From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.
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A week after adding veteran Chris Young to the Outfield, the Mets signed free agent OF Curtis Granderson Friday to a 4 year 60 million dollar deal pending a physical. This is a big signing for New York and gives GM Sandy Alderson and this franchise credibility as well as face to sell with 3B David Wright. A well respected clubhouse leader and class act off the field, Granderson,32, adds power(217 career Home Runs, Back to Back 40 Homer seasons-2011-12), speed(122 steals) and defense with his bat and glove. The 3 time All Star recently played for the Yankees(2010-2013) but started his career with the Detroit Tigers(2005-2009). He is coming off a tough season that saw him miss over 100 games with a broken forearm and pinkie, both caused after being hit by a pitch.
People will moan and groan about his stats being inflated due to the cozy set up in Yankee Stadium(Helps all Left handed sticks, No one mentions this with Robinson Cano!) but I saw this guy play in Detroit(Comerica Park very comparable to Citi Field) and his game translates very well to the spacious dimensions at his new home in Queens. CHECK HIS TRIPLE NUMBERS!!! Defensively, This gives you an elite Outfield defensively with 3 Primary CenterFielders playing in a the Outfield in Granderson, Young and 2nd year man Juan Lagares. Heck, Eric Young Jr. is a very good defender as well. How Manager Terry Collins deploys these three will be key but my best guess is Lagares will be in CF, Granderson in Left and Chris Young in Right. Clearly, we have seen the Mets becoming more of a defense and pitching dependent team under the leadership of Alderson and Collins, which makes sense considering how enormous Citi Field is. Cannot say again how much I love this signing. This is a great day for the Mets and their fans. Tremendous move.
METS NOTES: The team also cut several names fans would recognize with the 40 Man roster upgrades on the 1st of the December. RHP Scott Atchinson and Jeremy Heffner as well as SS Omar Quintanilla,INF Justin Turner and INF-OF Jordany Valdespin were all declared free agents as the team placed 4 minor league pitchers on the 40 man: LHP Steven Matz and RHPs Jacob deGrom, Erik Goeddel and Jeff Walters. Quintanilla filled in admirably at SS with the team souring on Rueben Tejada in 2013 and the Mets would not have made the strides they did in this year without his efforts. Heffner was outstanding over the 1st half of 2013 and filled a variety of roles in his 2 plus seasons in NY but had season ending elbow surgery and is out for 2014 while Turner was a popular bench option and club house presence over his 3 year stay with the Mets. Atchinson is a solid veteran relief option who has struggled with remaining heathy but is a good ML pitcher. Valdespin is a enigma and talented(Power and Speed combo) one at that. He lacked a position and seemed to regress severely in 2013. Combine that with his me first attitude and You can see why the Mets moved on. Best of luck to these four veterans finding new teams.
The Mets added a proven major league Outfielder and lost a respected veteran reliever in the last week. The team and OF Chris Young finalized a 1 year 7.25 million dollar deal November 25th. Young had a tough year in Oakland in 2012(.200- 10 hrs-12 steals) after spending 7 seasons with the Diamondbacks. From 2007-2011 he averaged 23 homers and 20 steals. However,over the last 2 injuries have taken a toll and he has mustered only 26 HRs and 18 steals. Young is an excellent defensive outfielder and natural centerfielder who can also play the corners as well.(26 starts in Right, 24 in Left in 2013) This is vital when you consider that Juan Lagares is a difference making defender and the club would like to find playing time for Eric Young Jr. as well. Having players that can play multiple positions well aids this approach. Young also has platoon like career split numbers. He has handled lefties( A recent Mets weakness) with career splits of .262/.363/.474 vs Southpaws compared to .225/.295/.415 vs righties. This is an excellent signing by New York GM Sandy Alderson and reminds fans of the Marlon Byrd move of 2012. If he hits and fields anything like Marlon, this is a win, win move for both Young and the Mets.
Meanwhile, The team shockingly lost veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins to the Colorado Rockies. Numerous reports almost guaranteed the popular club house leader would remain in Queens but the lure of being the closer and a good contract(1 yr/ 2.5 Million Guaranteed) ended Hawkins tenure with the Mets. Hawkins,41, was huge for the this team in the last two months, filling in for injured closer Bobby Parnell. His ability to pitch in almost any role in the pen was a major reason the Mets finished .500 over the last 100 games. Want to wish Latroy luck in Denver, a real class act who will be missed.
While fans have been impatient with the teams lack of activity, let me point out some facts. Their has been very little movement throughout the game outside of the blockbuster trade between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers involving 1B Prince Fielder and 2B Ian Kinsler. Anyone who has watched the Tigers in the last two postseasons knows why they had to make this move. A dead lightbulb supplied more power than Fielder in October. Part of this is two words: Scott Boras. The super agent has almost all of the top free agents in his stable of clients and is notorious for not getting deals done at the start of free agency. 2nd, Until teams start to lose out on free agents you will not see many major trades. They want to have money ready for contracts and if they fail in free agency will turn to teams like the Mets that have prospects to trade and/or major league players(1B Ike Davis, 2B Daniel Murphy) to offer as well. Let some of the free agent 1B sign-a Mike Napoli, Justin Morneau, James Loney,etc- and then Alderson can move Davis. Most of these teams are dipping their feet in many pools. The Outfield position is an area where I think the Mets will make a trade to get a power bat to play with Young and Lagares. Keep an eye on Milwaukee, Toronto and the Dodgers. Now the bad news. The Mets desperately need a major league shortstop and after Rueben Tejada’s awful 2013 campaign, they lack internal options. Unfortunately, Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr. are not coming to Queens soon. After Jhonny Peralta signed his insane deal with the St. Louis Cardinals(4 years/52 Million), it became apparent how valued this position is throughout the game. Alderson needs to find someone to man this spot and it is going to cost him either in the wallet or trade market. A name to keep an eye on? Ex Atlanta Brave and Cardinal Rafael Furcal, who missed all of 2013 after Tommy John Surgery. Teams like the Diamondbacks have a surplus of Shortstops to move as well.
Baseball America has started with their annual Top 10 prospects issues by division and the National League East is featured in the newspaper style magazine dated November 12-26, 2013. The Mets top minor leaguer-RHP Noah Syndergaard-graces the cover.
NY METS TOP 10 PROSPECTS:
2- Travis D’Arnaud,C
3- Rafael Montero,RHP
4- Dominic Smith, 1B
5- Kevin Plawecki,C/1B
6- Wilmer Flores, 2B/1B
7- Amed Rosario, SS
8- Brandon Nimmo, OF
9- Gavin Cecchini, SS
10- Jake DeGrom, RHP
Some quick news updates,news,ideas,etc with the Start of the MLB GM meetings starting this Monday November 11 thru 14 in Orlando, Florida.
PRIORITIES: Mets GM Sandy Alderson and I are on the same page and he is clearly looking to address the shortstop position in a big way. Numerous media reports have New York favoring ex Detroit Tiger SS Jhonny Peralta over Boston Red Sox free agent Stephen Drew due to a combination of contract demands and compensation(Drew was tendered a contract by Boston(Team that signs him forfeits a draft pick), Peralta was not). The Mets have also discussed corner outfielders and two names to look at from the free agent group are Curtis Granderson(NY Yankees) and 1B-OF Corey Hart(Milwaukee Brewers).
METS NOTES: Veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins will resign with the Mets for the 2014 season according to a report in the NY Daily News. Excellent move for a great guy who contributes a lot on and off the field… Look for NY to trade 1B Ike Davis and go with a platoon of LH Lucas Duda and RH Josh Satin at 1B. Alderson has fielded several offers from teams regarding the slugger…Keep an eye on the Milwaukee Brewers as a potential trade partner. OF Norichika Aoki would be a great fit in the Mets outfield and has a .350 OBP out of the leadoff position… The Toronto Blue Jays are looking for ML starting pitching for either 1B Edwin Encarnacion or RF Jose Bautista. If Matt Harvey was 100% healthy in 2014 NY would be an ideal trade partner but they are reluctant to deal Jon Niese, Dillon Gee or Zack Wheeler with their ace out for the year. Hard to see a major trade between the two teams.
