Tag: Alex Cora

For New York Mets, Change of Seasons Means Change in Front Office

Every spring, it is the same scenario. As the leaves bud into a beautiful, green bloom and thoughts of spring renew hopes of glory, there comes a revitalization of interest from each fan.

If hope springs eternal, then for the New York Mets, autumn is where those hopes die.

Throughout the scorching summer months that follow the resurgence of life in spring, the team keeps their chances alive and their fans’ interest piqued. However, as the leaves wither away into a cold, shriveled shell of their former selves, they begin to gracefully fall to the ground.

So with the change of the season, the visions of grandeur change into delusions as the team also withers away into irrelevancy.

As players begin to fall one by one, some in not-so-elegant fashion and others float into another team’s backyard, one thing is clear: The chances grow more dim by the hour. As the seasons begin to change, so the baseball season has already done so; both have changed into an icy, cold and still demise. The eerie quiet of winter will be upon us much sooner than we anticipate.

Just as the change in seasons is inevitable, it is equally so for the Mets.

There will be change. This current management cannot withstand the awesome weight of multiple collapses and multimillion dollar busts much longer before it buckles under the enormous pressure. The one carrying the brunt of the weight is GM Omar Minaya.

How much longer can he sustain the scrutiny and weight of the future on his shoulders?

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The New York Mets’ ‘He’s Great, but No Bat’ Debate

We have all heard the old adage “defense wins championships”. This may or may not be true. That depends on who you ask. I could run the numbers of any sport and present an argument that would hold water against anyone to back that up. But the truth is, offense puts people in the seats.

It really doesn’t matter what sport you mention. People want to see scoring. They also want to see defense, but not at the risk of neglecting offense. The New York Mets have pondered this very question for several years. I recall in the mid to late 90’s and early this decade, the Mets had a player that sparked the debate, Rey Ordonez.

He was a three-time gold glove winner at shortstop for the Mets. During his time in Queens, he never hit for a higher batting average than the .257 in his rookie season. His most explosive home run season was in 2001 when he hit three. He never was a base stealer either. His highest total there was 11 in ’97.

Yet, everyone wanted him in the lineup for his glove. When his defensive skills started failing him, he was chased out of New York. While here, the debate raged on, anemic offense and solid defense or potentially solid offense and mediocre at very best defense. I bring Ordonez up because, these days the same debate is brewing at second base.

Just about everyone hates Luis Castillo. In fact, Carlos Mencia could make that into a WB show to rival Everybody Hates Chris. It is certainly a hot topic these days. What to do with Luis? Trade him? Cut him? Play him? Bench him? His range and defensive skills have been under question for quite a while now.

The intense scrutiny of which has caused even Jerry Manuel to play rookie Ruben Tejada in his place. Tejada is the quintessential example of poor offensive skills that wields a great glove. He is batting .191 as of the time of this article. By the time it is published, that may plummet even further.

In comparison, Castillo was obtained for offense and experience. Now, his glove has become such a detriment, that he is riding the bench with his massive contract. However, his current .245 batting average does not make it worth keeping him in the lineup when his glove is so suspect. But when looking at his career, he does have greater offensive potential than Tejada.

They released Alex Cora, who was just the same mold as Tejada, in that he can’t hit but has a good glove. So it is down to two players as options. It is sad that this is the state of the team. They are forced to decide between an old player that is hitting .245, or a young player that is hitting .191 and it is disheartening as a fan.

The only reason Castillo is still in the discussion is due to his contract. He is currently making $6.25M this season. That’s too much money to have on the bench or in the minors. If he was making $1M or $2M, then there would not be a debate. He would have been cut long ago. That would have made financial room for the team to sign or trade for a better option at the position.

So once again, it comes down to the front office. The team is in this bind because they failed to have the foresight to not trade for Castillo in ’07. He was getting older then and he is decrepit and ancient now. They traded for him when he was declining. That lack of vision has crippled them this season and for the next few to come.

