Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Legacy of Carlos Beltran

I posted this question on both the Remembering Shea and Mets Bloggers pages on facebook, so please weigh in there with your answer...
so it sounds like the Beltran deal is official. What is the legacy of Carlos Beltran, and where does he rank among the greatest Mets (or doesn't he)?

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Mets 2012 - Rejuvinated at 50

Someone, a follower but non-diehard fan, asked me last night if the Mets were going to re-sign Jose Reyes. I told him that I honestly didn't know. I could see it going either way. I hope they do, and he has the ability to be a large force of the rebuilt Mets, but at the same time, he has the ability to go down to leg injuries every year that cuts into what he provides to the club. This year's (so far) was minor, and this year, he's showed potential, but one has to wonder. Now, he's not at the point of it being a joke like Fernando Martinez. But it's been a few years since Jose played the entire season healthy. All of that, especially over the past few seasons, makes me wary of throwing lots of money (assuming the Mets can afford it) at Reyes for many many years (though he should still be in the "prime" of his career 5 years from now and on the edge of it 2 years later). Omar Minaya would throw the money at Reyes and lock him up, which is what a lot of the vocal fans want. I don't mean to insult those fans by comparing their desire to what a clown like Omar Minaya would do. But Sandy Alderson is different, and I just don't know what he's going to do. I've said before that the best ballpark for Jose Reyes is Citi Field because of its wide open space. I'm waiting for him to go for 4 bases (you know it's going to be a play where a typically slower runner would end up with a triple). But who knows how much money will talk to Reyes in the offseason and make him leave NY. Or worse, moving to the Bronx.

The other realization I had, and thanks to Steve Popper at the Bergen (NJ) Record and was that the expected trade of Carlos Beltran means the end of the "core" group of Mets from the Omar Minaya era. I had also never thought of Beltran, Reyes, and Wright as being the core. I guess they were. Pedro and Delgado were there too. Beltran, when healthy, was something special. When healthy! But my thought here is that these are the last days of Carlos Beltran as a New York Met.

Now, Beltran is having a great year. An All-Star Season in fact (I think so anyway...didn't watch anything related to the game). He's a veteran who has some control on a trade. Ultimately, that may prove to be a bad thing for either side. Beltran really really doesn't want to play in the American League because of the fear of the DH. Coming into this season, I was ready to concede that Beltran was best suited as a DH for the Mets (for the amount of time that such a thing exists), but he proved me wrong. As far as 2012 and beyond is concerned, having a DH position to fall back on may be good. NL teams may not offer him as many years because of his knees (since they don't have the DH as a fallback). But in the near-term, I don't think it matters where Beltran goes. I'm sure he really doesn't want to leave the Mets (though I am sure he's not in the Mets future plans), but it's also pretty clear that the Mets will trade him in the next few days (they haven't yet already, have they? I'm taking a long time to write this post). If he has a chance to win, and a team and guarantee that he will play 6 days a week in the outfield, it shouldn't matter which league it's in. I know there's a comfort zone in the NL. Maybe that can come in handy with a team in the World Series.

One note on K-Rod. I knew Francisco Rodriguez would be traded. I just didn't expect it to happen during the All-Star Game. Too bad he wasn't having an All-Star season (think about it. How often does a player get traded mid-game and NOT need to get pulled).

David Wright's back. Hey, that's a double-pun. Wright had a big weekend with the bat (I still think he's un-clutch, but I'll give him a week or so to let the excitment of returning from a 2 month absense wear off), but I've heard more talk about his bad throwing mechanics, something I started noticing in 2009. Those things are hid a lot better by a good defensive first baseman (like Ike Davis or Keith Hernandez) because people tend to forget the cases when he gets the out. Wright is signed through next year, and there are no trade rumors. But that won't stop me from advocating trading Wright. Like Beltran and Reyes, and even more-so, Wright has been the "face of the franchise" since his arrival in 2004. And what have the Mets done over that time? I won't remind you, but it wasn't what we all had hoped they would do. I think he needs to wear the captian's "C" on his jersey, or he needs to be traded to a team that won't put the pressure on him. It should happen in the offseason...before the rumors of next year's trade deadline start distracting him.

I'm starting to wonder about Johan Santana. I can only remember him pitching one complete season with the Mets, that being his first in 2008. Maybe it was the new ballpark. Maybe Omar Minaya got damaged goods (and he hasn't led us to winning anything, though in that first year, he came pretty damn close to getting that chance). I would like to see how he comes back from this latest recovery, because the pitching staff will be better with him than without him. But the pitching staff is getting very weak. Even Mike Pelfrey should be considered a treadeable pitcher instead of a number 2 guy.

It's just about time to completely rebuild the organization, something I've advocated since 2009. Both the major league team and the farm system (think about the "talent" down on the farm - the oft-injured Fernando Martinez, the not-quite-closer Bobby Parnell (who blew a save on Sunday in the 8th), who else am I missing - more misses that hits down there). But at the same time, it's time for the Mets to get younger with Reyes being the veteran leader of the Mets Kids Club. Something, maybe, to look forward to next year in 2012. Mets 2012 - Rejuvinated at 50!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An idea for the Mets 50th

Here's an idea for the Mets' 50th anniversary season (next year). Celebrate every weekend homestand (pick a day game each weekend) with a countdown of the greatest Mets players over the first 50 seasons. And retire their numbers.

