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Top 10 Mets Questions Right Now

Dave MillsMonday, June 11, 2007
By Dave Mills

1.  How long can and will the Mets go with a less than 100% Scott Schoeneweis? So, why not DL Schoeneweis for a few weeks to mend and look at some other options?

The man has a tendon problem at the back of his push-off leg for Pete's sake. And the entire team and its fan base is suffering for it. Give southpaws Jason Vargas or Willie Collazo a shot. Collazo has an excellent strikeout to walk ratio, low ERA and can hit. Ryan Cullen may be another option. Do I hear Royce Ring /Heath Bell?

2.  Was Duaner Sanchez' Miami cab ride last July the worst cab ride ever taken by a Met?

Sanchez would have likely been facing the Cards in that 7th Game and in similar situations mishandled by Heilman this year. Now, his career is seriously derailed and there appears to be no reason to believe he will return this year. Makes Glavine's Manhattan cab ride look awfully mundane. And at only $5,000 per-tooth for implants, quite a bit more palatable.

3.  Can Jose Valentin play the remainder of the season with a brace on his knee?

If he platoons with Damion Easley (also playing at less than 100%), and Ruben Gotay stays on the roster as a utility player, it might be possible, but there is not much wiggle room with Gotay off the roster. That being said, Valentin is a gamer who WILL play through pain. And since the 49-year-old can still steal 2nd, can he also make the pivot?

4.  Do the Mets actually have any other outfield options right now?

Probably all they can do is platoon Ledee/Johnson in left and hope Green can platoon with Gomez in right until his foot is 100%, which it may not be if he comes back too soon? Sure hope the reason for sending Newhan down was to get him a couple of weeks worth of at bats because he did display a serious knack for getting on base and in the middle of the action throughout spring training. Willie could have and should have given him more at bats and playing time this season.

5.  Why not shake up the lineup a bit more?

Friday was a good start, but what about Beltran in the 2-hole. Seems that Reyes, Beltran, LoDuca, Delgado, Wright, Valentin/Easley, Ledee/Johnson, Gotay/Gomez would be worth trying. Isn't LoDuca a right-handed version of Keith Hernandez. And where did he hit?

6.  Can the starting pitching be any better than what has been on display already?

To say the starters have been remarkable would be an understatement. Every one of them is pitching brilliantly and the Mets have squandered at least a dozen outstanding performances. The only current starter who has deserved a loss in the past month was that one Sosa start versus the Braves. But otherwise, he has been overwhelming, including the gem in the first game against the Bengals at Comerica Park.

7.  Is it me, or does it seem that Carlos Beltran's average is higher when the rest of the lineup struggles, and sub-Mendoza when everyone else hits?

Inquiring minds want to know. Statistics anyone?

8.  Will Omar panic in the wake of all the injuries and trade prospects for some quick fixes and high contracts?

Me thinks not. What do you think? But please, please, please, no Bernie.

9.  Can Carlos Zambrano be a plus for the Mets?

Some speculation in the press on the heels of what was here last week. Tough call! Unless they deal one of their starters for him (and there is no one I would part with), it is problematic. How about giving him the setup role and let him hit as much as possible during this walk year? Heilman and a low prospect for the real "Z" man? Cubs can probably get more.

10.  Can starting pitching and defense carry the Mets this season?

It is now more than two months and 35% into the season and the starting pitching looks effective and deep with five 7-inning hurlers (Glavine/Maine/Perez/El Duque/Sosa) and some reasonably good younger arms at New Orleans and Binghamton (Pelfery/Vargas/Humber/Bostick/Mulvey with Brian Lawrence in reserve). The starting pitching cannot get better than they have already been.

The defense is actually better with Alou and Green out of the lineup, but may come back to Earth a bit with Endy out of the picture. The left side of the infield is turning one great play after another and Carlos Delgado, while without much range, is making the scoops. Valentin and Gomez appear to upgrade the defense considerably, as does Ramon Castro. Can't imagine the defense will collapse, but unlikely it can get any better?

