Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fixing the Mets: Coaching Staff

Injuries were the biggest issue with the Mets this year. Without a doubt, they were the major contributor to the demise of the 2009 season. No one is arguing that, but I think we're letting the coaching staff off too easy because of the injuries.

There needs to be some changes made. I've already expressed my desire to have Dave Duncan as the pitching coach and say our final farewell to Dan Warthen. But I also believe it's time for Jerry Manuel, the training staff, Razor Shines and Howard Johnson to go.

The training staff should have a major overhaul with all the injuries that we've experienced over the last two seasons. I can't blame them if one or two guys get hurt every two months, but when injuries start approaching the 20's you know there's a bigger problem. I'm not sure what workout regiment or stretching exercises these guys employ, but whatever it is, it stinks. Clean house.

Jerry Manuel is a guy that I like. I love his personality and the way he handles the media, but I don't think he's cut out to be a championship manager. The players played well for him last year mainly because they were pleased to be rid of Willie Randolph, but this year he's not getting the most from his players.

Let's put injuries aside for the moment, Manuel needs to have these guys motivated to play regardless of their position in the standings. Over the last two months, Manuel hasn't had any impact on the performance of this team, and I scratch my head to think about what influence Manuel has ever had on this ball club.

I think the Mets need to bring a guy who is known for getting players to be sound in the fundamentals and is able to help the maturity of younger players. I'm a fan of Bobby Valentine, but at this point I'd take Tony LaRussa as an upgrade to Manuel.

The amount of errors and ineptitude that this Mets team has displayed this year rests solely on the shoulders of the manager and his coaching staff. He's ultimately responsible for the overall quality of play, and the product is pretty low quality if you ask me. These problems were going on in April, but were masked because the team was winning games at that time. Now with the injuries, the errors and not-so-smart play are just amplified.

And last but not least is HoJo. I loved this guy growing up and I know he's had an influence on the development of David Wright, but is he really helping. A lot of people argue that what impact does a hitting coach have on established ballplayers? Good question, but it's obvious he's not helping with the highs and lows that David Wright has had this year at the plate. Murphy's sophomore campaign was less than stellar. Strikeouts are up across the board.

Is HoJo really helping or does he have a job just because he coached David Wright in the minors? I don't have an answer as to who should replace him, but if we want a very different product on the field for the 2010 season I truly believe you need a new management team at the rudder steering us in the right direction.

It's time to clean house.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fixing the Mets: First Base

The most glaring hole with the Mets, outside of starting pitching, is what to do with first base. I'm sure Adrien Gonzalez's name will be bantered about this offseason, but the reality is the Mets probably won't be able to get him if they plan on trading for a top notch pitcher.

So you have really three options.

Option 1: Do nothing
With this option Daniel Murphy is your 2010 first baseman for better or worse. Maybe you sign a veteran backup/pinch hitter to relieve Murphy on occasion or you resign a guy like Jeremy Reed who's an OF/1B. You're hoping hear that Murphy develops into the player we dream he can be. The free agent market for first baseman is rather thin so you keep Murphy instead of paying big bucks for a Paul Konerko or the often injured Nick Johnson. The Mets would be power weak at first base and have a mediocre glove. Going with this option requires an upgrade in left field to make up for the power drought at first.

Option 2: Trade/Free Agency
I've seen several writers talk about the need to get Nick Johnson. Has this past season taught us nothing? The guy's as fragile as they come and hasn't played a full season this decade. Sure he can hit and he's an ok glove, but he's not worth the risk given the Mets experience this year. Free agency is very light on the first base front and I don't even want to hear the words Bobby Abreu. The only trades that make sense for the Mets is if you can get a young, proven player like an Adrien Gonzalez or a James Loney. These guys are few and far between and probably cost you more than the #2 pitcher the Mets desperately need. Option 2 is not a good one.

Option 3: Sign Carlos Delgado
My first reaction to this option is I'm against it. The ghosts of Moises Alou still haunt me at night so why take a chance on another aging hitter who's already shown he's not longer a spring chicken? Delgado is a motivated guy and I think he'd be willing to sign a one year deal packed with incentives to prove that he's not done. Delgado's days of playing 7 games a week are over so you'd allow Murphy to fill in as the backup and still get a decent number of at-bats over the course of the year. Delgado is the power hitter the Mets have missed and may potentially be the best first baseman available that won't break the bank. I believe Delgado enjoys New York and wants to make up for this past season. If Delgado gets injured again, then you're back to Option 1 but at least you gave it a shot.

