Opening Observations and Mailbag

Fresh from St Malo (not the secret site of the Mets Cognitive Training Camp as oft rumoured)the Army returns to find Bankrupt Field has officially hosted its first baseball game.

Believe it or not, the new field was reviewed in England:

"Thousands are losing their jobs and new skyscrapers are scratching around for tenants, but judging only by its baseball, no-one would know that New York is gripped by recession."

So whilst I can't say I was at the game, or at the Field, or in New York or even the United States, here are my Opening Observations and Mailbag which to date is without a soundtrack:

1. Jerry is not coy about Danny Murphy nor should anyone else be: What started as a a faint infatuation, a possible platoon in left field because a relegation of the NL's Mr Potato Head Comeback Player of the Year graduated to a first date and now, a full on relationship. Jerry says Murph (candidates for exploitative nickname; The Murphster, Murphopolis, Murphomania...) is going to bat second every day, no matter who is on the mound. This leads us to the first question pulled randomly out of the Mailbag:

Q: What happened to Luis Castillo, I thought he was going to bat lead off this year?
--Jerzy Jerk, Hoboken

Luis, despite a .459 on base percentage this Spring, has been demoted. Firstly, he will not bat lead off. Not unless Jose Reyes tears a hamstring or it's time for his September Slump. As evidenced by Jerry's revelation about Murphy, Luis is not even going to bat second. He's been demoted all the way down to 8th in the order. That's right, just slightly better than the pitcher. The New Jersey of the batting order, basically. According to David Lennon, Castillo has started 1446 games in his 13-year career, and only 81 of them have NOT been batting first or second.

2. Oliver Perez is the most predictably unpredictable baseball player that can be found to date on Google Earth. One start removed from public humiliation, revelations that he's out of shape, a public flogging by his pitching coach and rumours that his arm's full cast and crew are on perpetual mental health holidays, he throws 93 Major League pitches (albeit only against the zerOes) and does his best impression of a Major League pitcher to date, allowing only one run and four hits. This leads us to the second question pulled randomly from the bursting mailbag:

Q: Which Dysfunctional Barbie is Oliver Perez most like?
--Facebook Quiz Champion, Gabby Grdzrk, White Plains

That's easy: Gangsta Bitch Barbie, of course:

3. The biggest non-secret revelation from Jerry was that Livan Hernandez is the fifth starter although due to scheduling difficulties it doesn't appear likely that he will get to use this new fifth starter powers until April 11 in Florida.

"Nobody has told me anything," he said yesterday. "Nobody has shook my hand."

Livan, whose greatest claim to fame to date is to be the younger yet fatter half brother of El Duque, won the competition this spring by "out-pitching" Jon Niese (0-2, 6.75) and Fat Freddy Garcia (0-3 16.71).

This of course, leads us to our third question out of the mailbag:

Q: How come Livan doesn't have a high leg kick to his pitching motion like his more successful half-brother, El Duque?
--Robert Smith, Manhasset

Because Livan's legs are too meaty to be raised that high other than by machine and he is neither in the same shape El Duque was or worked out as hard as El Duque did. Ironically, he also didn't spend as much time in his career on the disabled list as El Duque has which proves yet again that you don't have to be in shape to be a pitcher, innit.

to name just a few Porker Pitchers...

4. No final word on the final roster spot.

Firstly, it appears someone, perhaps Nick Evans, will be on the team until Livan's start on the 11th. Depending on where you look, who you listen to and what you eat, you might be safe on betting that Reed, Castro, Cora, Tatis and the timeless Marlon Anderson are going to make the team. This thoroughly negates my efforts at seeing Bobby Kielty make the team for the Ginger Effect, despite the fact he can't hit righties to save his life. This leads us to the last question in the Mailbag:

Q: I noticed that Omar likes to sign Latino players, especially Dominicans. Why hasn't he signed any Nigerian Spammers? Is Omar prejudiced against Nigerian Spammers?
--Dr. Francis Sonto Mbomam, Lagos

Thank you, good and undoubtedly highly qualified Doctor of Spam, for your highly intriguing question. If you recall, it was only last season, yes, it seems like decades but it was actually LESS than a year ago, happy days, that Willie Randolph was managing this Mets club. A sullen, angry and bum-patting Willie Randolph. So in his memory, I will reply to your question the way Willie replied a little more than 10 months ago:

"Is it racial?" Randolph asked. "Huh? It smells a little bit."

Jose Reyes SS: Dominican
Daniel Murphy LF: Floridian
David Wright 3B: Virginian
Carlos Delgado 1B: Puerto Rican
Carlos Beltran CF: Puerto Rican
Ryan Church RF: Californian
Ramon Castro/John Schneider C: Puerto Rican/Floridian
Luis Castillo 2B
: Dominican


Where Are We, Exactly?

Pelf, battered.

Jaysus, and just on the heels of everyone from Dan Warthen to Viggo Mortensen singing his praises. Heartfelt praises. All for nowt. We're back to square one? Where's that gushing front door sinker?

The ready-made excuse for Pelf's malfunction was injury. Actually a muscle strain between his ankle and his shin Coming in a distant second place in the litany of excuses, fatigue.

He pointed out he had run hard beating throws to first base in the third and sixth innings.

You know, it's not like Pelf is some 45 year old veteran pitcher with a Mickey Lolich build. He's young and strong, supposedly. Yet a few brisk runs to first base and he's too knackered to pitch?

