Solutions > vitriol

Based on some of the comments, I’m guessing I didn’t clearly explain what I meant to say in my post earlier this morning. What I meant to say is this:

I’m as disappointed as any Mets fan about the way the team is run, but it has nothing to do with the first seven games of this season. These games have been indicative of many of the problems that have troubled the Mets over the past several seasons, but they are only seven games, and so getting riled up only on account of them — if you were more optimistic before the season — is probably silly. The Mets are better than their .286 winning percentage. A .286 winning percentage would make them one of the worst teams of all time, and I don’t think anyone thinks they’re that.

The Mets can’t bring back Nelson Figueroa from the Phillies now, but they can still work to unbury themselves from the mire by revisiting several of the decisions they likely mishandled near the end of Spring Training and in the early parts of this season.

A couple, real quick:

- Start Angel Pagan in center field every day: It sounds as if this is already starting to happen, and based on the overwhelming response to yesterday’s poll, I’m not sure I need bother explaining why it should (also: thanks for reading, Gary Matthews Jr.!).  But to put it simply, Pagan is most likely a better defender than Matthews and almost certainly a better hitter, and the team as currently constructed needs all the offense it can get.

Yes, Pagan makes mistakes in the field and on the basepaths, but no matter how frustrating they can be, they are not enough to mitigate what he offers to the club over Matthews.

- Call up Chris Carter to replace Mike Jacobs: This one’s a lot less likely to happen, but I’m sticking with my position on the matter from before the season. Carter’s not off to the best of starts at Triple-A Buffalo, but he’s more likely to get on base than Mike Jacobs and more likely to knock one out than Frank Catalonotto, even if he lacks that elusive Major League experience.

I understand the calls for Ike Davis given Davis’ impressive Spring Training performance and hot start to the year. And I recognize that it seems somewhere between odd and hypocritical for the Mets to be patient with Davis while throwing Jenrry Mejia to the wolves, but the first-base prospect — as impressive as he is — did strike out in more than 25 percent of his plate appearances in Double-A last season while struggling with left-handers. Davis’ time will come, but until he proves he can hit Triple-A pitching (across more than 26 plate appearances), Fernando Tatis and Carter can hold down the fort more aptly than Jacobs until Daniel Murphy returns.

As for the rest? Calls for the heads of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel, while understandable, are unrealistic. Those cases should have been made — and in many cases, were made — long before the season started. If the the powers-that-be felt confident enough in their general manager and manager to endure the offseason and start the year with them, changing their minds now would indicate a near-horrifying lack of confidence in their decision-making ability. I’m not entirely sure how or why that matters outside of the inevitable bad press, but it certainly wouldn’t send the best message to the replacement hires.

As for John Maine? In the absence of Figueroa, Maine should probably get at least a few more opportunities to work out his kinks before he’s dispatched to Triple-A or the bullpen. Yes, he looked shaky all Spring and awful in his first two starts, but two starts are two starts, and among all the legitimate concerns about Maine’s velocity and control, it’s easy to forget that he did pitch effectively in a small sample after returning from injury last season. Sure, he beat himself after last night’s game, but Maine beats himself up after every bad start — resist the urge to resort to armchair psychology.

    27 thoughts on “Solutions > vitriol

    1. the most confounding thing of all this is how easily we could be better, maybe not WAY better but definitely better than we current are, with two changes as small as starting two players you already have in your organization, one already sitting on your bench.

    2. Ted, you’re spot on with Carter/Jacobs and also Pagan playing everyday.

      Can we stop, though, with the agonizing over Nelson Figueroa? Is there reason to believe that, over a stretch of 15-20 starts, Figueroa would be a lot better than, say, Pat Misch?

      If we’re serious about fixing the starting rotation, then the solution is not substituting a Figueroa (or, for that matter, Misch) for Maine, but biting the bullet and trading for a genuine quality starter.

