10 Days Away From Opening Day…Do You Know Who Your Mets Are?

Dennis Ribant has nothing to to do with this post. I just felt like posting his baseball card. For some reason I was thinking about Ribant and why his Mets career was so short. Yes, I need to go out and get some fresh air.   

So we are a mere 10 days away from opening day and the questions at the start of spring training are still questions as we hit the training camp home stretch.  Who’s on first? What’s on second and at shortstop? I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!

Let’s peruse the Mets roster that could debut at Citi Field a week from Monday in front a lot of empty seats:

The much anticipated battle of the stiffs never materialized as both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda went down with leg injuries.  That gave us a chance to see Eric Campbell and Josh Satin play the bulk of the spring games. Both players looked to be much better choices than either Ike or Duda but only one of them will make the 25 man roster and looks to be Satin. The shame of it is Campbell will not make it north because he hits from the right side, and Ike, Satin and most likely Duda will make the club. That’s a damn shame.

Daniel Murphy will be the everyday 2nd baseman until Ike Davis and Lucas Duda flop then he would shift over to 1st base and Terry Collins favorite Eric Young Jr would become the regular 2nd baseman that is unless Wilmer Flores takes that spot and EYJ keeps a spot as a super sub. Whew! Where for art thou Edgardo Alfonzo?

None of the in house candidates to play shortstop, Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla or Wilmer Flores are much with the glove so why not take the best bat out of the three which would be Flores and start him at short? Let Ruben be what he was born to be a utility infielder and let Quintanilla be what he was destined to be, a former big league player.

David Wright 3rd base. Nuff’ said

It seems as if long time minor league journeyman and Jersey boy Anthony Seratelli will make this club as a super-sub. His ability to switch hit and get on base makes him an asset.

Chris Young has picked up his offense lately this spring so let’s hope that translates into the season. $7.25 mil for a player whose offensive game has declined the last three seasons seems like a huge gamble for a team that has to scrape and scrimp to come up with that kind of scratch. Got to hope this is not the offensive version of Frank Frank  .

There is no way in hell Terry Collins cannot write Juan Lagares name in the everyday lineup.   Not just Collins but no one in the organization can make a rational argument as to why Lagares will not be in centerfield just about every day.  Here’s a newsflash, the Washing ton Nationals are going to win the division by about 20 games so let’s play Lagares every day and let him grow as a big leaguer .

Can Curtis Granderson give the Mets an average Granderson season? Would you sign on for .261/.340/.488 with 30 HR 80 RBI? Oh hell yeah!

The training wheels are off Travis d’Arnaud, it’s not only his pitching staff but he has to contribute offensively as well. TDA’s bat could be the X factor in this season’ run to respectability.  Yes that is Kevin Pawlicki in the rear view mirror

Jon Niese starts the season on the DL but could be activated by the first weekend series against the Cincinnati Red Legs. With Niese out, Dillion Gee has been given the honor of starting the first game of the season. Good for Gee who was solid the last half of last season and has paid his dues in the organization. Gee will be followed by Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon and Dice-K. That’s a solid starting staff and with Raphael Montero and the Mighty Thor waiting in the wings, the club is flush with stellar pitching arms.

The front office has had a tough time putting together a solid bullpen. It doesn’t help that Terry Collins and Dan Warthen are not the best late inning pitching strategists  either but in order to be the 90 win team Alderson thinks he has here, he’s going to need a bullpen that ranks in the top ten , something that has eluded the Mets for a few years now.

There has to be trepidation over the lack of velocity coming from the right arm of Bobby Parnell and the lack of command shown by Vic Black.  Jose Valverde looks like he’s made the team and could step in to close when needed as well as Jeurys Familia who has had a spectacular spring. Scott Rice comes back as the LOOGY with Carlos Torres and John Lannan as long men/spot starters. This could be the year the Mets have a pen to believe in.

Jeremy Gibson of the Blue Jays blog 500 Level Fan asked me for my take on the NL East race this season by the way seems the Jays fans are still hurting from the trade last year.

 

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NY Mets Not Interested In Marquis Pitcher

Looks like the Mets have no interest in signing RHP Jason Marquis which means either of two things; Marquis has nothing left as a pitcher or the Mets have enough faith in Chris Young making a contribution very soon and the young arms in the system are progressing nicely.

I’ve felt that taking on Marquis to a minor league deal could help both the Mets and Marquis who is what I’d call the journeyman’s journeyman and maybe being able to pitch at home here in NYC would recharge him a bit.  Marquis lives on Staten Island and was a star pitcher for Tottenville High School, this past winter his daughter had a mishap on a bicycle that landed her in the hospital and was serious enough of an injury that Marquis was summoned from Twins camp in Florida back home to Staten Island.  Thankfully, his daughter recovered and is doing fine today but you wonder how much of a toll that took on Marquis and what his mindset has been playing in Minnesota while his family is back in SI.