Unless Omar Minaya can work a miracle trade for a young stud first baseman, I honestly believe signing Delgado to a one year deal is the way to go. Then you position yourselves for going after a Gonzalez in the 2010 offseason or a Morneau in 2011 with some other pieces coming off the payroll to make room for a big acquisition. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Face of the Mets Franchise

This guy is the face of the Mets franchise.

I know I've used this photo for many a post talking about the sad state that is the New York Mets. But now Deadspin has uncovered who this tragic fan is and to no one's surprise, he's just like you and me.

A long suffering Mets fan who embraces the pain and tragedy that it takes to be one.

Really this is a great article written by Seth Fleischauer (that's the dude's name) and is a must read for all Mets Lifers.

Fixing the Mets: Starting Pitching

The final week of the 2009 season is here. I've never looked forward to the end of baseball as I have this season. So it is only appropriate that at Mets Lifer we focus on what needs to be done beyond the 2009 campaign to position the Mets to compete, not just next year but in the years ahead.

Over the course of the next week, we will take a look at the different aspects of the Mets that need to be addressed and debate about what should be done to improve this team in the future.

And so we begin with the most important aspect of the Mets, starting pitching.

At this point the 2010 starting rotation looks like this: Johan Santana and four other guys who aren't really that good. Oliver Perez has us dreaming about the days of Victor Zambrano. John Maine's health is a question mark. Pelfrey is a nut job. And Tim Redding can pitch really well in September when you're out of a pennant race but not so good any other time of year.

But talent isn't the only need the Mets have. A new teacher is a necessity.

Dan Warthen has to go. Warthen's tenure started smoothly when he briefly "fixed" Oliver Perez after Rick Peterson's zen philosophy had Ollie P in fits, but since then Warthen has done little to warrant him sticking around. Pelfrey's utter decline does not bode well for Mr. Warthen. Before Maine got hurt, his performance was also on the decline.

I'm sure Warthen is a nice guy, but with so many question marks in the starting rotation and a number of younger arms that could potentially get a lot of starts next year (i.e. Niese, Nieve, etc.) a solid, proven pitching coach is exactly what the Mets need.

Enter Dave Duncan.

Duncan is known for working extremely well with young arms and being able to mold pitchers into solid, reliable arms. Any guy who can turn Adam Wainwright into a Cy Young candidate is worth a look. Duncan's contract with the Cards expires in the offseason and he should be the #1 target for the Mets.

Solid pitching never goes out of style. I don't care what size the stadium is or how many power bats you sign through free agency, starting pitching makes or breaks a ballclub. The Mets have succeeded when they had starting pitching and I truly believe Duncan is a guy that can help develop the young arms and instruct the weaker ones that need tweaking.

After signing Duncan, the Mets have to make a play for Roy Halladay. The Santana/Halladay tandem would be unbelievable and would almost guarantee the Mets to have a fighting chance in almost 40% of their games.

Halladay will not come cheap, but I am convinced he's worth every penny. A lot of people whine about the Mets having to give up all their prospects for him, but look at how that worked out with Santana. Other than Carlos Gomez can you even remember what other prospects were involved?

Jon Lackey will be a name that's tossed around but when it comes down to it Lackey isn't on the same plain as Halladay, and if Halladay is available via a trade the Mets absolutely should make every effort to get him.

Those two moves, Duncan & Halladay, would be a fantastic starting point for the Mets. With Santana and Halladay as your top 2 starters, the Mets would then be able to explore having an all out battle royal for the final 3 spots between Perez, Maine, Pelfrey, Niese, Figueroa, Nieve and others. I wouldn't mind the Mets pursuing another reliable arm as a #5 starter, someone like Randy Wolf, but I'd be pleased if the Mets only get Duncan and Halladay and move on from there.

But if the Mets start spring training with Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez as their top starters after Johan Santana, I'm afraid come September 2010 we'll be in much the same situation as we find ourselves today.

Mets Hazing the Rookies

Since everyone is laughing at the Mets this year, the Mets thought they'd take matters into their own hands and start laughing at themselves.

