Sandy Alderson Finally Makes Some Moves, But Are They The Right Moves ?

 

That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more…..

                                                                                      Popeye

 

You could also hear that quote coming from the Mets GM ‘s suite at Citi Field yesterday as  Sandy Alderson finally made some moves to  at least shake up a team that seems content with losing.  Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson head to Vegas and Rick Ankiel heads to wherever it is baseball players who can’t play baseball anymore go. To say it’s about time is an understatement, to say what took you so long is more precise.

The move to send Davis to Vegas is about a month too late. The only thing that saved Davis from a trip to Sin City was his rebound second half of last year. Alderson and his staff were waiting for the resurrection of Ike to happen like last year but after a while there comes a time the organization goes from believers to doubting Thomas’ and now it’s up to George Greer, the Mets Vegas hitting coach and manager Wally Backman, to work on getting Ike right at the plate and maybe also in the head.

Davis seems to be another Met who may be suffering from a sense of entitlement. It’s something you hear from folks who are around the club that one of the biggest problems with the team and through the organization is this sense of privilege that players who have not earned the right to put on airs are the ones with their noses up and pinky’s out.  This was a problem with the Minaya regime and it seems it’s still a problem under Alderson. Yesterday’s game would have been a great time to send a message that stupidity and carelessness will no longer be tolerated.

In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, and Daniel Murphy at the plate, Jordany Valdespin, I guess not realizing that he was (a) in scoring position already and (b) there were two outs, decides to take off for 3rd base, of course he was thrown out. It’s a stupid play if a 10 year old does and it’s infuriating when a so called big leaguer does it. So at that point I’m thinking as was Ron Darling during the SNY telecast, here is the perfect spot for Terry Collins to declare no more. No more tolerance of stupidity, time to make an example out of Valdespin and remove him from the game. Tell him take a shower ,watch tv,  eat a sandwich I don’t give a rats ass what you do up just get the fuck out of my sight. But no that’s not what happened. Collins did give JV1 a talking to but left him in the game. If this were the minor leagues I would say letting Valedespin get an earful would be fine but this is Major League Baseball where you are supposed to be ready to play at the highest level there is of the game.  Add in that your team has lost 5 of its last 6 games and your last loss was a 20 inning disaster where you went 0 for 19 with RISP  and you have lost 8 of 11 games to the Marlins, a team that is 10-41 when not playing the Mets, a benching of Vladespin was more than justified.

So after another hopeless performance by his team, Alderson made his moves but who would he bring up? Josh Satin, Collin Cowgill and Josh Edgin are now officially New York Mets. What? You’re underwhelmed? Well you should be.

While the critics wail away at Alderson and his staff for not signing free agents (since he is the GM and not the Owner he can only spend what the owner allows him too) and for not trading for top flight major league talent which is hard to do when the rest of baseball knows you are desperate for major league talent and ask for the few precious talented prospects you have in return. It’s not Alderson’s fault that he is fresh out of Beltran’s and Dickey’s to deal for prospects. But why let the facts get in the way of fan stupidity.

Now I’m not saying that Alderson hadn’t made mistakes sure he has, two years in a row the Mets front office has failed to build an efficient bullpen, in fact if the front office just put together a league average bullpen the Mets would be in better shape than they are today. The front office has also failed at finding that diamond in the rough that Alderson’s protégé , Billy Beane has done very successfully in Oakland.   

Of the call ups the Mets have made, I would have been much more enthused if the names would have been Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler and Jack Leatherstrich.

It would be nice to see Flores play 2B and have Daniel Murphy move over to 1st base in Ike’s absence since the Mets feel if they move Lucas Duda to 1st base and then back to left field when Ike returns that Duda would need to visit Dr. Sidney Friedman to help gets his head together.

I’m so tired of hearing that Wheeler is ready, Wheeler is coming, Wheeler, Wheeler , Wheeler…..BRING HIM UP ALREADY!!!!!! The indecision of this organization annoys the living shit out of me sometimes. Make a god damn decision tell Jeremy Hefner it’s not you it’s us and move him to the pen and go with a rotation of Niese, Harvey, Marcum, Wheeler, Gee. You not only bolster the starting rotation but you add a bullpen arm that can give you multiple innings.

Jack “LeatherRocket” Leathersich is a lefty reliever who has striking out hitters at the AA level at a rate of 17 per 9 innings. Why not take a shot and bring this young man up to see what he can do a big league level. I doubt he will be as bad as Robert Carson .

