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Posted on: August 20, 2012 1:56 am
 

NY Mets 3rd Quarter Report.

The Mets went into a major tailspin in this quarter. The Mets went 13-26 since my last report, which was  after 81 games. In this quarter nothing went right. The rotation faltered badly, the bullpen was even worse and even the offense tailed off significantly. There were injuries, but all teams have those. The Mets lack of depth and poor off-season additions to the pen killed them.

Offense: Besides, Tejada and Davis, few really were consistent. Wright has tailed off hitting around .240 since the 2nd half began. Murphy has been up and down and he has shown no power. Thole, Torres and Bay were virtually non-existent. Duda slumped, got hurt, then demoted. Nieuwenhuis slumped, got benched then demoted. Nickeas finally got sent down after being the worst offensive player in MLB. Hairston still hits lefties, but hasn't hit righties enough in TC's eyes. The Mets ability to score with 2-outs has waned. They take far too many first pitch strikes and lack agressiveness. Couple that with their lack of speed and power and scoring often takes 3 hits. TC's reluctance to hit-and-run is puzzling. When you don't score, you take risks. They've become a team reliant on platoons, often to the point of being rather sad.


Defense: A lot has been made about the defense, but since Tejada returned, it has stabilized. Davis is solid, Wright is having a gold glove year and Tejada is excellent. Murphy has at least become adequate. Thole to me has been the biggest problem. He doesn't throw out runners or block pitches or the plate. His inability to throw out runners is just sad. Josh cannot be anything other than a back-up in 2013. If he's platooned the offense and pitching staff will suffer. Even his play-calling has been questioned by pitchers and the pitching coach calls pitches for him. The latter is just sad. The OF is ok. Baxter is a good fielder, Hairston adequate and Torres is decent. They could be better in the OF, 2B and catcher and I expect changes in all those areas for 2013. 

Rotation:
Losing Gee right after the break hurt. What made it much worse was TC's insistence on giving a 41 year-old washed up pitcher the ball. Batista's last outing was so bad, it put the pen back for 3 days. They kept trying to hold off bring up Harvey who was light years better than those who replaced him. When he came up, he not only shined, but actually hit! He's been one of the few bright spots in this quarterly report. Santana has been epically bad. 5 straight starts with 6 or more runs given up. That's a Mets record. It's so bad they've gone to a 6-man rotation and Johan may be shutdown. Johan's career is in flux. RA's colled off, but no one can stay that hot. Niese has pitched great the last 2 starts, but has had games where one inning did him in. Still @ 10-6 with a 3.49 ERA  who can really complain. Young has been too inconsistent and too often a 5-6 inning pitcher. With the Mets toxic pen, that's not good. I think they'll be fine in 2013, with Wheeler here and possibly Gee back, but now, it's basically RA, Matt and Jon. Hefner is at best a spot starter and really a long reliever. The Mets strength is no longer that.

Bullpen: What can you say about MLB's worst pen? Frank Francisco has only 3 blown saves, but 4 other times he's blown holds. That's 7 failures for a closer. That's totally unacceptable, as is his 6.06 ERA. Sandy messed up big-time signing him for 2 year @ 12 million. Acosta is a joke and the fact he's here just illustrates how bad this pen has been. 1-3-8.73 ERA-6 HRS-.304 BA. Ghastly. Parnell failed miserably as fill-in closer. He's fine in the 6th or 7th inning, but closing a game or even setting up is where he folds. Ramirez, who I thought would be a very good acquisition, has been far too inconsistent and his 4.11 ERA shows it. He's pitched better of late, but mostly in non-pressure situations. Edgin has talent, but has also faltered of late seeing his ERA balloon to 5.79. He has talent and a future here, but needs to understand he can't just groove pitches. The best reliever by far of late is Rauch who just bailed out Francisco from 2 epic meltdowns. He's actually earned a set-up role and if Frank continues to blow-up, the closer role. That's how bad this pen is. They tend to only pitch well, when there is little pressure. However, Frank hasn't even pitched well then.
They blew 2 games after the break against Atlanta and Washington which basically broke this team's back. Then they blew up in consecutive extra inning games vs LA. They ripped this team's heart out.


Coaching:  They've gotten a pass for the most part, but not from me here. TC is a good baseball man. Terry is very good with the players(especially the vets) and media. However, when he laid down the gauntlet of accountability, then let Bay go an entire road trip failing, he lost some respect in my eyes. He also allowed Acosta and Batista too much rope before finally demoting them. He also hasn't asked Warthen to be removed(that I've heard of) and no one deserves to be fired more. Ricky Bones who deserved a shot as BP coach after doing well in the minors, also must take the heat for the worst pen in MLB. However, both have their jobs. Where's their accountability? You can't just say things, then take no action. When that happens, you look weak and like a liar. TC failed here in leadership and deserves to be called out for it IMHO. Sandy takes a hit here too. I'll get to him below. Hudgins also must take heat for the Mets passive approach at the plate. Being patient is one thing, but taking fastball after fastball down the middle for strike one is ridiculous. Bob Ojeda has pointed this out consistently of late and he's spot on. The other day he showed a montage of first pitch strikes and often with men on base. Those are pitches to drive. The hitting coach deserves to be taken to task. The base-coaches should be flipped. Teufel is far too conservative @ 3B. Let Goodwin a far better base-runner be 3rd base coach. If not Goodwin, someone one else and put Timmy either @ 1B or on the bench. Geren should be removed. If he's at all responsible for some of TC' idiotic in game moves, he should be eradicated. TC will never be a good in game manager. He needs help if he is to improve there. TC's option is picked up for 2013, but changes to the staff should happen and both pitching coaches should be gone.

