Posts Tagged ‘new york mets’

Tonight’s Mets Starting Lineup Against Giants; Reyes Pushed Back

July 18th, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO-- The New York Mets lineup tonight against the San Francisco Giants is out, and it includes Carlos Beltran for a third straight game, but Jose Reyes has been pushed back until Monday.

Tonight's Mets lineup against San Francisco:

CF Angel Pagan

2B Alex Cora

3B David Wright

CF Carlos Beltran

1B Ike Davis

LF Jason Bay

C Rod Barajas

SS Ruben Tejada

P Hisanori Takahashi

Reyes will get an extra day to rest his sore right oblique. Mets manager Jerry Manuel did use the word "may" though, when telling reporters he'll return Monday.

Once again, Mike Pelfrey (stiff neck), scratched tonight. He'll start Monday in Arizona.

Mets Could Benefit From The Regular Presence Of Josh Thole

July 17th, 2010

Following these 18 scoreless innings to open the second half of the 2010 season, the New York Mets might be concerned about the balance of the starting lineup. Things on offense should return back to form soon, but at catcher, the Mets could benefit from a more permanent makeover.

With three catchers on the active roster, Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, and Josh Thole have all been splitting time. Barajas as played most of the time, and may actually be a liability at this point.

Barajas' average has sunk to .235 on the year and struggles to hit unless he gets ahead in the count. Since his quick 11 home runs, his power has seemingly vanished, and fans are rapidly losing confidence in him as his stellar numbers have gravitated. The remedy for this hole in the lineup may already be in place.

Inserting Josh Thole as the starting catcher would add another dimension to the lineup. Thole would be the scrappiest everyday hitter on the team and would certainly be more productive than either Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco.

He might not have the best credentials when it comes to smacking home runs or managing a pitching staff, but Thole is one of the smartest contact hitters to rise through the Mets system in a while. With little to no power, Thole makes up for that with some excellent discipline.

He got off to an extremely slow start in the minors this year. In April he hit just .172, but quickly got his act together and hit over .300 for the next two months in the minors before earning a call-up to the Mets.

His hitting in 11 appearances with the Mets this year speaks for itself. He's collected ten hits in 20 at bats, while driving in five runs. He's also 5-7 with runners in scoring position. The Mets must put some stock into Thole in hopes that this hitting will continue in the future.

Thole has great eyes at the plate and knows how to work a count as well as anybody on this Mets roster. He isn't first pitch-swing-happy like the rest of the Mets, and he has battled back from 0-2 counts to pick up hits on a full count in several instances. He has hit 2-6 this year while behind in the count.

With Thole in the lineup on a regular basis, there will be more flexibility for Manager Jerry Manuel to make adjustments. Thole has the makeup of a number two hitter in a lineup when he is hitting well, and could be bat out of any slot.

In a lineup that could be considered as struggling, Thole's ability to hit would really stabilize things along side some of the big swingers. If his numbers through 11 games are at all indicative of what he can produce in the long run, Thole must receive a boost in playing time immediately, and the Mets will find themselves with some extra scoring opportunities.

Zito pitches Giants by slumping Mets 1-0 (AP)

July 17th, 2010
Barry Zito followed Tim Lincecum's lead with a shutout of his own against the slumping New York Mets. One night after Lincecum's six-hit gem, Zito struck out 10 in eight dominant innings of two-hit ball to help the San Francisco Giants beat New York 1-0 on Friday. "That just goes to show how good our pitching staff is," said Aubrey Huff, who had three hits and scored the lone run...

Small Market Omar Minaya Must Make Big Move for New York Mets

July 17th, 2010

Sports are all about adjustments. In football, the quarterback must adjust the play based on what the opposing team is doing. It is the same in other sports as well. In game adjustments at half times and between periods are a necessity for success. Baseball is no different.

However, instead of adjusting at a half, players must make adjustments with every pitch. Management must also make adjustments, that is what the trade deadline is all about. If a team has a need, it is up to the general manager to make the proper adjustment to put his team in a better position for the second half.

The best GM's in the league are known for this. Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees, Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox and Ruben Amaro of the Philadelphia Phillies all come to mind as recent examples. What do they all have in common?

They have all built World Series teams in recent years. They have all done it by using all of their resources, including mid season trades. They are all also GM's for bigger market teams. The city's particular size and market makes a difference. It impacts the team by either hindering them or enabling them based on how much they can spend.

