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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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It’s Not Early

The Mets are 2-5, and Gary Cohen’s advice is not to jump off bridges. It’s early, after all.

I agree nobody should be jumping off bridges. (Ever.) But when you think about the problems afflicting the Mets, they’ve been obvious a lot longer than seven games.

* Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Jacobs have shown themselves as clearly inferior players to (respectively) Angel Pagan and, well, anybody over the small sample size of seven games. But Mets fans didn’t start saying that — or questioning how the Mets construct rosters — in the last seven games. Fans have been saying it since approximately midwinter. Judging by the cherry blossoms and the daffodils up and down my street, midwinter was a while ago. These are not early concerns.

* Concerns about the starting pitching haven’t exactly been limited to the first seven games of the season. John Maine was horrible tonight, but then he was horrible all spring and not so good the last two seasons. Oliver Perez was bad in his first start, awful all spring and mind-bogglingly terrible last year — the first year of the three-year, $36 million contract Omar Minaya gave him in the face of determined counteroffers from … somebody. These concerns existed this winter, when Joel Pineiro seemed to want to pitch for the Mets and the Mets reportedly couldn’t simultaneously manage signing Jason Bay and picking up the phone to express interest in him. These concerns existed last month, when Nelson Figueroa — a useful swing starter who’d had a good spring and was out of options — was let go in favor of guys who’d had bad springs, weren’t suited to duty as swing starters, and had options remaining. These concerns existed last month, when Jenrry Mejia was anointed a short man despite no record of success above the Florida State League, sidetracking his development as a starter. These aren’t early concerns either.

* Surveying tonight’s wreckage, Keith Hernandez talked about Plan B. But the epitaph of the Minaya regime should be the stubborn absence of a Plan B. Plan B for the shaky starting rotation? It’s in Anaheim, Philadelphia, and miscast in the bullpen. (At least Pat Misch is still around. Oh my God, I actually just typed that.) Plan B for backing up the varsity? That’s been a concern since Jose Valentin failed to bottle lightning twice in a row and Moises Alou was first felled by the impact of an errant raindrop. Plan Bs are apparently false hustle, a category that also covers remembering your ace had elbow problems in spring training, correctly judging the market for gregarious but useless middle infielders and taking steps to avoid looking like a fool by publicly spouting bizarre conspiracy theories about the motives of beat writers. No, concerns about Omar Minaya’s ability to do his job have been around a lot longer than seven games.

* The job security of Minaya and Jerry Manuel is a hot topic seven games into the season — every fan who called Gary and Keith tonight asked some variant of “When do they get fired?” But calls for their heads from fed-up fans are not new, and neither is the obvious lack of enthusiasm for them in the owners’ suite. The Wilpons, one hopes, are not having early concerns about whether it’s finally time to clean house. Because we’re far beyond that point.

Did I just say it’s time for Omar and Jerry to get pink-slipped? Yes I did. Are we just seven games into the 2010 season? Yes we are. But I would not say I have early concerns. I’ve been concerned since last summer, when the Mets turned a season of bad luck into a pitiful farce. My concerns intensified in the offseason, when Minaya and his lieutenants operated without the slightest evidence that they were following a coherent plan. My concerns became impossible to ignore in spring training amid bizarre roster decisions and apparently willful ignorance that the starting pitching was a disaster in the making. The first seven games of the season have been just the latest bead on a depressingly long string.

It’s just seven games into the season, but it’s not too early for someone with the last name Wilpon to say enough’s enough.

If anything, one wonders if it’s too late.

64 comments to It’s Not Early

  • Andee

    Omar has three years left on his contract, including this one. He might get kicked upstairs, but barring a Steve Phillips type of scandal, I highly doubt they flat-out fire him. And at this point, I don’t even know how much he had to do with any player moves or non-moves over the past year or so. I personally think that’s a lot more on Jeffco than it is on him.

    As for Jerry…I don’t think he’d be any great loss. On the other hand, are there really any John McGraws out there to be had? (Especially considering that McGraw himself would have long since been booted out of today’s MLB, given his umpire-stomping propensities.) I’m pretty much on record as saying, and still believe, that other than serious pitcher abusers like Baker and Piniella (who seem to be the last of a dying breed anyway), most managers are pretty much interchangeable pit-scratching hominids who get fired for small-p political reasons more than anything else. All of them do stupid shit; you just notice “your” manager’s stupid shit more because you watch him every day.

    Exhibit A? Bobby Valentine. Look, I like the guy and I was one of his defenders. But it never ceases to crack my shit up that the very same people who were calling for his head 8 years ago want him back now, especially since pretty much anything Jerry has been accused of, BV did also. Preferred his pet retreads over more talented youngsters? Check. Threw his players under the bus in front of the media? Check. Wouldn’t take “proven veterans” out of the lineup even when they had nothing left in the tank? Check. Babied his starters and worked his bullpen into Alpo? Check. Held grudges against players for pulling rocks in the field or having chronic health issues preventing them from playing? Check. But I guess it’s kind of like Chris Rock put it: It’s all right, ’cause it’s all white.

