Everyone is throwing their two cents in on the Willie Randolph controversy, so I guess I should add my perspective. I’ve avoided comment on Willie’s situation for some time now because, in reality, there is no easy answer here. Fire Willie, and, yes, the demons of last year might be exorcised. But on the flip side, a mid-year managerial shakeup could drive the team apart. Of course, it has been extensively reported that the Mets clubhouse is divisive as it is, so maybe this wouldn’t hurt as much as it could.
If I have to pick a side, and I feel like I do, I’m more on the “Keep Willie” side. It’s not that I have complete confidence in the manager. I agree with Willie’s critics that he doesn’t motivate the team enough. I’ve commented on his poor managerial decisions in the past. But, ultimately, the responsibility for this year’s mediocre play, in my view (and I know a lot of people will disagree with me here) belongs to Omar Minaya, not Willie.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Brian Bannister, Chris Aguila, Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Heath Bell, Jeff Keppinger, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Mike Jacobs, Moises Alou, Nick Evans, NL East, Omar Minaya, Orlando Hernandez, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church, Trot Nixon, Willie Randolph
The Mets yesterday acquired OF Trot Nixon from the Diamondbacks organization. Nixon, of course, is a former teammate of Pedro Martinez; the two played together on the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox team. Nixon was playing in Triple-A ball for Arizona and now immediately joins the Mets, where he started in left field in the first game of today’s doubleheader, going 2-3 with 2 walks and scoring a run.
Many Mets fans might question the move. Why trade for a guy who’s past his prime, someone with no upside. The reality is that Nixon has the potential to be a huge upgrade from what the Mets have had in left field this year, which is a group of players including Fernando Tatis, Endy Chavez, and Marlon Anderson, who aren’t hitting a lick. Nixon is a guy who can fire up a clubhouse and who knows how to win. Sure, he might appear to be in decline, hitting just .251 with Cleveland last year, but he was tearing it up for Triple-A Tucson, hitting .318, .449, .578 with 10 HR and 31 RBI. Compare that to Tatis (.250, .292, .333, 1 HR, 10 RBI), Chavez (.218, .271, .277, 1 HR, 4 RBI), and Anderson (.169, .194, .246, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and it’s easy to see why this move was necessary.
Hopefully, this will be a quick fix. With any luck, Ryan Church will be back soon, allowing for greater flexibility in the outfield alignment. But with Moises Alou on the seemingly perminant DL and Angel Pagan nowhere to be found, Nixon could see a good amount of time in left field this season for the Mets. It’s certainly not the ideal scenario, but give credit to Omar Minaya for addressing a major need.
I was as surprised as anyone else this week to hear that Abraham Nuñez would join the Mets in place of Nick Evans, who obviously is not Major League ready. Surprise was my first emotion. Anger quickly supplanted that. Why am I angry? Nuñez has Major League experience (1,029 games worth) and is solid defensively. While his .242 average is hardly fear-inducing, it’s adequate for a defensive replacement.
But the last thing the Mets need right now is another utility infielder for defensive purposes. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Mets aren’t hitting, and are missing two of their most productive offensive players in Ryan Church and Moises Alou. With Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis not hitting and Marlon Anderson and Angel Pagan on the DL, the Mets are in desperate need of an outfielder.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Abraham Nunez, Angel Pagan, Carlos Delgado, Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Jesus Feliciano, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Moises Alou, Nick Evans, NL East, Omar Minaya, Ryan Church, Valentino Pascucci
And…we’re back. With apologies about the long layoff, we’ve retooled our approach to NL Beast and are looking forward to going forward. With that, here’s the Mets Beast (and least) of the week.
The Mets Beast of the week is…
Carlos Delgado, 1B. I never thought the day would come, but Delgado takes the top honor for the week. Carlos hit .318, .423, .455 for the week. He walked three times and struck out four, which is a huge improvement for him. Not the most impressive numbers, I know. But to say that the Mets have been mediocre of late would be a gigantic understatement.