Front Office: I'm a pro-Sandy guy, but I'm a Mets fan first, not an apologist for the front-office.  Sandy failed miserably this off-season in addressing the pen. Sandy hemmed and hawed too long in bringing up Harvey and releasing Batista. Sandy didn't add anything from the All-Star break to the trading deadline, dragging his feet while the team waned. You can argue he couldn't get much without trading prospects and this team had little shot at a playoff berth, but then he shouldn't have been saying there going to add a reliever and catcher then get bupkus. Even Ricco backed this up on more than one occasion. This deflates the team and fans. Sandy also could have axed Warthen and/or Bones. This would have shown that not only are players accountable, but coaches as well. He did nothing. Again, this shows weakness when you speak of accountablity, then don't deliver it. Waiting until the season is over is weak. The positives are Harvey and Wheeler, but not every prospect is worth keeping and sometimes you need to move them to improve your team. He must do this in the off-season with only 10-15 million allotted to spend on free-agents. I also don't buy arguments saying teams wanted too much. Other teams got trades done and many gave up little. Atlanta being a prime example. Also not every player is a rental. Some can help in 2013. It takes skill and persistence to make deals. Doing nothing is easy.
 

Summary:  This quarter ended the Mets season of hope. They crashed and burned. No area was good including coaching and management. It was a total meltdown. That being said, the last quarter could bring hope and better results as well. We'll see some young players in September and more of Harvey. RA and Niese are fun to watch. Wright is due for a hot streak and Davis is finishing strong. Tejada is a total joy to watch as well. Jordanny is also fun to watch and the more I watch Baxter the more I like the guy. Duda should return and be installed in LF. It will be interesting to see how he reacts and plays there. This team also can still have a winning season with a return to solid play. Maybe they can spoil the Nationals or Braves season. Hopefully, in the last quarter there will be a happier recap.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: July 3, 2012 11:05 pm
 

Second Quarter report

The Mets are 44-37. They went 23-18 in this second quarter despite injuries and a difficult schedule. The Mets current rotation is 32-16 and is leading the way. RA is the overwhelming choice right now for Cy Young and Wright is an MVP candidate. Santana is pitching like the old Santana minus the velocity and Jon Niese is coming on strong. The Mets must address their pen both internally(Beato, Edgin and Mejia) and externally(Balfour, Gregerson). If they could add a right-hand hitting catcher, that would be awesome, but highly unlikely. Anyway, let's take a look at this "surprising" team at the official half-way mark.


Starting Pitching: The current rotation is 32-16. The only weak spot right now is Dillon Gee and he's been fairly solid. Ideally, the Mets would be better served moving Dillon for BP help or a strong right-handed bat, but that may have to wait until the off-season. Matt Harvey is pitching great @ AAA and is close. If Gee goes, Matt comes up and enters the rotation where he expects to be next year and many years to come. To me Gee's only future here is in the pen. Harvey and Wheeler will be here in 2013 and the Mets even have Collin McHugh who is supposedly similar to Gee. This team's future rotation is bright. Currently, it's pretty good as well. RA has been unreal. I think RA stands for Routinely Amazing. Johan has been the Comeback Player of the Year. Niese has been solid and getting better. Young is a total pro. This is the Mets strength. There is no doubt about that.

Bullpen:   It's been a tad better, but honestly outside of Parnell and Brydak, I don't trust anyone. Francisco's injury hasn't hurt. Parnell has had only one opportunity and converted it. This new opportunity should increase his confidence and when Frank returns, he'll set him up and if Frank falters, Bobby can step in. Rauch started off great, then lost 7 straight decisions and many were agonizing. He's become the mop up guy. I wouldn't be shocked to see him DFA'd when Beato, Mejia and possibly even Edgin get here. Batista pitching in the 8th inning is just scary. At best, he's a long reliever. He's another DFA candidate. Hefner is ok, but he's here until reinforcements arrive. Hampson is here until Edgin is ready. The Mets will add a reliever @ the deadline according to John Ricco and others internally. This has been the Mets weak spot. There is no doubt about that.


The Offense:  Incredibly as I write they're 3rd in the NL in scoring and first in 2-out RBI's. This despite getting little from Davis and Murphy until fairly recently. Duda has been inconsistent and Tejada very good, but he was out too long to truly assess his impact. Hairston was amazing for the first 50 or so games, but has tailed off. Still he's been terrific vs lefties. Thole is getting better, but his production is porous. Kirk started off great, but has tailed off. He may have hit the rookie wall. Don't forget he missed nearly all of last year with a shoulder injury as well. I like what I see from him because he's fearless at the plate and in the field. He needs to show more patience at the dish. Torres has been horrible at the plate and on the basepaths. He's a better player then he's shown. Maybe he'll have a better 2nd half. If not, he could also be benched or even demoted. Jason Bay did little when healthy and will get one more chance to save his career here. One more injury and I think the Mets will cut the cord. If he falters, expect a platoon with Baxter who should return a few weeks after the AS break. The bench is too infield heavy with Turner, Cedeno and Quintanilla. I'd honestly DFA Cedeno and keep Quintanilla, who can play both SS/2B and is a solid 2B. I never liked the Cedeno move. Turner can play some 2B and is a good pinch hitter and can pinch-run. He's a nice 25th man. Nickeas is awful at the plate and his defense has been surprisingly poor. Rob Johnson should be here and Mike should be @ AAA. Rob outplayed him in the spring and when both were filling in for Thole. The Mets need an everyday catcher and should address that in the off-season. Thole can be a back-up. I think this team can score enough runs with their pitching, but Bay, Davis, Duda and Murphy have to step up. David Wright has carried this offense. There is no doubt about that.