About Dave: Dave Mills, born in Kew Gardens, Queens, the day after Willie Mays' circus catch in the 1954 World Series, is a devout Met fan since 1962. The first game he attended was Mets v. Reds at the Polo Grounds on September 14, 1962. With the game tied 9-9 in the 9th, Choo Choo ("Bub") Coleman hit a game-winning walkoff HR down the rightfield line on to the tin roof. The sound is indelibly etched in his memory! Dave lives on Oahu, where he markets and writes about golf. His company, HawaiiGolfDeals.com is the leading deliverer of golfers to the Aloha State. His take on Golf in Australia is in the Oct/Nov issue of Fairways & Greens Magazine.

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Comments (15)

"Sanchez would have likely been facing the Cards in that 7th Game..."

Really? If Sanchez didn't get injured we would not have obtained Oliver Perez. So you think without Ollie, everything would have gone the same way: all the way to the 7th game of the series? Which is one of the games Oliver Perez pitched, BTW.

Jeez, I can understand complaining, but at least do it with some semblance of reason and logic.

Nice Post! makes for great debating fodder.

1. Beltran: at the time he signed Beltran hit #2 for Hou. Given the tough 1st season many me included yelled for a move to the #2 slot, but Willie hit CB at ## all year. Come 2007, with Delgado, LoDuca then Green and Alou the Mets dont need Beltran to be an RBI bat, but more the all round spark plug. it is often noted that (especially magnified in 2004), Beltran can hit for high avg, but not power and vice versa.

2. Gomez/milledge: Gomez is young, but I think he can replace Endy. And in doing so I'd like to see him spell CB in Center giving him some days off. This last series would have been perfect for Beltran to DH and rest his legs.

3. My tirade is on pitching. Humber, Pelfrey, Vargas are doing well enough at NOLA. Lawrence also and Mulvey continues to shine at AA. Why not put Humber, Pelfrey, Vargas in the pen? I for one believe some pitcher develop seeing ML hitters. Humber could well seeing small doses of MLers as he recovers from sugery. Schoenweis can be DL-ed/rested and if Heilman has tendinitis it can treated/rested. Vargas also may be good as a lefty longman option.

4. Zambrano to the Mets: I think the Mets could bring someone in. Buerle and Santana are the cream of the pending FA crop. But there are others.

Anyone else notice that Glavine has been the weak link in this rotation for more than a month? In the postseason (assuming, assuming) with Pedro in the rotation (assuming again) two of our current starters will move to the pen. With Glavine presumably not heading out there, the plus is that the 'pen will be much stronger (say, Sosa and El Duque), but as of today, would you give Glavine a start over either of those guys? Bank on seeing it though.

Barry - Although I agree with you about Perez, it was kind of unfair of you to jump on one thing Dave wrote and accuse him of not using reason and logic. This site is about sports, not life and death stuff, and Dave wrote an entertaining piece here. Please lighten up a little.

Mike, you think pointing out that something is not logical is being unfair? What exactly in my post indicates "life and death stuff" as opposed to sports?

Barry, my point was that Dave was not complaining, and the post itself was not devoid of reason and logic. You could have pointed out what you thought was the faulty logic without getting that personal about Dave. That was my point about it not being life and death stuff, not that you said it was. Could you have just made your point about Perez without accusing Dave of not using any semblance of reason and logic? That was an overstatement and somewhat of a personal attack. You really honestly can't see that?

Mike, I didn't say the entire post was devoid of reason and logic. [I honestly stopped reading it after I read what I considered illogical. In my mind, the poster lost all credibility. I had no interest in the rest of what he had to say.] But I think it's clear I was only talking about one point, not the entire post.

So if I say that someone does not use any semblance of reason and logic while they are making a point that is not logical, you are calling that a personal attack. Perhaps my words were strong, but it seems like maybe I should quote Keith Hernandez when he talks about how "gingerly" a runner slides into home nowadays. Maybe I should have asked if Dave would like to go "for a spot of tea" as Keith would say.