What is it with these pitchers?

Do they actually train at all? Redding gets a "tired shoulder".

We've got Pelf being exhausted by running to first base.

Then you've got Warthen calling Oliver Perez "out of shape" after his rubbish and worrying performance yesterday saw him use 92 pitches to walk a half dozen and give up six runs without even getting out of the 4th inning. Against whom, you enquire? The 1927 Yankees? Why no, young squires, against the festering and ulceric muppet collective calling itself the Detroit Tigers. A team that, you will be amazed to learn, is actually worse off than the Mets and even hate God at the minute.

Not even Oliver Perez hates God for crisskaes. Oliver Perez may be a fat, unprepared and unfocused garden-variety shit bag but at least he doesn't hate god. He just ate too many burritos at the Team Mexico all-day "training" buffet. And with obese teammates like Dennys Reyes, who looks like he's tried to swallow an elephant and a fatted pig like Vinny Castillo managing him, can you really blame him?

Are these the Mets or some beer league softball team? What's next? Johan is going to miss two starts because he is "enervated" from thumbing through the media guide?

Anyway, it all leads to worries. Worries and more worries. We thought Pelf was going to soar but now, maybe not. Perez is not only unreliable but now, after a fortnight in Mexico, he's out of shape as well. John Maine is about two pitches away from the disabled list.

I hate to sound, I dunno, sceptical, but basically, about 60-70% of the starting rotation is unsound at the minute and we're a little over a week from Opening Day.

Feeling anxious? Need a cuddle? Well, At least the bullpen seems ok.

How's that?

I thought so.


Now, we're getting down to cutting time. Snip snip go the 25 roster spots. I'm not usually a fan of micro analysing roster spots, especially when grandiose, unsubstantiated generalisations and dystopian reactionarisms are generally more personally appealing, definitely the strong suit.

Nevertheless, it's Spring and it's what is called for so let me join the crazed wildebeests of the Spring Training Serengeti migration north:

Lefty benchers, Jeremy Reed and switch-hitter Bobby Kielty, Marlon the Magical Auld Man and Cory Sullivan. It's really a tough call but Kielty is a switch hitter and can play centerfield. You might figure that Marlon would be a tough cut as well given his history and Omar's infatuation with senior citizens. I'd say we go with the ginger kid:

11 pitchers: We know the starting five, the closer and the two set up men. That leaves some combination of Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes, Darren O'Day I Say It?, Sean Green and Carlos Muniz. Reckon Muniz is the odd man out, let's hope. Nice balanced pen of practically nothing but righties.

3rd catcher? Better do, with Mr Cancel, Schneider and Castro on the auld whirling disabled table.

Extra utility infielder? Why yes. Mr Comeback of the Year, Potato Head Tatis can back up at third and play left, so that's sorted and Alex Cora. You can be sure auld Jose Valentin is going to make it. Why, because he's older than China, that's why! Isn't that enough?

Want to know what an interview with Omar is like when you're shooting to get signed by the Mets as a free agent?

Omar: How old are you?
You: 67, but it's a young 67. I feel almost 60.
Omar: Holy frijole, spring chicken, you're hired!

But about this infield/utility/roster spot situation, what is worrying, given Carlos Delgado's age, is that there isn't a proper candidate to back up Delgado at first other than...Marlon.

I reckon it's possible either one pitcher will be dropped out of the pen, at least in early April, or they are going to carry two catchers to make room for Marlon.

That's alot of auld people. Marlon, Cora and Valentin. Which makes that just about right. Need to keep that disabled list nice and full. And given the evidence that Omar is clearly running the show, not Jerry, when the roster whittling goes down and Omar luuuurvs his seniors.

Hey kid! Whattaya think about playing back up shortstop for the Metsies?


Sunday Brunch: Fêted by Fetid Starting Pitching

Does throwing a baseball really require this much facial struggle?

John Maine continued work on his new Tim Redding Impersonation against the Braves yesterday. He has now given up 14 earned runs in 11 innings this Spring. Redding, in case you've forgotten, allowed 14 runs and five home runs in 2 1/3 innings, which included a stint against the University of Michigan before being "shut down".

You'd be thinking rightly that perhaps he should be working on his Mike Pelfrey Impersonation but it's Spring and the Spring has been full of little niggles and worries. There's still two or maybe three starts to ease the fears. Or two or three starts to increase the agony of recognition that Maine isn't ready. Maine says his slider isn't yet moving the way it needs to, and the velocity on his fastball is down a couple miles per hour because he is coming off off-season shoulder surgery. Maybe he will be joining Redding in the Weak Shoulder Sisterhood, or maybe he will experience a sudden, mysterious spike in the velocity on his fastball and magically work out his slider. Years of Mets experience tells me don't hold your breath on that one. You might not ever exhale again.

"Hopefully instead of some of these balls being hammered, they'll be hammered right at somebody." Maine says rather inconclusively. Hopefully?

Is that as in Ho Ho Hopefully, Mr Maine?


Get used to it, that look of frustrated incomprehension on Ollie's face.

Now that Jon Niese has been sent off on his unenviable journey to manhood in Buffalo, the other missing link to the starting rotation puzzle, Oliver Perez has also had his chance to romance us following the beating he took at the hands of Mexico manager Vinny Castillo.

