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 Mets Fans Stuck in Rebuilding Purgatory

Mets GM Sandy Alderson

With pitchers and catchers just days away, Mets fans are wondering if their team has a chance at contending or if the small lines at Shake Shack will be the only reason they attend Citi Field in 2013.

General Manager Sandy Alderson has given more than just burgers and fries to satisfy hungry Mets fans so far. The 65 year-old Alderson has managed to completely overhaul a relatively barren farm system leftover by Omar Minaya. Timely trades of Carlos Beltran’s balky knees and R.A. Dickey’s enigmatic pitch have landed the Mets two of the top ten prospects in all of baseball, according to MLB.com.

The pair of Travis D’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler have about 500+ minor league games between them so it’s not unrealistic to expect the future of the Metropolitans to arrive some time during the beginning of May.

Despite showing an affinity for bolstering the Mets farm system, Alderson has done little to aide his thin depth at the Major League level. Talks continue to swirl about the chances of bringing in Michael Bourn, but the speedy outfielder seems a bit too expensive for the Mets bland tastes. Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which means a deal with such a stringent financial organization like the Mets is unlikely. Boras has made his mark in baseball with his innate ability to wrangle up a mystery team to drive up bidding wars. Just ask fans how Oliver Perez got a $36 million deal after reaching 15 wins only once in his career. In addition to Bourn’s crafty agent, the Mets may stand to lose their formally protected first-round draft pick. After the Pittsburg Pirates failed to sign their draft pick last season, the Pirates were placed as the 10th pick in the following year’s draft. This effectively bumped the Mets from their 10th spot, leaving their pick unprotected and their chances at signing a restrictive free agent slim to none. The Mets can’t afford to lose a top ten draft pick for a 30-year-old outfielder, who most likely is on the backend of his career.

The Mets braintrust seems be content with giving out a bunch of minor league deals to underperforming outfielders like Corey Patterson, Mike Wilson and former Phillies prospect Marlon Byrd. With the Nationals only getting better and the Braves forming arguably the best outfield in baseball with the Upton brothers, the Mets moves and lack of financial commitment to winning speaks volumes on how the front office views the 2013 season. It seems that the outfield the Mets will be bringing to Citi Field will be bereft of proven major league talent with the cast of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and local product Mike Baxter.

While their outfielders are unimpressive to say the least, the bullpen may prove to be equally as inept. The Mets went from the third worst bullpen in 2011 to the second worst in 2012. This trend will only continue with the amount of question marks that continue to populate the relief corps. The unit is lead by Frank Francisco, the man that is doing a great job of continuing the long line of shaky closers for the New York Metropolitans. Many folks are banking on Bobby Parnell, but he is lacking secondary pitches.  Brandon Lyon is rumored to be close to inking a deal with the Mets, but even if that is true the Mets are still a few good pitchers away from being an even mediocre bullpen.

Young talent may prove to be quite the appetizer for the Flushing Faithful, but it cannot possibly replace the succulent-gratifying taste that accompanies a winning team. Losing 20 home runs from Scott Hairston and another 20-game winner in Dickey off of this 74-win team doesn’t help their chances either. By all accounts this will be another year that Mets fans will be trapped in the purgatory that most call “the rebuilding mode.”

 For Whom The Beltran Tolls

Photo by Keith Allison

The July 31st trade deadline looms! We’re now into the peak period when general managers try their luck, play the hand they’ve been dealt and maintain their best poker face in trying to either better their ballclub for the heat of the pennant race or cut their losses and live to play another day. In a few days, we’ll find out who’s selling and who’s buying. The Mets, predictably, will most likely be selling and streamlining the big club for next season while trying to re-stock down on the farm.

The Mets have already lightened the load by sending closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers for 2 of the proverbial players to be named later. As long as these unnamed players are still breathing when they get here, the Mets made a good deal. Fans complained that letting go of K-Rod well before the deadline leaves the team without a closer, shows management has given up, etc. The front office struck while the iron was hot after finding a pigeon in Milwaukee and then closed the deal as soon as they could. The Mets were very fortunate that Rodriguez has behaved himself since his major snap of last season. That made the process of shipping him off that much smoother.

