Quick post before off to Epcot

First time I’m putting up a post using my iPad so there may be more mistakes than usual, which I know is hard to believe

I had no problem with the Mets not making any deals at the trade deadline. Seems some fans mistake Marlon Byrd for Carlos Beltran, no one was giving the Mets an A prospect for Byrd and to deal Byrd  just for the sake of making a deal really made no sense

I idea of using Zack Wheeler in the bullpen as a way to cut down his innings is ridiculous . Put an innings limit on him, that’s fine but don’t take him out of the starting rotation.

The more Bud Selig and MLB string out this Biogenisis mess and the A-Rod fiasco the worse Selig and baseball look and for Bill Madden to compare Rodriguez to a killer like Whitey Bulger is beyond. Ignorant

off to Epcot and more nasty European tourists

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Why Do Baseball Writers Hate Mike Piazza ?

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I’ve never met Mike Piazza. People I know have met him and have had dealings with him and have told me some not so nice stories about him. When Piazza did not show or even send a video thank you as other members of that team did (Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Roger McDowell and Davey Johnson) at the SNY taping of the naming of the 50th anniversary all-time team, I asked around why the man named as the greatest catcher in Mets history wasn’t there, all I got was a lot of looking down on the ground and a some well…..ummmmmm…….aaaa…….’s as a response.  I’ve never been a big Mike Piazza fan and for me it was from conversations with folks who dealt with him and just my sense that he was more of a “me” player, perfect example was his stubbornness to not take ground balls at first base until he broke the all-time record for home runs by a catcher.  Even with all that bias I have against Piazza, I still think he’s a first ballot hall of famer and to tell you the honest truth I’m SHOCKED at all the negativity he has gotten from the voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America and it looks like what myself and every other Mets fan thought was a lead pipe cinch-Piazza going in as a first ballot HOF’er-isn’t going to happen.

The anti-Piazza block of scribes claims that due to nothing more than a case of back acne, Piazza is guilty of being a juicer. There’s absolutely no proof of a positive drug test nor was Piazza’s name mentioned in the Mitchell Report that links Piazza to usage of PED’s.  For every voter who casts a ballot minus Piazza’ name on it, 1,000 Tweets of “You’re an asshole” hit Twitter. I’ve tried to figure out why these baseball writers would embarrass themselves by not only leaving Piazza off their ballot but be so public about it. My conclusion is it’s not about the steroids it’s that the writers just don’t like Mike.

Think about it, baseball writers and players have feuded for years. Ted Williams hated the Boston scribes and vice-versa. When Williams was inducted in 1966, 27 voters left the Splendid Splinter off their ballot. Look how long it took Eddie Murray and Jim Rice to be enshrined. Murray and Rice hated the press and made their life difficult so when the time came, the writers turned the tables on them with some out and out hate. How about Albert Belle? Take a look at the 10 seasons Belle but together and argue that he is not worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown. Do you know what percentage of votes Belle received?  In 2006, his first season on the ballot, Belle got 7.7 % of the votes. In 2007 he garnered 3.5 % of the vote which in turn made him ineligible to be on any future ballot. A player who finished his career prematurely due to injury with a line of .295/.369/.564 and 381 HR 1239 RBI gets just two years on the ballot and goes from 7.7 % of the vote to a messily 3.5% ? Now that’s hate. I know Belle was a prick with ears to everyone he encountered in the game  but it goes to show that when the members of the BBWAA can get revenge they go on an all-out assault, which in my very convoluted way brings me back to Mike Piazza.

I don’t recall Piazza having any real animosity with the media except for when the NY Post questioned his sexuality. Piazza was never a great quote machine (neither is the sainted Jeets) and I’ve never heard of any “feud” between Piazza and the media so this could just be something in my own mind that fuels the feeling the press is out to get Piazza. Other than that or a positive drug test how could you not vote for Mike Piazza for the baseball Hall of Fame?

