If Collins Is The Man, Then What’s The Hold Up?

So when is Sandy Alderson going to make it official that Terry Collins will be back as Mets manager in 2014?  If Collins is “his guy” then why wait? Give him a raise and another year plus an option.  What’s the hold up?

Could it be there is a schism in the front office think tank? From this quote from Alderson there could be:

I think I’ve been pretty open about my support of Terry,” Alderson told reporters. “I think he’s done an excellent job across the board with the talent that he’s had, with the injuries that he’s had to endure, with the other changes in personnel. I think he’s handled all of those situations and individual events exceptionally well. On the other hand, we haven’t won, and that’s always an issue. But it’s not always a result that can be pinned on the manager.

From that statement it seems that one or more of Alderson’s cabinet members is playing the Win Card. Alderson states what is a huge indictment on the team and organization when he says the club is not exactly oozing with talent, the old chicken salad out of chicken shit theory, but all are not buying into it.

Who or whomever on the staff that’s pitching the “yeah but” on Collins coming back is on the same page as me. If (when) it’s announced that Collins will be back in the manager’s office for the Mets next season, I won’t kick and scream about it but it’s also not the move I’d make if I were the GM.  

I would not fire Collins, I’d reassign him to the job he is very good at, minor league coordinator. Yes, the team plays hard for Collins and they do compete but in order to get this team back to relevancy, the Mets need a manager who puts the premium on winning. Collins seems to find a silver lining wherever he can, like finishing in 3rd place in the NL East. Seriously, who gives a shit, 3rd  4th or last, if you ain’t in first you ain’t shit.     

Bringing Collins back as manager is just treading water, the GM has to make a huge statement this winter as does ownership in making the team relevant again. Right now the Mets are at NJ Devils level of nobody cares.

Alderson keeps saying he’s in Collins corner and feels he’s done well with the hand he’s been dealt, so if that’s the case what’s he waiting for? Could it be his lieutenants are making a better case for change in manager?

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I’m Suffering from MTKL Syndrome

I know I haven’t posted much in the last month or so here, much of that has to do with enjoying the summer with my family as my son goes off to college and my daughter to high school so the family dynamic is changing and it takes a lot of getting used to as my kids get older an much more independent  

But it also has to do with, sitting at my keyboard and trying to find what to write about when it comes to the NY Mets? For the fifth straight season, the Mets are irrelevant in the month of September and will finish with a losing record for five straight seasons as well. Sure there are reasons to be optimistic as the young arms in the bushes seem to be on target to lead this team next season and beyond and the fact that having a tear in his UCL , Matt Harvey is not on life support and if the worst possible scenario is he needs Tommy John surgery, odds are he’ll be back in 2015 better than ever, but what about today and next season?

I admit I’m suffering from MTKL (My Team Keeps Losing) Syndrome. This causes me to be irritable and cranky and wanting for a team that in the words of our fiscally deficient owner Freddy “Skill Sets” Wilpon, “Just play some meaning full games in September”! It’s bad enough playing out this string of games but it worse when you have to sit (squirm?) through a Daisuke Matsusaka start. ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!. If losing isn’t bad enough, a Dice –K start is losing with your arms tied above your head hanging from a cathedral ceiling.  Fucking excruciating.  But as obscene as his last start was to go with the other two insufferable starts, Dice-K will take the hill again in four days. Don’t blame Terry Collins for this,what can he do? This is the best Sandy Alderson can do for him as far as pitcher goes since the Las Vegas 51’s are now in the PCL  playoffs , is scrap heapers like Dice K and Aaron Harrang. It’s a real suck ass situation.

It’s hard for me to start projecting what the Mets will do in the offseason since there are so many other story lines in baseball right now that are more enjoyable and compelling to follow than who will play 1st base next year, how much, if any money the Mets  will spend in free agents and the year Daniel Murphy will be enshrined in the baseball Hall of Fame.

