Morning Grind: Santana, Poison Pen, Torre/Backman, End Of An Era

An article by posted on September 20, 2010

Good Morning, Met Nation.

It was a given that the team needed to make changes towards the future to go from underachiever to perennial contenders to a World Series every year. But now we are seeing the worst case scenarios become reality right before our eyes….

Ace In Your Face

Johan Santana, more than any single person on the team, was our constant. When the hitters would disappear and the defense would flounder in spots, we knew that when our Ace stepped onto the mound, we had a chance to win that game. Our fans unanimously felt that another ace was needed to make this team stronger and more fit for playoff contention but now it appears we may need two aces? Santana did not have arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn capsule in his throwing shoulder and it’s possible Santana could miss all of next season. I know the Mets didn’t have THAT in their financial plans. This may preclude the team looking in places they hadn’t planned to and spending money they didn’t expect to. It won’t be easy to get two aces at affordable prices based on who is available. I’d love to hear a name other than Cliff Lee but I’m sure it will be mentioned even louder now. That said, last month, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York aid the Mets will not make a run at Cliff Lee this winter, as “the organization already will have a 2011 payroll comparable to this season’s $130 million.” 

So are all bets off now with the predicament at the top of the rotation? What’s your solution to this problem? I say increase the payroll significantly and two aces. Maybe Lee and Greinke for starters. Employ the 6 man rotation to ensure that the arms get rest and avoid the kind of injuries that have plagued this team. When Johan returns at full strength, Pelf, Dickey, and Niese can still be fixtures in the rotation and we’re stronger across the board. Spend, spend, spend. Ace, ace, ace. Win, win, win.

The Poison Pen

As much of a stir as there is with the rotation’s makeup in 2011, the bullpen may have the same concerns. Overall, the bullpen is considered as decent. Still questions loom as the debate over whether K-Rod stays or goes is at the top of the list. A few of the players have voiced strong criticism about the effect the K-Rod melee had on their families and the Wilpons are eager to lose the money from his contract. (Sidebar: Backman was forgiven, wasn’t he?) K-Rod blew it with his actions but although he gives me agita when he takes the mound in the 9th with men on base, he is still one of the best closers in the game. His not being on the team leaves a huge hole that I question how capable the Mets are of filling. Bobby Parnell is probably the first name off your lips when you think replacements. Do you think he can take over the closer job? If you do, then that makes the changes that may come more palatable. Pedro Feliciano is in the last year of control and it’s pretty obvious that he may garner more on the market than he would staying with the team. He’s been overworked and it’s apparent each time he hits the mound. Guys like Elmer Dessens, H. Takahashi, and Manny Acosta have fit in nicely. Another top notch reliever or two, if Pedro and K-Rod are not staying, will be ideal. Don’t be surprised if the Mets look in-house for these options starting with names like Antonini, Brazoban, O’Connor, and De La Torre.

Torre/Backman

Wow, this tag team’s name is being tossed around a lot lately but I don’t see them getting any real run as the tag team champions. Torre is 70 years old and I don’t believe he will have the tolerance needed to turn around a ship like the New York Mets. I think because of his very close relationship with Fred (notice I didn’t say Jeff) Wilpon, he will get mad respect. If they decided to pay Joe around what he is making now, Torre would probably take this job with his old team quicker than you can say “geriatric”. I guess the idea is to have Backman as his bench coach and his eventual replacement. For the record, I hate the idea of Torre as head coach. He’ll yell at Jose Reyes and end up popping a blood vessel or clutching his chest. Just kidding. Torre’s good but not a good fit here. This team is a work in progress and it will take a different approach at strong leadership to restore order, discipline, and consistency here. Backman as a bench coach is plausible so he can get accustomed to how things are at the Flushing Zoo. But none of this banter may matter as it appears Wally is already considered the front runner for manager in Flushing. O.M.G. I think we can do much better. This team needs to do much better. Stack the team on the field, in the dugout, in the farm system, and in the front office with the best available. This is not just a team but an entire franchise and an attitude that needs to be transformed.

It’s Official

The Mets were eliminated from contention in the National League East with their loss to the Braves, and the Phillies 5-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday. In addition, any combination of three wins by the Braves or three losses by the Mets will eliminate them from the National League Wild Card as well.

Well, there you have it. The future’s so bright we have to wear shades. At least, we’re not wearing brown paper bags. Have a great day, Met Nation.

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