    But sure, make the fans happy, fire them. Then they can start in on the next victims. Remember: EVERY Mets manager and GM, almost without exception, has left town in disgrace except for the ones who died in office. Why would anyone with two brain cells to rub together want to subject himself to that? (I’ll bet anything Paul DePodesta, following his Dodgers tenure, promised his wife he’d never put her through anything like that ever again.)

    • Paul C

      THERE’S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR AT LEAST HAVING A MANAGER W/ SOME COMMON SENSE. MANUEL PUSHED TO HAVE THEIR MOST PROMISING PITCHING PROSPECT OF THE LAST 10-15 YEARS IN THE MAJORS AT AGE 20 AND THEN BURIED HIM IN THE BULLPEN. THAT’S PART OF KILLING THE FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISE. MEJIA NEEDS TO REFINE HIS CONTROL AND SECONDARY PITCHES. HE SHOULDN’T BE MOPPING OUT BLOWOUTS IN THE MAJORS.

      MIKE JACOBS IS HITTING CLEAN UP ESSENTIALLY B/C HE’S TALL.

      GARY MATTHEWS OVER PAGAN? YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A SABER GUY TO KNOW WHO’S BETTER, BUT MATTHEWS HAD A GOOD YEAR ONCE AND MAKES A LOT OF MONEY SO HE HAS TO STILL BE GOOD RIGHT?

      THIS GUY IS A JOKE.

  • Rudy

    If Omar is not gone by the offseason and is allowed to drag this franchise further into the abyss, there will be a fan exodus from Citi Field and from the Mets in general. I agree with Andee on the manger issue with Bobby V and Jerry. But I have a crazy idea. How about instead of throwing money at every 30+ free agent out there every offseason how about we put more money into our farm system and scouting? Maybe actually develop more Wrights and Mejias and Reyess instead of stupidly throwing money at more Ollies and Sheffields and Bays? If piss ant teams like Texas and Tampa Bay can do this, imagine what the Mets could accomplish in a few years with their far superior resources. This will not happen with Minaya at the helm. With current ownership it may not happen with anyone at the wheel, but the 1980s and early 90s Yankees proved that you need homegrown stars COMPLIMENTED by free agents to be successful long term. We already have 2 homegrown stars signed long term, but we need more, and we need the added depth of a great farm system as a buffer against injuries. After 20 years of looking down my nose at Yankee fans, something unprecedented happened to me today. I actually wished I had been born a Yankee fan. So in closing, my solution for this quandary is: find the phone numbers for whoever is responsible for building the Rays, hire them and leave them the hell alone for a few years!!!

    • Rudy

      The saddest part of all of this is that if no change occurs, we will get to see David Wright play out his days in a sad-sack Don Mattingly-like quagmire. His perennial brilliance will be obscured by a cloud of overpriced mediocrity year after year. And that is if we are lucky and he doesn’t bolt for someplace else first chance he gets.

  • Jackabite

    While I completely agree that change is necessary, I don’t see how a managerial change will result in a better team. The second step is a new GM who is capable of building a quality roster. The first step is a pipe dream: new ownership whom are capable of building a quality organization. The Wilpons have failed miserably in just about every major decision that they have made – including the stadium. Changing GM’s or Managers, without removing the utter anti-brilliance of one Jeff and Fred Wilpon, is akin to bandaids and splints on a broken body (excuse the unfortunately ironic analogy).

    • cropseymonster

      A+ . . . until the Wilpons either (i) legitimately grant “complete autonomy to a GM who actually has a clue or (ii) sell the team, the pattern of failure will continue to replicate itself year after dismal year

  • Dan

    Yes, it’s too late for 2010, and has been for a while. But every year, regardless of what reality provides, we suspend our disbelief in March in hopes that the Mets are actually good. We’re just lucky enough (lucky?) to find out that our fears of failure were right, and for the right reasons.

    But the scary part isn’t that it’s too late. It’s that as these problems fester, the problem gets worse. Fans aren’t turning out at the park, which will likely cheapen the already penny-wise Wilpons. Jenrry Mejia, who could have been a MLB SP by June 2011, is instead being delayed and, simultaneously, his arb clock and 0-6 years sped up. We’re wasting money on guys like Mike Jacobs and roster spots on Frank Catalanotto, while relegating 27 year-old Chris Carter to AAA and banishing 25th man Nick Evans to AA — Double-A!! We spent a metric ton on Jason Bay and backloaded his contract, likely blocking Fernando Martinez. Our insane insistence on starting defensively poor infielders makes an already bad Maine and Perez look worse.

    In short: We’re starting to screw ourselves for 2011.

    • This is what concerns me. Beltran’s injury probably sunk the Mets before this season began, but with an actual plan in the offseason (starting pitching, improve infield defense by cutting losses on Castillo) I think they could have had a chance this year.