The Defense: It's been positively offensive! They currently lead the league in errors. Murphy and Duda are both big reasons for that, but Davis hasn't played well and both Cedeno and Quintanilla made SS an adventure when Ruben was out. Kirk has made some boo-boos and Torres looks like an older Pagan in CF. Even Wright had a 2-week span where he made about 6 errors. This last week or so, he's turned around and has made 3 or 4 highlight reel plays. I expect David and Ruben to solidify the left side. I expect Davis to bounce back, but Murphy will always be a negative. He tries and occasionally makes a great play, but has little grace there. The Mets are so much better with Valdespin @ 2B. If Murph gets hurt or slumps, Jordanny will get his shot. Then this infield has a chance to be solid. The outfield will improve with Bay in LF and Kirk in CF, but Duda is a problem. TC thinks he'd be better in LF, but as long as Bay is here, he'll play RF. The Mets best defensive alignment would be to call up den Dekker who is a highlight reel CF, move Kirk to RF and have Duda in LF. That won't happen until Bay is gone. Bay in LF, Kirk in CF and Duda in RF is at best decent. Kirk being the best of the 3. The Mets have to get better here. There is no doubt about that.


The Management:  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with Sandy, Ricciardi, DePodesta and TC. They are making this team professional again after years of being a laughingstock. Sandy was given a mess(ala Donnie Walsh) and quietly has rebuilt the system by fortifying it with talent. The deal to get Wheeler was a steal. The dumping of TKO-Rod was masterful. The hiring of Depodesta and Ricciardi, 2 former GM's and well-respected talent evaluators, was superb. However, his best move? Hiring Terry Collins. He took hits for that in the press. Heck, I would have preferred Wally Backman. But he was right. Terry has done a masterful job handling the players and press. He's kept his cool. He's gone from obnoxious to endearing. He's at best a mediocre in game manager, but overall how can you argue with his results and how this team consistently plays hard and bounces back? He's one of the main reasons for this team's resurgence. There is no doubt about that.


Outlook for the 2nd half: No one has a crystal ball. Last year we saw perhaps the craziest ending to a season in MLB history with IMHO the most exciting final day ever. However, there is no doubt with this team's pitching, the leadership of the manager and GM, the talent still available @ AAA and this team's grit, they can battle for one of the 2 Wild Card spots and maybe even the division. This is one tough little team that is a joy to watch. There is no doubt about that.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: May 19, 2012 6:40 pm
 

First Quarter report

The Mets are 21-19. Many are surprised, I'm not. I thought this was a better team then many gave them credit for being. Let's take a look at the first 40 games shall we...

One word... gutsy. This team has moxie. They've overcome injuries and a toxic bullpen to get to 2 over. The credit goes to the players and their belief in each other. They are a terrific late inning scoring team. They hit well with 2 outs and RISP. They hustle and hustle. I love it!

Two words, David Wright. What can you say? The guy is hitting .409 with a .500+ OBP. He's playing gold glove 3B. He's the man and even wanted to take a bullet for the team. As Dusty Baker said " He's one good cat." Please sign him and give him the C. He's earned it. Any Wright needs to go fans now? If so, get a clue.

Three words... please waive Acosta. This guy is beyond terrible. He should put on a hat and apron because no one serves up meatballs more. 5 HRS in middle relief and 11 in a little more than a year. He has an ERA reaching 11 and a WHIP approaching 2. He's not even minor league worthy. Someone call the NJ Jackals. We have a reliever for you.

Four words... please bench Ike Davis. I like Ike a lot. However, IMHO, all the Valley Fever talk may have gotten in his head. He was ripping the ball in spring training, then we started to hear all this illness talk. I wonder if subconsciously it effected him in some small way. This is more than a slump. Look at his body language. He looks defeated. Rest him in Pittsburgh and let him get his head on straight. Sometime that does wonders. If that doesn't work, THEN send him down. I don't want that to happen yet.

Five words... please make Parnell the closer. I don't want to hear about 2011. IMHO, TC undercut him giving Izzy the ball, then after Izzy faded, he gets to pick up the pieces. That's a real nice transition, eh? That was poorly done and to some degree may have effected him. Bobby has been by far the best reliever and he's young. We also need to see if he can handle it for a prolonged period. If he doesn't Familia or Mejia may need to fill that role. I don't buy TC's excuse. Back him up and say the job is yours. Give him at least a few months to prove himself. Move Francisco to middle relief or even the minors. Rauch and Mejia work the 8th with Brydak and Carson or Edgin as the lefties. Hefner should be in long relief once Harvey gets here or Young actually pitches more than 3 starts.

Six Words... bring up Matt Harvey real soon. I'm willing to see if Young is healthy, but if he isn't, don't play russian roulette with the #4 slot. Give the kid the rock. He just had 11 K's in 6 innings and showed poise rebounding from giving up back-to-back 1st inning HRS. He's 23, not 19. He's pitched college ball and was solid in the spring. Let's see him by June and get the experience he needs for 2013 when we will be ready to contend. Stop the charade.

Seven words... when Jason Bay returns please bench Torres. He's a nice 4th OF and that's where he should be. Captain Kirk needs to be the everyday CF. Let him take his hacks against lefties. The kid will fight through it and be better for it and so will we in 2013.

Eight words... thank goodness for the return of Johan Santana. Johan has been unreal. He's a true competitor. He's deserved better as well. The more he pitches, the better we are. What he's done has been astonishing in my opinion.

Nine words... RA Dickey should make the NL All-Star team roster. RA has been great. He gives 100% on every pitch. He's a terrific fielder. He's also a top notch dude. He's not a true #2, but has pitched like one.

