09.28.08

Collapse II : Fish Deliver Wrecking Ball To Shea, Mets’ Playoff Hope

Posted in Baseball at 6:19 pm by

Marlins 4, Mets 2

(members of the 89-73 New York Mets try to contain their excitement during postgame festivities that included video highlights of each Black 47 concert from Shea’s legendary Ethnic Heritage Nights)

Does a team with a 12-13 mark in September have any business ruing a playoff miss? How about a club with the vaunted production of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado scoring a combined 5 runs over the course of 3 must-win games?  While Jerry Manuel deserves considerable credit for funny press conferences turning the Mets’ season around, the fact remains his squad was beaten by a nose to the Wild Card by a Milwaukee side that fired their manager two weeks ago.  Really, let the freezing fucking cold winter of recriminations begin, and since I can’t find any members of the Mets relief corps at the moment, I’ll instead consider the status of Omar Minaya, he of the recent 4 year contract extension.

Minaya has now presided over a pair of late season folds, and if he’s gonna receive bouquets and job security for promoting Manuel, the question oughta be raised whether or not Gangsta Jerry was sent into battle with inadequate ammo. That both of the Mets 2008 manager were provided without a Plan B in place for the loss of Moises Alou and routinely had to endure the torture of watching Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, etc. falter, is squarely on club management and ownership. It’s pretty hard to get psyched up for keying Luis Ayala’s car (but go on, twist my arm, I’m free all week) — at what point did any of us close our eyes and believe he’d morphed into Trevor Hoffman?

At one stage earlier this month, the Mets dropped 3 of 4 to a pair of teams (Braves, Nationals) a combined EIGHT THOUSAND games out of contention.   They managed barely any offense this weekend against a foe with absolutely nothing to play for besides pride.  Well, that and the satisfaction of giving Wally Matthews a boner.

These Florida Marlins are becoming awfully adept at ruining the final day of the Mets’ regular season. If Hank Steinbrenner were in charge, you can be sure he’d already be on the phone to next year’s schedule makers.

12 Responses to “Collapse II : Fish Deliver Wrecking Ball To Shea, Mets’ Playoff Hope”

  1. David Roth says:

    There’s something appropriate about Matt Lindstrom — given away for doughy goof Jason Vargas and minor league free agent-to-be Adam Bostick — getting the last out. It’s not ironic, though, considering that trades like that (and the humps he garbage-picked to replace those young arms he dealt) earned Omar that 4-year vote of confidence. It’s just appropriate.

  2. Kent says:

    Minaya IS the problem and always has been. His “successes” have come because of NYC money and not really his foresight or ability to find talent. Great, he got Santana and Beltran and Pedro, really great, but these examples weren’t exactly finding diamonds in the rough. (Remember, this is the guy who traded Sizemore, Lee, and Phillips[?] to the Indians for Bartolo Colon in the mistaken belief that the Expos ‘were in playoff contention.’)

    He also gave precious few chances to Heath Bell and then gave him to the Padres; he dumped a cheap and decent Jeff Keppinger on the Reds; he actually sought and signed Moises Alou; he gave up on Xavier Nady; he, got rid of Milledge (arguable) for Church and then, in my mind, either did nothing or pushed Church back from a concussion that basically wrecked his season. He did very little to shore up the bullpen and has stocked a very solid roster with expensive “names” (see Castillo, Luis or Alou, Moises).

    Yes, I’m angry and I’m sure I’m forgetting more negative things to say.

  3. itsmetsforme says:

    Don’t look for Omar, he’s hiding where ever he has been all season. Now they are saying they’re rehiring Willie, er Jerry Manuel. Hey, while the GUARANTEED FAILURES named Scott Shitywise and whoever the other useless sack of shit came in and pitched the Mets right into the winter, at least Mike Pelfrey (or…anybody) is well rested! They won’t even let Oberkfell coach third base!

    Glarg!