After showing promise and appearing to turn the page in 2013, How should Mets management led by GM Sandy Alderson approach this important offseason? What postions should they be targeting with trades or free agent signings? What players and teams should fans focus on? Lets look at some areas, names and clubs my readers should keep an eye on. Here is my plan to return the New York Mets to winning ways.
Positions of Need: The Mets have some obvious needs, here is a prioritized list: Middle of the Order bat,Everyday Rightfielder and Shortstop, Top 4 Starting pitcher, Bullpen and Leadoff options.This team is starved for power and needs at least 1 bat to make the opposition nervous not named David Wright. A 20+ homer power bat to hit 4th would be ideal. Unfortunately those type of players do not fall out of trees. Mets GM Sandy Alderson will have to be creative, money or no money. NY suprisingly got an outstanding season out of Marlon Byrd before trading him at the deadline and rookie Juan Lagares electrified fans with his defense. Alderson and his staff made a great deal early in the 2013 campaign ,acquiring Eric Young Jr. to play LeftField and bat leadoff. EY was not Rickey Henderson but he was a legit threat in that spot and even won the National League stolen base title. His defense was also a major strength and he proved energy from day 1 in Queens. However, the team still needs at least one proven major league outfielder and ideally, two corner outfield options.
The Mets have not replaced Jose Reyes at SS since he left after the 2011 season via free agency. Two names to look at are current free agent options in 2014- Stephen Drew(World Champion Boston Red Sox) and Jhonny Peralta(Detroit Tigers).Drew is an elite gloveman and solid bat while Peralta has limited range and more stick. Both would be significant upgrades over the hodge podge NY rolled out in 2014 as Ruben Tejada’s play and attitude deteriated to the point where he was demoted to Triple A Las Vegas. This is the most glaring hole in the Mets infield. With Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zach Wheeler locked in the top 3 rotation spots starting pitching is solid. But with the recent surgery to ace Matt Harvey shelving him for the 2014 season, NY has a need for 200+ innings veteran starter. Alderson has done a great job adding reclamation projects with upside to the back end of the rotation in recent years so look for the Mets to spend around 15 million total for 2 starting pitchers.
Alderson and Manager Terry Collins pieced together an effective bullpen in 2013 but injuries cost them their closer(Bobby Parnell) and top LH option(Josh Edgin) in the 2nd half. Veterans Latroy Hawkins, Pedro Feliciano and David Aardsma stepped up and helped the team close out strong.However, this is an area the Mets will address in the offseason. Hawkins is free agent but would be a great fit back in Queens. Both the team and Hawkins sound optimistic. He has a big fan in Collins. Three players that showed the are ready to be full fledged major league contributors in 2014 and beyond? Carlos Torres, Gonzalez Germen and Vic Black. With some minor moves and return to health, this group could be deadly FAST.
Free Agent Targets: OF Shin-Soo Choo,SS Drew and Peralta, Starting pitchers Tim Hudson, Bronson Arroyo and Roy Halladay.
Teams to Trade With: Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. The Rockies are an ideal team for the Mets to deal with due to their stars playing need positions for NY in SS Troy Tulowitski and RF Carlos Gonzalez. However, Colorado ownership is reportedly very reluctant to trade their franchise players and the price would be very steep. I think a smaller trade for OFs Michael Cuddyer(Close friend of Mets captain David Wright) and Dexter Fowler would fill two holes and really improve the Mets. One of New York’s biggest issues last season was the lack of major league bats— these are two pro’s and would be upgrades defensively as well. Fowler could play LF or CF, dependent on the roles of Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr and his game would translate well to the vast confines of CitiField.
The Angels have 4 players that fit specific needs for the Mets: 1B-OF Mark Trumbo provides incredible power, 2B Howie Kendrick is pro with bat and glove and SS Erick Aybar would be good fit in the field and batting order. Finally, speedy OF Peter Bourjos defensive skills and offensive upside make him appealing. The Royals have a loaded farm system and abundance of young players to trade. Like the Mets they are close to being a serious contender. Not sure if he is in play but if you could pry OF- Lead off man Alex Gordon out of Missouri he would look great in Queens. The cost would be high but think David Wright like skills and character in Left Field. Finally,we have the ML version of GroundHog Day- The Toronto Blue Jays. This team never changes and are floundering. They are reportedly open to trading anyone and everything for the right price. All Star RF Jose Bautista would be a great middle of the order addition and has a favorable contract situation. If all else fails and Alderson wants to acquire a SS and leadoff man ex Met All Star Reyes could be had. The cost for these two would also be high.
GM JAY:If I was Sandy Alderson my first move would a trade with the Rockies to bring Cuddyer and Fowler to Flushing. My package would be built around pitching prospect Rafael Montero, INF Wilmer Flores and either 1B(Lucas Duda OR Ike Davis). I would include some minor prospects but that is the cusp of the deal. Check Outfield off the list. Next I would get super agent Scott Boras on the phone and talk about Drew. I think he would be great in NY and the Mets would be great for him. But I have a number in mind— actually 2 numbers. I would offer 3 yrs at 40 million total or 4 at 50. Drew will have some serious bidders and we need to have this position- a MAJOR hole- filled…ASAP. If Boras does not bite, I would sign 2 low level free agents in Brendan Ryan and Willie Bloomquist to be a defense-offense platoon at shortstop. Finally, I would then sign Arroyo with a 2-3 year deal to round out the top 4 of the rotation. My reclamation target for the starters? Halladay. If he does not sign, I would look at ex Mets Johan Santana and Scott Kazmir. Bullpen wise, bring back Hawkins and sign a top level free agent lefty to team with Edgin. San Francisco Giant free agent Javy Lopez fits the bill.
The New York Mets announced Monday November 4th that they have signed a deal with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment AM 710 WOR to become the flagship station for the team starting in 2014. The deal is for 5 years and more lucrative than the contract the Mets had with WFAN. The Clear Channel family of stations consists of 6 station(5 FM and WOR)can be heard over 93% of the New York DMA population. The Mets and WFAN ended their broadcast relationship at the end of the 2013 season after a 26 year partnership since the stations inception in 1987.
ROSTER REDO: The Mets front office has been busy preparing for the Rule 5 draft and has made some minor moves to reshape the roster as the November 20th deadline approaches. The team transferred several big names from the 60 Day DL to the 40 man On Halloween, October 31st, hi-lighted by ace Matt Harvey, Closer Bobby Parnell, 1B Ike Davis and pitchers Josh Edgin, Scott Rice, Jeremy Heffner and Jenrry Mejia. The moves were balanced out when the team had several veteran pitchers became free agents: David Aardsma, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, Frank Francisco. Aaron Harang, Latroy Hawkins and Daisuke Mastuzaka are all eligible to sign with other clubs. Hawkins and Feliciano are the best bets to return to Queens while Harang and Mastuzaka would be low risk high reward rotation fillers.
Mets ace Matt Harvey underwent successful Tommy John surgery Tuesday October 22 in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The top sports surgeon in the world, Dr. James Andrews, performed the reconstruction of his right elbow and Harvey ix expected to make a full recovery. The starter for the National League in the 2013 All Star game at CitiField is out for 2014 but with proper rest and rehabilation, should return to the mound in 2015. The Mets have a big hole to fill in the rotation but have a 3 solid major league starters on the roster and a farm system stacked with arms on the way. This offseason is huge for the Mets as they enter 2014.
