Mets Merized Online » Clayton Collier Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:47:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 National Anthem Special: Discounted Tickets Available For Friday’s Mets vs. Reds Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:30:31 +0000 citi field opening day 2013

Typically when I post on MMO, I am writing opinions, news, recaps as well as the occasional interview; this however, is a little different.

This Friday, April 4th, myself as well as 15 of my closest friends will be performing the National Anthem at the Mets vs. Reds game at Citi Field. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have been able to type that previous sentence.

The Gentlemen of the Hall, an A Cappella group I co-founded less than one year ago at Seton Hall, are thrilled to have this unbelievable opportunity, and we would love to share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience with you.

There are discounted tickets available for Friday night’s game in the Caesar’s Box section for $27 each, all you have to do is purchase your tickets through Mets Senior Account Executive Eric Fox by contacting him at or (718)-559-3037 and mention The Gentlemen of the Hall to receive the discount.

As a die-hard Mets fan, I still cannot comprehend the fact that something as incredible as this is happening in just two days. I will be sure to do a write-up on the experience.

Jenrry Mejia will be the starting pitcher that night, squaring off against Mike Leake. Also, it is the Mets’ first Free-Shirt Friday of the season!

Gentlemen of the Hall group photo

We hope to see you there!

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Our Annual Opening Day Reading: Casey At The Bat Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:09:43 +0000 casey-at-the-bat-story-1

It has become something of an Opening Day Tradition here on MMO; our annual reading of the great baseball classic Casey At The Bat. As we prepare for the Mets to return to action, please enjoy this legendary 1888 ballad that describes everything we love about this great game:

Casey At The Bat

By Ernest Lawrence Thayer, San Francisco Examiner – June 3, 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,

And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped–
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the sphereoid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville –mighty Casey has struck out.

casey 2

And as I added last year, please enjoy a recording of James Earl Jones reading Casey At The Bat complete with dramatic musical accompaniment.

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Wilmer Flores Continues To Get Look At Shortstop Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:19 +0000 wilmer flores Photo by Anthony J. Causi

Terry Collins told reporters yesterday that Mets infield prospect Wilmer Flores will have “more” opportunities to get reps at shortstop during spring training.

Yesterday marked the first start for Flores at short since the 2011 season. The Mets have moved the 22-year old all over the infield over the past two years in an effort to find him a position.

Collins also stated that Ruben Tejada, who is slated to be the everyday shortstop in 2014, will start at short for the next two Grapefruit League games says Adam Rubin of

Anthony DiComo of says it best in his article regarding Flores playing short:

“For now, consider this an experiment and nothing more. By giving Flores significant innings at shortstop, the Mets are overturning every stone on their 40-man roster. Multiple front-office members — not to mention an even larger contingent of scouts — do not seriously believe that Flores is athletic enough to handle one of the game’s most difficult defensive positions. But Collins in particular is curious about Flores given the work he did this winter during two stints at a fitness camp near Ann Arbor, Mich.”

The Mets have been connected to the Mariners’ Nick Franklin in recent weeks, and to a lesser extent the Diamondbacks’ Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings. Both teams are seeking a significant haul of prospects in return. 

In 453 minor league games at the shortstop position, Flores committed 80 errors, amounting to a .959 fielding percentage.


If the Mariners are seeking a Rafael Montero-type prospect for Nick Franklin, and they are; I would consider Flores at shortstop too if I were the Mets. Flores has almost double the number of games played at the position compared to Franklin, who also sports a lower fielding percentage (.943) than Flores. If the Mets decide they drastically need offensive production and are willing to sacrifice defense at short, then the in-house option in Flores would be worth a look.

That said, I cannot foresee Flores getting the nod as the everyday shortstop over Tejada. Flores has amazing bat potential, he has told me he believes he can be a 20-home run hitter and I believe he has that potential as well. I just don’t see him putting it all together defensively in the next 20 days to make the Mets feel comfortable giving him regular reps at short.

Not to mention, many forget that Flores regressed offensively in the minors when playing shortstop, and it wasn’t until his move to third/second that he began to find his hitting stride.

A utility role seems to be the most promising option for Flores to have a shot at breaking camp with the team. 

