Half a season gone by and the Mets have been fun to watch, buoyed by outstanding performances by Royally Screwed All-Star Reserves David Wright and R.A. Dickey and a kind of gutsy character that’s resulted in exciting baseball and lots of satisfying wins. In a lot of ways, the Mets are surprising people not because they’ve gotten so much better (though they have, a little) but that the league has come back to them. Clubs like Philadelphia and Miami (LOL and LOL) are exhibiting the kinds of struggles the Mets did in recent years and few clubs in the NL look so good that they could run away from the rest, so I think there’s a little reason to believe the Mets can’t hang around for a while (I think, in fact, lots of teams will hang around for a while). It’s just that kind of year.
My concerns are with their weak right-handed hitting, their poor defense and their lack of pitching depth (in that order). It will take a trade or a miracle comeback from Jason Bay to fix the first issue and continued health and some good luck to fix pitching concerns (I don’t think we have to go nuts trading for some other team’s closer, but bolstering the ready supply of good arms never hurt anyone). It’s the D that I can’t see improving (unless you involve Daniel Murphy and/or Lucas Duda in a trade for that right-handed slugger) and then who knows. But I’d suspect the D will continue to be an issue, so I’m keeping my expectations modest: Let’s hope we can hang around, avoid another big dropoff like we’ve had in so many recent second halves, and see where it gets us. If we can add a bat or an armn, let’s do that too. It’s been fun so far.
Speaking of David Wright, his home run July 3 “not only moved him past Howard Johnson into third place in the Mets’ record books, it also moved uniform #5 past #18 for home runs hit. Number 5 now trails only #20 in home runs.” This from sharp-eyed MBTN reader Shorty in the comments section. Sure enough, it checks out: Wright’s dinger was the 378th by a player who wears No. 5, surpassing 18, which hasn’t had a home run since Moises Alou in 2007 (thanks for nothing again, Jeremy Reed). Only No. 20, with 388 home runs, has produced more but with that uni currently unassigned it looks like Wright (197 HRs wearing 5) and company (John Olerud is next with 63) can overtake the all-time lead later this year. Re-sign this guy!
Getting caught up with the recent roster moves, the Mets designated Justin Hampson and recalled Jordany Valdespin July 4, then swapped out Jeremy Hefner for a healthy-at-last Pedro Beato July 5. Beato was gone so long I forgot what number he wore, but can tell you now it’s still 27. Hampson was later reassigned to Buffalo along with Chris Schwinden, who bounced on the waiver wire to the Indians to the Yankees and back to the Mets.
I don’t care much for the Brewers, so I’m glad it’s them and not us who will be sweating out the 55-game timebomb. That we’ll also collect two of their prospects — however long their odds may be — makes the trade of the first and probably last No. 75 in Mets history a winner in my book.
And the Mets? They’ll be fine. Let’s see Jason Isringhausen get a few saves and parlay it into a return engagement with St. Louis, then turn over the closer role to Pedro Beato, who as far as I’m concerned already has closer pedigree — that is, he gets whiffs and groundballs, possesses distinct body language, and has made a few confident remarks in the press. Bobby Parnell may have wicked heat, but his laconic demeanor and country-music theme music need work before he ascends to the role. And that will be that.
I actually admired the contrition and the skills Rodriguez brought with him to the field this year but his contract was recklessly outrageous and a bad deal even before he arrived: You read it here first. Relief pitching just ain’t worth that kinda money, and I’ve always hated how unimaginatively the Mets pursued it.
I’m sure emotions will run higher if and when it comes to moving pieces such as Carlos Beltran, but as said before if he’s going to bring back some real prospects they’d be fools not to investigate, irrespective of where we are on July 31. I think I would be totally OK if the Mets took a few prospects from Pittsburgh for Carlos, because as I said above, I don’t much care for Milwaukee.
By the way: Ryota Igarashi takes Frankie’s roster place, speaking of overpaid relievers.
Always a bummer when one of your key guys breaks his back, but what’s Jason Bay’s excuse? His failure to put the ball in play last night loomed large in a revolting 2-1 extra inning home loss to the Marlins last night that was followed by the announcement that two additional culprits — noodle-batted reserve infielder Chin-lung Hu, and hopeless relief hack Ryota Igarashi — would be headed to Class AAA Buffalo. I know it’s impossible and counterproductive, but I’d send Bay there with them just to punish him. In a bus.
Recalled to take the places of Hu and Igarshi are Ruben Tejada and Pedro Beato, respectively. Tejada was with the Mets last season assigned No. 11; Beato will retake the No. 27 he wore earlier this year.
As for David Wright, he has a broken back requiring at least a few weeks of rest. Met officials say it’s likely he’ll hit the disabled list today and be replaced on the roster by perpetual tourist Nick Evans and his trusty No. 6 jersey.
Bonus for the first commenter to recognize the obscure headline reference!
Sorry about the infrequent updates. Became convinced my enthusiasm at the tail end of the winning streak killed it and was scared to further mess it up. Now it seems hardly to matter. Tuesday’s gutwrenching loss almost assured a humiliation on Wednesday and the loss to injury of Pedro Beato didn’t help. The Mets real trouble however is the offense, with too little coming from the end of the lineup and less than that from the bench so far. It sure hasn’t helped that Jason Bay’s missed more time than we could afford to lose already (and it’s still early). His latest absence for paternity leave forced the recall of Lucas Duda, in whom Terry Collins (and Lucas Duda for that matter) has no faith.
Taking Beato’s place is lefty Mike O’Connor. I tried to look up some information on him and came across the image accompanying this post which seemed only too appropriate for the mess this franchise has become. It’s not just the gut-punchy losses. It’s the lifeless, charmless, two-thirds empty park they play in and the sense of doom around the finances of the owners, who’d be in financial trouble even without the looming lawsuit. It’s a fragile team prone to hangovers — and until Mike Pelfrey and RA Dickey turn it around — unable to generate a lot of momentum of their own. Maybe things improve upon the return of Bay and Angel Pagan this weekend. Maybe not.
O’Connor: Taking over the No. 50 most recently belonging to Sean Green. His next appearance will be his first in the majors since 2008 with the Nationals, the team that drafted him out of George Washington U in 2008.