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WHAT’S NEXT

19 Sep

It is time in another lost September for Mets fans to turn their attention to the week of October 4th.

The season will be over and press conferences will be called to begin the overhaul of the New York Mets.

As the cross town rivals prepare for another playoff run and when the Phillies down the turnpike open their gates to another playoff series, Citi Field will be empty, and Mets fans will be richer for not having playoff tickets to overpay for.

While fans will open their wallets in a second to see some late October baseball, the Mets need a flawless winter to make that a reality in 2011.

So, we offer our two cents on what the Mets should do this October.

The Mets need to start with Omar and either fire him or re-assign him to a scouting position. He is always a move short and although he pulls a rabbit out of his hat once in a while, a la R.A. Dickey, foolish contracts have cost him flexibility and now his job.

The next move is on the managerial front. The Mets need to bring Bobby Valentine back.

Like Rex Ryan, Valentine will make as many enemies as he does friends with his mouth. But Bobby V will re-ignite the clubhouse and fan base. His baseball knowledge cannot be questioned and history shows how teams overachieved for him in 1999 and 2000.

Valentine will say the right things. He will tell the fans that not hustling will not be tolerated and the team will win with pitching and defense. Valentine will talk about Shea Stadium in the turn of the century and how he wants Citi Field to rock like the old place.

He will also say this is the job he wants, the job he has waited for. He has won in another country, now it’s time to win in New York.

Valentine will cost money, but he will fill the stadium with seats as the style of play that the manager demands is the type of baseball that this city desires.

No matter what the Mets do on the managerial front, it really does come down to the players on the field. While the Mets have a solid group of young, cheap players they have a handful of overpriced fallen stars that symbolize all that has gone wrong with this team.

It begins with cutting Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. It means a lot of money but the team needs to dump this baggage. They will try to trade them but those two cannot be in Port St. Lucie five months from now.

Although Carlos Beltran brought bad karma to Flushing, he is a player on a walk year. If healthy, he can make 2011 a productive season. Given his large contract, he is practically immovable, so the Mets should move him to right and see what they get.

They will live with Thole and Ike, David and Jose. Bay will be in left, leaving second base and center field as the two positions where they need to add offense and talent.

While he is older, a player like David Eckstein is a nice talent to play at second base. He can add a grittiness to the position that will excite fans and perhaps his leadership will be contagious in the clubhouse. If not Eckstein, Orlando Hudson will be knocking on the door once again hoping the Mets answer.

As for centerfield, they can live with Angel Pagan if they get offense out of Beltran and Bay. If not, they will need to either look for a bat with some pop (Jason Werth) or look to trade away Davis and go hard after Prince Fielder or Jorge Cantu.

As for the pitching front, the Mets need to go hard after Cliff Lee. There only hope is that they offer him top dollar and that Lee wants revenge on the Phillies. Lee with Santana is a dynamic duo that can launch the Mets back into contention. Throw in Pelfrey at three, Dickey at four and Niese at five, the Mets will have a solid rotation.

Question over Santana’s health are even more of a reason why the Mets have to stop acting like second citizens and bring in a pitcher who eats up innings and wins ball games.

The other question facing this team in Francisco Rodriguez. He is talented and he has trade value, even if the Mets have to eat some of his contract. While they will look to void the deal, the more likely choice is trading him away and looking to the Soriano or Wood.

They player movement will begin in November, but the offseason of change begins October 4th when the Mets hand over the reigns to someone else.

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Friday News Wire

19 Mar

What a Friday!

I wake up to the following headlines:

  • St. John’s fires Norm Roberts
  • Carlos Beltran may be back early May
  • Brad Lidge to miss Opener
  • NCAA Day 2
  • Mets on SNY at 1pm

This is some day. Let’s look at the non-Mets related items first.

Norm Goodbye

St. John’s firing Norm Roberts is not a total surprise, although it was impressive to see the Johnnies play hard and well in their loss to Memphis Wednesday night. Roberts is not the recruiter St. John’s needs to compete in the Big East.

Roberts will always be remembered for digging St. John’s out of their biggest and most embarrassing hole in school’s history. Mike Jarvis did everything to hurt this program excluding burning down the gym. From scandals to lost relationships with local coaches, Jarvis set St. John’s back for a decade.

It will be fun to hear the new names that surface for the coaches job. Maybe the first of two rumor mills for coaches that this town will be invested in this year.

March Madness

What a day in College Basketball yesterday. Georgetown, Notre Dame and Marquette were the big three to fall yesterday in bracket busters. The Big East, which receives a great deal of press for their competitive conference, was hit by  the tournament’s craziness. West Virgina kicks today off against Morgan at 12:15pm.

