Tag: Jeff Francoeur

World Series Game 3: Rangers Use Long Ball To Defeat Giants

Down two games to none in the World Series, the Texas Rangers desperately needed some home cookin’, and more importantly needed a win in Game 3. The guy they relied on for a big performance was Colby Lewis and like in his three postseason games prior, Lewis delivered.

Lewis gave up just five hits, two runs, walked two and struck out five in 7.2 innings of work as he helped the Rangers defeat the Giants 4-2 on Saturday night. The Giants now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.


I thought Lewis’ start was more like his Game 2 start against the New York Yankees than his Game 6 start. Lewis danced through raindrops in that Game 2 start, and I thought he did the same thing on Saturday.

Lewis only gave up five hits and two runs, but it could have been a lot worse. He left a lot of balls right out over the plate and somehow avoided serious damage all night.

According to PitchFx, Lewis threw 57 sliders and curves in Game 3. Take a look at his pitch chart, notice how many of those pitches he left up…

Lewis left an insane amount of sliders and curves not only over the middle of the plate, but up in the zone. How he didn’t get hurt more than he did is a mystery to me.

The two mistakes he did get caught on were an inside fastball to Cody Ross and a right down the middle fastball to Andres Torres. After this postseason, I don’t think any pitcher is going to throw a fastball on purpose to the inner half of the plate to Ross. He has manhandled that pitch all postseason.

Lewis is now 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 24 K’s in four postseason starts. If there is a Game 7, it will most likely be Lewis taking the mound for the Rangers.

While Lewis was doing it on the mound, the Ranger offense just did enough to get by.

The first big blow for the Rangers came from Mitch Moreland in the second. After fouling off four tough pitches, Moreland hit a frozen rope over the rightfield wall for a three-run HR. Why Buster Posey would call an inside fastball in that spot was a little puzzling.

Josh Hamilton added to the lead in the fifth when he hit a hanging curve from Jonathan Sanchez into the right center field seats. Sanchez put that pitch on a platter for Hamilton and he didn’t miss it.

Here are some other observations from Game 3…

The Giants are going to have quite the decision on their hands if this series goes seven games. Sanchez was terrible for the second straight game and if this series goes seven, he is slated to start.

Sanchez only lasted 4.2 innings, and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Sanchez is so Jekyll and Hyde that I don’t think Bruce Bochy can go to him in a Game 7.

The Giants’ hitters weren’t much better.

Three World Series games and eight strike outs in nine AB’s. This is the Pat Burrell Tampa Bay Rays fans knew to grow and love.

While Tim McCarver thought Nelson Cruz made a poor baserunning play in the bottom of the second, I thought he made the right decision.

Here was the setting: Cruz was on third with one out and the infield was playing back. Jeff Francoeur hit a slow roller up along third. Instead of going home, Cruz went back to third. Juan Uribe looked Cruz back and then threw out Francoeur at first.

Okay, here is my take on this. Uribe fielded the ball right in front of third. If Cruz goes home off of contact, he would have been out by 20 feet. The contact play clearly wasn’t on and instead of having a runner on first with two outs, the Rangers still had a runner on third with one out. Maybe it’s me, but I would rather have the latter.

Can someone please tell Ron Washington it’s the World Series. Despite Darren O’Day getting the job done in the eighth, I still can’t believe Washington refuses to go to Feliz for a four-out save.

I will have to admit, I didn’t mind it when Washington left Lewis in the game to face Aubrey Huff in the eighth. Yes, Torres just hit a HR. And yes, Edgar Renteria hit a rope to left for an out. But Huff didn’t represent the tying or go-ahead run, so let the guy try to finish things out.

However, once Lewis hit Huff, Washington has to go to Neftali Feliz. Who do I want pitching the most important AB of the game? O’Day or Feliz? I will take Feliz for $1,000 Alex.

I was completely shocked Bochy went to Ramon Ramirez in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-2 game. I didn’t think he would see the mound again in this season unless it was a blowout.

