A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, February 27, 2006

It's Not My Fault

Julio blamed his problems on his uncertain role, noting, "For me last year, there was a lot of craziness. Before I was the closer and after, it was 'Where's my job?'"

Manager Willie Randolph cautioned that Julio won't know his role with the Mets either until he proves himself.

Well, I tend to disagree here. Jorge is making an silly excuse that I hate to hear players use. If you pitch in relief effectively and have the stones to close, you should be able to pitch any inning. No matter when you called up and this does not include if you are fatigued, you should be able to throw well. Hearing this from him is not especially endearing.

"For me last year, there was a lot of craziness," Julio said. "Before, I was the closer and after, I was [thinking], 'Where's my job?' Sometimes I'd throw two innings, three innings. I didn't know."

He really should not be worrying so much about when he is going to pitch as much as how well. He has not been keeping people from crossing the plate very much in the past three seasons and needs to take a bit more of that on his own shoulders instead of blaming management for his ineptitude. After all, the reason he lost his job in the first place was based on not performing. If he was throwing as he was in 2002, he would have never lost his job. Since that 2002 season, he has a .251 BAA, 5.98 ERA, 5-17 record, 1.44 WHIP, and a 4.31 W/9. Not good.

This was a lot of the same stuff that players complained about under Art Howe. They didn't know where they were batting in the lineup and it somehow affected their game. Sure, batting order matters to a certain extent because you get pitched to in certain differently depending on who is batting you and some other things, but as Bobby Cox says, if you can hit, you should be able to hit anywhere. I hope Julio is not another complaining head case unwilling to accept his own failures and pointing the finger like the stunt Mike DeJean pulled last year.

* * *

  • Should Rick Down even really have a job at this point?

    Howard Johnson is entering his second year as club's Triple-A hitting coach. Until Minor League camp opens, he works as a hitting instructor for anyone who seeks his counsel. Johnson's resume as a player precedes him, and some veterans do seek him out. Johnson, who has a strong relationship with David Wright, last year suggested two adjustments to Andres Galarraga a week before the veteran first baseman decided to retire. When Galarraga implemented Johnson's advice, he rediscovered his power.

    I just do not understand it. Give HoJo a hot before someone else does. I fully expect to lose Gary Carter and Ken Oberkfell after this year, but maybe the Mets can keep someone out of the growing number of top coaching prospects in their own system for themselves.

  • Willie is always ratcheting up the talking part of his repertoire, but hopefully he ratchets up the managing aspect of things this year and gets the most out of his team. Anything less than a division title and a trip the playoffs this year is an unmitigated disaster and him costing games in 2006 certainly will not help.

  • Wowee. Mets from day #1.

  • Jon Heyman thinks that Anna was the reason Kris was shipped out of town.

  • Also from the above link:

    While the Mets are portraying rightfield as an open competition, club insiders see Xavier Nady as having the edge. They did trade Mike Cameron for him, after all.

    Well that's a nice reason to give the guy the edge.

  • Victor Zambrano impresses in batting practice.

  • Atlanta has probably had a few laughs at the expense of Tom Glavine between how he had pitched against the Braves and how bad the Mets teams he has been on have been, but maybe this year will be a bit of retribution for him. John Smoltz has entered the head game arena and tab the Mets as the team to beat.

  • Pedro Martinez said he had no real ill effects after throwing from halfway up on the pitcher's mound for the first time on Saturday. Martinez was in a chipper mood yesterday as he worked out in the weight room and on the exercise bike.

    "I survived," he said. "That's all you can ask."

  • Making money.

    On a frigid day in New York on Sunday, the Mets sold about 130,000 single-game tickets on the first day they went on sale as those three players from that celebrated late 1980's club — along with Tim Teufel, Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez —mingled with fans standing in line at Shea. Through Friday, 1.43 million tickets had been sold.

    It is not unreasonable to expect that 3.5 million fans will pass through the turnstiles this season, said Jeff Wilpon, the Mets' senior executive vice president.

    I have no qualms about paying to watch a quality team, but raising ticket prices again while you have a lower payroll and expect a much larger turnout seems a bit wrong. The Mets were going to make a boatload more money regardless. Do they owe the fans nothing for a few horrendous years? A little good faith maybe was in order and they could have kept the ticket prices the same and said they need to prove themselves first and give something back.

  • Ownens and Bannister impress.

  • John Harper has a great read on Lastings Milledge and what is a hot button issue for the Major Leagues.

    But Milledge stands out because of his appearance as well. An African-American, Milledge wears his hair long, in cornrows that stick out from under his hat and hang on his neck. It's a style that is fashionable in the NBA and the NFL but is rarely seen in Major League Baseball, primarily because African-American players are becoming something of a vanishing breed in this sport.

    As the percentage of foreign players, especially Latin ones, has risen dramatically over the last decade, the percentage of African-Americans has fallen, either because of lack of opportunity in the inner cities, or because kids these days are more drawn to the glamour, speed, and excitement of football and basketball - or both.

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