POSITIVELY METS

From spending time at the Mets  Citi Kids event at Citi Field, a few things stood out:

When you bring up Manager Terry Collins name, especially to the younger Mets players, you get a big smile. Dillon Gee, Josh Thole and Bobby Parnell are all familiar with Collins from his days as the Mets Minor League Coordinator. When asked about the new manager the description they all use is “high energy”. They also laud Collins preparation and the detail he puts in to his workouts.

One of the questions to R.A. Dickey was about him coming into spring training knowing he has a job and how does that affect his routine in camp. Dickey said that working on getting right handed hitters out more consistently, especially switch hitters who bat from the right side against him as “it’s a more comfortable at bat for them”, he can now work on finding ways to take away that comfort level.  One of Dickey’s concerns he said was “that last year was not an anomaly, and it’s my hope it’s the natural evolution of the journey that I’ve started with the knuckle ball”  

Dickey was asked about meeting and talking to Terry Collins and he said he enjoyed the conversations they’ve had but there will be a feeling out process between the manager and the players, “a learining curve “ was how he put it.  R.A. said  “He  respect his (Collin’s)  baseball knowledge”  and he loves Collins’ intensity something Dickey said “that has not been seen around here in the last few years”.  I asked Dickey about the team being a contender and he told me “Gosh I hope so, but there are some boys down the road who may not agree with me but we have the pieces in place, how competitive will play out over the season.  Dickey went on to say that “clubhouse culture” is a big factor “getting people to realize their maximum potential is a big part of it (contending) “   Dickey also feels a “new sense of energy” from last season to now with the new regime taking over he used the term “a high tide raises all ships” stating that the high energy of the manager and the more positive outlook from the front office is a breath of fresh air from the defeatist attitude the Mets organization had had over the past few years.  Dickey told me it’s about getting a “network of guys” to buy in to the positive attitude that it will spread through the team.

Dickey pulls no punches when asked about the second half malaise of last year, “We were ill prepared, in the sense that we weren’t ready there was no sense of urgency” Dickey included himself in that category as well.  He also spoke vaguely of the “hypothesis” of Beltran coming back from injury and the shifting of roles that wasn’t done too smoothly. Dickey claims with all the guys (save for Johan Santana) coming into camp healthy and “rip-roarin’” it will make a world of difference.

Dickey then talked of Josh Thole and how “blessed” he is to have him catch him. He called Thole “Selfless and that’s not something you can say about a player in most clubhouses” He also went to rave about the time and hard work that Thole puts into his craft. It was a theme amongst the pitchers when asked about Thole, they all started with praise of his work ethic and his communication skills. I asked Thole what it’s like to work with the veteran pitchers like Santana, Frankie Rodriguez and Pedro Feliciano when he was here. He said those guys were great to him and he implored them to let him know anything he was doing wrong and from talking to Dickey and Mike Pelfrey that straightforwardness of Thole has gone a long way in his gaining the respect of the pitching staff.

Of course no conversation with R.A. Dickey is complete with some literary recommendation. He told us he just about done reading My Name Is Asher Lev, and he highly recommends it.

Jose Reyes was more than accommodating with his time for us but one thing he didn’t to talk about was injuries. As far as Jose is concerned injuries are a negative and in keeping with the positive energy of the Mets, Reyes pronounced himself fit and healthy and ready to get to St. Lonesome to workout.   When I asked him about the managers proclamation that he is the leadoff hitter with no stupid games as to maybe he’ll bat third Reyes was Reyes, he had a wide smile and said he spoke to Collins who told him “he wants him more involved in the offense” and you can tell that was just what Jose wanted to here.  Reyes said he likes the energy and passion Collins begins as manager. There wasn’t much on the prospects of a new contract from but Reyes reiterated how he wants to stay a Met especially when it was brought up to him that he is longest tenured Met.

