May 17, 2010
There are many Met fans who have expressed surprise by the team’s recent shortcomings. My only response to this is…Why? The Met roster has obvious shortcomings that have been well documented. Was anyone really measuring that home winning streak, as impressive as it might have been, as a true barometer of this team’s talent? Come on now.
Now that reality has truly set in, let’s ponder what the brain trust has in store for the remaining three quarters of the season. It will then become important to determine whether these decisions will be the proper ones, or yet additional mistakes that will inherently damage this team’s future.
Starting Staff – There are those who believe that the Mets should add an arm to help their “suddenly” depleted staff. I say shame on anyone for asking the team to act now. Just three weeks ago the media was as much in love with our rotation as Omar Minaya is, and that is the equivalent of proposing for marriage.
The truth of the matter is that the staff is as unproductive as it comes, and that is because production is measured by both the talent and health of a group of players. Like so many other areas of this team, the players that constitute the rotation are lacking in either or both. Based on this theory, Mike Pelfrey is the number two as this article is being written, and no one else behind him belongs on a major league staff. Then again, we all knew this BEFORE the season started, but nothing was done to correct this situation. Oh that’s right, Omar was not aware of this fact, my mistake.
Now that my redundant rant is through, what should the Mets do at this point? If the Mets go out and bring in another pitcher for example, then shouldn’t they have offered John Lackey a deal in the winter? That ship has sailed on us. No sense in crying over spilled milk. Sorry, I can’t think of any other uselss lines here.
In all seriousness, I am of the opinion that the Mets should do things internally. Evan Roberts stated today on WFAN that Jenrry Mejia should be sent down to the minors immediately to build up his arm to become what he was always meant to be…a starting pitcher. In fact, this is an idea shared by many other bloggers, and I could not agree more. He is about all they have, what with the other top options being none other than R.A. Dickey and Pat Misch. Unfortunately, there is not much else in the cupboard as far as imminent starting pitching prospects. Ultimately, Mejia being a member of the bullpen is yet another example of the Mets filling a hole by creating yet another one. They can fix it, but must act now.
Offense – Angel Pagan was recently moved to the three-hole because no one else was capable of filling that role, including Jose Reyes. Look, I like Pagan, but he is as much a three hitter as I am a major league player. Truth be told, the Mets do not have a true three or four hitter on their roster, what with David Wright transforming into an undisciplined pull hitter over the past year.
The point is, you can mix and match this makeshift lineup all you want. However, the results will inevitably be inconsistent regardless of what combination you throw out there. The one exception may be bringing Fernando Martinez up to play him in right field should Jeff Franceour continue to struggle. Unfortunately, Fernando has also struggled in the minors thus far. It looks as if the Mets will be forced to make do with what they have for now and the unforeseeable future.
Manager- The firing line is preparing their guns for Jerry Manuel’s head, and the order might be given any day now. Is he really to blame for this mess? Well, he is certainly not blameless here (Omar). He is ultimately responsible for the way his players prepare themselves on and off the field, and they certainly do not look as focused as they did two weeks ago.
On the other hand, what manager would get more out of Ollie P. and John Maine? Sometimes a manager is only as good as his players, and I am afraid Jerry is no exception here. Blameless? No way. The sole person to blame? Certainly not. Either way, Jerry should receive his walking papers soon enough. Once he does, who in the name of all that is holy is qualified to run this ship for the balance of the season? More importantly, who is going to get more out of this mediocre roster than Jerry has to date? Your guess is as good as mine.
May 10, 2010
We find ourselves in a familiar position. We have seen enough of Oliver Perez. After all, how many times can you endure the Ollie P experience before you want to slit your wrists? Frankly, I have reached the point where each time he walks the opposing pitcher that I can do nothing but chuckle. It is certainly a better option than emoting frustration, isn’t it? What more is there to say about him anyway? Oh yes, there is one thing…he is terrible!
The dilemma that we Met fans have to endure is quite simple. Who else is there to be our fifth starter? Jonathon Niese was supposed to hold that post to begin with, and there in lies the problem. Ollie was supposed to act as either the 3rd or 4th starter, and is being paid as if he is a 2nd starter. Now that Niese has been force fed into the 3rd starter role, the Mets would need an alternative to Perez to fill the five spot, rendering Ollie and his inflated contract to mop-up, long-relief chores.
However, unless the Mets push either Nieve or Takahashi into the fifth starter spot, they have no other alternative but to keep putting Perez back out there every fifth day. Unfortunately, those two guys are so conditioned to pitching virtually every day due to the lack of inning-eaters on the starting staff, that it would take a prolonged transition to stretch out their arms to perform adequately in that role. It is important to mention the fact that this would also create a large hole in the bullpen if either one was removed for this purpose. Fill a hole, and you inevitably create another one.
This is yet another glaring reminder of how the Mets made the mistake of not making John Lackey an offer during the off-season. I expect these reminders to continue to haunt us throughout the season as well. But hey, the Mets were serious about lowering payroll this year, and they accomplished their goal. That is our loss though, is it not? Here’s to more nauseating Ollie P starts. Thanks Mr. Wilpon!
May 3, 2010
There are certain players on this team that deserve our concern. The list is long and obvious.
One of the few players that should be ommitted from this list is Johan Santana. However, Johan’s inconsistencies thus far may be alarming if looked at in a certain way.
What do we know as fact? Johan is coming off of elbow surgery. It was only an arthroscopic procedure to remove “bone chips”, but surgery is surgery. This marks the second consecutive off-season in which he is recovering from some type of surgical procedure.
Secondly, his velocity is beginning to become a bit of a concern. Yesterday’s 91-92 mph fastball mark doesn’t look so bad, especially when it is compared to the 87-88 mph range he reached last Wednesday. We also witnessed a complete lack of control by Santana yesterday, exemplified by a bases-loaded walk to 47-year-old Jamie Moyer to force in a run. We all know that Johan’s history shows us that control has never been a problem for him. I think his career statistics have earned him the benefit of the doubt here that he will rebound from this blip on his screen. So, what is the major concern then? ESPN’s broadcast yesterday showed a very interesting statistic in regards to Santana. Apparently, his velocity differentials have decreased progressively of the last 6 years. For example, in 2004 (his most dominant season) his peak fastball was clocked at 95 mph, while his changeup was recorded as 81 mph on average. That is a differential of 14 mph. Currently, his fastball is averaging 90 mph while his changeup hovers around 80 mph. That is a differential of only 10 mph. Santana has always been a master of keeping hitters off balance, which explains why the changeup has always been his best friend. However, these numbers illustrate a decrease in the differential velocity of his pitches, which can be looked at as an alarming trend for Johan.
Ultimately, it could be his health that is playing a role here. There is no way for fans like us to know for sure. Perhaps he will get healthier as the season progresses. If that occurs, his pitch speed differential will improve, as will his effectiveness.
The negative here is that it could be injuries catching up with Santana, which would be a devastasting blow to the Mets of 2010 and beyond. After all, he is the one guy that is supposed to be a certainty in this rotation. No one wants to throw him into that uncertain barrel with the rest of the starting rotation. Is he there yet? I think not. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he never gets to that point.