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Low Expectations Part II: A Preview of the 2011 New York Mets Starting Rotation

In my previous post, we took an in-depth look at the Mets everyday lineup. It is clear that if everyone remains healthy, the Mets could put up some pretty big numbers with the bat; however, the big question mark that remains with this baseball team is pitching.

Johan Santana will miss the first half of the year after season-ending shoulder surgery last September.

There were reports a few weeks ago that Santana would miss the entire 2011 season, but the lefty disputed those claims, stating that he is on pace to return to the Mets in June at the earliest.

If the Mets had Johan Santana healthy, this would be a pretty good looking rotation, but without him, everyone has to move up in the rotation, and in some cases, will have to match up against the aces of the world like Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum.

It will be a very difficult assignment for the new Mets rotation in 2011, an assignment that many predict will fail badly.

Let’s meet the new rotation, and then take a look at the bullpen in part II of our 2011 Mets preview.

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Joe Torre Considering Managing New York Mets, Is He Really Serious?

Last week, Joe Torre announced that he was stepping down as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and will not seek an extension from L.A., leaving his protege and former Yankee great Don Mattingly the task of managing the Dodgers during the messy Frank and Jaime McCourt divorce proceedings.

Torre, 70, is, without a doubt a Hall of Fame manager. A guy once labeled “Clueless Joe” by the New York Post before the 1996 season became “King Joe” by year’s end, when the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves in the ’96 World Series.

Three more World Series titles later, and after 12 seasons of success, Torre became a New York City icon, joining the likes of DiMaggio, Mantle, Ruth, Jeter, Lawrence Taylor, Tom Seaver, Joe Namath, Bill Parcells, and Mark Messier.

Torre returned to Yankee Stadium Monday night after three long years of disconnect from the Bronx Bombers since his book, “The Yankee Years,” which Brian Cashman insists threw himself and many others in the organization under the bus.

Since Friday, rumors have been swirling that Torre could be ready to make a return to the City he calls home, but, he is not coming back to the Yankees; he could be coming back to New York to manage … the Mets!

HUH? The Mets? The same team that gave us Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo? The same team that thinks Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda, and Josh Thole are the next great prospects coming up in the Mets system? The same Mets who make choking into an art form? Those Mets?

You betcha.

The New York Post was the first to report the rumor on Friday, citing a “close friend” of Torre’s who said that Torre would only consider managing the Mets if he didn’t retire. The report also says that Torre is close with Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, and, if he should become the manager, Torre would want to be paid around $13 million a year, the same salary he is making with the Dodgers.

Yesterday, while being interviewed by Mike Francesa on WFAN, Torre said that he was “curious” about the Mets job, and he hoped “the phone will be ringing,” and said coming to the Mets would be “full circle” for him since he began his managerial career with the Mets in 1977. Torre also confirmed that he has not had any contact with anyone from the Mets organization or any other team so far.

In short, Torre is willing to talk to the Mets, if they are willing to see him.

The question remains though: Is Torre serious about making this move? He is 70 years old. The Mets are a dysfunctional mess from top to bottom. Here are the problems with the Mets that Torre would have to fix:

1. Johan Santana is coming off two straight winters with arm surgery. He was not the same pitcher in 2010 that he was in 2009, and he will only get worse. Clearly, after Santana, the Mets don’t have a legit ace in the rotation.

2. The Mets have no right fielder. Yes, I know everyone loves Angel Pagan, but can he really do this again for another year?

3. Jason Bay is coming off a season ending injury and a dreadful 2010.

4. Carlos Beltran may not be here if the Mets trade him for pitching.

5. Luis Castillo is not going anywhere.

6. Oliver Perez is not going anywhere.

7. Jose Reyes has developed a reputation as brittle, having missed parts of the season.

8. Ruben Tejada is a worse hitter than Luis Castillo.

9. Mariano Rivera is not coming out of that bullpen anytime soon. With Francisco Rodriguez’s legal trouble, the Mets have been rumored to be trading or releasing K-Rod. They will need a closer; Rivera is not leaving the Yankees.

