DIARY OF A MAD METS BLOGGER

 

 

Last night I tuned into the Mets post game show right in the middle of a Bobby Ojeda rant. It seems Bobby O feels the Mets should  (if I heard this right) forget about re-signing Jose Reyes to a big contract and instead focus on obtaining pitching both starting and relievers that the team sorely lacks. With Reyes latest revelation that his hammy is still tight and the comments by Ojeda, where I was once sure the Mets and Reyes would find a way to make a deal, I’m not as optimistic now and I’m kind of leaning in Bobby O’s direction.

There is not a stronger lighting rod subject among Mets fans that the status of Reyes and David Wright. Even in the MSM and amongst the bloggers, if you take the names of Reyes and Wright in vain, expect a shit storm of negative comments to come your way. We love them same as we love R.A. Dickey and Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans and every single prospect from Bingamton down to Kingsport. There is no in between with Mets fans toward Mets players we either love you or loath you.

But we are also sick of losing, of being mocked and for being treated like this is the worst organization in baseball. With all the mismanagement and gullible owners, this organization is not the disaster it’s portrayed to be. But maybe there comes a time where a GM has to make the decision that the fan base will not only be unhappy with but claim they will secede from the fan base, maybe Sandy Alderson should tell Reyes and his reps that the two draft picks the Mets get are worth more than five years of sore hammy’s and second division finishes. Maybe Alderson has to make it known that Wright can be had in the right deal? Maybe it’s time to blow this up and stop fooling ourselves the Mets will contend ion 2012. For what , the top pick in the armature draft in 2013? Surely not a pennant.

All you hear is fans saying “if Reyes is not re-signed I’ll never set foot in Citi Field again” Same thing if Wright is dealt. But these same “fans” stay away because the team falls out of contention but the middle of August. Ok which is it?

Fans are not going to Mets games now as it is, when you have to have a night for cancer awareness, Star Wars, a salute to the Philippines and set aside a section for people to come knit, yes I said KNIT then your problems are deep and need a serious attention.

This is not at all a rant against Reyes or Wright as they are not at all to blame for the last few years of dreck in Flushing, but if your team has awful pitching and defense and a stagnant offense is it worth it to have a $20 mil a year shortstop with sore hamstrings and a $15 mil 3rd baseman you has lost his way offensively and defensively?  If you say yes, then get your Darth Vader suit and knitting needles ready for 2012 and beyond.

Here it is September when pennant races should be the topic of conversation but we as Mets fans have a Star Wars night and old ladies knitting in the ¼ filled stands. Well, I’m fucking sick of it and another thing ,what the hell is Terry Collins thinking having Willie Harris bunting with Angel Pagan on 1st with no outs in the 6th inning of a 2-2 game? Are you serious? That was right out the Jerry Manuel Too Cool For Baseball School Handbook.  Agggggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrr who cares. Knit one, Pearl two.

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BOBBY PARNELL AND NICK EVANS A STUDY IN CONTRASTING PLAYERS

What’s worse than watching a baseball game in September that’s meaningless? How about watching a meaningless baseball game in September being played in “Your Name Here” Stadium in South Florida in front of dozens of fans with an hour plus rain delay? Then when the game resumes your team in this meaningless contest has the lead and the pitcher who is thought to be the closer of the future comes in and blows the save for the fourth time in nine chances, but his ass is saved by a player who you couldn’t give away at least three times this season getting the game winning hit?

So is the tale of Bobby Parnell and Nick Evans. Parnell has been given the opportunity to show he should be the closer for the Mets from now until whenever but he has shown that he does not have the qualities needed to be effective at that position. Parnell has a flamethrower for a right arm but has a ton of trouble locating pitches for strikes. He also has this nasty habit of giving up a hit and then falls apart by falling behind in the count to the next batter who either walks or gets a nice juicy fastball or a flat slider to mash at. It’s not just the pitches that are ineffective; it seems Parnell loses some nerve and confidence when he’s behind the 8 ball.  Small fires become forest fires for him on the mound.

It looks as though the manager who has shown a lot of faith in him is starting to doubt if Parnell can close out games:

“Well, we’re going to talk to Bobby tomorrow,” Collins said. “I mean, there’s a couple things (pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) had talked about with him, a couple of little pitch-location stuff that he’s just got to be able to make. He’s got to make some pitches.

