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.
It’s a different clubhouse when Pedro Martinez is around, and the Mets were buoyed by his presence Tuesday as they defeated the San Francisco Giants 9-6. Pedro went 6 full innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking 3 out. The most encouraging stat: he threw 109 pitches. The team rallied around him, with David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Damion Easley, and Martinez all driving in runs.
The Mets certainly can’t count on Pedro for the entire rest of the season; his tenure in New York has proven that. But as long as Pedro is healthy and pitching well, we’ll take it.
According to MLB.com, Pedro Martinez has been activated, replacing Carlos Muniz on the roster. Muniz will head back to Triple-A New Orleans, demoted for the second time this season. Claudio Vargas will shift to long relief, and Mike Pelfrey will remain the team’s fifth starter.
After watching Oliver Perez‘s performance last night, it’s clear to me that this team’s greatest weakness is the inconsistency of its starting pitching behind Johan Santana and John Maine. A [hopefully] healthy Martinez should help a lot here. Pelfrey has shown flashes, which is why the team kept him in the rotation, but he needs to step it up to keep his rotation spot.
Pedro Martinez made his first start since April 1 last night, this one a rehab appearance for Class-A St. Lucie. He gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits in 6 innings of work, striking out 6 and issuing no walks. Phew.
He was faced by prized Rays prospect David Price, whom Pedro called “amazing.” Price struck out 9 and walked none giving up just 2 hits and no runs in 6 innings. His fastball topped off at 97, according to Mets.com. It’s unfathomable how dangerous the Rays are going to be in the near future. I’m jealous.
Martinez is scheduled to start next Tuesday at San Francisco.
Pedro Martinez is slated to return June 3 against the San Francisco Giants, according to MLB.com. Martinez will make a start with Class-A St. Lucie this Wednesday and then rejoin the team if all goes well.
Ryan Church has not recovered from his second concussion of the year, and, according to Gary Cohen on last night’s broadcast, was seriously affected by the flight from Atlanta to Denver last week. He’ll see a neurologist today.
Lastly, Marlon Anderson will have an MRI performed after injuring his leg last week.
Terrible start for Big Pelf tonight, as he went just 4 innings, giving up 6 earned on 8 hits (including a home run), striking out 2 and walking 3 on 104 pitches (that’s quite a few for just 4 innings of work). It’s clear that Pelfrey just doesn’t have what it takes to start right now in the majors. I personally would be in favor of reinventing him as a reliever (he only has a couple pitches, including a fairly dominant fastball). But obviously that’s not going to happen on a Mets team that desperately needs starting pitching. So in that case, in my opinion, Pelfrey should be demoted to Triple-A.
Here are Pelfrey’s stats on the year: 2-5, 4.93 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 21 BB, 21 SO
I think if Claudio Vargas has another good start, Pelfrey is the one to go when Pedro Martinez returns to the rotation. If not, the Mets could and should be in the market for some additional arms, possibly including Freddie Garcia, who is expected to pitch after the All-Star Break.