      Too late for that, but it’s not too late for 2011: The Wright-Reyes-Beltran-Santana core will still be intact, Bay is a good complement, and if all broke right you could have progress from Pelfrey and Francoeur, an experienced Niese, and the likes of Davis, F-Mart, Tejada, Thole and Mejia all ready to contribute.

      That’s not a bad team by any means. But to get there, the Mets have to do the right things NOW. And I have zero faith in the current baseball-operations folks to get us there. After all, they’re already doing the wrong things.

      • Dan

        It’s not too late for 2011 yet, but it’s really close. We’re already going the wrong direction with Mejia. We’re setting up F-Mart to fail — if he replaces the well-liked Francoeur and fails, the WFAN crowd will devour him. Tejada, Thole, and Davis are in AAA, correctly, but Tejada is being groomed as a shortstop instead of the successor to Castillo.

        On the big league team, we’re killing Pelfrey and, honestly, Maine — two pitch-to-contact types, by making them play in front of this horrid infield defense. We’re neglecting our likely 2011 B-team, too: Pagan is losing AB to Gary Matthews Jr. (?) and Chris Carter, who has nothing to prove in AAA, is nonetheless in AAA in favor of Mike Jacobs (??) and Frank Catalanotto (!@#$%^&#).

  • [...] Jason Fry posits that it’s not early and I tend to agree, but Fry’s usually a non-shrill voice of experienced reason – and even he’s calling for Omar’s head: The job security of Minaya and Jerry Manuel is a hot topic seven games into the season — every fan who called Gary and Keith tonight asked some variant of “When do they get fired?” But calls for their heads from fed-up fans are not new, and neither is the obvious lack of enthusiasm for them in the owners’ suite. The Wilpons, one hopes, are not having early concerns about whether it’s finally time to clean house. Because we’re far beyond that point. [...]

  • John Pound

    Trade Beltran,perhaps to the Yanks for a boatload of talent.Chamberlain,Romine,and Brackman.Throw Gardner into the mix.

  • Jason, the fact that you and many others have been critical of the Mets’ strategy or lack thereof for a long time does not mean that you can add the time you’ve been worrying to the first week of the season and say that well that’s long enough to be able to come to some conclusions. Like it or not, the Mets had a plan. The plan was for everybody to be healthy and for the starting pitchers to fulfill their potential. Granted, that’s more of a roll of the dice than a plan, but it was a plan and given the free agent market and how little they had to trade, it may have been all they could do. I think we still need a few more weeks to determine whether this particular plan has no merit and changes should be made. Good players have had bad first weeks before. I expect Manuel to be gone soon and I think that he should be gone, despite his success in 2008. He can’t get the team to think straight. But that’s the only judgement I feel qualified to make at this point.

    • Praying for everything to work out when it hasn’t before and you haven’t done anything to ensure things will be different isn’t a plan.

      The baseball-operations folks misread the team’s situation at the end of last season, staggered through an inept offseason and screwed up roster construction coming out of spring training. That’s a long record of failure, and ample time to reach conclusions.

      The Mets are 2-5 in the standings, but they’re basically 0 for the last 10 months. The Wilpons made a mistake not sacking Omar and Jerry last summer or at least after the season, but I don’t see any reason that mistake obligates them to keep all of us watching (or not watching) while the people they pay keep digging to China. Get rid of them, right now, before they screw up 2011 as well.

      • I have to second Jason’s reply to Dana, only because I was thinking the same thing as I read Dana’s comment. “It can’t POSSIBLY be as bad this season” is not a plan.

        The problems thus far look too much, no, EXACTLY like the problems present all throughout spring and dating back to 2009. Maine falling behind every hitter. Bad Ollie. Bases loaded or 1st and 2nd with no out, and no runs (or maybe a merciful one run) scored. Stupid baserunning. Failing to punish bad opposing pitchers. Tatis flailing at bad pitches. Heck, I’m not down on Jose Reyes in his first week on the field in a year but the guy that stepped into the box in the top of the sixth last night looked a lot like the junkyard dog who spent critical portions of 2008 barking at any pitch that came within ten feet of him. I could go on.

        If this continues — and with the upcoming schedule it’s hard to see how it won’t — Bob Melvin will be managing this team by May. And then, if John Ricco is not promoted by June, it will only be because he’s already in his office doing what he would be doing in Omar’s office.

      • Dan

        Agreed, unless you think “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” consisted of a strategy.

      • Tom in Sunnyside

        Baseball operations? Interesting concept. Where the Mets and Omar Minaya are concerned, that’s either the thing Adam Rubin asked about or the inevitable result of a “day-to-day” injury.

  • Joe Stephens

    At the very least, how about a little statement that they’re trying in the form of the axe for Dan Werthan.

  • dave crockett

    I’ve not been a regular at FAFIF. I link here from Amazin’ Avenue occasionally, but I will be a regular now. The comments today are epic, and that’s not even getting into the sweet post.

