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After Deadline, Mets GM Omar Minaya Says ‘We Can Win SOME Games’

The New York Mets just ended a weekend where they didn’t add any player before the trading deadline and lost a series to one of the worst teams in baseball. The Diamondbacks outpitched the Mets despite trading away two pitchers.

With the trade deadline, there are many ways to look at what happened. Some may believe the Mets did well because they didn’t “trade just to trade.”

Some excuses for not making any trades are financial reasons, not being able to add salary, teams that were selling were asking too much, players that were available were not really difference makers.

Since last year, there have been reports that the Wilpons took a hit in the Madoff scandal. There are also reports that attendance at Citi Field has dropped, two major financial factors.

Whether these two excuses are true or not, let me give a couple reasons why it shouldn’t matter:

1. THE TEXAS RANGERS ARE BANKRUPT and they still added a few players including CLIFF LEE.

2. THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS and their owner is going through a divorce and they still added.

People keep excusing the Mets because of the two bad contracts they have and saying that’s why they haven’t really been able to add anybody. Tell that to Donnie Walsh who had more than two bad contracts, got rid of those players and were able to get well under the cap. Cap, that’s another key.  Basketball has a cap, football has a cap, but baseball does not and the NEW YORK Mets play in a big city.

It’s incredible how things look now in 2010 and how optimistic things were when Omar first became General Manager. What happened to the NEW METS?

Omar came in and was talking about aiming to win a World Series, then it was about making the playoffs and winning the division, then it was about competing and now Omar is saying “winning SOME games.”

How did the expectation dwindle away so quickly? At least when Jim Duquette was General Manager and Art Howe was manager they were talking about winning “meaningful games.” That sounds a lot better than “winning SOME games.”

I think what makes this so painful for Met fans is that it doesn’t seem like the organization is being honest about what direction they are going in. It seems like people within the organization are not on the same page.

When it was the off-season and the Mets were considering signing players, it never seemed like the organization collectively knew who they wanted to sign. Players who signed elsewhere and had discussions with the Mets shared how it seemed like the organization seemed indecisive with their direction.

There were also reports saying how ownership didn’t give Omar a budget, but Omar had to go to ownership every time he was interested in signing a player. These actions made the process discombobulated.

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Omar Minaya, What Are You Waiting To See?

Recent reports have Omar Minaya saying that the Mets are Buyers, but are in “wait and see” mode….What in the world does that mean?

The Mets were on fire in June and were a half game back from first place, apparently that wasn’t a good time to make a trade. Now the Mets are in a horrible funk and just finished a 2-9 roadtrip and apparently they are not sure it’s a good time to make a deal either.

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports one team source says “in a sense, the players still need to prove they are worthy of an addition.” Really? I guess the players didn’t play well enough in June. Martino also reports that “there is some disagreement among Mets decision makers about the need to add a starter.”

Whoever in the Mets organization feels there is no need to add a starter, THAT PERSON SHOULD BE FIRED!

It just seems like the Mets hierarchy play mind games with their fans and with their players. It’s like they try to give off the illusion that they really want to do whatever it takes to win. Every now and then when people start questioning if the team has the ability to add payroll, they come out and say they do, every one gets happy, but then nothing happens.

At one point even players were expressing their desire for the team to add a starter, but nothing happened.

It’s like the Mets are in a state right now that when the media starts chewing them up and fans complain, they make a move to quiet the critics and please the fans just enough to get them to shut up.

The offseason is a great example, fans were furious over last year and how things were handled, the media was calling for the heads of Omar and Jerry so to quiet all of that they go and sign Jason Bay and people think to themselves “Ok they are trying to make the team better.” Nothing really happened after that. They signed Henry Blanco and Rod Barajas and everyone questioned, but they had a good start, especially Barajas and it shut everyone up for a while, but now they aren’t really performing.

It’s like the Mets just make moves to shut everyone up and NOT TO JUST IMPROVE THE CLUB TO WIN. It’s like they are aiming to just fool everyone. To justify not making a move Omar has also said things like “Beltran coming off the DL is like making a midseason trade.”

It’s not like making a midseason trade, it’s what a team looks like when IT’S HEALTHY. It’s continued recovery from a nightmare of a year last year.

What is this “wait and see” approach? What are they waiting to see? Are they waiting for a team to ask for just about nothing, just handing over one of their stars to the Mets? Are they still waiting for another Johan trade they made by pure luck?

