Archive for January, 2010

Too Negative, Mets Fans Tune Out

January 30, 2010

Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News was a recent guest on WFAN this past week. Rubin has made a name for himself as a New York Mets beat writer. Most notably, he was accused of instigating the firing of former Mets VP of Player Development Tony Bernazard. In contrast to what Mets GM Omar Minaya strongly believed at the time, Rubin wanted to make it known that he had no specific agenda heading into this upcoming season. However, he did mention that that particular chapter in his career still wasn’t sitting well.

“I have a range of emotions about it…to question my integrity,” Rubin said. “It still bothers me.”

Many baseball writers according to Rubin see Minaya as a dead man walking a general manager whose job is on the line if his team is unable to put a winning product on the field this season.

“Maybe a GM vacancy soon,” Rubin said jokingly along with host Steve Somers.

It’s no secret that those that make their living covering the Mets have their doubts in the current structure of the Mets front office. Aside from signing free-agent Jason Bay this off-season, Minaya has made more headlines defending his autonomy than acting on it.

With assistant GM John Ricco and former Cincinnati Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky sitting on the back-burner, even the passing Mets fan can see the writing’s on the wall.

Rubin goes on to blatantly say that “the Mets are a joke” and predicts that they will end up being closer to five hundred than to the Phillies. Feeling somewhat “neutered” by all of Omar’s allegations, Rubin seems to put forth a challenge to Mets fans by sternly saying, “I don’t care,” when questioned for not having regard for the current Mets starting lineup.

In my opinion, Rubin may have lost some of his edge since being scolded by Minaya during that infamous press conference. However, any disrespect he has gained since then was brought on by his own doing. His tone now replicates that of other young baseball journalists who spend too much time criticizing how things are run instead of watching the players run.

Maybe it stems from most of them, the writers, having grown up witnessing the game of baseball suffocated by enormous payrolls and the stain that remains from the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In closing, Rubin ends off the interview in fitting fashion. “There’ll be shorter lines at the Shake Shack this season.”

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Mini-Camp Offers Some Progress

January 28, 2010

At the end of the day on Wednesday, the Mets concluded a three-day mini-camp inside Port St. Lucie, Fla., their Spring Training facility, and categorized it as a job well done. For manager Jerry Manuel that may be the case but what did Mets fans get out of this?

They have realized that for the time being, there will be no new faces but just happier more excited faces among their starting rotation. “I’m excited,” Oliver Perez said. “I feel very good.” Healthier and stronger, or even, leaner faces.

“The main key for us is to stay healthy, stay on the field.” Johan Santana said.

The harsh reality for the Mets pitching staff particularly their starters entering the upcoming season is that the majority of them has either undergone surgery or are rehabbing from injury.

“If we stay healthy, we can be very competitive this season.”

Some beat writers have used this mantra by GM Omar Minaya against him. They have proposed the idea that Minaya is already preparing his defense if the Mets happen to experience the same fate as last year’s.

For now, Mets fans have to entrust that Minaya’s lack of off-season moves will allow them to forget the past and look toward the future.

Latest Move Shows How Much Minaya Has Grown

January 23, 2010

“A lot of it is going to depend on how he recuperates,” Mets GM Omar Minaya said. “I don’t want to put a specific time on when he’ll be back.”

Minaya’s comments regarding Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran’s return from arthroscopic knee surgery came after he had just acquired 35-year-old outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr. in a trade from the Los Angeles Angels.

Matthews, Jr. will join Angel Pagan as the most likely candidates for the Mets centerfielder position, barring any further setbacks, of course. The former LA Angel was sent to New York along with the majority of his contract paid in full for right-handed reliever Brain Stokes.

The underachieving veteran could very well become potential trade bait if he makes the most of his opportunities spelling Beltran who is undergoing rehabilitation. With the highly-touted Fernando Martinez waiting in the wings down in Triple-A, I find it hard to believe Matthews, Jr. will be around longer than necessary.

“He’s a very versatile player,” Minaya said of Matthews. “I think it’s going to be an open competition. That’s the same thing that I told Gary [Matthews, Jr.] when he asked that. Nobody’s going to be given a job. Whoever performs is going to be given the opportunity.”

Surgery Places Beltran Back on the Shelf

January 15, 2010

The big “if” for the Mets heading into the 2010 season just got a little bigger. Centerfielder Carlos Beltran will most likely miss the first month of this season due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Beltran, hampered for most of his career with chronic knee pain, decided on the surgery after receiving a second opinion from Dr. Richard Steadman. Not from Dr. David Altchek, the Mets team physician.

In addition to Beltran’s inability to participate on Opening Day this season, he could very well face legal ramifications from the Mets front office for bypassing a third opinion. Mets assistant GM John Ricco admitted publicly that the Mets organization was disappointed with Beltran’s decision for surgery and argued that they were not afforded the opportunity to proceed otherwise.

With these latest developments, back-up outfielder Angel Pagan and prospect Fernando Martinez will most likely see themselves in a much bigger role than was originally expected.

Even though the calendar year says 2010, it sure feels eerily similar to 2009. Stay tuned.

Delgado Admits He’s Not Afraid to Slide

January 5, 2010

Mets former first baseman Carlos Delgado’s baseball career is finally moving in the right direction. The perennial slugger went 1-for-4 on Sunday in a late-season Puerto Rico Winter League game for the Carolina Giants. Playing on artificial turf, the 37-year-old has been relegated to DH duties. Delgado, however, will be able to brush up at first base when his team plays on natural grass.

Mets.com reports that the Mets organization, for the moment, does not have the Puerto-Rican native in their 2010 plans. The website also reports that only the Baltimore Orioles have displayed any interest in the veteran first baseman.

Being that Delgado is on borrowed time, the thought of bringing him back for more than one season is not highly recommended. Although, I was impressed at how successful he was in making the necessary adjustments at the plate during the latter part of 2008 and early 2009, his season was cut short by a hip impingement and hampered by a strained oblique.

If Delgado is healthy, I don’t see why the Mets wouldn’t bring him back. His unassuming leadership in the clubhouse and left-handed power coming off the bench could help a Mets team who managed just 95 home runs last year.

With Delgado’s assignment in Puerto Rico finally off the schnide, I’m anxious to see how much impact he can bring to the table these next few weeks.