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 New York Mets have had some poor seasons recently and many bad days but Saturday May 23rd might have been a topper since the final day eliminations of 2007-08. The two faces of the franchise-3B and captain David Wright and staff ace Matt Harvey- were hammered- on and off the field. First, Wright, who has been rehabbing from a hamstring injury that caused him to develop lower back pain. Turns out that spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, is the cause and the Captain will be shut down from baseball activities for a week and take medication as well. Wright will also do some core and back stabilization exercises. If the Captain is back by the All Star Break, I would be surprised. Stenosis can be a serious condition and helped end the careers of both Don Mattingly and Len Dykstra but the Mets do not believe this situation is that dire. Meanwhile, Harvey had the worst outing of his young career, allowing 7 runs in 4+ innings. From pitch one, He did not have command and he gave up towering home runs to Pirates stars Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez in the first two frames. Mets fans should not be overly concerned with the Dark Knight, prior to Saturdays outing, he allowed zero runs over 16 innings.
METS NOTES: C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) will begin a minor league rehab assignment this week while relievers Vic Black and Bobby Parnell are both progressing and have been moved up to Double A…. Personal favorite Kirk Nieuwenhuis was DFA-ed earlier this week and replaced by OF Darrell Ceciliani. Kirk was just not hitting and/or getting enough playing time to straighten himself out…. SS Wilmer Flores is starting to play better defensively and continues to hit….. Both Lucas Duda(Hamstring) and Juan Lagares(Side soreness) are out of the lineup Sunday…. With Noah Syndergaard pitching well and the team trying to get both Jacob deGrom(Shoulder, Hip) and Harvey(1st season post Tommy John Surgery) thru the season, the team will go with a 6 man starting rotation after Dillon Gee(Groin) completes his last minor league start. This also cannot hurt Bartolo Colon who is 135 in baseball years…Duda’ success vs Left Handed pitching is a testimony to his hard work and commitment. In 2014, he hit .180 with 2 homers vs Southpaws. This year he has 4 long balls and his hitting .400 in 45 at bats. Mets SNY broadcaster and ex Met great Keith Hernandez has coached up the 1B and it shows…. When you listen to other teams announcers talk about the team and how insane it is that the Mets have 12 players on the DL, you smile. So True. Pirates TV guys talked about this for 5 minutes Saturday.
METS MASH: Both Captain-3B David Wright(Hamstring-Back) and C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) have progressed and started resuming baseball related activity. Wright did everything but swing a bat while the backstop did hit. Do not plan on seeing either before June. Meanwhile, Dillon Gee(Groin) appears close and has looked good in rehab starts. Relievers Vic Black(Neck) and Bobby Parnell(Tommy John Rehab) have pitched OK in the minors and are steadily building up arm strength.
NOTES: Matt Harvey has not allowed a run over his last 2 starts(16 innings) yet does not have a win…. Tough break literally for 2B Dilson Herrera(Thumb) who suffered a broken thumb during infield drills last week. The rookie will be re-examined in 3 weeks… With all the injuries to the bullpen(Buddy Carlyle was the latest to go on the DL with back spasms this week) , the Mets have 5 relievers on the DL(Technically 6, Jenrry Mejia is serving a PED suspension for 50 games). The positives? When all these arms are back, Manager Terry Collins will not lack options. Veterans like both Torres'(Carlos and Alex) and rookies Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles have been particularly impressive with elevated roles…… Team will have an interesting decision to make rotation wise with rookie Noah Syndergaard looking so impressive in two outings when Gee comes off the DL…. Team playing well but a potential weakness(4th Outfielder) might need to be addressed. John Mayberry Jr had a game winning hit tonight but both he and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are really struggling with the bat. Depth with two corner OFs being over 30 is a big deal. Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer cannot play 162.
Baseball draws us in because you never now what you can will see you come to the ballpark. Saturday nights Mets-Brewers game further illustrated that point. New York had lost 5 straight and looked lifeless in a blowout loss Friday night. Terry Collins makes a subtle move- he moves the pitcher(Jacob de Grom) to the 8th hole – and the team exploded for a 14-1 victory, set off by a 10 run inning. I ripped the move pregame and de Grom had 3 hits(2 in the big inning) and SS Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam out of the 9 hole. The entire team responded and put together good at bats throughout. Sunday, the team continued its offensive up swing and won again 5-1. Veteran outfielders Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer had big offensive days. Again, the more games you watch, the more you learn and the more you learn what you don-t know. In essence, how the games will turn out. That is why we watch and I write.
The recent struggles of the Mets over the past 2 weeks have magnified weakness(Lack of offense, infield defense,bullpen depth) while amplifying strengths(Starting pitching, Overall farm system). The team has lost 4 straight, 5 of 7 and gone 7-12 since winning 11 straight in April. Why is this happening? First of all, they have played some good teams– Washington(A team picked by most to win the National League) and The Chicago Cubs(a team the exact opposite of the Mets- Lack proven pitchers, tons of talent on the field) as well as the surprising rival Yankees. Secondly, the injuries to franchise cornerstones (3B David Wright and C Travis d’Arnaud) as well as 3-4 pitchers has forced the club to extend and expand the roles of several players who are not ready to be in those positions. In a month, a Kevin Plawecki, Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles could be Las Vegas and d’ Arnaud, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell will be in those game changing moments. However, this team should be playing better and be more mentally tough. Recently, when anything goes wrong in an inning, the team seems to struggle to recover. Poor Jon Niese(1.95 ERA entering Thursday) has been particularly victimized by poor defense(Team has made 10 errors with the lefty on the mound) and does not have the high end talent and stuff needed to escape 4 out innings.
Niese’s struggles are more about physical talent than mental, Jon is tough and has pitched with all kinds of ailments sine joining the Mets. However, his issue got me to look more at the rosters makeup. Think about this team and assume everyone is healthy- outside of Daniel Murphy and Niese, who would you consider to be in the prime years? Lucas Duda is 29, right on the edge. Wright is over 30, SS is a mess and yet to be determined. Juan Lagares is a kid and the corners are two former all stars who are great locker room guys and pros but are not Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn in 2015. Pitching wise? Kids and the fountain of youth, Bartolo Colon. Niese and the walking trade rumor Dillon Gee are the vets of the staff. Again, pros but not Seaver- Koosman or Gooden-Darling. The positives? Clearly Mets GM Sandy Alderson has two high end prospects coming in Outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, both former 1st round picks. So, in summary, relax, enjoy the process and realize that this team is coming but more than likely not complete. The future is bright, present better but not great. Team is competitive and with some breaks-better health, this team is playing in October. BELIEVE!!!
A groin strain has caused veteran starter Dillon Gee to the disabled list and opened a rotation spot for the Mets top prospect RHP Noah Syndergaard. The big righty is set to make his major league debut Tomorrow at historic Wrigley Field vs the Cubs in Chicago. Syndergaard joined the club in Philadelphia over the weekend to help him get acclimated to the big leagues. This is a huge day heading forward for the organization for 2015 and the future, Syndergaard is one of the 3 arms in the minors- RH Rafael Montero(Been up and down last calendar year) and LH Steve Matz(Been dominant at all levels) the others- who will either be part of the pitching staff or moved to fill an important hole.
METS MASH: Third Baseman-Captain David Wright(Hamstring) has no issues with his leg but dealt with some lower back pain earlier last week and should be resuming baseball activity today. C Travis d’Arnaud(Hand) is set to have his broken hand examined Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. If the bone has healed, he can start rehabbing immediately. Meanwhile, reliever Bobby Parnell(Tommy John rehab) threw a bullpen session May 7th and will resume minor league rehab assignments this week.