  4. Dave says:

    I hate to be the doe-eyed optimist among the grousing, but I think this is a much more palatable ending than last year’s debacle and there’s some too easy Monday morning QB’ing (GMing?) going on here. For starters, the Mets had a backup plan for Moises Alou, his name was Angel Pagan and he tore his labrum or had some other ridiculous injury after a mere 91 at-bats. That’s when the left field merry go round started, after plan B miraculously imploded. Then, when Fernando Tatis proved to be both alive and clutch (.392/.483/.635 with RISP), he separated his shoulder diving for a ball right when the Mets would end up needing him most.

    As for the bullpen, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Aaron Heilman would use this season as some kind of avant-garde performance art or maybe even a protest against our continuing occupation of Iraq by hanging up a 5+ ERA and generally doing his damndest to sink the Mets on his own. Pedro Feliciano unfortunately regressed from 2006 and 2007′s awesome ability to set down righties yet still had to face a staggering 116 of them. Temple Beth-Schoeneweis was a victim of platoon splits as well, including today’s completely insane decision to pitch him against a righty with power. I’d also take a wait-and-see attitude with Duaner, since two major shoulder surgeries may take longer to heal than this season provided. Everyone else with the exception of Joe Smith sucked without qualifiers, I’ll concede that no problem.

    I also can’t fault Omar for the trades listed above. I don’t think he gave up on Nady, he had an emergency situation and had to respond. I also encourage anyone to look at X-Man’s sputtering finish with the Yanks as proof that he’s more the guy from 2003-2007 than he’s the guy with 327 ABs for the Pirates this year. I also seem to remember the Church trade working out pretty damned well before that damnable Yunel Escobar scrambled his brains for an astounding second concussion in less than three months. It also got us a catcher who performed better than steroid enthusiast/budding music manager Paul Lo Duca, with less racially tinged clubhouse outbursts.

    And for God’s sake, let’s let go of the holy trinity of Keppinger, Lindstrom and Bell. Keppinger is entering his age 29 season next year with a career OPS+ of a staggering 87, including a Ruthian 70 this year. Heath Bell’s ERA was 3 full points higher on the road than at home, suffered a decline in his K/rate and is going to be 31 next year. I also remember him as a guy who every time the Mets brought him up threw hard but couldn’t get the ball over the damn plate, and when he did, said ball was hit hard. Lindstrom might throw hard, but his minor league numbers were no great shakes, and he’s another year closer to 30 coming off a season with a declining K/rate and high WHIP. The sin wasn’t so much in trading him as it was that the trade didn’t work out.

    Omar also drafted Mike Pelfrey, Joe Smith and Daniel Murphy, turned a collection of future nobodies not named Johan Santana into Cy Young-contender and all around fantastic human being Johan Santana and wisely avoided using NY’s big bucks to do things like sign Danys Baez. He should be excoriated for the contracts handed out to Rebbe Show and Luis Castillo and while you can argue he mismanaged the bullpen I would still posit that no matter how bad we thought the bullpen was going to be, Omar was a little blindsided by how bad it actually was. Shit, if we switched Guillermo Mota for Heilman this season, the Mets may have actually won the division. Raise your hand if you can lay claim to that thought even remotely crossing through the deepest, darkest section of your mind anytime before I said it now. Omar also can’t be blamed for David Wright’s inexplicable disappearance in the clutch this year. It wasn’t Omar who struck out in the bottom of the ninth with none out and a man on third against Bob fucking Howry.

    A disappointing, aggravating season? Abso-fucking-lutely. But this team played harder than the one that fell apart last year, but couldn’t outrun their flaws. I guess that’s hard to hear for we fans of a gazillion dollar payroll team, but I just can’t square up 2007′s puke worthy finish with this year’s unfortunate ending.

    I apologize for the Rothian length of this comment but we all know this is a much more civil place to put it than the MetsBlog comment section, or at least it will be until Jeff Innis’ relatives coming looking for Gerard.

