Random Concerns

There are obvious problems for the Mets right now, such as David Wright and Oliver Perez. But some others are less hyped, yet just as concerning. For example ….

The Mets lost yesterday despite having their ace pitch brilliantly and despite the fact that the Marlins’ best two hitters (Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla) were out of lineup. If they can’t beat the Fish under those circumstances, then how CAN they beat them?

Besides wasting a stellar effort by Johan Santana yesterday, the Mets have more or less wasted a vicious hot streak by Carlos Beltran, who hit .395 for the month of April. Those types of streaks come along only once or twice a season, and my eyes tell me that Carlos is emerging from his unconsciousness. The numbers support it as well — though he has a 6-game hitting streak, Beltran is hitting only .266 over that span.

The revamped bullpen, despite leading the NL in ERA, has a 1-5 record. Five members are on pace to appear in 80 or more games. Pedro Feliciano is on pace to appear in 92.

Frankie Rodriguez is on pace to collect less than half as many saves as last year’s record-breaking 62.

The Mets have yet to win the third game of a three-game series (oh-fer-seven).

The Phillies have a winning record, are in second place, and are 1.5 games out of first — despite injuries to Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, and Carlos Ruiz, and despite Jimmy Rollins’ .207 batting average for the month of April (he was below .200 until yesterday). They’re also winning despite carrying Miguel Cairo on the roster and using Chan Ho Park as their fifth starter.

The Braves are ahead of the Mets as well, despite losing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Jorge Campillo, Tom Glavine, and Garret Anderson for various stretches in April.

Considering the above, what happens when the Phillies and Braves get healthy? What if Carlos Delgado and/or Luis Castillo hit the DL for an extended stint? I fear the worst for the Mets is yet to come.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude April 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm
    Perhaps predicting a .500 season was being too gracious…
  2. David W. April 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm
    I’d add to the list that the two starting corner outfielders are on pace for about 120 rbis–combined.

    On the other hand, it is possible that Maine and Pelfrey will improve, and that will take some pressure off the bullpen. And Tim Redding might be available soon to help out.

    I think you are a tad pessimistic. Sure, Ramirez and Uggla were absent on Wednesday, but so were Castillo and Delgado. And Wright is slumping along with Rollins, so that might be a wash. I can still see the Mets winning 86 – 88, leaving them competitive to the end but probably falling short.

  3. nwaldrop April 30, 2009 at 10:08 pm
    Who was in left last year? I don’t remember. Endy Chavez and Marlon Anderson? While Endy was a great defender I don’t remember him burning it up at the plate. If no one has faith in Daniel Murphy then by all means put in a combination of Sheffield, Tatis and Reed and send Murphy down to AAA. Just run this team the same way it was run in 06-07 and the first half of 08 and forget about the great run from July 08 to Sep. 08. People keep saying they want a winning team this year but no one will acknowledge that changes need to be made to accomplish that. Does anyone have any suggestions that could be put in place this year to make this team a winner or is taking Daniel Murphy out and not allowing Delgado to pinch hit the way to a winning season? I wrote in a post the first of second game this year that I don’t trust Putz on the mound and I think his performance on the Mariners last year and at the All star game confirms this.
  4. joe May 1, 2009 at 12:54 am
    David – I am not a “tad” pessimistic … I am extremely pessimistic. You are kind, though, to label me as less than such.

    Ramirez is a little (lot) better than Castillo, and Uggla is comparable to (if not better than) Delgado, so the Fish are still on the short end of the stick.

    As for Pelfrey, I agree, and believe he will improve. Maine, though, I don’t think is going to be much better than what we saw last year. He is what he is, which is a slightly better than .500 pitcher in a good year, who will average just under 6 IP per start.

    I don’t think people lack faith in Murphy, rather, I think people see that he needs more work on improving his overall game. He’s hitting, but he’s not hitting enough to justify the poor fielding and subpar fundamentals. Many people think Manny Ramirez is a detriment in the field, but he’s better than Murphy out there and he’s ten times the hitter Murphy is.

    Your comment on Putz is not forgotten. I agree he’ll be somewhat of a disappointment. But, the expectations were set above the roof.

  5. isuzudude May 1, 2009 at 8:49 am
    nwaldrop quips: “Does anyone have any suggestions that could be put in place this year to make this team a winner…?”

    I’d say demoting Murphy and Perez to get them to work out their kinks would be a start, but no guarentee to improve the club. Early season trades are rare, so I won’t go that route. I think giving more ABs to Tatis and Reed would be nice, allowing starting pitchers to work longer into games would be good (when permissible), and resting the core players more often could pay dividends in the long run.

    But at the heart of the matter is that there really isn’t much the Mets can do NOW, from a transactional/personnel standpoint, to improve things. Demoting players, firing coaches, and benching starters could have positive or negative effects; it’s a crap shoot. The issue is the Mets should have done more BEFORE THE SEASON to make 2009 a success. I don’t know about the majority of fans, but I for one saw this slow start (and likely mediocre season) coming from a mile away. Not addressing the starting pitching, not adding another power bat in LF, not adding another LHP to the bullpen, not making smarter moves on non-roster invites/minor league contracts, and signing fringe players to guarenteed contracts (Cora, Redding) were huge mistakes this offseason that cannot be fixed anymore. It seemed as though Omar waved his magic wand and beefed up the bullpen – which I commend him for – but in the process got everyone else to look away from all the other flaws facing this team, which have reared their ugly heads over the first month of the season. Omar tried to patch the leaky dam by adding the likes of Sheffield, Villone, and Takahashi as the regular season approached, but it’s way too little too late. Unless the team finds a way to shed their ‘choke artist’ label that has followed them around since 2007, we’re doomed for yet another underachieving, unsatisfactory season.