10. Too bad human cloning is illegal, because there are not enough Ike Davises and David Wrights to go around on this team.

11. Did I mention that the Wilpons wouldn’t pay Torre $13 million a year? Sorry. The Wilpons have defined stingy, cheap and plain dumb before. The Mets never paid more than $2 million a year to a manager, i.e. Willie Randolph, and when they do throw around money, it is usually in the wrong place—Pedro Martinez and $53 million come to mind.

Ever since the Bernie Madoff scandal that many believe cost the Mets millions of dollars, the team has been pinching pennies. They made only one big signing last winter, Bay, and refused to trade for a pitcher with a steep contract, i.e. Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt when the Mets were still relevant in June.

I would like to think that the Wilpons would channel late Jets owner Leon Hess, and tell Torre to “buy the groceries” the way Hess asked Parcells to do when he took over the Jets in 1997, and turned them into a force in the AFC for years to come.

However, Jeff Wilpon isn’t Leon Hess.

I like Joe Torre; he is a great manager, and his presence would fire up the Mets fan base. I myself would like to see him in Mets blue, orange, and black. 

But, let’s look at reality.

Torre would serve more as a figurehead for the Mets for the next two years until he calls it quits. This is a job that Torre doesn’t need. His legacy is too great, that he doesn’t need to be remembered as the guy who ended his career leading the Mets into back-to-back third place finishes in the NL East.

I guess Torre has been bitten by the Bill Parcells virus, A.K.A. the inability of a legendary old head coach to let go of the career and sport he loves even at an advanced age. Torre coming to the Mets would be similar to Parcells’ as he would stay with the team for two or three years and then leave it in a lurch.

If Torre is on the fence about retirement, he should retire. We should only remember him as the guy who built his New York legacy winning four World Series titles, the guy with the lasting images of him being carried off by his Yankee players after the Yankees won their fourth and final World Series under his baton.

As for the Mets, this is not the time to think about sticking it to the Yankees. The Mets need to think about building a franchise for the long haul with a younger manager who has the energy to rebuild this franchise in his vision, discipline it and turn the Mets back into a respectable franchise again.

It is ironic in some ways because five years ago, the Mets actually got it right when they hired a Joe Torre disciple in Willie Randolph, who had the energy to erase the bad memories of the Art Howe years, and to lead the Mets to within one swing of the World Series in 2006.

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Replacing Jerry Manuel: 12 Candidates for Mets Managerial Job

The Mets have lost seven of eight on this recent West Coast road trip, and if it weren’t for a bad call at home plate last Sunday against the Giants, the Mets could be in the middle of an eight-game losing streak.

The Mets were a game behind the Braves, and 1.5 GB ahead in the wild card. Now, the Mets find themselves six games behind Atlanta in the east, and three in back of the wild card.

The Mets natives are restless, and once again it is Jerry Manuel’s head that is on the chopping block. If Manuel is fired at the end of the season, here is a list of candidates who could replace him.

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Forget Cliff Lee: Mets Should Trade for Arizona’s Dan Haren

For the past two weeks we have heard all the speculation: Should the Mets trade for Cliff Lee, even as a rental player? It’s hard to pass up, considering Lee’s recent body of work the last two-and-a-half years.

In 2008 he went 22-3 with the Cleveland Indians, and last season he helped spearhead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series, including shutting out the Yankees in Game One of the Fall Classic.

This year, now with Seattle, Lee is 7-3 with a strikeout-to-walk statistic of 76-4; that stat is an 18-1 K-to-BB ratio, the best in the majors. Only Roy Halladay comes close with a 6-1 K-to-BB ratio.

Anyone who wouldn’t want Lee on their team down the stretch must be crazy, and adding him to a rotation consisting of Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, and R.A. Dickey will almost certainly move the Mets to October.

