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 Mets got some welcomed good news February 27,2014 when he MRI on LHSP Jon Niese throwing shoulder came back clean after he experienced a dead arm earlier in camp. Niese is part of what should be a team strength- the starting rotation- and any serious injury to the lefty would catastrophic with ace Matt Harvey(Tommy John surgery) set to miss 2014. GM Sandy Alderson has the team in a strong position with the 4 veterans- Niese and returnees Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler as well as free agent signing Bartolo Colon- as well several camp invitees(John Lannan and Dice K the most prominent) and young promising arms with Jenrry Mejia leading the way and fortifying depth. Noah Syndergaard is also on the horizon ala Harvey and Wheeler.
Alderson- and this blogger- really like how this team looks and Manager Terry Collins appears ready to see the fruits of his labor. The Mets GM has publicly stated that 90 wins is a realistic goal and you know what? I like that! Put pressure on your team, be confident in the product you put out and believe in your players. This should be a very athletic team with 4 excellent defensive outfielders, David Wright is David Wright and Daniel Murphy has quietly become a top 10 player at 2nd Base. I like our catchers and bullpen- an underrated unit btw. If this team can figure out 1B(I think they will internally) and Shortstop(Not as confident, Nick Franklin anyone?!) 90 wins might be a low number. People forget, this team was 50-50 over the final 100 games in 2013. Look at that roster and look at the 2014 club. Who would you take?
Been a tough week or so for me and my hometown of Andover, Massachusetts. Our legendary High School Football Coach Richard “Dick” Collins passed away February 20,2014 after a period of poor health at the age of 82. Summarizing Coach Collins takes someone with a higher pay grade than this blogger but one of my fellow Andoverrites said it best- He was the Vince Lombardi of Andover. The proud Dartmouth alum and US Marine is best known for coaching both the Andover High Football and Track Teams(1959-1996), was also an outstanding Social Studies- History teacher and headed the department for many years. If I failed to mention those facts, He would have me running hills right now(Coach Collins’ famous punishment). After his retirement he continued to champion kids while serving in our towns School Committee for 5 terms. Coach Collins was so much more than these positions and titles, he was a game and life changer who would fight for the star or guy on the bench as long as they did two things- Did their best and NEVER, EVER QUIT. The man gave me direction and goals, I would not be where I am today without his support and encouragement. Thousands of his former players and students can make the same claim. When people ask how I bring such fire and enthusiasm to a job covering a bad team, think of Coach Collins.
What made Coach Collins so great? I could write and tell stories that would make a book the size of the Bible. With all the wins, titles and championships he produced, He would be most proud of this number. ZERO. The amount of kids he cut from his program. He loved undersized players(This blogger was one of many) and featured the like of Ryan Murphy, The DeBenedictis brothers(Tom and Andy) and Rodney Lumley who would not have played much or at all for other teams. Coach championed underdogs such as the kids from the ABC program as well as the handicapped and disabled. They became fixtures at team functions, practices and games. His letterman system with the Track and Field program allowed athletes who never competed in an event to earn a letter by being great teammates and supporting their fellow classmates. Whether it be with perfect attendance at practice or helping officials and staff at meets, He made team spirit measurable. Coach Collins demanded you respect your opponents and if you didn’t, you paid the price. After I ripped rival North Andover in the Local paper prior to the 1989 contest, he angrily kicked me off the team. For 24 hours. We won 41-0. All was forgiven. The biggest lesson he taught me -and it is something I still have a hard time with- is handling defeat. The members of the 1989 Andover High Football team learned this the hard way when we lost an opportunity to play in the SuperBowl in Foxboro when officials called an obviously short and wide left last second field goal good vs. Central Catholic in our Annual Turkey Bowl. Everyone knew the referees blew the call and cost that team a chance to win Coach Collins his 3rd Super Bowl. The defeat was devastating but Coach told us how proud he was of our effort and to be our coach and he wanted us to hold our head high. On the the FG, he said these things eventually even out over the course of the year. PUBLICLY.
Coach had a famous saying that he passed on to each and everyone of his teams and it particularly hit home with my High school class(AHS ’91). He talked about the concept of “51″ all the time- Think of a Track and Field athlete in a throwing competition. If your opponent throws 50, you will do what it takes to win regardless and toss a 51. Bottom line, find a way to get it done. Joe Iarrobino was a promising QB-DB in my class who suffered a serious shoulder injury in his Sophomore season and was forced to concentrate on baseball and basketball. Coach still found a spot for him with the team and he served as stat man and student assistant his last two seasons, Dan Ely was popular center and classmate of mine who was gravely injured in a moped accident in the 2nd half of our sophomore year. He was paralyzed and in the hospital. Coach Collins also had Dan’s Dad- Jack- as a player earlier in his Andover career and called to check in on him. Mr. Ely mentioned Dan ,as hurting as he was, would not stop saying 51 to the medical staff. Coached rushed to the hospital and would not allow Dan to fail or be forgotten. The phrase 51 became the rallying cry for our team during the 89-90 seasons and Dan, who recovered at record pace, was one of our team captains in 1990 and was walking with crutches by training camp the same year.
When you are Coached by such a great figure, you produce many memorable student-athletes. In my two years in his program I had some incredible teammates and made some lifelong friends. I played with the greatest individual leader-captain of anything I have come across- Brian Donnellan(’89 Captain). “Cap” as I nicknamed him used a phrase that sticks with me til this day- Stand for something or fall for everything. Joe Marinaro progressed more from his sophomore year to senior year than any player could hope for. Their is a reason he started for 3 years at The University of Michigan and served as captain in 1995. Scary intense. You can travel to the ends of the Earth and not find a harder worker and more self made player. Our other captain in ’89- Johnny Thompson- was quite simply the best player I have ever seen. He could do anything athletically and I spent everyday at practice trying to beat him. IN ANYTHING! He was great to me and proud that I made it thru training camp. (or surprised?!) Hunter Lochman and Pat Finn(’89) also make the list for being great teammates and welcoming me- the rookie junior- to the team. Peter Reming? Nobody got more out of less than this guy, he was my size(5’9,140ish) and started on defense for a team that posted 7 shutouts. Bad guys be on alert, he is now a cop in Andover! Things did not go as expected for me heading into my senior year off the field and many of my teammates(Under Coach Collins’ direction/Urging)- Brett Hammond, Dave Blank, Jeff Hurley, Andy Carleton, Scott Bernard, Mark Avery, Greg Dyer, Ryan Beal, Matt Perry and Stefan Fodor(’90 team)- all stepped up huge. For a guy who missed most of his Junior Year with a shoulder injury! I mention all of these people not for cause but effect. They bought into Coach’s family concept- We will all win and lose together, star or bench warmer. The spirit of 51 and NEVER, EVER Quitting in anything- on or off the field- was never more in play.
