NY Mets Problems Run A Bit Deeper Than Obtaining A Reliever

Sorry for the hockey interuption. This young manin the picture is Rick Nash he is a good solid hockey player. When Nash woke up this morning he was a Columbus Blue Jacket and now he is a New York Ranger. Many NY Ranger fans are doing the happy dance when this was announced. Nash coming to the Rangers had a price, three very good Rangers are now Blue Jackets. Thank you to Brandon Dubinsky for 8 teriffic years as a Ranger same to Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon  all the best   

All I asked for was a summer of competitive baseball, why is that so difficult? The Mets are in the midst of another second half free fall as they have won just one game in their last ten. The last three seasons after the break have been disasters for the Metropolitans:

2011 31-40

2010 31-43

2009 28-47

During this recent run of losing baseball, I’ve thought about a question I posed to R.A. Dickey back in the winter of 2010, about the time Terry Collins was named manager, I asked Dickey what happened in the second half of the season that led to slide he said after a long pause, “lack of preparation” I asked by whom, the coaches or players and Dickey replied “both”. Last year’s collapse and now this latest second half losing streak does not in my view, fall under the lack of preparation or commitment , it seems like it’s more like a lack of major league readiness and an overachieving first half.

We have gone over the faults of the bullpen ad nauseum  and yes those sixteen blown saves and twenty loses are the biggest kick in the nuts this season but there are still many holes on this team that need addressing and no mid-season deal can cure them.

The Mets outfield is a mess. There is not one solid “every day I can count on you” player that plays in this outfield. Scott Hairston is very good vs. lefties and as a pinch hitter but Hairston is what he is, a bench player and when bench players start to get regular work, you get to see why they are bench players. I really like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and I want him to be a Met for a long time. He plays terrific defense and he has that “baseball makeup” that scouts love. He also has a lot of holes in his swing and is quite perplexed by the breaking ball to the point where he is putting up Kingman-esque strike out rates. Lucas Duda plays right field like the displaced first baseman that his is. It’s hard to get on him for the awful reads he gets on fly balls as he was put there for his bat, and that bat has gone limp. In Duda’s last 18 games he has 1 HR and 2 RBI. That is not the production you need from your corner outfielder. What more can you say about Jason Bay? At the end of this season Bay his agent and Sandy Alderson need to sit down and figure out an exit strategy for Bay. It would be best for both parties to part ways. Andres Torres does nothing useful and I’m guessing he is just here until Mike Baxter gets healthy and is re-activated. Torres should not be taking playing time from anyone.  Is Jordany Valdespin an outfielder? An infielder?  A bench player? Late for dinner? See a pattern here?

The catching situation is a mess as well (file this under lather, rinse, repeat) not just for the big league team but throughout the organization as well (we’re counting on you Kevin Plawecki )

David Wright has been an MVP quality player and after a disastrous start to the, Ike Davis has found a pulse but you still have to question if Ike is the guy to man first base in the seasons ahead. Ruben Tejada looks set at shortstop for the next ten years and Daniel Murphy at second base……………………..there’s a big question. #ImWith28 has busted out of his slump and is producing now but he could bring back value if Alderson touted him as a 3rd baseman as 3rd basemen will be demand this winter.

Lots of work is to be done to get this Mets team up and running as a true contender. A reliever at the deadline is not the answer.  

 

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NY Mets Guilty of Erroneous Assault

 

Nothing angers me more than errors. I HATE ERRORS! When you give the opposition 4,5, 6 outs in an inning you’re just putting the game on a platter for your opponent and saying “here, help yourself to a victory”. Nothing demoralizes a team more than errors. Pitchers lose faith in their fielders, the acid in the managers stomach boils and the players on the bench start to question “why is he out there and I’m sitting here”? The Mets are the worst fielding team in baseball and it’s a testament to the players and to Terry Collins that between that bad defense and shoddy relief pitching, that this team hangs in as it does and is still four games over .500 but if last night starts a trend that mood will change quickly.  The Mets need to give the Cubs an ass whippin’ tonight.

Jason Bay is ready to begin baseball activity, he’ll ride the stationary bike today if he survives that without a setback he should be able to go down to St. Lonesome and begin hitting and fielding. Last time Bay was on a rehab assignment, Terry Collins felt he came back to quickly as his bat was slower than usual, which for what we’ve seen so far in his Mets career means it moved at glacial speed, so I’d think his time in St. Lonesome will be weeks instead of days.