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

Presented By Diehards

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Congratulations to David Wright, the Face of MLB! Fri, 28 Feb 2014 14:06:03 +0000 wright face of mlb


David Wright came from behind to beat Oakland’s Eric Sogard (who?) and win the title of the Face of MLB for the 2014 season.

Wright received a round of applause and a standing ovation in the Mets clubhouse after it was announced.

wright faceofmlb

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Sharknado 2 Filming At Citi Field Today Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:26:49 +0000 022614Sharknado2CitiFieldBZ


Something fishy is going on in Flushing.

Filming for the  Sharknado 2, is going on today at Citi Field. Scenes for the sequel to the Horror B-movie, which will take place in New York, were shot in the streets on Manhattan last week.

The film, set to come out this July, includes stars such as Tara Reid, Vivicia A. Fox, Ian Ziering, Kelly Osbourne, Mark McGrath, and Andy Dick.

Like the first installment, Sharknado 2 will not hit theaters, and will instead debut on the SyFy Channel.

Let’s hope there are no sharks in the forecast when the Mets play the Nationals come March 31.


(Photo Taken By Brian Zak, New York Post)

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Mejia Will Be Considered For Bullpen If He Doesn’t Win Rotation Spot Tue, 18 Feb 2014 02:06:58 +0000 mejia

Terry Collins told reporters today that if pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia doesn’t win the fifth spot in the Mets rotation, he will be considered for the Opening Day bullpen.

Mejia will be competing with the likes of John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final rotation spot. Recent reports have indicated that the Mets would like a veteran to round out the rotation.

Mejia, 24, has a career 4.53 ERA in 11 major-league starts. In 32 games as a reliever however, his ERA drops to 3.23.


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Terry Collins Ranked MLB’s 13th Best Manager Tue, 18 Feb 2014 01:08:40 +0000 Washington Nationals v New York Mets

The Boston Globe staff put to together their annual ranking of Major League Baseball’s managers from best-to-worst.

Mets manager Terry Collins clocked in at number 13, higher than any other manager in the NL East and fifth in the National League overall.

The Globe’s staff has the following to say on Collins:

“Extremely underrated, according to our panel. Collins hasn’t had much to work with in New York, but has maintained a very upbeat approach to the Mets’ rebuilding process that has resonated with his players. He was once a feisty type but has mellowed to adapt to the modern player.”

John Farrell, skipper of the reigning World-Champion Boston Red Sox received the top-slot.

Former Red Sox and current Indian’s manager Terry Francona took third place with Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s sliding in at second.

At the bottom were primarily the new men on the scene, Brian Pryce  (Reds), Brad Ausmus (Tigers), Matt Williams (Nationals), Rick Renteria (Cubs) took spots 27 through 30 as they have yet to showcase their abilities as a manager.


I thought the ranking was extremely AL East-centric. In addition to two Red Sox managers taking the first three spots, three of the top six managers and four of the top eight were all managers from the Red Sox division. Since this is the primary division that the Boston Globe covers, I am not surprised by the results. In their defense however, there are a number of great managers in that division.

As for Terry Collins, I agree. He has grown as a coach since his days in Houston and Anaheim. He has an improved connection with the players in New York and has been able to remain calm in an otherwise frustrating past few seasons.

Presented By Diehards

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Jeff Wilpon on Drew, Payroll, Alderson Tue, 18 Feb 2014 00:49:35 +0000 wilpon alderson

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon sat down with, touching on a wide variety of topics regarding the team and their future.

When asked about the current state of the Mets, Wilpon appeared positive and said the team is invested in Sandy Alderson’s plan.

“I think we’re in a better state than we’ve been, and we’re ready to move forward with the plan that [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] put in place three years ago,” he said. “This is going into the fourth season of his plan, and we’re primed to take advantage of that.”

When it comes to increasing payroll, Wilpon said Alderson does not have the ability to go out and spend without there at least being a conversation first.

“There’s always a conversation on it,” he said when asked if Alderson had the green light to increase payroll. “It’s not something that Sandy can just go out and do whatever he wants, but yes we’ve had multiple conversations, and we’ve had the ability to go after some guys that I don’t think anybody knew we were going after. They didn’t all hit, but we did try, and those all would have expanded the payroll above where we are now.”

On Stephen Drew and why the Mets opted not to spend on another high-end free-agent:

“If those one or two things were there, we would have expanded the budget for them,” he said. “Just to get a guy because the fans think that’s the right thing to do, that’s not part of the plan. Sandy’s not going to overspend for something he doesn’t see value in. The value that we see in those guys versus what their agents were asking for does not meet.”

