Category:MLB
Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: August 21, 2011 7:03 pm
 

Games 101-120.

The Mets traded Beltran during this segment picking up a hard-throwing young pitcher they hope will be ready by 2013 along with Matt Harvey. That would add 2 power arms to a staff with none. The Mets started off hot w/out Beltran, then faded as their pedestrian rotation continued to struggle and their bullpen continued to bleed. The result an 8-12 segment and a 5-game losing streak to end it.

The Mets rotation just can't get it done. Pelfrey stumbles virtually every start, Dickey looks more like the journeyman pitcher then the surprise of 2010, Niese is up and down, Gee has hit a wall and Capuano gives you innings, but hardly shutdown pitching. Quality starts as diluted as they are, are almost non-existent. When they do give the Mets some quality, the bullpen tends to blow it. The Mets backend is comprised of Acosta(6HRS-25 inn), Igarashi (4.98 ERA) and Carrasco(4.86 ERA). The three are not MLB quality pitchers and should all be gone next year. The 4 others are up-and-down for the most part, though have value. Parnell(3-4-4.26 ERA) has regressed after looking like he turned the corner. Many believed he might get a shot at the closer's job when they dealt Rodriguez, but didn't. Perhaps it have some effect on him mentally, because since then, he's looked ordinary. He throws hard and at times looks unhittable, but until he is consistent, he'll be what he is and that's a middle reliever with potential. Beato has also slipped(2-1-3.88ERA) from possible set-up guy, to basically a 6th or 7th inning guy at best. He's also been too inconsistent. Izzy(3-2-6SV-3.54ERA) has only one blown save since being named closer(and Turner blew that game), but also has blown up when called upon in tied games. He's one away from 300 saves and should get it, but afterwards should be setting up, giving the Mets a chance to evaluate Parnell. The Mets best reliever in this segment has been lefty-specialist Brydak(1-0-SV-3.45ERA). That's really how sad the pitching has been. Unless these guys pick it up, the slide will continue.

The offense tries its best, but with Davis out for the year, Reyes out at least another week and Murphy gone for the year, it simply has no depth left. The Mets moved Duda from RF, where they hoped to evaluate his play there for 2012, but now can only evaluate his bat. So far, his bat has been a real surprise. The power isn't there yet, but he's hitting for average and getting clutch hits to boot. Reyes' was slumping, but still a threat. Tejada battles and is patient, but simply isn't an MLB hitter yet. Turner is hurt, but still playing and it shows. Wright has tapered off and has no protection in the line-up. Bay has perked up, but has hardly been the run producer. Pagan is hitting near .250 and hasn't been nearly the player he was in 2010. Thole is getting hot and may soon just take over as the everyday catcher. Paulino has shown no power and has become a singles hitter. RF is being manned by Harris, Baxter and Hairston who are basically 3 back-up players and pinch hitters. The Mets AAA team has no one the Mets want to see here. Martinez has become such a non-factor, he was an after thought despite being "healthy." The shoulder injury to Nieuwenhuis hurt the Mets plans for the last 2 months and Kirk's first chance to prove he deserves an everyday job. He may get that chance in spring training in either RF or CF. The Mets utility guy Nick Evans is a waste. He can't play any position adequately and he's hitting .194. The Mets have given this stiff enough chances. Hopefully, they'll waive him and call up 2B/1B Josh Satin(.317) or at worst 1B Valentino Pascucci( 18HRs-82 RBI) from AAA to replace him.  The Mets offense should perk up when Reyes returns during the next segment.

The Mets look like a team that has hit the wall. All year they've had injuries to their best players. They've lost Davis, Murphy and Young for the year. Santana probably is lost as well. Wright missed 2 months and Reyes over a month with his 2 DL trips. As must as they try and gut it out, their lack of depth and talent is showing. They simply do not have the pitching to endure the injuries. They have no ace and basically five backend starters. Their BP is toxic with a few bright spots, but little that is salvageable for 2012. A BP overall should priority #2, after re-signing Reyes. The offense is missing its catalyst(Reyes), a big thumper(Davis) and it's most consistent hitter(Murphy). The bench is playing and there is little left when changes need to be made in close games. Collins hand are tied and he knows they just have to ride it out. No help is coming from the waiver wire and little from AAA.

