There hasn’t been a time where there’s more to talk about since the offseason than right now. Your favorite orange and blue clad warriors are firmly in second place less than a game behind the division leading Bravos. The Mets are hitting (especially situationally) and are providing run support for their starters with more consistency. The starting pitching is doing a great job, alleviating the stress to the bullpen. Dickey, Takahashi, and Big Pelf have shown the kind of resolve that we have waited for from our starters for a while in that when they get behind or have men on base, they still press through and close the innings out with solid pitch selection and good decision making. Give the catchers love for that, too. K-Rod will give up home runs and still get saves, all the while, giving the collective Mets nation agida and heart palpitations whenever he’s on the mound. Everything seems to be clicking but most of all, the Mets that we know and love have a fight in them, a “never say die” attitude. A missing ingredient for years but apparent on this current team. I say current because with all the good clubhouse vibes, on the field play, and team dynamic that appears to be propelling our Amazins into the hottest team in the majors, everything is in danger of change.
Change in this case, is to undergo a transition or transformation, or to switch, and change appearance. Although we can’t see into the future as much as we’d like to, I’m concerned by proposed changes on the horizon for the Mets. When things are going good, you instinctively don’t want to mess with the mojo, thinking it may cause a momentum shift and maybe even a backslide. Three things are bugging me:
1) The Maine attraction? If John Maine is ultimately being groomed or, at least, being considered for a return to the rotation, at whose expense will it be? There was nothing great about his velocity in rehab appearances and now his shoulder needs to be rested again. I’m not a big advocate of Maine as he has shown himself, in my humble opinion, to be a bit frail. We would be better served with a pitcher who is much more consistent. I’m not saying that he can’t fit on the team but I would never remove a hot R.A. Dickey (6-0) or Takahashi Part Deux (6-3) for a pitcher who is almost certain to have some “arm problems” again before his free agency comes up in 2012. We finally got rid of Maine and Perez, and I think most Met fans don’t want a rewind.
2) Touched by an angel? I am loving the play of Angel Pagan. He is doing what we have been waiting for for quite a while. He is heads up in the field defensively and he is doing some really good things on the basepaths and at the plate. I feel he is making strides to shake the perception that he is not a thinker in the field defensively. He has been a catalyst to quite a few Met wins this season and he will probably be for several more. So now that Beltran is looking to reclaim his post in center, where does that leave Angel? If and when, he is relegated to bench duties, whose spot will be relinquished because of the move? Will it be a member of the bullpen or a position player? As long as Pagan stays on the team and can contribute at the plate and in the field, we’re golden.
3) Free agent grab bag? The informal polls seem to suggest that our fans would rather have Cliff Lee over Roy Oswalt. Sounds easy but it’s not as simple as it appears. This may be a bad time to get into a bidding war with the Yankees and we shouldn’t overlook other pitchers that may be on the trade market. Here’s the latest list the Mets have either been discussing or even scouting:
- Dan Haren – One candidate that we can pay the D-Backs for instead of giving up young players.
- Fausto Carmona – Pitching has improved but has options going through 2014. If he starts stinking up the joint, you won’t be able to get rid of him.
- Jake Westbrook – The hope is that he will perform better in a new, winning environment under a different pitching coach.
- Roy Oswalt – High price tag of 27 mil and surely prospects are going back in return.
- Cliff Lee – What prospects would be willing to give up for him? We need to sign him to an extension for sure, but Mets say it’s not important to them.
- Ben Sheets – We’d have to absorb some of his 10 million dollar contract because the A’s probably won’t.
- Kevin Millwood – We need someone who is a #1 or #2 starter and Millwood brings experience and potential but is probably not a good fit for this team.
Did I miss any names? Being starved for a championship in Flushing like I am, I would get two of these guys if I could. Maybe not realistic, but that’s my heart though.
Don’t rock the boat, baby! Change is coming, however, whether we want it or not.
Some thought the NL Wild Card was the best case scenario for our Amazins but now there’s no ceiling and the right trade and free agent additions could mean the first World Series appearance since 2000 and first title since 1986. Just one perspective. What’s yours?