The NY Times has a good article today by Joe Brescia about Mike Piazza. Basically, Piazza says that he wants to go into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap on. That’s great to hear and I was talking about this recently with a friend of mine. We were discussing whether he will go as a Dodger or a Met. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s in the Hall in 2013, his first year of eligibility.
There’s been so much talk, as there always is this time of year, about the Mets trade possibilities. I’m as guilty as the next person is about writing and talking about it. But I started thinking today that the Mets could get some much needed offensive help right off the street. There are two players that could walk in and start on this team right now that are unsigned. Omar Minaya needs to get creative before the non-waiver trading deadline and here’s how to do it.
Richie Sexson– Sure, his ’07 and ’08 seasons were forgettable. And I know he got a reputation as a locker room problem in Seattle. But didn’t Gary Sheffield come with baggage? And he’s worked out pretty well so far to say the least. Sexson is 34 years-old and a lifetime .261 hitter with 306 home runs. I’d much rather see him at first base until Carlos Delgado gets back than Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis. Big Sexy for first base.
Barry Bonds– I know, I know. I keep advocating for Bonds. But he could fit in nicely for the last 90 games of the season as an outfielder/pinch hitter. A Bonds/Sheffield platoon situation in left field would keep both players fresh and provide some more power in the lineup.
As much as the Mets are trying to showcase Fernando Martinez for a trade, he needs to hit to be traded. And that hasn’t happened, not even close. The Mets don’t need to empty the farm system and trade Bobby Parnell (the most attractive trading chip the Mets have) to get some help. Both Bonds and Sexson would definitely play for the prorated minimum salary that gives the Mets the flexibility to cut them if they don’t work out. It’s a win-win situation that will keep this team moving in the right direction until the injury situation resolves itself.
Murphy clearly isn’t a major league player yet, in the field especially or with the bat. He should be optioned to Triple- A Buffalo. Unfortunately, Fernando Tatis just hasn’t worked out this season. It’s time that the Mets eat the rest of his $1.7 million contract and let him go. That clears two roster spots for Bonds and Sexson.
Gary Sheffield took the opportunity of being in San Francisco to catch up with his old friend Barry Bonds according to the San Francisco Chronicle. I had always wondered if those two ran into each other after their public friendship split.
Sheffield blamed Bonds for getting caught in the BALCO scandal and for him unknowingly taking steriods. You should definitely go back and read this article by Tom Verducci on the whole saga.
Apparently, the two patched up their BFF breakup a long time ago according to Sheffield. Can I take this opportunity to say that I’d rather see Bonds playing left field every day for the Mets than Daniel Murphy stumbling around out there?
Before yesterday afternoon, I thought that the Mets would hold tight until after the All-Star break to see if Moises Alou could make it back onto the active roster. Well, we got the news today that Alou is likely gone for the season with a torn hamstring.
Ryan Church is on the disabled list for the second time with post concussion symptoms. It’s the fourth time this season that he’s been on the DL due to two concussions since March. We really don’t know what his long term situation is. Mike Matheny and Corey Koskie both retired within the last two seasons due to concussion related problems. It’s a dicey scenario for Church.
Now I’ve come to the conclusion that the Mets need to put together a short list of outfielders to go after. I love the way Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis have performed this season. Don’t get me wrong. But I think that both of them are best seen in small doses.
I’m not in favor of rushing a prospect to the majors either. Everyone wants to see what Fernando Martinez can do, including me. But rushing guys to the bigs can be a recipe for failure. The Mets are built to win now, stocked with veterans that aren’t here to play for the future.
So I’ve worked on my list of outfielders that the Mets need to start looking into prior to the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline. Here’s the list:
The New York Mets outfield has been decimated by injuries this season. Two thirds of the starting outfield that the Mets aniticipated would be there, hasn’t been there. Moises Alou was sidelined early in the season after hernia surgery. Now he’s on the shelf witha calf strain.
Ryan Church has suffered two concussions this season and a three week long stint on the disabled list. Now he’s back in New York being evaluated by neurologists for migraine problems.
Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post reports that Mets GM Omar Minaya was asked about signing free agent Barry Bonds last night in Philadelphia. Minaya didn’t say that they wouldn’t try to sign Bonds. He did say:
I would say that I’m going to focus on our guys and our guys hopefully will be OK.
Barry Bonds isn’t a perfect fit for the Mets. But he does add some needed depth to the outfield rotation. If the Mets aren’t able to secure a right-handed hitting corner outfielder/first baseman before the July 31 trade deadline, they should pursue Bonds. He isn’t facing charges of perjury until next year. Although he brings as much baggage as possible, Bonds isn’t suspended from playing Major League Baseball. He’s fair game to sign.
The first two months of the season have proven that the New York Mets have an average record with above average talent. That’s on the manager. Beyond managerial problems, the Mets have several issues on their roster. Not every problem can be solved easily but there are some quick, inexpensive solutions.
Manager– Willie Randolph briefly lost his mind while speaking to Ian O’Connor of the Bergen Record on Sunday. If Randolph can’t keep it together better than that he shouldn’t be leading this team. It’s as simple as that.
First base– Carlos Delgado has turned into an automatic out. But even during losing streaks and blowout loses he continues to smile and yuk it up at first base with the opposing team.
Left field– Moises Alou is a natural-born hitting machine. He’s also chronically on the disabled list.
Second base– Luis Castillo was just signed to a four year contract prior to this season, as hard as that is to believe. His legs look like they could give out at any moment. His game depends on speed and range in the field and now he doesn’t have either.
Bullpen– Aaron Heilman can’t figure out how to get hitters out this season. He swings back and forth between walking batters and giving up home runs. That’s a bad combination.
Starting pitching– Pedro Martinez and El Duque on the disabled list since the beginning of the season has hurt the Mets badly. The gaping holes in the rotation have exposed Mike Pelfrey, Nelson Figueroa, and Claudio Vargas.
What to watch: The Pirates are a dreadful team in last place in the worst division in baseball. They haven’t made the playoffs since Barry Bonds was there if you can remember back that far. The Mets absolutely have to win two of the three games in this series. Ian Snell’s not a bad pitcher although his last start against St. Louis was poor. The weather is supposed to be terrible with heavy rain predicted for tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets do with Santana tomorrow. They don’t want to “waste” one of his starts if the game is going to get rained out. The Mets could start a long reliever in case the game can’t be played in full.