two or three today, Trade Deadline Day, (I was very close to taking the day off from work by claiming today as a religious holiday) but the Mets baseball ops know this team needs a ton of work to become a pennant contender and none of the roster restoration that’s needed can be accomplished today.

The Mets outfield is a disgrace, as is the catching position along with the bullpen and depth at starting pitcher, but still the lunatic fringe of Metsfandom scream for Sandy Alderson to make a TRIAD!!!!!!!! Everyone is tickled that Zack Wheeler has zoomed up the prospect charts to the point he will be promoted to Buffalo this weekend and a September call up to the big club is not out of the question. What the loonies kind of forget is it took dealing Carlos Beltran to get Wheeler. The only player the Mets poses that would bring backing anything to close to a Wheeler-like prospect is David Wright and he’s not going anywhere.

There are some, who think that Scott Hairston can bring back a big return prospect wise in a deal.  Hairston is outstanding when matched up against left handed pitching and he plays a plausible outfield, so if you were the Mets GM and listed Hairston for sale what do you think you’d get back in return?  B or C level prospect or a C and a D? Well, then why trade him? As it stands now, Hairston is the best outfield option the Mets have and with Jordany Valdespin as his lefty platoon partner to go with the platoon in left of Bay-Baxter, that is the Mets best chance to salvage any positive outfield production. I’d rather sit tight and keep Hairston than roll the dice on some kid from A ball.

The fact that the Mets are in a transition period is tough for many of the fan base to grasp. The Alderson Plan is to rebuild the organization via the Entry Draft and building a strong minor league system.  There is no reverse in this plan. What makes it more difficult to stay the course with this way of doing baseball business, is the part of the fan base than is in dire need of immediate gratification, who feels the lack of a TRAID is sign of failure, thankfully the Mets front office laughs off the Mong Mets Fans who think this way.

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A Good Reliever Is Hard To Find

Maybe the Mets should bring back the bullpen carts from the 1970′s could be Mets relievers are exhausted from running in from the pen

 

Watching the implosion of the Mets bullpen has pissed me off as it has you but fact is, this bullpen has sucked all year.  If I can take the Mets to task for anything to do with this pungent pen, it waited too long to fix it, the trade deadline may be to make your move.

We’ve heard all the names from Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton, Grant Balfour and Frankie Rodriguez as relievers the Mets have or should target as Mets fans feel anyone other than relievers who wear a Mets uni will pull a Mighty Mouse and save the day.  Not one of those pitchers is guaranteed to be any better than who the Mets are currently employing as relief pitchers and none of them will come for free.   Take K-Rod for instance, he’s owed about $4mil for the rest of the season and before the All Star break he could have been had for a next to nothing just by picking up the rest of the money on his contract. Now, it will be a bit tougher since he has taken over the closer role from John Axford. You could probably get Axford for nothing but the idea here is to improve the bullpen and Axford is far from an improvement.

Huston Street would be a fine addition to the Mets pen and if Alderson could get him plus LHP Joe Thatcher in a deal, that would be a huge upgrade. Street is owed $3+ mil for rest of 2012 with a $9 mil option for 2013 but the club can invoke a $500K buy out. Thatcher is an arbitration eligible player who  signed for $700 K for the year, so the money commitment to both player would be less than $4mil, if the money is prohibitive to the Skill Sets then just shut the franchise down but I have to think they could scrape some of Bill Maher’s minority money along with the other silent partners who bought in to pay for this bullpen upgrade. So what would the coast be in players? I have no idea but I know the Mets baseball ops has a big commitment to rebuilding the minor league system  and they will not over pay in players to get a two month pitcher rental. 

The Rockies have a pair of relievers, RHP Matt Belisle and RHP Rafael Betancourt who I’d think you’d be able to obtain for a C level prospect or two. Belisle has stranded 79 % of the runners he has inherited which is one of the huge holes in the Mets bullpen, the ability of relievers to come in and get big outs with runners on base, and his walk rate of 1.5/9 IP is fabulous. The money a club would take on is about $1.8 mil for the rest of this season and in 2013 Belisle is owed $4.1 mil, so again the more money a club would agree to take on the less you would have to give up for Belisle or for Betancourt who has a stupid contract that pays the 36 year old right hander $4 mil for 2012 and $4.25 for 2013. The Rox would have to eat a lot of dead presidents to deal him.