Sometimes this organization is too cautious; instead of being bold and putting the youngsters in a challenging spot.  Let’s see who can swim at the deep end of the pool.   

    

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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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Ike Davis Gets A Vote of Confidence From Terry Collins

 

I’m trying to process the words of Terry Collins earlier today as he has declared Ike Davis will stay a big leaguer for the time being. Is this the best thing for the Mets? Is this the best thing for Ike?

Yesterday during our Mets bloggers conference call with Rusty Staub, Staub thought that Ike would benefit from a trip to Triple A and not look at it as a demotion but a way to get his game right (big time tip of the Mets cap to Mathew Artus of Amazin’ Avenue for putting together the transcript of the Staub conference call) :

Mike Branda (Mets Merized Online): My question is actually currently in regards to what we’ve seen with Ike Davis lately. Every hitter is obviously going to see a tough time at the plate. There’s going to be maybe a month where you’re just not going to see the ball right. You’re just not getting the hits, the swing, anything. What are things that a hitting coach or has done to just help you through a tough time at the plate?

 

Rusty Staub: Well, the most important thing you have to understand is yourself, okay? I don’t know what’s happening; I’m not privy to anything that’s being said down in that dugout. I don’t have an idea what the hitting instructor is talking to Ike Davis about. But, Ike Davis came up as a very good young prospect as a hitter and he had very good talent. And right now he’s so messed up in his head, it’s beyond comprehension.

 I’ve watched the Mets on TV quite a bit and I mean he’s had the bat in different positions. He’s pumping that thing up and down. I don’t think he’s giving himself much of a chance. I think he’s got to slow it down and be quieter and not have so much… especially if your hands start moving down when that ball is coming, you’re not getting there. He does that a lot.

He’s going to get out of this thing. Whether he’s got to go to the minors and get himself together… I had to do that once myself in my career. What Ike has to start doing is starting himself in knowing why he’s doing well what he’s doing well and have an idea. Every pitcher has a strength and a weakness. Some of them don’t have as many weaknesses as others, but you can’t go up there hoping. You have to go up there with an idea of what you want to do against that pitcher and you try to execute that. Right now, I think he’s so confused. I’m not too sure getting a little time to get his act together wouldn’t be the best thing in the world for the young man, as terrible as that sounds. Ike will be back. It’s just not easy to hit the type of long-term injury he had in the previous year and come back automatically swinging the bat great.

 

With the season ending injury last year and the bout of Valley Fever this year, you’d figure that Davis would take a little time to get his offensive game on track but no one thought he’d struggle like he has so far. Maybe it’s effecting his defense as he has not been as crisp at 1st base as we are used to seeing. Rusty mentions Ike’s hands as Keith Hernandez has as well on Mets telecasts, it seems Ike has developed this bad habit of dropping his hands and brings them back up then down again when he’s ready to turn on a ball; this seems like a habit he can’t break.

On the other hand, Ike seems genuinely touched that Terry Collins is showing faith in him to get back on track and I understand Collins making the statement he did today as he hopes it stops all the is Ike going to Buffalo talk for a while but with news that Jason Bay is ready to start playing DH in rehab games in extended spring training, if Ike is still on the Interstate when Bay is ready to rejoin the team, the Mets will have no choice but to send him to Buffalo.

So all Collins vote of confidence does is but Ike some time to get right on offense and maybe stop all the third degree from the media about his inevitable re-assignment.

It’s now up to Ike to back up his managers words.

 

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NO ONE WANTS TO GET CAUGHT IN THE ALDERSON CROSSHAIRS

I don’t think Mike Pelfrey can be optioned to Triple A, but after seeing the swift sword of Sandy Alderson yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pelf throws another stinker today (I’m talking 3 innings getting batted around and a whole lot of hand licking) Alderson would persuade him to take a trip to Buffalo to work out his problems. I hope it doesn’t come down to that. Hopefully Pelf gives the team the quality start it desperately needs tonight but if he doesn’t maybe a two week stint with Rickey Bones who would be another set of eyes, could see something to fix Big Pelf.

It didn’t take Alderson long to show that he won’t sit back with his hands in his pockets as we saw with his moves after last night’s game.  If Alderson would have released Boyer at the end of spring training there was good chance he’d have been picked up by another team. Now, odds are much slimmer that he’d be picked up, so if he doesn’t the Mets can send him to Buffalo to raise his game.