The Mets instituted some good ol' fashion hazing on the newbies of the ball club, requiring them to dress up like it's Halloween. Omir Santos looks much slimmer as Robin than he does in his uniform. Might be a look he wants to stick with.

You can see photos of the ridiculous outfits worn by Santos, Parnell, Takahashi, Murphy, Thole and others over at the Daily News.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mike Pelfrey: Talent Rich, Mentally Poor

I'm not saying Mike Pelfrey is stupid, but when the going gets tough Mike Pelfrey becomes a mental midget.

If you look at Pelfrey and just watch him pitch in warm ups, he looks like a major league pitcher. I'm sure the Mets scouts saw it as well. Throws in the mid-90's. Has a good sinker. Produces ground balls.

But the problem with the Mets scouting system is that they fail to look at mental toughness as being an essential part of a New York ballplayer. In no other market is that trait more important than in New York where the media is ready to love you one minute and pound you the next.

Mike Pelfrey may have been the shining star of the Mets pitching prospects, but no one bothered to find out if the kid could handle pressure. It's too late now, but we know he can't.

In seemingly every outing, Pelfrey pitches well up to a certain point and then crumbles when he gets into trouble. It could be 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter, but if that guy gets a base hit watch the world come crashing down on Big Mike Pelf.

We now have not just one, but two head cases in the starting rotation. The other one's name start with a "P" and ends with an "erez." I'm not sure Pelfrey's problems are fixable. His mechanics are solid. The velocity on his pitches are there. But Pelfrey needs a shrink more than anything else.

How much more time are you willing to give Pelfrey? Sure he's young, but the Mets have wasted many a season in the mid-90's waiting for young pitchers to develop into the stars they thought they would be.

As we mercifully limp into the off season, the Mets should consider mental fortitude just as valuable a commodity as a good fastball. This team has too many weak minds as it is.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jeff Francoeur is Mr. Met

Everyone is talking about that kid from Atlanta. Turns out it's for good reason.

Jeff Francoeur may be the lone bright spot of this lost season, but it's not this season that has me excited about the man with a rocket arm.

Francoeur is a heaven sent gift. The Mets haven't had a reliable arm in right since...think about it...since Strawberry? Oh wait, I forgot about Richard Hidalgo...right. Francoeur won't be the power bat and potential MVP candidate that Straw was but he's the first legitimate right fielder the Mets have had in what seems like the better part of two decades.

Defense is a weakness for this ballclub and Frenchie sures up the outfield providing a stellar tandem with him in right and Beltran in center.

But don't get me wrong, Francoeur is more than just a glove and an arm. The gauty numbers of his rookie campaign may have you questioning Francoeur's ability at the plate, but everything that I've seen makes me believe he's exactly the right fit for this team.

Frenchie is batting .314 since joining the Mets while also driving in 34 runs and scoring another 30. He's gritty. He's hard-nosed. He's intense. And he's not camera shy. Could New York get a better combination in an athlete?

Francoeur will not be the power bat the Mets desperately need. He's not an offensive leader that you will rely on, but he's exactly the type of player the Mets need to fill in their lineup. He'll most likely bat 6th next season, and don't be surprised if the Mets lock him up for a few extra years before the calendar changes.

Sure he swings at bad pitches still and strikes out a lot, but Francoeur may go down in history as the only win the Mets can get in Atlanta.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two Missed Moves Will Haunt Mets

Hindsight is always 20/20. I realize that. But there are two missed moves that are glaring in the face of every Mets fan and will trouble our minds not just this year, but in the seasons to follow.

The names are familiar: Adam Dunn & Derek Lowe. These two players while not perennial All Stars are the pieces the Mets needed, but opted for other options. I'm not saying that having these guys would have changed the outcome of this season. Injuries played too large a role to salvage any part of 2009. But the mismanagement of not getting these guys will impact the moves that need to be made in this coming off season.

Instead of signing Derek Lowe, the Mets opted for the unlovable, inconsistent head case that is Oliver Perez. The reason being that Perez is much younger than Lowe. So instead of a solid, proven veteran who is a legitimate #2 starter behind Johan Santana, the Mets are now saddled to the $140 million mental patient.