RHP Shawn Camp of the Cubs would be a fine addition since he hardly makes any money (baseball wise that is) at $550K. Camp’s 80 % LOB number is what got my attention but I would bet he will be used as a tag team partner of either Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster when Theo Epstein decided to deal either or both starters.

Former Met right handed pitcher Darren O’Day could be on the Mets radar as he has a 87 % success rate when dealing with inherited runners but even though the Birds are double digits behind the Highlanders in the AL East race, they are just a half game off a Wild Card berth so I’d look at the O’s as buyers not sellers so O’Day may be off limits.

Trying to build up this Mets bullpen is not going to be easy. I have no idea how much money the Skill Sets have allotted to upgrade this team at the trade deadline. It would behoove the Mets owners to show the fan base they are back in the game by taking on additional salary, if they don’t they will be torn apart by the fan base and they will deserve every bit it of nastiness that will be hurled at them.

The Skill Sets can’t expect Mets fan to care until they see ownership cares, your move Freddy.

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NEWS AND VIEWS

 

As we wait for Sandy Alderson and his Front Office Posse to check  into the Motel 6 Hilton Anatole in Dallas so they can get some much needed work done to reshape the 2012 Mets, let’s look at a few news items from that last few days:

ITEM: JOSE REYES STILL A FREE AGENT

I would love to hear the conversations between Reyes and his agent on their free agency game plan. So far all we’ve heard is a rumor of an imminent deal with the Fish and nothing more, just a lot of speculation, in fact we’ve heard about this deal for about three weeks now.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love how Alderson is playing is hand here, especially how he told the Mets beat writers all he knows about Reyes right now is what he reads in the papers. This guy is good, very good. If by some chance Reyes comes back to the Mets he may end up paying them to play here.

By the way check out this post from Coop on the Reyes free agent saga at Kiner’s Korner a well worthy read.

ITEM: OMAR MINAYA HIRED BY THE SAN DIEGO PADRES TO WORK IN THE FRONT OFFICE

Congrats to Omar as he was named the SR. VP of Baseball Ops for the San Diego Padres. As a GM and the front office face of a franchise, Minaya was miscast, his perfect role is that of scout and amateur talent evaluator. Safe to say Minaya will never be a big league GM again same as Willie Randolph will never be a big league manager again, the jobs were just too big for both of them.

ITEM: DODGERS SIGN CHRIS CAPUANO TO A 2YR/$10 MIL DEAL

And you want to know why the Dodgers are bankrupt? Thank the baseball gods that Nick Colletti is not the Mets GM.

ITEM: PEDRO MARTINEZ ANNOUCES HIS RETIREMENT FROM BASEBALL

No doubt about it, Pedro is a first ballot Hall Of Famer. I’ve never hide my man crush for Pedro and who could forget his first start with the Mets, Opening Day April 4, 2005 in Cincinnati where he gave up 3 runs in the first inning then settled down to K 12 Red Legs before giving way to the bullpen and suckitude closer Braden Looper losing the game. Then a week later at opening day at Shea Stadium, the fans cheering every time Pedro was shown on the Jumbotron or walked on the field, talk about electric. It’s sad his Mets career wasn’t very fruitful but still Pedro was the man.

 

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IS IT TIME FOR A SHAKE UP?

Is this Mets team what its record says it is? Is this one of the worst teams in baseball?  The manager and the players talked up in spring that the Mets would be a team that would surprise a lot of people but I don’t think they meant it in a negative form.  I bought into it, I thought this was going to be a team that the headlines would be “HOW ‘BOUT THOSE METS”? but the headlines lately have been “HOW ‘BOUT THOSE METS, THEY REALLY SUCK”.

Thursday I was in Philadelphia as a chaperone for my son’s school for a trip to the Franklin Institute. It was beautiful day so for lunch we got sandwiches and sat in the park. My son of course had to bring a Mets drawstring bag and that drew attention from the Phillies fans. But the funny (or tragic really) thing was the Phillies fans felt sorry of us Mets fans. Imagine that.  One by one as we chatted with some folks the question asked over and over was “what the hell has happened to the Mets” Wow you have about 12 hours? The one thing though that each person we talked to mentioned was the Skill Sets and everyone asked the same question, “when are they going to sell” A question we all have been asking.