The New York Mets GM Omar Minaya , is in a big market. However, he often makes small market transactions. He will acquire players who are past their prime such as Gary Matthews Jr, Frank Catalanotto and Mike Jacobs (combined 1 home run, 3 RBI's in 42 at bats).

He also will claim players who were waived by bad teams for terrible output. Brian Bruney is a classic example of a Minaya waivers candidate. Bruney posted an 0-2 record with a 9.64 ERA for a Washington Nationals team that is in the basement of their division at 39-50 as I am writing this article. Minaya has made cheap moves in the hopes that they pay dividends.

So far, they have not. Too often, he has not been the type of GM to make the big market mid season move. This may be attributed to his time with the Montreal Expos, before they were relocated to Washington DC. They were a prime example of a small market mentality.

They produced many great players but failed to keep them. Players such as: Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez and Moises Alou . They let those type of players swim in the free agency pool due to a small market, low budget mentality.

To be fair, Minaya does sign the big contract free agent in the off season. He has no problem spending the Mets ' money in that regard. He has even done a remarkable job rebuilding the depleted farm system. With this said, he has never been the type of GM to make the mid season trade consistently. He would rather wait until after the deadline for a bargain.

Bargains almost always fail. Every small market GM searches for lightning in a bottle. A very small amount of them find it, and when they do it is fleeting. The best GM's in the league use the trade option as a weapon. It is a way of rearming themselves for a second half playoff run. This aggressive mentality turns the teams they represent into winners.

If Minaya does not share in this aggressive mentality with this current team, they will not win. What's more, this team is ready to win now and may be just one pitcher away from being complete, assuming Jose Reyes will get and stay healthy. If they fail to reach the playoffs due to another season of inactivity from Minaya , he deserves to go.

In fact, if he does not make a move by the July 31st deadline, he should be relieved of his duties on August 1st. This team has had several seasons of inactivity under his watch. Those seasons all led to late season collapses. The last time he made a significant trade deadline move, was in 2006.

That season, they came within an out of the World Series. Is that a coincidence? I am not so sure. It is most likely that this is further evidence for an aggressive mentality in this market. The small market mentality is not a good fit in New York. The fans and media alike expect big things in a big city.

That expectation can make or break a career. Even the career of someone in management. Management is just as responsible for results as the players and coaches are. They build the team and spend the payroll on the roster. If this current payroll does not produce a playoff, it reflects on the one who assembled the roster.

That would be Omar Minaya . If he assembled it and failed to respond to its' needs, he is not capable of making this team a winner. A good GM must recognize weaknesses and correct them. If he cannot be honest toward this current roster and make the proper adjustments, he is no better than a small market GM for a team out of playoff contention.

As it stands, he is the GM of a team in the largest city in the country. He needs to make the big market type of moves to help his team remain consistently contenting. If he makes a move and the player does not work out, that is a different story. Then, at least he tried to improve the team.

However, this transaction silence and inactivity in recent July trade deadlines is divisional suicide. If the Mets fail to benefit from this trade deadline and strengthen their team for the next few months and beyond, than they are a small market team.

If that is the case, then they need a new strategy because a small market team mindset does not win in New York. It rarely wins in major league baseball or sports in general for that matter. That mentality never wins in the NL East.


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San Francisco Giants: Trade Targets Should Play Corner Infield

July 17th, 2010

As the San Francisco Giants open up the second half of the 2010 season with a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday, the rumors of trading for a big bat still grabbed more attention.

Whether it is more talk about Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder Corey Hart, Kansas City Royals' outfielder Jose Guillen, or even what the minor league signing of pitcher Dontrelle Willis' means to trading for a bat, the buzz about the Giants is centering around improving the offense.

Despite the fact Tim Lincecum was at his filthiest on Thursday, dominating the Metropolitans for a complete game shutout, and despite the fact both the young studs Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey drove in big runs, the news still centered around possible trade acquisitions.

And in all fairness, discussing potential offensive upgrades to the Giants is only far too easy.

Obviously, the biggest issue with the Giants not being able to truly contend in recent seasons has been their lack of offensive talent.

However, the problem is that the most popular rumors are dealing with corner outfielders and not corner infielders.

Which is the heart of the problem.

San Francisco already owns a glut of outfielders.

Aaron Rowand has been struggling throughout the season and as much as fans rejoice in his lack of playing time, his $12 million per year contract must see to it that he plays at least every now and then as well as everyday when he gets on a hot streak.

