One of the biggest changes we’ll see as Mets fans this year will be in the bullpen. Of course, Francisco Rodriguez is still at the back of the pen. But there are some big changes in front of him. Last season the Mets acquired J.J. Putz in a trade before the season and that sealed the setup role for 2009. It didn’t work out as planned with Putz only pitching in 29 games before having elbow surgery. But the plan for the season was clear. It isn’t so clear who will set up Rodriguez in 2010.
Ryota Igarashi may have the inside track if he can show the type of performance that he did while playing in Japan. The 30 year-old right hander is a flame thrower with a touch of wildness. You can read a great profile of Igarashi at NPB Tracker. We’ll get a much better idea of what he can do against Major League hitters during spring training. Sometimes the success that players have in Japan just doesn’t translate here in the U.S.
I’m a little behind on my Mets news. But I’m ready to jump back in. As I’m writing this I’m listening to the Mets-Marlins game on the radio. I usually watch on TV but this team has become one that I can’t bear to watch anymore. They could get swept in Florida for their sixth consecutive loss. It’s gone from ugly to I don’t know what to call it.
Anyway, here’s the news:
Oliver Perez is done for the season. He’ll have surgery to address tendinitis in his right knee. He stole $12 million from the Mets this season. I can’t imagine that he’ll be able to repay them over the next two seasons.
Joel Sherman of NY Post writes about Omar Minaya’s horrible press conference announcing that Johan Santana is done for the season.
J.J. Putz is done for the season after an MRI showed fraying and tearing in his right forearm. He doesn’t need surgery though. He left the team on June 4 for surgery and only appeared in 29 games this season. What a waste!
Matthew Artus of Always Amazin’ asks the question that everyone wants to know: Why did the Mets keep pitching Santana when they knew he was injured? Artus says that heads need to roll over this and I can’t say that I disagree.
Dave Singer of NY Sports Dog writes that several Mets bloggers were recently injured and lost for the season.
Dave at Mets Lifers ponders the worst Mets lineup ever.
Here’s the conference call with reporters to address the surgery that Johan Santana will have. Omar Minaya also gets into the Billy Wagner trade to the Red Sox, J.J. Putz‘ next rehab appearance being delayed, and Oliver Perez coming back to New York to have his knee examined.
As usual, Minaya stumbles and bumbles his way through the call. It’s bizarre that he doesn’t even remember that Santana had elbow problems during spring training that almost caused him to miss opening day. It’s also odd that Minaya hasn’t spoken to Santana yet about the injury and impending surgery.
Before yesterday’s game against the D-Backs J.J. Putz spoke to the media and said that he pitched in the bullpen at Citi Field and he’s shooting for a return in about three weeks. He’s been on the disabled list for about two months after having surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow.
Billy Wagner is going to pitch again in St. Lucie today in a rehab game. He threw an inning on Friday for them as well. It looks like he’s on track to return to the Mets around the same time as Putz, at the end of the month.
Unfortunately, I think they’ll both be coming back to a team that’s out of playoff contention. But both players are really pitching for next season. Putz has a team option for next season at $8.6M with a $1M buyout. It’s highly unlikely the Mets will exercise that option. And Wagner has a team option for $8M with a $1M buyout that the Mets have already told him that they aren’t picking up.
For the last two months, since Carlos Delgado went on the disabled list, I felt that Mark DeRosa was the best fit from a trade perspective for the Mets. That possibility was gone yesterday with the announcement that the Indians traded DeRosa to the Cardinals for Chris Perez and a player to be named later. Perez is a 23 year-old reliever with a very good fastball. That’s a better package than the Mets could have offered the Indians.
DeRosa can play any infield position and the outfield corners. He’s a right-handed hitter with power that would’ve been perfect for the Mets current needs. I don’t like Aubrey Huff or Adam Dunn for the Mets this season. Dunn has too much money coming over the next year and a half. And I never liked his “walk-strikeout-home run” game.
The more limiting possibilities are Matt Holliday and Maglio Ordonez. Holliday doesn’t have the versatility to play first base until Delgado gets back from the DL. And Ordonez is having a terrible season and has a huge contract with the possibility of vesting options guaranteeing future years based on plate appearances.
My guess is that the Mets try to acquire someone like a Ty Wigginton type of player. I don’t think they’ll make a splash by acquiring a big name. There’s too much risk this season with the Mets players that are currently injured. If Delgado, J.J. Putz, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Oliver Perez, and John Maine can’t come back to the team healthy and make significant contributions, the season is over for the Mets anyway. Making a major investment in a trade for a big name would be completely useless. Holliday couldn’t carry this current Mets team to the playoffs… And that’s the bottom line.
Omar Minaya should wait for as long as possible to pull the trigger on any trades until right before the non-waiver deadline on July 31. That’ll give him time to evaluate the health situation of so many key players on this team. No matter what happens with the currently injured players, I don’t expect the Mets to become sellers at the deadline. But I think they would stand pat and ride out the season if they aren’t going to get some of their premier players back this season.
John Maine was looking better than he has all season, cruising through 6 innings without giving up a run. He was warming up for the seventh inning and felt sick to his stomach. He left the game with the same stomach ailment that’s caused Gary Sheffield and Carlos Beltran to lose time in the past couple of weeks.
Angel Pagan had a nice RBI double in the third inning down the left field line that scored Wilson Valdez. In the fourth inning he was chasing down a fly ball in center field and came up lame. He had to leave the game with a groin pull. It’s starting to seem like there are more Mets that are hurt than playing right now.
J.J. Putz struggled in the eighth inning and was pulled for Bobby Parnell. Putz ended up giving up 2 runs in 0.1 innings, no thanks to the RBI single that Parnell gave up to Hanely Ramirez to make the game close at 3-2. But Francisco Rodriguez continues to be perfect getting his 14th save.
The Mets finish their short home stand at 5-1 and head to Pittsburgh to begin a four game series tomorrow night.