The State of the Mets…
The month is almost over. What have we learned?
The Mets are better than we thought they would be. There are more home grown players on the team that we have seen in recent years. In fact, the entire lineup yesterday including the starting pitcher were from within the organization. And these were players signed by Omar Minaya.
The question was asked–should we be giving Omar Minaya some credit?
Yes, of course.
Minaya’s best skill is that of scouting. His lack of prowess as a GM was the problem. He gave out contracts to veterans that were too long and far too expensive to players who did not make much of a difference. He had no control over the baseball organization and I don’t mean because it was Jeff Wilpon interfering. Remember that whole affair with Tony Bernazard? Omar appeared to be far to easy to manipulate. Minaya was simply not cut out to sit in the captain’s chair. But as a scout, he was very good. Don’t forget, Minaya was the one who rescued R.A. Dickey from the scrap heap.
So in fairness, while we might give credit to Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, you have to consider Omar Minaya as a big part of the reason the Mets are achieving some success right now. However, Alderson’s leadership, his re-construction of the farm system, and Collins’ ability to create a winning attitude were pieces of the puzzle unrealized during Minaya’s tenure.
The season kind of feels like 1984. The Mets are better. You can see the talent beginning to take hold. But I don’t think the Mets will win 90 games the way their ’84 counterparts did. And are the Washington Nationals the equivalent of the 1984 Cubs?
In ’84, the Mets went back and forth with the Cubs for most of the season. The year before the Cubs finished 20 games under .500 ahead of the Mets who finished last. In 1984, the standings got flipped upside down. At the All Star break, the Mets were in first place by a half game over the Cubs. Their lead grew to 4.5 games by late July but by August 1, the Cubs pulled ahead of the Mets and never relinquished their lead eventually winning the division by 6 games over the Mets.
With the Nationals having the best pitching so far in baseball and the best win-loss record in the NL, the irony of them emulating the ’84 Cubs is that Davey Johnson is their manager. If anyone can manage a young team like the Nats to success, it’s Johnson. But I can’t help but feel somewhat betrayed now that Johnson is working for the enemy.
The Free Agents…
Oh how those big contracts can really screw up a player. As I mentioned in a post the other day, I have no hostility toward Jose Reyes for taking the best contract he could get. His 107 million over the next 7 years should keep him and his family well for generations. But isn’t it amazing how often the big free agents falter out of the gate.
Reyes went 1 for a whole bunch of at bats in the three games that he heard mostly boos at Citi Field. The 2011 batting champ, first in Mets history, is hitting .205 after 18 games. He has 4 stolen bases and was caught twice and he has two triples, still one more than the entire Mets offense. To say Reyes is getting off to a slow start with his new team is an understatement. His OBP is just .263, terrible for a lead off hitter. You just wonder how much pressure Jose is putting on himself to justify the money the Marlins and no one else in baseball was willing to give him.
And how about Albert Pujols out in Los Angeles of Anaheim? How is that 250 million dollar plus contract that will keep Albert in a halo till he’s 130 working out so far? In 19 games, Albert has a grand total of 0 home runs with 4 RBI. The Angels are 6-13, in last place of the AL West after signing three free agents to ridiculous money and years. Meanwhile the St. Louis Cardinals who lost Albert and gained draft picks are currently leading the NL Central by 3 games with a 12-7 record. Carlos Beltran, the big bat replacement for Pujols has 5 homers with 10 RBI so far. St. Louis has not skipped a beat.
Back to Colorado…
Speaking of Beltran, the Mets are in Colorado this weekend. Last season, they won 2 of 3 from the Rocks at Coors field. Carlos Beltran hit three homeruns, driving in 6 in the series finale. Early in the season, the Rockies swept the Mets in a four game set at Citi Field.
Tonight, Chris Schwinden gets the start (audition) for the Mets with Mike Pelfrey on the disabled list who is likely gone for the season. Pelfrey will likely receive Tommy John surgery within the next week or so, then be out for 12 months.
For those of you unfamiliar with Tommy John surgery, it is a process that repairs a damaged ligament in the elbow. Actually the damaged ligament is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body or even from a cadaver. The new “ligament” is tied in a figure eight through holes drilled in the ulna and humorous bone. During the healing process, the body becomes convinced the new tendon is a ligament. Today the procedure has an 83-90 percent success rate. As long as Pelf is diligent in rehab, his ability should return to normal. The recover is about a year for pitchers, six months for position players.
The New Yard…
How does Citi Field stack up so far this season when talking dingers? Have the fences being brought in made a difference?
For the first three seasons, Citi Field’s homerun ration has been near or at the bottom of the list of all 30 ballparks. But this season, Citi ranks 10th out of 16 ballparks in the NL and 22nd overall. So it does appear that Citi is playing a bit more fair, at least over 13 games. And the Mets aren’t exactly hitting a ton of homers anyway.
There have been 17 homers hit at Citi Field so far this year. 10 by the Mets and 7 by the opposition. Of the 17 hit, 7 would not have been homeruns in the old configuration. How has that helped the Mets? Four of the seven have been hit by Mets (Duda 1, Nienuwenhuis 2, Wright 1) and three were hit by the opposition. The new configuration does appear to play more fair.