These are all great leads for November but in September, as a baseball fan I’d rather watch what’s going on in Pittsburgh. I’d rather watch the happenings in Oakland where I sit in astonishment every September watching the A’s with far from household names, make that late season surge to the post season. I’m even intrigued on what’s going on in the South Bronx where Joe Girarrdi  is doing one of the great managerial jobs in Yankee history keeping this rag tag cut rate (if $187 Mil payroll can be called cut rate) alive in a pennant race.    

I’d much rather be rooting for the Mets and wishing this series with the Braves was on par with the current A’s-Rangers series going on in Oakland or the Cardinal-Reds series as well but as a baseball fan I just can’t get excited about playing out the string baseball. I’m sick of it and this off season it’s time for Sandy Alderson to hold the Wilpon’s feet to the fire and DEMAND they give him the authority to spend money to improve this team to be a contender in 2014. I’m about at the end of my rope to tell you the truth, I don’t know if I have a 6th losing season left in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 NY Mets Mid-Season Report Card Pitchers Edition

 

A day later than promised, sorry about that, so here is the 2013 NY Mets pitching staff mid-season report card.

Matt Harvey Grade A+

Matt Harvey is sensational, dominating, fearless, overpowering, handsome, intimidating, charismatic, ours.

Dillon Gee Grade C

Was close to going with a B for Gee since he has pitched very well of late but his overall body of work so far had me go with the C. Gee is a solid starting pitcher who in good health will give you 6 to 7 good innings which is fantastic for a #4 starter.

Jeremy Hefner Grade B

Who’d a thunk it? Hefner has been the best pitcher on the Mets not named Matt Harvey. Last year I was ready to say bye-bye to Hefner but now I find myself rooting hard for him to continue his success.  Puts ball in play but home run rate is up. Gave a B because Hefner is developing a strong dose of TWTW.

Jon Niese Grade C

Hope he gets healthy and pitches well in the second half so Mets can trade him and his team friendly contract for an outfield bat.

Shaun Marcum Grade F

Sorry he got injured and needed surgery but I’m not sorry he’ll never pitch for the Mets again

Zack Wheeler Grade Incomplete

Let him learn he’ll be fine if you think otherwise you’re an idiot

Bobby Parnell Grade A

FINALLY!!!! Parnell has emerged as the reliever we all hoped he’d be. Confidence in himself and his ability has fueled Parnell to could have been an All Star status. Still throws hard but isn’t of throwing; he’s pitching this year with pin point command. Sure it’s tempting to trade him but as Sandy Alderson said he’d have to be bowled over to deal him. Make your move Dave Dombrowski

LaTroy Hawkins Grade C

Has pitched much better than I’ve given him credit. Terrific BB/K ratio of 3.78 but he is hittable. His LOB % of 74 % has made Hawkins a go to guy for Terry Collins late in games.

Scott Rice Grade C

Seems like Rice pitches everyday not quite but I’m sure he warms up every game. The career minor leaguer walks way too many batters but he is able to get tons of ground ball outs. A classic LOOGY.  Got to give the guy props for toiling in the bushes for so long to finally make it to The Show. A Collins favorite.   

Brandon Lyon Grade F

F as in Farewell

Josh Edgin Grade D

Still waiting for Edgin to emerge as an effective late inning reliever but he needs better command of his slider to compliment his 90+ fastball. The second half of the season is Edgin’s audition to remain a Met in the future.

Greg Burke Grade D

Burke pitches from the mound down under and isn’t very effective he’s a JAG (just another guy)

David Aardsma Grade C

Was on the fence here with the C or B grade as Aardsma has only gone 17 IP he has looked like a guy who can be a good set up man to Parnell

Scott Atchinson Grade D

Suffered an arm injury that set him back a month and now he’s back and if he can get back what he had with the Red Sox and stay healthy add him to Hawkins, Aardsma and Parnell, that’s a pretty good back of the pen with Rice to get a lefty out.

Carlos Torres Grade Incomplete

Torres has only pitched in 10 games but he’s been very effective. Torres is now going into the starting rotation to replace Marcum hopefully he can stretch his arm out enough to give the innings needed.

