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David Wright: Mets Want Third Baseman To Break the Santa Curse for 2011

The Mets have had more than their fair share of ridicule inside and outside of New York.  As fans, we should hope that 2011 should be the year that the organization and fan base gain some respect, instead of pity from the baseball and sports worlds.

GM Sandy Alderson seems to be a far cry from Omar Minaya in his media dealings and level headed approach to Free Agents. Alderson knows that he will be initially judged by the New York media and fans for how he approaches the Free Agent signings and trade offers that will be made in the next several months.

Terry Collins will be a change from Jerry Manuel as far as temperament and style, he will demand that his players hustle and play the game the right way, fundamentals will be stressed and accountability will be made to be a part of every player’s day.

Within New York, the Mets players spend many hours each season volunteering their time and efforts to making children who would not otherwise have a chance for some of the better things in life to have at least a few hours of joy.

This coming Tuesday the Mets will host their annual holiday party at Citi Field along with a Meet and Greet and Q & A session with some media personalities and bloggers.

The time spent with the children will be as valued by the players as it will be for the children and their families this holiday season.

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Terry Collins: What Will He Enforce to the New York Mets in 2011?

After having failing seasons the last two years following the epic late-season collapses of 2007 and 2008, there is no question that 2011 has to get off to a great start for the New York Mets.

More than individual performance, this team has to show that they are serious contenders and not in perpetual competition with the Washington Nationals for last place in the NL East.

Sandy Alderson will be very busy the next two months composing a roster with very little flexibility in payroll, as there is about $130 million tied up in contracts, due to Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran and a few others.

Johan Santana may not be able to pitch until mid season, so acquiring a pitcher may take the resources needed in order to secure a pitching rotation that will be successful.

Terry Collins will work extremely hard to show his team that he is the leader and enforcer. He needs to get across that the game will be played his way and if they don’t like it, then they will be disciplined or shown the exit door. Since the NLCS in 2006, Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel have not had success in being effective on-field managers, making moves that have been extremely questionable. 

This likely contributed to more losses than the players on the field could have had control over. They were setting their team up to lose. That is unacceptable, especially in NYC. 

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Carlos Beltran: Will He Be Healthy and Productive for New York Mets in 2011?

Carlos Beltran has certainly endured his fair share of ups and downs as a MLB player, but it is getting to the point where he needs to decide if he can be an everyday center fielder or is more suited to be a DH in the American League.

Many Mets fans have one image of Beltran permanently ingrained in their memory banks: the called third strike in the 2006 NLCS that brought their postseason chances to a grinding halt.  Adam Wainwright was the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who put him in that situation. He made the pitch that he needed to make and was better prepared—that is what it came down to in the end.

Last winter, Beltran made headline news when it was determined that he needed another knee surgery after missing most of the 2009 season with bruises or hot spots in his right knee.  Mets doctors wanted him to wait for another opinion, but Beltran and his agent, Scott Boras, decided to go through with the arthroscopic surgery without waiting for consent.

Angel Pagan did a more than admirable job in center field during the first half of the season, so it is possible that he may be an attractive candidate to be traded this winter.  I do not think that Pagan should be dealt, unless it’s for a proven center fielder in the event that Beltran is not ready to be an everyday player.

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Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes and David Wright: Do the Mets Train With the Enemy?

The players in Major League Baseball are no doubt their own fraternity that goes beyond what most fans can comprehend, but where does fraternity end and distraction start?

Many players do not spend more than a few years with any given team so changes in teams and bonding with new teammates is a big part of being a professional baseball player. 

Team loyalty has given way to free-agent market exploration for the big contract that will keep a player and his family secure for several years.

Players from the same country, county, city or neighborhood in the US or in Latin America can end up on different teams but the bond will still be there on and off the field.  Baseball is a game and it is supposed to be fun.  The verbal interaction between players at home plate and on the base paths is a part of the game.

