Posted on: February 7, 2010 4:18 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2010 4:28 pm
Here's my breakdown...
The offense will be much better. The return of Reyes, the addition of Bay and having Francoeur from the start of the year are all major positives. Losing Beltran for 1-2 months hurts. They needed the offense to get off to a fast start to compensate for their pitching woes. Matthews and Pagan are okay, but not Beltran. Wright-Bay-Beltran-Francoeur should be a very solid middle-of-the-order. Reyes at the top will help. Wright and Bay should each hit 20+ HRS and have 100+ RBI. Beltran(due to missing 30+ games) and Francoeur should have 75-80 RBI each. Reyes should score well over 100 runs, steal 40 bases and hopefully hit over .300. Murphy should benefit from who is in front of him and have decent numbers. I expect little from the catchers or Castillo. Obviously, the Mets must stay healthy. If they do, the offense should be fine.
The defense is mediocre overall. Murphy is not a true 1B man and has little range. Hopefully, he'll improve, but the best we can hope for is he's adequate. Castillo has little range and often has lapses in the field. At least 6 times he failed to cover 2B and he actually cost the Mets one game by failing to do so. He also made 11 errors last year and his fielding pct was .982 his worst since 2002. Reyes is a huge upgrade @ SS over Valdez, Cora and the other scrubs that played there. Jose has the ability to win a gold glove, but his positioning and mental approach often cost him. Wright is a 2-time gold glove winner coming off a bad season both at the plate and in the field. Without a real 1B man, he'll make most of his errors on throws. He needs to rush less when making those throws. Overall, he's solid. Behind the plate the Mets have Santos who is pedestrian defensively and a poor caller of games. Blanco is better defensively, but is nearly 40. The outfield is solid in RF and when Beltran returns in CF. Bay is a pedestrian LF. He'll misjudge balls, but he'll hustle so because of his bat, the Mets can live with less than stellar defense. Matthews may become his defensive replacement there. The Mets bench is not great as far as defensive replacements. Cora is okay, with little range at either 2B or SS. Tatis is also mediocre wherever he plays. If it's 2B, he's pathetic. Catalanotto is a hitter, not a fielder. Blanco is a good defensive catcher, but he's ancient. Pagan is athletic, but far from a polished fielder. Hence, SS, 3B, CF and RF are solid. All other areas are mediocre or worse.
The pitching staff is this team's biggest weakness. I'll breakdown the rotation and bullpen in the next 2 paragraphs.
The rotation is a mess. You have a true ace coming off an injury followed by 4 huge question marks. You'd hope to have maybe one, but 4? Pelfrey took 2 steps back last year. He showed that he may not be mentally ready to be a top pitcher. He has the stuff. Of the 4 question marks, I put by far the most faith in him. I think Pelfrey will bounce back and win 13-15 games. John Maine also has good stuff, but is oft-injured and unable to put away hitters. That's a major problem. He also throws too many pitches and rarely if ever gets into the 8th inning. I like John, but have little faith in him. Oliver Perez is a mental case. He has no-hitter stuff, but has no knowledge of how to pitch and melts down faster than the wicked witch of the west when hit by water. I have zero faith in him. The #5 slot is a mess. Nieve, Fogg, Figueroa and Misch are all journeyman pitchers and not MLB starters. Niese is the lone hope, but he should start @ AAA after his up-and-down 2009 season and the injury he sustained. Tread lightly with him because he's one of the few talented pitchers this team has in its system. Do not rush him.
The bullpen could actually be fairly decent. I have zero faith in Escobar. He has hardly pitched in 2 years and I believe Minaya envisions him as another Duaner Sanchez. However, if he remembers how Sanchez pitched after his injury, he'd know not to expect anything from Escobar. I don't expect anything at all from him. However, I think Parnell could be as true set-up guy if they don't Heilmanize him. Let him set-up and let it rip. He can reach in the high 90's. That's what is needed from your set-up guy. As for the others, it's a mixed bag. Green is a typical middle reliever. He'll vary from year-to-year. You just hope this will be his good year. Igarashi is a total unknown. Knowing the Mets past with Japanese players, especially pitchers, one should expect little. Misch could be a decent long reliever and occasional lefty situational guy. Feliciano is a top middle reliever. K-Rod is a top 5 reliever. No doubt there about him.
The bench is very ordinary. The back-up catcher is ancient. Blanco is a good defensive catcher, but will be 39 in season. Cora is seen as a cerebral player and leader, but his skills are at best pedestrian. He's an adequate fielder and a punch-and-judy hitter. 2B is a position where the Mets could go homerless. That's unacceptable in today's game. Tatis is a jack-of-all -trades and master of none. He can't field at any position you put him. He has some pop, but if thrust into a platoon or everyday role, will be detrimental to the team. Blalock or Garko would have been a much better move. Pagan or Matthews on the bench is fine. They're both 4th outfielders who can play all 3 OF spots and have some pop. Matthews is the more polished player, Pagan the more athletic. The final spot will be between guys like Hessman and Catalanotto. I think Frank wins out because he's more experienced and can hit. He's an ideal PH and can play some infield and outfield.
