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 recent signing of Max Scherzer(7 yrs-$210 million) by the division rival Washington Nationals takes the 2nd of 3 big free agent starting pitchers off the market(Jon Lester signed with the Cubs earlier and James Shields has yet to ink a deal) and created more options for teams looking to move or add arms. The Nats have a surplus of starters as do the Mets and their division rival Philadelphia Phillies have been shopping ace LHP Cole Hamels all offseason. Washington will more than likely trade either 1 of 2 veteran starters Jordan Zimmerman or Doug Fister, both set to become free agents after 2015, and we have even seen Stephen Strasburg’s name come up in trade talks. Zimmerman is a Midwest guy and with the trade this week of Yovani Gallardo by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers, rumors of a swap back to Wisconsin have kicked up. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins continue to be aggressive and have had discussions with Shields, who has reportedly dropped his demands below $100 million long term. All of this activity has delayed a potential trade of Dillon Gee or another Mets starting pitcher to fill a need or clear payroll for NY to add salary and/or a veteran major league player via a swap or signing. The Mets APPEAR to be secure with their major league team heading into 2015 and fans might want to warm up to the idea of Wilmer Flores being at SS when the season opens in April.
The Mets have been active in the Shortstop trade market particularly regarding Colorado Rockies superstar Troy Tulowitzki and a new target has appeared recently with Washington Nationals SS Ian Desmond being linked to the team. Desmond, who becomes a free agent after 2015, was part of a 3 team discussion between the Mets, Nats and Tampa Bay Rays. However, NY was hesitant to include super pitching prospect Noan Syndergaard in the package. The Rays traded their own SS Yunel Escobar to the Oakland A-s who then shipped him to The Nationals. The Nats swear he will play 2nd base but Desmond could still be moved in the right trade. Several MLB media members have turned out trade proposals for the Nats and Mets and names like P Dillon Gee, 2B Daniel Murphy and Syndergaard have been suggested by everyone from ESPNs Buster Olney to MLB networks Ken Rosenthal.
The issue and dilemma for the Mets here is cost-both in the trade and a potential long term deal for Desmond. NY has a major hole at SS and better young options at 2B if they move Murphy both short(Wilmer Flores) and long(Dilson Herrera) term. Desmond is a 20 homer-20 steals player who can strengthen the Mets and weaken their top division nemesis Washington. An extension would probably cost anywhere from 15-20 million per and Ian reportedly turned down a 6 year/80-90 million dollar deal in May 2014. Also factor in the Mets have Flores and Matt Reynolds(AAA) as young controllable options and highly regarded Amed Rosario in the system. I would do a trade for Desmond BUT we must have him secured long term. The Mets are in a position to be good for years to come and I do not believe you gut your farm for a guy you can sign after 2015 at little or no cost to the current team. GM Sandy Alderson has been both patient and shrewd in all of his moves and unless he thinks the 2015 NY Mets can win the World Series AND sign Desmond to an extension, I do not see this trade happening.
METS NOTES: Several Mets including Captain David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda, C Travis d’Arnaud and prospects OF Brandon Nimmo and Reynolds are working out with strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis down in Port St Lucie,Fla. Barwis is one of the top trainers in the world and this guy is soooo good for this organization, I witnessed his work with the University of Michigan athletes earlier in the 2000s. Meanwhile, Wright(Shoulder) looks great and healthy…. Gee(5.3 Million), 2B Daniel Murphy(8.0) and SS Ruben Tejada(1.8) all reached deals with the club and avoided arbitration…. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey has been training all offseason and appears to be in great shape. He should be throwing to batters when spring training starts. He also seems to be very supportive of whatever approach the team has regarding pitch and innings limits the organization has planned in his return from Tommy John Surgery after the 2013 season.
Good and bad news regarding to Mets greats who started out as Los Angeles Dodgers this week as P Pedro Martinez(2005-09) was voted into the MLB Hall of Fame while C Mike Piazza(1998-2005) missed out by a little more than 5%. Pedro is considered one of the best right handed pitchers of the past 50 years and during his 18 year career posted 219 wins with 100 losses and a 2.93 ERA. Best known as member of the Boston Red Sox, he helped them break the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, claiming the teams first World Series title in 86 yrs. Pedro joined the Mets in 2005 and was great in his first season(15-8,2.82 ERA) but arm injuries limited him to 45 starts over the next 4 seasons and he was never the same pitcher. His signing gave the Mets credibility in the Omar Minaya era which helped them become contenders in the National League in 2006-2008.
Mike Piazza was the late 90s Mets version of Keith Hernandez, An elite player acquired in a trade who made them instant contenders and became the face of the franchise. #31 remains a good bet to make the HOF and with his 69.9 % voting result, he is just over 5% short of induction in a strong 2015 class. Considered by many as the greatest hitting catcher of all time, he boasted career totals of .308-427-1335 and his 396 home runs while playing behind the plate are tops all time. Piazza’s .545 slugging percentage is 32nd in the history of the game. I think Mike is an easy 1st ballot Hall of Famer but he is being held out due to PED rumors and the era in which he plays, he is linked to obvious users like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and his nemesis, Roger Clemens. To me, it is not right and people like Mike and Jeff Bagwell are being hurt by rumors and innuendo. Some guys from this era could actually play and a guy who will be voted in next year-Ken Griffey Jr- is a shining example. Fans and the media have no idea who used PEDs and how can you evaluate all the players from that era? Crazy.
Meanwhile, Reliever Bobby Parnell and the Mets reached agreement on a contract Wednesday to avoid arbitration and his salary is the same as it was for 2014- 3.7 million. Parnell will be a free agent after this coming season and is recovering from Tommy John Surgery from early in 2014. The big righty was New York’s closer in 2013, converting 22 of 26 chances with a 2.16 ERA. He will more than likely be brought back slowly and join the big club sometime in May after an extended spring training, health wise, he appears good. With the Parnell signing, 1B Lucas Duda, SP Dillon Gee, Closer Jenrry Mejia, 2B Daniel Murphy and SS Ruben Tejada are the 5 Mets still arbitration eligible. The players and team can settle on deals or have til next week to file and exchange numbers for hearings to settle the disputes.
Anyone who reads my blog or talks to me about the New York Mets knows I have been very supportive of this management team, on and off the field. I like and respect both General Manager Sandy Alderson and field skipper Terry Collins. I understood what they were doing the last 3-4 years, building a team around David Wright and a group of promising arms. I hated seeing guys like Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey being moved but I saw the plan in place and understood the who, what, where and why. When you draft a Matt Harvey, sign Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Michael Cuddyer, trade for Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler and see young veterans like Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda bloom into solid major league starters, you should have hope. 2015 is about winning and competing for a post season berth. Anything less than that barring major injury is a disappointment and unacceptable. This team has players and should win more than they lose. Look at this division and outside of the Washington Nationals, this is best roster top to bottom. The Braves and Phillies are in rebuild modes and the Marlins added some players but are hot and cold. The 2015 New Years resolution for the New York Mets and their fans should be simple: postseason play.
PS. Sandy will get a SS or Flores works out…. BELIEVE!
Lots of noise and reports regarding a potential trade between the Mets and Colorado Rockies involving their franchise player, SS Troy Tulowitzki. Great player with health issues as well as a 118 million dollar contract. I know the Mets have a glaring hole at the position for the 2014 season if Wilmer Flores does not step up. However, The team features 2 young players in the system, Amed Rosario and Matt Reynolds, who are close to being major league ready. I am not sure I want to gut the team strength(young pitching), mortgaging our future and reversing the great work of GM Sandy Alderson and his talented front office. My belief is we are about to enter a 6-8 year window ala the 1984-1990 Mets where our pitching allows us to compete for that period of time. Here is what I would offer the Rockies-no more, no less for Tulo.
