By Mike Steffanos
Game 162: Marlins 4 - Mets 2
I'm going to be pretty brief today. I want a day or two just to not think much about the Mets, and then I'll be back with many more thoughts. Also, if I'm late to respond to an email you've sent me, I promise you'll hear back from me in the next couple of days.
I have no great anger towards Scott Schoeneweis or Luis Ayala, who were put into positions of failure thanks to mistaken decisions made by others. I wrote a long time ago that I thought the Achilles heel of this team might be the tendency of their offense to disappear in key spots, and that proved sadly true.
The bullpen was what is was, but the offense scored 5 runs in the last 3 games. If not for Santana, it would have been over Saturday. So yeah, the bullpen was a big part of doing them in, but if you're a position player on the Mets you probably shouldn't be pointing fingers. Even surprise late season almost-hero Ramon Martinez went 0-3 with a strikeout in the Mets' final gasp.
I still think the Mets need to turnover some of this club. Unless the price comes way down I'd let Ollie Perez walk and take the draft picks. If Pedro was willing to sign a heavily incentivized contract for another chance to prove himself I'd be in favor of that, but I would not give him a large guaranteed contract for even a year.
Luis Castillo was yet another victim of the anger that permeates a good percentage of the fan base. Sure, some of it was quite unfair, but the Mets need to avoid a replay of the endless Kaz Matsui saga and ship him off before it gets ugly -- as much for Castillo's sake as anyone else's.
Some of the bullpen arms need to be moved, although I'd still be in favor of giving Heilman a last shot at starting. His value is already low, so why not use him as a starter in the spring? Maybe it works out a la Braden Looper in St. Louis, and if not you'll still find a buyer in March or April for the bargain basement value to which his stock has plummeted.
Someone needs to spend a lot of time working with David Wright on returning to the non-pull/uppercut-happy approach of the last year or so. The quality pitchers he faces in high-leverage situations are having a rather easy time of exploiting the new Wright, even if he is compiling numbers.
One last thing. I understand the frustration level is high, and I'm not a huge fan of all of Omar's moves, either. On the other hand, I have no desire to deal with the old "Latin conspiracy" stuff. I'm sure there are bloggers out there who buy into this, but I don't. If that's your view, fine, it's a free country, but you're much more likely to get a sympathetic response from a blogger who agrees with you. To my mind, there is too much at stake to waste time with anti-Latin diatribes. So I respectfully ask that we not do that in this space.