The next 40 plus games will tell us a lot about who should even be considered for 2012. Guys like Duda, Turner, Thole, Tejada and perhaps even Baxter are playing for jobs next year in some capacity. Turner and Thole to lock down their positions, Duda to win one and Tejada and Baxter for spots on the 25 man roster. Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey may also be playing for a chance to remain here and not be dealt in the off-season. There is much to find out and these games will be used as a means to evaluate what is here and wanted.

Let's hope the next 20 has the Mets on the upswing. This team has played too hard and well to just fold. Playing for a winning record should be the goal. The Mets have had back-to-back losing seasons and that mentality can sink in. You'd like to build upon the finish for 2012. I think this team will, because their skipper won't let them backdown and Reyes' and Wright need to end the year strong for different reasons. I also think the players fighting for jobs will keep the team afloat. I'm hoping to write a happier segment next time.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: July 23, 2011 7:48 am
Edited on: July 23, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Games 81-100

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.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: July 10, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 1:44 am
 

NY Mets: 2011 Grades

Below are the final grades for the 2011 NY Mets. I deleted Beltran and TKO-Rod from my mid-season grade list. I've added Evans &  Acosta. Here they are...

Offense

C- Josh Thole- C:  Josh has 3 HR-40 RBI and  hit .268. He done a decent job behind the plate, but never really got untracked.

C- Ronny Paulino- D+: Ronny numbers 2 HR- 19 RBI and .268 average were extremely disappointing. His defense was porous.

1B- Ike Davis- INC : He was on his way to a great 1st half, but has missed the last 126 games. Let's hope he's healthy in April.

1B/3B- Dan Murphy- B+: After a slow start, he caught fire. 6 HRS-49 RBI-.320 was excellent production. Too bad he missed 50 games.

2B- Justin Turner- B: He cooled off, but overall has been a godsend. 50 RBI in 117 games was solid. The Mets best clutch hitter.

2B/SS- Ruben Tejada- B-: He's played brilliantly defensively and has helped with his bat especially going deep in counts.

SS- Jose Reyes- A-:  An average second-half and he played at half speed the last month. 7 HRS-44 RBI-.337 were still solid.

3B- David Wright-C-: The INC turned to a C- with his worst offensive year by far.14 HRS-61 RBI-.254. is not acceptable.

LF- Jason Bay- C-: Poor numbers still haunt him 12 HRS-57 RBI-.245. Jason plays hard, but needs to stay healthy and produce.

CF- Angel Pagan- C-: His numbers 7 HRS- 56 RBI-.262 aren't exactly solid. Angel's defense was horrendous. He's gone.

RF- Lucas Duda: B+: 10 HRS- 50 RBI-.292 are more impressive because virtually all came in the second-half. He's the Mets new RF.

Bench: Scott Hairston-C-: 7 HRS-24 RBI-.235, are not great numbers. He was a total non-factor in the second-half. He's gone.

Bench: Willie Harris: C-: 2 HR-23 RBI-.246 is hardly great, but he is useful. Odds are he won't be back.

Bench: Jason Pridie: C-: Filled in great while Pagan was hurt, but since has done little. 4 HRS-20 RBI-.231. 5th OF at best. Gone as well.

Bench: Nick Evans: C: 4 HRS-25 RBI-.256 are hardly big numbers, but he filled in decently when Murphy went down. 50-50 that he returns


Pitching


SP- Dillon Gee: B-: faded in the 2nd half but 13-6- 4.43 ERA is solid for a rookie.. He's shown poise and grit.

SP- Jon Niese:C+: 11-11-4.40 were pedestrian numbers. He needs to stay healthy and be more consistent.

SP- Chris Capuano:C+: 11-12-4.55 are average numbers, but he pitched his heart out. He led the team with 168 K's.

SP- Mike Pelfrey:F: He was deemed the ace, but is the worst of 5. 7-13-4.74 doesn't speak of how bad and gutless he was.

SP- RA Dickey: C+: 8-13-3.28 were misleading numbers. He should have been at least .500, but didn't get run support.

RP- Bobby Parnell: D-: Overall, 4-6-3.64- 6 SV were pedestrian numbers. He blew his opportunity to win the closer job.

RP- Jason Isringhausen: B-: 3-3- 4.05- 7 SV are decent numbers. He gave 100% before his body gave out. Thanks Izzy.

