Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Frustrating weekend leads to roster shakeup

Miami Marlins fans must love seeing games against the New York Mets come up on the schedule.

The Marlins, who have the worst record in Major League Baseball, have won their last five in a row against the Mets — including two this weekend. Eight of their 18 victories — 44 percent — have come at the Mets’ expense.

Saturday’s 20-inning affair was bizarre enough to take some of the sting away, but today’s loss wasn’t.

Ike Davis flails at a pitch on Saturday (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ike Davis flails at a pitch on Saturday (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Sandy Alderson has finally been moved to action. Rick Ankiel paid the price on Saturday when he was designated for assignment, likely signalling the end of his major league baseball career. Ike Davis, Robert Carson and Mike Baxter earned tickets to Las Vegas on Sunday.

On one hand, I feel bad for them. Davis and Carson were friendly and personable on the brief occasions when I’ve met them. Baxter sacrificed his body to give us the highlight of last year’s season.

Even Ankiel, who probably never should have been here in the first place, evokes some sympathy – he’s basically been told that he’s not good enough to do his job any longer. But it’s been clear for a while that they don’t belong in the major leagues.

On the other hand, I’d like to ship out most of the rest of the roster along with them.

The Mets starting pitching has been fine and David Wright is our All-Star (even though he’s probably not going to be the starter unless the Kung-Fu Panda strains something reaching for the buffet table.) Daniel Murphy has mostly been solid, Juan Lagares has shown flashes of promise, and that’s about it…

The Mets are 24th in runs scored, 20th in home runs, 27th in on-base percentage, and 27th in slugging percentage. Their offensive struggles are a team issue, and whoever Alderson calls up from Las Vegas (believed to be Josh Satin, Collin Cowgill and Josh Edgin) is unlikely to have the talent to significantly improve the situation.

It’s been a frustrating weekend, and the roster shuffling has the feel of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Even so, I’m not ready to give up on them. Tomorrow night, I’ll probably be annoyed that there’s no Mets game to turn on at 7 p.m. Maybe I’ll even get out to another game on this home stand. (There’s a concert after Friday’s game, so there will be a second chance at entertainment if the Mets can’t provide it.)

Posted in Uncategorized

Three weeks ’til spring training

signed Edgardo Alfonzo photo from my collection

We’re 21 days away from the official start of spring training for the New York Mets.

According to New York Daily News writer Andy Martino, the Mets are still in the hunt for another left-handed hitting outfielder. (Minor leaguers Mike Baxter and Adam Loewen don’t seem to inspire much confidence, even for a reserve role.)

Among the names being mentioned are Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon, Rick Ankiel and Kosuke Fukudome. Martino seems to think Ankiel and Fukudome are better fits than Ibanez or Damon, but who knows if any of them will agree to a minor league contract with a probable last-place team. They’d have to be hoping for enough playing time to showcase their skills to get traded to a contender mid-season, right?

Still, I’d be entertained by the thought of Ibanez pushing Jason Bay for playing time – wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, Steve Keane of the Eddie Kranepool Society made a strong case yesterday for adding Edgardo Alfonzo to the New York Mets Hall of Fame. Hopefully this year’s induction of John Franco signals a willingness to move beyond the 1969 & 1986 championship eras. Currently, Rusty Staub is the only player inducted who was not part of either team.

Posted in Uncategorized

Non-tender day news bites

Signed 2011 Topps Mike Nickeas card from my collection

A few news items from Mets-land, before we get to some fun old photos and baseball cards later today.

  • New York Times writers Michael S. Schmidt and Richard Sandomir report that the Mets received a $40 million “bridge loan” in the past six weeks. Ownership continues to express optimism about the ongoing process of selling $20 million minority shares in the team, but I wonder how many multi-millionaires would be interested in sinking money into the team without gaining any input into its operations.
  • Yesterday was the deadline to tender contracts to unsigned players on the 40-man roster. The Mets opted to non-tender backup catcher Ronny Paulino and reserve outfielder Mike Baxter. Mike Nickeas is now the front-runner to share catching duties with Josh Thole. I can think of one blogger who should be absolutely thrilled 🙂
  • The Mets claimed minor league pitcher Jeremy Hefner off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and signed pitcher Garrett Olson and catcher Lucas May to minor league contracts. Olson has major league experience with the Orioles, Mariners and Pirates, but I expect these additions are mostly about adding organizational depth.
Posted in Baseball Scorekeeping, Uncategorized

I really should be happier about Jose Reyes’ batting title

The 2011 Mets season is over. The final game was supposed to a chance to cheer for Jose Reyes as he tried to win the first National League batting title in franchise history.

Instead, it became the game where Reyes vanished in the first inning, Mike Baxter hit his first major league home run and Miguel Batista pitched his first shutout since 2006.

Reyes got a hit in his first at-bat to raise his average to .337, and then he was out of the game before most people realized what was happening. He wanted to protect his chance at winning the batting title.

“I know it’s kind of tough,” Reyes said, as reported by the New York Times. “I wanted to stay in the game. But they have to understand, too, what’s going on. They have to feel happy about it if I win the batting title. I do it for the team and for the fans, too.”

And it worked… Ryan Braun went 0-for-4 to finish the season at .332.

I guess I’m happy about it, but I’m glad I didn’t give in to a last-minute impulse to go to the game. I wanted Reyes to play nine, show faith in his abilities and let us have one last memory of his great season (and perhaps his Mets career.)

Now we have months of off-season speculation to endure, with people like Mike Francesa doing their best to make sure we don’t have much reason to hope.

Here’s one last scorecard: Continue reading “I really should be happier about Jose Reyes’ batting title”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Pelf tosses another stinker, Red Sox try to hang on & Rockies’ rookies get galactic makeover

http://twitter.com/#!/EricBien/status/118040376555741184

 

Mike Pelfrey walks off the field in a game earlier this season (photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Mets’ 9-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies wasn’t very fun to watch today. Ronny Paulino hit a home run that cleared the Great Wall of Flushing, Jason Pridie almost hit for the cycle (he didn’t get the home run) and Mike Baxter made some neat plays in the outfield, but there just weren’t a lot of highlights.

Mike Pelfrey – anointed as our “ace” this spring – finished the season with a 7-13 record and a 4.74 ERA. In 193.2 innings, he allowed 220 hits, 64 walks and 20 home runs. Teams that want to improve can’t give 32 starts to pitchers with those kind of results.

Hopefully Sandy Alderson has a plan – whether it’s a new pitching coach to work with Pelfrey and the other disappointing members of the Mets’ staff, or a replacement for him in next year’s rotation.

But at least watching the Mets this September isn’t as nerve-wracking as watching the Red Sox must be for their fans. I’m watching as Boston tries valiantly to hang on to what remains of their Wild Card lead, which was down to just a half-game as they started playing the Yankees tonight. They fell behind early, then rallied take a brief 4-3 lead only to allow the Yankees to tie it up again. They’re now headed to extra innings.

And here’s something fun to end with – it’s traditional for teams to make their rookies dress in funny outfits to go to the airport during the final road trip of the season. The Colorado Rockies had their players dress up as Star Wars characters today. Edgmer Escalona got to dress as a wookie, and Tommy Field was Yoda. The rest weren’t so lucky… the Denver Post has the photo, which admittedly might be best left in a galaxy far, far away. 🙂