The Mets went 9-11 in this segment. They are 50-50 for the year. That seems to be about where they should be. There is so much to discuss in this segment and that will unfold over the last 3. As with the last few, I really like what I see from one of the scrappiest Mets teams ever. Though, they're hovering around .500,this has been the most enjoyable season for me since 2006.
What I loved about this segment is the fact KO-Rod is gone. Gone is that 17.5 million dollar albatross Omar hung over the Mets in yet another boondoggle. Alderson deftly dealt him before Bora$ could get him to submit his no-trade list. I highly doubt he'd have waived the option or upgraded it for $500,000, if he stayed. The Mets will also get 2 prospects from a list the Brewers will submit. The Mets have until September to choose. They did send 5 million to the Brewers, but again, that far better than what they faced. Sandy has now rid the Mets of 3 players, few fans liked, or respected and who did little but cause harm both on-and-off the -field. Sandy could be called the "terminator" of bad signings.
In his absence, Izzy has 2 saves and a win. Parnell has stepped up as the set-up guy and he's been fantastic. He's the heir apparent to Izzy as closer and could take over next year even if Izzy returns. Beato could move up to set-up if Izzy is gone. Mejia could also be in-the-mix if he's converted to a reliever which is quite possible. The Mets could add a reliever in the Beltran deal still to come in the next segment. I'm happy with the frontend(Beato, Parnell and Izzy) of the pen as is, but would love to add depth. Brydak has been serviceable, but Acosta and Igarashi are pure dreck. Carrasco also has run out of rope. He should go back to Buffalo and start the rest of the year. They've got to go. Bring back Dale Thayer who is 2-1 with 10 saves @ Buffalo and a 5-1 K-BB ratio(50-10) Another lefty is needed, but the off-season could produce that. Brad Holt and O'Connor could be recalled to take Igarashi and Acosta's spots. Holt has pitched well since be converted to relief. Let's see what he has over the last 2 months. At worst move him to Buffalo to close with Thayer moving up. The starters have to go deeper to avoid that horrid backend until it's addressed. Let's hope it's very soon(like Sunday!)
This segment also saw the return of David Wright and in his first game back he had 2 doubles, 2 RBI including the GW RBI in the 8th inning to break a 5-5 tie. Wright's power was missed and hopefully he'll have a strong second-half to shut up his critics who forget what an incredible offensive player he's been. I mean last year he had 29 HRS-103 RBI with no protection(Davis hit lower in the line-up much of the time). There is no way Wright should be dealt. Wright and Reyes should be the homegrown vets that help lead this team back from the dead. Davis should be the young part of that core this team is building. Hopefully Nieuwenhuis recovers from shoulder surgery and is ready to play RF/CF either in 2012 or 2013. You add in Cory Vaughn who also may be 2 years away and you may have your CF and RF for awhile. Wilmer Flores could develop into a corner OF as well replacing Bay. How cool would it be to have a team which could be ALL homegrown starters if Murphy wins the 2B job and Thole is catching? For once, this team can actually envision that.
The rotation seems to be crumbling a bit in this last segment. Niese has been a bit up-and-down and Dickey has been okay, but too often falls victim to one bad inning. Capuano has been decent in this stretch and Gee was faltering until his last start. Pelfrey has been pathetic. He's gone 6 straight starts of 6 innings or less and he's lucky he's 5-9. He's pitching his way off this team. Fortunately, the Mets may get some help. I'm not talking through a trade per se, but the return of Santana. He may pitch a rehab game next Wednesday and that would start his 30 day clock. That could set him up for a late August or early September start. Those starts are key, not due to any playoff push, but rather to evaluate where he is and for his own peace-of-mind. If he's healthy and gets 5-6 starts under his belt, management may feel confident enough to deal Pelfrey this off-season for prospects or perhaps to strengthen the pen or bench.