I'm happy to report there were no demonstrable detrimental effects in his outing Friday against the Woes. He faced 11 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to only three of them. Right on schedule.

We can also report that Ollie is in mid-season cliché form after having noted with chilling precision, "Sometimes you throw fastballs right down the middle and they don't hit it. Sometimes they hit it."

And sometimes Ollie, you throw fastballs in places no one watching a baseball game would ever expect them to be thrown, innit?


It ent often, but I'm impressed. I mean this has sitcom potential written all over it. Not to mention that it's current (Tim Redding's "little baby shoulder"), controversial (get the woomp out of Let's Go Mets) and cutting edge (the Humidity on Pedro's curve ball Theory). Well done. (and thanks to Can't Stop The Bleeding for the tip...


Yessssss! I'm not the only one who thinks the WBC is a bogus event:

No, like everything else baseball does, this is all about money. Merchandizing money. So how many caps and T-shirts does baseball have to sell in China, Italy and the Netherlands to make this mission worth its while?
At the same time, Selig is turning a blind eye to the fact that the WBC is compromising the integrity of the real season. When Jerry Manuel opened spring training camp, the Mets' manager talked about putting an emphasis on instilling in his players all the elements and intricacies of playing baseball the right way - elements he obviously felt have been absent with this group the past couple of years. But what was the point with most of his regulars gone all spring?

And if you think we're all the bitterest bastids in baseball whingeing ad nauseam about the WBC, check out this guy, who says:

"Luis Sojo knows what the people want. Sending K-Rod out for a meaningless Non-save was it. In the Rain! Seriously, Fuck Luis Sojo. I hope Hugo Chavez shoves hot pokers up your ass..."

Well, now that we can thank the Koreans for kicking Venezuela out the door, by such an overwhelming margin that apparently not even Luis Sojo would call K-Rod in from the pen when he's losing by 8 runs.

Just be grateful there isn't a meaningless game for third place to tempt him.

*****Bits n Bobs*****

This interview with Jose Reyes is about as revealing as his baseball card. Jeez Jose, you don't like golf? Zzzzzzzz. Here's a few of the questions I'd have asked if I'd been able to submit a few questions:

Hey Jose, what's 2 plus 2?

Hey Jose, do you wear a jimmy-hat on the road? (thanks to IMFM for helping to break this lurid tale...)

Hey Jose, plan on hitting at least your weight this September?


On that highbrowed note, Johan Santana will take the mound against the Braves this afternoon against the Braves Jair Jurrjens, who is gunning to be their ace and thus a likely pain in the Mets arse this season.

What's the high/low prediction on homers Johan is going to surrender?

Shhhhh. Everyone stay positive!

And for all you mothers reading this, but only the wed ones, have a good Mothering Sunday.


Jose Reyes, the Thinking Man's Shortstop

Interesting review of the difference between the differing reactions of Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes to moving from lead off to third in the batting order:

Ramirez was willing to take on more responsibility, even if it puts him in an unfamiliar role. Reyes was unwilling to shoulder a more important role with the Mets.

Eyeng too beezee buying diapers to bat tercero, meng!

Of course whilst the article clearly is a criticism of Reyes' lack of enthusiasm for the move and the related perception that he is somehow less of a ball player or worse, less of a team player, is not entirely unwelcomed given Reyes last two September swan dives batting lead off.

Yes, Reyes is an absolute force, perhaps one of the more disruptive forces in baseball and certainly one of the biggest keys to the success of the Mets offence, when he is "on". All of which makes the September nose dives all the more harmful to the Mets chances for success. Unfortunately, until he does something to reverse that sobering trend, most of us will likely find that September matters more than a 4-rbi performance in March or in July.

If you are from the school of thought that believed Jerry's public announcement of the temporary move of Reyes from the lead off spot to be supplanted by Luis Castillo was more for Castillo's benefit than Reyes', you might be on to something. Castillo is hitting .313 this Spring with a .476 OBP, the highest on the team outside of Angel Pagan.

In fact, the other public decision Jerry put forward, handing over the every day left field job to Danny Murphy seems to be spot on as well. Murphy is hitting .375. Unfortunately, I believe he had one at-bat too many last season to be eligible for Rookie of the Year this season, the rat bastids.


So, what's this? Two consecutive encouraging outings by Met starters after Big Pelf's masterful 6 inning, 3-hit, 1-run showing?

from mlb.com:
The ease with which Pelfrey handled the Astros was one thing. The way he did it, using both sides of the plate, was even more impressive. Pitching coach Dan Warthen allowed Pelfrey to experiment with the "Greg Maddux pitch," a front-door sinker, similar to the one Livan Hernandez threw effectively on Wednesday. The front-door sinker is a pitch thrown by a right-handed pitcher to a left-handed batter that breaks back over the inside of the plate.

Does this mean our worries are over?

No. But, it significantly reduces the instant fear that the starting rotation is going to resemble something akin to Johan Santana and the Clown Ensemble.

This is especially heartening after Oliver Perez admitted fatigue already following that idiotic decision by Mexico manager Vinny Castillo to leave Perez in about 30 pitches too long in the oft-despised WBC.

We'll see how much damage was done when Perez pitches against the O's today.


From the Daily Schadenfreude Department, did you happen to gander at the Astros lineup yesterday and note that Met-reject Kaz Matsui, whose defensive incompetence at second base led to Reyes being moved from shortstop to make way for him, was batting lead off for the Astros?