So what happens when Bay comes back? Well as we seen that past couple of weeks, a little bit of Scott Hairston is fine, a lot of Scott Hairston well, you get to see the imperfections that have makes him more valuable as a bench player than a starter.  Bay gets his left field job back but it still leaves the team woefully short of a right handed bat that has some potency. The guy I’d love to get to fill that right handed hitting void is Cody Ross, Ross would make a huge difference in the Mets line up with his power and the guy has a World Series ring so you’re adding a guy who has won which is huge in my book.

I don’t know if the Red Sox would deal Ross off but it seems with the trade of Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, the Old Town Team is ready to rebuild so if Ross is available Sandy Alderson should jump on a chance to add him to the Mets. Here’s how much I want Ross on the Mets, I’d offer Daniel Murphy as part of the deal.

I hope Justin Hampson becomes the reliever the Mets need to hold late inning leads but I wish he was wearing a different number. You cannot give a journeyman pitcher 45 com’on Kevin Kierst find Hampson a number in the fifty-somethings will ya!

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NEW YORK METS WHO STAYS WHO GOES HITTERS DIVISON

Okay, day 1 without Mets baseball has passed and I’ve gotten over the shakes and cold sweats that Mets withdrawal usually brings on. Today, besides getting ready to root my ass off for the Detroit Tigers (I may even buy a pack of Marlboro to put next to my Gates Brown, Dick McAuliffe, Mickey Stanley and Mayo Smith baseball card shrine I’m constructing for this series) and deciding if today is a good day to sneak out of work early to go see Moneyball, I figured this would be a good day to go over my “Who Stays and Who Go’s” from the Mets 2011 roster. So in the words of the late great Bob Murphy, “Fasten your seatbelts”:

Ike Davis-If anything good comes from the freak injury that Ike suffered it will be that Sandy Alderson may have seen the light and will overhaul the Mets training staff. A healthy Ike and hitter friendly alterations to Citi Field’ outfield dimensions could shoot Davis to superstar stratosphere. Hell Yeah Ike Stays!   

Ruben Tejada-Will he be the everyday 2nd baseman or the everyday shortstop that is to be determined what is fact is he’s here to stay and will play every day at one of those position in 2012. STAY.

Justin Turner-When Turner comes to bat with no one on base, he’s Mario Mendoza. With men in scoring position, he’s Mr. Clutch (.350/.480/.500 w/RISP) Not great range in the field but serviceable bench player. STAY

Jose Reyes-If Alderson can get creative with options and funky clauses in a contract, there is a chance that Reyes remains a Met. If an owner looks past the hammy issues or feel its training staff can cure Reyes of his leg malaise then Jose may get stupid money thrown at him. Alderson has a figure in terms of money and years that he won’t cross to keep Reyes and I still feel he hopes there is a team out there that blows his offer away as Alderson really doesn’t want to burden the organization with another long term deal. The heart says stay but the head says GO!

David Wright-No player on this team has become a bigger enigma than Wright. The only thing keeping me from saying put him on the trading block is the bringing in and lowering of the fences at Citi Field that have spooked Wright since day one. With a year left on his deal at $15 mil, DW is still affordable but his defense has deteriorated as much as his offense. Part of me wonders if the Mets would be better off with Daniel Murphy at 3 rd as a better option right now. I’ll stay with Wright for 2012 at 3rd base for two reasons; first, you wouldn’t get max return on him in a deal and two, with the new hitter friendly Citi Field maybe that will wake up DW stagnant bat.  A lukewarm STAY

Jason Bay-If Alderson could ever move his suffocating contract; he’d do it in heartbeat. Add Bay to the list of players who could be born again by shorter LF wall. Bay works hard and is respected in the clubhouse so to deal him for a bad contract would also mean you’re getting a bad guy (Carlos Zambrano or a John Lackey) so I guess what I’m getting at is he’s STAYS.

Angel Pagan-The expiration date on Pagan’s big league career has been achieved. Pagan 2011 was nothing like Pagan 2010 but more like Pagan 2009 which not a vintage year. GO.

Lucas Duda-If Duda can become just a serviceable right fielder (which means not tripping over his own feet or turning left when he should turn right) to go with his power bat and run production ability, the Mets will have an All Star for years to come. In fact Duda and Ike can become the new faces of the franchise. STAY.

