Columnist’s suggestion for the birds


    I knew somebody was bound to write this article.
    Daily News columnist Bill Madden wants the Mets to dump "fat and tardy" Duaner_1 reliever Duaner Sanchez, apparently a new-found clubhouse cancer who’s behavior will wreck our push for October.
    And why — with our starting rotation shaky as it is — would we trade our most consistent relief pitcher last season, you ask?
    It seems an unnamed Dodgers source told Madden that Sanchez showed up drunk once for a game in L.A. (Ever think he might be trying to justify one of the worst trades his team made in the last five years, Bill?)
    And because Madden has apparently uncovered Sanchez’ hidden involvement in an incident at a Manhattan bar, although only Jorge Julio and Manny Acta were known to have been reprimanded for "loud activity" at the establishment last season. (I’m not even sure how to respond to something as iffy as that.)
    Then of course, as Bill reminds us, there was that taxi accident last July. (Like Sanchez asked the cabbie crash into his car.)
Well, thanks for the suggestion, Bill.
    I’ll be sure to file it… along the bottom of Cuddles’ birdcage.
    Here are the facts. Last season Sanchez went 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA and a .223 BAA. Before the crash, he was the surest thing in our ‘pen.
    Yes, I know he flaked out this spring. He got punished for it. And he deserved it.
    But do we really want to run one of the game’s top setup guys out of town based on this kind of speculation, and leave such an important job open to the un-juiced (Guillermo Mota) and unproven (Ambiorix Burgos, Joe Smith)?
    What do you think out there?

Mets in ’07!


The fight for right

     It’s starting to become clear that Ben Johnson doesn’t belong in Triple-A.
Johnson      And now I’m wondering whether we’d be doing ourselves an injustice relegating him to the bench in Flushing as well.
     As nice a story as the revival of Lastings Milledge has been this spring, it’s been Johnson — three more hits and another HR yesterday — who is providing the fiercest challenge to incumbent rightfielder Shawn Green.
     When we got him from San Diego, the book on Johnson — a big-time minor league hitter — was that he needed at-bats to establish himself as a big leaguer. For what it’s worth, he’s smoking at the plate so far this spring.
     With three weeks of camp left to go, Johnson is hitting .409, Milledge .300 and Green .160.
     This job is up for grabs.
     Who would you like to see playing everyday in right field when we break camp?

     Oliver Perez had another solid outing yesterday, giving up just a run in 4 IP to the Nationals. Alay Soler gave up 4 runs and 4 walks in an inning of work.

Enjoy your Sunday and Mets in ’07!


All business

     Know what I like most about this Met team?
Duaner      The trait that makes me think we are destined for something great this season?
     Our focus.
     Take this Duaner Sanchez thing, for instance.
     One of our key relief pitchers shows up to camp 15 pounds over his target weight and is perpetually late for his rehabilitation sessions. Do they ignore it because he’s one of their own?
     No way.
     In fact, in addition to our manager cutting the issue down before it grows into something that hurts the team — Willie at his best — some of our on-field leaders have let it be known this behavior won’t be tolerated in the clubhouse either.
     Take these excerpts from today’s tabs:

Billy Wagner:
"He needs to get his head on right and understand that this is not about him, it’s about us. I think he’s got to do a little soul-searching, I guess, and figure out what he wants: Does he want to be a baseball player or does he want to stay home?"  (from Newsday)
David Wright:
"He needs to realize he’s not only hurting himself by not getting his work in, he’s hurting the 24 other guys. Hopefully, it opens up his eyes and he comes back with a fresh mind and wants to get the work in to be the Duaner of old." (from Newsday)
Tom Glavine:
"No. 1, he had to send a message to the team… And individually he sent Duaner a message that Duaner needed. I don’t think it will hurt [Sanchez] to have a little kick in the butt. … It was a good wake-up call." (from the Post)
Mets in ’07 

