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.