Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Frank Catalanotto’

Another Domino Falls

Posted by JD on June 21, 2010

As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, Jenrry Mejia was finally sent down to Binghamton to resume his rightful career path as a starting pitcher (Bobby Parnell will take his place in the bullpen on Tuesday). He logged 26 2/3 innings in the Mets bullpen over 29 games, including a scoreless inning (with one strikeout) in yesterday’s game against the Yankees. Even though he had a 122 ERA+ and accrued 0.3 WAR during his time in Flushing this is undoubtedly the right move: starting pitchers are more valuable than relievers, and the Mets should take the time to figure out whether Mejia has what it takes to be a successful major league starter. Kudos to Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel for finally doing the right thing.

The roster continues to evolve, and in a good way. Ne’er-do-wells Sean Green, Mike Jacobs, Frank Catalanotto, GMJ, John Maine, and Oliver Perez have either been consigned to the Disabled List or released and the Mejia demotion fits in this trend. He wasn’t exactly a liability in the bullpen but the franchise is far better served by allowing him to hone his craft as a starter in the minors instead of eating low-leverage innings in the Mets’ bullpen. We still have to deal with Alex Cora’s steady march toward a vesting option and the DL assignments are a ticking time-bomb (acutely highlighted by Maine’s recent rehab starts), but lately Minaya has been making all the right moves.

I’ll be honest: I feel weird writing that. However, the standings have forced my hand: it’s June 21 and the Mets are 2.5 games out of first place with 95 games to go, and I suppose it proves the cliche that “late” really is better than “never”. We’ll never know how much better off they would be if Ike Davis, R.A. Dickey, Chris Carter or Jesus Feliciano had been on the roster from day one (I suspect they’d have at least one more win, if not two or three), but in the immortal words of former Jets coach Herm Edwards, we can build on this.

What’s done is done. Cora aside, the Mets’ roster is about as about as optimized as it can be at this point. The next step is acquiring a starting pitcher at a reasonable price. If Minaya can do that without stripping the farm system the Mets should at least be able to contend for the Wild Card, which is better than I expected back in February.

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But I digress…let’s get back to Mejia. The Eastern league plays 140 games in a season and Binghamton has already played 67 games. With 73 games left to play, I figure that Mejia can get 14 starts. If he averages seven innings in each he’ll get approximately 98 innings of work, which would leave him with a season total of 126 innings. That’s a big jump from last season’s total of 94 2/3 innings pitched. There’s some doubt as to whether the Verducci Effect is a reliable predictor of pitcher injuries, but a thirty-plus inning increase should be enough for one year. In other words, hopefully the Mets don’t call up Mejia for bullpen duty when the roster expands in September. The limited benefit would far exceed the possible risk.

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One final tangent: Mejia will make his first start on “Salute to Boy Band” Night. The sheer awesomeness of the moment is unmeasurable. That is all.

Posted in Ike Davis, Jerry Manuel, Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Better Late Than Never

Posted by JD on June 4, 2010

Gary Matthews, Jr. was finally designated for assignment today (Omir Santos was called up to replace him). I was never a fan of this move (even though Brian Stokes was pretty bad for the Angels, it never made sense to me to give up an asset AND pay GMJ $1.8 million), so I’m glad to see Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel admit it wasn’t working and release him.

It’s another “better late than never” move from Minaya and Manuel (I couldn’t tell you who deserves more blame, so I’m applying it evenly). It took them too long to cut Mike Jacobs, too long to cut Frank Catalanotto, too long to remove Oliver Perez from the rotation, and far too long to cut GMJ. Now that it’s done, we can turn our attention to the bullpen, where it’s taking them too long to realize that Perez is a sunk cost, too long to realize that Fernando Nieve and Raul Valdes are shockingly mediocre, and far, far, FAR, FAR too long to realize that the bullpen is retarding Jenrry Mejia’s development.

So sure, it’s good to see them improve the 25th spot on the roster (I’m assuming that Santos is only here temporarily and that Jesus Feliciano will be taking his place shortly…and yes, I know what happens when you assume). But how long are we going to have to wait to see them improve the 24th, 23rd, 22nd, and 21st spots? Clearly, there’s still a long way to go.