If you told the casual fan after watching last night’s game that Pablo Sandoval hit .330 last year, they would laugh at you. He has zero and I mean ZERO confidence at the plate right now.

Moreland had 145 AB’s during the regular season, so he won’t qualify for the Rookie of the Year award in 2011, but not being up for the award aside, Moreland should be good for a .260-.270 average with 20 plus HRs.

Words can’t describe how big Game 4 is on Sunday. The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 can’t be understated. The Rangers will have Tommy Hunter on the mound trying to tie the series, and the Giants will have rookie Madison Bumgarner on the mound trying to give them a 3-1 series lead.

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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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New York Mets: Jeff Francoeur’s Ship Sails, the Return of Jenrry Mejia

With the New York Mets’ season becoming more and more dreary as the days go by, the team made a few roster moves right before the waiver wire trade deadline. A trade and a few call ups will give the Mets a chance to see some young guys play the remainder of the year.

Since the return of Carlos Beltran, Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur has been unhappy. Unhappy with being sent to the bench. He wore out his welcome in New York. Always a fairly class act, Francoeur just did not produce this season; one of many Mets player you can say that about.

The right fielder has been traded to the Texas Rangers for infielder Joaquin Arias. The Mets may end up with the better of the deal. Arias is a young player that many believe has great upside. For some reason he was unable to put it all together this season in Texas. He will likely get a chance to play a bit here in New York.

The Mets have recalled pitcher Jenrry Mejia from Triple-A. The team has not announced yet if the 20-year-old  will start on Saturday or be used out of the bullpen. In his last start for Triple-A Buffalo, Mejia looked strong, going eight innings with nine strike outs, allowing just one run. He took a perfect game into the sixth inning.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel will likely make a decision on Mejia after the pitcher goes through a bullpen session today with pitching coach Dan Warthen.

The Mets have also called Lucas Duda from Triple-A. The power hitting 24-year-old outfielder will get some of the playing time now available with the trade of Francoeur.

I wonder why Duda was not given a chance sooner. In 70 games for Triple-A Buffalo, Duda hit .314 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI’s.

Mets fans should keep tuning in to SNY and watching the games. From here on out, you will get a chance to see some of your young players. Maybe, you’ll get a glimpse of what next years team could look like. On second thought, maybe you won’t want to do that.

This article is also featured on Double G Sports.

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2011 New York Mets Contracts: Coming Off the Books

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With the 2010 season seemly over for the Mets, it’s time to look to the 2011 season and who will be coming off the books.

Jeff Francoeur—2010 salary $5M: He seems to be a fan favorite, but that doesn’t make you a major league ball player. Francoeur has shown signs of improvement at the plate and has a great arm in right field, but I just don’t see him having a place on this team in 2011.

John Maine—2010 salary $3.3M: After five seasons with the Mets his tenure in New York is almost definitely over. He blew out his shoulder this season for the Mets and his career could possibly be over. Hopefully he makes a recovery and is able to catch on somewhere else though.

Pedro Feliciano—2010 salary $2.9M: He is a free agent at the end of the season and it’s still uncertain if the Mets will bring him back. Feliciano has been with the team for eight years and has been one of the best non-closer relief pitchers in Mets history. The price tag for him might be a bit much, but I have a feeling the Mets will bring him back.

*Read the rest…*

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New York Mets Stars Are Not Aligned, So Let Them Sit

The New York Mets are about to enter the home stretch of a wasted season. Along with said wasted season, comes a long winter to recuperate. However before that opportunity arises, the team still has a little over a month of games remaining. They also have several players that they counted on heavily for this season showing their battle scars.

For example, Jason Bay (concussion), with his hefty free agent contract, is just beginning to continue physical activities and just about ready to get back into the lineup. Why? Because he wants to get back in time to play a handful of meaningless games and chance re-aggravating some previous injury?

How about Jose Reyes? He started the season injured (thyroid), and it continued throughout the season (hamstring), not that he missed a ton of games, but he did sit out enough to be missed in that anemic lineup.

