From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.
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The uncertain injury status of Mets 3B and captain David Wright should force the team to have two separate plans for 2015 and beyond. Let me explain. I believe the team has strong internal options at 2B. Between Wilmer Flores and prospect Dilson Herrera, I think they have the position covered. In a pinch, the team could move Flores back to SS but I see him as a 2B. This team needs to have strong defense in the infield. Shortstop wise, they need to make either a trade or sign a free agent, Ruben Tejada is no more than a backup middle infielder who gets exposed when he plays too much. Now the drama. Lets suppose Wright can no longer play and you need an everyday 3B for both short and long term. Why not Daniel Murphy? The free agent market does not have George Brett or Mike Schmidt on it. The same at SS. Cal Ripken Jr is not walking thru the door. I want to limit my trades and marshall my assets. Murphy is a good offensive player and solid defensively at third. He likes NY and you could lock him up for 3-4 yrs at 7-8 million per. Just an idea.
Mets fans have been hearing about Left handed pitcher Steven Matz for 2 years and he did not disappoint in his major league debut Sunday, leading New York to an important victory and series sweep of the Cincinnati Reds 7-2. Over 7 and 2 thirds innings, the southpaw allowed 6 runs and 2 runs(Two solo home runs including one leading off the game) while striking out 6 while throwing 110 pitches. Matz, a Long Island native, was great for ticket sales and an electric Citi Field erupted when he supplied his own offense with two key rhi hits, driving in 4 runs. The rookie became the 1st major league pitcher in 100 years to go 3 for 3 with 4 rbi in his ML debut. Incredibly, no Met player- pitcher or position player- has EVER had 4 rbi in their debut. Just an incredible day at the ball park and as manager Terry Collins said post game, if Mets fans are not excited about the assembly line of arms this team can throw out on a day to day basis, something is wrong. A lot of winning is on the horizon, Folks.
METS NOTES: Over the last 7 games, Curtis Granderson has been the lone wolf and the ENTIRE Mets offense. He is hitting .462 with 4 home runs ans 6 rbi….. I have hammered INF Ruben Tejada a lot on these pages and let me tell you something. That guy deserves a ton of credit and has almost embraced a super utility man role– he has played SS, 2B and 3B this season and will take over at SS with the return of Daniel Murphy Tuesday in a reshuffled infield. Tejada has always been a good defender but this season we have seen him take a much better approach at the plate and he consistently puts together good at bats even when he makes an out. He makes the pitcher work and is an pain in the butt. He is one of the more unsung heroes on this team.
The New York Mets top prospect,lefty pitcher Steven Matz, is set to make his major league debut Sunday at Citi Field. A Long Island Native and life long Mets fan, he is a good bet to have a lot of fans in the stands. This is a big day for the franchise as the teams other three recent hyped pitching call ups- Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard- started their 1st Ml games on the road, Matz is doing in front of the home fans. The lefty brings a great minor league track record(24-20 in 66 games over 5 yrs) and has been impressive pitching during 2015 in the hitter dominant Pacific Coast League for Las Vegas(7-4,2.19 ERA in 15 games). The promotion of Matz will also impact all the other starters as the Mets will go with a 6 man rotation. This makes sense as 4 of the teams starters( Matz + Harvey, Syndergaard and Jacob de Grom) will face innings limits due to youth. Bartolo Colon could show up in January,throw 6 innings after sitting at home and be effective. Meanwhile, Jon Niese is a pro who will adjust and probably benefit from an extra day. He has battled arm issues for much of his career. HUGE move and key to the Mets postseason hopes.
Meanwhile, Mets all star 2nd Baseman Daniel Murphy(Quad) should return from the Disabled List Tuesday and will change the structure of 3 of the 4 Infield starters. #28 is a natural Third Baseman and will assume that role with captain David Wright still out with his back injury. Short Stop Wilmer Flores, who has hit but has been up and down defensively, will switch to 2nd and Ruben Tejada, easily the teams best defensive infielder, will man SS. These moves all should make the team better defensively and aid the pitching staff. The Mets will never be a great team offensively so defensive improvement and run prevention is a good route to go.
The New York Mets have played almost exactly 70 games and are about a .500 team. They have excellent young pitching- particularly of the starting variety- but are not a good offensive or defensive team. In the last 5 games(all losses), they have 6 runs and New York has scored 1 run or fewer 17 times. They have an offensive oriented kid shortstop who is learning the position in the majors and probably costs the team a 2-3 runs a week. Their lone elite defender is playing with a bad elbow and neither corner outfielder will remind anyone of Dwight Evans(Google him!). Since starting 15-5, they have gone 21-30. People are calling for Manager Terry Collins head or for GM Sandy Alderson to make a major trade.
What do I say to Mets fans? What I have been saying all year- this is a good team- when everyone is TOGETHER. They have been down 2-3 starting position players since April – and not just any guys- the franchise Third baseman-captain, all star Second Baseman and promising young catcher, who was coming into his own. The team treaded water with kids or 4 A types without making a silly move to jeopardize a promising future. Take any team in MLB and strip them off what the Mets have lost and have them play for 8 weeks. 21-30 might be better than most. Recently this team had between 12-14 players on the disabled list. Look, I would like this team to add players to help but you know what? Billy Beane, Brian Cashman,Theo Epstein, Andrew Freidman and the like are not stupid. They know what the Mets need and what their assets are. Alderson is not dealing from strength, he is dealing from weakness due to injury. That is when you don-t make a trade!
Lets play a game here and fix the Mets. I can give you any, ANY two major league players without subtracting ANYONE from the Mets 40 man roster. Give me a player and position. Look at the Mets team. They have talented young players at catcher and First as well as Center Field. Wright and Murphy man 3B and 2nd. Two veterans under long term deals are the corners with two prime prospects on the way(Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo). You can scream and holler all you want but the Mets will not and should not do ANYTHING major until they know where Wright is long term. If he can play this year, you add a Ben Zobrist multi-position type. If not, then veteran stop gaps such as Aramis Ramirez make more sense. And as far as Collins goes, people need to calm down. Look at what he has to work with- depleted everday lineup, young arms who he must monitor to avoid more Tommy John Surgeries! The man has to almost manage to win 1-0. It is insane to scream for his head, they guy deserves medals!
I am as frustrated as anyone with this team but I realize why this is happening and believe that this team cannot win with this many guys out. If the health does not improve, adding Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson would do nothing. The field lineup is crippled and killing this team. This will not change until those people return. If they do not comeback, 2015 is a lost season. Yell, swear, throw things, call for heads, these are facts and the reality of the 2015 Mets season.
METS NOTES: SP Dillon Gee has been put on waivers after the team failed to trade him and if he passes through, he will be optioned to Triple A Las Vegas…Both Travis d’Arnaud and CF Juan Lagares are dealing with elbow injuries. d’Arnaud suffered a hyper extension after a collision at the plate vs the Braves Saturday and should return Tuesday after receiving treatment. Lagares’ situation is more of a rest and monitor issue with the same joint he has issues with late in 2014. He could eventually need Tommy John Surgery if the elbow does not improve… Meanwhile, Closer Jeurys Familia(Groin) was out the last 2 days of the Atlanta series and the team should have an update Tuesday. This does not appear to be serious and more of a cramp issue… Collins suggests that when Jenrry Mejia(50 game PED suspension) returns he would do so in a set up role.
On a day when the Mets career of Dillon Gee more than likely ended and the club received good news on both David Wright and Daniel Murphy, The team staged an amazing two run, two out rally in the 11th inning to win 4-3 vs the red hot Toronto Blue Jays(11 straight victories). Earlier on Monday, the team DFA-ed Gee(0-3,5.90 ERA in 7 starts) who can be traded over the next 10 days or be sent down to Triple A Las Vegas. Sad to say but Gee is not good enough to be in this rotation any more and deserves to pitch for a team where he can start. Meanwhile, Murphy could be back with the team by this weekend and GM Sandy Alderson stated that 3B-captain Wright(Back) could return by the all star break(Early July). On the field, the team got a great outing from rookie starter Noah Syndergaard(2 hits, 1 run(on a 1st inning homer ), 2 walks and 11 Ks over 6 innings) and got 2 out RBI hits from 1B Lucas Duda and SS Wilmer Flores to complete the comeback. Hats off to 3B Ruben Tejada whose hustle and heads up base running kept the rally alive after he did not give up on a potential game ending double play run down, staying in the play and allowing Michael Cuddyer to reach 1st. Just a great, great win and the Mets are developing a reputation as comeback kings(17 comeback victories, 2nd in all of MLB).