RHP Noah Syndergaard
C Kevin Plawecki
Pick 1 of 2: Ruben Tejada or Wilmer Flores
Pick 1 of 3: Dillon Gee, Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon
Basically, our top pitching and catching prospect as well as a veteran top 4 starting pitcher and young ML ready SS. I do not think the Rockies will go for this but I am not NOT trading Syndergaard AND a Wheeler or de Grom. I do not want to strip our ML team of starters, I am aware we have 6 MINUS Noah. One of them will be moved(More than likely Gee) but starting pitching is our bell cow and we cannot strip that for a guy with medical and money issues. Not with the Mets history of trade, free agent flops.
During a recent media session, Mets skipper Terry Collins revealed his potential lineup for the 2015 season and followers of the team have to be excited. Here it is: CF Juan Lagares, LF Curtis Granderson, 3B David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda, RF Michael Cuddyer, 2B Daniel Murphy, C Travis d’Arnaud, SS Wilmer Flores and the Pitcher in the 9 hole. This group is not the 61 New York Yankees but it is a solid and provides room for upside with guys like Duda and d’Arnaud building off strong 2014 finishes. The key to me is Lagares, who can be a real weapon if he can get to a .350 OBP. I also like putting Granderson in Left, a spot he played well for the Yankees during his time in the Bronx. Cuddyer is a natural rightfielder and while neither is Roberto Clemente, this is the best fit for both players. Hitting wise, if Flores is your 8th hitter, you have a good major league lineup. Wilmer can rake. If he plays 150 games at SS, mark me down for 280-15-75.
The Mets appear to be closer to entering the 2014 season with Flores as the starter at SS after they chose not to bid on Korean SS Jeong-ho Kang and reports surfaced of more talks between the team and the Colorado Rockies about superstar Troy Tulowitski, The Rockies- Mets talk will not end til either Tulo is traded or NY signs a free agent or makes a smaller trade with a team like Cubs,Mariners or Diamondbacks for a lesser named player. All 3 teams have been very active this offseason and have a larger group of young middle infielders to ship to Flushing. Seattle seems to be a good trade partner with both Chris Taylor and Brad Miller nder 25 and good enough to man shortstop for most ML teams. Free agent options continue to flood the market with Stephen Drew(NO!!!!!!!!!), Everth Cabrera(My top selection after giving Flores time) and Asdrubal Cabrera(more a 2B or 3B at this point) being the biggest names. With their recent flurry of additions and signings, the Chicago White Sox and SS Alexei Ramirez do not appear to be parting ways soon. That team can make the playoffs in 2015 and is more likely to add than subtract.
BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 10 2015 NEW YORK METS PROSPECTS:
1- RHP Noah Syndergaard
2- LHP Steven Matz
3- OF Brandon Nimmo
4- 2B Dilson Herrera
5- C Kevin Plawecki
6- SS Ahmed Rosario
7- OF Michael Conforto
8- RHP Rafael Montero
9- RHP Marcos Molina
10-SS Gavin Cecchini
METS NOTES: To clear a roster spot for free agent signing OF John Mayberry Jr , the team traded P Gonzalez Germen to the New York Yankees…. Wright has started to swing the bat for the 1st time since September 8th and his shoulder has improved drastically. He is scheduled to visit new hitting instructor Kevin Long in Phoenix sometime in January…With the team looking to keep Matt Harvey healthy and pitching into October, the idea of holding him out to the home opener April 13th has been floated. The team will skip some of his starts and limit his innings while having him available for a potential postseason run. Look for Syndergaard to be an option to make some spot starts when Harvey needs a blow.
The New York Mets made some small moves with the roster over the past 2 weeks including adding a strong backup Outfielder via free agency and potential lefty reliever in the Rule 5 draft but the team still does not have an stone cold lock everyday major league shortstop. Part of the problem is Cal Ripken Jr or Honus Wagner is not on the market and several of the shortstops who have changed teams are bad fits for the Mets. See Jimmy Rollins. Their are some potential free agent options- Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera are two of the bigger names but again, these guys will not be bronzed for Cooperstown anytime soon. The financial prudent Mets are not going to pay someone they do not view as a significant upgrade over internal option Wilmer Flores. Monday could be a big day for the organization as Korean SS Jung-Ho Kang will be posted. He put up amazing offensive numbers(38 home runs, 107 rbi) in a sub standard league but has potential. A 2-3 year deal with a 10 million posting fee will be part of the cost. So you can figure 30-40 million total investment. Reports have the Mets being linked to Kang.
The other big story revolving around the Mets is their desire to trade a veteran starting pitcher out of the veteran group of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. Both Niese and Gee have team friendly deals and Colon is 150 years old, so the decision was easy and Gee has drawn better offers. Why the need to move a starter? If the season started today, the Mets have 6 major league ready starting pitchers: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and the 3 vets mentioned above. Then you take into account the organizations top prospect in P Noah Syndergaard and you have too many pitchers for 5 rotation spots. Gee is almost assured to be traded and a team like the Texas Rangers make sense. The key here is payroll flexibility more than talent return, as the Mets want to clear around 10 million of the books to reinvest in other positions. The team would take a player(who fills a minor need, think reliever, bench stick) or prospects back for Gee.
METS NOTES: The team signed OF John Mayberry Jr at the winter meetings and he projects as a 4th-5th OF who plays when Michael Cuddyer moves to 1B or needs a day. He is a pro’s pro and good bench addition. He will pair with the winner of the Kirk Nieuwenhuis -Matt den Dekker spring training competition to be the outfield back ups….LHP Sean Gilmartin was claimed the team in the rule 5 draft and could make the Mets out of camp as a lefty specialist. Former Atlanta Braves 1st rd pick and Florida State pitcher with upside… The team signed LHP Scott Rice to a minor league deal…. After he was non-tendered by the Mets, INF-OF Eric Young Jr. elected to file for free agency. A fan favorite who was fun to cover, his speed and energy has value to some team. Best of luck to EY!
The MLB non tender deadline hits tonight at 12 Midnight Tuesday December 2 and this could mean the end of the Mets careers for 2 veterans: OF-INF Eric Young Jr and SS Ruben Tejada. Basically, players up until the date they hit free agency are under club control, the team decides whether they will continue to employ the individual. Since both Young Jr and Tejada do not appear to be part of a the long term plan of the organization, they are at risk to not be offered a contract. Factor in that both players are starting to make decent dollars and you see why they might be in their final hours of their tenure in Queens.
Mets fans should be excited about the recent hiring of hitting coach Kevin Long. On the more respected instructors in the game, the Arizona resident will have David Wright and former pupil Curtis Granderson visit him in Cactus Country to work towards success in 2015. Meanwhile, catcher Travis d’Arnaud resides in Arizona and will work with Long regularly. Long famously turned Granderson around vs. lefties when he was traded to the Yankees after his former club, the Detroit Tigers, felt he would never hit southpaws. Long changed Granderson’s stance and the more open approach helped him hit almost .300 vs lefties after carrying a .213 career BA entering the year. The fact that these 3 players- all keys to any offensive success the team will have in 2015- are working with Long on THERE time, is a HUGE positive as the vital 2015 campaign approaches.
