End of the Line in The South Bronx ?

I miss good ol’ Stump

As a baseball fan you can’t ask for more that this first round division series has given us. Four series all going five games is a baseball fans nirvana especially for those of us who detest the NY Highlanders. It’s a good thing I have unlimited texting in my phone plan since my Highlander fan pals were relentless in their venting to me even though they know I’m rooting hard for the Orioles.

All season my Highlander buddies spoke about how the power display their team put on this season was good for plenty of oooo’s and ahhhhhhh’s but come the post season they will have to be able to manufacture some runs. Now me as a Mets fan rooting for a team that has the power of a 10 watt bulb, andwith the distain I look at customers at the bank who complain that the teller gave them all $100’s and $50’s when cashing a check,  just wants to say why you no good greedy bastards.  But what do you know; the Highlanders have had a world of trouble pushing a run across the plate with good old fashion small ball. The long ball though has saved their season and when you get past the dramatic way Raul Ibanez went about tying and winning Game 3, if not for those two knocks, the fish wraps and social media would be in a three alarm tizzy over the demise of the Highlanders.     

Even if the Bronx Bastards win today and I think they will as CC Sabathia is only second to Derek Jeter on this team to show up when needed (sorry Ibanez still has a Philadelphia  size horse shoe up his ass) and I think both of them will find a way to win this game, it safe to say those of the Highlander persuasion need to reflect on this series and if they are honest and clear thinking which is hard to find in that demographic , they will admit the days of champagne baths and championships the next few years will be few and far between. I have news for those of you in denial Highlander fans, the team you love to mock; the NY Mets are in better shape organizational wise than your Highlanders and that’s counting our broke ass ownership.

Hal Steinbrenner is no chip off the block, where Daddy George would spend to mask mistakes and take on contracts no matter what; Prince Hal has one goal in mind, to bring the payroll down to where he’s no longer paying into the MLB welfare system known as revenue sharing.  With a minor league system barren of talent what will the Highlanders do? Does ownership have confidence in Pee Wee Cashman that he can rebuild the talent base a la Stick Michael and Buck Showalter? Why do I give a shit? Well, until this post season is done with, the Mets won’t be making moves so I guess I have nothing better to do but to eavesdrop on my neighbors who I thought had it all and find out they just might have less than me.

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SANDY ALDERSON WILL BE WHEELING AND DEALING THIS OFF SEASON

I don’t understand how some members of our Flushing congregation have a hard time comprehending that due to the financial problems of our beloved Skill Sets, it is not business as usual when it comes to restructuring this Mets team.  There will be no more careless bidding on free agents (I’ll see your 4th year and raise you a 6th year) as has been done in the past. Let’s put the cards on the table right now, the Mets will not sign Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, CC Sabathia or Ted Williams severed head.

Now that does not mean it will be a quiet off season, in fact I’m looking at what will be the busiest off season in Mets history. When you look around and the needs of this team (again as opposed to years past when the Mets focused on wants instead ) there are so many, it could take two off seasons to fill the gaps.

There is still a need at 2nd base, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy are not every day 2nd basemen. Turner, while a hustler, leaves much to be desired in the field and as for Murph, he may get killed trying to turn a double play. So a bonafide 2nd baseman is on the want list. Ben Zobrist would look nice in a Mets throwback uni.

Shortstop will be manned by Ruben Tejeda. Get used to reading that.

In a perfect world, the Mets would have a whole new outfield in 2012. But we Mets fans live in the most imperfect world on baseball earth.  I’m sure Sandy Alderson will try very hard to move Bay and his cement shoes contract. Unless he is willing to eat a lot of dead presidents or take back another unseemly contract, this will be near impossible to do. Angel Pagan should be an ex-Met soon and Lucas Duda looks to be attractive trade chum. Of course the name Grady Sizemore comes up as a choice for center field but his injury history is a huge caveat. There will be suitors for Sizemore among teams that have outfield depth, something the Mets lack. Coco Crisp and David DeJesus are nice fall backs or how about BJ Upton (get him with Zobrist in a mega deal with the Rays?  Would the Rays take a package of Murphy, Duda, Parnell and another minor league pitcher for both?) or how about a deal with the Orioles for Adam Jones (is Mike Pelfrey a viable trade chip? Would you trade Jon Niese for Jones? Hummmmm?)