RP- Pedro Beato:C-: Early on was unhittable, but too often got lit up. Overall he was 2-1-3.82-SV. Pedro may start 2012 @ AAA.

RP- Tim Brydak: B-: 2-1-3.82-SV were decent numbers. Incredibly he was the Mets most consistent reliever.

RP- Ryota Igarashi: F: 4-1-4.66 . Those numbers do not detail his incompetence on the mound. He's done. Sayonara.
 
RP- Manny Acosta: C+: 4-1-3.45- 4 SV. He ended the year strong, but is nothing more than a jorneyman middle reliever.


Coaching:


MGR- Terry Collins:A-: What can you say? His team got off to a 5-13 start and he didn't whine or make excuses. The guy kept the faith, preached unity and hard work and its paid off. Despite not having his ace, losing his best starter early on, his power-hitting corner infielders and then his MVP SS, he never made excuses nor lowered expectations. He's done a masterful job. He's used his bench well and tried to get something out of a depleted and untalented pen. He's kept himself and his team upbeat. He promised this team would play hard, play good baseball and win. He was right on 2 of 3. The lack of talent did him in the last month.Still a great job though.

Coaching staff:B: The hitting coach and base coaches have done a masterful job. This team plays smart, takes counts deep and gets clutch hits. They work counts deep and battle. They're impressive to watch. From 1-8, they make you work. Kudos to their hitting coach. The Mets finished 2nd in the NL in OB%. Warthen's pitching staff collapsed and he is partly to blame. He did a nice job in the first half, but failed to adjust in the second half. Warthen is returning, but shouldn't. The BP coach should be fired. They were the worst in MLB.


Management


GM- Sandy Alderson: B+: Overall, he's changed the culture. Sandy earns the grade just for hiring Terry Collins and dumping those 2 albatrosses Castillo and Perez. Other than that, he's made some solid moves. The signing of Capuano, the acquisition of a top minor league hurler in Zach Wheeler for FA to be Beltran and dumping TKO-Rod saving the Mets the option of 17.5 million and getting 2 players back to boot were his best moves. Young was great early on before the injury. He cost little. Emaus was a flop, but Sandy didn't hesitate(like that other GM) to trade him. That shows me a lot. He accepts his failures and is quick to correct them. Sandy has also handled the press flawlessly. He gives them the facts, some humor and no editorializing or excuses. The guy is a pro. What a difference a year makes. He has this team on the right path because he has a plan. Good job hiring DePodesta and Ricciardi to help with talent. Again, he's shown his intelligence by the company he keeps. No Bernazards or Manuels. He's a bright guy who knows how to delegate.



Team Grade:


C:
Though they ended up 77-85, they've played far beyond expectations at times. They've overcome injuries that in past years would have seen the team dive into murky depths. This year they went 43-38 on the road which was an 11 game improvement over last year. However, their home mark of 34-47 was horrid. That's a 13 game deficit. The Mets hit better and were more patient. Their pitching was pathetic though. The Mets found a young stud in Duda, a versatile player in Turner and a backend starter in Gee. They failed to groom a young closer and saw Pelfrey fall off the cliff. Their attendance declined due to poor expectations and a slow start. They ended the season poorly. However, they battled, beating the Braves 2 of 3 and rallied putting up 6 runs to win a game against the eventual wild-card Cardinals in the last week plus. That showed me something. Reyes also won the club's first batting title with a .337 average. So, though far from great, it wasn't a terrible season and the Mets will pare anywhere between 55-65 million off their payroll. They also have talent in A ball which will be in Double and Triple A next year and in 2013. The reinforcements are coming and with a few shrewd moves could produce the Mets first winning season in 4 years in 2012. So all's not lost.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: July 7, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 7:47 pm
 

NY Mets:Road Warriors.

The Mets have become road warriors. They've won 13 of their last 19 on the road beating Milwaukee, Atlanta, Texas, Detroit and now LA in the process. In that streak their only non-series win was a 4 game split with the improving Pirates. 4 of the 6 teams they played were either in first in their division or wild-card when they played them. That's very impressive. Remember this was a team that didn't win it's first road series against a NL foe until August last year in Houston. Unbelievable, yet true.

Collins speculated on this yesterday. He stated the team has no distractions on the road and this group really gets along. He said the focus is just on baseball. He then stated he has to figure a way to get them to play like this at home. Interesting.