Ten Words... this baseball organization is finally heading in the right direction. The kids are all right and thsi team plays with heart. They have moxie and chemistry. It's not always pretty, but it is always interesting. Thanks guys.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: April 4, 2012 10:07 am
 

Opening Day thoughts...

As I sit here typing this on Wednesday morning(I actually have this week off) I'm very excited about the upcoming 2012 NY Mets season. This despite the terrible ownership of the Wilponzis and the media's gloom-and-doom predictions. I'm not thinking division or wild-card, but I truly believe this team is capable of a winning record. I see them as a 75-85 win team. The more Santana starts, the closer to 85 they'll be. I think there is more talent here than many are giving credit. Here's how I see it...

The rotation is better than 2011 Opening Day. How? Last year Mike Pelfrey opened the year. This year he won't pitch in the opening series. That's progress. Johan is back and looks sharp. We can't expect 20 wins, but 12-15 isn't beyond reach. He also makes everyone on the staff better just by being there and instills confidence in this staff. He's a true ace. Dickey is going to battle and give you innings. He's heart and guts personified. Niese is going to have a breakthrough year. This organization wisely re-upped him for 5 years instilling their belief in him. I see a 15-game winner here. Jordan Zimmermann gets all the hype, but Niese has nearly twice as many career wins and is the same age. I'll take him any day over Jordan. I'll grant you the backend is very troublesome. Pelfrey is the opposite of Dickey. IMHO, he's regressing to the point he'll either be taken out of the rotation mid-late summer, traded(dumped) or possibly even demoted. Gee also troubles me. I see him pitching more like seasons' end, then seasons' beginning. However, the Mets have Harvey who should be ready to step in and could have Young by August. Familia could be used as well, though I believe the Mets see him as the future closer. The Mets have some depth in the minors to use and even Mark Cahoon could be used as a backend guy if he rebounds from a poor 2011. He's a lefty with guile. There is some hope here unlike last year.

The bullpen is better as well. I know Rauch was terrible this spring and Baby Benitez(Francisco) looked horrible, but Parnell was lights out and may be more comfortable just coming in middle relief, not setting up or closing. He looks relaxed. Ramon Ramirez has been one of the more steady middle relievers over the last 4 years and could set-up or close if needed. I love his arm. I think Rauch will be fine and on occasion get a few save ops when Francisco struggles or is tired. I have to give Brydak much credit for being back so soon. Tim showed real determination getting ready and avoiding the disabled list. Last year, he was the Mets best reliever. The front-end guys are nothing but journeymen pitchers. Acosta and Batista are guys you don't want to see much of. Acosta gave up 6 HRS in middle relief last year. Collins spoke of using him to set up. I hope not. I'm not falling for his last month perfromance. I've seen him too much over his career to buy into him. He's pedestrian at best. Batista was a good pitcher but is 42. That's in Dominican years. Odds are he's closer to Jamie Moyer's age. At this point in his career, I'd rather hear him recite his poetry than watch him pitch. The pen has power arms, but no real star. The positive besides having flame throwers, is they have Edgin, Stinson and Beato(if he rebounds physically) in the minors and both Familia and Mejia could also be here late summer. Again, it's nice to have real options instead of cast-offs like in previous years.

I truly believe this offense could be potent. Murphy-Wright-Davis-Duda and Bay could all have 20 HRS-30+ 2B. I believe Wright, Davis and Duda can even hit 30 with the new dimensions. A recent study showed Wright would have had 13 more HRS with these dimensions in place last year. Think about that and the fact he missed 2 months. Torres, Thole and Tejada are far from offensive stalwarts, but aren't stiffs either. I do believe Torres is an ideal 4th OF and Kirk Nieuwenhuis or even Matt den Dekker will be patrolling CF this year. Again, this shows the organization has ready-prospects who are highly thought of, not journeymen like Pridie.
The Mets lack speed, but have good baserunners like Wright and Bay who may steal 20 bases and get thrown out a handful of times. Nieuwenhuis and possibly Valdespin could help later on. I'm not happy with the bench, but Turner and Hairston have some pop. Ideally Torres should be there sometime this year.

Defensively, this team may have some problems. Murphy, Duda and Thole are far from stalwarts. Murphy needs to be competent and avoid injury. Thole has to block balls better and be more accurate with his throws. Duda needs not to kill himself or any other players he comes in contact with(Torres or Murphy). Wright and Tejada should be fine. Bay is a good LF and Torres is far better than Pagan in CF. Davis is a very good fielder and could be a gold-glove candidate in the future, if not 2012. Hairston is ok as a corner OF, Cedeno is pedestrian and Turner and Baxter are fine. Nickeas is the lone stand-out on the bench.

The Mets coaching staff is solid except for Warthen who should have been replaced and re-assigned. He knows pitching, I just don't think the players respect him that much and he's not a great communicator. The positive is Ricky Bones is the new BP coach and he knows a lot of the younger pitchers. He could easily replace Dan if Collins and Sandy decide to make a change. Collins has done a nice job in the lockerroom and he's ok at strategy. He might need to be a little tougher this year especially with Pelfrey. There is a fine line between patience and enabling. I think he crossed it in 2011 with Mike. I like Geren as bench coach. He should be a help to Thole and he's an old hand in MLB. He could also replace Warthen if needed.