Aside from the obvious tolling of Carlos Beltran and the impending free-agency of Jose Reyes, I don’t see the Mets as having too many more desirable chips to deal away. Unless someone wants one of the young former Buffalo Bisons or if Ronny Paulino has convinced another club that he’s actually a good hitter, pickings are slim. Sandy Alderson should start off his phone conversations with a joke, “Trade? Sure! How about Bay and Pelfrey?! LOL!” If by some sheer miracle the other party bites, reel them in like they’re Captain Kidd’s treasure!

I think Alderson will make a strong play to re-sign Reyes, and unless Jose’s a great actor, he looks like he sincerely wants to be here. You just have to cross your fingers that the hamstrings hold up and if they do, you’ve got one of the best and most exciting players in the game locked up. And unless Sandy’s a great actor, I think he’s finally realized how popular Reyes is with the fan base and that he’d have a mutiny and mass exodus on his hands if he let Jose slip away without an excruciatingly major struggle.

Beltran is gone. It’s just a matter of the details – where and most importantly, for whom! Some say his career as a Met would have been much different if he didn’t look at Strike 3 in the 2006 NLCS. If he popped to short, would that have made a difference? Not really. The only way things would have been different? If he won the game and if that Mets club went on to take the Series that year. Even so, Carlos was not vilified after the Mets were so abruptly eliminated in ’06. He’s been a good soldier here, aside from that minor Walter Reed visit bump-in-the-road. He was not a free-agent bust. He’s had some great games as a Met, capped off by his game-tying HR the other night up into the Pepsi Porch that landed next to Gary, Keith & Ron who were doing the broadcast from up there. He’s remained healthy and put together a great season, earning an All-Star nod. He deserves to go to one of the teams on his trade list and help them win, just as he did with the Mets on many occasions. Gracias, Carlos. Adios y buena suerte.

 Mets’ Midterm Marks – “B” Happy

No final grades as yet. We’re only halfway through the season. The Mid-Summer Classic is in the offing, and we still have three solid months of baseball to be played.

Now, about the Mets. Taking everything into consideration – the new front office, the old financials of the owners and all THAT, the introduction of a prospective new minority owner, the ridiculous design of the playing field dimensions and the injuries. Taking all these factors into consideration, to be hovering around .500 at the halfway point I’d give the club a sold ‘B” grade.

Sports Illustrated picked the Mets to be ugly this season, yet as of this writing they‘re 3rd in the NL East. Pretty respectable, considering they have the Braves and the Phillies ahead of them – both superior clubs.

With keys lost like Santana, Wright and Davis, role players like Murphy, Pridie, Turner, Tejada have plugged the holes and performed more than adequately. Carlos Beltran has played above and beyond. No one would have counted on Carlos to be in the lineup as much as he has and to make an impact daily. A most pleasant surprise! Bay? We‘ve discussed this already. He’s under achieved seriously, and although he’s shown some signs of snapping out of late, he’s got a long way to go. And the overwhelming play of Reyes. Jose is having an MVP-type season. Sandy Alderson has a big decision to make on whether he wants to re-sign Reyes, or deal him and build his money-ball club. If dealt, however, he’ll never receive equal value or replace what Jose brings to the lineup. Right now he’s performed like he’s one of the top 5 players in the game.

Mike Pelfrey’s issues and inconsistencies are not physical I’m afraid. Chris Young loss was a big one. Capuano, Gee, Niese hqave all been solid. Dickey has been his bulldog-self. Pitching for the Amazin’s has been a pleasant surprise. K-Rod wouldn’t fit the mold of being a Mets’ closer if he didn’t make you sweat every time he appears. I’d still try to find a taker for him sooner rather than later and groom Bobby Parnell to close. Problem is there are most likely zero teams interested in Frankie.

