Johan Santana Stepped Up When He Was Needed

Can’t say I’m surprised about the news of Johan Santana and his re-injured left shoulder, what I was surprised about was the Mets not following Johan’s workouts over the winter and the laissez-faire attitude the front office had with the Ace lefty.  It seems no matter what regime runs this team there is always questions about how they operate.  

This re-tear of the shoulder didn’t just happen overnight, some want to blame the no hitter, some want to blame Sandy Alderson calling out Santana for reporting to camp in less than optimal condition and then responding by being a petulant child going into “I’ll show you mode” by throwing the hell out of a bullpen session that should have never been allowed to happen.   

Santana is the last of the Minaya bad signings and I have the feeling the Mets front office are not exactly pulling out one Kleenex after another mourning the loss of Santana. If they are mourning anything it’s the fact that they will pay Santana $30 mil dollars to have surgery and re-hab the shoulder for a second time.  

Safe to say, Johan Santana is now a former Met and the final piece in the purging of the Omar Minaya Era. Mets fans today are in full reminiscent mode regaling each other with stories about the June 1st no hitter and the Game 161 of 2008 when Santana kept a running on fumes Mets team in contention to the last game of the season. The game that will define Johan Santana’s time with the Mets for me though will be the game he pitched on July 27th of that year.

2008 was a year of turbulence as Willie Randolph flew with his under achieving team to Anaheim only to be told to turn around and go home as he was relieved of his managerial duties in a very unprofessional way.  Jerry Manuel took over and the team responded by making a run and landing in first place in July. On July 26th the Mets lost to the Cardinals in 14 innings using 8 pitchers in defeat.  The bullpen was in dire need of a rest and Santana gave them that the next day pitching a complete game 9-1 victory over the Cards. That is what an Ace does; he steps up when needed and performs at his best. You can bemoan the injuries Santana suffered as a Met, you can bitch about the contract he received although at the time Mets fans were tripping the light fandango over the trade and long term deal he signed and you can try to place the blame on anyone and everyone over this latest announcement of bad injury news, but never forget that Johan Santana gave the Mets everything he had when he took the mound.

As I say the 7-27-08 game will stick with me, but so will the Saturday game against the Fish on that next to last day of the season and Shea Stadium that year as well and no one will ever forget the no hitter especially Mets fans of my generation, we will always have a spot in our blue and orange heart for Johan Santana.    

 

 

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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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Sunday Mets-cellaneous

As this Mets season drags on, it’s not the wins and losses that matter but individual performances are the focus as the front office and fans try to determine who on this year’s team is worth keeping around to draw the franchise out of the loses abyss they’ve been swallowed up in. Last night Jon Niese put on a pitching display that shows he’s a solution and not a problem.

Niese had outstanding command of his cutter last night, his most effective pitch, to strike out seven Nats and not walk anyone. Not only that but more importantly Niese went 7 1/3 innings to bring his innings pitched for the season to 152, just 5.1 innings off his total for 2011 and 21.2 innings off his mark in 2010. If Niese has a flaw in his game its consistency and stamina so his outings are now must see as the Mets need Niese to this season strong.

I would think the prudent decision to make on Johan Santana is to shut him down for the rest of the season. Is he hurt or just fatigued or just good old fashion infective? I have no idea but I do know sending him out for more starts makes no sense at all.  For all the paralysis by analysis, maybe the problem is Santana is just out of gas? Have the Mets doctors sign him off as having fatigue and place him on the 60 DL, this way you free a spot for RHP Collin McHugh, who certainly deserves a call up and would be a more interesting watch that seeing Jeremy Hefner again.

By the way, Santana has no trade value whatsoever between uncharted territory with his type of shoulder surgery and the $31 million price tag that he drags around with him. Scouts saying that Santana could be taken in a deal are just taking Andy Martino for the fool that he is.

Mike Baxter is definitely part of the solution and not the problem. Baxter is what he is, a solid fourth outfielder and a terrific lefty bat off the bench. A gamer as I like to say.

Justin Turner gets another start today at second base and I am very puzzled about the love Terry Collins has for Turner of late.

Do the Mets have a rep around the league as soft? First we had R.A. Dickey and his bracelet troubles that should have gotten Terry Collins thrown out of the game, because as soon as Jim Joyce said there was an edict from the Commissioner’s office about bracelets, jewelry any other minutia that were against the rules, Collins should have told Joyce to stick his hand up his ass and pull out the memo. Add to that any Mets opponent that wears anything other than a baseball uniform, Collins needs to call time and have the object removed.

Then the other night, Davey Johnson pulled a ball breaker move by having Umps check Santana’s glove and have a gold emblem removed or blocked out on his glove. I’d have told Davey “no problem but tell your boy Zimmerman he’s getting the first pitch if his next at bat right in the ribs”. At some point, the have to stop being the games mud room.

