Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 21, 2005
BASEBALL: Dumping DeJean
I'm not sure there are easily fox-able answers to what ails the Mets at the moment - especially the lack of a second baseman - but I do know at least a few things that will help and a few that won't.
1. Dump Mike Dejean, as the Mets did last night. The Mets have a bevy of young pitchers with potential upside - Heilman, Seo, Bell, Ring, Koo. Each of them has some reason to believe they could pitch effectively in the majors now or very soon. And even Manny Aybar has posted great K/BB ratios. DeJean, alone among the bullpen crew (since the departure of Felix Heredia) offered no cause for optimism. Might as well at least see what the kids can do backing up Looper and the rejuvenated Roberto Hernandez.
2. More Daubach, which we're starting to see. Brian Daubach's nothing special, but Minky has been so totally lost at the plate that you need to try somebody with a little power.
3. Get Reyes out of the top of the lineup. Reyes in the lineup every day is a good thing despite his low OBPs; he can hit for a good average (despite recent slumps), give you extra base power, speed and defense, and he's learning and improving. But there's no rational excuse for a guy with a .280-ish OBP (lowest in the majors over the past year) batting ahead of the big boppers. At this point, I'd just set the table with Cameron and Wright.
4. Replace Ishii with Heilman. Ishii's just not getting the job done. I don't know if he can hack it in the bullpen, but the more important thing is getting starts from guys who can keep you in the game.
1. Boo Beltran. Really, do we need another Bonilla or George Foster situation with a guy with a seven-year contract? Beltran's yet to get really hot, but he was hitting at about 80-90% of his expected production until he got hurt. When healthy, Beltran will be fine. As is, he's batting .327/.561/.385 with men on base, .306/.486/.375 from the seventh inning on, and .417/.722/.447 in the late innings of a close game. Can you say "clutch"? Give the guy a break.
2. Fire Willie Randloph.. Rookie managers have to learn, and by all appearances Randolph has handled the "respect of the players" part of the job well, and has done some things (like sticking Heilman out there) that have paid dividends. But if he's going to succeed long term, he really needs to show he understands the basics by getting Reyes out of the top of the order; he's finally at least taken the first step by dropping him to #2 lately.