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Mets Fans Shouldn’t Boo Chipper Jones, They Should Boo The Skill Sets Instead

Chipper Jones makes his last appearance as a major league baseball player in NYC this weekend. The Mets, like other teams around the league, will honor Jones as he sails off into retirement. Most of you will boo and kill the organization for honoring a player who was a thorn in the Mets side for the last 19 years. Your anger towards Jones is ill advised, your anger should be towards the Skill Sets for not heading the lesson that Jones was teaching the Mets whenever they were the Braves opponent, that lesson was “you need me to be a Met”.

Think about it, Jones owned the Mets, not just with his lifetime .314/.410/.553 splits against them or the 49 home runs he hit against them either, what Jones tried to show the Mets was, you need to act and think like a winner as to become one. When Jones would come to NY he played the stage better than any Tony award winning actor. We chanted “LAAAAAARRRRRYYYYYY, LAAAAAAARRRRRYYYYYYY” and he ate it up. He loved the fact that Mets fans had a passion, fire, and desire that matched his. For a guy born in the South, he had a New York mentality and I think a want to play here as well.

Why didn’t the Mets ever make a strong move on Jones when he was a free agent?  You would have thought an owner whose team was owned by a superstar player who had that balls to the wall, win at all cost mentality,  would say “hell if I can’t beat him then I want to join him”.

As much as Jones loved the Braves, Atlanta and playing in the South, I have to think is the Mets made an offer above and beyond like they did to land Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, Jones would have had a difficult time turning them down. We know his love for the city and Shea Stadium was so strong he named one of his sons Shea.   Back in 2000, Jones signed a 6 yr/$90mil deal with Atlanta but when that deal was up, he re-signed for 3yrs at $40 mil, this was in the days of the Mets swimming in Madoff bucks so the thought that Freddy Skill Sets couldn’t have raised the stakes for Jones is ridiculous. I don’t remember if there was talk of the Mets making a pitch for Jones back in 2000 or even in 2006, I doubt there was but in hind sight there should have been. It could be that the Skill Sets felt that going after Jones and even signing Jones would have led to fans revolting that a despised opponent would join their beloved Mets.  Well, I guess we see what happens when you give in to the lunatic fringe of your fan base.

This is why, as much as I loathe the Highlanders and old Boss George, he knew players like Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden and David Cone were the kind of players he needed to win championships. You think he cared that they were former Mets? Hell, he signed Wade Boggs to play 3rd base who played for a team and organization he hated with a passion.

Think about Chipper as a Met. Imagine him with a kid like Jordany Vladespin ? Remember he called out Jason Heywood who came up as one of the hottest prospects in baseball for not playing due to fatigue. Jones went right at Heywood and made the Braves right fielder grow up fast.  I can’t say the Mets would have won a World Series championship with Jones on the team but I could guarantee he would have had no problem stepping up and holding his teammates accountable for their play.  I’m also sure he would have gone down as one of the greatest Mets players of all time.

So when Chipper Jones comes up to bat for the first time on Friday night, what Mets fans should do is turn towards the owner’s box at Citi Field and give the Skill Sets a rousing standing boo not just for never pursuing Jones when he was a free agent but for not having the smarts to understand the lesson Chipper was teaching.

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Carlos Beltran Turns Heel

He used to be a “baby face” but after he turned in Andres Torres for missing 1st base, Beltran is now a “heel”

The story today would have been much bigger if the Mets were fighting for a post season berth, but still the appeal at first base yesterday that Andres Torres missed the bag on his way to lead off double putting the tying run on 2nd base was an absolute joke on a number of ends.

From the replay, it looks as if Torres heel hit the bag which is why first base umpire David Rackley, a rookie umpire by the way, call was puzzling to begin with. I wonder if the game was at Citi Field would have made the same call, and how about Carlos Beltran making the call on the appeal????  

The reaction or non-reaction by Torres and first base coach Tom Goodwin was more troublesome to me than the call by Rackley, Torres didn’t flip out and neither did Goodwin, even if he did miss the bag, that was a crucial moment in the game, a game that Colin McHugh struggled in  and a game, the play out the string Mets, showed some fight in coming back from a 4-0 deficit on home runs from Kelly Shoppach and Daniel Murphy , you would think either player or coach would have gone ballistic? At least Terry Collins came out to fight the call.

