The Mets sit today at .500 with an 18-18 record. Not a bad record all things considered. But when you scratch beneath the surface you will see a lot more wrong with this team then right. Take away a few homeruns by Rod Barajas and this season could be quickly barreling out of control. Here are a few issues and what I think should be done to try to solidify this team.
1) The lineup stinks. This one is obvious to say the least. When your start of the season 3-4-5 batters are doing nothing but strikeout, there is a serious problem. Then when you add in the move of Jose Reyes to the 3rd spot and his doing absolutely nothing, you now have, aside from rookie call-up Ike Davis, the “meat” of your order doing absolutely nothing.
You can’t blame Jerry for the lack of production from Wright and Bay. These two have been having horrible at bat after horrible at bat and something has to be done. Jerry has to take some heat for Jose as it was his idea since spring training to bat him 3rd and it’s safe to say it can now be officially called a failure. It’s time to move Jose back to leadoff and let him be who he is. He’s totally confused in the 3-spot especially with Jerry continually asking him to bunt from there. Put Reyes back at leadoff and move Ike up to cleanup. Bat Wright and Bay in either the 3 and 5 spots. While I really like Barajas batting in the 8 spot it might not be a bad idea to move him up to like 6th for a little while as he’s on this streak he’s on. He typically not an idea type of hitter to bat higher, but the truth is the guy is just getting so many clutch hits it’s hard to ignore in a lineup that is at historic lows with RISP. I’d rather see Pagan bat 2nd and stick Castillo in the 8th spot. I know this really limits what Castillo can do, but truth is I’d rather see Cora anyways.
I am not one that likes to see people fired for the sake of shaking things up, but at this point I think Howard Johnson is going to have to go. It’s not entirely an indictment on him, but at the same time nobody has gotten better under his watch and you can make a case that David Wright has been ruined since working with him. It’s just time for a new voice. It’s time to send a message that this offense is not acceptable and we are searching for answers. The status quo is not acceptable. It’s not the wholesale clean out that most of us fans want to see, but it’s a start and the truth is – it can’t be any worse then it is now.
As I just wrote in my previous post it’s time for the Ollie P era in queens to be over. If I never see this guy in a Mets uniform again I will be just fine with that. I’d rent a car and put him, Garry Matthews Jr and Luis Castillo in it and get them a police escort out of town. But that’s just me. It’s time to give Takahashi a shot in the rotation. The guy has been awesome and deserves the shot. I understand this will considerably undermine the bullpen, but if we can consistent performance from the 5 spot that should lighten the load a great deal on the bullpen overall. Ollie is just too much of a liability and too taxing on that bullpen as he consistently goes only 3-4 innings. This would mean Jerry would have to entrust more to Jenry Mejia but I think he’s up for it. He will have his hiccups but he’s performed well thus far.
Truth is K-Rod has been horrible this year. He has very quietly been bad out of the bullpen this year. He largely got a pass for the end of last season, where he was very bad, as people said it was due to the team being out of contention. I am starting to think that might have had nothing to do with it and we just got another lemon. It wouldn’t be the first time the Mets got a bad return on an investment in a closer. K-Rod is a pro, and I am going to have confidence that he will get it straightened out, but I am very worried about him. Worried that we might actually be able to solidify the rotation with Ollie gone, and get consistent performance from a bullpen who is then asked to pitch fewer innings, only to have our closer implode and be a disaster.
I can’t express how much of a lift it would be to actually get Carlos Beltran back and have him perform to what we are used to seeing. If we are able to hang around the .500 mark and say in the Wild Card pack, no other team would be able to make an acquisition to their club like the Mets would be basically doing by adding Beltran to the mix. This would be a great lift to the clubhouse, and a great advantage for the team going forward.
There are two obvious candidates out there in Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. I would personally rather see our target being Lee but Oswalt could be worth a roll of the dice of the price isn’t too high. Adding an arm like Cliff Lee to pitch with Santana and Pelfrey would make the top end of our staff very competitive. You’d then only need to fill two more slots behind them, hopefully with John Niese and John Maine. Adding that one player drastically improves our rotation, solidifies the bullpen. The cost will probably be high, but as long as it’s neither of the “prospects” that are with the big club now then I am ok with it (ie Ike and Mejia).