Injuries and his psyche, now make you question whether Perez can be a reliable starter, let alone considered a #2 starter. And one year later the Mets will enter the winter months looking for more starting pitching. They'll be forced to spend even more money potentially on a Jon Lackey or force a trade for a guy like Roy Halladay or Roy Oswalt.

Not that any of those options aren't better than signing Lowe, but there's a chance the Mets might not even have the money or the pieces to get any of these guys. And the Mets will now have spent $140 million on a risky #4 starter and spend another $100 million on a #2. That's just poor money management.

Which brings me to Adam Dunn. The most glaring omission from the Mets lineup is a power bat. We expected to get that from Delgado, Beltran and Wright, but of course injuries and the curious case of David Wright have impacted that situation. But in the cavernous Citi Field, any baseball mind knows that you need a power guy who can just plain mash, which is what Adam Dunn does year in and year out. He's got 40 dingers and can potentially reach 100 RBI this year for the dismal Nats.

The Mets needed a left fielder, but they rolled the dice by going with a selection of tier 2 options that included Murphy, Tatis, eventually Sheffield, Sullivan, Evans and Reed. If the Mets had signed Dunn they would have had an extra power bat and a solid backup to Delgado at first base. Of course Dunn is a liability with the glove, but you can say that about pretty much every Mets player these days. When Delgado went down, Dunn could have slid over to first base or Murphy could have moved from bench player to first baseman rather than dancing around that option for a few months.

But the bigger impact of not signing Dunn is in this off season. Now the Mets will seriously consider signing Delgado for one year even though he hasn't stepped on a playing field for almost an entire season. They may get him cheap, but he's yet again a one year fix and the Mets will shop for a replacement again the following year.

If they don't sign Delgado, the first base free agent crop is cast of B-list players which don't quite fit the bill of what the Mets need. So the Mets may be forced to trade for a player or try and salvage a season with a roll call of backups or making Murphy fit into their first base plans for the future.

Instead the Mets could have had Dunn as their first baseman for the next two seasons and be in a position to sign Adrien Gonzalez or Justin Morneau when they are free agents and Dunn would come off the books.

There is little to be happy about this season when it comes to the Mets. But I hope the torture of this season and the missed moves of the last off season will cause the front office to think, not short term, but long term about the impact their moves have on this team for years to come.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mangled Mets Baseball Cards

The fellas over at More Hardball have put their twisted talents to the test and developed a set of "Mangled Mets" baseball cards.

Warning, the cards are not for the squeamish, but I have to say the effort put into this is A+. My personal favorite is Jonathan Niese's card.

In any case, check it out at More Hardball.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are You Still Watching the Mets?

Unfortunately I am. I'm a baseball junkie and there's just something about the Mets playing that I can't turn away from.

It's torturous. It's appalling. It's downright painful. But yet I watch.

Hence the name of this blog is Mets Lifer. It's both a badge and a sentence. Through suffering and joy, I'm there watching. Now I will admit that I do turn away from the game from time to time, but I'm still checking the score on my iTouch or Blackberry.

It's a serious addiction, I know. But the needle is in and I'm still wanting more.

That's potentially why I think this is the most painful season yet for the Mets. There was hope for good things to happen, but something inexplicable and unforeseeable has taken that chance away. Even with the collapses the past two years, there were meaningful games in September. There was baseball fever. A pennant race in Queens.

It was starting to become something I expected, but now question marks and disappointments are all on the horizon.

Thankfully football is here, both college & pro, to help feed my sports fix, but the absences of pennant race baseball is a void that cannot be filled.

And so I watch this lackluster lineup and pitiful pitching looking for some nugget of excitement or interest to give me hope for the future. Those moments are few and far between, but it doesn't take much when you're a Mets Lifer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Return of Pedro

Pedro Martinez was masterful last night. He threw a ridiculous 130+ pitches and had movement on his changeup and fastball that you haven't seen since 2004.

I do think the home plate umpire had a strike zone the size of Minnesota, but even still Pedro was hitting his spots and making the Mets lineup look foolish.

I didn't want the Mets to sign Pedro. I thought he was done. Man was I wrong. In hindsight, the Mets could have signed him to an incentive laden contract that would have been right around the same dollars we paid Tim Redding.

Now the real question is whether Pedro can pitch like this for 6 months or has he become more of a Roger Clemens, second half of the season type of starter. I think the latter is the case, but it was painful to see his masterful stuff against the Mets while being in a Phillies uniform.

