Correction: Jennry Mejia will remain in the pen

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jenrry mejia headshot mets.JPGLast week it seemed like the Mets were about to do something wise and send Jennry Mejia down to the minors in order to allow him to revert back into a starting pitcher, thereby providing the promise of greater value to the organization one day.  Then they backed up a little and said, no, we may just turn him into a starter at the major league level.  Not as wise, but in the grand scheme of things I suppose that’s better than keeping him in the pen.

Forget any wisdom now, however, because they’re just gonna keep him in the pen after all:

“We’ve discussed him at length many times, as far as what’s right
for him, what’s right for the team . . . basically, [keeping him in the pen] was the plan all along. We felt that
Igarashi can handle the eighth, and we need someone to handle the
seventh and I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment.”

Says the New York Post: “The deciding factor, according to Manuel, was that Mejia has been much
more effective in short outings than long ones.” Which is true for just about every pitcher. Bullpens are full of guys who couldn’t cut it was starters for exactly this reason, so I’m not sure why it weighs so heavily in Mejia’s case.

This is shortsighted decision by a guy who to whom short term success is more important than the long term health of the organization.  And that applies whether it was Omar Minaya or Jerry Manuel’s decision.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”