The Mets have made some minor moves in the past couple of days to prepare for the Rule 5 draft(November 20th) and the post World Series deadline 40 man roster adjustment. Teams must have all eligible players they do not want to expose to the draft on their 40 man roster 5 days after the conclusion of the World Series. For a team like NY that has a strong farm system and promising future, these are important dates. The Mets have 8 players on the 60 day DL including big names like 1B Ike Davis, SP Matt Harvey and closer Bobby Parnell. These players must be transfered to the 40 man or could be eligible for the draft. The team lost LHP Robert Carson(Los Angeles Angels) and OF Mike Baxter(Los Angeles Dodgers) to waiver claims this week and currently has 36 players on the 40 man. With some minor moves and cuts, GM Sandy Alderson should be able to manage this situation.
METS NOTES: Numerous media reports have the team and News radio 710 WWO AM nearing a deal after the Mets 27 year partneship with WFAN ended after the 2013 campaign. WWOR has the same wattage level as WFAN and Howie Rose, the long time voice of the Mets, would be retained. No word on his partner Josh Lewin…. Good news for Mets fans and Wally Backman supporters. Several media outlets are reporting the popular former NY 2nd baseman will be retained and continue in his role managing the team’s top minor league team at Triple A Las Vegas. Backman led the team to a 81-63 record and Pacific Coast League playoff berth. More importantly, he is praised for his work and development with young players. This is a win-win for both Backman and the Mets. Personally, I love the guy.
The 2013 New York Mets made tremendous progress and this writer is a great example of how far this group has come. I have been a Mets fan since 1979, seen a lot of good and bad. The Last 3-4 seasons(2009 and on) have been tough to watch and brutal to cover. Quite often I could not wait for the season to end. However, when the Mets 2013 campaign concluded I was sad. I genuinely liked watching this team play, a big part of this is the Mets amazing announcing trio of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. But those 3 have been on the mike when I looked forward to the season being over. This team was different and I think the reason is hope. You see young talent and improvement, you see what the team has coming off the books and what the Mets can spend in the offseason. As the old saying goes you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lets look at how one of the most important off seasons in team history should unfold.
POSITIONS FILLED: Obviously, the Mets are set at Third Base. Some guy named David Wright has manned that spot since 2004. I am a big Daniel Murphy guy and would like to see the team stick with him at 2nd. Young Catcher Travis d’Arnaud should be the present and future behind the plate, the team also has a promising Triple A option in Juan Centeno and an up and comer at Single A as well. I love great outfield defense and Juan Lagares does enough with the glove to carry a .250 average in CF. The Mets should be solid at 1B as well with a platoon of involving Josh Satin and the winner of the Ike Davis- Lucas Duda front office debate. Not sure where you will play him but I am a big Eric Young Jr. guy. Ideally, I would add 2 offensive players in shortstop and Rightfield then find a low cost option to platoon with Young in Left.
The Mets pitching remains a strength organization wide even with the recent news of pending Tommy John Surgery for ace Matt Harvey(9-5,2.27 ERA in 26 starts)The team has 3 very good starting pitchers returning in RHs Dillon Gee and Zach Wheeler as well as south paw Jon Niese. Top prospect Noah Syndergaard was one of the starting pitchers in the 2013 Future’s Game at Citi Field and appears to be on the fast track to the big club ala Harvey(2012) and Wheeler(2013) by mid season. Scouts throughout baseball continue to marvel at his potential. Bullpen wise, closer Bobby Parnell(5-5,2.16 ERA,22 saves) was outstanding in his first full season in the role but a herniated disk in his neck-back area ended his 2013 campaign. Reports on his recovery have been promising but the Mets need to have a plan B in place. Manager Terry Collins made great use of trade deadline acquistion Vic Black(3-0,3.71 in 18 games with his 1st ML save) as well as Gonzalez Germen(1-2,3.93 ERA) in late innings while veteran Carlos Torres(4-6,3.33 ERA in 33 games with 9 starts) filled a variety of needs in a swing man role. A key to the Met’s bullpen in 2014 is healthy return of LH Josh Edgin, who was strong after a late season callup in 2012, struggled in early 2013(9.64 ERA in 11 April games) yet was great when recalled (1.29 ERA in 9 June Games, 0.73 in 14 July Games) from Triple A before missing the end of the year due to injury. A strong left handed reliever is vital for Collins, who tends to favor a matchup game.
Mets ace Matt Harvey(Partially torn UCL ligament in his pitching elbow) had a change of heart and has decided to undergo Tommy John Surgery the team announced Friday October 4th. After consulting with team doctors and world renowned sports injury specialist Dr. James Andrews Harvey was going to attempt to rehab his injured elbow with a throwing program and alternative methods. However the ligament could snap at anytime and both the pitcher and team feel this is the best option both long and short term. The procedure will occur by the end of October and normal recovery time is 15 months. Dr. Andrews will perform the operation and the Mets hope to have Harvey for the start of the 2015 season. The good news here? Mets GM Sandy Alderson knows he most add at least one solid starting pitcher via either trade or free agency, NY has 3 reliable starters in LH Jon Niese and RHs Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler. Top pitchng prospect Noah Syndergaard is a good bet to join the team around midseason ala Harvey(2012) and Wheeler(2013) but should not be counted on to open 2014 in Queens.
The Mets announced Monday September 30th that popular manager Terry Collins will return and the team gave him a 2 year extension thru 2015. Collins entire coaching staff will retained thru 2014 and Collins has also given an option for 2016. The team has been in full rebuild mode since TC took over and his boss, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, emphasized the positives at the joint presser in Queens, sighting a .500 clip over the last 100 games(About the time Zach Wheeler made his ML debut) and the teams winning road record. Alderson also mentioned the team never quit, played hard with limited resources and probably exceeded expectations. The Mets skipper was excited and looking forward to 2014 and beyond… “We are certainly not happy with the win-loss record the last year, or last year three years,” Collins said. “We’re very excited about 2014. We’ve got some outstanding young pitching coming, we think that’s gonna lead us. We’re going in to Spring Training with high expectations. It’s time to put some wins on the board.”
HARVEY UPDATE: Mets ace Matt Harvey is eligible to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Would be strange to see someone who has started a Major League All Star Game throwing to prospects but the rules- pitched less than two years in the majors and/or have missed time due to injuries- allow it. This would be an ideal spot for the Righty to test his injured elbow.
METS NOTES: Team finished out the year at 74-88, good for 3rd in the tough NL East…. OF Eric Young Jr. won the National League stolen base crown with a pair of thefts in the season finale September 29th to give him 46 on the year. This man was a huge spark plug for the team and should be part of the 25 man roster heading into 2014…. Alderson has stated adding depth to the bullpen would be an offseason goal. The team has approached veteran RHP Latroy Hawkins, who was great for the Mets, about returning. Late season trade acquisition Vic Black and Gonzalez Germen also impressed in the 2nd half…. Rookie Juan Lagares is the leading candidate to be the opening day CenterFielder. He hit .242 in 392 at bats but his defense and arm(Mets rookie record 14 assists) make him a weapon in cavernous Citi Field… Interesting to note that Pitching Coach Dan Warthen was the only coach to be given a 2 year extension. If you watch this team consistently, Dan is very good.
Mets 3B David Wright homered in his first at bat on the 2nd pitch he saw September 20th after missing almost 6 weeks with a hamstring injury. His return sparked the offense and team overall as he has hit .400 in 4 games(15 at bats). However, the Franchise took a pitch to the helmet tonight(September 26th) from Milwaukee Brewers rookie Johnny Hellweg and left the game. All medical indications are he is fine concussion wise but after falling awkwardly the team was concerned about a potential minor thumb-hand injury. Wright will undergo more medical evaluations when he arrives at the ballpark Friday before the Mets make further decisions regarding their captain.
TOUGH BREAK TEJADA: Mets SS Ruben Tejada broke his leg September 18th after a collision with teammate Andrew Brown in the outfield while they attempted to catch a pop up. This ends a nightmare season for the infielder who was demoted in late May to Triple A after hitting .202 with 10 Rbi, 12 doubles and 2 steals in 57 games. After completely regressing both on and off the field, Tejada might have played his last game in Queens and the Mets must list Short Stop as a position they need to address heading into the 2014 season.
