So Where Was I ?

Oh hi there. Did you miss me? Well after a two week vacation and going back to work and trying to catch up with work that sat on my desk for those 2 weeks and then have my work computer infected with a virus that had me running to our main office with it and the OIT guys giving me a laptop to use and then running back to the office to try to make up the lost time by eating a footlong Subway sandwich and enter work into the laptop at the same time, (big breath taken here) I couldn’t find time to put up a post here on Kranepool.  But with today as an off day before I get back to the deluge of work, I thought this would a good time to throw out some random thoughts on our ever growing to love NY Mets.

Jarred Diamond of The Wall Street Journal had a great piece on Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada who both lost their starting jobs with the big league team after suffering injuries.  It is nice to see the organization making players accountable and having this “if you can play, you can stay attitude”.  I thought it was telling of the mindset of Duda when he says he would embrace being a DH, which is the perfect position for him; as for Tejada until he learns to work harder and also learn the difference to being hurt than being injured he’ll be on the outs with the front office.  That may be harsh criticism but sometimes the truth hurts.

Joe D over at Mets Minors has a post on Cuban 1st baseman/defector Jose Abreu, who is getting his Caribbean residency in order so he can become a free agent. Joe writes about how this right handed hitting slugger could be the player the Mets need to go after. I agree 100 %. Not only would Abreu be the power hitter that Sandy Alderson has craved but going after Abreu would make the Wilpon’s put up or shut up when it comes to Freddy  and Jeffy Skill Sets  braggadocio over having money to spend. Mets fans should be following the courting of Abreu very, very closely.

I don’t know if the bridge has been burned and I can’t believe I’m thinking about this but would/could the Mets bring Jose Reyes back to Flushing? The money owed is steep with Reyes having four years and $82 million left on his deal (with a $22 mil team option in 2018 with a $4mil buyout ) but if the Jays would eat about $20mil and the organization and willing to bury the hatchet , a reunion is something to think about isn’t it?

Don’t get upset over the Un-Harvey like Matt Harvey start last night, even #41 had an off night.

Can we get confirmation that John Buck’s wife is indeed pregnant?   

Let’s hope that Wilmer “Flo” Flores ankle injury is not serious enough to land him on the DL but if it is for the love of God Terry Collins do not replace him with Justin Turner. Put Josh Satin at 3rd and play Ike every day at 1st and leave it at that. I know Turner is the son Collins never had but please just keep him as a bat off the bench and a fill in.

In our last podcast of The Kult of Mets Personalities, we discussed Daniel Murphy and his future as a Met. I suspect the #Imwith28 crowd will be calling for my head.

 

 

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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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SATURDAY METS MINUTIA

It looks like John Franco wants to get back in uniform with the Mets, no not as a player but as a coach. Franco said in today’s NY Post, that he would love to join the club as a mentor to Bobby Parnell, which I feel would help Parnell immensely and if Franco is sincere as I’m sure he is, instead of telling this to a newspaper reporter, why not approach Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins with this idea.

When Collins was told of Franco’s wish he said “I’ll try and set that up”. One of the things Collins told me during the winter was he told his coaching staff if you see something that you thing in a player or in a way the club is going about it’s business the needs fixing, you should speak up and let’s look at it as a staff. So if John Franco feels he can help Bobby Parnell get his mindset right to be a closer and help him develop an off speed pitch to go with his supersonic fastball, Collins would definitely be on board for that.

I love Howard Johnson, his combination of speed and power makes him one of the best players to wear a Mets uniform, but really HoJo it’s time to shut the fuck up. As Mike Silva tells us, Johnson has taken to Twitter to bash Mets management claiming they are anti-86 Mets.   As Silva points out there are a number of ex-86ers that work for the team, and the Mets gave HoJo a shot at being a manager and he failed and they handed him the job as the big league batting coach and many feel he’s ruined David Wright with his tinkering of his swing. So really HoJo stop the whining you’re starting to sound like a bitter ex-wife.

The Skill Sets are confident they will find at least 20 investors in their Ponzi scheme effort to raise some capital and to keep ownership of the Mets. I’m sure Mortimer and Randolph Duke Freddy and Uncle Saul know what they’re doing, I mean what could go wrong? (BIG EYE ROLL!!!!!!!)

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TERRY COLLINS PUTS TEAM ON NOTICE THIS ISN’T THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW

I’m a little concerned about Angel Pagan, now that the Mets have sent him for a blood test to see what is causing him to be fatigued during games. What also disturbs me is that Pagan has gone into a shell in the clubhouse. With the thought of Carlos Beltran ready to be dealt away, his own poor play this season and the uncertainty that he will be brought back next year, has to be weighing on his mind. Hopefully there is nothing medically wrong with Pagan.