Mets management, led by GM Sandy Alderson, announced the new outfield dimensions at Citi Field Tuesday December 25th. The major adjustments are occurring in right and right center field with the fences moving in an average of 3-11 feet, with right center going from 390 to 380 feet. This should help left handed hitters(Granderson, 1B Lucas Duda obvious candidates). According to the Mets front office, under these dimensions the team would have had an additional 17 home runs and allowed another 10. However, Alderson is quick to point out that several of those home runs were allowed by pitchers that will not be on the Mets in 2015. In general, the wall looks more uniform and with the talented array of arms the team is throwing out plus the return of Matt Harvey, I would not think allowing home runs will be a big problem in 2015.
As the winter meetings approach, the Mets still have a major need at Shortstop and with the Los Angeles Dodgers losing Hanley Ramirez to the Boston Red Sox, that market just added another major player with both financial and prospect resources. While the Mets could enter 2015 with Wilmer Flores at the position, most expect the team to either add a free agent or make a trade for a young SS to fortify the spot. Flores, a natural 2B, could also find himself at that spot if the team trades popular 2B Daniel Murphy, who is in his free agent walk season. This remains a fluid situation and will be til the team fills the hole. Look for the the usual suspects- both Chicago Teams(Cubs, White Sox), Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers- to be linked the Mets rumor wise. I would not pay attention to the dream scenarios involving the Colorado Rockies(Tulo) and Boston Red Sox(Xander Bogaerts) because I do think names like Harvey, Zack Wheeler or Jacon deGrom will be in play. The team could also use a veteran right handed hitting Outfielder to play when Michael Cuddyer needs a day or plays 1B for Duda vs. select lefties. And a solid lefty reliever would also be a good addition.
METS NOTES: The team held its annual Thanksgiving food giveaway for the needy this week with Alderson and Wheeler joining reliever Vic Black to give out meals to the less fortunate in the great NYC area, mostly in Queens. Mets-giving was a huge success….. Mark these dates down: Pitchers and Catchers report February 19th, Position players Feb 24th and the first full squad workout is Feb 28th.
After the winter meetings concluded this week, the Mets have narrowed their roster needs to one position: Shortstop. That is not a definitive need either due to the fact that Wilmer Flores has shown potential to fill in that slot as a more offensive player than glove. However, names like Alexei Ramirez(Chicago White Sox), Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings(Arizona DiamondBacks), Starlin Castro(Chicago Cubs) and Brad Miller(Seattle Mariners) have all been rumored and/or linked to the Mets. Meanwhile, Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki appears to no longer be a trade option for NY due to the cost, his health and contract issues. Look for Mets to have this whole filled by the end of November or the team will more than likely go with Flores at SS.
CITI CONSTRUCTION: The Mets will make an announcement about the changing field dimensions this Tuesday(November 18th). Reports have the right field walls being moved in and the park resembling Shea Stadium size wise.
METS NOTES: Bobby Parnell(Tommy John Surgery) might not be ready when the season opens but all reports have been positive medically. Mets Manager Terry Collins and Parnell have stated they want him to return to the 9th inning role when he comes back. If this occurs, the Mets will have a dominant, scary good bullpen….No contract talks or trade news with 2B Daniel Murphy, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Murphy’s fate might be tied into the Mets ability to fill the SS position with an offensive player. Also keep in mind that Flores is a natural 2B and is a favorite of both Collins and the front office…. No announcement yet regarding an innings limit, post surgery plan for Matt Harvey(Tommy John Surgery) but look for this to happen in spring training and a good number to look at is 200 innings….New Mets hitting coach Kevin Long has publicly stated he wants his players to adjust to Citi Field and look to hit line drives consistently in any ball park. The noise you hear is this blogger cheering and clapping…. Meanwhile, Collins is telling anyone who wants to listen he expects the 2015 Mets to be a playoff team and win 90+ games.
The New York Mets made news Monday November 10th with one of the stories being expected, the other was surprising and illustrates how close management thinks this team is from being a contender. Jacob deGrom won the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year while the Mets inked veteran Outfielder-First baseman Michael Cuddyer to a two year $21 million deal. With the signing the Mets will forfeit their 1st pick in the 2015 draft as compensation(#15 overall). Fans of the team should say WHO CARES!!!!!! This team is loaded with young highly touted talent and is in a big market. The time to win is now and this move is about 2015 and beyond. With this move, the Mets next move must be to address Shortstop. I say make the splash move and bring Troy Tulowitzki to Queens! If the cost is reasonable. I will not move Zack Wheeler in ANY deal. No pitcher from the current ML roster not named Gee or Niese should be in play.
Could not be more happier for deGrom, who was outstanding from day 1 in 2014. While not eye catching or as dominant as Matt Harvey, he can pitch and gets outs with enough kick to get the job done. With his hair and smile, he became a quick fan favorite and should be a fixture in Queens for years to come. The righty got 26 of 30 first places votes and joins Mets legends Jerry Koosman, Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack and Dwight Gooden as Mets ROY pitchers. If he has the careers of those 4, fans of the team will be ecstatic. Congrats, Jaoob! Well deserved!
The rest of Major League baseball confirmed what Mets fans have known for the last year and a half, Juan Lagares is an elite defender. The 2nd year ML won his 1st Gold Glove award this week and it was very well deserved. From the routine play to home run robbing catch to throwing out runners at the plate, #12’s impact on the game is visible nightly. When u consider that the Mets play in a huge ball park, in a division that features 2 more spaceous outfields(Miami and Washington), Lagares is a vital part of the present and future of the franchise. An award winning defender in center is key for any team built on defense, pitching and run prevention. Could not be happier for the player and franchise. Congrats, Juan!!!
OFFSEASON ACTIVITY:The Mets have two pressing needs that could and should be addressed this winter- impact, major league players at two spots: corner outfielder and Shortstop. I share the view of many that the team will trade for one of these and sign the other via free agency. A potential Mets target- Colorado Rockies OF-1B Michael Cuddyer- is more than likely off the market after the Rockies extended the veteran a qualifying offer of $15.3 million this week. Any team that signs the free agent would have to surrender their 1st round pick in the 2015 MLB draft. A good fall back free agent candidate is 1B-OF Michael Morse of the world champion San Francisco Giants. The Mets have been in trade discussions with the Red Sox about OF Yoenis Cespedes according to various media outlets. That trade would more than likely involve a veteran starting pitcher(Think Jon Niese or Dillon Gee). Shortstop wise, focus on the Chicago Cubs(Starling Castro), Arizona Diamondbacks(2 kid Shortstops) and Seattle Mariners as potential partners. The trade and free agent agenda could change at any moment with a move(Daniel Murphy trade) and the teams confidence in Wilmer Flores as an everyday option at either SS or 2B. Also factor in rising prospect Dilson Herrera into the mix as well. Winter meetings should be entertaining for Mets fans.
METS NOTES: Mets captain and 3B David Wright recently got a great medical report after visiting the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. Dr.David Altcheck examined him, saying his left rotator cuff “showed marked improvement”. Wright should be able to resume normal Baseball activities in December and healthy for the start of spring training….The team has started with moving in the fences again at Citi Field, the 2nd time the Mets have done so since the stadium opened in 2009. The right center wall is being moved in and will be more symmetrical with the left center wall. The goal is to make the field fair for both pitchers and hitters…. More reports out of Denver that the Rockies will listen to offers for OF Carlos Gonzalez and SS Troy Tulowitzki. Both can play and are talents BUT they both have health issues and make crazy money. I do not see them as good fits for the Mets. I like Tulo better but he cannot stay on the field.
Two big news items this week Mets related. The team added a star to their field staff when they hired Kevin Long as hitting coach. The well respected and heavily recruited former Yankees instructor(2007-2014) brings a proven track record and working knowledge of players like Curtis Granderson to the spot. More importantly he has done great things with all types of players and levels from rookies to all stars to hall of famers. This is a GREAT move for the Mets and we should see noticeable improvement from almost every hitter on the roster. Meanwhile, pitcher Jacon deGrom won the Sporting News National League rookie of the year award. Over 22 starts, the popular 1st year starter was 9-6 with 2.69 ERA. Well deserved honor and deGrom should add the Baseball Writers Association of America award in the coming weeks.