VETERAN VALUE: Both Matt Harvey(Elbow) and Zach Wheeler(Minor shoulder issue) have been shut down late in the year and Mets GM Sandy Alderson wisely added two veteran starting pitchers to help the team finish out the home stretch and not overextend any of the teams young arms. Aaron Harang(3 starts,17 innings, 4.24 ERA) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(7 starts, 3-3, 4.42) have pitched well and kept the team in afloat. Matsuzaka in particular has stepped up after an awful first couple of outings and is 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 5 September starts.
METS NOTES: Skipper Terry Collins recently met with Alderson and will be told in Early October if he will return in 2014. All indications point to the popular manager returning to Queens…. Wilfredo Tovar(SS) and Juan Centeno(C) are two names to look at in the final 3 games for NY. Both could have large roles down the road. SS is an obvious weakness and Centeno became the first major leaguer to throw out Cincinnati Reds rookie super speedster Billy Hamilton on a steal attempt earlier this week. Add impressive reliever Vic Black to this list as well, he earned his first ML save in Cincinnati . …. Very quietly Mets 2B Daniel Murphy has had an excellent year offensively. He is 2nd hits in the National League(184) and has played a career high 158 games. Murphy also has stolen 21 bases,scored 92 runs and driven in 77. I think you can cross 2B off the needs list…. When looking for an offseason trade partner for the Mets focus on the West and Colorado. The Rockies would like to slash payroll and have 3 everyday players in SS Troy Tulowitzki and Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer who would look great in Citi Field
Mets ace Matt Harvey and GM Sandy Alderson announced in a joint press conference that he will attempt to rehab the partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow to avoid Tommy John Surgery Tuesday September 17th. The big righty has a throwing program and will try this approach for 6-8 weeks before making any further medical decisions. Harvey consulted world famous sports injury Dr James Andrews, who is on board with the plan. The NL starter in the All Star Game sited lack of pain in his forearm and elbow and other pitchers(Roy Halladay as the most prominient example) who have used this treatment regiment as the main reasons for this approach. If the rehab does not work, Harvey can still have the procedure in December(at the latest) and not impact the 2015 season. Keep your fingers crossed, Mets fans!!!!
Mets ace Matt Harvey visited famed sports injury specialist Dr James Andrews in Florida Monday to receive a 2nd opinion on his injured elbow. The exam went well and the team will provide an update Tuesday. Harvey is trying to avoid undergoing Tommy John Surgery, which would more than likely cost him the 2014 campaign. In his first full season in the major leagues, Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings.
METS NOTES:Captain David Wright(Hamstring) could rejoin the team on the field September 17th according to Media reports…..Recently recalled reliever Frank Francisco escaped serious injury when he took a line drive of his arm September 14th but will need a couple of down days to let the swelling subside….INF Justin Turner is dealing with a sore hamstring…. Rookie Zack Wheeler will more than likely be done for the season after his start Tuesday September 17th, the team imposed a 170 innings limit on the talented righty. Entering this game, he is just over 163 combined in Triple A and New York…. Veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins, who has been invaluable on and off the field, was looking into retiring after the season but after his strong 2013, is reportedly talking with Mets management about resigning with New York…. FYI: The Colorado Rockies are reportedly open to trading two of their superstars- SS Troy Tulowitzki and RF Carlos Gonzalez- this offseason. The Mets would be one of about 25 teams interested but they would be in the front of the line. This would be one stop shopping for NY… Reliever Vic Black,one of the two prospects the team received in the John Buck- Marlon Byrd trade, earned his first ML win September 15th with the Mets 1-0 win in 12 over the Marlins. In 9 Mets appearances, Black has posted a 3.68 ERA… Recent call up OF Matt den Dekker has shown hustle and defense with some surprising hitting, quickly making him a fan favorite. The Mets clearly have two strong options in Center Field with this youngster and fellow rookie Juan Lagares
The Mets medical staff has 3 very prominent clients from the 2013 team with closer Bobby Parnell(Herniated disk), Ace starter Matt Harvey(Pitching elbow) and franchise 3B David Wright(Hamstring) all dealing with serious injuries. Lets get updates on all 3, First, Parnell. The Mets closer under went successful surgery in California September 10th to repair the damaged disk in his neck. He will be good to go when the Team opens Spring Training in 2014. The Big righty had not pitched since July 31st but saved 22 in 49 games. Wright rejoined the team in NY Monday(September 9th) and insists he will play again in 2013. The Mets captain took infield and batting practice September 10th and will run the bases soon. Meanwhile, Harvey will meet with the famed Dr. James Andrews Monday September 16th and have his damaged UCLL examined. At a charity appearance Tuesday, he reported his arm felt great and remained optimistic about avoiding Tommy John Surgery, which includes a 12-month recovery and would have him out til 2015.
SANDY SOUNDS:Mets GM Sandy Alderson and followers of the team know how big this offseason is for the future of the team and the club should be very busy in both the free agent and trade markets. The team needs are obvious- Outfield, First Base and Short Stop are glaring- but Alderson mentioned in a recent SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio appearance an interesting note- The team hopes to add a veteran starting pitcher to join the talented youngsters throughout the staff. Also makes sense with Harvey’s health as well as injuries to Jenrry Mejia and Jeremy Hefner depleting a deep ML staff.
METS NOTES:The Mets are ending their radio relationship with Sports Radio WFAN 660 AM after the 2013 season, the station has carried the team since inception in 1987. Team officials report they will have a new home announced in the next 6 weeks or so… LHRP Scott Rice, who led the team in appearances, underwent season ending surgery for a Sports hernia September 10th…. OF Juan Lagares was tied for the National League in hits by rookie since the All Star Break with 54 as of September 9th… Wilmer Flores(Ankle) is still gimpy and not playing. Former starting SS Ruben Tejada was recalled from Triple A Las Vegas September 10th and should get some serious work in the remaining days of the season… The team recalled RHPs Greg Burke and Aaron Harang(Starting September 12th), OF Mike Baxter and C Juan Centeno Monday September 8th. Keep an eye on Centeno who could be a serious candidate to make the team in 2014 after a strong 2013 campaign in AAA, where he hit .305 in 67 games.
With rosters expanding September 1st, the Mets have added 5 players and sent down a reliever in the past 2-3 days. Relievers Vic Black(RH) and veteran Tim Byrdak(LH), C Anthony Recker and OF Matt den Dekker have all been promoted from Double and Triple A. NY also optioned struggling LHRP Robert Carson, who has given up home runs at an alarming rate(9 bombs in 19+ innings!!!!!!), to Triple A Las Vegas. Meanwhile, INF Zach Lutz was also recalled after 1B Ike Davis suffered an oblique strain swinging the bat Saturday August 31st. This type of injury usually keeps you out for a month- minimum- so it is a good bet that Davis disappointing 2013 campaign is over. The Mets will play Lucas Duda at 1B for most games with Josh Satin getting the odd start. First Base is a position with tremendous uncertainty as NY heads into 2014 and beyond with Davis, who hit 32 home runs in 2012, completely falling off the face of the Earth in 2013(.205,9 HRs, 33 RBI, 661 OPS in 377 ABs).
With all of the injuries to the Mets starting rotation as well as innings limits the organization has placed on their prized young pitchers, the team signed former Asian phenom Daisuke “Dice K” Matsuzaka to fill out the rotation in the final weeks of the 2013 campaign. Unfortunately, NY fans are learning what supporters of the Red Sox and Indians learned- the only thing Dice K fills nowadays is the opponents stat sheets as he has has been hammered more than a nail at a construction site. In 3 starts with the Mets, he has been pounded – 9.58 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 10+ innings. His slow pace also hurts the defense and with NY playing so many kids at different spots in the field, this is magnified.
