Coutinho: Top 5 Questions Mets Need To Answer In Next 6 Weeks

By Rich Coutinho
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The 2011 season has been an interesting journey for the New York Mets. There have been some fun moments but there have also been some forgettable ones. So, as the Mets play out the string down the homestretch, they need to find out some things. Here is my Top 5 list:

1. What Is Wrong With Jason Bay? Or maybe more properly will he ever be a run producing bat? It is a great question and I must admit the enigma of Jason Bay is one that leaves me scratching my head. This is a guy who was a proven run producer and did it in Boston where the press scrutiny might be even tougher than it is in New York. But clearly something has happened to him. Maybe his bat speed has slowed down. Maybe he is putting too much pressure on himself. Maybe he is tinkering with his stance too much. Whatever it is, the Mets must help him find himself because the reality is they can not move him and he will be the everyday left fielder next year. Getting him right will have a big impact on the 2012 Mets.

2. Where Will Daniel Murphy Play? The good news is that Daniel Murphy proved that he can be a core bat in the middle of this lineup. The bad news is the National League does not use the DH. Putting him at second base is not the answer because, quite frankly, Murphy never looked quite right there. He was a serviceable first basemen but his best infield position is third base which is currently manned by David Wright. I really do believe that the best option for him is the outfield but the issue there is you can only put him in right field (with Bay in left) and I am not sure he has the arm to play that position. The health of Ike Davis could have a big impact on the decision since Murphy would play first base in his absence. The injury he suffered makes this an even harder decision since a healthy Murphy might have gotten some games in the outfield come September.

3. What Do The Mets Have in Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese? I think I know the answer to this question but the biggest thing I want to see from these 2 is a strong effort in September. You always want to see young pitchers excel in that month because it is the month their innings workload begins to pile up. In Niese’s case, this is particularly important since he struggled late last year. I do think both of these youngsters are in the plans for the 2012 rotation but their durability in the season’s final month will make that a certainty.

4. Is Angel Pagan The Long-Term Solution In Center Field? After having a breakthrough season in 2010, Pagan has struggled this year both at the plate and in the field. I am much more concerned about his defensive struggles because in the spacious outfield of Citi Field having a speedy defender is an absolute necessity. I firmly believe Pagan’s issues are mental rather than physical because he really wants to excel and at times, puts too much pressure on himself. I think he needs to show Terry Collins much more in these final six weeks in order to be in the center field conversation come next spring.

5. Is The 2012 Met Closer On The Roster Right Now? The answer to that question is we just don’t know. Both Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato have not been given enough of a chance to make any kind of educated evaluation. In fact, I really believe Beato’s future as a Met may be more in the rotation than in the bullpen. That being said, there is no future in having Jason Isringhausen close games. He will not be the closer next year and you simply have to find out what you have in Parnell. That way, Sandy Alderson could make a determination on whether the next Met closer comes from outside the organization.

Do you have some answers to these questions? Leave a comment below.

  • Jim from Binghamton

    Alderson and his colleagues need to do something BOLD instead of just sit and watch the Mets waste away (how many free tickets does it take to pad the attendance?). Here are some bold thoughts for consideration. Move Wright to second (he can become a Hall of Fame second baseman) and put Murphy at third. Also, take advantage of the rocket arm of Davis and put him in RF (he played RF in college), and put Duda at first (Before you laugh at this one, let me ask you…who is faster, Duda or Davis?) . Bring in the fences; put Mejia in the pen when he returns…. .

  • Terry Agoris

    Unrealistic solution, but im gonna play some fantasy baseball GM so hear me out:

    1: Tender Reyes and get the draft picks end of year
    2: Move Wright to SS (his natural position through his career)
    3: Put Murphy at 3B
    4: Sign Prince Fielder
    5: Re-examine Bay and make sure the head is on right and eyes work
    6: Tejada starts 2012 and moves to 2B
    7: Duda to RF
    8: Rehab Ike and trade him for prospects

    2012 Lineup

    1. Pagan
    2. Murphy
    3. Wright
    4. Fielder
    5. Bay
    6. Duda
    7. Tejada
    8. Thole

    Like i said, its fantasy GM stuff, but putting a bopper like Fielder in that line up might bring back that same production from Wright and everyone else when they had Delgado protecting them, like in 2006

    Any thoughts?