    You can’t say anything in Omar’s defense, but one caveat is that this offseason’s pitching market sucked. I mean really sucked. We need pitching, but this offseason would likely have only brought us overrated, overpriced, breaking down, or God forbid, all-of-the-above. Assuming Omar is kicked out or up sooner rather than later, a new regime really won’t have that much dead weight to clear. Other than Opie, there’s really no crippling dead weight.

    • Hi Dave, very glad to have you!

      Generally agree with you on the pitching caveat — I get frustrated when I hear Mets fans moan that we should have signed Lackey, as if wishing would have made it so. But I do think Pineiro would have been a help, particularly if the Mets had accepted Castillo as a sunk cost and moved him. (And to be fair, there are plenty of reports that they tried.) A good-fielding second baseman arguably would have helped Pelfrey a lot too. Then you’d have had Santana, Pelfrey and Pineiro and been looking for two somethings out of Niese, Maine, Perez, Figueroa, Misch etc. And I’d be a lot less terrified.

      Again, normally you’d say that’s 20/20 hindsight, but I was talking along those lines in the winter, as were folks at AA and elsewhere. They aren’t new concerns, and so I think it’s fair to judge the baseball folks on more than 2-5.

      • dave crockett

        If the Mets were willing to acknowledge sunk costs Minaya and Jerry would likely already be gone.

        Instead they are in a kind of limbo. I think it’s pretty clear that Minaya is on a pretty short leash, and he’s probably only still here because of his big extension.

  • Zach

    “My concerns intensified in the offseason, when Minaya and his lieutenants operated without the slightest evidence that they were following a coherent plan. ”

    This is what I’ve been saying recently. Most of their moves seem at random and counter to things they’ve done previously. I think a lot of it would go over better if they were at least consistent in their decision making and had a clear vision.

    I said this to an A’s fan friend of mine and he said that he forgives a lot of Beane’s mistakes because they all seem like they are part of the same plan toward a final goal. And I feel like that’s exactly the kind of leeway the Mets front office won’t ever get because they never seem to know what they are doing.

  • CharlieH

    This fish stinks from the head(s) down.

    Until this team is sold, we’ll have the same types of things going on with different names on the door.

    Tell me: what’s the difference between Duquette/Howe in late 2004 and Omar/Manuel right now?

  • Jay

    Unfortunately there are no good solutions going forward this year, as there are just too many deficiencies to cover.

    In the short term:
    1) send Maine down, call up Gee
    2) Start stretching out Takahashi to see if he can slide into the rotation, assuming Ollie is next
    2) Call up Ike and Tejada
    3) For the love of god, send down Mejia and let him get back to working on being a starting pitcher
    4) Can Omar and Jerry, as they are going to get fired eventually, and it does no one any good to have dead men walking around the organization
    5) Pray that Bay starts playing like a clean up hitter
    6) Hope that Beltran starts running…

  • Guy Kipp

    I could live with the 95-loss season I believe the Mets are careening towards if I knew it was going to be endured in the name of giving regular spots and 300-plus at-bats to Fernando Martinez, Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis and Josh Thole. Mejia is being rushed and miscast.
    The only young player they seem to be bringing along the way you would hope right now is Jonathan Niese–and he’d be further along were it not for the tragicomic sight of watching the training staff allow an already-injured Niese to further injure himself with post-injury warmups last August.
    The way things are going now, it’ll be a 95-loss season that is not, in any way, a means to an end, like, say, 1983 was. That year, the Mets were still terrible, but there at least appeared to be a viable plan, and some hope, in place.
    Now, not so much.

    • Yes. Completely agree, Guy. Not necessarily that those kids should come up right away, but I’d like to know that there’s a plan for getting them to a certain point by the end of the year — and ideally, that point is that as many of them as possible are ready to be full-time contributors in 2011.

      I forgot it in my late-night fury, but Keith said last night that New Yorkers won’t tolerate failure. I don’t think that’s true. We can accept failure; what we won’t tolerate is incompetence, because there are too many bright folks ready to step in and agitating for their chance.

      I’ll accept a crappy 2010 if it’s in service of a potentially very bright 2011 and 2012. And I do think that potential is within reach. But not with the current regime making decisions. And that’s why they need to go.

      • Jacobs27

        I can’t form any appropriate words, but I share your sentiments, Jason. And I’d take concretely building towards something over floundering around and pretending everything’s gonna turn around just as soon as X…

        To me the question is would it be better to give our few good prospects some time together in Triple-A and then bring them up later in the season, while writing off this team, this time, or taking a gamble and bringing them up to the fire so they can have their growing pains together.

        But it’s moot since the Mets are going to do no such things.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    Unfortunately, this was a franchise that was built to peak for one or two years and is now on the down swing. We lost our big gun in Delgado, had an aging backstop whose good hitting at 35 was due to steroids, relied on veteran starters with one last season left in the tank and saw career years that made the youngsters Perez and Maine appear better than they were. Despite having a Wright, Reyes, Bay, Franceour, Santana, Krod and Beltran (eventually) this left us with too many holes to fix at one time.