So why are they 26-20 on the road and 19-22 @ home? Could it be just the distractions from so-called writers asking unbelievable dumb questions and the extra PR they do? That seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps it's the fact they press at home to get fans back in the stands. Perhaps they want to entertain and win in a way which will bring them out and get them behind the team. Maybe its the dimensions of the field. No one really knows. Last year they played well at home and poor on the road. So again, who knows?

What the Mets have to do is simply play the same way at home. The park should work to their advantage. Their pitchers should use the dimensions to their advantage. The Mets hitters have speed and hit the ball in the gaps. It's not like they're hitting tons of road HRS. They're simply getting hits in big spots, often with 2 outs. If they continue that @ Citifield, the record will improve. It's really that simple.No gimmicks are needed.

Whatever the final record( I still say 83 wins), this team has given us 80+ games of pure grit and damn good baseball. They've played the whole year w/out their ace. They've played a month + w/out their corner infielders who are their power sources. They've even gone 4-0 w/out their best player and perhaps the best player in MLB in 2011. Kudos to the players, especially guys like Turner, Murphy,  Paulino, Duda, Pridie, Gee and Tejada who weren't even on the 25 man roster on opening day. Kudos to Sandy Alderson for not overplaying his hand and bring in pros like Young, Capuano, Beato, Hairston, Harris and Paulino. All were solid and inexpensive moves. Young got hurt, but was great early on. Cappy is 8-7 and could easily be 11-4. Beato is looking like a bullpen fixture for years along with Parnell. Hairston and Harris have strengthened what was an incredibly weak bench in 2010. Paulino has been a hitting machine since his return from suspension and injury.  Also, thanks to Sandy for ridding us of the 2 albatrosses Castillo and Perez. Removing their stench has done wonders. Where are all those defenders of Castillo now? How have Turner, Murphy and Tejada done @ 2nd. The answer? They've done light years better.


Most of all we have to give it up for Terry Collins. This guy swore this team would play good baseball the right way and win. He maintained that when they were 5-13. He was upbeat and steadfast. No stupid jokes like Manuel. No blaming injuries like Jerry or Omar. No paranoia like Randolph. He was a man about their situation. He kept the faith, believed in his crew and they've responded. That's how you manage people. Collins also has used his bench and bullpen well. He's kept guys fresh. Most of all, he's been upbeat and accountable. Those are words rarely if ever used to describe Jerry, Willie and Omar. I think of idiotic, arrogant,  delusional and just plain incompetent, when looking for descriptions of them. Collins has changed the attitude and culture here. For that alone, he deserves our undying thanks. The fact he's won with this rag tag bunch is simply amazing. If not for Gibson and Hurdle also performing miracles, he'd be the leading candidate for NL manager of the YR. He may eventually win it anyway.

The Mets are 45-42. They're 26-20 on the road. That's the most road wins in the NL and 2nd most in MLB trailing only Boston and Tampa who have 27. That's unreal. Look at who is missing and remember what happened last year. It's truly a miracle. Or even better, amazin'. I like the return of that word. It's been a long road back to amazin'.

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Games 61-80

The Mets went 12-8 over this latest segment. They had a winning 10 game road trip where they beat Milwaukee and Atlanta 2 of 3 and split against a vastly improved Pirates team. They would have swept Atlanta and gone 7-3, if not for Rodriguez choking away a 2-run lead. Tonight they ensured another winning road trip by winning 16-9. They're 4-1 with one to go. They've scored 52 runs in those 4 wins! In 3 of the 4, they scored 14 or more! They've won 10 of 15 on the road against 4 teams currently in first place in either their division or the wild-card.  When was the last time, the Mets played that well on a long road trip? Then they go do it again on a shorter trip? Truly impressive.

The Mets are being led by their solid rotation( minus Pelfrey on the road), Jose Reyes and his amazing season and their plucky, reinvigorated manager Terry Collins. The latter deserves Manager of the Year consideration for getting this team to .500 and over despite losing their power corner infielders for over a month and not having their ace pitcher all year. Truly Amazin'.