The New York Mets are a different team in 2015 and Sunday’s win over the division nemesis Atlanta Braves showed why on all levels. The team rallied twice from big deficits of 5-1 and 8-3, engineering a 7 run turnaround in a thrilling 10-8 win on Banner Day at Citi Field. The Mets hit 4 home runs , 2 of them from recent DL reinforcements- C Travis d’Arnaud and 2B Dilson Herrera. Meanwhile, spark plug OF Darrell Ceciliani hit his 1st career homer, a bomb into the 2nd deck in right, to kick start the rally. None of this matters if the bullpen- led by underrated Sean Gilmartin’s effort- does not come in and shut down the opposition. The Mets are not the 1975 Cincinnati Reds offensively but with d’Arnaud back and INF Daniel Murphy close in his rehab, this team can score enough to win 90 games. The return of d’Arnaud- who has the makings of a star- has energized the lineup and over the last 10 days or so, the backup OFs Ceciliani and John Mayberry Jr. have stepped up and made plays . With veterans like Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer on the wrong side of 30, this is vital in the outfield. Again, this team is different and when you hear Ron Darling- who played on some TEAMS- comment how up the bench is during the SNY telecast, that should open eyes. This team should be doing more than that now. The 2015 New York Mets are GOOD!
METS NOTES: RP Bobby Parnell(Tommy John rehab) appeared in two of the 3 Braves games and while appearing rusty, he got outs and adds a valuable late inning arm and veteran presence to the bullpen…. With Herrera’s athleticism showing up daily, he is a good bet to stay at 2B even when Murphy returns from the DL. Good news, however. The Mets have an opening at 3B and Murphy is a natural third bagger. Look for #28 to take the job fulltime with the status of captain David Wright(Back) still very much in question…..The team went with a brief 6 man rotation to get the 3 kids(Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard) and 2 vets(Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese) an extra day and poor Dillon Gee paid for it. Over 3 and 2 thirds, he allowed 11 hits and 8 runs while looking out of sync. This is what happens when you take a career starter and put him in the pen without regular work. Feel bad for a good teammate and guy but more than likely best for Gee to be traded in a package for an asset……With several minor moves involving births and bereavements, backup C Anthony Recker has been temporarily sent down to Las Vegas. This move makes sense for this week with the team about to play 2 games in Toronto where they can DH d’Arnaud and let Kevin Plawecki catch. Recker will more than likely be back up by this time next week……Anyone who underestimates the value of both a stud closer and Jeurys Familia to the 2015 Mets did not watch the Mets brutal 5-3 loss Saturday. Terry Collins gave #27 the day off after the birth of his 1st son and the team could not hold a 3-1 led in the 9th using a combination of relievers. Mixing and matching is nice innings 6 thru 8 but their is a reason a select few get the final 3 outs of the game…..I am not a huge stats guy but try this one on for size: de Grom allowed a homer to professional Mets killer Braves 1B Freddie Freeman Saturday. That was the 1st bomb he has surrendered at Citi Field in 16 home starts. INCREDIBLE.I tell people this all day and all night, I love Matt Harvey and he will be great again but right now, de Grom is the best pitcher on the Mets. And it is not close.
So the Mets got no hit last night, they lost to a team that has won 3 World Series in the last half decade. Is the world ending? NO…. Just the opposite. The team is in 1st place. On June 10th. They have 13 players on the DL. 3 of them are set to rejoin the team this week, led by C Travis d’Arnaud, who was playing phenomenal before breaking a bone in his hand. Reliever Bobby Parnell will add a veteran arm to a talented bullpen while 2B Dilson Herrera can mix and match with Ruben Tejada to stabilize the middle infield and bench. The team started 15-5 but is 13-17 in its last 30 and 10-19 on the road. At times the team appears to not be able to hit themselves out of a paper bag but their pitching and ability to scratch and claw has kept them in contention. Fans need to relax and not campaign for a panic move. This team is set up to be good for years, if not great. Google Scott Kazmir if you want to make a foolish, rush move. The Mets have young players with major upside at C,1B, CF, 2B and SS. Let them grow. Look at Lucas Duda. How has he panned out? Pitching buys you time. And I know the Mets have not played in the postseason since 2006 and they barely missed in 2007-2008. But a big reason why that group did not advance was the lack of a farm system and young talent to add to David Wright and Jose Reyes. The 2015 version of the Mets have arms and players coming as either reinforcements and/or trade pieces. Have a coke and smile and enjoy the ride!
The Mets hit 4 home runs(Start the Parade! A total often for this club in a week!) and got another dominant outing from starter Jacob de Grom(The Best pitcher on this team BTW) to conclude the weeks 2 city West Coast trip at 3-4. More importantly, the injury ravaged team(13 players on the disabled list) is in 1st place in the National League East for the 2nd time this week and returns to Citi Field Tuesday after an off day Monday. I cannot say enough about the players on this team and the coaching staff led by manager Terry Collins. They show up and punch the clock regardless of who or who is not in the lineup and play. HARD. That is all you can ask for as a fan and this group COMPETES.
REINFORCEMENTS: Some good news internally(More in the next paragraph) and the lack of diagnosis for captain David Wright’s back are the biggest issues here. Pitching wise, the team is deep and talented. With Wilmer Flores really stepping up offensively and playing solid defense, I do not think shortstop is a major issue anymore. Credit GM Sandy Alderson and his staff for their faith and projections with the young SS, who they viewed as an offensive player at a defensive spot ala the St. Louis Cardinals Jhonny Peralta. The team is set at 1B, C and 2B with a stud young player in CF(Juan Lagares) and two veteran corner outfielders with both money and years left on their deals in Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson. 3B and the health of Wright are biggest everyday issue. Eric Campbell and Ruben Tejada have been god sends at the spot but are not George Brett. Ideally, a player who could play 3-4 positions- a Ben Zobrist- would be ideal or if Wright is lost, I would look at the Red’s Todd Frazier. This team could use a 4th Outfielder who could play 2-3 days a week as well to give the vets or Lagares a blow. Offensive improvement is vital for this teams postseason hopes, the team is 28th in run production since the 11 game win streak of April.
METS MASH: 3 players close to being back this week while another star bat goes on the DL in 2B Daniel Murphy. Murphy(Quad) could be out a month while rookie 2B Dilson Herrera(finger), C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) and RP Bobby Parnell(Tommy John rehab) should rejoin the big club during this weeks homestand. Herrera’s return could help the bench as well with either the rookie, Tejada or Campbell being out of the lineup. C Kevin Plawecki(Virus) and OF John Mayberry Jr(Heel) should be Ok in this homestand. Meanwhile, RP Vic Black(Neck) completed his rehab and has been optioned to Triple A Las Vegas to build arm strength and confidence.
METS NOTES: Collins has decided to scrap the 6 man rotation for the normal 5 and one of the veterans(Jon Niese or Dillon Gee) will be placed in the pen or traded. Bets should be on Gee……..Lagares appears to be healthier on this trip after dealing with an elbow issue…. de Grom is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last 5 starts…. Closer Jeurys Familia might be the team MVP and has been dominant, converting 17 of 18 save opportunities…. People need to relax and realize the team has 6 weeks or so til the Trade Deadline. Lets see how d’Arnaud and the 2B situation pan out and ,of course, the injury with the Captain resolves itself before we trade Sirloin for spam,OK?… One concern and I am saying this in the 1st week of June. This team has 3 pitchers under pitch limits in de Grom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard as well as 87 yr old Bartolo Colon. 6 man rotation for 2-3 weeks eliminates that need by itself. Fans in Queens will not be happy if these guys miss starts in September over innings numbers. Nor will this Blogger! Nationals fans still waiting for those Series rings sitting Strasburg earned them. OOOPPPS.
