Friday, February 26, 2010

Lurking In The Weeds

"We’ve been talking to them for a good part of the offseason. I am still just being patient, waiting for the right deal." -Joe Beimel on being courted by the Mets this offseason.
Well this only came a year too late as the Mets have needed a second lefty in the bullpen since Scott Schoeneweis was misused in 2008. But I'll take it. Just make sure Beimel adheres to curfew if he signs.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Incomplete Slogan

The Yankees had Mystique and Aura. The Mets? They have Prevention and Recovery. Boy, we're really running out of stripper names. No wonder we're held back as a species.

See, Jeff Wilpon's way of overhauling the medical procedures is to add a slogan and make a logo. It's like slapping a coat of nice paint over a busted septic tank. Well, Prevention and Recovery are off to a rip-roaring start. But just as there was no room in the budget for Jason Marquis, there's no room on the logo for the word "Diagnosis".
"Closer Francisco Rodriguez has pinkeye.

The Mets told K-Rod not to even show up at camp Thursday, although it's certainly not expected to be a setback."
Yeah. Surgery is on Thursday.

Also this from Ed Price:
"It took a week to figure out it was pinkeye."
Must have thought it was swine flu ... or bone spurs. Boy I hope those cortisone shots in both his eyes weren't too painful.

But I look at it this way: What would you rather have, Frankie resting with Pinkeye, or Frankie pitching every other day at the World Baseball Wheel Of Injury Classic?

Positivity, pass it on ... but please wipe your hands with some Purell before you do so.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rethinking My Position

Oliver Perez threw a bullpen session today.

Nobody died.

I was wrong. I guess hope really does spring eternal.

A Snoop Manuel Joint

The people that brought you the 80 pitch drill present:
Big Pelf on bizarre drill of pitchers fielding grounders at SS: "If there's a couple more injuries, one of us will have to move over there." -A Tweet from Newsday's David Lennon
You want to see a couple more injuries? Have Oliver Perez make some throws from shortstop. You'll get a couple more injuries.

So the pitchers are taking grounders at shortstop. Well, I guess you can never be too prepared since that situation comes up all the time (and by all the time, I mean never).

Coming up on Monday: The shortstops play left, the middle infielders play right, the third basemen throw in relief, the marketing department covers first on a bunt, and the outfielders play hockey. This way, everybody can do everything, and Snoop will have more time to write jokes since he won't have to spend so much time doing any actual managing. It's so stupid, it's brilliant! (And by brilliant, I mean stupid.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Have Cream Will Travel

"If we have to go with (Omir), we will." -Snoop Manuel
And with that, you knew the deed wasn't far away. That one line was the equivalent of the mob boss kissing you on both cheeks, telling you your days were numbered. The Mets' signing of Rod Barajas took forever, but the fate of Omir Santos was quickly sealed with a virtual two to the back of the head.

It happens that quick. It wasn't even nine months ago that Santos was participating in the two high points of the 2009 season, one of them against some guy named Papelbon. His clutch hits leapfrogged him over both Brian Schneider and Fluff Castro to the point that an afternoon game had to be delayed for like four hours so that Santos could pinch hit for Fluff ... only to pop out with the bases loaded. But a couple of well timed hits later sent Fluff to Chicago to catch a perfect game, Omir in the sweetheart suite, and Schneider to the doghouse (and eventually to Philadelphia).

And now, perhaps in no small part to some starters subtly begging for another catcher to work with, Omir is a man without a home. Where exactly is he going to go? He isn't going to be the backup, that's Hank White's job now. Buffalo? Sorry, Josh Thole needs to play. And Chris Coste needs to be that positive influence as Thole's backup. So where will Omir go? Can the Mets really get anybody of value for a guy who gets on base less than three out of every ten and has a 1.000 career average against Jonathan Papelbon?

Friday, February 19, 2010

No Catcher Left Behind

"Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy." -John Denver
Well it's no wonder that the Mets are making crazy predictions about World Series and what not. All this sun is making them giddy. And who could blame them after all the snow we've had here lately, and all the rotten they've had for three years.