Wilpon said the team’s biggest current weakness is their major-league ready position player prospects.

“I don’t think we have enough position-player prospects that are ready to compete for jobs at the Major League level right now,” he said. “We’d like to have more, like we have with the pitchers. We’d like to have that same stable of young guys competing for position player jobs. The guys we have are a couple years away.”

Regarding the low payroll in a high-market area like New York:

“I would point to the fact that you don’t have to have that kind of payroll to win.”

Finally, Wilpon on Sandy Alderson’s tenure as Mets general manager thus far:

“I think he’s put the plan in place, and we’re ready to see the fruits of that labor now.”

You can view’s full transcription of their sit-down with Jeff Wilpon here.

Presented By Diehards

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Jeremy Hefner Throws For First Time Since Tommy John Surgery Mon, 17 Feb 2014 20:00:27 +0000 jeremy hefner

Jeremy Hefner threw today at the Mets Spring Training Complex in Port St. Lucie for the first time since undergoing Tommy John Surgery in late August.

Hefner, who announced via Twitter that he was cleared to play yesterday, made 20 tosses at 60 feet today and said he felt “great”, said Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.


The 27-year old, who was re-signed to a minor-league contract with New York in January after being non-tendered, went 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 130.2 innings pitched in 2013 before being shut down with a torn elbow ligament.

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Flores to Get a Long Look at 2B, SS, 3B in Spring Training Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:10:38 +0000 wilmer flores

Terry Collins said he will be taking a long look at Wilmer Flores at second, third and shortstop during spring training, reports Kevin Kernan of the NY Post.

“There’s a lot of potential there and this is the time to see it,’’ Collins said.

On Friday, Anthony DiComo of first reported that Flores could get a look at shortstop. Mets GM Sandy Alderson told DiComo that he remains a possibility despite not playing the position since 2011 at the age of 19.

“I don’t think we’d rule it out,” Alderson said in a telephone interview. “Why should we? I think we have to see how Spring Training plays out for him — is there going to be a spot for him in the lineup? Is there not? Is he going to be a bench player for us? Is he going to go to Las Vegas?”

Flores has been participating in a nutrition and agility winter program in Michigan, and the team is hoping the Venezuela-native will make significant strides in his development.

Ruben Tejada has been widely assumed to be the starting shortstop, however many in and out of the organization do not see him as an attractive option as his commitment and focus came into question over the past year.

Flores told MMO back in September that his primary goal this winter was to improve his speed.

(Updated 2/3) (photo US Presswire)

Presented By Diehards

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Collins: Eric Young Jr Is The Leading Leadoff Candidate Fri, 31 Jan 2014 04:30:08 +0000 eric young jr

Terry Collins believes that Eric Young Jr. is his primary suitor for the leadoff position in the batting order say Adam Rubin of

The question, as Rubin also highlights, is how exactly the Mets will get Young into the lineup. The signings of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young have created a bit of a logjam in the outfield that doesn’t favor EY Jr.

As Alderson told MMO in December, there may be some “variation in the configuration” of the outfield in 2014, likely with Granderson as the only everyday starter.

The Mets may go with the option of having a three-man rotation between Juan Lagares, EY and Young in the centerfield and rightfield positions. This system would allow for each to earn their playing time, similar to how Marlon Byrd became an everyday starter this past season.

Eric Young Jr. played 90 games in the leadoff spot for New York this past season and led the National League with 46 stolen bases between his time for the Mets and Rockies in 2014.

Thoughts from Mitch Petanick

When I was being recruited to play college ball, one of the main questions I would ask was whether I would start right away. The response I often heard was “if you can hit, you will play.” In other words, the best offensive player with get the time—the coaches really never cared who the best defender was. That always resonated with me.

I’m sure the same holds true in the major leagues—the best offensive players will be on the field. The Mets would feel very comfortable with Chris Young in center (he’s no slouch defensively), and Eric Young Jr in left. The bottom line is whoever is performing the best offensively will play.

They may start with a mix of Juan Lagares and the two Youngs early in the season, but the hope is that two out of the three will establish themselves as everyday players—and that determination will be made by looking at offensive production.  