METS NOTES: As amazing as Bartolo Colon’s season has been(He became the 1st 6 game winner Sunday), one stat shows how great he has been: In 7 starts(46.1 innings), he has struck out 40 hitters and walked 1…. ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 to 1 is usually an acceptable Strikeout to walk ratio, 3:1 excellent. What is 40 to 1?!…..With Wright over 30 and having battled injuries over the past 3-4 years, The Mets should consider using Daniel Murphy- who can play 2B and 3B- as a super utility player ala Ben Zobrist. You get to rest #5 and keep top prospect 2B Dilson Herrera in the lineup 4-5 days a week. Just an idea…… The New York Mets starting pitchers have the top ERA in all over major league baseball at 2.99. The 2nd place team has a 3.20 ERA. The relievers check in 6th with a 2.51 ERA and they have converted 15 of 16 save opportunities.
WRIGHT UPDATE: Mets captain and Third Baseman David Wright(Hamstring) will not be back this weekend and is now looking at a Mid May return. The team is cautious and being safe with a complicated and complex injury. Hamstrings are tricky and if you do not get this right, you can lose the player for a long period of time. I tore my hamstring in 1989 and still feel it today. SERIOUSLY.
MEMORIAL DAY: The Mets are lucky that Daniel Murphy is a natural 3B and can fill in with Wright injured. However, moving Murphy to 3B allows them to give Dilson Herrera a look as an everyday second baseman. More importantly, it adds to Murphy’s trade value if they need to address the shortstop position for 2015. I believe in Wilmer Flores at SS but I also believe he needs to step it up and has until around Memorial Day to do so. This team is good enough to win and play in the postseason and one hole can be filled in season. Whether it be via trade or a recall of SS Matt Reynolds from Triple A, the Mets have options. I hope Flores ends the debate. I also believe I have a better chance of being on the Mets in 2016 than Daniel Murphy. Remember, I am 43 and have had more surgeries than Trapper John. These next 3 weeks of games are vital for the 2015 Mets and beyond.
METS NOTES: INF Eric Campbell has been sent down to Triple A and the team has recalled C Johnny Monell, a left handed hitter, to give the team 3 Catchers. Monell has been tearing it up in Las Vegas(.397 BA-.455 OB with 4 HRs and 15 RBI in 58 at bats) and should help the Mets bench….CF Juan Lagares has a hit in every home game and is hitting .377 at Citi Field….New lefty reliever Alex Torres has been a god send for the Mets bullpen. He entered Sunday’s game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Torres struck out the side. Right handed hitters are 1 for 19 vs Torres and he has a 0.96 ERA in 11 appearances…SP Dillon Gee set a franchise record Sunday when he pitched 5 innings for the 51st straight start. Dwight Gooden had the old record from 1987 to 89, Gee is 0-2 in 2015 but has a 3.82 ERA. In his last 59 starts, he is 19-21 with a 3.78 ERA.
The New York Mets stand at 16-10 and led the NL East by 3.5 games yet many fans believe the sky is falling after losing 7 out of 10 and 3 of 4 to the defending division champion Washington Nationals. Real Mets fans should be both understanding and sympathetic towards this team. Why? This team has real injuries and when you combine that with the quality of competition, losses are going to happen. The lack of offense is glaring and if this team was going to be without David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud for the entire season the panic button would be a viable option. However, the will both be back and players like Cuddyer, Granderson and Murphy have proven track records and are offensive players. On a positive front, both 1B Lucas Duda and CF Juan Lagares have continued to build on strong 2014 campaigns. This team is not the ’75 Cincinnati Reds offensively but with this pitching staff, they will hit enough to be a post season team. One issue that is a major concern, however, is middle infield defense. When you are starved for runs and an arms oriented squad, giving teams outs shows. The Mets lost Sunday 1-0 on a bloop hit in the 1st inning. But the team failed to turn two separate double plays that would have prevented that run. With a better offense, small things do not show up. The Mets just need to ride this rough stretch out and await the reinforcements that are coming. GM Sandy Alderson knows this team is close(see the Dilson Herrera move) so he will make moves if things do not improve. They will. RELAX.
The New York Mets closed out April 15-8 but the last week or so has not been good. The teams middle infield defense- SS Wilmer Flores and 2B Daniel Murphy- have committed 10 of the teams 17 errors and many of them have led to big innings and contributed to losses. With all of the injuries to key players(3B David Wright, C Travis d’Arnaud and several pitchers) this team has little margin for error and little things become bigger when you are limited offensively. Also take into account that two of the Mets starters- Dillon Gee and Jon Niese- are not stuff guys ,using deception and smarts to get outs. They need plays to be made behind them. Heck, Jacob de Grom was done in by a huge error in Thursday’s loss. The team has lost 3 in a row, 2 straight series and 5 of 7. Mets management sees this as a critical time and took action postgame Thursday, recalling 2B Dilson Herrera to play everyday,bumping Murphy over to his natural 3B position and Eric Campbell to his ideal super sub role. This should help the Mets short term until Wright returns, then the team will have another decision to make. Murphy might be on his way out with his free agency on the horizon(after 2015) and Herrera drawing raves from scouts and killing Triple A pitching(.375 BA-.407 OB-.513 Slugging).
METS MASH: Wright(Hamstring) has started working out and should return sometime next weekend. Reports have been good on the Captain. Relievers Bobby Parnell(Tommy John surgery, sore forearm) and Vic Black(Herniated disc) have resumed throwing from flat ground and are looking at Late May return dates at the earliest. Meanwhile, P Rafael Montero(Rotator Cuff) was placed on the DL as more of precautionary measure. He looked good in his spot start in Miami.
METS NOTES: 1B Lucas Duda has been great so far in 2015, building on his strong 2014 and is now hitting left handed pitching! He has hit ..312 with 2 homers and 12 RBI with a .894 OPS. But the key is both his On Base overall(.427) and .429 BA vs Lefties(9 for 21)!!! Serious All Star candidate… This team can afford to carry Murphy- an offensive 2B- think JV Dan Uggla- when they have a good defensive player at SS. Flores is not ideal to play with #28. I have a strong suspicion that one of the two are on the way out. Regarding Flores, Wilmer can hit, .275-20 HR potential, I would ride it out with him. Let him play with Wright next to him and see how he is for a month. And boo-ing him at home does both the player and team no good. The Mets need him….. CF Juan Lagares is becoming a dangerous weapon and not just with his defense. He has put together consistent, good at bats and is hovering around .300(.297) while driving in some big runs(11 rbi). Guess who leads the team in hits with 27? #12… With the teams struggles, do not blame Campbell and C Kevin Plawecki, who hit his 1st ML in Yankee stadium and looks like a player, who have filled in with solid play and do not look out of place.
First, for someone who has covered a lot of losing since taking over this blog, it is really nice to cover a good product and team. And this is not a mirage, pitching,defense and timely hitting is a recipe for success in the non- PED era and the 2015 Mets have it. This team has also shown the ability to work counts and at bats, a sign that new hitting Coach Rick Down has had a positive effect. Come back wins and the ability to close out close games(team won 4 straight games they trailed in for the 1st time since 1999 this week) are about character and morale building. This team has momentum and 8 straight wins. The injuries are documented and what they are, you cannot train or prevent broken bones. Maintaining that positive vibe and feel is key as we enter the 3rd week of the season, with whoever plays or does not. This is the time we will see how good both GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins really are. As Mike Tyson famously said We all have a plan til we get punched in the mouth.