The worst part of the week were the three bad outings by Pelf, Dickey and Niese that taxed and already shaky pen, so it’s imperative for the starters, starting with Pelfrey tonight to step up their game.

It’s too early to panic, but according to Sandy Alderson it’s not too early to send a message. The thing we have to remember here is Alderson and his staff has no allegiance to any of the players on this roster. He inherited the whole flock and I don’t think he’d have any problem dealing away or demoting anyone on this team.  

Jose Reyes has been hitting the ball and has looked like the Reyes of old especially in the field but he is also up to his free swinging ways and that is something hitting coach Dave Hudgens is looking to fix. But at this stage of his career, it will be hard for Reyes to adjust his attack, attack, attack approach at the plate.

Even with the bad bullpen and inability to get a big hit the best thing I saw this week was Rob Castellano is back with his daily Mets Daily Farm Report on Amazin’ Avenue.

 Do you think you know all there is to know about getting around Citi Field? If you had BallPark E-Guide you would. BallPark E-Guide is a nice tidy download that tells you how to get around the ball parks, where to find cheap parking and discounts on tickets. Right now there are e-guides available for Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Ballpark with Camden Yards and Nationals Park coming soon.

If you didn’t see the piece on 60 Minutes on Albert Pujols last night do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s well worth it.

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HOW MANY DAYS TILL SPRING?

I want to thank everyone who has contacted me letting me know how much they enjoyed my interview with Jerry Koosman last night on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN. I had hoped to get 20 minutes with Kooz and instead I chatted for the full hour and Jerry was a great guest. If you haven’t listened to it yet I hope you can some time to give it a listen.

Adam Rubin went out to snowy Citi Field today to watch utility infielder Chin-lung Hu take a picture with his new Mets jersey. There were rumors that Hu would be issued #17 but someone came to their senses and realized that #17 should be taken out of circulation, so instead Hu will don #25 instead. You’re no Frank Thomas, Mr. Hu.

Rubin also had these tidbits from his visit to Queens today. Johan Santana is NOT throwing after Sandy Alderson said that Johan was cleared to start throwing:

“To my knowledge, he’s not throwing at this point,” Alderson said. “But, again, that’s his own decision and based on how he feels. I think the PT [physical therapist] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he’s ready to toss, he will. He’s medically cleared, but to my knowledge he hasn’t actually started throwing yet.”

Hummmm not to go all Jay Cuttler here but there seems to be a bit of a contradiction, Alderson claims Santana is “medically cleared” but Johan doesn’t feel he’s ready yet. By no means should Santana start a throwing program until he feels he’s ready but after the last few years where conflicting medical reports were the norm, I hope the front office will refrain from that practice. Sometime “we’re not sure” is a good answer.

Howard Johnson has to feel kind of awkward as Alderson tries to find a place for him in the organization. HoJo managed one year in Brooklyn but the Mets do not look at him as managerial timber. The hitting coach jobs in Buffalo (Mike Easler) and Binghamton (Luis Natera) have been filled so where in the world will HoJo land?

Matt Artus has a great post on last weeks Citi Field Kids event at Citi Field and the Q & A the bloggers had with the players who attended. Oh and the guy standing next to Big Pelf in the picture is yours truly.

Darryl Strawberry feels the Mets missed the boat on not hiring Wally Backman as manager. His chief reason is because Wally played for the ’86 Mets. From speaking to Terry Collins on a couple of occasions they only difference I see between him and Backman is Collins didn’t play for the ’86 Mets.

Congratulations to Omar Minaya for getting hired by the New York Highlanders as a Major League talent coordinator.

Speaking of the Bronx Bastards, what the hell is going on in Da Boogy Down? First Pee Wee Cashman, thinking he was with Dr. Phil instead of the Sports Pope, starts to purge his soul by saying that El Capitan will eventually moved to center field. I don’t know what all the hub bub is over this as eventually Jeets will have to go to the outfield I mean why the outrage? It’s not like Pee Wee told the Sports Papal audience that The Captain signed an endorsement deal with Bosley Hair Restoration (oooops did I say that out loud!!!!)

And what’s with this censorship of Highlander State Commissioned bloggers? Gee you’d think they were involved in the distraction of Not So Highlander Classics (Video of games the Highlanders actually lost) instead of stating the obvious that the team got hosed in the Rafael Soriano deal. This is grounds for a repriamand? When did Michelle (WHICH CAMERA!!!!!!WHICH CAMERA!!!!!!!!!)  Bachmann was named team president.