I hope Terry Collins has seen the light and lets Kelly Shoppach catch every non-R.A. Dickey start.

Welcome back Wally Backman. Backman along with seven of his Bison (OF’er Fred Lewis, LHP Justin Hampson, RHP Elvin Rameirz , RHP Jenrry Mejia, RHP Jeury’s Familia, pain in the ass Jordany Valdespin, and last and least C Mike Nickeas) have been added to the Mets roster for the last month of the season .

I was out at MCU Park last night, sitting in the intermittent drizzle to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones get within one win of making the NY-Penn League post season as the Wild Card team.  A few observations:

RHP Luis Cessa pitched a fantastic game, he game within one out of a complete game victory, something quite rare in low A. Cesa only K’d two batters but he got a lot of ground ball outs.

MCU Park has to be one of tougher parks to hit home runs out of. Yesterday the wind was blowing in briskly from the Atlantic Ocean, so anything up in the air wasn’t going out of the park. In fact there was a ball hit high in the air that Lowell 3rd baseman called for at his position but ended up running down the line and making the play at home plate. That’s brisk baby.

RF Miakis De La Cruz made a sensational throw from the right field corner to nail a Lowell runner at the plate. By the way Kevin Plawecki did a great job blocking the plate.

Speaking of Plawecki, he had 3 hits and a Rib Eye Steak in the game, not that there is much competition but Plawecki has to be the best catcher in the Mets org not named Kelly Shoppach.

Brandon Nimo had a hit and looked very smooth in CF on the night that his poster was the Cyclone giveaway.

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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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Being Beltran

 

Carlos Beltran, another former Mets fan lighting rod returns to Flushing for the first time since he was traded to the Giants last summer and his return has stirred Mets fans passions. I never could understand the ire of Mets fans toward Beltran. Yes I know that called 3rd strike from Adam Wainright (tonight’s Cards starting pitcher by the way) has stuck in many a Mets fan craw but what the critics forget is Beltran  made a major contribution in that series hitting at .296/.387/.667 clip with 3 HR’s. It just added to his outstanding season, one of the best season ever by a Mets player where Beltran bashed 41 HR’s drove in 144 runs and complied a robust .982 OPS, good for a 4th place finish in the MVP voting plus a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award as well.

I’ve always felt Beltran’s disconnect with the Mets fan base was due to his mistrust of the front office that was in place during the bulk of Beltran’s tenure as a Met. It’s quite interesting that the front office had Latino‘s in top management positions, yet they did not mesh well with two of the best players on the team Beltran and Carlos Delgado, both men who are held in high esteem in the Latin community. Beltran never had a great relationship with Omar Minaya as proven with the botched medical care the Mets GM presided over when Beltran had to go on his own to Colorado to see a specialist to deal with his deep bone bruise in his knee and Beltran has said on many occasions that he never felt respected by the club. It wasn’t until Terry Collins took over as manager of the Mets that Beltran felt comfortable and respected as a Met.  I have no doubt that Beltran’s Mets career would be looked at in a much more positive light if Terry Collins was his manager from day one.

Beltran was never a problem or embarrassment to this organization. The P.R. debacle of the missed trip to Walter Reed Hospital was handled terribly by the Mets.  That and the medical mess ups really made Beltran become withdrawn. The Mets should have been in front of the missed trip to Walter Reed by explaining  that Beltran’s return to Puerto Rico to open a school he helped build was scheduled long before the Walter Reed trip was planned. A player should have the confront knowing that the organization has his back and would have a simple explanation instead of adding to the cluster fuck the Walter Reed trip became. Never would something like this happen today with this administration running the Mets.