METS MASH: The unfortunate medical updates on the 4 key Mets injuries: C Travis d’Arnaud(Broken right hand) will be in a splint for 3 weeks, will resume baseball activities when the bone heals and he is no longer in pain. Good time frame for Travis would be a return around Memorial Day, LHRP Jerry Blevins(Broken left forearm) will also be in a splint but for 6 weeks. He will be allowed to throw after the bone heals. June is a likely return time for the southpaw. RP Vic Black(Herniated disc) will undergo therapy and be re-examined in 1 week. His arm checked out fine and this is considered a good outcome. Finally, the best news of the 4: Captain David Wright(Hamstring) has responded well to rest ans treatment after receiving a cortisone shot. According to Alderson, he should be able to come right back to the Mets when he is eligible to do so April 30th.
MATT AND BARTOLO:LEADING IN DIFFERENT WAYS: The two are almost 20 years apart in age but starters Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey are stepping up early for the 2015 Mets. Colon just knows how to pitch and gets outs, he is a joy to watch pitch. But his at bats- lets just say he is not going to be confused with Pete Rose- are high comedy and PRODUCTIVE as he has driven in big runs in his last two starts. You also see the younger players gravitating to him and how popular he is with his teammates. Harvey is quickly becoming the franchise face and in his 1st start at Citi Field he picked up another title: Team enforcer. The Phillies had hit two Mets with pitches— one took LF Michael Cuddyer out of the game- and the Dark Knight responded by placing a pitch between the 2 and 6 in the jersey of Philadelphia star 2B Chase Utley’s back. End of NY batters being thrown at.
GEE: GONE?: The team sent down prospect Rafael Montero to Triple A Las Vegas with the stated goal to build arm strength and convert him into a full time starter. This is bad news for long time starter Dillon Gee, who has been in trade rumors for the past 6 months. For long time Mets fans, I compare Gee to pitcher Ed Lynch of the early 80s. He was a good pitcher on bad Mets teams in that era and when the team turned things around in 84-85 he looked out of place with normal stuff. By the time the team was great in 1986, he was injured and never got his job back. I see Gee, I think of Ed Lynch. Baseball is a cruel business but it is a business.
METS NOTES: OF Curtis Granderson is only hitting .196 but he is functioning well in the lead off spot, drawing an NL high 12 walks….. INF Danny Muno was recalled when Montero was sent down and recorded a hit then stole a base in his 1st ML at bat…. INF Eric Campbell has played well in Wright’s absence and never gives you a bad at bat. He is not Brooks Robinson at Third but makes plays… Bobby Parnell(Tommy John Surgery) continues to build arm strength in the minors and remains on track to rejoin the team sometime in May….CF Juan Lagares could play everyday if he he hits .200 with his defense but the Center Fielder has shown improvement with the stick and is becoming a weapon. And he still makes 1-2 insane defensive plays a night…. Cuddyer has really helped this team. Think of a hitting version of Colon, Veteran, gets it, goes to work. Hitting over .300 with some good at bats and his transition to Citi Field from Colorado seems to be without hiccup.
The New York Mets are the hottest team in Baseball and have won 8 straight but the 7th inning in the clubs latest victory proved costly as both the starting catcher and top lefty reliever suffered broken bones. C Travis d’Arnaud, leading the team with 10 RBI, fractured his hand after being hit by a pitch. Meanwhile, late spring training acquisition Jerry Blevins was felled earlier in the inning by a line drive and has a broken forearm. The southpaw specialist had retired 14 of 15 batters faced(the other hit a fielders choice) and was a huge part of the Mets strong bullpen. As great as the team has been playing, these are both HUGE blows and when you add these injuries to the other early season casualties-Captain-3B David Wright, SP Zack Wheeler,LHRP Josh Edgin and closer Jenrry Mejia-sooner or later, they have an effect. The good news? The Mets look great and GM Sandy Alderson and his staff have re-loaded the farm system and we will now see the fruits of those labors. C Kevin Plawecki, the teams top pick in 2012 and a top prospect, will play most days behind the plate after being recalled from Triple A Las Vegas. Meanwhile, RHP Hansel Robles has been added to the pen to take Blevins spot in the pen, the team still has two lefty relievers and can blend Robles in with minimal pressure. A huge key here is the leadership and tone set by Manager Terry Collins, who earns his money managing this franchise. I joke with one of my bosses that the Mets need to change their logo to a Black Cat. Days like this make you wonder. Show must go on but this is hard to see with the team playing great.
The New York Mets lost their captain to the 15-day disabled list Wednesday April 15 when 3B David Wright was felled by a mild right hamstring strain. Wright pulled himself late in Tuesday’s win after stealing a base and the team dodged a major bullet with the diagnosis. Mets GM Sandy Alderson believes the teams franchise face will be back in 3 weeks while the Captain is hoping for 2. This injury shows a change for both the team and Third Baseman in approach and it should excite fans. First, the team believes it can win this year and both the player and organization proceeded with caution instead of trying to have a small injury become a major issue. Wright has played with major pain before(Hamstring in 2013, Broken back in 2012) and made it worse. This team and year is about playing big games in September and into October. April games are important but so is the big picture. The team has recalled Eric Campbell from Triple A Las Vegas and he will take over as the everday 3B with Ruben Tejada getting some PT when he needs a blow. Mets manager Terry Collins ruled out moving 2B Daniel Murphy(His natural position and he took over when Wright was lost for 2014 due to a shoulder injury) or SS Wilmer Flores to Third, he wants them to focus on their everyday spots.
The New York Mets come home from a tough opening road trip 3-3 after winning 2 of 3 in Washington vs the Nationals while salvaging a competitive performance in Atlanta, avoiding a series sweep with a late inning rally Sunday. The team ERA is 10th in all of baseball and the pitching staff keeps them in every game while the bats are 22nd in average after 6 games. Mind you, Both the Nationals and Braves have arms and very few teams not named the Detroit Tigers are hitting right now. I am not concerned about this offense. However, the shocking news Saturday about the 80 game PED suspension for Mets closer Jenrry Mejia for Stanozol use does not help the cause. If the Mets make the postseason, he will be ineligible. The good news? Mejia is on the 15 day DL and the suspension takes into account those dates, they coincide. Jeurys Familia has taken over the role of closer and look for relievers like Jerry Blevins, Carlos Torres and 2nd yr ML Rafael Montero to take up more prominent roles in the bullpen. The Mets are blessed with a tremendous amount of young arms and have Vic Black(Shoulder Tendinitis) and former closer Bobby Parnell(Recovery from Tommy John Surgery) also close to returning. This should not kill the teams hope for 2015.
METS NOTES: Bartolo Colon has been the staff anchor in his 2 starts(2-0,2.77 ERA, 13 Innings) and even drove in an important run with a bloop single Sunday. Guy is a treat to watch and a physical marvel. HUGE part of this teams leadership core as well, great locker room presence and teammate….. Both Black and Parnell should pitch in minor league rehab assignments soon…. Before the season opener, the Mets have gone 14-51 vs the Nationals since 2012. The series win was the first vs Washington since September 2013….. This just in: Matt Harvey is pretty good. He won his first start vs the Nats, going 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and a walk while K-ing 9. Nationals superstar OF Bryce Harper struck out 3 times and is now 0 for 10 with 5 K-s vs the Mets ace….. New everyday SS Wilmer Flores has not hit yet and made some errors but Mets manager Terry Collins continues to be supportive. Relax, people- The Kid can play…. Collins has also tinkered with the batting order: Curtis Granderson leading off, David Wright #2, Lucas Duda 3rd, Michael Cuddyer cleanup, Daniel Murphy 5th, Juan Lagares 6th, Travis d’Arnaud 7th, Flores 8th and the pitcher spot. When Duda sits- vs an odd lefty- John Mayberry plays in the OF and assumes his slot in the 3 hole with Cuddyer playing First and hitting 4th. When Granderson is rested, Lagares bats 1st as he did today…. BIG week for the Mets. Home opening series vs a Phillies team the Mets should handle then followed up by 4 vs the Miami Marlins, a team many pick to be their chief competition for a post season berth.