Finally, we need to look at coaching and leadership. I'll break these down into 2 paragraphs as well.
The manager of this team is a lame duck. He kept his job by the skin-of-his-teeth and due to the lame injury excuse. Manuel quit on this team after Minaya quit on them after his embarrassing press conference and public banishment. Jerry fancies himself a comedian, but the only time he's funny is when he tries to use strategy. He makes Art Howe look like Sparky Anderson. He is supposedly good with the players, but based on how they quit last year, that also seems to be a hollow appraisal. Manuel is mediocrity warmed over. He inspires no confidence what-so-ever. The pitching coach and hitting coaches are far from cutting edge. The removal of the worst coach in the sport(Razor Shines) from 3B will help. However, this staff is far from great. All are replaceable.
Leadership IMHO starts in the front-office. The Mets owners are IMHO apathetic. They built a stadium and forgot it was for the Mets, not Brooklyn Dodgers. Their SNY station at times allows the cross-town rivals to be the main story even when they're playing. They swore they'd spend money to improve the team, yet only added Bay while cutting payroll and leaving gaping holes at catcher, the starting staff and the right-side of their infield. Like their partner in crime Madoff, they're liars and frauds. They re-upped a GM who came off 2 choke jobs and has continually embarrassed them with his moves on-and-off the field. That GM has made them the laughingstock of baseball. He and his minions(Bernazard, Ricco and Pena) nearly destroyed the farm system once the best of MLB. Somehow, he kept his job, while 2 of his minions(Bernazard and Pena) were sacrificed. My guess is Minaya may have some Mayan blood. This team has no leadership.
Overall, you have a team with potentially a good offense, mediocre defense, and pedestrain pitching. That adds up to a mediocre season where they will struggle from start to finish. There will be streaks both ways, but in the end this is a 3rd or 4th place team, winning between 80-84 games. I'll say 82-80 for arguments sake. That's far from the predictions in 2006, 2007, 2008 and even 2009. This team is getting worse. That is at all times unacceptable.
Posted on: January 23, 2010 12:09 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2010 3:37 pm
It may be a tad early, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate about the upcoming season. Honestly, I do not like what I see though some positives have been seen. As of right now, I see this team as a 3rd or 4th place team. Even if they sign Sheets, no one knows if he can really pitch. I'd take that chance, but much more needs to be done. Time is running short and the options are dwindling. The front-office and ownership seem to be utterly clueless and not in communication with each other. This disconnect makes the organization look 2nd rate. All are to blame, from the Wilpon's to Minaya and Ricco.
This off-season so far has been close to a disaster. The Bay signing is the only thing that has kept it from being a washout. Some want to knock that signing, but I won't. I don't think the Mets overpaid by much and they got the 2nd best hitter available in free-agency. However, Minaya whiffed on Molina who was a very good fit for the staff and the line-up. He also whiffed on Piniero who turned down similar money to go elsewhere. He gets no passes on either. He was negotiating with both for a long time and the persuasion techniques he often gets lauded for( those techniques were basically overpaying in years and money), failed. I'm sure he wanted to overpay, but with his power lessened, he couldn't. Now he can't just throw money to get players, he actually has to do the legwork and convince them. Obviously both players weren't thrilled to be here. Molina took less money to go back to a team that didn't even want him and Piniero took about the same to go elsewhere and to a tougher league!
A lot of that has to do with the fact the Mets are perceived as a second-class organization right now. To dismiss that is delusional. They're feuding with their CF and the most powerful agent in MLB in Bora$. Their ownership is perceived as weak. Their GM embarrassed himself numerous times last year and has been castrated by ownership. Everyone knows he's here only because the Wilpon's stupidly gave him a 3-year extension after 2 choke jobs. The assistant GM is doing much of the talking and even has his hand in trades. Their farm system currently is a mess. The only ray of light is Wayne Krivsky has been put in charge of overseeing it and he has 33 years MLB experience and is widely respected. We should see improvement this year, however, it might be 3-4 years before that talent truly helps this team either directly or through trades.
The Mets have less than a month before pitchers and catchers report. The mood among the fan base is one of trepidation. We want to be optimistic, but those who actually look at the baseball aspect are worried. The rotation is a mess and the Mets seem to be focused on a pitcher who may not be able to pitch some, most, or all of 2010. Their #2 pitcher is coming off a terrible year and has never won more than 13 games. Their #3 and #4 pitchers(Maine and Perez) are always hurt and widely inconsistent. They also rarely give you 7 innings. Their #5 is a rookie coming off an injury and an inconsistent year of his own. The other options are Nieve(a journeyman), Parnell(a reliever), Figueroa( see Nieves). Their minor leagues have 2 pitchers in Triple A in Mejia and Holt who have potential, but both are also coming off poor years and health also was an issue there. Even their ace is coming off an injury. I do think the pen should be fine if the Japanese import Igarashi is at minimum decent. Parnell has stuff, Feliciano is solid and durable and K-Rod is one of the best in MLB. However, the pen might be spent by July due to the mess of a rotation the Mets are currently prepared to field.
