There are going to be a lot of Mets fans that are not going to be too happy with me after they finish this article. In fact, I'd venture to say that there will be a few who will refuse to finish it because they will say I'm not a true fan, I am being too negative, and that I am giving up the remainder of the 2009 season.
All of the above may be so, but since this is definitely an opinion piece if you don't mind, allow me to fire away.
The 2009 season started with so much promise it was very hard not to get caught up with the hype. For that alone, I plead guilty as charged. Omar did a credible job in the off season fixing the most glaring problem the team had in 2008. By adding Frankie Rodriguez, JJ Putz and Sean Green it certainly looked like, at least on paper, that the Mets wouldn't blow 29 games more or less.
If in fact they only blew half that number in 2009 and continue to smash the ball as they did in the previous year, it would not be unexpected to see the Mets be able to compete with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies for the crown in 2009.
There was some criticism that Omar had a chance to improve the teams offense with the acquisition of Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez but he felt that his bench of Tatis, Cora, and Reed could get the job done and money was tight.
I expressed my displeasure at this as well as not resigning Pedro Martinez since I questioned a pitching staff whose 60% of the starting rotation was coming off surgery.
Even with all that I was right there and predicted in my article of predictions that the Mets would win the NL East and go on through the playoffs and meet and beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
So I challenge anyone reading this to say that I was not on board with this team on opening day. I was also one of the first if not the first person in our Mets community to be delighted in the acquisition of Gary Sheffield. After commenting on it through very negative articles I wrote an article, I believe in May, thanking the Mets for making Gary a Met.
Then came the injuries like flies to the flypaper. Out went 3/4 of the core. Delgado, Reyes and Beltran were all out of the line up by June. JJ Putz went down. So did Angel Pagan, Alex Cora, and a host of minor players.
Even before the slew of injuries I started questioning the moves made by Jerry Manuel. Jerry had taken over for Willie Randolph last June while the Mets were struggling early which was unacceptable to management who needed a scapegoat for the collapse of 2007 and Willie was going to be that sacrificial lamb.
It was a terrible move at the time because the Mets faults were not Willies and not only did he not need to be replaced, they did it in such a non professional way the Mets organization was an embarrassment to the entire baseball community.
The rest of 2008 is history. Jerry led the team to a 3 1/2 game lead with 17 to go and let the Phillies do their September thing and let another flag get away and to add insult to injury they lost to the Marlins again on the last day and saw their Wild Card hopes go up in flames.
A correction here. Jerry didn't lead them anywhere. Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran led them to the heights they achieved and for the those who know and understand the game realized that the 2008 Mets were actually overachievers and Jerry got most of the credit as I cringed like I had a crystal ball to see into the future.
Jerry Manuel was NOT a good manager in Chicago. Yes he won a Manager of the Year award but with the team he inherited there Mike Kent could have got the White Sox to the World Series that year. BTW, that's a compliment Mike.
Jerry misused his bull-pen in Chicago and had a well known, in the public eye, feud with superstar Frank Thomas. His reputation confirmed by the Chicago media was that Jerry had a problem with veteran players simply because of all his line up changes. They did not know where their place was. Ultimately the players went over Jerry's head and as a result, there went Jerry's head as a manager in the major leagues.
Getting back to the Mets. Almost from day 1 in Spring training Jerry had Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy on his radar. For whatever reason and he never explained it to Church, the media or anyone he was not a Ryan Church fan. Perhaps maybe when Ryan was healthy he kept the Mets in the early 2008 race until he was nailed with the concussions.
His use of Church was abominable. 10 games into the season Ryan was batting .385 so Jerry benched him. He wanted to give Reed and Pagan more playing time. He took Murphy out of the lineup when he was batting .365 because he was having defensive problems in left and was trying to keep him away from facing left handers. At the time he was 3 for 8 against lefty's.
His constant everyday changing the line up gave whatever players he had out there no chance to get comfortable with their place in the order. He would say he was going to go with the hot bat and so what did he do? He stayed with Tatis after all he could do was hit into double play after double play ending so many Mets threats I lost count.
" No matter what, I'm going to rest Wright and Sheffield in tomorrows day game in Milwaukee because those guys are trying to carry the load by themselves". The fact that David Wright is hitting around .220 since Beltran left the lineup didn't seem to register with Jerry. So what happened?, Wright went 3 for 4 that night and Jerry had him in the lineup the next day. Since that game Wright is hitting under .200. Good job Jerry.
The Mets are 42-45. They are 6 1/2 games out of first place. They have lost 6 of their last 10. The Phillies are in first place. They have won 9 out of their last 10 and have put the problem of winning at home behind them.They stand at 48-38, ten games over .500.
Last year it took 92 wins to win the NL East. If the Phillies went .500 the rest of the way (doubtful) that would give them 86 wins and to beat them the Mets would have to go 45-30 the rest of the way. That is a pretty good possibility if the Mets gets their players back, but here's the problem. More likely than not the Phillies will not go .500 the rest of the way.
If they go another 10 games over like they did the first half they will finish with with 91 wins. In order for the Mets to catch them they will have to go 50-25.
Well folks, that ain't gonna happen. Not under Jerry Manuel. Not in a million years. That's .667 baseball and this team doesn't have spark or the guts to get that done.
Until A.Reyes bunted for a hit to lead off an inning the other night it was the first game it had been accomplished in the last 25 games. Until Angel Pagan stretched a double into a triple when was the last time that happened?. When was the last time you saw a hit and run attempt with a man on first or first and second? When was the last time you saw somebody move a runner by hitting to the right side? I could go on forever but I have already done that.
Despite early misgivings upon the initial announcement of the Church for Francouer trade, I decided I like it before Jeff's first start. He is 25 and his upside is far greater than Church, but it's not nearly enough.
If Minaya is still serious about making a run at this he must take a bold shot at Roy Halliday. You can not let the Phillies get him and Pedro to slam the door in our face. If it takes, Maine, F-Mart and Parnell and Murphy then so be it.
Will they even offer that deal to the Blue Jays? Not a chance. Why you ask? Because the Mets have pretty close to the worst ownership in baseball and a General Manager that has zero eye for future talent.
Now is the time for the Mets to be sellers for 2009 with the thought to rebuild this organization for 2010 and beyond. In my humble opinion there are only 3 untouchables on the Mets 40 man roster. They are the obvious ones to most. Jose Reyes, David Wright and Johan Santana. Everyone else, and yes Carlos( never hustle) Beltran my preseason MVP pick, has to go.
As far as 2009 is concerned, the Phillies are going to win this division by 10 to 15 games. The Mets will be battling out the Braves and the Marlins for second place.
They are, as of today, 7 games behind in the Wild Card race with 7 teams they have to climb over.
I have always hoped for best while expecting the worst. This is not negativity. This is reality. I swear to all of you reading this. I hope beyond belief that I am 100% wrong in my beliefs.
Do you really think I want to be seen wearing Phillie red on the Brooklyn Bridge replica under the sign for the ESPN Zone in front of the NEW YORK NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO in Las Vegas, Nevada this October and send those pictures to 30 Phillies writers on the BR? I don't think so. Christian will use it as a dart board. I can just see it now.
My hope is that the Mets
organization, who are morons at best, will look ahead to 2010 season
and start making moves that don't look like attempts at continuing to
be a small market approach and be the step brother to the New York
Yankees. It's finally that time to step up
and become a force to be reckoned with for years to come and the best
way to get that started is threefold. First the Wildon's need to sell
the team. Second Omar needs to be replaced and third and best of all
Jerry Manuel needs to go NOW!