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COACH ‘EM UP FELLAS’

Its official the somewhat new and improved Mets coaching staff has been announced via press release.  The names are the ones we figured on.  Old School Dan Warthen and Chip Hale remain on staff at their positions. Obie becomes Terry Collins sounding board in the dugout. Mookie Wilson is back with the team as first base coach (and I’d bet outfield and base running coach as well)

Two names that were added are of hitting coach Dave Hudgens and bullpen coach Joe Debus, here are their bios:

Hudgens spent the last five years (2006-2010) as the Field Coordinator for the Cleveland Indians.  He is currently managing Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League.  Hudgens was the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1999 and from 2003-2005.  He managed four years in Oakland’s minor league system from 1985-1988, including three years at Medford (A) of the Northwest League.  Hudgens, who was originally selected by the Mets in the first round of the January 1975 draft but did not sign, served as the Athletics’ Assistant Director of Player Development from 1996-1998 and 2000-2002.  He played six minor league seasons with the Athletics and Indians and appeared in six games with Oakland in 1983.

Debus was a professional scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009-2010.  He served on the coaching staff of the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League during Terry Collins’ tenure as Manager from 2007-2008.  He served as the minor league catching coordinator for the Dodgers from 2002-2004 and in 2005 he was the bullpen coach for the big league squad.  Debus began his coaching career in the Dodgers minor league system in 1990 and served as a coach or manager through the 1999 campaign.  In 2000 and 2001 Debus was the General Manager of the Elmira Pioneers of the Independent Northern League.  He played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, advancing as high as Triple-A.

This what you’d call a “grizzled” coaching staff

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FOR JETS FANS, BASEBALL SEASON CAN’T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH

First let me offer my sympathies to those of you who root for the NY Jets as I can’t even imagine what that Mets/Jets daily double fandom is like. Last night myself and Kendrick Thomas co-hosted NY Football Blogs Live on Blog Talk Radio where we broke down the Jets-Dolphins game and looked at the road ahead for the Jets and a preview of tonight’s Giants-Vikings neutral site matchup at Ford Field. My rant against Brett Farve is worth a listen.

By the way, as bad as Jets strength and condition coach Sal Alosi’ un-sportsman like move, tripping Nolan  Carroll as he went down the side line on a punt return was, the cries for Alosi to be fired is comical. The NFL allows players who are convicted of DUI’s and vehicular homicide to thrive in the league but a coach doing something stupid should be burned at the stake.  If MLB operated like the NFL, The Used Car Salesman would be America’s number one villain. Maybe the NY Daily News Eye-Sore Team will stop wasting newsprint on the steroid witch hunt and do some real investigative reporting on the NFL.  Yeah, fat chance.

The Apple gets there Hudgens crossed, one Hudgens is a hitting coach the other gets hit on. By the way that picture of Reyes with the sign is fucking hilarious and the pic of the lovely Vanessa is museum quality.

Sandy Alderson has another thing in common with Mets fans, he won’t go out of his way to watch Oliver Perez pitch. I know there is a lot of talk about using OP as a LOOGY and there may be some merit in that move but Perez and Castillo represent the FAIL of the Minaya administration. Perez not accepting a minor league assignment to work out his pitching problems and Castillo after having a game winning hit last summer and acting like he just had a wisdom tooth pulled is exactly that kind of mindset that has to be eradicated in the Mets clubhouse . I’m on board with the patient Alderson approach but some things just can’t let simmer. Both Perez and Castillo need to be released.  

Johnny Cueto for Jose Reyes? I’d make that deal in a heartbeat if I were the Mets before Walt Jocketty sobers up.

Chris Jaffe has a terrific article up on The Hardball Times chronicling baseball mangers with the largest breaks in service form managerial jobs. He has a write up on Mets manager Terry Collins in the article.

“Hey Davis you suck” “Earn your money Baron”, LA Clipper fans heckling their point guard Baron Davis? Nope. It’s Clippers owner Donald Sterling sitting at courtside at the Staple Center berating his point guard during a game. I can’t get on Sterling too much, if I owned the Mets I’d probably act the same way.

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TAKE A DEEP BREATH METS FANS

The way some Mets fans are acting toward the hiring of Terry Collins, you’d think he was taking over a contending team. Do you people realize that the NY Mets as constituted today are barely a .500 team?  I guess I have to be the myth buster around here, the Mets will not make the post season in 2011. Sorry for the smack in the face but some Mets fans need a dose of reality.

