In what was probably the lamest-looking Met injury since Mike Piazza ruptured a groin on an inside pitch in 2003, Ike Davis hit the disabled list today with what officials are calling an ankle sprain and bone bruise suffered while waiting for a pop fly to come down from the sky the other night. Couldn’t he have have gotten hurt diving into the stands or legging out a triple like a real jock? Whatever else is wrong with the Mets these days, Ike wasn’t ever part of the problem and his absence, even if it’s only for a few weeks, is going to hurt whatever expectations you had for the Mets. Fernando Martinez, who isn’t currently injured, was recalled to take his place and reportedly in Denver in his No. 26 jersey.
In case you didn’t see it, revealing article by the incomparable Paul Lukas of ESPN today examining the tossed-off manner with which the Mets adopted the ugly black uniforms they’ve been wearing for 13 years now. By all means read the article but don’t let me spoil the secret that it was motivated by a combination of greed and Yankee paranoia, poorly thought through, and carelessly executed. Given the fact that the man seemingly most responsible for this debacle was arrested the other day and charged with stealing from his bosses — you can’t get away with that in Flushing anymore — and otherwise brought shame and disrepute to the organization given his alleged involvement in an illegal sports gambling operation, you’d think the Mets would move to distance themselves from the literal and figurative darkness the whole black jersey represents, but the Mets never learn.
My friend and frequent MBTN contributor Paul the other day suggested he was rooting for Francisco Rodriguez’s option to kick in with the idea that it could represent the obligation that triggers the Wilpon’s ultimate financial ruin and forces them to the selling block and poorhouse. He wasn’t joking and I’m beginning to see the light myself.
Well, it’s good to see the Mets determined to do something about the Frankie Rodriguez situation and with a little luck, these last weeks of the year might demonstrate just how little creativity, imagination and good sense they’d showed when making that deal in the first place. Not for nothing but the post-Rodriguez bullpen hasn’t given up a run in 13.1 innings.
That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going anywhere. Their offense is a much tougher fix — always has been — and it’s probably buried them in a deeper hole than they’ll ever hit out of. To that end, they welcomed Rod Barajas back to the roster today and sent Fernando Martinez back to Buffalo. Jerry seemed unable to commit to the kid anyhow, and surely Barajas will only take playing time from Josh Thole, at least until its evident there’s no shot with this group. Too bad. In the end it was relying so heavily on veterans with questionable offensive track records that killed 2010.
To get you updated, Pat Misch was recalled and Raul Valdes sent down; Ryota Igarashi went down when Rodriguez returned from his two days in the penalty box but was back up upon the revelation of his injury and subsequent assignment to the restricted list. I have no idea (nor any opinion) on how the grieveance hearing ought to go, but applaud the Mets for taking a stance here, if only to save themselves from Omar’s folly and the big lie of the Brand Name Closer. And if they don’t prevail, they’ll have gotten what they deserved.
Frankie Rodriguez is a jerk and makes me ashamed to be a Mets fan, and if the Mets knew what’s best for them, they’d use this revolting incident as the opportunity it is to void that terrible contract he has and reassign the No. 75 jersey to a bush leaguer, not a guy who only acts like one.
With the help of an easily reached game-finished incentive next year, the
Mets would be on the hook for $29 million over the next two seasons for Rodriguez. Even if he didn’t beat people up every so often, that’s an awful lot for what’s essentially a luxury that’s barely made a difference in the security of leads. I’ve said it before, but Brand Name Closers are about the worst investment a team can make and Omar’s been burned on every one he’s chased so far. That Rodriguez is so far down the list of Omar’s mistakes is surely an indictment of his reign: So is the fact that the team hasn’t won two games in a row since late June, and continues to be led by a manger with no authority or game strategy. What a mess!
Ryota Igarashi was recalled to the Mets Thursday while Rodriguez cools off on the restricted list, expect more roster changes Saturday when the Mets have to decide on a starter to oppose Roy Halladay. Buffalo lefty Pat Misch is a possibility and gained plenty of experience playing for a lousy second-half Mets team last season. His No. 48 jersey has yet to be reassigned.
Hi, we’re back with the new setup. I did this mainly because the latest upgrade of the content management system we use wouldn’t support the old layout, but the upgrade also provided some small upgrades in capability that make the site better and easier to use. For one thing the lists of yearly numerical rosters now progress sequentially and not in that irritating 1, 11, 12. It also allowed me to bust out Superba Graphics‘ terrific alternate logo and provided an excuse to update the records, links, bios and archives through last year (they’re much better organized, particularly the ancient history, though it’s still a work in progress). Some of the comments on recent stories were cut-and-pasted into the new stories, but everything else is just how it used to be. Big thanks to David Moore at Crooked Number for all the web help.
Anyway while this work was going on I kind of slowed down on on the posts right in the middle of what has to be the most interesting spring training, number-wise, we’ve had in a while. A lot of the numbers assigned back in February have gone back up for grabs (3, 22, 32, 36, 43) while guys wearing 76, 78, 79 and 94 have emerged as real threats to take jobs, if not right away then down the road. And more could arrive any minute.
