As we face the New York Mets in their new location, I traded Q+A with Matt Falkenbury, assistant editor of The Daily Stache, a site which covers the team in a detail that might be described as "obsessive" by non-baseball fans, but which from my perspective, can only be admired. :-) With neither team quite enjoying the season they expected or wanted to have, it was partly a case of comparing scars, but new managers, new parks, surprises and disappointments also cropped up. My answers to his questions can be found here on their site - his answers to mine are after the jump.1. How's Citi Field working out? Anything cool about it you want to share?
I think that Citi Field is working out well for the team. They have adjusted their offense, knowing that since they don't have many big boppers right now, and with the park being so large, that hitting homers won't be easy, I think that once Delgado and Beltran return, then worrying about homers won't be that big of a deal - both have hit a few in their short time playing in the park. Personally, I think they need to move in the fence in left and dump the whole tall fence thing - it's pretty dumb, and I also don't like that the visitor bullpen is hidden. To kill two birds with one stone, I would move the fences in and turn the space into a Visitor Bullpen, a la what Detroit did when they moved in the fences at Comerica Park.
The one thing that I think that is cool about Citi Field is that you have an open concourse, so that you never miss any action while on line for food (which is pretty good) or the bathroom - and the other cool thing is that it's not Shea Stadium. :-)
2. Are all the injuries the sole reason why it's been a troubling season for the Mets?
No, I don't subscribe to that mantra. The Injuries are a major reason why, but they are not the only reason. I blame a lot on Jerry Manuel and his in-game management. I don't think that he handles pitching decisions and pinch hitting duties well. He is also always changing up the lineup and players never were ever comfortable trying to get into a rhythm and focused on playing the game, knowing where they stood. The Mets had their nice little streak when Jerry finally put together a lineup that was consistent. I also wanna blame a little bit on the fact that Mets management put way too much stock into the talent of Daniel Murphy. He has not lived up to what they expected; he has improved, but he hasn't been what they hoped for.
3. Were you surprised there was little or no activity at the trade deadline by Omar Minaya and his staff?
Not really: the winning streak came maybe a week too late for Omar to seriously consider making a run at a Victor Martinez. I also think that he is gun-shy going for it, more then 2-3 games back after that horrid Bartolo Colon deal he made with the Indians when he was Expos GM - the fact the Mets were in a spot like this in 2004 and made the Kazmir deal and got burned badly. Those two things combined pretty much guaranteed that Omar wasn't going to make a move. It also hurts that the Mets have NOTHING in their Minor League system, so when teams keep asking for the top of the heap and the Mets can't convince them to take lesser guys because the gap between the top and middle is huge, it's a killer. Look at the Phillies-Indians Deal: they had so many, they traded 4 top guys to Cleveland to get Cliff Lee and none of them were the 4 other top guys rumored to be going to Toronto for Roy Halladay.
4. Tell us about a prospect who might have an impact for the team in the rest of the season.
No prospect will have an impact on the rest of the 2009 season for the Mets. The AAA team is barren of anything worth mentioning. Nick Evans has been up and down this year, Nelson Figueroa is a journeyman and that's it. Jon Niese could have an impact, but Im not convinced that he has the goods to make an impact, yet.
Looking ahead, the guy that alot of people have been talking about is a AA Pitcher by the name of Jennry Meija. He is only 19 years old, and was in the futures game this year in St. Louis. He can top out in the High 90's with some wicked breaking stuff. The Mets have seen him sky rocket in the ranks of the Minors and are hopeful that - if not in 2010 then in 2011 for sure - he will be in the starting rotation and will be an ace. He is 4-4 between High A and AA with a 2.50 ERA and 68 K's in 72 innings, only 25 walks and 64 hits allowed, in which only 2 of em are Homers. He has an 0-3 record with a 3.74 era for AA. Then again, that team's record stinks out loud - which of course led a certain someone to rip off his shirt and challenge them to a fight...
5. What do the team need to do in order to make the playoffs?
They need to go on a streak of like 24-6 or 23-7, and hope that the teams ahead of them beat each other up while the Mets climb up the standings. They also need need need to get healthy by at least the middle of August. If Beltran, Delgado, Reyes, Putz and Wagner are not back in the majors and helping out by the time August 17th comes around - when the SF Giants come to town - then the Mets will most likely be taking on water and would be playing out the string in September.