“He’s got a great arm and he’s got really great stuff. But the bases on balls hurt him. Getting behind in the count hurts him. You saw the first hitter, he went right at him with good fastballs, got ahead of him in the count, and throws him a slider and it’s a mismatch. But you’ve got to be able to get ahead.

It has got to be deflating  to the team to have Parnell blow as many saves as he has and Collins made be sensing some frustration in the clubhouse so why not take Parnell out of this roll and let him work on getting his mind as well as his pitches back to where he can be effective. There is too much talent in that right arm to give up on Parnell, but Terry Collins wants to end this season on a winning note as well as evaluating players who have a future with the Mets and who doesn’t.  Using a committee of Manny Acosta, Jason Isringhausen  and the neophyte Josh Stinson looks to be the way to go for these final weeks of the season.

As for Nick Evans, how can you not root for him? He’s been tossed on the scrap heap time and again but never gets discouraged and when he gets opportunities, as he is now playing 1st base on a nightly basis, he is producing with his bat and his glove. From trolling around the team you can tell the players hold Evans in high regard as they know how hard he works to stay in the big leagues and if he can continue to produce like he has, and impress the manager like he has, he will have a spot on the 2012 Mets 25 man roster.

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“JUST WHEN I THOUGHT THEY WERE OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN”

Just when you thought the Mets would fold up the tents and head into the off season with the refrain of “Same Old Mets” from the Flushing Faithful, echoing in their ears,  they not only reverse course but do so in impressive fashion.

After dropping 4 in a row to the Brewski’s and Phuck Phaces, the fan base was going over their fall/winter plans just glancing at SNY or tuning in to Howie, Wayne and engineer extraordnaire,  Chirs Majkowski   but then something amazing happened, two of the most unlikely players, Nick Evans and Mike Pelfrey led the team to a win against the Phuck Phaces to save face since the Philly Phucks embarrassed the Mets in the first two games of the series.  After the off day, Chris Capuano gave SNY some winter programing by pitching the game of the year for the Mets.  If you don’t think this was the game of the year, find a clip of Howie Rose making the call of the final out as it was classic Howie, staying in professional mode but letting you know there is still a lot of Mets fan in him.

Then came the hurricane and the Bravos ran out of town and in came the Fish and a good ol’ twi-nighter at Citi Field. The first game was started by Mets fan fav R.A. Dickey who was stellar as usual but this time he got the WIN but personal wins are not what Robert Allen Dickey is about:

“Wins and losses are nice, but it’s not the metric that I measure my season by,” Dickey said. “If the team gets the win, I know it sounds cliche, but that’s what you want as a starting pitcher, to go out there, put up quality starts and the result be a win for your club. So that’s what I try to focus on. We’re playing pretty good ball right now.”

Then in the second game, Dillion Gee had a great bounce back game which is quite encouraging in such a young pitcher. Maybe it was having Jose Reyes back, or maybe the it was the BP Jersey’s the team wore or maybe Old School Dan Warthen threatened to send Gee into the Iron Triangle draped in a suit of pork chops to fight off the pit bulls (are people really surprised there are dogs roaming 126 Street chop shops? They ‘ve been there since Jack Fisher and Joe Christopher were Mets) whatever,  it’s stellar pitching and the mighty bats of The Dude and DFA Evans have the team back on track.

Another reason why you should be proud of your NY Mets. A kid was stuck between the eyes last night by a foul ball. Justin Turner saw the kid get hit and it made him sick to his stomach, he was so bad off he had to go confide with Nick Evans who also watched the flight of the ball strike the young man. Turner was still worried about the kid after the game that he tried to get info on how he was, and sent word on Twitter he was still waiting and hoping to hear from the boy’s family. Justin Turner is a good man.

The Mets are also ready to make a PSA for an Anti-Bullying Campaign:

 The New York Mets today announced the launch of an anti-bullying public service awareness campaign designed to educate and support our children about all forms of bullying. The PSAs will begin airing today, Monday, August 29, during games at Citi Field and on SNY to help deliver the message to the broadest audience.