Posted in Jerry Manuel, Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Catching Up

Posted by JD on May 12, 2010

Just got back from a business trip which prevented me from seeing a single pitch of the Mets/Nationals series. Here are some tidbits while I try to figure out whether that was a good thing or not:

  • Eric Byrnes signed with the Cyclones…except he didn’t. Damn. I was hoping it was true if only so seat-buddy Steve would stop arguing that the Mets should sign him for their bench. I understand you want to get rid of GMJ: I do too. But Byrnes (12 OPS+) is actually playing worse than Little Sarge (20 OPS+) with little hope of improving. The Mets should bring up Jason Pridie and stay the heck away from Byrnes.
  • Speaking of former major leaguers with dim futures, looks like it might be time to stick a fork in Kiko Calero. From the Short Hops section of this week’s ESPN New York Farm Report (scroll down) comes news that Calero “allowed 13 runs in 1 2/3 innings in a pair of relief appearances last week”. I thought Calero was a great signing in Spring Training and had (foolish) hopes that he might force the Mets into demoting Jenrry Mejia once he regained his form. Now I’m pinning my hopes on Manny Acosta. Hopefully, Acosta performs well enough that his lack of options forces the Mets to keep him after Ryota Igarashi returns, leading to a Mejia demotion. Yeah, that’ll happen.
  • Chris Carter is now on the Mets and Frank Catalanotto is not. I like Catalanotto (and even advocated signing him), but it just wasn’t working out. Even if we’re only talking about the 25th spot on the roster, it’s past time to see what can Carter can do. Ted Berg sums it up his pinch-hitting debut nicely here and provides some kick-ass video (“The Animal roars into second” indeed).
  • Ike Davis continues to fearlessly dive over dugout railings to snag foul balls and he’s not too shabby with the bat, either. Not much more to ad to that statement. Did I include this bullet just so I could link to those plays? You decide.
  • The Nationals are in second place and off to their best start since moving to Washington in 2005. At 18-15, they’re percentage points better than their 18-16 record that season, which they finished at 81-81. Ryan Zimmerman is healthy, Adam Dunn is rounding into shape (he’s just about doubled his slugging percentage in the past two-ish weeks and currently sports a 143 OPS+), Drew Storen is right around the corner and Stephen Strasburg isn’t be far behind (as I write this, he just wrapped up six no-hit innings in AAA Syracuse). It looks like the Natinals might be hanging around for awhile.
  • Apparently the Phillies are stealing signs. I feel as though I’d be remiss in not mentioning it, but it just doesn’t matter that much to me. Stealing signs has been part of the game for a very, very long time. Is it cheating? Yes, especially when it includes non-playing personnel (according to ESPN.com, this particular scenario featured “bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer…peering through binoculars from the bullpen bench at Coors Field”). But it’s nothing to get worked up over, especially now that it’s been publicized. The Mets should change up their signs, keep an extra eye on the bullpen when they play the Phillies, and take it from there.
  • On a related note, Charlie Manuel tried to deflect the controversy by implicating the Mets. According to Manuel, the Mets must be subjected to the same scrutiny because their home record is so much better than their road record. Yeah, that’s the ticket: they were stealing signs! Forget the Cubs’ pitching woes, the Braves’ brain-freezes, the Dodgers’ general incompetence, and the Giants’ total inability to handle a windy Citi Field: the Mets were stealing signs! I’d be offended if I didn’t love rivalries: anything that adds a level of complexity to an already compelling story line is alright by me. Keep talking, Chuck!
  • Last, but not least, the Mets head down to Ft. Lauderdale to face the Florida Marlins. Here’s a series preview from ESPN New York to get you ready. I must admit that I had my doubts when Adam Rubin moved from the Daily News to ESPN New York, but his coverage has only improved since the switch. The series previews are still excellent, and his Minors Reports are, in my mind, the best single reference point for Mets minor league news. Others may cover the individual minor league teams in more detail, but Rubin summarizes it all better than anyone (and now we get daily updates, too).

And on that note, I bid you adieu.