      I’m really surprised at the number of people who think that having Nelson Figueroa would make a meaningful difference in how the season goes.

      • What quality starter is on the block, or possibly on the block, that we could trade for without opening up significant holes in the near future?

        • Aaron Harang, a flyball pitcher who would benefit greatly from a move to Citfield from Cincy and is better than Bronson Arroyo, who everyone in NY overrates b/c he kills the Mets and pitched for the Red Sox. Harang is owed $25M over this year and next, so he could be had for nothing if they are willing to take that crappy contract off the Reds’ hands. His peripherals have been superior to his results the last couple of years, and he threw a good game his last time out.

          I’m beginning to wonder if the Mets are planning to move Mejia into the rotation in June like the Yanks did in 08 with Chamberlain and are just trying to keep his innings down now while monitoring him with the major league coaching staff. A rotation of Santana, Harang, Pelfrey, Niese, and Mejia would be promising.

          Ted, didn’t mean to express vitriol, just frustration. This is not a blog for vitriolic attacks, but for thoughtful expression.

        • Oh, I didn’t take the comments section from that post as vitriolic, at all. I thought your comment about Omar as a fantasy player was spot-on and hilarious.

          I just thought most of the comments there seemed to imply that I didn’t agree in principle with the reasons for the anger, and I do. I just don’t see the need for so much rage now when the poor decisions in question were made months ago, and are not really any different than all the poor decisions that have been made for the past several years.

          And feel free to express vitriol here if you need. Just no foul language, per SNY’s demands.

      • I don’t think Figueroa would make a huge difference in the course of the season. I do think he would have been a better option out of the bullpen than Sean Green, and a great option to make a fill-in start for Maine if the Mets felt Maine needed to miss a turn.

        I don’t think Misch is a terrible option either, though he’s not on the 40-man roster. I’d definitely prefer the Mets not trade for starting pitching right now, though. Not unless they were getting someone in a straight salary dump or something — I definitely wouldn’t want to mortgage any part of the future in the name of 2010 success, which is far from a given, even with another starter.

        • Did you look at the boxscore for the Bisons game today before calling for Carter’s promotion?

        • Why would about a week of AAA games change whether or not Carter should be promoted? We’re talking about him taking the jobs of guys who probably shouldn’t be on a major league roster at this point.

        • I’m with you, Gina. Carter should have made the team over Jacobs based upon spring stats and past AAA performance.

          I was joking because he is a HR short of a cycle today. He’s 3 for 3, with 4 rbi.

    3. Time to sign John Smoltz? Perhaps veteran presence is what this club needs.

      Send Mejia down. Put Maine in the bullpen or AAA bring back Parnell, release Jacobs and bring in Carter.

      Release Catalanatto and Tatis. Bring up Evans and Jason Pridie, trade GMJ for anything.

      If Perez falters replace him with Nieve or Takahashi and send him to the bullpen.

      • I was thinking about signing Pedro this morning. But would either he or Smoltz even sign with us now?

        And neither would be major league ready for at least one month.

        • I know before the season Smoltz apparently didn’t want to sign with us because he wanted to play for a contender, and would rather wait till later in the season to sign with one.

    4. None of these fixes (not any others realistically within reach) will make this team a contender in 2010 (or, in all likelihood, 2011). We have, at best, 3 MLB starters, half a lineup (even after/if CB returns), a suspect bullpen, and no franchise-changer prospects in sight (Ike Davis will be a solid John Olerud 1B, F-Mart may or may not pan out, Mehia’s ceiling is already being limited by the Mets, etc.). Best thing would be another 4th or 5th place finish, to shock Fred into hiring a grown-up GM to reorganize from the front office down to scouting/player development. An 80-84 win season, improbable as it is, would just lead to further delay in rebuilding the organization. I say this not in anger, but in acceptance that the Mets have come to a point where they either tear out the the rotting core and rebuild, or they just continue to lumber from year to year of mediocrity.

