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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STOP………………..Harvey Time

Tuesday night I Tweeted from Citi Field, the fact that I stood next to Matt Harvey in the Mets dugout during batting practice and just his presences oozed Major Leaguer to me.  He wasn’t one of these rail thin peach fuzz cheeked rookies, nope, he had that thick trunk that the best power pitchers possess and he just carried himself around the dugout, that was boarding on a three ring circus with Mets bloggers, main streamers and models posing by bat racks in tank tops. None of this fazed Harvey. I had my voice recorder in hand and wanted to get at least a five minute interview with Harvey but he was headed to the bullpen to get his work in so all I could muster was a quick “how ya doing” and “good luck”

It was a pleasure watching Harvey pitch last night (you could tell Keith Hernandez in Phoenix doing the game and Ron Darling in the SNY studios in Midtown were enjoying Harvey’s performance as well especially Darling) as I said he, has that thick trunk and uses it to push off the rubber to where he’s not using all arm to pitch. A guy named Seaver used to that way back when and he was pretty good too.  Harvey hit a high of 98 MPH with his fastball and averaged 95 for the night. One thing missing from Harvey’s repertoire was use of his curve ball which according to Brooks Baseball he threw just three times. It was a mix of fastball/slider for Harvey all night and he was at his most effective when he hit corners, especially the outside corner of the plate and work his fastball up the ladder. Bobby Parnell should sit with Harvey and watch tape of this performance because if Parnell could approach pitching like Harvey did last night, the Mets would never have another 10 game losing streak.

It’s hard to harness one’s enthusiasm for Matt Harvey and what’s to come the rest of this season and beyond after last night.  With the awful start to the second half and the infighting amongst some players and the fans looking for a miracle in Sandy Alderson’s second year of stewardship with the Mets, Matt Harvey gave the team and fans the pick me up both needed, lets’ hope it lasts.

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Communication Breakdown…………….

Was yesterday’s blow up between Tim Brydak, Josh Thole and Dan Warthen a shock or surprise to anyone? I didn’t think so. This situation has been simmering for a few weeks  and as the losses pile up the finger pointing stars to sprout and in the words of Dan Reeves, “when you point a finger, remember there are four fingers pointing back at you”. Terry Collins said something similar after the game about guys needing to take on accountability for their actions, which was directed at Tim Brydak, but is Brydak the villain here? Not to me he isn’t.

For most of this collapsible second half, the bullpen has been held as public enemy #1 but there is so much more to the ineffectiveness of the Mets relievers than lack of talent, it’s more of lack of direction.

Most Mets fans were puzzled when Dan Warthen was retained at the end of last season and many are pointing the fickle finger at him for the suckitude of the pen. I would put myself in the group questioning why Warthen was retained, but the one part of the pitching game that has been as much a problem as blown saves and three run late inning jacks is the lack of a veteran backstop.

Let’s face facts, if Josh Thole were in any other organization he’d be the Sunday catcher or the starter at Triple A, what earned him the job was his ability to hit for a decent average and get on base.  His work on defense is not very good and since he’s so green around the grills as a receiver, he’s left to relaying signs given to him by Warthen to the pitcher on the mound and as we witnessed yesterday, Brydak is tired of it.

Warthen and Terry Collins put Thole in a bad situation as he’s being told by Warthen on what fingers to throw down only to have Brydak shake him off. Warthen I guess being adamant on what pitch he wants thrown, flashes the sign to Thole again for a fastball , Brydak shakes him off again as he wants to throw a breaking ball which to me his his perogitive since he is, you know, the guy responsible for what happens when that ball leaves his hand, but Brydak gives in an releases a heater and Adam LaRoche turned on it for a home run. After giving Thole a stare down, Brydak comes out of the game is hotter than the Roosevelt Ave asphalt.

What Thole should have done before the pitch to LaRoche was call time, motion to Warthen to come to the mound and then address both the pitching coach and Brydak by saying “can you two fucktards get on the same page”. There’s no way in hell Thole would ever do this but I’m sure Jerry Grote would have punched both of them is the jaw.