Finally, I want to talk about the 3 Men who have assumed the coaching positions Coach Collins manned previously. First, Coach Peter Comeau , who served as an assistant for football during my high school years, who runs both the Winter and Spring Track Teams. We all like to think we were Coach Collins’ favorite and he did love us all. But if you had a Mount Rushmore for his “guys” Coach Comeau would be on it. EASILY. Anyone who has meet Peter needs to be reminded of this fact- He is the greatest hurdler in the history of Andover High. What makes this more astonishing is Coach does not have ideal body type for Hurdles. He was under 5’10 and stocky, hardly Edwin Moses. Yet he won All State and All New England in the low then Intermediate Hurdles. Coach Collins would tell anyone who wanted to listen how proud he was of Peter claiming ” he had never seen a more remarkable feat in track in my entire life.” When you have someone of this intensity and work ethic, you want him Coaching. When he wasn’t yelling or kicking me in the rear end, Coach Comeau was on Coach Collins’ track staff for 9 years before taking over. Andover High could not be under better care with Coach Comeau and we are lucky to have him. Coach Collins is applauding as I type this. And Peter, the nickname you gave me still sticks— 30 years later!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As much of an impact as Coach Collins had on me, Our relationship does not even happen if I did not win the lottery when I meet Ken Maglio in 1985. Mr. Maglio, who became the AHS Football Coach in 1997 and served til 2009, was a popular Physical Education teacher at West Junior High. He was also a long time freshman football Coach for the Andover as well. His style was different than Coach Collins but like him, he looked out for kids and loved smaller guys like me. He nicknamed me Floppy and still calls me that to this day. But the biggest thing he did for me was get me focused into academics and school. Before becoming his student manager on the Baseball team for two years, I was on my way to one of the 3 things- a technical school, jail or cemetery. I avoided all 3 and Mr. Maglio was a major reason why. Coach Collins stood up and fought for this man when he was caught in a political power struggle. EJ Perry- The oldest of 4 Perry brothers to play for the Golden Warriors- has done amazing work with our Football program and won 2 Merrimack Valley Conference Titles already. I have known the Perry’s for almost 35 years and Like Peter and Mags, EJ is the right man to fill the shoes of the man. I will never forget going to his younger brother Matt’s birthday party in 2nd or 3rd grade. We had a track and field meet in the back yard! EJ likes to tell a story of how Coach Collins helped him in high school when he was struggling academically. Coach told him his history term paper would be on the Pole Vaulting.(Not coincidently EJ’s event) EJ did a great job and you now see a coach who is doing amazing things and will continue to do so.
I hope this blog has helped paint the picture of how special and amazing a man Coach Collins was. Like many of his former players and students, not a day goes by that I do not apply something he taught me- some days more than others but this is true every day. He coached an emmy award winning actor who is one the stars of the Fantastic Four Franchise(Mike Chiklis), a major rising local politician(Barry Finegold), a climbing NFL assistant coach(John Perry) a top sports writer for USA Today(Gerry Ahern ) and a high ranking New Hampshire State Trooper(Jack Dalton) . We all bring parts and pieces from his teachings everyday. Our star Lineman of the mid to late 80s Mike Marinaro said it best-”We all should have the impact on the World he did.” Mike could not be more correct and that is why I am dedicating the 2014 season of Tomseaverfan.com to Richard “Dick” Collins and his entire family. RIP, Coach. We all love and miss you! 51
As most of my readers can attest, I am pretty honest when it comes to my assessments on the Mets-players, management,etc- when I don’t like something or someone I say it. I have liked- no LOVED- the offseason moves and think this team is headed in the right direction. But the shortstop position- aka Ruben Tejada- scares me to death. I do not ask for much- show up on time, ready to play, compete and be a good teammate- well Ruben was 1 for 4 last year and the team banished him to Triple A Las Vegas for most of the season. I am supposed to be excited about having this guy my SS on opening day? I would not sign Stephen Drew(Money, Boras, Why are the Red Sox not signing him?,etc) but I would take a long look at Wilmer Flores at the spot and/or sign or trade for a major leaguer at that spot. Nick Franklin- a man without a position in Seattle- has been rumored. I am not asking for Cal Rikpken Jr Here but I am also looking a pro who does not place the Mets last at OPS at the position. I know Christmas was almost 2 months ago but please Santa Sandy!
Wanted to update my previous post regarding the 3 veteran pitchers the Mets signed to minor league deals. Both relievers- Kyle Farnsworth(March 23) and Jose Valverde(March 26th) have dates to make the major league roster or they can become free agents. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka must be on the Mets by May 30th or he can also opt out of his deal. In English, the relievers have more of a sense of urgency because they are fighting for contracts in camp while Dice K is viewed as more of an insurance type signing who can use Spring Training to build up arm strength and progress slowly. In this bloggers opinion, two of these 3 will make the Mets when they break camp for the 2014 season.
You can never have enough pitching and Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has added 3 proven vets in the past 2 weeks to minor league deals. Daisuke Matsuzaka(53-40,4.52 ERA thru 8 yrs)and relievers Kyle Farnsworth(43-63,4.26 in 15+ yrs ) and Jose Valverde(26-32,3.19 over 11 seasons) are in camp and have little guaranteed money yet upside. Matsuzaka(1.5 million if he makes ML roster) closed out the 2013 season with NY and made 7 starts(3-3,4.42) while Farnsworth(1.5 mill as well) and Valverde(1.0 mill) can earn more money with appearances and games finished incentives. As example, 75K for 40,45,50 and 55 appearances. 100K for 30 and 35 games finished, 250k for 40 and 45 and 300K for 50. Valverde has 286 career saves and Farnsworth 54 while serving in high leverage hold type situations in the 7th and 8th innings. These type of signings are low risk,high reward- think Marlon Byrd- and give the Mets options and the ability to not rush their promising minor league arms.
The New York Mets and baseball lost a larger than life figure Thursday February 6th with the passing of Ralph Kiner at the age of 91. A Hall of Fame Outfielder-1B who led the majors in home runs a record 7 consecutive years(Think about that stat!), he was part of great Mets broadcasting core from the franchises inception in 1962. Kiner, Lindsay Nelson and Bob Murphy were both the voices and faces of the Mets and Ralph hosted the popular Kiner’s Korner post game show on TV, one of the first of its kind in baseball. Kiner was my introduction to Mets baseball in the early 80s and millions of fans can make the same claim. This man brought a lot to the table, having seen Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb play while competing against Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial on the field. Kiner was relegated to spot duty in 2006 and would often join Gary(Cohen), Keith(Hernandez) and Ron(Darling) on SNY broadcasts during the season. A Hall of Fame player but better man who will be missed by all who watched or listened. RIP, Ralph.
Number one thing with this team is unless he hits .150, Juan Lagares plays 145-150 games in Centerfield. You put him between Curtis Granderson(LeftField) and Chris Young(RightField) in Citi Field plus other cavernous ballparks(See The Miami Marlins stadium) you will save runs and add wins. This lineup will not be the 1975 Cincinnati Reds but will score enough to win if we catch the ball. The 2013 Mets played markedly better when the Eric Young Jr. trade went thru. What did he bring? Athleticism— speed and defense!!!!! Lagares will impact this team on a daily basis, game to game. I don’t care who plays 1B- My vote would be Keith Hernandez- but Mets management prefers Lucas Duda over Ike Davis for a number of reasons ranging from approach(Duda is good OBP player), salary and fan reaction to Ike’s struggles. Lets be frank here, neither resembles Lou Gehrig. However, the team can win with solid production out of this spot. The Mets have had a great offseason and this position should not hurt the team if others put up numbers their baseball card says they should.
1- CF Lagares-RH
2- 2B Daniel Murphy-LH
3- 3B David Wright-RH
4- LF Granderson-LH
5- RF Young-RH
6- 1B Duda-Davis-LHs
7 C Travis d’Arnaud-RH
8- SS Ruben Tejada-RH
Mets Closer Bobby Parnell(Neck surgery) has been medically cleared and resumed a throwing program in Florida. He was shutdown late in the 2013 season after having a breakout campaign with 22 saves in 26 chances and 2.16 ERA. He cannot lift weights currently but will report to the Mets spring training facility a month early(Mid January) and has also regained the 20 pounds he lost after surgery. The good news on Parnell is a huge positive for the team and gives Manager Terry Collins a bona fide closer and stress relief.