Most of the talk this morning is about what will happen after Carlos Beltran is traded. From reading the quotes from Terry Collins it seems he understands what we Mets fans have figured out the last couple of years, some of these guys tend to lay down like dogs when they feel the season is over. TC has made it known now that anyone he suspects turning canine the last two months of the season will become ex-Mets. This has always been my main concern about the team that in the past, they have shown no heart in tough situations. Collins made it known to me over the winter that that kind of mindset will not happen under his stewardship and so far this season he has live up to his promise.

If anything this Mets team doesn’t roll over in fact, most non-Mets fans/followers have complimented the way the team plays, hard for 27 outs. That’s why I have faith in TC to keep that mindset going forward. I have to believe if a player doesn’t hustle or takes a play off, his ass will be fastened to the bench.

I have been a Mike Pelfrey fan. I’ve rooted for him to get his act together and become a solid front line starting pitcher. I’ve kept saying “one more year and it will all click for Pelf” but more and more this seasons, my faith in Pelfrey drops after each of his starts. I’m getting to the point where I’ll be surprised if he is a Met in 2012. After reading some of his quotes today about life after Carlos Beltran I’ve become more secure in saying that we may be seeing the last of Mike Pelfrey as a Met:

  “I understand that if you want to get something back for him you have to trade him (Beltran),” Pelfrey told The Post before the Mets beat the Reds 4-2 last night. “But in the same sense I would think if we ended up getting rid of him, the front office’s view is that we don’t have a chance, because he gives us our best chance to win. If he’s not here, then they felt we can’t rebound from where we’re at.”

Mike, if you pitched better this season, the team would have had a better chance to compete for a post season berth. Don’t worry about what the front office is or has to do. It’s very simple, players play, coach’s coach, manager’s mange and the front office worries about trades and signings. Quite frankly maybe your problem is you worry about shit that has nothing to do with you and you lose focus on what you need to do, which is to pitch better. Hey who knows maybe your career will turn around next year when you’re a Kansas City Royal.

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WHAT ABOUT BOB ?

Bob Melvin is sure sounding like a guy who will be gainfully employed as Mets manager :

Bob Melvin, in his own understated way, wants to open the door to the Mets’ clubhouse and give players a swift kick in the pants.

“It’s not a talent problem,” Melvin said yesterday after his second interview with Mets officials for the team’s managerial opening. “It’s the mindset. Get back to the confident mindset this team needs to win and compete in that division.”

“I don’t look at it as a rebuilding process,” he said. “I look at it as we have the pieces with this club to compete, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. Certainly with the payroll this team has, it gives you the resources to compete every year. It’s just getting everybody going in the right direction and getting everybody healthy.”

I have to agree 100% with Melvin on this. I thought Jerry Manuel’ biggest downfall was his lack of leadership and his inability to motivate his players.  I’m not talking Knute Rockne “RAH-RAH-RAH WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER” motivation but the ability to put the right people in the right situation to have them succeed.  The Mets were always a three game losing streak from turning tail and retreating, and that’s on the manger.  You never got the impression there was any sense of urgency with Manuel, who loved to say “there’s a lot of baseball left” when the team was floundering. “There’s a lot of baseball left”, is baseball speak for “I’ve got no clue on how to right this team” and that’s the mindset that Sandy Alderson was brought in to change.

Getting everybody going in the right direction and getting everybody healthy.” The two words that stand out to me in that quote are direction and healthy. The biggest problem the last front office regime had was a lack of organizational direction. Omar talked “pitching, defense and athleticism” but never went out and traded, signed or drafted with that mindset. There was no organizational structure in the minor league system and First Year Entry Draft would have been better served by using copies of Baseball America to draft players, but that way of doing business is over.

I feel there is a large segment of Mets fans that would bitch and moan even if John McGraw, Branch Rickey and Ed Barrow were all reincarnated and brought into the Mets organization. You want to get me excited over a manager? Then name Christina Hendricks the Mets field boss (WHOA!!!!!!!! Is it hot in here or is it Christina???????????)

The foundation of the Mets organization has a huge crack in it and the basement has very bad water damage until the farm system and mindset of how the Mets do business gets fixed and back on solid ground, it doesn’t matter who sits in the manager’s office.   If it sounds like I’m drinking the Sandy Alderson Kool –Aid, you’re damn right I am, the man has a proven track record of building a strong foundation he’s Tom Silva and Norm Abram all in one package. So Mets fans give the man a little room to operate and if Wally Backman is not named manager then buy this DVD and get over it.