However, there is one problem: At what cost would the Mets be willing to do it? Would they be willing to risk part of their future in prospects, i.e. Jenrry Mejia, Josh Thole, or Dillon Gee, in order to sign a guy who has stated that he wants to be a free agent after the season and wants to be paid at least $150 million at age 32?

Lee will not sign a contract in August or September. He won’t stay with the Mets or any team that acquires him. He wants to hear offers, and I’ll wager he wants to hear from the other New York team, the one with an interlocking N.Y. on their hats, before deciding.

Even if he arrived and fell in love with New York, that doesn’t mean he has to fall in love with the Mets; he could stay in the Big Apple as a Yankee. Is that worth trading away top prospects?

I have heard fans call WFAN to suggest that the Mets keep their prospects and trade Carlos Beltran, or trade Beltran and prospects to Seattle to get Lee. That would be stupid.

For one, Seattle doesn’t want a centerfielder past his prime; and two, the Mets would cripple themselves if they should ever lose a healthy Beltran, who is arguably the best centerfielder in the game for a guy who doesn’t want to call Queens home.

The Mets were down this road before, in 2000, when they acquired Mike Hampton in December 1999. He was coming off a 22-win season in Houston and wanted desperately to be a free agent. Even though the Mets went to the World Series with Hampton in 2000, it was not good enough for him, so he took the money and ran to Colorado, and then Atlanta.

Sure, another option like Roy Oswalt is out there as well, but Oswalt is 33, pushing 34 next season. His numbers have been on the decline the last two years. He was 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA last year and 5-10 with a 3.55 ERA this year. In addition, there have always been doubts about his desire to play anywhere but in the Midwest.

If the Mets are serious about letting go of Mejia, Thole, Gee, and/or Fernando Martinez, they are thinking right, but they need to go down the Pacific Coast to Arizona to find their “solid No. 2 starter” there instead … in Dan Haren.

Why Haren as a second option?

For starters, other second-tier options like Carlos Zambrano and Fausto Carmona would be basically “projects.” Zambrano, with his bizarre temper tantrums, would need to show the Mets that he can behave and pitch well in New York. He couldn’t do that in Chicago, and his contract is more expensive than Oliver Perez’s.

Carmona, who is having a good year, has yet to truly return to the guy he was who won 19 games in 2007. There have been problems with his mechanics over the last two years, and it would be more important for Dan Warthen and company to get his head straight if they should acquire him.

On the other hand, Haren is as solid they come. He is only 29 years old, in the prime of his career. Look beyond the win-loss record; Haren is 7-6 with a 4.56 ERA. He is on a last place team that plays in a building that is a bandbox in every sense of the word. Rumors are the Phillies and Cardinals want to get him — two teams that have haunted the Mets in recent years.

Haren has 115 strikeouts and 22 walks this year. That is as substantive as Lee’s K-BB numbers.

Just last season, Haren was 14-10 with a 3.14 ERA, a WHIP of 1.00, and a .224 opponents batting average.

To make this trade even better, Haren is signed with the D’Backs through 2012 with a club option for 2013. He will be 33 years old at the end of that contract. Last year he signed a four-year, $44.75 million deal with the Diamondbacks.

Haren’s deal is worth a guaranteed $41.25 million through 2012 and includes a $15.5 million club option for 2013, with a $3.5 million buyout. That’s a steep average of $11 million per year, but the Mets can afford it; they have said themselves that they are willing to add payroll. 

The Mets will have to send Mejia, Thole, and Martinez to get him. They should also throw in John Maine, who is a starting pitcher without a huge contract. If they have to get a third team involved or throw in another pitching prospect like Dillon Gee, they should do it.

Acquiring Haren will help the Mets win in 2010 and beyond. Sometimes long-term benefits are better than short-term Band-Aids.

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Subway Series: New York Mets Will Make a Statement in the Bronx

Who are the 2010 New York Mets?

We are going to get a very good idea this weekend, when the surging Mets, with their current six-game road winning streak, come roaring back to New York on their charter from Cleveland. They will take on the Yankees in the Bronx for three big Father’s Day weekend games in the final installment of the 2010 Subway Series.