 

 

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The Mets Won Last Night, So Why Am I So Angry ?

 

 Jason Bay hit a home run last night. No, seriously Bay hit a home run last night. Yes, Jason Bay of the NY Mets


Oh well, my positive spinning of the Mets was good while it lasted. As great as last night’s win was over the Phuck Phaces and as enjoyable as it was watching The Dickster , Bobby Parnell and Frankie Firsco dominate. I have some issues with Terry Collins and more importantly a couple of players who I am very fond of.

First the manager, TC can spin it as much as he wants that he felt batting Justin Turner third was a the correct move as to not disrupt the rest of the lineup but let’s be real here, Turner is no 3 hole hitter. I understand the premise of not bunching lefty bats against Cliff Lee but Turner replacing Wright in the 3 spot? That’s a Jerry Manuel move. If TC had put Jason Bay in the third spot of the lineup I’d have defended that move. But Justin Turner? Please!

Look I am now and forever a proud member of the #IMWITH28 Club (I have the t-shirt to prove it) but for Christ sake Murph you have to make the routine play and 2nd base. That was the second time this week that a routine ground ball went under Danny Boys glove and it has to be the last.

Speaking of Murphy, TC and Sandy Alderson cannot put Murphy at 3rd base if (when?) David Wright goes on the DL with his fractured pinky (speaking of DW’s pinkie, there were some on Twitter questioning Wright and his threshold of pain for not playing last night and looking at the DL until he recovers. If you are questioning Wright’s toughness or his fight to get back on the field, then you’re an idiot) I agree 100 % with Toby Hyde that Zach Lutz should be promoted from Buffalo and planted at 3rd base until Wright gets back. For better or worse, Murphy is the 2012 2nd baseman and if the TC/Alderson go back on that, it shows real indecisiveness on their part and doesn’t help Murphy with his comfort level at 2nd. DW, if he hits the DL, will most likely be out just the minimum 15 days, so moving Murph makes no sense.

Its plays like Josh Thole made on the bases last night that infuriates the living shit out of me. Since the Mets won last night everyone can chuckle at that bone head base running blunder by Thole, put its plays like that, that this team cannot afford to make. Between Murphy’ ground ball through the legs and Thole getting duped by Jimmy Rollins, (and by the way Jon Niese better put a fast ball under J-Rolls fucking chin in his first at bat just to send him a message) that can sink this team as the Mets are not good enough to fuck up like that.

Just think the Mets won the game last night and are 5-2 after the first seven games and I’m still agitated. Just look at it as some tough love.

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AUTHOR, JANE LEAVY WILL BE APPEARING IN VERO BEACH NEXT WEEK

If you are headed down to spring training next week,you may want to head over to Vero Beach, where Jane Leavy will be appearing at the Vero Beach Book Center on March 20th at 1PM and at the Blake Museum in Stuart at 3PM.

Jane will be signing autographs of her books The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America Childhood and Sandy Koufax:A Lefty’s Legacy” and conducting a Q & A session.

 

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GETTING MESSY AROUND HERE

Saturday ramblings in no specific order:

While I applaud Jerry Manuel for yanking John Maine the other night and showing that if you don’t perform you’re gone, Manuel went a bit too much and it show how much he really can’t stand Maine when it was reported to Manuel that Maine said “he wanted to pitch so badly he’d go out and throw left handed” to which Manuel said with his Gangsta’ laugh “That’s not out of the question , he might have more stuff lefty” funny line but said at the wrong time. There’s nothing to joke about here with this team. The only fans buying tickets to Mets games at $iti Field are the opposing teams fans.  If you’re a Mets fan why would you want to sit in $iti Field and get ridiculed for three hours. Mets fans have been on an island the last few years, the players and management couldn’t care less that everyone who knows us as Mets fans repeatedly asks us the questions about the team failure and get the badgering for the failure of this team and organization. I don’t mind it from friends and family but it’s the front running douchebag Highlander fan who’s knowledge of the team goes as far as wearing a 2 JETER t-shirt and that the organization has won 27 World Series and if you’re a true Highlander fan that person should embarrass you as well.

David Wright has argued more third strikes this past month than he has his whole career combined. At some point the home plate umpire needs to tell Wright, “it’s not me, it’s you” The “hasn’t been good since the beaning” theory is starting too look spot on after each Wright at bat. Maybe it’s not Hojo’s fault but I just wonder if a different voice would help Wright at this point ? It’s just too easy to pitch to David right now. Start him off with an inside pitch and work your way outside, he won’t stride toward the outside at all. The ground out he hit against Rivera to finish the game was the pitch he used to go to right center with, now with this too long swing of his you get a little fart of a ground ball.