METS NOTES:CF Juan Lagares has been named one of the three finalists for the NL Gold Glove award. Anyone who follows this team and watches this young man should not be surprised. Might be the premier defensive player in the game right now. Arm, range, routine play… Andruw Jones-ish…… Reports all ready out that the Mets are discussing offers to free agent OF-1B Michael Cuddyer.
The following Mets veterans are eligible for salary arbitration: RP Bobby Parnell, 2B Daniel Murphy, OF-INF Eric Young Jr, RP Dana Eveland, SP Dillon Gee, SS Ruben Tejada, 1B Lucas Duda, RP Buddy Carlyle, and Closer Jenrry Mejia(who carries a Super 2 designation). Young Jr, Tejada and Carlyle are candidates to be non tendered(not offered a contract).
The 2014 season has concluded and the Mets do not have many pressing roster issues(Daisuke Matsuzaka is their lone free agent) but the offseason should be interesting. Clearly the team needs bats and two positions(1 corner outfielder and an everyday Shortstop) have glaring holes. The team has a surplus of starting pitching and prospects almost major league ready. The Mets are a team that could and should be active this Winter, whether it be in the trade or free agent market. Keep on an eye on the following teams: The Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs as potential trade partners. I am of the belief that the team will make a trade for one of these needs then sign a free agent to fill the other. Shortstop wise, I think this team could go into 2015 with Wilmer Flores at the spot and with 2,3 other moves, feel comfortable. Cal Ripken Jr. is not on the market or coming to Queens.
METS MASH:Medical updates on some key Mets. Both the teams catcher and closer recently underwent surgery. Travis d’Arnaud(Bone chip in right elbow) and Jenrry Mejia(sports hernia) underwent surgery in the last week to 10 days and should be fine heading into spring training. 3B David Wright(Ligament damage in left shoulder), CF Juan Lagares(Sprained right elbow) and reliever Vic Black(Right rotator cuff strain and herniated disc in neck) are all avoiding the operating table with rest and rehab. Unfortunately, P Jeremy Heffner had to undergo a 2nd Tommy John procedure and his career is in serious jeopardy.
METS NOTES: The team did not retain hitting coaches Lamar Johnson and his assistant Luis Natera but both were offered jobs within the organization…. Popular Triple AAA skipper Wally Backman will not join the ML staff with the Mets but has been asked to remain with the Las Vegas franchise… More reports on the team moving in the fences at Citi Field, when we have something concrete, I will report it….. Bobby Abreu retired at the end of the season and the fans in Queens gave him a nice sendoff in the final game of the year. Guy was one of the top players in baseball in his day yet had awful timing. His prime years were between the Schilling- Dykstra- Kruk-Daulton and Rollins- Howard- Utley Phillies teams… Lucas Duda’s final numbers in 2014: .253-30-92-.349 OB-.830 OPS with 69 walks in 143 games. His home run total was 3rd in the National League…. Some names to focus on free agent wise: INF Jed Lowrie of the Oakland A’s and Colorado Rockies OF-1B Michael Cuddyer. A potential Mets target is now off the market as the Baltimore Orioles resigned SS JJ Hardy to a 3 yr/40 million dollar extension this week
The New York Mets ended the 2014 campaign at 79-83, tied for 2nd with the Atlanta Braves(who NY beat in the season series, so they are ALONE in 2nd) in the NL East. The team filled some needs internally(1B,C,CF, Back of the pen) and developed a solid core with fans expecting success when they come to the park. Even when this team loses, they are very competitive. Now the hard part. It is easy to become average. That is the best of worst and worst of the best. This team with its arms, young players and reasonable financial resources, should be good. The trick is how and what players to add without turning the roster and locker room upside down. This should be both an entertaining and fascinating Winter for Mets fans.
I hate that term because sports- and life- is about winning and losing. To quote my high school football coach Dick Collins and the greatest leader in modern sports Vince Lombardi they have a scoreboard for a reason! Today as the Mets season ends, I feel sad. Why? This team is good, this team is watchable and fun. The energy at Citi Field this weekend was off the charts. Even with injuries and shut downs, these Mets show up. I will miss watching them. The future is very bright and with a few moves, October baseball is a realistic goal. That by definition is progress. I was not counting down days til the end of the season! Brighter days ahead!
The Mets have shown tremendous growth in 2014 and both the field and front office manager reaped the benefits Tuesday, as General Manager Sandy Alderson(Team option picked up for 2015, two year extension thru 2017) and Skipper Terry Collins(Retained for 2015, no word on 2016 Team option) were brought back to lead the team into a vital 2015 campaign. Both deserve this and after taking hits on and off the field, should be rewarded with a winning product in Queens. That could and should happen in 2015.
The team has shut down four young players in the final week of the season for different reasons. SP Jacob de Grom is right around his season innings limit(185 Combined in Triple AAA and with the big club) at 178 and the team wants him to be full go in 2015. The talented righty should be a strong contender for the National League Rookie of the Year and a key member of the pitching staff for years to come. Starting Centerfielder Juan Lagares( Strained throwing elbow) is also done for the year while INF Dilson Herrera(Strained quad) and reliever Vic Black(Herniated disk in his neck) also have had their season’s end prematurely. All 4 should be healthy when they report for Spring Training.
As we see Jacob de From making a strong push for the National League Rookie of the Year award, think of this rotation potentially heading forward. Add a rehabbing Matt Harvey(Threw 95 comfortably in his final rehab session this week) with de Grom, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon,etc and you see a dominant rotation with balance, variety and depth. You also have a surplus BEFORE introducing top youngsters like Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Any of the above names could be moved for a top flight Outfield bat or Shortstop. But when you see the abundance of pitching unseen in Queens since the early 80s, you picture brighter days ahead. The emergence of the kids in the bullpen also causes Mets fans to smile. This team can be scary good and scary good FAST.
SHORTSTOP SETTLED?:Wilmer Flores has played well defensively and shown tremendous offensive upside(.273 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI in September) in the season’s final weeks and might be winning over the Mets front office with his performance. If the youngster can produce this creates one less hole to fill in the offseason and the team then can focus on adding a corner outfield bat. The key here is a couple of factors. Flores will never be Rey Ordonez defensively. That is ok, he is an offensive player on an offensively starved team. If he catches the balls he should and converts them into outs, the team can get by with that. Remember, this pitching staff is also a strike out staff. Think of when Davey Johnson used to play Howard Johnson at Short in the mid to late 80s, usually when Sid Fernandez was pitching. He did not need a defensive star(Rafael Santana) that day, as opposed to when Ron Darling or Bobby Ojeda threw. Those two were more ground ball heavy and needed solid infield D behind them to be effective. Also can the Mets get by with two average defenders in 2B Daniel Murphy and Flores paired together? Lets just say range would not be a strength. LOL. The decisions on both Flores and Murphy( A free agent after the 2015 season) are key for the Mets heading into 2015 and beyond.
METS NOTES: Both GM Sandy Alderson and Manager Terry Collins are expected to be brought back for 2015 and the team has stated their status will be updated at season’s end… Triple A manager Wally Backman will join the team as an extra bench coach Friday and could join the big league coaching staff in 2015… Murphy has returned from the DL(Calf) and has played some Third as well as his normal 2B with Captain and regular 3B David Wright(Shoulder) out for the year… CF Juan Lagares(Elbow strain) is more than likely out thru this weekend series with the Braves and could miss the remainder of the year… RHRP Vic Black(Disk in back,neck) was brought off the DL, had a rough outing and was diagnosed with a mild rotator cuff strain, termed “normal fatigue” by Alderson. He will throw this weekend in Atlanta and the team medical staff will then determine if he will pitch again this season.