Barry - Everyone that writes here -- unlike the pro ballplayers that Keith was referring to -- doesn't make a cent for doing it. You could have made your point without being so personal and critical. Let's drop this. You obviously feel justified in being so critical. I was defending someone who I like and respect. I can see there will be no point of agreement between us.

Mike, again I don't see it as being "peronal and critical". If you are friends, I can understand feeling the way you do, but I think the problem is that written words can be interpreted in different ways. I could have spoken the words I used to a friend and I honestly don't believe he would be offended. It's the tone of voice, which cannot be conveyed easily in text.

Btw, had Sanchez not gotten injured by that idiot taxi cab driver, the Mets wouldn't have had Perez; they'd have had Roy Oswalt. Long story short, El Duque wouldn't have gotten injured before Game 1 of the NLDS, they'd have had a 4 man rotation of Oswalt-Glavine-El Duque-Maine (or Traschel) in the playoffs. And Sanchez/Bradford/Mota would have been middle relief before Wags. The Mets would also have kept Xavier Nady, which would have been an additional lefthanded bat for the playoffs- and kept the bottom of their batting order deep. That would mean that Wright wouldn't have gone on that homer drought in the 2nd half of the season with the combo of Nady and Valentin hitting behind him. And they'd probably also have looked for a replacement or backup for Floyd in the outfield instead of Green to replace Nady (unless Green can do both RF/LF).

As for Beltran this year, he's just dealing with a sore hamstring (again) and a bum knee. Once Alou and Green get back from the DL, I think the Mets will sit Beltran and just have Gomez at CF for a while.

Lo Duca in the #3 hole doesn't work for me; he's got the average and drives pitchers nuts with how well he reads pitches- but he's got no power. Lo Duca would work best in either the #2 or #6/7 hole for the Mets. If you want a power bat, the Mets probably will have to make a trade. I'd love to see the Mets get Mark Texiera or Adam Dunn, who are both probably available.

As for the pen, the Mets just need to realize how big of a mistake Schoenesuck has been. Right now the 'pen's just tired from having to pitch alot of perfect baseball. It happens. That being said, I agree with bringing up Vargas (and get rid of Sele) and Collazo- at least until Williams and Padilla return. Seriously consider bringing back Bradford as well, and I will personally kiss Omar's feet if he swings a deal for David Weathers for the setup role. Veteran + rubber arm= what the hell is he doing on the Reds?

And as for Barry, get a grip, man. You forgot about the pending Heilman/Milledge for Oswalt trade, as well. Perez wouldn't be in the mix, Oswalt would. I don't know anyone here, but I've enjoyed posting here, and frankly, the fact that you didn't bother reading something that was so inherently "illogical" to you after less than 1 paragraph cinches it for me. You went out of your way to be rude and arrogant, and stop playing semantics games with Mike about it.

Jason B

Thanks, Dave. You just gave us several weeks of water cooler fodder there. And perhaps by the time we've sorted out all the answers to these ten questions, the Mets might be playing well again. We can only hope.

Amen. I think we can all agree on that, Nostra.

Everyone, let's drop the personal stuff and enjoy Dave's article.

OK I tried but could not resist:

Jason: I think the Mets are in a better position to acquire Oswalt than last yr: omar has FOUR young pitchers and more outfielders, plus Heilman. Gomez actually is more covetted than Milledge in many GM's minds sabean for one.
humber is proving his health but his value goes up sharply if he can contribute out of the pen. add Ben johnson, Corey Coles, Bob parnell, Jon Niese et al inc Sheoen to the list of marketable commodities

Big Ed don't forget about Caleb Stewart and Dustin Martin and Deolis Guerra . And although they haven't showed it yet this year the scouts love Juan Lagares and Greg Veloz . Omar can deal from a point of strength if he thinks so . That is why i believe that if he completes a deal it will be a steal for us . There is no reason for Omar to deal anyone right now unless he is absolutely sure he is getting the clean end of the stick !