This team is playing with confidence and without excuses. To me that stems from the top. Alderson doesn't make excuses and neither does Collins. All we heard over the last 2 years was injury excuses from Minaya and Manuel. That whining filters down to the team and lets them know their employers think little of them. Alderson and Collins haven't said anything about missing these players. They just gave the updates and moved on. No panic, no whining. They're real pros. Consequently, the players on the field have acted and played like real pros. Jason Pridie, Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda and Dillon Gee have all made great contributions and none of them were on the Opening day roster. That's a tribute to them and Collins. He's used them beautifully and they've responded.

Then there are guys like Daniel Murphy. What can you say about this guy? He's not the best defensive player anywhere they put him, but he plays well enough to stay in the line-up(he's no Conrad). He's not a good fundamental player, especially on the bases, but he's still aggressive and often helps builds runs. He's been hitting extremely well and better w/RISP. If Davis is gone the year( let's all hope not), Murphy can play 1B, with Duda and even Turner filling in as well. That's somewhat comforting.

Most of all, lets talk abot Reyes. I spoke of the rotation in another blog so I won't go on about them. They've been fantastic except for Pelfrey's ugly performance on the road. However, Reyes has been special. MVP of the NL special. Jose was coming off a pretty ordinary year. Sandy Alderson never offered him a deal because of that and his past injuries. When you factor in the Wilpons putting the Mets in chaos with their ineptness and possibly larceny, you could understand why. Jose to his credit didn't feel disrespected. He's gone out and played the best ball he's ever played. Reyes has never hit like this. He's hitting .349 as I type this and leads the NL in hitting and hits. He's swiping bases and is second in the NL. He's scoring runs and saving them. He still makes the occasional base-running blunder, or falls asleep and gets picked off, but they've been much rarer than in the past. He seems totally focused possibly for the first time in his career. He's making it virtually impossible for the Mets to deal him. If they do, they better get a king's ransom. He's been the engine that has made this patched-up line-up go. They've just scored 36 runs in the last 3 games against 2 first place teams on the road. That's impressive. Reyes has been the engine having back-to-back 4 hit games. He has 15 triples already. He's playing with focus and joy. No more dancin' in the dugout. He's dancin' his way around the bases though. He's been absolutely awesome and deserves to start the All-Star game despite a guy named Tulowitzki @ SS(who is having a pretty solid year himself). I know I voted 25 times for him. All fans should do the same. He needs to start.

Next, I have to talk about Beltran. Beltran seemed in a funk for awhile, but recently has amped it up. Maybe it was fatigue or maybe as we near the trade deadline, he's making a push to show contending teams he can play everyday and be productive. Nolan Ryan recently stated Beltran's past makes him a big risk. Carlos may have heard those whispers and turned it on. Whatever his motives, he's been helping the team of late again. I hope it continues and the Mets use that when he's dealt either @ the trading deadline or by August 31. I can't see him being here September 1. The only way is if the Mets were truly in a playoff race(wild-card only) and had a real shot. As great as the Mets have played, I don't see that happening that late. I can see being 5-6 games out, but that's really just the periphery. I thought that could happen and that's why I thought they'd win 83 games this year.


Lastly, I have to touch on some negatives. The bullpen is a concern and it's due to Rodriguez. Parnell, Beato and Izzy have pitched extremely well lately. Buchholtz is injured and sorely missed. He's a solid reliever. Carrasco to his credit, went to AAA(w/out whining) and pitched well. However, since his return, he's been bad. Manny Acosta is not an MLB pitcher. He's been battered in his appearances and is only used in garbage time. That's appropriate, because that's what he is. Expect Thayer to be recalled(he's been saving games @ AAA) to replace this stiff and Acosta to be waived. Hopefully, the Mets will not pick him up and waste a roster spot @ AAA. Let him go and pitch in an Independent league where he belongs. Now, Rodriguez. For most of the season, he's been quiet and effective. However, over the last month, he's blown 3 saves(including 2 in a row), lost 2 games and has been battered in other mop up duties. His ERA has ballooned to around 3.5 and that's unacceptable for a supposed premier closer. On top of that, the option is hanging over the Mets. He will meet that number of games needed to trigger it (55), if he stays. Barring an injury, the Mets can't just not pitch him when he gets close. The MLBPA will file a grievance and win. The Mets must deal him or face another year with this guy and at a stiff price. I truly believe 3 teams are good fits for him. Texas, LA/ANA and Chi(AL) all could use him. Texas could slide Feliz into the rotation either this year or next year. Rodriguez could close the next year + for them. The Angels may think Walden is too young. He's blown 3 straight saves and may be better to set up now. Rodriguez had much success there and I don't believe burned bridges. That could be a good fit. Finally, Chicago has Ozzie Guillen a fellow hot-headed Venezuelan. That seems like a nice fit for them. Salas could slide to set-up and they'd shorten the game to 7 innings. They're all in  tight races and each game is key.