Thursday is the first time in ages, I can actually watch Opening Day from the start. I usually pick it up on the radio driving home. It's usually the 7th inning or later and I have to wade through the incessant ramblings of Howie Rose to get the score. Between his idiotic Honeymooner's references and his descriptions of plastic bags swirling on the field, it's usually 10 minutes before I get the score. Now, I can sit back and watch the best TV broadcast team in the business set the stage. Then I get to see Johan pitch. To quote Bart Scott "Can't wait!" Lets Go Mets!
Category: MLB
Tags: Ny Mets
 
Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:56 am
Edited on: January 2, 2012 1:27 am
 

New Year's thoughts...

Though the off-season isn't complete yet(The Mets still need to add 3 players to the bench and a long reliever/starter), I've been doing some musings on the Mets off-season up to now and here's what I see...

I see a team which is going to be better than many "experts" believe, but isn't anywhere near where it needs and wants to be. I like the potential for the offense from the 2nd spot to the 6th spot. Murphy-Wright-Davis-Bay-Duda could be a productive grouping. I see a potential for 15+HRS-30+2B and 70+RBI from that group. I see Wright-Davis getting 90+ and Bay somewhere between 75-90. Murphy and Duda are unproven so expecting 60 or so may be more likely. With Torres, Thole and Tejada, I'm not expecting much from in terms of run production. I'm hoping Nieuwenhuis or another CF(Crisp?) is starting Opening Day with Torres sliding to the bench. Thole has some potential offensively, but lacks power. Tejada is there for defense and if he knocks in 45 runs that may be enough to justify him playing everyday. The Mets must add to their bench which right now only has Justin Turner and Rob Johnson. I'd love to see Ryan Theriot come in as the middle infielder and Rick Ankiel be brought in if the Mets don't trade for Eric Young or sign a CF like Crisp. Adding bench depth will be important over the next few weeks and can be crucial to this offense. Overall, I think the Mets will surprise in this area.

The pitching is loaded with question marks again. So much depends on Santana's health and Niese's growth. This rotation is so different with a healthy and effective Santana and Niese healthy and pitching up to his potential. Jon did win 11 games before missing the last month plus with an injury. He could step up and be a 15 game winner and the defacto #2 pitcher(though he's more of a #3 or #4). Johan though is huge. If he can make 30 starts and be 75% of what he was, this rotation will be much improved over 2011. Dickey is a guy who will battle, but lacks the ability to get outs if his knuckler isn't working. I don't expect him to be much more than a .500 pitcher. Pelfrey shouldn't even be here. His lack of intestinal fortitude is troubling and his abandonment of his sinker is puzzling. He doesn't have the fastball, nor change-up to get strikeouts. Mike's failure to put hitters away leads to his high pitch counts and short outings. Lastly, Dillon Gee is a battler,but sadly his end of the year performance is in my opinion more indicative of who he is rather than his blazing start. I can see him being a bust in 2012 and being sent back to AAA or the pen in long relief. The one bright spot is the improved pen. The Mets still don't have a quality closer, but Ramirez, Rauch and Francisco have power arms. I can see Rauch or Ramirez spelling a slumping or ineffective Francisco. When the year ends Ramirez may be the closer if Familia or Mejia haven't been recalled. Moving Parnell down in the pen helps. He throws hard and maybe can just focus on getting outs, not trying to impress to win the closer job. That's 4 power arms back there. That's a big improvement over 2011, which was the worst pen in MLB. While hardly shutdown, it may be an effective one if Collins and Bones(the new BP coach) handle it well.

Defensively, the Mets have made some improvements, but still have some glaring weaknesses. Davis' return helps as does Torres in CF over the dreadful Pagan. Tejada is a fine SS and while lacking Reyes' arm, he also lacks Reyes' penchant for oleing balls and day-dreaming. He's less talented, but better fundamentally and he's only 21. Bay is fine in LF. Wright is fine at 3B, but needs not to overthink on throws. The problems are C, 2B and RF. Thole regressed in 2011 and cannot catch Dickey. Johnson is a fine defensive catcher and should be Dickey's caddie in 2012 if he beats out Nickeas. Murphy is dreadful @ 2B. That's why a solid 2B is needed to backup. I really like Theriot. Duda isn't Murphy bad in RF, but he's far from smooth. Again, a guy like Ankiel would be a nice defensive replacement late in games or in double-switches. Again, they could be okay here if the depth they add is quality.

I went 4 paragraphs without talking about Reyes' leaving. I was 50-50 on his returning, but more and more I was leaning against wanting him back watching him miss much of the second half with hamstring problems, then watching him half-arse it the last month. I absolutely hated how he ended his career. Bunting is one thing, but pulling yourself in the first inning when you know it could be your last game and those fans came to see you? Totally classless and bush in my everso humble opinion. Then when Florida threw 111 million over 6 years, I knew the Mets wouldn't match and hoped they didn't even consider it. I mean in 6 years this guy will be 34 and could be another Raffi Furcal in 3-4. You going to pay this guy 18.5 million a year for that period? For what? 7 HRS-44 RBI and consistent concerns about injury and his mental state? Personally, I think Sandy didn't even want him back and was relieved when Florida went crazy. I mean bringing in the fences was an omen they were moving on and focusing on power, not speed. Why would you bring him back long-term and have another long-term deal you'd regret? Letting Reyes' go was the right thing to do. The fact Jose whined about the Mets not wanting him or calling him back shows his immaturity and selfishness. He knew what the Mets were willing to offer. He refused to talk to Sandy @ the All-Star break. IMHO, he just wanted Sandy to give him an offer he knew he'd refuse so he could turn him down. Sandy refused to play that game. Good for him. Reyes got what he wanted, money. That loving NY and wanting to retire a Met was pure BS. It was about the money. Enjoy South Beach Jose.

