The Mets Front Office Needs To Show Me They Are Back In The Baseball Business

Not much energy to put up a post today, watching the NY Rangers play an epic 3 OT playoff game will drain a fan. Between watching Henrik Lundqvist kick and catch puck after puck and seeing Ranger after Ranger drop down and block pucks to the point that Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle got their best rest while getting stitched up so they could go back out to block some more pucks.

I’m just thankful that after investing over 5 hours of hockey watching the Rangers game away with the 2-1 win and 2 games to 1 lead in the series.

So after going to bed at about a quarter to 1 this morning, waking up at 5 AM and getting to work by 6:30AM I’m a tad fatigued. So I’ll just say this about the three games of awful pitching in Houston, the front office has to show the fan base that they will go out and find a better option than Chris Schwinden. I don’t want to see Matt Harvey or Jureys Familia, let them stay on their development course.  I’m ok with Jeremy Hefner taking Schwinden place, hell a forfeit might make better sense than starting Schwinden again. If you ever wanted to know what a 4A player looks like its Chris Schwinden

I doubt seriously that Roy Oswalt would sign a deal with the Mets but you know what? Humor me. Make an attempted and contact Oswalt’s agent and see what it would take to sign him. Sweeten the deal with a clause that if he joins the Mets and they are not in contention at the trade deadline you will either trade him to a contender or release him. As I say, I doubt Oswalt would sign with the Mets and he may not even be effective but I need a sign that the Mets are back in the baseball business.  Even a trade for an arm, and again I’m not looking for a 1, 2 or 3 starter, in fact the perfect guy for the Mets to make a move on would be Jason Marquis. Marquis would be a nice fit in place of Mike Pelfrey and I’d bet it wouldn’t take  much to rustler him away from the Minnesota Twins , add in that Marquis still lives on Staten Island I’m sure he’d jump at the chance to come  home to pitch.

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Time For Skill Sets and Sandy Alderson to Step Up

I don’t know about you but after hearing the news of Mike Pelfrey’s name getting added to the DL and that he’s now packing his bags for a date in Birmingham with Dr. Andrews, my focus was on Johan Santana and how sound his left shoulder is. Oh I know most of you were obsessing over Jose Reyes’ first at bat, quite frankly it was much ado about nothing, yeah some booed, some cheered but Reyes first at bat ended with Kirk Neuienhuis telling Jose “Bite Me” with his outstanding catch to save at least a triple, but I digress.

See it’s not the fact that Big Pelf looks to be done for the season that has me edgy , it’s the next injury to a starting pitcher that’s giving me the shakes,  the Mets can pop in a Chris Schwinden for Pelfrey and not really miss a beat, but if another starting pitcher goes down, then what? This is the byproduct of lack of depth in your upper levels of your farm system. If another starter were to go down then either Garret Olson of Jeremy Hefner would be next on the list. So now would be a good time for ownership to show the fan base that they have the resources to add a pitcher and go contact Roy Oswalt’s agent and see what it would take to bring him to NY . It’s time for Sandy Alderson and the Skill Sets to get pro-active before the next starting pitcher hits the DL. If they don’t, the Mets will be entering into the Yogi Zone where it gets late early.

Okay are we done with the cross examination of Jose Reyes’ first rip to Citi Field as a Fish ? He came, you cheered, you booed, you shrugged. In fact it was a fitting tribute for Reyes last night as there were just as many fans  for his return as there was for his departure at Citi Field. The Mets showed a little video tribute and no baby seals were killed. Let’s move on shall we.

The message was sent to Ike Davis by Terry Collins last night, produce or grab some pine and for all of you who were flabbergasted by the move, grow up this is big league baseball not Little League. If Ike doesn’t straighten out soon he’ll be a Bison in a couple of weeks.

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EVERYBODY WAS KUNG FU FIGHTING, THOSE CATS WERE FAST AS LIGHTING

Excellent post by Mathew Cerrone of MetsBlog on how the Mets need Sandy Alderson even though Rick Hahn would be a fantastic hire as well. If the Mets were an expansion team or a team in a small market then Hahn would be the pick, put for the Mets who need to change the way they are perceived by other teams, the media and especially their own fans (a/k/a paying customers) then Sandy Alderson is the clear choice for GM.

