MMO Take Five with MetsBlog’s Brian Erni

MetsBlog – Brian Erni

For this weeks edition of MMO Take Five, I spoke with my good friend Brian Erni, from MetsBlog, and asked him about several hot Mets topics this week including Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell, etc.  Please enjoy.

Brandon Butler:  Jason Bay is contributing to the team with his excellent hitting over the past week and a half. In his last 10 games, Bay is hitting .353, with 3 HR’s, and 12 RBI’s. Have you noticed anything different with the way Bay has been approaching the ball at the plate?

Brian Erni: Bay’s pulling the ball and with more authority than the roller over, routine grounders we’ve become accustomed to seeing. It’s hard to say why the sudden resurgence. I always think that when Jason trusts his hands and let’s the ball get a little deeper in the hitting zone, he’s able to drive it more consistently. Here’s to hoping that whatever the adjustments, either mechanically or mentally, hold up and carry into 2012.

Brandon Butler: Lets look ahead to spring training in 2012. If Jose Reyes resigns with the Mets, there will be an interesting competition between Justin Turner, and Ruben Tejada. If you were to make an early prediction based off of both Tejada and Turner’s performances in 2011, who do you think is the front runner for 2nd base going into camp?

Brian ErniThere will definitely be a competition, but I don’t think it will be exclusive to just Tejada and Turner. Daniel Murphy shouldn’t be forgotten, who will probably give second base another shot. Whether that’s the position for him or not remains to be seen, but his prowess with the bat is hard to deny, and I think Terry will be looking for a way to get it in the lineup every day next season. Also, Jordany Valdespin and Reese Havens should both have something to say about who starts at second base next year.

Brandon Butler:  Mike Pelfrey is continuing to struggle. With the news and speculation about non-tendering Mike Pelfrey, do you believe that the team will non-tender him?

Brian Erni: Whether they will non-tender him or not remains to be seen, but I’m not sold on doing it. It’s going to depend on how they choose to allocate their funds. A lot of that will tie into what happens with the Reyes situation. I understand Mets fans’ frustration with Pelfrey. He’s a former first round pick who over his career has shown glimpses of excellence and just hasn’t been able to find that consistently. While I understand that school of thought that is ready to just make an emotional knee-jerk reaction and give up on him, I think that Mike’s relatively young, he’s durable and he still has some upside. If the Mets don’t think that’s worth $5-6 million, that’s fine. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a big market for him elsewhere if they choose to cut ties.

Brandon Butler: Bobby Parnell really has struggled in almost every save situation he has been put in. No matter what, it seems that Bobby doesn’t get the job done, and it costs the Mets the chance to close out and win ball games. What do you think is wrong with Parnell? Does he have a command problem, does he have a mental issue like Mike Pelfrey?

Brian Erni: Of course, I’m not in the guy’s head, but it doesn’t seem to be a mental problem. I think it’s just a matter of execution. Bobby has good stuff and I know that’s been discussed as of late.  But it’s hard to deny the guy can bring it. I think he needs a swing and miss pitch, preferably one that doesn’t clock anywhere in the 90s. Right now, teams are sitting on his fastball and reacting to his slider. The problem with that is that Parnell’s slider sits around 90-92: not a huge different from his 96-100 MPH fastball, so when he hangs it, hitters don’t need to make much of an adjustment. If he could mix in a strong curve or change up to really keep hitters guessing and prevent them from zeroing in on one speed, I think he could morph into a pretty dominant closer.

Brandon Butler: One final question. What are your expectations for the off-season? Who would you like to see the Mets target and do you think this off season will be a lot like 2010, or more aggressive?

Brian Erni: Honestly, I expect the same measured approach that we saw last season. I think locking up Jose Reyes to a contract, or at least entertaining the idea, will be priority number one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets make a big push to get that done in the exclusive window they have to negotiate with Reyes before he can sign with other teams. Outside of that, I expect finding out the fate of arbitration elligible guys like Pelfrey, Angel Pagan and Manny Acosta to be the most intriguing part of the off season. Also, I’m specifically interested in how the team restructures their bench, specifically if there’s room for homegrown guys such as Nick Evans in the every day plans. But if I had to bet on it, I wouldn’t think the Mets would be in the running for any of the guys that might satiate Mets fans thirst for a big splash.

I want to thank Brian for taking the time to do this interview with me.  If you want to check out Brian, Matt Cerrone, and the rest of the MetsBlog gang, you know where to go readers.