Mets fans hold a grudge as well against Beltran because of the rumor that his agent Scott Boras called the Highlanders while negotiating with the Mets, offering Beltran’s service to the Bronx Bastards for less money.  It irked me too. But when you look at the seven year career Beltran had with the Mets he had one of the greatest careers of any Met in history.

If fans want to boo Beltran tonight that’s their prerogative but before they do I would hope they look at Beltran’s career numbers with the Mets and remember that he also would buy a suit for every minor leaguer who came up to the team so they had clothes to wear on the road and that he had David Wright and Jose Reyes join him at his home in the winter to workout with him when he first joined the club. Unfortunately to the narrow minded, none that means anything and for that you can’t blame Beltran.

 

 

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We All Like Ike But……………

 

I’ve been away from my duties here at Kranepool Society for a couple of days, so I’ve got a lot to catch up on:

Anthony McCarron writes about David Wright today in the NY Daily News on how the Mets have for the first time in his close to 8 year career, become HIS team. Wright has always been deferential to vets like Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran and made a concerted effort to share the spotlight with Jose Reyes but now that they are dearly departed it’s finally David Wright’s team and though he would never say it, he has to be thrilled to death that it is.

Wright is not the rah-rah fiery type, although he did show that side of him after the Carrasco-Braun hit by pitch affair, Wright shows the leadership a young team like the Mets needs. When a 7+ year vet is the first to report to spring training and the first one to the ball park and the last one to leave, plays through pain and never skirts from his responsibility to speak to the media win or lose, it sets the tone to the rest of the team that Wright’s Way is the Mets Way. One doesn’t need a long term history lesson to see that this Mets clubhouse is more professional and more cohesive than we’ve seen in a long time and it bodes well for the future of this franchise.

Credit for the professional turnaround has to go to Terry Collins as well. Think back to when TC was hired as Mets manager, we all had our doubts due to his previous track record as the manager but it’s a real testament to Collins that he re-invented himself at an age when most folks are rock solid set in their ways.  Most Mets fans clamored for Wally Backman to run this team and while I’m a Wally fan, I can’t see anyone else but Terry Collins running this team for the next two seasons at least. If anyone deserves a hike in pay and a two year extension of his contract it’s Terry Collins.

Boy if I could take anything back that I’ve written on this site, it may be what I posted the other day about moving Scott Hairston to make room for Jason Bay when he comes back from his rib injury. I’ve taken what Hairston brings to this team for granted and if anything having Mike Baxter and Hairston on the bench for the Mets is a great strength.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ bat has cooled off, as to be expected but his strikeout rate has to give the front office some concern that the word has gotten out to throw Kirk a steady diet of breaking balls, so a trip back upstate may not be the worst thing in the world for Nieuwenhuis who seems to have the mindset to take a demotion not as a negative but a chance to work on his deficiency of hitting breaking pitches as his ticket back to the big leagues for good.

The one thing that could keep Captain Kirk with the Mets is the fact that it is now not if Ike Davis should be sent to Buffalo it’s more like a lock he’s going once Bay comes back.  The Marlins just sent their struggling 1st baseman Gaby Sanchez to Triple A to work his way back to being the All-Star he was last year. The Mets just cannot afford to play Ike every day with zero production and a stint in Buffalo should not be taken as a punishment but as an opportunity for Ike to get his groove back.

It’s amazing that the sports media dickheads in NYC who have been given the assignment to cover the NY Rangers during their playoff run are so lazy and so lacking in talent that they can’t see what this team is built on hard work, commitment to the team and the mindset that everyone is responsible for their actions on the ice and if you fuck up, you ride the pine. Doesn’t matter if you’re a multimillionaire all-star or a kid fresh off a college campus if you make a mistake that hurts the team you sit, you stew and you make damn sure you don’t do it again. It’s the same with some of these idiots who now question the Rangers commitment to blocking shots, guess what assholes, how do you think this team has gotten to where it is? Oh and for all the fawning you schmucks have been doing over Marty Brodeur, stop acting like lemmings calling him the greatest goaltender in hockey history, just because you’ve heard some of your overheated brethren say it. Sure it’s easy to look at his career stats and says he’s the best ever and I am by no means saying he isn’t a Hall of Famer but to say he’s the best ever is a slight to Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuck, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy. Take some time to read up on those four before you give Marty the crown of greatest ever and remember as good as Brodeur is, he’s no KING!

