The Mets had their first workout for pitchers and catchers today, putting to rest quite an interesting offseason for the Amazin’s.
The Wilpon’s wasted no time starting the interviews and picked up Sandy Alderson for Omar and Terry Collins for Jerry within a month of each other. Alderson brought on Ricciardi as his assistant and DePodesta as the VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting.
The coaching staff was next as Dave Hudgens, the Mets 1975 #1 draft pick, replaced HoJo as hitting coach, Mookie Wilson replaced Razor Shines as first base coach, Ken Oberkfell, manager of AAA Buffalo Bisons, replaced Dave Jauss as bench coach, and Jon Debus, from the Dodgers’ system, replaced Randy Niemann as bullpen coach.
The Mets were slow and money-conscience, but did manage to get a number of transactions in the books. Free agency losses include Hisanori Takahashi (Angels), Pedro Felciano (Yankees), Chris Carter (Rays), Sean Green (Brewers), Elmer Dessens (Giants minor-league), Henry Blanco (Diamondbacks), John Maine (signed minor-league Rockies today). Fernando Tatis and Kelvim Escobar (spent entire 2010 season on the DL), are still on the market.
The Mets made some interesting acquisitions while setting a Major League record by signing four (4) pitchers who did not log even .1 inning in 2009, including 2005 All Star Chris Capuano, Boof Bonser, Taylor Tankersley, and Taylor Buchholz. While thinking about the 2009 season, I cannot help but think about the coincidental alliteration. Also joining the fiasco are Chris Young (2007 All Star), Willie Harris (2010 ML Lowest Batting Average Winner), Scott Hairston (potential 4th outfielder) and last, but not least, Jason “Izzy” Isringhausen, a 2000 and 2005 All Star and former Mets’ 1991 44th round draft pick.
A tidbit of good news.. Jason Bay will be back full-strength and both David Wright and Jose Reyes are healthy and ready to play.
Now to rub the wounds… Johan’s shoulder “appears to be progressing well” though his civil suit continues to drag on as he has now requested that the accuser reveal her name in order to continue. Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Francisco Rodriguez are here to stay for now, but hopefully not for long. Lastly and most detrimental thus far, the Mets ownership, Sterling Equities, Inc., was sued by Irving Picard, the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy trustee.
Over the past several weeks there have been many negative hits to the Mets ownership. Picard is reportedly seeking anywhere between $300 million and $1 billion in damages from Sterling, claiming that they used $90 million of ill-gotten profits to fun the Mets’ day-to-day operations. Wilpon and Katz have steadfastly denied any wrong doing and are insisting that they are victims themselves. They blindly invested their money and their family’s money into these ponzi accounts through a trusted friend and may now be faced with having to sell a part of the team and/or SNY cable network to compensate for losses.
Oh yes, 2011 will be an interesting season.
As Johan fired the first pitch of game 1 of the single-admission double-header at around 4:05, barely anyone could be seen in the stands. Sucks for them because it was a beautiful afternoon for baseball as Johan set the Dodgers down 1-2-3 in the first en route to six innings of shutout baseball. He ran into a little trouble in the second, issuing three walks to load the bases, but struck out the opposing pitcher on a 3-2 fastball to end the inning and pretty much the Dodgers’ afternoon. The Mets struck the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second as Wright walked and Ike doubled to left. A few chuckles were heard when Matthews Jr. was intentionally walked and they turned into cheers as Wright scored on Kuroda’s wild pitch to put the Mets up 1-0. In the fourth, Jason Bay blasted his first home-run of the season, a 411 solo shot to left center to put the Mets on top 2-0; no doubt it was gone off the bat! The Mets struck again in the seventh as they loaded the bases behind a Barajas single, Francoeur walk, and a beautiful bunt single by Pagan. An LA pitching change did wonders as Castillo singled to center, scoring Barajas and Francoeur, to put the Mets up for the rest of the afternoon by a score of 4-0. The Mets bullpen has the third-lowest ERA in the NL coming into the game (2.66), which was lowered thanks go three more scoreless innings of relief by Nieve and Feliciano to give the Mets their seventh win in the last eight games!
ONTO GAME 2!
- Happy Birthday Frank Catalanotto!
- Ike drew the first IBB of his career in the sixth.
- A HUGE Pagan fan, but could not stop thinking that Beltran would have caught what dropped for a Reed Johnson triple in the third.
- MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY MADE - First time a team has faced four different managers with at least 1,500 career wins in four consecutive series (Torre, Cox, Piniella, LaRussa)
- Wright’s 6th inning single passed Howard Johnson for eighth all-time on the Mets hit list (998), but has also now struck out in 13 consecutive games.
- Most irrelevant stat of the afternoon…. before today’s start, opponents had swung at 214/406 Johan pitches. Good for 2nd highest in the ML!