Mets captain David Wright has been shut down for the remainder of the 2014 due to left shoulder injury that has been an issue since June. The plan is to rehab and rest the injury and avoid surgery. Wright underwent an MRI Tuesday in NY at the Hospital for Special Surgery and the scan showed inflammation in the rotator cuff. The star 3B tried to gut it out through the season but is was painfully obvious he was hurting. Wright will end 2014 with career lows almost completely across the board with .269-.334-8-63. Rookie Eric Campbell will draw most of the work at Third with the Captain out. Obviously getting #5 ready and 100% for 2015 is a key for the Mets contending. Team and player did the right thing here and lets hope with treatment, this ailment disappears.
Murphy Back: Mets all star 2B Daniel Murphy(Calf) returned for the DL Tuesday and will be a welcomed addition to the offensively starved Mets. However, rookie Dilson Herrara played well in his absence and will be a factor off the bench and in 2015. Interesting to note that Murphy is a natural 3B and could be a possibility at Wright’s spot. The 20 year old could be a replacement for Murphy(Under club control thru 2015) or a trade chip.
Finishing Strong:The Mets won 4 of 6 on their recent road trip in Miami and Cincinnati now have taken the 1st two versus the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Timely offense with clutch hitting and continued pitching success have helped make .500 a reasonable goal to end the campaign. CF Juan Lagares has been great all season defensively but his recent move to the leadoff spot has spurred him and the Mets on. All bodes well for 2015 and the future.
METS NOTES: The Mets Triple A affiliate in Las Vegas was eliminated from the postseason last week and top prospect Noah Syndergaard will not be called up. However, Rafael Montero is scheduled to throw a spot start Wednesday… Travis d’Arnaud has been great since his recall from Vegas(Around the All Star break) with a line of 283/329/500, he trails only San Francisco Giants C Buster Posey in home runs by backstops in the NL…. Rookie Jacob deGrom pitched his 3rd straight solid start Tuesday(2-0 victory) and has not allowed in an earned run in 22 innings.. RP Vic Black(Neck) pitched Monday but did not look like himself and Skipper Terry Collins gave him the night off. Something to keep an eye on… INF Wilmer Flores continues to play well at SS and GM Sandy Alderson has stated he could be a long term internal option at the position.
The Mets lone 2014 All Star 2B Daniel Murphy was DL-ed early this week with a calf injury, the type that usually has you sidelined for 4-6 weeks with the proper rest, rehab, treatment,etc. With a glaring hole at the position the team wisely recalled someone who can man the position daily in 20 year old Dilson Herrera. Herrera has risen thru the minor league system after being acquired late in 2013 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade with reliever Vic Black, posting .323-13-71 with 23 steals at 2 levels(Single and Double A). His expanded stats: .379 OB, .479 Slugging and .858 OPS demostrate why is one the Mets top position prospects. In 3 games he has not looked out of place, collecting 2 hits and his 1st major league RBI. At Double A Binghamton, Herrera hit .340 with 10 home runs, 9 steals and 48 RBI in 241 at bats. This is a good move for all involved. Murphy is one season away from free agency and he does not want a minor injury becoming a larger issue heading into 2015. Meanwhile, the Mets get to gauge whether they have a viable alternative to #28 at Second Base or they need to secure Murphy long term.
PAIN PEN:The Mets bullpen, a huge team strength since Mid May, has 3 seperate health issues with Black(Neck), Daisuke Matsuzaka(Elbow) and Josh Edgin(Elbow) all hurting. Black(2-3,2.20, 1.29 WHIP) was placed on the 15 day DL with a herniated disc and bone spurs growing off vertebrae. He has been treated with a cortisone injection and the team and Black hopes this prevents surgery. The rookie has been a god send for Manager Terry Collins and is great at escaping messes. In 2014, he has stranded an amazing 22 of 23 inherited runners(96 percent, among MLB leaders)! Meanwhile, Dice K and Edgin both have elbow issues and are staying in NYC to get checked out further by team medical staff. Edgin is dealing with bone spurs and tendinitis while Matsuzaka is more of a general soreness issue. Edgin has no tears in the joint and had a platlet rich plasma injection today.
SEPTEMBER FOUR: The Mets recalled four minor league players with the September call up starting today. INF-OF Josh Satin and C Juan Centeno have been up with the big previously and Satin has had some success, particularily in 2013 with the bat. Meanwhile, relievers Erik Goeddel(LH) and Dario Alvarez(RH) have agmented the bullpen. The Mets have made a organizational decision to leave most of their top level prospects at Las Vegas(Triple A) for the playoffs and at seasons end, you might see more of the high level guys such as Pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero as well as C Kevin Plawecki. Montero has been specifically mentioned as a late season spot start candidate.
JUST A THOUGHT: The Mets have two obvious needs position player wise- everday players at one corner Outfield spot(Curtis Granderson can play either Right or Left) and Shortstop(I am done with Ruben Tejada and not sure Wilmer Flores is a 150+ game starter at the position). I keep hearing the Mets linked to trades for Shortstops – The Cubs,DiamondBacks and Mariners have been rumored all season. Let me be blunt here- I do not think the Mets should unload the farm for this position. They have kids who are 2 to 3 years away. Instead, I would target JJ Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles, a free agent after the 2014 season. Sign him for 2 years with a club option. Outstanding defender and plus bat. Keep those arms until your Hernandez, Carter, Piazza trade falls in your lap. Teams has money to spend. Bring JJ to Flushing!
METS NOTES: The Mets held on to veteran starter Bartolo Colon past the waiver wire trade deadline, which expired August 31st. The team will more than likely trade a starting pitcher in the offseason with 5 viable starters( Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jacon de Grom, Zach Wheeler and Colon plus Matt Harvey)….. Closer Jenrry Mejia became the 2nd youngest reliever in club history to collect 20 saves.
Anyone who reads this blog or follows the New York Mets, knows what a key part of the organization 3B David Wright is. Since he came up in 2004, he has been a great player and class act. Since the end of the 2008 season, the Mets have not given their fan base much to cheer about except David Wright. Consistently. At his locker, in the field, at charity events, U name it, #5 was there. Unfortunately, I think it is in both the best interest of the player and team that Wright be shut down for the remainder of the 2014 season. He has had an awful year offensively(was injured in Spring Training which kills your timing) and is either hurt and/or having a down year. He left today’s with neck spasms and I was going to pen this column prior to. This guy has played a month with a broken back and rehabbed a bad hamstring injury to play in the last week of the season in previous years. The 2014 Mets are not going anywhere and need to think about their future and captain’s health. 2015 is what the last 5 weeks should be about, not 2014. 2014 is over. So should David Wright’s season.
LUCAS LARGE: The Mets have solved two issues in 2014 with the same player, his name is Lucas Duda. Check off First Base and clean up hitter. He is on pace to hit 30 home runs and have around 90 RBIs plus a .350 On base. On a historically bad offensive team. Duda also has played well defensively and has a bright future in Queens.
WAIVER MOVES:We have seen some post trade deadline deals with the non waiver period passing and rumors have the Mets shopping both Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. A good trade partner for New York has to be the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have a great team and can win the World Series this year but an awful season ending injury to Garrett Richards(Blown out knee) leaves them potentiallly short a top 3 pitcher. Keep an eye on this till the end of Augustm the waiver period ends on the 30th.