When the Mets took two of three from the Yankees at CitiField, it was a nice surprise. In a season that many expected, and even still expect, to crumble into failure at a moment’s notice, beating the Yankees and sweeping the Phillies served some hope for Mets fans. But another failed road trip in Milwaukee and San Diego left doubt in the fans’ minds once again that this team was nothing more than a .500 team.

For two-plus months, the Mets have played the dual roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quite convincingly. One week, they look like World Series contendersthe next, they look worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates.

That is the life of the New York Mets. Any Yankee fan reading this should look over and count the gray hairs on his Mets fan friend’s head.

Once again, the Mets look unstoppable, only this time it has come on the road. (FINALLY!) The Mets swept away the Orioles and the Indians this week to start the trip at 6-0, and improve their once-dismal road record to 14-18.

Here are some keys as to why the Mets are rolling right now:

1) David Wright has been off-the-wall amazin’ with the bat. He has risen his average to .291 with 12 homers and (a National League-best) 53 RBI. In fact, Wright is making a case for N.L. MVP. He is hitting .500 (21/42) with four homers and 18 RBI this month. This is the best Wright has been with the bat in well over a year.

2) Ike Davis continues to produce. He has protected Wright in the five-hole, and even though he hasn’t produced a lot of RBI’s, he seems to be a lock for at least two hits every night.

3) Since replacing the dreadful John Maine and the pathetic Oliver Perez, R.A. Dickey and Hishanori Takahasi have been a revelation. The Mets are a combined 10-2 in games started by either pitcher, and both have staked a claim to the fifth slot in the rotation.

4) Jose ReyesHeeeeeeee’s baaaaaack! He may not be the Reyes that hit 19 homers, 19 triples and stole 70 bases in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but Reyes has been consistent at the top of the order lately. He is on a current eight-game hitting streak, and he is back to pacing the Mets offense.

5) Angel Pagan has surprised critics all year long, and he is doing well as the Mets No. two hitter. Pagan has been a consistent .290 batter all season and has four homers, 29 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. He has done everything the Mets have asked since he replaced Carlos Beltran as the starting center fielder, and he is making it hard for the Mets to sit him once Beltran returns next month.

6) Young aces Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey have been solid. Pelfrey has done it all year long. At 9-1, he is a lock to make the All Star team for the N.L. Without question, he has been the Mets’ staff ace, especially with Johan Santana struggling this year.

Niese has picked it up since coming back from the disabled list. He is 2-0 in his last two starts, highlighted by a one-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Niese looks fluid and comfortable on the mound, something that will be key to any future success for the 23-year-old. One thing I have noticed about Niese is that he has a gritty edge to him on the mound, which is a great trait for a young lefty to have.

If the 2010 Mets have an identity this year, it is this: a young, gritty, cohesive unit whose members believe in themselves and every other person in the locker room. They don’t care about their recent history or what people think of them. They believe they can wincredit Jerry Manuel for instilling that confidence in them, already!

However, consistency is the key. Many will write this morning, and this weekend, that the Mets took advantage of two terrible teams in the Indians and Orioles. True. But taking two of three from the Yankees in Yankee Stadium will go a long way to making the Mets fans really believe in this franchise.

It won’t be easy. The Yankees are at home in their hitter-friendly ballpark. The three pitchers the Mets send to the mound this weekend (Takahasi, Pelfrey, and Santana) all pitched against the Yankees three weeks ago. Smart hitters like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mark Teixeira certainly took some good mental notes about those three since then.

C.C. Sabathia is hard to beat oncehe is even harder to beat twice. Phil Hughes won’t make the same mistakes he made three weeks ago. He’s 9-1 for a reason. Mariano Rivera is the best closer on the planet. These guys are, after all, the defending World Champions.

If the Mets win the series, they will make a BIG statement; we can actually begin to take them seriously.

If the Mets lose, and they look as listless and awful as they have at times this year, they will make another BIG statement: that they are not ready to play with the big boys.