  6. mic May 2, 2009 at 8:44 am
    As much as i loathe seeing us lose, i agree with (metstradamus) the 12 loses represent all NEW ways to lose. but at thais point I am hardly panicing, in fact i like that this team fits the Mets image…….luvable losers.

    The (ill-monickered) chokers will only help. Of the 12 loses, DW has featured prominently, but then Dw has already made it clear Apr is not his month. I disagree with Isuzu on cora and Redding. Cora is to this club what marlon anderson represented, a winner. redding is a non factor. He was more insurance than anything else. as it is IF he comes back he could be long-man, or 5th starter even flip flop with Livian.

    Something else too is happening: I like the 5 man OF rotation. tatis is not hurting his chances, sheffield is improving, and as i said earlier Murph could be suited to a platoon anyway…his pinch hitting heroics cant be going un-noticed. If not for injury I’d like to see more from Reed.

    Trades: I think there are some trade chips. I dont think niese is untouchable, nor murph, nor church. Castillo is OK, but O-dog could well have been the difference we are looking for…..but that non trade WREAKS of Wilpon, who probably mandated that the Mets buy low, nor eat salary. The rumored castillo for A-jones trade comes to mind here now that the DODGERS ate A-jones salary AND bought O-dog (and lost a draft pick)…..bought did not trade for Castillo, keep the pick and give Dewitt ABs.

    As it is I think a trade at mid-season could center around Maine and i still think Putz could be traded away too depending on how the BP does.

  7. isuzudude May 2, 2009 at 9:59 am
    Mic, it’s not as though I believe Cora and Redding don’t have any value. But I don’t see the justification in signing these two to $2-million+, guarenteed contracts when it didn’t seem like either were going to get anything more than the major league minimum by anybody else this offseason. Cora is a nice role player who bunts and fields well and has a good clubhouse presence, but those kind of players are a dime-a-dozen. Cora’s off to a good start but I still feel as though the time will come this season when he’ll be forced into action for a 2 week stretch and his lack of skills will become very apparent. Also, Redding is likely to spend this entire year either on the DL or fighting for the 5th starter’s spot. Why spend over $2-mil on him when Figueroa, Knight, Niese, and Livan can all do the same thing on minor league contracts? You, yourself, mention Redding is a non-facotr. Then why give him all that money and a permanent spot on the 40-man roster?

    To me, rather than pissing almost $5-mil away on Cora and Redding, the Mets could have spent that money on getting Wil Ohman as their 2nd LHP in the pen, and/or signing your personal favorite, Ben Sheets, as DL-fodder, stashing him away if/when he gets healthy and can contribute in August or September.

    Mentioning Orlando Hudson is moot at this point for two main reasons: 1) Castillo is off to just as hot a start, so the percieved upgrade we thought we needed at 2B is no longer necessary, and 2) I believe Omar tried to sell Castillo, but there were no takers. The Dodgers didn’t want Castillo’s contract in a trade for Andruw, and the D’backs preferred Byrnes over Castillo. Plus, I don’t know what you mean by “but that non trade WREAKS of Wilpon, who probably mandated that the Mets buy low, nor eat salary.” The Mets have already eaten the salaries of Sanchez and Anderson this season, and have bought low on Sheffield. DO you want to clarify?

    I agree the Mets have some trade chips (although be careful not to overvalue your own prospects), but I don’t see any trades happening until closer to mid-season when we all have a better idea about how the division is shaping up. If the Mets are still around .500 in late June, but are only 5 games out of the NL East lead, they could very well be buyers at the deadline. I doubt Maine will be moved, as other teams will be reluctant to trade for a guy with his injury history (and the Mets will be reluctant to trade a guy with his potential and small contract), but I could see Putz, as well as Delgado, Church, and Castro on the block if things continue to sour.

  8. joe May 2, 2009 at 10:42 am
    Alex Cora is an older, expensive version of Argenis Reyes. Remember how Argenis “seemed to be in the middle of everything” for about two weeks? After 50 games he had a .218 BA and .259 OBP.

    Cora looks good right now, but in his dozen years in MLB has hit .245 with a .313 OBP. I’m not seeing a tremendous improvement over that from a 33-year-old (unless he’s on PEDs). So enjoy the bandwagon now, but brace yourself for when it tips over.

    That $5M could have been put toward Bobby Abreu also.

  9. mic May 2, 2009 at 11:01 am
    clarification: I dont think Marlons sub $1M contract nor Even reddings $1.8M contract is a factor in any personnel decision. however I dont think eating the 24M owed to Castillo was ever an option. My point is to dump it, Omar had to take on a bad contract in return….by order of wilpon.