ARBITRATION UPDATES: The Team has signed 6 of the 7 arbitration eligible players(All 1 year deals) and exchanged numbers with 1B Lucas Duda(asking for 1.9 Million) as well. 1b Ike Davis(3.5), SP Dillon Gee*3.625), INF-OF Eric Young Jr. (1.85), 2B Daniel Murphy(5.7), SS Ruben Tejada(1.1) and Parnell(3.7) all inked up and Duda and the team can negotiate before the February hearing.
METS NOTES: The Mets signed 7 yr major league veteran LHSP John Lannan(45-58, 4.12 ERA in 148 starts) to a minor league deal and he has been invited to spring training. A ground ball specialist, his skill set will translate well to spacious Citi Field. The lefty has allowed only 83 home runs in 858 major league innings. Lannan is a Long Island kid and a gives the Mets depth for a rotation that needs it, He will compete with Jenrry Mejia for the 5th rotation spot….Middle Infielder Omar Quintanilla was signed to give the team middle infield depth. The 8 yr veteran was the everyday shortstop for most of 2013 with Tejada having a tough season. In 359 plate appearances, he hit .222 with 2 home runs and a .589 OPS… Veteran backup C Taylor Teagarden, a defensive specialist, was also signed to a minor league deal and will compete for a spot behind Travis d’Arnaud. In 467 ML at bats over 6 major league seasons, he has hit .206 with 20 home runs and 63 rbi.
All quiet on the Mets front as GM Sandy Alderson has done some major work to add a top 3 starter(veteran Bartolo Colon) and 2 versatile former all star OFs( Curtis Granderson and Chris Young) to a young,improving team prior to the Christmas Holiday. The team still has some needs but with the 3 moves mentioned above, if the season started with this roster as constituted, fans would be happy. Even with Matt Harvey out for 2014. Lets look at 3 areas the team is still trying to address.
1-Shortstop:The Mets and Red Sox appear to be the final actors in the Stephen Drew sweepstakes and when you factor in Drew’s agent is Scott Boras, the waiting game could go along time. The super agent is notorious for holding out his clients to the last possible minute to get max dollars, recent examples include 1B Prince Fielder and SP Kyle Lohse. The Red Sox also have an elite prospect in Xander Bogaerts ready to take over at SS and Mets GM Sandy Alderson and Manager Terry Collins have praised SS Ruben Tejada for his new found commitment and strong work ethic this offseason. Drew also carries free agency draft pick compensation after he turned down his contract tender from Boston after the 2013 season. Keep in mind with the Mets 1st pick being protected, they would lose the 85th pick after forfeiting their 2nd rounder when they signed Granderson. With a strong free agent SS class after the 2014 campaign and some other trade options in play, I think the Mets will stay away from Drew. However, giving Drew a 2 year deal would not be a bad thing for either New York or the player. Drew’s combination of defense and strong offense(.777 OPS with 442 At bats) would be a major asset in Flushing.
2-FirstBase:The Mets have had little success trading 1B Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. The team clearly favors moving Davis because of his lack of consistency and the organization likes Duda’s combination of patience and power. What has hurt the team is the 1B market has lots of options similar to Davis- with Mitch Moreland, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones -all similar players to the Mets Firstbasemen- all traded or on the market, a law of supply and demand has harmed trade possibilities. Alderson is said to be asking for young pitching in numerous reports. It is beginning to look like both Davis and Duda will be on the roster when Spring Training opens up this Winter.
3- Bullpen-Back up Catcher: The team added minor league veteran RHRP Ryan Reid off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and have been actively scanning the free agent market for bullpen help. Reid had a strong 2013 in Triple AAA(7-2,2.63 ERA in 36 games, 56 Ks in 59 innings) and 1.64 ERA in 7 games(11 innings, 1 save) and could help the Pen. New York has been heavily linked to veteran RH reliever Mitchell Boggs(6 year veteran of The St. Louis Cardinals, traded late in year to Colorado). The Mets would still like to add a proven backup catcher to help super prospect C Travis d’Arnaud. Regardless of what the team does heading into the final month of the offseason, this team has done great in free agency and Alderson has filled major needs. When a team wins 70+ games for 5 straight seasons, you have holes. The team added two very good Outfielders and a top of the rotation starter for under $50 million. This has been a GREAT offseason for a team that needed it.
The New York Mets and General Manager Sandy Alderson continue to add veteran talent and they addressed a huge need with the signing of veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon to a 2 year/20 million dollar contract, pending a physical. 17 year veteran went 18-6 with 2.65 ERA for the American League Champion Oakland A’s over 30 starts(190 1/3 innings) in 2013. This move helps them offset the loss of the 2013 National League All Star game starting pitcher Matt Harvey(Tommy John Surgery) for 2014 and should also support the collection of young pitchers the Mets have assembled(LH Jon Niese and RHs Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler). The Starting rotation now appears set with these 4 and more than likely a homegrown candidate(Jenrry Mejia,The early favorite) to man the number 5 spot. This is another great signing by Alderson and he has filled 3 glaring needs with free agent signings. Next on his agenda is trading a 1B(They prefer it be Ike Davis), singing or acquiring veteran options to the bullpen and somehow addressing the shortstop blackhole.
A week after adding veteran Chris Young to the Outfield, the Mets signed free agent OF Curtis Granderson Friday to a 4 year 60 million dollar deal pending a physical. This is a big signing for New York and gives GM Sandy Alderson and this franchise credibility as well as face to sell with 3B David Wright. A well respected clubhouse leader and class act off the field, Granderson,32, adds power(217 career Home Runs, Back to Back 40 Homer seasons-2011-12), speed(122 steals) and defense with his bat and glove. The 3 time All Star recently played for the Yankees(2010-2013) but started his career with the Detroit Tigers(2005-2009). He is coming off a tough season that saw him miss over 100 games with a broken forearm and pinkie, both caused after being hit by a pitch.
People will moan and groan about his stats being inflated due to the cozy set up in Yankee Stadium(Helps all Left handed sticks, No one mentions this with Robinson Cano!) but I saw this guy play in Detroit(Comerica Park very comparable to Citi Field) and his game translates very well to the spacious dimensions at his new home in Queens. CHECK HIS TRIPLE NUMBERS!!! Defensively, This gives you an elite Outfield defensively with 3 Primary CenterFielders playing in a the Outfield in Granderson, Young and 2nd year man Juan Lagares. Heck, Eric Young Jr. is a very good defender as well. How Manager Terry Collins deploys these three will be key but my best guess is Lagares will be in CF, Granderson in Left and Chris Young in Right. Clearly, we have seen the Mets becoming more of a defense and pitching dependent team under the leadership of Alderson and Collins, which makes sense considering how enormous Citi Field is. Cannot say again how much I love this signing. This is a great day for the Mets and their fans. Tremendous move.
METS NOTES: The team also cut several names fans would recognize with the 40 Man roster upgrades on the 1st of the December. RHP Scott Atchinson and Jeremy Heffner as well as SS Omar Quintanilla,INF Justin Turner and INF-OF Jordany Valdespin were all declared free agents as the team placed 4 minor league pitchers on the 40 man: LHP Steven Matz and RHPs Jacob deGrom, Erik Goeddel and Jeff Walters. Quintanilla filled in admirably at SS with the team souring on Rueben Tejada in 2013 and the Mets would not have made the strides they did in this year without his efforts. Heffner was outstanding over the 1st half of 2013 and filled a variety of roles in his 2 plus seasons in NY but had season ending elbow surgery and is out for 2014 while Turner was a popular bench option and club house presence over his 3 year stay with the Mets. Atchinson is a solid veteran relief option who has struggled with remaining heathy but is a good ML pitcher. Valdespin is a enigma and talented(Power and Speed combo) one at that. He lacked a position and seemed to regress severely in 2013. Combine that with his me first attitude and You can see why the Mets moved on. Best of luck to these four veterans finding new teams.