Are the Mets more concerned about convincing people they are not in panic mode? They are doing a great job at convincing people this organization is like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

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A New York Met Fan’s Salute to Two New York Yankee Greats

That’s right, I’m a Mets fan and I’m writing an article to salute Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner.

For a true Met fan, you can’t stand George Steinbrenner and his Yankees. You hate how they win, you hate the arrogance, you hate how they buy and get whatever they want.

But I’m not writing this article to express how I feel, or how Mets fans feel about the philosophy of the Yankees. As a baseball fan, you have to acknowledge what the man did for the sport of baseball.

Not everything George Steinbrenner did was great for baseball: he was suspended a couple years; he fired and rehired managers like Billy Martin; but whether good or bad, he had an impact on the game…a great one.

Despite what outsiders, like myself, could only see, those who know him speak highly of him. They say how he was caring, generous, and a great humanitarian.

George Steinbrenner took the sport of baseball and the business of the game to a whole new level.

I kind of cringe writing this next line because it can be argued, but some would say that George Steinbrenner’s impact was almost like Babe Ruth’s impact when he helped restore baseball after the “Black Sox” scandal.

He helped bring the greatest franchise back to greatness, and he took the publicity of the game and how it is marketed to unthinkable levels, and one of the main examples of that is the YES network.

Many teams and many owners from all sports have tried to mimic his brilliance. So whether you love him or hate him, whether you are a Yankee fan or a Met fan, you have to acknowledge what he did.

His character was extremely colorful and probably that alone could have impacted the game. I laugh at many of the stories I hear about some of his acts of lunacy because to me, it’s fun for the game, but when I hear those good stories about how generous he was, I’m left in awe.

Since yesterday, you have seen all over the television and heard on the radio so many stories of the man; many good, many not so good.

The questions that will arise right now are what will happen with the Yankees? And, should “The Boss” be in Cooperstown?

As for Bob Sheppard, there’s not too much you can really say because he wasn’t really a public figure. You really only know him as “The Voice of God” (as Reggie Jackson referred to it).

As a Mets fan, I’ve been to many Yankee games and I always remember hearing Bob Sheppard welcoming everyone to Yankee stadium, and calling the players as they walked to the plate. His voice is more familiar to me than the guy who does the Met games. Going to a Yankee game, especially when the old ballpark was open (I never been to the new park), but knowing the history of that park, knowing the history of the team, hearing that voice, it definitely left you in awe of the history.

I was saddened to hear of his passing, and sad to hear of the passing of George Steinbrenner. Baseball lost two great men.

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MLB: Should The New York Mets Trade Mejia?

The Mets have finally sent Jenrry Mejia down to the minors to stretch him out to be a starter. So the question is, are the Mets sending him down to stretch him out to be a starter in their rotation, or to trade him?

Jenrry Mejia is the Mets’ top prospect who has shown dynamite stuff and demonstrated that he can succeed in the major league level. He is only 20 years old and pitches into the mid 90’s. Mejia had a 3.25 ERA in the majors and struck out 17 batters he faced.

Some would feel that trading Mejia would only mortgage the future, but here are some reasons why that isn’t so.

The Mets have been doing well with drafting pitchers: They just drafted Matt Harvey out of UNC, who has been compared to Mike Pelfrey. Scouts are predicting that he will quickly make it to the majors fast.

They also have a pitcher Mark Cohoon in the lower A class where he pitched three consecutive complete game shut outs with a record of 7-1. He also went 9-2 last year with the Cyclones.

The Mets have basically been doing a good job with drafting pitchers.

If you could trade for Lee, but had to either give up Niese or Mejia, it would be smarter to trade Mejia. Niese is doing well right now. He has better stuff and more secondary pitches than Mejia. Mejia needs to develop more secondary pitches if he wants to be successful in the majors, and right now he doesn’t have them.

Jenrry Mejia has a bright future and it’s going to be a sacrifice giving him up, but in order to get a pitcher of Cliff Lee’s caliber you are going to have to make that kind of sacrifice. Now I’m not saying that the Mets should jump the gun here; they are going to have to be smart about how they this, because there is going to be competition for a player like Lee.

The Mets have expressed interest in Fausto Carmona who is having a great year, but he’s being compared to Oliver Perez in having problems with his command. There are questions about whether or not he can be successful on the New York stage.

