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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11-13-12 Felix Unger Is Thrown Out By Wife and David Wright and R.A. Dickey Still Don’t Have New Contracts

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Today we take time out to acknowledge the anniversary of Felix Unger’s wife asking him to remove himself from their place of residence.

The Mets have hired Jim Malone as their new strength and conditioning coach and as we all know if there is a team in MLB that is dire need of strength and conditioning it’s the Mets. Hopefully Malone will work closely with Ruben Tejada to help fortify his stamina so the poor kid doesn’t suffer from fatigue in August like last season. Maybe mega-doses of Flintstones vitamins will do the trick. Yaba-Daba-Doo.

Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing is conducting a fantastic contest titled 50 Sheas of Krane in which you answer 50 questions about the legendary and iconic Mets player Ed Kranepool (bows head). The winner of this contest will be awarded the must have item for everyone who calls themselves a Loyal to the Orange and Blue Mets fan, the New York Mets 10 disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD package.

Speaking of must have Mets memorabilia, the folks at AnyDate.com have put together a  reprint compilation of New York Times stories highlighting great moments in Mets history  all printed on newspaper stock and encased in a acid free envelope to protect this fantastic Mets keepsake.

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THE HURT LOCKER-ROOM

You think Jack LaLane ever pulled or strained an oblique muscle? Helllllllllllllllll No!  

 

As much as we would like to have someone’s head on a platter when it comes to the rash of muscle injuries that have plagued the Mets, it seems the real culprit here is the culture of the weight room and maybe the laziness of the players for not doing their due diligence when it comes to stretching and preparing to play baseball.

The Mets strength and conditioning coach is Brad Andress. Andress has an impressive resume where he began his career with the Tigers from 1990 to 1999, he then moved on to the Colorado Rockies for nine seasons. Andress also was a member of the 1982 Penn State football team that won the National Championship in 1982. Andress joined the Mets last season. It would be a bit extreme to blame him solely for the epidemic of oblique muscle pulls and strains that have hit the Mets as this is not just a Mets problem but it seems to be a baseball problem .

I don’t think there is anyone of my generation who didn’t hear all through high school that weight lifting was bad for you as a baseball player. It was drummed into us that weight lifting would make you stiff and inflexible and hamper your ability to swing a bat properly.  As years have gone on we have seen baseball players not only embrace the weight room but adding supplements as well to bulk them up to the point they looked more liked contestants in a body building competition than ballplayers.

With the ban on PED’s and the now in place blood testing for HGH, maybe it’s time to go back in time and shut down the weight rooms or at least monitor the work the players do with weight training and go back to focusing on flexibility and working more of a callisthenic exercise routine?

Something has to change with the way baseball players are training because whatever they’re doing now is not working.

David Wright is headed to NYC for and ultra sound test and a cortisone shot. Tim Byrdak will join him to have his knee checked out which must be in bad shape if he’s being sent to NYC to have it examined. This is why the Mets are thisclose to singing CJ Nitkowski to a minor league deal as the other two lefties that had a shot at pitching out of the Mets bullpen Robert Carson and Danny Herrera have been hobbled by injury as well.

Capt. Kirk has had a set back as well from, (what else?)  a strained oblique muscle. With Scott Hairston out with (what else?) the same injury but more severe and Jason Bay lost in the batter’s box, there could not be worse time for Nieuwenhuis to go down with injury.

Lucas Duda and Danny Herrera seem to be ready to get back in action as both boarded the bus for Lakeland and today’s game against the Tigers so that’s a bit of good news. But Reese Havens is still out with back troubles, I’m very close to leaping off the Reese Havens bandwagon.

If anyone cares here’s my Final Four picks:

Baylor

Florida

Ohio St

Kansas

Florida over Baylor

Ohio State over Kansas

Florida over Ohio St

 

 

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