Presented By Diehards

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Potential 2015 Free Agent Class Littered With Shortstop Talent Thu, 30 Jan 2014 18:45:39 +0000 ruben-tejada

As each day passes, Ruben Tejada becomes more and more likely to be the man at shortstop come Opening Day.

Sandy Alderson finally put the kibosh on the idea of the Mets signing Stephen Drew earlier this week, calling the potential move ‘unlikely’.

Reports indicated a willingness by New York to negotiate a one-year deal with Drew, but had little interest in any greater of a commitment.

Despite being somewhat of an unappealing option, one year of Tejada could be well worth it if it means the Mets go out and spend on one of the many shortstops that will potentially be available come next winter.

Obviously a lot can happen in a year, plenty of extensions can and likely will be reached between now and October. When you throw names such as Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, and Jed Lowrie into the mix, however, locking up Drew to multiple years becomes a less attractive option.

stephen drew

This is also the same reason why Scott Boras wants to lock up his client to at least a two-year deal, otherwise the demand for Drew could be even less than this offseason due to the greater supply.

In terms of career WAR, Drew ranks fourth, only above Lowrie, who has two fewer seasons than the 30-year old under his belt. Lowrie however, had the highest OPS out of any of the group not named Ramirez, who posted a 1.040 OPS in just 86 games last season.

The Mets have shown interest in Lowrie this past winter, so they may be interested in pursuing him for their true playoff push in 2015 rather than committing to Drew.

Personally, if the Mets feel that one of the free agent shortstops next winter are more valuable than Drew, then it could be worth the risk to better their chances beyond 2014.

In this case, it may behoove the Mets to go for the two birds in the bush rather than the one in the hand.

Presented By Diehards

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Mets Bullpen Update: Parnell Will Remain Closer If Healthy Thu, 30 Jan 2014 12:59:57 +0000 uspw_7124018

Despite an active offseason by the Mets, little has been done or discussed regarding the bullpen. Andy Martino of the Daily News provides an update on how the ‘pens of New York are rounding out as Spring Training nears.

Bobby Parnell has been assured by the team that the closer duties remain his, so long as he is healthy, says Martino.Parnell is recovering from a herniated disc, but is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

Because of the fact that Parnell will most likely go into the 2014 season as the ninth inning man, Martino doesn’t see much of a fit with Fernando Rodney and Flushing. One N.L. executive told Martino, “Why would Balfour or Rodney go there if they don’t know they’re going to close?”

Also in Martino’s column was an interesting ‘what if?’. If the Mets are in contention come mid-season, top prospects such as Cory Mazzoni, Jacob deGrom, and Rafael Montero could be “temporarily reassigned” to a bullpen role on the major-league level to assist in a potential wild-card run. Noah Syndergaard however, will not be one of those coming out of the ‘pen, and will be kept to a strict innings limit.

I like that the Mets are open to using their prized prospects in such a way. There has been so much invested in their success, it would be nice to see them contribute should a postseason run materialize in 2014.

Thoughts from Mitch Petanick

Using prospects in the bullpen is something I have been arguing for since the Alderson era began. Many teams use this strategy, and I’m happy to see they realize how valuable it is to not only get these guys major league experience, but as a cheap alternative to bullpen pitching that could be more effective due to the fact that major league hitters haven’t seen these guys yet.

Sounds like a win-win situation.

Presented By Diehards


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Jason Bay Likely To Retire Sat, 11 Jan 2014 23:03:55 +0000 jason bay

Former Mets outfielder Jason Bay tells Shi Davidi of that he does not foresee a situation where he would continue his playing career and so he is “essentially retiring”.

Bay had contemplated an offer to play in Japan, however the 35-year old believes it is time to focus on family.

Bay finishes his career with a .266/.360/.481 slash, 222 career home runs and 754 RBIs in 1278 games over 11 years.

Prior to the 2010 season, Bay signed a 4-year, $66 million deal with the Mets, ending in disaster. The two parties agreed to part ways in November of 2012.

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A-Rod Suspended For 2014 Season, Plans To Appeal Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:57:25 +0000 alex rodriguez

Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz  has decided to reduce Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension to 162 regular season games as well as the entire postseason, costing the disgraced Yankees star the majority of his $25 million salary for the 2014 season.