The Mets added a proven major league Outfielder and lost a respected veteran reliever in the last week. The team and OF Chris Young finalized a 1 year 7.25 million dollar deal November 25th. Young had a tough year in Oakland in 2012(.200- 10 hrs-12 steals) after spending 7 seasons with the Diamondbacks. From 2007-2011 he averaged 23 homers and 20 steals. However,over the last 2 injuries have taken a toll and he has mustered only 26 HRs and 18 steals. Young is an excellent defensive outfielder and natural centerfielder who can also play the corners as well.(26 starts in Right, 24 in Left in 2013) This is vital when you consider that Juan Lagares is a difference making defender and the club would like to find playing time for Eric Young Jr. as well. Having players that can play multiple positions well aids this approach. Young also has platoon like career split numbers. He has handled lefties( A recent Mets weakness) with career splits of .262/.363/.474 vs Southpaws compared to .225/.295/.415 vs righties. This is an excellent signing by New York GM Sandy Alderson and reminds fans of the Marlon Byrd move of 2012. If he hits and fields anything like Marlon, this is a win, win move for both Young and the Mets.
Meanwhile, The team shockingly lost veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins to the Colorado Rockies. Numerous reports almost guaranteed the popular club house leader would remain in Queens but the lure of being the closer and a good contract(1 yr/ 2.5 Million Guaranteed) ended Hawkins tenure with the Mets. Hawkins,41, was huge for the this team in the last two months, filling in for injured closer Bobby Parnell. His ability to pitch in almost any role in the pen was a major reason the Mets finished .500 over the last 100 games. Want to wish Latroy luck in Denver, a real class act who will be missed.
While fans have been impatient with the teams lack of activity, let me point out some facts. Their has been very little movement throughout the game outside of the blockbuster trade between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers involving 1B Prince Fielder and 2B Ian Kinsler. Anyone who has watched the Tigers in the last two postseasons knows why they had to make this move. A dead lightbulb supplied more power than Fielder in October. Part of this is two words: Scott Boras. The super agent has almost all of the top free agents in his stable of clients and is notorious for not getting deals done at the start of free agency. 2nd, Until teams start to lose out on free agents you will not see many major trades. They want to have money ready for contracts and if they fail in free agency will turn to teams like the Mets that have prospects to trade and/or major league players(1B Ike Davis, 2B Daniel Murphy) to offer as well. Let some of the free agent 1B sign-a Mike Napoli, Justin Morneau, James Loney,etc- and then Alderson can move Davis. Most of these teams are dipping their feet in many pools. The Outfield position is an area where I think the Mets will make a trade to get a power bat to play with Young and Lagares. Keep an eye on Milwaukee, Toronto and the Dodgers. Now the bad news. The Mets desperately need a major league shortstop and after Rueben Tejada’s awful 2013 campaign, they lack internal options. Unfortunately, Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr. are not coming to Queens soon. After Jhonny Peralta signed his insane deal with the St. Louis Cardinals(4 years/52 Million), it became apparent how valued this position is throughout the game. Alderson needs to find someone to man this spot and it is going to cost him either in the wallet or trade market. A name to keep an eye on? Ex Atlanta Brave and Cardinal Rafael Furcal, who missed all of 2013 after Tommy John Surgery. Teams like the Diamondbacks have a surplus of Shortstops to move as well.
Baseball America has started with their annual Top 10 prospects issues by division and the National League East is featured in the newspaper style magazine dated November 12-26, 2013. The Mets top minor leaguer-RHP Noah Syndergaard-graces the cover.
NY METS TOP 10 PROSPECTS:
2- Travis D’Arnaud,C
3- Rafael Montero,RHP
4- Dominic Smith, 1B
5- Kevin Plawecki,C/1B
6- Wilmer Flores, 2B/1B
7- Amed Rosario, SS
8- Brandon Nimmo, OF
9- Gavin Cecchini, SS
10- Jake DeGrom, RHP
Some quick news updates,news,ideas,etc with the Start of the MLB GM meetings starting this Monday November 11 thru 14 in Orlando, Florida.
PRIORITIES: Mets GM Sandy Alderson and I are on the same page and he is clearly looking to address the shortstop position in a big way. Numerous media reports have New York favoring ex Detroit Tiger SS Jhonny Peralta over Boston Red Sox free agent Stephen Drew due to a combination of contract demands and compensation(Drew was tendered a contract by Boston(Team that signs him forfeits a draft pick), Peralta was not). The Mets have also discussed corner outfielders and two names to look at from the free agent group are Curtis Granderson(NY Yankees) and 1B-OF Corey Hart(Milwaukee Brewers).
METS NOTES: Veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins will resign with the Mets for the 2014 season according to a report in the NY Daily News. Excellent move for a great guy who contributes a lot on and off the field… Look for NY to trade 1B Ike Davis and go with a platoon of LH Lucas Duda and RH Josh Satin at 1B. Alderson has fielded several offers from teams regarding the slugger…Keep an eye on the Milwaukee Brewers as a potential trade partner. OF Norichika Aoki would be a great fit in the Mets outfield and has a .350 OBP out of the leadoff position… The Toronto Blue Jays are looking for ML starting pitching for either 1B Edwin Encarnacion or RF Jose Bautista. If Matt Harvey was 100% healthy in 2014 NY would be an ideal trade partner but they are reluctant to deal Jon Niese, Dillon Gee or Zack Wheeler with their ace out for the year. Hard to see a major trade between the two teams.
After showing promise and appearing to turn the page in 2013, How should Mets management led by GM Sandy Alderson approach this important offseason? What postions should they be targeting with trades or free agent signings? What players and teams should fans focus on? Lets look at some areas, names and clubs my readers should keep an eye on. Here is my plan to return the New York Mets to winning ways.
Positions of Need: The Mets have some obvious needs, here is a prioritized list: Middle of the Order bat,Everyday Rightfielder and Shortstop, Top 4 Starting pitcher, Bullpen and Leadoff options.This team is starved for power and needs at least 1 bat to make the opposition nervous not named David Wright. A 20+ homer power bat to hit 4th would be ideal. Unfortunately those type of players do not fall out of trees. Mets GM Sandy Alderson will have to be creative, money or no money. NY suprisingly got an outstanding season out of Marlon Byrd before trading him at the deadline and rookie Juan Lagares electrified fans with his defense. Alderson and his staff made a great deal early in the 2013 campaign ,acquiring Eric Young Jr. to play LeftField and bat leadoff. EY was not Rickey Henderson but he was a legit threat in that spot and even won the National League stolen base title. His defense was also a major strength and he proved energy from day 1 in Queens. However, the team still needs at least one proven major league outfielder and ideally, two corner outfield options.
The Mets have not replaced Jose Reyes at SS since he left after the 2011 season via free agency. Two names to look at are current free agent options in 2014- Stephen Drew(World Champion Boston Red Sox) and Jhonny Peralta(Detroit Tigers).Drew is an elite gloveman and solid bat while Peralta has limited range and more stick. Both would be significant upgrades over the hodge podge NY rolled out in 2014 as Ruben Tejada’s play and attitude deteriated to the point where he was demoted to Triple A Las Vegas. This is the most glaring hole in the Mets infield. With Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zach Wheeler locked in the top 3 rotation spots starting pitching is solid. But with the recent surgery to ace Matt Harvey shelving him for the 2014 season, NY has a need for 200+ innings veteran starter. Alderson has done a great job adding reclamation projects with upside to the back end of the rotation in recent years so look for the Mets to spend around 15 million total for 2 starting pitchers.