I already talked about the pen and a bit about Ramirez and Torres, but I loved the Pagan trade. IMHO, the Mets stole Ramon Ramirez for a player they didn't want and who quite frankly didn't do much last year. I mean 10 errors in CF? The guy can't go to his right or backhand a ball. He threw to wrong bases. Offensively, he was a mess. He got hurt, then seemed never to recover. In return, the Mets get a steady reliever who can set-up or close. They also got a very steady 4th OF who can be a spark at the top of the line-up and eventually off the bench. Good job by Sandy here. If he can pull the same magic unloading Pelfrey, then maybe this year could be salvageable.

Where does that leave this team on Jan 2nd? A team which is not complete, but even when it is, will have low expectations and most will pick to finish last. Some will make ludicrous predictions like 65 wins. Some will say worse. Personally, I see this team as a 75-85 win team. If Johan doesn't pitch, the pen falters again and/or the Mets offense falls flat, it could be 75 games. If Johan pitches 30 games, the pen is solid and the offense does well, they could win as high as 85. Of course other variables like injuries, trades(dumping or adding) could come into play which could fluctuate the numbers. I'll meet in the middle and say 80-82 as of now, but that could change with additions over the next few weeks or news on Johan's shoulder.

Lastly, I think 2012 will be much more entertaining then many fans believe. The Mets should put up better power numbers and we may see young players like Nieuwenhuis, Harvey, Familia and even Valdespin be integrated into the 25 man roster. Santana, Niese and the bullpen additions should be intriguing to watch. The development of Duda, Thole and Murphy could provide interest(or aggravation) as will perhaps the resurgence of Wright and Bay. Davis playing a whole season could be the best development of all. There are some areas of interest here. Hopefully, this team will surprise and give us a nice surprise while developing their prospects for 2013 and beyond. Then we can see Wheeler, Flores, Vaughn and others as early as 2013 and by 2014 for sure. I think this team is on the right path despite the Mets horrible and cowardly owners. Perhaps in 2012, a group of 12 angry Mets fans will sit in judgment of the crooked Wilpons and force them to pay dearly for their misappropriation of Madoff's money schemes. Then they'll be forced out as owners for ones who actually like and root for the team. They can come in and add some revenue to the organization for development at both the major league and minor league level. That was be most good.

Well there are some of my thoughts Mets fans. I hope you have a Happy New Year and we'll have a happy recap in 2012. See you soon and Let's Go Mets!
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: September 30, 2011 7:18 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 12:28 am
 

Games 141-162

The Mets went 8-14 to close the final segment, ending 8 under @ 77-85. It was a disappointing end to a year which saw this team battle and at times overachieve, despite not having it's ace all year, it's closer for close to half the year and it's corner infielders for months at a time. There were 2 games worse than 2010, but played better ball and much harder despite that.

The Mets bullpen imploded. Parnell was ineffective and Collins never verbally or even in terms of usage, was behind him. First he gave Izzy the job, then Parnell. Instead of riding him to end the year, he gave opportunities to Acosta a journeyman who has no future as a closer or even a valuable reliever. He's a pedestrian middle reliever and that's it.  Beato tired after showing talent most of the year. Byrdak got an extension and was the most consistent reliever all year. That is sad, yet true. Izzy gave his all, but his age showed. Igarashi is rubbish and Carrasco was a huge flop. Josh Stinson showed promise, but also that he's far from ready. The pen needs to be blown up, real good. It's a reconstruction project. Sandy stated the closer will come from outside the organization. I'd love to deal for Soria, but an incentive-based deal with Brad Lidge may be the way they go. Anyway, the pen was the worst in MLB.

The Mets rotation was also a joke. Dickey pitched well, didn't get support, but often shot himself in the foot by misplaying a ball, not getting down a bunt or letting a weak-hitter beat him. Gee hit the rookie wall after a great start. 13-6 is solid and I'd take that every year from him. He's at best a back-end guy. He's gutty and battles, but he's no ace or #2. Niese got hurt, but was fading. Jon has to come to spring training in top shape and step up his game or his value will drop and he could be dealt after the season. Next year is a huge one dictating the direction of his career. He has talent, now he has to back it up with performance. Pelfrey simply was horrible. John Lackey horrible. He showed no guts, brains or any intention he plans on getting better. Abandoning his sinker was pure idiocy. He doesn't have the stuff nor pitching smarts to put batters away. That's why he has high pitch counts and barely makes it through 6. Collins explanation that foul balls were good was pure bunk. Incredibly Capuano was the Mets most consistent starter. He gave up the long ball, but also struck batters out and kept them in games. He also pitched the best game by a Mets pitcher all year. Overall, the rotation was what we knew they were, mediocre. Next year Santana's return is huge and the possibility Harvey may be ready by late spring, early summer is comforting. Capuano may return if Pelfrey in non-tendered. I hope that's so. Mike should only return if he's dealt for a CF or closer. The Mets need to add depth that can pitch @ AAA just in case.

