Here is a reader comment posted a few days back, with a new section added last night. Tom, whoever you are, this is some serious stuff for a comment! Here it is, originally posted on June 20:
The Mets may actually be coming along a little bit now. I watched the game with MLB TV with the home (Angels) announcers, so I don't know if people with SNY caught the statistic of the Angel's being 201-2 in the last three seasons when leading after the 8th inning.
For the Mets to be able to beat them was somewhat impressive.I've noticed some weird things about the Mets lately though. When the Mets are done one or two runs (especially when they gave up a lead), they're bullpen throws great. People don't realize it, but Scott Schoeneweis has improved a lot. I also think Pedro Feliciano is one of the most underrated lefty relievers in the game.The problem I've noticed are two big things. One, when they're down say 4-3 like they did when Perez gave up the lead, they go into what I call crap mode with the bats.
The second problem is when they do get a lead, they're bullpen begins to collapse. It happened last week when Joe Smith gave up three runs and it really angered me when Billy Wagner blew three saves in a row.If there's one thing that should have angered Met fans more than anything else, it was the constant using of Aaron Heilman in pressure situations. Heilman was lost his solidness and the Mets can't afford to be giving him loads of opportunities to rejuvenate himself. That's what AAA is for. The same problem existed with Guillermo Mota last year. I blame Minaya for not designating him for assignment too. The one thing I like about Jerry Manuel so far is that he's more out to designate roles. Hopefully, that means Aaron Heilman will be the ''mop up'' man.
Another thing is that the Mets simply have to get as much for Oliver Perez as they can. Honestly, Oliver can be a great pitcher at times, but he just isn't the guy you want to put out onto the mound in an important game. It's not even that he caves under pressure situations because he pitched great in game seven of the 06' NLCS, but he's literally like going to Atlantic City and playing black or red on the roulette table. I just can't stand watching him pitch and walk lots of people.The Mets have to continue to stay at least around .500 and hopefully at least a couple games above it by the All-Star break to determine how competitive they are.
The two four game sets against the Yankees and Phillies can make or break this season. Since pressure was put on Pelfrey about losing his role to Vargas, he's stepped up. He should be at least 5-6. In a playoff situation, you only need 4 pitchers. I'd rather have Pelfrey out there than Perez. Plus, who knows, maybe El Duque can actually pick the right time to stay healthy this year. Even if the Mets are competitive, I'd trade Oliver Perez. Right now he's 5-4 with a 5.06 ERA which isn't the most attractive so now isn't the time, but by the deadline if he's ERA is in the mid-4's and he still has a .500 type record and is healthy, the Mets could bring back a couple of decent prospects for him. Or maybe a good hitting OF. Unless Minaya's an idiot (he's half Genius/half Idiot in my mind kind of like Perez's pitching and the Mets abroad), he'd have to realize Perez is not the 14-15 million a year for a mediocre pitcher. The same production could come out of Livan Hernandez for one-third to half the price. And especially Kyle Lohse, who's having a good year.
I don't know how interested the Pirates would be in a guy like Perez if they aren't competitive, but if they Mets could swing a three way trade with a team that needs pitching that can send prospects over there possibly with a couple lower-level prospects from the Mets, the Mets should try to get Xavier Nady back. That way they can use him as their 1B or as their LF until Fernando Martinez is ready. The Pirates are too cheap to give Nady the money he'll want. Not even counting Pedro and Perez, the Mets have a lot of money coming off the books between Alou (7.5 mi), Delgado (16 mi), O. Hernandez (6 mi) and even 3.2 mi between J. Sosa and Wise.
Also, I know Robinson Cancel had a nice hit against Texas, but I can't comprehend why he's been on the roster for like twelve games and has two at bats. I don't know how good Castro could be at 1B, but they'd be able to utilize his bat against lefties instead of using Delgado. Also, Jose Valentin's had 42 at bats in the minors, so he's got to be healthy by now. He should be on the time with Church, Alou and Pagan injured. He'd help a lot more than Cancel in Manuel's plan to give Wright and Reyes more rest.
The spots where Castillo gets the day off from Easley can be replaced by Valentin so Easley can stay more fresh in LF/1B against lefties. The way how Kenny Lofton's able to adapt to new teams quick and produce, he might be worth taking a shot on too. Kind of like Nick Evans, I think Trot Nixon was a guy had a first great game, but hasn't been productive since.Minaya's got to start using his mind better, otherwise he'll turn out like Bill Bavasi.