So as the half-way mark approaches, this team is where I thought they'd be, but for different reasons then I originally envisioned. I thought their offense would carry the day because of Reyes, Pagan, Davis, Wright and Bay.  I figured Beltran would do okay(22 HRS-85 RBI- .275), but not play as much as he has. I was wary of the rotation especially Pelfrey, but thought Young, Niese and Dickey would be fine. I thought Capuano would be fine if healthy. He's been even better than that. There is no way I thought Turner, Pridie and Gee would do what they've done. Who foresaw Reyes' season of brilliance? Most of all, I underestimated Terry Collins. I knew he was an upgrade because he wasn't Jerry Manuel. However, I didn't believe he'd be a contender for NL Manager of the Year. Though they're only two over as I type, it feels like their 10 over the way they've played and battled especially after a 5-13 start and all the key injuries to star players. They're 36-26 since then, so it really is 10 over, isn't it? Kudos to the players, manager and GM. They've done a great job considering the circumstances. If it continues, brighter days are ahead as talent returns from injury, through trades and through an improving farm system. 2011 has been better than most expected. Let's hope it's just a start of the return of a winner. This fan base deserves it for their loyalty, patience and passion.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: June 15, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:32 pm
 

How about the Mets rotation?

While the overall numbers aren't sparkling, their pitching as of late(the last month or so) has been as good as anyone's in MLB. They don't strike-out that many. They don't complete games(they have 2 and one was a loss). They never pitch into 9th. However, they are getting quality starts virtually every night. If not for the pen, they could have 5 or so more wins at least. They've kept this team near .500 despite all the injuries and the 5-13 start. Kudos to them and Dan Warthen.

Let's break down each guy...

Dillon Gee has been incredible. He's 7-0 with a 3.05 ERA. Every night, he throws well. He's not fast, but he can strikeout hitters. Last year he led the IL in K'S. Collins compared him to Rick Reed whom he managed in AAA. I think that's spot on. Gee is the 2011 version of Dickey, minus all the previous mediocrity. Gee is only 25 and could be a staple in the rotation for years. This kid knows how to pitch.The latter is too often overshadowed by style, so that's why he was overlooked. I look at numbers, not just potential and "stuff." Gee's production speaks volumes, while other hyped players struggle, get hurt, or just never develop. He won't go undefeated, but he could win 13-15 games a year. That to me is solid and if he's a backend starter, you have a good rotation.


Jon Niese
has been unreal of late. Last night he outpitched Jurrjens and if not for Reyes' error a few starts back, would also have 7 wins. He's rebounded from another ugly start and now is 6-5 with a very solid 3.46 ERA. He's making other teams' notice and his name has come up in trade talks. The Mets want no part of dealing him and they shouldn't. This kid has a great curve ball, shows poise and is developing as a pitcher. He's now .500 life-time and he could be a solid #3 starter for years to come. He's also a lefty, so that makes him even more valuable. He's only 24 and won't turn 25 until late October. He's another keeper.


Mike Pelfrey has been the biggest disappointment by far on this staff. He's 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA. Those are ugly numbers, though of late, he's been better. However, he's far too inconsistent and too often his ball is up in the zone. For him to be effective he must have that sinker going. When he does, he can dominate, especially @ home. The latter is his saving grace. That may keep him @ Citifield in 2012. Honestly, I see him as no more than a #3 and very possibly could be moved in the off-season if Sandy becomes frustrated with his lack of development and growth. In so many ways, Pelf is his worst enemy.


RA Dickey
has pitched better than his numbers, 3-7 with a 3.98 ERA, but hasn't looked like the pitcher of 2010. To his credit, he didn't miss a start after his injury and he always guts it out. RA also never makes excuses. He's a great competitor and on a good staff is the perfect #4 or #5 guy. Dickey has pitched better of late and hopefully, will rebound to get to .500 or better by year's end.