After looking over Marquis page at Baseball-Reference it’s hard to take the Mets to task for not pursuing the 33 year old righty, but I wouldn’t rule out the Highlanders taking a chance on Marquis .

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AS PAT MISCH PITCHES, OLLIVER PEREZ WILL DE-SHELL SUNFLOWER SEEDS

If I worked in the Mets payroll department, when it’s time to cut the players paychecks, I would put Robert Allen Dickey’ name on the check for Ollie Perez and put Perez name on Dickey’ digits. Obviously OP has no shame or is just as ignorant as we Mets fans make him out to be, that he still picks up his check for doing absolutely nothing positive for this team while R.A. Dickey goes out start after start and lives the journeyman’s dream season in the Big Leagues.

At some point doesn’t professional pride resonate with Perez, where he sees that going to Buffalo and then heading to St. Lonesome in the winter to work on being a pitcher, instead of the thrower he has become? Then again you would have to have a little bit going on between your ears and OP seems to be lacking in that, so he is relegated to the Mets version of the NYC Board of Education’s “rubber room” where they send teacher’s who can no longer handle a classroom and pay them full salary and benefits while they figure out what to do with them.

If I were the manager of the Mets, I would take all of Perez’ belongings from his locker and leave them in the janitor’s closet and give the locker to Pat Misch. How is OP not embarrassed by the fact, the club never even gave it a thought of giving him the ball today against the Phillies ? Ollie Perez, have you no shame?

For the first time in his Mets career, Luis Castillo and Mets fans are on the same page, yes Luis, you got to go! What other team has players begging for their release or trade and are STILL ALLOWED TO PLAY!!!!!! Castillo and Francoeur want to leave, so why haven’t they been granted their wish?

It’s not often these days we hear from Omar Minaya, and when we do, we realize why he shouldn’t speak in public. When asked what Frankie Rodriguez said to him about the incident with his babies moma’s daddy, Omar the Orator said:

“He said he feels really bad he let the organization down. He let himself down and his teammates down,” Minaya said. “To me, that’s an apology. Did he use that word? I will not tell you that, but I will tell you that he does not feel good.”

Omar, what the fuck are you talking about? Did he apologize or not? And did you, as the GM of the team, tell him he had better apologize to his teammates especially to those teammate whose wives and children were in that room to witness what happened? I would hope that Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, who both said their wives and kids were there at the time all hell broke lose, would confront him on what happened. Prove me wrong Mets players, I say no one has the balls to call out K-Rod on this.

I hope Pat Misch pitches a great game today as he has earned the right for this start and anything that puts it up Mets management’s ass is fine with me.

This is what is has come down to for me. Mets management has taken a forty six year Mets fan and has me rooting for the organization to fall flat on it’s face. I want Ollie Perez to pitch and get shelled. I want Jeff Francoeur to play every day and strike out four times a game. I want Jerry Manuel to keep lifting starting pitchers for an ineffective bullpen. I want David Wright to go to ownership and ask them “where are we going as an organization so I know if I should play out my contract and go elsewhere”. I want some other financial shyster to come along and steal the rest of the Skill Sets money so they are forced to sell the team (You suck Bernie Madoff why couldn’t wipe out the Wilpon’s I would have spoken up for you at your parole hearing if you did ) I want to burn this fucker to the ground and start over. I so fucking sick and tired and being so fucking sick and tired about this disaster of an organization.

Oh in case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m back from vacation.

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R.A. DICKEY, IS READY TO JOIN THE “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” CLUB

Every casual Mets fan can rattle off the names of great pitchers in Mets history, Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, Gooden, Darling, but the die hard Mets fan has guys that when they  here the nam,e one of those cartoon clouds form over their head with reminisces of terrific performance of the past. The mention of their name is usually followed with the refrain “What ever happened to that guy”?

Don Cardwell was one of them, a journeyman who pitched for three full and part of a fourth season for the Mets back in the late 60’s and was on the ’69 World Champion team as a spot/starter long reliever. Cardwell was better than his record and was one of those guys who when called upon either won a game for you or at worse kept the team in a game.

Ron Taylor was another ‘69er who was key in the pen and today is a physician in his naïve Toronto and works for the Blue Jays.  His problem was he was overshadowed by a young, brash fellow reliever, Frank (Tug) McGraw

George Stone came to the Mets with Felix Milan in one of the most underrated deals in Mets history (Danny Frisella and Gary Gentry were shipped to Atlanta) and went 12-3 in 1973 and his misuse by Yogi Berra in the 1973 World Series still bothers me to this day. 

