Mets Merized Online » Fan Shots http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 01 Oct 2014 22:30:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 MMO Fan Shot: Time To Send Hodges To The Hall by http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-time-to-send-hodges-to-the-hall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-time-to-send-hodges-to-the-hall.html/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:53:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166193 Gil-Hodges

An MMO Fan Shot by Bill Hall

The woman who has earned the title First Lady of Brooklyn Baseball turns 88 late this month. The Brooklyn Cyclones honored Joan Hodges and her late husband Gil in grand style this year, handing out commemorative jerseys bearing Hodges’ name and his famous number 14, and adding a “Mrs. #14” banner to their row of honored numbers at MCU Park.

Probably the only thing that could make 2014 a happier year for Joan Hodges would be to see her fondest wish come true: the election of her late husband to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Gil Hodges becomes eligible for election again when the Golden Era Committee meets December 8. The slate of candidates will be announced right after this years’ World Series.

A group of dedicated fans is working to help Joan Hodges’ dream come true. They’ve coalesced around an online petition, supported by a Facebook page. As of this writing, the petition has attracted more than 1,600 signers. They include a dozen past and present major league players, as well as numerous prominent baseball writers, announcers, bloggers and historians, plus hundreds of fans who remember the former Dodger first baseman and Mets manager with affection and respect.

Sign the petition here.

joan hodges

Some of the luminaries who have added their names include “Boys of Summer” author Roger Kahn, New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Dave Anderson, former Dodgers General Manager Fred Claire and former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter.

Gil Hodges Jr. was at his mother’s side for the ceremonies at MCU Park, which also celebrated what would have been his father’s 90th birthday earlier in the year.

Hodges, an Indiana native, married Brooklyn native Joan Lombadi on December 26, 1948. They had four children together in their almost quarter-century of marriage, which ended with his sudden death on Easter Sunday, 1972.

She’s kept his cause alive in all the decades since. In 2002, a reporter visiting her at her Brooklyn home—the same one on Bedford Avenue she shared with her husband and four children–observed her offering a prayer for her husband’s selection:

“Joan Hodges holds fast to her rite of passage into the night, starting with rosaries and ending with a whispered act of contrition. She begs forgiveness from a husband who died 30 years back, a coal miner’s son from the heartland who would have never allowed his bride to hold a big-city vigil over some self-important cause.

“‘Please forgive me,’ Joan asks of Gil. ‘I just have to do this.’

“‘It’s the last thing in the world he’d want me doing,” Joan said. “But I feel a real injustice has been done.”

A dozen years have passed and still Joan Hodges waits.

Fans devoted to the Hodges share her sense of injustice. They point out that he received more votes than any other candidate not eventually elected by the baseball writers, and he’s come as close as a single vote to being elected through the veterans committee.

gil-hodges-300x280Many fans think he’s in the Hall already; some are indignant over his exclusion; but most are simply puzzled why this man, the dominant National League first baseman of the fifties, a key member of seven pennant winners and two world champions, a man who retired tenth on the all-time home run list, hasn’t received the call yet.

Some Hodges supporters try to take comfort in the fact that his exclusion from the Hall (like that of Pete Rose or Joe Jackson, though for very different reasons) actually has kept his name before the public in a way that wouldn’t happen if he already had his plaque. There was a raft of stories and discussion the last time he was on the ballot, in 2011. Many thought it would finally be his year. A candidate had to receive at least twelve votes from the sixteen member committee. Ron Santo was the single hopeful to be chosen that year; Hodges finished with nine votes.

Once more, Hodges boosters are hopeful that his time has finally come. Although whoever is chosen by the Golden Era Committee will be a member of the Hall’s class of 2015, the election and announcement will take place in December, so the campaigners have adopted a hashtag to help publicize their cause: #14in14.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Bill Hall. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Was Flores’ Development Strategy Actually a Budgetary Strategy? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-was-flores-development-strategy-actually-a-budgetary-strategy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-was-flores-development-strategy-actually-a-budgetary-strategy.html/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:17:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166121 Wilmer -  Flores

An MMO Fan Shot by Pedro’s Rooster

In Thursday’s New York Post, Sandy Alderson spoke of the organization’s feelings about Wilmer Flores, presumably as part of the team’s future.

