7/04/2005 10:57:00 AM
METS MID TERM REPORT CARD
As we meet here on the 4th of July the New York Mets stand at 40-41 10 games behind the East leading Nationals and 4 1/2 games out of a Wild Card berth. I think it's safe to say that the divsion lead is about out of the question (I'm not very optimistic about the next four games in D.C.)and hopefully Omar Minaya will not lose his mind and sell the farm to make a run at the Wild Card as it satnds now the second half of the '05 season should be to remain competive and bulid for '06.
THE SKILL SETS (Grade: A)-
Freddy and Jeffy made a pledge to Mets fans that the days of ownership interference were over. We all laughed and said �Yeah Right�. Well guess what, they told us the truth. The Skill Sets turned the keys to the kingdom over to Omar Minaya and the baseball folks for the most part. Sure the Skill Sets have to OK and increase in budget and all personnel moves have to run past them (especially Jeffy) but hell, they do own the team. For the most part they have stayed out of the limelight as they promised.
OMAR MINAYA (Grade:B)
Omar went out and made a huge splash by signing Petey and Beltran and that alone should have given him an A. But the trade of Jason Phillips for Kaz Ishii hurts him and that the team is devoid of a solid everyday firstbase man with some pop drops his grade as well. I still have confidence in Omar in turning around the organization. If he can get a big bat to put between Floyd and Beltran he would go to the head of the class
WILLIE RANDOLPH(Grade: B)-
I was leery of Randolph coming aboard as Mets skipper but for the most part he�s done a good job. I�m willing to give him a break as it is his first managerial job and while his game management does leave a lot to be desired at times, he has a firm grip on the team and you never here any moaning and groaning from the clubhouse. I made fun of his rules and regs earlier in the season but it seems the players have bought into his disipline and that�s what counts. Willie may have been better off with a stronger bench coach who actually managed in the majors instead of Alomar. Sr. I wish he�s been more aggressive both on the base paths and with the umpires but again it�s his first year so let�s give him a chance.
CLIFF FLOYD (Grade A+)-
It�s amazing what good health can do to a guy. Floyd is having his finest season and his healthiest. Not only has he carries the Mets offensively (along with David Wright) but his defense in left field has been Gold Glove quality. I think now Cliffy can a see a light at the end of the tunnel.
DAVID WRIGHT (Grade A)
Some may say I�m grading him to high as his defense has not been great but he�s 22 years old and he will win a couple of Gold Gloves at third base before his career is done. Those who think he should be moved to first base are out of their minds. He lives to play baseball and is a life long Mets fan. With just a year and half of the big leagues under his belt you can see the Wright has the qualities to be the lead of this organization for a long time. Wright is on pace to hit 20-25 HR and 40 doubles along with 80 plus RBI which is just the beginning. Sometimes it�s still hard to believe this guy is a Met. I�ve said before Omar needs to get this kid to sign a 10 year deal now.
MARLON ANDERSON (Grade A)
Pinch hitter par excellence. Leads the ML in pinch hits and adds to the great depth of the Meets bench. Add in that as the third string second baseman he has been solid in the field.
JOSE REYES (Grade B)
He would have gotten an �A� but for his OBA. I don�t dwell on it as much as some folks but when it�s below .300 it�s a problem. Putting that aside, there is nothing better than watching Reyes leg out a triple. Again like Floyd when they say you have everything when you have your health I�m sure Reyes would say amen to that. I think with all the talk about not taking pitches and not walking and his offensive contributions in general, have overshadowed what a tremendous defensive shortstop Reyes is. Again like Wright he�s all of 22 and there are a plenty of guys in the bushes older than him, so you have to put up with the growing pains. Hey Omar make up two of those 10 year deal will ya!
MIKE CAMERON (Grade B)
I�m not a fan of Mike Cameron�s as he strikes out waaaaaay too much for my tastes and if I were the GM of the Mets I would be trying to trade him as he value will never be higher but be that as it may, he has come back from wrist and leg injuries, and a change in position to be an offensive force for the Mets. For that he deserves praise. You know though in he still wants to be a centerfielder and for that he�ll have to go elsewhere.
CHRIS WOODWARD (Grade B)
Another of the benchmarks who comes through when called upon. Has played infield, which is his trade, and the outfield, which for on the job training has been very good. With Mientkiewicz out Willie should give Woody a little more playing time.
MIGUEL CAIRO (Grade B)
Should have been the everyday second baseman from opening day.. Again another player with no good luck as he took over every day and proceeded to get injured. Should be back by the weekend and back at second. A solid veteran ball player who knows how to play and plays with passion.
CARLOS BELTRAN (Grade C)
I am very confident that this mark will be an �A� by the end of the season. Should have been put on DL with quad injury but played through it and was a shell of himself as his legs are his game. Works hard and plays a great center field (yes better than Cameron) and now that his leg seems healed we will see the Carlos Beltran we salivated overt during the winter.
MIKE PIAZZA (Grade C)
Has been much better with the bat of late and maybe, just maybe he has one of those �The Monster is Out of the Cage� runs in him. His ability behind the plate has really deteriorated. Piazza has been under appreciated by Mets fans in the same vain that Knick fans treated Patrick Ewing. We will miss him when he�s gone which will be after this season. I think he will retire after the season and then in five years go into the Hall of Fame as a Met.