Think about it. Let the fans vote on it over the offseason. Now I realize that in some of these cases, the Mets need to bring these people and their families back to New York for their weekend, and everyone's schedules won't always line up. And you never know how good the weekend schedule will look in 2012 (with FOX 4pm starts, night home games, and the dreaded switch to a Sunday night game, and the Yankees series). But let's play this out on paper.

13 home weekends (I think that's actually part of the schedule formula, since there's 26 weeks in a season). Subtract the Yankees weekend, so 12 weekends. Let's countdown 8 players (9 through 2), and then declare Tom Seaver #1 on the list, and his number is already retired (maybe we'll figure out something to do with him later). This may include players already in the Mets Hall of Fame (jeez, I think it should), and should involve the same "team" in charge of selecting such players (which includes Howie Rose and Gary Cohen) along with the fan voting.

And let's make it a permanent part of Citi Field by unveiling a full colored, non-sponsored banner inside the stadium for each player (without a rank, since a current or future Met may move up that list). Other stadia have banners like this without any purpose. Even the Mets Spring Training home has them affixed to the inner-pillars on the concourse. Now that I think of it, get the company that did last off-season's colorization of Thomas J. White Stadium, Digital Domain (ok, it's actually now Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie) to do this work. Have Joe Petruccio design them. Maybe unveil two a week (one as part of the retired numbers group and one as part of a "favorite Mets" group).

All of this should be one of the many season-long 50th anniversary Mets promotions. Maybe on mid-week night games (once per week), the Mets would honor a favorite Met, an obscure Met (just for Howie Rose), or one of the non-Pennant winning Mets playoff teams (1988, 1999, 2006). Each with banners of their own in the rafters of Citi Field. I think there's 12 of these mid-week series. Then pick 4 games or full weekends in which to honor the 4 Mets NL Pennant winners (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000), to go along with the top 9 players-not-named-Seaver honored on their weekends. Hang a banner for each team and each manager among the 4 pennant winners.

Wait, there's synergy in numbers...ya, this will work. There's 12 non-Yankee weekends during a season, so pick a game each weekend in which to honor an NL Pennant-winning Mets team or one of the 9 greatest Mets (sorry Seaver, we know you're #1, but there's no room for you here) by retiring their number. Enshrine that player in the Mets Hall of Fame if necessary. Heck, each of these Pennant-winning teams should be in the HOF too.

And Let's hang the first banner - Tom Seaver's - on Opening Day.

And while we're at it, let's officially name the area outside the Rotunda as "Casey Stengel Plaza", with some sort of sign marking it as such. Casey Stengel Plaza was the name of one of the Shea Stadium access roads off 126th street near Gates D and E. There is absolutely no reason to have lost this distinction.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Predictions for the Second Half

Today, I look forward to the second "half" of the 2011 Mets season (of course, the All Star Game is the "half way mark" of a season even though it's about a week past the statistical half way point, but I digress)...

  1. The 2011 Mets, even with Jose Reyes coming back and going back to being his old self, even with David Wright and Ike Davis coming back in August, and even with Johan Santana coming back by the end of next month as well, do not make the playoffs. This team that's gone on a run since late April to finally break and stay over .500 is going to keep September exciting, we'll applaud them when they are eliminated by the Nationals at Citi Field on their great effort, the best we've seen in some 5 years in Flushing, but they aren't going to the playoffs. At least not under the current structure.
  2. I just mentioned that David Wright, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana will all come back during August. Wright probably early in the month (border-line July), Davis mid-month, and Santana late in the month. I think the team will suffer a lag when Wright comes back (what first baseman besides Ike Davis and Keith Hernandez can handle Wright's erratic throwing arm?) and go back below .500 for a bit. Ike Davis will breathe some life in the club and bring them back over when Davis hits one OVER the Shea Bridge. And Johan Santana finds his way back into the rotation very close to a time when the rosters could handle a 6-man rotation.
  3. Without consideration for the trade deadline, the current 2011 payroll-Mets will not reach the playoffs (that includes bringing back the DL'd players into the starting lineup). But they'll be so damn close that in a future year, it would be really hard to trade the All-Star Right Fielder (and comeback player of the club) and their flamethrowing closer. And in 2011 when those trades are made (thinking of the future of course), it will bring the team down a little bit. Under some managers, that could spell doom. Under Terry Collins, that will keep them a 2 or 3 games above .500. And after 2009 and 2010, finishing at .500 is an accomplishment.
Now I mention the trade deadline and future years because of a rumored expansion to the playoff structure as soon as next year that would bring more teams into the playoffs, and make more medicore teams think they're in playoff contention, and redefine what it means to be a buyer and what it means to be a seller at the trade deadline. Coming into the final game before the break, the Mets are 7.5 games out of the NL Wild Card. Add one more Wild Card team, the Mets are suddenly 2.5 games behind a 3-way tie (with 2 of those teams also being tied for a division lead). That certainly would change the direction a team may go at the trade deadline. I still stand by my prediction of 83 wins. Even with all that's coming back, and all that the Mets are going to send away, and with all that Terry Collins has done, they still finish the season playing golf in October feeling good about 83 wins. Leave a comment or drop me a line at DyHrdMET [at] gmail [dot] com. "Like" RememberingShea on Facebook (the function formerly known as "Becoming a Fan"). Become a Networked Blog