Just Say No To Turnbow

New York Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson before a Mets/Devil Rays spring training game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.Image via Wikipedia

Derrick Turnbow was designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers and some stories have surfaced in the media that the Mets management is considering picking him up. The Brewers transaction took place on May 2nd and they have 10 days to trade him, place him on release waivers, or send him outright to the minors. Turnbow has no options so he could refuse an assignment to the minors.

The bottom line with him is that this is the third consecutive season that he’s been really bad. The Mets really don’t need another project on their hands in the bullpen. Rick Peterson has his hands full as it is.

“The Jacket” needs to concentrate on Jorge Sosa, Aaron Heilman, and Oliver Perez. There isn’t room for another problem pitcher. We all know about the famous line about how he could fix Victor Zambrano in ten minutes. He couldn’t do that… and he can’t fix Turnbow in ten minutes either.

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Nelson Figueroa Retro Prospect Report

The Hardball Times linked to this interesting retrospective prospect report from John Sickels at the Minor League Ball blog.

It makes for interesting reading to see how Figueroa did in the minors and worked his way up to the majors. I have to agree with Sickels’ assessment that Figueroa doesn’t have the “stuff” that would make him a prototypical prospect for a pitcher. But he does have a fight in him and the ability to work through trouble without wilting under pressure.

Going forward I’d like to see Figueroa take Jorge Sosa’s spot as the swingman on the team. When Matt Wise gets back someone in the bullpen will have to go. In addition, Pedro Martinez should return to the rotation at some point. Aaron Heilman isn’t going anywhere despite his many poor performances in April. Joe Smith may go to the minors but I like what he brings as a righty specialist. My feeling is that Sosa should be the odd man out. The Mets would most likely have to release him but he’s “only” making $2 million this season on a one year contract.

Video: Post Game April 24, 2008

The depressing post game video contains comments from Oliver Perez, Aaron Heilman, and Willie Randolph.

Oliver Perez wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t his best night but he should’ve been given the opportunity to get through the sixth inning. That’s Willie’s mistake. The poor performances of Jorge Sosa and Heilman, and the over-work of Joe Smith, and Pedro Feliciano should force Willie to re-think his strategy.

Willie needs to give the starters more leeway to work out of trouble. The best pitchers on the team are the starters (except for Billy Wagner). He needs to keep his best pitchers in the game longer considering the state of the bullpen.

Nats Smoke Mets 10-5

Oliver Perez didn’t pitch well but it certainly wasn’t as bad as his line shows. He went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs but left two on for Aaron Heilman in the sixth. Heilman promptly walked Lastings Milledge and then gave up another grand slam to Felipe Lopez, and the game was over.

The Mets bullpen has given up three grand slams now. The entire National League has only had four grand slams.

Jorge Sosa got knocked around again in the seventh inning giving up three runs but only one was earned. Jose Reyes made an error and then Carlos Delgado let one go right past his glove on the ground in what should’ve been scored an error too.

Delgado went 0 for 4 again and his average is down to .198 now. There have been so many columns and blog posts about what the Mets can do with him. This is now his second season of not hitting. I think he may be “done”.

Box score

Video Highlights

Cedeno Grand Slams Mets 8-1

Update: I watched the game on the SNY re-broadcast and I’m sorry that I did. That was pathetic. Figueroa was just okay, he wasn’t terrible. The bullpen, however, was terrible. Jorge Sosa is pitching to an almost 8 ERA right now. That just doesn’t get it done! I know he signed a $2 million contract for this year but the Mets may have to release him. He’s that bad.

Carlos Delgado is another story. This was one of the worst overall games that I’ve seen from him. He looked lost in the field and he’s been lost in the batters box for more than a year now. More to come in another post on that.

Willie better get this ship righted quickly or there’ll be more calls for his head than there already are. He’s abused the bullpen and paid way too much respect to the veteran players in the lineup. After the way last season ended, there won’t be much tolerance for bad decision making by him.

I was at work today and only got to hear parts of the game. I’m going to watch the depressing re-broadcast on SNY tonight. I’ll post a more detailed review after I get to watch the horror unfold on Jorge Sosa. For now, here’s the box score.

Box score

Video Highlights

Cubs Rip Heilman, Mets 7-1

John Maine (1-2) had a pretty decent game. He pitched six innings only giving up two runs, five hits, two walks, and had six strikeouts. He deserved to lose the game only because Carlos Zambrano was really on tonight for the Cubs. He went seven innings giving up only one run. That can happen at times during the season.

Duaner Sanchez pitched a flawless seventh inning and looks like he’s getting back to his old form. He doesn’t have the blazing fastball that he had before the shoulder injury a year and a half ago. But it looks like what he’s got is good enough to get hitters out.

Now we get to the eighth inning, when the wheels came off for the Mets. Once again, Aaron Heilman was the goat of the game. That’s appropriate since they’re playing in the home of the curse of the goat. Heilman only got through two outs in the inning giving up two hits and hitting Aramas Ramirez. Four runs scored but Heilman’s ERA was bailed out by Jose Reyes making an error on a grounder. He was able to actually reduce his ERA to 4.97. Continue reading “Cubs Rip Heilman, Mets 7-1”

Time To Get Real About Nelson Figueroa

Now that we’ve come down from the dream story that Nelson Figueroa was last night it’s time to get real about his roster spot. I’ve read and heard so much from the media and blogs about the “Hometown boy makes good” story. SNY went on ad nauseam about the tale.

If you read this blog regulary, you saw that I wrote that Figueroa pitched a wonderful game last night. I really like his stuff and composure on the mound. He’s obviously got terrific family and friends pulling for him (as were all Mets fans). I loved what I saw from him last night.

That being said, Figueroa’s spot on the roster is going to call for some decisions in the future. Part of his value is that he’s only working on a one-year minor league contract. That gives the Mets flexibility to move him up and down from the minors. There aren’t too many players on the roster with that flexibility.

When, and if, Pedro Martinez, Duaner Sanchez, and Orlando Hernandez come back to the team there will have to be some roster moves to make room. I would guess that Carlos Muniz would be the first player to go down to the minors when Sanchez comes back as early as Tuesday.

Martinez and Hernandez may not be back for quite some time. When they do come back, Figueroa’s roster spot will become much more precarious. The Mets management will be forced to make a decision between keeping Mike Pelfrey and Figueroa on the major league roster. Take a look at the Mets active roster here. Who do you think should leave when Martinez comes back?

It would seem that Figueroa and Pelfrey will be competing for the one open roster spot when Martinez returns. I like that Pelfrey has someone with some talent that’s pushing him to focus and throw strikes. Frankly, I like Figueroa for the swing man role better than Jorge Sosa but that’s not going to happen. Sosa’s got a one-year $2 million major league contract so he’s not going anywhere barring a performance disaster on his part.

The only flexibility outside of the pitchers on the roster is with Brady Clark. He’s also working on a one-year minor league contract but will most likely be sent down when Moises Alou comes back. If Alou has a setback returning from his hernia surgery, that could give the Mets some flexibility to keep Figueroa and Pelfrey when Martinez returns. But I doubt that the Mets would keep 13 pitchers.

The conclusion is that I like what I saw last night and believe that Figueroa can give Pelfrey a serious threat of being sent back to the minors if he doesn’t consistently pitch well.  Even though Pelfrey is one of the Mets top prospects, the Mets need to win games now and Figueroa might be a better option for this season.