 

 

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First Half Mets Marking Period Is Over Here Are The Grades

                                                                                The Ol’ Perfesser

As promised in my last post, it’s time for the 2013 NY Mets first half report card.  Unlike years past there is room for optimism even though the team has not had a winning monthly record since June of 2012, that’s seven consecutive months of losing, but the tide seems to be turning.  There is optimism in that the young arms are starting to emerge as we see today with Matt Harvey being named the starter for tomorrow nights All Star Game. Zack Wheeler has shown some growing pains but he should figure it out and Noah Syndergarrd talk is all the rage.

But the club needs bats and needs them badly but that’s a post for another day. On to the grades:

John Buck Grade C

Took off like a rocket in April with the bat hitting 9 HR and driving in 23 runs. From months May thru July, Buck has hit 5 HR and knocked in 23 runs. The biggest aspect of catching is defense, while Buck is not a great catcher; he is a vast improvement over what the Mets have had the last two years. He’s holding the seat warm until Travis D’Arnaud gets himself healthy and ready for the big leagues, most likely next season.

Ike Davis Grade F

UGH! What a mess Ike is. So far the great re-invention of Ike Davis approach at the plate has been a failure.  His first couple games when Ike came back from Las Vegas there was a bit of an improvement but the last week he’s back to his ass going one way and his arms going the other. UGH! I sense Sandy Alderson’ patience are wearing thin with Ike and with Davis arbitration eligible next season  Ike looks like a lock for non-tender status.

Daniel Murphy Grade D

Who doesn’t love Murph? He plays his ass off, worked very hard to be a serviceable 2nd baseman and has battled serious injury to come back strong.  But Murphy like Ike is at a crossroads in his career. He’s making just a shade under $3mil this season and would be looking for a raise towards the $5mil mark in 2014. He’s 28 years old he doesn’t draw walks and he hits with little power and is not a solid fielder. Add 2nd base as another position the Mets will need to upgrade in 2014.

Ruben Tejada Grade F

I’ve never been a fan of Tejada’s and never understood what some baseball people saw in him. He’s in Las Vegas now and will most likely be there until September. Call this addition by subtraction.

David Wright Grade A+

Just put a decent bat behind Wright and he’ll put up numbers like have never been seen in Flushing. Just having a decent bat like Marlon Byrd protecting him has allowed Wright to put up solid numbers. His defense has also improved to where you might as well give him the Gold Glove now. He has also embraced the role of Captain showing more leadership on the field than we’ve ever seen. David Wright is one of the top 10 players in baseball and we are damn lucky to have him on our team.

Lucas Duda Grade C

Duda and Josh Satin could be the demise of Ike Davis. Duda will never see left field again as a Met and that’s a major plus. It’s not Duda’s fault that he was a lousy outfielder, he never played outfield and when he was moved back to his natural position of 1st base he looked like a new man. But then he went down with a strained intercostal muscle pull and hasn’t be heard from since.  Duda’s 14 % BB rate and .204 ISO is what has me not quitting on him, I’d love to see him get back soon healthy and coupled with Satin as a very productive 1st base platoon. Sorry Ike.

Juan Lagares Grade D

Tough grade for the young center fielder but when you break it down his offense is an F and his defense is an A. Thought of giving him a C but he lost his job to Kirk Nuienhuis so that dropped it to a D

Marlon Byrd Grade A

All the Sandy Alderson critics were screaming “where’s the bargain signing that pays off” well here you have him in Marlon Byrd. Now no one, even the Mets GM ,thought Byrd would contribute as much as he has. Byrd leads the team in HR’s (15) and Rib Eyes with 51 his wOBA is solid .346 and his play in right field has been stellar. So where do you fall? Keep Byrd, Trade Byrd? I get the feeling Byrd will stay as the Mets GM is sick of his team sucking in the second half and is looking for a strong finish to build on for 2014. Byrd stays.

