My Winter Mets Update: Opinion, Quotes, etc

What Went Wrong and Why

Here we are in January, slightly 3 months following the Mets’ historic 7 game collapse with 17 to go, yada yada yada, we all know what happened.

It may have only been 3 months ago, but fortunately for the Mets that was last season and more importantly, last YEAR. Now that we are in 2008, the Mets really need to use last year’s late struggles to power them up for a nice run this season. Sure, they were a great team last year from April to the first week of September. They really were, in my opinion, a team that was the best in the National League and could beat anybody.

Well, there was one thing missing from the 2007 puzzle that fit perfectly in the 2006 puzzle. that was closing the season out. Well, I guess you could argue that fact because the 2006 team that was so far away from anyone else in the division in September that they clinched the NL East Title in Mid-September, the first team to clinch a playoff berth that season.

So, what does this all add up to? Well, if you look at it closely, you have to realize that this team did what many people predicted would do. That was to have a hard time keeping the division lead because they had much more serious competition. The people that said in Spring Training that the Mets had more serious competition and may not be able to close out the season were dead on.

It’s hard, actually, to point fingers in this situation on why this team collapsed, but if you want to point a finger at somebody, point it at Omar Minaya. He was the worst manager in last year’s off-season up through the trading deadline. He failed to get a number 1 starter, similar to this off-season, he failed to make at least a reasonable trade at mid-season for a better bullpen that would be able to close out the season, and he just went with what he had. Well, that worked in 2006, but I’m sorry Omar but when you have closer competition, players lost from last year, and older players than the year before, you maybe should consider revising your staff. That is just my opinion.

As for hitting coach, people need to shut their mouth when they blame the Mets’ front office for firing Rick Down. The guy had a hollow head, he knew nothing. Rick Down’s hitters had a big decline in 2007 and he wasn’t getting the job done. I cried for the Mets to fire him through the whole first half of 2007, and they did a great job by firing him. Sure you don’t want to break a team up by firing a coach, but come on now, he wasn’t the smartest of them all… and to blame Luis Castillo for a bad influence on Jose Reyes? Puh-Leeaaassee. Wow, talk about looking for a reason. Him and Jose played just fine the whole time they were together until the last few weeks, and to blame him for what happened at the very end is just insane.

Bottom Line: The General Manager didn’t do his job when it came to building a solid 2007 squad. And don’t give me the “he didn’t have opportunities” crap. Because he had PLENTYYY of opportunities.

Mm-k, now onto the off-season. Well, I saw about a month ago an article about Jose Reyes practicing down in the Dominican with local kids hanging around to watch the star practice. I liked his indoor workout area in his house. He seems like he’s doing just fine this off-season.

Carlos Delgado had a conv. with Mike & Mad Dog today. Here’s how it went:

Here’s what Delgado had to say on”the collapse:”

“Well, it was definitely a collapse. We are definitely better than that and we need to do better next year. It makes no sense to analyze what happened in the past, 2007. We understood that we did not play good baseball in the month of September. I personally am hungry, am ready for next season, and we definitely will make it better because we are BETTER than that”

Mike & Mad Dog: Was there any specific at-bat or pitch that you look back to that could have made a difference?

Delgado: Well there isn’t one specific game or at bat that you think of. Like I said, you can analyze it all you want, but it will never do us any good.

Delgado also said some other things:

We are going to be much better next year and we are going to have a great team on opening day. We look back on last year, we are not happy about it, we are looking toward having a great team opening day 2008.

When Mike and Maddog mentioned and asked about whether the team’s passion and care went down late in the season:

No, I will have to disagree with you on that. The team had the same attitude as it had in say, May or any other time, and the team was focused on finishing what they started in 2006 and win the World Series, because that is the goal”

When asked whether he tried as hard or if injuries slowed him down:

I have to disagree with you there, too. It was fine in Spring Training, I was fine in the regular season, I just had a bad year. I was not making contact well, I was not making the scoops at first, and I had a bad year.

Mike and Maddog: So no excuses there?

Delgado: Definitely not, no.

Asked if he’ll have a nice season and bounce back to the old Carlos:

“I will come ready and focused to Opening Day and I will have a great year.”

More of My Opinion:

Well, I certainly believe Delgado has what it takes to bounce back, since he’s already proved himself in the past years. Last year wasn’t his season, nor was it the Mets’ season, and hopefully 2008 will be. I’m predicting the Mets have a fine season from start to finish and here are some key reasons why they should, in my opinion, have success next year:

• Well, first of all, this upcoming season is the last of Shea, so why not make it a positive one? I think the Mets will be thinking about this and will use it to their advantage to give Shea a grand finale and enter CitiField on a positive note.

• Also, I think they should and will use the collapse of ’07 to become a better, focused, and aware team in ’08… and most importantly they need to protect themselves come September if they are in first or at least in serious playoff contention. They’ll be aware to not make the same mistake twice.

• Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo will get more experience together and should make a nice tandem in the field and work things out at the plate. Again, Jose Reyes is a key player who will use the collapse to know not to make the same mistake twice.

• Maybe not by a whole lot, but the new catcher is younger than the aging Lo Duca. Brian Schneider and Paul Lo Duca swapped spots, as Lo Duca went to the Nationals and Schneider came to the Mets, not in the same transaction, though. Lo Duca says the NL East is “wide open” and that one thing he looks forward to is that he gets to play the Mets 18 times per year.

• Alou is back and hopefully he sticks around. While I’m hoping he plays more than 100 games, you can’t count on it. He is a beast of a hitter, and he could do the same thing at age 50, I know it, because that unique swing never slows down.

• Yet, the one thing that could be slowing the Mets down and holding them back is the lack of work from Omar Minaya to acquire pitching. The loss of Tom Glavine seems worse to some people, but not to me. Sure he had a lot of innings in him, but it’s that time that he slows down, as he already has a bit. I think his time has passed and that he should retire, but instead he decided to go back to Atlanta where I believe he will fail. Omar Minaya was one of the best GM’s in baseball in 2005 and 2006, but he obviously isn’t the same GM he was when he acquired great players like Delgado, Wagner, Pedro Martinez, and others. After he did that, he started slowing down on his wheeling and dealing. If he acquires Santana this off-season, he can totally redeem himself, but if not, his status will really continue to fall.

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