The Mets offense did a nice job despite losing Reyes twice(1 month), Wright for 2 months and Davis for 4 months. Pluggers like Turner, Evans and even Pridie chipped in. Lucas Duda showed the most growth earning the RF job in 2012. Tejada came back from the minors and showed he can hit and do so in the clutch as well. Reyes' second half was pedestrian worrying about his contract and his hammy which in turn hampered his ability to steal and run the bases. Jose's first half was MVP worthy. The Mets OF was a joke with Bay hurt or ineffective, Pagan ineffective and a liability defensively. RF was the only productive position with both Beltran, then Duda producing. They combined for 25 HRs-106 RBI. The Mets catchers did little, both offensively and defensively, with only Nickeas standing out on the defensive side. Paulino despite looking like a monster, hit all of 2 HRS knocking in 19 runs. Thole was up-and-down hitting the same as Paulino(.268) with 3 HRS- 40 RBI. I'd be happy with a Thole-Nickeas tandem. Let that fat PED-using Paulino go. Wright had his poorest season by far, though he had only 389 at bats, which were his least since 2004, his rookie year. He started fast, got hurt, slowed down, missed 2 months, returned hot, cooled down, had an incredible week, then cooled off again. 14 HRS-61 RBI was bad enough, but the 254 average was his worst by 29 points. David is a life-time .300 hitter. Hopefully, being healthy and having a real hitter behind him(Davis) instead of a 4th OF(Pagan) will help as well. Wright looked drained the last 2 weeks. Turner hit only .260, but was the Mets best clutch hitter knocking in 50 runs. The Mets will have Davis returning and a new CF. Whether Reyes' is back or not we won't know until November at the earliest. The Mets could see Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Jordanny Valdespin battling for spots in CF and 2B/SS. The latter depends on Reyes' situation. Overall, the Mets scored enough runs, to have a winning record if the pitching would have responded. That's a good sign. Bringing in the fences should help the offense in 2012 as well.

The Mets coaching staff kept the team prepared and up beat. Collins earned his extension doing a solid job. Hudgens got the Mets to be patient and be one of the best teams in MLB @ getting on base. Hale is a terrific 3rd base coach and Mookie is a Mets icon. All should return. The Mets are bringing back Dan Warthen according to reports and that's a mistake IMO. Dan is a good coach, but I feel is better suited as a roving instructor, rather than the teams pitching voice. When your staff underachieves year-after-year, you don't deserve a return engagement. He did little to help Pelfrey, Parnell, Niese, Beato and Gee among others. Sandy didn't endorse the training staff and hopefully that means the conditioning coach and Dr.Nick Riviera(aka Ray Ramirez) will be replaced. Year-after-year the Mets injuries mount and someone has to be held accountable. They've had enough passes. It's time to pass out the pink slips.

So the 2011 year is over. The bottom line says 77-85, 4th place. Those are the facts. However, the Mets have also pared 55-65 million of payroll, added a potential ace in Zach Wheeler, found a manager with guts & heart and got a GM who is an adult with a plan which he communicates to the media and fans. Things aren't rosy, but there is some sunlight among the black clouds.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: September 11, 2011 2:55 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:39 pm
 

If I were Commissioner of Baseball...

If I were appointed Commissioner of Major League Baseball, I'd make sweeping changes. The game needs some real tweaking and I wouldn't hesitate to impliment change. Here would be my changes...

1) Both leagues would have the DH - Look I hate the DH, but the minors have the DH, the independent leagues have the DH, as does college baseball. Only the NL doesn't. It's time to make the DH uniform.

2) Elimination of the All-Star game stipulation - One of the dumbest decisions ever was awarding homefield for the World Series based on an exhibition game, no one wants to play in. I'd eliminate it and simply give homefield to the team with the best record.

3) Elimination of the homeplate collision - Even before Santana's and Posey's season-ending injuries the last 2 years, I hated this rule. Home plate is the only base where you are allowed to physically run into a fielder to dislodge the ball. I'd end that. On any play where the catcher has the ball, the player must either slide or avoid the tag without any physical contact. If the catcher blocks the plate without the ball, the player is automatically safe.

4) Changing the blown save rule- I'll never understand how a pitcher can blow a save before the 9th inning. If you can't finish the inning getting the save, you haven't blown it. You've blown a hold. I'd change the BS before the 9th inning to a blown hold.

5) Changing the quality start rule - I despise this stat. How is pitching 6 innings and giving up 3 runs quality? That's a 4.50 ERA and the usage of at least 3 pitchers in your pen, if you're ahead. I'd make it 7 innings-2 runs or less. That way the ERA is 2.57 or less and 2 pitchers could finish it.

6) Shortening the season- 162 games is too long and since I'll be adding another round of playoffs(see next change), lopping off 8 games to 154 makes sense. I know less games is less revenue, but the added post-season games would ease the pain and attendance would increase in September since more teams would be in the post-season race for a playoff berth.

7) Adding a second wild-card - There is talk this may happen in 2012. However, I'd make it happen ASAP. The 2 wild-card teams in each league would play a best of 3 series. Game 1 would be @ the team with the worst record's venue, then game 2 and possibly game 3 @ the team with the best record's venue. That way each team gets at least one home game and they'd only make one trip for travel.

8) Moving up the trade deadline - I'd move it up to June 30. This way any rental player would be a 3-month rental, not just a 2-month one. This would involve more trades in late June because more teams are still have a shot for a post-season berth. A flurry of activity should occur every year. Most teams have a shot in June. By July, many don't. More moves should follow than usual.

9) Limiting September roster- I'd set it @ 30. This way a team can't call up 4-5 relievers and lengthen games. You'd have to be judicious in whom you bring up, not just willy-nilly. I might even set a limit on pitchers that can be recalled.

10) The return of the scheduled double-header - I'd schedule double-headers on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day. This would allow for more flexibility at the end of the year for make-ups and beginning the playoffs as early as possible. I'd also make it one admission for both games. All veterans get in free as well.


So there are 10 changes I'd make. Of course more would follow, but you have to start somewhere.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: September 4, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:13 am
 

Games 121-140

The Mets went 11-9 in this segment. The Mets are 69-71 and are fighting each and every game. You really can't ask for more. This is in my opinion, the grittiest Mets team since 2000. I enjoy watching them.