METS NOTES:INF Wilmer Flores, who has played well filling in for Captain David Wright at 3B, has been dealing with ankle and foot issues and will do so for the remainder of the season according to Mets skipper Terry Collins… Much like the Dice K move, the team signed veteran RHP Aaron Harang September 1st to add depth. The 12 yr ML was 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts for Seattle this season…. GM Sandy Alderson wants opening day SS Ruben Tejada to stay in Triple A and play with the Las Vegas club thru the Pacific Coast League Playoffs. He figures to be recalled at some point in September. Omar Quintanilla has filled in amiably at SS for most of 2013… Just this writers humble opinion, But I believe looking at today’s roster, the Mets have 4 of the 5 Outfielders they will open the 2014 Campaign with on the roster: Juan Lagares and den Dekker in Center, Eric Young Jr(LF, Leadoff) and Andrew Brown(5th OF, Pinch Hitter). The every day Right Fielder will be traded for or signed as a free agent. Colorado Rockies RF Carlos Gonzalez or Cincinnati Reds(2104 Free Agent) Shin-Soo Choo would be perfect.
The Mets season took a major turn for the worst when star pitcher Matt Harvey was diagnosed with a partial tear in the UCL of his pitching elbow after an exam Monday August 26th. Initial reports had the NL All Star game starter undergoing Tommy John surgery but presently Harvey and the team have opted to rest and run further tests in 3 weeks. Team doctors, Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the 2nd year righty will then determine the next step. Interesting to note that Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who dealt with a similiar injury in 2006, talked with Harvey for 20 minutes at the request of Mets skipper Terry Collins. Halladay allowed the swelling to subside in his elbow and rehabbed the joint with no further issues. Tommy John surgery would likely keep Harvey out for the entire 2014 campaign. Keep your fingers crossed Mets fans!
Meanwhile, starting pitchers Jeremy Hefner(Tommy John Surgery for Torn MCL in right elbow) and Jenrry Mejia(Bone chips in right elbow) both underwent successful surgeries this week. Hefner will more than likely miss all of 2014 while Mejia’s procedure is typical and the righty should be ready for Spring Training in February. Captain David Wright(Hamstring) continues to make progress from his leg injury and has been jogging,throwing and fielding. The 3B is currently in Florida to begin a rehab assignment this weekend and should return Mid September. The News on closer Bobby Parnell is not as promising as he has seen little improvement from the disk problem in his back and neck. He will receive a 2nd injection in the area before the team determines if he will need back surgery. Veteran Latroy Hawkins has filled in amiably in the 9th inning, converting 6 of 7 saves in August.
With all of the injuries and the team playing out the string with kids and for the future, The Mets made a trade that hurts the 2013 Team but should help down the road, sending two popular veterans in RF Marlon Byrd(Possibly the team MVP) and C John Buck(15 Homers) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two strong prospects in 2B Dilson Herrera(Pirates 11th rated prospect according to MLB.com, .265,.751 OPS with 11 home runs and 11 steals in 109 Single A games) and Relief pitcher Vic Black(5-3, 17 saves in 53 Triple A Games) on August 28th. Black will help the team immediately and be one of the minor league call ups September 1. Cannot say enough about what Byrd and Buck brought to the team, both did so much on and off the field but this team has outfielder and a strong prospect catcher in Travis d’ Arnaud so they became expendable. Sad to see them go but the Mets are about the future and by the time this team is great, Buck and Byrd will be near the end of the line.
After the Mets showed what they are in a weekend sweep vs the American League Power Detroit Tigers(Gritty group that lacks offense but can pitch, battles and plays hard), New York needs to approach September with a purpose. The recent recall of 1B-OF Lucas Duda further illustrates this point. NY GM Sandy Alderson has money to spend and assets to trade in the 2013-2014 offseason and these final 5 weeks should help the organization determine what is on the shopping list. The team is loaded with talented arms at all levels and should be set in the rotation entering 2014 with phenoms Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler joining veterans Jon Niese and Dillon Gee in a strong top 4. After elbow chip surgery, Jenrry Mejia will more than likely be a strong 5th starter.
The Mets are set at 3B and 2B in the infield and I believe the youngsters at CF(Juan Lagares) and C(Travis d’Arnaud) will open the 2014 season as starters. In other words, Eric Young, Jr(LF-Leadoff) and Ike Davis, Josh Satin and Duda(1B) are battling for jobs. The team must add a major league shortstop, I love Omar Quintanilla and the Mets have played well with him but he is not going to be confused with Cal Ripken Jr. anytime soon. A trade or free agent should be priority one here. If the team can add a top flight corner Outfielder with power(Carlos Gonzalez? Giancarlo Stanton?) a combination of Young in LF and upgrade at SS(Stephen Drew? Starlin Castro? Yunel Escobar?) with a straight platoon at 1B would be a good offseason. So as you watch the Mets close out the 2013 campaign, focus on 1B and LF. Keys to 2014 and FUTURE!!!
With Regular catcher John Buck back from paternity leave Tuesday, the Mets decided to stay with super prospect Travis d’ Arnaud as the everyday starter and optioned popular backup Anthony Recker to Las Vegas. The team will still use Buck more than a normal 2nd catcher but New York wants to see if d’ Arnaud can be the “man” in 2014 over the next 6 weeks. Recker will also likely be recalled with the other September call ups at the end of August.
Meanwhile, the news on the medical front for both Jeremy Hefner and Jenrry Mejia regarding their dual elbow injuries is a mixed bag. Hefner has been advised to have Tommy John Surgery and is seeking a 2nd opinion. Mejia,who also had the procedure last year, will have a minor procedure to clean out bone chips in the next 7-10 days. He is more than likely going to be healthy enough to pitch Winter Ball. Mejia was excellent in 5 Starts for the Mets, posting a 2.20 ERA, 1.171 WHIP and striking out 27 while walking 4. A Big piece of the future for the Mets!
METS NOTES: Since the Mets recalled Zach Wheeler, the team has gone 34-27. Prior to his recall, 23-39…. Cannot say enough about what a signing OF Marlon Byrd has been for the Mets. SNY analyst and Ex Met great Keith Hernandez made a great point on tonight’s telecast about how this is the move of the year. In 112 games, Byrd has hit .287 with a team high 21 homers(had 1 in all of 2012) and 70 RBI. The 11 year pro ranks ninth in the NL with a .862 OPS! He also also played a great right field. Not bad for a spring training invitee!!!…. Mets are 9-3 in Wheeler’s starts and the rookie is 3-0 vs his hometown Atlanta Braves…. Add Eric Young Jr. and rookie Juan Lagares in with Byrd and the Mets Outfield is the biggest surprise on the team. Solid offensively and all 3 are vacuums defensively. Lagares, who has only played in 85 games,ranks 2nd among Major League Centerfielders in runs saved according to an ESPN stat with 20.
The Mets have added a starting pitcher(LH Jon Niese) and lost another(Jeremy Hefner) in the past week but continue to play solid ball. Niese has pitched well in 2 starts since returning with a shoulder issue that kept him out almost two months and is pain free. He struck out a season high 9 Padres August 16th during a 5-2 Mets win. Meanwhile, Hefner’s season is in serious jeopardy due to damage his right pitching elbow. After two exams revealed partially torn MCL, he is due for third test Monday to determine if he needs season ending Tommy John Surgery. This is tough news for the Mets, as Hefner was one of the top pitchers in all of MLB for for about 6 weeks in June and July when he posted a 1.76 ERA in 8 starts before the All Star Break. However, post break, he was not himself and was lit up at 9.13 ERA in 5 games. This injury also impacts management’s plan to go with a 6 man rotation to limit the work and innings loads on youngsters like Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler. Terrible, terrible news for one of the good guys on the 2013 Mets.
d’Arnaud début: The Mets have recalled super prospect C Travis d’Arnaud(NY’s #2 rated prospect according to MLB.com) and he is set to join the team for tonight’s game in San Diego. The move is for at least 3 games(MLB paternity leave rules) as starter John Buck is back in NYC with his wife after the birth of the couple’s child. d’Arnaud is an offensive catcher and since being brought up to Triple A Las Vegas, he has 8 hits in 20 at bats with a homer and 4 rbi while drawing 9 and K-ing 4 times. The Mets will more than likely have to send down popular back up C Anthony Recker when the leave is up after Monday’s make up game in Minnesota.