The Mets have made do with less. There’s another factor however. The leadership. I admit I was not in favor of the hiring of Terry Collins. I felt the club needed to keep a tie to the past and make a popular choice for the new skipper, like Wally Backman. I was wrong. Terry Collins has been a GREAT hire for this club, and it’s a welcome and refreshing change from the regimes dating back numerous years. A manager who was tagged with “losing the clubhouse” in the past scared me, but this is a perfect example of a man who can learn from his experiences. Terry Collins has taken a damp sponge and parlayed it into a positive glass half-full!

Despite the injuries and the other factors, Reyes is captivating the country, Beltran’s an All-Star and Terry Collins is right for the reigns. Met fans shouldn’t “settle” and be satisfied with a .500 club, but they certainly should “B” happy with their team at the break.

 Reyes to Mets: We’ll Talk Later

 

Photo by slgckgc

The Mets organization reached out to Reyes last week in an attempt to negotiate a contract extension.

His answer came yesterday: We’ll talk….later…

That’s the message shortstop Jose Reyes and his agent had for the Mets yesterday at Citifield.  Reyes said he would not discuss future contracts with the Mets GM Sandy Alderson during the regular season because he didn’t want it to be a distraction.

“It is Jose’s desire to postpone any negotiations until after the season,” Alderson told reporters prior to Monday’s game against Oakland.  “He wants to focus on baseball…We will respect his wishes and hopefully pick up negotiations at the end of the season.”

What does this mean for the Mets?  Well, first and foremost, it means that any advantage they had in negotiating exclusively with Reyes between now and the start of free agency has been reduced by about three months.

That being said, Reyes’ agent, Peter Greenberg told Newsday that “The Mets will have an exclusive window at the end of the year.”  Yes, but it will be a lot shorter than it appeared to be just 24 hours ago.

Reyes has made it clear in the past that he loves New York and would like to finish his career as a member of the Mets.  But with the franchise’s current financial woes, can they afford to ink a player like Reyes to a long term big money contract?  The specter of the $1 billion lawsuit by Madoff case Trustee Irving Picard is still hanging over the heads of ownership.

There’s also the matter of owner Fred Wilpon’s quote last month that Reyes won’t get “Carl Crawford money,” a statement Wilpon may come to regret.  Now, with his MVP worthy numbers and the demand for quality shortstops by contending teams, the possibility continues to increase that if he doesn’t get a seven-year, $142 million deal like Crawford did, Reyes may come very close.

The fans are still behind Reyes.  Another banner was in the stands at Citifield last night proclaiming “Don’t Trade Reyes.”  The sentiment has been echoed at rallies and on local sports talk radio by Mets fans who have grown up watching and rooting for the speedy shortstop since he made his debut as a Met back in 2003.

There are many factors the Mets must consider when deciding whether or not to trade Reyes.  Certainly, from a baseball standpoint, if they deal him or let him leave as a free agent, what will they get in return?  Alderson obviously wants to get as much back as he can. In the short term, anybody else they bring in to play shortstop will be a step down, but what combination of prospects, draft picks and players could the Mets get for Reyes?

Money obviously also remains a big factor both short term and long term. The recent addition of David Einhorn as a minority owner certainly helps.  If the lawsuit by Picard is settled or resolved in the next few months, that would also give ownership a clearer idea of where they stand budget-wise going forward.

But perhaps a bigger issue remains what message trading Reyes would send to an already frustrated fan base.  A fan base that wants to know their team is committed to winning and almost unanimously wants to keep one of the team’s most productive and popular players who at 28 already has an injury history, but is also  just entering the prime of his career.

What happens to Reyes will say a lot about the future of the Mets franchise.  All we know now is that a contract extension isn’t in the cards until the end of the season.  That is, if Reyes is still in a Mets uniform by then…

 Cashman’s Complaints About Feliciano Deflect From the Risk His Team Took

One of the more well-known proverbs warns the individual that they must lie in the bed they’ve made for themselves. For example, those who sleep around while they’re married tend to end up alone once both parties figure out what they’re up to. In general, people have to take both the good and the bad consequences that come with their actions.

