June 11, 2008

HERE are the Answers to Yesterday's Questions...

... at least as best as I can answer them right now.

No one knows who this team really is- and we're not likely to get any real answers until the season is half-way over in a month. For now, here's what we can make of this season, and this season, so far.

[Answers are in bold-type]

Questions & Answers:
1.) How can Willie get upset with fans who question his success as a Mets' manager? He compares the job he's done to the sorry state we were in under Art Howe- but there's only one problem- he STILL hasn't won a World Series, last I looked, and managed this team to the worst collapse any team has ever had, not just any Mets' team.

A: Willie is trying to save his job, and isn’t used to being attacked the way he’s been during the past year and a half. He’s a bit delusional in his stubbornness and can’t see that the team he has isn’t going to perform like any of us would like this season. He’s lost the clubhouse, and all he has left is his mouth to try and save his job. It’s too late for that, whether he gets fired at the all-star break or after the season, I’d be more than shocked to see Willie in a Mets uniform next season.

2.) Why would Omar allow Ryan Church, coming off of 2 concussions, to fly to Colorado in the first place?

A: Desperation? Ignorance? I don’t think there’s a good answer to this. John Delcos from the Journal News got scolded by Mets’ officials for questioning Omar regarding the handling of Church. Joel Sherman, from the NY Post, wonders why the Mets paid more attention to Alou’s minor injury than to Church’s, which could have lingering (and long-term) effects on the player who was the sparkplug for this team in what has been a dismal season so far. No logic can be applied to this situation, and it might be the final indictment of this entire organization.

3.) Why did the Mets wait 15 days before putting Ryan Church on the DL?

A: It’s like we’re the Ernest & Julio Gallo of baseball- we’ll DL no player before it’s time- and “time” seems to be at least 2 weeks after we should have done it in the first place! This seems to be a common mistake the Mets make – see my post tonight for my post “Realization Has Set In” for more on what I think about what this says about our organization.

4.) Why does it always seem that the Mets make their injuries seem less than what they originally appear and end up being far worse?

A: See my answer to #3 – we’re less than honest about injuries- almost makes me feel like we’re a football team, not a baseball team, at times like this.

5.) For that matter, why do the Mets remain so secretive about injuries in the first place?

A: Again, there’s no easy answer. It’s not like trades were pending on the outcome of these injuries, as neither Alou nor Church are on the trading block. Again, as in the answers to questions 3 and 4, there’s no easy or logical answers to these questions, and it makes you question the integrity of the organization when we can’t even get the truth about injuries, let alone why other decisions are or aren’t made.

6.) How come the fans knew that Matt Wise didn't look right but the Mets doctors, who can see him up close and personal, didn't catch it as quickly as we did?

A: Again, Wise probably told the doctor that he was fine, just like Alou did and just like they hoped Church would say; except, once again, Wise was hurt, not that his loss is that large, but again, the fact that their doctors can’t figure out who’s hurt and who’s not is more than a head-scratcher- something MUST be done or players won’t want to take a chance on signing on with this organization when even smaller market teams will have enough cash to sign them. Who needs the aggravation, let alone the possibility for an unresolved medical issue?

7.) Why do all Met back-up catchers have the same initials - RC? (Raul Casanova, Ramon Castro, Robinson Cancel)

A: Because Shea used to feature RC Cola and this is a rider in the old contract? I don’t know why- just one of those weird coincidences that seems to follow this team around.

8.) Why do the Mets need 3 catchers but never have enough outfielders or infielders?

A: Again, this one is wholly in Omar’s lap- bringing up a third catcher when your bench is compromised means either that there are no other players to bring up or one of your 2 main catchers are injured; I am betting on the former. At least it's not the case anymore.

9.) Why bring up the third catcher, with the excuse that you want to use Ramon Castro as a pinch-hitter, and then never bring him in as a pinch-hitter?

A: See the answer to question 8.

