All indications are that the Mets will return to action tomorrow night, at home against the Cardinals, with their coaching staff intact. As I post, in fact, I see a New York Post item quoting Omar Minaya saying just that.
I think that's the right call. There's addressing a problem, and then there's scapegoating, and firing Howard Johnson at this juncture would've been the latter. Look, a very respectable group of Mets position players just scored 23 runs over an 11-game road trip. If you were to enumerate reasons behind this aberration, where would you put HoJo? 28th? 106th?
If the Mets don't rebound on this homestand, then all bets are off. But given how well the Mets have performed at home, I'd like to see them this week before advocating any such dramatic moves.
--Joe Girardi announced out in Cleveland - where Alex Rodriguez is starting at third base, by the way - that Dustin Moseley will start Thursday night in the fifth rotation spot. Meaning that Sergio Mitre is one and done as Andy Pettitte's fill-in.
Sounds fine to me. Really, the Yankees aren't looking for much more than replacement-level pitching, at a time when they have an eight-game cushion on a playoff bid. I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make if they spun a wheel with the names of Mitre, Moseley and Chad Gaudin to determine that spot in the rotation every time until Pettitte's return.
--With five days to go before the non-waivers trading deadline, today's thought: It'll be a big week for hitters getting traded. The Phillies sure seem willing to trade Jayson Werth, the Nationals could deal Adam Dunn and even the Brewers could unload Prince Fielder.
As one official from another NL club opined about Fielder: "He's going to cost the Brewers a ton next year, and thats' a lot of money for a guy with so many deficiencies." Fielder is eligible for arbitration next year, and he'll be negotiating off this year's $10.5 million salary. That indeed projects a high price tag - $14 million, just as a guess - for the slugger. For a team with a $90.4 million payroll this year, we're talking maybe one-sixth of the total payroll.
The White Sox have to be considered top candidates to land either Fielder or Dunn, and the Rays have enough to get Werth.
--In a topic that always generates conversation here, the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee is revamping its voting process yet again. If you read the linked story, you'll see that "Expansion era" candidates, involved in the game from 1973 through the present, will be voted on this December. That means that George Steinbrenner could gain Hall of Fame induction just a few months following his death.
How did I find this particular story? Holla, Twitter!
--Have a great night.
--UPDATE, 6:03 p.m.: Worth nothing that the Mets have placed Rod Barajas on the disabled list and recalled Mike Hessman, your classic Quadruple-A masher. Maybe he can give the team a little life with a tape-measure shot. Then again, maybe he can't. But his presence reminds us of Barajas' absence, which means that Josh Thole will play regularly, which is a good development.