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“TIS THE SEASON TO HATE THE SKILL SETS TRA-LA,LA,LA LA LA LA LA

 

 

So Jason Marquis signed with the Washington Nats for 2yrs/$15 mil. It seems the Mets were adamant about Marquis signing for minimum of 5 yrs/$40 mil.

 

Of course if the Mets signed Marquis for the same deal it would have been very nice but let’s not make him out to be Don Drysdale, okay, he’s a plow horse who takes the ball every 5th day and most days keeps his team in games.

 

The big problem for the Mets if John Harpers’ info is correct, the team has placed a priority on adding offense first then seeing how much is left in the bank account to go for pitching. If that’s the case, this Mets team is destined for doom.

 

Does it really pay to get mad anymore? I have no idea what the Mets plan is this off-season and I’m at the point that I couldn’t give a shit if Jason Bay signs here or not. In fact, my mindset for this coming season is of a late 70’s type mode. I see myself going to as many games as I can at $iti Field because for all the screaming, cursing and acting like baby bullshit I do here, I’m still a die hard Mets fan. I’ll be there (hopefully) on Opening Day and for a lot of other days/nights at $iti Field. So the Mets don’t have to do anything to appease me because even if they were still playing in our beloved Shea with it’s leaky toilets and broken seats, I’d still be there bitching and moaning but with cash and credit card in hand, wearing a Mets jersey, Mets cap, Mets socks (yeah that’s right I have about 5 pair of Mets socks) and standing and applauding when Alex Anthony says “And here they are your 2010 New York Mets”.  You say I’m a jerk and ass whatever but the bottom line is I love the Mets it’s the owner whose guts I hate.  Even Jimmy (Welcome to my Garden Party) Dolan laughs at Jeffey Skill Sets.

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YOU CAN BUY PITCHING AND HITTING, BUT CAN YOU BUY HEART AND DESIRE?

I’m in the middle of reading a terrific book about the careers of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson called ‘When The Game Was Ours” that was written with Jackie Mac Mullan, the book chronicles the careers of Magic and Bird as they rejuvenated the game of basketball as both collegiate  and pro players.

The book explores just how similar both players were not just in talent but in mindset, that the team comes first.   One of my favorite parts of the book is the great Celtics-Lakers rivalry that Bird and Magic revived from the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. As with Russell and Chamberlain, Bird and Magic both held each other in high regard as men and as basketball players. But when it was game time, the friendship was put on hold and it was all about winning and about the team. A couple of quotes in the book really stood out to me. The first one was from Kevin McHale, the Hall of Fame forward who when asked about his days as a Celtic in the 80’s he said:

“It was the best time of my life”.

“Of all the things we did, what stands out is how naturally we gave of ourselves to the team. No person was bigger than the rest of us”

What struck me about that quote was, here was a team that not only had All-Stars in its lineup, but three Hall of Famers as well. What they all had in common was they bought in to the Celtic way and played for the front of the jersey not the back. All three had the talent to go off and do their own thing but Bird was the leader and lead by example.

Magic Johnson was the same way with the Lakers. His mission was to make everyone around him better and to put up championship banners. He also had the motivation of Larry Bird and vice versa as both men thrived off each others performance.

The other quote that got me thinking was this one by Mychal Thompson who was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Lakers and was taken aback by the intensity of the Lakers locker room before a Celtic-Lakers regular season game:

“You couldn’t cut the tension with a chain saw”, Thompson said. The jovial big man, who hammed it up with Magic many time before, was surprised to see that even Johnson was grimfaced. Thompson asked Byron Scott, “So why is everyone so serious around here”? “Because we hate the Celtics”, Scott replied.

I bring all this up as a long segue into what the Mets really need to do this off season, beside getting some decent pitching and a big bat, they need to find out who gives a shit and who doesn’t. Not just players but front office people the manage, coaches fans broadcasters everyone associated with this team. Do you think anyone in the Mets clubhouse when asked about playing the Phillies would say they’d want to beat them because they hate them? Are you kidding most players on this Mets team need double doses of Imodium AD when they hit Philly.

The Mets are in dire need of a guy whether he be a front office type, or manager, who just doesn’t give a fuck who gets mad at him to work at getting this team to play not only good smart fundamental baseball but to be a team. The best place for it to come would be from the players side but who on this roster right now has that ability to step up and lead?