    • upandin115

      until the Mets completely rebuild their starting pitching situation, Santana status unknown, what they do with the rest of the team is a mute point. With the exception of Jose, who again is very questionable, theres not alot of reason to go to a ballgame, much like 1964. Wrights arm and offense will not win you a title. Save some money and play Murphy at 3rd. Trade David for pitching prospects. Bay is killing us. A real rally stopper. The last of Omars follies I hope. Play some minor leaguers until you find one who hits like a competitor

  • carol

    Has anyone addressed the “elephant in the room”? Could Jason Bay’s
    lack of performance be due to his discontinued use of steriods?
    Just asking……

  • ace11

    Lets be honest Met fans

    the Mets STINK

  • Joe

    Trade Pelfrey to KC so he can be closer to where he played college ball at Wichita St. and out of the big city. Get either Melky Cabrera for Lorenzo Cain. Non-tender Pagan, should have traded him when you could have gotten something for him. Murphy doesn’t appear to be able to play 2B so either find the best deal or keep him around to back up RF, LF, 3B, & 1B. Check Bay’s eyes after the concussion and see if he is seeing the ball well.

  • Ray

    S I G N R E Y E S ~ T R A D E D A V I D W R I G H T

    Why can’t we package Wright/Pagan for a solid center fielder? Throw Duda in right field and put Murph back at 3rd where he belongs. Give Turner a chance at 2nd and hope Bay can bring something to the table in left. With Reyes at SS and Ike at 1st that’s a decent line-up.

    “Center Fielder”

    M A K E I T H A P P E N ! ! !

  • Matlack

    Bay”s problem is in his head. Make some dimension changes to Citi Fields outfield and he’ll be fine. Daniel Murphy in lf ? Murphy in lf, Bay in cf, Duda in rf ? Your just asking for trouble.. Angel Pagan be gone. Captain Kirk in cf. Closer Pelfrey ?

  • oleosmirf

    How about moving David Wright to RF. I’m dead serious here.

    Wright’s defense is below average at 3B so putting Murphy there is no real decline. Wright is an athletic guy and moving to the easiest position on the field, should not be that much of a challenge.

    Then what you do is eat whatever it takes to get Jason Bay off the roster and replace him with Duda…

  • gary cro

    duda is extremely important – he appears to be solid enough in the outfield, has great power and makes the pitchers work. I would expect he will be a regular next year- probably right field. As much as I like Murphy he would be best on the team as a versatile sub- some 1st, 3rd, and when needed 2nd, rf and lf.getting 200 to 300 AB’s But ideally he gets traded to the AL where he can flourish as a DH. Parnell and Beato have wonderful stuff but are a long way from being closers. Pagan can at best be decent, but hopefully there is a better CF answer somewhere in the system.

  • dabooch

    Murphy, forget about this klutz, if you put him in right the Mets could charge double admission, the other would be the comedy club. Jason by the Bay, streaky, instead of measuring him in months it now can be measured in years. Pagon will make you long for Carlos Beltton, he is what he is not much. Parnell, forget about this guy he doesn’t have it, he’s not cool and tactful.

  • frank perusse

    1 bay mental block2 murphy 2nd base 3gee and niese starters next year 4 no can’t come in on the ball 5 no no no

  • acoustic567

    I would add that the Mets need to see what Lucas Duda can do as a regular, and also to see if Bobby Parnell can be a reliable closer.

  • Joe Parker

    I want Daniel Murphy at second base. He should have played every game at second this past spring not alternate with 4 other players. If his foot is better get him into winter ball and then play second next spring training. He will have another 30 games during the spring. He can learn the pivot at second. He won’t be an all star fielder but adeqate in the field with pop at the plate.He also has a great attitude .

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