In fact, Jeff Francoeur, Jon Niese, and a handful of others all spent time on the DL this year or have missed some time with a nagging injury as well. That’s part of a 162 game season. That’s to be expected. However, at this stage of the season that remains, it may not be prudent to have the most injury-prone players in harm’s way. In particular, the players that are deemed to be “the core players,” are the ones that have the most to lose by sustaining another injury this year.

Reyes may have tweaked his previous injury and still could be ready to go, but why risk it? The aforementioned Bay is worth too much to the franchise to make his current injury worse. So to reiterate, why? If these players are hurting and have nothing to play for, why play?

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Who is the Most Responsible?

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On the New York Daily News‘ website, they had a poll asking whose fault it was that Mets’ season has spiraled out of control. They gave you four options:

  • The Wilpons have steered the team into the iceberg.
  • Omar Minaya’s personnel moves have been dreadful.
  • Jerry Manuel’s in-game decisions make him seem clueless.
  • The players that haven’t been able to win.

So, they are telling us we can only pick one?

The biggest problem for the Mets is that it isn’t one thing. There is no quick fix for the Mets. They need a complete overhaul.

First off, the Wilpons are in no position to be running a major league ball team. Their finical and legal problems are holding the team back from completing deals that they need to do. It’s hard to judge whether it’s Minaya’s fault, or that of the front office. He can’t make a deal without first getting the approval by the owners. So, who knows what happens behind closed doors? I don’t think the Wilpons will sell the team, but they could hand ownership responsibilities over to a different person until they are able to collect themselves.

Minaya gets the brunt of the ridicule because he is the one who assembled this team. Like any GM, he has made some bad moves. Difference is in New York they are under the microscope more and usually for a lot more money than other teams, i.e., Oliver Perez. I’m actually not even that mad at Minaya. He did make some good moves in the offseason. R.A. Dickey, Hisanori Takahashi, Rod Barajas, and he still deserves credit for trading for Johan Santana and Angel Pagan back in 2008. Though he is not the team’s biggest problem, I think it’s just time to move in a different direction and let him go at the end of the year.

The Mets have a ton of talent on this team, but they can’t take what is on paper to on the field. To me, that shows that the problem is with the coaching staff. I’m not one for blaming managers for the team’s problems, but in this case I will. There has to be something that Manuel is doing wrong. Of course, none of us know because we are not there in the Mets clubhouse playing with them, but you get the feeling something isn’t right. Manuel, as well as Howard Johnson, need to be gone in 2011. The only coach I would keep is Dan Warthen because the Mets pitching has been outstanding this year.

Now, onto the guys who actually make it happen on the field. It’s been painful to watch the Mets’ offense go up to the plate and back to the dugout like clockwork. We’ve been watching games that are routinely 1-0 in the seventh inning, with no sign of life in the batting order. You can do whatever you want with the front office and coaching staff, but when it comes down to it, the players need to perform, and they aren’t doing that. It may just be time for a complete overhaul of this team, keeping only the cornerstones of the franchise.

So, what to do in 2011? Well, first off, if the ownership wants to show anything to the fans of this team, they need to fire Minaya, Manuel, and all other coaches not named Dan Warthen. The replacement manager comes down to the three people; Joe Torre, Bobby Valentine, and Wally Backman. I’m a big fan of Backman, but the other two have much more experience than him, which would be important for this team. However, Torre will always be a Yankee to me, and I feel like Bobby V had his time here and they shouldn’t go back to him. So, I would go with Backman as the Mets’ manager in 2011.

Next comes down to the players. Big contracts like Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Francisco Rodriguez will try to be moved in the offseason. Beltran will have the most value, but like Perez and Castillo, and if they were to move Beltran, they would have to eat a large portion of his salary.

He’s due to make $18.5M next season, and though it looks like he is starting to get back to his old form, many teams would not want to take that risk. They would probably have to eat $10M or even $15M of the last year on his contract to get back anything good in return.

