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Once Again, No October

Mike SteffanosMonday, September 29, 2008
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.

View Oliver Perez's Full Season Stats

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About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (7)

What, you mean you don't want to talk about the International Latino Baseball Conspiracy? :)

I didn't hear a lot of that this week, thankfully. I was operating on very little sleep and wouldn't have been able to stand for it.

I need to sleep and not think about baseball for a while. But on the other hand, while I thought I wouldn't be able to stand being online talking about it today, I find myself cautiously creeping around the blogosphere, despite myself.

And I printed out one of my photos from yesterday, #41 on the mound for one last time. Other than that I am avoiding discussing anything with anyone here today.

Good job Mike. I always look forward to reading your blogs because you put a lot of thought into your writing and because you are not irrational in most cases. I agree with you on Pedro especially after watching his interview yesterday. He admitted that his fathers passing really affected him which changed my thinking about whether we should resign him although the contract should be an incentive based contract as you recommended. Regarding Omar, I believe he should stay based on Pelfrey, Murphy, Niese, Parnell and Evans in addition to Fernando Martinez. I really believe that Omar needs to go with more young players in 09, revamp his bullpen and find a right handed hitter who can drive in runs.


Your points about Heilman and Wright are fresh thinking on a dismal day. Your suggestions are the only way I'd consider keeping Heilman or Pedro around. It should be an interesting off season.

Another long off season to contemplate what should have been, what is, and what could be. Mets have a nice core of players, and some additions should help. Good bye Shea, hello Citifield. Fresh start, hopefully new results and I say that to be positive. Although I am disappointed with this season's outcome, I am looking forward to the new park, and new players who can make a difference. As you suggest, a consistent righty in the middle of the lineup who can drive in runs. 2 starting pitchers who can go deep in games. A few relievers who can be counted on to get crucial outs, and a younger bench to go with Chavez, Easley, and Tatis. Mets have to sure this team up, there is too much talent there and this team should have been in the post season these last two years. Spring Training is only 5 months away and I am looking forward to next season. Keep the faith, and forget the past (two years), and lets see what they do. Aloha means goodbye, I just wish there was a real happy ending.

Also to say they want to possibly trade Reyes, Wright, or Beltran is ridiculous. If Omar is really considering trading one of these 3, his 4 year deal should be immeadiately voided and he should not be allowed to be a GM in MLB again. All three had good seasons, and in my opinion they are the players not named Santana, that the club should be built around. Yes, they need the team to get younger, and I agree with importing some role players on the offense side. I cannot believe there is even talk about. Put them with a healthy Church, D-Murph, and a few tweaks here and there and it's going to make for an exciting line-up. I just hope it's off-season banter and no one acts upon this INSANE talk (Omar you listening?).

Agreed with LJ Phipps that none of those three should be anywhere near the trading block.

Regarding Heilman and Pedro: it seems to me that conflicting issues are at play in the case of these two. Trading Heilman now would yield very little, much less than he is worth; not bringing back Pedro buys us nothing. Yet the thought of bringing them both back scares me completely, because to bring them back is to commit innings to their success or failure. This season we have seen exactly how games blown in July can cost the team in September.

I think a prudent course is to bring back one of them, thus limiting both the upside and the possible damage; and since I know that Manuel would have no trouble sitting Heilman he is the one I would take my chances on. Pedro is just too important a figure to play that game with, just as Mike Piazza was too big a figure to bring back and possibly bench.

Come June, Heilman will either have pitched himself into a larger role for the Mets, or else the team can jettison him, not losing much in the process.

Delgado has to go , to make room for a true team leader to come in.We should look for that spark plug kind of player to get this "core" hitting on all cylinders. He could be a 1st basemen,or a catcher, or 2nd basemen,or a outfielder. Or a combo of two or more to fill that void of team spirit and fire. You know that kind of player who will allow himself to get hit with a pitch when the bases are loaded to force in a run. Someone in the lineup who is cluch and consistant, who can hit a sac. fly when a runner is on third with no outs to drive in a run. A Kieth, a Whalley, a Cleon, a Ron Hunt kind of guy. Just add that to the core and you start to believe again. Where every inning is fun to watch. It got bad, like watching paint dry in the end of this season. For me I had no faith in that lineup to create runs. It seemed evrybody was waiting for the homerun. Strike out,ground out,sit down next.Ect.Ect. No life, no spark, we are a engine that is out of time and missing on one or two cylinders. Find that guy and fix the pitching. We can turn things around and have fun again.

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