The bullpen and starting pitching will be the toughest to fill as we have seen in this past post season, pitching is at a real premium these days.  There is a glut of closers on the market and one, Joe Nathan has declared the Mets a destination of choice, if a two year deal with incentives could be worked out with Nathan that would be a great signing by Alderson.

Josh Thole is not an everyday catcher, in fact he may be better off in Buffalo learning the tools of the trade but that won’t happen, I don’t think.  I’d love the Mets to get their hands on Chris Iannetta or Nick Hundley but I think I’d settle for Kelly Shoppach as a tag team partner for Thole. A top flight catcher is hard to find.

I can see the Mets making a lot of deals this winter, when you are strapped for cash, the barter system is the way to go. As the late Bob Murphy said “Fasten your seatbelt” and be careful of getting whiplash.

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THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE AGE OF SANDY ALDERSON

Take out that Mets jacket.  Bend the brim of your Mets cap. Start putting some cash away to buy tickets to the 2011 season, my fellow Mets fans  WE ARE BACK!!!!!!!!

Our suffering summer has been replaced by a spectacular autumn. This has been the best October the Mets have had in 24 years.  First the Highlanders and Phuck Phaces went down in flames.  Then the cretins of the Mall of the South Bronx have been exposed by Mrs. Cliff Lee who was subjected to taunts, thrown objects and general fan disobedience to the point that Pee Wee Cashman better rethink putting all his eggs in a Cliff Lee free agent basket. Then the news today that CC Sabathia’s knees have given up holding up all that girth to the point his meniscus ripped, you had to wonder if the baseball gods decided that we Mets fans have had enough penance and are now due a reward.

The adults of the Skill Sets family have taken to bring back credibility, accountability and authority by naming Sandy Alderson as the new GM of the New York Mets. The pride in Flushing has returned.

Maybe I’m going a bit overboard on the Alderson hiring but I can’t hide my giddiness. Sandy Alderson was the name that first popped into my head when it was a fait accompli that Omar Minaya was done as the baseball boss. It just made so much sense to hire Alderson, the man had everything that was needed to bring back the respect this organization has lacked for years.

There is a segment of Mets fans who wanted the young hipster type of GM and I’d have had no problem with that but in Alderson you get the Mr. Myiagi of baseball execs. Alderson was baseball analytical before baseball analytical was cool. Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Paul DePodesta (a name to keep an eye on Mets fans as he could be brought in to the Alderson Cabinet) all learned the trade from Alderson.

This hiring also sends word to fan base that the days of Little Jeffey meddling in adult decisions are over. A man of Alderson’ resume and stature in baseball did not take this job to have a no nothing like Jeffey lurk over his shoulder. This is Freddy and Uncle Saul putting Jeffey in the time out chair.

It looks as if Friday will be the day that Alderson will enjoy his day in the sun at Citi Field for his inaugural presser and I can’t wait to hear what his plan of attack is. It’s nice to have a guy in charge that has a plan, we haven’t had that around here since the days of Frank Cashen.

The biggest decision Alderson will have will be to name a manager. A majority of Mets fans want Wally Backman to get the job and I would count myself as a Backman supporter.  From reading this post from Mike Silva’ NY Baseball Digest, Backman could be exactly the guy Alderson is looking for. Backman has no problem being a manager that carries out the organizational orders from the GM. From reading the quotes in Silva’s post, Backman to me, looks like a strong choice for manager.

That discussion will be now on the front burner and I have a ton of faith that whoever Alderson picks he will do his due diligence on that choice. It’s so nice to have someone in charge that makes me feel optimistic that the Mets will be back as one the best teams in baseball.

By Friday the weather in NYC will be what it should be; autumnal so it would be nice is all Mets fans wear their Mets jackets or sweatshirts to celebrate the new day dawning in Flushing as the Alderson Era begins.