METS NOTES: Rookie Jacob de Grom(Shoulder) returned from the DL and was solid in his 1st start Saturday night August 23rd. Vs a talented Dodgers lineup, he allowed 5 runs over 6 innings. No health issues post game and should be fine heading forward…. A name to consider for the 2015 Mets to play a corner OF and some 1B when Duda gets a day or the team faces a tough lefty: Colorado Rockies OF-1B Michael Cuddyer, a close, childhood friend of Wright’s in Virginia…Top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard will more than likely finish the season in Triple A Las Vegas not Flushing. Rafael Montero, who pitched well in his last ML start, is a good candidate to be recalled after working out of the pen 1 game on the West Coast Trip. Both are near their innings limits and the team wants them to work out of the rotation not in a relief role.
The Mets 4 game series vs. the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field showed fans EXACTLY what they are. A team that plays hard, has tremendous pitching and could not hit water falling out of a boat. New York became the 1st team since 2004 to go 4 straight games with 4 hits or less. Incredibly, the Mets somehow split the series!!!!!!! The firing of the hitting coach did not change much, maybe this is on the players and/or management?! Since the all star break, the Mets rank last in all of MLB in batting average, slugging percentage, hitting with runners in scoring position. The good news? CONSISTENCY! They lead in strikeouts too! This team has two promising kids in Centerfielder (Juan Lagares) and Catcher(Travis d’Arnaud) plus a mess at Shortstop(Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada). Left Field has been a disaster and rookie Matt de Dekker at least gives fans a glimmer of hope. However, the three top sticks on this team- RF Curtis Granderson, 2B Daniel Murphy and 3B David Wright are either streaky(All 3), Obviously hurt(Wright) or exhausted(Murphy). The shinning light in this has to be 1B Lucas Duda with his 22 home runs and 66 RBI leading the club. The good news is management had to make a choice between Duda and Ike Davis and they clearly made the right one. His hitting style fits what the organization wants the approach to be(.354 OBP, .839 OPS) Internal improvements or not(for the record, I love both Lagares and d’Arnaud, need to see more of de Dekker), this team needs at least 2 major league star level bats to compete in 2015. Film and stats don’t lie.
WASHINGTON WOES:If you follow this team, you know the Washington Nationals are good and when they play the Mets they resemble the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. Since September 12, 2011, the Mets have lost 25 of 29 to the Nats. More incredibly, Washington has won 11 straight at Citi Field, out scoring the Mets 74-21 in Queens. Overall, the Mets are 2-10 versus the Nationals in 2014. If the Mets want to compete in 2015 and in the future, this most change. Drastically. Mind set, players, approach,etc. The Atlanta Braves are good and the Mets do not melt when they see them. Why are the Nationals different? Major, major problem when you are owned by a team in your division. An underrated chore for Mets management in the offseason. Beat the Nats!
MEDICAL MRI: Matt Harvey had an interesting week. After Mets management was publicly spoked by the unfortunate injury-setback with Jeremy Heffner, the team wants to shut their rehabbing ace down for 2014 with no hope for throwing in Queens this year. Harvey told a media outlet he was throwing over 90 and felt great. Well, Management loved that. LOL. Poor Terry Collins had to sit his ace down and the two have come to an agreement to scale back and focus on 2015, citing his ace’s competitive nature being both a detriment and positive. Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom(Shoulder tendinitis) appears good to go, reclaiming his spot in the rotation this weekend.
METS NOTES: Interesting with the Cubs in town this weekend and the talk of the two teams making a trade to help each other. The teams are both in position to win and win fast but are built almost entirely differently. The Cubs lack pitching but are loaded with young position players, the Mets have arms and few ML ready bats. SS Starling Castro and super prospect Addison Russell are top Mets targets… Keep popular veteran SP Bartolo Colon in your thoughts. He missed yesterday’s start vs the Cubs to be with his ailing Mother. Unfortunately, she passed away within the last 24 hrs. He has been placed on the MLB bereavement list. Gonzalez Germen has been brought up from Triple AAA Las Vegas. Carlos Torres stepped up huge with no rest and gave the team 5 scoreless innings… As much energy as den Dekker provides, he needs to hit to stay in the lineup. The positives? He is hitting .280 in August… SP Miguel Montero easily pitched his best game in the big leagues August 17 when he allowed 5 hits and 1 run over 7 and one third innings with 6 Ks and 2 walks. Just looked comfortable and liked he belonged…. Daisuke Matsuzaka is progressing well in his rehab assignments and could easily be called up but the team does not have a roster spot open. Look for Dice K to be up with the September call ups…. The Mets also resigned veteran OF Bobby Abreau and he is another likely September recall… Closer Jenrry Mejia has hit his first rough patch as closer after a strong July(1-0, 7 of 8 saves,0.82 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 11 Games). In August, he is 0-3 with 7.27 ERA and 1.96 WHIP plus 2 Home runs. However, he has converted 3 of 4 saves.
Promising Mets rookie righthander Jacob de Grom( 6-5,2.87 in 16 starts) was placed on the DL Monday with right rotator cuff tendinitis but should be ok with rest and medication. Super prospect Rafael Montero(0-2,5.40 in 4 starts with Mets) was recalled from Las Vegas, where he posted a 6-3,3.28 in 15 starts. In his last two wins, he threw 14 and 2/3 scoreless innings. Batters hit .085 in those two games. The Mets are blessed with a tremendous amount of young , talented arms but must strike the delicate balancing act between winning and development. Health has to be priority one. This organization learned this last year when Matt Harvey’s 2014 season was lost.
MORE MEDICAL: Mets closer Jenrry Mejia(5-5,3.89, 17 saves), who has been working thru a right calf injury, has also been dealing with a sports hernia. Team doctors, Mejia and Mets Manager Terry Collins have maintained that Mejia will finish the season as long as his arm is ok. Meanwhile, the news on Jeremy Heffner(Tommy John rehab) was the worst case scenario. An examination revealed both a serious injury to his elbow and forearm. A stress fracture in the arm and another ulnar collateral ligament injury in his last rehab start last Wednesday and will require more surgery in the coming days. According to Mets assistant General Manager John Ricco stated it could be a reconstructive surgery rather than another TJ procedure. Best wishes to Heff, one of the good guys in the game.
Mets veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon earned his 200th career win vs the Phillies in Philadelphia Friday night, demonstrating why the team signed him in the offseason. Built like a bowling ball and the man throws 90% fast balls but he knows how to pitch and what he is doing. When the team learned Matt Harvey would be lost for 2014 due to Tommy John Surgery, GM Sandy Alderson knew they needed a veteran to provide both quantity and quality at a reasonable contract term. Colon has been a plus in all 3 phases as well as a great locker room presence. When you factor in the share comedy of his at bats,a great addition. Depending on offseason moves, health and call ups, he gives the team flexibility heading into 2015(Bartolo is signed thru 2015).
THE FUTURE IS NOW:The team DFA-ed Outfielder Chris Young after the game Friday night. Let me say this, I have been calling for this for the last 6 weeks. BUT I must praise the guy for being a pro, good teammate and locker room guy. It is never easy to be those things when you are a former all star who has lost it and become a bit player, see Bobby Bonilla. That said, this is good for both the Mets and Young. His release opens a spot and the team called up Matt den Dekker(Leading the Pacific Coast League in hitting at .344) to play daily in Left Field. Kirk Nieuwenhuis will also get more playing time and has excelled off the bench as a pinch hitter(a role veteran Bobby Abreu could not handle.) Eric Young Jr. will get some work vs. left-handers as well. This will also help skipper Terry Collins. He can now look down the bench and see Nieuwenhuis, Young Jr. and Eric Campbell(.304 BA in 125 ABs) as weapons late in games. In another underrated story, it appears the team has decided they have seen enough of Ruben Tejada(.225 in 293) and will play Wilmer Flores(.238 in 105 At Bats) regularly at shortstop for the rest of the season. Whether these moves work out long term or not, the time is now to find out what these guys are and this will allow Alderson and Collins time to see how these players respond to everyday playing time. These last 6 weeks are vital to the future of this organization, heading forward. With both offseason trades and free agency approaching, knowing what we need and don’t need is a huge part of the what the 2015 Mets will look like. Pay attention, Mets fans!