**Read the rest….**

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New York Mets 2010: The Ship Be Sinking…



Well, up until now, I haven’t felt compelled to put anything down on “paper” when it came to the New York Mets, as the majority of my thoughts can be found in my post game reports that I share with Matt Dagastino on the New York Mets Audio Minute, over at Lexy.

However, for some reason, as I sit and think about where this team is currently situated, I can’t help but to reflect over the last few days about the annual mess that this franchise seems to get themselves into, year in, and year out.

I won’t even go into how ownership doesn’t know how to produce a winning baseball franchise—at least not yet.

I’ll start with Jerry Manuel. My first example starts with the lineup that he is putting out there for the upcoming game against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that the Mets MUST defeat, in order to remain in contention for any type of playoff berth in the National League.

Here is your bottom of the order, Mets fans: 5)Mike Hessman, 6) Jeff Francoeur, 7)Henry Blanco, 8) Rueben Tejada, and of course, the pitcher hits ninth. Now, as a Mets fan, you could probably pick apart any piece of this equation, but I’ll center in on the number five spot, and Mike Hessman.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Hessman, per se. The problem is your potential National League Rookie of the Year candidate, Ike Davis, should be hitting in that spot, and not a career minor leaguer. I understand that Ike may struggle against left-handed pitching, but tonight’s opposing starter, Cole Hamels, is no Sandy Koufax. He’s 7-8 on the season, and 2-6 lifetime vs. the Mets. Davis should be playing, period.

As Jerry continues to mix and match an often times over-matched lineup, he has failed miserably to find an eighth inning guy to get the ball to the recently incarcerated Francisco Rodriguez.

In the two-plus years that Manuel has been the skipper, he has not found the guy to get the job done. Some of the blame goes squarely to him, and some of it doesn’t. Omar Minayatakes a hit, because he failed to bring in that guy to get the job done. Having said that, let’s go back to Tuesday night’s 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, which was the catalyst for the now infamous FamilyGate, involving K-Rod and his common-law father in-law. Instead of staying with Hisanori Takahashi(who I am not a fan of) to finish the eighth inning—as he pledged to the media that this was “the guy”, Manuel got an itchy trigger finger, and decided to bring in Manny Acosta, who is certainly not proven in New York to be ready for prime time. Subsequently, Acosta gives up the grand slam to former Met Melvin Mora—his third home run of the season—and the Mets lose. What a shock there. We Mets fans know what happened in the clubhouse after that.

Jerry Manuel has time and time again failed to deliver, and he will pay the price at the end of the season. Unfortunately, ownership has made the repeated mistake of allowing Omar Minaya to keep his job through contract extensions, and allow him to make more crucial mistakes, going forward.

In the four years since Game seven of the 2006 National League Championship Series, where the defining moment of Carlos Beltran’s Met career still lies, Minaya and this group has failed to deliver a playoff team, as they choked in 2007 and 2008, and wilted earlier than expected in 2009, due to injuries. We all see what’s going on this year. So, in those 4 years, the Wilpons, in their sheer incompetence, have issued not one, but TWO contract extensions to Omar Minaya. When was the last time you were rewarded for failing to meet your goals on your job?

Unfortunately, Mets fans—and I have used that word a lot here, it doesn’t look as though things are destined to change in the future. David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran have to proven to be players that are All-Star caliber, but not championship caliber. Johan Santana can only do but so much by himself. We have seen the Wilpons make fundamental mistake, after fundamental mistake, and unfortunately(there’s that word again), it will continue, under their regime. After all, they are real estate tycoons, who happen to own a baseball team. At the rate they are going, by the time the All-Star Game reaches Citi Field in 2014, they will be paying you to come to the ballpark. Once again, “the ship be sinking.”

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The Mets’ Jeff Francoeur ‘Play Me or Trade Me’ Demand Falls on Deaf Ears

The New York Mets Jeff Francoeur has gone public with his demands for a trade. 