Alderson and Manager Terry Collins pieced together an effective bullpen in 2013 but injuries cost them their closer(Bobby Parnell) and top LH option(Josh Edgin) in the 2nd half. Veterans Latroy Hawkins, Pedro Feliciano and David Aardsma stepped up and helped the team close out strong.However, this is an area the Mets will address in the offseason. Hawkins is free agent but would be a great fit back in Queens. Both the team and Hawkins sound optimistic. He has a big fan in Collins. Three players that showed the are ready to be full fledged major league contributors in 2014 and beyond? Carlos Torres, Gonzalez Germen and Vic Black. With some minor moves and return to health, this group could be deadly FAST.
Free Agent Targets: OF Shin-Soo Choo,SS Drew and Peralta, Starting pitchers Tim Hudson, Bronson Arroyo and Roy Halladay.
Teams to Trade With: Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. The Rockies are an ideal team for the Mets to deal with due to their stars playing need positions for NY in SS Troy Tulowitski and RF Carlos Gonzalez. However, Colorado ownership is reportedly very reluctant to trade their franchise players and the price would be very steep. I think a smaller trade for OFs Michael Cuddyer(Close friend of Mets captain David Wright) and Dexter Fowler would fill two holes and really improve the Mets. One of New York’s biggest issues last season was the lack of major league bats— these are two pro’s and would be upgrades defensively as well. Fowler could play LF or CF, dependent on the roles of Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr and his game would translate well to the vast confines of CitiField.
The Angels have 4 players that fit specific needs for the Mets: 1B-OF Mark Trumbo provides incredible power, 2B Howie Kendrick is pro with bat and glove and SS Erick Aybar would be good fit in the field and batting order. Finally, speedy OF Peter Bourjos defensive skills and offensive upside make him appealing. The Royals have a loaded farm system and abundance of young players to trade. Like the Mets they are close to being a serious contender. Not sure if he is in play but if you could pry OF- Lead off man Alex Gordon out of Missouri he would look great in Queens. The cost would be high but think David Wright like skills and character in Left Field. Finally,we have the ML version of GroundHog Day- The Toronto Blue Jays. This team never changes and are floundering. They are reportedly open to trading anyone and everything for the right price. All Star RF Jose Bautista would be a great middle of the order addition and has a favorable contract situation. If all else fails and Alderson wants to acquire a SS and leadoff man ex Met All Star Reyes could be had. The cost for these two would also be high.
GM JAY:If I was Sandy Alderson my first move would a trade with the Rockies to bring Cuddyer and Fowler to Flushing. My package would be built around pitching prospect Rafael Montero, INF Wilmer Flores and either 1B(Lucas Duda OR Ike Davis). I would include some minor prospects but that is the cusp of the deal. Check Outfield off the list. Next I would get super agent Scott Boras on the phone and talk about Drew. I think he would be great in NY and the Mets would be great for him. But I have a number in mind— actually 2 numbers. I would offer 3 yrs at 40 million total or 4 at 50. Drew will have some serious bidders and we need to have this position- a MAJOR hole- filled…ASAP. If Boras does not bite, I would sign 2 low level free agents in Brendan Ryan and Willie Bloomquist to be a defense-offense platoon at shortstop. Finally, I would then sign Arroyo with a 2-3 year deal to round out the top 4 of the rotation. My reclamation target for the starters? Halladay. If he does not sign, I would look at ex Mets Johan Santana and Scott Kazmir. Bullpen wise, bring back Hawkins and sign a top level free agent lefty to team with Edgin. San Francisco Giant free agent Javy Lopez fits the bill.
The New York Mets announced Monday November 4th that they have signed a deal with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment AM 710 WOR to become the flagship station for the team starting in 2014. The deal is for 5 years and more lucrative than the contract the Mets had with WFAN. The Clear Channel family of stations consists of 6 station(5 FM and WOR)can be heard over 93% of the New York DMA population. The Mets and WFAN ended their broadcast relationship at the end of the 2013 season after a 26 year partnership since the stations inception in 1987.
ROSTER REDO: The Mets front office has been busy preparing for the Rule 5 draft and has made some minor moves to reshape the roster as the November 20th deadline approaches. The team transferred several big names from the 60 Day DL to the 40 man On Halloween, October 31st, hi-lighted by ace Matt Harvey, Closer Bobby Parnell, 1B Ike Davis and pitchers Josh Edgin, Scott Rice, Jeremy Heffner and Jenrry Mejia. The moves were balanced out when the team had several veteran pitchers became free agents: David Aardsma, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, Frank Francisco. Aaron Harang, Latroy Hawkins and Daisuke Mastuzaka are all eligible to sign with other clubs. Hawkins and Feliciano are the best bets to return to Queens while Harang and Mastuzaka would be low risk high reward rotation fillers.
Mets ace Matt Harvey underwent successful Tommy John surgery Tuesday October 22 in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The top sports surgeon in the world, Dr. James Andrews, performed the reconstruction of his right elbow and Harvey ix expected to make a full recovery. The starter for the National League in the 2013 All Star game at CitiField is out for 2014 but with proper rest and rehabilation, should return to the mound in 2015. The Mets have a big hole to fill in the rotation but have a 3 solid major league starters on the roster and a farm system stacked with arms on the way. This offseason is huge for the Mets as they enter 2014.
The Mets have made some minor moves in the past couple of days to prepare for the Rule 5 draft(November 20th) and the post World Series deadline 40 man roster adjustment. Teams must have all eligible players they do not want to expose to the draft on their 40 man roster 5 days after the conclusion of the World Series. For a team like NY that has a strong farm system and promising future, these are important dates. The Mets have 8 players on the 60 day DL including big names like 1B Ike Davis, SP Matt Harvey and closer Bobby Parnell. These players must be transfered to the 40 man or could be eligible for the draft. The team lost LHP Robert Carson(Los Angeles Angels) and OF Mike Baxter(Los Angeles Dodgers) to waiver claims this week and currently has 36 players on the 40 man. With some minor moves and cuts, GM Sandy Alderson should be able to manage this situation.
METS NOTES: Numerous media reports have the team and News radio 710 WWO AM nearing a deal after the Mets 27 year partneship with WFAN ended after the 2013 campaign. WWOR has the same wattage level as WFAN and Howie Rose, the long time voice of the Mets, would be retained. No word on his partner Josh Lewin…. Good news for Mets fans and Wally Backman supporters. Several media outlets are reporting the popular former NY 2nd baseman will be retained and continue in his role managing the team’s top minor league team at Triple A Las Vegas. Backman led the team to a 81-63 record and Pacific Coast League playoff berth. More importantly, he is praised for his work and development with young players. This is a win-win for both Backman and the Mets. Personally, I love the guy.
The 2013 New York Mets made tremendous progress and this writer is a great example of how far this group has come. I have been a Mets fan since 1979, seen a lot of good and bad. The Last 3-4 seasons(2009 and on) have been tough to watch and brutal to cover. Quite often I could not wait for the season to end. However, when the Mets 2013 campaign concluded I was sad. I genuinely liked watching this team play, a big part of this is the Mets amazing announcing trio of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. But those 3 have been on the mike when I looked forward to the season being over. This team was different and I think the reason is hope. You see young talent and improvement, you see what the team has coming off the books and what the Mets can spend in the offseason. As the old saying goes you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lets look at how one of the most important off seasons in team history should unfold.
