Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Ruben Tejada’

Another Season Ended

Posted by JD on September 19, 2010

Luis Hernandez fouled a pitch off his foot yesterday, then proceeded to hit a home run on the very next pitch. Think about that for a second. This is a guy who, prior to September 3rd, had hit just one home run in 233 major league at bats. A guy who managed just 17 home runs in 3,026 at-bats over nine minor league seasons (0.56 home runs per at-bat). The fact that he hit one off of Tim Hudson is amazing in and of itself, but when you throw in a broken foot it becomes absolutely unbelievable. I’m sure adrenaline played a large part in it (adrenaline that, judging from the pictures I linked to above, looks like it wore off immediately after his first step out of the batter’s box) but, at least in this fan’s mind, that home run will go down as one of the most amazing moments in an otherwise lost season (think Dae Sung Koo’s double off of Randy Johnson).

That being said, this season-ending injury is for the best. I hate seeing players injured, even those I don’t care for. Bench them, cut them, waive them: by all means, please remove ineffective players immediately. But the Mets’ failure to make any of those moves with Hernandez, combined with Jerry Manuel’s insistence on playing him, means that this was pretty much the only way that Ruben Tejada was going to earn the lion’s share of playing time at second base. I’m sorry that it came down to that, but at least Tejada will get a better chance to show us all that he can contribute at this level.

The Mets have been out of the race for weeks now: there was no reason to play Hernandez over Tejada*. The fact that a slam dunk roster move was decided by a season-ending injury is ridiculous and insulting. There’s eight games left at Citi Field and I have plans to attend seven of them, but I’m doing so hoping that next season we have a manager that can fill out a line-up call rationally.

*Actually, there’s NEVER a reason to play Hernandez over Tejada.

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jerry Manuel, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bay Done For Season

Posted by JD on August 20, 2010

The beat writers provided the news today via Twitter (here’s a representative sample from Newsday’s David Lennon): Jerry Manuel expects Jason Bay to miss the rest of the year as he recovers from a concussion suffered back in July.

Great. As if the team’s play of late hasn’t been depressing enough, now one of the more expensive pieces of the lineup has been placed on the sidelines indefinitely. His production hasn’t matched his paycheck yet, but he gave an honest effort throughout the season (and was far more productive than his counterpart in right field). It’s a shame to see his season end this way.

Looking for a silver lining, it’s may actually be a good sign if Bay doesn’t return (I’m not bashing Bay here…stick with me for a minute). If he’s struggling with concussion-related symptoms, sitting him indicates that management is implementing their Prevention and Recovery policy. Medical science is still struggling to understand the full impact of head injuries, but one thing that we’ve learned is that they are no joke. Unlike broken bones, concussions have no timetable for recovery. Benching Bay for the rest of the season ensures that he’ll be given every chance to return to health. Even if we can’t reliably predict that he’ll return to his previous levels of performance, this will at least give him the best chance to do so. Short-term sacrifice is in his (and the team’s) best interests, and I’m glad Mets management isn’t rushing him back* needlessly.

*However, I’m not ruling out his return this season yet: after all, they did let Beltran play last September. I hope he takes all the time he needs. Pardon me for waiting to see it before I believe it.

What makes this situation entirely unappealing is Manuel’s (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Omar Minaya’s) roster management of late. I have no doubt that if the medical staff gave Bay a green light, Omar would throw him out there (and bat him clean-up, to boot). It was just a few weeks ago when we were told Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada would be receiving increased playing time. That turned out to be a pipe dream: not only has Tejada been replaced by Luis Castillo at second, but Mike Hessman has seen an increase in playing time at the expense of Ike Davis and Rod Barajas has returned, sending Josh Thole to the bench and Martinez back to Buffalo.

Why? Because Manuel is desperately trying to save his job and, in doing so, he’s advanced the near-ludicrous notion that the Mets are still in contention for a post-season berth. 11 games behind the Braves, 8.5 games behind the Giants, only 41 games left to play, and our lame-duck manager is harboring dreams of reaching the playoffs. And management (and ownership) is allowing it or, even worse, encouraging it. Absolutely ridiculous, yet that’s what we’re left to deal with for the short-term future.

Losing Jason Bay for the rest of the season is disappointing. What’s absolutely crushing is watching near-useless veterans receive the bulk of the playing time in a vain attempt finish in the playoffs. While I applaud this implementation of the Prevention and Recovery mantra, it makes me wonder: how did the Mets get this one instance right while in the midst of making so many other fundamentally bad decisions?

Cliches are worthless, but I keep circling back to an old standard: “It is what it is”. The Mets will continue to spin their wheels, I’ll continue to watch (as will you), and the organizational inertia will continue to mire the Mets in mediocrity. I hope Jason Bay gets well and has a monster season next year, yet I seriously doubt it will change much.

———-

Update: I really should edit my posts better before publishing them. Upon re-reading this post, I realized I failed to make one key point: Jason Bay has done nothing wrong here. His effort on the field lead directly to his concussion: he ran face first into a fence to make a catch. Sure, I think we would all like to see more production than “6 home runs, 47 RBI”. Heck, Jason Bay probably wouldn’t argue that point. But he gave a consistent, honest effort in each game he played and you can’t ask for anything more than that. Maybe the numbers weren’t there, but it wasn’t from lack of effort.

My issue is with how the Mets have approached the past 20 or so games since he’s been injured, and how they appear to be approaching the rest of the season. The announcement that Bay is likely done for the season triggered my frustration with the Mets’ (read: Jerry Manuel’s) insistence that they are still fighting for a playoff-berth. At this point that’s utter nonsense, and it set me off. Allow me to summarize:

1. Bay’s injury is unfortunate
2. The Mets appear to be handling it correctly, however;
3. They are handling just about every other roster/lineup decision incorrectly.

Apologies for any confusion, and let’s all hope Bay returns to full health as soon as possible.

Posted in Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jerry Manuel, Luis Castillo, Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The End Of An Error

Posted by JD on August 8, 2010

Well, that’s done: the Mets have released Alex Cora. The move, in conjunction with the demotion of Jesus Feliciano, was made to free up space for the return of Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez. It also comes after his 62nd game, leaving him 18 games shy of vesting the 2011 option on his contract, saving the Mets another $2 million next season.

I love these moves. Cora was well past his prime and the thought of bringing him back for more next year was aggravating me to no end. I’m sure he’s a good guy. He’ll probably make a good manager someday, too. But watching him play was seriously testing my patience, so I’m glad that’s no longer a problem.

Of course, these moves aren’t going to make enough of an impact this late in the season. Even if you factor in the decision to bench Luis Castillo and (maybe) platoon Jeff Francoeur and F-Mart, the Mets would still need returns to full health from Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran (and a return to form from Jose Reyes) to make a run of any kind. When you consider how far they’ve fallen behind, it would also take some seriously average performances from the teams in front of them to make it a serious run.

No, these moves do not a contender make. But they do make our team a little more competitive and a lot less frustrating to watch. Considering how this season has developed, I’ll take the good news when I can get it. And on that note, I’m going to make myself a nice cold drink and get ready to watch one of the more intriguing pitching match-ups of the season: knuckle-ball tossing revelation R.A. Dickey versus hard-throwing Roy Halladay. Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.