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.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

July 4th Weekend

To get Cliff Lee or not to get Cliff Lee, that is one question. If/when Lee becomes available, the Mets should be right there with a good offer, including one blue chip prospect (Jenrry Mejia or Wilmer Flores), a couple of other lesser prospects, and the willingness to pay Lee's remaining salary. This is one of those times when the team is actually one or two players away from a possible playoff run, and if they can add those pieces without destroying their prospect pool, they should do it.

In addition to Lee, the Mets need a guy like Joaquin Soria to be the "8th inning guy" that Jerry Manuel craves. I love the idea of having two closers, so that you can use one in crucial situations and the other in save situations. I'm not a big fan of the current bullpen usage and terminology; I prefer having guys that pitch when I want them to pitch, and do well in all situations. There is way too much specialization going on, without much to show for it.

The Mets have managed to get rid of some of the non-productive players that they started the season with, but there are still three I'd like to see leave. Luis Castillo has limped his way to oblivion, and the Mets need to release him as soon as he is ready to come off the DL. Oliver Perez and John Maine should be right behind him, although there is a chance that some team would be willing to trade for Maine.

I said it in Spring Training, and I'll say it again, I wonder how long it will be before Ruben Tejada is the team's best choice at second base. I'd say that time is now. Having Tejada at 2B makes the team younger, faster, better defensively, and it forces Jose Reyes to become more of a mentor than a student. Not that Tejada needs to learn that much, because his baseball instinct is actually better than Reyes'.

Chris "The Animal" Carter has been a breath of fresh air, and I like his bat, but I have come to the conclusion that he has the yips. The last two throws have demonstrated the problem clearly. The first was a lollypop toss that was frightening to watch. The next one--clearly after being told to fire the ball in--was at a 45 degree angle to where he was aiming, which is actually not that easy to do. I wonder if that is why Boston traded him in the first place? As much as I love The Animal, I think his future lies in the AL as a designated hitter. For now, though, I like his bat off the bench.

It's time for my favorite Japanese pitcher, Hisanori Takahashi, to be returned to the bullpen. Starting was a good opportunity for him to show what he could do, and the answer is that he can pitch really well for about three innings before the trouble starts. This is a great asset in a reliever, and a terrible one in a starter. Once the Mets get Lee (I'm trying to be optimistic here), Takahashi can go back to the pen, and the Mets have improved both areas of the pitching staff. Once they add Soria or someone like him, the bullpen becomes a possible strength, and gives them a legitimate shot at a playoff spot and maybe a chance to advance a round or two, or even more.

It's still hard to imagine Jerry Manuel leading a team to a World Series Championship, but this team has a feel about it that could lead to 1969-like magic, with young guys like Ike Davis, Mike Pelfrey, and Jon Niese leading the way. Keeping Tejada and ditching Castillo will help, and replacing Maine and Perez with Lee and Soria, will improve the odds dramatically.

Caroms Off the Wall

Is it bragging to point out that I picked Boston, Minnesota, Texas, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Colorado (just wait) to win their divisions? I had the Yankees and Philadelphia as wild card picks. All in all, my picks are doing pretty well so far, although a few years ago, my teams proceeded to collapse en masse at the end, causing me to swear off making future predictions.

© Judy Kamilhor 2010


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