METS: What is the way forward?

One myth can now be cast aside. The Wilpons are not broke and will not be going into small market mode. They would not have signed Jason Bay if they were. Give the Wilpons and Omar Minaya for being smart with their money.

1. The moves in the bullpen signal a clear philosophy. Low investment with the potential for high yield investments in Kelvin Escobar and Ryoto Igarashi may represent 8th inning alternatives. The Mets must also believe that Bobby Parnell can be the same, otherwise they would have sent the talented righthander home this offseason with instructions to prepare to start.

2. The Mets are always making noise about wanting another lefthander to complement Pedro Feliciano. They brought in numerous lefties last year but kept playing roster whack-a-mole with them all. If they have really been serious about needing to fill this role, they would have actively pursued former Met Darren Oliver whom ultimately signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. They also made no move for Mike Gonzalez who probably wanted to close anyhow. So I don’t think that the Mets really want to pay alot for someone for this role.

3. I believe there is a reason that 2B Orlando Hudson has not signed with anyone yet. He’s waiting on the Mets to get rid of Luis Castillo. Maybe there’s even some back room conversations. Now that the Mets have filed the left field hole, some certainty exists for Minaya. He can now move Castillo and sign Hudson. Unless there’s something else going. See #4.

4. All’s been quiet on the rumors that the Reds were trying to move some big salaries. Earlier this month, there was some speculation at MLBTradeRumors about Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang being moved. Other high salaried Reds mentioned were Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Phillips and Franciso Cordero. There are some matches there, especially if other clubs get involved. It is from this scenario that Minaya can acquire a starter, a lefty reliever, a set-up guy or an upgrade an 2B. Stay tuned.

4. I don’t believe the Mets have ruled out contending, but they know that they are banking on a healthy return to form by Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. With them plus Bay, David Wright should be better. Wright found out what George Foster did in his first season when it was just him. It’s unlikely that Carlos Delgado will not be returning. It would be nice if Daniel Murphy became at least a Dave Magadan circa 1991. To be fair, it’s really been Minaya’s only viable option to pursue with respect to the line-up.

5. Dan Warthen needs to be right in that whatever the final upgrade in catching matches a some sort of improvement in Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine. Whomever they group with Henry Blanco, they won’t be counted on for offense, but it will be ok if Murphy and Jeff Francoeur are hitting sixth and seventh.

6. Last season was an aberation with respect to injuries. The Mets made no changes in their sports medicine team, and it shouldn’t have. Admittedly I have a soft spot for these guys, but I do not communicate with any of them. I’ve always maintained that a communication problem existed and that the presence of Tony Bernazard poisoned this as well.

7. There were some changes to the coaching staff. I hope they were based mostly on Jerry Manual’s wishes and not Omar Minaya’s prejudices fueled by Bernazard’s manipulations. Firing a manager’s coaches makes a manager impotent. The beginning of the end began for Davey Johnson and Willie Randolph when the front office dismissed some of their staffs.

Spring training is just 6 weeks away. Minaya has been signalling that the team will be better at that time. He’s wisely let the market come back and has saved the Wilpn’s some money they may have to spend later in the event the Mets actually do contend. With more positive moves, Minaya will haveweathered the media firestorm that surrounded him and it will pay off once camp opens.

No drama.

Only hope with a dash of reasonable expectations.

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Leach firing should be a lesson for football coaches everywhere

We often watched Don “Rooster” Fauls type out the injury report in the FSU training room after pactice. One of us would take it to Coach Bobby Bowden’s office and tape it to the door. There was once a world before e-mail, and I sorta miss it at times.

At any rate, Fauls’ report was simple. He might make a few comments and them make the statement as to status. If it was a simple, “OUT”, well that was that. Bowden left it up to Fauls. Bowden’s only rule was that if an injured player could be at practice, they were to have their helmets with them. If a player were sick, he wouldn’t be out there if Fauls said so.

