Friday, May 6, 2011

Mets win, Pelfrey pitches well, but the cranks are still cranky

This post should really be about Mike Pelfrey showing signs of life, pitching into the seventh inning for the second time in his last three starts to help the Mets avoid the sweep Thursday, 5-2. It should be about how Pelfrey may be starting to turn things around, and how we shouldn't have been too shocked that he started off slow, considering his personality, the extra pressure of having to be "the man" in Santana's absence, and the death of his friend and confidante, sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman.

It should be about the win. It should be about Beltran continuing to hit and also play almost every day. It should be about Jason Bay coming back and doubling immediately, about Jose Reyes tripling in two runs, or about K-Rod walking the tight wire again but still getting the save and still, despite all the baserunners, not allowing a run.

But it's not.

You know I've cut Francesa out of my life, and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. Well, now Joe and Evan have been cut from the rotation.

I'm getting lunch and listening to the FAN prior to Thursday's game and a bumper comes on with Chris Capuano promoting the Mets Box Office Blitz. Evan follows by saying, "Be the fifth caller — and five is probably what Capuano's ERA is going to be at the end of the year..."

Are you shitting me?

This is on the day after Capuano pitched reasonably well in a 2-0 duel with Tim Lincecum, allowing two runs in 6 1/3. But no, the Mets are losers, let's just crap on them at every given opportunity.

Of course, misery loves company, and who is more miserable than Joe Benigno? A few minutes later, they're running through the Giants' lineup and noting how awful most of the batters are, and Joe chimes in with, "Well, Pelfrey's pitching tonight so they'll probably score 10 runs."

Evan mindessly agrees, and, like clockwork, Joe adds, "Oh, the pain."

Tune into Mac and Tierney at noon on ESPN 1050, folks.

Metsblog gets into the act as well. We don't need to see the wild card standings every day. And yes, Matt, since you're asking, May 6 is too early to worry about games behind. So cut the standings update back to maybe once a week, if that? Thanks.

And I understand why there is speculation about the Giants maybe trading for Reyes. It makes sense. Reyes is going to be a free agent, the Giants' offense sucks, they have no decent shortstop, they having pitching to spare, and they were in town for three games. You could see it coming a mile away.

But beyond that, can we have a chance to enjoy the season, and enjoy Reyes, before the stories speculating on his future become incessant? Can we at least wait until June? We're starting already on May 1? Come on.

I'm also getting tired of reading about how the Mets may not want to give "too many years and too much money" on a player "who relies on his legs."

First off, if you're going to sign a star player, you are definitely going to pay too much money and run the risk of giving too many years. It's just how it goes. If you're never going to do that, then you're never going to acquire a star player. Simple as that. And make no mistake, Reyes is a star player.

Regarding his legs, it seems to me that players who rely on their legs primarily are the ones who keep their legs the longest. One of them is coaching first, Mookie Wilson. What about Rickey Henderson? Kenny Lofton? These guys were athletes and runners first, like Reyes, and maintained that edge well into their 30s, and played into their 40s.

Will Reyes? Who knows? But to flatly state that it doesn't make sense to give a 28-year-old a multiyear deal because he runs well is ridiculous. He'll be 34 at the end of seven years, and seven likely the longest anyone would go on him. Sure, you could expect some kind of decline by then, but you'd likely have some pretty good prime years in between.

I think you can take to the bank that K-Rod will not finish 55 games this year, or he'll be traded. So that's $12 million off the books to go along with the $19 million for Beltran, and another $18 million for Ollie and Castillo. That's $49 million leaving.

The free agent list isn't terribly impressive and one would think with ownership issues and new management they are not going after the likes of Albert Pujols or anyone else too expensive anyway. But this is still a New York team charging New York prices competing in the New York market with the Yankees and in a division where the Phillies added Cliff Lee to Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

They may cut payroll, but they can never go cheap. This ain't Oakland.

Reyes gets $11 million now. Considering the dearth of talent at shortstop, why not pay an extra $5 million or so a year to keep the guy who you already have, a player who when he plays, your team wins, who is beloved by the fans, who is the third-best shortstop in the game, who puts people in the seats at a time when you really need people in the seats?

It's almost mind-boggling. And then you get the people saying it doesn't make sense to trade Reyes unless you trade Wright, too, and bring back a ton of new players to start over.

Really? You think fans are staying away in droves now?

It's depressing, at a time of the year when none of us should be depressed. It's early May, for God's sake! But no, there's no time to just enjoy baseball, to see how this all plays out, to see whether Santana comes back, to enjoy guys like Reyes and Beltran finally playing every day, healthy.

The Dodgers are in town for three this weekend. Which of course means more stories of how these two franchises are on the rocks and doomed.

Sounds like fun.

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