One more thing , doesn't anyone remember what a stellar job Paul LoDuca did in the 2 hole last year ? Why is his butt NOT there again this year ? I try to refrain from second guessing managers and GM's until there is a body of work to evaluate from . But we don't have anyone on the roster that is a better 2 hole hitter than LoDuca . We do have MANY guys that are better RBI men to bat in the 5 ,6 or 7 hole though !!!

This is specifically addressed to Barry, but available to all who care to read my post and the many comments it has elicited:

All through 2006, the was a considerable amount of well-founded speculation in the press and blogs that Omar was more than a little interested in Oliver Perez. Ostensibly, he was the throw-in in the Nady for Roberto Hernandez deal, but I (and others who cover the Mets for a living) will tell you it was really the other way around. The lack of use of Hernandez during the last two months of the season even bears that out. The fact that Omar may have played it with the Bucs as a Hernandez for Nady deal is fine, Ultimately, as I see it, Omar got the man he really wanted--a 24-year-old lefty, who had had some prior ML success. Due to Omar's extreme interest in Perez, my logic tells me he would have found a way to pick him up even if Sanchez had not been injured. I suspect many of those who cover the Mets would agree. And by the way Barry, I have never "complained" in my posts about anything Wilpon, Minaya, Randolph or Peterson have done. I compliment them all pretty regularly, but I throw out various alternate scenarios for the consideration and enjoyment of anyone who is lucky enough and keen enough to visit this superb baseball blog to which I am pleased to contribute.

That being said, I certainly do not think Duaner Sanchez had any expectation of being on the DL for a season and a half when he stepped into that cab last July. But it has profoundly disrupted his career and may have been instrumental in the Mets not reaching the World Series last year and not having a 10 game lead right now. Also, having Heilman work the 7th rather than the 8th, with a stylist like Joe Smith being used a bit more situationally, makes the Mets better

As for AJ, Anonymous (why does anyone have to be anonymous here?), Jason B, Ed and Eduardo:

A couple of folks had opinions about my suggesting LoDuca for the three-hole and Beltran to the two-hole. I believe CB has a better lifetime average batting second and LoDuca WILL hit a few more dingers and drive in many more runs from batting third. I do think he is a righthanded-hitting clone of Keith Hernandez with slightly less power. As far as making contact and hitting to the opposite field and advancing runners, it is quite the interesting comparison.

Glavine has certainly not been as good for the past 4-5 weeks as he was the first 4-5 weeks, but has deserved to win on 4-5 occasions. If we look at all the Mets starters, they pretty much all fall into that old baseball adage that applies to quality starters, who you better get to in the first inning and before they "lock-in." That being said, I keep all the current starters starting and, hopefully, we get Pedro back to pitch out of the pen for a couple of months and the post-season.

If Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano are out there (which they likely are for the right price), Omar will look at it and decide if he HAS to make that kind of a deal. But as Eduardo points out, having Caleb Stewart, Dustin Martin, Deolis Guerra, Juan Lagares and Greg Veloz in the low minors behind Pelfrey, Vargas, Humber, Bostick, Lawrence and Mulvey, makes picking up a 12-million per-year starter a bit edgy. Remember, there is also Pedro and Dave Williams.

As for the bullpen, it can and should be improved. DL a Schoeneweis and give Willie Collazo a shot for a couple of weeks is basically no risk. I am not sold on Mota as of yet and wonder if the performance enhancers added a couple of mph on his fastball. I also wonder if the tendonitis is a problem for Heilman or in terms of dealing him.

To Mike, NostraDennis and Jason B:

I appreciate your defense of my post. I rarely criticize because who the heck am I to second-guess Omar or Willie, but I do have a right and obligation here to stir up the pot with an idea or a question or a comment. That's what makes baseball the great pastime that it is and MikesMets.com such a fantastic place to visit every day.

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