The New York Mets and their captain,3B David Wright, received awful news this week when he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a condition that has caused several pro athletes to retire. Spinal Stenosis causes the spinal column to narrow and is very painful. Wright is being treated by back expert Dr Tom Watkins in Los Angeles as well as the teams medical staff and doctors from the Hospital for Special Surgery. This is a serous injury but treatable and controllable to an extent. When the doctors told The Captain what he had, they told him not to Google it. He did. When he joined the team in California, #5 said he would return to the lineup sooner than later and he was between moods of serious and joking with teammates. Currently, he is in rehab with weekly advancements and tests with Watkins and his team but not close to returning. The Mets and GM Sandy Alderson need to have an idea as the trade deadline approaches how to fill this hole at 3B if Captain America is out long or short term. Ben Zobrist(Short) and Todd Frazier(Long) are two names that fit that slot in order. Meanwhile, Ruben Tejada has taken off at 3B and is hitting .483 with 6 RBI in the last 7 games. Manager Terry Collins challenged him to take the role in has hit him out of the 2 hole from day 1 and he has prospered. On a personal note for both Wright and Mets fans, this stinks. This team is finally good and the franchise face who stayed, took losing and signed here long term to rebuild is now fallen by an awful condition. Reminds me of what Don Mattingly faced with the early 90s Yankees teams, his bad back made him an average player and he had to hang it up. The team won 4 World Series in a short span after #23 hung it up. Lets hope Wright, who turns 33 in December, does not meet the same fate. Good player, great leader, better guy.
The New York Mets went 13-15 in May and stand at 28-23 on the year as they start a 2 city West Coast trip in San Diego and Arizona(4 games) over the next 7 days. 50 games or post Memorial Day is always a good gauge and fans should be excited with this fact: If the season ended today, the team would be in the postseason as a wild card. The Mets are a half game behind the Washington Nationals in the division with 12 players including their captain-3B, starting Catcher, top lefty reliever and opening day closer(PED suspension) all on the disabled list. As a reference point, the team was 1 game below .500 at this time in 2014. Two months down, 4 more to go, should be exciting.
METS NOTES: CF Juan Lagares(Elbow,side) has been beat up but continues to play spectacular defense and hustle. Meanwhile, 1B Lucas Duda, the teams top power threat, has a sore and swollen knee after being hit by a pitch and could be out 2-3 days…… One negative pitching wise is veteran Jon Niese recent starts. In his last four outings, his ERA has risen from 1.95 to 4.92 and he has allowed 22 runs(20 earned). The good news? No physical issues….. Rehab wise, Travis d’Arnaud(Hand-wrist) will resume his rehab this week and relievers Vic Black and Bobby Parnell have progressed in their games and could return Mid June…. Have to tip your cap to Ruben Tejada, one of my personal whipping boys. Manager Terry Collins played him all weekend at Third and he produced out of the 2 hole and flourished defensively ….Captain David Wright(Back) will meet up with the team in San Diego and Collins mentioned to the media pregame Monday night his status heading forward could determine the defensive alignment of the Mets infield. Minus Duda, who is solid defensively at 1B, the club has a lot of interchangeable parts with the likes of Wilmer Flores, Tejada and Daniel Murphy all having the ability to play multiple positions. Murphy’s free agency(Up after the season) and the return of a healthy Dilson Herrera add to the intrigue….. Congrats to Bartolo Colon, a HUGE fan favorite, for his major league leading 8th win…. A team, trade partner wise to look at: The Milwaukee Brewers. Have 2-3 things the Mets could use short and long term: 3B, SS, Corner OF, again, dependent on the health status of Wright. This team DESPERATELY needs a 4th Outfielder after Kirk Nieuwenhuis did not produce and was traded
The 2015 New York Mets are not the ’75 Cincinnati Reds and that is ok. This team has been bad since 2009 and rebuilding. Watch this team for a week and you will see a plan in place and POSITIVES. Obviously, the young starting pitching with Matt Harvey, Jacob de Grom and impressive rookie Noah Syndergaard stands out with Steve Matz and Rafael Montero a plane trip away in Las Vegas. Closer Jeurys Familia leads a talented bullpen that has 2-3 regulars on the DL. Infield wise, 1B Lucas Duda is blossoming into an All Star and very quietly SS Wilmer Flores has turned it around after struggling early defensively. The Outfield is starting to come with veterans Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson providing a steady hand and more offense. CF Juan Lagares is beat up physically but catches everything and gives you quality at bats. Long term, two of the teams top prospects are OFs Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, who should be major league ready when both Cuddyer and Granderson’s deals expire. The current Mets are not winning 100 games but they are coming and coming FAST.
The New York Mets have had some poor seasons recently and many bad days but Saturday May 23rd might have been a topper since the final day eliminations of 2007-08. The two faces of the franchise-3B and captain David Wright and staff ace Matt Harvey- were hammered- on and off the field. First, Wright, who has been rehabbing from a hamstring injury that caused him to develop lower back pain. Turns out that spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, is the cause and the Captain will be shut down from baseball activities for a week and take medication as well. Wright will also do some core and back stabilization exercises. If the Captain is back by the All Star Break, I would be surprised. Stenosis can be a serious condition and helped end the careers of both Don Mattingly and Len Dykstra but the Mets do not believe this situation is that dire. Meanwhile, Harvey had the worst outing of his young career, allowing 7 runs in 4+ innings. From pitch one, He did not have command and he gave up towering home runs to Pirates stars Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez in the first two frames. Mets fans should not be overly concerned with the Dark Knight, prior to Saturdays outing, he allowed zero runs over 16 innings.
METS NOTES: C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) will begin a minor league rehab assignment this week while relievers Vic Black and Bobby Parnell are both progressing and have been moved up to Double A…. Personal favorite Kirk Nieuwenhuis was DFA-ed earlier this week and replaced by OF Darrell Ceciliani. Kirk was just not hitting and/or getting enough playing time to straighten himself out…. SS Wilmer Flores is starting to play better defensively and continues to hit….. Both Lucas Duda(Hamstring) and Juan Lagares(Side soreness) are out of the lineup Sunday…. With Noah Syndergaard pitching well and the team trying to get both Jacob deGrom(Shoulder, Hip) and Harvey(1st season post Tommy John Surgery) thru the season, the team will go with a 6 man starting rotation after Dillon Gee(Groin) completes his last minor league start. This also cannot hurt Bartolo Colon who is 135 in baseball years…Duda’ success vs Left Handed pitching is a testimony to his hard work and commitment. In 2014, he hit .180 with 2 homers vs Southpaws. This year he has 4 long balls and his hitting .400 in 45 at bats. Mets SNY broadcaster and ex Met great Keith Hernandez has coached up the 1B and it shows…. When you listen to other teams announcers talk about the team and how insane it is that the Mets have 12 players on the DL, you smile. So True. Pirates TV guys talked about this for 5 minutes Saturday.
METS MASH: Both Captain-3B David Wright(Hamstring-Back) and C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) have progressed and started resuming baseball related activity. Wright did everything but swing a bat while the backstop did hit. Do not plan on seeing either before June. Meanwhile, Dillon Gee(Groin) appears close and has looked good in rehab starts. Relievers Vic Black(Neck) and Bobby Parnell(Tommy John Rehab) have pitched OK in the minors and are steadily building up arm strength.
NOTES: Matt Harvey has not allowed a run over his last 2 starts(16 innings) yet does not have a win…. Tough break literally for 2B Dilson Herrera(Thumb) who suffered a broken thumb during infield drills last week. The rookie will be re-examined in 3 weeks… With all the injuries to the bullpen(Buddy Carlyle was the latest to go on the DL with back spasms this week) , the Mets have 5 relievers on the DL(Technically 6, Jenrry Mejia is serving a PED suspension for 50 games). The positives? When all these arms are back, Manager Terry Collins will not lack options. Veterans like both Torres'(Carlos and Alex) and rookies Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles have been particularly impressive with elevated roles…… Team will have an interesting decision to make rotation wise with rookie Noah Syndergaard looking so impressive in two outings when Gee comes off the DL…. Team playing well but a potential weakness(4th Outfielder) might need to be addressed. John Mayberry Jr had a game winning hit tonight but both he and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are really struggling with the bat. Depth with two corner OFs being over 30 is a big deal. Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer cannot play 162.