10.) How come the Mets have to make 3 separate trips to the West Coast before the season is 70 games old?

A: This is one of those scheduling quirks that happen as a result of inter-league play and the accompanying scheduling conflicts of balancing an uneven number of teams across the 2 leagues (16 vs. 14). I like that I can see a few trips out here, but can see how it hurts the players and makes the NY fans stay up quite late to see yet another loss. It hurts, no matter how you slice it.

11.) How come guys like Ojeda on the D-Backs can't hit at all but when he plays against the Mets he can drive in key runs? In fact, don't we seem to have that effect on every scrub, newly-promoted hitter and rookie pitchers?

A: It always seems that the Mets make stars out of scrubs and rookies- it’s just our lot in life. It’s always been that way, and Murphy’s Law says it will probably always be that way. That’s part and parcel of being a Mets’ fan, I guess…

12.) When do those "15 minutes" for Victor Zambrano start, exactly, Rick?

A: My clock broke long ago waiting for those “15 minutes” to happen. Can’t blame Peterson for Zambrano being hurt- can only blame him for opening his mouth before “inspecting the goods” so to speak. I can finally appreciate the pitcher Kazmir has become, especially when he defeats the Yankees.

13.) If Aaron Heilman isn't being allowed to pitch, why continue to keep him on the roster and/or in the majors? Isn't there some deal he can be included in? Can't he be promoted to the minors, like we did with Steve Trachsel a few years ago, to get himself straightened out?

A: Can’t live with him, can’t live without him? It seems like Heilman’s wish to start won’t ever reach fruition again with the Mets; and yet, we won’t send him to the minors to restart his season, nor let him start and give Pelf a chance to see how he does in the bullpen. On one hand, they want him to pitch better so that they can trade him; on the other hand, he’s not pitching well so they aren’t going to play him often enough to right himself. Aaron Heilman is indeed the Mets’ conundrum.

14.) Abraham Nunez????? (Need I say more?!)

A: He was just waived, and they brought up Chris Aguila. Hallelujah!!!

15.) Did anyone else see that the Braves signed Brian Lawrence to a minor league contract? And that Nunez's promotion reminds one of the desperation shown when Lawrence actually was promoted to the majors?

A: If somehow the Braves find a way to “fix” Lawrence, we should really call for Peterson’s head! I thought we were over needing the Lawrence’s’, Baldwin’s, Erickson’s and Lima’s of the world- I guess we were wrong. That’s what happens when we don’t have major league-ready talent readily available in the minors.

16.) Wasn't it encouraging to see Pedro throwing 92mph? Wasn't it encouraging just seeing Pedro pitch at all? So the question is- do we sign Pedro to a performance-laden contract for 2009?

A: Pedro has looked better than most expected so far, and I for one am ecstatic to see his return. I would definitely sign him to a low-base, high-incentive contract if he is willing to go for it, and I hope he would be, considering how much money he’s received over the past 4 years for so few starts. This team WITH Pedro is always going to be better than a team without him.

17.) How great would it be to have brought Cliff Floyd back this season, instead of seeing him help the young players on the Rays?

A: Floyd’s presence is missed, and he deserved to be on a winning team. Who knew that that team would be the Rays??? I always wish big Cliff well, and still wish he was with us!

18.) Did Omar forgo drafting top high school talent in favor of more major-league-ready college players due to a "win-now" attitude?

A: It would sure seem so. Why didn’t he draft the pitcher the Yankees selected? Well, he’s a Boras client, is only 18 and Boras wants a huge signing bonus for him. Ok- and we’re stuck with slotting once again, and taking no radical chances to improve the team. The big problem with having a GM without a long-term contract means that he’ll be more risk adverse, and therefore will select college players who might make it to the roster and save his job rather than draft high schoolers who may pay off for the next person who has the reigns of the organization in his hands.

