Going into the offseason, we knew what the issue was. The media knew it. The pundits knew it. The fans. The opposition. The problem was the bullpen. The question was, did Omar and the Mets ownership know?
Apparently, they did. First, Omar waited out the market and was able to get K-Rod for 3 years and $37 million. In October, the thought was he would want 5 years, $70 million. No one thought the Mets would get him, that the price would be too high. Of course, that made sense. However, there was no market beyond the Mets for K-Rod. No other big market teams needed a closer. So, by remaining patient, Omar got his guy. Kinda like last off-season, no?
Then, Omar showed he knew that the problem was not solely in the 9th inning. We knew the 8th was a problem. Hell, the 7th still is to an extent. The main thing though was "addition by subtraction", which Omar and the Wilpon's had repeated since the end of the season. Well, we got some subtraction on Wednesday, as we said goodbye (happily) to Aaron Heilman, and hello to JJ Putz, former closer now our 8th inning guy. Now, we also had to give up Joe Smith and Endy Chavez from the major league roster (along with Mike Carp and a couple of other minor leaguers who were at least 3 years away folks). I liked Joe, he was a good ROOGY, but he had had little success against lefties, mostly due to his motion, which made him hittable from that side. As for Endy, look, the dude could play a great outfield, but he could not hit enough to play regularly. When you have a chance to get ONE OF THE TOP 6 CLOSERS IN BASEBALL, you have to give up something in return. When you make a trade, the goal is to get the best player in the deal. Can anyone argue that Putz is the best player in the deal? Look, Endy will hold a place in Metslore forever due to "The Catch", but he was not a guy who could pinch-hit late in a game. Did anyone really want him coming up to bat down 2 with runners on 1st and 2nd? No. Heilman had to go. He just had to. The team had to move on. Sean Green and Jeremy Reed will replace Aaron and Endy. I wish the former Mets luck in the future, and welcome Putz and Green and Reed to the family.
As I am writing this, I see that Omar did some more subtraction, shipping Scott Schoenweis to Arizona for righthander Connor Robertson. At first blush, it looks like Robertson will be AAA bound, as Omar said:
"We're happy to acquire Connor Robertson," said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. "He has a solid minor league track record and he's a good addition to our system."
So, goodbye Scott. Maybe the Diamondbacks will be smart enough to NEVER let you face righties.
At the end of the season, my checklist of guys who needed to go bye-bye went like this:
Two down. We are probably stuck with Castillo. Maybe he will come to camp in shape. Maybe he will bounce back. He fucking better.
So what else has gone on. Let's see, oh, the Yanks have signed
Ah, I see the Phillies signed Raul Ibanez. Thank you. I wanted no part of him and was worried Omar would sign him. Much appreciated.
In other Philly news, Chase Utley had hip surgery. I wonder if they changed the grease in his hair while they were at it. He could be back by May, but could be out longer.
Oh, and I see WFAN hosts Benigno and Roberts invited Cole Hamels on their show Thursday. Why you ask? Because WFAN loves nothing more than to piss all over the fans of the team they are the flagship station of. Do they really think Mets fans want to listen to Cole Hamels? Then, they made it worse by asking him if the Mets are "choke artists:. Of course, Cole agreed, and went into a discussion about how the Mets choke, and they have no respect for the game, specifically citing Jose Reyes rounding the bases with his finger extended. Now, Cole feels it is OK to celebrate when you win, otherwise, it is bad. Fine. So next season, when J-Roll points to the dugout when he hits a single, or Howard stands at home plate for 5 second when he hits a home run, or Victorino stands on home plate for 8 seconds after scoring a run, will he say something to them? Will he be OK if an opposing pitcher hits one of them for doing so?
I am sick and fucking tired of the double standard when it comes to the Mets. Reyes ONE TIME did that, and it was after he hit a go-ahead home run against the Phillies. It was not in a blowout. I understand about perception, and how it is hard to change an early impression. Yeah, maybe some of the stuff was over the top in the past, but you know what, no one says shit about Manny cadillacing around the bases, or Rollins talking shit before he did anything of note, or countless other players. How about the "Bash Brothers"?
And my fellow Mets fans, enough with the "they hate us, we need to stop the celebrating". Fuck them. Lift up your skirt and show a little sack. Who gives a shit if other teams hate us. At the end of the day, it means squat in terms of who wins. The Marlins did not beat the Mets because they hated them. They won because that Sunday their pitcher dominated our hitters. It is that simple. The Mets did not lose the division because other teams disliked them. They lost it because the bullpen SUCKED. It wasn't hatred that caused Sho to not be able to get out righties, he couldn't do so BEFORE he became a Met.
Quit whining about teams hating the Mets. They should hate them. And the Mets should hate them right back. Everyone hated the 1986 team. That didn't stop them. This team needs a little bad-ass on it. Two years ago our pitchers pitched inside. Last year, nobody did. Time to do it again. Cole Hamels better see some inside heat. Rollins, Utley, Victorino, the whole lot of them better know not to crowd the plate. Especially Utley who hangs over the plate like Sabathia at a buffet table. Back them the fuck up. And if they bitch, they bitch. Jerry talked about being gangsta last year. I rarely saw it. Bring it this year. Have the mentality that no one can beat you.
This team needs to start out strong. Not 15-10 strong, I'm talking 20-5 strong. Send a message early. And then, keep it up. No cruise control. No mercy. You've got Santana as your ace. You've got Putz and K-Rod at the back end. Beltran, Wright, Reyes in your lineup. Enough excuses. Just.Fucking.Win.
This team will be better next year fans. Book it.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year to all.