Coaches – and many good one’s – are control freaks. For some, the possibility a player might be a malingerer is an obsession. As a result they establish rules of zero tolerance, much like the one at Texas Tech that requires injured players to be at practice and doing something. Such policies take away the ability to apply responsible judgement into play.

Some football coaches reflexively question a player’s toughness. Coupled with the mysterious, but dangerous nature of concussions the potential for seriousness emerges.

Thus, we have sagas like the one that fostered at Texas Tech. Tensions were certainly hightened by the interpersonal relationships among all parties involved. The questionable character of Adam James and his high profile father formed a tandem that would required more energy to deal with than most. Mike Leach did not endear himself to his bosses with his insabordination.

This perfect storm might have been avoided if the injury management were left up the Tech athletic training staff. Leach never would have been involved in the first place, with the professionals paid to give athletes the benefit of the doubt making decisions on what to do with Adam James.

My mentor, Fauls, passed away about ten years ago. Bobby Bowden will be coaching his last game tomorrow. Old school, yes. But the lesson from the wisdom in the relationship between coach and trainer might be an idea that needs to be revisited.

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METS: Omar gets it done

And stiffed the print media in the meantime. They all had to wait on Mike Francesa of WFAN to announce the Jason Bay signing on his show yesterday after teasing everyone with it 24 hours before. It was only after Francesa’s announcement were any of them able verify it. With as nasty as writers have been toward Minaya, who can blame him for wanting to pull one over on them.

I include myself in that list, too. That dithering I talked about a week ago, turned out to be the proper amount of patience on behalf of Minaya. He didn’t bid against himself or out kick the market. Most importantly, he improved the ballclub.

All the while, he took alot of pressure off the Mets. The perception of a dysfunctional organization is lessened this morning. With most news indicating that Bengie Molina will eventually be signed, Minaya will be able to focus on other free agents or trades that he’s done his homework on.

With John Lackey gone, Minaya had to get the best player available to improve the line-up. While some may argue that Matt Holliday would have been a better fit, Bay will be a solid addition to the middle of the line-up.

Minaya’s not done either.

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What the medical staff did with Adam James

Mike Leach and his attorney are doubling down. And the attorney, Ted Liggett is talking to everybody and saying just about everything.

According to the James’ family, here are the details of the actions that the medical team took:

The following is an account of how Adam James was injured and diagnosed by Tech’s medical staff, according to Rebecca Shaw, a spokeswoman for James and his family:

James was injured during a scrimmage on the evening of Dec. 16 when he suffered a blow to the head. He reported symptoms including dizziness, blurred vision and a headache to Tech trainer Buzz Chisum, who advised James to see team physician Dr. Michael Phy the next day. On the night of the injury, James experienced nausea and vomiting.

Phy performed diagnostic tests Dec. 17 and confirmed James had suffered a concussion. Phy said James would need to be withheld from practice, avoid any type of physical activity for five to seven days, and undergo further evaluation after that point.

Phy’s diagnosis was communicated to head trainer Steve Pincock, who relayed the information to Mike Leach.

This was proper and typical. What’s not known are what the Tech protocols are regarding concussions. Many teams require injured players to be at practice, but coaches get themselves into trouble if they attempt zero tolerance on this policy. For example, if a player had the flu, you certainly wouldn’t want them around other players at practice. A player who presented symptoms as did James would have been best served by being excused from practice.

Where Tech appears to have gone wrong is that it should have been the medical staff’s call – and not Leach’s – of the way an injured player is managed.

An ESPN report this morning quoted an assistant coach as saying the younger James had become a discipline problem and practiced with a lack of effort. The coach indicated he was disciplined after practice and James was openly disrespctful of the staff.

I believe this report to be true and it does not reflect well on both James and his father.

But it is no excuse for the manner that James injury was managed, especially so if he was mistreated or treated differently than already established protocols dictated.