Runners-Up: Jose Reyes, Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith
And the Mets least of the week is…
Fernando Tatis, OF. Tatis was a nice surprise when he was thrust into duty for an injured Moises Alou, but he has recently returned to Earth, hitting .105, .150, .158 in 19 at-bats this week. Obviously he is not going to be the kind of replacement player that Mets fans were hoping for in lieu of Alou, Ryan Church, and Angel Pagan.
Runners-Down: Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez, Oliver Perez
Posted in Mets
Tagged Angel Pagan, Carlos Delgado, Duaner Sanchez, Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Joe Smith, Jose Reyes, Mets, Moises Alou, NL East, Oliver Perez, Ramon Castro, Ryan Church
When people speculate what can spark a team’s turn-around, they often look to an extra-innings win as a catalyst. It’s impossible to say that one game can remedy a season of mediocrity, but the New York Mets certainly made a statement Wednesday night, winning in the 12th inning on a Fernando Tatis walk-off double.
On the back of Tatis, an unlikely hero, the Mets take the series from first-place Florida, making a strong statement in the first series of the homestand after a roadtrip to forget. Of course, taking two from the Yankees elicited the same sort of “turn-around” talk from Mets fans.
But what was different last night was the fact that every part of the Mets team contributed to the victory. Oliver Perez wasn’t dominant, but still struck out seven despite giving up four earned runs in six innings. Aaron Heilman looked brilliant in two innings of work, striking out four in two innings. Scott Schoeneweiss and Billy Wagner were phenomenal in an inning each. Endy Chavez forced extras with a pinch-hit home run. Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes also homered. David Wright walked twice. And then there was Tatis, the forgotten star, who is to the Mets right now what Angel Pagan was in Spring Training–invaluable.
Sure, there were faults. The Mets left ten on base, to start. That’s been a problem all year, and it continues. The Mets are a talented team. What they have needed all year is a spark, something to start the engine of a lineup that should be producing a heck of a lot more than it has. Only time will tell, but a win like last night’s, a series win like this one, might be what it takes to jump-start this team.
Posted in Marlins, Mets
Tagged Aaron Heilman, Angel Pagan, Billy Wagner, David Wright, Endy Chavez, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Marlins, Mets, NL East, Oliver Perez, Scott Schoeneweiss
ESPN reports that Ryan Church and Yunel Escobar will sit out tonight’s game after a violent collision at second base last night. Omar Infante will start at short for the Braves, Endy Chavez will start in right field for the Mets.
Good news, though, as a CAT scan administered to Church came up normal today. It seems that Escobar, too, will not sit out for very long.
“I’d do it all over again,” Church said of his slide. “I was trying to break the double play up.”
Braves manager Bobby Cox said Escobar “is going to be fine.”
Hard decision here, but the Mets Beast of the Week is CF Carlos Beltran. The Mets’ cleanup slugger had been hitting .181 over his last 28 games before this weekend, when, apparently, something clicked. Over his last three games, Beltran has gone 5-11 with 8 RBIs, 2 BB, and a homer. Beltran is key to the success of the Mets lineup, and even if he has gotten hot off of two ineffective Reds pitchers (Matt Belisle, Johnny Cueto), it’s about time that Mets fans have seen some life out of the cleanup spot.
Runners-Up: John Maine, Carlos Delgado, Ryan Church
I hate to do this, because I love the guy, but I have to give the Least of the Week distinction to RHP Duaner Sanchez. Having “earned” the set-up role (after the implosion of Aaron Heilman), Sanchez was clearly expected to show the same flash as he had in 2006, before his tragic, season-ending shoulder injury. It’s a miracle that Duaner is pitching at all, much less in his current role. But with a fastball that tops off at 89, he’s clearly not capable of being a set-up man. After a horrible performance last Saturday (when he gave up five earned runs), Sanchez continued to struggle. His line on the week: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO. That contributes to a 2.40 WHIP and 10.80 ERA for the last 7 days. Duaner might be a decent middle reliever this season, but he is not a quality set-up man for Billy Wagner.
Runners-Up: Johan Santana, Luis Castillo, Endy Chavez
Posted in Mets
Tagged Aaron Heilman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Duaner Sanchez, Endy Chavez, Johan Santana, John Maine, Johnny Cueto, Luis Castillo, Matt Belisle, Mets, Ryan Church