Some thoughts after nine games

Posted: April 16, 2010 in Odds and Sods

The Mets sit at 3-6 after nine games, not the start that any Met fan hoped for. Also not the start Jerry Manuel needed, as he is firmly on the hot seat until/if the team starts winning consistently.
I thought I’d express a few of the positives (there actually have been a few) before getting into what I would change at this point (besides the obvious answer of firing Jerry and Omar).
Positive No. 1 – Mike Pelfrey’s two starts have been fantastic. With his development of a split-fingered fastball in the offseason, Big Pelf finally has a quality secondary pitch to go along with his power sinker. In starts against the Nats and Rockies, he’s looked like an ace and each time stopped Mets losing streaks. If Pelfrey continues to pitch like this, the Mets have their No. 2 to pair with Johan Santana.
Positive No. 2 – Jeff Francoeur is tearing the cover off the ball and even showing some patience, too. Francoeur has basically picked up where he left off last season after the trade to the Mets, he keeps hitting. While he’s always been capable of hitting the ball hard, Francoeur seems to have a more patient approach at the plate, namely he’s not swinging at the first fastball he sees. He appears to be zoning in on a particular pitch and location and if he doesn’t get it, he lays off. He’s even drawn four walks, which considering he had something like 25 all of last season, is a pretty nice accomplishment.
Positive No. 3 – The Mets’ bullpen, much maligned in spring training, has actually looked quite good. It’s a shame the starters (namely John Maine and Ollie Perez) haven’t done their part, because guys like Ryota Igarashi, Pedro Feliciano, K-Rod and Hisanori Takahashi have done a nice job. Rookie Jenrry Mejia has been up and down, but he should be starting in the minors anyway, which leads me to…..

The things I’d change right now to help the club….
Send Mejia down and bring up Kiko Calero or Bobby Parnell: Really, this should be a no-brainer. Mejia has top of the rotation stuff, he should be honing his skills as a starter in the minors. It shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp, but the Mets morons, er, I mean management, don’t seem to get it. Calero is a solid veteran, and although injury prone, can still get people out (sub 2.00 ERA with Marlins last year). Bring him up for Mejia and if he gets hurt, go with Parnell.
Cut Frank Catalanotto and bring up Chris Carter:This is just a personal preference thing with me. Catalanotto was once a fairly productive major-league hitter, but his time seems to have passed. He’s 0-for-8 to start the season and doesn’t have much power anyway, so he’s very much replaceable. Carter has never gotten much of a shot at the majors, and given his AAA numbers and fine spring performances the last two years, he should get the bench spot. He brings more power to the table, which is nice to have on the bench.
Put John Maine on the DL and call up Dillon Gee, Pat Misch or put Takahashi in the spot: I know the Mets are going to give Maine at least one more start, and hopefully he shows that old Maine fastball we know and love. I don’t really want to cut Maine because I know what he’s been capable of, I just don’t feel he’s physically ready yet and should be given a bit more time to rediscover his stuff. Unfortunately, with the team struggling, he can’t be rediscovering that stuff at the major league level. Gee has looked good at AAA, and Misch, despite terrible stuff, somehow gets outs. I could live with Takahashi or Nieve there as well, as this is just a placeholder spot until Maine returns or another, better option emerges (if Mejia was in the minor leagues and dominating, for instance, or if Maine got healthy). Just can’t have the eight runs in three inning performance Maine gave the other night.
There are other things I’d do if I ruled Metsland, but they would never happen in the real world. For one, I’d just cut Luis Castillo because I don’t like him as a player at all. He brings no energy, his range is severely limited in the infield, and he has the power of an 85-year-old man, especially from the left side. I’d also bring up Ike Davis for a look at first base, at least until Murph returns. Mike Jacobs just doesn’t cut it. I’d also consider cutting Ollie Perez loose, but since there are no real great fallback options, I’d probably just let him ride it out for a few months to see if he can find the strike zone.

  1. I pretty much agree with every suggestion for improvement you make. There is just one potential problem.

    The Mets 40-man roster is full, and they only have 1 starting pitcher at AAA who is on it – Tobi Stoner.

    So if the Mets are not going to take your advice and use Takahashi as the starter to replace Maine, the only person they can recall is Stoner, unless they are prepared to waive yet another player off their 40-man roster. Neither Misch nor Gee are on it.

    The good news is that if you find Stoner acceptable, he happens to be on precisely the same pitching schedule as Maine (he pitched Tuesday).

    • Andrew Sodergren says:

      I wouldn’t have a problem with giving Stoner the first crack (if the Mets wanted to preserve their 40-man for the time being) but if he would falter, I’d have no problem removing Omir Santos or Jason Pridie from the 40-man. If they’re claimed, so be it. Thole is being groomed to be the catcher, and I like what I see from Barajas and Blanco, so one of them could certainly be brought back next season as well. Pridie is a AAAA outfielder aka a dime a dozen type of player.

  2. I’ve got no problem with any of that. I’m somewhat surprised that Santos is still in the organization. Riggans is in AA and could easily replace Santos in Buffalo should he be cut.

    Based on my very limited understanding of catcher defense, Riggans provides more of it than Santos and I’d prefer Riggans be “Thole’s tutor” anyway.

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