In other words, the team is in this position to have to choose bad or worse because they put themselves in that position. The immediate future is not so bright with these options. Though Tejada is young, he really does not seem to have figured out how to hit at the major league level.

Finances being what they are, however, these are the options for the next year or more. So the debate will rage on, but with these players struggling more and more at the plate, the lack of offense will have to force the Mets‘ hand to make some type of move for someone in the off season.

Though the experts all say they will not be able to spend, empty seats will make them at some point. After all, if defense wins championships and offense fills the stands, then the fans will eventually dictate the direction of this team.

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Alex Cora: More Than Just a Bench Player

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The New York Mets released Alex Cora on Saturday, putting an end to Cora’s two-year stint here in New York. It wasn’t a easy move by the front office, but it made sense. Cora is batting just .209 and his vesting option for 2011 was approaching.

Still, some of the players in the dugout were not happy to see him go. Cora may have been a bench player, but he was a leader on this team. He may have not gotten a lot of hits, but when he did they seemed to be in important situations.

Omar Minaya has known Cora for more than 20 years, and he gave the news to Cora in person. He said that Cora was a clubhouse leader and he respects him a lot. Minaya also knows that one day Cora will be a manger or work in the front office, so he’ll have to cut players himself one day


**Read the rest…**

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Are The Mets Destined For Another World Series Visit?

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The Mets start the second half of the season in a good position to reach the playoffs. There’s still a cloud of uncertainty hanging around the team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do some serious damage. Don’t believe me? Look at some similarities to the last Mets team make the World Series:

  • Jeff Franceour = Derrek Bell : Bell had a fantastic April, and then disappeared afterwards, and lost playing time because of it. Franceour also had a fantastic April, and then much like Bell disappeared afterwards, and is going to lose playing time because of it, like Bell did.
  • Mike Pelfrey = Al Leiter :  Although Leiter was seond in the rotation he pitched like an ace, and so far Pelfrey has done the same.
  • Johan Santana = Mike Hampton : Hampton started the season unexpectedly bad, and turned it around in the second half. Santana also started the season unexpectedly bad, and has started to turn it around. Can Santana continue to turn it around like Hampton did in 2000? Santana has a history of being a second half pitcher.
  • Glendon Rusch/Bobby Jones = R.A. Dickey : Rusch and Jones solidified the back end of the rotation, a rotation that looked questionable after the third slot. Dickey has done much the same in a rotation that looked questionable after the third spot in the rotation Dickey has stepped in and solidified the fourth spot in the rotation.  Will the Mets acquire a started to push back Jon Niese and Dickey, and solidify the back end of the rotation like Rusch and Jones did in 2000?
  • Mike Piazza = David Wright : Piazza ended 2000 with 38 HR’s 113 RBI’s and a batting average of .324. Wright is on pace for 26 HR’s 120 RBI’s with a .314 batting average.
  • Todd Zeile = Ike Davis : Zeile ended 2000 with 22 HR’s and 79 RBI’s. Davis is on pace for 22 HR’s and 79 RBI’s.
  • Armando Benitez = Francisco Rodriguez : No explanation necessary.

Read the rest….

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Alex Cora: A Little Respect, Please…Why the Laughter for the Mets?

After last night’s loss, Alex Cora got quite upset about some laughter in the clubhouse.

Here is the link to David Lennon’s Twitter Post:


While none of us were in the clubhouse to fully know what was the joke or why Cora in particular got so offended, there is a concern that the Mets players will be labeled as “playing for the paycheck instead of the win”.

The laughter may have had nothing to do with the game they just lost, it could have been about Ollie Perez being activated or something completely unrelated to baseball.

On one hand, its a game, no sense crying over a loss, go get the win tomorrow, but on the other hand, losing is not something to be laughed off.

Baseball players get paid a lot of money and fans expect to see them take it seriously, so news of this kind will always draw ire from a fanbase.

The Mets players are going to take their cue from the leaders, both management, coaches and veterans.