First, I want to touch on the future. Lucas Duda is earning that RF job. He's showing the power, that was lacking earlier. He is also by far the best clutch hitter on this roster. Thinking about a 3-4-5 of Duda-Wright and Davis makes me pretty pumped. All 3 have power and can hit for average. The Mets could have 3 players there with 30 plus doubles, 20 plus HRS and 80 + RBI. That's comforting. Duda needs to work on his defense. That should be a focus in his off-season baseball playing. I really like this kid. He's the anti- Fernando Martinez.

Next up Ruben Tejada. Here is another kid, I really like. The kid has baseball instincts. He's a slick fielder and has a gun. He works counts deep. He goes the other way. He's also clutch. He made some big mistakes, like failing to slide @ HP in a game, but listens and learns. He's teachable. Ruben has to bulk up a little. He can drive the ball in the gaps, but doesn't come close to jerking it out of the park anywhere. To stick on a MLB team as an everyday player you have to hit an occasional HR, unless you can steal 50 bases. He doesn't have great speed, so the power has to improve. Ideally, you want him @ 2B next year, but he could be the Mets Opening Day SS. It's weird, but the more I see him play, the less I am concerned about Reyes' returning.

Lastly as the future goes, I want to discuss Bobby Parnell here. Unlike Duda and Tejada, I'm not sold on Parnell at least as the closer. He's done okay(5 saves in 6 OPS), but there have been few dominant performances there. He's had a few cheap saves(3 run leads) and has struggles in virtually every other opportunity. I don't see the confidence and trust in his stuff a closer needs. These next 20 plus games are huge for him. Personally, I'd love to see him as a set-up guy and a Brad Lidge brought in or a Soria traded for. I wouldn't give up on Bobby, but I'm just not sure where he's going.
 
The second area that I want to discuss is the pitching staff. I see it as a pedestrian one. Santana's return will help, but Niese has done nothing to show he's anything better than a decent backend starter. Gee has been a surprise, but again, he's at best a backend guy. Dickey has pitched well at times, but isn't the guy we saw in 2010. I don't consider 6 IP-3 ER "quality", though in today's accept mediocrity MLB, it is. How can a performance that equates to a 4.50 ERA and 3 more pitchers used be quality? Often that's been Dickey's line. RA is a great dude and will be here in 2012, but he's a #5 starter. That's it. That leaves one spot and there is no way on earth Pelfrey should fill it. It's time to cut bait with this underachiever. He has no out pitch and since he abandoned his sinker, he's been a pinata. He cannot get any decent hitter out up-in-the-zone. He can't put hitters away and since he's given up on letting them pound the ball into the ground, his pitch count reaches 100 by the 5th inning. He's not only ineffective, but a burden on the pen. The Mets will tender him, but then should turn around and deal him. I'd try to move him with Pagan or Murphy for Soria. KC needs a pitcher who can throw 200 IP and fairly inexpensive. Pagan or Murphy can be a regular. The Mets should throw-in Martinez just to unload him. Maybe KC can use the OF depth on their team or AAA. If they pass on Flop-mart, Valdespin may be a possibility. I see a match with KC. They don't want to pay him big money and they have Aaron Crow who can replace him. Add a starter besides Santana. That could be a return of Capuano and with Harvey starting @ AAA in 2012, the Mets may feel he's capable of replacing an injured or failing starter. There will be other options available as well. The Mets need to fumigate their pen with only Beato, Parnell and possibly Stinson returning. All 3 throw hard and Collins absolutely loves Stinson. In his short stint so far( 3 2/3 IP), he's looked good. He has good stuff. Mike Nickeas raved about him as well. Beato could set-up. Pedro just needs to be consistent. I've discussed Bobby, so I'll move on. Don't be fooled by Acosta. This guy is a journeyman who gives up HRS. 6 HRS for a non-closer is insane. Dump him. Igarashi is a joke. Izzy is 38 and wants a better contract. Pass. Thanks Izzy, but you're a middle reliever now. Brydak is okay, but unless he's cheap, adios. Herrera who they just got for TKO-Rod, may be a possibility as a lefty specialist. He has a month to show he's earned a shot in spring training to compete for a spot. The most I see is 4 spots from what we have now. Add 3 including a closer. Sandy has to hit a HR here. With a mediocre rotation, you need a strong and deep pen.
 
The third area I want to touch on is the bench. Right now, only Turner is a sure bet. In the best case scenario, he's their utility guy. I'd dump Paulino and keep Nickeas. Paulino has been a total flop. He was brought here to ravage LHP, but has only 5 RBI vs lefties all year. His defense is atrocious as well. Adios. Harris could stick as the 25th man. I think Hairston is gone. I like Scott, but unless he's been told he may get some play in CF, I don't see him wanting to waste away on the bench. Evans has hit lately, but he's really a AAAA player. He may get a shot in spring training because he can play the corners in both the INF and OF. The Mets may add a veteran middle infielder if Reyes bolts. The Mets need to have flexibility and versatility there in 2012.

Finally, I want to discuss the coaching staff. Collins has been wonderful as has Hudgens. The Mets need to replace Warthen with a younger and more adaptable coach. Warthen has done little to improve Pelfrey, Niese or Parnell. He may be best suited as a roving instructor. Promote Ricky Bones who knows most, if not all of these pitchers. Oberkfell, Hale and Mookie are doing fine. This team is in good hands. One change is needed and it needs to be done as soon as possible.

So this 20 game segment saw the Mets playing better at home, gritty every game and developing some players who will contribute in 2012. I've enjoyed watching them every game because they care about winning and do not give up. When you think about who they lost and what they have, it's amazing, they haven't sunk to the depth of Florida or Chicago. That's a tribute to them and their manager Terry Collins. Good job guys. It's getting better and 2012 is going to get even better.

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
 
 
 
 
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