    So it’s understandable that the punch has been knocked out of us by suddenly being treated to losing baseball after three contending years. And while losing is tough enough, it’s been compounded with resentment toward an ownership whose only concern was profit as exemplified by the energy they put into the stores and restaurants rather than the park itself and that they’ve shunned out the average fan with outrageous ticket prices.

    And since being on a downhill slide is a tremendous letdown, it might also be causing us fans to confuse a team with little confidence with one that has no heart or intensity. It’s still being reported that hitters distain Citi field because it robs them of their long-ball ability (sans last Friday night against the Nationals) — does this only add to their lack of confidence in their ability to bounce back from early five run deficits (unlike Shea)?

    I just don’t know. I still can’t forget KRod the last week of 2009 having so little interest that he just threw the ball with nothing on it and instead of a save surrendered a come from behind, game winning home run in Washington. That was the most unprofessional display I ever saw – and last season we saw many. And I can’t forget the half-hearted efforts this first week alone.

    Whatever the reason, don’t expect a Roger McDowell hotfoot to ignite this team even if Omar fires Jerry prior to Jeff firing Omar for this was a franchise that was built for the short-term, definitely not for the long one, and therefore has fallen to the status of a bad team, at least through now.

    It’s also upsetting to hear the Met broadcasters become homers instead of retaining their objectivity. It seems they are going out of their way to tell the fans not to give up on Ollie and Maine or even the team itself after just seven games. While that is true, they are also downplaying the fact that the Mets do have deep problems in several key areas, that they lack confidence and that Citi Field still affects their psyches.

    • Hi Joe, the thing is that I don’t think there’s any reason for this franchise to be on a down swing. The core will all be around in 2011, and if the team does things correctly and gets a little luck, it should be able to bridge to new talent in F-Mart, Tejada, Niese, Davis, Thole and Mejia. Not all of those guys will pan out, of course, but there’s enough there that I’m hopeful.

      But — and I know I’m sounding like a broken record — I have no faith that the current regime will make the right decisions that will get us there. Getting to a successful 2011 has to start now, and instead bad decisions are being made that threaten to derail all that. Time to clean house.

      • Joe D.

        Hi Jason,

        The team is a downward swing at this time but you’re right, the future could put us back into contention. Davis could fill the void at first, Tejada at second, Martinez takes over for Beltran, Thole goes behind the plate with Neise and Mejia as starters. Now lets say they all come through (highly unlikely but not out of the realm of possibility) success won’t be immediate but more gradual through 2011 and 2012. Three seasons from now is more realisitic. By then, Wright, Reyes and Franceour will still be in their prime and though other key players like Santana, KRod and Bay will be on the way down, we’ll never know what free agent signings and trades will yield.

        There are those who believe Davis is ready and tearing up triple-A (even though that is only six games). They argue that if one can hit double-A and triple-A pitching, they can hit in the majors, which is completely untrue for how many tremendous minor league hitters have there been that never panned out in the majors? So I don’t think we should rush any of the kids up at this time. let them fine tune their skills in the minors and stay away from the pressure of becoming saviors.

        And thinking about it, with that combination of talent down the road, has Omar really been doing his job so poorly? Maybe it’s just that we expected too much because of our success in 2006.

  • kowalski69

    meh.
    When Beltran gets back, we have a really tight outfield that can hit. We have all-stars at 3rd and short. Luis is Luis. 1st base can be worked on. Our catcher platoon has been hitting and blocking balls well. We have a pretty good team, minus the pitching.

    Manuel is doing whatever he can do. The days of Minaya are numbered. Gary and Keith were even alluding to how the Rockies turned their season around last year after Clint Hurdle was let go. It can happen

  • Was anybody honestly expecting this team to storm from the gate?

    • CharlieH

      No, but all we heard from the JerrOmar creature was about how big a part the injuries played in last year’s debacle and how it’s imperative that they get off to a good start. We all saw decent springs from Bay, Wright, Francoeur, Johan, etc.
      And I know for myself, I allowed myself to go to a “Maybe…if things break right…’we’ have a decent core…could have a fast start…”

      And any naysayers qualified their statements with “I hope I’m wrong, but…”

      Well, it turns out we weren’t wrong and this team is just as crappy as our nightmares told us they’d be.

      And we don’t like it.

      • And anybody believed The Creature? They couldn’t play baseball well last year before the injuries. They won games, but they weren’t good and their luck was going to run out at some point.

        While I stick to a nominal “it’s early” stance, even though it undeniably looks like dusk (because every team deserves one home stand and one road trip to show what it’s not made of — and mostly because I’d like to enjoy baseball season before it’s undeniably unenjoyable), and while the lack of a plan has been apparent for years…I dunno. I’m not up in arms because my expectations have been pounded so low I can’t get newly mad over this. Minaya sucks? Manuel sucks? The coaching sucks? The players suck? Their clutchness suck? The pitching sucks?