After the Mets won the season opener vs division nemesis and Kryptonite Washington, the focus turned to the health of promising closer Jenrry Mejia, who could not loosen up his pitching elbow when warming up Monday. After an MRI revealed no structural damage Tuesday, he wad placed on the 15 day DL and given a cortisone shot. The Mets closer had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and a separate removal bone chips in the same elbow in 2013, so this is not his 1st elbow injur. He will rest for at least 10 days to get the inflammation out. Jeurys Familia will take over as closer and the team recalled Erik Goeddel from Triple A to take Mejia’s roster spot. The strength of the Mets is pitching depth but injuries to Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin have taken both for the entire 2015 season and we are not into the year’s 1st week. This team could use some luck. And better health.
1- Washington(Division Champion): Elite top end rotation, solid position players with real no weak link…. I wanted to Pick the Mets here but a year away….. When Gio Gonzalez is your 4th-5th starter, you have pitching!!!… Power, speed, defense— best team in the field in MLB when all healthy…. Key players like RF Jayson Werth, 2B Anthony Rendon and CF Denard Span start season on DL…. Is this the year Bryce Harper plays 150+ games?…. Pen is the one weakness after trading Tyler Clippard and letting Rafael Soriano go, Drew Storen is the man….. If they need a hole filled, have excellent farm system to tap. Name to remember: Aroldis Chapman
2- NY Mets(Wild Card team)
3- Miami: Giancarlo Stanton was a serious MVP candidate before a beaning ended his 2014 campaign, leads a tremendous outfield…Good rotation, not great…. Team is built to play in spacious home park— great defense…… I see all the hype and don-t buy it– like the Mets and Nats pitchers better……. Closer Steve Cishek very underrated
4- Philadelphia: Massive rebuilding job still in mid process— Will trade ace Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon, should do the same with 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard….. GM Ruben Amaro Jr on hot seat and his manager Ryne Sandberg cannot feel safe either although they do not have much to work with…. Cliff Lee(forearm) injury kills any hope of being slightly competitive and the club hops he can rehab, return and then be moved for prospects
5- Atlanta Braves: WOW…… Once proud franchise and NL kings traded 3 starting Outfielders, hybrid OF-C with serious power and the top closer in the game mid afternoon before the season opener…. Besides that, no news…… I have no idea what they are doing or why but having new team president John Hart in charge does not hurt. Guy built the great Cleveland Indians clubs of the early to mid 90s and has eye for talent… Only winning culture and Manager Fredi Gonzalez can save this team from losing 100 games
1- Pittsburgh(NL and World Series Champion): Solid, well rounded team… No holes….. Great athleticism all over the field particularly in the Outfield where they play 3 Center field types…. Excellent bullpen, led by quietly strong closer Mark Melancon….. Clint Hurdle is a top 5 manager…. Have good starting pitching but do they have an ace. See 2014 Kansas City Royals. 10 good pitchers beat by Madison Bumgarner. Can you win without a show stopper?
2- St Louis(Wild Card): Typical Cards team:solid, smart, pain in the butt to play, well coached….. Skipper Mike Matheny an underrated weapon…Health of ace Adam Wainwright key. Have several starters with health issues, led by Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia…. Just play ball, do not have a big power threat or base stealer. Good at the game…. Tragic off season death of top prospect Oscar Taveras has to effect team in some capacity…. Another team with a loaded farm system to trade from… Breakout candidate: 2B Kolten Wong
3- Chicago Cubs: Improved immensely in off season, adding winners in manager Joe Maddon and ace Jon Lester but with all of the youth on this team, think they are a year or two away…. Lots of kids in a good division, asking a lot…. Closer Hector Rondon leads solid pen…. Jake Arrieta best young pitcher you have not seen….. 3B Kris Bryant will be a beast but both he and his agent need to shut up. Has done nothing in the majors and some hardened veteran will remind him with a pitch in his ribs. Just ask Bryce Harper…. Need to be careful with all the young kids, a wrong move-trade sets this group back. Winning is a process. Let it happen….And I know about not winning for a hundred years. Hey,everyone can have a bad century. It has nothing to do with this current group. Theo Epstein has done this before. Google him.
4- Milwaukee: One of the more less publicized bad moves of the off season was the already pitching short Brew Crew trading Yovani Gallardo. I know he is not Sandy Koufax but on this team, he was the #1 and put in 200+ innings. HUGE hole for Brewers…. Good position players, field team led by CF Carlos Gomez anbd C Jonathan Lecroy… Must get big year from OF Ryan Braun… This team gets good contributions from rotation, could surprise…. Keep an eye on OF Khris Davis
5- Cincinnati: Just not feeling the Reds….. Need rebound years from stars: RF Jay Bruce,2B Brandon Phillips and 1B Joey Votto… Ace Johnny Cueto is in his free agent walk year and could be traded at the deadline…If the Reds want to speed up rebuild they could trade closer Aroldis Chapman…. CF Billy Hamilton is a pleasure to watch. Elite base stealer, defender
1- San Diego(Division winner): I had the Dodgers here before the Padres traded for Closer Craig Kimbrel. I am rarely shocked at anything in baseball-actually though he would be traded at the deadline- but was stunned when the move went down…. Most improved team in MLB…. Added 4 starting level OFs, look for Will Myers to move to 1B and all of them can hit in the top half of the order.. Matt Kemp was one of the top players in the game when he was healthy in the 2nd half of 2014…. Two key names to remember: 2B Jedd Gyorko and 3B Will Middlebrooks. Could combine for 50 home runs….Addition of James Shields gives young talents like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross a veteran presence… Kimbrel trade allows Joaquin Benoit to move to 8th inning set up role, a spot where he has excelled in the past… Manager Bud Black very underrated
2- Los Angeles: Good team, I just like the Padres better…. Hard to see Clayton Kershaw being as good as he was in 2014 and the uncertainty in the bullpen gives edge to SD… I love additions of veterans Jimmy Rollins(SS) and Howie Kendrick(2B). Pros who are solid in all areas… Do not like pitching depth…. Team has too many good OFs and needs to move one. Cannot believe this team traded Kemp. They will rue the day…… I like Don Mattingly and think he can manage but he has a lot of issues for a big market, high payroll team. Never a good recipe for success….. Health of #3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and closer Kenley Jansen HUGE for this team
3- San Francisco: Every other year team has issues with rotation health(Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson) and star RF(Hunter Pence)… Best GM-Manager combo in game in Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean…. Pablo Sandoval looks like he trains at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles but can play. His bat will be missed. Casey McGehee is a good, low cost replacement… Keys to team: OFs Angel Pagan and Nor Aoki must defend and be pests offensively.. Keep an eye on 2B Joe Panik
4- Colorado: If baseball was all hitting and fielding, this team would win 120 games. Unfortunately, the Rookies have to pitch as well…. Wow,do they lack major league arms….. When Latroy Hawkins- One of my favorite people in the game, is your closer, that is BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!… Latroy fact: ML debut April 29th… 1995!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….. Great position team— Hit, defend, run, led by 3b Nolan Arenado and OFs Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson…. Just love this team….. How the front office handles stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki and the trade rumors that will follow is key… Need to get decent pitching and this team could surprise
5- Arizona: Complete and total rebuild job with new front office and management. Looking for the future, not 2015… Paul Goldschmidt is the best 1B in the game… 4 good Major League OFs… Short pitching but have kids and some vets to show them the way… Pitching prospect Archie Bradley among tops in the game….I like new skipper Chip Hale and the energy he brings… He will need it. Team is 2-3 years away from being competitive in tough division
Here is my ML preview for 2015, predictions and general thoughts on every ML team.