The bullshit play on the field and the owners problems are two different items. I found that out talking to various people on Wednesday at Citi Field, the players have no idea about the owners money woes and could  care less when told about it. The only way they would care is if their paychecks didn’t clear.

Terry Collins has done a nice job of keeping a stiff upper lip during this awful stretch of baseball and he’s trying to stay positive but there comes a point where he and Sandy Alderson and the baseball ops team might say this isn’t working and blow the place up. The question is when is that time?

If it comes that by the end of the month or early May and the Mets continue on this pace are 8-20 or 12-25 does the fire sale commence? It might even be earlier if the baseball ops feel a bold move must be made. It’s a lead pipe cinch that Carlos Beltran will be dealt and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens sooner but what of Jose Reyes? That is the multi year ,seven figure question.

When talk of Reyes was bantered about on Wednesday between bloggers and main streamers, there was no definite consensus except that there will be a massive fall out from the fan base when Reyes leaves.  To that I say, so what? If Alderson can make a deal say with the Giants and can get back Madison Bumgardner and say second base prospect Charlie Culberson as the focal points of a deal that would a coup for the Mets.

This not be taken as an ant-Reyes position as I am a Reyes fan but the fact of the matter is for all the talk I’ve heard about Reyes being the catalyst of the team and as goes Reyes, so goes the Mets, well the team has made the post season once in Reyes nine year Mets career, so maybe it’s time to bury the myth.

So what if the fan base gets piss off by dealing Reyes, it’s not like anyone is flocking to Citi Field to begin with and I doubt if Alderson is looking to sign Reyes to a long term deal  so why not get it over with and make a deal using one of the few trade chips you have. It’s time to do what’s best for the Mets rather than fans.

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OKAY BACK TO WORK!

For most people the holiday season is over but for baseball fans we are anticipating our holiday season, the day pitchers and catchers start stretching out hammys and arms in what is really (no offense to those who like to use rodents as weather prognosticators) the first sign that daylight will be longer and temperatures higher, spring training.  As Mets fans we are entering a new era in the history of the franchise with Team Alderson running the Baseball Ops and I don’t know about you but I’m still trying to figure out the direction in which we’re headed.

Alderson has a lot of Clint Eastwood movie role qualities, he seems to never get rattled or sweat. In fact I bet if Alderson were advising Mayor MoneyBags during the worst snow removal operation, we would not have had the disaster, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the late 1970’s when John Lindsay forgot that Queens was not part of Nassau County. The problem we have here though, the Mets fan base is the exact opposite of the front office.

The NY Jets fan base has bought in to Rex Ryan’ bravado and bluster. Knicks fans are starting to boast about having a top 10 NBA team. NY Rangers fans are looking with admiration of their team as it has become a real blue collar bunch that works it’s ass off. Even NY Giants fans are still believers in their head coach (some, not all I know. Even though I’m not a big Coughlin fan I agree with John Mara bringing him back next season. I bet he gets a one year extension and then retires)   I just wonder if Mets fans will ever take on the persona of Sandy Alderson ?

Most of us Mets fans are feeling very antsy about the pitching staff, there are two starting spots open along with at least three spots in the bullpen, and just a few shekel’s available in the Skill Sets budget to fill the spots.  There are also six bench spots that have to be filled as well and all I keep thinking is “How is Sandy going to do this”? Not only how but how and make this team competitive?

Adam Rubin did a whole roster breakdown and of the starting eight, only second base is an open competition. The outfield is set with Bay, Beltran, Pagan so the only question here is who will play centerfield and who will be in right? Talking to Carlos Beltran, he feels fine and looks fit but the biggest obstacle I see is that big bulky brace he will have to wear for as long as he plays baseball.  I got the impression from Terry Collins, that Beltran will be given every chance to win the CF job but if he and his staff feels he’s not up to it, he’ll be the RF’er with Pagan taking over CF. What choice does Beltran have if this move is made? None.