Someone needs to refresh Brian Cashman on the existence of this proverb. On Saturday, Cashman criticized the Mets’ treatment of new Yankee Pedro Feliciano, who is currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Cashman used the word “abused” to describe his use by the Mets, who trotted him out to the mound 266 times in the past three years, including 92 games last season.

Cashman has a right to be upset that his $8 million investment hasn’t earned a cent of that money in a regular-season game yet, and may not for at least a month. But his finger-pointing isn’t helping matters. The statement was a deflection tactic, an attempt to use the much-maligned Mets management to make people forget that the Yankees took a risk when they signed the 34-year-old lefty. It’s a risk the Yankees knew they were taking, and it’s one they’ll have to take responsibility for.

One of the general rules about pitchers in major league baseball (and at any level) is that the more they throw, the more susceptible to injury they become. Denny McLain’s workload during his 31-win MVP season of 1968 ended up sapping him of his ability to pitch by 1972. Mike Marshall, who set appearance records in 1973 and 1974 and threw nearly 400 innings out of the bullpen in those two seasons, dealt with injuries that prevented him from pitching a full season again until 1979; he was out of baseball two years later. Part of Doc Gooden’s downfall was credited to the 644.2 innings he pitched in his first three seasons. Every now and then, you’ll get a Nolan Ryan or a Greg Maddux, who can withstand years of pitching 200+ innings without suffering arm problems. But for every Ryan, there’s an Andy Messersmith, and for every Maddux, there’s a Mark Prior, a pitcher with tremendous talent who has it sapped from him due to arm problems.

Feliciano may not have thrown over 300 innings in a season, like McLain did, but he approached Mike Marshall-like numbers in terms of appearances. In fact, he eclipsed them; his 266 appearances over the last three years were a major league record. “Perpetual” Pedro, as he was known to Mets fans, would frequently get into every game of a three or four-game set, particularly if the opposing team was from Philadelphia. He was the linchpin of the team’s bullpen. He was Jerry Manuel’s most consistent performer. And he wanted the workload that he got, if you believe Dan Warthen’s response to Cashman’s comments yesterday. There was no sense of outrage from any party while Feliciano was wearing orange and blue.

One of Sandy Alderson’s biggest decisions this off-season was deciding whether to bring back Feliciano, particularly at the $4 million per year he was expected to fetch on the open market. His service to the Mets over the previous three seasons was unquestionably important to the team’s success, but leftover thoughts of the “Moneyball” philosophy on left-handed specialists (specifically, the over-rating of lefty-lefty/righty-righty matchups), as well as concerns over Feliciano’s workload, caused the Mets to let him go. The Yankees swooped in and gave him that two-year, $8 million contract, presumably after considering at least the latter concern, which makes Cashman’s comments on Saturday stranger at this point.

The one thing that comes to mind is that Cashman never wanted Feliciano on the Yankees to begin with. If you remember, when the Yankees gave Rafael Soriano a big contract to be the team’s setup man this off-season, Cashman distanced himself from the signing, saying it came from executives above his head in the organization. It’s possible that Cashman didn’t want to spend that type of money on Feliciano, either, and that he’s lashing out at his own organization with his comments. That seems to be the most logical explanation, at least.

It certainly doesn’t make sense to lash out at the Mets months after bringing the lefty specialist in, though. Everyone knew that the Mets used Feliciano at a record pace in the last three years. It’s not a stretch to imagine that he would suffer from arm problems at any point of the two-year deal he signed. It’s a shame that it happened in the inaugural moments of the contract, but that’s the risk the Yankees took.

Gerald R. Johnson once said that “no man was ever endowed with a right without being at the same time saddled with a responsibility”. Cashman had the right to offer Feliciano the contract he did. He can’t try to deflect the responsibility now that he took that risk.

He made his bed. Now he has to lie in it.

 Are Luis Castillo’s Cries of Unfair Treatment Justified?

Photo by Keith Allison

By now, every Mets fan knows that the team cut Luis Castillo free yesterday, parting with the past-his-prime second baseman with one year and $6 million left on a four-year deal that was a disaster from the minute it was announced in November of 2007.