1-Baltimore(Div winner): Best manager-GM tandem in a weak division… Lost some key guys in offseason(Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis)… Love the pen… Health of two stars(3b Manny Machado and C Matt Wieters) scares me….. Could win 85 and this division
2-Boston: If you liked the slow pitch softball teams of the Late 70s, you will LOVE the 2015 Boston Red Sox!… Potentially dominant lineup with bottom ten pitching staff…. Average defense with 1 plus defender on the entire team…..Hanley Ramirez in Boston could be a nightmare. Guy has been a clown throughout his career and Dogs do not change with age… Have 7-8 ML OFs and no starting pitcher above a #3 in ability. Code for TRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!… Very good farm system to trade from
3-Toronto: I have no feeling on this team… Perenially .500 ish, no upside pitching, great power…. Fun to watch…. The Strike of the 90s KILLED this franchise…… Adding Russell Martin, a winner-leader, has to help
4-Yankees: I am trained to hate this team and do but here are some facts: The team that won this division the last 2 years did so with power, a decent rotation and DOMINANT bullpen. Guess what the 2015 Yankees could be with luck?… Read the baseball cards of this lineup and you should be concerned, PLAYERS. OLDER players but PLAYERS…. If this team has leads in the 7th, the game is over. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would scare Aaron and Ruth… Stop the pity parade with Jeter gone. Guess what team had the worst production from the SS position in 2014?
5-Tampa Bay: Losing your GM and Manager when they are the star of your organization is NEVER a good thing….. That is what Tampa did in the last 6 months…. Pitching Coach Jim Hickey stayed and he has some pupils to work with… He better, this offense STINKS… Keep an eye on trade acquisition OF-DH Steven Souza
1-Cleveland Indians(Div Winner): Best manager in the AL in Terry Francona….Added a big time middle of the order bat in OF-1B-DH Brandon Moss and subtracted little to do so…. Excellent pitching top to bottom headlined by CY Young winner(Corey Kluber) and young power closer(Cody Allen)…. LF Michael Brantley best player you have not seen play…. Key to this team being good or great? Rebound year from 2B Jason Kipnis
2- Chicago White Sox(Wild Card team): Most improved team in the American League, added 2 middle of the order bats, a top 2 starting pitcher and two top end relievers…. Key to the Sox being good or great? Play of kids at 2B, 3b and SS…. Underrated manager in Robin Ventura….Jose Abreu is the best thing to come out of Cuba since Cigars
3- Kansas City Royals: Have a recipe for success and it works: pitch, defend, put ball in play… Solid players all over, added a pro in OF Alex Rios…. Need more from 1B Eric Hosmer and 3b Mike Moustakas, BE STARS!!!!…. James Shields loss is huge but they have starters and a dominant, killer pen…. Speed all over, would run on God… Can those 3 at the back of the pen be that good, AGAIN?!… Would pick them for postseason play but division will cannibalize itself and claim the Royals
4- Detroit : A team that has lived by the credit card now gets the bill…. 2 2014 Offseason mistakes: trading Doug Fister and NOT Max Scherzer has left them with Ian Krol…. Seriously….I also hated paying Victor Martinez this Winter. Love the player but I do not give long term deals to players over 35 with bad knees particularly those who have caught over 1200 ML games. The move here was to sign Nelson Cruz. …Explain to me how a team that has lived with dominant starting pitching and shaky pen is supposed to contend when they lose their two most consistent starters(Scherzer and Rick Porcello) and replace them with Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene?… Should hit, will need to, Excellent first 7 in batting order….. Love the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition, Tori Hunter could not carry his luggage…..With team key Bruce Rondon again battling arm issues, The Tigers pen should be great for cardiac units, souvenir collectors in the Outfield and antacid sales… Next manager will be in broadcast booth for 2015: Kirk Gibson!
5- Minnesota Twins: Team is in full rebuild mode with Joe Mauer the one elite veteran…. Good pen, decent starting rotation….. 2B Brian Dozier could play for me…… Have some top level prospects coming led by OF Byron Buxton(#1 prospect in game) and 3B Miguel Sano… Will be weird to not see Ron Gardenhire in the Twins dugout but Paul Molitor was one of my childhood heroes…. Target Field is a beautiful spot to watch a game
1- Seattle(Div and AL Champion): Added OF-DH Nelson Cruz to bat clean up and Robinson Cano has not stopped smiling…..Dominant pitching, good lineup with kids, vets…. Closer Fernando Rodney puts up numbers but could break Gandhi….. Kyle Seager, Best 3B you have not heard of…… Two breakout candidates: LF Dustin Ackley and C Mike Zunino… Underrated manager in Lloyd McClendon
2- Oakland(Wild Card team): Just when people count Billy Beane out, he steps up…. Basically traded kids to try and win in 2014, then traded every vet who can hit in the offseason…..AND I TRUST HIM!!!!… They should make movies about this guy…LOL…. Pitching is still good….. Have some players with upside led by 1B Ike Davis, RF Josh Reddick and Brett Lawrie… Sick bullpen, added top NL set up man Tyler Clippard, who will fill in for injured closer Sean Doolittle in April
3-Los Angeles: A gut feeling here, I believe age, luck,etc catches up to the Angels in 2015….Best player in game in OF Mike Trout but some other issues and questions…. Garrett Richards health kills this team and Jered Weaver is not what he was…… 85 win type team….. Albert Pujols is still ALBERT PUJOLS…… The Josh Hamilton story is sad for all involved and cannot help this club…. Great manager in Mike Scioscia
4- Houston: Check back in 2017… Great young talent with upside, led by OF George Springer… Top 3 of rotation is very good, any improvement must come from 4-5 spots…. Bullpen additions should help this team win 10 more games…. DH-1B Chris Carter could hit the ball out of YellowStone… 2B Jose Altuve among top 20 players in the game
5- Texas: My how the mighty have fallen… Team was dominant and a strike away from winning World Series, now among the worst in baseball…Have some awful contracts at SS and 1B, season ending injury to ace Yu Darvish KILLS this team…. 3b Adrian Beltre best at his position in the sport… New manager Jeff Banister is one of the good guys in baseball. He will need to be watching this mess in this division.
Anyone who reads this blog(Been with company since 2006, Mets beat 2009), knows I am not a homer. When this team is bad, I say it, when they do something dumb, I write it. I not only like the 2015 New York Mets, I am picking the team to make the playoffs. The pitching is deep and talented, the everyday lineup is better than most think with upside and potential. The recent moves of Mets management to supplement a short bullpen shows me GM Sandy Alderson also thinks this team is close. I believe and here are ten reasons why.
1- SPRING MOMENTUM: The Mets went 19-12-1 in spring training and where the talk of the grapefruit league. I know, don-t focus on stats in the spring but I trust my eyeballs and reports from the opposition. The team looks good!
2- STEP UP GUYS: Several of the players who entered camp in competition for jobs really had great springs, led by shortstop’s Wilmer Flores(Starter), Reben Tejada(Back up) and Matt Reynolds(Sent back to Triple A) as well as OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis(Key bench player). The team has depth and options!
3- LOVE THE LINEUP: Yes, I would find a spot for Mike Trout on this team but I really, really like the position players and blend of veterans and up and comers. We saw a Lucas Duda take off in 2014 and youngsters like Juan Lagares and Travis d’ Arnaud step up. This year? I expect the Mets to have 5 players hit 20+ homers: Duda, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, David Wright and d’Arnaud.
4- FRONT OFFICE: Again, I love the fact that this team sacrificed a 1st round pick to sign Cuddyer and traded some assets for ML bullpen arms. Teams that are rebuilding do not do that. Alderson and ownership think this group can win.
