Here are answers this fan wants from the Mets

When the Mets hired Terry Collins, he was 62 years old and had not managed in the majors in a dozen years. His hiring was never about being a long-term answer. Instead, he was supposed to bring professionalism back to the position and help transition to a new era. He was a caretaker. Webster’s defines caretaker as: one that gives physical or emotional care and support.

Yesterday, Collins trampled all over the idea of being a caretaker. Rather than offering that type of care, he continued to act cavalierly about one of his players – Jordany Valdespin – and even worse he dismissed the fans. “I don’t answer to fans,” he remarked, and no amount of spin from the Mets’ broadcasters is going to make that comment go away or reduce its significance.

No one expected the 2013 Mets to contend for a division title. What we did expect was the team to be not so listless in nearly every department. In their last 17 games they are 4-13 and they are on a five-game losing streak, one that figures to advance to at least seven games because the only pitcher who inspires any confidence at this point is Matt Harvey – and he doesn’t pitch again until Friday. And let’s not let the offense off the hook, either. In those 17 games, they’ve scored just 50 runs and 14 of those came in back-to-back games.

It seems to me you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. So, here are three people who need to be removed immediately, if not sooner.

Terry Collins – There’s no doubt he’s part of the problem. His terrible bullpen deployment and questionable lineup decisions merited his removal previously. We can only hope his PR gaffe ends up being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Robert Carson – It’s wonderful that he’s lefty and throws in the mid-90s but I would be more impressed if he could consistently get batters out at a level above A-ball. He needs to be somewhere else besides Queens.

Ike Davis – On the penultimate day of April it was apparent to me that he needed to be sent down to work on, among other things, his attitude towards success. Since then he’s posted a .479 OPS in 39 PA. For the season he has a .549 OPS and a 29.9 K% in 134 PA. He’s never going to succeed striking out that frequently.

Fair enough, you may be thinking. But removing people is only part of the solution. Who replaces these three parts?

Manager – The idea should be to get an interim manager for the rest of the year and a new person for 2014. As for who the interim manager is – is Jack McKeon available? He’s had luck at that position previously. But in all seriousness, this is an “addition by subtraction” move and anyone who doesn’t insist on carrying guys solely because they throw with their left hand would be an improvement. Bud Selig gave us Sandy Alderson – perhaps he’d give us Joe Torre, too. At least he could run a bullpen.

Relief Pitcher – With the recent promotions of Greg Burke and Collin McHugh – there’s no obvious choice to replace Carson. As this is likely to be a short-term move, let’s find out why Gonzalez Germen is on the 40-man. He’s got a nearly 3 to 1 K/BB ratio at Las Vegas and carries a 9.1 K/9 mark so those are both promising things. He gets an audition until Jeurys Familia is ready to return and if Germen pitches well, there should be no shortage of other candidates to be sent down, instead.

First Base – Move Lucas Duda to the position and call up Collin Cowgill. Install Cowgill in the everyday lineup and leave him there for the rest of the season. As for Duda, can we please teach him to lay off pitches at his feet? I know lefties like the ball low but Duda is now swinging at pitches he simply cannot hit. His pitch recognition is sinking into Davis territory.

The outfield should be Cowgill, Juan Lagares and Valdespin. My personal opinion is that neither Lagares nor Valdespin are starting-caliber outfielders but let’s give them a legitimate chance to sink or swim. If 200 PA from now either or both of these guys are performing at MLB averages for their position – that’s great. And if they aren’t, hopefully everyone can accept them as bench players and not clamor for more than they can give.

With Valdespin as an outfielder, a move has to be made to add a backup shortstop. Omar Quintanilla did a nice job with the Mets last year, so let’s promote him and DFA Rick Ankiel. While the Ankiel back story is great, the last thing this team needs is a guy who whiffs in over half his plate appearances. Welcome him back if he’s willing to go to Las Vegas and while we’re at it – might as well see if he’s willing to resume his career as a pitcher.

As for the pitching, it was one thing to be performing poorly when bad weather and April off days caused havoc with the rotation. But everyone is pitching on regular rest now and there’s no reason to tolerate continued rotten performances. Starting with Shaun Marcum tonight, every non-Harvey starter is on alert that they can be moved to the bullpen at any time if their current rotten performances continue.

Finally, with the bullpen, have each pitcher ready, willing and able to go two innings at a time if needed. Stop with the multi mid-inning changes and look to use no more than four pitchers (including starter) in any nine-inning game. The constant usage has already claimed a victim with Scott Atchison on the DL – let’s not have any more casualties.

The 2013 season is at an ugly point and it’s past time to start making moves with the long-term interest of the club at heart. Let’s see who can deliver Quality Starts, let’s see which relievers can contribute if not over-used, let’s see which young outfielders could perform as starters. And let’s see if a demotion can help Davis become the player we all hope he can be.