The offense should be better with Reyes back and Bay in the fold. However, Beltran is out probably until May or June. They have a question mark @ 1B. They have at best pedestrian catchers. They have a 2nd baseman with no pop or range. All off-season they've looked to unload him with no takers. What does that say about his perception around MLB? Their bench got better yesterday, but it's still far from strong. Defensively C, 1B, 2B and LF are far from strong.
Minaya has to take the blame for the players on the field. He made his bed with his actions and inaction and is now relegated to a diminished role. However, his accountability has been heightened. That may not be fair, but he still has his job even though this team has had 3 consecutive failing seasons. 2 were choke jobs(one epic) and last year was the worst in team history.
Minaya is the same as he was last year except now he's been stripped of his powers and is a true lame duck. He can't throw money and years at players. He's relegated to hoping Reyes, Beltran, Santana, Wright, Bay and K-Rod all have all-stars years and keep this team above water. They don't have the depth to survive if they don't. Get out the rosaries Omar.
So as of now, I see the Mets as a middling team. If I had to guess I 'd say a team that could win 82-85 games, but would fall far short of competing for the division and are on the periphery of the wild-card race with better teams like the Cardinals, Braves, Rockies, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and Marlins ahead of them. That's not a rosy outlook.
Could it change? Sure. If the Mets stars have great seasons, they get help from their much maligned farm system and they pull off a big trade or 2. However, what in the last 3 years gives us the idea that can happen? How many divisions have we won? How many post-seasons have we seen? How many big trades have been made? Can our stars stay healthy? If we separate out fandom from the reality and history, it's a bleak picture. Hope is great, logic is sobering.
The Mets of 2010 will be better. However, with their unlimited resources( new stadium and a network), support from their loyal fans and the fact they're in NYC, they should be more than that. This ownership settles for being competitive. They plan for April, not October. Until that changes, they will always fall short.
Posted on: January 14, 2010 11:12 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2010 11:43 pm
John Ricco gives a statement to the media about Beltran and states he didn't have permission and the Mets are in fact "disappointed" with Beltran's decision. He makes it clear the Mets didn't like what he did, nor did they endorse it.
Beltran says that he had Minaya's blessing to have the operation and seems stunned by the fuss.
Everyone has seen that Jeff Wilpon is taking an even stronger role in the organization behind the scenes and at times in front of the camera.
The Mets have basically no real voice. They have 3 different voices who at times say different things. This team is rudderless.
You have your star CF who just recovered from an injury, getting operated on(again) and missing significant time. It's not just the 12 weeks, but the fact he'll need more time to get in baseball shape. You figure if lucky, by June 1 Beltran will be where he needs to be. By then, this team with it's pitching woes and lack of depth on the MLB team and minors, may be .500 or under and battling the Nats, not the Phillies. That's not good for the manager, GM or his minions. They're on the hotseat as it is.
Then you know what you'll hear on talk radio, the internet, the newspapers(the few left) and of course from the fans live. Derisive chants of the manager and GM. The players being booed. This team could see changes early on. We all know both the manager and GM have a short leash. Losing Beltran this late in the off-season unexpectantly is a huge blow. What complicates it is Beltran's history of rebounding from injury, his age(he'll be 33 by time he returns) and his lack of activity over the last calandar year. Signing Bay will help, but unless a pitcher is added and one that can win, this team on Opening Day is not nearly good enough. Even with Beltran it was flawed.
The Mets need to centralize their power. Have one qualified, experienced and logical man run the organization. Jeff should go away and stick to writing checks. This team needs a clear line of communication and have someone who is a good communicator both with front-office staff and the media. This organization's missteps over the last 2 years is not only embarrassing, but downright keystone kops.
My fear is until they do just that, more of the same will happen. We've just started 2010 and a controversy has already occured. Let's just hope the other shoe doesn't drop and Reyes' isn't proceeding well in his rehab. That would be the deathknell.
Posted on: December 23, 2009 4:59 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2009 3:33 pm
Bill Madden eluded to this on SNY yesterday. I'm not fan of Madden's(I think he's a Yankee lackey), but I think he's dead-on here. What are the Mets thinking? Do they have a plan or has it already blown up and now they're silent because they didn't have a back-up one?
They can not ask the Mets fan base to be patient. They haven't earned that right. I truly am starting to believe they are delusional enough to believe that they can go into the season with this rotation. I am starting to think they believe Niese or Nieves is their #5 pitcher. If that's so, they are without a doubt insane. Pelfrey, Maine and Perez are huge question marks. To think they'll be fine and then have faith a journeyman or a 21 year-old rookie coming off an injury can be their backend guy is really bad planning.
Why isn't their more urgency in getting a pitcher? Do they honestly believe that we buy the fact they're focusing on hitting first and can't multi-task? If that is so, then this front-office is even more insipid then I think they are.
