Jeff in Las Vegas: In listening to analysis from the TV crew, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling have some great insight on the performance/development of the young guys, like Matt Harvey. Do they talk to the players in pre- or post-game situations or on road trips or flights?
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
From what I understand, though I’m sure they interact, there isn’t a whole lot of advice or insight being passed back and forth. In the case of Keith, he once told me he is more
than happy to help a current player on the team, so long as that player seeks
him out. But, (and I assume this is the case for Darling as well) he doesn’t just go in the clubhouse and start telling people their business, without an invitation.. and I understand the players and coaches prefer it that way, as well.
Michael in Bethpage: What do you think so far of Matt Harvey? He looked great in his first start, but has been just so-so since.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
That’s true, but those are also the only four starts of his big-league career. I think it’s totally unfair to cast jugement on what this kid’s future will be given that limited resume. What I do know is he can clearly pitch at this level, he belongs here and he will likely be part of this rotation next season. To me, his last start was actually rather encouraging, because he started off rough (throwing 33 pitches and letting up two runs in the first inning) in his first start in Citi Field), yet he settled down and managed to throw five additional innings without giving up a run. He was probably a bit jacked up, understandably, and yet got it together… and that’s a really good sign. Basically, he (like all pitchers) needs to learn how to better command his pitches, specifically first pitch strikes, and he must command the inning better… pitch to contact, etc… and he will, in time. He was called up at the right time, and he should get close to 10 starts against major-league hitters this year to learn from in advance of next Spring Training.
WFAN’s Evan Roberts is right when he says on air that the Mets should look for a cash-for-player type trade to bring in an over-paid veteran arm for the bullpen.
Roberts suggested Francisco Rodriguez, who will earn $8 million this year. He will be a free agent at the end of this season, during which the Brewers are six games under .500. He also suggested Huston Street, who is having a terrific season for the Padres, who are 26-47 and in dead last. Street will earn $7.5 million this season. He has a $9 million option for next season, but a team buyout for $500,000.
This past off season, multiple reports indicated the Mets had interest in Street, despite his one-time feud Bob Geren, who is Terry Collins’s bench coach. The Padres eventually acquired Street from the Rockies last December.
Ordinarily, I am totally against making trades for relievers… especially in June… mostly because relief pitchers are incredibly inconsistent and rarely worth this level money.
Last night on Twitter, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney said the Mets will probably wait until the All-Star break before digging in to the trade market for bullpen help.
The Mets say they have money to spend on this year’s roster, and I’m sure they’d prefer to wait and see… However, their bullpen is a total mess and their internal options are underwhelming. Trading cash for a player like Street or K-Rod or someone else, who may or may not help, will at least a) add an experienced body to the roster, and b) show fans and their players that Ownership and management believe in the potential of this year’s team.
I made this post last week, but I’m getting this question again today so it seems like it’s worth re-posting today…
Yes, the Mets need to sign RA Dickey to a contract extension as soon as possible… more so than David Wright, frankly. However, like Wright, my guess is it waits until the off-season, when they can pick up his option then build it in to a new deal.
The reality is, at this point, Dickey could get a four- or five-year deal on the open market. The guy might be 37 years old, but in knuckleball years that’s like just turning 30. The way he’s throwing, and with how little stress he puts on his arm, and considering his work ethic, plus being as dominant as he is, it looks like he could pitch well in to his 40s (much like Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough, Phil Niekro and others like them).
Sure, he could roll the dice, pitch through next year and raise his price… maybe. But, for a pitcher like he is, and such a unique pitcher at that, assuming he likes it here and wants to stay, it would make far more sense for him to lock in what he can now (at a fair price) and proceed with a level of security he probably never dreamed about just a few years ago.
Lastly, he must have tremendous value to the Mets as a face, as a marketing tool and someone fans truly love to connect with. He’s great on Twitter. He’s passionate about his interests. He’s smart. And he represents them in a way most teams would dream about. Basically, he comes across as a regular guy, who happens to play baseball, while most in his league are coddled baseball players who rarely come across as normal people. I don’t know what that’s worth, but it has to be worth something…
We were all on the same page last night… and it was great.
Payroll arguments, legal debates, conspiracy theories, nitpicky reporting, it all took a backseat as every fan, every reporter and every skeptic let go of thinking about tomorrow and simply enjoyed the moment… together. That hasn’t happened around here in quite some time.
“This felt like more than a no-hitter. It felt more like an exorcism,” Randy Media said perfectly on his blog today. “Johan and company were exorcising the demons of a rough few years.”
He’s right. That is what it felt like.
To cap it off, in the clubhouse, immediately after the game, Santana told his teammates, “Believe it,” which he later repeated in a post to Mets fans on Twitter, adding:
I love this statement, “Believe it,” because it’s not just about tomorrow. It’s not “Ya Gotta Believe,” a phrase I will always cherish, but which has taken a hit the last few years. Instead, Santana’s statement is about believing what just happened. It’s not aspirational, it’s simply definitive… and that’s refreshing.
The question is: Is last night’s no-hitter just a special moment in team history, just one amazing game? Or, is it a turning point that adds confidence to an already-confident team, with young players, who want to shock baseball, and believe they can in a flawed division?
Sandy Alderson is thinking long term, he’s thinking big picture. I try to do the same. But, when I see the standings, when I see how excited the players were last night, how awesome it was, I get hopeful and jacked up about this season and all its possibilities. Yes, I know it’s an uphill battle. It’s not likely to end well. And there are all sorts of reasons, some of which I mentioned the other day, to be skeptical of this year’s end game. However, I had also been conditioned to believe a no-hitter could never happen to the Mets… and that finally happened. The point is, thanks to last night’s game, I have a new sense of belief in what’s happening here, and the possibilities seem endless. And, based on last night’s enthusiasm, I’m not alone… Believe it!!
Matthew Cerrone: I will be getting to Port St. Lucie on Feb. 27 (for the team’s first official workout) and staying through March 9. Michael Baron will be representing MetsBlog from Feb. 24 to 27. Vinny Cartiglia will be with me in late February, and Ted Berg will be in town through mid March. It’s my favorite time of year. My plan is to basically do what I did last year, which is to hustle from field to field, taking pictures, talking to people, and quickly posting and relaying to you the general look and feel of life on field in St. Lucie. … I can’t wait to get down there.