26.9.05

Better Late Than Never

So, the Mets have crawled back to respectability, out of the NL East basement. They leave Washington with a 6-5 victory and three game sweep of the Nationals.

And what, we're supposed to forget their diabolical choke job this month? We're supposed to forget the road trip from hell, the gutless fashion in which they laid down for the Marlins, Braves and Cardinals? We're supposed to magically unrecall that Willie is a glorified third base coach in a manager's uniform? Spin in circles, clap our hands, chant and cheer because oh jeez, the Mets really are good after all?

Mike Piazza hits a pair of homeruns, makes a leaping catch and tagged out Brad Wilkerson at the plate in the seventh and we're supposed to get how he dragged his feet to help his team two seasons in a row by learning how to play first base? Are we supposed to develop amnesia about his thousands of two-hop throws to second and the weakest catcher's arm in baseball?

I'm not buying it.

The Washington Nationals deserve to be in last place. That's where everyone picked them to finish this season and that is where they belong. Frank Robinson has been auditioning his minor league players and reserves for the last three games. Why is sweeping the Nats and dropping them into last place suddenly such a big deal?

And Piazza's numbers, when you consider his age and how many games he missed this season, 17 homers and 61 RBIs with a .258 batting average, isn't worse than average, really. Problem is, he's got the throwing arm of an 80 year old woman and since he couldn't be arsed to ever bother learning another position, the only place he belongs is where he belonged the last two seasons: DHing in the American League, out of harm's way, reaching 400 career dingers, doing the one thing he always did well, hit. He didn't belong with the Mets this season and he has no business catching, regardless of what his career offensive numbers might delude the world into believing. Let us not forget, Mike Piazza was always just a crap catcher who hit well --

What we can get excited about is Aaron Heilman's two saves in three games.

Yes, we've all heard Aaron Heilman wants to be a starter, not a closer, but the Mets are chockablock with starters whilst the glaring deficiency in a closer cost them all season. Let him go to the Dominican League and practice closing and if he doesn't want to do that, trade him to the KC Royals and let him start there. We need a closer and Heilman is the man to do it.

David Wright has now driven in 95 runs with seven remaining games to crack 100. His homer in the 8th last night was his 23rd of the season and think about this for a moment - he also hit his 42nd double of the season.

It's also time to begin to wonder who Mike Jacobs really is and where he belongs.

Is a .276 batting average, 6 doubles and 7 homers in 76 at-bats and a .353 on-base average enough of an audition at first base to make a decision? 2 errors over 200 total chances and a .995 fielding percentage at first base is better than Offerman, Woodward and Marlon Anderson have done there and exactly the same as Mientkiewicz did there only with a much less repulsive bat.

So what does the Met braintrust whisper? Let's move him to catcher...

What's wrong with Ramon Castro? He threw out 50% of baserunners trying to steal on him. He hit a respectable .250 with 8 homers and 16 doubles in 200 at-bats. Oh he's no Mike Piazza at the plate, let's break out the goddamned violins, but hey, he throws runners out. He's a defensive asset.

Rather than have little wet dreams over what sort of first baseman we can overpay for, why not leave Jacobs at first? Why not make Castro the starting catcher?

What we should be worrying about is finding a second baseman and a pair of outfielders to sandwich around Carlos Beltran.

What's this blasphemy??

What about Cameron and Floyd you say?

Well, Cameron is a centerfielder, something we already overpay one player to do. We tried all offseason to trade Cameron so let's not kid ourselves. We don't need him. Let someone else pay for 150 strikeouts and a .250 average.

And Floyd will never be worth more than he is right now. He's had a wonderful season for the Mets, his best season since we signed him and he somehow managed to stay reasonably injury free this season. Thank you very much Cliffy, now let someone else pay you millions to pray you don't spend half of next season on the DL.

Overpay for splashy free agents in the corner outfield positions. Overpay for another starting pitcher and scour all of goddamned baseball to find some competent relievers to hold leads for for Heilman to come in and save.

But whatever you do, don't get excited about next year simply because the Mets start winning once it doesn't matter any more.

I dare say that with Benson, Glavine and Pedro, not to mention Floyd playing well, a full season of Wright and even Beltran, Art Howe could have managed this team to .500 so let's have another closer look at Willie too. Before we make the mistake of leaving him in there to lead us yet again to a third base coach's finish.

3 comments:

adenzeno said...

Bravo!!

jdon said...

I agree with all of your comments. This Piazza love is killing me. He has no place here. Met fans traditionally overvalue their own players. Time to look at the bottom line: winning. That should be our only consideration. Jacobs is a cheap option for first. Spend somewhere else. Buy a closer, buy a big bat. Send Floyd and Cameron away. Floyd is a 5 or 6 masquerading as a 4. I don't care what happened this year, he is brittle. Cameron is a below average offensive player at the price. Adios-time to get really serious about winning. That would entail, of course, bringing in some winning players Cameron and Floyd do not fit that description

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