Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Well, I can't very well be the only Met fan not to do a postmortem, can I?

To put matters in perspective, the Mets did win 88 games and missed the playoffs by only one game. So it's not as if they're the Pirates. On the other hand, they have been a sub-.500 team since the beginning of June and were trampled by the Phillies in the stretch and completely lost their fighting spirit in the last two weeks. So something here bears explanation.

As far as hitting goes, there are really only three issues. First, Delgado is way over the hill. He killed dozens of rallies by striking out with runners in scoring position. He was by far the main problem in the lineup. Second, Reyes flipped some time around the all-star break. His base-running was out of control (for the record, his stolen bases earned the team no runs when balanced against the number of times he was caught stealing), he made idiotic mistakes in the field, he failed to run out ground balls on numerous occasions and he spent all of September flailing at high pitches and popping up. There is something wrong with that kid. Drugs? Third, Loduca is washed up.

The rest of the lineup is fine. In the outfield, Beltran is solid, Green can still hit righties and Milledge can hit lefties (even if he's a jerk), so a platoon makes sense until Milledge learns to hit righties. Alou will be hitting .300 until he's 120 and Carlos Gomez is waiting in the wings. In the infield, Wright is a star, Reyes isn't going anywhere, and Gotay is good enough if they don't resign Castillo, though he ought to give up hitting from the right side.

Pitching is another matter. Pedro will be back and serviceable, Maine was fine until he ran out of gas and that last start showed us something about his potential. Oliver Perez is great, provided he can prevent his evil twin from showing up every third start. Glavine was planted in New York by the Braves and should never be seen in town again. Pelfrey and Humber are the key to the Mets future, which is why Minaya will likely trade at least one of them. Which brings us to the bullpen. I like Feliciano. Wagner is unhittable except in the key games, when he implodes. The rest of the bullpen was traded to San Diego (Bell and Ring) and Florida (Lindstrom and Owens) in exchange for ... what exactly? Probably on the advice of Rick Peterson, the guy who was going to fix Victor Zambrano in ten minutes. (For the record, some guy named Scott Kazmir, who was never going to amount to much led the major leagues with 239 strikeouts.)

I've learned not to second-guess Minaya since he picked up Duaner Sanchez for Jae Seo, got Maine as a throw-in in the Kris Benson deal and got Perez as a throw-in in the Xavier Nady trade. But the fact is he's become the Isaiah Thomas of baseball, mortgaging the farm system for nothing in particular. The Mets need to dump Delgado and Glavine immediately, even though it means eating the last year on each contract, and give the young guys a chance, something Randolph is not very good at. (On the whole, though, there is no reason to fire Randolph. Managers just don't matter.) Who'll play first base and catcher? Florida has some promising young guys named Jacobs and Flores the Mets might want to look at....

5 Comments:

Blogger MoChassid said...

Ben

I am reminded of Dwight Gooden in 1988. He had been absolutely unhittable for a year and a half when, suddenly, everything changed. It was, indeed, drugs.

Your comment about Reyes is something I've been thinking about as well. It is the only part of the Mets' story that is not rational. Why would a great player who was thriving in every phase of the game (including baserunning, where he was a net positive early on) completely self destruct.

It's a very good question.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous monsey tyro said...

Dittoes to your thoughts on Reyes. A sobering lesson through all of this is that the Mets ONLY win consistently when Reyes is on his game, with every AB a chance at excitement and adventure, and we are never too far behind if he still has some AB's left. His teammates saw in the last 3 months that his magic was gone, and they threw in the towel. However much they may beef up the pitching, if JR does't rediscover himself, this team will not win.


Hey,this sure beats trying to get in a word to mike and mad dog

8:05 PM  
Blogger Rafi G said...

what do you have to say about the latest news report: 15:01 Olmert: Govrenment will submit constitution proposal to Knesset (Haaretz) ??

4:10 PM  
Anonymous psacman said...

Excellent post. A couple of points -
1) Peterson, as you pointed out, is the last man standing who was involved in the Kazmir fiasco. And given that the pitching was the main problem down the stretch - maybe we should be giving someone like Bob Ojeda a look as pitching coach.
2) Re Jose Reyes - Am I the only one who noticed that his slide coincided with the hiring (whose idea was this??) of Ricky Henderson as a coach? Maybe his problem was less drugs and more card games.
3) As you pointed out, Minaya traded last year's stellar bullpen for a bunch of has-beens and never-will-be's. Add to that his refusal to move Aaron Sele - despite Randolph's obvious reluctance to EVER use the guy - and his hiring and firing of coaches around Willie without respecting his input (see Ricky, above) - and yes, I think Minaya is no longer bullet-proof. It's time to stop treating this guy like he can do no wrong.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

psacman,

I agree with all your points. The Henderson observation is a very good one. I hadn't thought of that.

5:54 PM  

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