Benny Agbayani left the Chiba Lotte Marines because of the way the treated Bobby Valentine. Mike Hampton on WFAN yesterday said Valentine was the best manager he ever played for.  John Franco and Mike Piazza have said the same about Bobby V. You think any of the current Mets will have such loyalty to Jerry Manuel when he’s given his walking papers?

Let Bob Melvin or Terry Collins finish the season and then bring back Bobby V in 2011.

Kevin Russo ? Who the fuck is Kevin Russo? Now every year when this played out Mayor’s Trophy series is played we’ll have to read a Where Are They Now feature on Kevin Russo as he works as a valet parker at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.

Welcome back Uncle Elmer.

So Roy Oswalt has agreed to be traded, good for him, would he be a fit on the Mets?  Hummm  tough to say. At first glance you’d say of course but he’s 32 yrs old with a history of back trouble and his contract runs through 2012 with $15 mil for this year and $32 mil the next two years but there is a $2mil buyout in 2012. It’s not the money that would scare me off but the back issue would and the fact that Oswalt is a countryboy and played in a city that watches baseball until football training camp opens so that would be a concern as well but what would it take personnel wise to bag Oswalt ? Would the ‘Stros take a big bag of junk like Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo ? Or Perez and Fernando Martinez (can we all agree it just isn’t going to happen for this kid?)  and a low level busher?    Like I say the point is moot the Skill Sets won’t pay the money.

It may be ridiculous that the Highlanders have this ban on iPad’s and laptops by fans coming into The Mall on River Avenue and they are ridiculous with their law and order policies on what you can and can not bring into the park (I want to know how much of a kickback security gets from the bowling alley across the street for holding bags? What’s the number for NYC Consumer Affairs ?) but really why do you need to use a laptop or iPad as a fan during a game ? Sit back and watch the game don’t make a job out of it.

Time to finish things off on the parquet floor starting tonight, as pissed as I am over the Mets who cower under the bed when things get tough, I have to make a 180 degree move as a Celtics fan. The C’s are so confident they border on cocky but when Paul Pierce looks in the camera and tells Celtics fans that “we’re coming home to finish this off” and ends it with a wink , I believe him, I mean he is The Truth right? But what I love is the way the team leaders are not afraid to call out anyone on the team, I still laugh at Big Baby Davis after fouling in a bad spot in the game and getting called out from the bench by Kevin Garnett yelling “ I know , I know I fucked up, I fucked up”   Can I get David Wright to do that just once?

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SWING AND SWAY, THE METS WAY

I tell ya, this guy Nelly Figs if anything, is a real survivor. Just when you think he’s ready to get the boot, he now looks to be the long man in the Mets pen come opening day. The front office is finally coming to it’s senses as it looks like Jenry Mejia will go to Bingo to hone his pitching skills.

So the bullpen is now rounding into focus and come a week from Monday the pen should be:

Frankie Rodz

Vitamin Pedro (take one every day)

Kiko Calero

Ryota Igarashi (please pick another number.  18 does not fit you)

Hisamori Takahashi (the second lefty)

Fernando Neve (que ABBA)

Nelly Figs (que Destiny’s Child)

What stands out about this bunch of relievers is just three-Rodriquez, Vitamin P, and Kiki C are true relievers, the other four can be plugged into the rotation as well as relieve. What does that tell you about the faith the front office has in Big Pelf, OP, and Maine Man ? Not exactly a vote of confidence eh?

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IT’S MARCH 12TH AND THE METS ALREADY HAVE ME EMOTIONALLY DRAINED

 

The worst part of the Reyes Thyroid melodrama is not the illness as it appears with rest and proper diet, Reyes can get his overactive Thyroid under control, it’s the fact that the front office now has to make some very important personnel moves and that alone should set all our Thyroids into overdrive.

As a fan I’m petrified about Jerry Manuel getting his way, having Jenry Mejia thrust into the set up role, and of Alex Cora becoming the everyday shortstop, and Cora can crow with all his bravado about grabbing the shortstop job until Reyes comes back but in the words of Harry Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations” you are what you are an overpaid backup. Now Manuel has another problem, trying to put together a lineup without two major pieces, a leadoff hitter and three- hole hitter.

The way it looks now the lineup for opening day would be this:

Pagan

Castillo

Wright

Bay

Murphy

Francouer

Barajas

Tejada

However, with the current situation the Mets find themselves in now and the way Ike Davis is hitting, the Mets may be forced into brining Davis up and letting him be the everyday first baseman. Now you may be saying, “Aren’t you the big time Murphy Fanboy” yes, yes I am, the problem is though, Murphy is not a 5 hole hitter, he is more a 2 or a 7 but with Wright and Bay both hitting from the right side, to have Frenchy got to 5, I would not be comfortable with three consecutive right handed batters plus Davis is showing that he could be ready and having that lefty power bat early on not only would boost the lineup but it would re-invigorate the fan base.

