Like the rest of you, I found the news of Carlos Beltran’s surgery earlier this week disturbing. I found the Mets reaction to be disgusting. So being both disturb and disgusted, I took a step back and tried to find something positive we could focus on.
First, pitchers and catcher aren’t due to report to Port St. Lucie for another month. This will give manager Jerry Manuel and his coaching staff some time to prepare the Mets for life without Carlos Beltran.
The Mets, with or without Beltran, are a talented team. Last year was a disaster, no doubt, but it is highly doubtful that we’ll see a rash of injuries like that again. Look back to 1987. After 1986, the Mets were considered to be sure fire winners in 1987, until their entire pitching staff spent time on the DL. The Mets didn’t make the post season in 1987, they did however make the post season in 1988. It could work that way this year.
This year will be Jerry’s first full squad, full spring training. What I mean is that there will not be any WBC to interrupt things. Jerry and his coaches need to emphasize playing fundamental baseball, and by all accounts, this is what they have been preaching this off season in comments they’ve made. Only time will tell.
Despite the injuries, their lack of fundamentals was too blatant and a very disturbing trend. Whether it was Daniel Murphy dropping a fly ball against the Marlins (costing Johan a win), or Castillo dropping the third out against the Yankees, the Mets need to execute.
Citi Field is a big ball park. No one will ever mistake it for a “band box”. The Mets need to play to their big ball park and adapt to its vast dimensions and use it as strength and not a weakness.
Stop worrying so much about the lack of homeruns and start learning how to play “little ball”.
Take the extra base, hustle, hit and run, bunt. Play to the ball park… Make the other team handle the ball and force those errors.
Finally, after reviewing the 2010 schedule, it won’t be a cakewalk during the early part of the season without Beltran. They begin the season with Opening Day at CitiField on April 5th with three against the Marlins and a weekend series against the Nationals. That’s the easy part, because then it’s on the road to Colorado and St. Louis to play two of last years post season teams. The Mets return for a long ten game home stand featuring the Cubs – who have made some good moves, the Braves – who are always a tough opponent, and the Dodgers – who return as the defending NL West champs. The month ends with the start of a three games series in Philadelphia to play the NL Champion Phillies.
The short of it is that we play all four NL teams that made the post season in 2009, and each of our division rivals. The Mets cannot afford to get off to a slow start. The Mets have to work hard this spring. The good news is that Jerry has time to get a plan in place.