“We’re getting a lot more comfortable,” Alderson said. “One of the reasons for giving Flores as much playing time as we have is to build up his number of plate appearances to get him more comfortable to try to establish sort of a baseline.”

After breaking this statement down, I had several questions.

  • Why congratulate yourself for finally getting around to playing your organizations’ top hitting prospect, especially one with such a strong minor-league resume?
  • Why are you in a position in late September to “try” to establish “sort of” a baseline? Couldn’t you have started this evaluation in early May and known for sure by now?

On the surface, this sounds like an obvious mismanagement of a player’s development and the team’s needs. But I don’t believe Sandy Alderson (and the rest of the front office) would botch something this simple and straightforward, especially given that we’re clearly in the middle of a youth movement.

What’s the alternative, you ask? Well, put on your tinfoil hats:

I’m beginning to think Flores was intentionally brought along this way, to hedge against the risk of having to spend on a shortstop this offseason.

You see, if they stayed with Tejada all year, the front office would absolutely be on the hook for upgrading the position this winter—I don’t think anyone internally views him as a full-time option. And while they may have reaped rewards from installing Flores as the everyday SS in May or June, there was obviously a risk that he’d struggle. (And to be fair, he didn’t set the world on fire when he received spotty playing time earlier this season.) And if he struggled, they’d again be on the hook for upgrading.

But (and this is a big conspiracy theory “but”) if they start playing him every day starting in August, they can go into the offseason with a nice, cost-effective question mark. They can claim they don’t have enough information to make a decision on shortstop—they can plausibly say, “we’d like to see more of Wilmer next season, to see what we really have there.” And Mets fans will eat that up.

They’ll forgive a GM who’s willing to give a homegrown prospect a longer leash. Heck, he might be that next great hitting star we’ve been waiting for since Wright came up in 2004.

Nothing Sandy Alderson does is accidental or poorly considered. Wilmer Flores is likely a convenient money-saving device for Alderson and the Wilpons, much like the Ike Davis-Lucas Duda controversy was.

With payroll flat-lining in the $80-90M range, with countless impact free agents ignored by this front office, with approximately $20M in raises due this offseason, with 40% of the payroll tied up in Wright and Granderson, make no mistake: every single decision made by this front office is first and foremost a financial decision, not a baseball decision.

In a perfect world, Flores will deliver on his potential, and make Alderson look like a genius. But even if he doesn’t, his league-minimum salary will quietly save ownership precious millions in their race for financial solvency.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader and die-hard Met fan Pedro’s Rooster. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: A Modest Proposal for Emotion in Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-a-modest-proposal-for-emotion-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-shot-a-modest-proposal-for-emotion-in-baseball.html/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:45:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165828 yasiel-puig

An MMO Fan Shot by Gregory Shaw

Baseball has a problem. For over one hundred years, baseball has been played with four bases, nine fielders and zero emotion. So, when you look at the current crop of miscreants like Yasiel Puig, David Ortiz, Jose Reyes and our very own Jenrry Mejia, things get confusing. What the hell are they doing?

I’m no art major and I don’t think I’ll ever appreciate or understand interpretive dance, so bare with me here. It seems to me that when Ortiz flips his bat after hitting a monstrous home run, or that when Reyes shines an imaginary spotlight on himself after stealing a base, these players may be desperately seeking attention. It could be that they’ve come from troubled homes or unfortunate circumstances in their childhoods. Maybe their mothers hugged them too tightly or not enough. Don’t they realize that baseball is a traditional team game that’s played a certain way and will never change for all eternity?

Maybe these players, young and old, have skipped their required reading of baseball’s unwritten rule book. There’s no doubt that Puig has zero respect for the game’s records anyway, as he looked to break DiMaggio’s feat of twenty-seven hits in his first fifteen games – good for a .434 average. Mejia certainly doesn’t care about the Mets’ annals, being that he set the team’s rookie saves record this season. So why then should we expect them to care if they’re shattering the hopes and dreams of true-blooded-put-your-head-down-and-run-the-bases fans everywhere?