Omar Quintanilla Grade D

Best part of Q’s game is he takes a walk as in base on balls with an 11% BB rate. His defense is plausible and he’s 31 years old so he’s not the future. Mets have a big ? at shortstop

Jordany Valdespin Grade F

Good bye and good riddance.  If Valdespin had called John Buck the name he called Terry Collins, he’d be getting fit for dentures today.

Mike Baxter Grade D

Still can’t understand why he had to go to Las Vegas and JV1 got to stay big big mistake. Baxter better lefty bat off the bench than Vladespin.

Justin Turner Grade D

Teammates love him and his pies but where does he fit on this team on the field? Isn’t Josh Satin Justin Turner but with talent?

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Grade C

Looks like Kirk has won the CF job and the last couple of weeks his bat has come alive and his play in centerfield has been solid. A C grade may be a bit generous but Kirk gets a little more love due to grit.

Anthony Recker Grade Incomplete

Poor guy doesn’t play enough but when he does he hits with pop with a .237 ISO but it’s a very limited sample. He could find his way as a Sunday catcher with Mets when Travis d’Arnuad makes his debut

Josh Satin Grade Incomplete

Again small sample size but he has forced Terry Collins hand as Ike Davis regresses and the team looking to win games and stop the loser mentality Satin has played his way into the lineup. Easy guy to root for.

Terry Collins Grade C

Some days I’m pro-Collins some days I’m looking for his replacement. Collins handles the press and his clubhouse as well as anyone in the game but when it comes to in game strategy and handling his bullpen, Collins is playing checkers while the opposing manger is playing chess. Second half of the season will determine if Collins is the Mets skipper in 2014

Tomorrow the pitching staff.

 

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Will Resilient Mets Help Their Manager Get A Contract Extension?

 

So did you stay up for the whole game last night? I lasted as long as Matt Harvey, after the 7th inning I went to bed since it was 12:30 AM and I had to wake up at 5AM it seemed like a good time for nap before getting ready for the day ahead.  The Met win in 16 innings ended about 90 minutes before I hit the shower to ready myself to take on the world where I heard Marc Ernay break the news to me on 1010 WINS that the Mets had won in 16 innings.  This may not be a Mets team that will contend for a post season spot but there is no doubt they are the most resilient Mets team we’ve seen in a long time and it’s that resiliency that could get Terry Collins a contract extension.

I go back and forth on Collins. I don’t think he’s a very good tactician especially late in games and he and Dan Warthen have no set bullpen assignments which makes the relievers nuts. But he has the players ear and respect in the clubhouse and he’s surprisingly good with the media and if you think that’s no big deal go speak to Mr. John Tortorella of Vancouver B.C. about his tenure as NY Rangers head coach.

What will be interesting to watch is if this Mets team does the opposite of Mets teams of the past few seasons and finishes strong in the second half is that enough to give Collins a contract extension?

Sandy Alderson has said that wins and losses will not be the determining factor in bringing Collins back in 2014, if in Alderson’s eyes the club has made progress on the field that would weigh in favor of an extension of Collins contract.  So if the team keeps playing as well as it has and keeps bouncing back from defeats that in seasons past would have had a negative effect on them for a week or two, then it would be quite difficult not to bring Collins back for at least another season.

Collins should also hope that Tony LaRussa is enjoying retirement because if he’s not and itching to get back into the game, things could get very interesting around here comes the off season.

About last night’s game, it seems that Matt Harvey may be experiencing  the same lofty fan expectations that Dwight Gooden had to endure, every start has to be a near no hitter with a dozen or so strikeouts and zero base on balls and of course a complete game shutout. Gooden talks about this in his book how he would hold a team to five hits or so with a couple of walks and five or six strikeouts in seven innings and have fans and media feel let down. Are we approaching that train of thought with Matt Harvey?

Harvey threw 40 % of his total pitches (121) in the first two innings of this game, dividing his 50 pitches in half each inning. His K/BB break down in the first two innings was 33/17. He made one bad pitch, leaving a fastball up to Buster Posey on a 3-1 count that Posey turned on and deposited into the left field stands for a two run home run and just one walk, to Andres Torres in the 2nd where ball four was a strike as home plate ump Adam Hamari was inconsistent in his calls all night. What more can you expect from your Ace?

