baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Glimmer of Hope

So far, the Mets have the same kind of mediocre record (2-2) under Jerry Manuel that they had under fired manager Willie Randolph for the past calendar year. And I have to say, that at the time of the firing, I really didn't think that a managerial change was going to get the team into the playoffs, because the problems go much deeper than Willie Randolph's managing.

There have been enough good signs this week, however, to suggest that the Mets may get it together in time to make the playoffs this year, as most experts expected before the season started.

I like Jerry Manuel. His intelligence and vision give him a chance to get the players' respect, and get them to play together for a common goal. He seems much more comfortable than Randolph ever did as manager, and he is not afraid to make changes and hold people accountable.

The incident with Jose Reyes in the first inning of Manual's first game as manager of the Mets was a gift for the team, and may serve to get Reyes moving in the right direction. I've said it many times, in many ways, but Jose Reyes needs to go from being a supremely talented player to a winning player. It may never happen, because Reyes does not seem to possess enough baseball instinct (compared to Derek Jeter, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time). Randolph seemed unable to get through to Reyes, but Manual may have more success here, which is one of the most important changes that needs to be made for the Mets to succeed as a team.

The acquisition of Trot Nixon was a good move, since he is the kind of player they need more of. Hard-nosed and a winner, one who leads by example, not by shooting his mouth off. This only works, of course, if Nixon has some productivity left. That remains to be seen.

Speaking of wondering whether someone has some productivity left, Carlos Delgado's bat looks much better in the past couple of weeks. He looks more balanced, and is taking better swings at more suitable pitches. Maybe he finally made those adjustments everyone has been talking about. That would be great, but he still may end up as a .250 hitter with 20 home runs, not very good for a first baseman with poor defensive skills.

Now is the time for Omar Minaya to prove that he deserves to keep his job. His first task should be to get Tony Bernazard out of the organization, at least if all the reports of his playing politics to get rid of Randolph are accurate. The last thing the Mets need is to split into two camps, like the Yankees did a few years ago. Brian Cashman did a great job bringing his team back together, and Minaya needs to do the same thing now.

Bringing in Wayne Krivsky was a good move. He made some great trades with the Reds, and may be able to help Minaya retool this team for a pennant race. The need is for youth and athleticism/health/energy, not overpriced, over-the-hill veterans. In other words, the Mets need to act more like the Oakland A's, and less like themselves.

Some day I would love to see the list of players who failed amphetamines tests, and the dates of the failed tests. I think the weaning off of speed is having a huge impact on players' performances, and the fans have no way to know what is happening in this area. The whole idea that the first failed test is not reported is one of the silliest things I've ever heard of. This is not a recreational drug issue; it is a cheating issue. Cheaters don't need rehab; they need deterrence.

Caroms Off the Wall

What if Pedro Martinez is done? It seems clear to me that Orlando Hernandez and Jose Valentin are finished, but the Mets are still counting on Pedro to contribute to winning this year. He has been very erratic, in addition to being ridiculously injury-prone, all year, and if he doesn't get it going, they may have to consider replacing him in the rotation. With the unpredictable Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey already in the rotation, the Mets desperately need another reliable and effective starter to go along with John Maine and Johan Santana. Signing Freddy Garcia would be a good move to increase their options for the last third of the season, but they may need another young starter right now. Bronson Arroyo comes to mind.

© Judy Kamilhor 2008


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