Someone Needs to Tell the Mets Their Pennant Race is Over

The demotion of Fernando Martinez makes absolutely no sense

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    The dog days of summer don't lack for fun activities. There are barbeques to attend, friends to enjoy al fresco cocktails with and beaches to visit on a day off from work. And yet, despite all that, we still find ourselves getting infuriated with the way the Mets are going about their business. 

    The latest bit of madness came on Thursday when the team sent outfielder Fernando Martinez back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for catcher Rod Barajas. Martinez was called up two weeks ago in what appeared to be a concession to the realities of the standings and a desire to start looking at players who could help in the future, but the Mets pulled the plug on that after all of 22 plate appearances so that they could carry a third catcher on their roster. 

    Martinez didn't do great in those 22 plate appearances. He got just three hits and has looked overmatched at times. Barajas has looked overmatched at the plate plenty of times this season and so has Jeff Francoeur, the guy who figures to play every day now that Martinez is back in Buffalo. Martinez is 21, what's the excuse for the other two?

    It was pretty clear when Martinez came up that Jerry Manuel didn't particularly agree with the decision. We get Jerry's issues with folding up the tent because he's getting fired at the end of the season unless he makes the playoffs. He's not a stupid man, he nailed the Mets offense as "pathetic" on Thursday night, but he's a prideful one that thinks that the team has a better chance to win with veterans.

    He's wrong, but the decision shouldn't be in his hands anyway.

    The organization as a whole needs to have a plan and the manager has to execute it. If he refuses, you fire him and finish the year with someone who will. This team is done and the only thing to do is start planning for 2011 and beyond.

    Compounding the problem is the fact that the Mets would have been fully justified in keeping Martinez down on the farm for the whole season as part of that planning. Simply say that they want to see him play a full season at Triple-A, especially because he's had problems staying healthy. The big league team isn't going anywhere while Buffalo is actually fighting for a playoff spot. Maybe you think that's a good experience for the kid, who is just 21, and want to see how he reacts. 

    Keeping him up to get big league experience or keeping him down to fulfill other development milestones are both valid plans for moving forward. The Mets, naturally, chose to do neither and wildly veer from one plan to the other to ensure that they won't make any progress. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.