And let’s not go after Collins for letting Harvey start the 7th inning, he was still throwing his fastball in the mid to upper 90’s and he was throwing strikes and showed no sign of fatigue. After pitching in the heat and humidity in his last few starts, the cool San Francisco evening air looked to rejuvenate Harvey if anything.

My only concern with Harvey is his off the field rise of stardom. I don’t begrudge Harvey of any of the fruits of his fame; I just worry about too much, too fast. On the mound Harvey is in control and takes care of business so well that he’s not just a Mets phenom but a baseball one as well. I just worry about the off field Harvey interfering with the on field Harvey. I hope my worry is much ado about nothing.

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Sandy Alderson Finally Makes Some Moves, But Are They The Right Moves ?

 

That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more…..

                                                                                      Popeye

 

You could also hear that quote coming from the Mets GM ‘s suite at Citi Field yesterday as  Sandy Alderson finally made some moves to  at least shake up a team that seems content with losing.  Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson head to Vegas and Rick Ankiel heads to wherever it is baseball players who can’t play baseball anymore go. To say it’s about time is an understatement, to say what took you so long is more precise.

The move to send Davis to Vegas is about a month too late. The only thing that saved Davis from a trip to Sin City was his rebound second half of last year. Alderson and his staff were waiting for the resurrection of Ike to happen like last year but after a while there comes a time the organization goes from believers to doubting Thomas’ and now it’s up to George Greer, the Mets Vegas hitting coach and manager Wally Backman, to work on getting Ike right at the plate and maybe also in the head.

Davis seems to be another Met who may be suffering from a sense of entitlement. It’s something you hear from folks who are around the club that one of the biggest problems with the team and through the organization is this sense of privilege that players who have not earned the right to put on airs are the ones with their noses up and pinky’s out.  This was a problem with the Minaya regime and it seems it’s still a problem under Alderson. Yesterday’s game would have been a great time to send a message that stupidity and carelessness will no longer be tolerated.

In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, and Daniel Murphy at the plate, Jordany Valdespin, I guess not realizing that he was (a) in scoring position already and (b) there were two outs, decides to take off for 3rd base, of course he was thrown out. It’s a stupid play if a 10 year old does and it’s infuriating when a so called big leaguer does it. So at that point I’m thinking as was Ron Darling during the SNY telecast, here is the perfect spot for Terry Collins to declare no more. No more tolerance of stupidity, time to make an example out of Valdespin and remove him from the game. Tell him take a shower ,watch tv,  eat a sandwich I don’t give a rats ass what you do up just get the fuck out of my sight. But no that’s not what happened. Collins did give JV1 a talking to but left him in the game. If this were the minor leagues I would say letting Valedespin get an earful would be fine but this is Major League Baseball where you are supposed to be ready to play at the highest level there is of the game.  Add in that your team has lost 5 of its last 6 games and your last loss was a 20 inning disaster where you went 0 for 19 with RISP  and you have lost 8 of 11 games to the Marlins, a team that is 10-41 when not playing the Mets, a benching of Vladespin was more than justified.

So after another hopeless performance by his team, Alderson made his moves but who would he bring up? Josh Satin, Collin Cowgill and Josh Edgin are now officially New York Mets. What? You’re underwhelmed? Well you should be.

While the critics wail away at Alderson and his staff for not signing free agents (since he is the GM and not the Owner he can only spend what the owner allows him too) and for not trading for top flight major league talent which is hard to do when the rest of baseball knows you are desperate for major league talent and ask for the few precious talented prospects you have in return. It’s not Alderson’s fault that he is fresh out of Beltran’s and Dickey’s to deal for prospects. But why let the facts get in the way of fan stupidity.