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EXCUSE ME JERRY, MAY I INTRODUCE YOU TO BOBBY PARNELL

It’s not the loss that has me pissed, it the way it happened that makes me wonder if under the stewardship on Mr. Jerry Manuel, this team can make the post season as the manager has absolutely no feel for in game managing.

First there was the lineup. With both Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan ailing, was it wise to give Jason Bay the day off? I’ve advocated giving Chris Carter some playing time but again the manager has to have a feel for knowing when to play guys and when to let them sit, you can’t keep Bay out the line up when your two offensive catalysts are sitting. Wouldn’t giving Bay a game off in Puerto Rico be more beneficial since he wouldn’t have to run on an artificial turf laded outfield?

Then we have this whole “I wanted to get Johan out on a positive note” line of bullshit? Santana pitched his best game in over a month and not just that he is still the Ace of the staff. Maybe it’s just a figurehead title but can you imagine Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia or Cliff Lee coming out of a game like last night? I know Johan said he wanted to stay in the game but acquiesced to the managers move, maybe he should have demanded to stay in I bet those pitchers I mentioned would get into a fist fight with their skipper to finish a game like that.

The 9th inning was just a pure disaster as Manuel let Ryota Igarashi, a guy who walks as many batters as he strikes out, pitch in bases loaded spot one out and Ryan Zimmerman up. I can buy the notion of saving Frankie Rodriguez for the save spot as the Mets are the road team, but if you’re not going to use Bobby Parnell in that spot, then why is Parnell here?    

You could hear the disgust in Ron Darling’ voice as Igarashi fell behind 2-0 to Zimmerman by throwing tow breaking balls, when the situation called for challenging the hitter with fastballs. That’s why this situation cried out for Parnell to be brought in. If Zim hits a 98 mph fastball for a game winning hit, tip your hat and move on. I just wonder if Igarashi would have walked in the winning run, would that be grounds for the manager’s dismissal?

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PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL TONIGHT AT 10PM

On last night’s installment of Pro Baseball Central Joe McDonald and I disscused the Francisco Rodriguez story plus the rumor of Brian Schneider to the Red Sox deal. We also disscued CC Sabathia and the how the problems of the Highlanders run deeper than starting pitching and a center fielder, plus we spoke about Joe Gordon’s election to the Hall of Fame and my outrage that Gil Hodges got  the shaft again by the Vets committee. You can listen to last nights show by clicking on the link on the right or at Pro Baseball Central site.

Tonight we will be back on the air as Joe is in Las Vegas and hopefully we will be discussing the Frankie Rodriguez as the Mets new closer and what’s next on Omar’s shopping list. So join us tonight at 10PM EST and join in by calling us at (646) 595-4462 at Pro Baseball Central at Blog Talk Radio.

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LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM YOU CAN’T IGNORE AARON HEILMAN

Great piece of writing by Howard Megdal in the New York Observer on making a case for putting Aaron Heilman into the starting rotation something I’ve advocated for the past two years. It’s so chi-chi for Mets fans to bash Heilman for his failures as a reliever and I’m not saying that it was unwarranted especially last year while I’m a Heilman fan he disappointed me greatly by not stepping up to grab the closer role when Billy Wags went down but maybe it was a bum knee or just that his mind set is always a starting pitcher mentality-and please don’t give me the horse shit refrain that he makes x ammount of money and should be grateful to be in baseball bromide that I am so sick of hearing, think about this on your job if your boss saw you cleaning up your work area and said “wow your so good at cleaning here’s a mop and do the bathroom” how would you react (me, I’d use the mop handle on him like it was a rectal thermometer)-Heilman lost out on a rotation spot in 2006 to Brian Bannister not because Bannister beat him out but due to the Mets wanting to keep both pitchers and with Heilman already in the bullpen the logic was to keep him there.

Think of how many rag armed pitchers have stepped on the Shea mound over Heilman and none of them with anything close to the talent of Heilman and I’m surprised he kept quiet this long.

