Monday, April 19, 2010

Series #5: "What the heck is a Met?"

Yes, I know what Met is a Metropolitan...(what ever the hell that's supposed to mean)...I just reminisce about those Mike Royko commercials from the '80s.

Anyway, the Cubs kinda fell flat on their faces this weekend and they look to rebound against another crappy team.

We complain and complain about the Cubs roster and the payroll and the nightmare contracts that we have with Soriano, Fukudome, and Zambrano...

But the Mets have had a lot more problems here than the Cubs have had.

Now, actually, the Mets have done a fairly good job at lowering their payroll a bit this year.  Last year they spent almost $140 million on players that got them only 70 wins.  70 wins!!!!!!

The Mets have reduced their payroll quite a bit this year...almost $10 million.  Most of this can be attributed to having Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner removed from their roster.

 Welcome to New York, Jason...don't get hurt!

They still have two high priced long term commitments remaining right now in Johan Santana and Jason Bay.  Both of these players have very back-waited contracts.  Santana is scheduled to make around $20 million this season.  Bay only get's $15 million (over half of which was a signing bonus)...those numbers slowly climb into Soriano territory over the next 4 seasons.  In the end, I think they'll get more production out of those two than the Cubs will get out of Zambrano and Soriano. 

Ok, enough about Mets contracts...let's talk about how the team is playing on the field.

After a season of where they finished only ahead of the Nationals in the NL East, the Mets aren't looking much better this year.  They have started the season with a 4-8 record (granted, we are only 5-7).

You hear all the names on this roster and it is just unbelievable that this team is so bad.  Johan Santana, Oliver Perez and John Maine head up their rotation.  Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, David Wright, and Jeff Francoeur...all recognizable names, and players who have been coveted by many other teams.  So where do things go wrong here?

Offensively, Beltran is the closest thing the Mets have to a superstar.  Last year, he was hurt a good part of the season (much in the same way we lost Ramirez for about half the season).  And, well, Beltran has started this season on the DL as well.  His knees are literally falling apart.  I haven't seen a report, but my guess is Beltran probably isn't going to be back on the field until at least the end of May.

The rest of the position players, while many of them are good, none are what I would call superstars.  Jason Bay is a regular 30/100 guy, and put up good numbers last year with Boston.  David Wright's production plummeted last season but he had been a solid .900+ OPS guy throughout his career.  Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes are like Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot at the plate, but they can field better and both are faster on the bases.

Jeff Francoeur still benefits from the fact the people think he's as good as he was during his rookie year in Atlanta.  He's not.  He now has a career.750 OPS...and that isn't much to talk about.

That's your quick view of the Mets position players...they don't have anyone of note behind the plate (and no, Henry Blanco being their backup is not something to note).  To fill in for Beltran while he's hurt they have Gary Matthews Jr. (who is getting almost all of his salary payed for by the Angels) and (speaking of angels) Angel Pagan, who surprisingly isn't hurt yet this season.

The rotation...Santana, Maine, Perez...with Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese at the end.  Santana is really really good...and has been one of the few Mets free agent signings that has panned out was well as they could have hoped.  (If Beltran was healthy, you could same the same about him.)  Maine is only an average pitcher, but he had been a work horse over his career until he, like most of the other Mets, got hurt last year.  Oliver Perez...well, he's always been a disappointment to me.  He was hurt much of last year as well.  Perez's problem throughout his career has been his control.  He has a dynamic arm, especially as a lefty.  He's had a couple of fairly good seasons with the Mets over hit career, but nothing that would ever meet the expectations on this kid. Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese...not much to say about them. 

Either that's ice wrapped on his arm, or Santana ate a lot of spinach.

The bullpen is somewhat of a mess for the Mets a lot of new faces and crossed fingers.  At $130 million, you'd think they could get a couple of guys proven guys to set up K-Rod.  Yes, remember?  K-Rod signed with the Mets last year.  Pedro Feliciano hasn't been too bad in a setup role so far, but has had some control problems.  Over his career Feliciano has been an effective reliever.  Other relievers of note...Hisanori Takahashi, Ryota Igarashi, and Tobi Stoner (just because he has a funny name).  Takahashi and Igarashi are (believe it or not) from Japan...neither is really that young.


The matchup for this four game series?

Tonight, Randy Wells goes up against Jon Neise.  Neise has had a hard time missing bats so far this season.  Wells has been pretty good.  Neise is a lefty, so, like yesterday, expect Nady and Baker to get starts (since the worked SO WELL yesterday).

Tomorrow, Zambrano will face off against Mike Pelfrey.  Pelfrey has actually pitched well for the Mets.  He's 2-0 and pitched great against the Rockies last week.  Z needs to step it up.  So far he's been our worst starter  by a large margin.

Wednesday, The Orca  goes against Oliver Perez.  This Carlos is our best starter right now.  It's early in the season, but Silva has been a great surprise for us.  Oliver Perez is off to a decent start this season.  The Cubs have handled Perez very well during his career.  Expect the righty heavy lineup to sit on his fastball, assuming he has some control problems with all of his other pitches.

To close the series on Thursday, Tom Gorzelanny has his second straight start against the other team's ace...this time, Johan Santana.  (Santana hasn't been announced as the starter, but it is his turn in the rotation).  Gorzelanny left the game on Saturday early after getting hit with a line drive.  Santana has manhandled the Cubs in two career starts against them...the last start came 2 years ago and he went 8 innings giving up 2 runs and striking out 10.


One last thing to watch, I believe that the Mets are on the verge of firing manager Jerry Manuel.  They should consider firing GM Omar Minaya as well...but for some reason GM's seem to be held less responsible for spending a ton of money on less than great talent 

He's like the crazy neighbor down the street.

Tonight's game is on ESPN for those of you out of state.  Let's see if the Cubs can help give the Mets even more reasons to fire their manager.