JFro's Sports Journalism and Lists
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Some reasons are more obvious than others. Some refer to the short-term (the next month, the rest of the season), and others are long-term (the future of the organization). Any way you look at it, the New York Mets are a mess. Without further introduction...

(1) Injuries to three of the team's top four offensive players: Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado. 

(2) There's no guarantee that Beltran, Reyes, and Delgado will return to the lineup this season, and be effective. One of them could re-aggravate his injury, or two of them, or all three. This is especially a concern with Delgado, who regardless, is approaching the end of his career. 

(3) Reyes' leg injury is arguably the worst injury for him to have, when taking into account his style of play both offensively and defensively. He's already tried to return twice, and both attempts failed. If this lingers past this season and into the future, then the organization really has a problem. 

(4) Jerry Manuel is as close to clueless as any major league manager could possibly be. His in-game decision-making is often mind-boggling, and it's becoming more and more apparent that he gets to keep his job because of the way he handles the media. Unless...

(5) If Omar Minaya actually thinks that Manuel is a great baseball mind, and that he has the skills that a major league manager should have -- talent evaluation, in-depth understanding of the opposition, situational awareness -- then he's the worst general manager in baseball. I hope that he realizes how awful Manuel is, but I wonder if he really does. 

Join my Fire Jerry Manuel! Facebook group. 

(6) With the injuries, our lineup is an absolute joke. Three runs per game would be asking a lot, as we're much closer to a AAA team than a major league team. 

(7) Our young "talent" isn't really there. This deserves more than one spot...

(8) Mike Pelfrey is still essentially a one-pitch pitcher. Sure he has a breaking ball and change-up in his arsenal, but they are completely ineffective and don't seem to fool any opposing hitters. So he's down to his "sinker," which only sinks about 25 percent of the time. Pelfrey has a 4.67 ERA this season, and he's struck out only 37 in 81 innings of work. That strikeout rate is downright embarrassing, and he's setting himself up for failure long term because that's too many balls in play. 

(9) Bobby Parnell's magic wore off very quickly, and that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Yes Parnell can get his fastball up to 100 MPH (though he's normally in the 94-97 range), but in the big leagues you can't be successful with one reliable pitch -- unless your name is Mariano Rivera. 

Parnell wasn't particularly effective in college, nor the minor leagues. He's never really been able to get people out on a consistent basis because he's not a "pitcher," he's a "thrower." And he never shoots the knees, everything he throws is belt-high and hittable. 

(10) Fernando Martinez is a looooong way off. He's up wayyyy too early, and now his weaknesses have been exposed to the rest of the league. The mechanics of his swing are appalling: he pulls off with his front hip, pulls out his front shoulder, his head fails to remain still, he steps in the bucket, and he ends up swinging with his ass out and only arms going to the ball. 

I like his comfort level in the outfield; considering his age, he's definitely poised defensively. However, he's so far off offensively (hitting .183) that I'm worried that the organization has seriously lowered his trade value. That would be disastrous. 

(11) Daniel Murphy looks more comfortable at first base than he did in the outfield, but that's not saying much, because he'd probably be more comfortable as an Olympic ice skater. He was that bad in the outfield. 

The problem with Murphy is that he'll never bring the correct level of power to the first base position. That's not a long-term issue if the Mets can compensate elsewhere (perhaps a future catcher or second baseman with power), but that's a guessing game at this point in time. I do think Murphy can be a .285, 15 homer guy in the future, but how far down the road is that? And is that level of production really worth waiting for?

(12) Nick Evans will never be the answer as an everyday player. He's had a couple of clutch hits in the past week, but that was more a result of adrenaline from being called up, than anything else. Like Murphy, he doesn't really have a comfortable position, and he'll never be productive enough offensively. The ability just isn't there. He's a lifetime bench player, at best. 

(13) In the minors, Dillon Gee and Eddie Kunz are not potential answers. Gee is nothing more than a glorified control pitcher, and Kunz is another one-pitch guy with no concept of his craft. To be successful, long term, you need a combination of both: good stuff and the mind for the game. None of the Mets' prospects have that. 

(14) Our fundamentals are disgraceful. Poor defense and inexcusably bad baserunning. That's also a reflection upon the manager, who doesn't demand excellence -- or even solid play -- from his players. He doesn't command respect from anyone, anywhere. 

(15) We have the worst third base coach in professional baseball -- that includes A, AA, and AAA -- and his name is Razor Shines. First of all, his name is absurd. Secondly, and most importantly, he's had more runners thrown out than any third base coach in the majors. And yet, in a coaching position that directly ties into won-lost record, Shines has been allowed to keep his job. Word is that Jerry Manuel LOVES Razor Shines. 

I guess he doesn't care about winning, then. 

(16) Minaya acquired damaged goods in J.J. Putz. I wouldn't be surprised if the big oaf was never effective again. He could be nothing more than a mop-up man going forward. 

(17) We signed Oliver Perez over Derek Lowe. That alone, speaks volumes about our organizational decision-making. 

Perez is erratic, enigmatic, inconsistent, and a total headache. Never know what you're gonna get from him, and that's exactly the type of pitcher that you SHOULDN'T invest in long term. And yet there was Minaya, throwing whatever money we had left at him. 

Lowe, on the other hand, is reliable, consistent, and seasoned under pressure. He knows what he wants to do out there, and he very rarely lets his teammates down.

But oh well, we wanted the wild card, and it turned out to be the deuce of hearts. 

(18) The ownership is bordering on terrible. Where did all of our money go this offseason? What shady businessmen did the Wilpons get involved with? Why couldn't we make a splash on the market? Why do they like Jerry Manuel? Why do they love Omar Minaya? The stream of questions is endless. 

(19) Our new home ballpark has killed the confidence of our hitters. At least, from a power perspective. When opposing players like Ryan Braun and Chipper Jones are coming into town and saying how difficult it is to hit home runs in batting practice, well, that should be alarming to everyone. The online home run tracker (the hottest new baseball website), says that over 35 balls hit at Citi Field this year would have been homers at Shea Stadium. Thirty-five. Jeez. 

(20) David Wright is not as good as everyone thinks. Sure he's hitting .339, but he's had more dinkers and dunkers than ever. He has only four homers and 40 RBI, despite the fact that the Mets have one of the highest team on-base percentages in baseball. The runners have been there for Wright, he simply fails to cash them in. 

Wright is hitting .244 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and .182 with the bases loaded. That's a ton of runners stranded right there. 

What I don't like about Wright is that it takes him too long to make adjustments when things are out of whack, and that he refuses to shorten up his swing with two strikes. Particularly with runners in scoring position. 

And sure his steals are up, but he's also been caught stealing EIGHT times. That's way too often when we're not even at the midway point. 

(21) We're the Mets. What can go wrong, will go wrong. And it does. 

 

 

(The Red Sox are the new Yankees. How did they make the transition? "JFro," aka John Frascella, is the author of "Theo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land." It's the first full-length book centered on Boston Red Sox's popular general manager Theo Epstein. Preview or purchase it online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or Borders. It's currently stocked in Barnes and Noble stores throughout the U.S. Also, check out John on Twitter.)   

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