Josh Thole-Great guy, decent contact hitter, disaster behind the plate. Catcher is a position that the Mets need to shore up badly as Casey Stengel said “You need a catcher because without one there would be a lot of passed balls” unfortunately even with Thole behind the plate there were a ton of PB’s (16) yes I know we have R.A Dickey and his knuckler on staff but shit 16 PASSED BALLS? COM’ON.   Thole is serviceable with a decent bat and more importantly he works cheap. STAY

Ronnie Paulino- Word on the street is Paulino has poor work habits and is not very good at working with the pitching staff on going over hitters tendencies. Add his deficiencies along with Thole’s and you can see that the organization has a big problem behind the plate. With a lot of young arms here and on the way the need for a solid veteran defensive catcher should be item #2 on Alderson’s to do list this offseason right after dealing with Jose Reyes. GO.

Daniel Murphy-Safe to say you can add Adlerson and Terry Collins to the #ImWith28 Club. Murph will STAY and Collins will find a way to play him as much as he can. Where that is? That’s why Collins gets the big bucks.  If it weren’t for his injury Murph would have finished in the top 10 in batting average no doubt about it. STAY.

Willie Harris-Started off his Mets career very shaky but rebounded to become a valuable bench player. Has a good ability to get on base and can play multiple positions. Harris also become a leader in the clubhouse and helped make it a better place. Harris wants to come back and the Mets should bring him back but Alderson won’t make that a top priority. A halfhearted STAY   

Scott Hairston-I nearly forgot about Hairston as he’s been out all of September with a knee injury and played sporadically when he was healthy. GO

Nick Evans-I’d love to ask Evans what is it like to be DFA on five different occasions and not have one team put a claim in for you? You would think it would be a blow to anyone’s self-esteem but Evans kept going back to Buffalo and produced and kept getting the call to the big leagues, the man is the picture of perseverance. I have a lot of respect for Evans and he can play either corner spot on the field. Someday a team will wake up and give him a chance on a big league roster. I just don’t think it will be the Mets. With regrets I say GO.

Jason Pridie-No great shakes in CF, can’t hit for shit and has an ugly beard. GO.

Mike Baxter-If I am fortunate to speak to Terry Collins in the off season the first question I want ask him is “What did Mike Baxter do to piss you off to the point of burying on the bench”? I would have loved to see more of Baxter. On the final day of the season I was happy he hit the home run but I was more impressed with the way he busted his ass down the 1st base line on a groundball. Baxter also looks pretty good in RF as well. Baxter played a bit of CF in the minors which is why I’m puzzled why Collins played Pridie over him. What was there to lose? I hope Baxter gets a shot in spring training but it seems he has Buffalo written all over him. A shaky STAY   

   On Monday I’ll go over the pitchers who get to stay or should be sent packing

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THE SANDY ALDERSON/METS BLOGGERS CONFERENCE CALL

I was fortunate to be invited to a conference call last night with Sandy Alderson and my fellow Mets bloggers. This is the second cc Alderson has done with bloggers and he seems genuinely happy to talk to us and values our input about the team. As great as it was talking to the Mets GM, the biggest kick for me was reading all the Tweets from other baseball bloggers who were soooooooooooooo jealous that we were granted access to Alderson and reading how they wish the head of the team they root for would give the same courtesy. Imagine that, the same wise ass’ who like to joke and make sarcastic remarks about the Mets, are envious of Mets bloggers.

I’m slowly getting used to the frank and honest way Alderson does business, whereas in the past, I’ve always felt you had to read between the lines to find the truth out of anything coming out of Flushing , but now it seems we’re getting the straight skinny from the Mets GM.

On the release of Castillo and Perez, Alderson said that to some extent fan sentiment was a factor in releasing both players, more so in Castillo’s case as the front office had hoped that Perez could make some kind of contribution. Alderson felt it was only fair that the new regime look at both players first hand instead of relying on hearsay.  

With Emaus winning the 2nd base job, it’s clear his Rule 5 status helped him in winning the job over Justin Turner who had options. Alderson said that Emaus would only make the team as a starting baseman and not a bench player.  Alderson said he was happy that Emaus has come around with the bat and has shown signs of being effective turning the DP.

My question to Alderson was about the fight for the last spot in the bullpen, but first I added a bit of editorializing:

“Between the offseason and spring, it seems that there’s a minority in the fan base and a majority of the mainstream media that likes to dwell on the negative things that go on with the organization. They seem not to want to talk about that the team offensively has been terrific this spring, it seems that batters have been taking to Dave Hudgens’s way of hitting, a lot of walks, a lot of doubles, and the defense has been pretty good, too, maybe very good this spring, but the big thing is the pitching. The pitching has been outstanding this spring and hopefully it will carry over to the season. Now you spoke about the bullpen, and you do have decisions to make. How close is it in that seventh spot? It seems that we kind of figured the first six guys are in that pen, and that last spot, that seventh spot, seems to be the one that’s up in the air. How are you going back and forth on that decision?”