METS NOTES: INF Wilmer Flores(ankle) should be back in the lineup tonight after injuring this leg earlier this week(Monday, Pinch hit Wednesday). The exciting rookie has hit .286 with a .333 OBP and a homer and 9 rbi in 8 games since his recall from Triple A and has helped ease the loss of team captain David Wright at 3B…. 1B Ike Davis has really come on and although he is not hitting home runs(2 since July 26th), the slugger has a .462 on base percentage and .911 with 10 doubles and RBI in 130 plate appearances in 36 games since his recall from Las Vegas. In 54 August plate appearances, he has 7 extra base hits and a .574 OBP in 15 games… Wright continues to rehab his injured hamstring at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC but the team has no timetable for his return. Meanwhile, closer Bobby Parnell’s injured neck(Herniated disk) is improving and like Wright, the team has no specific date for when he will rejoin the big club.
Two prominent Mets prospects were part of the BioGenesis suspensions handed out Monday August 5th as OF Cesar Puello, one of the top position players in the NY farm system, and INF-OF Jordany Valdespin, who has 324 MLB at bats, are 2 of the 13 players linked to the Florida anti-aging clinic. The two are suspended 50 games apiece and are eligible to return to either the majors or minors after serving their punishments. This could spell the end of Valdespin’s Mets career when you factor in his lack of a defined defensive position and off field issues.
PARNELL DL-ed:Mets closer Bobby Parnell has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck and was placed on the 15 day DL August 6th. After he did not respond to anti inflammatory medication last week and another medical procedure Monday, the team felt this was the best move. The DL stint is retroactive to July 31st and Parnell could be back August 15th. However, If he does not improve over the next week or so, season ending surgery might be needed. This is a huge loss for NY and Bobby as well, who has flourished in the 9th inning role, converting 22 of 26 chances with a 2.16 ERA and a 44/12 strikeout to walk ratio. Mets skipper Terry Collins will use every reliever outside of long time veteran Scott Atchinson as the closer. Latroy Hawkins and David Aardsma have both been effective major league closers at different points in their careers. To fill Parnell’s roster spot, the team called up INF Wilmer Flores, the Met’s #4 rated prospect according to MLB.com. He will take over Captain David Wright’s spot at 3B most of the time while Captain America recovers from a hamstring strain.
Things took a major turn for the negative during The Mets extra inning win Friday August 2nd when the face of the franchise, superstar 3B David Wright pulled up lame running to first base. New York’s best player and team leader was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring after an MRI this morning. The strain is classified as moderate and Wright could miss anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks. The leg acted up earlier this week and was noticeable in Wednesday’s game in Miami but the captain felt he could play thru it at around 75-80%. However, the muscle gave out and this injury further depletes an already flawed offense. The Mets #3 hitter, Wright has hit .309 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI plus 17 steals and a .904 OPS. The team does not have an ideal fill in at 3B on the current roster or at Triple A and has recalled OF Mike Baxter from Las Vegas. Look for INF’s Justin Turner and Josh Satin to get most of the reps at Third. Daniel Murphy, who came up as a 3B, could also play in a pinch.
BULLPEN BONANZA:Mets closer Bobby Parnell(stiff neck) has not pitched since Tuesday after experiencing pain mid week. The team medical staff has prescribed medication and rest until Monday August 5th at the earliest. Veteran David Aardsma has assumed the role as closer in Parnell’s absence. The 6th year ML has been huge part of the Mets turn around and has converted 22 of 26 save opportunities while winning 5 games and posting a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He has also K-ed 38 and walked only 12. Meanwhile, LHRP Josh Edgin was placed on the 15 day DL Friday August 2 with a rib fracture and could miss the rest of the year. After a brutal April(9.64 ERA in 11 games) the hardthrowing southpaw has posted a 1.29 ERA in 9 June games and 0.73 in 14 July contests. This is a big loss and if Parnell does not recover soon, the relief corps takes a major hit. The team recalled fan favorite Pedro Feliciano from AAA and the Mets single season appearance leader has returned to the majors for the 1st time since 2010.
COLLINS CONTRACT: Anyone who reads this blog knows I love the Mets manager and the job he has done in the transition towards respectability. The 2013 Mets are not the 1948 NY Yankees but they show up and compete. A big part of that is both the manager and captain. This team battles for 27 outs and then some(played 16 extra inning games) while not having the best talent in the sport. He has pieced together an effective bullpen and blended a nice mix of veterans and kids into a nice everyday lineup. The future is bright and I want TC to be part of it. Time to extend Terry Collins past 2013. He deserves it!
METS NOTES: Mets GM Sandy Alderson made no moves at the trade deadline and holding on to veterans like RF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck, Parnell and RP Latroy Hawkins was an important step….. Like most fans, I am down on 1B Ike Davis. This team needed him to follow up on his strong 2012 2nd half and he has been a major disappointment in 2013. But if you want to give up and move Ike, take a look at the Baltimore Orioles and their slugging 1B. Another Davis that a team gave up on. Chris Davis, who the Texas Rangers lost patience with. He has 40 Homers going into play tonight… With all of the injuries to the pitching staff, Collins elected to move Carlos Torres back to the bullpen and a normal 5 man rotation until LHSP Jon Niese (Rotator cuff) returns. The Mets have an off day Monday August 5th and after the lefty makes his final rehab start Tuesday he will assume his rotation spot later in the week.
In a move that both protects their future and puts an emphasis on a team strength, Mets Manager Terry Collins announced Friday July 26th that the club will use a 6 man pitching rotation among the starters. Recent strong outings by Jenrry Mejia and Carlos Torres give the Mets options and depth among the starters and this move will also allow the team to limit the innings of ace Matt Harvey and prime prospect Zack Wheeler. Veterans Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner will round out the rotation. Meanwhile, LHSP Jon Niese continues to rehab a rotator cuff injury in his shoulder in the minor leagues. The plan might change if the team continues to win and Harvey could pitch more games, according to Collins.
METS NOTES:Red hot Juan Lagares has won the everyday CF job with his bat and outstanding OF defense. The rookie recently won the National League Player of the Week award and after hitting .271 in June has hammered the ball at a .373 clip(11 rbi, .990 OPS) in July. In order to keep Mejia up, the Mets sent OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Triple A Las Vegas. The move leaves NY temporarily with a short bench of 4 position players: OF Andrew Brown, INFs Justin Turner and Josh Satin as well as backup catcher Anthony Recker. This could be an issue with both OF Eric Young Jr(Knee) and Turner(Shoulder) dealing with minor injuries… The Mets have lost 9 games on walk-off hits, the 2nd highest total in MLB…. Veteran RH RP Latroy Hawkins has allowed only 5 home runs in 44 and 2/3 innings in 2013 and 4 earned runs in 22 appearances since the start of June… Harvey has allowed 1 run or fewer in 13 starts this season and he has received a no decision in 6 of those games…. The Mets have gone 7-2-2 in their last 11 road series and where 15-8 in the last 23 road games going into today in Washington…. NY’s record since Wheeler joined the rotation June 18th: 21-14
After the Mets showcased their impressive off field product(Citi Field) and high end talent(Franchise 3B David Wright and Ace P Matt Harvey) during the All Star festivities this week, the rest of the club and it’s two stars must prepare for the 2nd half the season. The team stands at 41-50 at the break but has been playing solid ball over the past 3 weeks or so, including a 6-3 road trip to end the 1st half. Lets look at some areas to focus on in the 2nd half.