Then there is Rowand's main replacement in Andres Torres, the speedy center fielder who is currently sidelined with a minor injury (no DL necessary as of yet) but has given the Giants the prototypical leadoff man they have been missing for quite some time.

Plus, with solid veteran bats in Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff at the outfield corner positions and the defensive prowess of Nate Schierholtz, the Giants already have five outfielders eating up innings.

Even if the Giants move Huff back to first base, and then trade for an outfielder, that still leaves two outfielders worthy of significant playing time on the bench.

And with the Giants manager Bruce Bochy always having trouble making out a consistent lineup card, adding more glut to the outfield isn't an ideal situation.

Not only would the Giants have to give up an arm and a leg (most likely Matt Cain and prospect Thomas Neal) to acquire an outfielder in Hart (whose current value is through the roof) but what would that mean to Nate Schierholtz?

Or what about Torres? Would he get less playing time if Rowand starts swinging the bat? And Pat Burrell should be getting 3-4 starts a week but not playing everyday.

When Burrell takes a game off, do the Giants move Huff back to left field and insert Ishikawa at first?

The point that needs to be addressed is that even I am confusing myself in discussing all the possible outfield and infield combinations if the Giants were to trade for yet another outfielder.

While being versatile is ideal, switching players around everyday can cause certain players to struggle.

It can't be ignored that consistency in where players find themselves in the lineup and on the field each and everyday often helps them reach their a comfort zone quicker than if they keep getting moved up and down the lineup and from position to position.

What is the most wide open spot the Giants have on the field?

Corner infield.

Or more specifically first base.

With Pablo Sandoval capable of playing either first or third, ideally the Giants would target a trade for either a third or first baseman.

Why is this the case? Well, when you consider that  Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and now Travis Ishikawa have all seen time at first base, it is clear that a spot is available to be anchored down at first base.

With Huff now playing a lot in the outfield, Posey moved to catcher full time, and Ishikawa more of a role player than everyday starter, there is a clear vacancy for an everyday first baseman.

Now when it comes to corner infielders available, the spot to look first would be in Washington in an attempt to see what it would take to acquire either third baseman Ryan Zimmerman or first baseman Adam Dunn.

Both players would probably require as much, if not more than, the return the Brewers will be asking for in regards to Hart.

So chances are, both players are out of San Francisco's price range.

That said, looking around the bottom feeding teams in the National League and there are some quality corner infielders that should be available for considerably less in return.

For example, the Chicago Cubs are not going anywhere this season, and the 35-year-old Derrek Lee could be had for merely prospects. He may be only hitting .238 thus far, but he has proven throughout his career to be a dynamic hitter.

Change of scenery to a place closer to his Sacramento roots could jump start the veteran first baseman.

Houston's Lance Berkman could be had for relatively cheap, as the 34-year-old hasn't been playing up to his prior standards this season. While he still has enough game to require better prospects, Berkman is still an intriguing option.

There is also Arizona's Adam Laroche, who was said to have been offered more money by the Giants this offseason before signing a one year deal with the Diamondbacks. With things not going as planned in Arizona, and LaRoche's camp reporting that there aren't any negative feelings towards the Giants, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in orange & black.

And finally, the only cheap option still in his 20's is none other than Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones. Jones can hit for power and play everyday at first base and solidify the Giant infield. He isn't likely to cost much more than maybe a reliever with some big league experience and an average prospect.

Each one of these cheaper candidates are low risk, high reward. They each currently play for a lousy NL team, and would welcome a change to a winning team.

Sure, all Giants fans would prefer the Ryan Braun's, Prince Fielder's, Adam Dunn's, and Adrian Gonzalez's of the world, but the asking price for these types of players is going to be too high.

Plus, for those of us who complain about the Giants not having a marquee bat, then just blame the Giants front office team who could have signed Dunn as a free agent prior to the 2009 season.

Trading for him now would just be a huge waste of prospects and probably a starting pitcher when they could have just signed him as a free agent two years ago.

Fortunately, there are currently some lesser options who could prove to be just as effective down the stretch as Dunn would be, but at a lower cost.

Let's just hope the Giants take this advice and trade for a low risk NL first baseman and not another American Leaguer.

Because we all know how well the trades for AJ Pierzynski, Shea Hillenbrand and Ryan Garko worked out for the Giants.

Not so good.

But those veteran NL first baseman (who currently play for underachieving teams) are exactly the bats San Francisco should try to acquire before the July 31st trade deadline.


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