The Mets don’t need question marks. They have enough of that. They need a definite. It’s going to be a gamble either way, but it’s less of a gamble with Lee—you’re only gambling because you don’t have him locked up beyond this season.

The Mets should not wait too long, despite the success they are getting from Takahashi and Dickey. The bullpen is shakey right now, so the Mets could use them both in the bullpen as well as the rotation. With a rotation of Santana, Pelfrey, Lee, and Niese, you have room to experiment with the fifth spot.

We’ll see what the Mets will do in the next couple weeks as the trade deadline approaches.

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Now the Real Test Comes for the New York Mets

The Mets are the hottest team in baseball right now, finishing their second consecutive sweep on the road. The Mets had been struggling for most of the season on the road, not even being able to win a series before sweeping through Baltimore and Cleveland.

The Mets have been doing everything right, getting great pitching, fielding, and hitting. They have been hustling, getting key hits, and adding on extra runs when needed.

The Mets go in to the Bronx on fire and face a Yankee team that has been struggling, losing their last series to the National League Champs, the Phillies. The Phillies had been struggling as well but seem to have caught fire in the Yankee series.

There’s only two things that can happen in this upcoming subway series: The Yankees can either bounce back, or the Mets can just keep on rolling. It’s definitely going to be a tough series for the Mets because if you think that the defending World Series Champs are just going to lay down while the Mets run all over them, then you’re sadly mistaken.

The Mets have beaten teams who are just not playing well at all. Baltimore and Cleveland do not play fundamentally sound baseball, and they are just two of the worst teams in the American League.

Now the Mets have to face the defending champs, then come home to play the Tigers and then the Twins. People will see if the Mets are indeed the real deal or not. In this season the Mets have been in last place twice and first place once and have been playing like a first place team as of late. It’s been up and down, so as quickly as they caught fire, they can easily go back to being cold.

Met fans have been looking for the confidence in their team all year, and they have gained some—maybe even a lot—with how they are playing now, but the way it’s been for the Mets, there is always some reservation in the hearts of Met fans.

If the Mets at least continue to play consistently and maintain a good level of play, Met fans can live with that. What makes it hard for Met fans are the ups and downs, highs and lows. The Mets give you that hope and can easily snatch it away from you.

There’s something different about this team, though. They are playing with a fire, an edge, and they are realizing their capabilities and potential, which is evident in players like Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan. 

They are finding a key to their success, and that’s an identity.  

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Despite Bay’s Low Power Numbers, His Impact Is Evident

Back when the Mets signed Jason Bay, I wrote an article titled “Bay Brings More Than Bat.” I wrote about his character, the “grit” that he has, the grinder that he is. I wrote about his professionalism, work ethic, how he goes about his business, the type of team mate that he is, and how that will rub off on his fellow Mets.

If you just look at his numbers this season you will be disappointed. If you are a fan who just looks for highlights and doesn’t really appreciate the small things, you could be disappointed in even watching him.

For true fans who really love the game, you have to respect and admire everything about Jason Bay: he handles the pressure so well, his demeanor is always the same, you can’t ever read if he is discouraged or frustrated. The main thing about him though is his hustle. No matter if he hits a fly ball or a little dribbler, he runs hard, always bursting out of the box.

Last year the Mets lacked hustle, they lacked basic fundamentals, and they made a lot of mental mistakes.  This year it’s totally different, and a lot of that has to be credited to Jason Bay.

In the first game against the Indians, SNY’s Gary Cohen spoke about how many infield hits the Mets had out of their twelve hits.  And even in the post game Chris Carlin spoke about it. Why did the Mets have so many infield hits? Besides errors by the Indians, it was because everyone was hustling out of the box and running hard. That one game alone is proof of the impact Jason Bay has had on this team, because last year that wasn’t the case at all.

Now, I’m not saying that he’s the only one who plays like that, because Francoeur plays like that and Rod Barajas is a grinder too. It’s different though when it’s Jason Bay because of his contract.  He is in the spotlight more, and as a result the team looks to him for guidance. For him to play the way he does, it just says a lot about his character.

A lot of the media who cover the Mets are talking about how there is something different about the Mets. Even when the Mets lose it’s different, because they are always fighting.  Everyone is talking about this fight that is driving the Mets. That wasn’t the case last year, and a lot of that was because all of the disappointments they endured with the injuries. They lost their will and spirit.