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Not Much In The Mood For Baseball Today

With the tragedy that happened in a movie theater in Aurora CO, I’m finding it hard to get worked up about the Mets bullpen and whether the team can make a deal or much of anything that pertains to sports.

There is no way you can make sense of what happened in Aurora but the saddest part of this tragedy is it’s not the first time this has happened and unfortunately  it won’t be the last.  The first reactions I saw about this tragic event when I opened Twitter was the predicable attack of guns and the NRA. I agree a million percent that the gun laws in parts of this country are a god damn joke, the country could take a cue from NYC where getting a license to carry a gun is almost impossible. Then you have the states in the South where you can go into your local Wal-Mart and buy an assault rifle, I am all for the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution because I believe that every American has the right to protect his family and property as he sees fit, but there has to be a rigorous screening process in order to own a firearm.

What also has to be addressed in the aftermath of this senseless attack is what made this killer do this? Why would someone make this kind of premeditated attack on these people who he never knew? There is a huge stigma in this country to people who suffer from mental illness and I’m sure in the days and weeks to come we will hear all about the shooters life and what warning signs that could have been telling that he needed help.

The police should be commended for bringing the gunman into custody and not executing him on the spot which I’m sure many would have celebrated but by bringing him in alive I would hope that the authorities bring in the best in the field in the study and treatment of mental disorders to study him and find out what it is that makes someone fall in such despair or hate that they could perpetrate this kind of carnage.

My sincere condolence to the families of the murder victims who are left to grieve and try to make sense of this attack on their love ones, I hope you somehow find the strength to carry on.

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NY Mets Will Be Buyers This Trade Deadline

 

Trying to get back into blogger mode after a week on Cape Cod and the cold reality that 5AM wakeup call awaits me tomorrow morning so  without much rhyme or reason here are some Mets thoughts:

The next three days with the All Star break should feature a whirlwind of Mets trade rumors in fact some are starting already. This team for all the hustle and flow it’s shown this season needs some big time renovation if they are going to go hard after a post season berth.

The biggest need is in the bullpen which posted its best ERA of the season at 3.77 but still sports the worst team ERA in MLB at 4.99.  It seems Terry Collins is relying on the arms of Tim Byrdak, Bobby Parnell and Miguel Batista in the late innings of games while Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez have the tag of “one or two batters only” attached to their names. Pedro Beato is back up and one would hope he would replace Batista in the late inning order, moving Batista back to the long man role he’s better at. Of course all will change once Frankie Frisco comes back from oblique rehab but where will he fit? Has Bobby Parnell turned a corner in his career where he’s figured out how to get his curve over for strikes and have the confidence to throw it in a tough situation? Seems the Mets brass is not 100 % sold on Parnell and Frisco as they have let the word out they would like to obtain a closer or a pitcher who has had closer experience, that doesn’t mean Parnell and Frisco are a concern but as we’ve seen so far this half of the season a strong back end of the pen is the difference between 4.5 games back of the Nats instead of 4.5 games ahead of the Nats and first place in the NL East.

Lots of talk of the Mets getting involved in dealing for a catcher, which Sandy Alderson has made known is a priority to upgrade in the Mets system, hence the drafting of Kevin Plawecki with a supplemental pick in this year’s draft, and while myself and many Mets fans would be happy if the Mets were to upgrade the position at the trade deadline, I’m not sure if it will happen or should it. As much as Mike Nickeas makes Mets fans groan, when it comes to the pitching staff and Terry Collins and Dan Warthen, Nickeas is a valuable piece to this team. Nickeas is kind of a player/coach on this Mets team and I know there is a segment of Mets fans and bloggers who feel team chemistry is overrated, it’s hard to watch this team day in and day out and not see that the camaraderie in the clubhouse has played a major role in the success of the team in the first half.  You may not believe it but the front office, coaching staff and the players do. I would be a bit surprised if the Mets dealt for a catcher in season, best bet is the team will go hard to upgrade the backstop spot in the winter.

