NY Mets Need Johan Santana Ready, But Not For Opening Day

 

The NY Mets hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach for 2013, his name is Jim Malone. Malone was hired in early November in an effort to upgrade the way the players in the organization physically conditions themselves for the 2013 season and beyond, especially when little nagging aches and pains have some guys taking time off due to soreness not injury, you would also think his first duties as the S&C coach would be to meet with Johan Santana and oversee a workout plan for him after the abrupt end of his season. I mean, it stands to reason right that Santana’s health would be of optimum importance to the Mets?

I don’t just look at Santana as the Ace of this Mets staff, I also look at him as Sandy Alderson’s prime blue ribbon steer, the one commodity that Alderson has left to sell off for some much needed calf’s to restock the Mets farm. Santana should have been given the best feed and a comprehensive workout program that would strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder and his endurance. He was given none of that by the Mets, and now Alderson is surprised that Johan Santana cannot make the proclamation that 99.9 % of players make when they report to spring camp that “he is in the best shape of his life”.

Talk about not doing due diligence, how in the world did the Mets not monitor the lefties off season workout activities?  I would think that every player in the organization sits down with the training staff and strength and conditioning staff and charts out a winter routine to make sure guys report to St. Lonesome in tip top shape. This isn’t reserve clause era baseball anymore where players have to take jobs selling insurance or laying brick, the biggest job most players have is staying out of their wives way, so I’m sure vast majority of baseball players hit the gym in the winter time, because as I said in the above paragraph all we here from players today at reporting time is they are “in the best shape of their lives”.

All the talk now is about getting Santana ready for an opening day start at Citi Field. Seriously, that should not be the top priority, no the Mets need for Santana to work at getting that left shoulder strong and if that means he doesn’t come up North until the beginning of May then so be it. Santana’s value to the Mets isn’t what he brings in his starts, no, his importance to the Mets is what he can bring back in trade.

Johan Santana is the last of the high priced players of the Omar Minaya era and the last real trade chip Sandy Alderson has left that isn’t named Harvey or Wheeler, if he is healthy.  Right now the Mets need Santana and Malone to sit down and work out a conditioning plan that gets him back on the mound with a strong left wing that throws strikes. If it takes the next 4 weeks of spring and a DL stint and a couple of rehab starts in Las Vegas then so be it.

This is not to disparage Santana or to call him out for not working out this winter, not at all. Santana when healthy was a force with the Mets  a guy who not just competed but rose to challenges  when faced with them.  Of course there was last years no hitter which will leave Santana (and Mike Baxter) mark on Mets history.  His first year with the Mets on July 27th 2008, a day after the Mets used every pitcher on the roster in a 14 inning loss to the Cardinals; Santana pitched a complete game and beat the Cards 9-1. Then on September 27th Santana beat the Marlins 3 hit shutout on 3 days rest to keep the Mets playoff chances alive. Oh yeah he did that with a torn meniscus in his knee as well.

Santana is as tough as a two dollar steak, coming back from the meniscus tear, elbow chips and reconstructive shoulder surgery. No question Santana will now work to get back into the rotation but now in the last year of his contract with the Mets, the cold reality is, he’s a short timer.  The question Mets fans should have about Santana isn’t if he will make the opening day start, it should be can Sandy Alderson move Santana to a contending team for a blue chip outfield prospect by the July trade deadline.

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Mets Sign Lefty Laffey

Aaron+Laffey+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Boston+Red+VpfK2r9QAVql

Needing some help in the pitching staff, the Mets went out and signed lefthander Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training.

The former Yankee, who made 11 relief appearances in the Bronx. Last year in 22 appearances – 16 starts – he went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in Toronto.

Sports betting review says, the 27 year-old held lefties to a .262 batting average and a .721 OPS in 148 career games, 65 of them starts with four teams over six seasons. He also pitched for the Indians and Mariners.

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Traid Ike ??????

If you are in the Financial district of Manhattan today head on over to the Citi Bank branch at 120 Broadway where you can meet Mets great Mookie Wilson. Mookie will be meeting and greeting Mets fans and signing autographs from 12 Noon to 1:30 Pm at the Citi Bank Branch.