The move doesn’t catch anyone by surprise. Castillo’s fate was written on the wall as soon as Sandy Alderson stepped in the door in November.  His injury-plagued 2010 certainly didn’t help his cause; had he recorded enough at-bats to qualify for the OPS leaders a year ago, his .604 clip would have been the second-lowest in the major leagues, ahead of only Cesar Izturis.

Castillo will likely be chided by fans and media alike for his last words to the Mets upon getting his release. According to Newsday, he told manager Terry Collins that he felt like he didn’t get a fair crack in the team’s five-headed second base competition. “I said, ‘I came here to play and you didn’t give me the chance,’ ” he told Newsday’s David Lennon. ” ‘You didn’t use me.’ ”

On the surface, Castillo doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on (and no, that’s not a crack at his bad knees). The Mets paid him to play poorly for them for two of the past three years (it’s easy to forget, but he hit .302 in 580 at-bats with an on-base percentage of .387 in 2009, when he stayed healthy). They watched as the All-Star attributes he demonstrated with Florida vanished. His range in the field evaporated, his speed was sapped from him, and his .320 averages started dipping south of .250, magnifying his biggest flaw (a lack of any power whatsoever) even further in the process.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine that any of the parties involved (including Castillo) expected him to win the second-base competition. And Castillo’s 29-at-bat spring training sample showed more of the same: a .289 average, no power, and suspect fielding. When you can’t beat out players like Luis Hernandez and Brad Emaus for a starting job, you are best served elsewhere.

But consider this: Instead of Castillo saying “I didn’t get a fair shot” with the Mets, does he mean that he didn’t get a fair shot anywhere to earn a roster spot? It’s clear he wasn’t going to earn it here unless he put up Ty Cobb-like spring numbers at the plate and looked like Ozzie Smith in the field, all within a tiny sample size. Castillo might have been saying that the Mets should have cut him sooner rather than later, allowing him to look for a job elsewhere.

It certainly would’ve made sense from the Mets perspective. They would have avoided the headache of having Omar Minaya’s two albatrosses (Castillo and Oliver Perez) taking up roster space in camp. And Castillo would have had a chance to give a new organization a fresh look at him for a cheap price. Now, Castillo will likely have to start the regular season in the minors so whatever team he latches on to can go through that evaluation process.

Some might say things like “tough”, “it isn’t like Castillo isn’t getting paid”, and “he sucks”. These are all fair points, and the Mets certainly had every right to hold Castillo to his contract. It just seemed rather pointless. It’s possible that the Mets’ financial troubles forced them to hold him into spring training until they could find the money to buy him out, but otherwise, it made more sense to cut the cord and bury the cost to avoid the subsequent media distractions that followed.

One thing’s for sure, and that’s that Castillo will not be missed by Mets fans. He, along with Perez, were vilified by the fan base, frequently pointed to as scapegoats for the team’s problems. Make no mistake, they were terrible investments from Minaya. (This writer sensed that both would be from day one.) Castillo’s scapegoat status was larger, perhaps, because of the way a Mets-Yankees game ended on June 12, 2009, which overshadowed what was actually a decent. (Perez, remember, kept the Mets in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, and put together a decent 2008, so Mets fans had an easier time accessing positives before he signed his new deal.)

But Castillo should not be met with as much disdain as Perez. Perez was audacious enough to frequently rebuff requests from the Mets to figure out whatever mysterious problems ail him in the minor leagues last season. We have no reason to believe that Castillo would have refused such a request, as it was never posed. And Perez’s career went into the tank as soon as he inked his contract. Castillo still put together one decent season at the plate, at least.

Castillo’s situation reminds me a lot of Rick Dipietro’s with the New York Islanders. They both were offered bad contracts; it’s not their fault they signed them. They both proceeded to suffer recurring injury problems, problems that their respective teams had ample warning about before said contracts were offered. It was no surprise, then, that they were unable to live up to the terms of the contract. Perhaps they failed more spectacularly than anyone expected, but at least they tried to fulfill their deals to the best of their ability. The same cannot be said for Perez, although the warning signs were there, too.