World Series predictions? Hell, why not. Why not be excited for a day? We have the whole summer to chastise the Mets for their mouths writing checks that their OPS can't cash. We all like to talk about "hope springs eternal" and all of the lovely prose that goes with the first official day of spring training (which when you really think about it, is a date that holds less and less significance every year with the truckloads of players that report early every year, not to mention the extended spring training that was July through September last season), so why not throw some wacky predictions around for a day? That's what the official first day of spring training is for. Optimism

After that, of course, all bets are off. Especially when all of the progress made over the next month and a half are in the abstract. The season is full of wins and losses. The off-season can be easily measured in statistics, dollars, and happy-to-be-heres. Spring training? Lots of stretching. Lots of games scouted by Buffalo. Real indications of how the season is going to play out? Not from John Maine pitching against Broward County Community College (nice one, Brad). No, no real clues unless Ryan Church comes to recreate his carom off Marlon Anderson, or Omar Minaya signs five more catchers to complete his controversial gene splicing experiment to see if he can create Joe Mauer from the DNA of Josh Thole, Rod Barajas, Chris Coste, Gary Carter, Manny Sanguillen, Jack Clements, three sheep and a turkey club sandwich. Then we'll all have a clue as to whether we're doomed to misery or not.

Until then, we can dream ... at least until Kelvim Escobar goes for that inevitable MRI.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Secretary Of Walking Off

Frankie Rodriguez gave up 11 runs in three innings against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and members of his cabinet in a slow pitch softball game on Thursday.

At least now we have someone to blame if Frankie bombs this season. I mean ... three innings? C'mon. It's like the World Baseball Classic all over again. And why is he playing softball when he should be working with Shawn Riggans, Luke Montz, and the other 59 catchers on the roster. He's got a lot of catching up to do. (Get it? "Catching" up to do? It's a Mets pun!)

But at least there was a legitimate explanation for giving up 11 runs in three innings: Chavez's cabinet apparently includes Justin Maxwell and Everth Cabrera.

(Editor's note: For more "gems" such as the ones above, join Metstradamus as he continues to make people regret buying computers with his weekly internet appearance on Sportstalk NY Live. It all happens Sunday night at 9PM on Ustream's new Talk USA channel ... click it. Don't be afraid. Mark Rosenman and A.J. Carter also welcome real guests, and this Valentine's Day you'll love interviews with 1969 Mets Jerry Koosman, Jack DiLauro, and Ron Swoboda. Plus, the author of The Last Days of Shea, your friend and mine: Dana Brand. It all happens Valentine's Night starting at 9PM. Now go buy a computer.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Hard Feelings, Chum?

At least Mike Jacobs doesn't take getting traded personally.

Jacobs is reportedly close to returning to the Mets on a free agent deal, completing the circle of life that had Jacobs traded for Carlos Delgado and making his return the season after Delgado leaves. But it kinda has me scratching my head. Sure, it's a minor league deal, but for his lack of an on base percentage, Jacobs provides some of the power that the Mets have been looking for. So why would the Mets sign him simply to strengthen Buffalo? Unless ...

Unless Jacobs is another one of those moving parts to make a trade with the Reds happen by including Daniel Murphy.

Nah, makes too much sense. Jeff Wilpon wants the Bisons to be a triple-A force. And why would Keith Hernandez bother to spend time teaching Murphy how to play first base? Besides, we know that in addition to the fact that the Mets have now unofficially run out of money (Jacobs is the guy who breaks the bank?), Omar Minaya is only permitted to do one thing at a time:

But that didn't stop the large market GM from claiming career minor-leaguer Jason Pridie off waivers from the Twins yesterday. In an ironic twist, that move enabled the small market Twins to put Orlando Hudson on their 40-man roster. Let that swill in your mouth a little bit.

Oh, sorry. Too negative? Let's translate that last paragraph for the ever growing Sunshine Brigade:

The Mets claimed outfielder Jason Pridie off waivers yesterday. Pridie is low-risk, high-reward.

All right, all right. You want positive for realz, yo? Okay, here goes: Hey, good thing the Mets don't have a pesky winter caravan or a fan fest anymore. It prevents foul-mouthed stuff like this from happening.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Because Cleansing Is Necessary

Maybe all of the Mets problems can be traced back to this:

Yup, there's Mookie in a St. Louis Cardinals wool hat to support his son Preston in a World Series that the Mets were one base hit against Adam Wainwright away from being a participant in.

Do I blame Mookie for supporting a blood relative? No. Archie Manning played for the Saints for forty-five years and he still rooted for his son to beat his former team, right? Of course, Archie wasn't decked out in Colts gear but hey, it was cold in St. Louis that night. I blame Carlos Beltran more for letting that first pitch fastball get by him against Wainwright in Game 7 which ended the at-bat well before that curveball ... but I digress.

You had to be around for the rivalry against the Cardinals in the 80's to really feel the sink in your heart at the sight of Mookie wearing Cardinals colors. Think how you young'ins would feel seeing Mike Piazza wearing a tomahawk on his hat, or Pedro Martinez wearing a Phill ... oh, right.

So Mookie Wilson in a Mets uniform again, even as a minor league coach, is the best karma this organization has seen in just about three years. Whether that karma is trumped by Oliver Perez remaining in a Mets uniform remains to be seen.

