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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IT’S MARCH 12TH AND THE METS ALREADY HAVE ME EMOTIONALLY DRAINED

 

The worst part of the Reyes Thyroid melodrama is not the illness as it appears with rest and proper diet, Reyes can get his overactive Thyroid under control, it’s the fact that the front office now has to make some very important personnel moves and that alone should set all our Thyroids into overdrive.

As a fan I’m petrified about Jerry Manuel getting his way, having Jenry Mejia thrust into the set up role, and of Alex Cora becoming the everyday shortstop, and Cora can crow with all his bravado about grabbing the shortstop job until Reyes comes back but in the words of Harry Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations” you are what you are an overpaid backup. Now Manuel has another problem, trying to put together a lineup without two major pieces, a leadoff hitter and three- hole hitter.

The way it looks now the lineup for opening day would be this:

Pagan

Castillo

Wright

Bay

Murphy

Francouer

Barajas

Tejada

However, with the current situation the Mets find themselves in now and the way Ike Davis is hitting, the Mets may be forced into brining Davis up and letting him be the everyday first baseman. Now you may be saying, “Aren’t you the big time Murphy Fanboy” yes, yes I am, the problem is though, Murphy is not a 5 hole hitter, he is more a 2 or a 7 but with Wright and Bay both hitting from the right side, to have Frenchy got to 5, I would not be comfortable with three consecutive right handed batters plus Davis is showing that he could be ready and having that lefty power bat early on not only would boost the lineup but it would re-invigorate the fan base.

Murphy early on would be a lefty bat off the bench and by the time Beltran comes back (talk about a guy who has fallen off the radar screen, is Beltran working out in camp? at home?, at the mall ? where’s Carlos B ?)   along with Cora and either GMJ (switch-hitter) or Frank Catalanotto or Chris Carter with Fernando Tatis and Henry Blanco ready from the right side.  Then when Beltran and Reyes do come back, reassess the situation and move accordingly.

The biggest gripe I have and most Mets fans have is the lack of a strong leader in management. There is no one in the Mets organization that can stepped to a podium that makes me feel like they are in control of any situation. It’s sad. Every time a situation arises with this team it turns into embarrassment, we want to believe, we want to look at the ownership with confidence that there is a plan, we want to see the manager and players hold their heads high and play tough physically and mentally but all we get is a bunch of guys with high water pants and eye glasses held together with scotch tape. Not very inspiring is it?

I’d go into the pitching situation but my Morphine drip is almost empty.

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“WE’RE FOLLOWING THE LEADER, THE LEADER, THE LEADER WE’RE FOLLIWING THE LEADER WHEREVER HE SHOULD GO”

I like the fact that David Wright is stepping up his leadership role with the Mets. In fact one of the best addition by subtraction moves the club made this winter was saying buh-bye to Carlos Delgado, who I felt was a very intimidating presences in the Mets Clubhouse and too many times Wright had to take a backseat to the senior vet. Now with Delgado gone it’s time for Wright to takeover that clubhouse. 

You need an everyday player to be the go to guy and Wright fits that mold better than anyone not named Johan Santana with the Mets. As great a player as Carlos Beltran is, he’s a very low key guy and Jose Reyes who is the on field igniter could be Wright’s tag-team buddy in that clubhouse, in fact in a perfect baseball world the two faces’ of the franchise should be able to say or do what they please with the service time they have with the club, but both are deferential to the older vets on the team sometime to a fault.

If Johan Santana can play the Cliff Floyd role with Wright and give him backup, it would be a major asset to this team. It won’t cure all the ills, but it would help put on notice players, who don’t give 100 % effort physically and mentally, especially the mental part which was as much a reason for the Mets demise as the injuries were last year.

Forget all the bravado of the team to beat bullshit, besides health, the biggest improvement with this Mets team and the whole organization for that matter is accountability. The team motto for this spring and season should be “NO MORE EXCUSES!!!!!”

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