A request for our GM

Dear Omar,
     I’ve got a request for you… it’s about our starting rotation competition.
     Just let the best man win — even if he happens to be 23 years old with just 21.1 big league innings on the back of his Pelfreynew_2 baseball card.
     We’ve heard the rumblings about Mike Pelfrey being slated to start the season at Triple-A to get more experience. Guess that would make Chan Ho Park the favorite to get the No. 5 spot. (It’s probably safe to assume John Maine and Oliver Perez are No. 3 and No 4.)
     I’m no scout and I don’t have Rick Peterson’s charts, but after what I saw yesterday, Pelfrey is ready to be as good a No. 5 as we can ask for. And he could become much more — in 2007 — once he cuts his teeth.
     So far in five spring innings he’s gotten just about every batter he faced to pound the ball into the infield. He’s attacking the bottom of the zone with his sinker and slider. He’s throwing strikes.
     He could be a Brandon Webb-type. But with better control and more strikeout capability as he matures.
     That’s too much to delay for a retread like Park.
     Look, if Chan Ho outpitches him, then fine. He earned it.
     But of Pelfrey’s the man for the job, just skip New Orleans.
     Duaner, what are you doing??
     Looks like reliever Duaner Sanchez was booted from camp for a day because of a lousy attitude, bad conditioning (15 pounds above target weight??) and perpetual lateness.
     Dude… you’d better straighten up!
     This bullpen needs you!
     (Hopefully, Willie didn’t hail him a cab after he tossed him out of the facility yesterday.)
Mets in ’07!

Sele-ing his fate

      Maybe I watch too much "Survivor," but I’m ready to vote Aaron Sele off the island.
     I know it’s too early for anyone to be officially eliminated from this rotation race we’ve got going on, but with nine candidates vying for three spots on our staff, the 36-year-old has put himself at the end of the line with such a lousy start.
     Sele’s ERA for the spring is 11.25 after two poor outings. Not good.
     Is there time to rebound? Maybe.
     But with just three or four spring outings left, now he’d better pitch lights out the rest of the way.
     And I don’t think he capable of that.
     John Maine and Oliver Perez haven’t lost the advantage they came to camp with and Mike Pelfrey, Chan Ho Park and Alay Soler have put themselves in position to grab that final spot with good starts.
      Don’t forget Jorge Sosa, Jason Vargas and Philip Humber are still lurking. Each has out-performed Aaron as well.

Mets in ’07!

Tom Terrific

     There wasn’t much this organization did right a few years back.
     During the late Steve Phillips/Jim Duquette days that is.
Glavine_12      But I think it’s time to say bringing longtime-Brave Tom Glavine into the fold after the 2002 season has paid dividends.
      No, it didn’t look that way in the beginning, but if you ask me, time has proven otherwise.
     He’s won 48 games in his four seasons in blue and orange.
     Posted impressive ERAs of 3.60, 3.54, and 3.82.
     Averaged 32.5 starts a year here.
     Saved our bacon with three big games in the playoffs.
     He’s the dean of a young pitching staff that desperately needs an anchor and, as the longest-tenured Met, is the leader of our clubhouse.
     Not bad for a guy who looked like he was shot a few years back.
     Glavine pitched another three scoreless innings against the Astros yesterday. Two weeks into camp his changeup looks ready to go. (And don’t fret it when he gets shelled this month. He always throws one spring training stinker.)
     At 41, he’s bound to slow down eventually and we need him to be an ace more than ever. Still, I have no doubt he’ll respond.
     And at $10M he’s a relative bargain.

Mets in the News
  • Willie Randolph says first base prospect Mike Carp (5 RBI yesterday) reminds him of Nick Johnson.
  • Chan Ho Park is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut today against the Red Sox.
  • Carlos Delgado has a stiff neck.
Mets in ’07!

Size doesn’t matter… still not a bad game


     Spring training is about trying new things, right?
     You’ve got Mike Pelfrey working on a slider. David Wright trying his hand at Img_0895the No. 2 hole. Usually overweight Alay Soler eating a salad.
     All new experiences. Figured I’d get into the act as well.
     So I used yesterday’s game to try out the picture-in-picture package I just had the cable company install in my television.
     SpongeBob for Kathryn and the Mets (albeit, much, much smaller)  for me.
     This is gonna take some getting used to.
     OK… enough about the sacrifices of fatherhood. On to yesterday’s game!

He turned heads
     Oliver Perez. A nice rebound from last week. He gave up a run in 3 IP with 3 Ks. Know what I liked best? No walks. In fact, when you look at his two playoff starts and his two outings this spring, it seems pitching coach Rick Peterson has somehow cut down on his wildness — long Oliver’s Achilles heel.

Turned stomachs
     Not much to report here. Wouldn’t mind seeing Moises Alou and Shawn Green start getting on base — both are hitless this spring — but ideally, you don’t want your team to peak until the final week or so of camp, so we’ve got plenty of time.

Quote of the day
     "That was pretty amazing… I think we all talk about his offense, but I think he is going to win a Gold Glove this year. " — Willie Randolph on Jose Reyes in today’s Daily News. The shortstop made a diving play in the fourth inning.

Mets in ’07!