Much has been made about Reggie Jackson dissing the late Gary Carter saying the Kid was not Hall of Fame worthy, if you know anything about Reggie Jackson you know he loves to say things just to get his name mentioned in the papers or TV/sports talk radio. We all know the stories of Reggie’s turbulent Highlander years as a self-promoting blowhard, who always felt he was above everything and anything. I have a Reggie story that was told to me by someone who worked for the Highlanders and is now deceased and it shows the true Reggie

When Jackson retired he was hired by George Steinbrenner to work in the front office with Gene Michael. On his first day as a front office employee, Reggie went into Steinbrenner’s office which doubled as his suite at Highlander Stadium and asked to be served a turkey sandwich and an iced tea.  Jackson was told by the gentleman who ran the suite that since he was now a front office employee of the Highlanders, he could not come into the office/suite whenever he felt like it and he could not eat there either, Reggie was told he had to eat in the cafeteria with the rest of the office staff. Jackson exploded when he heard this and said “Do you know who the fuck I am? Get me that fucking sandwich and drink”. To avoid further confrontation the attendant went and got Jackson his lunch. As Reggie sat and enjoyed his turkey sandwich, Boss George entered the suite. “Who’s that down there”? “Reggie, Boss” was the workers reply. “What the fuck is he doing here”? Asked Steinbrenner. “Eating his lunch” the worker said. “Eating his lunch” doesn’t he know he has to eat in the staff cafeteria”? said Big Stein. “I told him that Boss but he told me he’s Reggie Jackson and basically told me to go fuck myself” relayed the worker.

With that Boss George erupted and starting screaming at Jackson and grabbed the plate the sandwich was on and flung it at the wall, Steinbrenner then asked Jackson if he knew “Who the fuck he was”? Steinbrenner then told Jackson if he pulls a stunt like that again, he’ll fire him but before he made him leave Steinbrenner had two more things for Reggie to do, one, apologize to the suite attendant who Steinbrenner informed him was more valuable to the organization than Jackson and two, get a broom and clean up this mess. Jackson performed both tasks.

 

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Mets Dreck Pt. 2

 

What else is there to say about last night’s game than what Terry Collins said in his post-game presser :

“I haven’t the faintest idea. I don’t know if it’s fatigue. I don’t know what it is. We didn’t run the bases. We didn’t play good defense. We didn’t drive in the runs we needed to drive in. It was a combination of a lot of things. We didn’t pitch very goodl. It was the worst Dillon’s pitched probably in awhile… We’ve played two bad baseball games here. We are a better team than what we’ve played.”

I’m not buying the fatigue factor at all, it’s not like Collins is running out the same eight guys game after game, in fact everyday seems like there is a different lineup.  Two areas that were a big problem last year and are still a big problem this year, the defense and the bullpen have to be addressed soon or the feel good first three months of this season will be forgotten fast.

As much as I love Daniel Murphy the leash on his 2nd base job is getting shorter and shorter. 28 is getting another start today against the Cubs but it could be Collins is ready to go to a platoon of Murph and Ronny Cedeno . Last time I was at Citi Field sitting in on Collins’ pre game press conference, the question of Murhpy’s slump came up. What was interesting in Collins response was he and hitting coach Dave Hudgens had told Murphy to take a break with watching video and taking batting practice in the indoor cage, which sounded to me like Collins was cryptically saying Murphy suffered from paralysis from analysis.  Collins also spoke on how Murphy keeps changing how he holds his hands from at bat to at bat along with his stance in the batter’s box. For all the hard work and dedication that Murphy puts in it seems like Collins is hinting that he’s overdoing it and needs to relax.

The one thing that should save Ike Davis from a fine and suspension is the incompetence of umpire Manny Gonzalez. Gonzalez blew the pick off call in the 8th inning last night and Ike just put his glove on the umps arm which is an automatic ejection but I’d hope Gonzalez apologies to Ike today for blowing that call.

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I Love The NY Mets, Sorry If That Offends You

 

Sometimes I just don’t get the anger that spews from what I hope is a minority of the Mets fan base. Yes it sucked to lose three in the South Bronx this past weekend and yes the defense and the bullpen along with zero production from Ike Davis and Jason Bay when he’s healthy have led to a nasty slide, but has it gotten to the point where some of our Mets brethren have lost their ever lovin’ minds?