Chris Capuano has pitched great over his last 4 starts. He has a 2.52 ERA over those starts and has 2 wins. He's also getting arm strength back. Overall, he's 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA. Again, that's not bad for a #5 starter. Chris isn't a guy with a future here, but could be a nice pitcher for this year and possibly next year, while the Mets wait for Santana to return and Matt Harvey to arrive @ Citifield(2013). I could see him even being dealt at the deadline to some team desperate for pitching. What I love about Chris is his intelligence and the fact he's in incredible shape. I swear he has no body fat. You can't say that about too many pitchers. Both of those factors could help as the season wears on.


Overall, the above are 24-23 with a 4.02 ERA. If someone were to look at those numbers, they'd say this is a pedestrian staff. They'd be right overall. However, when you look at how they've pitched over the last month(best ERA in MLB as a rotation since then) and the fact that 3 of the 5 are 27 or under, you have to feel pretty good. Remember their ace may not return until August, if all all this year. Taking that into account, you have to feel really good they could not only survive the year without him, but thrive. The Mets have a true potential ace @ in A ball(Matt Harvey) who should be in Double A soon and projects to a 2013 Mets debut. After him, there are no real frontline guys, with Cohoon and Familia as possible starters in 2012 or 2013 if needed. Having the 3 under 30 guys and Dickey is comforting, if they pitch like they have been. This has been a very pleasant surprise in 2011, a year everyone wrote off as a losing one.

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:22 pm
 

Games 41-60

The Mets end the 20 game segment with 3 straight wins to go 10-10 over the period. They are now 29-31, just 2 games under .500.

Amazingly, the Mets are treading water despite losing their power-hitting corner infielders and yet another reliever in Buchholtz. The reason? The kids and supposed spare parts are stepping up big time and Jose Reyes is carrying the load for the vets with help from Beltran. The rotation while not going deep and completing games has yielded quality starts and if not for bullpen meltdowns, might have this team over .500.

Also let's give Terry Collins some credit. Unlike Manuel who threw his hands up and looked for excuses, this guy has stayed upbeat while showing a fire-in-the-belly Jerry sorely lacked. He's made some mistakes with his pen, but considering how toxic they've been over the last 2 weeks(a near 11 ERA and 5 games blown after the 7th) he really can't be blamed too much.

First of all, Turner and Murphy have not only filled in well for the injured Davis and Wright, they've thrived. Murphy is on fire having raised his average over .300 and had a stretch where he got 16 hits in 28 at bats. Turner has been an RBI machine and by far the Mets best hitting with RISP. These guys were fighting for the 2B job and now are manning the corners. When both Wright and Davis return hopefully in early July, they may be platooning @ 2B and will make the bench much stronger. Also, Tejada has been excellent since his call up and Pridie has won 3 games with his bat. All have stepped up.

Secondly, Reyes has been unreal offensively. He still makes defensive and base-running blunders(inexplicable for a 9 year veteran), but he's made this offense go. He's driving the ball in the gap, stealing bases and scoring runs. He's doing his job better than ever before. He's certainly raising his stock in free-agency and though we are loving it, ultimately this may make his demands untenable for ownership and they may be forced to deal him. Fortunately, his season does increase his value and the bidding may be furious.

Thirdly, Beltran though at times streaky has played more than expected and put up good power numbers. He still hasn't stolen a base and is very tentative on the bases, often avoiding any chance for a close play at home. Defensively, he's been pedestrian at best. On 2 occasions he could have caught balls in RF that were HRS, but came up short. A younger, more athletic RF would have caught those balls. Overall, he's done his job and increased his trade value. There is a 100% chance he's dealt. Expect Kirk Nieuwenhuis to be in RF come 8/1 if he's healthy.

Lastly, kudos to this backend rotation. Niese is pitching nicely and Gee has been the 2011 Dickey. Dickey showed guts not going on the DL and has been better than his numbers. Pelfrey has his moments, but is still too inconsistent. Capuano has done what he's been asked to do and when Santana returns, he should be in the pen or possibly dealt @ the deadline.