Baseball draws us in because you never now what you can will see you come to the ballpark. Saturday nights Mets-Brewers game further illustrated that point. New York had lost 5 straight and looked lifeless in a blowout loss Friday night. Terry Collins makes a subtle move- he moves the pitcher(Jacob de Grom) to the 8th hole – and the team exploded for a 14-1 victory, set off by a 10 run inning. I ripped the move pregame and de Grom had 3 hits(2 in the big inning) and SS Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam out of the 9 hole. The entire team responded and put together good at bats throughout. Sunday, the team continued its offensive up swing and won again 5-1. Veteran outfielders Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer had big offensive days. Again, the more games you watch, the more you learn and the more you learn what you don-t know. In essence, how the games will turn out. That is why we watch and I write.
The recent struggles of the Mets over the past 2 weeks have magnified weakness(Lack of offense, infield defense,bullpen depth) while amplifying strengths(Starting pitching, Overall farm system). The team has lost 4 straight, 5 of 7 and gone 7-12 since winning 11 straight in April. Why is this happening? First of all, they have played some good teams– Washington(A team picked by most to win the National League) and The Chicago Cubs(a team the exact opposite of the Mets- Lack proven pitchers, tons of talent on the field) as well as the surprising rival Yankees. Secondly, the injuries to franchise cornerstones (3B David Wright and C Travis d’Arnaud) as well as 3-4 pitchers has forced the club to extend and expand the roles of several players who are not ready to be in those positions. In a month, a Kevin Plawecki, Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles could be Las Vegas and d’ Arnaud, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell will be in those game changing moments. However, this team should be playing better and be more mentally tough. Recently, when anything goes wrong in an inning, the team seems to struggle to recover. Poor Jon Niese(1.95 ERA entering Thursday) has been particularly victimized by poor defense(Team has made 10 errors with the lefty on the mound) and does not have the high end talent and stuff needed to escape 4 out innings.
Niese’s struggles are more about physical talent than mental, Jon is tough and has pitched with all kinds of ailments sine joining the Mets. However, his issue got me to look more at the rosters makeup. Think about this team and assume everyone is healthy- outside of Daniel Murphy and Niese, who would you consider to be in the prime years? Lucas Duda is 29, right on the edge. Wright is over 30, SS is a mess and yet to be determined. Juan Lagares is a kid and the corners are two former all stars who are great locker room guys and pros but are not Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn in 2015. Pitching wise? Kids and the fountain of youth, Bartolo Colon. Niese and the walking trade rumor Dillon Gee are the vets of the staff. Again, pros but not Seaver- Koosman or Gooden-Darling. The positives? Clearly Mets GM Sandy Alderson has two high end prospects coming in Outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, both former 1st round picks. So, in summary, relax, enjoy the process and realize that this team is coming but more than likely not complete. The future is bright, present better but not great. Team is competitive and with some breaks-better health, this team is playing in October. BELIEVE!!!
A groin strain has caused veteran starter Dillon Gee to the disabled list and opened a rotation spot for the Mets top prospect RHP Noah Syndergaard. The big righty is set to make his major league debut Tomorrow at historic Wrigley Field vs the Cubs in Chicago. Syndergaard joined the club in Philadelphia over the weekend to help him get acclimated to the big leagues. This is a huge day heading forward for the organization for 2015 and the future, Syndergaard is one of the 3 arms in the minors- RH Rafael Montero(Been up and down last calendar year) and LH Steve Matz(Been dominant at all levels) the others- who will either be part of the pitching staff or moved to fill an important hole.
METS MASH: Third Baseman-Captain David Wright(Hamstring) has no issues with his leg but dealt with some lower back pain earlier last week and should be resuming baseball activity today. C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) is set to have his broken hand examined Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. If the bone has healed, he can start rehabbing immediately. Meanwhile, reliever Bobby Parnell(Tommy John rehab) threw a bullpen session May 7th and will resume minor league rehab assignments this week.
METS NOTES: As amazing as Bartolo Colon’s season has been(He became the 1st 6 game winner Sunday), one stat shows how great he has been: In 7 starts(46.1 innings), he has struck out 40 hitters and walked 1…. ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 to 1 is usually an acceptable Strikeout to walk ratio, 3:1 excellent. What is 40 to 1?!…..With Wright over 30 and having battled injuries over the past 3-4 years, The Mets should consider using Daniel Murphy- who can play 2B and 3B- as a super utility player ala Ben Zobrist. You get to rest #5 and keep top prospect 2B Dilson Herrera in the lineup 4-5 days a week. Just an idea…… The New York Mets starting pitchers have the top ERA in all over major league baseball at 2.99. The 2nd place team has a 3.20 ERA. The relievers check in 6th with a 2.51 ERA and they have converted 15 of 16 save opportunities.
WRIGHT UPDATE: Mets captain and Third Baseman David Wright(Hamstring) will not be back this weekend and is now looking at a Mid May return. The team is cautious and being safe with a complicated and complex injury. Hamstrings are tricky and if you do not get this right, you can lose the player for a long period of time. I tore my hamstring in 1989 and still feel it today. SERIOUSLY.
MEMORIAL DAY: The Mets are lucky that Daniel Murphy is a natural 3B and can fill in with Wright injured. However, moving Murphy to 3B allows them to give Dilson Herrera a look as an everyday second baseman. More importantly, it adds to Murphy’s trade value if they need to address the shortstop position for 2015. I believe in Wilmer Flores at SS but I also believe he needs to step it up and has until around Memorial Day to do so. This team is good enough to win and play in the postseason and one hole can be filled in season. Whether it be via trade or a recall of SS Matt Reynolds from Triple A, the Mets have options. I hope Flores ends the debate. I also believe I have a better chance of being on the Mets in 2016 than Daniel Murphy. Remember, I am 43 and have had more surgeries than Trapper John. These next 3 weeks of games are vital for the 2015 Mets and beyond.
METS NOTES: INF Eric Campbell has been sent down to Triple A and the team has recalled C Johnny Monell, a left handed hitter, to give the team 3 Catchers. Monell has been tearing it up in Las Vegas(.397 BA-.455 OB with 4 HRs and 15 RBI in 58 at bats) and should help the Mets bench….CF Juan Lagares has a hit in every home game and is hitting .377 at Citi Field….New lefty reliever Alex Torres has been a god send for the Mets bullpen. He entered Sunday’s game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Torres struck out the side. Right handed hitters are 1 for 19 vs Torres and he has a 0.96 ERA in 11 appearances…SP Dillon Gee set a franchise record Sunday when he pitched 5 innings for the 51st straight start. Dwight Gooden had the old record from 1987 to 89, Gee is 0-2 in 2015 but has a 3.82 ERA. In his last 59 starts, he is 19-21 with a 3.78 ERA.
The New York Mets stand at 16-10 and led the NL East by 3.5 games yet many fans believe the sky is falling after losing 7 out of 10 and 3 of 4 to the defending division champion Washington Nationals. Real Mets fans should be both understanding and sympathetic towards this team. Why? This team has real injuries and when you combine that with the quality of competition, losses are going to happen. The lack of offense is glaring and if this team was going to be without David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud for the entire season the panic button would be a viable option. However, the will both be back and players like Cuddyer, Granderson and Murphy have proven track records and are offensive players. On a positive front, both 1B Lucas Duda and CF Juan Lagares have continued to build on strong 2014 campaigns. This team is not the ’75 Cincinnati Reds offensively but with this pitching staff, they will hit enough to be a post season team. One issue that is a major concern, however, is middle infield defense. When you are starved for runs and an arms oriented squad, giving teams outs shows. The Mets lost Sunday 1-0 on a bloop hit in the 1st inning. But the team failed to turn two separate double plays that would have prevented that run. With a better offense, small things do not show up. The Mets just need to ride this rough stretch out and await the reinforcements that are coming. GM Sandy Alderson knows this team is close(see the Dilson Herrera move) so he will make moves if things do not improve. They will. RELAX.