      • We don’t need franchise changing prospects to be a 90+ win team, we have franchise changers in Wright and Reyes already. What we need is to just get better production than what we’ve been getting from 2nd and 1b, which Davis and some type of combination of Tejada and possibly Havens could provide, and better bench players, which if our organization would get out of their own way and use players like Evans, Carter and Murphy as above average super subs rather than overpaying for crap we’d have. The only real are of concern is the rotation but if we get cheap production from enough of the young players, at least in theory, we should be able to afford any game changers that hit the open starting market. Really pelfrey and Niese should be solid 3 types, we just need someone to be a “second” anchor.

        And God willing maybe they’ll wake up and realize it doesn’t matter how dominate Meija could be in the 8th inning if they’re counting on Maine to get him the ball, Meija panning out as a starter would make a massive difference for us in 2011/2012.

        • Not so sold on them being a 90 + win team with Gina’s changes. 1st, Santana, forgetting Sunday might be in decline. 2nd, with so many pitchers re-signing, there may not be one on next year’s FA market, especially if the Yanks sign Cliff Lee. 3, I think the jury is still out on Pelphrey and, more clearly, Niese. I also think the Wilpons are boobs and may not hire a capable replacement for Omar.

        • Yeah in my opinion, the only MAJOR concern we should have right now is whether the Santana we got last year is the one we’re going to be seeing the rest of his contract, because if he is we’re kind of majorly screwed, cause we wouldn’t even come near breaking even in terms of value. And we’d probably need to drop big money on a starter in FA AND hope Meija turns into a front end starter, which Jerry is pretty much determined to prevent.

      • Ken, I have the exact same sentiment.

        I think that we need a 65-70 win season, and a sea of empty seats in CitiField after July 4th to wake the Wilpons up.

        Nothing else seems to work.

        I’m just tired of this franchise being a laughingstock.

    5. Jimmy Rollins is out 2-4 weeks. The obvious solution to all these problems is to trade Cora for Figgy, hell we could even throw in GMjr to sweeten the deal for them.

      • Haha, Gina, love that plan!

        Free Carter!

        Poor guy is in a little slump…really? The guy played in ST like the second coming of Ted Williams and he gets the chop in favor of Jake the Snake Jacobs. (Thus named because he seems to field like he has no arms.) It’s only a matter of time before the snake gets the boot, just depends if its the Murph or carter that gets the call up.

        FREE CHRIS Carter!!!

        BTW, thanks for getting rid of the Wankee players ads, haven’t seen Jorge Postdate on SNY in a day or two.

    6. Hm. Well, I think you’re being a tad generous referring to those ideas as “solutions”.

      So Pagan would be better in CF, but he is a good player? No. We still have one of the worst CF in the NL.

      Carter might be better than Jacobs at first, but is he a good player? No. We still have one of the worst 1B in the NL.

      Keep Maine in the rotation because we don’t have anyone else.

      It’s kind of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      In situations like this, I think vitriol is in order.

      • Pagan would definitely not be the worse cf in the NL. He’d at least even with Rowand, Maybin, albeit I’ll give you that Maybin arguably has more upside, better than trio of ??? SD is sending out, probably at worse even with Gomez, about as good as Byrd, and I would probably expect him to be close to the Rockies cf too.

        Similarly Carter would probably be on the same level as Laroche, Cantu, the mess the Giants have at 1b, Loney, possibly Dunn because of his God awful defense, and Garret Johnson.

        Really the only NL players at their respective positions that will CLEARLY be better than them are either elite players or well established major leaguers.

        • You’re right about Pagan (except that Carlos Gonzalez on the Rockies is a burgeoning star), and you could add Drew Stubbs of the Reds to your list and perhaps Nyger Morgan as well.

          As for Carter, there is no way to know what we have with him unless and until they give him a shot. He could be a classic AAAA player, or he could be Garrett Jones. But he couldn’t be worse than Jacobs.

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