19.) Does this team begin to remind anyone of the early 90's team chronicled in Bob Klapisch's excellent "The Worst Team Money Could Buy"?

A: Sadly, with so many older, under-performing players, even without the malcontents of Coleman, etc., we are, indeed, beginning to resemble that team rather than the contenders of 2006. How far the mighty have fallen…and how quickly…

20.) Is there any chance we can sign Kenny Lofton, as I recommended before the season began, and get rid of Nunez?

A: We got rid of Nunez, but apparently we won’t sign a Lofton or Sanders even if he was the remaining piece of the puzzle for us. It must signal that the organization doesn’t think that any one piece would do it for us, and they also must be tired of having the oldest roster in the game. Therefore, promotions of Aguila and Val, and possibly a lesser pick-up, are about all we’re likely to see until it gets closer to the trading deadline.

21.) Why, by the way, was Nunez promoted instead of Anderson Hernandez? How about Chris Aguila? Val Pascucci? Even Victor Mendez? But Nunez?

A: Sometimes, in spite of how I started this post, there are some questions that just can’t be answered- and this, sadly, is one of them!

22.) Has Omar created a house of cards that has fallen around him?

A: Seemingly, this is the case. For more about this, come back this evening when I post my thoughts on where this team really is right now and in the near future.

23.) How can this team look to a 42 year old outfielder for salvation, a 39 year old pitcher (allegedly) to possibly return to the rotation and a series of AAAA players for roles on the bench?

A: Simple – when you have no quick answers in the minors, and no more pieces that other teams are drooling over, there’s nothing more that can be done to fill out the roster than to sign older players most teams won’t want, at least at their current salaries. Sometimes it works, this season, it won’t…

24.) How come Nick Evans is good enough to be promoted to the bigs, but is sent back to AA instead of New Orleans? And why doesn't anyone else recognize that Evans is a dead-ringer for Kelly Leak of the "Bad News Bears" movie?

A: At least 2 people have also noticed that Evans-Leak look alike – as to why he wasn’t promoted to AAA, the only answer I can think of is that the Mets feel he’ll get better guidance in AA, which doesn’t say much for how the organization regards their AAA management team.

25.) Does the team have NO faith in Ken Oberkfell's abilities? Why else would we keep our best hitters in AA and populate his roster with has-beens and never-weres?

A: As I said in the previous question, AAA is now a marginal player feeder system for the major league team. Either they feel they have no choice and need to do this, or don’t think Oberkfell is the developer of talent that we all thought he was.

26.) Does Gary Carter think he'll EVER get another chance to rejoin the Mets' organization after his recent blunder?

A: Carter, in his delusion, might think so; the reality is, with his recent inquiry, he’s all but removed himself from ever being part of this organization. Sadly, I think he would have been an excellent addition to the minor league organization, and he did a good job in the low minors for us. He won’t get that chance again, as his ambition exceeded his reality once again.

27.) Why has Keith been so praiseworthy of Willie and the coaching staff lately? Does he sense a future job opening that he will fill, choosing to take the exact opposite tact from Carter?

A: Either someone told him he was being too hard on the team, or perhaps he is, indeed, interested in eventually replacing Willie as manager of this team. Either way, Keith is still one of my favorites, and I’d welcome him in any role he cares to take in this organization.

28.) HOW did Marlon Anderson come back so quickly from an injury where everyone else who had the same one was out for months at a time? If MLB wasn't testing for everything under the sun, this side of HGH, anyway, I'd be a bit more suspicious!

A: Since we are finally finding out what Stonehenge really was, we might get the answer to this question, in about the same timeframe it took to get the Stonehenge answer.

29.) When does Omar pull the plug on Willie?

A: If this losing streak continues for another two games or so, I can’t see HOW Omar won’t be able to keep the Wilpons from demanding Willie’s head on a platter, guaranteed contract or not. Otherwise, I think Willie will make it through a season that will remain laden with ups and downs for this team that, sadly, just isn’t what we thought it would be.

