Questions for Willie

Though the Mets beat the Dodgers on Friday, there are still some questions for Willie Randolph.

  1. Why was there a double steal attempt in the first inning, with Ruben Gotay as the lead runner, one out, and Moises Alou at the plate? Was Willie working against Alou’s penchant for grounding into double plays this year? Did Gotay go on his own (not likely)? I’m loving the Mets’ recent style of running wild on the bases, but there has to be some intelligence. Penny is a guy who gets the ball to the plate in 1.3-1.5 seconds, Russell Martin is a catcher with a gun, and Gotay has decent speed, but not great speed. Personally, the only guy I send in that situation is Reyes, or possibly Beltran.
  2. Why, in the fourth inning with none out and men on first and second, does #8 batter Mike DiFelice sacrifice, setting up the runners for Oliver Perez? Especially with DiFelice swinging a pretty decent bat lately. Further, Penny was was struggling with the strike zone, having walked both Carlos Delgado and Lastings Milledge. Let Penny struggle and beat himself, don’t give him outs. That one was a real head-scratcher.
  3. Against Cy Young candidate Brad Penny, why isn’t Shawn Green in the lineup? Green has a career .419 average against Penny. .419! The rest of MLB is batting around .240 against him. If you want Milledge in the lineup to get exposure to tough righties, that’s fine — put Green at first and give Delgado a breather. A week ago Randolph insisted that Milledge did not win the RF job, and that Green would get worked into the lineup according to “matchups”. I guess by “matchups” he wasn’t talking about putting Green up against pitchers he owns.

Secret to Ollie’s Success

Why did Oliver Perez lose 3-5 MPH of velocity, and his command, for a few starts, then suddenly regain it last night against LA? Some might suggest he was having a “dead arm” period. I have a better explanation. After taking another look at his previous starts and comparing them to his start against the Dodgers on Friday night, there was one glaring difference in his mechanics: his head. When Ollie struggles, his head is all over the place, and his body out of control, after he releases the ball; sometimes, he’s looking at David Wright immediately after releasing the ball. On Friday night, however, after nearly every pitch, Ollie’s eyes and head were fixated on the catcher’s target — throughout his follow-through. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that The Jacket found something in Ollie’s mechanics, had Perez focus on it, and as a result had his good command and velocity back. This is good news — Rick Peterson may have found the key to unlock his greatness.

Endy’s In — Who Goes?

Endy Chavez is reportedly returning to the Mets’ roster any day. I’m hoping it’s due to some kind of rule pertaining to the disabled list, because it would make a heckuva lot more sense to wait until September 1. First of all, the Mets aren’t desperate for his services — Milledge is entrenched as a starter, and Marlon Anderson has filled in heroically in the fourth outfielder spot. Plus, there’s still Shawn Green hanging around. If Chavez is added to the 25-man, who gets dropped? Milledge has options, but you can’t demote him the way he’s been playing. Has Green’s lack of playing time been a precursor to an outright release? The only other person I can see as a candidate for removal is Aaron Sele.

Personally, I’m hoping it’s Sele that goes, because if it’s not then it’s likely to be Green — who can be very helpful off the bench down the stretch and in the postseason. Yes, he’s a shell of his former self, but he’s still hitting over .270, and has been remarkably successful against the best pitchers in the NL.

Time will tell.

Is Wickman an Option?

You may have already heard that the Braves have DFA’s their closer Bob Wickman. Strange, considering the chaos existing in their bullpen. However, he voiced some issues about being put into non-save situations, and Bobby Cox is intolerant of selfishness. With the Mets’ recent relief woes, of course the question is, should they get Wickman?

Yes, the guy is scary, but he’s like Inspector Clouseau — somehow, some way, he bumbles into saves seemingly by accident. Maybe he be similarly effective in a setup or middle relief role. Certainly he can’t be worse than what Guillermo Mota has shown lately.

However, there is little to no chance of the Mets obtaining Wickman. First of all, the Mets probably don’t see him as a better option than Mota — mostly because the organization is very high on Mota’s stuff, and thinks he can eventually “figure it out”. Secondly, why would the Mets bring in a guy into the clubhouse who is leaving his last club because of selfishness? If he wasn’t happy in non-save situations with the Braves, why would he be happy in a secondary role with the Mets? Finally, it’s doubtful the Mets and Braves would get together to make a trade — and more doubtful that Wickman will pass through the rest of the league before the Mets can claim him.

There is a possibility that Wickman will wind up in New York — but not with the Mets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wickman return to the Yankees, and Kyle Farnsworth return to Atlanta.

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. Micalpalyn August 25, 2007 at 10:56 am
    Atlanta took (back) Franco. Then options him to class A…OUCH!

    Wickman IS an option. But he has to want the ring not personal glory. He WILL gave save oppurtunities no doubt.