Why do they constantly wait for the market? The good -great teams make the market. The more they wait and do nothing with Bay, the more likely someone else will swoop in and steal him. Remember Lowe? Since the Braves cleared money dealing Vasquez, they may decide to use that extra cash to add a bat they sorely need. If you're Bay, where would you rather go? Would you go to team that made you wait and try to wait you out or to a team that showed interest and made things happen? I think we all know that answer.
If Bay is gone, the Mets will not add a legitimate bat. Holliday will go to St.Louis or elsewhere. They'll be left with signing an aging Dye to play LF. Jermaine is a good player, but he's not the jump start this offense needs. They need a thumper, not another band-aid. Didn't they learn from Alou?
What if Molina goes elsewhere? Will they hone in on Barajas or simply go with the dreck they signed this off-season and try another lamo platoon? Santos cannot be the starter. He doesn't handle pitchers well and the Mets can't expect him to even match last years offensive numbers.
What about 1B? Incredibly, that punk Delgado still isn't ready to play baseball and his return has been delayed. I hope its delayed until 2012. Why wasn't Troy Glaus an option? The Braves just signed him. He's a righty, has power and can play 1B. If Wright ever went down, he'd slide in. This would strengthen the bench and add power. You think maybe this team can use that?
This front-office can't even unload Castillo. They yapped all about this prior to the winter meetings, then couldn't deal him because it was "too complicated." Too complicated? What is this brain surgery? Maybe if their front-office had a collective brain they'd be able to actually uncomplicate things. You dump the player, eat salary and sign a better player. Hello?
So we sit on 12/23/09 and this team has "added" an unknown Japanese middle-reliever, a punch-and-judy light hitting, mediocre fielding back-up infielder to a 2 million + contract, 2 back-up catchers no one wanted and 2 pitchers no one has ever heard of. Meanwhile the top teams have even gotten stronger. It's not only galling, but downright pathetic.
If the Mets are going to stand pat, then they should just accept the fact they'll be a middling team on the periphery of the post-season and ready to finish 3rd or 4th with a 130 million dollar payroll. They should immediately replace their GM and manager and bring in a management team for the future. They should tell their fanbase the truth that they messed up and need to rebuild the right way. If they at least did that, it would show a plan and some guts. Fans would rally behind that because they'd know the expectations. This fanbase is loyal, not stupid. Don't treat us like the latter.
Instead, they are playing fans for fools throwing bones to free-agents they know won't be acceptable to show they tried. Then they'll make an excuse no one wants to come here or some other lame excuse about injuries or preserving their weak farm system. Furthermore, they'll blame the media, fans, tv station or stadium for their woes.
Again I ask do they have a plan? If they do, it's not working.
Posted on: November 8, 2009 3:13 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2009 11:24 pm
I have to say I have virtually no faith in this front-office and ownership to do what needs to be done.
IMHO, what needs to be done is...
* Add 2 legitimate stars to this team, one on offense and one starter. I believe both Halliday and Holliday should be targeted and they need to a have a myopic, laser-like focus on both. They need to take the Yankees 2008 approach to their 2009 off-season is securing the players they targeted. Holliday will cost them money and Halliday will cost them minor leaguers. The latter can be had because I think the bidders will all be in the NL because the Jays don't want to face Halliday for the next 3-4 years, especially within their division. The former depends on the commitment of the front-office, which is often tenous at best.
* They need to replace 1/2 of their infield. Castillo should be dealt now while he has a scintilla of value. 16 extra base-hits, being played by the OF like he's in little league, limited range, few steals and aging legs isn't going to get it done. Trade him for a lower minor leaguer. Then go out and get a Lopez or Hudson. Hudson is a solid player who wants to be here. Lopez can hit and is also a guy who can bat lead-off when needed. He can also fill-in @ SS if Reyes goes down or is feeling the effects of his injury. There are others out there as well like Uggla, who actually had a decent fielding % last year and has pop. He's a fire plug kind of guy as well. Murphy may be okay if bats are added in LF and 2B, but let's face it, he looks like a guy who will be a good role player and back-up corner infielder on a good team. Ike Davis has real potential and should be @ AAA(if not dealt). If Gonzo can't be gotten, I'd look to bring in a DeRosa or Johnson. DeRosa is a local guy(Oradell, NJ) and a consummate role player and good teammate. He can be used @ 1B, 3B, 2B and the corner OF when needed. Johnson is oft-injured and often makes poor defensive choices, but can scoop the ball and make the plays. He also has a good stick. Both would be insurance and upgrades @ 1B. I think Fielder is a pipe-dream and if the Brewers were to deal him, they'd be laughed out of baseball.
* They need to add a starting catcher. Rob Barajas and Bengie Molina are both solid choices. Josh Thole looks like a good prospect, but he's not ready. He needs to work @ AAA on his defense and also on driving the ball. He may have a future, but it isn't in 2010. Santos is a good back-up catcher. He can hit a little and his defense is good enough. He also seems to have a work ethic too many on this team lack.
