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Joyce MandelkernThursday, November 30, 2006
By Joyce Mandelkern

Here is my disclaimer - I don't do well with change. I like the status quo. I'm comfortable with things that work. Chad Bradford out of the bullpen worked. I'm no longer comfortable.

I am going to venture a guess that it wasn't the money but the length of the contract that made Omar balk (no pun intended). And I can't really argue that point. Three years is a long time for a closer who is essentially a specialist. Still, I'm worried. If worrying were an Olympic sport, I would gold medal in it.

So this would be my plan. Make sure your starting pitchers can take you past the 5th inning. Make sure they can take you past the 6th inning. I would love it if they could take you through 7 innings. Remember the good old days when starting pitchers actually pitched complete games and on short rest (now I'm showing my age). I digress. Last year our bullpen was our saving grace and I feel that a strong bullpen is an absolute must in this day and age. However, we MUST strengthen our starting rotation and not rely so heavily on our bullpen especially now that we are not bringing everyone back.

We must hope that Sanchez comes back as strong as before the accident. We must hope that Heilman makes peace with that fact that the Mets see him as a relief pitcher and that he will never be moved into the starting rotation as long as he wears the orange and blue (and black). And it goes without saying that Billy has to stop giving me heart failure every time he comes in to pitch.

I trust Omar. I know he has plan. We have arms in the minors that he can bring up. There are deals yet to be made and our bullpen is far from being solidified. The thing is that change can be scary and this particular change can have very scary ramifications.

And for the life of me I don't understand why anyone would want to leave the Mets to go to the Orioles! What was he thinking???? I know, I know! He was counting, not thinking!

About Joyce: I am an insanely passionate die-hard Mets fan since 1962 who is also a season ticket holder and usually can't bear to look and buries her head in her hands or starts pacing when I'm home when things get tense (especially when the closer is in) and begins to pray and make deals with the baseball gods to just let us win and who tries to never ever miss a pitch of any spring training or regular season game not even the west coast ones whether we are 35 games under 500 or over 500 and whose boys knew the mets lineups by heart before they even knew their ABC's and who is actually going to really miss Shea but not the bathrooms there and who hopes they bring the apple with them to Citifield and who still can't believe they didn't get to the world series this year and win it and who cried through the whole '86 celebration at Shea and who still loves the LETS GO METS GO video. Our boys are grown now and one is even married and I'm proud to say they too are die-hard mets fan as is my daughter-in-law. My husband and I live in Sands Point, NY with our 3 Wheaton terriers. My husband, Pete, my high school sweetheart and I have been married nearly 28 years and he is of course a die-hard Mets fan (or it would've been a deal breaker!!!) but can't make it up through the rain delays or the west coast games...but I love him anyway... He played college baseball and actually tried out for the Mets (didn't make it as you may have guessed...I did send him to Mets fantasy camp though!) My other teams are the New York Football Giants and the Syracuse Orange and I'll save how I feel about the team from the dark side for another day.

Comments (6)

While I am sure the money was a main reason he went to balt... This was on Metsblog a few days ago:

"In the book Moneyball, the following poem is published, which was written by an eight-year-old Bradford (so forgive the spelling.)…

If I were a A grown up
I would be a baseball player
And I would play for the Dodgers.
I hope to play for the Cardinals too.
I hope to play for the Oriole too
And for all the teams I would
Play shotestop."

I am not that worried about the bullpen, and I am surprised at all the worry over it. Omar has a great eye for talent, and the jacket has shown the ability to get the most out of relievers. I am sure there will be a few no-names invited to spring training, and at least 2 of them will turn into quality arms for the pen.

I couldn't agree with you more Joyce. With the starting pitching situation being pretty weak since 2006, the bullpen oddly enough was what got this team to within an inning of the world series-why on earth would you let smeone like Bradford leave? A steady solid middle releiver in a sea of mediocrity-most of these guys pitch middle relief because they stink on ice as starters, and can't cut it as closers (why people can't pich 8 or 9 innings anymore is beyond me) that said they game the way it is in 2006 going into 2007 warrants a championship caliber team to hold on to a guy like Bradford.

Dear joyce,

as Mike knows too well there is once and a while a post that sets off a tirade which in tandem with my Ph.D and antagonistic nature is the essence of a beernut fight fueled embroiled tirade. So bear with me, I am docile in person.

Your prempted justification aside your doubts are HUGELY misplaced. Lets review the subjects of your unrequited lovefest;

Aaron Heilman: FAILED STARTER. Ok Thats harsh but for a one hit wonder show vs the early season Marlins He rarely made it past the 5th inning, and his 2nd time thru an order was hard, 3rd time apocalyptic.In Gammons assesment of Heilman he (scouts he spoke with) had long characterized him as a set up man. Is that bad..No especially if a 6th inning specialist gets 10M/3yrs.
Bradford: Cut by Oakland.
Bert: Not exactly $$$ Gave up big runs in 05&06 in clutch spots.
Wags: He is the Premium thoroughbred here so comment withheld
Sanchez: Harld arrived to huge aplomb. Virtually an unknown.
Mota: proven set up man but struggled then cut in Cleveland
Bell: Proven AAAA reliever
Royce Ring: J-Duq Bust?

As i looked on CNNSI I found...(gasp/horror) a derth of relivers including Tanyon sturtze, JC Romero, David Riske, Al Embree, Guardado, Meadows, Percival...If this list worries you consider that a number of Omar recruits such as Bert, and Valentin will be Spr Tng invites hope to prove health.

My $.05 slant is
1.To trade Heilman/Bannister : Purchase/trade for that #2 starter to take Glavine's Spot. (Vazquez). This trade would obviously include Ben Johnson/Milledge, and possibly Bostwick-Collazzo.

2. Sign Zito. (no Brainer)

3. NY Mets BP version 3: 9th inning Wags/8th-Sanchez/Mota, 7th-Pelfrey/Feliciano 6th-Padilla/Juan Cruz/Blake McGinley. other candidates Guardado, JC Romero, Sturtze.

3b. With a rotation of Zito, Vazquez, Ollie, Maine, (Bannister or Humber, Vargas)...and some guy named Pete (after the break).

4. Improvement necessitates change.

Heilman started 7 games in 2005 -- count 'em, 7 -- which hardly qualifies as a failed starter. May I suggest you take a break from purposely inhaling aerosol vapors?


12-18 career line. mike. We differ in our opinion. But I think heilman is in his niche.

But you can't really judge him by what he did before they changed his arm angle back. You're talking about someone with 25 career starts. That's not exactly a huge sample. If you want to say that you don't like him as a starter, then that's fair. If you want to all him a FAILED STARTER in big caps, that's not.

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