The Kaz Man, unwanted by his own country in their fight for glorious victory in the WBC, is hitting .050 this Spring.


Because finding coverage of the NCAA tournament is probably quite difficult for most of you, I've conveniently placed this Sports Amnesia link for you which should aid in any ongoing queries you have on results, cause and effect or predictions.


Hero One Day, Hobbled The Next. Thanks, WBC

Reason 1,003 why the WBC is a real piss taker: the Mets' finest young infield talent with an IQ over 12 (thereby disqualifying a certain shortstop who shall remain nameless) not only fouls a pitch off his foot in the first inning thereby bruising his big toe and cracking the nail on it, but visibly limps back to his position at third base at the end of the inning.

Now, if you're a Mets manager lording over a meaningless Spring Training exhibition game in a steady downpour, undoubtedly, for safety's sake alone and considering the MEANINGLESSNESS of the an international exhibition game, you would undoubtedly, immediately remove David Wright from the game and stick some other flunky out there to take his place like Potato Head Tatis or in the case of the USA, Brian McCann, even if he is a reserve catcher because I dunno, not only is it only the WBC but the bloody game is for seeding purposes only, USA have already qualified for the next round...

But apparently if you're the USA manager, or in the instant case a former Mets manager who perhaps isn't interested in some other Met team making it to the World Series and stealing the distinction and honour of being the last Mets manager to lead the Mets to a World Championship, you leave Wright out there.

You don't even bother with the simple concern of sending a trainer out to look at him and make sure he isn't running around on, like a broken foot because Wright is like that, giddy with the excitement of being a professional baseball player and he's going to say he's ok and go out there and play even if he's got a double compound fracture of his leg, innit?

I mean Davey boy, a few days ago you cared so little about this stupid tournament you skipped the first inning or two of a game to go chicken dancing at your stepson's wedding for crissakes. Now you're going to leave Wright hanging out there with half a foot in the pouring rain? You could've put a crash test dummy out there to play third base, the Venezuelans rang up 6 runs in the 2nd inning alone, did it really matter?

And not just for one inning, mind. You leave him in there the entire bloody game in the rain, on a mucky pitch and with the game already over for all intents and purposes, by the 2nd inning. For fuck's sake, if you can throw Jeremy Guthrie out there as you're starting pitcher surely you're not taking winning the game seriously anyway, are you now? What do you need a qualified third baseman for?

We're supposed to be grateful or "relieved" that Wright's toe isn't broken. Grateful or relieved that the idiocy of a manager playing an obviously injured player for the purposes of a meaningless international exhibition game in the pouring rain didn't cause some sort of permanent injury...yet.

Before getting the X-Ray results, Wright acknowledged that he wondered if he had broken his toe. If Wright had done the same thing in spring training, he said that he probably would have left the game. But, if Wright had done it during the regular season, he said that he would have continued playing.

And if he'd done it in the World Series he'd have continued playing as well. Bully for him. Problem is, IT'S A MEANINGLESS INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION GAME (yeah, yeah, barking dog, we get it already...)

I dunno. I dunno how it is that Jerry Manuel hasn't burst a cerebral aneurysm yet watching the growing possibility of the season going down in flames before it even officially begins. One can only imagine he is being silently apoplectic.

You know, they called it "celebrating" but when you look at this picture closely and you consider that two of the three guys who are jumping up and down and all over David Wright are members of hated rivals perhaps Derek Jeter and Shane Victorino were using the cover of a faux celebration to try and injure David...


And hang on, kids - if you thought playing Wright in a meaningless game in the pouring rain with what could have been a broken toe was crazy, how about this mufungo manager for Venezuela, this chimp named Luis Sojo whose sole purpose in this "classic" appears to be to burn out the Mets' new star closer before the end of March, sticking K-Rod out there for an inning of "closing" work in the 9th with a four run lead??!

That's three saves in five days. That's 21 more pitches he won't have in his arm come September. Actually, it also means he has thrown 63 pitches across 3 2/3 innings since last Saturday. Why not just make him Venezuela's starting pitcher for their next game, Luis, pinche idiota!


Ok, well if you erase this cataclysmic cock up from your mind and focus on happy thoughts, you will see that at least one of Omar's wild guesses appears to be panning out.

Livan Hernandez, understandable a source of mild ridicule when first inked, is looking, (relatively speaking in this landscape of starting pitching carcasses at any rate,) a little like he could stick in the rotation. Against the Braves yesterday he allowed five hits and one run in five innings, struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Of course with Ollie Perez getting a month's worth of work in one meaningless international exhibition game for Mexico which we can only assume will lead to early fatigue or injury this season, with Big Pelf reduced to getting excited about a decent performance against the Class AAA Washington Nationals without injuring his leg further and with John Maine still dodgy this Spring after shaving a bone spur in the back of his right shoulder, Livan is basically one twitchy Johan elbow from becoming the de facto ace of the staff.


You know what's funny? That the Nats can afford the $2 million price tag of a top notch lefty set-up guy like Joe Beimel but the Mets, with Pedro Feliciano being the only lefty in the entire bloody bullpen, can't. Or say they can't. Or won't.

And why should they indeed! What use does the Mets bullpen have for a lefty who was 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 71 appearances for the Dodgers last year?

I know! They're saving up their zlotys to Shawn Hill as yet another palooka fifth starter candidate.