* The Mets need to add bench strength. No more Anderson Hernandez's, Marlon Anderson's, Fernando Tatis', Wilson Valdez's or Ramon Martinez's. They need quality bench players for the infield in particular. Pagan has earned his spot as a 4th OF and perhaps Cory Sullivan(a far better defensive player) as a 5th OF. They would be best served with Murphy there and adding a quality guy to play 2B/SS. I like Khalil Greene here or perhaps even a Mark Loretta. Greene would be a good insurance policy at SS since he can field and has some pop. His last 2 years have been awful, but he wouldn't come here as a starter and he could focus on being a back-up and that may be best for him as well. I think he has talent and he'd come cheap.
* The Mets pen is not in really bad shape. They have some pieces in place. K-Rod is a legitimate top closer. He was up-and-down last year and much had to do with the status of the team. He feeds off of pressure and competition and lets face it after the Yankee debacle, there was none. He's fine. Feliciano is a good reliever who is an excellent lefty specialist and needs to be used in that vein with few exemptions. Stokes is a run-of-the mill middle reliever which most are anyway. Parnell has potential to be a set-up guy and future closer and should be used there. He showed he's nowhere near ready to be a MLB starter. If the Mets believe he is one, he needs to be in Triple A to start the year. If not, give him the ball in middle relief and let him rip it. No waffling. Don't make this guy another Aaron Heilman. Maine is a wild-card here and could be moved into the pen to be a set-up guy. The Yankees used Hughes here and were very successful. Maine can be that kind of pitcher. I'd take him out of the rotation and the wear-and tear that encompasses and let him set-up. My guess is it may be best for him, his career and this team. Just add one sinker ball type pitcher and perhaps another lefty like Mahay and the pen should be okay.
* Finally, besides adding a true top flight starter(see earlier in post), this team must add a back-end starter. I like any of these 4(in order of preference): Marquis, Piniero, Wolf or Garland. They would slide the untraeable and untrustworty Perez to the 5th spot rendering his maddening inconsistency less of a problem. A rotation of Santana, Halliday, Pelfrey, Marquis and Perez would be quite acceptable in my eyes. The top end would be the best in baseball and the bottom half better than in 2008. Perez could even be dumped, traded, demoted if he fails and Niese(if not dealt) could slide in, or even a Mejia or Holt if they are ready. The latter 2 would be worst case scenarios, but scenarios nonetheless(ergo a real plan).
In closing, even if all those changes occur and the budget tops 165 million, the Mets still have a poor front-office and mediocre(at best) coaching staff. Unless they go through 2009 virtually unscathed, something will suddenly come up and then plan b, c, and d would need to be enacted. My guess is there will only be a plan A. That's why change needed to occur immediately after the year and because it didn't, my guess is it will bite this team in the tuchus again. Well, at least we can hope. Isn't that what fans do this time of year?
Posted on: November 5, 2009 3:14 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2009 3:14 pm
It started with an off-season watching the Yankee$ overspend for 3 free-agents. Each one received 30-40 more than FMV and that was done(IMHO, smartly) to blow the other teams out-of-the-water and kill any fair negotiation. The Yankee$ went for the throat and won big-time. IMHO, baseball and it's salary structure lost.
Then came the joke known as the WBC. Is there any doubt that the numerous injuries to the Mets and other teams were in even a small way a result of this moronic and mistimed tournament? You think the conditioning of these players and lack of professionalism in those camps had any effect of these players? The commissioner of course denied it, but he denied steroids as well. He's Ramses, the king of denial.
Then there was the season. Mets fans watched players drop like flies and their replacements play the sport like they've never seen a baseball before. They got to know more about injuries, remedies and surgeries than interns at major hospitals. The Mets watched a player drop a pop-up to lose a game, miss 3rd base to lose another and on 3 occasions watch players drop fly balls costing them more games. There was also a triple-play to end a game. They saw their CF, SS, ace, set-up man and aging 1B go down. Only their CF returned and that was with virtually no games left and the season lost. They swept the final series just to get to 70 wins.
If losing 92 games wasn't bad enough, Mets fans had to watch our GM implode blaming his incompetence and blindness on a beat reporter, our assistant GM berate a scout and threaten AA players and our minor league affiliates produce the worst and 3rd worst records with virtually no prospects. Our top prospect hit .176 and played the OF like he never had before. He actually fell flat on his face on a flyball. On the bases he failed to run out a pop-up and had numerous other mental errors. This was the supposed top guy. We also saw a steady stream of journeyman players like L.Hernandez, Redding, Valdez, A.Hernandez, R.Martinez, Sullivan and Alex Cora to name just a few. They were an embarrassment on-and-off the field.
Then to add insult to injury, the Mets cross-town rival and main divisional rival battled it out for the championship. The big question was who to root for and why watch? I chose to pull for the Phillies, but refused to watch one inning of post-season baseball. I simply followed the scores on the internet.
Finally, the season just wore on. It officially ended on Nov.5, after election day! The last time it went this late was in 2001 and that was due to the tragedy of 9/11. What an utter disgrace and the fingerprints on this mess are Selig's and his minions. A season ending in early Novemeber. Soon the Fall classic will go into winter.