Now I’m not saying that Alderson hadn’t made mistakes sure he has, two years in a row the Mets front office has failed to build an efficient bullpen, in fact if the front office just put together a league average bullpen the Mets would be in better shape than they are today. The front office has also failed at finding that diamond in the rough that Alderson’s protégé , Billy Beane has done very successfully in Oakland.   

Of the call ups the Mets have made, I would have been much more enthused if the names would have been Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler and Jack Leatherstrich.

It would be nice to see Flores play 2B and have Daniel Murphy move over to 1st base in Ike’s absence since the Mets feel if they move Lucas Duda to 1st base and then back to left field when Ike returns that Duda would need to visit Dr. Sidney Friedman to help gets his head together.

I’m so tired of hearing that Wheeler is ready, Wheeler is coming, Wheeler, Wheeler , Wheeler…..BRING HIM UP ALREADY!!!!!! The indecision of this organization annoys the living shit out of me sometimes. Make a god damn decision tell Jeremy Hefner it’s not you it’s us and move him to the pen and go with a rotation of Niese, Harvey, Marcum, Wheeler, Gee. You not only bolster the starting rotation but you add a bullpen arm that can give you multiple innings.

Jack “LeatherRocket” Leathersich is a lefty reliever who has striking out hitters at the AA level at a rate of 17 per 9 innings. Why not take a shot and bring this young man up to see what he can do a big league level. I doubt he will be as bad as Robert Carson .

Sometimes this organization is too cautious; instead of being bold and putting the youngsters in a challenging spot.  Let’s see who can swim at the deep end of the pool.   

    

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When You Play Not To Lose, You’re A Loser

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Preach it Herm! Preach it!

I guess Terry Collins doesn’t believe that pitchers win/loss records are meaningless. Last night Collins pulled Jeremy Hefner from his start after 6 innings and 94 pitchers with a 3-2 lead because he wanted Hefner “to feel good about himself and not let HIM lose the game”. HIM, Hefner the individual not the TEAM but this one player on the TEAM the manager was worried about. Collins went on to say that Hefner has been down about not getting a win, seriously ?  Is this where we are now, worried about individual feelings of players?   

It’s not just Hefner but how about Ike Davis? On any other team Ike would have been sent to Triple A told to work out his hitting problems and then work on getting back to the big leagues.  Teams do this all the time.  Why Sandy Alderson has become so passive with Ike is baffling to me. But then again it seems the organization has taken a big step back when it comes to accountability.

We all knew this wasn’t a contending team but did we think it would be a non-competitive team? I didn’t but when I hear the manager worry about the psyche of a journeyman pitcher instead of challenging him to get out there and finish the job and then to keep running Ike Davis out there every day to embarrass himself, you have to wonder how lost Terry Collins is right now. What does it say about Hefner that he didn’t demand the ball for the 7th inning? Hefner should have put up a fight to where he would have to be restrained from ripping the bullpen phone out the wall. But like the bulk of this Mets team he lacks passion.  In fact the whole organization lacks passion.  

And talk about killing a players confidence, how do you think Juan Legares and Jordany Valdespin feel  sitting out of the lineup day after day? And  you wonder why JV1 has a piss poor attitude? I don’t blame him.  If I’m Legares and Valdespin I try to figure out whose arm I have to break to get them out the lineup so I can get in.

Its’ one thing to compete and lose but at least you can say I gave it all I have and played to win. The Mets play not to lose and when you have that mindset, you usually lose.

 

   

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I Guess The Mets Plan Is Lose The Battle and Win The War

It was a rough weekend for the NY Mets. The bats and pitching arms have gone stale, the petulant utility player affectionately known by Mets fans as JV1, who it seems the front office, manager and players have run out of patience with while waiting for him to act like a big boy, reached out to the Pittsburgh Pirates for help in the form of a baseball thrown at him in anger over his “look at me, I’m El Hombre” slow dance after hitting a home run with the Mets down 7 runs. Then there was Banner Day in which only 99 banners were on display.

