…,,Faced with just might be considered the worst part of this season from a physical stand point, Omar hasn’t panic and doesn’t appear likely to do that anytime soon. Still when viewing the ever increasing list of players down to injuries my first question was …”Why not ?” How can a club lose it’s Catcher, it’s numbers 3 & 5 Starters , have limited use of it’s number four hitter and First Baseman and then here it’s Set-up has a bone spur on his throwing elbow and not be in panic mode !
…The answers really aren’t that hard to find. Some of them I touched-on in evaluting the clubs chances of winning in 2009. ” If healthy” is a favorite phrase of mine, it’s the reminder that no matter how good sometime looks it’s only as good as it is “healthy” at any time. Each of the past three seasons the Met outfielders have gone down faster the April rains and the wins needed to secure a pennant went out with them. The biggest difference we saw last season was how Omar went into the farm to bring-up his second choice at the time a kid named “Murphy”. A healthy Murphy and Beltran and Omars concerns became “surplus” in the outfield instead of “who’s available today”. Have no doubt about it, Murphy is the sole reason for the decided change in the Met outfield. Now , Church, Tatis, Sheffield and Reed can be utilized for their best results. In the recent three game set with the Braves at Citifield, Brave announcers were quick to point out Murphy’s outfield play had improved faster then anyone had imagine. By the end of the three game set Murphy was no longer the defensive concern their Scout notes had him made out to be. How important is this ? in one word ” extremely “. What it did was simply this. Allow Tatis and Sheffield and maybe even Murphy himself open to play First Base. Church can, but to do so is to also lose one of the primiere defensive outfielders of the game for alot less then that at first base. While Gary Sheffield isn’t the 28 yearold Wonderkind at age 40 he still causes pitcher’s concern and insome cases worry. Tatis who we often forget is a third baseman now can play firstbase helping to ward off that loss of Delgado at the plate. The fact is simply this a loss of “Delgado” is huge. It’s nearly impossible to fill a hole that big. What Omar has in place isn’t the practice of filling the hole but rather a very do-able “work-around plan” and there is a differnce. Last night’s game was a fine example of ” we aren’t the same team without Carlos, we are a different team without Carlos”….Dimished in power we have the other weapons to win, the Mets are a Multi-faceted team as a result of the past three seasons and it never was seen more clearer then last night.
….When a team loses it’s #1 catcher it’s a given ” you play for .500 ball”. So how did the club gor 16 – 11 in the last 27 games without it’s #1 cather ? Who is Omar Santos and how did someone skills go for so long un-noticed by so many ? The answer is very simply this, Omar couldn’t hit enough to get on the interstate. His skills as defensive catcher were lacking in actual game numbers to support his consideration as a back-up at the major league level. There were too many other catchers available for that role with an “excellent ” this or that. What Omir was a “good defensive, good skills” catcher without a bat to support a chance to play. What happen was a drill Jerry Manuel used this spring. It has made a huge difference in at least 2 hitters on the Mets already. Beltran and Santos. Both learned how to not only use their wrist better but to use their wrist to hit the ball to all fields even deeper in counts. There isn’t anything spectacular about Omir Santos not unless your looking at the the team numbers of 9 and 5 when he’s behind the plate and Mets are 8 and 2 in last ten games he had started while the once confused starting rotation also righted itself. You can’t replace a #1 catcher overnight. Here again Omar Minaya never intended to. Omar had another “work-around”. Some plan !
Entering the 2009 season, Omar made no bones about it, he rebuilt the pen. I wasn’t always in favor of some of the deals because I felt then as I do today, it wasn’t always a pitcher as often as it was the “Pitch-count” that had brought about this terminal condition. Heilman and Smith were not bad pitchers, they were and are good pitchers badly used. Those types of results are the type you see when you send in the Carpenter to do the Plummers job. That’s just bad management. Omar did fix the pen he looked past the “conditions or causes” and took action. He was correct there. The loss of confidence suffered by Smith and Heilman for whatever reason might not have been correctable at this point. Rodriguez, Putz and Green are not part of the “Peterson” effect. Neither are Stokes, Parnell, Feliciano, Figueroa, Knight, Kunz, Muniz and a list of others too long too mention. The loss of a “Putz” cannot be measured nor can you just replace a “Putz”….but yes here again you can “work-around” the loss of a “Putz”. Just a week ago someone here asked me ” wheredo I see Parnell being in the future” my answer then was based on what Parnell has shown through these early years of his career, I see a potential closer. Well the future arrived alot sooner thenI or anyone would have liked, but that doesn’t effect what I wrote then or now. Parnell will never be a “Putz” but he will be a “Parnell”. Whether for a day , a week, a month or even for a Season Bobby Parnell has the stuff to be a tremendous asset and setup man today for Frankie Rodriguez, as well as the set-up man to the missing “Putz”.
…Lastly Out your #5 starter since week 2 of Spring Training, then 5 weeks into the season your #3 starter, how does a starting rotation recover ? Well Bobby Niese showed us maybe not today, but it won’t be long. Orlando Hernandez say’s maybe today but I don’t know for how long, lol..and Omar smiles as his crop of young pitchers in “A” , “AA”, and “AAA” progress faster then anyone in Baseball America or any other Scouting reference has reported. Just last night Jerurys Famillia who took a “no-no” to 2 outs in the 7th and nearly a perfect game to that point. An infield error in the early innings was removed by the double play ball. An accident you ask ? Not here , he leds the league in starters in the all important WHIP with a 1.02 in ERA he’s 5th with an 1.24 in 6 starts and get this second on the staff with those number. Behind young Jeff Kaplan who has been “lights-out”. This “unknown ” 19 year old is just another of Omar’s “Workarounds”
….As a manager…I always had a plan “A”, I always truted in it. I always believed that no matter how big a job was “Plan A” could handle it. It wasn’t conceit. It was my knowledge with the work force I had, I always had the talent to “work-around” whatever promblem that might have popped up…..Omar Minaya recieves an “A” in my book…..