On Tuesday’s THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Radio Show, I spoke with Julian Levine of Splashing Pumpkins about the Giants-Phillies NLCS and how I wanted Bochy to put the Kung Fu Panda back in the lineup. He did and the Panda delivered. The Giants are one game away from the World Series. Part of me is hoping the Highlanders make a miraculous comeback and play the Giants in the World Series. If they do I’d make the trip to the South Bronx to root for the Gigantics while wearing my Johnny Antonelli throw back jersey.    

By the way, I give props to Ol’ Cholly for going with Roy Oswalt in 9th as he was the best pitcher available in the pen at that time. He was only going to use him for an inning any way and it still left Brad Lidge to close out the game. Where I do take some issue with Manuel is they way he used Jose Contreas for just one batter but hey I’m not complaining about the outcome that’s for sure.

The only part of the Rangers that worries me that they could suffer a Highlander collapse is their bullpen which is quite shaky.

I’ll just say I’m really looking forward to tonight’s Game 5 NLCS match up between The Freak and Doc Halliday and that’s all I’ll say. I feel like I jinxed yesterdays Game 5 of the ALCS so I’ll lay low with the wise ass remarks for now.

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OK, SO NOW WHAT?

Adam Rubin on ESPN NY has a fine column today that sums up the State of the  Mets organization and the non-moves at the trade deadline to a tee. Some excerpts that intrigued me are:

The reality is the Mets are not legitimately in a race right now. They entered Saturday trailing the division-leading Atlanta Braves by 7½ games and trailing the wild card-leading San Francisco Giants by 6½ games. Fifty-nine games remain on the schedule. Four teams, including the hard-charging Philadelphia Phillies, who acquired Roy Oswalt this week, are between the Mets and Giants.

Management can’t come out and say it but they know the Mets have no shot at the post season.  The Mets are what they are, a .500 team that plays like the best team in baseball at home but then plays like the Mets of 1962 on the road, hence the .500 record. Their play this season is a big improvement over last year’s crew who mailed in around this time last year at least this Mets team plays hard.

You can clumsily cite principal owner Fred Wilpon and his family supposedly being stingy for such a deal not materializing, but that would be misguided — even if ownership isn’t blameless. The bottom line is the payroll is still hovering around $130 million this season.

The better answer: If GM Omar Minaya had shown restraint in his other salary commitments — say, not giving Luis Castillo four years and $25 million or Oliver Perez three years and $36 million or guaranteeing seven years to Carlos Beltran — he likely would have had the flexibility to pull off an Oswalt-type trade now.

It’s far more about no discipline than no money.

That does not absolve the Wilpons.

Forget the Perez and Castillo contracts, the one deal Mets will be screaming about will be the Francisco Rodriguez deal, look it over if you dare but I must put a disclaimer that if you are pegnant suffer from high blood pressure or have a sleeping disorder, check with your doctor before viewing the details of K-Rod’s deal

Minaya’s stated plan when he took over as GM in September 2004 was to offset the draft picks forfeited for signing free agents by owning the international market. It sounded good, too. After all, how could a Dominican-born GM walk into any household in that country, throw around dollars and fail to persuade the teenager to sign with the Mets?

The problem? Ownership never threw around the money. After signing Martinez for $1.3 million in 2005, Minaya’s first full season as Mets GM, the organization did not have another seven-figure signing bonus for an international teenager until signing 16-year-old pitcher Juan Urbina, Ugueth’s son, last year.

The Mets knew Venezuelan Jesus Montero, who was coveted in trade proposals involving the Yankees in recent days, was a superior catching prospect to Francisco Peña, Tony’s son. Yet the Mets signed Peña in 2006 because he cost $750,000. The Yankees paid $2 million for Montero.

My question here is whose fault is it? Omar’s or the Skill Sets for the inability to not get any thing done in the International market? You would think having a Latino GM would place the Mets way ahead of other teams but as we learned when they were in pursuit of Carlos Delgado as a free agent, Scareface Bernazard was a little to “street” for Delgado so  I wonder how many more families were turnoff by the Mets resident hoodlum?

The Mets have not been blame-free in their draft conduct from an ownership perspective, either. With apologies to Chris Carter, the Mets essentially gave Billy Wagner  to the Red Sox last season for nothing, in essence to save $3.3 million (Wagner’s $2.3 million remaining salary and a $1 million buyout). As a result, when Wagner signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves last offseason, the Red Sox — not the Mets — got two first-round picks as compensation for losing Wagner, which they used on Ball State’s Kolbrin Vitek and Middle Tennessee State’s Bryce Brentz. (Remember those names a few years from now.