NOTES:Matt Harvey threw 29 pitches off the mound in Port St. Lucie, Florida as he continues in his rehab from Tommy John Surgery. No medical issues at all post session, this is the 3rd throwing session Harvey has participated in the past week…One more request for Mets management and coaches: Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares. EVERYDAY at First Base and Center Field. No platoons, the odd day off but I want to see them 90% of the time… P Jeremy Heffner(Tommy John Surgery) experienced tightness in his forearm during a rehab stint this week and has returned to New York to have team Doctors examine him further.
The Mets did the right thing with their lack of movement at the trade deadline, sure, they could have done the quick fix and tried to win 88-90 games. Not wise. This team is not good enough to win as constructed— You could add Barry Bonds and Cal Ripken Jr(The two greatest players this blogger has ever seen at the 2014 Mets weakest positions, Left Field and Shortstop) and that would be a realistic goal. But Barry and Cal were not on the market. You can maybe sneak a Bartolo Colon thru waivers or move him this offseason but the last two months of this season are about building towards 2015. The team is competitive and playing a lot of guys who can and will be part of winning in Queens- Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda- these names are part of the solution, not the problem. The team can pitch and has a great blend of youth and experience with guys like Jon Niese and Dillon Gee having seen the ropes while Zach Wheeler and Jacob de Grom are learning on the job yet showing promise. The bullpen is a weapon now with 4 youngsters grabbing roles in the 7-8-9th innings. The big moves are yet to come and will be done this offseason and beyond. Be patient, Mets fans. I know it sucks, I am dying the slow death with you but sunnier days are ahead. a Bright future is on the horizon.
de Grom: de Man: Mets rookie starter de Grom flittered with a no hitter in his last start and his debut season has been so strong performances like that are the expectation and norm. de Grom won the National League rookie pitcher of the month for July with this superb stat line: 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA. Amazingly, the Mets appear to have too many young pitchers!!!!
Bats: Wanted: The Mets offense on some nights can be described as offensive! The recent home series vs the San Francisco Giants- a very good team by all accounts- demonstrated this. The team totaled 8 hits in the first 3 games of 4. In Game four, they had 9. Somehow, they were competitive in 3 of these contests. This team is starving for major league sticks- somehow, someway- GM Sandy Alderson must add at least two in the offseason. Continued improvement from the likes of Duda, Lagares and d’ Arnaud will help. But Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson and David Wright cannot do it alone! I have a waiver wire candidate: Texas Rangers OF Alex Rios!
METS NOTES: P Matt Harvey threw off the mound Tuesday August 5th in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He totaled 25 pitches including 5 warm ups with no issues. Harvey told reporters he was pleasantly surprised at how good he felt and reiterated he wants to pitch for the Mets this season. GM Sandy Alderson has said that is not likely happen in 2014 due to the shortness of minor league seasons, which all end in Late August or early September… Veteran OF Bobby Abreu, who was a great locker room presence, was DFA-ed after Mondays loss and the team recalled OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who has excelled in a pinch hitting-back up role….I am growing tired of asking this but if the Mets want to be considered a serious baseball team they need to cut Chris Young. It is August and he is hitting under .200. Why is he here???????????????????? Eric Campbell or Kirk are upgrades, heck, a lamb chop might be….With the Mets kids really taking off in the bullpen, do not forget the job Vic Black has done, particularly stranding runners. He has prevented 18 of 19 from scoring and that percentage is among the best in MLB.
The New York Mets just finished a 3 city road trip 5-5 and when you consider that they dropped 2 of 3 in San Diego before taking 2 of 3 from a strong Seattle Mariners team and splitting 4 in Milwaukee vs the Brewers, it has to be considered a success. On an almost nightly basis, they faced high quality starting pitching and had to scratch and claw for runs. In the last 2,3 weeks, Zach Wheeler(5-8,3.64 ERA,1.33 WHIP, One earned run and between 6 and 7 innings last 4 starts) and Jacob deGrom(5-5,2.79, 1.26, 2 earned runs over the last 4 starts) have stepped up huge and given the team a huge lift. Offensively, Lucas Duda(.259,18 home runs, 56 RBI) has never been better. He has hit 4 homers in the past 6 Games, including the game winners in both Milwaukee victories. The team goals continue to change but a .500 season is a legitimate achievement and for a team that has not had a winning record since 2009, feasible.
DICE K DOWN. TRANSLATION:BAD!!!: Do it all pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka(Elbow inflammation) has been shut down and placed on the 15 day DL after his pitching elbow acted up after his most recent relief appearance(July 24th) and he is awaiting further medical tests in NYC. This injury is a big deal. Dice K pitches in a variety of roles(ala Carlos Torres) and with several youngsters approaching innings plateaus, you need as many quality, healthy arms as possible. Underrated injury.
METS NOTES: The 8th and 9th inning tandem of Jeurys Familia(set up) and Jenrry Mejia(closer) has been unstoppable in July. Mejia has converted 7 of 8 saves with a 0.82 ERA and 13 Ks in 11 games. Familia has had a sub 2.00 ERA (and descending!!!) for 3 straight months and has allowed 1 home run all season!!!!!!!…. With Kirk Niewenhuis sent down to Triple A(WHY!!!!!!!!), Chris Young has benefited with more regular playing time and has 4 hits in his last 7 at bats. More good news, It appears that Juan Lagares will get his 500+ At Bats in Centerfield!!!!!!! He plays almost every day now…. The strong run of starts for Both Wheeler and de Grom have become timely due to the recent returns of veterans Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee from DL stints. Both have not been bad or great but rusty would be a good word. When these two round into shape, look out MLB!
I know fans of the Mets, who have seen 5+ losing seasons, want a quick fix and a win now philosophy in Queens. Nobody wants this team to win more than me, I watch every game, every presser, win or lose. I feel like Bobby Ojeda and Jim Duquette are my spiritual advisors-shrinks(SNY Post Game analysts). Gary, Keith and Ron are my long lost Brothers from April to October, The Mets losing kills me. But they are close to being a winner and teams that make a mistake at this point never recover and successful long term. This is what happened after 2006-2008, buy, don-t develop does not work in this sport. That is why I am saying this team needs to be smart and selective with any moves from here til Opening Day 2015. Let me explain. I think the team has 3 above average major leaguers in their everyday lineup: 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B David Wright and OF Curtis Granderson. From there, I would classify two more youngsters as potential solid MLers with tremendous upsides: C Travis d’Arnaud and CF Juan Lagares. Finally, I think you have two players who could go either way and be good players on a division winner or career platoon types: 1B Lucas Duda and SS Ruben Tejada. When you look at this list, do you see many holes? No. What you do see is a need for one Outfielder long term, ideally a corner with the ability to hit Cleanup. I am the president of the Kirk Nieuwenhuis fan club but right now, he is trending towards a 4th Outfielder-strong pinch hitter type with Eric Young Jr. in a similiar role with his speed and ability to spot Murphy at 2B as well. The key is finding that guy- this groups Donn Clendenon, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Carlos Beltran or Delgado. Moves-whether it be a trade or free agent- that turned the Mets into a winner. Historically that is how the Mets win. And I trust History and GM Sandy Alderson.