Harbinger of Doom: The WBC Will Ruin The Mets Season

Now try that when it actually matters.

Ok, we can be happy that David Wright hit the game-winning two-run RBI single to knock Puerto Rico out of the infamous WBC but jaysus David, how about a little hyperbole with your breakfast there, laddy?

"That situation is what you dream about when you're a kid," he said.

How's that?

Now, presumably he means hitting a game-winning hit generally speaking, not in the WBC considering nobody dreams about hitting the game-winning hit in the WBC, do they? Ok, maybe there's some 7 year old kid in Caracas or Habana who is dreaming that or maybe even in Seoul or Kyoto, who knows but David Wright, one suspects has not wasted any time dreaming about the WBC especially considering those fantastic fades the last two Septembers.

So how about some of those game-winning RBIs for the Metsies there, Mr Dreaming About the WBC?

Actually, we're more likely to be crying about it than dreaming about it this summer.

First of all, I don't care what diplomo-speak Jerry Manuel uncharacteristically mutters about Luis Sojo's outrageous abuse of K-Rod, who has pitched in 4 games already, two of them 4-out outings over a mere three days, i.e. more use than he would even get with the team paying his salary until the bloody pennant race, if there is one. Ok, I'm not some nutter comparing it to rape but Sojo is definately playing with fire and K-Rod is the dry kindling.

Laugh it up, fat man. You won't need K-Rod in September, will you?

Why are the Mets entrusting the use of their closer to a clueless muppet whose managerial experience to date amounts to being the current manager of the Cardenales de Lara, of the Venzuelan Winter League?

And if this wasn't bad enough, now comes another unqualified pillock, Mexico manager Vinny Castilla who had Met starter Oliver Perez throw 85 pitches in an 8-2 loss to South Korea on Sunday. What, only 85? In a game that was far gone? What happened Vinny, run out of innings? Surely Ollie will be available to pitch another 5 or 6 innings in the...oh yeah Vinny, you're already eliminated. Thank christ.

I'm telling you, in any event, it's a conspiracy to derail the Mets season before it even starts:

USA Today reported last week that its own study showed nearly four of every five pitchers in the 2006 WBC recorded a higher ERA that season than the previous year. Even more ominously: More than one in three WBC pitching veterans spent time on the disabled list in '06, including 14 who landed on it in April and May.


Ok, I admit, I don't really care about David Wright's game-winning RBI. I care about the Mets getting Delgado, Beltran and Pedro Feliciano back.

Relief, maybe. Considering the way Beltran threw himself up against the wall in deep right centerfield to rob Brian McCann of a homer in the 4th.

But all three played well. Delgado was on fire, including a two-run shot yesterday and Feliciano didn't surrender a run in 4 appearances.


It's only Spring Training but no one outside of Atlanta can be too pleased with Jair Jurrjens' performance yesterday against the Mets.

On the other hand, Jon Niese probably solidified the perception he'll be staying in Buffalo until the first Mets starter goes down to injury or none of the washouts Omar signed to his tattered low end rotation manage to pan out. He's working on his curve under the tutelage of Sandy Koufax which can only be good but his control is leaving alot to be desired. Put it to good use, it's only a matter of time before Maine or Pelfrey flames out onto the DL and all we're left with is Santana, a schizophrenic Oliver Perez and a string of ineffective free agent wash-outs to render the Mets starting rotation a sort of 5 man dead man walking squad.

Speaking of which, good news: we've established that Johan can throw 4 innings against Minor Leaguers which somehow, in the parlance of Spring means he's right on track to start on Opening Day.

Hey, with the work K-Rod's been getting for Venezuela, I imagine his arm is in good enough shape to be the Opening Day starter if he wants. All we need to do is sack Jerry and hire Luis Sojo as manager.


And yes, this just in from the False Alarm Schadenfreude Department:

Although he's now a "long shot" to start on Opening Day, Supermouth's left elbow has no structural damage...yet.


Sunday Sublimity: As Comfortable As A Dodgy Sphincter On A 12 Hour Drive

Let's start with the starting pitching:

Jerry Manuel was asked after Thursday night's game what he could say about Tim Redding.

"Ooooh," the Mets manager said, shaking his head.

He looked around the desk in his office, then underneath, searching for something.

"Let me find something I can say about Redding," he said. "Hmmm."

That Jerry Manuel...some days he's like the Frankie Boyle of Flushing Meadow...

14 runs in 2 1/3 innings over 2 starts? Redding could have had both arms surgically removed and pitched by spitting the ball out of his toothless mouth and still had better results than this. Shoulder "fatigue"? What kind of rubbish reasoning is that? Oh, I'd have been a great pitcher but this shoulder of mine keeps going out on its own partying into the wee hours of the Port St Lucie night, carousing in strip clubs with my wrist in the back rooms of strip clubs and then when it's time to pitch, the old shoulder, well you know, is a little too fatigued from all the fun its been having to be able to pitch....

Oh hang on, the worst team in baseball released him so that Omar could give him a guaranteed contract? Oh, right.

First of all, in case I haven't mentioned it before, Omar's judgement is either too strongly influenced by the Wilpon Idiot Collective or he's become a Master Idiot in his own right.

Hey kids, watch me ruin another good team with a few properly positioned bad judgements....