This is why Omar needs to be relived of his GM duties and the baseball ops needs a complete overhaul. Unlike any time in baseball, teams a coveting receiving draft picks for aging ball players. The new wave in baseball is to get younger and more athletic as the ban on PED’s is changing the game back to where pitching, defense and youth as the way to go. That’s not Omar’s bag, he’s still into old and ineffective which unfortunately describes Omar himself.

(Fred) Wilpon was sued Friday by the widow of a former employee of Wilpon-owned Sterling Equities. The federal suit alleges Wilpon bears fiduciary responsibility for investing his employees’ 401(k) funds in Bernard Madoff-operated funds. Sterling Equities called the suit baseless, but the potential liability — coupled with the Wilpon family’s own losses in the Ponzi scheme — has to create some hesitance to freely spend.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

You knew this was coming and the question is if Freddy Skill Sets loses this suit, which I believe is a class action suit among the Sterling Equities employees, and it cost him hundreds of million’s of dollars to pay, will he have to sell the Mets? I believe Freddy when he says he wants the Mets to be in his family for generations to come, but it may come to a head when he has to either sell or take on a partner. The Mara family owned the NY Football Giants on their own for years and years but when Tim Mara died his estate put his shares up for bid, that’s when the Tisch family got their half, so it’s possible the Skill Sets sell 49% of the team and keep the other 51 % controlling interest for as long as they can.

Yet even if the Madoff ordeal never occurred, it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Mets to act conservatively from a financial perspective. Attendance is likely to plummet at Citi Field the rest of the season. A further erosion in the season-ticket base is expected heading into 2011.

The one MAJOR move the Skill Sets must make for next season is dropping the ridiculous pricing tiers that are an extreme point of contention with Mets fans. The whole Platinum, Gold, Silver, Value scale would work if the team was a contender every year and seats at Citi Field were in demand but the organization has none of these going for them. They tried going the corporate route and it hasn’t worked. Now they need to try and win back the fan base, the blue collar core who frequented Shea Stadium who stick by you through thick and thin. The Skill Sets have had their fling with the Metro area elite and must now realize it’s time to get the REAL Mets fan back to support the team.  The Mets fan has the upper hand here and now Freddy, Jeffey and Uncle Saul have to come to us with hat in hand, and ask for our hard earned dough. They have never gotten it though their thick skulls that Mets fans are not about the Championships (although we all want to win one or ten of them) but we’re all about playing hard and playing with pride. That’s the one saving grace with the 2010 Mets team they have that quality.

Next year the Skill Sets need to let fans pick their own ticket packages and also set aside seats in the promenade for 5 bucks a piece. They could also sell a “roaming ticket” no seat but you can walk around and stand in centerfield or down each base line sort of a standing room ticket, they need to be creative to win fans back in 2011, time to turn on the Skill Sets charm fella’s

Manager Jerry Manuel, asked if the inaction was a signal the front office was content with the team as presently constituted or if it was an indication the team is not really in the race, wisely did not want to touch the issue.

“That’s a tricky question,” Manuel said. “Trying to catch me, huh?”

Minaya did acknowledge the standings were a factor.

“That played something into it,” the GM said. “When you look at the standings, you just have to be careful.”

I can’t wait until October 4th for the press conference announcing Wally Backman as the Mets manager for 2011

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TEAM OVERBOARD

Is there a team in any sport that goes from sugar to shit faster than the NY Mets? Before the All Star break we Mets fans were pumped for the second half, I mean think about the names we were banding about getting, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Ted Lilly. Now fast forward a week later, and the talk is it’s better to dump Rod Barajas and play that cute little Josh Thole, Toxic Ollie is back, the most popular boy in the class, Jeff Francouer and his putrid bat has been replaced by the star some Mets fans hate, Carlos Beltran who at 75% is still superior to Frenchy in every way except in personality and the ability to sell a perp phone (Metro PCS according to my cop buddies is the phone service of choice for NYC criminals)  in radio ads. Oh yeah and the acquisition of Chad Cordero to a minor league deal. Meanwhile the Phuck Phaces are on the verge of landing Roy Oswalt and the Braves just keep padding their NL East lead. With all that should we be surprised by the latest cliff dive by the Mets especially how this team is the most homesick team in baseball?