POSITIONS FILLED: Obviously, the Mets are set at Third Base. Some guy named David Wright has manned that spot since 2004. I am a big Daniel Murphy guy and would like to see the team stick with him at 2nd. Young Catcher Travis d’Arnaud should be the present and future behind the plate, the team also has a promising Triple A option in Juan Centeno and an up and comer at Single A as well. I love great outfield defense and Juan Lagares does enough with the glove to carry a .250 average in CF. The Mets should be solid at 1B as well with a platoon of involving Josh Satin and the winner of the Ike Davis- Lucas Duda front office debate. Not sure where you will play him but I am a big Eric Young Jr. guy. Ideally, I would add 2 offensive players in shortstop and Rightfield then find a low cost option to platoon with Young in Left.
The Mets pitching remains a strength organization wide even with the recent news of pending Tommy John Surgery for ace Matt Harvey(9-5,2.27 ERA in 26 starts)The team has 3 very good starting pitchers returning in RHs Dillon Gee and Zach Wheeler as well as south paw Jon Niese. Top prospect Noah Syndergaard was one of the starting pitchers in the 2013 Future’s Game at Citi Field and appears to be on the fast track to the big club ala Harvey(2012) and Wheeler(2013) by mid season. Scouts throughout baseball continue to marvel at his potential. Bullpen wise, closer Bobby Parnell(5-5,2.16 ERA,22 saves) was outstanding in his first full season in the role but a herniated disk in his neck-back area ended his 2013 campaign. Reports on his recovery have been promising but the Mets need to have a plan B in place. Manager Terry Collins made great use of trade deadline acquistion Vic Black(3-0,3.71 in 18 games with his 1st ML save) as well as Gonzalez Germen(1-2,3.93 ERA) in late innings while veteran Carlos Torres(4-6,3.33 ERA in 33 games with 9 starts) filled a variety of needs in a swing man role. A key to the Met’s bullpen in 2014 is healthy return of LH Josh Edgin, who was strong after a late season callup in 2012, struggled in early 2013(9.64 ERA in 11 April games) yet was great when recalled (1.29 ERA in 9 June Games, 0.73 in 14 July Games) from Triple A before missing the end of the year due to injury. A strong left handed reliever is vital for Collins, who tends to favor a matchup game.
Mets ace Matt Harvey(Partially torn UCL ligament in his pitching elbow) had a change of heart and has decided to undergo Tommy John Surgery the team announced Friday October 4th. After consulting with team doctors and world renowned sports injury specialist Dr. James Andrews Harvey was going to attempt to rehab his injured elbow with a throwing program and alternative methods. However the ligament could snap at anytime and both the pitcher and team feel this is the best option both long and short term. The procedure will occur by the end of October and normal recovery time is 15 months. Dr. Andrews will perform the operation and the Mets hope to have Harvey for the start of the 2015 season. The good news here? Mets GM Sandy Alderson knows he most add at least one solid starting pitcher via either trade or free agency, NY has 3 reliable starters in LH Jon Niese and RHs Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler. Top pitchng prospect Noah Syndergaard is a good bet to join the team around midseason ala Harvey(2012) and Wheeler(2013) but should not be counted on to open 2014 in Queens.
The Mets announced Monday September 30th that popular manager Terry Collins will return and the team gave him a 2 year extension thru 2015. Collins entire coaching staff will retained thru 2014 and Collins has also given an option for 2016. The team has been in full rebuild mode since TC took over and his boss, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, emphasized the positives at the joint presser in Queens, sighting a .500 clip over the last 100 games(About the time Zach Wheeler made his ML debut) and the teams winning road record. Alderson also mentioned the team never quit, played hard with limited resources and probably exceeded expectations. The Mets skipper was excited and looking forward to 2014 and beyond… “We are certainly not happy with the win-loss record the last year, or last year three years,” Collins said. “We’re very excited about 2014. We’ve got some outstanding young pitching coming, we think that’s gonna lead us. We’re going in to Spring Training with high expectations. It’s time to put some wins on the board.”
HARVEY UPDATE: Mets ace Matt Harvey is eligible to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Would be strange to see someone who has started a Major League All Star Game throwing to prospects but the rules- pitched less than two years in the majors and/or have missed time due to injuries- allow it. This would be an ideal spot for the Righty to test his injured elbow.
METS NOTES: Team finished out the year at 74-88, good for 3rd in the tough NL East…. OF Eric Young Jr. won the National League stolen base crown with a pair of thefts in the season finale September 29th to give him 46 on the year. This man was a huge spark plug for the team and should be part of the 25 man roster heading into 2014…. Alderson has stated adding depth to the bullpen would be an offseason goal. The team has approached veteran RHP Latroy Hawkins, who was great for the Mets, about returning. Late season trade acquisition Vic Black and Gonzalez Germen also impressed in the 2nd half…. Rookie Juan Lagares is the leading candidate to be the opening day CenterFielder. He hit .242 in 392 at bats but his defense and arm(Mets rookie record 14 assists) make him a weapon in cavernous Citi Field… Interesting to note that Pitching Coach Dan Warthen was the only coach to be given a 2 year extension. If you watch this team consistently, Dan is very good.
Mets 3B David Wright homered in his first at bat on the 2nd pitch he saw September 20th after missing almost 6 weeks with a hamstring injury. His return sparked the offense and team overall as he has hit .400 in 4 games(15 at bats). However, the Franchise took a pitch to the helmet tonight(September 26th) from Milwaukee Brewers rookie Johnny Hellweg and left the game. All medical indications are he is fine concussion wise but after falling awkwardly the team was concerned about a potential minor thumb-hand injury. Wright will undergo more medical evaluations when he arrives at the ballpark Friday before the Mets make further decisions regarding their captain.
TOUGH BREAK TEJADA: Mets SS Ruben Tejada broke his leg September 18th after a collision with teammate Andrew Brown in the outfield while they attempted to catch a pop up. This ends a nightmare season for the infielder who was demoted in late May to Triple A after hitting .202 with 10 Rbi, 12 doubles and 2 steals in 57 games. After completely regressing both on and off the field, Tejada might have played his last game in Queens and the Mets must list Short Stop as a position they need to address heading into the 2014 season.
VETERAN VALUE: Both Matt Harvey(Elbow) and Zach Wheeler(Minor shoulder issue) have been shut down late in the year and Mets GM Sandy Alderson wisely added two veteran starting pitchers to help the team finish out the home stretch and not overextend any of the teams young arms. Aaron Harang(3 starts,17 innings, 4.24 ERA) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(7 starts, 3-3, 4.42) have pitched well and kept the team in afloat. Matsuzaka in particular has stepped up after an awful first couple of outings and is 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 5 September starts.
METS NOTES: Skipper Terry Collins recently met with Alderson and will be told in Early October if he will return in 2014. All indications point to the popular manager returning to Queens…. Wilfredo Tovar(SS) and Juan Centeno(C) are two names to look at in the final 3 games for NY. Both could have large roles down the road. SS is an obvious weakness and Centeno became the first major leaguer to throw out Cincinnati Reds rookie super speedster Billy Hamilton on a steal attempt earlier this week. Add impressive reliever Vic Black to this list as well, he earned his first ML save in Cincinnati . …. Very quietly Mets 2B Daniel Murphy has had an excellent year offensively. He is 2nd hits in the National League(184) and has played a career high 158 games. Murphy also has stolen 21 bases,scored 92 runs and driven in 77. I think you can cross 2B off the needs list…. When looking for an offseason trade partner for the Mets focus on the West and Colorado. The Rockies would like to slash payroll and have 3 everyday players in SS Troy Tulowitzki and Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer who would look great in Citi Field
Mets ace Matt Harvey and GM Sandy Alderson announced in a joint press conference that he will attempt to rehab the partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow to avoid Tommy John Surgery Tuesday September 17th. The big righty has a throwing program and will try this approach for 6-8 weeks before making any further medical decisions. Harvey consulted world famous sports injury Dr James Andrews, who is on board with the plan. The NL starter in the All Star Game sited lack of pain in his forearm and elbow and other pitchers(Roy Halladay as the most prominient example) who have used this treatment regiment as the main reasons for this approach. If the rehab does not work, Harvey can still have the procedure in December(at the latest) and not impact the 2015 season. Keep your fingers crossed, Mets fans!!!!