    Also note: wickman the closer got the job do to successive failures of Dan Kolb, joe devine and others. I agree he was being squeezed by cox…. but he gots the job done there when other could not.

    that brings me to the next point ATl is rebuilding and doing it well.

  2. fafhrd316 August 25, 2007 at 11:06 am
    I agree with #1 and #2, although I really can’t fault Willie for trying there. Early in games take chances, that’s fine by me. And Ollie CAN hit, and probably with more power than DiFelice. But in any event it’s definitely unorthodox wonky strategy by Willie. I want to agree with you for #3 as well but we just don’t know if Green was quietly day to day or whatnot (especially after the rainy days at Shea the past week).

    As for Ollie he was pitching through some lingering back issues that kept him out of a few starts. I agree that it’s probably both mechanics AND his head, but most of it comes from the back stiffness. It’s good to see him battle it out in his past two outings, though. He’ll be ok.

    And Wickman should be an option, if only because I think that Mel Rojas is at least a warmer body than Mota at this point. The Mets could do worse than Wickman- selfishness and all- for a grand total of 2.5 months.

  3. sincekindergarten August 25, 2007 at 11:28 am
    Actually, I could see Wickman going to the Bronx, and Kyle Farnsworth going south to Atlanta, but the Braves would want the Mets to pick up all of Farnsworth’s contract (not much, I agree) to trade. Hey–that’s what they wanted to do before the trade deadline, why change now? (PS–that stipulation by the Braves killed the deal.)
  4. sincekindergarten August 25, 2007 at 11:29 am
    Whoops! Meant Yankees in the third line–not the Mets. Omar wouldn’t touch this with a five-foot pole.
  5. joe August 25, 2007 at 12:15 pm
    Hey, speaking of Mel Rojas, maybe he’ll come back! After all, his cousin Moises Alou is on the team and would make him feel welcome. Rojas had a great splitter!

    NOT !

    I think I’d rather see if Ambiorix Burgos can be helpful — assuming he is healthy — rather than go the Wickman route. Or as Micalpalyn has been clamoring, give Humber a shot. Though the glaring quiet this year from the Mets organization regarding Humber makes me think they are purposely keeping a low-key attitude towards him, letting him get healthy and develop without any pressure whatsoever. The last thing they want is Humber getting overexcited about being in MLB and pulling a Tim Leary — overthrowing and perhaps reinjuring the elbow.

    If that’s indeed the case, why hasn’t Pelfrey been moved to a relief role in AAA yet? The sooner they can get him accustomed to pitching 2-3 times per week, the better. There’s no way he helps this team as a starter in September — but he might be able to help in the bullpen as late as October.

  6. hotfoot August 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm
    Actually I think Gotay did go on his own. It appeared Willie was not happy with Gotay when he returned to the dugout. If you read his lips he says “What were you doing?”
  7. joe August 25, 2007 at 12:36 pm
    In that case I transfer my question to Mr. Gotay — just what the heck were you doing, Ruben???!!!!

    Shame if that was the case. All the kid does is hit when he gets the chance, but seems to always mix in a negative to keep Willie doubting.

  8. Micalpalyn August 25, 2007 at 1:21 pm
    One of high points has been Ollie; One of my preseason prognistications was that Ollie would return to his Pitt season bests. looks like he has done that and possibly has a 14-15 win season in him. Not only that but as I was ‘blogging ‘ earlier I think Ollie projects nicely as a #2 (even ace), and has made us not regret B. Zito. To think b4 the sason many just hoped he’d be a 5th starter.

    BUT! on Gotay…Castillo sits out the weekend? what a luxury to have ruben come in and SPARK the offense. Some guy on this blog has also repeatedly pointed out the need to keep Castillo fresh by using the other 2B option.

    I agree Wickman most likely wont be a Met, mostly because other teams will claim him (padres/Dodgers) and the ATL will give them the more favorable deal. BUT if he does become a FA, then its a very low risk option. Omar has signed Danny graves before. Again, we are losing games because of BP shortages. We could easily be up 100-12 games but for late inning gaffs by aaron, Sho and Mota.

  9. joe August 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm
    I agree that any arm this side of Graves, Rojas, Takatsu, Heredia, or Mr. Koo would be worth giving a look-see. Heck, I’d see if Mike DeJean was still in shape. What ever happened to Scott Strickland? Jose Parra? Can Todd Zeile still throw that knuckler? We signed Chad Hermansen so why not Dustin Hermanson? Bring up Steve Schmoll, Willie Collazo … anybody!
  10. isuzudude August 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm
    September is coming so just be patient with your call-ups.

    I wouldn’t touch Bob Wickman even if Billy Wagner were to go down with a season ending injury. He’s a bum.

    Mic: to say Atlanta is rebuilding well is assinine. Is that what you call trading for two guys (Teixeira & Dotel) who are both due to become free agents at the end of the season and sending off some good young players (Saltalamchia, Davis) in the process? I also don’t see any legitimate starting pitchers under 30 on that team.