So is the existence of team Jekyll and Hyde.

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Simply the Best: Predicting the A.L. All-Star Pitchers

Last week I talked about the biggest snubs that are not getting voted to this year’s All-Star Game. Now I want to turn my attention to pitching.

Pitching is back in a big way, as we have seen three no-hitters, two perfect games, and one coulda, shoulda, woulda perfect game by Armando Galarraga. As the All-Star Game approaches, both Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will have to make some big decisions about who should represent the A.L. and N.L. on the mound.

In Part I of this slideshow, I will begin with the A.L. If I were the A.L. manager, and I only had 12 pitching spots to fill on my roster, these are the guys I would take to the popular exhibition game.

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Twelve MLB Players Getting Cheated By All-Star Voting

The 2010 All Star game is more than a month away, and already results are pouring in as too whom will start in this year’s mid-summer classic.

For years the game has been one of constant debate, whether it be roster sizes, tied games, home field advantage in the World Series, or even the public’s right to vote — the All Star game is better known for the controversy around it, than the actual game itself.

Yet, this year as the ballots come in, it is clear that voting needs to be taken out of the hands of the common fans, and put in the hands of professional sports writers or the players union. Here is a list of a dozen players having incredible seasons who are not even close to getting a vote to start in the All Star game.

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Will The Real 2010 New York Mets Please Stand Up



No. Just Same Ole Mets.

Just when you thought the Mets were going to pull themselves out of the cellar, they prove us wrong once again. The 2010 Mets are the greatest mirage in baseball. One minute they look like world beaters, the next like chumps.

Let me ask Mets nation: Is Jerry Manuel back on the hot seat?

The New York Mets were hotter than a fire cracker after an inspiring three game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies—a 5-1 home stand that saw them beat both Philadelphia and the New York Yankees.

Not only was this a sweep of their hated divisional rival, it was the first time since September of 1969 that the Mets shut a team out in all three games of a series. That victim back in the summer of ’69 … the Phillies.

Once again this season, it appeared that the Mets turned their season around in just a weeks time. Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana were brilliant as usual. In two starts against the Yankees and Phillies, Pelfrey gave up only one run in 13 innings of work. Santana was his brilliant self against the Bombers—we have come to expect this from those two.

But shutouts from R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahahsi? Who would have thunk it?

The Mets lineup finally came to the party. Jose Reyes and Jason Bay who were practically invisible for the first month and a half have now begun to hit. Before the Yankees series, Reyes was hitting a putrid .216. Over the six-game home stand, he hit .522 with six runs scored, a homer and five RBI.

Bay was hitting a consistent .270 before this past homestand, but he had yet to produce any runs. He has hit two homers and drove in six in the Phillies/Yankees series, and has raised his average to a team-leading .297.

Now after dropping the first two games to the Milwaukee Brewers in crushing fashion on the road, the Mets deficit to catch Philadelphia is back up to four, after they had cut it down to just two small games on Thursday night.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, one of the benchmarks in a long baseball season to assess where one’s team is, and right now the Mets are average at best: 25-25. They are not totally out of the playoff picture, yet not even close to it either.

In a National League where the Cardinals 30-20 record is the best, with everyone else hovering around .500, it gives Met fans reason to hope and mope. The Mets have the talent to catch Philly for the NL East, they the talent to catch Atlanta, Cincinnati, or San Diego for the wild card, but this team is just too inconsistent to trust.

Look at the numbers: the Mets are 6-16 on the road this year, 3-12 in their last 15 road games. They are on the precipice of getting swept by the lowly Brewers, and head to San Diego’s spacious pitchers haven, which has been a house of horrors for the Mets in recent years past.

So where do the Mets go now? Even if they split the next four games of this trip before returning to face Florida, the Mets will be 27-27. Who is to blame for this new road trip meltdown? Jerry Manuel? Maybe, you could argue that he should have left Johan Santana in the ninth inning in Milwaukee, who knows?