Horowitz’s decision to not uphold the full 211-game ban that came down in August was expected, however the ruling to ban Rodriguez for the entirety of next season remains as the largest performance enhancing drugs-related suspension in baseball history.

In a lengthy statement, Rodriguez stated that he intends to continue to fight the ban by seeking an injunction from a federal court.

“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.”

“This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.”

“I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court,” he said. “I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension.”

“No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.”

“I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.”

The MLB Players’ Association released a statement saying they disagree with the decision but respect the process.

“The MLBPA strongly disagrees with the award issued today in the grievance of Alex Rodriguez, even despite the Arbitration Panel’s decision to reduce the duration of Mr. Rodriguez’s unprecedented 211-game suspension. We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision. In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the JDA, the Association will make no further comment regarding the decision.”

Fifteen players in all were suspended for connections to the Biogenesis scandal including Rodriguez. Twelve received 50-game bans, one received 100-games and Ryan Braun was slapped with a 65-game suspension. Rodriguez was the only player to appeal.

ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports that even though Rodriguez is not allowed to play in 2014, he still plans to attend Spring Training and believes the Yankees can’t stop him from doing so.


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Taylor Teagarden Will Earn $725K If He Makes The Team Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:15:09 +0000 taylor teagarden

The Mets have signed catcher Taylor Teagarden to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, the team officially announced.

Joel Sherman reports that Teagarden will earn $725,000 if he makes the majors, plus bonuses of $25,000 each for 60 games and 80 games played. He has the right to opt out by June 15th if he is not on the MLB roster.

Teagarden appeared in 23 games for Baltimore last season, hitting .167 with two home runs, five RBIs and 18 strikeouts. He is a lifetime .206/.266/.390 hitter in 163 games over six seasons with the Orioles and Rangers.

The 30-year old was selected in the third round of the 2005 amateur player draft by Texas and was considered a top prospect, ranking 73rd on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list prior to the 2009 season.

John Sickels of listed Teagarden as the Ranger’s fifth best prospect in December of 2008, giving the following description of the Dallas native:

“Excellent glove with power, could hit anywhere from .230 to .280 though.”

Teagarden will likely compete with Anthony Recker as the backup catcher to Travis d’Arnaud come this spring.

Presented By Diehards

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Maddux, Glavine, Thomas Elected To Hall of Fame, Piazza Snubbed Again Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:55:23 +0000 For the first time in 15 years, the Baseball Writers’ Association have elected three players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas all have been elected on their first time.

Mets great Mike Piazza clocked in at 62.2% on his second time around. A disappointing snub to say the least.

Craig Biggio just missed the cut at 74.8%. On his 15th and final chance on the ballot, Jack Morris did not make the cut, receiving 61.5% of the vote.

mike piazza mets

Piazza is widely considered the greatest offensive catcher of all time. The 12-time all-star hit 427 career home runs, 396 as a catcher; the most of any backstop in baseball history.

In his eight season with the Mets, Piazza hit .296/.373/.542 with 220 home runs and 655 RBIs in 3,478 at-bats.

It wasn’t unexpected, as early polls had Piazza around 67-70%, however it is still disappointing nonetheless. Piazza is one of the most beloved players in Mets history and obviously the entire fan base, myself included, were pulling for him.

That said, what I found encouraging was the fact that despite a very crowded ballot, Piazza did manage to gain roughly 5% of the vote. Many players such as Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez all took significant drops in their percentages.

This shows that the writers are distinguishing the likes of Biggio and Piazza in comparison to those aforementioned. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them make it into Cooperstown together next time around.

This should have been Piazza's plaque being added into the Hall of Fame

Here are the 2013 BBWAA balloting results:

Greg Maddux:   97.2%

Tom Glavine:    91.9%

Frank Thomas: 83.7%

Craig Biggio:     74.8%

Mike Piazza:      62.2%

Jack Morris:      61.5%

Jeff Bagwell:     54.3%

Tim Raines:      46.1%

Roger Clemens: 35.4%

Barry Bonds:     34.7%

Lee Smith:         29.9%

Curt Schilling:    29.2%

Edgar Martinez: 25.2%

Alan Trammell:   20.8%

Mike Mussina:   20.3%

Jeff Kent:          15.2%

Fred McGriff:    11.7%

Mark McGwire:  11.0%

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Cafardo: One-Year ‘Pillow Contract’ Could Be Best For Nelson Cruz Mon, 06 Jan 2014 01:51:48 +0000 Nelson-Cruz

Several general managers believe that a one-year deal may be best for free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz as the general feeling among teams is that the 33-year old “needs to reestablish his value” says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

If Cruz were to consider such a deal, Cafardo says it could “open more opportunities for him” with clubs such as the Mariners, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles and others.