5- WRIGHT IS RIGHT: Mets captain David Wright, who had an awful injury shortened 2014, has looked great in the spring and appears healthy. Put him down for .300-20-100, to quote Chicago White Sox legendary announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson “You can put it on the board, YES!”
6- THE DIVISION: Yes, the Washington Nationals should be outstanding with their loaded rotation and power lineup. But I do not like their bullpen and they have several stars starting the season beat up. They should remain favorites but I am not writing off the division. The Braves and Phillies are in severe rebuild mode and the Mets have played well vs both in recent seasons. That leaves the Marlins. I never have or will take that team serious. I would take the Mets roster over the Marlins 7 days a week and TWICE on Sunday.
7 – UNDER THE RADAR!: It is almost impossible to be under the radar in NYC but with Matt Harvey returning to the Mets rotation, 2014 NL rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom has somehow done it. Let me remind the folks of what #48 did in 2014: 9-6,2.69 ERA, 1.14 in 22 starts(140.1 innings). Can you name the #2 starter on the Marlins?
8- DEEP PEN: With the two trades this week for the two lefties, this group can and will be downright filthy. Closer Jenrry Mejia and set up man Jeurys Familia were outstanding in 2014 and along with the additions and return of Bobby Parnell(Mid to late April) I see know reason why this should not continue.
9- LONG BALL: Their are very few names in MLB coaching ranks that draw almost universal applause. New Mets hitting coach Kevin Long is one of those people. This is an impact hire and you will see progress and improvement from day 1.
10- MATT HARVEY: Word on the street is this cat is pretty good. LOL. This guys is a star and leader and just having him around for 162 makes the Mets better. He is also mean and competitive SOB. The Mets need that. Add him with Cuddyer and this team just got two top flight leaders to help Wright and the other 20+.
2015 NEW YORK METS RECORD: 90-72, #1 NL Wild Card team
Mets all star 2nd baseman Daniel Murphy(Hamstring) has been medically cleared and will be in the lineup on opening day April 6th vs the Nationals in Washington. The team will keep 4 bench players- pitcher Jacob de Grom( A college shortstop) can pinch hit and run on his off days. Meanwhile, 4 pitchers have been placed on the DL: Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin(Both lost for 2015 due to Tommy John Surgery) while Vic Black(Shoulder) and Bobby Parnell(Tommy John recovery) should be back sometime in April.
Here is the 25 man roster for the season opener:
Starters: Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee
Bullpen: Sean Gilmartin, Buddy Carlyle, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Alex Torres, Carlos Torres and Jerry Blevins
Outfielders: Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, John Mayberry Jr. and Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Infielders: David Wright, Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda
Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Recker
The Mets continued the good feelings of spring when they finalized a 4 year extension with gold glove center fielder Juan Lagares Thursday, the deal is for 4 years at 23 million. The club has an additional 9.5 million option for a 5th year, so plan on seeing Juan in CF til at least 2020. Lagares hit .281 with 4 home runs and 13 steals in 116 games last season while winning his 1st Gold Glove(He led all CFs in defensive runs saved and was 2nd only to Atlanta Braves RF Jason Heyward in the category among OFs). The deal buys out all of his arbitration seasons as well as 1 free agent year. The 3rd year player has carried his strong 2015 into the spring, hitting .345 with 3 homers and 5 walks in 63 plate appearances. Meanwhile, the Mets and 1B Lucas Duda are also working on an extension, if no deal is done by the opener, the sides will break off talks.
The New York Mets turned a potential weakness(Lack of reliable lefty relievers) into a strength today with 2 trades about 2 hours apart as they added veterans Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres. The cost was steep- OF Matt den Decker for Blevins and highly regarded pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni for Torres- but you know what? Today is a GREAT sign for the Mets and their fans. Why? The team is going for it and being aggressive, filling needs and attacking. Teams that think they can win do that. They sign Michael Cuddyer when they need a bat and have faith that their farm system is good enough to sustain losing a 1st round pick. In order to win the lottery, you have to buy some tickets. The Mets did that today.
Quick summary and analysis of the two new relievers(who are locks to be in the pen on opening day, according to Mets GM Sandy Alderson): Blevins is lefty only specialist- think Scott Rice and Josh Edgin- in 117 plate appearances by lefties in 2014, they hit .160 with a .202 on base. For his career, southpaws have hit .212/.264. The 31 year old will make 2.4 million in 2015. Torres, 27, was part of a strong Padres bullpen in 2014(3.33 ERA/1.46 WHIP in 54 innings) and can pitch effectively to righties(.209/.275). His numbers vs southpaws tend to show control issues(.256/.415) but these two should really help the team in 2015 and beyond. Torres made the league minimum in 2015 and is not arbitration eligible until 2017.
Daniel Murphy(Hamstring) is rehabbing and the team will make a decision about his status probably by the weekend. How long- if at all- he is out will determine the approach to how his roster spot is handled. If it is a long term issue, rookie Matt Reynolds will man 2nd. If it is not, Ruben Tejada will play and rookie Daniel Muno will back him up. Look for the Mets to err on the cautious side here, hamstrings are not something to push. Meanwhile, reliever Vic Black(Shoulder) does not appear to be a good bet to break camp with the big club. His shoulder is progressing but again, the team will be cautious and has supplemented the relief corps in the last 12 hours. You must also remember Bobby Parnell’s return is close the to horizon as well as he continues to impress and improve daily in camp. Next 3-4 days will be very telling in how the Mets look on April 6th.
METS NOTES: The team and slugging 1B Lucas Duda have discussed an extension and have made progress. If they do not have a deal in place by opening day, they will table talks til the end of the season. Duda does not become a free agent until after the 2017 season…. Mets owner Fred Wilpon spoke to the team Friday after Manager Terry Collins and captain David Wright requested so. You could hear audible cheering during the twenty minute speech and feedback from unnamed veterans was very positive…. Those Dillon Gee trade rumors will not go away and the veteran could still be moved. A big reason why is Alderson and many members of the Mets front office love Rafael Montero’s potential and upside. Something to keep an eye on. This bloggers opinion? I would be stunned if Gee is on the Mets on May 15th…. Just a thought but two teams that I do not think will be strong in 2015 feature elite closers: The Reds with Aroldis Chapman and Braves with Craig Kimbrel. I would wager a good amount they get traded.
Some good and bad news regarding the Mets middle infielders Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy. Flores, who has been a star of the spring(.341, 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 rbi in 41 ABs) , has recovered after bruising his leg with a foul ball. He should be good to go for the start of the season and enters 2015 as the undisputed shortstop. The news on Murphy is a mixed bag, while his hamstring is not 100%, he is close to being full go. Now it is up to the team medical staff and leg on how quickly #28 returns. It appears he will miss the first week or so and the team can get him back on the roster faster with the DL rules allowing injuries to be back dated 9 days. Look for the Mets 2B to return sometime around April 12th. Matt Reynolds and Danny Muno are the main candidates to fill the 2014 Mets all star’s roster spot. Also keep in mind that Murphy is in his free agent walk year and is looking to have a big season.
Rotation wise, the team announced that veteran Bartolo Colon, entering his 17th major league season, will start the season opener in Washington vs the Nationals. Colon, who led the Mets with 15 wins, will be followed by 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom and Matt Harvey. With the starters in this order, it also appears that de Grom will also draw the home opener April 13th vs the hated Philadelphia Phillies.