Posted in Ike Davis, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Subway Thoughts

Posted by JD on May 4, 2010

While riding the subway home and thinking about the Mets, this crossed my mind (it didn’t cross my keyboard till sometime later, but you get the point):

  • Daniel Murphy – Howard Megdal had an excellent summary of the Mets options for Murphy over at MLB Trade Rumors. I’m particularly interested in seeing how he handles second base. Russ Adams is currently getting the bulk of the playing time at second for the Bisons, so it’s not as if Murphy would be displacing a prospect. He still has value to this club as a reserve, but as Megdal explains, mastering second base would increase it quite a bit. Remember, he’s under the Mets control for the near future and if he doesn’t get back to Flushing until September, he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2012 season (he currently has one year and 58 days of service time). His future is probably as a utility man, but it can’t hurt to see if he can handle second base full-time.
  • Terry Collins – Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger posted a Spring Training Q&A session with Terry Collins, the Mets minor-league field coordinator (hat-tip to Metsblog for linking to it). Aside from explaining what a minor-league field coordinator does, Collins discussed some of his personal philosophies regarding player development. Of particular interest:

“We’re going to try to slow the process down just a bit. I know everybody wants to rush players to the big leagues. I think that can be a hindrance as much as it can be a help. I do believe players need to be challenged when the time comes. They need to learn how to fail, because they’re going to be humbled in the big leagues sometime. They need to learn that in the minor leagues, how to get through those things. So when the time is right, we’re going to challenge them. But to put them over their heads right now and let them drown, I don’t think that’s fair. I believe in playing with confidence. I really think that means something. And I want to move players up, not back.”

Collins’ approach is part of the reason why I’m glad Murphy is going to Buffalo instead of taking Frank Catalanotto’s spot on the roster. If the Mets are willing to put Murphy in a position to succeed, I’m willing to give them the chance to do so, even if it weakens the major league roster in the short term. They need to maximize their available assets: getting Murphy regular playing time does just that.

  • The Bench – There’s been a lot of talk about the bench over the past few weeks. Robert James at Surviving the Citi had wrote a nice post today highlighting their deficiencies. Gary Matthews Jr., Frank Catalanotto, and Alex Cora have no spot on the team in my opinion, but I can’t lump Henry Blanco and Fernando Tatis in with them. Blanco can’t hit a lick, but I think his impact on the starting rotation alone is worth his presence on the bench. Let’s face it: he’s the best defensive catcher in the organization, hands down. And as popular as it is to trash Tatis, I think he’s a perfectly adequate bench player. Able to play every position except center field, he’s a fine insurance policy against short term injury. Yes, he’s struggled at the plate. But his performance over the past two season has earned him an extended chance (believe it or not). As for the other three, how about cutting them and calling up Jason Pridie, Chris Carter, and Ruben Tejada? It’s too much to ask, but a guy can dream…
  • Chemistry – Back-to-back national television appearances gave me a headache, but not for the usual reasons. This time, it was the continual references to how the locker room has improved, how the Mets have a new focus on “team-oriented” players, and how “locker room chemistry” was a major reason for their improvement. Ugh. Spare me. I’m sure Alex Cora’s a great guy and I realize he’s not going anywhere (my previous bullet aside, there’s no way the Mets eat his contract), but I’m sick and tired of intangibles. I haven’t been able to calculate the exact amount of money I would spend, but I would pay a considerable sum to never hear them mentioned again.
  • Ernie Harwell – This isn’t a true “Subway Thought” because I learned of his passing during the game. Mr. Harwell was a treasure of the game, and his passing hit me a little harder than I expected: my first thought was of Bob Murphy, and the emotions I felt when he passed. There’s a blog post or two in there, but I just can’t write it tonight. RIP Mr. Harwell: we’ll miss you.
  • Rubber Game – As I was typing this post, the Mets managed to survive back-to-back home runs from Joey Votto and Scott Rolen, thanks to a solo blast from Rod Barajas. The three game losing streak is over and the Mets now have a chance to improve their record in rubber games to 1-4. Jon Niese: you’ve got next.

Posted in Daniel Murphy, Mets, Subway Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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