With Jason Bay, you want to see the numbers go up, but the fact that they are winning, the fact that he plays the way he does, means you can tolerate it for now. I heard someone speak about how Beltran had a slow start with the Mets too, he only hit 15 home-runs his first year. Hopefully we won’t have to wait a whole year, hopefully he gets really hot, but Met fans shouldn’t be too worried because as hard as he works, he will come around.

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Mets Sweep Phillies, Pitchers Don’t Steal Signs

When Charlie Manuel was questioned about his team cheating, he deflected to the Mets, trying to insinuate that the Mets may be cheating because of their record at home as opposed to their record on the road.

So maybe the Mets had that in mind going into this series as they swept the Phillies and kept them from scoring a single run.

With the Phillies not scoring any runs, it’s proof that the Mets can win at home without stealing signs because hitters steal signs, if you’re the Phillies, bullpen coaches steal signs, NOT PITCHERS.

Met pitching shut out the Phillies for three consecutive games, a feat they had not done since 1969 against THE PHILLIES.

The Mets did it with two backup pitchers and their second ace Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled like an ace making key pitches and inducing inning ending double plays on more than one occassion. He also kept the heart of the Phillies National League Champions lineup hitless.

The Phillies are just in a horrible slump and it doesn’t help that Jimmie Rollins is on the DL. The Phillies have been known to have an AL type lineup, but without their depth, it’s an NL lineup because the bottom of their lineup right now is weak.

The Mets have Jose Reyes playing like his old self and it is helping so much because he’s getting on base, he’s stealing, and scoring. If you ever doubted that he was the catalyst of the team, the way he has played as of late, you can’t question it now. He is definitely the key to the lineup.

Now the Mets hope to continue the momentum as they head into Milwaukee, who have not been playing well, sending their other ace Johan Santana to the mound who is looking more and more like himself as the season progresses.

The Mets hope to improve their road record which is 6-14 right now, which is one of the worst road records in all of baseball. There is such a dramatic difference in their home record which is 19-9, the best in baseball.

If the Mets can even play nearly as well on the road as they do at home, it will benefit them dramatically and put them in contention.


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Should Darryl Strawberry and Other Former Players Be Allowed in Mets Clubhouse?

There have been reports of complaints from players on the Mets about comments Darryl Strawberry made about the team.

Apparently last weekend while visiting the clubhouse, Darryl tried to give the team a pep talk to encourage them, but it wasn’t taken well by Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur.

When asked, Francoeur downplayed any problems he had with Strawberry, expressing his approval of having former players like Straw in the clubhouse.

So is it a positive or a negative having former players in the clubhouse? Can it rub players the wrong way? Is it less tolerable in New York because of all the pressure the players are already under and the criticism they constantly receive?

I think there may be two schools of thought here: old school and new school.

The perception of old school thinking is accountability, professionalism, being tough, respecting the game, playing through injuries, defending your team, etc. The perception of new school thinking is play your best to get the most money, individual before team, don’t work hard, don’t hustle, just rely on your “God-given” abilities.

These may not be the most accurate descriptions, and it doesn’t mean that everyone who has played in the past have the “old school” mentality. Similarly, just because a player plays in the present doesn’t mean he has a “new school” mentality. There were players in the past who played for themselves, and there are many players who play today that are not selfish and all about money.

There is a shadow with players and their attitudes, though, and I think the main thing to keep things in line is accountability.

Recently there was the Hanley Ramirez incident with his manager Fredi Gonzalez due to Hanley’s lack of hustle. The Marlins are a young team, and the only real veteran presence on the team is Ramirez himself. Before there was Hanley Ramirez, there was Miguel Cabrera, who hasn’t been known to be the best example.

With no true veteran presence on the Marlins, the organization had Andre Dawson and Tony Perez step in, and they helped put Hanley in his place, as I stated in a previous article.

With the Mets there has been so much criticism pointed at the lack of leadership in the clubhouse. Players have been criticized for being soft or not outspoken enough. If you want to say, there has not been that “leader” on the team. 

Many criticized Carlos Delgado for not being that leader, and he had a reputation of being a negative presence in the clubhouse. 

This season the Mets have had vocal leaders, players who have helped in handling the media, like Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Cora, David Wright, and Rod Barajas. Even Ike Davis is quickly becoming a voice.

Something that keeps a player from being able to really take a stand as a leader and hold teammates accountable is when a player is struggling. The Mets seem hot right now, but there was a time recently when they were in a terrible slump and just couldn’t rely on anyone to step up on the field or off.

