Tuesday, August 11, 2009


There's something that's been brewing a little bit in my brain lately (no, not beer). It took Monday's 7-4 loss to illustrate my point for me.

Sure, one could call Monday night's effort unacceptable (and I believe one did), but I think there is something else at play here.

As told by either Gary Cohen and Ron Darling, Snoop Manuel was asked about Anderson Hernandez and Snoop said that he wants to see what Hernandez can do at other positions. This has been a line of thinking that you saw in the minor league system, where players like Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans were made to play multiple positions. It tells me all I need to know about the Mets general idea of "player development":

We're grooming an entire organization of utility players.

Doesn't that seem a little dangerous to you?

Look, utility players are wonderful. It's nice to have a Bert Campaneris circa 1965 on your roster, or a Kevin Mitchell circa 1986. But to have a whole minor league system of utility players ... players worrying about learning three or four positions? No wonder they're all messed up in the head and need mental vacations. Heck, even David Wright needs a mental break and he's just playing third. No wonder it doesn't occur to Fernando Tatis that Trent Oeltjen might be taking second base on a hit to left. No wonder Murphy was on his way to the Bahamas on a bouncer over the pitcher's head so that Hernandez can throw the ball to an imaginary first baseman on a double play attempt.

There's a reason that the saying goes: "jack of all trades, master of none" ... least of all hitting. Nobody is mastering that, probably because everyone's busy learning how to be Bert Campaneris. Nobody gets less out of less than the Mets.

But that's looking at too big a picture. Obviously this team is done ... mentally, and physically. Even Gary Cohen is counting down the games ("just 50 more games, Ron.") You know there's trouble when Cohen, who loves baseball enough to sit in the stands and watch a game on his off day, is counting down the games. Heck the whole announcing team has resorted to schtick long ago when they started sword fighting and giving Ron Darling haircuts in the booth (and can we be sure that when Gary shot a t-shirt out of that gun that he didn't hit Frankie Rodriguez in the arm?) So can we really be surprised that it's come to this?

You'd be counting down the days too if you saw Doug Davis, having just been described as a "notoriously bad hitter", smack a single to center which Angel Pagan turned into a double (how come extra bases are only taken when Angel's in the field?) I'm guessing that giving up a hit to a notoriously bad hitter isn't quite the late night feeding that Mike Pelfrey had in mind.

Pelfrey, by the way, is playing third tomorrow for Wright. Because the Mets need more versatility.


number15 said...

i think your 'utility player theory' is just a product of the plague of injuries to key players and the resulting offensive futility. if the big three were healthy, jerry wouldn't be forced to juggle the lineup on a day-to-day basis as he has, and guys like tatis, ahern, and pagan would have solidified their spots at left-, right-, and center-bench, respectively (not to mention alex cora, who actually is a utility guy). in the case of murph, i wouldn't consider him a utility player, but rather a failure at one position forced to learn another (it probably would've helped to recognize this earlier, so you may have a point there). but think of where these guys would be if we were healthy

Unser said...

Bob Bailor . . . best utility man the Mets ever had. Kevin Mitchell was really a platoon player in '86, especially after Foster was released.

I was trying to think of one positive to come out of this season. I couldn't come up with anything. Maybe that Santana has had another good year, or that Castillo may now have some trade value, but that's it.

And that's pretty damn sad.

number15 said...

francoeur trade is a 3rd, bernzard gone a 4th (though it's also sad to consider the firing of a lower-level exec a plus)