One thing you can say about Mets fans, they are damn entertaining. They bitch and moan about the suckitude of the team but when a player is mentioned as trade bait they filp out. The latest outrage is now word that the club will explore moving Ike Davis in the off season. The reaction from the lunatic fringe of Mets fans was predictable.  

Adam Rubin in his post on ESPN.com wrote that the Mets are playing Lucas Duda at 1st base against lefties because they are looking at using Davis as trade bait to fill one of the numerous holes this team has. Nothing wrong with that. Rubin then mentions that the organization is not happy with Davis’ stubbornness in taking direction from the coaching staff and his nocturnal habits.  Davis’ pig headedness when it comes to listening to coaching direction is not a new murmur, the night time high life is.

Davis has battled a lot of adversity the last two seasons, between his ankle injury costing him a season and his bout with Valley Fever and his awful first half of 2012 season to his credit Davis has bounced back in the second half to the point that he could be a valuable trade chip this winter. Another thing to remember, Sandy Alderson and his baseball operation staff are not emotionally invested in the majority of the players on the Major League level of the organization and would have no problem dealing them off to improve the team. That’s why I feel the Mets will be one of the most active teams in trades this off season because there is no way you can bring back the bulk of this team in 2013 and win.

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NY Mets Problems Run A Bit Deeper Than Obtaining A Reliever

Sorry for the hockey interuption. This young manin the picture is Rick Nash he is a good solid hockey player. When Nash woke up this morning he was a Columbus Blue Jacket and now he is a New York Ranger. Many NY Ranger fans are doing the happy dance when this was announced. Nash coming to the Rangers had a price, three very good Rangers are now Blue Jackets. Thank you to Brandon Dubinsky for 8 teriffic years as a Ranger same to Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon  all the best   

All I asked for was a summer of competitive baseball, why is that so difficult? The Mets are in the midst of another second half free fall as they have won just one game in their last ten. The last three seasons after the break have been disasters for the Metropolitans:

2011 31-40

2010 31-43

2009 28-47

During this recent run of losing baseball, I’ve thought about a question I posed to R.A. Dickey back in the winter of 2010, about the time Terry Collins was named manager, I asked Dickey what happened in the second half of the season that led to slide he said after a long pause, “lack of preparation” I asked by whom, the coaches or players and Dickey replied “both”. Last year’s collapse and now this latest second half losing streak does not in my view, fall under the lack of preparation or commitment , it seems like it’s more like a lack of major league readiness and an overachieving first half.

We have gone over the faults of the bullpen ad nauseum  and yes those sixteen blown saves and twenty loses are the biggest kick in the nuts this season but there are still many holes on this team that need addressing and no mid-season deal can cure them.

The Mets outfield is a mess. There is not one solid “every day I can count on you” player that plays in this outfield. Scott Hairston is very good vs. lefties and as a pinch hitter but Hairston is what he is, a bench player and when bench players start to get regular work, you get to see why they are bench players. I really like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and I want him to be a Met for a long time. He plays terrific defense and he has that “baseball makeup” that scouts love. He also has a lot of holes in his swing and is quite perplexed by the breaking ball to the point where he is putting up Kingman-esque strike out rates. Lucas Duda plays right field like the displaced first baseman that his is. It’s hard to get on him for the awful reads he gets on fly balls as he was put there for his bat, and that bat has gone limp. In Duda’s last 18 games he has 1 HR and 2 RBI. That is not the production you need from your corner outfielder. What more can you say about Jason Bay? At the end of this season Bay his agent and Sandy Alderson need to sit down and figure out an exit strategy for Bay. It would be best for both parties to part ways. Andres Torres does nothing useful and I’m guessing he is just here until Mike Baxter gets healthy and is re-activated. Torres should not be taking playing time from anyone.  Is Jordany Valdespin an outfielder? An infielder?  A bench player? Late for dinner? See a pattern here?

The catching situation is a mess as well (file this under lather, rinse, repeat) not just for the big league team but throughout the organization as well (we’re counting on you Kevin Plawecki )

David Wright has been an MVP quality player and after a disastrous start to the, Ike Davis has found a pulse but you still have to question if Ike is the guy to man first base in the seasons ahead. Ruben Tejada looks set at shortstop for the next ten years and Daniel Murphy at second base……………………..there’s a big question. #ImWith28 has busted out of his slump and is producing now but he could bring back value if Alderson touted him as a 3rd baseman as 3rd basemen will be demand this winter.

