Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pitchers and Catchers: Met's Pitching, My Angst

This shouldn't take long at all.  The Mets' starting rotation:

1 - Johan Santana
2 - pray for rain
3 - pray for snow
4 - pray for sleet
5 - pray for hale.

There is no shot gun to JOHAN SANTANA.  There is no number two guy here.  Additionally Johan is coming off injury.

JOHN MAINE is coming off two consecutive injury years.  I like the guy, I really do.  His durability is a huge question.  If he does not step up and fill the shot-gun role behind Johan this year, I'm not sure we can compete with the Phillies.

OLIVER PEREZ is slimmed down and supposedly with a repaired knee.  Even during the Baseball Classic his weight gain was noticeable.  I don't think he is the head case everyone makes him out to be.  I know that's surprising coming from me.  But I think his problems are strictly mechanical and correctable.  His landing foot is like lightning; it never strikes the same ground twice.  His landing foot is closed and not open perpendicular to his catcher.  That throws everything else off as you are throwing against your body and with nothing but arm support behind the pitch.  I can't believe for the life of me why Dan Warthen can not see this.  Ollie could be the Mets' Phantom Menace or saving grace this year but it still comes back to Maine if Ollie can even help and be a factor and give the Mets depth.

MIKE PELFREY is Omar Minaya's only hope right now of ever proving what used to be written in bold letters on his resume...: Talent Evaluator.  Pelfrey's freshman and sophomore years have produced a .500 win pct. and an era around 4.30 +/-.  The kid has ability.  I'm certainly patient with him as I am most kids.  I believe too much was demanded of him last year because of the way things went.  His hard sinker is a very miss-able pitch and if he can improve on his change-up this kid could be dangerous.  I think he's got mental toughness and he eats up innings.  If the season turns sour on the Mets this year I don't think it will have anything to do with Pelfrey.

The number 5 starter - I don't know and neither do the Mets.  JOHN NIESE is a kid I like and I would give him the job out of the box.  I believe in telling a kid "here's the ball. We're gonna give it to you every five days. Make the most of it and we'll talk after a couple of starts."  I think that way you give the kid confidence and relieve him the stress and pressure of thinking his next pitch gets him yanked and sent back down to the minors.  NELSON  FIGUEROA is a useful spot starter and good for long relief.  I'm not ready to give him the 5 spot yet in spite of a rather impressive effort in Venezuela this winter.  The only other credible option in the 5 spot is FERNANDO NIEVE.  Again, I'm not averse to give a 5 spot to a kid.  My choice is Niese.  It's the best we can do considering what we have to work with.  Does Kelvim Escobar fit into this rotation?  I dunno.  Maybe.  But it seems like he's destined to be out 8th inning guy.

To summarize the NYM starting rotation, this is my feel:

big IF
bigger IF
and Who?...(not to be confused with Who the 1st baseman)

Can you feel my angst?

This is what we need to know about the Mets' bullpen. 

K-Rod has been pitching competitively and continuously since last February when he began preparing for the Baseball Classic.  He pitched through the season and pitched in Winter League in Venezuela right up until February 1st.  I fully expect him to have a dead arm by August.  It's just too much of a load with no recuperation time to speak of.

Kelvim Escobar, another pitcher coming off a two year recovery from injury has credible work on his resume.  That is before he got hurt.  Omar Minaya is trying to catch that lightning in a bottle that CAN be found from time to time when these players come back from injury.  Omar has said he'll begin the season as our 8th inning guy.  This has been a position with bad luck attached to it between Duaner Sanchez and JJ Putz lately.  Will Kelvim be the latest guy to suffer the 8th inning voodoo?  I guess his arm will answer that for us.

Eddie Kuntz and Bobby Parnell are two more youngsters I think can be tremendous contributors.  I like these kids a lot and sort of blows back in my face my complaints about our farm system coming to a screeching halt.  But let's see.  Time will tell who's right.

There it is, the Mets pertinent pitching information as told by me.  After Johan Santana we have two question marks, followed by Hope and a Mystery in the five spot.  Omar Minaya is putting all his eggs in the Maine and Perez basket.  He belongs in Vegas if he's such a gambler.  I will say this in his defense about the Mets' apparent lack of activity this winter, Jason Bay aside.  The free agent pool wasn't all that.  While I can't explain their head-in-the-sand approach with John Lackey knowing full well their number one need is a #2 starter, I've thought, like the Mets and Omar it's best not to have signed the other pitchers still available.  They would have commanded too much for a minimal return and cost us more in the way of a mismatched and mediocre roster with onerous contracts.  So you see, I can be fair minded and not be so narrowly focused on complaining.

The New York Metropolitan's positional players and offense with be addressed in my next posting.  Blog ya later.

Omar is in a real pickle.  I like him.  I wanted him in 2004.  I'm still on his side.  I'll complain and disagree with him.  I'm not in favor of firing him as a purely reactive measure.  I want to ensure we can get someone with some real clout first.  That requires back room wheeling and dealing.  I'm afraid that's not the Wilpon's gig.  And if the Mets idea of change is another in house move, I'd rather keep Omar.  I digressed.

The Mets starting rotation has a 65% chance of stinking like hot garbage this summer.  However if they cash in on the other 35%, they can be very good.  Maine and Ollie are former 15 game winners.  When Ollie is on he can be electric and his strikeout totals become impressive. If...only if.  If my aunt had hair on her back she'd be my uncle.

That's the Met's and Omar's idea of the 2010 Pitching Staff with my opinion about it.

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