NY Mets Need Johan Santana Ready, But Not For Opening Day

 

The NY Mets hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach for 2013, his name is Jim Malone. Malone was hired in early November in an effort to upgrade the way the players in the organization physically conditions themselves for the 2013 season and beyond, especially when little nagging aches and pains have some guys taking time off due to soreness not injury, you would also think his first duties as the S&C coach would be to meet with Johan Santana and oversee a workout plan for him after the abrupt end of his season. I mean, it stands to reason right that Santana’s health would be of optimum importance to the Mets?

I don’t just look at Santana as the Ace of this Mets staff, I also look at him as Sandy Alderson’s prime blue ribbon steer, the one commodity that Alderson has left to sell off for some much needed calf’s to restock the Mets farm. Santana should have been given the best feed and a comprehensive workout program that would strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder and his endurance. He was given none of that by the Mets, and now Alderson is surprised that Johan Santana cannot make the proclamation that 99.9 % of players make when they report to spring camp that “he is in the best shape of his life”.

Talk about not doing due diligence, how in the world did the Mets not monitor the lefties off season workout activities?  I would think that every player in the organization sits down with the training staff and strength and conditioning staff and charts out a winter routine to make sure guys report to St. Lonesome in tip top shape. This isn’t reserve clause era baseball anymore where players have to take jobs selling insurance or laying brick, the biggest job most players have is staying out of their wives way, so I’m sure vast majority of baseball players hit the gym in the winter time, because as I said in the above paragraph all we here from players today at reporting time is they are “in the best shape of their lives”.

All the talk now is about getting Santana ready for an opening day start at Citi Field. Seriously, that should not be the top priority, no the Mets need for Santana to work at getting that left shoulder strong and if that means he doesn’t come up North until the beginning of May then so be it. Santana’s value to the Mets isn’t what he brings in his starts, no, his importance to the Mets is what he can bring back in trade.

Johan Santana is the last of the high priced players of the Omar Minaya era and the last real trade chip Sandy Alderson has left that isn’t named Harvey or Wheeler, if he is healthy.  Right now the Mets need Santana and Malone to sit down and work out a conditioning plan that gets him back on the mound with a strong left wing that throws strikes. If it takes the next 4 weeks of spring and a DL stint and a couple of rehab starts in Las Vegas then so be it.

This is not to disparage Santana or to call him out for not working out this winter, not at all. Santana when healthy was a force with the Mets  a guy who not just competed but rose to challenges  when faced with them.  Of course there was last years no hitter which will leave Santana (and Mike Baxter) mark on Mets history.  His first year with the Mets on July 27th 2008, a day after the Mets used every pitcher on the roster in a 14 inning loss to the Cardinals; Santana pitched a complete game and beat the Cards 9-1. Then on September 27th Santana beat the Marlins 3 hit shutout on 3 days rest to keep the Mets playoff chances alive. Oh yeah he did that with a torn meniscus in his knee as well.

Santana is as tough as a two dollar steak, coming back from the meniscus tear, elbow chips and reconstructive shoulder surgery. No question Santana will now work to get back into the rotation but now in the last year of his contract with the Mets, the cold reality is, he’s a short timer.  The question Mets fans should have about Santana isn’t if he will make the opening day start, it should be can Sandy Alderson move Santana to a contending team for a blue chip outfield prospect by the July trade deadline.

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THE NEW YORK METS ARE UNDER MY SKIN

Now that we have the holidays out of the way, we can now look forward to spring training for what should be quite the interesting Mets season.

Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue had an interesting post today on how bad will the Mets be in 2012? Of course the number one item on his list of things that will impact the season is the Skill Sets financial situation, something that will most likely overshadow what goes on, on the field but Simon also touches on the health and availability of Johan Santana, the hitting of Jason Bay and David Wright and where the offensive production lost from Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will come from.