When I spoke to Sandy Alderson in December, he said that the team had met with Cruz’s agent, Mitch Frankel, and ‘conversations’ regarding the two-time All-Star did occur. Frankel however, also represents Bartolo Colon, and after speaking with Alderson about both of his clients, their meetings obviously became more focused on the 2005 AL Cy Young award winner, who signed a 2-year, $20 million deal with New York on December 14th, rather than Cruz.

Cruz, who was suspended for 50-games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, hit .266 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 413 at-bats last season with Texas.

After splurging on Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, one would think that the Mets were finished addressing the outfield as they have a limited remaining budget to improve several other areas of need. I don’t see it happening with the Mets and Cruz unless he were to take a huge pay cut.

These types of one-year ‘pillow contracts’ as Cafardo calls it, however, have worked well in the past for big-time players who have entered free agency looking to rebound.

In January of 2010, Adrian Beltre signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Redsox after a poor showing in his final season with Seattle. Beltre went on to have one of the best years of his career, posting a .321/.361/.553 line; enough of an improvement to land him $80 million dollars over five years with the Texas Rangers. Other recent examples include Mike Napoli as well as Marlon Byrd last year with the Amazin’s.

The market for outfielders has severely diminished; the high-rolling teams have mostly filled their needs in that department. As Cafardo and the GMs he spoke to said, it may be in Cruz’s best interest to take a one-year contract and start this whole process again next winter.

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Mets, Orioles Discussed Davis, Murphy And Duda Sat, 04 Jan 2014 16:44:29 +0000 lucas duda ike davis

Talks between the Mets and Orioles were not just limited to Ike Davis says Educardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

In addition to Davis, the two teams also discussed Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, however as was the case with Ike, negotiations never got very far due to the Mets intent on acquiring a top pitching prospect from the O’s like Eduardo Rodriguez. Encina says both teams will likely “stick with what they’ve got”.

The Mets have been intent on getting top-flight young pitching in return for Davis–Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers, Nick Kingham from the Pirates–and it appears Sandy Alderson’s asking price has not yet decreased.

I wouldn’t expect the Mets to deal Murphy, barring being blown away by an offer; or Duda unless they had a viable replacement to platoon with, if not start over, Davis.

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Fangraphs: Wheeler’s Shoulder, Walk Rates Concerning Sat, 04 Jan 2014 04:49:53 +0000 zack wheeler home

Jeff Zimmerman of Fangraphs offered a somewhat pessimistic outlook on Zack Wheeler and his upcoming 2014 season.

Zimmerman cites two major factors that he believes could significantly limit Wheeler’s success: his walk rate, and his shoulder tightness that forced him to miss his final start last year. Wheeler’s walk rate in 2013 was 4.1, a figure Zimmerman believes needs to drop roughly 25% for the Mets star prospect to remain a solid major league pitcher.

As for the injury, Zimmerman cites the fact that the 23-year old experienced shoulder tightness after only pitching in nine more innings from ’12 to ’13. Zimmerman went on to say that he believes 180 innings is a max for Wheeler and that an ERA in the range of 4.00 is about right. I would bet MLB Futures odds would disagree.

You can look at the full article for yourself here, however I see the walks as more of a concern than his shoulder. Wheeler’s command has been an on-and-off problem since he was drafted by the Giants. Over his two-and-change seasons in the Mets organization, his walk rates had lowered substantially in comparison to those when he was with San Francisco before getting the call to the show.

That said, I thought this was a bit too critical for a pitcher who has only half of a season in the majors under his belt. Granted that Wheeler didn’t blow the doors off the competition like Matt Harvey did when he came up guns-blazing in 2012, however Wheeler did show some stretches of being an above average starter at the major league level. There were a half dozen starts where he absolutely dominated.

So long as he keeps the walks in check, there is little stopping Wheeler from taking the National League by storm and I’m expecting him to deliver a solid season in 2014, just wait and see.

Presented By Diehards

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