Free Matt Harvey

I don’t think we can question the poise and maturity of Matt Harvey after last night’s performance, in fact I came away quite impressed by his demeanor. Think about how he handled this start with the knowledge that his call up to the big leagues hangs in the balance with Mets exec J.P Riccardi at the ball park in Buffalo and Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and Dan Warthen monitoring his performance via SNY. Make up wise Harvey, in my opinion is big league ready, ability wise could be debated.

If Dillon Gee were healthy we don’t have this discussion on whether Harvey is a big leaguer or not but with the prospect that Gee is done for the year, the Mets need a starter and when you look at the options, Matt Harvey stands out as the best of them.

Miguel Batista or Jeremy Hefner? No thank you. We’ve seen all we need to see of Batista who is still making a living off that last game of the year shutout over the Reds. If I had to pick between the two, I’d  go with Hefner but since Harvey is in the mix, I’d give Harvey the start on Saturday for sure.

Is Harvey ready for it? It seems it’s a question with many answers. Some folks are against bringing him up fearing a meltdown of some sorts, from what we’ve seen of Harvey from spring training to last night, I hardly think that will happen. Will an early promotion stunt his growth as a pitcher? That’s a great question that I can’t answer but what we know of Harvey is he has a passion to be a major leaguer and he loves to learn and will ask questions and work on his craft to achieve success.  My question is how will being on the big league roster with veteran pitchers like R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, two guys who always make themselves available to young pitchers, hurt Matt Harvey? If anything I think he’s thrive in that environment.

I do worry about the enthusiasm level that Mets fans have for Harvey and Zack Wheeler as well.  Between the four game losing streak (7 loses in last 10 games as well) the awful bullpen and ineffective offense against left handed pitching; the fan base is headed toward meltdown mode. For the health and welfare of Mets fans everywhere, I hope the team can take two of three from the Nats.

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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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LET THE MANGERIAL BEAUTY PAGENT BEGIN

Now that the Mets have a GM in place and ready to roll, the next step seems to be hiring a manager (although Sandy Alderson seems to want his Cabinet in place first as we hear his wish list of Lieutenants include J.P. Riccardi, Paul DiPodesta and Grady Fuson all outstanding candidates) and from looking around the Mets blogisphere there is great discussion on who that hire should be.

There are Wally Backman supporters as well as Backman detractors. There are folks pushing a Chip Hale regime (which I’m starting to sway over to) and there are Lee Mazzilli fans as well (which I can not fathom) then there is a candidate that we can agree on none of us want (Bob Melvin) and one the majority of us want (Bobby Valentine) but that won’t happen either.

So who do you support as the next field boss of the NY Mets? Alderson said all the right things on Friday about finding a man to fit this job. He acknowledged that a guy like Art Howe is totally wrong for this team and this city. He likes the fiery kick ass type (don’t we all?) but at the same time he has to be on board with the organizational philosophy and be that philosophy’s messenger. The manger must have the savvy to handle the pressure of the day in day out media, which I feel will be a huge issue in the interview process as Alderson saw first hand the amount of media that covers baseball in this town on Friday. With all that, the manager must have the respect and attention of his players and the ability to keep an even personality through goods times and bad and to instill confidence in his team. That to me was Jerry Manuel’s biggest failure as Mets manager. The stars of this team have a low level of self esteem and were too high after wins and too dejected after losses, so the next manger has to be a part-time psychologists as well. It’s not a job for a rank amateur.

John Gibbons saw that and removed his name from consideration. Bobby Valentine would be perfect for the job but there is just too much ego for him to succeed under this regime. I really hope that Alderson doesn’t ruin the honeymoon by even thinking about Bob Melvin, a younger version of Art Howe who would be eaten alive by the MSM, bloggers and this knee jerk fan base. So who does it leave?

I was a gung ho Backman guy but I can see the point to the anti-Backman crowd as to the overload of hero worship that goes toward anyone who played for the 1986 World Champion Mets. I’m as much to blame for that as anyone; it was great time to be a Mets fan. Al of us from that era thought this was beginning of a Mets Dynasty. It never happened. No need for revisionist history here. What makes us fans that are Ga-Ga over the 86ers is the fact that we want to relive the 80’s again especially my shoulder length hair (did I just type that out loud?) when the Mets were Kings and maybe we think a Backman managerial stewardship would do that? There is no job Backman wants more than the Mets managers job and it’s problems from his personal life that have kept him from a big league job but after watching him in Brooklyn last year it will be interesting to see how well he interviews for the job.

As I said I was a strong Backman supporter but lately I’m more and more intrigued by both Ken Oberfell and Chip Hale. Just like Backman these men have paid their dues in baseball. Both men have won at all levels of the game. Both are strong in the fundamentals department and have the respect of their players. Now do they have the ability to deal with the day to day bullshit that comes with the job, well unless Sandy Alderson would like to invite me to join him in the interview process, I don’t know.

Terry Collins is another candidate I’ve heard mentioned but he might be better suited for player development role. Clint Hurdle’s name has come up as well and he would fit the personality part of the job but he seems to be a long shot in my book.

The best part of this whole procedure of hiring a manager is that I have total confidence in the man doing the hiring. I haven’t had this much confidence in a Mets GM since Frank Cashen ran the club and wait didn’t he run the club in 1986?

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