Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Razor Shines: Mets 3rd Base Coach Has Best Name in Majors

Razor Shines. That's right, Razor....Shines.

You can't make this stuff up. That's the new Mets third base coach's real name. His full name is actually Anthony Razor Shines, but still how sweet is that? It's a cross between a comic book character, a WWE wrestler and a B-movie alias.

I've never heard of Razor before, but evidently he's a legend in Indianapolis and played the majority of short major league career with the Astros. Jerry Manueal and he have some sort of history together, but I'd have to guess he's a step up from Luis "I Love to Watch Runners Get Thrown Out at Home Plate" Aguaya.

For more on Razor Shines, check out his write up on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What To Do With Pagan?

I like Angel Pagan. It was this time last year that I was first introduced to him while watching Mets spring training games. He's got speed, a decent glove and, through the early parts of the 2008 season, a bat.

But Pagan's injury last season may have sent his time with the Mets into a tailspin. He went from being the every day left fielder to practically forgotten. Now he's back and the early reports from Port St. Lucie show that he's healthy. Kevin Burkhardt even went so far as to call him a "freak" because of the athletic abilities he was showcasing on the field this spring.

Now Manuel has come out early and said that Daniel Murphy is more than likely his every day left fielder and Ryan Church his right fielder with Tatis playing the role of super-sub. I'm sure Pagan will also fill-in off the bench, but to me Pagan is a guy who will suffer on the bench. He needs that everyday rythmn to get things going. He's not an Endy Chavez type of player and I think he would be more productive in an everyday role.

But what can you do about it? I wouldn't sit Murphy if he plays like he has shown us last season. I'd definitely start Church if he continues to play like the pre-concussion Church of early '08.

So Pagan pulls the short straw. Crazy things happen in baseball. Injuries, slumps, etc. can change the best laid plans. I hope none of that happens, but I am curious to see if Angel Pagan can produce like the player I saw in April 2008.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Castillo's Mea Culpa

I like a guy who can admit it when he's a bum, and Luis Castillo surprised me today by doing just that. While speaking to reporters down in Port St. Luci, Castillo confessed that he contacted the Mets after the season and said "he felt badly" about his performance last season and that he was "embarassed."

My normal reaction would be "wow," buy hey he should be embarassed and I'm glad to see he knows that he stinks. Castillo went on to claim that he's lost over 17 pounds and that his knees feel the best they have in years.

It's no secret that we have been ragging on Castillo on this blog for the better part of the past year. Even after this admission of guilt, I still want the Mets to go out and grab Orlando Hudson for the bargain basement price of $4 million for one year, and yes that sound you hear is a dead horse being pummeled.

But with that said, a healthy and productive Luis Castillo is an asset to this lineup. The Castillo of the Marlins and Twins in years past is a good #2 player who plays adequately in the field. However, I'm not convinced that after this mea culpa that's the Luis Castillo we're going to see.

I hope Castillo surprises me and comes out a rejuvenated and sprite little second baseman. Mets Lifers know we need that becaues management appears to be ignoring our cries for Orlando Hudson.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Orlando Hudson for $4 Million?

There’s no indication the power brokers in Washington are looking to do this, but Orlando Hudson needs a bailout package, quick. And the Mets are just the organization to lend a helping hand.

Just 3 monhts ago, people were talking 3-5 years at $10million per for Hudson. Today, according to John Heyman in his spot on WFAN, Hudson could be had for maybe one year and $4million bucks. Again, let me repeat. 1 year, 4 million bucks! If it sounds like I am beating a dead horse on this subject, it’s because I am. The Mets have no choice but to jump in here. There are no more excuses to let this player slip away. He wants to play here, he’s good and he’s so freakin’ cheap it’s ridiculous. My head explodes every time I hear he’s still available and we’re not interested in him.

Omar, please I beg of you. For your long-suffering fan base, for your own credibility, sign Orlando Hudson! If nothing else, we can stop hearing ridiculous stories about silly lineup changes, etc in order to get Castillo going. That in itself should tell you what an issue this team is going to have with Castillo at second. But you have a chance to right your wrong here, to ignite a renewed sense of optimism in this club and Mets Lifers everywhere. All you need to do is stop nickel-and-diming and sign this guy. I don’t expect Manny, but not signing Hudson at this discounted rate would be completely inexcusable and wholly irresponsible as GM of the NY Mets. It’s your move…

Why Batting Reyes Anywhere But 1st Is Stupid

Jerry Manuel has stirred up some excitement in the otherwise bland Port St. Lucie by talking about how he's thinking about batting Reyes third in the order to get him to the "next level."

This is not only crazy, it's stupid. Anyone who watches the Mets knows that as Reyes goes so go the Mets. When he gets on in the first inning and scores, it sets the tone for the game. Moving Reyes from that leadoff spot would change the whole context of the Mets lineup.

If Reyes were to bat second behind Castillo, you can expect Reyes' stolen base totals to plummet. There's no way he's running with the Gimp on base in front of him. And if Castillo gets out then if Reyes gets on he will either have 1 or 2 outs and may hinder his willingness to run.