"I never rule out looking at outside options, but I feel comfortable with the guys that we have," Minaya said in his little press conference to announce the other loser he signed as a fifth starter is now too injured belongs on the disabled list.

Comfortable? Is this a fucking barcalounger or a fucking baseball team trying to win a World Series?

Pardon my French on a Sunday morning (cover your eyes here if you're easily offended by foul language) but this is the same fucking sanctimonious twaddle Omar gives tongue to every time people have rightly pointed out deficiencies in the Mets make-up in the past, the smug little cunt. Comfortable with the guys we have, he says like a sacred utterance of idiocy.

What, me worry? I'm as bloody comfortable as Sir Omar Ali Saifuddin smoking a cannabis cigarette...

I don't know that Pedro is necessarily the answer. The debate is ongoing.

Let's see, a veteran, saavy pitcher embarrassed by an injury-riddled performance the year before flawing an otherwise Hall of Fame career with something to prove, a veteran saavy pitcher who has speed back in his fastball and who pitched six scoreless innings allowing only one hit and striking out six in his World Baseball Classic appearances. A veteran, saavy pitcher who actually WANTS to rejoin the Mets and is willing to work his way back from the fifth starter?

Sorry, what's the debate about? How stupid and cheap the Mets can be when it counts most?

Ok, the best argument against Pedro appears to be that New York's second dumbest baseball player supports him.

Oh wait, no, maybe it's because all these options Omar feels so comfortable with are all doing so well?

In the interests of fairness, I'd have had a punt on Fat Freddy, who wouldn't? But the fact that his spring ERA fell from 20.25 to 14.50 against a second string Tigers team is hardly a massive endorsement, especially considering his fastball is still slower than Luis Castillo rising from a seated position in the dugout.

Maybe it was Omar's genius move plucking Fernando Nieve off waivers from the Houston Astros that has him feeling so comfortable. Nieve was 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in 11 appearances with Houston last season. What a pedigree.

Or maybe it's The Kid, Jon Niese, whose mere 9.00 makes him look like Stephen bloody Strasburg compared to Redding and Fat Freddy?

Or wait, Livan Hernandez threw two "whole" innings of shut out pitching against the Nats?

Hell, even Big Pelf threw FOUR scoreless innings against the Nats. Hell, Tammy Lynn Smith, that woman who burnt the word "wimp" into her daughter's flesh with a cigarette could throw a complete game shut out if she pitching against the Nats in Spring Training for fuck's sake. Big deal. (Oh, ok, don't say that too loudly around Brandon Knight...)

And making things even more confusing, as Redding was sketched in as either a fifth starter or their long reliever, now the Mets are rather stuffed in two places. Sure, Jerry says that Hernandez could end up filling a long-relief role with Niese as the No. 5 starter but really, what else is he going to say? Besides, no one who matters listens to his opinions anyway.

At least Bobby Parnell's future is looking brighter now. Maybe we won't be forced to rely upon free agent rejects to supplement our pitching staff in the future, eh Omar?


About the only noteworthy items popping out of this "classic" so far had been the Dutch beating the Domincans into elimination thereby releasing Jose Reyes and Fernando Tatis back into duty with the Mets.

But that was before the US were humiliated by Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and the rest of Puerto Rico.

Delgado is hitting .600 in the Classic so far which would seem to indicate we're going to get the 2nd half Carlos rather than the 1st half Carlos, good news in and of itself. Beltran is hitting .467 both of which are as pleasing as seeing Chipper going oh for ten for the Americans.

NOT SO GOOD NEWS which worries me for some reason is seeing that K-Rod has 2 saves for Venezuela and has thrown almost as many innings as Roy Oswalt already.

Will we look back on a four out closing job as the downfall to the Mets season?

I don't want to get alarmed about K-Rod burning out before Opening Day but what do I care if Venezuela's bullpen outside of K-Rod is rubbish. Are we that concerned about saving Luis Sojo's job?

I have to agree, it's time to pull K-Rod from the WBC.


Winning Strategies: Staying Out of the Loop

Co-authors of the latest best selling book; How To Ruin An Already Floundering Franchise...

The latest rumour is that Jerry is peeved that Omar the Idiot, playing minion to the Wilpons waning finances, made a fool of Jerry by cutting Duaner the day after Jerry had insisted there was hope for Duaner yet.

Omar, a competent GM? Surely yea jest!

I can't really say I disagree with dumping Duaner. We haven't got all summer to find out if he's going to reach pre-accident performance levels and frankly, you've got to consider he was hardly setting the world aflame with his pre-Met performances with the Diamondbacks, Pirates or Dodgers. I reckon the cab crash merely knocked him back to the level of mediocrity he was most comfortable at.

Nevertheless, Jerry's mouth was forced fed his own foot by Omar and Jerry is not at all pleased. Bully for Jerry. Don't take management's bullshit. Omar is a GM who, flush with cash, is a champion at making obvious free agent signings. He also occasionally guesses correctly on players who one might normally consider marginal. But his fatal flaw to date is of course that every team he has put together lately is deficient somewhere. 2006, the glaring flaw was Manager Willie, an Omar choice. 2007, a rubbish bullpen, and heavy reliance on ageing, oft-injured former stars who were more qualified as pensioners than every day Major League players. 2007, same problems, unaddressed and ignored in the publicity storm of signing Johan Santana.

