Wednesday, July 13, 2011
So I took a week off from the blog, for a couple of reasons. One, after the Subway Series the Mets went to the West Coast and, frankly, I can barely stay awake to watch the games than blog about them afterwards. Plus, we were away for most of that week, and then there was the All-Star break, so I figured I'd just take a breather and come back with a post after the midsummer classic with a look toward what the second half of the season could bring.
I didn't have to wait long for the first gift.
Within an hour of the conclusion of the All-Star game (won by the NL), the Mets dealt Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers for cash (later reported to be $5 million, or what he's owed the rest of this season) and two players to be named later.
This shocked absolutely no one since we all knew there was no way the Mets would be paying K-Rod his $17 million salary next season, which would kick in once he finished 21 more games. Sandy Alderson did what he had to do, and dumped the salary, and really, if either of the two prospects the Mets pick up ever make the big-league club it would be a bonus.
So next year's payroll will not include the $17M for K-Rod, nor the $19 million made by Carlos Beltran, nor the $12M for Ollie Perez nor the $6M for Luis Castillo. That's $54 million. Considering the payroll this season was around $138 million, that's a huge reduction.
Think $7-8 million of that could go to Jose Reyes? Yeah, we think so.
The K-Rod deal doesn't raise the white flag on the season in that everyone knew K-Rod was going at some point, and the Mets do have a couple of possible closers in Bobby Parnell and Jason Isringhausen (we're thinking Izzy to Parnell is the way to go, if only because we'll find out whether Parnell really has the stuff to close).
Is Beltran next? It's likely, but with David Wright and Jose Reyes coming back in a week, it would be nice to see whether this team can hang in there. At 7 1/2 games out of the wild card with 71 games left, there's still plenty of time and plenty of fight left in the dog. And it seems that there is a chance that Ike Davis could be back, and then maybe Santana in August. The Brewers are going for it, and they're just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mets. Fans (this one at least) aren't ready to concede anything just yet.
The team is on the precipice, though, and it will be a challenge to win the series against the Phillies as shorthanded as they are. Certainly, Alderson has to think long term, and dealing K-Rod and possibly Beltran, who will not be back in 2012, are moves for the future.
But we're still in the present. Terry Collins, like coach Norman Dale in "Hoosiers," doesn't worry about who's not in the lineup. His teams compete regardless of who's starting.
"My team is on the floor."
That team hasn't had Davis or Wright in a long while and has been surviving without Reyes for more than a week and they are still in the mix. Can we let this team play it out? Sure, we could get a couple of players for Beltran, but no top prospects for a rental.
Why not let Beltran honor the rest of his contract and enjoy his final resurgent year in Flushing, and see what happens when the band is back together?
Again, 71 games left. Nine against the Braves and six of those at home.
Collins has talked all season about guys getting the opportunity to show something. Turner and Murphy have taken advantage. Parnell is about to. The Mets as a team can do the same.
Just a note about the video up top. I wanted to use the scene from "The Blues Brothers" where they tell Mr. Fabulous at the Chez Paul that they're getting the band back together, but that and most other clips from the movie on YouTube have embedding disabled. So I found this one, which is a great song, but you'll notice at the end that it was recorded off the TV in some foreign language (Spanish or Italian, I think).