Their lifestyle of travelling, training and competition is what bonds them together, no matter what country they are from, and winning the game is the objective, regardless of any language barrier that may occur within a team.  Players are American, Latin and Asian descent so many teams are a melting pot of players and cultures. 

After the season ends, players return to their home countries or states and spend quality time with their family and long lost buddies.  More importantly, time is needed for their bodies and minds to heal from the long stretch of playing baseball that starts with Spring Training in late February..

A big part of the winter months is spent conditioning and training to ensure that they are fully prepared for the next season.

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Has Luis Castillo Played His Last Game For New York Mets? Who Will Play Second?

The Mets have a lot of decisions to make this fall and winter, including GM, Manager, Coaching Staff and roster changes.

One of the most controversial positions for the last few years has been second base. Luis Castillo started 2010 as the everyday second baseman, but a heel injury sidelined him for most of the first half. 

After the All-Star Break, Castillo returned but was still hampered by foot pain, which made him ineffective and tentative. He eventually lost everyday status to Ruben Tejada. 

Obviously, this did not go over well with Castillo as he knew that his future on the Mets was in jeopardy.  He is owed approximately $12 million in 2011, which the Mets may decide to swallow in order to make a deal for a new second baseman.

Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy may both be given the chance to audition for the job in spring training, or a trade involving either Dan Uggla or Orlando Hudson may make the competition even fiercer this spring.

Murphy was in line to begin preparation for the role of second baseman last year before he had a knee injury in spring training.  He would have returned to the team early in the season, but a takeout side in a rehab game ended his season before it had a chance to begin, so he is playing in winter ball and made his debut last night.

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Los Mets: Are They a Distant Memory Or Will Omar Minaya’s Legacy Live On?

Omar Minaya spent a great deal of time and energy within the Latino community, recruiting and nurturing some of the most talented players in baseball.

Ruben Tejada, Fernando Martinez, Luis Hernandez, Joaquin Arias and Jenrry Mejia were all contributors to the Mets 2010 season.

Arias arrived via trade in the deal that sent Jeff Francoeur to the Texas Rangers, but the others are Mets farm system products and will likely be part of the 2011 team if they are not packaged for an attractive trade offer.

Several times a season at home in Citi Field, the Mets wear “Los Mets” uniforms and Latino Fiesta nights where player introductions and announcements are done in Spanish.  Obviously, this has gone over well with the Latino community and fanbase both in New York and wherever the team plays where Latino population is fairly high, be it Miami, Florida or Los Angeles, California. 

 Last June the Mets and Marlins played three games in San Juan Puerto Rico, which was beneficial for the players from Puerto Rico as their families were able to attend the games.

 While New York is a melting pot which should be embraced, I cannot help but wonder what the new GM has in mind as far as team identity.

It is very possible that Omar Minaya may return to the Mets in some capacity once the new GM is in place and decisions are being made, and if he does return, Minaya will likely ensure that the Latino traditions that he has worked diligently on will continue.

After the collapse of 2007, many people have said “blow up this team and start over.” Fair enough, but how far will  the new management go to make sure that the collapse of 2007 and the embarrassments of 2008, 2009 and 2010 are things of the past?

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Mets: Will The New GM Break Up The Core For 2011 Season ?

The Mets have begun their offseason transactions by relieving Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel of their duties.  This came as no surprise to fans as Manuel’s contract expired once the season ended, and Minaya still had not proven himself to be a GM that will make the moves necessary.

Jeff Wilpon has said on a few occasions in the last few days that the new GM will have complete control over placing the manager, who in turn will have a say in the coaches and players who will be on the roster this spring.

Every opportunity should and will be explored to ensure that the Mets will be competitive in 2011 and beyond, and this needs to start with the new GM.

Omar Minaya has drawn a lot of ire for not making moves either during the off season or at the mid-year trade deadline the last two years in July.

While it is easy for fans to think that next year will be different with the same people, you realistically can’t expect the same results.