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Heave-Ho!! Three In A Row

3-0 is wonderful but I’m not ready to get jiggy with it just yet.  Put aside that the last three days were the best we’ve seen in Flushing in a while there were some subtle changes that I saw with this Mets team the first three games of 2012 that could make this season better than most of us thought.

When Kirk Nieuwenhuis made his Major League debut on Saturday, the Mets fielded a starting nine that was composed of seven home grown players. The only two “outsiders” were Jason Bay (who was a homegrown put once removed so I won’t count him here) and Robert Allen Dickey (a review of his outstanding book will be posted here soon) everyone else were born and raised, New York Mets.

Think back Mets fans to years of when there weren’t any “growing up Mets” in the everyday lineup, just a bunch of mercenary’s who came to Flushing for the Maddoff greenbacks. Winning? Who cares about winning just make sure that big seven figure check is in my hands the 15th and 30th of the month. It was that way of building a team that resulted in losing ways and the fan base having a hard time rooting for the Mets. Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were as hated as any Mets player not named Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilia or Richie Hebner. Carlos Beltran, one of the best players to ever wear a Mets uniform, was never embraced by the fan base, some still held a grudge that he contacted the Bronx Bastards before signing a Mets contract on the bottom line and others just never cottoned to the right fielder because he made his bones in Kansas City and Houston. He wasn’t an authentic Met.

You’ve seen how many Mets fans were upset over Jose Reyes leaving the Mets to join the Fish and their Commie-loving manager Ozzie “Little El Jefe” Guillen, as the crying was over the Reyes being a Met his whole baseball life.  That’s why this 2012 Mets team is the kind of team we’ve always wanted, players who have come up the minor leagues ranks together, a team that truly likes one and other and is cohesive bunch with an all for one, one for all mindset.

I know there are some who feel the word “chemistry” is not just over used but meaningless when it comes to sports teams, and I totally disagree with that mindset. The fact that the majority of this Mets team has rode buses together, shared some really bad fast food at all hours of the night and grew up in the system is not something to discard. Think of how it felt to be Kirk Nieuwenhuis, you’re called up to the big leagues, your dream come true and sure your nervous but when you walk into the clubhouse there are so many familiar faces, guys who’ve played with in the minors who you know and trust will make your transition from prospect to big leaguer so much smoother than if there were a bunch of grizzled red ass vets (ask Gregg Jefferies or Lastings Milledge what that was like) who see you as a threat to their jobs.

It’s why this Mets team will be one of the easiest Mets teams to root for in awhile. Of course we know as great as a 3-0 record is, they could drop 2 of the nest three or 4 of the next 6, but watching this team play these three games and how they interact together as a team, the bad stretches that every team goes through in a grueling 162 season may not be as catastrophic as in years past, because these Mets have each other’s backs.

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METS HAVE A SPRING IN THEIR STEP, BUT WILL IT BE THERE IN JULY?

Today pitchers and catchers will report to St. Lonseome and by Wednesday the Mets position players will start arriving as well and training camp 2012 will get under way. So what am I looking for this spring from our beloved Mets? I’m glad you asked:

Ownership

Please Freddy, Uncle Saul and Jeffey I’m begging you guys, please stay away from camp. Can we please take the focus off your upcoming court case and your financial problems and let this camp be about baseball, baseball and more baseball. Can you give your manager, coaches and players a chance to get ready for this season and to prove the naysayers wrong about how non-competitive this club will be? Your team is in good hands with Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and their staffs, so stay up here in New York and work with your attorneys to get your game plan ready for the March 19th trail. I’m sure Sandy Koufax will understand.