Beltran and Lidge

Carlos Beltran in the NY Daily News announced that he expects to return by mid- May, if not sooner. He also declared how healthy and strong he feels. The question remains: where will the Mets be when Beltran returns? See the post below addressing New York’s first 22 games.

Brad Lidge announced that he will miss at least the first week of the season, if not more, as he recovers from offseason elbow surgery. Lidge does looks healthy this spring, which is bad news for the National League. In a Phillies team that is strong in all other aspects of the game, the bullpen was the only piece of their game where they showed vulnerability last year. If Lidge is dominant, it’s going to be difficult for Philadelphia to lost.

Mets Back on TV

I missed not watching Mets games since Monday. Our reward is Johan Santana against the Twins. New York, coming off of another quality win, can be seen at 1pm on SNY.

See Mets in the Bronx

16 Mar

This Friday, March 19th at noon, Yankees single game tickets go on sale and the three game series with the Mets from June 18-20 appears to be on sale.

Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05pm, Saturday for 1:05pm and Sunday is still TBD. Sunday may be an ESPN game at 8:05pm. ESPN has not picked their game yet. The Mets-Yankees Sunday night game at Citi Field will be aired on ESPN.

The Mets did not include the Yankees games at Citi Field in their single game ticket sales. You can see the Yankees, but you have to buy a package that is one of the following: four games of premium seat value, a six-pack in the upper deck level, 15-game pack, 40-game pack or full season.

Mejia Debate Continues

16 Mar

By Jim Walters

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports adds his two cents about the Jenrry Mejia debate.

Rosenthal highlights the risk of bringing such a young, in-experienced pitcher into the pressure cooker of New York.

He does give an interesting variety of quotes from Mets players about Mejia and what they see in the young pitcher.

One has to think that even if they don’t call him up at the start of the season, management will call Mejia up during the season as the bullpen falters. With Kelvim Escobar out of the mix, New York will have many questions in the bullpen and with Manuel and Minaya’s job on the line, Mejia may be the last hope for the manager and GM.

Mets Youth Movement

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

All of  a sudden, the New York Mets look young.

Consider this. Johan Santana is the oldest pitcher in the starting rotation. This is a far cry from the days of Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez.

In the outfield, Carlos Beltran is the veteran at age 32. In the infield, Luis Castillo takes the crown at the age of 33.

Yet all around the team, you see a youth movement. The following players are some of the 30 and younger Mets:  David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bay, Daniel Murphy, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine, John Neise, Francisco Rodriguez.

When the Opening Day rosters are determined, this team will rank near the top as one of the younger teams in the game. Give Minaya credit as the Mets turned young before our eyes.

Unfortunately, they will depend on this youth  in the starting rotation to compete in a division that’s starting pitching is as young, but only better.

Manuel, Stay of Go

16 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News reports this morning that Jerry Manuel should stay as  the coach of the Mets this season, despite whatever happens during the course of the season.

Lupica depicts Manuel as the product of bad luck. He also looks back to 2008 when Manuel replaced Randolph, listing other coaches who would’ve lost that final game at Shea.

The media in this town is interesting. When they love a guy, he gets more passes than he deserves. But when the media dislikes a guy, they can write him off before the season even starts.

Manuel is loved in this town, probably due to his easy demeanor and sense of humor. He is an easy guy to root for.

However, he is no different that Willie Randolph who the Mets showed the door at the early morning hours on a west coast trip.

The only difference is that the media likes Manuel, and the injuries of last year and this spring will always be included into the explanation for his failures. Yet for Randolph, the lack of starting pitching during his tenure was his fault, not Minaya’s.

Last year, in addition to the injuries, the Mets did not play fundamental baseball. This falls on the manager. You don’t see this with Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa.

Manuel and Minaya are on thin ice despite what the media says because Mets ownership is as dysfunctional as the starting rotation is.

Perhaps the winner after this season will be Manuel who may get kicked out-of-town and doesn’t have to deal with the nonsense of this franchise anymore.

F-Mart Not Heading North

15 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Fernando Martinez is not heading north with the big club in a few weeks. GM Omar Minaya said that Martinez will head to Triple-A to get at-bats and prove he can stay healthy for a full season.

New York will live with Gary Matthews Jr. and today’s hero, Angel Pagan until Carlos Beltran returns in either late April or early May.

You have to wonder if Martinez will see action with the big club until September when the rosters expand. If the regular outfield of Beltran, Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur stay healthy, Martinez will not get the call up because of the need to get regular bats in as an everyday player.

As we consider his future, you have to also think of him as a trade chip. If New York is going to contend, they will still need a chip during the season. If they showed interest in a starting pitcher or batter like Adrian Gonzalez, Martinez’ name will be mentioned.