The New York Mets closed out April 15-8 but the last week or so has not been good. The teams middle infield defense- SS Wilmer Flores and 2B Daniel Murphy- have committed 10 of the teams 17 errors and many of them have led to big innings and contributed to losses. With all of the injuries to key players(3B David Wright, C Travis d’Arnaud and several pitchers) this team has little margin for error and little things become bigger when you are limited offensively. Also take into account that two of the Mets starters- Dillon Gee and Jon Niese- are not stuff guys ,using deception and smarts to get outs. They need plays to be made behind them. Heck, Jacob de Grom was done in by a huge error in Thursday’s loss. The team has lost 3 in a row, 2 straight series and 5 of 7. Mets management sees this as a critical time and took action postgame Thursday, recalling 2B Dilson Herrera to play everyday,bumping Murphy over to his natural 3B position and Eric Campbell to his ideal super sub role. This should help the Mets short term until Wright returns, then the team will have another decision to make. Murphy might be on his way out with his free agency on the horizon(after 2015) and Herrera drawing raves from scouts and killing Triple A pitching(.375 BA-.407 OB-.513 Slugging).
METS MASH: Wright(Hamstring) has started working out and should return sometime next weekend. Reports have been good on the Captain. Relievers Bobby Parnell(Tommy John surgery, sore forearm) and Vic Black(Herniated disc) have resumed throwing from flat ground and are looking at Late May return dates at the earliest. Meanwhile, P Rafael Montero(Rotator Cuff) was placed on the DL as more of precautionary measure. He looked good in his spot start in Miami.
METS NOTES: 1B Lucas Duda has been great so far in 2015, building on his strong 2014 and is now hitting left handed pitching! He has hit ..312 with 2 homers and 12 RBI with a .894 OPS. But the key is both his On Base overall(.427) and .429 BA vs Lefties(9 for 21)!!! Serious All Star candidate… This team can afford to carry Murphy- an offensive 2B- think JV Dan Uggla- when they have a good defensive player at SS. Flores is not ideal to play with #28. I have a strong suspicion that one of the two are on the way out. Regarding Flores, Wilmer can hit, .275-20 HR potential, I would ride it out with him. Let him play with Wright next to him and see how he is for a month. And boo-ing him at home does both the player and team no good. The Mets need him….. CF Juan Lagares is becoming a dangerous weapon and not just with his defense. He has put together consistent, good at bats and is hovering around .300(.297) while driving in some big runs(11 rbi). Guess who leads the team in hits with 27? #12… With the teams struggles, do not blame Campbell and C Kevin Plawecki, who hit his 1st ML in Yankee stadium and looks like a player, who have filled in with solid play and do not look out of place.
First, for someone who has covered a lot of losing since taking over this blog, it is really nice to cover a good product and team. And this is not a mirage, pitching,defense and timely hitting is a recipe for success in the non- PED era and the 2015 Mets have it. This team has also shown the ability to work counts and at bats, a sign that new hitting Coach Rick Down has had a positive effect. Come back wins and the ability to close out close games(team won 4 straight games they trailed in for the 1st time since 1999 this week) are about character and morale building. This team has momentum and 8 straight wins. The injuries are documented and what they are, you cannot train or prevent broken bones. Maintaining that positive vibe and feel is key as we enter the 3rd week of the season, with whoever plays or does not. This is the time we will see how good both GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins really are. As Mike Tyson famously said We all have a plan til we get punched in the mouth.
METS MASH: The unfortunate medical updates on the 4 key Mets injuries: C Travis d’Arnaud(Broken right hand) will be in a splint for 3 weeks, will resume baseball activities when the bone heals and he is no longer in pain. Good time frame for Travis would be a return around Memorial Day, LHRP Jerry Blevins(Broken left forearm) will also be in a splint but for 6 weeks. He will be allowed to throw after the bone heals. June is a likely return time for the southpaw. RP Vic Black(Herniated disc) will undergo therapy and be re-examined in 1 week. His arm checked out fine and this is considered a good outcome. Finally, the best news of the 4: Captain David Wright(Hamstring) has responded well to rest ans treatment after receiving a cortisone shot. According to Alderson, he should be able to come right back to the Mets when he is eligible to do so April 30th.
MATT AND BARTOLO:LEADING IN DIFFERENT WAYS: The two are almost 20 years apart in age but starters Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey are stepping up early for the 2015 Mets. Colon just knows how to pitch and gets outs, he is a joy to watch pitch. But his at bats- lets just say he is not going to be confused with Pete Rose- are high comedy and PRODUCTIVE as he has driven in big runs in his last two starts. You also see the younger players gravitating to him and how popular he is with his teammates. Harvey is quickly becoming the franchise face and in his 1st start at Citi Field he picked up another title: Team enforcer. The Phillies had hit two Mets with pitches— one took LF Michael Cuddyer out of the game- and the Dark Knight responded by placing a pitch between the 2 and 6 in the jersey of Philadelphia star 2B Chase Utley’s back. End of NY batters being thrown at.
GEE: GONE?: The team sent down prospect Rafael Montero to Triple A Las Vegas with the stated goal to build arm strength and convert him into a full time starter. This is bad news for long time starter Dillon Gee, who has been in trade rumors for the past 6 months. For long time Mets fans, I compare Gee to pitcher Ed Lynch of the early 80s. He was a good pitcher on bad Mets teams in that era and when the team turned things around in 84-85 he looked out of place with normal stuff. By the time the team was great in 1986, he was injured and never got his job back. I see Gee, I think of Ed Lynch. Baseball is a cruel business but it is a business.
METS NOTES: OF Curtis Granderson is only hitting .196 but he is functioning well in the lead off spot, drawing an NL high 12 walks….. INF Danny Muno was recalled when Montero was sent down and recorded a hit then stole a base in his 1st ML at bat…. INF Eric Campbell has played well in Wright’s absence and never gives you a bad at bat. He is not Brooks Robinson at Third but makes plays… Bobby Parnell(Tommy John Surgery) continues to build arm strength in the minors and remains on track to rejoin the team sometime in May….CF Juan Lagares could play everyday if he he hits .200 with his defense but the Center Fielder has shown improvement with the stick and is becoming a weapon. And he still makes 1-2 insane defensive plays a night…. Cuddyer has really helped this team. Think of a hitting version of Colon, Veteran, gets it, goes to work. Hitting over .300 with some good at bats and his transition to Citi Field from Colorado seems to be without hiccup.
The New York Mets are the hottest team in Baseball and have won 8 straight but the 7th inning in the clubs latest victory proved costly as both the starting catcher and top lefty reliever suffered broken bones. C Travis d’Arnaud, leading the team with 10 RBI, fractured his hand after being hit by a pitch. Meanwhile, late spring training acquisition Jerry Blevins was felled earlier in the inning by a line drive and has a broken forearm. The southpaw specialist had retired 14 of 15 batters faced(the other hit a fielders choice) and was a huge part of the Mets strong bullpen. As great as the team has been playing, these are both HUGE blows and when you add these injuries to the other early season casualties-Captain-3B David Wright, SP Zack Wheeler,LHRP Josh Edgin and closer Jenrry Mejia-sooner or later, they have an effect. The good news? The Mets look great and GM Sandy Alderson and his staff have re-loaded the farm system and we will now see the fruits of those labors. C Kevin Plawecki, the teams top pick in 2012 and a top prospect, will play most days behind the plate after being recalled from Triple A Las Vegas. Meanwhile, RHP Hansel Robles has been added to the pen to take Blevins spot in the pen, the team still has two lefty relievers and can blend Robles in with minimal pressure. A huge key here is the leadership and tone set by Manager Terry Collins, who earns his money managing this franchise. I joke with one of my bosses that the Mets need to change their logo to a Black Cat. Days like this make you wonder. Show must go on but this is hard to see with the team playing great.
The New York Mets lost their captain to the 15-day disabled list Wednesday April 15 when 3B David Wright was felled by a mild right hamstring strain. Wright pulled himself late in Tuesday’s win after stealing a base and the team dodged a major bullet with the diagnosis. Mets GM Sandy Alderson believes the teams franchise face will be back in 3 weeks while the Captain is hoping for 2. This injury shows a change for both the team and Third Baseman in approach and it should excite fans. First, the team believes it can win this year and both the player and organization proceeded with caution instead of trying to have a small injury become a major issue. Wright has played with major pain before(Hamstring in 2013, Broken back in 2012) and made it worse. This team and year is about playing big games in September and into October. April games are important but so is the big picture. The team has recalled Eric Campbell from Triple A Las Vegas and he will take over as the everday 3B with Ruben Tejada getting some PT when he needs a blow. Mets manager Terry Collins ruled out moving 2B Daniel Murphy(His natural position and he took over when Wright was lost for 2014 due to a shoulder injury) or SS Wilmer Flores to Third, he wants them to focus on their everyday spots.