When players struggle or slump, there are many ways to go about getting out of it. Some look at video, some practice a little more, whether in the cage or bullpen, and many are even superstitious and do funny things for luck.

The manager or hitting coach or pitching coach may give a pep talk to a player, but I don’t think there is anything better than having a former player who has been in the spotlight, on the big stage, having faced adversity and been successful, coming around the team and imparting wisdom. They can give the insight that others can’t give.

It’s great having Darryl, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Bob Ojeda, Wally Backman, Howard Johnson, and others around.

Whenever I watch SNY and I see Darling and Hernandez doing their color commentating, I always wonder if they approach players when they see something and share it. I think Darling and Hernandez may be the best for that because they are seeing the game from a different perspective and they are seeing games every day, travelling with the players too.

Could having these players around have a negative effect? Of course it can; everything can have a negative effect, when you have too much of something or when the timing is off. You may feel that the organization has failed in many ways in regards to how they run the team, but you can’t deny the good things, and having these former players around is something great.

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Is the Mets’ Next Top Pitcher Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt?

With three-fifths of the Mets starting rotation gone, the rumblings and rumors have begun. Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana have been doing their part, but many feel that they are just not enough for the Mets to contend.

Jerry Manuel has been on and off the hot seat, the lineup has been up and down, and the bullpen has begun to wear down from being overused.

With all these issues, even GM Omar Minaya’s job security is on the line, so it would be wise to do whatever possible to save his job and keep the Mets from another disappointing season.

One move will not automatically change the Mets into contenders, but it will help dramatically.

Roy Oswalt has asked to be traded, and with the Mariners struggling and underachieving, people are wondering when they will throw in the towel and become sellers.

So with Oswalt available and the potential of Cliff Lee becoming available, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of both players.

Despite the Astros having a horrible season and despite his record at 2-6, Roy Oswalt is having a good year. He has a 2.66 ERA with 60 strikeouts.

His overall record is 139-76 with a career ERA of 3.21 and 1,533 strikeouts. He has pitched in the playoffs twice and once in the World Series.

The downside to Oswalt is he will turn 33 in August and has had a history of back issues and is under a big multi-year contract with a no-trade clause.

With Cliff Lee, he pitched great last year with the Phillies, especially in the playoffs and the World Series, shutting down the Yankees in Game One. He’s a former Cy Young winner who is younger than Oswalt. He turns 32 in August.

In Seattle, he hasn’t done as well as he could because of how poorly his team is playing, but if he came back to the National League, it would most likely help his numbers.

The downside with Lee is if you trade for him, it’s going to be a rental, meaning you will only have him for a few months because his contract is up at the end of this year.

A reason why that might not be too much of a risk for the Mets is that it will be an opportunity to get back at the Phillies for trading him to the Mariners in the first place.

If the Mets acquire Roy Oswalt and they fail this year, it wouldn’t be too bad because they will have him under contract next year.

With Lee, they would have to try hard to sign him before the year is through which may be likely because he’s been wanting to sign a long term deal.

He wants to settle down, so if he gets traded he may not want to sign elsewhere because that would mean he would have to go through that whole process of adjusting and moving.

The next question would be, what would the Mets have to give up in order to acquire one of those players?

If the Astros are not willing to eat any of Oswalt’s salary, that could help the Mets with the price of prospects, they wouldn’t have to give up as much.

With Lee, the Mariners gave up a lot to get him, so they are going to want to try their best to get back what they gave up in value.

But their best bet is to get a deal done as soon as possible because if they wait until it’s too close to the trade deadline, they may lose out and wind up like the Twins when they traded Santana.

Being that Lee will just be a rental, that doesn’t help the Mariners with their demands.

Who knows what the Mets are willing to do though? There are rumblings that Omar Minaya is telling executives that he deals with the fact that he doesn’t have the room to take on any salary.

Also with the Mets as of late, they hold on to their prospects and tend to think too much of them.

You would think that if Omar were trying to save his job or if he was really trying to save the season, then he would go out and get both regardless of who they had to give up.

The only one that should be an untouchable is Ike Davis; everyone else should be expendable. When you have the opportunity to have a rotation that consists of Santana, Pelfrey, and possibly Lee/Oswalt or even both, and you have the resources, then you should do whatever you can to make sure that happens.

But these are the Mets; the way things have been going with how the organization is being run, don’t expect too much.

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