Manager

Got to love the work ethic of Terry Collins and the transformation he has made as a big league manager. Collins has been in camp with Johan Santana, working with the Ace and forming a bond with him like he did with Carlos Beltran.  Just as TC earned the trust and respect of Beltran, he is working towards having the same relationship with Santana. There is more to managing a team than knowing when to double switch and Collins has realized that and has  proven he is the right man to manage the Mets.

Ike Davis asked the question last week, “why does everyone think  we’re going to suck” and this is the rallying cry the manager needs to use to his and the teams advantage. When he addresses the team he should make it known that the majority of media and fans do think the Mets suck and the only ones who believe the team is any good, are the guys right he in this clubhouse. If each and every player on this team doesn’t have the back of their teammates, they’ll fail as no one else will stick up for them.   

With a year on the job, Collins knows who needs motivation and who is self-motivated and that’s a big plus. TC as well, has to push fundamentals this spring to the point that the players get angry. He needs to push the point that it’s not always the most talented team that wins but the most prepared team that is always right there. If the Mets continue with their poor execution on the field, it will be a long season.

Starting Pitching

The only starting pitcher I have any confidence in right now is R.A. Dickey. Everyone else has a ton of questions by their name. So many if’s with this group and the biggest problem is there isn’t much competition in camp for jobs in the rotation.  Sure Chris Schwinden or Miguel Batista could swipe the 5th spot from Dillon Gee or Matt Harvey could just blow everyone away this spring to force his way into the rotation but that’s a long shot.

As far as Santana is concerned try to put his starting the season on the big league roster out of your mind. Even if he pitches well this spring there a couple of things that will hasten his return early in the season, The cold weather is one, especially the dumb move by MLB to pay April games in the East at night, and the other is the limited innings/pitch count that Santana will be under. No way Santana, even if he shows he’s ready to come back, pitches more than 80-85 pitches or 5 innings, those pitching restriction will put a lot of pressure on the Mets bullpen early in the season and with the unknown of the rest of this staff besides Dickey, the Mets and Terry Collins can’t risk burning the bullpen by Memorial Day. Best case scenario is Santana stays in extended spring training and makes a few minor league starts for St. Lucie and makes back to the big leagues by end of May early June and that’s being real optimistic.    

As much as Mets fans are hanging on every Santana bullpen session the guys we really need to watch are Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese as it will be the performance of these two pitchers that will determine if this a season of surprise or of transition.  For Pelfrey if he can’t be effective it will get very ugly for him this season with the fan base and with the front office. As for Niese, it’s time to put the big boy baseball pants on a prove that he has the makeup, conditioning and ability to be a  solid major league pitcher. Niese doesn’t have to be an Ace but he has to show some stamina and guile to get to the 6th and 7th innings of starts.

Bullpen

It’s been revamped and the back end (Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch) is a huge improvement over last year’s relievers, but if Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell or D.J. Carrasco (or someone playing the role of Carrasco) starts making frequent appearances, it will be a long season. The effectiveness of the Mets bullpen will depend on the Mets starting pitchers who again (I know I’m belaboring this point) have to step up.

Defense

Last season the Mets were one of the worst defensive teams in baseball, so for 2012 there is no place else to go but up hopefully. All the talk about David Wright has been about his regaining his offensive punch which missed the real story with Wright and that’s the steady decline of his defense. I know the defensive metrics are not the be all end all but according to Bill James Online and their defensive plus/minus rankings Wright has been an atrocious third baseman the last three seasons :

2009 -11

2010 -10

2011 -5

 

Not only has Wright cost the Mets runs at 3rd base but he has had trouble with balls hit to his right and his throws have been less than accurate to first base, again defensive metrics have their flaws but so does Wright at the hot corner.