  5. Rog says:

    I didn’t have the heart to watch the last game because I knew that the Mess had zero chance. Instead, I checked out the 180-inning, 40-hour meaningless double-header on the YES network. There’s something really deviously gratifying about listening to Michael Kay having to pump himself up to talk about how Bobby Abreu needed just one more ribbie to reach 100 or the constant reminders that everybody on both teams really gave a fuck about Mussina winning his 20th game. I’m sure Francona lost a lot of sleep worrying about all of that shit. It was nice to listen to the YES crew having to burn on-air time the past week. It really was. I’m a spiteful, petty man. Yes I am.

  6. David Roth says:

    Referenced twice in the same post! Dave, I tip my cap.

    I guess I should clarify my Omar complaints. We have no idea, yet, how well he’s drafted, although he did seem to do decently with his early picks and has pulled a couple of decent late-rounders (in Murphy and Smith) so far. I’ll give credit for that. But to my mind, the criticisms against him in terms of having come up “fail” on every single prospect challenge trade and as regards the not-bringing-protection issue definitely hold water.

    To get Rothian, length-wise: prospect-challenge deals are inherently a toss-up, I get that. But whether or not Heath Bell or Matt Lindstrom would eventually be the team’s closer is kind of immaterial when one regards the pail o’ poo that poor Jerry had to reach into every time he went to the mound. Bell and Lindstrom aren’t anyone’s closer-of-the-future, and probably have careers in store that are not significantly better than those Messrs. Heilman and Schoeneweis are currently, um, enjoying. The thing with middle relievers, though, seems to be that the best you can hope for is lightning in a bottle for a season or two; Omar gave up two live arms (at least two: a healthy Henry Owens and even Royce Ring would’ve been nice to have around this year, too) for a bunch of dudes whose entire career trajectories suggested that their tenure as “live arms” was well on its way to being over. If he’d won one of those, he’d look great. That’s why it’s an unfair job. But he has lost every one, and in certain cases — Burgos, The Jon Adkins Blues Explosion, Jason “Superbad” Vargas — has gotten back something like less than nothing: the sort of bummery roster-suck doofs that aren’t even good enough to cost execs their jobs. A savvy sell-high on Nady isn’t a crime; rolling the dice on a known butthead like Burgos is something closer to it. Maybe Bobby Parnell and Carlos Muniz will be bottled lightning next year and we’re all happy. Or maybe Heath Bell gets his two years as 05-06 Scott Linebrink with the Padres instead of the Mets and we all stay pissed. At any rate, this is shit no GM has control over…unless he decides to take control over it and make sure he knows exactly what he’s dumping in those prospect challenge deals.

    And about that backup-plan deal: Angel Pagan doesn’t fucking count. Even Endy Chavez, whom I love dearly, doesn’t count. And when you’re bringing Moises Alou to camp as your starter, you need something more than that in reserve. The team had a terrific backup plan (and conceivably more than that) in Milledge — extenuating circumstances regarding his problematic rep &c are hereby parenthetically acknowledged — which they dealt for two guys I’d argue were more or less unhelpful. Schneider is just plain not very good and was 21st in the bigs in VORP. He essentially was a replacement player, is what I’m saying, and they could’ve pulled anyone off the scrap heap to do what he did (Miguel Olivo and Gerald Laird are below and above him in the rankings, respectively, for instance). And Church, bless his hard-headed heart, did what he always does: put up decent numbers in 400 PAs. The concussions were unforeseen, but something was going to keep him from playing a full season. He’s a perfect Nationals OF, and may actually also be Austin Kearns now that I think of it. But he’s nobody’s full-season answer as a corner outfielder. Credit Omar for coming strapped at 2B with Damion Easley, naturally, but really…he couldn’t see the Alou thing coming? Couldn’t see issues with Pagan (who’s never had more than 170 big league ABs) et al?