Mets ace Matt Harvey visited famed sports injury specialist Dr James Andrews in Florida Monday to receive a 2nd opinion on his injured elbow. The exam went well and the team will provide an update Tuesday. Harvey is trying to avoid undergoing Tommy John Surgery, which would more than likely cost him the 2014 campaign. In his first full season in the major leagues, Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings.
METS NOTES:Captain David Wright(Hamstring) could rejoin the team on the field September 17th according to Media reports…..Recently recalled reliever Frank Francisco escaped serious injury when he took a line drive of his arm September 14th but will need a couple of down days to let the swelling subside….INF Justin Turner is dealing with a sore hamstring…. Rookie Zack Wheeler will more than likely be done for the season after his start Tuesday September 17th, the team imposed a 170 innings limit on the talented righty. Entering this game, he is just over 163 combined in Triple A and New York…. Veteran reliever Latroy Hawkins, who has been invaluable on and off the field, was looking into retiring after the season but after his strong 2013, is reportedly talking with Mets management about resigning with New York…. FYI: The Colorado Rockies are reportedly open to trading two of their superstars- SS Troy Tulowitzki and RF Carlos Gonzalez- this offseason. The Mets would be one of about 25 teams interested but they would be in the front of the line. This would be one stop shopping for NY… Reliever Vic Black,one of the two prospects the team received in the John Buck- Marlon Byrd trade, earned his first ML win September 15th with the Mets 1-0 win in 12 over the Marlins. In 9 Mets appearances, Black has posted a 3.68 ERA… Recent call up OF Matt den Dekker has shown hustle and defense with some surprising hitting, quickly making him a fan favorite. The Mets clearly have two strong options in Center Field with this youngster and fellow rookie Juan Lagares
The Mets medical staff has 3 very prominent clients from the 2013 team with closer Bobby Parnell(Herniated disk), Ace starter Matt Harvey(Pitching elbow) and franchise 3B David Wright(Hamstring) all dealing with serious injuries. Lets get updates on all 3, First, Parnell. The Mets closer under went successful surgery in California September 10th to repair the damaged disk in his neck. He will be good to go when the Team opens Spring Training in 2014. The Big righty had not pitched since July 31st but saved 22 in 49 games. Wright rejoined the team in NY Monday(September 9th) and insists he will play again in 2013. The Mets captain took infield and batting practice September 10th and will run the bases soon. Meanwhile, Harvey will meet with the famed Dr. James Andrews Monday September 16th and have his damaged UCLL examined. At a charity appearance Tuesday, he reported his arm felt great and remained optimistic about avoiding Tommy John Surgery, which includes a 12-month recovery and would have him out til 2015.
SANDY SOUNDS:Mets GM Sandy Alderson and followers of the team know how big this offseason is for the future of the team and the club should be very busy in both the free agent and trade markets. The team needs are obvious- Outfield, First Base and Short Stop are glaring- but Alderson mentioned in a recent SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio appearance an interesting note- The team hopes to add a veteran starting pitcher to join the talented youngsters throughout the staff. Also makes sense with Harvey’s health as well as injuries to Jenrry Mejia and Jeremy Hefner depleting a deep ML staff.
METS NOTES:The Mets are ending their radio relationship with Sports Radio WFAN 660 AM after the 2013 season, the station has carried the team since inception in 1987. Team officials report they will have a new home announced in the next 6 weeks or so… LHRP Scott Rice, who led the team in appearances, underwent season ending surgery for a Sports hernia September 10th…. OF Juan Lagares was tied for the National League in hits by rookie since the All Star Break with 54 as of September 9th… Wilmer Flores(Ankle) is still gimpy and not playing. Former starting SS Ruben Tejada was recalled from Triple A Las Vegas September 10th and should get some serious work in the remaining days of the season… The team recalled RHPs Greg Burke and Aaron Harang(Starting September 12th), OF Mike Baxter and C Juan Centeno Monday September 8th. Keep an eye on Centeno who could be a serious candidate to make the team in 2014 after a strong 2013 campaign in AAA, where he hit .305 in 67 games.
With rosters expanding September 1st, the Mets have added 5 players and sent down a reliever in the past 2-3 days. Relievers Vic Black(RH) and veteran Tim Byrdak(LH), C Anthony Recker and OF Matt den Dekker have all been promoted from Double and Triple A. NY also optioned struggling LHRP Robert Carson, who has given up home runs at an alarming rate(9 bombs in 19+ innings!!!!!!), to Triple A Las Vegas. Meanwhile, INF Zach Lutz was also recalled after 1B Ike Davis suffered an oblique strain swinging the bat Saturday August 31st. This type of injury usually keeps you out for a month- minimum- so it is a good bet that Davis disappointing 2013 campaign is over. The Mets will play Lucas Duda at 1B for most games with Josh Satin getting the odd start. First Base is a position with tremendous uncertainty as NY heads into 2014 and beyond with Davis, who hit 32 home runs in 2012, completely falling off the face of the Earth in 2013(.205,9 HRs, 33 RBI, 661 OPS in 377 ABs).
With all of the injuries to the Mets starting rotation as well as innings limits the organization has placed on their prized young pitchers, the team signed former Asian phenom Daisuke “Dice K” Matsuzaka to fill out the rotation in the final weeks of the 2013 campaign. Unfortunately, NY fans are learning what supporters of the Red Sox and Indians learned- the only thing Dice K fills nowadays is the opponents stat sheets as he has has been hammered more than a nail at a construction site. In 3 starts with the Mets, he has been pounded – 9.58 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 10+ innings. His slow pace also hurts the defense and with NY playing so many kids at different spots in the field, this is magnified.
METS NOTES:INF Wilmer Flores, who has played well filling in for Captain David Wright at 3B, has been dealing with ankle and foot issues and will do so for the remainder of the season according to Mets skipper Terry Collins… Much like the Dice K move, the team signed veteran RHP Aaron Harang September 1st to add depth. The 12 yr ML was 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts for Seattle this season…. GM Sandy Alderson wants opening day SS Ruben Tejada to stay in Triple A and play with the Las Vegas club thru the Pacific Coast League Playoffs. He figures to be recalled at some point in September. Omar Quintanilla has filled in amiably at SS for most of 2013… Just this writers humble opinion, But I believe looking at today’s roster, the Mets have 4 of the 5 Outfielders they will open the 2014 Campaign with on the roster: Juan Lagares and den Dekker in Center, Eric Young Jr(LF, Leadoff) and Andrew Brown(5th OF, Pinch Hitter). The every day Right Fielder will be traded for or signed as a free agent. Colorado Rockies RF Carlos Gonzalez or Cincinnati Reds(2104 Free Agent) Shin-Soo Choo would be perfect.
The Mets season took a major turn for the worst when star pitcher Matt Harvey was diagnosed with a partial tear in the UCL of his pitching elbow after an exam Monday August 26th. Initial reports had the NL All Star game starter undergoing Tommy John surgery but presently Harvey and the team have opted to rest and run further tests in 3 weeks. Team doctors, Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the 2nd year righty will then determine the next step. Interesting to note that Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who dealt with a similiar injury in 2006, talked with Harvey for 20 minutes at the request of Mets skipper Terry Collins. Halladay allowed the swelling to subside in his elbow and rehabbed the joint with no further issues. Tommy John surgery would likely keep Harvey out for the entire 2014 campaign. Keep your fingers crossed Mets fans!