        Yeah…?

    • Andee

      Was anybody honestly expecting this team to storm from the gate?

      I sure wasn’t.

      Me, I always figured on pretty heavy roster turnover this year. I don’t think the team we’ll be looking at in August will bear a whole lot of resemblance to the one that’s out there now. I do think eventually cooler heads will prevail and send Mejia down to work on being a starter, and eventually Davis will be up and either Beltran or Fmart will be in CF, and maybe Thole too if he can get it going in AAA. Maine won’t be left in there to get bombed over and over again; if he lays an egg in St. Louis on national teevee, he’s done.

      Also, re Piniero: Sure, he had one good start. But how much should we have paid for him? We’re talking about having to WAY outbid other teams for free agents, since we’re the Mets and all we have going for us right now is money.

      And who was even tradeable for a halfway decent arm over the winter? Not Fmart, because he was coming off an injury. Not Niese, because he was coming off an injury. That pretty much left Mejia, Davis, and maybe Thole or Flores as part of a package. It seemed to me that they were trying to do the right thing for once and not clean out their farm system for nobody special.

      Though I do agree with them being too slow to cut overpaid busts. Nobody on earth was going to take Castillo in a trade without dealing us someone even worse; you think GMs don’t read the other teams’ fan blogs? “Luis Castillo sucks sucks sucks! He’s not even worth a bucket of old pizza crusts! WHY OH WHY CAN’T OMAR TRADE HIM FOR A GOOD PITCHER?!?!?!”

      • We don’t know how much Pineiro would have cost, because the Mets couldn’t manage to call his agent. And he’s had a lot more than one good start in recent years. Yes, he was a Dave Duncan pitcher, but he looks like a guy who’s figured some stuff out and made himself into a reliable No. 3 starter.

        I wouldn’t have traded prospects for an arm. But I sure wish the Mets had managed to pick up the phone where Pineiro is concerned.

  • pete9313

    i have never read this site until today…and i am duly impressed..no obnoxious comments, and all involved seem to have enough baseball acumen to handle this conversation…

    as a life long mets fan, since 1962 (i cant help it, i am an ancient), i did wish to express my points of view.

    it seems to me that the mets have never learned how to build talent, trade talent for immediate upgrades, and sign free agents to fill in the gaps…
    i am not saying we should follow the design of steinbrenner, and buy everyone for a decade or so…but it appears to me that all of the issues seem to be stemming from a lack of money…or no desire to spend the money.

    we signed ollie and luisluis to ridiculous contracts…and now seem afraid to spend again…management seems content to ride out the season(s) with the players under contract, solely because they are paying for them..management seems to have a $1 million price tag on future players…GMJr? only a million? we can use him…piniero wants how much? hes not really what we are looking for…

    omar has made good moves…and bad moves..and terrible moves..but until ownership admits that they need to spend money to make money…then this merry-go-round may never end…

    i am guessing that free agents are now saying they would rather play in Cincinnati or Tampa or, OMG, Phillie…than for the mets…and that never seemed possible in my lifetime

    this team has been off-track for 3 yrs…a lot is because of injuries, but if anyone saw this ballclub this march in florida, well, what you are seeing now is what you were seeing last month as well…this team is just not good…and the possible brightspots on the roster are wallowing in buffalo

    if wilpon had just said…we are saving money this yr…we will need to rebuild…the 2010 free agent market was not to our liking…i think the mets fans would all have stood by his side, and been patient.

    but sometimes wilpon seem to treat mets fans as if we do not understand baseball…and that is when i feel maybe the team should be sold.

    thanx for letting me rant a bit, guys

    • Mike

      I’m another ‘ancient,’ and I agree that we’ve been off track for at least three years (though I don’t give them a pass for the injuries, for if they’d had a solid and real plan, and some depth, we’d have weathered more of them, with more wins; additionally the team wasn’t playing good baseball during most of those 3 years, anyway), and the Wilpon’s do not know how to relate to their customers.

      They seem to lie, obfuscate, or look for scapegoats, trying to maximize their short term goals, rather than to be more truthful, and maximize long-term loyalty.

      I wonder how many of those who didn’t renew packages, would have been more likely to do so, if the ownership had done as you suggested, admitted to saving money and rebuilding (again, ugh), while bringing up the kids to a less pressured atmosphere.

      Mets fans have always proven we’re patient.

      • CharlieH

        My rationale for NOT renewing this year, is “I refuse to give any more money to an organization that consistently lies to me.”

        So I probably WOULD have renewed.

    • oogieball

      It’s not necessarily “spend money to make money.” It’s a matter of just using the tiniest bit of common sense. Putting together a winning organization is not hard; it is just rare. You put money into where it counts: the farm system, scouting. You bring up the players in your system, and you compliment young talent by spending free agent money on proven veterans and plugging up the holes you can’t promote. When’s the last time that happened with the Mets? Oh, right. Around 1984 or so.