The New York Mets come home from a tough opening road trip 3-3 after winning 2 of 3 in Washington vs the Nationals while salvaging a competitive performance in Atlanta, avoiding a series sweep with a late inning rally Sunday. The team ERA is 10th in all of baseball and the pitching staff keeps them in every game while the bats are 22nd in average after 6 games. Mind you, Both the Nationals and Braves have arms and very few teams not named the Detroit Tigers are hitting right now. I am not concerned about this offense. However, the shocking news Saturday about the 80 game PED suspension for Mets closer Jenrry Mejia for Stanozol use does not help the cause. If the Mets make the postseason, he will be ineligible. The good news? Mejia is on the 15 day DL and the suspension takes into account those dates, they coincide. Jeurys Familia has taken over the role of closer and look for relievers like Jerry Blevins, Carlos Torres and 2nd yr ML Rafael Montero to take up more prominent roles in the bullpen. The Mets are blessed with a tremendous amount of young arms and have Vic Black(Shoulder Tendinitis) and former closer Bobby Parnell(Recovery from Tommy John Surgery) also close to returning. This should not kill the teams hope for 2015.
METS NOTES: Bartolo Colon has been the staff anchor in his 2 starts(2-0,2.77 ERA, 13 Innings) and even drove in an important run with a bloop single Sunday. Guy is a treat to watch and a physical marvel. HUGE part of this teams leadership core as well, great locker room presence and teammate….. Both Black and Parnell should pitch in minor league rehab assignments soon…. Before the season opener, the Mets have gone 14-51 vs the Nationals since 2012. The series win was the first vs Washington since September 2013….. This just in: Matt Harvey is pretty good. He won his first start vs the Nats, going 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and a walk while K-ing 9. Nationals superstar OF Bryce Harper struck out 3 times and is now 0 for 10 with 5 K-s vs the Mets ace….. New everyday SS Wilmer Flores has not hit yet and made some errors but Mets manager Terry Collins continues to be supportive. Relax, people- The Kid can play…. Collins has also tinkered with the batting order: Curtis Granderson leading off, David Wright #2, Lucas Duda 3rd, Michael Cuddyer cleanup, Daniel Murphy 5th, Juan Lagares 6th, Travis d’Arnaud 7th, Flores 8th and the pitcher spot. When Duda sits- vs an odd lefty- John Mayberry plays in the OF and assumes his slot in the 3 hole with Cuddyer playing First and hitting 4th. When Granderson is rested, Lagares bats 1st as he did today…. BIG week for the Mets. Home opening series vs a Phillies team the Mets should handle then followed up by 4 vs the Miami Marlins, a team many pick to be their chief competition for a post season berth.
After the Mets won the season opener vs division nemesis and Kryptonite Washington, the focus turned to the health of promising closer Jenrry Mejia, who could not loosen up his pitching elbow when warming up Monday. After an MRI revealed no structural damage Tuesday, he wad placed on the 15 day DL and given a cortisone shot. The Mets closer had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and a separate removal bone chips in the same elbow in 2013, so this is not his 1st elbow injur. He will rest for at least 10 days to get the inflammation out. Jeurys Familia will take over as closer and the team recalled Erik Goeddel from Triple A to take Mejia’s roster spot. The strength of the Mets is pitching depth but injuries to Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin have taken both for the entire 2015 season and we are not into the year’s 1st week. This team could use some luck. And better health.
1- Washington(Division Champion): Elite top end rotation, solid position players with real no weak link…. I wanted to Pick the Mets here but a year away….. When Gio Gonzalez is your 4th-5th starter, you have pitching!!!… Power, speed, defense— best team in the field in MLB when all healthy…. Key players like RF Jayson Werth, 2B Anthony Rendon and CF Denard Span start season on DL…. Is this the year Bryce Harper plays 150+ games?…. Pen is the one weakness after trading Tyler Clippard and letting Rafael Soriano go, Drew Storen is the man….. If they need a hole filled, have excellent farm system to tap. Name to remember: Aroldis Chapman
2- NY Mets(Wild Card team)
3- Miami: Giancarlo Stanton was a serious MVP candidate before a beaning ended his 2014 campaign, leads a tremendous outfield…Good rotation, not great…. Team is built to play in spacious home park— great defense…… I see all the hype and don-t buy it– like the Mets and Nats pitchers better……. Closer Steve Cishek very underrated
4- Philadelphia: Massive rebuilding job still in mid process— Will trade ace Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon, should do the same with 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard….. GM Ruben Amaro Jr on hot seat and his manager Ryne Sandberg cannot feel safe either although they do not have much to work with…. Cliff Lee(forearm) injury kills any hope of being slightly competitive and the club hops he can rehab, return and then be moved for prospects
5- Atlanta Braves: WOW…… Once proud franchise and NL kings traded 3 starting Outfielders, hybrid OF-C with serious power and the top closer in the game mid afternoon before the season opener…. Besides that, no news…… I have no idea what they are doing or why but having new team president John Hart in charge does not hurt. Guy built the great Cleveland Indians clubs of the early to mid 90s and has eye for talent… Only winning culture and Manager Fredi Gonzalez can save this team from losing 100 games
1- Pittsburgh(NL and World Series Champion): Solid, well rounded team… No holes….. Great athleticism all over the field particularly in the Outfield where they play 3 Center field types…. Excellent bullpen, led by quietly strong closer Mark Melancon….. Clint Hurdle is a top 5 manager…. Have good starting pitching but do they have an ace. See 2014 Kansas City Royals. 10 good pitchers beat by Madison Bumgarner. Can you win without a show stopper?
2- St Louis(Wild Card): Typical Cards team:solid, smart, pain in the butt to play, well coached….. Skipper Mike Matheny an underrated weapon…Health of ace Adam Wainwright key. Have several starters with health issues, led by Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia…. Just play ball, do not have a big power threat or base stealer. Good at the game…. Tragic off season death of top prospect Oscar Taveras has to effect team in some capacity…. Another team with a loaded farm system to trade from… Breakout candidate: 2B Kolten Wong
3- Chicago Cubs: Improved immensely in off season, adding winners in manager Joe Maddon and ace Jon Lester but with all of the youth on this team, think they are a year or two away…. Lots of kids in a good division, asking a lot…. Closer Hector Rondon leads solid pen…. Jake Arrieta best young pitcher you have not seen….. 3B Kris Bryant will be a beast but both he and his agent need to shut up. Has done nothing in the majors and some hardened veteran will remind him with a pitch in his ribs. Just ask Bryce Harper…. Need to be careful with all the young kids, a wrong move-trade sets this group back. Winning is a process. Let it happen….And I know about not winning for a hundred years. Hey,everyone can have a bad century. It has nothing to do with this current group. Theo Epstein has done this before. Google him.