The fact remains, that long term, the Mets have to decide who they are, and assess how far they can go. Assuming the likes of Dickey and Takahasi will pitch this well come June, July and August is asking way too much, especially from two pitchers who have never proven such at the major league level. Just look at the implosion of Fernando Nieve as an example of the Mets stretching fringe Major Leaguers a bit too far.

Eventually, Dickey and Takahasi will get hit pretty hard, then the Mets are back in the same pickle, without legitimate third, fourth, and fifth starters in their rotation. Going back to John Maine, and Oliver Perez is not an option. The Mets don’t have enough pitching to remain competitive over the long term.

Omar Minaya refused to fix the problem in the offseason, and now he has to live with the consequences.

As for the lineup, everyone has pretty much contributed in some fashion, with the exception of Jeff Francoeur, but the Mets need another big bat to protect David Wright and Jason Bay. That big bat is named Carlos Beltran, and after his latest set back, who knows if we will ever see number 15 in center field this season.

Trades are about all the Mets can hope for. Roy Oswalt is out there. Cliff Lee is out there too. Kevin Millwood is a reliable arm as well. However, to get one of those guys the Mets have to do one thing—win and win every day.

Today’s finale against Milwaukee and this weeks’ Memorial Day trip to San Diego is the Mets 2010 season; sad though, because after the next home stand we will likely be talking about how the Mets are back in the thick of the playoff race once again.

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Sayƍnara Omar! Jeff Wilpon’s First Move Should Be To Axe Mets GM Minaya

Two years ago, Mets GM Omar Minaya went to Anaheim California to deliver Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson a pink slip. Randolph deserved better; if the Mets wanted to fire him, they should have done it that Sunday after the Mets split a double-header with the Texas Rangers at Shea Stadium.

Plus, Randolph brought the Mets out of the doldrums of the Art Howe years, taking the Mets to within one inning of the 2006 World Series.

Two years later, we see little difference in the work of the Minaya/Manuel administration.

In fact, times have gotten worse, not better.

If Omar’s outburst directed at Adam Ruben didn’t raise red flags, if Omar’s rather inactive offseason didn’t raise a red flag, than a 19-20 club that is tied for last in the NL East should be the cherry on top.

One would think.

Blame Jerry Manuel for batting Jose Reyes third. Blame Jerry Manuel for sticking with Oliver Perez and John Maine for far too long. You can blame Manuel for just about anything, but one thing you can’t blame him for is the fact that he has found ways to get some fight out of this undermanned team, a team he never put together.

In fact, like the photo above, Minaya has been virtually unseen all season. In fact I can’t remember him doing a public interview since that infamous November afternoon when he appeared on Mike’d Up with Dave Howard and Wilpon at his flank.

Minaya has failed. He thought he found gold when he acquired John Maine and Oliver Perez in 2006. Both pitched well that year, but as time has worn on it was fools gold! We have found out why the Orioles and Pirates were so willing to let those two go.

He thought he had enough pitching for the 2010 season, so he refused to even think about signing Jon Garland or Randy Wolf on the cheap. Both Garland (4-2, 1.88 ERA) and Wolf (3-3, 4.66 ERA) are pitching well for the Padres and Brewers respectively. And dare I say, Omar and the Wilpon’s refused to throw some $80 million at John Lackey, a bull dog who would have fit nicely behind Johan Santana? Lackey is 4-2 with a 4.86 ERA for the dreadful Boston Red Sox.

But these recent failures are not the only Minaya mistakes. Luis Castillo and his lackluster style of play, dropped pop ups and mediocre hitting was enough for Minaya to give him a four-year contract worth $6.25 million per year!! And there was a better second baseman on the market at the time of the deal in Orlando Hudson, who has stated in the past he wanted to be a Met.

Pedro Martinez? That worked out…for one season. The remaining three years with Pedro were marred by injuries and a Pedro who was a shell of his former self. That’s the way to spend $53 million isn’t it?