The Mets front office has a plan and contending in 2013 for the NL is not part of it. But we knew that coming into the season, right? So why is everyone up in arms about the abysmal play of this Mets team? Many Mets fans had the Mets pegged for a 90+ loss team and that is what they are right now. So why is everyone so upset about the recent awful play of this team?

We knew the outfield wasn’t Major League quality, we knew that back end of the rotation was weak. What we didn’t know was that Ike Davis would be this bad and Lucas Duda would morph into a little leaguer at the plate taking the walk is as good as a hit advice to new heights and that Daniel Murphy would be better with a glove than a bat.  We did know one thing, Sandy Alderson has a plan, what we didn’t know was part of the plan was do nothing in 2013.

Part of the problem is there is no worry on any offensive player on this team that there is someone within the organization to take their place. Last year when Ike Davis was slumping so bad it was a miracle he wasn’t shunned to Buffalo.  The reason Ike wasn’t sent away to Triple A wasn’t that the team wanted to show confidence in Davis it was a someone in the Mets front office told me “what’s the alternative” ? This season Ike is being Ike, looking awful at the plate, and again the question is “what do you about a problem named Ike Davis”? There is none that is if you feel Lucas Duda should be moved to first base and Jordany Valdespin goes to left field is a solid solution and either send Davis to Vegas (ooh that rhymes) or trade him. A trip to Triple A could happened this time as that scenario I laid out is a real option, as for trading him, quite frankly what team would want him?

The point is as much as Sandy Alderson is sticking to his plan it would behoove the GM to do something of a personnel move dealing with the offense just to send the fan base a signal that he is still interested in running this team and that he is as fed up with the suckitude of play as the fan base is.   

Right now there are four players who should be untouchable in any trade talks, D-Wright, Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and John Buck. Anyone else should be put on the market and moved for the right price. But again what kind of return would you get for an Ike, Duda, Murphy or even Tejada? At least with a broken down car you can strip it for parts, not so for broken down baseball players.

On the Jordany Valdespin hit by pitch on Saturday I’ve heard or read everyone from Terry Collins to Mets players to Jay Horwitz , well maybe not Jay, chastised for allowing Valdespin to get plunked and not rushing to his aid. The one guy who hasn’t been called on out on this and is the number one culprit in all this muck and mire is Jordany Valdespin. JV1 as the kids like to call him, has been spoken too, punished, had his clothing ripped to shreds and been call out by teammates mangers coaches and front office folks as a first class horse’s ass to no avail. People associated with the Mets that I’ve talked to who have a good word for everyone associated with the team make that face like a stink bomb went off when you ask about Jordany Valdespin.  So if you want to blame Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson or the Mets players about leaving Valdespin out to dry, you’re blame and anger is misdirected.

Here’s the problem with having Banner Day in 2013, no one cares. Banner Day in 1964 was great because the team still had the new team smell to it, as the Mets were Casey’s Amazin’ Mets our lovable losers. In 2014 there is no such thing as a loveable loser in fact even after you win the next question you get after handed the trophy is, “Can you repeat”? The fan mindset is totally different than in the past. Fans don’t care how hard you try, how much your hurt, or if you’re going through some kind of personal problem all fans care about is entertain me and goddamnit WIN!

This past week while at a Mets blogger event at Citi Field I brought up the 1973 Pennant winners and how this is the 40th anniversary of the Mets team that went on a tear and had to pass five teams just to win the division and then go on to beat one the iconic teams in baseball history in The Big Red Machine, so would there be a day at Citi Field to honor them?   The answer I received on why there will not be day for the team is that the cost to run that event is prohibited and who would show up for it? After my blood pressure subsided and we discussed the pros and cons of the Mets having a day for the ’73 NL Champs, it made sense to me. The 55 year old Mets fan would love to see George Theodore , Ron Hodges and Harry Parker , the 30 year old Mets fan doesn’t care. So why go to all the time and expense to throw a party and have no one come.  