4- Milwaukee: One of the more less publicized bad moves of the off season was the already pitching short Brew Crew trading Yovani Gallardo. I know he is not Sandy Koufax but on this team, he was the #1 and put in 200+ innings. HUGE hole for Brewers…. Good position players, field team led by CF Carlos Gomez anbd C Jonathan Lecroy… Must get big year from OF Ryan Braun… This team gets good contributions from rotation, could surprise…. Keep an eye on OF Khris Davis
5- Cincinnati: Just not feeling the Reds….. Need rebound years from stars: RF Jay Bruce,2B Brandon Phillips and 1B Joey Votto… Ace Johnny Cueto is in his free agent walk year and could be traded at the deadline…If the Reds want to speed up rebuild they could trade closer Aroldis Chapman…. CF Billy Hamilton is a pleasure to watch. Elite base stealer, defender
1- San Diego(Division winner): I had the Dodgers here before the Padres traded for Closer Craig Kimbrel. I am rarely shocked at anything in baseball-actually though he would be traded at the deadline- but was stunned when the move went down…. Most improved team in MLB…. Added 4 starting level OFs, look for Will Myers to move to 1B and all of them can hit in the top half of the order.. Matt Kemp was one of the top players in the game when he was healthy in the 2nd half of 2014…. Two key names to remember: 2B Jedd Gyorko and 3B Will Middlebrooks. Could combine for 50 home runs….Addition of James Shields gives young talents like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross a veteran presence… Kimbrel trade allows Joaquin Benoit to move to 8th inning set up role, a spot where he has excelled in the past… Manager Bud Black very underrated
2- Los Angeles: Good team, I just like the Padres better…. Hard to see Clayton Kershaw being as good as he was in 2014 and the uncertainty in the bullpen gives edge to SD… I love additions of veterans Jimmy Rollins(SS) and Howie Kendrick(2B). Pros who are solid in all areas… Do not like pitching depth…. Team has too many good OFs and needs to move one. Cannot believe this team traded Kemp. They will rue the day…… I like Don Mattingly and think he can manage but he has a lot of issues for a big market, high payroll team. Never a good recipe for success….. Health of #3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and closer Kenley Jansen HUGE for this team
3- San Francisco: Every other year team has issues with rotation health(Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson) and star RF(Hunter Pence)… Best GM-Manager combo in game in Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean…. Pablo Sandoval looks like he trains at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles but can play. His bat will be missed. Casey McGehee is a good, low cost replacement… Keys to team: OFs Angel Pagan and Nor Aoki must defend and be pests offensively.. Keep an eye on 2B Joe Panik
4- Colorado: If baseball was all hitting and fielding, this team would win 120 games. Unfortunately, the Rookies have to pitch as well…. Wow,do they lack major league arms….. When Latroy Hawkins- One of my favorite people in the game, is your closer, that is BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!… Latroy fact: ML debut April 29th… 1995!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….. Great position team— Hit, defend, run, led by 3b Nolan Arenado and OFs Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson…. Just love this team….. How the front office handles stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki and the trade rumors that will follow is key… Need to get decent pitching and this team could surprise
5- Arizona: Complete and total rebuild job with new front office and management. Looking for the future, not 2015… Paul Goldschmidt is the best 1B in the game… 4 good Major League OFs… Short pitching but have kids and some vets to show them the way… Pitching prospect Archie Bradley among tops in the game….I like new skipper Chip Hale and the energy he brings… He will need it. Team is 2-3 years away from being competitive in tough division
Here is my ML preview for 2015, predictions and general thoughts on every ML team.
1-Baltimore(Div winner): Best manager-GM tandem in a weak division… Lost some key guys in offseason(Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis)… Love the pen… Health of two stars(3b Manny Machado and C Matt Wieters) scares me….. Could win 85 and this division
2-Boston: If you liked the slow pitch softball teams of the Late 70s, you will LOVE the 2015 Boston Red Sox!… Potentially dominant lineup with bottom ten pitching staff…. Average defense with 1 plus defender on the entire team…..Hanley Ramirez in Boston could be a nightmare. Guy has been a clown throughout his career and Dogs do not change with age… Have 7-8 ML OFs and no starting pitcher above a #3 in ability. Code for TRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!… Very good farm system to trade from
3-Toronto: I have no feeling on this team… Perenially .500 ish, no upside pitching, great power…. Fun to watch…. The Strike of the 90s KILLED this franchise…… Adding Russell Martin, a winner-leader, has to help
4-Yankees: I am trained to hate this team and do but here are some facts: The team that won this division the last 2 years did so with power, a decent rotation and DOMINANT bullpen. Guess what the 2015 Yankees could be with luck?… Read the baseball cards of this lineup and you should be concerned, PLAYERS. OLDER players but PLAYERS…. If this team has leads in the 7th, the game is over. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would scare Aaron and Ruth… Stop the pity parade with Jeter gone. Guess what team had the worst production from the SS position in 2014?
5-Tampa Bay: Losing your GM and Manager when they are the star of your organization is NEVER a good thing….. That is what Tampa did in the last 6 months…. Pitching Coach Jim Hickey stayed and he has some pupils to work with… He better, this offense STINKS… Keep an eye on trade acquisition OF-DH Steven Souza
1-Cleveland Indians(Div Winner): Best manager in the AL in Terry Francona….Added a big time middle of the order bat in OF-1B-DH Brandon Moss and subtracted little to do so…. Excellent pitching top to bottom headlined by CY Young winner(Corey Kluber) and young power closer(Cody Allen)…. LF Michael Brantley best player you have not seen play…. Key to this team being good or great? Rebound year from 2B Jason Kipnis
2- Chicago White Sox(Wild Card team): Most improved team in the American League, added 2 middle of the order bats, a top 2 starting pitcher and two top end relievers…. Key to the Sox being good or great? Play of kids at 2B, 3b and SS…. Underrated manager in Robin Ventura….Jose Abreu is the best thing to come out of Cuba since Cigars
3- Kansas City Royals: Have a recipe for success and it works: pitch, defend, put ball in play… Solid players all over, added a pro in OF Alex Rios…. Need more from 1B Eric Hosmer and 3b Mike Moustakas, BE STARS!!!!…. James Shields loss is huge but they have starters and a dominant, killer pen…. Speed all over, would run on God… Can those 3 at the back of the pen be that good, AGAIN?!… Would pick them for postseason play but division will cannibalize itself and claim the Royals
4- Detroit : A team that has lived by the credit card now gets the bill…. 2 2014 Offseason mistakes: trading Doug Fister and NOT Max Scherzer has left them with Ian Krol…. Seriously….I also hated paying Victor Martinez this Winter. Love the player but I do not give long term deals to players over 35 with bad knees particularly those who have caught over 1200 ML games. The move here was to sign Nelson Cruz. …Explain to me how a team that has lived with dominant starting pitching and shaky pen is supposed to contend when they lose their two most consistent starters(Scherzer and Rick Porcello) and replace them with Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene?… Should hit, will need to, Excellent first 7 in batting order….. Love the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition, Tori Hunter could not carry his luggage…..With team key Bruce Rondon again battling arm issues, The Tigers pen should be great for cardiac units, souvenir collectors in the Outfield and antacid sales… Next manager will be in broadcast booth for 2015: Kirk Gibson!
5- Minnesota Twins: Team is in full rebuild mode with Joe Mauer the one elite veteran…. Good pen, decent starting rotation….. 2B Brian Dozier could play for me…… Have some top level prospects coming led by OF Byron Buxton(#1 prospect in game) and 3B Miguel Sano… Will be weird to not see Ron Gardenhire in the Twins dugout but Paul Molitor was one of my childhood heroes…. Target Field is a beautiful spot to watch a game
1- Seattle(Div and AL Champion): Added OF-DH Nelson Cruz to bat clean up and Robinson Cano has not stopped smiling…..Dominant pitching, good lineup with kids, vets…. Closer Fernando Rodney puts up numbers but could break Gandhi….. Kyle Seager, Best 3B you have not heard of…… Two breakout candidates: LF Dustin Ackley and C Mike Zunino… Underrated manager in Lloyd McClendon
2- Oakland(Wild Card team): Just when people count Billy Beane out, he steps up…. Basically traded kids to try and win in 2014, then traded every vet who can hit in the offseason…..AND I TRUST HIM!!!!… They should make movies about this guy…LOL…. Pitching is still good….. Have some players with upside led by 1B Ike Davis, RF Josh Reddick and Brett Lawrie… Sick bullpen, added top NL set up man Tyler Clippard, who will fill in for injured closer Sean Doolittle in April
3-Los Angeles: A gut feeling here, I believe age, luck,etc catches up to the Angels in 2015….Best player in game in OF Mike Trout but some other issues and questions…. Garrett Richards health kills this team and Jered Weaver is not what he was…… 85 win type team….. Albert Pujols is still ALBERT PUJOLS…… The Josh Hamilton story is sad for all involved and cannot help this club…. Great manager in Mike Scioscia
4- Houston: Check back in 2017… Great young talent with upside, led by OF George Springer… Top 3 of rotation is very good, any improvement must come from 4-5 spots…. Bullpen additions should help this team win 10 more games…. DH-1B Chris Carter could hit the ball out of YellowStone… 2B Jose Altuve among top 20 players in the game
5- Texas: My how the mighty have fallen… Team was dominant and a strike away from winning World Series, now among the worst in baseball…Have some awful contracts at SS and 1B, season ending injury to ace Yu Darvish KILLS this team…. 3b Adrian Beltre best at his position in the sport… New manager Jeff Banister is one of the good guys in baseball. He will need to be watching this mess in this division.