Lots of work is to be done to get this Mets team up and running as a true contender. A reliever at the deadline is not the answer.  

 

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NY Mets Need To Get A Bullpen Improvement Loan

 

 

Greetings again from Cape Cod and a Happy 4th of July to all. I didn’t see or hear any of today’s game but from reading around so far this evening a 2-0 Mets lead fell fast as Chris Young was done in by the dreaded “third time around the lineup” and  of course a bullpen meltdown which cost Jeremy Heftner his job and gives a big opportunity to Pedro Beato.

The Mets made a couple of head scratching moves, first it seems like Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a sore hand that’s not bad enough to land on the DL but just in case, Jordany Valdespin was recalled from Buffalo at the expense of Justin Hampson. I was quite surprised that Hampson was DFA (we all know where he’ll land right? Cleveland.) the only thing I see with this move is Sandy Alderson is ready to move on either Will Ohman or Brian Fuentes, both lefties who were DFA. I’ll bank on Alderson signing Fuentes if he clears as he has late inning closer experience.

The bullpen is in dire need of repair and Alderson is well cognizant of that, which is why we’re hearing of the Mets talking about a Frankie Rodriguez reunion. I’m a bit on the fence here bringing K-Rod back but he was able to handle the late inning pressure here (the family room at Citi Field was a different story) and it wouldn’t coast much in players to get him and it is a sign that the Mets have some dough to spend as they would have to take the remaining $4mil in his contract.

So if you add Fuentes, K-Rod and maybe Houston Street or Grant Balfour that is a major renovation of you bullpen. Hey it worked for the Cardinals last year didn’t it?

For your entertainment pleasure check out the Q & A I did with Justin Klugh of the Phillies blog That Ball’s Outta Here.

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GO METS! SIS-BOOM-BAH!

As first reported by Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest, LOOGY Deluxe Tim Byrdak has signed a contract extension with the Mets for next season. Seems Sandy Alderson would like to keep two lefties in the pen and so far Little LOOGY Danny (Give me a LOOGY with Hair, long beautiful Hair, shining, gleaming…..)Herrera is making his bid to be Byrdak’s stablemate.

Between having John Franco babysit Bobby Parnell and now having Terry Collins breakdown of Dillion Gee’s pitch selection and approach, it seems like Dan Warthen is on shaky ground when it comes to his job security for next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a return of The Jacket to Flushing.

How much does the stellar play of Ruben Tejeda play into the Mets maybe not going all out to re-sign Jose Reyes?  I’m sure he will never admit it but I’d bet Sandy Alderson is praying that some dumb owner offers Reyes a ridiculous contract that he can’t match so he can use the $18-$20 mil on pitching.

What a schizo team we root for. They lose four games at home to the Nats and look like they packed it in for the year. The manager calls his team out saying they “folded up” and says “the fans are right to be angry”  So they go into Atlanta, usually a house of horrors for the Mets and take 2 of 3 from a Braves team that needed to win these three games to keep the Cardinals and Giants off their heels. Amazing Mets indeed.

This is beyond disturbing!

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PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL TONIGHT AT 9PM EST

Some interesting linkage today dealing with our Mets and other baseball topics also remember tonight at 9PM EST its Pro Baseball Central with our guest tonight Craig from the Marlins blog FISH STRIPES as we continue our segment of keeping the NL East enemy close.

 

Looks like Omar has decided to solidify the pen by offering LOOGY extraordinaire Will Ohman a contract, who if he signs would be the final pieced in the pen.  I liked Omar’s idea of having some spots up for grabs as to infuse some competion in camp but after two seasons of bullpen malaise Minaya wants to build the best bullpen he can and by adding Ohman (.197/.285/.318 vs. LH) he would do just that.

 

It would set the pen up to look like quite strong:

 

Frankie Rodriguez

J J Putz

 

Sean Green

Duaner Sanchez

Tim Redding

 

Pedro Feliciano L

Will Ohman L

 

The back end with Rodriguez and Putz is solid. Green could be the guy that guy that breaks out big if Old School Dan Werthen can get him to keep his fastball down and work his slider as when he does he gets ground ball out. He doesn’t give up a lot of extra base hits but he needs to work on his control as his BB/K rate of 36/62 needs improvement. Hopefully Duaner returns to his Dirty days after battling injury and bad attitude. Redding will compete for the 5th spot with the Chief but I have confidence that Freddy Garcia will win that battle and Redding will be the long/swing man. That leaves Feliciano and maybe Ohman as two top lefties in the pen. On paper it’s a pretty impressive pen and one Omar should be proud of putting together but let’s see how it plays out on the field.

