June 15, 2010
When the plan in constructing a team is to search for bargains and hope for the best, the an awful lot is being left to chance. That is just what was ordered by Mr. Wilpon this past winter. “Find some cheap alternatives, and they better pan out…or else!”
The Met hierarchy, doing as they were told, searched on the bottom shelf for a group of players that would hopefully pan out for them and be somewhat productive in 2010. This bargain-basement process led them to the signing of Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, Hisanori Takahashi, R.A. Dickey, and Elmer Dessens. These names owe us Met fans absolutely nothing to date, wouldn’t you say?
Now there were others that gave us absolutely nothing, such as the departed Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews, Jr., and Kelvim Escobar. I think anyone would take a 50% or better success rate when searching for quality on the scrap heap. That is just what the Mets have gotten through June 15th. Mission accomplished Jeff.
Let us give credit where credit is due. Jerry Manuel deserves plenty, as he is certainly getting the most out of all the players on his team, stars and unknowns alike. Let’s give a shout out to the players themselves, as they are buying into Jerry’s mantra and have found some clubhouse balance. This is something that has not existed in these parts in quite some time.
The problem now, however, is two-fold. The idea of any baseball team is to truly compete for a championship. In order to be in the conversation, these no-name guys will have to continue their success. Secondly, the Mets will surely need to add a starter, just as they needed to in November 2009. Yes, this is true even though the Mets currently are among the league leaders in starting ERA. They need a solid number three starter (Lackey would have looked great here, wouldn’t he?) to stick behind Pelfrey and Santana, therefore allowing Niese to slot in as the fourth starter. The unfortunate fact is that this will now cost the Mets prospects as well as the dollars Mr. Wilpon seemingly will not relinquish his grasp upon.
In summary, the Mets have succeeded thus far in spite of Mr. Wilpon and his penny-pinching approach. It better continue, or someone will have to pay. Unfortunately, we know it won’t be Jeff Wilpon.
June 9, 2010
No I have not been in hiding. I have been wanting to post some thoughts for quite some time now, but that real life stuff just keeps getting in the way. Finally, I thought that enough was enough. I will just have to create some time in order to man up and admit that I was wrong.
The crux of this admission is about Mike Pelfrey, and how he has proven to date how much better he is than what I wrote about him in the preseason. To point out the obvious, I was dead wrong on this one.
The only thing Big Pelf has done has re-create himself from a hittable pitcher into a Cy Young contender in just one season. That is, at least through the first two and a half months of the 2010 season. The turnaround has been staggering. He currently holds an ERA of 2.23 and has a record of 8-1 in 12 starts. Last season his ERA was a horrendous 5.04 while finishing at 10-12, which is not so terrible considering his high ERA and hittable stuff last year. He is averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per start in 2010, compared to under 6 innings per start in 2009. His WHIP is a low 1.17 this year, compared to 1.52 last year.
In layman’s terms, he was very hittable last year, and is anything but that to date this year. So why the about-face in productivity? Is it perhaps that his stuff is suddenly better? Is it a matter of confidence? Or, is it the fact that he was determined to show up this year slimmed down and in better shape? Your guess is as good as mine. The reality is that he is growing more confident with every start, and is becoming more pleasurable to watch than even Johan Santana. He has proven the naysayers (yes, yours truly) wrong, and appears destined to be selected to his first All-Star appearance.
One thing is certain. A man has to admit when he is wrong. I hope I have done that with this post. Ah, I feel better.