The offense has fallen off after that 52 run outburst. Beltran continues to up his worth and this should be the last segment where he will be mentioned as a Met. I'll add more at the end of this post in my closing. I want to focus on the return of Reyes and the incredible play of Murphy here. Reyes has come back and continues to hit. As I type this he's hitting .349 and could become the first Met ever to win a batting title and be MVP. I believe the former is much more likely, than the latter. Daniel Murphy also has been terrific. In fact, he leads the MLB in average w/RISP and 2 outs. Last I saw, he was hitting about .370 in that category. Overall, he's hitting .307 with 6 HRS-42 RBI. Those power numbers are much better @ 2B, than 1st, but the kid is clutch. If he can improve @ 2B by playing in the off-season, he may be ready to play full-time there. Justin Turner has made himself into a valuable utility guy who could fill-in admirably @ 2B or even 3rd. I can't see him playing everyday anywhere. Few others have hit in this stretch consistently. Bay has slumped again, Pagan has slumped badly (except for that big walk-off HR) and Turner seems to be slowing down as well. Thole and Paulino have been decent, but could be more productive. Paulino has pop, but seems to be simply lining singles. Thole is more of a singles hitter, but should turn on a few and drive them. He's capable of doing that. Overall,I like the platoon and would like to see it in 2012 as well. Duda has hit better for average, but the big galoot has no HRS. He should be driving the ball, but seems to be settling for singles and the occasional extra base-hit. Hopefully, when Beltran is dealt, Duda will start to rake it more. He should get a real look over the last 2 months with Nieuwenhuis out for the year and Flopmart injured again with a hip flexor(you can't make this up). Even if healthy, Martinez probably wouldn't have gotten a shot since he was only hitting .254 @ Buffalo. Duda should get a 2 month look unless a RF comes back in the deal(Dom Brown?). Hairston is a very capable back-up, if Lucas flops. The offense needs more consistency. They'll lose Beltran, but Wright and Reyes are back and hopefully Davis can come back for the last 2 months as well. We'll know by the next segment if he will.
I'm probably most impressed this year with the Mets road mark. They currently are 28-24 away from Citifield. They've had 3 consecutive winning road trips. In those trips they've not only gone 4-2, 6-4 and 4-3, but have beaten Milwaukee, Atlanta, Texas and Detroit all either first place teams in their divisions or the WC. Over that 14-9 stretch, they also split with a very surprising Bucs team and beat the Dodgers 3 of 4, something they've rarely done. They've also split the first 2 games of a 10-game road trip which will continue into the next segment. The Mets have jelled on the road and that bodes well for the rest of the year and 2012. Last year, they didn't win a road series against a NL team until August. They actually went nearly one full year before winning that series. That's a nice turnaround and something to build on. This team has become road warriors and they have won more games as of this post on the road than any team in the NL. Someone contact Hawk.
Finally, I'm going to end with my feelings and overall analysis of Beltran's stay with the Mets. I use to be a big Beltran fan when he was in KC. I always wanted the Mets to deal for him. When he came over, I was thrilled. Reyes and Wright were developing into young stars and I thought Beltran could be a big part of the core. In 2005, he was terrible putting up Lee Mazzilli numbers, more than Beltran numbers. However, from 2006-2008, he put up the numbers, I knew he could. He played a great CF and ran the bases with intelligence and saavy. However, then he missed over 170 games during the 2009-2010 season. Most was because of his knee bruise, but he also missed 5 games with the flu. I couldn't believe that one. I was a bit down on him, but still loved his game. However, when he decided to get an operation in January and there was serious doubt whether he really got the ok, I was miffed. However, I figured he'd be better when he returned in mid-April like he said he would. Well, 3 more months went by and he finally returned wearing a knee brace. That team was 48-40 when he returned. However, instead of boosting the team, he deflated it. He slumped, sulked and seem to use that brace as a crutch. I always felt he was soft, but then I saw him not just as soft, but selfish. That operation had such a profoundly negative effect on the club and he hardly seemed to care. In fact, he took the last 2 weeks off after he had the operation to avoid that. That just ticked me off more. Finally, he comes to spring training and looks like he can hardly move. What the heck did he do all off-season? He plays one game, slides into home, then takes off the remainder of the pre-season casting a pall over who will start the season in RF and if he'll ever play again full-time. To his credit, he returned and played well. However, due to the events that proceeded them, I truly felt it was just for a new contract and possibly a mid-season trade to a contender. I never felt like Beltran did it to make up for his missed time and judgments. He never played for the fans. Incredibly, through his selfishness, the Mets will reap the benefits. The best thing Beltran did over the last year+ was build up his trade value. He went from dumping his salary, to maybe lower level prospects, to perhaps a top prospect and a player. For that, I thank him. Trading him will make this a deeper and better team in 2012. Beltran was here for 6+ years. He had 3 great years and a very good 1/2 year. 2 years were a total waste and his first year was a flop. Overall, I feel he wasn't worth the contract, but this is one I won't put on Omar, because Beltran was a top player when he got him and did help this team get to one big hit from the world series. Unfortunately, Beltran failed to get that hit and the lasting image(fair or not) is him with his bat on his shoulder as the Cardinals celebrated on the Mets field. That pretty much sums up his stay here.