Phailing in Philly
After a three game sweep at the hands of their hated rivals this week, the Mets have to readjust their sights. If I had to guess, I would say it is more likely at this point that they finish fourth (after Philadelphia, Florida, and Atlanta) than in first in the NL East. My feeling now is that it's time to look to next season, while finding something to enjoy in the dying fumes of this one. Seeing as the Mets have few young call-up type players to watch and enjoy, and the one they do have has got the "pain behind the knee"* so popular with the Mets roster, we will have to be content with watching a mismatched collection of AAA players boot the ball around for another 3 months.
Davy Boy Wright is doing literally nothing to dissuade the growing chorus of those who claim he comes up small. He went 0-22 against the Yankers and Philmes. He is a good player who, despite his high profile failure yesterday, certainly cannot be blamed for the Mets woes. But it is becoming clearer that David Wright is just not good enough to carry this team. He is prone to long streaks when he can't even contribute, as his singularly pathetic performance at the plate yesterday demonstrates. Give him a day off, Jerry, so I don't have to look at him.
At the plate, the Mets get double play after double play from retreads such as Fernando Tatis who is ta-terrible, mondo FAILs from their remaining marquee player with the bases loaded, and lame at-bats from everyone else. In the field, they make a volume of defensive mistakes that no successful team can make and expect to compete.
The Philmes meanwhile, get competent defense from their entire team and squeeze out contributions from the aged and the re-treaded such as Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho !#@$ Park. When they face the Mets best, Johan Santana, they can be confident that they will club one or two of his mistakes out of the park. Victorino, that hippy in right field, Rollins, Utley and Howard all play competent defense. They catch pop-ups. They also have power, and slide when they're supposed to.
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but injuries aside, Omar failed big time when he decided that this group of 3 time chokers had enough offense during the winter. At full strength, these Mets are not good enough. Wright and Beltran are 1-A players, not offensive forces like Manny Ramirez, Albert Pooholes, Bonds. Delgado's prime has long since past and Reyes, should he return, is an enigma. The Mets have hoped for years that combined, these type of players would provide enough to get the Mets to the next level. Instead, predictable injuries, unlucky injuries, and despite adding bigtime pieces, the club has regressed to a mere shadow of the last moderately successful club, the 2006 Mets.
What would I do then, if I'm so smart? The Mets will just have to wait until a top shelf A bat becomes available; there is no other way but hope to get lucky and have the brains to pounce when one becomes available. In the meantime, this team desperately needs to stockpile a rotation of good pitchers. Minaya's "Ollie Follie"--resigning that dope at a premium price--shows that Minaya has yet to grasp this. The money he saved not signing a couple of real pitchers will seem less wonderful when the Mets see attendance numbers at their new overpriced stadium.
The Mets organization needs to step up their international scouting.
The off-season continues to haunt the Mets. Even if they get back to full strength, I don't think the team is configured for the postseason. The GM of the Mets needed (and still needs) to have made some gutsy moves. That's right, I said "gutsy." Omar's disastrous winter 2008 is well-documented. But looking ahead, it is still troubling that Omar doesn't seem to understand the concept of "buy low, sell high." Previous to last winter, Omar spent some of his tenure blowing his budget by signing elderly, injured, spent, and peripheral players to head-scratching contracts: Alou, Old Duque, Marlon Anderson, the list goes on. Last winter it was clear to anyone with half a brain what he needed to do. Not resigning Tatis, even though he was formerly a comeback special. Despite an "affordable option", going in a new direction at first, when it was clear Carlos Delgado was unlikely to be able to reproduce any of his past success or even stay on the field at his age. And good God, signing anyone for the rotation but Oliver Perez, who had NO other teams interested in him. It would have been nice if the extent of JJ Putz' arm troubles was weighed into that decision too.
This season is over, let's hope that pressure from the fans, crappy box office, and media can knock some sense into Omar for the off-season, when this team needs yet another overhaul.
*is there an exercise or calisthenic that is contributing to so many Mets at different stages of their careers complaining of the same injury? And would the training staff voluntarily admit this if there were? Someone has to get their head out of their ass and inquire into the training staff, and while they're at it, the hitting coach, and the coaches that run fielding practice.
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