30.) When does Omar reshape the roster by bringing in more "professional" bench players, like Lofton, a Scott Hatteburg or Kevin Millar, etc?

A: Any moment, I’d guess, something will happen- I just don’t think it will be major, and I don’t think they’ll do something drastic like trading a Reyes or Beltran. Millar seems to have some detractors in the organization, and Hatteburg is quite old, so there’s no clear path aimed at signing one player over another right now. We’d have to hope that some team with a player(s) we like begins to crash this week, resulting in a trade that might not have been made otherwise. I just don’t see it happening easily right now.

31.) Omar was quick to trade major prospects to the Indians for pitcher Bartolo Colon when he ran the Nats/Expos- and then traded him away seemingly just as quick. So how come he didn't sign Colon THIS SEASON??? He's doing pretty well for Boston, and would have been a nice addition on a pay-for-play contract! It seems that every blog called for this signing, and everyone except Omar thought it would have been a good one. What did Boston GM Theo Epstein know that we didn't? And does it make you more or less likely to want us to sign Freddie Garcia?

A: First of all, I still want to sign Garcia, as he’s worth the gamble. Where Colon is involved, I don’t think Omar wanted to revisit players from his past, just like he didn’t want to sign Sosa even when we were desperate for a bat. I understand not wanting to go back in time; I just hope we can trade someone in exchange for a package of Phillips, Lee and Sizemore!

32.) Do the Wilpons give Omar another season, at least, to right this ship?

A: For the answer to this question, come back to the blog tonight to read my evaluation of where the Mets are right now and what we can predict for the future.

33.) Does anyone think we can turn this season around, from 30-32, and win 60 of the next 100 games to qualify for a Wild Card spot?

A: I think Willie still believes this, but the reality is, since the middle of last season, we’ve just not been a good team and it doesn’t seem like there’s any way we will start winning 6 of 10 or 7 of 10 with any regularity. Sorry to say, we’re better off re-booting now for 2009 and Citifield!

34.) Did the Mets REALLY get swept in San Diego??? And did my wife and I REALLY drive nearly 3 hours each way to see that Saturday game? And did Oliver Perez REALLY pitch well that day??? And note to Megan & Russ- WHERE ARE THE PICTURES????

A: Yes, we really drove a total of nearly 6 hours round-trip to see a Met game! Yes, they lost all 4 in a row to one of the worst teams in the game. And yes, Perez really did pitch that well- so can we trade him on an up-note?



Omar Must Go! said...

I guess this means that you finally agree, that Omar needs to go, too, as well as Willie and about a third of the roster?

Anonymous said...

Funny and accurate answers. I am about ready to abandon all hope for this season, and am not too happy with their draft, either. Not much of a future or a present for this team, and that's what makes Omar a goner.

TugSavesTheDay said...

This team is put together with a shoehorn, stuffing square pegs in round holes, and Omar wants to know why they're not winning?

Let's see:
The manager stinks and never managed before and just wants to look good.
The first baseman and second baseman have aged overnight, if those are really their real ages.
The Jeckly/Hyde pitching staff is more Hyde and not what we thought they'd be, particularly Perez and Maine.
Beltran has never been clutch for us; neither has Wagner.
The clubhouse is filled with whiners who don't take responsibility for losses.
Cloning technology isn't advanced enough to create 24 more David Wrights!

Is Rusty still Rusty said...

Once upon a time, trading 3 young players for an older star worked out for us- Foli, Jorgenson and Singleton for Staub. Now, trading for Santana, for 4 younger players, isn't looking too great when you throw in the $137 million dollar contract! The Church addition wasn't expected to be so great, and if it wasn't for his offensive and defensive heroics prior to the second concussion and the Mets terrible handling of it, we'd really be in trouble. As it is, we look like a 4th place team- and that's all! Sad- so is Rusty available to hit for us???