The mark of a true contending team is how the play in tight situations and the Mets fail terribly in that situation as their 11-17 record in one run games and the shocking 10 walk off losses indicate. The only saving grace with this team is their ability to win at home. For all the bullshit talk about Citi Field hurting the Mets, this season is quite the opposite as the club has wins at a 65 % clip in Flushing. But on the road it’s just a disaster.

So Leader of Men, Alex Cora wasn’t happy that Mike Pelfrey, while talking to reporters last night, was laughing and let him know about it. What’s missing in the story was why Big Pelf was laughing and what kind of laugh it was. Was is a smirk/chuckle (a Big Pelf trademark) explaining why he went with a ‘buzz cut” to try and change his luck? Or was a laugh over a joking about Jeff Francoeur commiserating at his locker on why Jerry Manuel has fallen out of love with him? Or was a piss your pants gut buster over seeing Oliver Perez’ pay stub? Until I find out which one of these Big Pelf is guilty of, I will reserve judgment on him. As for Cora, as much as there is sometimes ‘false hustle” on the field there is also “false leadership” off it and maybe Alex Cora is guilty of the latter.

As I said before, Chad Cordero is now a Met. No shock there except we all figured this would have happened a lot sooner as all former Expos have a home in Queens.

One of the positives from last nights game was the fact that R.A. Dickey remained on the bench after being removed and he and Josh Thole sat together in deep conversation. The more I see Thole the more impressed I am with him not just with the bat but also the way he handles himself on the field and how involved he is in discussions on the mound whenever Manuel or Old School Warthen come out to talk to the pitcher. I’m sure all the chemistry majors in Mets fandom love that fact.

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I’LL TRY BUT I DON’T KNOW IF WORDS CAN DISCRIBE THE METS SECOND HALF BLUES

No much to say about last night’s game except Big Pelf has had trouble with the Snakes for his whole career and maybe that neck of his was still stiff, but you still have to take into account that Pelfrey hasn’t pitched well in a month. No worries, because Ollie Perez is back, pass the Imodium AD.

The concern over Francoeur riding the pine still has be stupefied, as does the call fro Jason Bay to sit. Forget for a moment that Bay is being paid a shit load of dough, he also has a body of work that Francoeur could only dream about. The one good move that Jerry Manuel has made this month is telling Angel Pagan he will play day in, day out.

On top of this awful second half start, it seems like the Mets will not be players in either the Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren sweepstakes. From trying to piece together the reasons it seems a combination of not wanting to over pay in prospects, which is fine by me, and the lack of dead presidents in the Skill Sets bank account. That part worries me.    

Remember when Rod Barajas was a stud? That was when? Back in May? I know Josh Thole is up as showcase item but maybe it’s time to put young Thole on the protected list?

While most of us clicked off the television in disgust last night, Greg Prince hung in there long enough to report that Justin Turner came in to play for David Wright in the 7th and thus, became the 141st third baseman in the history of the NY Mets. Where have you gone, Roy Staiger?

Don’t forget to join me tonight THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN RADIO SHOW on Blog Talk Radio 10PM ET  

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THE RIGHT TO BARE TIRED ARMS

So after game after game of bullpen mismanagement, Jerry Manuel is looking for more relief help because let’s face it, Manuel goes through relievers like Larry King  goes through wives (and sister in laws) as six arms in the pen is not enough for the Great Pitching Arsonist.

I have no problem adding another reliever, in fact as impressive as Josh Thole has been in his cameo appearance, a third catcher is too high end an item for the Mets to carry around and a swap of Thole for a pitcher, Pat Misch or Dillon Gee should the call over Manny Acosta, it  is the move to make.

As Manuel and the Mets fans cry out for Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, or a solid reliever, if you believe the story in yesterday’s NY Post, it’s not going to happen. The story in the Murdoch rag states that the Skill Sets aren’t very flush with dough. In fact after reading this story, it may be safe to say, if you’re a fan of home grown talent, you may in luck as home grown means cheap labor and that’s what the Skill sets may be all about for the

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WHAT’S THE MATTER STEVE PHILLIPS? ARE YA YELLA?

Howard Megdal has challenged Steve Phillips to a debate on  what makes a good General Manager but Phillips has declined the invitation to meet with Megdal and discuss baseball management issues in a public forum. Part of me understands why Phillips is dodging Megdal, it’s a no win situation for him. Philips is seriously lacking in the “skill sets” needed to take on a man of Howard Megdal’ stature. Howard is a straight shooter when it comes to his idea of running a baseball team whereas Phillips, as we have seen with his “I’d trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt” declaration on the Pompous Ass radio show, isn’t capable of running a t-ball team and add in his skirt chasing behavior he is now radioactive when it comes to prospective employers  in MLB.

