Other events in my life have conspired to keep me from posting lately so here are some miscellaneous thoughts from the last week or so.:
- Ryan Church Traded for Jeff Francoeur – When I first heard about this trade it sounded mostly like a trade made for the sake of making a trade. Now that it’s sunken in my thoughts are not quite that bad but not much better. Both are good defensive outfielders but Francoeur is a bit better. Francoeur also has more potential upside from the plate. Let’s be real about Church. The great offense he showed early last year was far ahead of what he can do on a regular basis. And for some reason he’s been in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse. Francoeur, on the other hand, is a better hitter who needs to figure things out. If Francoeur’s hitting comes around then the Mets get the better of this trade. But it’s by no means a steal of a blockbuster.
- Pedro Martinez Signs With The Phillies – This signing doesn’t make much of a difference to me on the face of it. The Mets didn’t feel that Pedro could help their staff. Most fans agreed and we all know the Mets staff needs help. So why should it bother me that an opposing team signed a player we all thought was done? Yes, there’s always a chance that the extended layoff will put a little more life on his pitches than we saw last year. But overall he won’t give the Phillies everything they need. His stuff just isn’t as good anymore as it was when the Mets first signed him and he no longer has the stamina to eat up innings like the Phils will need him to so their bullpen can get a breather. Admittedly the Jets fan in me is disagreeing with that statement. “He’ll be lights out and we’ll look like fools”, he says. But my brain still thinks this is not as big a deal as many fans and my Twitter friends do.
- Mets in 4th Place, 6.5 games Out Of First – If someone told me at the beginning of the season that this would be where the Mets were at the break I wouldn’t have believed it. But if someone told me they’d suffer the rash of injuries they have had I wouldn’t have believed that either. The truth is that as dissatisfied as I am with their current place standings things could certainly be much worse. Though you can plan for injuries, you can’t plan for the number of injuries the team has had. And when you take that into consideration 6.5 games out of first place is not very bad at all. The problem is that the injuries place a major ‘if’ on the rest of the season. Three out of the team’s four core players (Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado & Jose Reyes) are still on the DL and it’s unknown when they will return. John Maine and J.J. Putz, integral pieces of the starting rotation and bullpen respectively, are likewise still on the DL. That’s 5 major ifs. You can’t be too comfortable with your prospects, even when you’re withing striking distance, when 20% of your roster is a question mark due to injury. Keep those fingers crossed, Mets fans. It’s going to continue to be a bumpy ride.
- The All Star Game – I like the All Star game but I don’t like what it has become. The All Star game is a good game for fans to see all (or most) of the best players from around the league play together. It’s particularly good for younger fans who may just be getting into the game. I also think it’s nice that there’s a rule that there must be a player from each team. What bugs me is the rule that the league that wins gets home field advantage in the World Series. It just doesn’t make sense. You can’t put a stake on a game that is played (and should be played) like an exhibition (which it really is). Pitchers only pitch one or two innings, managers try to get as many players in the game as possible, players compete but don’t necessarily go for the throat. These are all trademarks of exhibition and not a game that matters. So why put the stake on it? MLB will say that this is incentive so the players will play harder, the teams will have incentive to win so their Word Series representative will have a better chance to win, etc. But it’s not. It just adds a level of schizophrenia to the game. Either it’s an exhibition or it’s a competition. Pick one and stay with it.