The outfielder has long been miscast as a starter in the NL, and he will be very unlikely to find a team that will guarantee him regular playing time.

His feelings were apparently hurt by having to platoon with Fernando Martinez. He has issued the following statement through his publicist: 

“We want to play every day,” Francoeur’s agent, Molly Fletcher, told the Newark Star-Ledger. “We prefer to play in New York. But if we’re not going to play every day in New York, we absolutely welcome the opportunity to play every day somewhere else.”

And this overconfidence is based on what?

To be honest, Francoeur suffers from what a lot of major league players suffer from, and that is that their talent and production on the field don’t match the ego created, in large part, by high school, college and minor league coaches who have consistently told them how great they are.

Well, here is a shocker, Jeff—you are not good at consistently hitting a baseball, my friend.

Francoeur has struggled after a good start, posting numbers (.241, 11 HR, 47 RBI) strikingly similar to those he produced in Atlanta. Yet after he was benched Saturday, Francoeur made the team aware of his displeasure, according to the Star-Ledger.

“I show up and if my name’s in the lineup, I’m playing,” Francoeur told the paper. “That’s pretty much all I have to say.”

Amazingly, he makes $5 million and is eligible for arbitration following the season. Some have speculated that Royals General Manager Dayton Moore may be interested in the outfielder. But if he is, I am sure it is at a much-reduced price.

In 812 major league games, Francoeur has a .309 OBP. He has been caught stealing almost as many times as he has attempted to swipe a base in his career.

He is hitting lefties at a .318 clip this season, so he may be useful as a platoon player, but remember that he is not happy in that role.

This is a guy who has posted an OBP of less than .300 in four full seasons, yet he clings to the unrealistic hope that he is an everyday player.

Even in his best season in 2006, before there was steroid testing, he may have hit 29 homers and driven in 103 runs, but he got on base less than 30 percent of the time.

His defense is about average, despite a strong arm. His potential usefulness as a part-time player is negated by his desire to play every day, the fact that his salary his high, and the fact that the Mets probably want something useful in return.

But Mr. Moore has a penchant for ex-Brave prospects, so he may just be the guy to overvalue Francoeur to the point where he actually thinks he can play every day.

If so, then the joke is on him.

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By Calling Up Youngsters, Mets Are Planning For 2011

As much as the Mets don’t want to admit it, by calling up two of their top minor league prospects, they are planning for 2011.

Perhaps their thinking is that the young players is what energized them early in the season, but it’s too late for that now.

There are so many negatives that outweigh every potential positive. By bringing up Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez, a couple of veteran players are upset. Of course, Mets fans don’t care about feelings and they shouldn’t.

The problem is, one of those players means a lot to the Mets clubhouse. The Mets have said that Martinez will platoon in right field with Jeff Francoeur.

If Francoeur wasn’t already upset when he lost playing time to Angel Pagan, now he has every reason to be.

Although he was upset when Pagan took his job, he shouldn’t have been as Pagan earned it. This move though is a little strange.

Martinez hadn’t had a Major League at-bat all season, and has really been a bust so far. He was supposed to be an up-and-coming star young player that has never hit on the big league level. He has always been injury prone, having had knee surgery last season.

Francoeur has proven way more in his career between the Braves and Mets. He can occasionally get into a hot streak, which Martinez hasn’t shown, and he has a superior glove to Martinez, who isn’t an established right fielder.

Regarding the Tejada-for-Castillo situation, it’s a smart move on the Mets part, but it doesn’t mean it won’t get Castillo fired up.

It’s extremely shocking that the Mets went in this direction. Tejada was sent down for more seasoning at the plate, and Castillo was to play when he returned from the disabled list because of his contract status.

The positives did show in Saturday night’s Mets win, with Tejada making some stellar defensive plays at second, which Castillo wouldn’t have had the range to make. Defense is probably why Tejada is here.