If Pedro wins a ring with the Phillies, it will just be more salt in the wounds of Mets fans. I'm buying stock in Morton Salt right now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

David Wright: Your Home Run King

The power drought has gone on too long, but for one day David Wright found enough juice to make Mets fans forget about the plight of the 2009 season.

David Wright hit...wait for it...2 home runs in one game. Yes folks, David Wright is now tied for the team lead in dingers at 10 thanks to his multi home run effort on Saturday.

But it's not the home run totals that make this such a great story, it's when they came. Wright's bombs came in the 7th when the Mets were down 5 and then the game winning shot came with 2 outs in the top of the 9th. While Brad Lidge was somewhere in Citizens Bank Park in the fetal position, Ryan Madsen was showing just how much he can be like Lidge giving up the game winning blast.

About a month ago, I remarked that Daniel Murphy's walk off double was one of the games to remember for 2009 as it would be the last highlight Mets fans would see for the rest of the season. September 12th has taken its place as it came in such dramatic fashion against a bitter opponent.

Despite all the jubilation of the Mets being able to score 10 runs in the last 3 innings, Mike Pelfrey continues to be pitiful. But today's game is not a time to dwell on the despair that has been the 2009 Mets. For one day, Mets fans could see the David Wright that they have missed and look forward to some hope in 2010 and of course NFL football tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mets Lifer: Buy or Sell

As the season comes mercifully to a close, Bryan and I take a look at some of the issues the Mets will face when October 4th comes around in a little Mets Lifer: Buy or Sell.

Buy or Sell: The Mets will get Adrien Gonzalez this off season.
Bryan: Sell. While I would love him on the Mets, this is a pipe dream. Gonzalez is one of the best first basemen in the sport and he is dirt cheap right now. Mets do not have anything to offer to get him. I pray he becomes a free agent after 2011 but I suspect the Red Sox will land him in a trade.

Dave: Sell. I would trade the farm system for Gonzalez but I doubt the Mets will. Instead I hope they realize how important starting pitching is and instead go after a Doc Halladay or Felix Hernandez to support Johan Santana.

Buy or Sell: Angel Pagan is your starting left fielder in 2010.
Bryan: Sell. While a good hitter, and fielder, he makes way too many mental errors. I see him as a solid 4th outfielder. The Mets have to give F Mart a chance to play every day, assuming he’s healthy.

Dave: Buy. Pagan is like a college basketball freshman. Great talent, but inexperienced so he lacks the in-game intelligence. Pagan hasn’t played a full season in the bigs, ever. So these mental lapses are all part of the growth process to turn into an everyday player. The guy can hit. He’s got a solid glove and he can run like the wind. Those are three things that are a perfect match for Citi Field. Give him a shot to start and use Sullivan as your #4. Besides, hopefully FMart will be traded in a deal for Halladay or King Felix.

Buy or Sell: The Mets need to adjust the Citi Field dimensions.
Bryan: A BIG BUY here. Listen, I hate band box parks like the one in Philly, or the Bronx for that matter, but take one look at David Wright’s putrid numbers this year, and you’d have to be a fool not to consider moving the fences in, especially in right. I’ve said this before, but David Wright is the most glaring concern I have with this club going into 2010. He looks nothing like the hitter he used to be and that scares the heck out of me because if he no longer produces like he’s supposed to, the Mets and their fan base will suffer greatly. I’m shocked that more people aren’t as concerned about his decline. 8 HRs…EIGHT! He needs to seek out Jeff Kent to learn how to lay off the slider, b/c he reminds me of Kent when he was on the Mets. Slider down and away, and Kent was toast. Same thing now with Wright. If he’s not half-swinging at it, it’s totally in his head and he gets beat on the fast ball. Now somewhere along the way, Kent figured it out and we all know what happened to his career post Mets. Wright desperately needs to find the remedy. And bringing in that right field fence is a good start.

Dave: Sell, with an exception. I was as much a proponent of adjusting the dimensions as Bryan a month or so ago. But since then I’ve seen Derek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Dan Uggla, Brad Hawpe and others have zero issue with putting the ball over the fence. It seems like the only team struggling to hit home runs at Citi is the Mets. The power drought is an issue with the player not the field. However, the right field fence is just stupid. The Mo Zone fence should be moved up so it's even with “Utley’s Porch.” That has less to do with hitting home runs and more with creating a better playing field for the outfielders. Plus it serves no purpose being back that far other than to just be annoying. Kinda like that stupid hill in center field in Houston.