So my question to you my loyal readers, what is your expectation for the Mets this coming season? What is a realistic expectation of this team and what will be their standing in the NL East, a division that could be up for grabs if the reports of Prince Fielder signing with Washington are true. Can you see anything short of a last place finish in the division? Right now, I can’t.

Where do you see Johan Santana this season? For me, I’d be surprised if we see Santana pitch for the Mets before June.

What to do with David Wright? Wright is not a player, right now that could realistically bring back a treasure trove of young talent but what if he is invigorated by good health and more friendly dimensions of Citi Field and puts up a .300/.380/.500 line with 15-17 HR’s and 75-80 + RBI by the All-Star break, do you keep him and hope a new owner comes in with cash to re-sign him or is the lure of young robust baseball players to tempting to turn down in a trade?  I’m still undecided on this one but I am leaning towards a deal if the Mets get back a blue ribbon prospect or a young Major Leaguer under club control.

When I go to opening day at Citi Field, who else will be there? If you are a true blue Mets fan and having been going to Mets games your whole life I can’t see how now you decide to sit this season out. No one has a right to tell you how to spend your time or money but as Boggy said, “a hot dog at a ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz”. So true, I mean today when I left for work I had on a sweater, coat, scarf and wool hat. You know what? That sucks. I want to wear shorts and t-shirt and have a scorecard in my hand. I have made peace with myself that the Mets will not be very good this season to the point that 100 losses would not shock me. However, there is still a part of me that small sliver of Mets fan naivete` that still has me holding out hope that this season could be full of surprises and I want to be there to enjoy them.  I know all the die-hards will be out at Citi Field on Thursday April 5th at 1:10PM, will you be there? If not tell me why not?

It’s funny the other teams I root for in other sports are playing at a level where they are contenders for championships in their respective leagues but it’s the Mets that are on my mind the most  and my biggest concern. Crazy shit eh?

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WHO’S THE CAT WHO WON’T COP OUT WHEN THERE’S DANGER ALL ABOUT…..

ALDERSON!!!!!!

RIGHT ON!!!!!!

How did he do it? How the hell did Sandy Alderson pull off this deal with the Brewers? Did the though tof crossing Sandy Alderson make Doug Melvin panic (you know that Alderson is a bad mother………shut your mouth I’m talkin’ about Alderson)

All it cost the Mets was about $6 mil to get rid of a suffocating contract and 2 PTBNL . I don’t care if Alderson got a case of Gorman Thomas rookie cards and 100 Don Money Bobbleheads plus a few cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon (for the hipster Mets fans) this is not just a great deal but a swift and accurate one as well.

Be proud Mets fans we’re back in business. Carlos Beltran is on the clock

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SO WILL YOU CATCH ME NOW I’M FALLING

So now Josh Thole is the apple of Mets fans eye as his call up last September was love at first sight. Because of the lack of any Mets news of substance, Mets fans and bloggers are left to play GM and try to find ways to improve a team that not only is short on talent but lacking in brains and brawn as well, so a young buck like Thole is the baseball equivalent to Megan Fox. At one time Daniel Murphy was the hottest piece of tail to hit Flushing in awhile but now Mets fans treat him like he’s a used up Swedish nanny.  You folks are real love ‘em and leave ‘em types.

Of all the talk of who should be the Mets catcher for 2010 until Thole morphs into Jerry Grote/Johnny Bench, the names of Bengi Molina, Rod Barajas and Jason Vartiek make Mets fans react like they found out Jeffey Skill Sets has a long lost twin brother.

Everything I ‘ve read focuses on the offensive production of the catching position when that’s the last aspect of the position I look at. Give me a guy who can call a game in concert with the pitcher, block balls in the dirt, and throw runners out to the point they think twice about running on them and I’ll say “name your price man”

I’m not saying that young Thole is not a blue ribbon farm hand but let’s let the kid learn the trade of the tools of ignorance first. Let him play as much as possible in Buffalo and as we all know you never get through a whole season with just two catchers, so you will see him at $iti Field in 2010. But the best thing to do for the Mets is go after a vet backstop to match up with Omir Santos to start the 2010 season.

