The Mets are a good team. They’ve got a lot of good players, lots of character, and have a real chance at going far this season. However, they could be better. There are some very simple things Omar Minaya can do that will make the Mets a better team.
Fixing Oliver Perez is one of the most popular discussions these days. This one obviously isn’t as black and white. Where has his velocity gone for instance? Oliver Perez, unlike most pitchers, is a guy that need some guidance and oversight. Manuel and Warthen seem to be two of the worst guys to provide this, choosing instead to give up on him rather then try to help. Maybe they don’t know what to do, which would actually be worse. Regardless, Oliver Perez has the talent to be a good pitcher. Someone needs to grow a brain and figure out how to proceed in this regard. There have been signs, even this year, that he can be very solid..
Replace Frank Catalanotto on the roster. Even though his failure is over a very small sample size, his upside isn’t exactly that of a superb pinch hitter. Failure is still failure, and there are dozens of decent replacements to his position on the roster. Right now he almost never plays the field anyway, so you don’t even need an awesome defender to replace him. Nick Evans, Chris Carter, Mike Hessman all seem like suitable replacements.
Gary Matthews Junior. He’s had more at bats than Frank, and has gotten more than a fair chances worth of starts to prove that he can be worthwhile. He’s failed at just about every opportunity. It’s a shame Manuel ever chose to start him over Pagan, who’s hit right around .300 for his Mets career. The major reason cited for keeping him is that he can play center field. (Besides the somewhat undefinable ‘experience’ factor that Manuel always throws out there) Pagan is just fine, so do we really need to have a legitimate center fielder to back him up? If so, you’ve got guys like Jason Pridie and Jesus Feliciano in the minors. If not, then just go with Pagan full time and on the rare day he gets a day off, both Frenchy and Bay know what to do in center field for one game, even if it’s not ideal defensively. This opens up the possibility to any corner outfielder as a backup.
Jenrry Mejia. I’ve been semi-supportive of the idea to keep him up in the majors if he can help the team win. However, he’s struggled at times and it only seems to be hurting his development of his other pitches. The bullpen has been pretty good, and since starting pitchers are so much more valuable, it’s time to send Mejia back down to the minors to work on being that starting pitcher.
Fernando Tatis is another player that doesn’t seem to have much value. His best value is his ability to play multiple positions adequately, but the Mets aren’t in any great need in that regard. Bay and Francoeur play basically all the time, as does David Wright. Cora’s got 2B. Ike Davis could probably do with a day or two off occasionally if he hits an extended rough patch, but the Mets have plenty of adequate 1B guys that can fill Tatis’ role better than him. When Daniel Murphy is fully healed I think he’d be a much better guy to play the role. He’s younger, has much power, and is a better defender. He’s got no real spot to play on this team, and right now doesn’t have a ton of value. If he could be a super-utility guy on this team, the Mets could probably get something of value for him in the off season. No one else even wanted Tatis last off season, so he basically has zero value on or off this team.
Fire Jerry Manuel, Dan Warthen, and Howard Johnson. It’s hard for fans, especially on the outside, to evaluate what role these types of guys have. It’s pretty obvious Manuel does not know how to handle a baseball team, from wearing out bullpens, to giving up outs while down runs late in games, to playing guys out of position. He seems to undermine his players to the media, and always seems to show no faith or confidence in his players that need it, excepting washed up veterans who he plays way too much for some reason. It’s not an easy situation replacing a manager and finding a suitable replacement. They screwed it up last time they went through this, and they’re still paying for it, but it’s something that could definitely help this team.
Dan Warthen and Howard Johnson may be easier. They each seem to have had some marginal success with some players, but for the most part the bullpen and starters have underperformed under Warthen, and excepting Pagan and Francoeur, no player has really hit their career numbers or better with Johnson. It may be time for a fresh perspective on all this, and there is no time like the present.
Not all of these need to be done. There are different solutions to the problems I’ve presented, and some of the problems might not be as dire as they seem to me. However, all good teams make adjustments to the roster, and the Mets have reached the point where it’s time to cull some dead weight, and give some new guys a chance. Hopefully Omar is already discussing which moves he should make for the upcoming games.