Changes That Jerry Manuel Should Make To Put Mets Back on Track

Wendy AdairAnalyst IApril 22, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 15:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets during batting practice before their game against the San Diego Padres on April 15, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jerry Manuel has been trying to emphasize a team first attitude this spring but so far things have not worked out, although in fairness, the Mets have only played 13 games out of a 162 game season.

One major thing that many Mets do not do is stay near home plate to guide the base runner and telling them whether they should go in standing or slide into home plate.

Jerry Manuel prefers the term "directing traffic" and does not seem to think its the on deck hitters priority with the bat in hand, but something clearly needs to be done.

During the WBC, Shane Victorino of the Phillies was right behind home plate directing David Wright to slide to the first base side of home plate to avoid the tag, this is something that would not happen on the Mets. 

This is by no means a blanket statement for the whole team and not singling out one or two particular plays, but just a general observation.

Last night was a case in point of lack of teamwork when Carlos Beltran did the aggressive thing on the base paths and tried to score on some Cardinals fielding miscues, but he went in standing when clearly he should have slid home.

Beltran said that he was focusing on the ball and not aware of how close he was to home plate, I don't buy that excuse at all, but the point is that one of his teammates ,Luis Castillo who was nowhere in sight but should have been nearby and signaling him on how to score the run.

I do think another thing that needs to change is the use of Fernando Tatis, he is not getting his at bats in so when he is called upon to pinch hit, he is not effective so far, and this has been costly.

Third base is Tatis's natural position but with David Wright having a firm every day grasp there, Tatis will not see playing time except for a severe injury.   As that's what it would take for Wright to sit, a dependable backup is not necessary. Manuel may determines that Wright needs to rest one or two games a season on occasion but basically he is a 162 game player.

Tatis is a terrific utility player who can play all four infield positions as well as the corner outfield spots, but the Mets infielders have shown themselves to be pretty durable. There has been no real need for him to fill in there, but he can and should be used in the outfield because Daniel Murphy is clearly struggling in left field, which is a position that does not come naturally.

As far as changing the batting lineup, it will probably be changed 20 times over this season, so I won't go into who should be hitting where, there have been enough articles written on that subject.

Another change I would like to see is the starting pitchers being left in to get themselves out of jams that they played a part in creating in the first place.

Taking them out midway through an inning shows them that you do not have the confidence in them to work through their issues and bringing in a new pitcher to get out of a jam makes it extremely difficult for a relief pitcher to adjust.

There is still a lot of baseball to be played, and adjustments are a necessary part of baseball, so it will be interesting to see what changes are made and how this affects the Mets players and their wins and losses this season.