But the thought of having both Luis Castillo and Jeff Francoeur on the bench for the majority of the games doesn’t make much sense. Castillo is virtually useless off the bench other than a need for a sacrifice bunt, and Francoeur as we’ve seen, can’t stay fresh as a pinch-hitter.

According to reports, Francoeur once again has asked Omar Minaya to be traded. For that to happen, he’d obviously have to be claimed off waivers by August 31.

The Mets have been desperately trying to deal Castillo but no one wants his bad contract.

Looking that the roster as a whole, the Mets now have three useless backups in Francoeur, Castillo, and Oliver Perez.

The reason why the Mets made these moves is because they’re holding open auditions for 2011. Fernando Martinez wouldn’t have a role, unless Carlos Beltran is dealt in the offseason. Jason Bay and Angel Pagan are locks to be back and starting next season.

Tejada, though, could replace Castillo assuming the Mets can rid of his contract. The Mets won last night’s game, and it had nothing to do with the moves that they made.

It had to do with their ace stepping up, and odd-man out Jeff Francoeur hitting a long ball. There wasn’t any renewed energy in a 1-0 win. The team was rather flat.

But the Mets, hovering around .500, have decided to start thinking next season. Now how disappointing is that considering where the Mets were in June?

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Jeff Francoeur May Welcome Change from the New York Mets

As reported yesterday, the Mets are shopping Jeff Francoeur.

My esteemed colleague Tom Greenhalgh, in a great article, raised the question of what GM Omar Minaya could expect to get for him. He makes a very valid point, and I am in agreement entirely with him. They most likely will not get very much.

I also have been seeing many fans and bloggers protesting this inquiry on the part of Minaya. I would like to add a further question to the Mets fans: Why? As in why all of the outcry against this possibility? Because he shows heart? Because he is the type of player that other players want in the clubhouse?

Perhaps, but if a player is slumping so dramatically and so notedly as he has been, how does he not expect to be benched when the first opportunity arises for his manager to do so? Furthermore, if he has been taken aback by this decision, his heart and passion are now compromised, which could then become detriments, not bonuses.

Instead of playing with heart and passion, he may use that passion and intensity to complain in the clubhouse of his present situation. It wouldn’t be the first time a player has done it. It also wouldn’t be the first time this player has done it. See Atlanta. So, my reasoning is very simple.

Take away the fact that he is a passionate player for a second. Take away the fact that he is the type of player that plays like it means something. Just for a second, ask yourself a question. This particular player has hit .277 with 18 home runs in his year with the Mets. While he has shown solid defense, his bat has been streaky at best.

He had 46 strikeouts last season for them in just a half a season. He already has 56 this year. The Mets must have known that possibility before they acquired him. He is every bit as streaky as the player they traded away, Ryan Church.

So my question, after factoring all of that in, is are we really going to fight to hang on to a .277 hitter (and that is being generous, as he is currently batting .247 this season) with all of our heart and soul? Is his inability to come through in key situations really going to be missed?

To me, this accomplishes three things.

First, it shows that at least they are trying to be active. For all the complaining we do as fans, still, we are fans. At the end of the day, we still want what is best for the team and to see the team successful. If they make some type of move that will benefit them, in the very least, they will have pushed.

Next, it would benefit Frenchy. He would have a chance to play every day. Though he has stated that he loves New York and playing with the Mets, still, as a competitor, it must pain him to be riding the bench half of the time.

More playing time is not just welcomed, but almost a requirement for success and for any player to be and stay happy with the team he is on. Being benched, though he should have expected it with his slumps, is a shot to his ego and confidence. If a player loses that confidence, they lose their joy. If they lose that, they become miserable in their environment.

Finally, it would open up a roster spot for one of the several young players that we all have been talking about for the majority of this season—players such as Nick Evans, Chris Carter, and even eventually, a possible Fernando Martinez sighting.

It is always a gamble when playing a youngster, but if this team believes in any of these players for the future, they have to give them some playing experience and room to grow at the major league level. This may be an unwelcome inquiry for the Mets to delve into, but it is a necessary one.


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