The only name that pops into my head is Johan Santana, he has that Magic-Bird mentality but he is not an everyday player and that hinders his ability a bit to be “the guy”. Guys like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes like to talk the talk but they don’t back it up. They are like me when I say I’m going to drop 10 pounds then I go and eat a half of Entermanns Crumb Cake and wash it down worth a couple of Yoo-Hoo’s.  Its one thing to say what you’re going to do it’s another to go out and do it.

David Wright should be “the guy” and the Mets should have made it know by now the he “is the guy” but the problem with Wright is he is not a Type –A personality guy. I’m not mad at Wright for the season he had, it was good by most standards except for his low HR total, what I’m sad about is that Wright quit on the team. Yes that play where he failed to score before Jeff Francouer was thrown out at 2nd base for the third out in a game against the Marlins in September. Wright is the face of the franchise he is the guy on all the adds and who makes all the appearances he is the METS. So here it is two months after that blunder and I’m still steaming from that. Sure, Jerry Manuel called him out and benched him the next day but what does that say when the guy who is your franchise player quits? What message does that send to the other 24 players? We saw it with Fernando Martinez when he failed to run out a pop up, not to mention the awful baseball judgment by Angel Pagan, there is a reason why not only the major league team are a bunch of losers but the top two farm teams are losers as well.

Here it is the hot stove season and a lot of the talk is about who will take over for Jerry Manuel when this team hits the skids again. The Mets are run worse than the Knicks, or Nets in fact they’re more like the Fucking LA Clippers.

With all this talk about free agents and all, the best money the Mets could have spent this off season would have been paying off Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and revamp the whole philosophy of how this franchise does business.  The Mets are said to be going abck to the old style Mets uniform with the cream color and thin pinstripe, they need to go back to the no name on the back of the jersey as well. Nothing will change in Flushing until someone in that clubhouse steps up and challeges his teammates or a manager is brought in to hold players accountable. Hopefully Jerry Manuel will look a this spring training as a way to get that message across. What has J-Man got to lose? He is on the tissue thin ice so if it were me I’d make it known to the players don’t be making to many plans to socialize this spring as they will be working until exhaustion hits.  Let the players know now that this is the policy and if you don’t like or feel you’re up to let us know and we will send you some place else, no matter who you are or how much you make” Time for some tough love.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of supporting a team that doesn’t give a shit. I know the players don’t take the losses as hard as the fans but Jesus H Christ can’t you act like you actually give a shit? I’ve said the difference between Mets fans and Highlander fans is we root for the team they root for the Championships. But what we also root for is hustle and desire as well.

Maybe Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would like to run a MLB team?

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ME-ET THE ME-TS

Before you jump down J-Man’ throat about moving Jose Reyes down in the order and putting the overpaid, over weight and overdue  in camp, Gimp Castillo into the lineup spot 1, just sit back take a deep breath and look outside the box.

From reading the stories on J-Man’ first address of the spring, it’s clear that unlike Willie Randolph he will not let his team forget the end of the last two seasons. I also like that  Manuel has stated it wasn’t just the bullpen that sucked down the stretch that putting the failure of the ’07 and’08 collapse solely at the feet of the relievers is selfish and easy to pin the failure on. That’s not to say the bullpen didn’t suck last year or the year before of course they did but also the inability of the offense to get key hits and the fact that if the Mets were hockey players there would be a lot of Lady Bing candidates, so Manuel throwing out a grenade like he did yesterday is welcomed as this team needs to have its cage rattled.

The thing to watch here is will be the reaction by Jose Reyes when he bops into camp. If Reyes comes in and says” Whatever Jerry thinks we to do to win I’m all for it” then the message has gotten through. If Reyes comes in and acts like a baby then puts a face on and complains then he validates Manuel’s mindset that the Mets are a selfish bunch and Jose is clueless to what it takes to win. 

This is also a challenge to Castillo who is the most hated Mets player since Bobby Bonila wore ear plugs and acted like a first class dick. Now in Gimp’s defense he has never been as much of a prick as Bobby Bo and the biggest blame on having Gimp around is solely on Omar Minaya from the ridiculous contract he gave him but J-Man is throwing down the gauntlet to Castillo by telling him show what you got old man.  This will be a huge spring for Castillo as Reyes goes off to be a Dominican Dandy, Gimp can show J-Man that not only does he deserve to be the starting 2nd baseman but he can thrive in leadoff spot of the batting order.

It may not be so crazy to look at Reyes in the 3 hole. Maybe as Reyes approaches 26 years of age he can continue with adding power to this offense and driving in runs more than worrying about stealing bases so much.

In the end though I think this is something Manuel is tossing out there as a test to see if Reyes has added some maturity and if Castillo has any pride left in him.     

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