      Like most, I don’t mind rebuilding. But instead of compounding sunk costs, cut lose the non-producers and give the farm hands a shot.

      Oh, and beat Oliver Perez within an inch of his life at home plate before Fan Appreciation Day.

  • sturock

    This is all getting so old. It’s almost like it’s supposed to be this way. The team is supposed to be irrelevant, just bad, not even fun in a “Let’s-get-drunk-out-at-sunny-Wrigley-Field” Cubs sorta way. I’ve been a fan since 1962– yes!– and I don’t think I can take another season of this.

    I mean it’s the utter irrelevance of this team in the face of the ongoing Yankee-Red Sox juggernaut that really makes me sad.

    That, and the new ballpark.

  • [...] ~ Jason Fry, Faith and Fear in Flushing [...]

  • pete9313

    sturock, maybe you are right…maybe we lost our way by actually winning in 69, and 86…maybe we were always destined to be the loveable hapless mets…i guess we blew it by actually playing decent baseball some of the time…

    yankees/sox is meaningless to me…i am a mets fan…and a national league fan…only care about junior circuit when its world series time…

    but i will watch yankees/sox…and other teams…because i like baseball…and i like to watch good baseball…

    the product the mets are putting on the field now…is just not good baseball

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    I am a fan of a certain college basketball team in The Bronx that went 3-25 the year before this one, yet plugged away with the same coach under the theory that it couldn’t possibly get worse. Well, it did. They went 1-5 to start the season, the coach threw a nuclear tantrum after a game at a crosstown rival and got fired. The interim coach won a single game to go the rest of the way, ending at 2-26.

    I think I see the same thing happening with the Mets. They had some bad luck last year, but the team was poorly constructed to begin with, no flexibility, ridiculous contracts. If it’s broke, don’t do anything under the theory that it couldn’t get worse.

    • Joe D.

      This “ancient” New Breeder happens to work at that college you are referring to and so a few of my colleagues are starting to question if I’ve been a bad influence on those youngsters.

  • nestornajwa

    Amen. At this point, we have to root for more losing in the near term to prevent Omar from some kind of desperation move that involves trading some of that young talent for an aging star.

    The injury avalanche masked a deeply flawed team last year. But I can’t figure how Omar got his extension in 2008, when ONE injury completely derailed a dead-certain division title. We sure could have used a plan B then.

  • Andee

    When people talk about “cleaning house,” you’re not just talking about firing Omar and Jerry, though, right? Because that’s kind of like firing your house painter for painting your house an ugly shade of puce because you have termites and you can’t fire the exterminator because he’s the only one in town, and you have to fire somebody or your neighbors will burn the house down.

    What is being demanded here — correct me if I’m wrong — is that everybody in the front office be fired, everybody in the dugout be fired. Every last person even remotely involved in decision-making, top to bottom, save for the unfireable owners, gone, right now.

    And then you want the FO replaced with people whose baseball philosophies are 180 degrees away from everything Fred Wilpon (yes, I said Fred) has always believed in, and for those people to be kept completely hands-off and not fired ever, under any circumstances, no matter what yo-yo talk-radio fans and paid-media-bots have to say?

    Has this ever happened in the history of ever? For everyone in an entire baseball organization to get shitcanned simultaneously and replaced with people who are their complete opposites, then given a five-year plan to make it work? Especially in a big market where three consecutive losses will mean you can’t even go into your own kitchen for a glass of water without three Dobermans and a food taster? I can’t recall it ever taking place. Even the Yankees have never done anything like that to my recollection, and they’re about the only ones who could afford to.

    I actually do think Jeff Wilpon might be educable on the subject of having a SABR-oriented front office — once his father is either deceased or no longer sentient enough to recognize what room he’s in, and thus won’t blow an ass gasket at the very idea. But that’s probably a decade in the offing, at least.

    • You don’t need to fire the minions. You put in a new GM, give him autonomy and let him pick his key lieutenants and make decisions about coaches. (And there the only guy I’d automatically paint a target on is Warthen.)

      • Andee

        I’m still curious to know when the last time was that an MLB team simultaneously fired the GM, the assistant GM (since it’s pretty obvious that Ricco at this point has at least as much decision-making power as Omar, if not more), the field manager, and the pitching coach simultaneously during the season. Or if it’s ever happened.

        Eventually all those folks will turn over, sure. But my concern is that people want something to happen, right now, that is not very realistic, because it’s unprecedented. What’s more realistic is that Jerry will be replaced by Bob Melvin fairly soon, and by September Warthen will get the boot and Omar will be kicked upstairs to be Grand Poobah of Envelopes.

        But what does that really change for this year? People would not be screaming, “FIRE EVERYBODY NOW!” unless they thought it was going to make an instant difference. I’m just not feeling it. I’m not picturing them bringing in outsiders right now who represent a radical change for the better. And I honestly don’t think these guys would rather suck rocks and have a third of New York hate their guts than perform for Jerry Manuel. Yeah, sometimes a “shakeup” can alter the energy of a team for the better short-term, but eventually the rabbit’s foot does wear off, as it has with Jerry, and countless others before him.