But on the other hand, Phillips would learn a thing or three from Megdal which would be helpful if he did want to get back into baseball.

For once in your life Steve Phillips MAN UP and take Howard Megdal’ challenge !!!!!!!!

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TIME TO STEP UP JEFFEY, SHOW US YOU’RE IN IT TO WIN IT

Here we go again. Just when it looked like the season was slipping away the message out of $iti Field is “not so fast my pessimistic Mets fan” this could be the start of an exciting summer.

I want to dance up and down and shoot middle fingers at the rest of the NL but I can’t because this team still has needs and I’m not confident that ownership will provide it.

It’s safe to assume that Jeffey Skill Sets is calling all the shots around here that Omar Minaya not only is under a gag order when it comes to speaking in public but his ability to make baseball moves has been clamped down as well. In a way Omar and Oliver Perez have a lot in common both have been rendered insignificant.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying this recent run of winning and solid baseball being played by the Mets but as Bobby Valentine says “you’re only as good as your next day starting pitcher” so today we’re in good shape with Big Pelf and tomorrow Johan Santana against the Brewski’s looks great as well, but when does the clock strike twelve on R.A. Dickey and the mystery fifth starter (playing the role of Jon Niese this weekend will be Fernando Nieve)?

At this point as much as I feel, along with what looks like the majority of Mets fans, that Jenry Mejia should have been working on his starting pitcher apprenticeship in the minors, at this point now let him stay with the big club as a reliever. Mejia seems to be settling in role of late inning man and the rest of the pen has been solid now that Igarashi is back so adding a solid starting pitcher should be paramount to management to go out and get.

So who is out there? As much as Roy Oswalt would be a huge acquisition between the money and cost in personnel and trying to get a deal done with Drayton McClain is almost impossible, I doubt that Oswalt will be Queens bound. Cliff Lee as a rental could be cost prohibitive as well.  If the front office could land Kevin Millwood, Mark Buehrle, or even Jake Westbrook it make a huge difference in solidifying the rotation and sending a message to the players and fan base that there is a real commitment to winning.

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NOT JUST THIN ICE BUT THIN AIR AS WELL

Not much to talk about today with the off day and most of the “woe is us” post were done yesterday, so lets take a ride around the blogsphere and see what the more fertile minds are saying:

Dillion Gee was a pitcher that Jerry Manuel was fond of last spring in fact Gee was one of those players Manuel picked out of camp to proclaim he could break camp a la Jenry Mejia this year. Gee though suffered from a partially torn labrum that sidelined him for most of last season but now Gee is back and after his first start with the Bisons he’ shown some nice numbers and could just vault himself up North soon. Check out Fonzie Forever’ post on Dillion Gee.

As from chicken wing country, Ike Davis continues to hit at Triple A and for reasons I can’t comprehend, Jerry Manuel is not storming Omar’s office and demanding that Davis be brought up. If my ass were on the line like J-Man’s I’d take no prisoners.

Matthew Cerrone has a post on MetsBlog on the debut of Aroldis Chapman in Double A yesterday and what effect this would have on the Reds trading Aaron Harang ? The thing with Chapman, you wonder what kind of scouting and how hard did the Mets look at Chapman ? As fans we have no knowledge of what this young man from Cuba translates into as a bonifide Major Leaguer but Omar Minaya and his scouts get paid to find the Chapman’s of the baseball world. The question is, did Omar and the scouts do the leg work scouting Chapman and then get shot down on by ownership when the price went high? If the Mets lost out on Chapman, solely for monetary reasons then the Wilpon’s need to get out of the baseball business. If the Omar and his scouts said he wasn’t worth it? Then they need to be fired. In any case as Mats fan we should be given the reason why the Mets did not get involved with Aroldis Chapman. Also forget about Roy Oswalt and Chris Young coming to the Mets, both are damaged goods.

Nick Evans life story will be made into a Lifetime movie some day.

Tonight at 11PM ET join me and Adam Bernacchio of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham as we host the Baseball Bloggers Alliance BBA TALK on BLOGTALK RADIO. 

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Tickets

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