With $6.25 mil due him in 2010, the White Sox AJ Pierzynski could be had for a song or Eddie Kunz, let Kenny Williams choose. Pierzynski, just for the entertainment factor alone is worth bringing here but he also brings a decent bat with some pop, he is an above average defender and he’s bat shit crazy with just one year left on his deal, what’s not to like?

Bengi Molina wants at least 2 years so that sends up a red flag right there. Same for Rod Barajas. If you can get either guy for a year or a year plus an option, I’m fine with that. Jason Varitek for a one year deal? I think I’d rather bring back Paul LoDuca for a year, that is if he can get away from hanging with the cast of High School Musical. Henry Blanco anyone? Anyone? No one? Oh well, he can still throw out runners at a single bound and sure he’s 38 years old (which is 25 in Omar years) and he is Venezuelan and I believe on page 147, Section 2,  paragraph 4, Line 7 of Johan Santana’s contract it states that when a Venezuelan catcher is available the Mets are obligated to sign him.

So you see there are options out there for a catcher while young Thole grazes on the farm for awhile long until he’s ready for slaughter, errrrr…………. I mean Flushing.

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DON’T “FALL” DOWN

So here we stand on the first of September with our Mets and Mets fans getting through a spring and summer that saw injuries, an upheaval in the managers office, an as advertised Ace pitcher, the emergence of a young Ace pitcher that gives fans a warming feeling of the late sixties, mid eighties when the Mets had a dominant 1-2 punch in the rotation, the unexpected performance of Danny Murphy, Nick Evans and Fernando Tatis, the crap shoot bullpen, and the thought that starting next season that we will be priced out of our new home as the Skill Sets seem to rather have a wine and caviar crowd than the Bud and Nathans crowd that have given it’s tears and cheers to the organization since the days of the Polo Grounds. And with all that the Mets are a first place team today as the home stretch begins in Milwaukee. Sweet.

 

I’m very anxious about watching Jon Niese go tomorrow night but I’m also concerned with the Mets starting three lefties in a row espically against the  Brewskis as they pound lefties like they were Pabst Blue Ribbon

 

The big addition to the team will be RHP Al Reyes who could be the missing link in the command challenged bullpen. Reyes if healthy and on his game his a big strikeout pitcher so with Brian Stokes pitching well (thank you Tampa for making up a bit for the Kazmir heist) and Luis Ayala doing better than the rest maybe, just maybe we can have less angst watching Mets games plus the Mets organization has done well with players named Reyes.

 

33 years ago today I was a 17 year old sitting in Shea Stadium watching The Franchise strike out Manny Sanguillen for his 200 K and the 8 the straight season he had reached that mark a record. That was the last meaningful game at Shea that season as the Mets fell out of the division race.

 

The first thought that popped into my head when I heard about the death of Killer Kowalski was the Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. It was second only to MSG as the Wrestling Mecca of the city. Roller Derby too.

 

Of course the first thing I said when I saw John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin was Now that’s a middle aged hottie, the second thing I thought was why doesn’t McCain just call it a forfeit and let the Obama/Biden administration get ready to take over. Talk about pandering the only reason Ms. Palin is on the ticket is because she is a Ms. No way McCain picks a man with the limited qualifications than Ms Alaska has. The other question I have is this woman has five kids and one a baby with Down Syndrome, you would think she would have her hands full at home, what would happen if McCain kicks the bucket (was Palin on his Bucket List, Pick a Hot MILF for a running mate) and person with no experience at all has to run this country. Don’t give me she was the Mayor of town and the Governor of Alaska there are almost as many people on Staten Island than there are in Alaska and if SI Boro President James Molinaro had to run this country, I’d be moving to me Grand da’ house in Sligo.  

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