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Merely the Painfully Obvious

MetsFanSZThursday, May 20, 2010
By MetsFanSZ

It's not helpful to be absurdly impatient. Baseball is a long season, and being two games under .500 in May is really meaningless. It's easy to call for the heads of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya.

Met fans, though, aren't so stupid. We merely notice the painfully obvious. Like re-signing Oliver Perez was a major risk. At the time, he looked like a reasonable risk as a fifth starter. Just like Kelvim Escobar was a reasonable risk. Mike Jacobs, a reasonable chance. Gary Matthews, especially as insurance against losing Beltran for any length of time, and for the money the Mets would be paying for him.

It is incredibly short-sighted to judge a contract on the first year, or a trade on a half-season.

Painfully obvious? Oliver Perez is not now a major league pitcher. When he can, on those rare occasions, throw strikes, he finds a way to lose. In Miami, it was giving meat pitches to Marlins that don't miss easy home runs. Perez doesn't belong in the rotation, and doesn't belong in the bullpen. If he won't accept assignment to the minors (see Steve Trachsel), perhaps he should be assigned to the disabled list. Pulled brain muscle, perhaps?

You can't fault Jerry Manuel or Omar Minaya for John Maine starting a game with 12 balls to the first three batters. Kind of like Jerrod Saltalamacchia not being able to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

You can't fault Manuel or Minaya that David Wright is missing in action. Who is that imposter? That's not David ­ that's "0 and 2 on" Wright playing third base. Or Sunday against the Marlins, misplaying third base. Yes, he's a Gold Glover. But the Marlins big inning started with a single that should have been an out. Wright dribbled a throw to first. Later Wright made an error. And ole'd a grounder that he normally makes a play on ­ okay, that one was tough. Monday night he had one, the same kind, with nobody on. Made it just fine.

Now, Jonathan Niese is hurt, because he twisted his arm trying to throw to first when Wright got too close. My guess is Niese goes DL. [He has.] And if Perez gets to stay in the rotation because of it, well that would indicate that Manuel needs to get the boot. That would be the last straw.

So where are we? Rooting for a team that is suffering in the rotation, and suffering at the plate. Too many walks by the pitchers ­ way too many. Too many strikeouts at the plate in a lineup loaded with strikeout players. Wright didn't use to uppercut everything. Look at the swing from three years ago. Look at him over the last two years. Citi Field is no excuse.

They swing at bad pitches and take good ones. Reyes, clearly is struggling, in the three hole or at the top or the lineup. Eventually he'll be the Reyes of old. How eventually?

Don't get me wrong. I love Wright, I love Reyes. I want them to be the players the Mets signed for years to be their cornerstones. I want Beltran back, because he's the missing link in the lineup. Beltran puts Wright back at third in the order, Bay fifth, Reyes leading off. If/when Beltran gets back, the strikeout totals of Wright, Bay, and Francouer all go down.

How, you ask? Simple. More baserunners. More fastballs. Better hitting. Normally bats start to heat up over the summer, when the weather gets hotter. It's a long season. With more speed on base, like Reyes, Castillo, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, and Bay, you have guys who can steal bases. Even Frenchy's been known to steal now and then.

The southern bureau of Mike's Mets, NostraDennis and myself, made a field trip to see a couple of games at Dolphins Stadium last September, or whatever that stadium was called then or now. It was the weekend before the season ended. We saw a very forgettable Saturday night game, and a Sunday game that made me lose my voice, because it was shocking. It was the first complete game shutout by the Mets last year, and it wasn't against a bunch of minor leaguers, either. (More on the trip another time.)

Pat Misch threw it. He battled, he got some help, but he battled and pitched well. The Mets got another complete game shutout before the last day of the season, too. Nelson Figueroa threw it.

Did Misch or Figueroa deserve a shot at the rotation? Probably not out of spring training. Niese was anointed part of the future and has performed reasonably well. Perez and Maine, while not showing much in spring training, are key cogs and deserved their shots. Santana, who did not pitch well in the spring, gave zero reason to believe that he would NOT be Johan Santana when the bell rang, and guess what, he's pitched like Johan Santana, aside from the bomb game. If anyone is worried about Santana, they know nothing about baseball. He's fine, and he'll be fine, and is the leader of the pitching staff.

As much as I'd like to see Gary Matthews be successful and be a perfect outfield backup to Pagan and Francouer, did we really need a dribbler back to the mound, a called third strike, and a room-service double-play grounder late in a close game to make it obvious that he doesn't belong on a major-league roster right now? It was a great deal, getting Los Angeles to pay that much money to get rid of him. It's pretty obvious now why.

Bring on Dickey. Bring on Takahashi. Let's get this goat out of the barn.

Oh my goodness. Tonight, an inside-the-park home run by Pagan. And a triple play BY the Mets, started by Pagan!! Don't remember ever, EVER seeing the Mets pull one. Oh wait, we're still losing. Can we please get a run? Please?

Comments (2)

Pardon me, but I am going to take exception with you on two matters, related matters as is happens:

I believe that Oliver Perez' contract CAN be reasonably evaluated on it's first year and a fifth. In economics there is a notion called Present Value, which claims that money spent today is more costly than money spent years down the road. Clearly by that view the most valuable portion of the contract is gone, with the player doing harm, not good, to the team's fortunes. And I believe it applies to non-financial aspects of a deal as well; in the first year of a new contract a player can still meet or fullfill expectations, maybe draw a few fans to the park; his acquisition still has that "new car smell." He'll never get that back entirely if he stinks it up the first year; and his team will enter Season Two not with the satisfaction of having a role filled, but with the burden of having to live with an earlier decision. That stuff all entails costs, and costs cost you, you know? It happened to the Reds when they signed Ken Griffey, and that was a smart signing, unlike the Perez deal. Fifth starters elsewhere aren't making $12 million a year.

So, I don't see my view of the Perez contract as incredibly short-sighted. Which leads me to my other point of contention: I really don't think any of us have any business making pronouncements such as: If anyone believes so-and-so, then they know nothing about baseball. That's not an arguement or an analysis; it's an arrogant swipe, an effort to take the high ground by default. And as Chili Davis might have said, none of us are god, man.

Man! even when we are good, we are bad! Inside thwe park homerun,good.Triple play very good. And we lost, Bad.Very bad!

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