Anyone who reads this blog(Been with company since 2006, Mets beat 2009), knows I am not a homer. When this team is bad, I say it, when they do something dumb, I write it. I not only like the 2015 New York Mets, I am picking the team to make the playoffs. The pitching is deep and talented, the everyday lineup is better than most think with upside and potential. The recent moves of Mets management to supplement a short bullpen shows me GM Sandy Alderson also thinks this team is close. I believe and here are ten reasons why.
1- SPRING MOMENTUM: The Mets went 19-12-1 in spring training and where the talk of the grapefruit league. I know, don-t focus on stats in the spring but I trust my eyeballs and reports from the opposition. The team looks good!
2- STEP UP GUYS: Several of the players who entered camp in competition for jobs really had great springs, led by shortstop’s Wilmer Flores(Starter), Reben Tejada(Back up) and Matt Reynolds(Sent back to Triple A) as well as OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis(Key bench player). The team has depth and options!
3- LOVE THE LINEUP: Yes, I would find a spot for Mike Trout on this team but I really, really like the position players and blend of veterans and up and comers. We saw a Lucas Duda take off in 2014 and youngsters like Juan Lagares and Travis d’ Arnaud step up. This year? I expect the Mets to have 5 players hit 20+ homers: Duda, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, David Wright and d’Arnaud.
4- FRONT OFFICE: Again, I love the fact that this team sacrificed a 1st round pick to sign Cuddyer and traded some assets for ML bullpen arms. Teams that are rebuilding do not do that. Alderson and ownership think this group can win.
5- WRIGHT IS RIGHT: Mets captain David Wright, who had an awful injury shortened 2014, has looked great in the spring and appears healthy. Put him down for .300-20-100, to quote Chicago White Sox legendary announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson “You can put it on the board, YES!”
6- THE DIVISION: Yes, the Washington Nationals should be outstanding with their loaded rotation and power lineup. But I do not like their bullpen and they have several stars starting the season beat up. They should remain favorites but I am not writing off the division. The Braves and Phillies are in severe rebuild mode and the Mets have played well vs both in recent seasons. That leaves the Marlins. I never have or will take that team serious. I would take the Mets roster over the Marlins 7 days a week and TWICE on Sunday.
7 – UNDER THE RADAR!: It is almost impossible to be under the radar in NYC but with Matt Harvey returning to the Mets rotation, 2014 NL rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom has somehow done it. Let me remind the folks of what #48 did in 2014: 9-6,2.69 ERA, 1.14 in 22 starts(140.1 innings). Can you name the #2 starter on the Marlins?
8- DEEP PEN: With the two trades this week for the two lefties, this group can and will be downright filthy. Closer Jenrry Mejia and set up man Jeurys Familia were outstanding in 2014 and along with the additions and return of Bobby Parnell(Mid to late April) I see know reason why this should not continue.
9- LONG BALL: Their are very few names in MLB coaching ranks that draw almost universal applause. New Mets hitting coach Kevin Long is one of those people. This is an impact hire and you will see progress and improvement from day 1.
10- MATT HARVEY: Word on the street is this cat is pretty good. LOL. This guys is a star and leader and just having him around for 162 makes the Mets better. He is also mean and competitive SOB. The Mets need that. Add him with Cuddyer and this team just got two top flight leaders to help Wright and the other 20+.
2015 NEW YORK METS RECORD: 90-72, #1 NL Wild Card team
Mets all star 2nd baseman Daniel Murphy(Hamstring) has been medically cleared and will be in the lineup on opening day April 6th vs the Nationals in Washington. The team will keep 4 bench players- pitcher Jacob de Grom( A college shortstop) can pinch hit and run on his off days. Meanwhile, 4 pitchers have been placed on the DL: Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin(Both lost for 2015 due to Tommy John Surgery) while Vic Black(Shoulder) and Bobby Parnell(Tommy John recovery) should be back sometime in April.
Here is the 25 man roster for the season opener:
Starters: Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee
Bullpen: Sean Gilmartin, Buddy Carlyle, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Alex Torres, Carlos Torres and Jerry Blevins
Outfielders: Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, John Mayberry Jr. and Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Infielders: David Wright, Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda
Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Recker
The Mets continued the good feelings of spring when they finalized a 4 year extension with gold glove center fielder Juan Lagares Thursday, the deal is for 4 years at 23 million. The club has an additional 9.5 million option for a 5th year, so plan on seeing Juan in CF til at least 2020. Lagares hit .281 with 4 home runs and 13 steals in 116 games last season while winning his 1st Gold Glove(He led all CFs in defensive runs saved and was 2nd only to Atlanta Braves RF Jason Heyward in the category among OFs). The deal buys out all of his arbitration seasons as well as 1 free agent year. The 3rd year player has carried his strong 2015 into the spring, hitting .345 with 3 homers and 5 walks in 63 plate appearances. Meanwhile, the Mets and 1B Lucas Duda are also working on an extension, if no deal is done by the opener, the sides will break off talks.
The New York Mets turned a potential weakness(Lack of reliable lefty relievers) into a strength today with 2 trades about 2 hours apart as they added veterans Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres. The cost was steep- OF Matt den Decker for Blevins and highly regarded pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni for Torres- but you know what? Today is a GREAT sign for the Mets and their fans. Why? The team is going for it and being aggressive, filling needs and attacking. Teams that think they can win do that. They sign Michael Cuddyer when they need a bat and have faith that their farm system is good enough to sustain losing a 1st round pick. In order to win the lottery, you have to buy some tickets. The Mets did that today.
Quick summary and analysis of the two new relievers(who are locks to be in the pen on opening day, according to Mets GM Sandy Alderson): Blevins is lefty only specialist- think Scott Rice and Josh Edgin- in 117 plate appearances by lefties in 2014, they hit .160 with a .202 on base. For his career, southpaws have hit .212/.264. The 31 year old will make 2.4 million in 2015. Torres, 27, was part of a strong Padres bullpen in 2014(3.33 ERA/1.46 WHIP in 54 innings) and can pitch effectively to righties(.209/.275). His numbers vs southpaws tend to show control issues(.256/.415) but these two should really help the team in 2015 and beyond. Torres made the league minimum in 2015 and is not arbitration eligible until 2017.
Daniel Murphy(Hamstring) is rehabbing and the team will make a decision about his status probably by the weekend. How long- if at all- he is out will determine the approach to how his roster spot is handled. If it is a long term issue, rookie Matt Reynolds will man 2nd. If it is not, Ruben Tejada will play and rookie Daniel Muno will back him up. Look for the Mets to err on the cautious side here, hamstrings are not something to push. Meanwhile, reliever Vic Black(Shoulder) does not appear to be a good bet to break camp with the big club. His shoulder is progressing but again, the team will be cautious and has supplemented the relief corps in the last 12 hours. You must also remember Bobby Parnell’s return is close the to horizon as well as he continues to impress and improve daily in camp. Next 3-4 days will be very telling in how the Mets look on April 6th.
METS NOTES: The team and slugging 1B Lucas Duda have discussed an extension and have made progress. If they do not have a deal in place by opening day, they will table talks til the end of the season. Duda does not become a free agent until after the 2017 season…. Mets owner Fred Wilpon spoke to the team Friday after Manager Terry Collins and captain David Wright requested so. You could hear audible cheering during the twenty minute speech and feedback from unnamed veterans was very positive…. Those Dillon Gee trade rumors will not go away and the veteran could still be moved. A big reason why is Alderson and many members of the Mets front office love Rafael Montero’s potential and upside. Something to keep an eye on. This bloggers opinion? I would be stunned if Gee is on the Mets on May 15th…. Just a thought but two teams that I do not think will be strong in 2015 feature elite closers: The Reds with Aroldis Chapman and Braves with Craig Kimbrel. I would wager a good amount they get traded.
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