1. DFA Oliver Perez
This is the biggest no-brainer of the five mostly obvious suggestions. Ollie's continued presence on the roster is an exercise in stubbornness by a front office apparently unwilling to admit a mistake. A pitcher throwing 87 mph and walking almost a batter an inning has no value in MLB. Money is driving the decision to leave him on the roster, not the desire to field the best possible team. Three years, $36 million was a terrible idea then, now and forever. 2004 was six years ago -- move the heck on!
Recently DFA'd Chan Ho Park would be worth a look as an option to replace Ollie. The Yankees dropped him on Saturday after he posted a 5.60 ERA in 35.1 innings of work this season. That's an ugly number, but he did boast a 2.52 ERA out of the 'pen for the Phillies in 2009. A closer look at his peripherals this year shows that he might have something left in that right arm. His strikeout and walk rates are still strong, as are his velocity and swinging strike rate. The biggest issue has been home runs, and it appears he has had some bad fortune giving them up this year based on his HR/FB rate, compared to his career rate and league average rate. Park would be an upgrade over several of the current bullpen options, although it's not worth trading anyone for him.
2. DFA Jeff Francoeur when Jason Bay returns from the DL
It's time to end the Francoeur experiment. His second half of 2009 hot streak has basically been canceled out by an embarrassing 2010 performance. Remember all that talk about how all he needed was a change of scenery? A chance to get away from the pressures of playing in his hometown?
Career numbers with Atlanta: .266/.308/.424
Career numbers with New York: .271/.311/.430
He's the same player, both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The spring training excitement, generated mainly by a toothy grin and aw-shucks demeanor, has long since worn off. Apologists really have nothing else to lean on. It's great that he puts on a laser show during batting practice but any work he's putting in isn't manifesting itself during at-bats that count.
The corresponding move should be calling up Nick Evans to the big club. Nasty Nick is hitting .295/.366/.523 between Binghamton and Buffalo this season. The major league equivalency for that line is just .229/.285/.388, but you know what? Terrible as that is, it's actually better than Frenchy's current major league line. Evans should have played down the stretch last year in place of Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan and Fernando Tatis, but that mistake can be partially rectified by giving him a shot in August/September 2010.
Cutting Frenchy before Bay comes back from the DL would also be acceptable.
3. DFA Alex Cora
Someone in Omar Minaya's circle of trust has to realize what's going on here. Cora is 34 years old with a .535 OPS -- and if he plays just 19 more games this season his $2 million option for 2011 will vest. Gary Matthews Jr. was excised after posting a .507 OPS. Frank Catalanotto and Mike Jacobs were similarly peaced after failing to do anything early on. Why should Cora get a free pass? Does the Mets front office really value his veteran leadership and clubhouse policing to the tune of $2 mil per year? If Cora plays game 80 this year and the Mets continue to spend cheaply on the draft, that would be disappointing, but not altogether surprising. Justin Turner and Josh Satin are reasonable options to replace Cora.
4. Bat Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan and David Wright one-two-three in the lineup
This has less to do with improving the team and more to do with not having to watch Luis Castillo and Cora waste at-bats in the two-hole. Lineup construction has a minimal impact on scoring runs but as a simple gesture to the fans Jerry Manuel should try to maximize the number of at-bats for the team's best hitters. I've noted this before, but Jerry batted Carlos Beltran second in the order for the very urgent games 161 and 162 in 2008. Why can't he do something similar in all games? If it's necessary for a do-or-die situation, it should be necessary all the time.
5. Film a Ron Artest "Let's Go Mets" jumbotron video
Queens native Artest released a Mets tribute rap, lyricizing about his boy Jay-Bay, ice cream in little helmets and sipping Moet in the Pepsi Porch. Other celebrity fans have filmed less than stellar "Let's Go Mets" pump-up videos. Chris Rock's is earnest but awkward. Kevin James's is energetic but disturbing. I'd like to see what the colorful Artest would do if given artistic license in his version. Say Queensbridge.