The change in GM and management should help with the current players even if no free agents are acquired for budget reasons.


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2010 New York Mets Season: Titanic Has Sunk, Who is Surviving This Week?

The New York Mets finish their season tomorrow, which is a relief for the fans who have suffered with this team the whole season, one injury and non-baseball headline after another has ravaged this team.

While there is plenty of blame to go around, most of it falls on the players who did not execute or consistently play hard or smart fundamental baseball.  Many changes are expected to be made to the roster and very few people are guaranteed jobs entering next season.

Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya will likely be relieved of their duties early this week, Manuel most likely out side the organization and Minaya should get re-assigned the Mets organization but a new GM and Manager will almost definitely be taking over in 2011.

Changes to the coaching staff are also inevitable as both the pitching and hitting were large reasons why the team failed the way that it did, but honestly, the hitting was more to blame for its inconsistencies.  Having a healthy team where a regular lineup can be configured would have helped, but again injuries were the problem.

Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo returned to the lineup after the All-Star break and Jason Bay suffered a concussion ten days into the second half.  If all three had been in the lineup together for more than a week the team would likely have benefited more from their contributions.  Oliver Perez and John Maine were out of the picture early, but one of the main positives that arose from that was the emergence of RA Dickey.

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David Wright: Trade Bait or Leader of New York Mets for Years To Come?

The Mets need to make wholesale changes this winter and many new faces are expected in Queens for the 2011 season. Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel will likely not return and the coaching staff and several players will be finding new employment.

As the de-facto captain of the Mets, David Wright is always front and foremost in fans minds as the culprit of what is wrong with this team and organization.

Fans expect him to be Albert Pujols and carry his teammates on his back for the entire year and also to speak to the media while pointing the finger at himself first for “choking” in late game situations or throwing his manager and teammates under the bus.

None of this is realistic, Wright is a terrific player who is out there every game no matter what and takes full responsibility for his role in any loss while trying to put a positive spin on what went right during the game (starting pitcher, a good defensive play, etc).

As the face of the franchise and “Captain”, most likely Wright will not be traded this winter, much to the displeasure of some fans, they feel that from the top down, complete cleansing of this team is what is needed, and a superstar can come in and be the new face of the franchise and take their media script directly from the fans.

The fact that Wright is loyal to Mets management is no doubt lost on anyone, but fans do not see that as a good thing, they only see the high strikeout numbers and errant throws. Loyalty and toughness seems to have no place in fan’s hearts, they only want bragging rights against the Phillies and Yankees.

In order to acquire quality players, the Mets know they will need to give up quality prospects and players and teams may demand that an All Star caliber 3rd baseman be put on the table as part of a trade deal.

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Johan Santana: Another Season, Another Surgery—Mets Need a Durable Ace

The New York Mets have announced that Johan Santana will need surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder and that his season is done. Such has been his life with the Mets.

Santana arrived in the winter of 2008 from the Minnesota Twins and was lauded as the ace that would bring the Mets to respectability after the epic collapse of the 2007 season.

At the end of the 2008 season, Santana needed to undergo knee surgery. Last year he had bone chips removed from his elbow, and now he needs shoulder surgery.

While he has pitched well, he has not lived up to the ace label except for about five to 10 games per season. He has been victimized by the Mets offense, which struggles to score runs for him, but this is team-wide; no Mets pitcher has received ample run support on many of their outings.

Late-game bullpen meltdowns have also contributed to a less than stellar record, but again, that has been the case for just about every Mets pitcher.

The Mets have now had four extremely disappointing seasons, and things will likely take a drastic turn this fall and winter, where no manager, coach, or player will feel completely safe. That is part of the business side of baseball.

It’s simple—WIN. If that is not the bottom line, changes will be made until the combination is found that will bring at least postseason play to Queens.

Injuries are no doubt part of the game, but to have three consecutive seasons end with news of impending surgery is a red flag, and the Mets need to address that this winter.

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