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Chemistry101. Can I get two orders, one dog and a beer?

By Jim McNierney

To add to my post yesterday (not that I need to), the ownership has to take some responsibility for the lackluster, mediocrity that this franchise has slipped into.

Jerry Manual can only play the players he has. He seems to like to fool around with the chemistry of the lineup (perhaps a bit too much) but again, he can only pencil folks he has access to.

The front office decided in their infinite wisdom to do nothing prior to the trading deadline. They sat silent and watched other teams in the division bolster their playoff chances by making moves.

Now after the deadline has past and a miserable week has come and gone… they decide that they are going to “mix things up a bit.” By bringing up Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada, and by cutting Alex Cora they were reacting to several distasteful facts.

Jason Bay (who has become the latest in a streak of lousy off-season trades) is not healing quickly. Louis Castillo is damaged goods and Tejada will provide more range and better defense with more energy in the field that Castillo has shown of late.

The casualty there is Alex Cora. Cora was brought in when the club needed an additional infielder but, more important was his addition to the chemistry on the bench. Cora’s leadership was perhaps his biggest contribution to the club.

One of the things that this team has seemed to lack was any semblance of consistency (oh for the last three years or more) and this has certainly been the case with this current campaign. Leadership is a key component to combat that. All great teams had one or more players who would step up and contribute when a team starts to go into a slide. Protracted losing streaks are just not acceptable in their book and they drive their fellow teammates to achieve that goal. There hasn’t been anything close to a leader on this team since the later days of the 1980’s.

Of course to be an effective leader, you have to play every day. Alex Cora was unable to garner any sustained playing time this year. The spark that he brought during parts of last season was subsequently impossible to duplicate.

These recent moves were nothing more than symbolic. The front office realizes that most die-hard Mets fans have grown frustrated and due to (it seems) a lack of funding, this team is looking at a very bleak short term future.

It seems that given the current contracts that have been signed on high priced talent that is anything but… This club isn’t going to be considered a contender for several years. They are going to have to shed Castillo, Oliver Perez, and perhaps Jason Bay if he can’t right himself.

They need to find a core group of players that they can assemble the rest of the team around. Core players are impact players that inspire those that play around them. At one point it seemed that Wright and Reyes were that core but, neither has been able to affect that kind of chemistry.

In the meantime, Met fans can only hope they draft well and that they can build a stable of “home grown” talent which, in the past, has been the only formula that has worked within this franchise.


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