Buy or Sell: Mets fans will root for the Yankees in the playoffs.
Bryan: Sell. No true Mets fan will root for the Yanks in the playoffs, unless of course, they meet Philly in the World Series. Then I want the Yanks to win. It’s the lesser of two evils for me.

Dave: Sell. I’m with Bryan. Word for word.

Remembering 9/11 Again

The following is a post I wrote about a year ago after reading a post by Brad Bortone at Bugs and Cranks. I was pleased this morning to see that Brad has reposted that same article he wrote on this 8th anniversary of that horrific day that is now known as 9/11. I hope you find this post an honorable reflection of that day.

I was going to write a post on how still 8 years later I remember the impact that baseball, and specifically the New York Mets, had after the attacks of September 11th, but Brad over at Bugs & Cranks has done the work for me.

I remember reading this write up last year at about this time and even as I read it again today I think it's one of the best commentaries on that emotional game the Mets played on September 21, 2001.

Brad's closing statement sums it up the best when he writes, "September 11 was all too real. I finally realized this. But for the first time in two weeks, I also realized that it was okay to smile. It was okay to cheer. It was perfectly okay to start living again."

It's definitely worth a read, and even if you've read it before, you should read it again and never forget those feelings we all experienced just 7 (now 8) years ago.

Click here to read the full article on Bugs & Cranks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm Done With Daniel Murphy

I've now learned never trust a guy who performs well in September.

Daniel Murphy burst onto the scene last year with little fanfare, but made an immediate impact in the Mets lineup. He was patient at the plate. He was hitting to all fields. He had a sound mind at the plate.

That player does not exist anymore as Daniel Murphy has struggled this season. Sure he's been forced to play two positions which are both out of his natural comfort zone. Sure he's missing the protection in the lineup that he had last year because of all the injuries. Sure he's hitting the ball well of late. But for me he's just not cutting it.

We had visions of grandeur that he was going to be the next Pete Rose, but that was just a ridiculous assessment by most Mets fans. To me he's not an everyday player in the Big Apple. In Cincinnati or Kansas City or Pittsburgh? Sure, he's an asset to the lineup, but for what this Mets team needs, Murphy is not the answer.

The Mets need a big bat at first base. That's not Murphy. So if he's not playing first base, where does he play? Do you really want to stick him back in left field? I think that's too much of a risk.

Murphy is in the unfortunate position of being a man without a position. If the Mets didn't have Wright or Castillo, you might get away with putting him at second base to fill a need, but even that seems like a stretch.

I like the kid. I like his hustle and his glove is surprisingly decent at first base. But I'd rather replace him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Return of the Mole

Superman got his powers from Earth's yellow sun, and it appears the Mets power can only be seen when it's in the vicinity of Carlos Beltran's mole. Carlos Beltran will be bringing his mole back to Queens and potentially be seen in tonight's lineup adding a much missed power bat in the middle of the order.

I've said it before, but because I lack original thoughts from time to time I must say it again: the Mets have missed Carlos Beltran more than any other injured every day player. He's a guy that talk radio callers like to complain about but it's undeniable that Beltran brings a stability to the Mets lineup and defense.

Beltran, with his enormous contract, may be one of the most under appreciated players in baseball. He's a doubles machine. He's smart on the base paths. Plays the best center field since Andruw Jones put on 200 pounds. But Mets fans are ready to trade him or hang him at a moments notice.

I don't expect Beltran to look like the Beltran of old right away. I expect he'll struggle for a few weeks and then turn things on at the very end of the season. But it'll be nice to see someone other than Daniel Murphy batting cleanup and give David Wright some backup both on the field and in the order.

For the guy who's never "100%" it was a welcome surprise to see him declare that he's back to full health and eager to play.

Friday, September 4, 2009


This is legendary. Jason Fry of Faith and Fear in Flushing created this unbelievable mock Monopoly board for the Wall Street Journal that depicts the mess that is the Mets season.

It is appropriately named Metssloppily.

Unbeliveable job on this. Jason, your mom must be proud.

