Welcome to another edition of Chatter Up! For each Divisional Match Up we ask 5 questions to affiliate bloggers concerning their respective team. This week we will be featuring questions concerning the Mid-Week division Match Up between the Florida Marlins and New York Mets.
Answering our questions concerning the New York Mets this week we have James Figueroa of TheRealDirtyMetsBlogâ€¦
Q- With Ruben Tejadaâ€™s recent success both offensively and defensively, do you see him staying with the club when Luis Castillo is ready to return from injury?
A- Tejada is in a tough spot. No matter what Tejada does, since he has options to go down to the minors, he will go down when Castillo comes back. Itâ€™s a shame because that kid has earned a spot here. If Cora’s option doesnâ€™t vest, Tejada is back up here full time next year.
Q- Would you like to see the Mets go out and make a big splash for the Likes of a Cliff Lee or Oswalt or look to hold onto their core young talent and go after a Ted Lilly or Kevin Millwood?
A- Well, let me start by saying I would love for the Mets to get Cliff Lee. I think a guy like Lee would give the Mets the most formidable rotation in the east if not the NL. I think Lee could be had while still holding on to core young talent. It all depends on the Mariners at this point. What kind of package would they accept? What are they looking for? Stuff like that. Oswalt is another guy that wonâ€™t cost a lot in prospects since he has a monster contract but the Astros farm is barren, so that is going to be an interesting game with Houston. Lilly or Millwood would be a good option but the Mets are in a position that they can acquire a top tier pitcher like Lee or Oswalt; I would like to see them go after those two before settling for Lilly or Millwood.
Q- What do you feel is the biggest reason the Mets are playing so well at home this season?
A- They finally learned the advantages of their home field. I figured they would struggle their first year in a new ballpark, it isnâ€™t much of a home field advantage if you donâ€™t know how to use it to your advantage. I think with a year under their belts, they know where to hit the ball and how to hit the ball in Citifield…something visiting teams that doesnâ€™t play here often wonâ€™t know how to do.
Q- Are you concerned about Johan Santanaâ€™s recent struggles or do you feel he will return to becoming the Old Second Half Johan come July?
A- Johan has always been a better second half pitcher, his stats reflect that. What is concerning is reports that quote Santana as not being completely healed from his surgery. Santana is still an Ace in my opinion but just doesnâ€™t mix and match his pitches that much anymore. There isnâ€™t much of a differential between his fastball and change to keep hitters off balance. He needs to mix in his slider more and perhaps learn another pitch to make the loss in velocity not stand out as much and keep the change up a very good weapon. I think Santana will be just fine but Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™m speaking for myself.
Q- Do you think the Mets can survive with their bull pen as stands or do you think it will be necessary to add another middle reliever?
A- I think bullpens are a crap shoot. I think the Mets have the pieces to survive a 162 schedule. For the first month or two, we were the best bullpen in the majors. It is hard for me to believe their recent struggles cannot be attributed to fatigue and injuries. If Valdez and Igarashi can get healthy while Nieve gets some rest, they can have a decent bullpen. A lot of people overlook how good Feliciano and k rod have been, not to mention Dessens. The bullpen is more or less like every bullpen in the majors, some good days and some bad.
Answering our questions concerning the Florida Marlins we have Chris Towers from the blog FishGutsâ€¦
Q- How is the Team handling the firing of their Manager?
A- The players seemed a bit stunned by the news at first, but there hasn’t been much public grumbling among them. You’d think they’d want to get everything sorted out as soon as possible to avoid potential distractions, though. The longer this drags out, the worst it will be.
Q- Are people speculating had something to do with the firing?
A- There has been nothing said about that, and to Hanley’s credit, he came out and said Fredi would be missed. He hasn’t taken any shots at Fredi as he’s leaving. I don’t think he’ll miss him, but there’s an outside chance Hanley was actually starting to respect Fredi.
Q- What has been the biggest cause for the recent struggles of the Marlins?
A- The bullpen cannot hold a lead and the offense has been terribly inconsistent, particular the guys who are supposed to be the run producers. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla are slumping big time, and Cody Ross and Mike Stanton are both struggling too.
Q- What are your early impressions of Mike Stanton?
A- He looks like a 20 year old at the major league level should. He’s overmatched and he can’t catch up right now. He’s looked very bad, but nobody is panicking. He’s 20, struggles are to be expected. Everyone knew he would strike out a lot, but he’s bound to make some changes and at least find the power stroke.
Q- What exactly is getting in the middle of the Bobby Valentine hiring?
A- Sounds like Bobby wants an assurance from the team that they will be buyers at the deadline and will add payroll heading into the 2011 season, and this is the holdup.
I would expect it to get done, but Loria is going to have to make concessions if he wants to get his guy, and frankly, spending the season before the stadium is a smart move anyways. Fans want to see them compete right away to stay excited.