Reyes speed and ability to make things happen on the base paths is what makes him the best leadoff hitter in the league. I understand what Manuel is saying about he's only the leadoff hitter in the first inning, but those first inning runs are oh so important to the Mets and set the tone for the game.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Mets need to shake things up because what they've been doing the last two seasons hasn't been working. But somehow I don't think moving Reyes is the solution.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mets Reality Show: The 5th Starter

The folks over at VH1 or Fox Reality Channel should be calling Omar Minaya any day now about a new reality show called, The 5th Starter.

You see with the bullpen in better order than last year and the fact that the Mets are not getting Manny, the only drama left for spring training is who will be the 5th starter in the rotation? And just like any good reality show we definitely have a cast of characters.

You have Jon Niese, the young stud looking to fulfill the hopes and dreams of his childhood by being a big league starter. We have the washed up veteran in Freddy Garcia who is trying embark on a comeback for one last flight of glory in the majors (a la Mickey Rourke). Then we have the teacher's pet in Livan Hernandez who was long coveted by the GM, but didn't get him until he had one foot in the pitching grave. And lastly there's the unknown, no-name, dark horse, Tim Redding.

There should be a rose ceremony or at least Ryan Seacrest appearance in there somewhere. The fact is the Mets 5th starter will be a revolving door this season. I don't think any of these guys will last an entire season. Livan has the longevity, but we all know he's losing his stuff. Garcia is guaranteed to be injured if not utterly implode. Redding and Niese will have their ups and down and find their getting 10 days rest inbetween starts.

My money is on Livan getting the 5th starter job to start the season just because he's Omar's favorite. However by June I expect Redding or Niese to be getting spot starts. I want Niese to get the job just to see what he can do when he's in a regular rotation instead of getting spot starts like he did last year.

Whatever happens, the fact remains that the 5th starter is just that. He's a guy to fill in the gaps and not an arm to be relied upon. Don't let the drama make you think anything different.

Manuel is a Funny Guy

There’s no evidence Jerry Manuel was chillin’ like a villin’ (as Manuel definitely would say) with Michael Phelps last month. There is no infamous photographic of the charismatic Mets manager dubiously inhaling from a cylinder. No, Manuel is just plain ‘ole funny. He’s a natural. His press conferences last year were must see TV as his biting sense of humor always made everyone laugh. He was the polar opposite of the moody, sensitive Willie Randolph.

So was it any surprise yesterday, on his first full day as manager in Mets camp that he opened up with some of his funniest comments ever?

Read the following quote from Manuel yesterday and you’ll see what I mean.

“If we could lead [Castillo] off, which is probably best for him, it might be something we have to do . . . because we have to give him the best possible chances for success in order for us to get [last] year behind him."

Hysterical, absolutely hysterical. That Manuel, he’s a real Barney Rubble. Of course, the kicker in this, the real knee-slapper here is that Jose Reyes will bat third. Third! I mean, we all knew Manuel was witty, but this is pure comedic genius. Chris Rock, look out!

Sit back and take a moment to think how funny this really is and you realize the joke is one for the ages. Manuel, with that charming smile of his, throws us a jab by telling us he’s going to move the best leadoff hitter in the game to the third spot – which is funny enough – but then his knockout blow comes when he tells us he’s replacing him with the worst hitter on the team. Bamn! And we’re down for the count…stomach muscles are hurting; peeing in our pants, laugh out loud funny.

Jerry Manuel, I love you man. You really brought you’re “A” game yesterday. Next thing you’re going to tell us is that Carlos Delgado will be batting eighth…you know…for that second cleanup spot in the lineup.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Orlando Hudson for $5 Millon?

It’s been 11 days since I implored Omar and the Wilpons to sign Orlando Hudson to replace the gimp Castillo at second base. In that time, the Steelers won the third most exciting Super Bowl in NFL history (G-Men/Pats, and G-Men/Bills of course), Robert “It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled” Plant became relevant again, and Alex “never felt overmatched” Rodriguez admitted using steroids.

The other thing that has happened is that Orlando Hudson’s stock has plummeted faster than the Dow Jones. Tonight on the MLB Network, Tom Verducci expressed utter surprise that Hudson was still on the market and suggested that he could be had for a mere $5 million bucks and one year. Let me repeat: $5 million…one year! Are you kidding me? That’s the price of Tim Redding, Alex Cora and the third string bullpen catcher for crying out loud. Think about that. If the Mets pass up this golden opportunity to sign a very good player, a character guy…a gold glove switch hitter for crying out loud, then they will be dropping the ball the same way Castillo will be.

If it’s about the money, then I will personally set up cans at every entrance to CitiField to accept donations from Mets Lifers in order to pay his salary. The way I see it, the Mets will draw close to 4 million people in ’09. If everyone dropped $1.20 in the can, we’d have ourselves an All Star second basemen, batting behind Jose Reyes game in, game out. That’s money well spent. Go get Hudson!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Almost Here

It's almost that time of year again. Oh, I can almost taste it. March Madness. Man I love brackets.

