Tag Archives: fate

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.

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Can the Mets Survive

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

It is very possible that the Mets may play until May 15th without their star center fielder and shortstop. This makes up 37 games, almost one-fourth of their schedule. While they will play their first 16 of 22 games at home in Citi Field, can the line-up produce enough to keep up with a pitching staff that most expect to be shaky at best.

The probable line-up with Cora at short and Pagan in center will look like this:

Pagan, Castillo, Wright, Bay, Murphy, Francoeur, Cora, Barajas.

Not murders row by any sense of the imagination. This line-up will demand that the Mets  pitch well. With question marks making up the rotation from number two to five, as well as anyone’s guess for who will pitch the 8th inning, this team is in serious trouble with 24 days to go until Opening Day.

Perez the next Koufax

9 Mar

By Jim Walters

Two weeks ago, Hall of Fame great Sandy Koufax worked with a few of the Mets pitchers. Koufax, a long-time friend of Mets Owner, Fred Wilpon, often makes this annual trip to Port St. Lucie to pass on his wisdom.

This year, it felt as if this visit by Koufax was the only hope Oliver Perez had left.  Perez, coming off of a disastrous, injury-plagued year, is healthy and confident. Mets ownership is counting on Perez to win 15-games, but few in the game or the stands believe it.

When Koufax was interview by reporters, he made reference to his early career where he was as inconsistent as Perez. Then, at the age of 25, things changed and he turned into one of the game’s greats.

So, I looked up both Koufax and Perez’ numbers to see how similar they are.

Koufax  pitched to a record of 36-40 in his first six seasons with the Dodgers. In his first two seasons, he only started 28 games. Perez went 45-53 in his first  six season seasons, only pitching in 40 games in his first two seasons. While the numbers aren’t identical, they are similar enough to see how Koufax could see himself in Perez.

In Koufax’s seventh season, his career changed. The year was 1961 and he went 18-13.  In fact, from 1961- 1966, Koufax pitched to an incredible record of 129-47, including three seasons where he won more than 25 games.

The game was different then as pitchers went deep into games and often completed them. In the current version of this game, few pitchers in this game finish their own starts.

Back to Perez. In his 7th and 8th seasons, his record was 13-11. His 8th season was last year when he only started 14 games.

Few believe Perez is going to do what Koufax did forty years ago. While he is only 28 and healthy, Mets fans have heard enough about potential. Perez’ inconsistency overshadows those moments of brilliance. His 2006 October performance is a distant memory.

What makes Perez so unique is that his talent was never in question. It is his mental make-up that people worry about. Can the switch go off and Perez become the number two starter New York needs him to be? Or will Perez continue to draw jeers from the crowd and a pink slip for his General Manager and Manager?

Two weeks ago, Koufax looked at Perez and related to the young lefty’s struggles. Koufax walked in those shoes but seven seasons in, he figured it out and became an all-time great.  For Perez and the Mets, the hope of this franchise lands in this inconsistent starter who could lead the Mets to October or he can continue to be the face of a losing franchise.

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Minaya Sealed His Own Fate

4 Mar

By Jim Walters

When the dust settles on this season (yes, I know it hasn’t even started yet), it is likely that Omar Minaya will not be the General Manager of the Mets.

While he reeled in big fish like Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez since taking the job in 2004, Minaya did three things that cost himself his job and his team a title.

1. Lack of Vision: Minaya was always one step behind. In 2006, as good as the Mets were, they didn’t have the starting pitching to compete. When Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez went down near the end of the season, he depended on John Maine and Oliver Perez to step in when the games mattered most. While they did well, it stretched their bullpen and eventually the teams fate. In the following years, he didn’t address the bullpen which cost them in 2007 and 2008. He will always be remembered as being one move short.

2. Oliver Perez: In 2009, the Mets handed him a three-year, $36 million dollar contract. His career record is 58-64 with a 4.54 ERA. For some reason they paid him like a number two pitcher. While he showed moments of brilliance, his inconsistency made Mets fans grumble every time he took the mound. Who knows how they could’ve spent that money this off-season. The upside is that Perez is only 29 and a lefty. The downside is that Perez is a head case that is treated to a chorus of boos each time he retreats from the mound with his head hanging low. It is a sad, familiar site that makes fans cringe every fifth day.

3. Luis Castillo: For some reason, Minaya handed an aging Castillio a four-year, $25 million dollar contract after joining New York in a mid-season trade in 2007. Castillo was handed a contract that paid him like it was 1997, when he was younger, more flexible and with better range. While he had a decent season in 2009, he is an achy second baseman with no power. He can only be counted on to leave runners on third with less than two outs.

What hurts New York is that Castillo’s contract has handcuffed Minaya. The last two summers, Orlando Hudson wanted to play in Queens, but no other team would take on Castillo. Hudson would bring a sense of passion and great range that would solidify the line-up. Instead, Hudson is in Minnesota and Castillo continues to be the face of a losing franchise.

Minaya has dedicated $18 million to Castillo and Perez this season. It will be remembered as one of the worst investments in franchise history and the two moves that sent Omar packing.