 

 

 

Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, R.A. Dickey, Daniel Murphy and David Wright are among the players who participated in tapings for the segment.  The content was developed in conjunction with StopBullying.gov, an official U.S. Government Web Site managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education.

The Mets place a high priority in supporting children in the community.  For 18 years, the organization has been a proud sponsor of the Student Athlete Leadership Conference Series, a mentoring program that includes an anti-bullying and civility message with particular attention paid to language and behavior that is derogatory and offensive based on racial, sexual and ethnic biases.  Over the years, thousands of high school athletes have been trained to promote positive activities to hundreds of thousands of elementary school students across Long Island.

This is another great job by Mets management and their outreach in the community. I would hope they would also add  “It Gets Better” video to help stop the attacks and homophobia that Gay and Lesbian teens face too many times in their everyday lives.

 

 

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THE DUDE LOOKS CONFIDENT

We’ve reached the point in the season where it’s not so much about the wins and losses, although a .500 finish would be psychologically  satisfying I guess, it’s more about what do we have here, what’s worth keeping and what has to be discarded, kind of like cleaning out your basement after taking on water (I must report, no Mets artifacts were adversely effected in my basement taking on some water, although an American Girl doll took a bit of a hit so I guess a trip to the 5th Avenue flagship store is in my immediate future) that’s why I don’t understand what is taking Terry Collins so long to place Lucas Duda in RF and let Nick Evans (Evans reminds of an old nag that runs at Aqueduct during the winter in calming races and never has anyone put in a claim and week after week keeps running over the inner dirt track in freezing weather just hoping to find a home in Kentucky to graze in the grass for the rest of his eternal life) and Whitestone Mikey platoon at first base.

It seems the biggest obstacle with Duda was his acceptance of being a big leaguer, gain the confidence to believe in himself, that he is a Major Leaguer.  As he has become an everyday player the past month or so, Duda has realized that he is of big league timber and that confidence is showing at the plate and in the field.  One of the reasons Collins wanted to leave Duda at 1st base where he is most comfortable and get his bat going. Well, the bat and the head are going very good, so now would seem to be a good time to take the next leap and insert Duda as the everyday RF’er.

Other positive Mets news from last night besides the end of the 5 game losing streak and Izzy getting his 300 save was the signing of some of the remaining picks from the June draft . The three picks who signed that stand out are of course Brandon Nimmo, signed over slot which is a reason to celebrate in itself, infielder Phil Evans and RHP out of Baylor, Logan Verrett as the Mets front office worked right up to the deadline to get these players signed.  Good job by Paul DePodesta and his staff in putting together what most folks proficient in evaluating amateur talent claim, a very good Mets draft.

So you thought the Mets forgot about their 50th Anniversary, HA! No way, in fact the word is out that next year’s home uni will have a 1962 flavor to it and the blue top with orange piping and numbers will be back next season on a limited basis and as a regular alternative uniform top in 2013. I hope next year they  go with no name on the back of the home uniform top and no number on the front along with having the players wear white sanitary socks and blue stir ups. Please don’t half way this, even the cap should be of the darker blue of the era, and WEAR THESE UNIFORMS FOR EVERY HOME GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put the snow whites in moth balls until 2013 and place the black hats with the blue brims in a bonfire!

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THE DANIEL MURPHY DEFENSE FUND

I was so sorry I missed going out to Citi Field on Saturday and the tribute to Dana Brand at the location of where home plate of Shea Stadium was. I am honored to be a contributor to a book that has been published with essays by fellow Mets bloggers titled “Mets Brand” honoring Dana. All the proceeds of the book will be donated to Lynn Cohen’s Pitch for a Good Cause.

There seems to be this misconception about Daniel Murphy’s defense. I’m not proclaiming Murph is a solid defender but he’s not the liability some in the fan base make him out to be. The media plays into this as well, more the national drop ins on FOX and ESPN who have a tough time doing their homework before broadcasting games, mostly because of their disdain for statistical analysis. If you look at the numbers Murph is not a bad 1st baseman, he’s a serviceable 2nd baseman and an ok fill in at 3rd base. His biggest problem is he doesn’t have the power that is needed to play a corner position but his production is perfect for 2nd base. With David Wright ready to come back by the end of the week, figure Lucas Duda or Jason Pridie would have to be moved with Murph and Nick Evans holding down 1st base and Justin Turner taking over 2nd base with Ruben Tejada back to his utility role.