22 comments for “Here are answers this fan wants from the Mets

  1. Za
    May 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    At least we’re headed to a strong (and protected) draft pick in 2014. I’m about as big of an Alderson fan as you can find but between Ankiel, the rest of this outfield, and the general malaise spreading through this team, things need to change. I expect a major roster revamp coming in the next several months.

    • May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      I like the idea of a roster overhaul, but from where? Who do the Mets have that any other team wants, except Harvey, Wright, Wheeler and d’Arnaud? If they have guys at AAA that are any better and/or readier than what’s here, they’d have been up already, don’t you think?

      Are the Mets going to promote Wheeler & d’Arnaud as soon as they come back from injuy, then trade the remaining Las Vegas roster — including Wally Backman — to MIA for Stanton? There is no Cavalry. What’s here is here.

      I find myself pining for 2004…

      • Chris F
        May 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

        Charlie, This has exactly put me in the corner that led to my post in the “Contender” article. The plain fact is this team is overstuffed with marginal talent in both the Bigs and the Farm. I like our coming arms, and there may be a position player worth a look, but we are a team staffed by below average players, and a below average coaching staff, that is being overseen by a lack luster FO, and the second worst owners in the MLB. A roster overhaul is preferable, but how? Is the end so distant that we might as well see what we can get for Harvey and d’Arnaud? Sure some quality folk will bleed in, but the system is so strongly buffered by mediocrity and such a confused plan for forward action that these will lead to limited success. We are rapidly becoming, and perhaps already were, the Marlins and Astros. Our record sure seems to confirm it.

        • May 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

          I would just for once like the Wilpons to come out and say “WE HAVE NO MONEY.” I’d have a helluva lot more respect for them if they’d just stop BS-ing us about putting Madoff behind them and having the resources and participating in the FA market — frankly, I want them to stay OUT of the FA market next year: there are no game-changers there — and proclaiming themselves financially solvent JUST after the last viable FA is signed. Just come out and say it: “We’re broke and any money we DO make is already earmarked, because we’re in hock up to the eyeballs.”

          I can hear that. It’s honest.

          • May 17, 2013 at 12:46 am

            Charlie. That means 2014 is lost already. Clean house? YES! But with a game plan in place. I just don’t see one now. Does it matter who manages the team? Yes! Need to change the attitude of the team. Can’t win every game but losing from bad habits and poor fundamentals should never be acceptable. Can you think of several mangers who might be able to change the stench here? I hate the Wilpons and their arrogance. The last day they own this team will be the beginning of a better future for the mets and their loyal fan base.

  2. Mike
    May 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Ike David is not the only hitter struggling, he’s just getting all the attention because this is his second slow start in a row. Everyone seems to forget that in the second half last yr him and Scott Hairston were the only guys that WERE hitting. Give him some more time, and don’t forget the fact that he has zero protection in this lineup. If he had a few real hitters behind him, he’d see a lot more fastballs.

    • May 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Ike Davis is seeing a fastball 56.6% of the time, which is a career-high for him. The trouble is, like any other pitch they are throwing him now — he can’t hit it.

      Davis is getting extra attention because much was expected of him and he’s been absolutely terrible. If his name was Tim Smith — he would have been cut weeks ago.

  3. Jon
    May 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I think this mess of a club is obscuring some of Terry’s best game managing since he came on board. No telling how bleak things would be had he not been managing the crap out these guys in the few games we’ve actually had a chance to win. Sure he’s a caretaker and I’d be shocked if he were back in 2014 but he’s not the issue now, and even if they were to whack him, the Mets can’t afford to tempt themselves to settle for an interim guy like Manuel again so you’re talking about Bob Geren or whatever till the season’s out. That’s not the kind of improvement that’s going to be meaningful or part of the bigger picture.

    Looks like Cowgill is hitting a little in AAA but let’s see him keep it up for a few weeks before asking him back. His defense was also awful in CF (by my eyes), I’m sure that more than his weak bat got him down to AAA to begin with.

    I’m on board with your send Ike down plan, I’d send Carson and Gee along with him. Just waiting for bad injury news on Wheeler but I’ll take the 2016 salary hit over watching Gee and Marcum ruin my summer. I don’t want to move Duda out of left until he’s a more permanent fixture at !B. Who knows with Ike at this point, it’s been 3 unreliable seasons in a row with him now.

    • May 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Duda just strikes me as this generation’s Ron Swoboda, Jon. All kinds of raw talent, but he just can’t seem to harness it all. And there are the defensive brain-locks as well: as we all know, not EVERY Swoboda game was ’69 Series, game 4…

      • Chris F
        May 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

        Funny to put it that way though. Sure, Swoboda stands out for that catch (which Mantle called the finest catch he’d ever seen!), but he made it at a critical juncture. If he misses, then the WS changes its tone, maybe Mets lose, and have to go back to Baltimore. We seem to be lacking that killer game changer. Ike needed a friggin hit the other night with ducks on the pond…what did we get?