Meanwhile, starting pitchers Jeremy Hefner(Tommy John Surgery for Torn MCL in right elbow) and Jenrry Mejia(Bone chips in right elbow) both underwent successful surgeries this week. Hefner will more than likely miss all of 2014 while Mejia’s procedure is typical and the righty should be ready for Spring Training in February. Captain David Wright(Hamstring) continues to make progress from his leg injury and has been jogging,throwing and fielding. The 3B is currently in Florida to begin a rehab assignment this weekend and should return Mid September. The News on closer Bobby Parnell is not as promising as he has seen little improvement from the disk problem in his back and neck. He will receive a 2nd injection in the area before the team determines if he will need back surgery. Veteran Latroy Hawkins has filled in amiably in the 9th inning, converting 6 of 7 saves in August.
With all of the injuries and the team playing out the string with kids and for the future, The Mets made a trade that hurts the 2013 Team but should help down the road, sending two popular veterans in RF Marlon Byrd(Possibly the team MVP) and C John Buck(15 Homers) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two strong prospects in 2B Dilson Herrera(Pirates 11th rated prospect according to MLB.com, .265,.751 OPS with 11 home runs and 11 steals in 109 Single A games) and Relief pitcher Vic Black(5-3, 17 saves in 53 Triple A Games) on August 28th. Black will help the team immediately and be one of the minor league call ups September 1. Cannot say enough about what Byrd and Buck brought to the team, both did so much on and off the field but this team has outfielder and a strong prospect catcher in Travis d’ Arnaud so they became expendable. Sad to see them go but the Mets are about the future and by the time this team is great, Buck and Byrd will be near the end of the line.
After the Mets showed what they are in a weekend sweep vs the American League Power Detroit Tigers(Gritty group that lacks offense but can pitch, battles and plays hard), New York needs to approach September with a purpose. The recent recall of 1B-OF Lucas Duda further illustrates this point. NY GM Sandy Alderson has money to spend and assets to trade in the 2013-2014 offseason and these final 5 weeks should help the organization determine what is on the shopping list. The team is loaded with talented arms at all levels and should be set in the rotation entering 2014 with phenoms Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler joining veterans Jon Niese and Dillon Gee in a strong top 4. After elbow chip surgery, Jenrry Mejia will more than likely be a strong 5th starter.
The Mets are set at 3B and 2B in the infield and I believe the youngsters at CF(Juan Lagares) and C(Travis d’Arnaud) will open the 2014 season as starters. In other words, Eric Young, Jr(LF-Leadoff) and Ike Davis, Josh Satin and Duda(1B) are battling for jobs. The team must add a major league shortstop, I love Omar Quintanilla and the Mets have played well with him but he is not going to be confused with Cal Ripken Jr. anytime soon. A trade or free agent should be priority one here. If the team can add a top flight corner Outfielder with power(Carlos Gonzalez? Giancarlo Stanton?) a combination of Young in LF and upgrade at SS(Stephen Drew? Starlin Castro? Yunel Escobar?) with a straight platoon at 1B would be a good offseason. So as you watch the Mets close out the 2013 campaign, focus on 1B and LF. Keys to 2014 and FUTURE!!!
With Regular catcher John Buck back from paternity leave Tuesday, the Mets decided to stay with super prospect Travis d’ Arnaud as the everyday starter and optioned popular backup Anthony Recker to Las Vegas. The team will still use Buck more than a normal 2nd catcher but New York wants to see if d’ Arnaud can be the “man” in 2014 over the next 6 weeks. Recker will also likely be recalled with the other September call ups at the end of August.
Meanwhile, the news on the medical front for both Jeremy Hefner and Jenrry Mejia regarding their dual elbow injuries is a mixed bag. Hefner has been advised to have Tommy John Surgery and is seeking a 2nd opinion. Mejia,who also had the procedure last year, will have a minor procedure to clean out bone chips in the next 7-10 days. He is more than likely going to be healthy enough to pitch Winter Ball. Mejia was excellent in 5 Starts for the Mets, posting a 2.20 ERA, 1.171 WHIP and striking out 27 while walking 4. A Big piece of the future for the Mets!
METS NOTES: Since the Mets recalled Zach Wheeler, the team has gone 34-27. Prior to his recall, 23-39…. Cannot say enough about what a signing OF Marlon Byrd has been for the Mets. SNY analyst and Ex Met great Keith Hernandez made a great point on tonight’s telecast about how this is the move of the year. In 112 games, Byrd has hit .287 with a team high 21 homers(had 1 in all of 2012) and 70 RBI. The 11 year pro ranks ninth in the NL with a .862 OPS! He also also played a great right field. Not bad for a spring training invitee!!!…. Mets are 9-3 in Wheeler’s starts and the rookie is 3-0 vs his hometown Atlanta Braves…. Add Eric Young Jr. and rookie Juan Lagares in with Byrd and the Mets Outfield is the biggest surprise on the team. Solid offensively and all 3 are vacuums defensively. Lagares, who has only played in 85 games,ranks 2nd among Major League Centerfielders in runs saved according to an ESPN stat with 20.
The Mets have added a starting pitcher(LH Jon Niese) and lost another(Jeremy Hefner) in the past week but continue to play solid ball. Niese has pitched well in 2 starts since returning with a shoulder issue that kept him out almost two months and is pain free. He struck out a season high 9 Padres August 16th during a 5-2 Mets win. Meanwhile, Hefner’s season is in serious jeopardy due to damage his right pitching elbow. After two exams revealed partially torn MCL, he is due for third test Monday to determine if he needs season ending Tommy John Surgery. This is tough news for the Mets, as Hefner was one of the top pitchers in all of MLB for for about 6 weeks in June and July when he posted a 1.76 ERA in 8 starts before the All Star Break. However, post break, he was not himself and was lit up at 9.13 ERA in 5 games. This injury also impacts management’s plan to go with a 6 man rotation to limit the work and innings loads on youngsters like Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler. Terrible, terrible news for one of the good guys on the 2013 Mets.
d’Arnaud début: The Mets have recalled super prospect C Travis d’Arnaud(NY’s #2 rated prospect according to MLB.com) and he is set to join the team for tonight’s game in San Diego. The move is for at least 3 games(MLB paternity leave rules) as starter John Buck is back in NYC with his wife after the birth of the couple’s child. d’Arnaud is an offensive catcher and since being brought up to Triple A Las Vegas, he has 8 hits in 20 at bats with a homer and 4 rbi while drawing 9 and K-ing 4 times. The Mets will more than likely have to send down popular back up C Anthony Recker when the leave is up after Monday’s make up game in Minnesota.
METS NOTES: INF Wilmer Flores(ankle) should be back in the lineup tonight after injuring this leg earlier this week(Monday, Pinch hit Wednesday). The exciting rookie has hit .286 with a .333 OBP and a homer and 9 rbi in 8 games since his recall from Triple A and has helped ease the loss of team captain David Wright at 3B…. 1B Ike Davis has really come on and although he is not hitting home runs(2 since July 26th), the slugger has a .462 on base percentage and .911 with 10 doubles and RBI in 130 plate appearances in 36 games since his recall from Las Vegas. In 54 August plate appearances, he has 7 extra base hits and a .574 OBP in 15 games… Wright continues to rehab his injured hamstring at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC but the team has no timetable for his return. Meanwhile, closer Bobby Parnell’s injured neck(Herniated disk) is improving and like Wright, the team has no specific date for when he will rejoin the big club.
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