Despite all appearances, I still think the Mets will ultimately send Jennry Mejia to the minors, but I’m not one of those pretend scouts threatening to riot if they don’t. People tend to give way too much credit (or blame) to the manager; I think a man will become what he becomes no matter what his address is when he’s 20. Would he keep No. 76? Unusual but so again is he, and the the temptation to subtly suggest he’s one step beyond Francisco Rodriguez might be too powerful to resist.
Anyway, that’s just one thing worth keeping an eye on as camp winds down. We’ll rap about more soon!
Well, that was pretty swift and anticlimatic, if the reports coming in late this afternoon are true: The Mets have a new closer, Francisco Rodriguez, and their first Uni Controversy of the 2008-09 Offseason.
Rodriguez, as you probably all know, favors the same No. 57 on the back of Johan Santana (and, even more famously before him, Jason Roach). And if the purveyors of Met logo-gear hope to make a few sales in what’s turning out to be The Year Without a Christmas, a swift resolution is in order, so let the speculation begin.
The guess here is that Rodriguez winds up in No. 75. His demonstrative body language tells me he’s the kind of guy who likes attention and who wouldn’t easily find comfort in the standard-issue relief gear of say, No. 49 or No. 38, to mention a few of the seemingly available digits (as if the Mets really need another guy to add to their reputation as borderline poor sports and the bane of the opposition). No, this is a guy who’ll demand more, and the Mets will be willing to give. I mean, they let Ricardo Rincon have his 73 last season. Seventy-five is a nice switch on the traditional for Rodriguez, but it will come down to him ultimately. If he wants 97, I think he’ll have that too.
So I’d be very surprised if the Mets don’t come out of Las Vegas this week having captured Francisco Rodriguez (please, don’t call him K-Rod) and insisting we’ll be all the better for it.
But let us not forget that going into the new season with a reliable closer only puts the Mets on the exact same footing they were the last three seasons, and none of them ended quite like we wanted. And none of those years began with ownership pledging an idiotic credo of “addition by subtraction,” which plays great on WFAN but seems naive and foolish at best in practice. And, inasmuch as paying top dollar for the top reliever indicates the Mets intend to “go for it” once again in 2009, my concerns — beyond what number Rodriguez might wear since No. 57 is occupied by Johan Santana — are only beginning.
There’s the need for reliable starting pitching. I’m optimistic about Pelfrey’s progress and think he can make more of it next year but until he demonstrates he can get people out via the strikeout I’m not entirely comfortable. I like Maine if he’s healthy, but who knows. I’m all for giving Niese and Jason Vargas (who also needs a new a number) a shot at the end, but I’d sure like out chances with a known quantity mixed in along with them, and preferably someone with a potential to be very good some nights if not all. Hey… How about Oliver Perez?
And can we get serious about the bench? If Jerry Hairston Jr. is out there and you intend on winning the division, you can’t prefer Marlon Anderson to him. Reports have the Mets kicking the tires on Twins scrubeenie Nick Punto, that’s a little more encouraging.
And not to sound like a complete pessimist, but I’m concerned that the everyday lineup needs plenty of improvement. I was never much of an advocate for Luis Castillo but is there anyone in that lineup you see improving significantly except for him? That is going to take some creativity to address.
So while we wish Omar luck in his pursuits out West this week let’s remember that gathering in an ace closer is only the start, and probably, the easiest card he’s got to play. It’s all that other stuff — bench, offense, rotation — that will win the day.
I have no idea what will happen this offseason but I’ll tell you this. I’m sitting here hoping the Mets just don’t throw the most money at the guy with the most saves, which is what they did the last time and look where it got them: Feeling pressure to throw the most money at the guy with the most saves, and still on the hook for $10 million, and still looking for a championship. You’re just asking for it.
So I’m thinking, if you’re going to go after a guy with closing experience, it may as well be Brian Fuentes, who lacks the Sex Appeal of K-Rod but just might get it done cheaper and wouldn’t be such a name brand diva that you couldn’t slide him into a set-up role if things go bad. And you know they might. Meantime while it’d be nice if they brought in a few good arms as well I hope what they’re really learning is that when building a bullpen, like building a bench, begins with turning the earth and fresh seeds every year.
Besides we already have a No. 57.
For the rotation they should just go sign Oliver Perez again.
I wish I had a better handle on how they’re going to help the offense but without knowing what they might expect from Church and Castillo, not to mention Daniel Murphy, next year, my guess is as good as yours. I’d be awfully tempted though to see if I couldn’t solve a few problems at onceby dangling Delgado in a trade.Yeah, and I’d look into getting a better hitter behind the dish and not Castro, whose been unable to answer the bell at crucial times far too often.
My apologies for the infrequent updates: I briefly lost use of the home computer and haven’t had a lot to report on. You may have seeen the Mets hired Luis Alicea to be their new first-base coach. He coached the Red Sox wearing No. 16 last year but I’d expect to see him — along withRazor Shines — take numbers in the low 50s.