Results tagged ‘ Luis Castillo ’

The final word on Oliver Perez

Don’t believe players when they say that personnel issues aren’t distractions. They are, plain and simple. Whether such distractions are generated by the media, by fans, by management or by the players themselves often varies from case to case, but a distraction is a distraction is a distraction.

ollieshrug.jpgOliver Perez was a distraction.

Contrary to popular belief, Perez was genuinely liked in the Mets clubhouse. “It’s one thing if a guy comes in and he doesn’t do anything,” teammate Mike Pelfrey said after Perez’s release Monday. “That pisses guys off. But he continued to work.”

The roots of Perez’s charred reputation in New York probably stemmed from February of 2009, when he reported to camp out of shape mere weeks after inking the largest contract of his life, the three-year, $36-million pact that runs through this season. Before that spring, Perez was enigmatic, with electric stuff and a frustrating inability to harness it. After it, he was overpaid and lazy. Perceptions can change just that quickly.

And reputations can be difficult to shed. In the wake of Perez’s release, several players admitted that the left-hander’s presence in camp had indeed become a distraction, regardless of their personal opinions of the man. That does not mean that inviting him to Spring Training was a mistake — with $12 million on the line, the Mets had every right to exhaust all options before cutting him lose. All it means is that now, with Perez officially gone, the club can move on. Can really, honestly, genuinely move on.

Manager Terry Collins spent a solid five minutes Monday raving about his other bullpen options (remember them?), something that would have carried little interest one day earlier. Over the past week in particular, thoughts of Perez and Luis Castillo have so dominated camp on a day-to-day basis that nothing else seemed to matter.

Now, everything else matters.

“At the risk of sounding bad, there’s a little bit of closure,” said Jason Bay, a teammate in New York and Pittsburgh who, like so many others, referred to Perez as a likable teammate.

“We love those guys,” shortstop Jose Reyes said of Perez and Castillo. “It’s not like they were bad teammates. Everybody loved those guys in the clubhouse.”

Perhaps that’s another reason why closure is important. Over the last four and a half years, for good and for bad (and admittedly, mostly for bad), Perez had been an integral part of the Mets. Now he is an ex-Met. Now the Mets can move on, without making any allowances, without making any exceptions and — perhaps most importantly — without answering any more questions.

Now, in other words, the Mets can play baseball.

That’s important.

“It’s time to move on,” Collins said. “It’s time to turn the page, and now let’s talk about who is going to be here and what this club’s going to be about right now.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/17

We’re now two weeks away from Opening Day, and I still have no idea who the starting second baseman will be in Flushing. And I’m pretty sure the Mets have no idea either.

Manager Terry Collins has taken time this week to praise Luis Hernandez, who started at second base for the Mets down the stretch last season. But with nothing more than a handful of spring statistics under his belt, has he really leapfrogged Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Luis Castillo in the competition? Seems unlikely, though perhaps Hernandez could land a bench role in lieu of Chin-lung Hu. Anything’s possible. To that end, it would still surprise me to see Castillo on the Opening Day roster…but it certainly wouldn’t shock me.

For now, I suppose, I’ll stick with Emaus, my original pick. But I will remove Carlos Beltran from the projected roster, under the growing assumption that he will start the season on the disabled list. I just can’t see him being ready in two weeks’ time.

C – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Angel Pagan
OF – Lucas Duda
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz
RP – Jason Isringhausen*
RP – Manny Acosta

the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Luis Hernandez, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.