I have a proposal. All of the three hundred seventeen new fans that baseball draws every year should not have to be subjected to these raw shows of emotion. I believe that if we remove players that violate the generally agreed-upon moral code of baseball, MLB will attract double – maybe even triple the current figure. We may see a rise to one thousand new fans a year. What other sport can boast a three hundred percent increase in its fanbase by making one simple change?

These moves will also help teams’ rosters. By removing these trouble-making players, there will be free roster spots for younger, cost-effective players. Those removed will have their contracts voided and stricken from all forms of their respective teams’ documents and history. It will be as though they never existed. Teams will offer promotions whereby any merchandise or memorabilia of said players will be thrown into enormous bonfires – correctly controlled and regulated to make sure that the flames do not get too high or too hot, so that nobody will be made uncomfortable by their flashiness.

Baseball’s problem of league-wide player antics needs to be addressed and solved. The spirit of the game has been deteriorating for quite a while. Every time a player claps his hands or points to his teammates in his dugout, another piece of our national pastime crumbles.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader and die-hard Met fan Gregory Shaw. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Trading Murphy Would Be The Smart Move For The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-trading-murphy-would-be-the-smart-move-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-trading-murphy-would-be-the-smart-move-for-the-mets.html/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161867 wright murphy

An MMO Fan Shot by Quinn Barry

Daniel Murphy has been one of the best hitters on the New York Mets this season. Murphy is batting .293 with 7 homers, 11 Steals, 57 runs scored, and is second in the National League with 125 hits. However, the time to trade Daniel Murphy is now.

As the focal point of the Mets’ offense, Daniel Murphy’s trade value has never been higher. Plus, Murphy is becoming increasingly more and more expensive. According to ESPN.com, Murphy is making $5.7 million this season. Next year, his final year of arbitration, Murphy will earn upwards of $8 million dollars. That’s not exactly cheap for a Mets team that ranks 25th in league payroll, according to Deadspin.

Adding on to that, Murphy will be a free agent following the 2015 season, where he could presumably walk if the Mets don’t extend him, leaving the Mets with zero compensation.

Finally, trading away a player with an extra year of team control would maximize the Mets’ return. Moving on from Murphy now would allow the Mets more financial flexibility and greater value from the incoming prospects/players they would receive in a potential trade.

wilmer-flores-2013-bmPutting the money and trade value aside, the Mets would be able to rebound from trading Murphy, as they have a glut of second base prospects in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Perhaps the most MLB ready replacement is Wilmer Flores, who was recently called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Prior to receiving the call, Flores hit .323 with 13 home runs and sported an incredible .935 OPS in just 55 games. While many question Flores defensively, scouts say he has the arm strength, range, and hands to play an adequate second base.

Looking beyond Flores, 2012 second-rounder Matt Reynolds provides another intriguing option at second. Although he doesn’t hit for much power, the 23 year-old dominated the competition at Double-A Binghamton this year, hitting .355 with a .430 OBP, and earning a call-up to Triple-A Vegas. However, since arriving at Triple-A Reynolds is only hitting .285, and his on-base percentage is down almost .100 points from his Double-A clip. These struggles suggest that even though Reynolds is not big-league ready like Flores is right now, he could become a legitimate option down the road.

herreraAnother option and one that may have more potential than both Flores and Reynolds, but will need a bit more time to develop first. is Double-A second baseman Dilson Herrera. He has been a highly-touted prospect ever since the Pirates signed him out of Colombia in 2010, and has only seen his stock rise since he came over to the Mets in last August’s Marlon Byrd trade.

Herrera was raking at Class-A St. Lucie, hitting .307, before getting promoted to Double-A. Since arriving at Binghamton, Herrera has hit .353 with a .412 OBP and a ridiculous .978 OPS. For a twenty-year-old kid, those are some pretty impressive numbers. Herrera has a chance to become an impact bat in the Mets’ lineup as early as 2015.