        • CharlieH

          I think the “FIRE EVERYBODY NOW” meme isn’t as thought out as all that, Andee, it’s a reaction.

          It’s more like “OK, this has sucked for awhile. It’s a new day, let’s see maybe it’ll be different. But, wait a minute: the same guys are still here. So it STILL sucks. And apparently, it will suck as long as they’re still here. So FIRE EVERYBODY NOW!”

          Cue the Peter Finch clip…

          • Oogieball

            I don’t think everyone who says “fire everyone now” is expecting that this will change things immediately, except perhaps a brief uptick on the field as the fear hits the players. And while it may not change things immediately, it will *change* things, if not now, in the future. There will be the Beningo callers who will complain that there aren’t immediate results, but the current management of the franchise has failed in every way possible. A change needs to happen.

            Of course, changes are not necessarily for the better, but I’d be hard-pressed to see how things could get worse.

        • I don’t think “fire everyone now” will save 2010 — the chance to save 2010 was in all likelihood lost last winter, when the huge holes in the starting rotation were ignored and Omar gave out his usual moronic oversized contracts to scrubs and retreads.

          But I think “fire everyone now” could save 2011 — and sticking with this crew of dimwits will doom it. Send Mejia back down to AA to be groomed as a starter. Start Pagan. Cut Jacobs. Bring up Carter. Let Niese develop. Think about moving Tejada to 2B in the minors. Keep an eye on F-Mart and Ike and bring them up when they’re ready. Think above all else about 2011 and how to maximize our chances in that campaign.

          Omar and Jerry are not capable of doing that. They don’t have the vision, for one, and they’re putting their short-term survival above the franchise’s medium- and long-term needs, for another. Time for them to go.

          • Andee

            …except that if those decisions come from the very top (i.e. from people named Wilpon), what difference does it make whose name is on the name plates?

            I was kind of suprised the other day when Francesa told Manuel he “blew it” by picking Jacobs over Davis, and Jerry said something like, “I think I’ll leave that one alone.” I would have expected Jerry to say something like, “Jacobs is my guy, it’s not right to ask a rookie hitter to save the lineup, I believe in Jake and I stand behind him.” My impression was that Jacobs was Jerry’s pet and that he wanted Ike (and Chris Carter) sent down; maybe not?

            And same goes for Mejia. Jerry might like Mejia in the bullpen, but he’s not a track-record manager with the kind of clout that he could insist on it over everyone’s objections. It also sounded to me like Omar always wanted him sent down. To me, that points to someone else in a decision-making capacity keeping him with the Mets, maybe because they thought he could take over for Frankie and then they could trade Frankie before he started getting really expensive.

            The Piniero thing is another case in point. The Daily News story I saw seems to imply that Omar was very interested in him, but for some reason either he was not allowed to pull the trigger, or someone high-up thought Piniero’s agent was just using them to squeeze out more Orange County dinero. Either way, that has owner’s interference written all over it too.

            So then the question is, how do you get the owner to stop meddling? And how long will it take?

  • Neil

    It’s long past time for Jerry and Omar to go, particularly Omar. He should have been fired after the 2008 season. One collapse is an aberration. Two is a pattern that shows a lack of a plan. How does a team with a $140 million payroll (last I saw) not even have a number 2 starter?

    Nothing less than a top to bottom rebuilding of this organization will work. There needs to be a clear philosophy from the draft on up on the acquisition and grooming of players as well as organization-wide identity of what Mets baseball is all about and what type of players/management should be here to execute. The Angels and Red Sox are the best examples of this.

    The Mets used to be a team that developed outstanding pitching and while the offense has rarely been great, the team has won with gritty, clutch players like Dykstra, Fonzie, etc. Now the philosophy is to just try to plug holes and hope for the best.

    Bringing Bobby Valentine back isn’t the answer either. He wasn’t exactly loved when he was here, and these second honeymoons rarely work out. The only choice is a clean sweep. Ideally it would start in the owner’s box, but we should be so lucky.

  • Andee

    …aaaaand countdown to “the Mets haven’t won a game since Reyes returned, he obviously hates baseball, he’s a bum” stories in three, two, one…

  • Cropseymonster

    Coming soon to a stadium near you . . . “Wilpon’s Tomb”

  • FastEddie 41

    How can the Wilpons not think this team is sliding downhill faster than a runaway freight train. This has been ongoing since 2007. I guess they were so engrossed in Dodger Memorial Park to care. How Minaya is still GM has to be a one of baseball’s biggest miracles. Having a subpar team & new ballpark was cute in 1964. Not 2009 or 2010.

  • [...] a sample size as we needed in order to know that the rest of our season would be played an under an intractable doom. Another segment of the fanbase chafed when “early” was bandied about in a different [...]