Jerry Manuel has been known to laugh and joke about everything, and proven team leaders like David Wright, Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur and Carlos Beltran did not openly confront the jokesters.

Wright, Bay and Beltran did not play a good game, but that is not the full reason they lost, it takes a 25 man team to win and it takes a 25 man team to lose.  Francoeur only had a pinch hit appearance.  If anyone had reason to be angry it had to be either RA Dickey, Angel Pagan or Josh Thole, as they did very well, but only Cora seemed upset. 

As the team’s de-facto Captain, Wright will always be expected to intervene in the clubhouse.  A lot of fans may be asking “where was Wright in this?”, truth is he could have been on the trainers table icing down his bruised knee, working out in the weight room or even in the showers when this occurred and found out about it after the fact.

Alex Cora has the utility, off the bench role so part of his anger may have been frustration at not getting a chance to play.

Time will tell if Cora’s anger got through to his teammates, but I am sure it had an impact in the clubhouse last night.

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Yankees-Mets: Santana Out Duels Sabathia

Originally posted on Midwestropolitan

Admit it pessimists, this was an encouraging weekend for the Mets.

It’s okay to feel good about this weekend. It doesn’t mean that you can’t go back to your grumpy ways during the next Mets slide.

The series victory over the Yankees is a potential stepping stone. Nothing more, nothing less.

Johan Is An Ace


Tonight’s performance for Johan Santana is exactly the type of start he was signed for.

He was called upon to go against the opposing team’s ace, C.C. Sabathia no less, and was asked to out duel him.

Johan answered the call, going deep into the eighth inning. He gave up only one run, six hits, and struck out five batters.

His counterpart, was chased after five innings, allowing six runs (five earned), and ten hits.

A scary thought for opposing hitters, Johan is traditionally a better second half pitcher.

If he and Mike Pelfrey can continue to put together starts like this, the Mets will find themselves on the other side of .500, and climbing.

Jason Bay, Streak Killer


Jason Bay continued his torrid hitting. This time, he flexed his muscles a bit as he hit two home runs, and drove in three runs.

His second home run was a screaming line drive that went straight into the bullpen in right center.

Bay ended an impressive streak for the Mets offense. His lead off homer in the fifth stopped the two out run scoring streak the Mets have enjoyed during their last two games-they had scored nine straight runs with two outs.

The Rest Of The Lumber

Alex Cora started everything off for the Mets with a great at bat in the second inning in which he produced a two strike hit that drove in two runs.

David Wright drove in a run on an RBI double.

Jose Reyes, and Ike Davis each collected two hits.

A-Rod vs. K-Rod


Francisco Rodriguez has earned his pay check this weekend. Although he didn’t have his best stuff when asked to come in with runners on in the ninth inning, he got the job done.

Derek Jeter was able to drive in a run on a double that hit off the left field wall.

Another run came in when Rodriguez was able to get the second out of the inning when Brett Gardner was thrown out by David Wright on a very close play at first base.

Mark Texiera then proceeded to bounce one a mile high off the plate,  and get an infield hit.

This brought Alex Rodriguez to the plate, representing the go ahead run.

We were then left to watch a tense eight pitch at bat, in which Franky got the best of A-Rod, and got him to swing and miss on a change-up.

The “Wussification” Of Baseball Continues


I miss the old school way in which teams protected their hitters. Hit our guy, expect your guy to get one in the ribs the next inning.

Now, the minute a pitch sniffs someone’s jersey, the umpire’s warn both teams, and the next pitcher that hits someone is ejected along with the manager.

In the bottom of the seventh Jason Bay was hit by a pitch in the back by an obvious breaking ball that got away from Sergio Mitre.

Home plate umpire, Marvin Hudson felt it was necessary to warn both teams.

I understand the intent of the rule, but I don’t agree with it. It brings too much subjectivity into the game.

Let the players handle issues on the field. Not the umpires.

On Deck


The hated Phils come calling on Tuesday night.

R.A. Dickey will get his second start as he faces Jamie Moyer.

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