    I’m not saying I want his job. Or that I dislike the guy, which I don’t. He makes bad decisions, but all of us who chose to become Mets fans at some dark moment years ago can relate to that. But when the team sputters to the finish line with as many marginals and out-and-out humps asked to carry the weight as this year’s Mets did, even after all the bad luck gets taken into account, it’s got to be on someone. I’ll take the guy who built the organization, if I have to take anyone. And of course I don’t. Right now, though, that’s kind of where my head is.

    I’m good to talk about this more, Dave, but we should probably do so in person. Saying all this dorky, peevy shit out loud would probably shut me up, and I’m frankly needing a drink at the moment. It’s different when I type it: it just sits there, looking…well, also dorky. But I don’t have to hear it, at least.

  7. Timothy Cook says:

    I know that this will be of little consolation to the Mets faithful, and there is no oracle into the alternate reality, but one thought: sometimes it is better to just lose and be done in September than in some, more painfully perverse way in October… Consider the fates of the 2002 Giants, the 2001 Mariners, Bartman’s Cubs, and on and on. Embarrassment is always relative, but the expectations of this ’08 Mets squad weren’t *that* high, I didn’t think.

  8. Dave says:

    You’re somewhat right Tim, but then on the other hand, there’s always the 2006 Cardinals, 2008 Rockies and 1988 Dodgers, who just this evening my father ruefully called “Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and 23 bums.” Maybe that’s wrong, I don’t know, I was only four when they won that Series. While it was unlikely to catch lightning in a bottle with this bullpen, the possibility did exist, even if it was like the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider would spawn dragons that would eat us all up. I swear to you the dragon thing is from an analogy made by one of the physicists involved in the LHC in re: the odds of the LHC spawning a black hole that would kill us all.

    Roth, just follow my name’s link to my blog and grab my email address and hit me up whenever you want to stop sounding dorky on the internet and start (continue?) to do it in real life.

  9. Dave says:

    And Jesus GC, Valtrex ads? I love pullover wearing white people looking happy in Big Pharma ads as much as the next guy, but might I suggest something like Abilify? It’s just got such a cool name.

  10. GC says:

    Just to clarfiy (or actually write for once), I’m not actually calling for Omar’s job. But a four year extension in the wake of a 2nd consecutive disappointing finish seems weird, particularly when the club’s biggest hole — relief pitching — went unfilled for an entire season. Unless you count the acquisitions of Luis Ayala and Al Reyes.

    To answer one David and echo another, 109 games from Brian Schnieder doesn’t blow me away, even if the dads of Long Island are sleeping easier. It would be terribly unfair to hold Omar accountable for Ryan Church scrambling his brains, but entirely appropriate to wonder if the team didn’t handle his condition poorly. I realize Minaya’s no doctor, but the buck has to stop somewhere. Other than Willie Randolph’s desk, that is.

    I’m as impressed by Fernando Tatis’ accomplishments this year as any other observer, but the fact remains for far too much of 2008, Carlos Beltran wasn’t surrounded by big league outfielders.

    “I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Aaron Heilman would use this season as some kind of avant-garde performance art .”

    Fair ’nuff, though I do think someone might’ve concluded Heilman was a lost cause prior to August 1 or September 1.

    Tim, I appreciate your comment about the Mets’ expectations, but consider the fate of the ’06 Cardinals, too. Funny stuff happens in the postseason, if the Mets had Santana pitching twice in any short series, they’d have a chance at the very least.

  11. GC says:

    re : Valtrex ads. I have to confess, the schemes via which Adify sells ads on  CSTB are somewhat confusing, even to a corporate whore like myself. I usually take a peak before they go up, but there are regionally variations that I sometimes miss. For instance, there’s a LiveNation ad for a Phil Lesh/ Allman Bros. show in Ashville, NC that presumably not all of you have seen.

    I dunno if you’ve seen the banner ads for “Desperate Housewives”, but never let it be said Adify doesn’t know our readership.

  12. Rog says:

    “club’s biggest hole — relief pitching…”

    Wasn’t the club’s biggest hole Paul LoDuca? Nyuk nyuk.

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