I didn’t go to Banner Day.  I don’t think it’s a crime. I spent the day watching my daughter play soccer and returning a bunch of tuxedos for my son and his friends that they dropped off after their high school prom while they took off to a day of amusement park fun with their girlfriends. Then I dropped my daughter off at the mall with her friends because teen age girls love to shop. Then I was able to spend a great afternoon just me and my wife because now that our kids are older and don’t need to be with mommy and daddy, mommy and daddy can go off and do what they want to do, like eat at restaurant with cloth napkins and no coloring books at the table and catch a movie that isn’t animated. Life is good. So I’m sorry I wasn’t there to carry a banner professing my love for the NY Mets but even so, I know how much I love the Mets and the Mets know how much I love the team, so as I said Life is good.

 

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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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NY Mets Need Johan Santana Ready, But Not For Opening Day

 

The NY Mets hired a new Strength and Conditioning coach for 2013, his name is Jim Malone. Malone was hired in early November in an effort to upgrade the way the players in the organization physically conditions themselves for the 2013 season and beyond, especially when little nagging aches and pains have some guys taking time off due to soreness not injury, you would also think his first duties as the S&C coach would be to meet with Johan Santana and oversee a workout plan for him after the abrupt end of his season. I mean, it stands to reason right that Santana’s health would be of optimum importance to the Mets?

I don’t just look at Santana as the Ace of this Mets staff, I also look at him as Sandy Alderson’s prime blue ribbon steer, the one commodity that Alderson has left to sell off for some much needed calf’s to restock the Mets farm. Santana should have been given the best feed and a comprehensive workout program that would strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder and his endurance. He was given none of that by the Mets, and now Alderson is surprised that Johan Santana cannot make the proclamation that 99.9 % of players make when they report to spring camp that “he is in the best shape of his life”.

Talk about not doing due diligence, how in the world did the Mets not monitor the lefties off season workout activities?  I would think that every player in the organization sits down with the training staff and strength and conditioning staff and charts out a winter routine to make sure guys report to St. Lonesome in tip top shape. This isn’t reserve clause era baseball anymore where players have to take jobs selling insurance or laying brick, the biggest job most players have is staying out of their wives way, so I’m sure vast majority of baseball players hit the gym in the winter time, because as I said in the above paragraph all we here from players today at reporting time is they are “in the best shape of their lives”.

All the talk now is about getting Santana ready for an opening day start at Citi Field. Seriously, that should not be the top priority, no the Mets need for Santana to work at getting that left shoulder strong and if that means he doesn’t come up North until the beginning of May then so be it. Santana’s value to the Mets isn’t what he brings in his starts, no, his importance to the Mets is what he can bring back in trade.

Johan Santana is the last of the high priced players of the Omar Minaya era and the last real trade chip Sandy Alderson has left that isn’t named Harvey or Wheeler, if he is healthy.  Right now the Mets need Santana and Malone to sit down and work out a conditioning plan that gets him back on the mound with a strong left wing that throws strikes. If it takes the next 4 weeks of spring and a DL stint and a couple of rehab starts in Las Vegas then so be it.

This is not to disparage Santana or to call him out for not working out this winter, not at all. Santana when healthy was a force with the Mets  a guy who not just competed but rose to challenges  when faced with them.  Of course there was last years no hitter which will leave Santana (and Mike Baxter) mark on Mets history.  His first year with the Mets on July 27th 2008, a day after the Mets used every pitcher on the roster in a 14 inning loss to the Cardinals; Santana pitched a complete game and beat the Cards 9-1. Then on September 27th Santana beat the Marlins 3 hit shutout on 3 days rest to keep the Mets playoff chances alive. Oh yeah he did that with a torn meniscus in his knee as well.

Santana is as tough as a two dollar steak, coming back from the meniscus tear, elbow chips and reconstructive shoulder surgery. No question Santana will now work to get back into the rotation but now in the last year of his contract with the Mets, the cold reality is, he’s a short timer.  The question Mets fans should have about Santana isn’t if he will make the opening day start, it should be can Sandy Alderson move Santana to a contending team for a blue chip outfield prospect by the July trade deadline.

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