Even the minor league system is still thin. Yes, there are some promising prospects: Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Jenrry Mejia, Ruben Tejada, and Wilmer Flores, but Fernando Martinez has lost value due to injuries, and Bobby Parnell became a bust faster than you can say “go.” Three of these top prospects are already in the majors, which is a plus, but more has to be on the way if the Mets want to build a successful franchise for years to come—the development isn’t there.

Being a GM is not easy. One day you look like a genius, the next, a buffoon.

Nobody questioned Minaya in 2005 when he brought in Martinez and Carlos Beltran, and followed that up with Billy Wagner, Paul LoDuca, and Carlos Delgado in 2006. He was regarded as the genius, the savior, the man who knew more than Steve Phillips. Yet, the opposite has been proven true ever since.

Minaya should not be allowed to survive another manager; he must go, and go now.

John Ricco, the assistant GM, is not the answer; the last time the Mets promoted from within Jim Duquette proved to be more of a novice than Phillips. For the stench to completely abate, the Mets would have to blow every last one out of that office.

J.P. Ricciardi, formally of the Blue Jays, and Kevin Towers, formally of the Padres, are out there waiting for another top GM job.

Ricciardi was born in Massachusetts; he knows what the atmosphere of baseball in the North East is all about, having worked in the AL East. He played in the Mets’ minor league system, before joining revered A’s GM Billy Beane in Oakland as his assistant.

Ricciardi went to Toronto in 2002 and built a feisty team with the likes of Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind. They could never really compete in the AL East because of the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox, and never really had much revenue to stay competitive over the long haul. Yet, if Ricciardi had the payroll like the Mets, imagine what he could do?

Want another reason to think about Ricciardi with the Mets…he works on Baseball Tonight on ESPN, and shares the desk with some guy named Bobby Valentine.

Towers built a World Series contender in San Diego in 1998. His Padres had a lot of bumpy years ever since, a lot of that due to low revenue and time for its prospects to develop; Towers got the axe after another bad season in 2009.

Towers spent 14 years in San Diego, and is widely considered a guy with an eye for young talent, and an overall good guy. He found a star in Adrian Gonzalez and managed to keep him San Diego, in spite of constant trade rumors. Kevin Kouzmanoff, who leads the Oakland A’s in RBI this season, was a Towers draft pick in San Diego. Towers even got a steal when he acquired reliever Heath Bell from the Mets to be his closer.

Currently Towers is a scout in the Yankees orgainization—if an opportunity knocks to run a wealthier franchise like the Mets, Towers may jump at it.

So, whatever that 90 minute meeting was really about between the Mets brain trust, the next time it happens, Wilpon must make sure that Minaya packs up shop, before any Met coach ever does.

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Then There Were 10: Replacing New York Mets’ Maine & Perez

Has anyone seen Omar Minaya lately? He has been pretty quiet this season — hasn’t made too many public appearances and doesn’t appear on talk radio anymore.

Well, now would be a good time for Omar to stick his head out of his office and tell us something — admit that his three plus year experiment with John Maine and Oliver Perez is a total flop and it is time for the Mets to go in a different direction.

Both pitchers have been just awful this season. Perez has been a disaster all year, 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA and more walks than strikeouts: 28-27. Perez wouldn’t accept a demotion to triple – A, meaning he will become a garbage time reliever out of the bullpen.

Meanwhile, Maine has been equally bad. On Saturday, Maine couldn’t get out of the first inning when he walked four out of five batters and put the Mets in an insurmountable 3-0 hole. Maine has an ERA over six.

The Mets are planning on using either Hisonori Takahasi or R.A. Dickey to replace Perez, but that probably won’t be enough, especially if the Mets (18-19) have any plans of contending this summer.

No matter how good nor how bad the Mets play from here to the deadline, changes have to made on the field and in the rotation. The Mets have to consider acquiring some starting pitching that will make them a competitive franchise for the rest of this season, and in the next few years to come.

Let’s take a look at Perez’s replacements, as well as possible pitchers the Mets should consider trading for to make themselves relevant over the long term.

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