Jerry shares a chuckle with K-Rod over the idea of Omar making bullpen decisions

Come to think of it, considering the bullpens Omar has built over the last several years, how does he qualify to continue making decisions on the bullpen? Jerry's instincts are more reliable at this point, if for no other reason than a lack of qualitative research against that possibility.

So maybe, just maybe, Jerry will be proved right, Duaner will spend the second half of the season thriving for some NL East rival and the Mets will end up yet again with someone else's size 11s in their face.


You've got to wonder what spot in the rotation or bullpen Tim Redding is trying to qualify for. In his Grapefruit League debut he gave up nine runs and eight hits, including three homers, in two innings.


And hey, good news, Santana Survived to pitch another day.


Oops! Looks like Duaner is back


Suenes con los angelitos, Mr Cab Crash

Never before has one taxi ride cost someone so much.

Things were rolling well for Duaner Sanchez. It was July 2006 and, having been acquired in a steal from the Dodgers for Jae Seo (remember THAT muppet?), he had accumulated a 5-1 record with a 2.60 ERA in 49 relief appearances and was well on his way to Bullpen Superstardom.

Then came the taxi crash.

He was in the backseat on his way to a Dominican restaurant when his cab was broadsided by a Ford Crown Victoria that had cut across three lanes. Sanchez never saw it coming. Bam! Dislocated or maybe even broken shoulder, a few surgeries and, some 2 years and 7 months later, give or take a few weeks, the Mets have sent him packing.

In addition to ruining his career and knocking him back into mediocrity, apparently it has ultimately cost him some $1,405,687, too. According to media sources, because the release preceded March 15, the Mets were obligated to pay only one-sixth of his $1,687,500 salary for 2009.

Tricky, those Mets.

Of course, it might have had some thing to do with Duaner's 23 mph fastball as well, not just recouping Wilpon money.

Not that Sanchez could have been counted on but this does in reality, create a bit of a vacuum in the bullpen. Right-armed bullpen side, that is. Immediately one might think this will benefit the big, fire-armed 24 year old Bobby Parnell or Brian Stokes.

Stokes, who consistently throws in the mid-90s, "deserves" the shot having survived last year's Nuclear Summer in the pen with a 3.51 ERA and having proven his complete and unremittant incapacity to get lefties out. I like Parnell but Stokes will be hitting 30 this summer, the right kind of experience needed to help the pen through the dog days of August AND is out of minor league options. Guess who gets the call. Of course, it's nice having Parnell to call up should Stokes choke like a dog but I rather think that's not going to happen.

That also leaves, if Jerry isn't telling porkies about carrying only 6 men in the pen, one more spot considering K-Rod, Putz, Green and Feliciano are pretty much locks.

No doubt, given the shite performances of the starters to date and the question marks about Superman Santana's dodgy elbow, this spot will require someone like Livan Hernandez or the omni-injured Tim Redding, or basically, whichever mutt that doesn't make it as the 5th starter.

Hey! Guess who's back in town!

That's right, after the DR was unceremoniously dumped in the early stages of the WBC and playing cabana boy at shortstop for Florida's Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes can go back to getting regular playing time again with the Mets although with Luis Castillo's .478 OBP this Spring, that might be knocked back down to the third spot in the order.

More importantly, The Dutch kicked their arses!

Het onvoorstelbare is gebeurd. Nadat Nederland zaterdagavond de honkbalwereld al opschudde met een sensationele overwinning op de Dominicaanse Republiek, ging de ploeg van bondscoach Rod Delmonico afgelopen avond op herhaling. In het Hiram Bithorn Stadium trok Nederland in een historische elfde inning de winst met 2-1 naar zich toe. De spelers kunnen hun koffers pakken. De volgende halte van de Oranje-trein is in Miami, waar Venezuela of de Verenigde Staten de volgende tegenstander wordt. En met de prestatie tegen de Dominicaanse Republiek is nu alles mogelijk voor de Nederlandse stuntploeg.

That's right, the once-mighty Dominicans were trumped by a country who calls it "Honkbal". Go home with your mofongo and chew on that awhile, Senor Reyes.


Pitching Perplexities: Push For Pedro!

Where's that god-damned panic button when you need it?

"I just don't feel good out there," John Maine said of his pitching thus far. "I'm trying to do something different mechanically every pitch. It's not working. I just feel terrible out there."

This is after pitching against the bloody Italian team, not the defending World Champions.

Now Maine isn't the ace, but he's one of the replacements for the top being consider once the truth finally comes out about Santana's elbow twinges.

You know what's happening on the Phillies? Hot Lips Hamels threw two scoreless innings in his Spring debut.

And look what else! The back end of the rotation, who may have been called upon again, once the truth finally comes out about Santana's elbow twinges, have all taken turns preparing to suck.

Fat Freddy has been virtually useless, Livan was good in his opener but then went on to cause as many concerns as the earlier start caused good feelings and Tim Redding is well, injured. Oh yeah, and The Afterthought Kid, Jon Niese is looking into cheap Buffalo rentals.

As the above-referenced blog points out, Pedro, who I advocated as far back as December for an invitation, is the logical solution and had better be so before the price tag just gets higher.

In his sole start so far, granted against the Orioles Pedro

gave up two runs, but that was due to a wind-blown pop up that landed in front of third baseman Miguel Tejada. Martinez struck out two the next inning and perhaps most importantly hit 91 mph on the radar gun. (Garcia has topped out at 87 mph).

Need we champion the maths on this one?