RAMON CASTRO (Grade C)
His injury hurt him, as he would have seen much more playing time and AB�s. I think he�s very good behind the plate maybe not everyday catcher good but he catches rings around Vance Wilson. Seems very confident in handling pitchers and that�s the main job of a catcher. Any offense you get from him is a dividend.
VICTOR DIAZ (Grade C)
WOW what a start he had when Cameron was out injured. He was so good most Mets fans wanted him to stay in the lineup. But, Omar and Willie felt he needed to go to Norfolk to play everyday and that took the wind out of �Baby Mannys� sails. Now that he�s back with the Mets, he is having difficulty getting AB�s to the point the Mets have having him take groundballs. If they want Victor to play first then send him to Norfolk for a month of everyday play at first to see if he can play there.
DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ (Grade D)
Even if you are a great defender like Eyechart is, you have to hit more that .219 to play first base everyday. To his credit Meinky was starting to hit better of late until he pulled a hammy. No long term contract here as I�m still hoping for Omar to free Sean Casey from baseball hell in the Queen City.
Kaz Matsui (Grade F)
I wonder if the signing of Matsui would qualify under the NY State Lemon Law. WOW what a bill of goods we Mets fans were given with Matsui. The Iron Man of Japan? My ass! He�s here two years and this is his second injury that has sidelined him for so long he�s nearly forgotten. He can�t hit and has no range at all at second. This contract is untradeable and Omar needs to sit with Kaz and his agent and work out a buy out of his contract. It would be best for all parties involved for this to take place.
PEDRO MARTINEZ (Grade A+)
And they said it wouldn�t last. The Jackals in the NY media tried to come up with every scenario where Petey would be disruptive, cause Willie a headache, and be a prima donna. None of those have happened. Petey knew all this and has shown to be not only a team leader but he is still one of the top pitchers in baseball. Shea becomes a different place when Pedro starts just like it was during the Seaver and Gooden eras. What a pleasure it is to watch him pitch. Just the way he hits his spots and the impeccable command of his breaking pitches are textbook.
ROBERTO HERNANDEZ (Grade A)
Where are the Rick Peterson bashers now? Hernandez has been rejuvenated by joining forces with Peterson who were together with the White Sox. Seems to be the leader in the bullpen as he has been his pen mates protector when the pen is questioned as a weak link to the team. At 40 still brings gas. You could make a good argument that he should be the closer.
KRIS BENSON (Grade B)
Another media myth had the Mets overpaying for Benson and that the lovely Anna would be a distraction. Ha! Benson is not spectacular but he is effective. It also doesn�t hurt to get great run support. If it weren�t for his injured pectoral he could have been joining Petey in Detroit.
HEATH BELL (Grade B)
This is why you don�t go crazy looking for bullpen help as most times that help is right in your own backyard. Should have been on the opening day roster but give Willie and Omar credit for making the quick move to bring Heath up to the bigs. Bell dropped a ton of weight and came into camp fit and trim and with added movement to his heater. The guy throws strikes and is most effective coming in with men on base. Could be closer of the future.
AARON HEILMAN (Grade B)
�The People�s Cherce�. We all know about re-invention of Heilman�s delivery but there seems to be more to it than that. The guy does not get rattled. Has been effective as a starter, middle reliever and late inning man. For some reason Willie uses him in mop up roles and makes it worse to keep him out of the rotation while a dog like Ishii gets a regular turn. Hopefully Willie and Professor Rick can figure out where Heilman should call home (Hint: late innings)
VICTOR ZAMBRANO (Grade C)
A few weeks ago I�d given him a �D�. His starts are still adventures but he seems to have gained confidence. Still walks guys but not at the rate he did earlier in the season. Will always be known as the guy traded for Scott Kazmir. Another feather in Professor Rick�s cap even though it took him more than 10 minutes to fix.
BRADEN LOOPER (Grade C)
I don�t hate him like most Mets fans do but I�m not a member of his fan club either. He�s in the wrong role here as he would be better off as a set up man with Hernandez closing. Has �only� blown three save but one was opening day and one was against the Highlanders so the knock against him is he�s not good in a big spot even though he pitched well in the 2003 World Series. I would not be surprised if he�s traded by the deadline.
TOM GLAVINE (GRADE D)
I have a very hard time rooting for him. Never takes the blame for not having it anymore. It�s either the umpires or Ques-Tech or poor mound conditions. I hate that he came here and I�ll hate it even more if Omar can�t move him.
DAE SUNG KOO (Grade D)
A very tough pitcher to figure out. Some days he looks good, most days he gets no one out. His claim to fame will be his hit off Randy Johnson and his slide that put him on the DL. Had a great spring training but has not been effeictive since leaving St. Lonesome. He�ll be a one season and done with the Mets.
KAZ ISHII (Grade F)
ROYCE RING (Grade Incomplete)
Hats off to The (Lame) Duke as both Victor Diaz and Ring were his trade deadline acquisition and both made the bigs. Right now he�s a LOOGY but he has closer potential. Not enough time to give a full grade.
DANNY GRAVES (Grade Incomplete)
Bold move by Omar as it cost the Mets no players to obtain his services so it�s a no lose situation. After a couple of appearances it seems he has lost a lot on his fastball and needs to stay after school with Professor Rick. Just by grabbing him off the scrap heap shows Mets don�t have much faith in Loopey.
MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THE DEARLY DEPARTED
Jae Seo (should be resurrected)
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