As Megdal points out the free agent market for starting pitching will be insane especially if CC Sabathia stays true to his word and plays on the West Coast, the Highlanders and Red Sox will throw money around like they were hedge fund managers. I’m sure Sabathia will be getting phone or text messages from Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett and Ollie Perez to please take that Angels offer so they can’t become filthy rich.

So what would be so bad with keeping Heilman and Niese in the 4-5 spots and taking a flyer on Freddie Garcia or signing Jon Garland and spending that money saved on a payout or sweetener in trading Gimp Castillo and signing Orlando Hudson?

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FRIDAY MORNING RANT FEST

It has got to be tough for the main streamers who cover baseball as this is a limbo period of the hot stove where it’s rumor after rumor (some of them made up just to fill up media space and time) because it will be one more week before teams can make contract offers to free agents. So while we wait the baseball owners to stimulate the economy there are some very interesting article on the web such as:

 

Paul Greco at Gotham Baseball has a great overview of Mets and Highlander prospect playing in the AFL. Reading the scouting reports on some of our prospects in the league there it looks more and more that the demise of the Mets farm system has been greatly exaggerated. I was upset over the thumbs down from the scouts that Eddie Kunz received as he has had an uneven performance so far in the AFL. I watch Kunz pitch in Brooklyn and his pedigree as a top collegiate closer made me think he’d emerge a lot faster as a viable pitcher in the bullpen especially with the fact that he throws a good sinking fastball that you’d think would translate into ground ball outs. I’m not ready to give up on Kunz yet and hopefully neither are the Mets. As we learn with Big Pelf, you need patients sometimes with young arms.

   

So far the Highlander will sign every single free agent on the market and will go into the season with a 1.4 trillion dollar payroll. Not only will they sign CC Sabathia to 10yr/$200mil contract but they will give Manny Ramirez 4 yr/$190 mil deal and then sign Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett and Ryan Dempster to $100 mil deals each. Then Pack A Day Hank will buy the San Diego Padres franchise just to get Jake Peavy. He will then sell the Padres to Mark Cuban (because he can’t buy the Cubs) at discount as Cuban agrees to let the YES Network televise  Dallas Mavericks  games so this way the NY/NJ/Brooklyn Nets can go to public access TV. Hank will then remove all of brother Hal’s vital organs to sell to pay for Mark Texiera’s 20 yr/$500 mil deal. And with all that the Highlander will finish no higher than third place in 2009.

 

Daniel Murphy is REAL and he is SPECTACULAR.

 

Murray Chass is a cranky old bastard who hates bloggers but I am trying to follow President-Elect Obama’s message of reaching over the aisle for unity (just like when I saw the Pope and had a feeling of calm and patients and understanding like I do now with the Obama Presidency this won’t last long because people will continue to piss me off like the assholes who walk along the subway platform with those ridiculous fucking backpacks on wheels that people trip over daily. What the fuck are you carrying around that you need a backpack on wheels? There’s something wrong with you mentally if you are toting around some much unwanted shit that you can’t carry it on your shoulder but have to wheel it around and to the woman who took exception to me kicking her wheelie-backpack this morning at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, I’ll be on that 7AM boat again on Monday so bring your husband, son, grand son and other person you like and make sure they bring their wheelie backpacks too so I can kick them all the way to Whitehall Terminal. Man did I take the long way to link this Murray Chass column sorry for that marathon rant.)    Chass writes about George W Bush wanting the Baseball Commissioners job badly but The Used Car Salesman, while denying it while he relocated the office from Manhattan to Milwaukee grab the job. One more reason to despise Bud.

 

I like that Omar is headstrong on adding pitching which is where his priority should be but do you get the same feeling I get that Omar is lying in the weeds when it comes to Manny Ramirez? I could see a scenario where Omar waits to see what the offers are and goes to the Skill Sets asking permission to match or better the offer. If its 4years or more Omar will pass but it it’s 3 yrs I could see him offering up 3yr/ close to 90mil with incentives and some creative bookkeeping. 

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