And wouldn't it be fitting, after an off season of correcting a lamentable bullpen, the staring pitching suddenly goes South.


A-Roid Fancies Reyes

Steroid Boy has done it again. You wonder why those little gerbils running around in that wheel inside Steroid Boy's head aren't put down to prevent Steroid Boy from speaking because frankly, every thing he's said in 2009 is either a lie, an absurdity or just plain stupid.

Yesterday he admitted lusting after Mets shortstop Jose Reyes of all people.

"I admire his sharp wit, his on the field leadership, his clear baseball intelligence and most of all, his intense concentration and unbreakable focus on the baseball field." A-Roid said of Reyes.

Oh, ok, I made that up, the quote about Reyes anyway. Thought the comedic relief might do your belly some good. What A-Roid really said was:

"I wish he was leading off on our team, playing on our team. That's fun to watch. Anytime you have that type of speed ... I mean, we have a guy in Gardner that'll be fun. That's probably the most you can have, watching those guys run."

What he REALLY fancies is having someone on the team even dumber than him. They could be the Dumb and Dumber of New York, hell, maybe they already are even if they aren't team-mates.

The best part of this little fawning episode however is that the shortstop who A-Roid currently plays with is not just a Hall of Fame shoo-in, no matter how much one might loathe him, but he's the captain of Team USA going into the World Baseball Classic.

Reyes, on the other hand, isn't even the starting shortstop for the Dominican Republic.

Oh yeah, in addition to entertaining millions with his idiocies, A-Rod is also dropping out of the WBC because of a hip injury. Has he endorsed his cousin, Yuri Sucart, to be the next Yankees team trainer? Surely it's just a matter of time.


Now I realise as this is a Mets blog and not a mock-the-Yankees blog, I should get back to the business to hand, namely the Mets, but in my defence I would point out that the team's shortstop being tampered with is tangentially speaking, team news, even when the news itself is merely a satellite orbiting around the giant planet of A-Roid and A-Roidian stupidity.

In any event, there was other news today, it became nearly official that Superman Santana is not going to start on Opening Day.

You can take this an augur of the wreckage of 2009 just waiting to happen or you can take this as, I dunno, the Mets being exceptionally cautious with one of the cornerstones of their franchise and their largest investment.

"It's a 162-game schedule and we want to get him to 40 starts this year," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "That's including the playoffs."

I'm fighting the urge to get all Henny Penny on you here but the Mets, historically speaking, are not very forthcoming about injuries to say the least so there is always an element of doubt about the truthfulness or accuracy of Met comments about player injuries.

Still, if having some clown like Oliver Perez start Opening Day against the Reds instead of their ace is the answer to preserving Santana for the season, so be it. I'm not going to start losing my head until he gets shelled in his first start of the season and leaves the game in the 2nd inning complaining about elbow pain.


One thing is for certain: Fat Freddy Garcia is not going to be the Opening Day starter.

Garcia commenced a 15-4 battering at the hands of the Cardinals (who I will tell you are illogically my pre-season favourite for the NL Central) by giving up two homers and four runs overall in just two innings of work, allegedly, unable to keep his fastball down.

Oh yeah, and for those of you who were drinking the Castillo Kool-Aid, he went 0 for 3 yesterday dropping his batting average to .231 for the Spring. Doesn't look so likely that Reyes would lose his job batting lead off any more, innit?


Lastly from the No Shit Sherlock Department, after months of deliberation, Darryl Strawberry finally admits he would have used PEDs.

If there was such a thing as Performance RUINING Drugs (PRDs?), sure, Straw was all over that...

This from a guy whose taken more drugs than anyone on Earth this side of Pete Doherty, a guy who was suspended three times from baseball, this from a guy who bragged in Straw: Finding My Way

“We were the boys of summer. The drunk, speed-freak, sneaking-a-smoke boys of summer, an infamous rolling frat party . . . drinking, drugs, fights, gambling, groupies..."

So thanks for clearing that up, Darryl. We were curious if there were in fact any drugs out there you wouldn't have taken.

Straw and A-Roid, a Championship team.


And, they're off!

Well, Sunday was the last real sort of Mets exhibition to be played until after the World Baseball Classic is over and they went off in style with a 13-1 pummelling of the Astros that couldn't have been hopeful to the Astros pitching coach.

David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltranand Carlos Delgado are all off to their respect WBC teams now along with JJ Putz, K-Rod, Oliver Perez, Pedro Feliciano and Alex Cora.

The first game of the WBC, China against Japan, is in three days and the American team will face the Canadians next Saturday.


Good news in that Johan isn't going to fly back to NYC for an MRI because he's feeling much better. He might still miss Opening Day which is a real pisser but apparently, this elbow stiffness is just a result of trying to do too much too quickly in preparation of the WBC that the Mets later officially told him not to play in.

Nonetheless, the concern caused a little shit storm of its own, enough so to prompt Richard Justice to pen a piss-taking column about what pussies modern pitchers are (how's that for some R-rated alliteration?):

If this were 1968, there'd be absolutely no reason to worry about Johan Santana's left arm. Back then, men were men.
They didn't believe in middle relief. They barely believed relief pitching at all. Starting pitchers saw their jobs differently back then. Their starts were their games.
Earl Weaver would sometimes warm up a reliever just to annoy Jim Palmer. He'd occasionally get his worst reliever up.