I am glad its over, but the results were not very pleasing. The Mets are still in a state-of-flux, the Yankees are preparing for their 7th parade in my life-time and the off-season is being handled by a front-office which is incompetent and an ownership which is clueless. In fact, I believe both have virtual contempt for the fans. That's not exactly making me want to get out my glove and toss the ball around. Like I said, the worst season ever
Posted on: October 5, 2009 12:09 am
Edited on: October 7, 2009 4:57 pm
Thank goodness the 2009 season has finally ended. This year is eerily similar to 2004. However, that team had a lower payroll and much lower expectations coming in. It ended with Art Howe and Jim Duquette being let go, but also the hope of Reyes and Wright(who has been recalled about halfway through) as the "new core." That year ended with some hope. 2009 ends with little if any. In fact, mostly anger. Anger towards management, ownership and the players.
This season ends and the manager and GM are returning! Somehow, they've escaped the axe that Bernazard, Pena and I'm sure a few coaches(Shines and Warthen quite likely) didn't. Imagine the guys who hired them and were responsible for them skate by in a season of utter failure? It just shows how clueless the Wilpon's are and how accountability is a joke to them. I guess that's what made them such an easy mark for the likes of Bernie Madoff.
The Wilpon's then have the hubris to send season ticket holders a mea culpa saying Omar and them will spend the money necessary and make the deals needed to make the Mets a contender. Yeah right. They did the same thing after 2007 and 2008 and how did that turn out? Don't they know the overwhelming majority want to see Minaya and Manuel held accountable with their jobs and a new direction happen? Of course they don't! These are the same owners who Nelson Doubleday mocked as he sold his shares to them. These are the same owners who built a new stadium and forgot that the fans wanted to see Mets players honored, not old Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia. These are the same owners who named their stadium after an institution that nearly help bankrupt our economy. Pure arrogance. In fact, hubris.
So in 2010, there will be little real turnover. A few underlings will be replaced. However, the main culprits for this year's debacle remained employed. It's amazin' to think anyone would give them another crack at failure. Minaya has done it 3 straight years. I mean that's a hat trick! Manuel basically tanked it after Omar refused to make any moves @ the deadline. Did he just once take his players to task for a lack of hustle and baseball acumen? Maybe he can't because he has none himself. I mean he was what a .199 career hitter? He's great with the media, but so what? Jerry's not the worst manager, but why must this organization always settle for mediocrity like Howe, Randolph and Manuel? Why can't we have Hodges, Johnson and Valentine? There are guys out there much, much better. I mean for both the manager and GM gigs.
So are we to trust these guys to right the ship? A GM who blamed the firing of his out-of-control assistant on a beat writer? A GM who used the word hope more than a politician on the campaign trail? A GM who promised players to return and they never did because his medical personnel misdiagnosed or mishandled virtually every case? Then upon failing to understand that, he furthered hampered the situation by doing nothing. I mean adding Valdez, Hernandez and Misch? How does this guy keep his job? On top of that, he didn't even know his ace pitcher had elbow problems in the spring? It's simply mind-boggling.
We are to trust a manager who never hits-and-runs despite his team's lack of power and ability to drive the ball in the gaps? We are to trust a manager who mishandles the bullpen and often fails to make rudimentary switches? We are to trust a manager who looked puzzled before, during and after games? We are to trust a manager who batted Dan Murphy in the clean-up spot? We are to trust a guy who back-stabbed Ryan Church questioning his manhood once he left? I think not.
So they return and so will the core. A core in 5 years that has won one division, one playoff series, had 2 monumental chokes and now a 92 loss season? A core where 3/4's(Delgado, Reyes and Beltran) spent the majority of the season on the DL? A core whose heart was questioned before this year and did little to nothing to change that perception? I think not. Reyes, Wright and Beltran will be back. Delgado is incredibly still a possibility. It's really mind-boggling. There is no accountability. The emperor wears no clothes in Flushing.
So who will they add to this core? A left-fielder? A catcher? A first baseman? A second baseman? A set-up man? A #2 pitcher? All those areas are deficient and need to be addressed. How will that happen with this GM and the supposed lack of funding necessary? Players like Lackey, Marquis, B.Molina, Barajas, N.Johnson, DeRosa, Uggla, Hudson, Holliday, Bay and Dye and others who will or may be available this off-season. How are the Mets suppose to sign or trade for them? If they don't trade a core player or 2, who can they deal for a position they can't address with money? Does anyone want damaged goods(knee surgery) like Fernando Martinez off his .176 season and his horrible defensive and baserunning performances? Does anyone want a young DH like Dan Murphy? Do the Mets deal Bobby Parnell who with the right coaching may become a solid set-up man or even backend starter? Did Jon Niese show enough to include in a deal to get a top offensive player or pitcher? Who else is available in their weak system? Holt off a near 6 ERA @ Double A? Havens off a .230-20+ error performance @ St.Lucie(A). Flores off an amazin' 3HR-31RBI-.270 performance @ Savannah(lower A). Marte off a 49 error (not a misprint), .240 performance @ Savannah? Those are the players you hear and would hope to move saving Thole, Davis and some lower level prospects who did well. Will anyone bite? Does anyone still respect Minaya after this year and his buffoonery? You think that might hurt getting some free-agents and make GM's back-off deals? I certainly do.