I’d love to spy on the meetings Sandy Alderson and his staff have when the subject of Jason Bay comes up. I just picture Alderson leaning back in his chair with his hands in back of his head offering a major bonus to anyone who can remotely solve this very expensive dilemma.  I have no idea how the Mets get away from Bay’s declining performance at the unbelievable price of $35 mil over the next 3 years.  That contract is untradeable unless the Mets were to eat at least half of that deal. Bay is troubled by his lack of production and he works hard to improve but you wonder what runs through his mind when each and every day he’s asked the same questions over and over again and now that the boos are reigning from the Citi Field stands, I’d be  surprised if he is in the lineup tonight, I’d bet we see Willie Harris in LF for the makeup game with the Fish.

We are in the throes of the Last Days of Mike Pelfrey. If he’s not dealt, he’ll be DFA. I’d be SHOCKED if Pelfrey is a Met in 2012.

I’m ready to add Angel Pagan in that equation as well. Pagan has had a tough season offensively and a lot of that has been due to injury but a decision will have to be made here as well with Pagan making $3.5 mil this year and looking at a bump in pay to $5-$5.5 mil. Is Pagan worth that much? I don’t think so.

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THE BENCH MOB RULES

 

 

After a week sleeping in a tent in the woods of upstate New York listening to wolves howling in the middle of the night and having nightmares of a bear in a Highlander uniform attacking me in my tent, I can say without a doubt that it’s good to be home.

Not just because I missed my wife and daughter but I missed watching the Mets as well. I haven’t felt that way in a couple of years so yesterday it was nice to hit the couch with a cold drink and a meal without dirt and bugs in it and watch the through ass kicking the Mets administered on the Phuck Phaces.  The offense was explosive with bench mob members Scott Hairston and Nick Evans busting out and the Mighty Celtic Daniel Murphy (.349/.408/.465 RISP .383/.408/.489 RISP w/2 out) continuing his solid season but again it was the pitching of Jon Niese that stood out.  Niese has stepped up as a solid starter for the Mets not just for 2011 but for season beyond.  Niese is not an ace but he will be a good solid 2 or 3 for the Mets for years to come.

I’ll get into more stuff tomorrow as I’m still trying to get my back to straighten up again and get my system reintroduced to edible food. Even with all those drawbacks a week away with my son on a camping trip is worth every mosquito bite and bad meal and sleeping in less than ideal conditions.

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TO DEAL OR NOT TO DEAL, THAT IS THE QUESTION……

I guess it doesn’t matter who runs the Mets, injuries are still more complicated than high school trigonometry. Jose Reyes is set to hit the DL except Terry Collins is worried about not having Jose for the Phillies series after the All-Star break. I guess TC feels the Mets still have a shot at winning the division and as great as it would be to win that series, it’s more important to get Reyes healthy and to not play shorthanded. The Mets under Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya were raked over the coals for doing this and it seems this way of doing baseball business has spread to the new regime as well. Reyes hasn’t played in five days and hasn’t felt any improvement in his tight hammy. Now he and his agent have decided to get a second opinion, fine. The original diagnosis was a Grade 1 strain of the hamstring, which is supposedly the least severe but because no one on the Mets is a fast healer, this Grade 1 may be worse than first thought, hence the second opinion.

Meanwhile Nick Evans is sitting in an airport in Buffalo waiting to board a plane to LA to join the big club. What’s interesting with Evans becoming a Triple A star, this could be the break he needs. If he does take Reyes place on the Mets when Reyes comes back, the roster move made will be an interesting one. Evans has cleared waivers twice this season, if he can translate his hitting from Buffalo to the big club, it’s doubtful he’ll pass thorough waivers again.  Good for Nick bad for the Mets.

I was happy to see Sandy Alderson agree with my premise that the Mets are relevant again if not contenders. Still, Alderson is trying to balance relevancy and being in the hunt for a post season berth with the need to deal off some parts to build a better future for the Mets and keep the fan base interested enough to keep buying tickets and watching on TV. That’s a tough task.