Here is Alderson’ reply:

“That’s a very good question. If you look at the guys who are competing for the last two or three spots. You’ve got a young kid, a Rule 5 pick who is untested, who has improved, we think, greatly since the beginning of camp, at least mechanically, has shown a lot of command, has shown good velocity, and we think has real upside. As compared to somebody like Jason Isringhausen, who is a veteran presence and not only because of what he can do on the mound but how he might influence the rest of that bullpen, is an attraction for us. Then you’ve got a couple of guys, [Blaine] Boyer, Manny Acosta, who are very, very close in terms of overall results, but they get there in different ways. Boyer is basically a ground ball pitcher. Acosta has the livelier fastball and is more of a strikeout guy, maybe a little more command, but occasionally gives up a three-run homer as he did yesterday. So not only is it a close competition, but interestingly, each of those guys represents a very different choice beyond how they perform, and that’s what we’re trying to balance right now is the desire to win, the feel-good story of somebody like Jason Isringhausen, who has also performed well, against the potential of somebody like Pedro Beato, and then the two guys that we brought in. And we haven’t resolve those yet. We just had a meeting today with some of the front office people here with the coaches and Terry Collins and we resolved a few things but the bullpen is still unresolved.”

The problem is Boyer ,who has had a great spring, has an out clause in his contract to become a free agent if he doesn’t make the OD 25 man roster. In a perfect world I believe Alderson would take Izzy north and hope Boyer doesn’t get a ML contract from another team and he signs him to a minor league deal. The odds of that are slim.

There were great  questions  from all who participated and to read the entire transcript check out the post Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue   put together in detail of the conference call.

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RANDOM ACT OF BLOGGING 11-10-08

Not much on the Mets front today as we await Friday when hunting season opens. No not for men in camo killing Bambi but for guys like Omar Minaya to don an orange hat and use the smell of devalued U.S. currency as a lure to rope in a few good arms for the Mets pitching staff and maybe a bat and a bench player too.  But even during this lull in the Mets off season action, you can always find some interesting things to discuss such as:

 

The New York Football Giants went into that cesspool called Philadelphia and showed the Philly fans that there is at least one team in NYC with a pair of balls. Far from their best performance of the season the G-Men ran the ball right down the throats of the Iggles but still allowed to keep Philly in the game with some bad fumbles (Brandon Jacobs is a stud but he HAS to learn to put his shoulder down, run low and tuck that ball up high as one day those fumble are going to cost the Giants a big game) and some spotty secondary play. I love the cover of the NY Daily News with Tom Coughlin making the play of the game when he asked for video review of the illegal forward pass against Eli Manning in the 3rd period that was reversed and set up the Brandon Jacobs TD that put the GIANTS in front for good. Just a side note with all the well deserved praise heaped on Justin Tuck and Osi Umenorya Chase Blackburn’s play at LB has been overlooked.

 

Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest has a post and a link from Buster Olney on the Padres playing a tough negations game with Trevor Hoffman. The last guy who I would want to come pitch for the Mets would be the most overrated reliever of the 20th and 21st century Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman would not survive 5 minutes on 126th and Roosevelt Ave.

 

I’ve linked to Randy Newsom before at Dugout Central and Newsom has another great report from Venezuela posted. Newsom is a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians system and is a very entertaining writer.

 

I have no idea if the great footballer and Sunderland manager Roy Keane and I are related (he is from Cork my family is from Silo) but one thing we Keane’s have in common, we hate losing and we lack patience so when I read this story about Keane being very frustrated with the lads on the Black Cats and taking Sky Sports commentators to task I started to think me and Roy have to cousins.

 

Well what do you know,  the ground at Willets Point are contaminated I’m shocked, SHOCKED!!!!!  After reading this it may be more than the prices keeping me out of $iti Field and if I do show up it may be in a bubble.

 

I went to see FUERZABRUTA last night at the Darryl Roth Theater on 15 St and it was on of the best and most entertaining shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a must see show!!!!! (Holy shit I think I’m morphing into Larry King)

 

I saw this link from the Shyster Ball site it’s a story on former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee being honored into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I always like Lee and in fact my daughter needed something from my book case Saturday and while we were looking for a book on the 50 states I saw a copy I had of Lee’s The Wrong Stuff that hadn’t read in years. I may just dust it off and give it a look.

 

            

  

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