I don't think it's much of a coincidence that the firing of Willie came shortly after such. It probably got him nervous. The Mets were 3-1 in Willie's last four games, so the firing really came at an awkward time.I've looked at the Mets record and noticed in their previous thirty games they've had a weird order too. Following the 2 game series against the Yankees in May, the Mets went on a 1-7 in eight games. Than after that, they went 7-2 in nine games. Than after that, they went 1-6 in four games. Now, they're 4-2 in their last six.
If they were to sweep the Rockies this weekend, they'd be 7-2 in their last nine identically to the same pattern following a nearly identical losing streak. They're on a little role now so anything is possible.Or a more simpler way to think about this streakiness the Mets have come across since the Yankees series, the Mets went 0-5, than 8-4, back to 0-5 and now 5-3. Either way, they're 13-17 in their last 30 games which isn't that good. Even if the Mets were able to take one out of each of those 4 game sets against ATL and SD which wouldn't have been a lot to ask for, they'd only be 3.5 games out of the NL East and Wildcard.
I think we should be watching the Wild Card just as much as the NL East now too because the horrible Royals just swept St. Louis.What's really killed the Mets are those two 0-5 slumps. The right time to fire Willie would have been following the Padres sweep. I think this is really the time though when the Mets turn it around. All it takes is one good streak to make yourself competitive. Either that or lots of other teams need to play crappy. Now's the time though and all of us can breath now that the deadbeat and guy who thought he could fix Victor Zambrano in ten minutes are gone.
That was only part one...Obviously since that was posted the Mets have played a few games and some news has come to light. Still, pretty good analysis. Here's the rest:
No problem. Yeah, you were right about Valentin. Valentin probably wouldn't have been able to help the Mets too much. He probably would have gotten injured again. I remember last year I kept on hearing a lot about replacing him because of injuries, even though the more plausible reason would have been to replace his .241 average.
Minaya was smart to pick Castillo up because he was really good, but he's only mediocre this year. The Mets are still playing mediocre baseball. On Monday and Tuesday, they simply couldn't drive in runs. The Mariners scored eleven runs and had 15 hits. The Mets had 8 hits, which is still more than half of Seattle's, but no runs. I went to the game on Tuesday and saw Perez once again not have it. It used to have been that he'd have one really good start and than a bad one, but now it's starting to side more the wrong way. Heilman's gotten a little better lately (I think Jerry's taken my advice on him being the mop up man lol), but if a starter pitcher with lots of starts has an ERA higher than him, that's not good. It's amazing how he has a .500 record, yet Pelfrey has average one less run a game than him. And Santana's average two less, but only has one win above .500. Sometimes judging on wins isn't always adequate, although more often are.
I like Jerry Manuel's energy though. I don't think he would have gotten in that umpire's face who showed up Beltran. Hopefully the Phillies lose tonight, because the Mets would only be three out. I don't think anyone would think that'd be possible with the Mets technically below .500.
Texeira's come on a little bit too now, but I'd expect the Yankees to compete for him. The Braves probably won't trade him even if they are around .500 around the deadline. He'd make some sense though. Pat Burrell could be an option in the outfield too. He's had some solid years and he wouldn't be able to kill the Mets anymore.
With Robinson Cancel, it didn't make much sense. If Castro were pinch hitting against lots of lefties it'd make sense, but the Mets have a bad habit of liking to hold onto useless catcher's who in their 30's. He'll be gone now that the Mets picked up Andy Phillips.Even though he hits righties better than lefties, he might work out good for them. Plus, now that the Mets should be getting back Church for the Yankees series, that'll be good too. It'll give the Mets a reason to get rid of Nixon, who was on a 1 for 24 slump.
When I said he in the last paragraph of message 5, I meant Willie. Than again though, maybe he would, although he appeared burnt out at times. They really got to do something about the LF situation, because Alou will never be healthy. He'd probably make a great player on a video game. Pagan has really fallen out of the picture too, but Chavez has done better lately.
The Andy Phillips move makes some sense too right before this series against the Mets, because he might be able to give them some stuff he knows on the pitcher's staff. Willie may have actually been a little bit of a weapon for that, although a lot of their roster has changed since the end of 04'.Phillips was on the Yankees last year and hit .292 for them, so he might be able to help them out a little bit. The Yankees have really been turning it up lately too.
This will definitely be an important series. Not really even because of the hype, but because they need these games while the Phillies and Marlins aren't playing well.
And if you read all that, like I did, then you deserve a pat on your back. Great stuff, Tom!