Then there is this team's attitude and mindset. It is not one of a championship team. They often talk and act like they've won something. Well, they've won little/nothing. They have a lot to prove and rarely if ever act like that. There is almost never a sense of urgency. There is rarely a sense of pride. There is a sense of slothfulness, arrogance and excuse-making. It's always the pen, the starters, the schedule, the injuries. It's never them. That won't change by just adding. They need to subtract. The GM, manager and at least one of the core need to be extracted for this club to become a team. They're a joke of an organization and that carries onto the field. A missed pop-up to end a game. A dropped flyball. A missed base. A triple play to end another. A bad throw. Forgetting to cover second base. Throwing away a ball to HP. Taking a call third strike. Running back to a base not knowing where the ball is. Not knowing the proper number of outs. All those things happened in 2009 and they were not a result of injuries, but poor baseball acumen, bad coaching, a lack of understanding fundamentals and little to no pride. That won't change by adding a few players. The mindset and culture must change.
Will they be better with some moves and the core intact? Of course! They won 70 games. At worst it should be a 15 game improvement. However, so what? That may be good enough to land in 4th place again. The Braves have a great staff with Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Vazquez and Hanson. The Marlins have Ramirez and a good young staff. The Phillies are 3 time NL East champions and have a core which has won. This team needs a major upgrade and not just in talent, but in attitude. A quick fix won't work. They'll be once again a disappoinment.
The way I see it, is at the end of 2010, Manuel and Minaya will be fired for failing again. Why waste a year when the inevitable will occur? Change should happen now. Hire a new GM and manager and forge a new direction. Trade Beltran if possible before he misses more time with his achy knees and his desire for another contract. Tell him no and send him to an AL team where he can play CF and DH. Bring back pitching and prospects. Say no to Delgado and his sour disposition, achy hip and questionable heart. Welcome Reyes back, but get a solid back-up like a Felipe Lopez or Khalil Greene or Eckstein who could fill-in if he's not ready or hurting. Be proactive. Do everything under the sun to get Doc Halliday. Trade Martinez, Holt, Parnell and Havens if need be. Then wrap up Halliday for 3 years. Make a deal to get Carl Crawford or BJ Upton here. Either can play LF or CF if needed. BJ is Wright's buddy and having him and Frenchy may perk him up. Crawford is a beast. The Mets would have to part with perhaps an Ike Davis(Pena may not return to TB) and perhaps Parnell or Familia, but they'd be worth dealing for real quality like either of those 2. Both fit Citifield to a tee. They have speed and pop. They'll be able to hit it over the wall and into the gaps. The Mets would be double and triple crazy. Trade Castillo for anything and get Uggla or Hudson. Both have pop and unlike Castillo have range. Castillo had only 16 extra basehits all year and the defense started to play him like he was hitting in little league. That's just embarrassing. Being he hit .300 and had a good OB% he is now at least somewhat in demand. Deal him now! As for catcher, I'm fine with Santos as a back-up, but get Molina or Barajas. Whoever signs first comes here. Get a stick like DeRosa or Johnson @ 1B. Add depth with a player like Blaylock who can play 1B and 3B. Release Tatis. Keep Pagan as a 4th OF, if you don't deal him. If you do, Sullivan is a nice 4th OF. He is a superior fielder and baserunner and has some pop. He also is a good presence on the bench. Release Reed. Get rid of Hernandez and Valdez and bring back Cora as the 25th guy off the bench. Tweak the pen. More importantly, get a good coaching staff and GM.
The Mets can bring in Valentine or Showalter. Both have presence and stress fundamentals. This team would play good baseball. Valentine is more interesting for the press. Showalter can build an organization and would assist the GM. The GM could be John Towers who help build many good SD teams. Pat Gillick is possible as well. The Red Sox and Rangers have top assistants as well. Bring in a guy who can communicate with ownership, the manager and the press. No more clown shows from Minaya. The Randolph fiasco, the Bernazard disgrace and the Santana embarrassment are enough. It's time to put someone in power who is competent. It's time to hire a manager who stresses fundamentals and accountability. It's time for change. Unless it happens, 2010 will also be unamazin'.
Posted on: August 23, 2009 4:59 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2009 8:00 pm
Unless the reports are untrue, Omar Minaya will return as GM in 2010. I'm beyond disgusted with ownership and their lack of accountability to the fans. They continue to keep this GM despite 3 straight epic failures and buy into excuses instead of results. IMHO, hope has died today.
The omarfiles win. However, Mets fans lose. We'll get another off-season of false hopes and band-aids. The failing, underachieving and often gutless core will return. Payroll will be cut and mediocrity will be brought in. It will be lies and excuses about 2009 and this idiotic insistence on hope. That failed in waiting for Pedro, El Duque, Alou, Wagner, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado and Maine to return over the last 3 years. None of them did. Next year it will be one of them or somebody new. They'll shake their head, say woe is me and do nothing. IMHO, the Wilpon's, Omar and his minions are losers. They're not brave, nor smart enough to take risks to win. They use hope as their enduring legacy. To me hope in the way they use it is a 4-letter word. It translates into L-O-S-E.