If you took to Twitter yesterday and you are a follower of Jon Rauch you got to see the worst and thankfully the best in Mets fans.  Some of the angry mob attacked Rauch in such a way that it made me blush, not an easy thing to do. There were calls for Rauch to just go on the DL and never be heard from again and others who feel if it weren’t for him the Mets would be 1st place by a wide margin and there were some you called Rauch names in a screen that never in a million years would ever say to his face. In fact I tweeted to Rauch that the same “fans” who say you suck and that you’re a big pussy are the same ones who hang out by the player’s entrance at Citi Field begging for your autograph.  I know the club has lost a lot of games of late but have we all lost our minds as well?

Jon Rauch will be the first to tell you he’s “pitching like horseshit” as he said after giving up the game winning HR to Russell Martin. He gave no excuses and stood at his locker and showed his emotions on how it sucked for the team and him to give up that shot. That kind of accountably had been lost in the Mets clubhouse but not anymore. That’s a big step forward. No one on this team hides in the trainer’s room after a loss, no one  says “no comment” to any question, which is why this is an easy Mets team to root for, they’re stand up guys.

I’ve been called a sellout, a stooge and an apologist because the Mets have been gracious in allowing me and my fellow bloggers access to the players, if that’s what you think that’s fine by me. I will gladly admit I have not posted many negative posts here as I’ve done in the past, that’s because I really like this team, the manager and the front office. Before I was invited to such events at Citi Field, I advocated hiring Sandy Alderson to run the organization and when the Mets not only hired Alderson but got Paul DePodesta and J.P. Riccardi on board it was in my opinion, one of the best days in Mets history. I still feel that way.

The only people who mock and can’t see the future of the Mets is on the upswing are the ignorant. Those who refuse to see the good work that is going on in the minor league system and in the front office. Of course there is plenty of work to be done, this team not only has to pitch and catch the ball better and they have to play smarter baseball as well, we know that, the team knows that.

Believe me there have been Mets teams in the past like the Jeff Torborg and Art Howe led teams, and the end of the Willie Randolph era teams and the Jerry Manuel teams that I have despised.  This team is the opposite of any of those lazy ass teams that embarrassed me as a Mets fans. This year’s team has me rooting harder for the Mets than I have in a long time.

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So Listen Mr. D.J., Pack Your Bags

It was a bad night all around for the Mets, in particular Johan Santana, who pitched another gem and left without a win, the Mets bullpen which imploded once again, for D.J. Carrasco who had to confess his sins to Terry Collins and David Wright before the game and asked to be used in pressure situation in late innings got his wish and pitched like shit and mercifully Sandy Alderson did a mea culpa and cut his ass after the game.

Collins did not have a great game either when it came to bullpen management. Heads were on swivel at Citi Field last night when Bobby Parnell did not come out to pitch the 8th inning after a just a 5 pitch one batter K in the 7th. I was waiting to see Parnell come out the dugout but instead Jon Rauch ran in from the bullpen. I know Collins is trying to keep everyone in their role but so far this bullpen has been dreadful with only Parnell and Tim Brydak pitching effectively so why not let Parnell start the 8th and have Rauch up just in case ? I love all the positive spin that comes from the Mets clubhouse but its games like last night that has many in the fan base unconvinced that this positive first two months is real.

With Jason Bay getting back to baseball activity, the speculation is on as to who will be chucked once Bay comes back to the big league team.  The club is making it known that Ike Davis will not be shipped upstate so he’s safe. Mike Baxter is more than safe with his uncanny ability to get a hit off the bench to match his speed and defensive ability he has become a very valuable piece to the 2012 Mets. That leaves Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the last options to be re-assigned.

Nieuwenhuis’ bat has cooled as he has gone 8 for his last 33 (.242) but no one expected him to hit at the pace he has and even though his strikeout rate is high he still gets on base at a decent .367 clip. Kirk also plays terrific defense and can play all three outfield positions and he has added toughness to the team that has been sorely needed.

Hairston biggest plus is he’s a right handed hitter with some pop and that is in short supply on this team. The other RH on the bench right now are Rony Cedeno and Justin Turner but if Hairston was traded to make room for Bay’s return you could platoon Bay and Nieuwenhuis in LF so on days a right-hander pitches you’d still  Bay and his righty bat ready off the bench.