During the event we found out that Terry Collins had told Mike Pelfrey that he will be given the opening day assignment and when we got to talk to Big Pelf, you could see how happy he was getting that news.  Pelf told us during his lunch with Collins that he could tell the manager was ready to get to camp as he was going over cutoffs and how to back up bases on throws from the outfield.  Pelf was asked about last year’s trading deadline and the inability of the team to make a deal; he said it was frustrating that the club didn’t try to bring in a player or two to spark the club. Pelf also said he was very happy (as did Bobby Parnell) that Dan Warthen was retained as pitching coach. Both Pelf and Parnell spoke of Warthen’s strong communication skills and how he works with the pitchers.  The biggest thing Pelfrey is looking for from himself in2011 is consistency, the ability to go out and give the team seven-eight quality innings every start.  Pelfrey agrees with most that the Chris Capuano signing was great “under the radar” as he said, same with Chris Young and as we all feel with the pitching reclamation projects brought in by the front office, everything is prefaced with “if healthy”

Pelfrey talked about his use of his secondary pitches and his slump of August. He said learned a lot form that slump but knows that everything he does works off his fastball. It seems that when Pelf has his fastball working it raises his confidence to use his two-seam knowing that he get out trouble with the fastball.

Confidence, Energy, Positivity that just about sums of the Mets off season.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

SAVE THE CHILDREN

I don’t know who I’m sick of hearing about more LeBron James or Cliff Lee? In Lee’s defense, it’s not his fault as he is no where near a self promoting Ring Leader of a media circus, that LBJ is. As much as Cliff Lee would be an injection of adrenaline to both the Mets pitching staff and it’s fan base, I feel the price for Lee will be too expensive for the Mets. Not monetarily but player wise.

I am enjoying watching the Mets this season unlike any Mets team that’s been assembled since 2006. I love watching a home grown infield and the fact that Angel Pagan a one time farm hand that returned home, and is playing All-Star caliber baseball. On the pitching side, how nice is it to see Mike Pelfrey grow up before our eyes, his lasted slump not withstanding? Jon Niese also pitching better than his scouting reports said he would.  Even Bobby Parnell coming back from a trip to Buffalo looks more grown up on the mound as well. It makes rooting for this team much more fun than when the roster is constructed of mainly mercenaries. That’s why I hope Cliff Lee goes to the Twins or Rays.

I’m sure some of you think that’s very short sighted of me to feel like that way and you may be right, maybe Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores and Jenry Mejia (the three players it would take to land Lee) never flourish in the big leagues and I know some say don’t fall in love with prospects but I guess I’m smitten by the Mets farmhands. I see Ike Davis and Jon Niese making a strong case for Rookie of Year and Ruben Tejada and his supersonic range at 2nd base (not even his natural position) and then Josh Thole comes up and shows a productive bat (his at bats against the Second Coming of Christ a/k/a Stephen Strasburg have raised Thole stock even higher) and his handling of R.A. Dickey and his magical knuckle ball has him pushing Rod Barajas for playing time.  Then there is the financial situation of the team.

This is the great mystery that surrounds this franchise. Are the Mets broke, solvent or just keeping their heads above water? No one knows. I don’t think the Skill Sets are a bunch of brokesters but they’re not exactly livin’ large either. So even if you trade your fine farm fresh products for Cliff Lee, what’s the odds you’re going to sign him long term? Not very good if you ask me.

That’s why Ted Lilly makes the most sense to try to acquire. I’m sure the Cubs would take F-Mart and a minor league pitcher of lesser renown for Lilly.

Lilly is a perfect Citi Field pitcher as he is an extreme fly ball pitcher. His velocity has been down early in the season but like Johan Santana he is coming off injury and little by little getting some speed back on his fastball that in the second half of the season should benefit him by making his change up more effective. A rotation of Santana, Big Pelf, Lilly, Neise and Dickey looks very solid to me.

Sure Cliff Lee would be a huge score but I don’t want to pay the high price in kids. Get Lilly and a reliever either Chad Qualls or Matt Lindstrom and take your shot.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

Visit BangTheBook.Com for daily free MLB Mets Picks and gameday previews, also join the baseball handicapping discussion in the forum or track your plays in our sports monitor.