Regardless, Luis Castillo’s era in New York is over. He will be the next in a long line of failed big-money acquisitions in this organization, alongside the Roberto Alomars, Bobby Bonillas (twice), and (soon-to-be) Oliver Perezes of the world. The bad will greatly outshine the good, as it should, and Mets fans will be stuck with another player to try to forget.

It just didn’t have to last as long as it did.

 Mets Issues Could Overshadow 2011 Season

**This was an essay I submitted to the MLB Dream Job contest and figured I’d share with you.**

The biggest storyline for the 2011 MLB season could be the Mets and the Wilpon’s status with the team following the news of their involvement in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and the lawsuit administered by the trustee of Bernie Madoff seeking upwards of 1 billion dollars.

Since the news broke about the Wilpon’s, the topic has been discussed incessantly on NY sports talk radio stations, which means it’s on people’s minds.  The audacity of the allegations, claiming the Wilpon’s “should have known” Madoff was a fraud, has captivated listeners, who have also conjured up their own defenses in the process. With the case not anywhere close to being settled, you can expect more and more coverage and discussion as the months progress.

It’s a big storyline for baseball considering the market its taking place in. Having a New York team under public scrutiny and the possibility of the owners having to sell the team casts a dark cloud not only over Major League Baseball but over one of the biggest and most popular cities in all of sports.

The Wilpon’s have already sought minority owners, wiling to hand over 25 percent ownership in exchange for silent money. An investment group led by Martin Luther King III publicly admitted interest in the Mets, but only if it was more than a 50 percent stake. What’s more, looking at some of the names that have expressed interest such as Mark Cuban and even Donald Trump, it’s very unlikely any partner they bring in would want to be silent.

All of the off-field distractions could be a further detriment to a Mets team that has experienced quite enough heartache recently. The Mets, under constant ire from the fan base and the media, struggled with historic, late-September collapses, questionable free agent signings of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, domestic issues with closer Francisco Rodriguez that led to a subsequent arrest, as well is organizational issues with management of player injuries.

During the offseason, Mets ownership decided the team needed new voices and a clear-cut plan that would ensure sustainable growth and success. Sandy Alderson, the proponent of “Money Ball” during his tenure with the Oakland A’s, has replaced Omar Minaya. Terry Collins, having gone 11 years since his last managerial job, replaced Jerry Manuel. A new mindset and new voice has been instilled in a Mets team that desperately needs new direction.

It should be a very interesting season in the Big Apple. A season that could bring monumental changes if things don’t work out for the better.

 When Will the Mets Off Field Drama Finally Stop?

When is this off field drama with the Mets ever going to stop? Every year the Mets find ways to make headlines for other than their play on the field.

The Mets have found ways above and beyond to create soap operas over the past three years rather than play on the field, whether it’s Tony Bernazard taking off his shirt to fight Double-A players, Omar Minaya accusing Adam Rubin of lobbying for a player development spot, all the player injuries over the past two years, Francisco Rodriguez’s altercations, or the latest with the Wilpon’s financial woes. It has been a never ending story.

When are we going to actually talk about strictly baseball with this team? When is there going to be one year where it’s talk about what is happening on the field, not off of it? When is something positive going to not be over shadowed by something negative for once?

The Mets were considered a joke by many people in and around baseball during Omar Minaya’s regime. I’ll never forget when a NL West Executive told me in summer of 2009, “You wouldn’t believe the sh-t that goes on within that organization.” I was kind of embarrassed/angry as a fan to hear that honestly.

The Mets hiring of new GM Sandy Alderson was sort of a “rebirth” or “clean slate” for the franchise, after the turmoil the Mets went through with Omar Minaya. However, the excitement for Alderson’s presence has quickly been replaced by the Wilpon’s uncertainty of still even owning the team.

I’m not going to accuse or defend the Wilpon’s for what they have or haven’t done. I’m here to talk baseball, not finance or politics. But, it’s sad to say with all that has gone on with this organization off the field over the years, the latest fiasco has start to become a norm for myself and other Mets fans.