To deal off Frankie Rodriguez (if Alderson can pull this off he is the GM I thought he’d be) Izzy and Tim Brydak that wouldn’t be a detriment to the team at all, as you have cheaper and just as efficient if not better replacements in Bobby Parnell, Pedro Beato and Mike O’Connor. The other trade chip will be easier to deal but could take the heart and soul out of this team.

No matter if you’re a Beltran fan or foe, you cannot deny Carlos is having the most fun he ever had as a Met. Not only is he more than productive but when you see him giving “The Claw” to his teammates and then have them give him a hard time when he forgets to give the signal to the bench, a happy Beltran is a productive Beltran, it’s hard not feel good for him. It kills the anti-Beltran faction of the fan base because they can’t find any negatives about Carlos this season. Willie Harris has proclaimed him the leader of the team. His teammates see him pull on his knee brace and play every day and never complain about the pain that you know he has in that knee. With no Wright or Ike in the lineup, he has taken it on himself to stay out there every day.

With all that, Alderson should trade Beltran for the good of the future of the club and for the good of Beltran. The rest of baseball is watching Beltran closely and there will be no shortage of suitors for Alderson to make a deal with. It will hurt in the short run but dealing Carlos Beltran may be the best for the long term for the Mets.

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JOHN NIESE AND HIS YELLOW HAMMER

Another solid start by Jon Niese  and his ever improving curve ball led the Mets to a series win over the Brewski’s . The same Brewski’s who have the best home record in baseball were a late inning Mets collapse away from being swept at home.

These Mets are perplexing to say the least. As much as the rash of late inning collapses infuriate us, this is not the same old Mets. Lose a four run lead and lose a game you should have won? No problem, come back the next day, forget yesterday and win the next game.  A post season berth this season is pie in the sky I know but the renovation of the mind set of this organization is progressing very nicely. The culture of the “woe is me attitude” had been eradicated, replaced with “keep plugging along”. It’s very refreshing.

Jason Bay seems to be a very nice guy who is working his ass off to get his bat back to where it should be. He knows what’s at stake and he has been a team guy when Terry Collins has approached him to either drop him in the order or to put him on the bench. His team first attitude is great. But this is big league baseball where winning and losing are paramount to what is to be accomplished and if Bay has to sit or be platooned or relegated to rehab in St Lonesome with a “wink-wink” DL stint, then so be it. Sandy Alderson said during the off season that salary will not determine who plays and we’ve seen that with the moves he’s made so far this season. Now comes word that Lucas Duda will be called up from Buffalo and Nick Evans will be DFA. Duda is not here to ride the pine; he will play some LF and 1B. Not sure if TC will go strict platoon with Bay/Duda or give Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada some days off and move Murph to 3rd with Duda playing 1st but what bringing up Duda does is give TC more flexibility and some much needed production from a corner position.

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BETTING ON A LONGSHOT, MORE F-MART PLEASE, AND SHOWING OFF MY DICKEY

After getting sick and tired of having a co-worker tell me how great the Highlanders are and how bad the Mets are, right before the season I decided to make a bet that the Mets would have a better record than the Highlanders at the seasons end. The winner takes the loser to Katz’s Deli for lunch and the loser has to wear a t-shirt or jersey of the winner’s team. After I shook on this bet, I got a bit queasy, not over the prospect of paying for pastrami and knish but the idea of wearing any type of Highlander clothing makes my skin crawl.

When I told people of this wager, Mets fan and Highlander fan alike, they gave a look like I was a bit off in the head or more off than usual, and believe me I doubt what I did as well, but a glance at the standings this morning,  shows all is not lost:

Highlanders 20-15

Mets  17-20

The next 13 games for the Highlanders are against the Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Mets and Blue Jays so I’m rooting for a nice 3-10 slide for the Bronx Bastards. I’m feeling Pretttttty, Prettttty, Prettttty good about my wager so far. I may not win the bet but I want to make my wagering  partner sweat a bit.

Speaking of the Highlanders, I bet Pee Wee Cashman has the Mets bullpen over the arsonists he has in his.