METS NOTES: Harvey is HUMAN by the way! He allowed a run Friday and is now sitting at 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA in 5 games started… I kill him all the time on this blog but have to praise Ruben Tejada for his strong spring(.279, 6 doubles, team high 10 rbi). Now I hope Flores plays great and the team can find a trade partner for Ruben…. Michael Cuddyer, who I campaigned for the Mets to sign, has a team high 5 home runs in spring…… Juan Lagares, who I feel could be an all star in 2015, has been awesome this spring as well with the stick(.383, 6 doubles, triple, 3 home runs and 6 rbi in 47 at bats)…. The roster appears fairly set position players wise and with the rotation as well. Keep on eye on the bullpen with Vic Black(Shoulder tendinitis) hurting and the injury to Josh Edgin, a couple of bullpen names might sneak in led by LH Sean Gilmartin and RH Erik Goeddel
With 3 injuries within the last week forcing Mets Manager Terry Collins to reshape his pitching staff, the 1st month of the 2015 could be interesting and key for the a team that many believe can compete for a postseason birth. Lefty specialist Josh Edgin(Tommy John Surgery) is out for the year and that creates a hole, meanwhile Dillon Gee was going to start in the pen as a long man and is now back in the rotation after the news broke about Zack Wheeler also requiring a season ending operation. But the news regarding Vic Black(shoulder weakness) is mixed. Tests came back clean and he could be ready to join the team by the start of the season. However, this is the 3rd time Black has had some kind of shoulder pain and when you throw a baseball for a living, that is not good. Also keep in mind that Black and Edgin had to be Collins top choices to pitch the important bridge innings in the 6th and 7th with Black in particular excelling in stranding inherited runners. A name to remember here? Rookie Rafael Montero. And no more injuries to pitchers!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or Mets for that matter!
METS NOTES: With all the noise about how the Mets handled Wheeler and his arm, one stat says a thousand words and has nothing to do with medicine or technology: Since 2005, no pitcher has throw as many pitches to over as few an innings as Wheeler. As example, He might have thrown 6 innings but he needed 115 pitches to do it. As opposed to someone like Greg Maddux, who could pitch a complete game with 90! When u watch the Mets, Wheeler has some very inefficient games, I.E he has to work hard to do what he does, thus more stress on his arm….With The Mets bench all but decided entering the final days of Spring training, an interesting player has shown up on Collins radar to fit the 25th man role: INF Daniel Muno. C Anthony Recker, IF-OF Eric Campbell, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis and John Mayberry Jr are roster locks, lets hope to Jesus this kid can beat out Rueben Tejada-who is a bad Shortstop and brings less than nothing to the table- for the remaining slot. He can play any infield spot. Wilmer Flores has clearly won the starting shortstop job with a great camp. He does not need a babysitter.
A day after losing lefty reliever Josh Edgin to a serious elbow injury, the New York Mets learned that promising righty starter Zack Wheeler has met the same fate and will require Tommy John Surgery, thus ending the 2015 campaign before it begins. Dillon Gee will assume the spot in the starting rotation and the veteran could see competition from three talented rookies Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero before the year is thru. A final decision on Wheeler’s status will be made Tuesday or Wednesday after he meets with the team doctor in New York. Obviously not good news over the past 48 hours for the Mets and their fans.
The Mets got some awful news over the weekend when promising lefty relief specialist Josh Edgin was lost for 2015 with a season ending elbow injury. The southpaw needs Tommy John surgery and leaves the team with a big hole in a deep but righty heavy bullpen. However, Edgin’s misfortune and the strong camps of youngsters Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds at the shortstop position show why Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson was wise to hold onto his surplus of starting pitching and can now trade starter for relief help. Internally the top choices to fill the void are veteran Scott Rice(coming back from 2014 surgery) and rule 5 pick up Sean Gilmartin. Also remember many of the Mets relievers have had success retiring hitters from both sides of the plate. STAY TUNED.
METS NOTES:P Zack Wheeler(Elbow tendinitis,blister) was scratched from his last start and underwent a precautionary MRI Saturday. Both the player and team did not seem concerned but club doctors have yet to look at the results…. 1B Lucas Duda(Oblique) has returned to action with no restrictions… Reliever Vic Black(Dead arm) also had an MRI and it come back clean, the fan friendly fireman should pitch in a minor league game this week…. New Hitting Coach Kevin Long throws batting practice left handed and this has helped 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Curtis Granderson and Duda.
Mets ace Matt Harvey pitched for the first time since October 2013 Tommy John Surgery on his throwing elbow Friday March 6th, 2015. He did not appear rusty and looked like his old self, dominating the Detroit Tigers over 2 innings. Harvey needed only 25 pitches to retire all 6 batters he faced with 2 Ks while clocking readings between 96-98 regularly, topping out at 99. His manager Terry Collins “He’s just special”. Fans cheered when he threw warm ups IN THE BULLPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been watching baseball for almost 40 years and can count on 1 hand the amount of pitchers who have or had the potential of Mr. Harvey. Scary good talent with plus, plus makeup. When does the season start again?
METS NOTES: 2B Daniel Murphy(Hand) has checked out fine medically and should be back in the lineup Monday after missing the last two days after being hit in the hand by a pitch in Fridays exhibition game. #28 took batting practice Sunday without issue…1B Lucas Duda(Oblique strain) should resume working out and swing a bat sometime early this week. He recently consulted with Mets TV color commentator Keith Hernandez(Also Mets legendary 1B from 83-89) about his approach vs left handed pitchers. Hernandez, a left handed hitter, used to help out slugger Darryl Strawberry in the 80s, a fellow southpaw… SS candidates Wilmer Flores(5/11) and Matt Reynolds( 4 for 9 with walk off home run in Friday’s win) have looked great in the early days of camp.. Meanwhile, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis,battling for final position roster spot as backup Outfielder, has been killing the ball with 9 hits in 15 at bats.
The Mets hopes for a successful 2015 are very dependent on the return of ace starting pitcher Matt Harvey and the whole world will get to see him throw Friday March 6th vs the Detroit Tigers. This will be the big righty’s first live game action since a late 2013 injury shut him down and he underwent Tommy John Surgery on his pitching elbow soon after. Feedback on Harvey have been excellent and he has even reportedly added a curve ball to his arsenal. Should be a fun day for Mets fans all over.
GEE GONE?: With the Mets having 6 major league starters and 2 more on the way in Triple A- and that does not include Rafael Montero, who can start or relieve, role yet to be determined!- Dillon Gee has been rumored to be on the move since November. His name has been in the news more and it has been linked to his home state- Texas- and the Rangers. Something to keep an eye on the remainder of the spring and possibly into the season(see Ike Davis in 2014), but I think it is inevitable that Gee is moved to another team.
METS NOTES: Mets Manager Terry Collins stated early in camp he would like to have veteran Michael Cuddyer in left field and keep Juan Lagares in Center and Curtis Granderson in right. Cuddyer has played mostly right field and Granderson was an excellent CF earlier in his career. I am not even going to address Lagares, Gold Gloves tend to speak for themselves. Please keep in mind that the Mets have 3 other good OFs in camp and 2 of them will make the club in John Mayberry Jr, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker. So position flexibility with the OF alignment is a key for a National League team…. Mets management loves Eric Campbell and he showed why in the early days of camp. The jack of all trades has dawned a catching mask and assumed a role as the emergency 3rd Catcher. A great way to make a team and when you already can play 7 other positions, this cannot hurt….Further evidence that new Mets hitting Coach Kevin Long will make an impact: When he first spoke with 2B Daniel Murphy in camp, he broke down his swing and approach so well, Murphy was taken aback and impressed. His key point of focus for #28? The lower half of his body is key to generating more power and drive. He also wants all of the Mets hitters to play their game and not chase bad pitches or be overanxious, or in his words “pass on the baton” aka we have 8 others who can make the pitcher pay.