Click here to see the interactive piece.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Memories of Past Mets Are Becoming Present

The more I watch the 2009 Mets, the more I am reminded of past failures from my beloved team. I experience a bit of deja vu during every game and find myself being sent back to such glorious teams at the '93 or '03 Mets teams.

Why are the Mets so destined to relive their past mistakes and seem to attract the same type of talent they have in years before? It's creepy. Don't know what I mean? Take a look at past Mets who are now reincarnated on the current Mets roster:

Daniel Murphy is Ty Wiggington
Scrappy, hard nosed player who came up with some sparks in his bat only to find out that when he plays full time he's more like a .250 hitter without the pop that you hoped he'd have. Also you're not quite sure what position he should play because he's not exactly dominant at any of them. Are we talking about Daniel Murphy or Ty Wiggington?

Mike Pelfrey is Oliver Perez
A neurotic pitcher who can throw hard, but can't find the strike zone which forces him to implode in at least one inning every game. One innings worth of mistakes is enough to sink the Mets chance for victory. But then in another 4 starts, this pitcher shows up and just dominates the opposing lineup making you forget just what an unreliable nut job he really is. Sure they're both on the current roster, but Mike Pelfrey is becoming the Oliver Perez the Pirates traded and that Mets fans have experienced for the last two years.

Brian Schneider is Charlie O'Brien
I've detailed this ad naseum in a previous post which you can read here.

Anderson Hernandez is Rey Ordonez
A gifted fielder who can't hit to save his life. Sure he'll surprise you with a 3 for 4 outing once a month, but in every subsequent at bat it appears he hits a ground ball to the second baseman. Now Ordonez was more talented with his glove than Hernandez, but they're basically the same player.

Gary Sheffield is Mo Vaughn
A career All Star who's on his last legs comes to Queens and only tries to hit home runs. He can't play the field because moving laterally is like giving birth so he's relinquished to serving as a pinch hitter who can't hit unless he gets lucky on a fastball. Sheffield is obviously in better shape than Mo ever was, but still. Is he really that different?

Bobby Parnell is Bill Pulsipher
Young pitcher with great arm becomes "untouchable" before he even finishes a complete season, but turns out he's not the starting pitching talent that you had envisioned. A few down on his luck starts and he has now lost all confidence in himself as well as the fan base. Parnell obviously started in the bullpen, where Pulsipher was always a starter, but I fear that Parnell will meet the same fate as Pulsipher.

Tim Redding is Bobby Jones
Mediocre pitcher is forced into #1 starter because of injuries and just sheer lack of a better option. Grows goatee, pitches well for a few months, and then slowly fades away. Redding is pitching well of late, but let's pray the Mets aren't desperate enough to offer him an extension.

Other notable similarities include:
Angel Pagan is Derek Bell; Johan Santana is Mike Hampton; David Wright is Mike Piazza; Nick Evans is Jeff Keppinger; Carlos Delgado is Bobby Bonilla

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcoming Back David Wright

In a season where practically every Mets player has missed games due to injury, I personally have missed David Wright the most. I think the circumstances regarding his trip to the DL makes him a more compelling story, but I believe it has as much to do with the fact that David Wright is the leader of this team. And no team feels complete without their leader.

Questions have been made in seasons past about Wright's leadership skills and whether he is outspoken enough to be the leader of a New York team. The media likes to harp on the outward display of leadership skills, but anyone worth their salt knows that leadership is less about what you do when everyone's watching and more about how you act when no one is.

Wright has become the last man standing for the Mets during this pitiful trip to the depths of the NL East, but through it all Wright has been there answering questions, handling the media, and showing up to play every night with the same intensity as he did that first week in April.

While other players have been criticized for their lackadaisical play at times, including All Stars like Reyes and Beltran, have you ever found yourself saying that about Mr. Wright? Have you ever seen Wright take a play off or be less intense about striking out with runners on when the Mets are down by 6 runs or up by 1?

This year is the year Wright officially became a veteran. He had no say in the matter. He's been forced into the role of team spokesperson, on-field leader and big bat in the lineup without asking for it. But somehow I think he welcomes being tested. He's not one to back down.

While the Mets will plunge farther in the standings, I find hope in David Wright and that the trials he has experienced this year will pay dividends in future seasons because of his experiences in 2009.

Welcome back David Wright. Even with his dorky new helmet.