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.
March 7, 2010
That’s right, I said it. I am practically excreting optimism right now. I would love nothing better than to see some new blood come in here and shock the world. That sort of energy has not been felt in these parts since Jose Reyes and David Wright first hit the scene. Sure, there have been other flashes. Mike Jacobs in 2005 to name one. However as we all know, that was short-lived.
Wouldn’t it be something to see a couple of the young prospects stick with the team and create some buzz. Come on. Is anyone really interested in seeing Rod Barajas or Daniel Murphy? Murph has some upside perhaps. However, does that possible upside get anyone fired up? I’ll tell you what might. The Mets currently have four prospects in camp that have at least a measure of upside. Along with that upside lies the possibility of a spark for fan excitement. The four are obvious to most. They are Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, and Ruben Tejada.
Now I realize that all of them are ticketed for the minors this season. I believe this to be true regardless of how they produce this spring. My thought is, why not throw some prospect logs on the fire and chat it up? There is nothing wrong with conversation now is there?
Ike Davis has already turned the spotlight on himself with his power and production in the first week. His monster grand slam the other day was a thing of beauty, and only further validates his ability. Fernando Martinez hit a pair of home runs yesterday, and has carried over his Carribean League MVP run into spring training. Josh Thole clearly has ability as a hitter behind the dish. Ruben Tejada’s minor league stats also show that he has a promising future ahead. It certainly will be nice to see this kid play in Jose Reyes’ absence this week. I do not need to see Alex Cora. He too lulls me to sleep. Perhaps we might see Tejada as the opening day second baseman next year.
The point is that the Mets have some position players that are actually exciting to follow this spring. These future players certainly look more promising than some of what we have on the major league roster right now. I for one will be pulling for them all to show their stuff this spring, even though they inevitably will all be in AAA come April. That is alright. It is nice to dream, isn’t it? Here is to the 2011 New York Mets!
February 19, 2010
Predicting who will fill out a team’s roster at the beginning of spring training is like predicting which player will get hurt next for the Mets. You know someone will, you just do not know who it will be.
For the sake of conversation, let me include the likes of Alex Cora, Gary Matthews, Jr. and Fernando Tatis, as we know they are shoe-ins to make the team because they were signed to major-league contracts. These guys are shoo-ins? Yuck! Let me also place the catcher competition to the side, as I have previously discussed this battle earlier (sans Rod Barajas). We know that there will be two on the opening day roster, although as of now I would be shocked if it is not Omir Santos and Henry Blanco. With fourteen spots available for position players (and 11 spots given to the pitching staff minimally) to complete the twenty-five man roster, that leaves us with only two spots remaining after the starting eight and the aforementioned inclusions. This also involves excluding Carlos Beltran, who will open (and perhaps close) the 2010 season on his personalized DL. Let us give a review of who will be competing for those two spots.
Frank Catalanotto – I went into what Frank can bring to a team here. He brings some positive contact production from the left side of the plate, and could make an ideal pinch hitter. The fact that the Met bench is currently comprised of mostly right-handed hitters, it is apparent that they need a left-handed batter to step up. As long as Catalanotto proves he still possesses the bat speed to handle big league pitching this spring, I think his chances are good to make the team.
Mike Jacobs – Unless Jacobs beats out Daniel Murphy for the starting first base job this spring, and that is about as likely as Ollie Perez losing his erratic ways, he will be the primary competition for the left-handed pinch hitter job with Catalanotto. He offers pop as we all know. That can be valuable. However, he is either home run or strikeout every time he steps to the plate, and in this ball park, that may not be the way to go. Unless he is on fire this spring, I believe he will have a hard time making the club. That might mean playing in Triple A until someone gets hurt, and we know that is going to happen anyway. The other possibility is that he and The Cat make the team together if there are not better options otherwise.
Fernando Martinez – Who is Fernando Martinez anyway? Well, for one thing, we know he is a Met prospect because of his history of injuries. Every time you turn around, this guy is hurt. Ultimately he has dropped off the radar of top prospects throughout the league because of this fact. After a hot winter league showing in which he was named the MVP of the Caribbean Series, the spotlight once again shines on Fernando to see what he can do this spring. Even though he has been around seemingly forever, he is still just 21 years of age. Unless Fernando hits like an all-star this spring, he will certainly be ticketed for Triple A this year.
Ike Davis – At 6’5″, Davis is a specimen. Having only played two season in the minor leagues for the Mets, he is already 23 years of age. Unquestionably the future at first base for the Mets, Davis’ production improved dramatically at every level in the minors, finishing with a line of .309, 14 and 43 in 233 Binghampton (AA) at bats last season. Scouts have rated him a very highly at this point, and I am talking about scouts that actually do not work for the Mets here. However, I am sure the Mets will let him at least try his hand against Triple A pitching for at least a few months before they hand him the keys to the first base ignition.
Anderson Hernandez – The guy can field. I’ll give him that. However, he will never hit in the majors, and therefore has no place on this team.
Russ Adams – Once an everyday shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, Adams has fallen into the land of dreaded baseball obscurity. He has even less value than Hernandez at this point.
Jason Pridie – Pridie Was a decent prospect for the Minnesota Twins through last season. He has some speed and extra-base hit potential, however, his plate discipline is rather poor, especially for a minor league player. He struck out at an alarming rate his last few years in the minors, and did not offset that with the ability to draw a walk often enough. He also appears destined to play Triple A ball and serve as organizational depth for the Mets.
Chris Carter – Here is a guy who actually hits for some power, even though he too appears to be a life-time minor league player. With home runs of 24 and 16 the past two years in Pawtucket for the Boston Red Sox, he always seems on the cusp of a call up. The Red Sox just never had room for him, but as we all know, the Mets might with their lack of depth. I also like his walk to strikeout ratio, which falls just short of 1:1. Another hitter looking to make it from the left side, Carter has the ability to make the team this spring with a good showing.
Mike Hessman – About to turn 32 years of age, Hessman has always shown power, but little else in his minor league career. Unless Tatis get hurt, forget about Hessman serving as the right-handed substitute at first base.
If you ask me, I believe that the winners will be Catalanotto and Jacobs. I think Carter has a good shot, but I think it will come down to either him or The Cat because I can not see the Mets having six outfielders on the opening day roster. That leaves the door wide open for Jacobs to make the team. That is unless there are huge surprises awaiting us as the spring unfolds before us. Either way, this is not an impressive bench for any major league roster.
Who do you see making the team from this group?