Ok, so it's almost time for pitchers and catchers to report too. Some of the Mets starters are already in Port St. Lucie to start getting ready for the season, but I'm not all that excited about it.

It's weird because I love baseball and I follow the Mets like no other team. But this year is not like last year. In 2007 the "collapse" was a shock to the system. As Mets Lifers, we thought we were headed to the playoffs again and potentially a World Series until our utter demise smacked us in the face. So at the start of last season, we were hopeful. We had Santana. We added a few players. We were prepared for a pennant chace.

Then September 2008 came and stabbed us in the gut. We're no longer fooled into holding on to hopes and dreams of playoff runs and championships. Mets Lifers have become realists, and we know that nothing matters until the calendar turns to October. The Mets could go undefeated in April, May & June, but no Mets Lifer will start thinking playoffs until that final weekend is over.

We're jaded, and until this team produces in September you won't find any giddy banter about this team's potential for a world series run. It's a new world we're living in and this season is going to be a very long journey to make ammends for the past two years.

Let's hope this story has a happier ending.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chipper Jones Wants To Marry David Wright

I'm kind of shocked by this statement since it came from Chipper Jones's mouth:
“I’m a huge David Wright fan… How could you not want to sit back and see how David Wright goes about his business, how he mentally prepares for games?  David Wright is the best third baseman in the National League, if not all of baseball."

Is this the real Chipper Jones? What is going on in this world when Chipper Jones is complimenting a Mets player? There's something not right here. He's up to something. Can't trust that Larry.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Does Anyone Care About the World Baseball Classic?

Who's psyched for the World Baseball Classic? It's such a great time where the world comes together to watch countries compete against each other on the baseball diamond, except for the fact that nobody cares.

Honestly, does anyone really care about the WBC except for those involved in organizing it? Are other countries holding rallies and giving people days off of work to watch the WBC like they sometimes do for the World Cup or Olympics? What is the point of this thing anyway?

In my opinion, I don't want any of the Mets players playing in the WBC, except maybe Luis Castillo who I could care less about at this point. Santana wants to pitch in the WBC? Forget it. David Wright? Don't think so. All this does is open up the potential for some star players to get injured and takeaway from getting ready in spring training.

Can you tell me who won the last WBC? I know it wasn't the USA, but that's about it. It's pointless and it's not exactly the World Cup or Olympics. Omar shouldn't let any of our marquee players go. Let the kids play. Let the college all stars have a crack at beating the rest of the world. The Mets players should be focused on avenging the disgrace that was last season instead of worrying about beating Korea in extra innings.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Get Orlando Hudson!

Not sure how you felt but it was a rather ho-hum moment for me when I heard Oliver Perez finally signed with the Mets this afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ollie, and he’s pitched well in some big moments but he’s still a #3, #4 starter with an ERA over 4.00. Not to mention, he’s mind-numbingly inconsistent and falls way too in love with the free pass. So while this move solidifies the rotation, Omar still needs to do something with the offense. Otherwise, we might be sitting in the exact same spot we were last September…and the one before that.

Yes, we got K Rod (thank you!) and JJ Putz (sa-weet!), but now more than ever, Omar needs to take advantage of this current buyer’s market. And with one stroke of the pen he can erase the worst mistake of his career – inking Luis Castillo to that obscene contract – and sign Orlando Hudson. (Can you imagine if Castillo was a free agent this year? He’d probably only get a minor league contract). Hudson would fit perfectly in the #2 spot behind Reyes. He hits .300, has a little pop, and plays a gold glove second base. Plus, he’s a gamer, and is a good guy in the clubhouse. Oh, and he’s already said he’d like to play for the Mets.

I know everyone’s been talking about Manny Ramirez and I’d love to have Manny here as much as anyone. He’d all but assure us getting to the playoffs and what Mets fan wouldn’t want that? But the truth is, he’s just way to expensive and signing him would put the Mets over the luxury tax threshold. Meaning, the Mets would have to pay a lot more dough than the $25M-$30M it would take to sign him. So I can accept the fact that they’re not getting into the Manny sweepstakes. I mean, let’s face it, the Mets already have the third highest payroll in baseball. So it’s not like they’re being cheap. They’re just not going to spend like the Yankees. For better or worse, I’m ok with that.

But, on the other hand, there is absolutely no excuse not to go after Hudson. He would come relatively cheap now; maybe $7M per, 3 years. Everyone would agree he is exactly what the Mets need. This is not the opportunity they should elect to pass up. Yes, the economy is down, real estate is bah-rutal, and consumer spending will be tight. But it’s not the like the Mets are going to lose money this year (in spite of Madoff and Citigroup).

And so to the Wilpons and Minaya, the perfect addition is sitting right there in front of you. Go get him! Failure to do so and Omar will have made two terrible mistakes on one awful contract.