      • Jon
        May 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        I dunno. I mean, that may all be true (or not) but Duda is not a problem this team needs to address right away. The first baseman who can’t hit and the lousy rotation are bigger problems.

  4. blastingzone
    May 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I love your post and agree with you, TC is a lousy manager! If you gave him a great team he
    couldn’t manage it! Maybe its time to fire TC, Dan W, and the hitting coach! We could use better pitchers and better hitters but its there job to do the best with what they have?
    They have got to be held accountable and that includes SA! When Gee says he doesn’t have
    a clue why can’t the pitching coach help him and the rest of the staff? Our offense doesn’t
    exist why can’t the hitting coach help them? Kieth Hernandez has said several times on tv what is wrong with Ike Davis, so if he knows why doesn’t the hitting coach? Signing Ankiel
    is a joke! I guess SA thought signing Ankiel would make Ike feel better as in misery
    loves company! I guess by signing RA, SA thought he could get the fans and media off his
    back for a little while? SA thinks the fans are stupid but were not and signing a has been
    player that was let go by a team worst than the mets is really really dumb!! Andrew Brown had just hit a HR the other day and I really wanted to find out if he could hit or not? He’s has always hit well in the minors but not up here so we were about to find out when SA plucked RA and dumped Brown! I would like SA to bring up Satin to play first base and Brown and find a spot for Flores because they have nothing left to prove in AAA and they might give the mets a spark along with Omar to back up short(I never want to see Turner at SS again!!) and then send down Gee and Marcum or cut him but knowing the mets they won’t because they owe Marcum 4 million this year and want to get there moneys worth no matter what? Put McHugh and bring up Wheeler(If he’s ok) and put them both into the starting rotation right now! Harvey,Wheeler,Niese, McHugh, and Hefner(for now?) is better than what we have now! I believe Niese will get it together(If he only had a really good pitching coach) and the same could be said for Marcum maybe? They keep giving excuses for Marcum that he didn’t have a reg spring training so why didn’t they send him to AAA or AA to work it and not up here pitching batting practice? Even if you made these changes the mets would still not be a playoff contender but
    maybe they would be more exciting to watch!

  5. May 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Nice post, Brian. The Mets GM has lacked urgency from Day 1. I am not ready to dump our cleanup hitter just yet — wait, check that, our #7 hitter — but other moves need to be made. If Alderson was a genius in Oakland, that was still 25 years ago with Billy Beane. We are at year 3 now and still headed in the wrong direction. He gave up last season when the team was winning, and he surrendered before this season began.

    • May 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks JP!

      I feel like Matthew Modine’s character in “And the Band Played On” where he gets frustrated over the blood bank industry’s refusal to spend money to test blood transfusions – he asks incredulously,

      “How many dead hemophiliacs do you need? How many people have to die to make it cost efficient for you people to do something about it? A hundred? A thousand? Give us a number so we won’t annoy you again until the amount of money you begin spending on lawsuits make it more profitable for you to save people than to kill them.”

      So, how many PA is Ike Davis allowed to stink up the joint before it becomes profitable enough for the Mets to do something?

  6. steevy
    May 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Agree with you on all points Brian.Boring as that may see.

  7. steevy
    May 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    So,does Ike have Valley fever again?Is that possible??

  8. Metsense
    May 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    If the Mets fire TC then they should hire the next manager with a 2+ years contract so that the players know that he is selecting the 2014 team. It is time to send a message to this group that if you don’t play up to expectations then you don’t play. I agree with most of your thoughts Brian but I would also consider Brown in the mix along with Lutz and platoon a little. It is a disgrace how the Wilpon’s and Alderson prepared for the 2013 season considering they still charge admission at the gate. The Ankiel signing was an insult to the fans intelligence.

  9. May 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Brian have you gone insane? You lost me at Jack Mckeon. What is he? 80 now? Give Backman the job and let him light a fire under these guys. I don’t mind if Ike strikes out 200 times so long as his defense is above average and he hits 40 home runs, drives in 100-110 R.B.I.’s and hits.250. If Adam Dunn can do it for the White Soxs, then Ike can do it for the Mets. I kept saying in the beginning of the year how our outfield was comprised of leftovers and “AAA” players.You said I was too harsh with my evaluation. Guys passed their prime who are cheap and affordable. Sounds like a KMart commercial. So the team loses 90-95 games this year. My point is there is no solution for 2014. This team will be just as bad next season. What a joke. Don’t you get it? The Wilpons are just trying to survive. There is no future for this team regardless of who manages it. When are you going to accept that so long as the Wilpons own this team the Mets will never contend.

    • May 15, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      I thought it was extremely clear that the McKeon suggestion was a joke but I suppose it wasn’t…

  10. May 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    In my fuzzy mind I guess the joke is on me! But your point is well taken. Whoever the Mets choose as their next manager I think will be critical for the future of the team. Yes Brian Joe Torre is NOT on the list of candidates.

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