As I’ve written before there are times the Mets fan base just amazes me, Terry Collins hasn’t even put pen to contract yet and fans are ready to fire him. Can we wait at least one week into the regular season before we make up the Twitter account @FireTerryCollins?  

Am I 100% happy with the Collins hire? No not really, but I’m not screaming about it as a disaster waiting to happen either.  I look at the positives here, that Alderson and not Jeffey Skill  Sets  is making the baseball decisions. Collins was the minor league coordinator so he has knowledge of what’s worth keeping and what’s not in the Mets farm system. I watched Collins at a pre-season workout for the Brooklyn Cyclones this summer and he and Mookie Wilson were running from station to station working with players and conferring with Wally Backman, Benny DiStefano (hitting coach) and Rick Tomlin (pitching coach) so energy and instruction are definitely  Collins strong suit.     

Collins intensity can make some players uncomfortable, but isn’t that what has been sorely lacking in the Mets clubhouse? Haven’t the bunch of underachievers that reside in that room been living the high life for too long? Isn’t it about time somebody with authority dealt with these “woe is me” players and get them to man up and stop shitting in their snow white pants when the Phillies or Braves come up on the schedule?  Mets fans have been crying for a tough guy right? So here you are. Maybe for the first time in years, the players will be held accountable.

The biggest reservation I have with Collins is he quit as manager twice, with the Angels and in Japan. That scares me it’s as if the going gets tough; it seems Collins gets going, out the door. Of course Sandy Alderson brought this up during the interview session I’m sure and he was satisfied with the answer he got so I guess I should be too.  Collins has not run a team in ten years and that raises a red flag with me as well.

The Collins hire is not outrageous enough for to be well.. outraged. Sure it would have been nice to see BACKMAN 6 strutting to the plate on opening day with his first lineup card as a big league manager but that’s the Mets fan in me talking. The guy who is now in charge feels that Terry Collins gives him all that he’s looking for in a manager with an edge in personality. At this point in the Alderson Era who am I or you to question the move?   

What it tells me also is the Mets are going to get younger and there is a big premium going to be placed on home grown talent. Sandy Alderson on day one said the farm system he has inherited is in the middle of the pack and for a team like the Mets with its resources, that’s unacceptable. That’s what should be the focus of Mets fans, not who will be the manager for the next two seasons. Cliff Lee at 32 years of age with back trouble? Let the Highlanders over pay in years and money for him. Jayson Werth? Let the Tigers spend all that awful pizza money on him. If the Mets eat the Perez/Castillo dough then the off season is a success and you know now there is no way in hell either of those two slugs are coming back.

 Rejoice Mets fans that we  have guys with a clue and a plan running the baseball operations for our beloved Mets. I know it’s hard to optimistic with the all the horseshit we’ve endured the last few years but I think the new regime will get us out this mess and back on the road to winning.

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“GOT ANY HITS”? GO FISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, well, well it seems like someone other than a  paying customer, has finally had enough of the slackers that makeup the 2010 Mets:

The day after Jerry Manuel called the Mets’ offense “pathetic,” hitting coach Howard Johnson  convened a meeting before Friday’s game and harshly criticized his hitters for their recent performances and pregame card-playing, team sources told the Daily News.

“It was really in your face, and some guys didn’t like that, but it needed to be said,” one player said.

Wait, when did Rickey Henderson get back to town? CARD PLAYING!!!!! So I guess this team is looking toward making the World Series of Poker instead of baseball’s Fall Classic.

The first thought that popped in my head was, someone (Jeffey) whispered in HoJo’s ear that he will be back next year as part of Wally Backman’ staff so we need you to fire the first salvo of the soon to be Under New Manager Mets. Then I saw that HoJo was not too happy that Manuel called the offense “pathetic” and in turn threw HoJo under the bus, so The HoJo strikes back by calling out the players and in turn showing up Manuel by doing the mangers works by shaking up his players.

Look if the clubhouse is going to blow like a powder keg it might as well happen in Pittsburgh where the Mets are on the verge of an almost impossible three game road series sweep today.

After the Hojo Blow-Blow, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Jerry Manuel Mets Era is in the home stretch and that thought will be cemented when Backman and his Brooklyn Cyclones show up at Citi Field for Celebrate the 2010 NY-Penn League Championship Day next month and Backman joining the Skill Sets, Uncle Saul and Dave the Shyster in the Skill Sets Suite.

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