Rick Reed, Skip Lockwood, Craig Swan, Bruce Berenyi, Bill Pulshiper, Izzy and Neil Allen are guys who I think about now and then, about the contribution to the Mets teams they played or how some like Reed came out of nowhere or Stone who had the year of his life in 1973 or Lockwood an very underrated reliever or poor Puls’ one of the Titanic Trio along with Izzy and Paul Wilson, the ill fated Generation K. Craig Swan the Ace of some bad pitching staff of the late 70’s. Berenyi, a June 15th pick up in 1984 when the Mets were starting to turn things around and became pennant contenders. All these guys forever etched in my Mets fan memory of players. Now we have one more pitcher who I can add to that list, R.A. Dickey.

If the Mets go on to win a seat at the post season table, R.A. Dickey will have played a major role. Dickey is the kind of pitcher I’ve always wanted the Mets to have. He looks like a guy right out of Bull Durham. The long hair, three day stubble, the southern drawl, a real dirtbag and I say that with the utmost affection. Sometimes a guy starts to realize he has nothing to lose anymore and stops listening to others and just goes out and does things the way he wants, and it works, you just have to root like hell for him. I even like the fact that he knows Jerry Manuel wanted no part of him on the team and Dickey saying, He could care less what Manuel thinks as he doesn’t pitch for Manuel he pitches for himself and the team.

Who knows maybe in the year 2020 at Old Timers Day, R.A. Dickey will be welcomed with a huge ovation as he’s introduced or maybe he will be a guy that pops in my head when I see a homeless guy with a cap pulled down to his eyes and stubble on his face bringing cans and bottles in for nickel deposit and say “I wonder what ever happened to R.A. Dickey.”

Whatever happens, it’s a joy to watch this Mets team play. As we head toward the end of June, that Mets are a mere ½ game out of first place. Let the summer fun begin!

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STARTING PITCHERS GOING DEEP INTO GAMES ARE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

I hope Frankie Rodriguez can pick up a fork and knife this morning to eat his breakfast, I mean the guy had to come in to pitch in the 8th inning last night instead of his customary 9th inning to get a (GASP!!!!) 5 out save!!!!!! Rodriguez had to throw 25 pitches to complete this unbelievable test of endurance and I’m hopping the 6ft 200lbd K-Rod is not just totally exhausted from that heavy duty work load.

All sarcasm aside here, when did baseball lose its way when it comes to pitching? Sure we could throw this all on The Genius as he reinvented bullpen use with the A’s and Denis Eckersley in the late 80’s but why did the rest of the sport follow suit and turn TLR into the baseball version of L. Ron Hubbard? Why hasn’t any organization stepped  up and denounced LaRussa-ology ? I know Nolan Ryan has as he is going about changing the mind set of the Texas Rangers organization into developing starting pitchers to go deep into there starts, but why are other organization so scared to follow The Express’ as an example?

As far as I know, TLR was a marginal journeyman player and as much as I can’t stand his hide behind his Foster Grants ass, he knows baseball. Just ask him he’ll tell you but when it comes to pitching if it comes down to TLR or even his top disciple Dave Duncan, or Nolan Ryan, I’m going with the Hall of Famer fireballer.

Watching Jerry Manuel work this bullpen drives me up a fucking wall. Fernando Nieve pitches in every game, as does Vitamin Pedro. Jenry Mejia, the kid who Manuel told management he needed desperately is being totally misused. Now that Ryota Igarhasi is on the DL look for Ruben Valdes to become an everyday pitcher.

Manuel manages his pen like he still in the American League, it’s excruciating to watch. But back to my original question, why does it have to be this way?

Yesterday I wrote about the 40th anniversary of Tom Seaver’ 19 K game against the SD Padres. That year the 25 year old Seaver threw a baseball in 290 innings. That’s almost two seasons worth of innings in today’s game. Seaver threw for the fourth most innings that season in the NL as Bob Gibson was third with 294 IP, Fergie Jenkins was second with 313 and Gaylord Perry led the league with 328.2 IP.

In 2009 Justin Verlander led MLB pitchers in innings pitched with 240. In 1970 that would have ranked him 29th overall (Dick Drago of the Royals threw 240 IP in 1970) Bronson Arroyo was10th overall in IP last year with 220.1 IP. In 1970 Rick Wise of the Phillies threw for 220.1 IP good for 40th overall.