The second base quagmire is most compelling. If Luis Castillo can’t beat out the competition he’ll be given his release. The feeling I get is Alderson hopes he craps out so he can release him. Castillo fits on this team about as well as a eunuch in whorehouse.  I’m very interested in seeing Brad Emaus play as I think he’s the guy the front office wants to win the second base job. Dan Murphy will get reps at second as well but he looks to be more a utility guy and lefty bat off the bench. Same with Nick Evans as his righty counterpart who can spell both David Wright and Ike Davis and maybe play a corner spot in the outfield as well.

That still leaves about four spots to fill the bench. One player who won’t be a benchmark is Lucas Duda and that’s a good thing. Duda needs to play every day and that can only happen in Buffalo. It’s a win-win for the Mets, if Duda hits like last year, he’s prime trade bait or he is the first call up if the any of the three starting OF’ers go down injured.  How about signing Andruw Jones as a fourth outfielder? Maybe the longer he’s unemployed, the easier he could be to sign for an incentive laden contract.

The storyline that will be most prominent in 2011 will be what becomes of Jose Reyes beyond this season. I’d say it’s a given that no matter how well he plays, this is Carlos Beltran’ last season as a Met, in fact we could be talking months as Alderson will have to decide if it’s worth trading Beltran for prospects or taking the draft pick? With Reyes it’s a lot more difficult decision. What Jose Reyes will we see in 2011? If it’s the Reyes of the last two seasons, where injury and production limit his playing time, then no way you go long term, in fact if 2011 is a carbon copy of 2010, then Reyes will be an ex-Met but if he bounces back and has a 2008 type season, then Sandy Alderson will have a real tough decision to make. Let’s hope Reyes has a 2008 type season as that would mean not only seeing how Alderson handles a tough decision but I’m sure the Mets will have  better season than most fans think they’ll have.

The Francisco Rodriguez saga will be compelling as well. What happens if Rodriguez is closing in on the magic 55 games finished and the Mets are out of contention? Do the Mets hold him back and damn the consequences of a grievance? What if everything starts to fall into place and this team is still in post season hunt?  It’s the $17.5 mil dollar question.

I’m getting mighty itchy for some positive Mets news. This front office is keeping its plans very close to the vest and all the leaks in the organization seemed to have been plugged so we sit here waiting for a moves to be made so we can analyze and try to track how this team will go forward.  Please Sandy, throws us a bone!

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“HEY JEFF, WE NEED A 4 DOZEN WRIGHT 5 T-SHIRTS ON THE FLOOR ON THE DOUBLE”

I’m here today to praise the Skill Sets not burry them especially Freddy and Uncle Saul who I feel are the ones that have finally figured out that Little Jeffey needs a timeout and it’s time to let the smart guys run this franchise. Listen, Jeffey doesn’t need to be totally out of the picture, he can still do inventory at the Team Store, or help cut up the peppers and onions for the sausage concession as long as he is out of the baseball ops I’m a happy Mets fan.

With all this new found happiness with the new and improved front office will Mets fans be happy with whoever is chosen to be the Mets manager? It seems Wally Backman is the fans favorite but if all the reports are true, it looks like Terry Collins could be the leader in the clubhouse with his ties to DePo and Sandy Koufax but maybe Backman would be given the choice to be third base or bench coach? Same with Chip Hale.  What about Old School Werthen? Maybe a return of The Jacket? Stay tuned!

Rusty Staub has been named on the Hall of Fame ballot to be voted on by the Veterans Committee which has Ed Marcus leading the charge for enshrinement for Le Grand Orange.

I agree 100 % that as soon as the Justice League of Flushing finds a field manager, the next move is to boot Ray Ramirez and his staff and hire some real honest to goodness physical trainers.  Now that Omar (Rub A Little Dirt On It ) Minaya is gone and that scoundrel Charlie (Blackie) Samuels has been shunned, how is that Ramirez and his voodoo gets to stay?  

The ESPN team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are no more. I never had a problem with Miller although he is much better as a radio announcer than a TV head and Morgan I won’t disparage as he is one of the best baseball players I ever saw (not so good at analyzing on TV though) ESPN has a chance to put two guys that employed by the WWL that would be a must listen for any baseball fan, put John “Boog” Sciambi and Bobby Valentine together in the Sunday Night Booth. That would be downright entertaining.

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