Besides the above paragraph, I also want to address the rumors about the Mets trading Bartolo Colon. First of all, the reason this is happening are many but the keys are these facts: 1- He is a proven veteran 2- He has an affordable contract thru 2015 3- He is an excellent teammate and locker room guy 4- He plays for a team with a “surplus” of pitching. The first 3 statements are undeniably true. But a flaw exists with number 4. With the return of veteran Jon Niese(Tired pitching shoulder) to the rotation, He joins Dillon Gee, Zach Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Colon in the 5 man unit. Both Gee and Niese have had health issues throughout their careers and this season while Wheeler and deGrom are youngsters who will be monitored and more than likely limited late in the year. The Mets are blessed to have an option like Daisuke Matsuzaka on their staff, the guy can pitch today, Tuesday, Thursday and twice on Sunday. EFFECTIVELY. But my point is if you deal Colon, you are banking on health and good fortune and it is never a good idea to tempt fate. Wait until the offseason when you have a better idea where Matt Harvey is, where Jeremy Heffner is, how Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero close out 2014 in Las Vegas. Now if someone wants to give you Carlos Gonzales, Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki, I would carry Bartolo to Denver or Miami and die but that is not going to happen. He is an asset, use him correctly. Worked with Carlos Beltran(Wheeler), R.A. Dickey(Syndergaard) and Marlon Byrd(Vic Black). Work that magic, Sandy! But be smart!
METS NOTES:In order to clear a roster spot for Niese, veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle was DFA-ed. Dice K will move to the pen to help the relievers….. d’Arnaud has really responded well to hitting in the Five hole. He is hitting .275 with 2 homers and 8 RBI in July. Mets fans should be very excited about the future of catching in Queens with Travis and Kevin Plawecki(.310 combined in AA,AAA) tearing up the Minor Leagues…. With this roster, I love the lineup Terry Collins has penciled in: Granderson, Murphy, Wright, Duda, d’Arnaud, Niewenhuis-Young,Lagares, Tejada, Pitcher…. BTW, after an historically awful April, Granderson has been great. Check his Stats. He is on pace to hit 20 home runs with 80 RBI and 90 walks. A year after missing 90 games, changing leagues and making a major home ball park adjustment. Money well spent.
The New York Mets enter the All Star Break at 45-50 but have been playing a better brand of baseball in June and July. The recent 8-2 record in the final home stand before the ASB revealed the team strengths: pitching- both in the rotation and relief corps- and depth of position players. The Mets do not have Hank Aaron but guys like Chris Young(Yes, the guy I have been killing since May), Kirk Niewenhuis(.989 OPS in 46 at bats since recall in June) , Eric Campbell(.833 OPS, Hits wherever he plays) and Eric Young Jr(25 steals in limited role, strong energy guy) have contributed when called upon. Improved at bats daily from the likes of 1B Lucas Duda(.282 Avg-.352 On Base-.480 Slugging- 14 Homers, 49 RBI) , SS Ruben Tejada(.350 On Base from a guy who hits 8th regularly in the National League is HUGE!), C Travis d’Arnaud(.263 with 2 bombs, 6 RBI and .817 OPS in July) and CF Juan Lagares(.293 average,15 doubles to go along with Gold Glove caliber D) lengthen the lineup and have been noticeable to the naked eye. Clearly the new hitting approach from Lamar Johnson has made an impact. The Pitching even minus rotation stalwarts Jon Niese(Tired throwing shoulder) and Dillon Gee(Lat muscle strain) has been great and the mix of veterans- Bartolo Colon(4-1, 2.57 ERA in June) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(Fills ANY role, 3-3,3.55 ERA in 26 games with 9 starts)- joining the Kids- Zach Wheeler(5-8,3.90 in 19 starts) is becoming more consistent from start to start, remember he is in his 2nd major league season! and the staff revelation- Jacob deGrom(3-5,3.12 in 12 starts with 10 quality starts(6 Innings or more, 3 earned runs or less) to give Mets fans hope for the 2nd half, 2015 and beyond. If you want to make Mets fans smile, mention to them this is all minus #33, the Dark Knight. They will smile.
HEALTH HELP: Post game Sunday July 13th, 3B and team captain David Wright received a planned cortisone shot in his left shoulder to aid in the healing process from the rotator cuff injury he suffered in Late June. The team sat him for 8 games without a stint on the disabled list and he has responded with hot streak: .364 average, .447 On base, 2 Homers, 4 doubles, 7 RBI in 9 games. All systems appear go for Niese to rejoin the rotation on the opening West Coast trip in San Diego and Seattle to start the 2nd half. He threw without issues Sunday July 13th and will have another session Friday before being cleared to start vs Seattle July 21st. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey(Tommy John Surgery) has started to throw on flat ground and has been told by the team to not throw from the mound until after July. Harvey has had his patience tried during this tough rehab but a recent study by his agent Scott Boras showed pitchers coming back from TJS should wait 14-16 months before pitching in a game. Harvey had his procedure October 22, 2013.
METS NOTES:Cannot emphasize enough how important it is for the Mets to do well in the opening series out on the West Coast. This team has turned the page and is playing solid ball in all areas. Winning at Citi Field has been a major issue since the team moved their in 2009. The Mets have won 12 of 18 at their spacious home. Their style of play(pitching, defense, speed) translates well to the road and they need to continue to put up W-s…. Colon’s name is coming up a lot in trade rumors and part of this is based on the Mets pitching depth— Dice K can both start and relieve and with Gee and Niese back healthy, the team has extra pitching. However, part of what has helped this team turn it around is that depth. Also anyone who watches this team consistently will tell you how big a locker room contribution both Colon and veteran Outfielder Bobby Abreu(.275 avg, .356 On base, 14 RBI in limited role) have made on this club.I would only trade Colon in a deal that helps this team win today and in 2015. No 18 year old kids, the time to win is NOW!!!!… Manager Terry Collins has announced the rotation to open the 2nd half: Colon, Gee, Wheeler then TBA(Niese) and TBA #2(Bet on deGrom). The team is guarded about young Jacob, who has a set innings limit(185) and is over 110 with his combined numbers at Triple A and with the big club. Cannot say enough about the value of Dice K. HUGE for this team…. When you look at the Mets team, they have 2 long term holes to fill- and I am beginning to come around on Tejada- Shortstop and LeftField. Mark those two spots down for any major trade and/or free agent move. Colorado Rockies Superstar SS Troy Tulowitzki would make me very happy. I am not a fan of Cubs SS Starlin Castro and often cringe when I see the Mets linked to his name. Bad attitude, stats driven guy… The Mets relief corps has really stepped up since the outing of several overmatched veterans- I will not type their names- and the team features 6- SIX- relievers with sub 3.00 ERAs entering the 2nd half. Led by Vic Black(1.69 in 23 games) and Lefty Josh Edgin(1.76 in 25), this unit has been deadly for the opposition.
Mets 2B Daniel Murphy has been selected as a reserve for the All Star Game next week in Minnesota. “Murph” is hitting .294 with 20 doubles, 7 home runs and 35 RBI plus 11 stolen bases. He is 2nd in the National League in hits after doing the same in 2013. Murphy thanked Mets 3B Coach Tim Teufel(A 2B on the 1986 World Championship team), SS Ruben Tejada and former Met infielder Justin Turner for their help in the transition to 2nd after he played 3B and some OF previously. Very well deserved honor and now it is time for the Mets and Murphy to get together and sign an extension!
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