In the end, Mets fans and players must head into the 2011 season with off field drama being the main talk, instead of the excitement surrounding a new season in Queens.

 Prediciting How Many Games the Mets Will Win in ‘11?

As of right now, I’ll put the Mets at 85 wins for the upcoming season.

That win total puts them in contention to compete for the Wild Card, which could mean for an exciting September at Citi Field.

I honestly think that is a realistic goal for this team. The bar isn’t set too high nor is it set too low.

Obviously, so many questions have yet to be answered as we are still a couple of weeks away from Spring Training, but when you look at this club, 85 wins is achievable, I believe.

Looking at the potential make up of this year’s ball club there should be reason to believe. Yes, I know many fans are disappointed that new GM Sandy Alderson didn’t break the bank and make a splash this off season, but you know what, I think the Mets have enough talent to contend.

The Mets have a young core of players who should continue to make strides in developing this season. Many players are in walk year of their contracts such as Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, which will provide extra motivation on top of what manager Terry Collins has or will tell the media. Jason Bay has something to prove after a disappointing first year in Queens. Free-agent pitchers Chris Young and Chris Capuano, who were brought in on one-year, incentive based deals, will be pitching for big pay days. Plus, one major area Sandy Alderson has addressed this off season was depth, which would play a big dividend in the team’s success in 2011.

I understand a lot of things have to go the Mets way in order to be successful this season, but with the new management present, things are only going to look up for Mets fans to believe once again. This season should be no different.

 Right Call with Collins

I admit, Wally Backman was my top choice to be the next Mets manager.  He was a championship Met, is fiery and had success at Brooklyn this year.  However, when Terry Collins was named manager, I applauded the decision.  Here is why:

Watching his press conference, I saw something I had not seen with this team since Bobby V, a manager with energy. Collins was full of it and still managed to maintain a thick skin, a good combo to have in this very tough sports market.

The most important part of the Collins hiring is his familiarity with the Mets minor league system.  Collins was their field coordinator last year and became familiar with the teams younger players.  He knows Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Nick Evans, Ruben Tejada, and Lucas Duda.  Most if not all of those players will figure into the 2011 big picture.  Another reason the Collins hire works is because new GM Sandy Alderson went on record and said the Mets do not have much flexibility with their payroll this season.  Reading between the lines, if improvements or replacements need to be made with this team for the upcoming season, then they will have to come from within. Who better to get insight on these decisions from, then the man who oversaw all these players, Terry Collins.

If Carlos Beltran or  Angel Pagan goes down for a long period of time with an injury and it comes down to making a trade or bringing up lets say Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Sean Ratliff, Collins will be able to determine the readiness of each player and how they might fit on the team.  Even if Mets management decides to recruit via trade, Collins can help assess a trade proposal by providing the most accurate analysis possible, observation.

Collins has previous MLB managerial experience, more than all of the other serious candidates combined.  In 6 seasons as manager, Collins has had five winnings seasons with an overall winning percentage of .506 and an overall record of 444-434.  He’s not exactly Connie Mack, but he is certainly consistent.  Collins has yet to manage in the 21st century, so his adapting to today’s game will be an intriguing process.  Collins vowed to bring fundamentals and execution to the 2011 Mets.  He also stressed strong and aggressive  base running.  He did not rule out the Mets competing this year.  I like what I have heard so far.  I hope the call to go with Terry Collins as manager is the right one.

 10/31/2010 – SPORTSTALK1240

Hosted by Brandon Contes. Guests on the show included Matt Cerrone of SNY and metsblog.com, as they discussed the hiring of Sandy Alderson as GM of the New York Mets.

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 10/24/2010 – NY Baseball Digest

Mike Silva hosts. Guests on the program included mlb.com’s Jed Weisberger and Jane Leavy, author of the new Mickey Mantle book The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood. Topics discussed on the show included potential off season moves by the Yankees, and some “breaking news” that might indicate why Cliff Lee is likely to end up in a Yankees uniform next season. The New York Mets GM position, and the likelihood of Sandy Alderson getting that position were also discussed.

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