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METS: Ed Lynch moves to Blue Jays as a scout

I’d always wondered what happened to Lynchie.
After he finished playing, I recall seeing Lynch in at Shea. He came back to personally ask Frank Cashen for a letter or recommendation to attend law school from Frank Cashen. Lynch also sought to get one from former President Richard Nixon, who’d been a frequent visitor to the Met clubhous in the 80’s.

Hat tip to BALLBUG

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METS: Francesa says Mets to sign Jason Bay

So Mike Francesa had the goods afterall.

As Francesa had this yesterday and no local or national writer had it, it’s clear he got the tip from somebody way up. My guess is that it was Minaya himself. Second guess is Jeff Wilpon. It wasn’t Jay Horwitz who would protect a secret even if you put bamboo shoots under his fingenails.

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This post was written by bobsikes on December 29, 2009

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Inside the Mike Leach Suspension at Texas Tech and the Naivete of Concussions

Mike Leach was suspended by his school yesterday fo his alledged mistreatment of ESPN analyst’s Craig James’s son Adam.

Adam Leach presented to athletic trainers on December 17 the with symptoms consistent with a concussion. Mike Leach apparently chose not to give his player the benefit of the doubt and singled him out in a manner clearly intended to humiliate him.

Or so reports say.

But the reports do not tell the whole story.

I will limit my speculation to this. On the afternoon James arrived with his symptoms he was likley to have been seen by an athletic trainer. He might have even seen a physician within the first day. It’s also likely that all parties concerned – Leach, the elder James and the university officials investigating the incident – all spoke with the training staff. The public knows nothing of these communications, but we probably will now that Leach refused to write an apology. Whatever recommendations the training staff made, Leach sould have followed.

The influnece that a man of his father’s stature cannot be discounted from the equation and the report indicates Leach felt that the former NFL player was a nusance. The report also says that Leach referred to his son as a slacker.

A coach has to be above this, but in this instance Leach was not.

Maybe there’s some truth to Leach’s take on the James’, but it is here where Leach’s arrogance and unprofessionalism began. To be blunt Leach cannot be a loose cannon when it comes to injuries, let alone one’s as mysterious as concussions. Football coaches cannot treat their players like Tom Berenger’s Bear Bryant did in The Junction Boys.

Thank goodness we no longer keep water from kids like with once did. I still believe it was devine intevention that we didn’t lose more kids than we did back in the day. We’ve come along way from “the sun got to him” to now knowing athletes perform better when they are hydrated.

The only thing that I will speculate on is that James was likley to have been seen by an athletic trainer on the day he arrived with his concussion symptoms. He might have even seen a physician within the first day. It’s also likely that all parties concerned – Leach, the elder James and the university officials investigating the incident – all spoke with the training staff. The public knows nothing of these communications, but we probably will now that Leach refused to write an apology.

The abrupt change we’ve made about concussions is much similar to how we changed hydration philosophies in the 70’s. The NFL is leading the way, but knowledge has not yet filtered it’s way down to many high school coaches and neanderthals like Mike Leach.

The coaching profession may be getting a teachable moment.

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METS: Francesa yanking eveyone’s chain

Major Met announcement my big old butt.

Joe Janish’s are worth considering though.

I wonder what Francesa would bother with or be privy to. My only guess is that it’s some information that’s coming directly from ownership.

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This post was written by bobsikes on December 29, 2009

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METS: Did Bengie Molina blink?

If Tim Dierkes’ post is accurate, the answer is yes.

H/T to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Darned pay sites.

Minaya obviously felt that Molina best fit the Mets’ needs at catcher and maybe Molina’s agent is realizing the market for catchers is two years. If Molina becomes a Met, Minaya will be shown that he’s been right in being patient.

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This post was written by bobsikes on December 28, 2009

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METS: Minaya the Beard

Classic line from my friend David Pinto at Baseball Musings:

Omar Minaya says the Mets are pursuing Matt Holliday. I think like Jason Bay, the free agent is more than happy to use the Mets as a beard.

All’s fair in negotiations. But if Minaya lands either Bay or Holliday at this point, he and the Mets will begin to gain some much needed credibility.

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