Murphy early on would be a lefty bat off the bench and by the time Beltran comes back (talk about a guy who has fallen off the radar screen, is Beltran working out in camp? at home?, at the mall ? where’s Carlos B ?)   along with Cora and either GMJ (switch-hitter) or Frank Catalanotto or Chris Carter with Fernando Tatis and Henry Blanco ready from the right side.  Then when Beltran and Reyes do come back, reassess the situation and move accordingly.

The biggest gripe I have and most Mets fans have is the lack of a strong leader in management. There is no one in the Mets organization that can stepped to a podium that makes me feel like they are in control of any situation. It’s sad. Every time a situation arises with this team it turns into embarrassment, we want to believe, we want to look at the ownership with confidence that there is a plan, we want to see the manager and players hold their heads high and play tough physically and mentally but all we get is a bunch of guys with high water pants and eye glasses held together with scotch tape. Not very inspiring is it?

I’d go into the pitching situation but my Morphine drip is almost empty.

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METS BULLPEN TURNS INTO DAY LABORERS CAMP

It looks like the Mets front office feels the bullpen situation is bit dicey, with Kelvin Escobar hurting and the lack of a second lefty to take the pressure of Perpetual Pedro, they have signed RHP Kiko Calero and are courting LHP Joe Biemel.

Calero has a history of arm/shoulder injury but his biggest asset is he works cheap, a minor league deal that turns into a major league deal for $850K When Calero is on he is quite effective with his slider and he also a fly ball pitcher who could thrive at $iti Field National Park . Biemel is doing a song and dance about how much he wants, I guess he hasn’t figured out that the Mets have started throwing nickels around like they are manhole covers, but the Mets have the calendar on their side as they saw with Calero who wasn’t happy to be out of work so long but took what he could get.  

We all love Ike Davis and we all hope he becomes the 30+ HR 100+ RBI guy we have been dreaming of and his Granny yesterday in St. Lonesome was baseball Viagra no doubt about it but let’s not get premature about pushing him North as the every day first baseman for opening day. Let’s have Ike get about 100 or so AB’s as a Bison and if he’s producing, by all means bring him up. Between Davis, Jenry Mejias, Fernando Martinez and Josh Thole its clear the Mets fan wants a homegrown star to root for maybe this one time the bad fortune of the organization turns and these four kids turn out to be the real deal.

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SO, THIS SEASON CAN’T GET WORSE YOU SAY? WELL, IT JUST DID !

My main concern right now is the fact that David Wright has NOT been placed on the DL by the Mets. And not the 15 day one either, put him on the 60 day then have a nurse sent to his Manhattan apartment to monitor him and when he feels and checks out better by a doctor fuel up the Skill Sets yacht (take the for sale sign off and cancel the ad in the Buy Lines Freddy) and sail him to the Caribbean for some much needed R & R and tell him see you in March!

I don’t know what was scarier yesterday, the sight of Wright getting hit in the head and lying motionless on the ground or the fear that his health and safety is in the hands of the most incompetent bunch of fuckers in sports, The Skill Sets!

Can’t you just picture Jeffey Skill Sets visiting Wright in the hospital. “Dave how are ya”? “You know what take Sunday off in fact here’s free pass to Great Adventure go ride the Kingda Ka on me”

A must read this morning is from Metsradamus who correctly points out the softness of the Mets is what has fueled this pitching inside and may have led to Wright getting beaned. I have stated this here before, the word around the league is the Mets are as soft as two-ply Charmin. Pitch inside, dust them off the plate, hell drill ‘em in the ribs, the Mets will turn the other cheeck never a fear of retaliation isn’t near. Turk Wendell Mets fans turn their lonely eyes to you .

But finally FINALLY someone stepped up as Johan Santana there behind Kung Fu Panda (on purpose) and drilled Bengi Mollina (The one Mollina who needs to get drilled is Yadier but that’s another post for another time) Sure the Panda hit it out of the park after hitting the dirt but sometimes you lose a battle to win the war.

Check out Mike Silva’s NYBD and his post on the NY Times story on left handed catchers. He mentions Benny DiSteffano the pride of Bensohurst has the last lefty receiver in the bigs. When I started with the City 25 years ago I worked with DiSteffano’s sister. When he was with the Pirates their Mom, would make a pot of pasta, meatballs and gravy for the Bucos. Chuck Tanner was the manager back then and it was the highlight of his season when the club made the trip to Shea and Mama DiStefano’s home cooked meal. By the way, being a lefty myself I own a left handed catcher mitt.

Oh by the way, my sympathy for Matt Cain ended when he tipped his cap to the crowd as he was booed when he was removed from last night’s game. That was a real asshole move by Cain.

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Tickets

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