The big disappointment in these 20 games is the pen. They've been horrid. Beato hasn't looked the same since returning. Izzy has been solid, but Buchholtz was slipping before his DL stint. Rodriguez has been horrible. 2 losses and other bad outings. O'Connor remembered who he was, Igarashi showed he's not an MLB pitcher and the newly promoted Acosta is a stiff. Hopefully, Parnell and Izzy can step up and Beato return to his early season form. Brydak is a AAA pitcher and that's it. The Mets may need to dip into AA until the deadline where arms may be coming back in deals.

Overall, despite all the negativity with those idiot Wilpons and the injuries, this team is where we thought they'd be. That's hovering around .500. However, unlike the past 5 years, this team has some guts and has rallied twice from 7-0 deficits, winning one of those games. July may be a great month with the wounded returning and Reyes, Beltran and Rodriguez playing for a chance to be moved to a contender. Just hang in there another month and this season may be more exciting than many thought.
Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
Posted on: May 15, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Reyes

Today, Skier and I had an argument regarding Reyes and Wright. Skier trashed Wright to pump up Reyes and I don't get this argument. The re-signing of Reyes isn't about Wright, but rather the fact the Mets would have to put out an additional 90 million or so for a player who is talented, but flawed. Wright on the other hand, is signed through 2013 and the club holds options. Reyes holds the option of free-agency and the Mets are at his mercy. Even trading Wright doesn't mean Sandy would want to allocate 90 million to a player who has an up-and -down past, is fundamentally flawed(he hates that) and at times seems disinterested or disconnected(picked off 3 times already this year).

In a perfect world, the Mets would deal Beltran and Rodriguez and re-sign Reyes. I want him back as do most Mets fans. However, some feel they need to pit him against Wright. Trashing one homegrown Met to support another makes no sense. It's all about circumstances and timing. Reyes is a would-be free-agent and looking to get about 15 million a year for 5-6 years. That means putting out 75-90 million. That's a lot for a non-slugger who has been oft-injured, disinterested at times and quite frankly is not a good fundamental player. The Mets also need those funds to get players, especially pitchers. Jose is fast, has great range and a gun. He's a triple machine. That's why he's going to get the money. However, when you factor in the Mets financial woes(which won't be solved by July 31) and the money they'll have to allocate long term, it's obvious who is getting dealt. Reyes can also bring back starting pitching. Though he may be a rental, teams like Boston, LA-ANA and SF may be willing to do that for a player they believe can help them win a WS. They may also believe they'll re-sign him.

Fans are looking for equal value. That's not going to happen. However, you can get real value for him and that's up to the GM to ensure that. Having Ricciardi and DePodesta helps. They know the MLB minor league systems. If the Mets can bring back a MLB ready young starter and one of 2 solid prospects, it may pay off. The Mets also have Tejada in the minors and he's been hitting better. 3 HRS-18 RBI-.271 isn't great, but he's a terrific defensive player and has a ton of poise. He's also very young. The Mets also have Wilmer Flores who seems to finally be coming around. Some see him as an OF, but perhaps he is the future SS with Tejada sliding to 2B. It's not like there aren't any possible players to step in and do a solid job. They don't have to match his offensive production, but being solid could be enough, if the Mets add the right pieces in the deal.

We all would like Reyes here, but does he want to return? What if he's not dealt and he leaves on his own? The Mets get 2 high draft picks, but that'll take more time to get them into and through the system. At least with prospects(and hopefully an MLB starter), you have numbers and performance to evaluate on a professional level.

In the end, I feel Reyes will be dealt. That doesn't mean I want him to be dealt. I don't. I've always liked Jose, warts and all. He loves the game and is a spark plug. I have always dreamt of Reyes and Wright sitting on the mound, drinking champagne like Darling, HOJO and Elster did in 1986. Remember that? However, the reality is this team will be .500 or under on 7/31 and have little/no shot at the post-season and won't chance Reyes walking. That means he goes. Let's hope if that is so, real talent comes back. Pitching talent is needed desperately. Reyes could aid in that talent coming to Citifield.

So can we stop the Wright should be traded instead arguments? Do we as fans, want to be as short-sided and ignorant as the media jackals? Wright, Davis, Bay and Santana are going nowhere. Salaries, injuries and options will ensure that. Reyes being traded has to do with his upcoming free-agency, the teams financial woes and Jose's own interests. It's not an either or situation. If the situation were reversed Wright would go. That's truly the reality.

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Mets
 
 
 
 
 
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