I guess it comes down to do the Mets feel it’s better to have Nieuwenhuis play every day in Buffalo  and have him ready if another outfielder goes down or leave him here in a platoon in LF and to spell Andres Torres in centerfield. I’d go with the Bay/Kirk platoon myself and make Hairston expendable. Stay tuned!

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The United Mets of Flushing

 

I didn’t see any of yesterday’s game as it was Mother’s Day and my kids had no sporting events (all through Little League we never scheduled games on Mother’s Day, I can’t say the same for youth soccer my kids regularly played on Mother’s Day making life difficult for a bunch of families, thankfully this season the schedule worked in our favor) but I received updates on my phone, it’s tough to be sitting in a theater during a play to check my phone when it’s vibrating with Mets news especially when my wife is sitting next to me, so it wasn’t until the conclusion of Perfect Crime did I see the carnage in Miami by left by the Mets bullpen.

So instead of a beyond belief 6-0 road trip the Mets head home to Flushing with a 4-2 mark instead. Now we all would have co-signed for that record at the start of the trip but since the two losses were of the blown by bullpen variety, it made for an angry fandom after the game because as I discussed on Saturday, nothing turns a baseball fans red like a blown save to lose a game, in fact Jon Rauch took to Twitter to lay some knowledge on some fans when it came to commitment to winning and having your teammates back. As we saw with the Frank Francisco taking on inept home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, who by the way is in his first season as an everyday MLB umpire, this Mets team has passion and they seem to have enacted the practice of no teammate left behind as Rauch put on display last night. They win as a team and they lose as a team. It seems some Mets fans are not grasping this concept; maybe some of you are pining for the days of “One Met Said” cowardice we’ve seen in the Mets clubhouse during past administrations.  Thankfully those days look to be over.

Now that doesn’t mean Terry Collins will keep the status quo in the bullpen as the manager stated he has “8 options” to use as a game closer and let’s be honest here Mets fans, you can scream and curse Frank Francisco and Manny Acosta for yesterday and Friday but the toughest thing to build in baseball today is a proficient bullpen. Look at the regal Bronx Bastards, they need help in their pen but even with their unlimited financial resources, they can’t go out and buy a closer to replace the Sainted Mariano the Majestic. So TC may have to go with the hot hand to close games or use a combo of Tim Byrdak, Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch, the three most effective relievers so far, to finish out games.

At the end of last season, Sandy Alderson pointed out that all the blown saves that led to losses at the end of the season were unacceptable and that these types of situation’s can bring down a team. Right now this Mets team is united but you wonder how much that unity can stand if the late game meltdowns continue?

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No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn

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We were invited to a party last night in our old neighborhood in Brooklyn, as many you know how much pride I have in being born and raised in Brooklyn  and with the passing of Adam Yauch a fellow Brooklynite and Beastie Boy I  made sure as we crossed over the Verazzano Narrows Bridge last night I  made sure I had this song queued up R.I.P. MCA

Just so happened I was in Brooklyn last night to attend a dinner to for the son of friends who was receiving his Eagle Scout award from his Boy Scout troop.  We were all waiting for the festivities to begin but before we would get started, the pastor from the church of this young man’s parish was to give the invocation prayer before the start of the evening. Seems the priest was running a bit late, most guessed he officiated the 5 o’clock mass at his church, not at problem, it just gave the guests more time to socialize and enjoy each other company. Finally after being over 45 minutes late, the priest walks into the hall, shakes a few hands and arrives at the podium. The crowd rises as we prepare for his opening prayer, but before we get to make the sign of the cross, the priest makes the following confession.

“Ladies and gentleman,  I have to apologize for my lateness this evening.  I’ve been sitting in my car the last 20 minutes listening to the 9th inning of the Mets game, (all of a sudden a lot of eyes focused in my direction “hey did I sit in the car “? “No I followed the game right here on my phone”) a game they needed to win because Johan Santana has been such an inspiration and deserves to see a W next to his name in the box score and with this bullpen lately, nothing is certain. So with that in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit………………”

Mets fans. Go figure.

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