Friday, February 05, 2010

And The Real Estate Is Cheaper

So I guess the question now is this: When does that Fernando Martinez for Yorvit Torrealba trade happen?
"When [Carlos] Beltran had surgery, I thought I had a chance, and maybe they would give me a chance at center. But they get Matthews Jr., and now I'm not sure where I am. I just can't give up. I know I'm a big league player, and I can perform at a high level. It's in my hands, so I have to keep working hard and maybe earn a spot. Maybe I make it to the big leagues with the Mets or maybe another team, but I know I can do it. I just have to keep working and waiting for my opportunity." -Fernando Martinez
Dude ... May I call you dude? You're only 21 years young, you were on the interstate in your time up here, and you haven't proven you can put a full season together without pulling ... anything. So dude, calm down a tad.

But once again, the Mets have seen a super-duper prospect's trade value dip before he could be traded for a guy like Matt Holliday or the like (see: Milledge, L.) The problem is: With Bay, Beltran and Frenchy (not to mention Corporal Matthews) blocking the entrance, the only way Martinez's value rises is if he hits .450 in Buffalo (good luck with that), or depend on another injury to vault back in the majors and hit a couple of moon shots into the Pepsi Porch. Part of it is the general practice of rushing their prospects through the lower levels. Part of it ... plain bad luck with injuries forcing him up to the majors before his time. But it lends itself to that whole "least efficient team in baseball" reputation in a new and different way.

So who are the Mets going to get for the guy they wouldn't trade for Johan Santana, Matt Holliday, or anybody else?

And when will Martinez become a mere Mets trivia question?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Physical? Why, That Would Cost Money!

Gotta love an organization like the Mets that dares to fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

You know who else loves the Mets' organization? Used car dealers. They practically trip over themselves getting to Omar and Jeff trying to sell them a family wagon where the engine has been replaced by cupcakes and printer ink.

"What? A post trade physical? Come ahhhhhhhhhn! Where's your sense of danger? This world has gotten too safe. Live a little! It's like playing Let's Make A Deal where you never really know what's behind that curtain or in that box. Remember how much fun you had watching Let's Make A Deal when you were a kid? Come on, think positive and man up!!!"

But don't you kids find it fitting that an organization run by businessmen who were taken by a Ponzi scheme would blow something so simple like giving a guy with bone chips in his elbow a physical after trading for him? Because, y'know, damn near every trade ever made in the world in the last thirty years is immediately followed by the words "pending physicals." But not the Mets. Noooooooooo, not them. That's not nearly exciting enough for Mets fans. And excitement is what the Mets are about!

"Well we had no time for a real physical. Physicals cost money, and waste valuable time. And as you know, time is money. And we knew that one day that money would go towards bringing back Fernando Tatis for a third season. So we had a guy come in with a mallet to hit him on the knee and turns out Putz was fine. No no, doc was legit. He took a course."

The best part about the whole l'affaire is the Mets official response (not like the unofficial ones in the italics above.)
"“In our review of the player’s medical records in the acquisition of J.J. Putz, we were aware that he had a bone spur before the trade. He had the same condition in 2008 and was able to pitch with it. J.J. underwent an exam during Spring Training and an additional exam and MRI before he was cleared to play in last year’s World Baseball Classic. Unfortunately the spur did flare up again in May, and he missed the rest of the season."
Ooooooh ... BAZING! What a response!!!!! Except, y'know, it disputes nothing that Putz said in the "controversial" interview.
"When the trade went down last year, I never really had a physical with the Mets,” said Putz. “I had the bone spur (in the right elbow). It was discovered the previous year in Seattle, and it never got checked out by any other doctors until I got to spring training, and the spring training physical is kind of a formality. It was bugging me all through April, and in May I got an injection. It just got to the point where I couldn't pitch. I couldn't throw strikes, my velocity was way down."
Sounds to me like player and team are on the same page! Tremendous!!! Too bad the player is no longer a part of the team he's on the same page with.

But remember, one is an exception, two is a trend.
Putz’s season was over. And he learned a very important lesson: "That it’s my career, and when you know something doesn't feel right, and they want to take these little sidesteps to do something, and just wait and wait and wait, you got to get it taken care of instead of trying to prolong the inevitable."
Vindication ... thy name is Carlos Beltran.

But there was something about the Mets threw into their official response that was telling.
"We are happy to hear he is feeling well, and wish him success with the White Sox."
Yes, we've seen this kind of quote before. Here's the loose translation:
"Jam it where the sun doesn't shine, J.J."
Funny if a Mets doctor had done that, we might not be in this mess.

Yeah, we might still have Aaron Heilman.

"See! We knew what we were doing all along!"