Tag Archives: Ryan Church

The “Save Willie” Post

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.

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Mets acquire Trot Nixon

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.

-Jonathan Kraft

Church [finally] to DL

The Mets announced that Ryan Church would head to the 15-day Disabled List yesterday, three weeks after sustaining his second concussion of the year on a nasty collision with Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar.

That’s a roster move made three weeks too late. The Mets management have shown time and time again that they have a knack for making the wrong decision at the wrong time–resigning Luis Castillo, trading Scott Kazmir, etc. How obvious should it have been that Church needed to be placed on the DL at the time? It was staring Omar Minaya in the face.

When the Mets left Atlanta for Colorado, Church jetted along with the team, seemingly unaware of the negative effect that the altitude would have on his already woozy state. I’m no doctor, but it’s obvious to me that the last thing someone needs to do after sustaining their second concussion in three months is fly across the country to a place with thin air. And then play baseball of all things? Terrible idea.

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Why Valentino Pascucci (and not Abraham Nuñez) should be on the Mets

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.

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Mets Beast (and least) of the week

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

-Jonathan Kraft

Happy Days are here again

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.

-Jonathan Kraft

So is this Mr. Hyde?

This year’s New York Mets have shown flashes of brilliance, but have quickly slid back into mediocrity. The Mets limped home to Shea Stadium last week having gone 2-5 on the week, including a four-game sweep by the Braves at Turner Field. But they came home and made a statement, winning important series against the Marlins and the Dodgers.

Leading the way for the Mets was good starting pitching, including a great performance by Mike Pelfrey and, of course, an awesome outing by Johan Santana. Backing those efforts on the mound were superb weeks by Mets hitters, led by David Wright. David hit .407, .515, .741 with 2 HR and 6 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.256. Jose Reyes hit .367, .457, .767 with 3 HR and 4 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.224. Luis Castillo emerged from mediocrity, hitting .348, .464, .652 with 2 HR and 4 RBI for an OPS of 1.116. And Carlos Beltran woke up, hitting .320, .438, .600 with 2 HR and 5 RBI for an OPS of 1.038.

Of course, there are still problems. Carlos Delgado is still not hitting. The starting rotation is still sketchy behind Santana and John Maine. Any reliever not named Billy Wagner, Scott Schoeneweiss, or Joe Smith terrifies me. But Ryan Church has returned to the lineup, as has the swagger of 2006. The question is, will this Mets team continue to play to its potential and win these important games, or will it go lose a series to a terrible San Francisco team and continue its slide from grace? Will Willie Randolph be redeemed by his club’s performance, or will he become a scapegoat yet again? It’s time for the Mets to step it up and prove that this last week was not a fluke, and that the 12th inning victory against the Marlins was a true turning point, not a rare glimpse of what could have been.

-Jonathan Kraft