 

Brain Schneider doesn’t want to be a part of a platoon at catcher. That’s fine but for that to happen he needs to do three things, (1) Stay healthy, last year he pulled a hammy in spring training and that hurt him in more ways than one (2) Tell Team USA thanks but no thanks if they call for him at the WBC and (3) Don’t suck. Not just with the bat even though that was a problem but more so with his glove and calling a game, the two areas he was a big disappointment with last year. Schneider needs to understand he’s not here for his stick.

 

Welcome to the MIKE FRANCESA IS A BIG BLOW HARD CLUB,  Ryan Church. The club meets Monday-Friday from 1-6 at this location.

 

The more the Used Car Salesman opens his mouth the more he proves my point that he is a total asshole.

 

Neil Best of the outstanding WATCHDOG blog (some day Neil will reciprocate a link) has a transcript of Ron Darlings appearence on MLB Network. I was intrigued about this quote:

 

ON THE DYNAMIC OF THE 1986 METS TEAM:

 

“The leaders were Hernandez and Carter, guys who had come over and learned winning baseball from where they played, but I think even more importantly you say ‘had fun’ and you’re right, it is a different time [now], a lot of the stuff that happened in ’86 certainly couldn’t happen now in 2008 and 2009 but that team was so solid and I’ll tell you the nature of that team. We were coming back we had lost a 4 game series in Chicago, we get into St. Louis about 8 o’clock at night and Davey Johnson pulls the bus over at a Morton’s Steakhouse. He rushes the entire team in and we all go in there and sit, after a 4 game loss, heads down, the whole team sat in there for 3-4 hours and just kind of discussed how the game went. That’s how close they were.”

 

I can’t imagine what this site would be like if I was bloging back in the day. I’d would have started a blog just on the comings and goings at Rusty’s as that was the place to be back in the day.

 

 

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TONY BERNAZARD FOR EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

When Willie Randolph was let go a lot of venom was spewed in the direction of Tony Bernazard, Omar Minaya’ First Lieutenant and the Mets Director of Player Development .Bernazard was portrayed as a meddler and was no fan of Randolph and was one of the voices in Omar’s head to can Willie. I bring this up today because as I was reading John Harpers pieces in the Daily News today , he mentions how it was Bernazard who pushed for the promotion of Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans and Argenis Reyes all three have made big contributions to the resurgence of the Mets season. Bernazard also looks to have made the big decision to give Jon Niese a start last night which from listening to J-Man was not his first choice to start last night. I’d love to know how hard J-Man pushed to have either Brain Stokes or Nelly Figs get the start last night. From the parting words of Willie Randolph it is hinted that Bernazard and Manuel have a very good relationship and difference of opinion is good as who wants “yes” men around them al the time. So I’m sure J-Man made his case but in the end Tony B had a stronger case. Taken on face value, J-Man was most likely right about going with either Figs or Stokes or even returning Olympian Brandon Knight, not because of the green gills of Neise but with Santana and OP sandwiched around Neise that’s three lefties in a row which you want to avoid at any cost but especially with a team like the Brewski’s who pound left handed pitching. Remember back a few months ago the Mets moved John Maine up in the rotation to go between Santana and OP as J-Man wanted to avoid the three lefties rotation. But back to TB, I never thought of him as a villain that the media made him out to be now I don’t know the guy but I have to give him props for running a better minor league system than we all thought the Mets had.. All the so called expert publications told us Mets fans that the organization was lacking in Major League ready and lucky for the team they were wrong. 

 

So now Petey is working out to get his arm loose as that was the reason for him not feeling “comfortable” in his last start in Miami.  You all know I’m a Petey fan boy but he is becoming like an old car that burns oil and keeps breaking down. As much affection as I have for the Great Petey no matter how the season turns out it’s time to let Petey ride off into the sunset, as there is no reason to bring him back next season. Too much maintenance.

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