I had hoped that I'd see a world championship under the core of Reyes and Wright and now that is further away, if not totally gone. I no longer have an iota of confidence the proper moves will ever be made and this team doesn't see what baseball people and the majority of the fans see(every poll has 60-65% wanted Omar fired). Change needed to happen and little will. This team will always come up short. They don't have a plan, a farm system to rely on or a GM good enough to bring a title here. They settle on mediocrity there, in the dugout in regards to coaching and of course on the field.
Mets fans will be led to another season of false hope. Beltran will return play CF, miss 15-20 games and put up his usual numbers. Reyes will play a decent SS, make stupid mistakes on the field and on the basepaths. He'll also remain an immature underachiever. Perez will walk the stadium. Omar will bring in another hosts of garbage for the #5 spot, before landing someone like Jose Contreras. Maine will be held up as healthy, then breakdown again. Pelfrey will be expected to be a #2 pitcher he's not. Omar will add a left-fielder and proclaim that the difference maker like he did with his pen this year. The same pen that has a losing record and has blown 16 saves while converting 30. One pitcher will be added and he'll be mediocre. The pen will the virtually the same.
The farm system which is broken will have band-aids applied. Lies and hype will accompany the top prospects. However, when you look at their production, few if any will be justified in that hype. This year only one lived up to that hype and that was Ike Davis. Flores may be a good player down-the-line, but he is not performing like someone with that moniker should. In fact, one scout even called him ordinary. Martinez who did nothing @ AA for 2 years, then did well early @ Triple A and was promoted to fill-in for Beltran and was beyond a flop. It wasn't in one area, but all areas. He failed to run out a pop-up, fell flat on his face in CF and generally misplayed fly balls and hit an astonishingly bad .176. IMHO, he will never be a quality player, but rather an Alex Escobar or Angel Pagan type. That's far from #1 prospect labeling. Our top pitchers are Holt, Mejia and Stoner and all have underachieved. Holt has the most potential because he's a Pelfrey-like pitcher with a better breaking ball. However, in this system with it's subpar coaching and idiotic management, he may never reach his true potential. This system has 2 of the 3 worst teams in all of the minors and they're are the highest levels. In 5 years Pelfrey, Parnell, Niese and Murphy are the top minor leaguers this system has produced. That's beyond pathetic. That's 23 life-time wins, 39 losses. Murphy has 9 HRS and roughly 60 RBI's in a year+.
Will 2010 be worse? No. It really can't be. However, that's not what this is about. This is about winning titles. A team with a 130 million + payroll should be a post-season team more than 20% of the time. They shouldn't have blown 2 divisions in the last 17 games of the year in successive years, then have a losing season. They shouldn't have double-digit players on the DL. They shouldn't have a farm system coming into the season ranked 20th by ESPN and obviously will change for the worse in next years ratings. They should have press conferences blaming beat writers. They shouldn't do nothing 3 consecutive trade deadlines. They shouldn't come up woefully short, 3 consecutive off-seasons. They shouldn't allow players to take days off when they want to. They shouldn't be the laughingstock of baseball and the fodder for opening monologues of mediocre comedians. They should be respectable, professional and forthright. They're all of the former and none of the latter 3.
I will never stop being a Mets fan. I root 100% for the laundry. I'll never say that's it, I quit, I'm rooting for the Pirates or Cardinals, or whatever. I'm a fanatic. I happen to love the Mets more than all the other teams I root for(Jets, Rangers, Knicks and Notre Dame football and hoops combined). It's because I love baseball the most by far. I've played it, coached it and watched it all my life(well, since I was 6 at least). Baseball next to my family, my job and my core beliefs in justice for all, is my passion.
However, I will never be a fan of this GM and this ownership. They're not committed enough to winning as far as I'm concerned. The worst thing that happened to this franchise was when Nelson Doubleday sold his part of the team to Fred Wilpon. I don't mean in terms of money either. I mean in terms of actually caring about the fans and the team called the NY Mets. Their commitment is laughable even in terms of how they named and prepared their stadium. Imagine the fans telling them to add more Mets stuff? It's criminal. No wonder Madoff took them for 700 million. He saw an easy mark. Just tell them what they want to hear. Omar for his lack of baseball acumen and GM ineffectiveness, understands that. IMHO, that's why he still has his job when 99% of owners would have booted him earlier many after 2007 and most after 2008.
In closing, I will be rooting for this team the rest of this year and in the future with all my heart. However, my head tells me it will be nothing, but heartbreak. I believe the direction of the team is in dire straits and it's ownership is simply indifferent and blind to it. I am not pleased with the composition or chemistry of the Mets roster. I believe the farm system to be in shambles. I see not better times, but more of the same we have endured the last 3 years. I believe we've lost being Amazin'. That's incredibly sad. This team has lost its way and its identity. We the fans will suffer because of it. That's the biggest shame.