According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the Mets have released Alex Cora and demoted Jesus Feliciano to Triple-A Buffalo. In corresponding moves, Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada are being called up and will be with the team tonight in Philadelphia.
Cora is in his second season with the Mets but hitting only .207 this year in 62 games. The problem with Cora is that his $2 million option for 2011 would vest when he played 80 games in 2010 which he would certainly reach. Management decided to nip that in the bud and release him.
Cora is a popular figure in the Mets clubhouse and a leader on the team. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to this adversity. Clearly, the message is that nobody is immune from being shipped out if they don’t perform.
Martinez and Tejada wouldn’t be joining the Mets if they weren’t going to get significant playing time. They’re both young, rising stars in the Mets organization. There’s no point in planting them on the bench. So you would expect other moves to be made to clear out more playing time for them. Specifically, Luis Castillo and Jeff Francoeur will probably be the next Mets players to go.
Some credited him with a quietly solid 2009 campaign, others couldn’t look past the memory of his dropped pop-up against the Yankees. Luis Castillo has seemingly been synonymous with Mets’ failure since arriving during the 2007 season. I for one can blame Castillo for keeping me up at night with nightmares of constant 6-3 put-outs. Regardless of his past with the team, and his nauseating contract, Castillo will return to the lineup with hopes of having a positive impact on the remainder of the 2010 Mets season.
As much as most fans despise Castillo for his aging knees, slap style of hitting, and depleting range at second base, the Mets will need him to make things happen for them if they hope to stay in contention.
Right now the bottom of the Mets lineup has gotten very little production. Jeff Francoeur wakes up every morning with an 0 and 2 count, Rod Barajas hasn’t driven in a run since the oil spill, and the tandem of Ruben Tejada and Alex Cora wasn’t exactly posing an offensive threat either.
Castillo’s return to the lineup will allow Cora to be relegated to the role of bench player where he belongs, and will send Ruben Tejada back to Buffalo where he belongs. In addition, Castillo can provide some maturity to the bottom of the Mets order, as long as Angel Pagan is in the lineup. He’ll be counted on to work counts (something Barajas and Francoeur are incapable of doing), get on base, and basically just ignite any kind of spark that he has left. Continue reading “Mets Need Luis Castillo to Step Up”
Tonight’s game had three story lines. First, Mike Pelfrey has been shaky for several starts but he was just plain bad tonight. He gave up 7 runs in 4.2 IP. 9 hits and 4 walks killed him. Pelfrey takes the loss and his ERA is over 3 now. Certainly, he’s still having a good first half but the last month or so he’s been on a downward spiral.
Second, there was one of the worst calls I’ve seen in a long time that led to Jerry Manuel getting thrown out. In the top of the fifth, the Reds had the bases loaded with no outs against Pelfrey. Scott Rolen was called out by home plate ump Jerry Meals on a foul tip held by Rod Barajas. Rolen argued that the ball knicked his arm. The umpires conferred and changed the call to a hit by pitch. Manuel argued and got tossed. It was completely ridiculous that umpires 90-100 feet away would have a better view of a hit by pitch than the home plate ump.
Third, the Mets made a nice comeback in the bottom of the fifth scoring five to get the score to 7-6. The rally was highlighted by an Angel Pagan homer, David Wright triple, and Alex Cora 2 RBI double. Pagan had another nice game with 2 hits including the homer to get his average over .300. But it wasn’t enough to get back into the lead.
The Mets got another outstanding start from Jon Niese going 7 IP and only giving up 1 run. He also had a career high 8 strikeouts and no walks. He’s really become such a consistent solid presence in the rotation. He also helped himself at the plate. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI double.
The Mets offense had 8 hits and 2 walks tonight. They were led by David Wright going 3 for 5 with a double and a run scored. Alex Cora had a bases loaded triple in the 4 run fourth inning that broke the game open.
The game got interesting in the bottom of the ninth when Elmer Dessens gave up a hit and a walk with two outs. K-Rod came in and gave up 2 hits allowing both inherited runners to score. Oddly, the game ended when he picked off Roger Bernadina at second base. It was one of the biggest bonehead plays I’ve seen in a while by Bernadina.
The offseason leading into this spring might have been the most stressful I can remember. There was an eery silence coming from Jason Bay and his agent and Bengie Molina was still balking at the one year deal on the table. The holiday season had Mets fans begging for some free agent to sign or for Omar Minaya to pull off a trade with The Reds. Just when the tension became unbearable…it happened. The news hit that Minaya signed R.A. Dickey to a minor league contract.
At that moment, I thought Mike Francesa’s phone lines would burst into flames due to raging Mets fans. We were opening our windows at work and screaming in frustration. I was ready to move to some country that had never heard of baseball. Everyone understood the necessity of acquiring some depth. It just would have been nicer to know Jason Bay was locked down before Alex Cora was counting his millions. Continue reading “R.A. Dickey and Jason Bay Over-Under”
I have to admit that I was shocked that Hisanori Takahashi had a great start going 6 shutout innings. I never would have expected that. He was really outstanding especially considering that he got no run support.
Speaking of run support, the Mets had absolutely no offense again. Last night’s 10 run outburst seems like a mirage. They only put together 4 hits as a team and two of them were in the ninth inning when Jason Bay singled and Ike Davis doubled him in. That was the offense. Don’t blink or you might miss it.
Alex Cora blew the game in the seventh inning for the Mets. His costly throwing error allowed an unearned run to score that would have made a difference in the game.
The Mets and Yankees will play two more on national TV this weekend.
This game was so crazy I can’t even describe the whole thing without writing a novel. I’ll hit the highlights and make sure you check out the messy box score link at the bottom of the post. The game had a bunch of great defensive plays and sitting on the edge of your seat moments. If you didn’t put seven hours into watching this one, here are the highlights:
There wasn’t a run scored until Jeff Francoeur hit a sac fly to score Jose Reyes in the top of the 19th
Alex Cora had a game saving catch diving into the stands to catch a fly ball while he was playing first base, of all things
The Cardinals loaded the bases three times in extras without scoring
Of course, Yadier Molina singled home Albert Pujols in the bottom of the 19th to tie it
K-Rod blew the save in the 19th
Mike Pelfrey got the first save of his career by pitching the 20th inning
Two position players pitched for the Cardinals: Felipe Lopez and Jeff Mather
This game was wild. There’s usually one of these crazy games every few years. So it’s good to get it out of the way early in the season. They’ll play on national TV again tomorrow night on ESPN in the rubber game of the series.
“Barring any setbacks, we anticipate that, the physical conditioning part of it is going extremely well,” Manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s getting enough at-bats, so we will do another evaluation on Thursday after he plays in St. Lucie.”
I think that we all like Alex Cora, but hate seeing him on the field everyday. Reyes’ return is going to be huge boost to this team in the field and the clubhouse. I can’t wait to see him back out there on Saturday.