Met ace Matt Harvey looked great throwing batting practice late this week and is set to make his Spring debut March 6th vs. the Detroit Tigers. Still recovering from late 2013 Tommy John Surgery that cost him the entire 2014 campaign, the big righty has started to incorporate breaking balls into his throwing regime. Harvey was in the 95 MPH range in his last session and when asked how, Manager Terry Collins said “He is Matt Harvey.”
MOVING MURPH: Mets fans should enjoy all star 2B Daniel Murphy while they can because the team has not made any attempt to sign the soon to be free agent(after 2015 season) to a contract extension. The team has two strong internal system candidates in minor leaguer Dilson Herrera and potentially Wilmer Flores, who can move over if the team makes a major trade for a shortstop. #28 is what he is an average defender who works hard and solid offensive player- put him down for .280-35 doubles and 150 combined runs and rbi. Also remember this batting lineup has tremendous potential and with Murphy stationed in the 2 hole, he is in position to put up a strong walk season.
METS NOTES: Lucas Duda(Oblique) will not swing the bat for a week and be reevaluated then. Does not appear to be serious…Nothing official yet but it appears that veteran Bartolo Colon will be the opening day starter for the Mets in Washington
Ace Matt Harvey looks great and is starting to incorporate breaking pitches as he continues to recover from late 2013 Tommy John Surgery. He threw batting practice today with no issues and resembles Matt Harvey physically. Meanwhile, top pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz are as close to major league ready as you can be and have looked dominant in camp. Rafael Montero, who could transition to the bullpen, also appears ready to help the Big Club. Nice problem for Manager Terry Collins and General Manager Sandy Alderson to have, 9 ML ready starters! I have joined many baseball writers in praising this staff and when you watch this group in camp, WOW. Scary good. Think 83-85ish with Gooden, Darling, Fernandez, Leary and Aguilera on the horizon. That good, Fans. Brighter days ahead!!!
METS NOTES: 1B Lucas Duda has a minor oblique strain and should resume swinging the bat this weekend. This type of injury can be serious if you do not pay attention to it early on, the slugging 1B should be good to go. Meanwhile reliever Bobby Parnell(Early 2014 Tommy John Surgery) will stay in Florida after the team breaks camp and should join the big club at the end of April…. CF Juan Lagares is the choice of Collins to bat leadoff, and this blogger agrees!… When Dillon Gee is your 6th starting pitcher, you have some arms…. John Mayberry Jr should be a major asset with this team. He is not Hank Aaron but he is a pro and can give the regulars an odd day and produce. He can help when a Duda, Michael Cuddyer or Curtis Granderson need a blow…. Collins has told INF Ruben Tejada that the shortstop job is open to competition. The 6th year pro has come into camp in great shape and could challenge Wilmer Flores for the camp…. Two additions to the coaching staff are the talk of camp- Hitting Coach Kevin Long(Thank you, Yankees!) and Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Barwis, who trained many of the top Mets this offseason. Many of Barwis victims-clients look amazing and have raved about how tough his programs are.
People view a potential innings limit-restriction on Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey as a negative as he returns from Tommy John surgery in Late 2013, I am here to tell you why this is a positive for both the player and team, a win-win. The Mets have 6 solid major league starters with 2 being kids(Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom), 2 solid vets who have battled injuries(Dillon Gee, Jon Niese) and a timeless horse(Bartolo Colon) to support Harvey. The team should want to maximize and protect them all. Spread them out and use an odd day to rest each, and maybe mix in a kid like Rafael Montero in a 5-6th inning role. Remember the Mets have an excellent pen and are bringing ex Closer Bobby Parnell back from his own Tommy John surgery. This team has arms. And Triple A Las Vegas features two top tier prospects in RHP Noan Syndergaard and LHP Stephen Matz who many view as close to ML ready. Pitching should not be an issue on ANY level for the 2015 Mets.
The Mets appear to be set position players wise and I am in the let Wilmer Flores play at SS thru May camp, then reevaluate things. If he is bad, then lets look at alternatives. I like him, I trust him. Play the kid. A spot that has not been talked about enough is the 5th OF spot— the Mets are set starting with Curtis Granderson in Left, Juan Lagares in Center and new addition Michael Cuddyer in right. John Mayberry Jr was brough into be a bench bat and take some starts when either corner vet needs a day. However, this team needs a strong bench player who can play all 3 spots, run and hit a bit. Kirk Nieuwenhuis- a favorite of this blogger- has shown he can do the first 2 and last season, got some big pinch hits. He is also out of minor league options, so must be exposed to waivers if he does not make the team out of camp. The other alternative is Matt den Dekker- an OF just below Lagares defensively- but a bit overmatched hitting wise. He also has shown he needs to play regularly, something Nieuwenhuis does not require. This battle could be vital for the Mets in 2015 as I believe this club will be in a many close games. They need all 25 players contributing.
Readers of my blog know I do not have a common Mets fan pedigree, I was born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts suburb of Andover. Right in the middle of the Red Sox nation… Carl Yastrzemski outranked god in my eyes, players like Fred Lynn, Butch Hobson, Carlton Fisk, Bill Lee and Luis Tiant were my heroes. We used to have throwing contests in my neighborhood to see who could throw like Dwight Evans(BTW Best defensive right fielder of the last 50 years). Heck, Jim Rice was a local resident. Two things happened- actually 3- to make me a Mets fan. My family moved to NY and soon after, divorced. 2nd, The Red Sox seemed to trade every player I liked. EVERYBODY. It became a running joke with my friends. 3rd was watching Don Zimmer manage the Red Sox. Lets just say I was around 9 years old and wanted a beer. Any self respecting New England resident who witnessed him (mis)manage the Red Sox teams of the late 70s into early 80 knows what I am talking about. When Pedro Martinez threw him to the ground in the famous Yankees- Red Sox ALCS brawl of 2003 he was fulfilling the dreams of many Boston fans 25 years later. See 1978. So a young, impressionable Jay would visit his Father in NY during the summer and they went to… Shea Stadium. That was my intro to the Mets and I have not left this organization since.
Why many would ask. What happened last weekend(and since 2001) with my NFL team shows why. I have been a fan of the New England Patriots since I was born. I remember Jim Plunkett, Steve Grogan, Matt Cavanaugh and Tony Eason, who I would like to forget. We had some good teams in the late 70s and early 80s but when I was a senior in high school(1990-91) the team won-1- ONE game. They went 0-8 at home, I had my own vendor at the stadium. They were easily the 4th most popular local pro sports team and sometimes when Boston College had a good football team(Doug Flutie years 81-84) the Patriots were 5th. I got into more fights than Hulk Hogan defending my Pats as a youth. How has that worked out? 4 Super Bowl titles since 2001, 6 appearances in the big game and 9 conference title games. With strong ownership, coaching and personnel moves, they are the model franchise in the #1 pro sports league in the world and #1 by a mile. Can you think of a stronger trio than owner Robert Kraft, Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady? I bring these points up to drive home my point: believe, stay with the Mets. Support the players, management and coaches. IT WORKS AND IS SO REWARDING! This group is CLOSE, CLOSE to being competitive and contending. They have pitching – pitching up the ass to quote Mets legend Keith Hernandez in the early 80s- and more of it on the way. The everyday lineup is solid and has pro-s. I would be stunned and shocked if this team does not contend in 2015 for the postseason and that is both a realistic and logical goal for the 2015 Mets.
BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!! The light is closer at the end of the tunnel than you think
METS NOTES: The team signed its two remaining arbitration eligible players 1B Lucas Duda(1 yr/4.2 million) and reliever Jenrry Mejia(1/2.595) Last week and the team should open the season with payroll of approximately $100 million when they kick off the season…. Appears the Matt Harvey will not pitch in the 1st week of the season but will start the Mets home opener April 13th vs the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, according to team GM Sandy Alderson
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.
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