If Lucas Duda wasn’t suffering from a back injury he would have been the choice to replace Ike Davis at first base and some are calling for Josh Satin to get make the jump from Bingo to Flushing but Satin is not on the 40 man and with Nick Evans not hitting, it came down to bringing up Fernando “ $10 Co-Pay “ Martinez instead.  Seems Terry Collins will just give F-Mart a spot start here and there and some pinch hitting duty during his hopefully short stay while Ike recuperates from his ankle woes . To me this makes no sense since Jason Bay has done nothing at the plate why not platoon the two in LF until Ike gets back and if Martinez is playing well then leave it be. If Bay doesn’t like this idea, with all due respect, tough shit. Send a message hot bats stay in the line up limp lumber hits the bench.

By the way, why is Chin-ling Hu still here?

Nice right up in the Daily News on Darren Meenan of The 7 Line. I wear my In Dickey We Trust t-shirt proudly

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IZZY OR BOYER? NICK EVANS? BACKUP CATCHER? WHAT’S YOUR FINAL ANSWER ?

 

Allright back to blogging after a weekend of freezing my ass off on a camping trip in Northern New Jersey.  I spent the weekend with my son and his Boy Scout Troop at Camp No-Be Bosco in NJ, if it wasn’t bad enough the woods were snow covered, the temps were in the mid-teens on Friday night and Saturday morning, but I have to admit this was what we call “fat-ass camping” we slept in cabins with propane heat but still, we did a 5 mile hike into the mountains which was nice until we discovered a couple of huge bear paw prints. That’s when my bowels started to churn a bit.

Anyway, here it is with opening day just five days away and it feels like football season more than baseball but never the less for us Mets fans Friday night at 7:05pm at “Your Name Here Stadium” in South Florida it will be the start of the Mets 2011 season but between now and Friday the decision makers of the Mets have some tough roster moves to make.

The starting eight look set now that Carlos Beltran is confident he will be good to go on opening day. Day two of the season he may not be and that looks to be how Beltran’s season will go. He is not an everyday player any longer. If he plays two or three games in a row we will surely need a day off to rest his hurting knees.  That would make Scott Hairston or Willie Harris, Beltran’ caddy. Hairston has some power but he hasn’t played much right field so this could be problem if Beltran’s knee woes become chronic.  Harris fits the bill defensively (as we Mets fans know too well) and he has that nice OBP that’s all the rage in Metsville. Depending on the pitcher the day Terry Collins will need an understudy will determine if Hairston (bats right) or Harris (bats left) gets the nod.

The four everyday infielders are set with Brad Emaus taking over second base on a futures bet by the Mets. Emaus didn’t light up spring training but with a big endorsement from J.P. Riccardi, Emaus gets to show his stuff on opening day and beyond, how far beyond will be up to Emaus. The infield bench consists of a no hit (Chin-lung Hu) no glove (Daniel Murphy) and a man of many gloves (Willie Harris who I bet will be the emergency third catcher) and some bat, what this does is it makes Nick Evans an ex-Met, which is kind of sad.

The catcher position is becoming a mess. Josh Thole is the starter but who will back him up? The Mets waited and waited for Rony Paulino knowing he came with some carryon baggage in an 8 game suspension for PED use. He then added another piece of luggage with his visa problems and now he’s added a steamer trunk with news that some blood work that was done on him looks problematic. Mike Nickeas is ok for a week but no way can the Mets go a full season with him as the backup catcher, so if Paulino has an illness the Mets may have to scramble for a backup catcher. Anyone have Bengi Molina’s phone number?

The starting pitching is set, as is 6/7ths of the bullpen, with the competition between Blaine Boyer and the surprising Jason Isringhausen comong down to a last minute decision.  Izzy has been a great story this spring and looked to be a lock to win a job until he heard a pop in his elbow and Boyer has been fabulous this spring. As much as the club wants to keep Izzy, the worry is he will breakdown in a month or two, and Boyer has an out in his contract and will scooped up by another team in a heartbeat. 

Sandy Alderson admitted during the bloggers conference call that the decision on who gets the last bullpen spot is a very tough call.  Izzy brings a battle tested pitcher to the pen and has shown he wants to pass on his knowledge to his mates.  It’s really really tough but since the medical staff says it was just some old scar tissue that’s popped and Izzy has returned to pitching and has still been effective, I’d take a shot at keeping him on the 25 man roster.

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