During Saturday’s broadcast, baseball legend and Met lifer Ralph Kiner commented on the new hustling attitude of the Mets this spring. He mentioned how last year the Mets were known as a team that “didn’t get their uniforms dirty” and this roundly echoed early-spring comments on the Mets Hot Stove Report from Gary Cohen and others.
Terry Collins has apparently begun to instill the type of fire many believed he would bring with him to the manager position. While Collins did have unhappy endings in his two previous MLB managerial stints, we must remember that his teams did finish second during all five of his full seasons; and these were not exactly teams loaded with superstars.
In baseball, men often receive repeated chances as manager—one recalls the mediocre-to-abominable results that Casey Stengel and Joe Torre had as managers before their Yankee days. Granted, these are extreme examples and they had a bit of talent on their Bronx squads, but still, both men eventually were regarded as master handlers of talent and great motivators despite very humble beginnings as leaders. Perhaps in a few years Collins’ early failures will be as forgotten as Casey’s and Torre’s are today.
The infusion of enthusiastic young players such as Davis, Thole, Murphy, Duda and others hopefully has something to do with the new attitude. Regardless, by all accounts it is real, and the lazy days of the Manuel Era seem to be receding into the past.
Luis Castillo has finally been set free by the Mets, and while he may have been somewhat unfairly maligned during his career in Queens, this was an absolutely necessary move.
It should finally put to rest the idea that finances will dictate the roster, and best of all, it will give much younger players with possibly much brighter futures the chance to be evaluated.
While it can be argued that Castillo might, overall, have been a decent conservative choice to be the opening day second baseman, his release was the right move.
Castillo’s game has always been based on speed—and his decreased speed means less range in the field, less infield hits legged out, less stolen bases, less runs scored, and a generally diminished game.
There was zero chance that Castillo would be back in 2012, and at this moment, it is hard to say that the (possibly) slightly better overall production he might have given would be the difference in the 2011 Met season.
If he stayed, that would mean Murph and/or Emaus would be on the bench, in the minors, or gone. This way, one or both of these players should get a fair chance to finally show what they can do as an MLB second baseman, rather than spending more unnecessary time in the minors. In addition, should he remain healthy and barring serious success from Murph/Emaus, Reese Havens might not be too far away.
As our leader TRS recently pointed out, Havens has had similar minor league experience to Ike. When further examining this, their time and offense in A and AA are actually (except for Ike’s edge in 2B) shockingly similar.
The release of Castillo cascades through the second base situation, as it allows Murph or Emaus to have every chance to play MLB ball, and also allows Havens to clearly have the 2B spot in Buffalo.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, it shows that the new regime is willing to both eat salary and take risks; to boldly look forward, and leave the failed Minaya/Manuel Era even more firmly in the rear-view mirror.
Luis Hernandez has played 25 MLB games at 2B, and 57 in the minors (out of an 828 G minor league career).
He’s a good but not outstanding fielding shortstop, with little offense, little speed, and no power. He has done a bit better recently in AAA than his overall anemic minor league career offensive numbers show, but his brief MLB offensive resume—over four years—shows a line of .245/.286/.298.
Is this someone, as has been reported, that Collins favors as the starting second baseman for the 2011 Mets, over Murphy, Emaus, Turner, and even Tejada? Is it even realistic to imagine this MAY be true?
Emaus has played a lot of second base, and his minor league offensive numbers are infinitely better than Hernandez’s. As are Murphy’s. As are Turner’s. In addition, Emaus and Turner actually were primarily second basemen in the minors.
As print media continues to lose readers, subscribers, and influence, one must wonder if stories like this—as well as recent ones about Johan’s lack of progress in rehab and positing racism as a significant factor in fan disdain for Castillo—are desperate acts by writers desperate for attention.
The story about Santana was mocked by Alderson and the writer called a “liar” by Johan.
Matt Cerrone did a wonderful job of eloquently disputing the Castillo/racism idea with a short, common sense laundry list of reasons why reasonable, color-blind fans might prefer a new second baseman. Shouldn’t a writer for a major NY paper know, first of all, that the Mets have an incredibly diverse fan base which reflects the city and the area? That African-American and Latino players from Donn Clendenon and Tommie Agee to Doc and Darryl to Jose Reyes and Johan have been among fan favorites for decades?
This spring seems to have been a time where major media figures have, for whatever reason, done an exceptionally questionable job on many occasions. Perhaps it is nothing more than desperation for attention, which stories like the above certainly do obtain.
Regardless, as the beginning of the season draws blissfully near, it says here that we can soon rely on the wonderful and knowledgeable WFAN team for a fact-based pregame show and a no-holds-barred postgame show before and after every game. For this fan, along with regular visits here and to the Star Ledger, that is all that is needed to make the Met experience ideal.
Well, 90+ wins wouldn’t hurt either!