One would think with the advancements today in the physical training and with all the computer and video that teams have they could come up with some kind of pitching program that would get more length and production out of starting pitchers. Instead of paying tens of millions of dollars to a guy to come in and work one inning and throw 15-20 pitches wouldn’t it make sense to spend those millions on cultivating an organizational pitching program to train pitchers go deeper into games they’ve started ? Call it Reverse-LaRussa-ology.

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HEY I LIKE 20 YEAR OLD LATIN GUYS….UH WAIT…..THAT DIDN’T COME OUT RIGHT……….BASEBALL PLAYERS THAT IS……….

  13 days until pitchers and catchers

Last night’s hour long PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL show, went by in a flash thanks our own Yankee-Doodle, Michael calling in and Matt Silverman coming on to talk about the ’69 Mets. Some of the topics I wanted to get to in the opening of the show got pushed back as I went on a bit of a Fernando Martinez rant, so I guess I’ll touch on those here.

By the way I got to see F-Mart’s AB last night with the bases loaded and two out in the Dominican Republic v. Venezuela Caribbean World Series game. Martinez did not get a hit in the AB but it was an impressive turn at the plate that lasted 10 pitches until he hit a foul pop that was caught by the Venezuelan right fielder.

I’m not anti-Fernando in any way; I just want the kid to stop acing like he’s a 27 year old journeyman who has never gotten a chance and be the 20 year old who plays so well this spring that he beats out Angel Pagan to be Carlos Beltran’s understudy.

Looks like me and Orlando Hudson have something in common; we both will never play second base for the Mets. So after all the debate about second base for the Mets what’s done is done, Luis Castillo is the Mets second baseman for better or worse till death due us part (or until Reese Havens can prove he can play at the big league level) for 2010.

What is the under/over on how many times Gary Cohen or Howie Rose say “Just out of the reach of Castillo, for a base hit” this season? Let’s set the number at 75.

The last place in the world I thought I’d ever see the name Municipal Credit Union would be on a ball park marquee.  I wonder if those of us with accounts at MCU will get a discount on Cyclones tickets.

I’m very happy for Nelly Figs and his great performance the other day for DR in the Caribbean Series but it wasn’t like he was pitching against the Phillies or Highlanders, it was against Mexico and 45 year old  270 lb Vinny Castila, The Big Fajita!

Maybe things are not as bleak for the Mets as we think. FOX has the Amazin’s scheduled for broadcast 8 times this coming season and one of the games is a prime timer versus the Bronx Bastards.

Maple Street Press is coming out with it’s Mets Annual in a few weeks and there will be a section on the Mets Blogosphere, that will include yours truly.

Matt Silverman is putting out a revised paperback version of his book “100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die” 

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CAN THE METS AT LEAST RUN A PROFESSIONAL SPRING TRAINING CAMP ?

Loss in all the Beltran minutia is the fact that the Mets are going to need a centerfield for the first three months of the season, and the pickin’s are slim.

I don’t know how some folks have come to the conclusion that Angel Pagan is the centerfielder understudy for Carlos Beltan. What has Angel Pagan done in his career that allows this position to be handed to him this spring? I don’t dislike Pagan, I think he’s a good backup, his baseball I.Q. sucks but he is a good 4th OF’er. The big knock I have on him is he’s a journeyman with injury issues and quite frankly he has not earned a permanent spot in the starting 8.

When you look at the Mets today January 17, the only positions that should be givens are 3B, SS, LF, RF, Ace pitcher and closer. Everyother position should be open competition (throw Perpetual Pedro in the lock column as well)

To that issue, where is the manger of the Mets, the Gangsta’? I wrote a few weeks ago that I felt he should have been at the Jason Bay unveiling and now with Beltran out we haven’t heard from him again. Of all the imbeciles in the Mets organization, the one guy I want to hear from has clamed up. Maybe Jerry Manuel has to get permission from the head beer vendor, the ladies room matron in the Acela Club and then Jay Horowitz before he can speak about his team? If  I were Jerry Manuel and I know I’ll most likely be out of a job but Memorial Day, instead of being a Gansta’ I’d be going all Conan O’Brian on the Mets ass’

I need for Jerry Manuel to come out and say that if Angel Pagan thinks he’s the CF’er he is sorely mistaken. I need for Jerry Manuel to say that the 2nd base job is wide open and the amount of money you make does not influence who plays. I’d make it know to every right handed hitter coming into camp that you would be doing yourself a favor by brining a 1st baseman’ glove with you to spring training. I’d also let it be known that a team that has two collapses and season of indifferent play better be ready to come to work early and stay late. You don’t want to be the first guy clocking out of a spring workout.

But then again this would only happen to a team that is committed to winning. As it stands now I feel that Jerry Manuel is Art Howe with a sense of humor and all the Mets organization cares about is that you renew your Sunday ticket plan.

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