QUESTIONABLE POSITIONS: The Mets appear set at two positions for the foreseeable future- 3B(Wright) and 2B(Daniel Murphy). I also like our Catching situation with veteran leader John Buck starting, Anthony Recker backing up and Travis d’Arnaud a top prospect at Triple A. I know it has been less than a month since he was traded here but I LOVE Eric Young Jr in Left Field. He is in the middle of everything and gives this team a legit lead off man and outfield defense. The next positions to focus on are Shortstop and the two other OutField slots. I think Omar Quintanilla is a solid stop gap guy at SS and has really helped this team but he will never be confused with Cal Ripken Jr. We need a long term solution at that spot.
Centerfield is a battle between two defensive oriented youngsters in Kirk Niewenhuis and Juan Lagares. Both have struggled with the bat but shown promise. Ideally, the team would love one of them to grab hold of the job and take off. A positive note? Both have started to make marked improvements at the plate. In their last 20 games, Lagares has hit .286 with 8 RBI while Niewenhuis batted .275 with 2 homer runs and 10 RBI. They way these two catch the ball, the Mets would be happier than pigs in Mud with that type of production from CenterField. RF Marlon Byrd has been great for the Mets but he is on the wrong side of 35 and by the time this team is ready to be perennial contender, he will winding down his career.This spot is a position where the Mets might look for a big time free agent and/or trade in the offseason. Carlos Gonzalez? Giancarlo Stanton? Shin-Soo Choo? When the season started in April, fans thought Ike Davis’ strong 2nd half in 2012 would help him take off big time in 2013 but the popular slugger has regressed big time and has been awful in 2013. Davis has hit .165 with 5 home runs in 212 at bats. He is at best a platoon player right now with the surprising Josh Satin(.361, 9 doubles, 8 rbi and 1.044 OPS in 61 at bats) taking major reps at First.
REVOLVING ROTATION:With Harvey’s breakout season and the recent Call up of top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, the talent increase in the starting rotation has been noticeable and drawn acclaim. However, 2 names that have not drawn headlines are fellow Starters Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner. Hefner has been the top statistical pitcher in baseball since June(Look it up) and battles every time he takes the mound. Gee was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation before he regained his touch and has posted two Sub 3.10 ERAs in consecutive months. People need to remember this guy has major surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder, ending his 2012 campaign in June of the same year. Gee also won 13 games on a Bad 2011 Mets team. If and when this team gets veteran lefty Jon Niese back, this rotation could really be devastating.
TRADE DEADLINE:The Mets have apparently found their own home grown closer with Bobby Parnell finally living up to his vast potential in 2013. The 5th year ML has saved 17 games in 20 opportunities and won 5 with a 2.30 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. With the high value on bullpen help, teams might offer a ton for the talented righty but look for the Mets to keep Parnell.Byrd might also draw offers but his leadership and age will more than likely keep him in Queens. The bullpen has straightened itself out in recent weeks with the combination of improvement from the rotation and recent recalls-acquisitions. Names like Aardsma, Torres and Edgin have helped turn a weakness into a viable ML unit. Any help to LH specialist Scott Rice, 2nd in the NL with 49 appearances, would be welcomed. Veteran Relievers Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano are both progressing in rehab assigments from surgery and could join the club sometime in the 2nd half.
In only his first full season in the major leagues, Mets RHSP Matt Harvey has been selected as the Starting Pitcher for the National League in the 2013 All Star Game Tuesday night at Citi Field in Queens. #33 is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 130 innings while posting the 2nd best WHIP(0.92) and 3rd best opponents batting average(.196) in the NL. He is the 3rd Mets pitcher to start an All Star Game, joining Dwight Gooden(1986,1988) and Tom Seaver(1970). Harvey will be the 5th pitcher to start a game at home since Expansion in 1961. This is a huge accomplishment for both Harvey and the Mets. And one that has shown what fans of the beleaguered franchise see in seasons to come: HOPE! The team now features Harvey and super prospect Zach Wheeler and in Sundays Futures game, the two starting pitchers(Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero) were Mets prospects! Harvey joins Gooden and fellow NY legend RF Darryl Strawberry(Both in 1984) as Mets players selected to the all star game in their first full season in the majors.
A comeback season from a camp invitee and recent trade have helped jump start the 2013 New York Mets and turn a long time weakness into a strength. When you tune into the games on SNY, look at this Outfield. 10 yr+ pro Marlon Byrd made the team in spring training and has been a strong middle of the order bat all season, hitting .263 with 15 home runs and 49 rbi in 77 ganmes. The Mets everyday rightfielder has hit for power(.804 OPS) while playing strong defense . Byrd’s presence in the lineup has helped protect star 3B David Wright with 1B Ike Davis struggling and LF Lucas Duda injured. Meanwhile, the team made a minor move(Trade with Colorado Rockies) that became major quickly when NY acquired Eric Young JR to play in the Outfield and bat leadoff. In a 22 games with the Mets, the spark plug has hit .296 ,scored 15 runs and driven in 16. Just a great underrated acquisition by the Mets front office. With these two claiming everyday spots in the lineup, Mets skipper Terry Collins has mixed and matched talented youngsters Kirk Nieuwenhuis(.344, 2 homers, 7 rbi in July) and Juan Lagares(Improved Batting average every month, .271 in June, .304 in July) in Centerfield. These two bring athleticism and energy to the field and both are excellent defensively. 3rd Year Major Leaguer Andrew Brown has also contributed as a 4th-5th OF and pinch hitter(.294 in 17 July ABs). Suddenly, The Mets have a Major League level Outfield!
The Mets will have two players in the 2013 All Star Game Tuesday Night July 16th at Citi Field and could have both starting the contest. The franchise face(3B David Wright) won the voting and will still at Third for the NL while the franchise future(RHSP Matt Harvey) is a strong favorite to be the starting pitcher for the National League. Harvey is dealing with a blister issue on right index finger and the Mets will skip his last start of the first half to get the injury treated and also keep his innings limited. The 24 yr old threw 169 1/3 innings in 2012 between Triple AAA and The majors and the Mets would like to increase the work load by no more than 30%(Around 221 innings), according the Mets skipper Terry Collins. Collins also stated that Harvey will be available to pitch in the All Star Game. The decision is in the hands of NL(and World Champion San Francisco Giants) Manager Bruce Bochy and almost every factor points to Harvey starting this game.
HOT HEFNER: As great as Harvey is, the best pitcher on the Mets and (ALL of MLB statistically) since June has been RHSP Jeremy Hefner. In 5 June starts, he was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and in his first 2 July starts, the 3rd yr ML is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Collins mentioned today on his weekly radio spot on WFAN with Mike Francesca that Hefner might be a big part of the Mets future.
FANS GOT IT WRIGHT: I could talk for years about what David Wright means to this team on and off the field and I do but when you watch this guy play everyday and how he competes and battles for a team that has not always been easy to compete and battle for, you would be proud you have this guy as your captain. Watch how respected he is by other players and other teams, when he plays for Team USA in events he is the LEADER. This 3 day event should showcase this guy more. If you want to see one of the coolest things you will see in years, go to sny.tv and look up the story involving Mets fan Max Rubin and the Captain.
MARCUM,NIESE UPDATES: LHSP Jon Niese(3-6,4.32 ERA in 13 starts) was cleared to begin rehabbing his partially torn left rotator cuff July 8th and will not require surgery. He claims to be feeling better and has reported to the Mets complex in Port St. Lucie to work towards a return. The news on veteran RHSP Shaun Marcum was not as good as he is done for the year with circulation problem that involves a blocked artery(Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) and will require surgery. The Mets will move Carlos Torres into Marcum’s rotation spot and he will also take Harvey’s turn Saturday in Pittsburgh.