The catching situation stinks as well. Josh Thole still has not mastered the art of catching especially blocking balls in the dirt and getting better footwork in attempting to throw out would be base stealers. Word is new bench coach Bob Geren will be working all spring with Thole on these aspects of catching. Mike Nickeas will be the Sunday (and presumably R.A. Dickeys personal backstop) catcher and should bat 9th in the order when he does play. Catching in the Mets organization is a disaster that Sandy Alderson is not only aware of put has tried hard to rectify, that was one of the reasons Jon Niese’ name was mentioned in trade talks this off season as the Mets were hoping a team with a solid young catching prospect (like the Blue Jays and their prize catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud) would take the bait

The middle infield will be securitized a lot this season as Ruben Tejada takes over the everyday shortstop job and Daniel Murphy will try again to master the second sack. Tejada should be stellar at short as he has very good baseball instincts and makes plays he should make. The question will be, as it seems to be every spring for the last three years, will Daniel Murphy play at least a respectable 2nd base. As long as he makes the routine play and is somewhat capable of turning the pivot at 2nd without getting maimed, his season will be a success.

Ike Davis is solid at 1st base, so no worries there.

The outfield should be markedly better with Andres Torres playing center field and a bit underrated Jason Bay in left. The question is will Lucas Duda play a serviceable right field.  I’m trying very hard not to over use the word serviceable when talking about the Mets defenders but that’s how bad this team’s defense is when serviceable play would be an upgrade at 3rd base, 2nd base, right field and catcher.

Breakout star of the spring

I would love to see Kirk Nieuwenhuis have such a fabulous spring that he forces management hand to bring him North.  Many scouting reports have Capt Kirk as a corner outfielder but I’m sure once or twice a week you could play him in centerfield. If Jason Bay continues to be awful against right handed pitching, the lefty swinging Nieuwenhuis would make a great platoon partner for Bay.

Of course the new BIG 3 of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia will be watched closely and who knows, if Harvey pitches lights out, he could take the 5th spot in the rotation from Dillion Gee but he’d have to be spectacular in order for the Mets to force the issue early in the season. Wheeler will not be in the big league camp by the way but over at the kids table for minor leaguers but as we’ve seen in years past sometimes the minor leaguers get a invite to join the big boys especially when there are spilt squad games so keep an eye out for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NO CARLOS BELTRAN I WON’T GET OVER 2006, NOR SHOULD I

Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest has an outstanding piece on his site this morning on Carlos Beltran and his time as a Met and his comments on Mets fans needing to “get over 2006”.

I have to say it took me a while to appreciate Beltran and his contribution during his tenure. I think the turning point in the relationship came when Beltran went to Colorado to have surgery on his knee after the club, namely Omar Minaya and Tony Bernazzard handled his medical care piss poorly.  Beltran was furious when the club made it seem he went rogue and receive an unauthorized procedure on his knee. When the truth came out it was Minaya and the team who were disingenuous.

What soured me with Beltran at the beginning of his Mets career was the double dealing he did behind the Mets back by offering himself to the Highlanders at a discount after the Mets made their substantial offer. It pissed me off because I saw Bobby Bonilla all over again. Bonilla, after getting the best offer out there from the Mets during his first free agent foray, took that offer to the Phillies to see if they would match it or go higher. By all rights, Bonilla was within his right to find the best deal possible and it was in my right as a Mets fan to call him a greedy prick.

The other problem Beltran had was not wanting to be the out front guy in the clubhouse. Some guys thrive in that spot, some guys, it’s just not their personality.  Beltran to his credit produce as well or better than any position player the Mets ever employed but his personality as seen through the media left something to be desired. But in listening to players in the clubhouse, where the opinions count, Beltran was not just respected but revered.

As for Beltran telling Mets fans to move on from 2006, it shows the major difference in how fans are more of the fabric of a team than the players.  Can I get over Beltran watching a wicked curveball break over home plate for strike three thus curtailing the Mets from getting to the World Series?  No, and I shouldn’t.  I’m a Mets fan, I can’t be traded or released or designated for assignment. I could leave as a free agent but the thought never entered my mind. I’m here for life. Players come and players go but fans are here forever. I still hold a grudge against Yogi Berra for not using George Stone properly in the 1973 World Series, costing the Mets a  championship, what makes Carlos Beltran think he’s  so special to escape my scorn?

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