METS NOTES: Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a HUGE fan of Mets OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis and he had a historic night on July 5th. He became only the 8th Met to reach base 6 times in a game when he had 4 hits and 2 walks. He also drove in 5 runs and scored 3 times. Love this kids talent and flair for big performances in big spots. By the way, the Mets are 16-9 since Kirk hit a 3 run homer in the 9th to beat the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on Father’s Day June 16th…. Collins and everyone else who watches this team has been impressed 1B-OF Josh Satin, who has hit .362 in 21 games and is in the middle of everything when he plays. Even with the return of 1B Ike Davis from AAA, the rookie will see playing time. According to Collins, the two will platoon with Davis facing righties and Satin southpaws…. One area where the Mets have really got increased production in 2013 is behind the plate. Both catchers,veteran John Buck(excellent defense, 14 homers, 46 rbi) and youngster Anthony Recker(5 homers in 72 at bats), have really helped this team and made up for an injury plagued year by top prospect Travis d’Amaud…. Wright will serve as the captain of the NL Home Run derby team and will compete with 3 players he selected: The NL’s leading homer run hitter Colorado Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez, 2nd year phenom and Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper and David’s childhood friend, Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer. Interesting to note that Wright consulted with MLB officials and thru their polling and voting systems informed him that Harper was the top fan choice. If you ever go to a Nationals game and watch Bryce take BP, you will know why. Wright’s boys will compete vs the AL Derby team, led by Yankees 2B Robinson Cano. He picked Detroit Tigers 1B Prince Fielder, The leading HR hitter in all of MLB, Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis and Oakland A’s OF Yoenis Cespedes to represent the American League.
With my Bruins losing the Stanley Cup and recent passing of my little buddy Lucifer, I have been focusing more on the Mets on a daily-nightly basis. Say what you want about the ownership,lack of talent,etc this team plays HARD. Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and David Wright deserve a lot of credit. This is not the most talented team in MLB but after watching this team play through a brutal schedule of games over the last 10-12 days I am proud to be a Mets fan. I watched them battle a 1st place Arizona Diamondbacks team over 4 death matches. Everything was hard, tough and workmanlike. Both exhilarating and draining at the same time. Today on two different occasions, down late in extra innings, youngsters homered to extend the game. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and all is a nice headline grabber but when you see this team and the parts coming together and maturing, that gives you hope. Call ups like Omar Quintanilla, Andrew Brown and Josh Satin are making an impact while reclamation projects like Marlon Byrd, David Aardsma and John Buck have helped right the ship. This is not the 1976 Cincinnati Reds but this is not the 1962 Mets either. This team shows up, competes and makes you work to win. Anthony Recker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis made me proud to be both a fan and reporter for the New York Mets today. 25 guys who could have lied down on a travel day and battled for almost 6 hours and 15 innings. Big things ahead. Rome was not built in a day but attitude is a huge part of setting the foundation.
The New York Mets have stepped up in June winning consecutive series in Atlanta and Philadelphia for the first time in FOREVER. David Wright has been amazing in The Month, hitting .340 with 4 homers and 11 RBI while clubbing 9 doubles and scoring 13 runs. He collected a team record 4 extra base hits vs the Phillies June 23rd and was a single short of the cycle(Hr, Triple and 2 doubles). With the recent trade for Eric Young Jr, the outfield has noticeably stepped up and FINALLY has a set lineup with Young in LF, rookie Juan Lagares in Center and Veteran Marlon Byrd in right. Byrd has been a tremendous signing for the team and has supported Wright in the middle of the order. He has hit 12 homers while driving in 40 with a .804 OPS and solid defense. Young has given the club a much needed legit leadoff man and the New Jersey native has hit .349 with 7 rbi and 5 runs in 10 games with NY. Lagares is hitting better(.288 in June) but he is a difference maker defensively. What was once a huge question mark is now a functional major league unit. Great job by Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his staff.
A major reason why this team has played noticeably better ball over the end of the Month is the starting pitching. People know who Matt Harvey is. He is pretty good. But Both Dillon Gee(3-1,2.73 in 5 starts) and Jeremy Hefner(1-1,1.80) have been outstanding in the Month, while Shawn Marcum has given you workmanlike outings(1-3,4.10 in 3 starts) and allowed only 3 hits in his last outing over 8 frames in Chicago vs the White Sox. Super prospect Zach Wheeler has been up and down in his rookie season and is now 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 3 starts after a rough outing Sunday vs the Nationals.( 6 hits, 5 runs in 4 and 2 thirds). A return from injury by LH Jon Niese would do a lot to boast this staff.
Some recent call ups have helped the club, two position players and 3 relievers. SS Omar Quintanilla(.235,9 rbi, 11 runs) has played well after taking over for the injured (and struggling) Ruben Tejada while 1B Josh Satin(.375,4 rbi in 14 games) has hit and played strong D at 1B when the team sent beleaguered Ike Davis to Triple A Las Vegas. While these two are not Cal Ripken Jr or Lou Gehrig, they have provided solid play and after watching both Ruben and Ike become almost automatic outs, their contributions have been noticed. Meanwhile, 3 relievers have helped skipper Terry Collins and a struggling bullpen. After showing promise late in 2012, LHP Josh Satin was brutal in April yet has seemed to have found himself after being called up from Vegas, posting a 1.29 ERA in 9 games(7 innings).Veteran RH Carlos Torres has also pitched great out of the pen(0-1,1.00 ERA in 9 innings, 9 Ks with 2 walks, .129 BAA, .067 WHIP) and looks like a pitcher who has found himself. Meanwhile former ML closer David Aardsma has pitched great in a variety of roles(1.80 ERA in 10 innings with 9 Ks and a walk, .171 BAA) and could see more work in later innings.
METS NOTES:Wright is neck and neck with San Francisco Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval for the starting 3B slot on the National League All Star team which is being played at CitiField July 16th. This is a big deal for the Mets and their fans. Please support the Franchise and vote, ballots can be cast until 11:59 PM Thursday, July 4th at mlb.com…. The team has a planned imposed innings limit for Harvey and Collins spoke about it this weekend. The talented right is at 117 for the year, looking for the team to shut him down around 210-220. Harvey currently leads the NL in ERA(2.00), WHIP(0.855) and Strikeouts(132). He is also a strong candidate to start the All Star game for the National League.. Niese will get an MRI on his injured left shoulder this Thursday and the team will have more medical updates then. The team hopes the talented Southpaw can avoid surgery thru a strength program…. Top Prospect C Travis d’Arnaud(Broken foot) continues to rehab in Las Vegas and Mets assistant GM John Ricco the team expects the backstop to play in the majors sometime this season.
The recent trade for OF Eric Young, jr. is key for two reasons: he fills major needs as a lead off man and bonafide major league outfielder. He can also play 2B in a pinch but I think Murphy’s best spot is at 2nd. Young is also the type of player who has never been given an everyday job(Under 800 at bats in 3 plus years with the Colorado Rockies). The once highly touted prospect has serious wheels(70 steals in 90 ML attempts) and works at bats to draw walks. I love this move. Meanwhile, Jordany Valdespin struggled with the bat when Manager Terry Collins started him at 2B for about a week. Valdespin remains more of an athlete than polished baseball player at times. While his speed-power combination would aid the Mets greatly, those raw tools have not translated on the diamond. He appears to be a back up or platoon guy at this point.
While I love Mets skipper Terry Collins, I also love the fact that ex 80s Met Wally Backman manages the club’s Triple A Affiliate in Las Vegas. After having an awful opening to the 2013 season, LHRP Josh Edgin was sent down and after Backman and his staff worked with him, Edgin is back up with the big club and pitching great. After posting a 9.64 ERA in 11 April games, The hard throwing lefty has not allowed an earned run in 5 games(4 innings) while K-ing 3. Mets fans should be excited when they hear Davis is hitting .306 with a .459 On base in 9 games. He hit two solo homers Thursday June 20th and has drawn 10 walks while K-ing 9 times. Vegas Hitting coach George Greer( Davis’ previous minor league hitting coach before he was called up in 2010) and Mets minor league roving instructor Lamar Johnson as well as Backman have tutored Davis. Any good organization needs strong instruction and development will be key for the Mets heading forward.
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