A Murphy trade would save the Mets financially, bring back valuable talent, and open up a spot for one of their young second baseman to shine. If a trade centered around Murphy brought back a power-hitting left fielder, it should be a no-brainer for the Mets’ front office. It’s time to trade Daniel Murphy.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader and die-hard Met fan Quinn Barry. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: An Analytical Look at the Mets at the All-Star Break http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-an-analytical-look-at-the-mets-at-the-all-star-break.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-an-analytical-look-at-the-mets-at-the-all-star-break.html/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:30:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160797 wright mets win d'arnaud

An MMO Fan Shot by Josh Eichenbaum

The New York Mets enter this year’s All-Star Break with a 45-50 record, which, at first glance is not terribly impressive. A deeper look, however, reveals a Mets team that has suffered a good deal of bad luck and may be primed for a post-break run.

Pythagorean Record

A team’s Pythagorean Record is often more indicative of a team’s performance than its actual record is. The formula for the Pythagorean Record was developed by Bill James and uses the amount of runs scored and runs allowed to determine how many games a team “should” have won. The formula is designed to adjust for any good or bad luck a team might have. A team with good luck and a winning record might have a losing Pythagorean Record while the opposite could be true for a team with bad luck. The Mets fall into the latter category, as they sport a 45-50 record in reality but a 50-45 Pythagorean Record. This would indicate that the Mets have had plenty of bad luck this year, which is supported by the fact that the Mets have blown 15 saves this year and own an abysmal 12-20 record in games decided by one run.

Run Differential

The Mets also enter the All-Star Break with a +19 run differential, meaning that they have scored 19 more runs than they have allowed. This number is fairly impressive and actually greater than the run differentials of several notable teams: the Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Braves, and Yankees all have lower run differentials than the Mets. However, the Mets posted a run differential of +21 in the week leading up to the All-Star Break, raising the team from a less-than-stellar -2 run differential to the current +19.

What do These Numbers Mean?

I chose to discuss Pythagorean Record because it is probably the most accurate way to discern how well a team is actually performing. The bottom line is that according to these metrics, the Mets should be a better team than they are right now. In fact, they should be competing for a Wild Card spot. The numbers are deceiving though, as the Mets’ big final week before the break had a large impact on their run differential. Though the team finally seems to be reaching their offensive potential, one has to think some of the bats in the lineup will eventually cool down and the current run differential will either decrease or remain stagnant.

One can also look to the Mets’ early months of the season, when the club was an offensive mess, featuring a struggling Travis d’Arnaud, an inconsistent Lucas Duda, David Wright performing below his career averages, no production whatsoever from whoever happened to be playing shortstop, and The Player Formerly Known As Chris Young. Most of the Mets lineup during the first part of the season had “worst case possible”-type runs, meaning that some consistency and improvement was bound to come eventually; perhaps the Mets’ recent surge is not as fluky as it may seem.

I ultimately expect a hybrid of the two extremes that have been presented – the Mets will continue to play .500-plus baseball and finish close to .500. They will not, however, continue to hit over .280 or sport a +21 run differential every week of the second half. They probably won’t win the division or even make the playoffs, but given the bad luck they have had (as indicated by the Pythagorean Record), things should turn around a bit. What do you guys think?

Bio: I am a lifelong Mets fan… even though I am just 17 years old. I am a freshman at Boston College and have written for several local publications. Follow me on Twitter @the_eichenbomb if you’re interested in talking more Mets with me!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Josh Eichenbaum. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: It’s Time; Make A Move, Sandy! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-its-time-make-a-move-sandy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-its-time-make-a-move-sandy.html/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:27:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160522 sandy alderson

An MMO fan Shot by Joe Santarelli-Hansen

Four years have passed since the current front office led by general manager Sandy Alderson have taken charge. During his first three trade deadlines with the Mets, Sandy has never done anything to improve the major league roster although under his leadership the farm system has shown vast improvement.

As die-hard Mets fans, we live and die with this team, hanging onto the faintest of hopes that we can make a run for the postseason. In a year where the NL East is still up for grabs, the opportunity is present for the Mets to make the kinds of moves which would help to increase our chances for one of those wild card spots.

Both Sandy and Terry Collins would have all of us believe that this team as currently constructed is a legitimate contender. When an organization is serious and believes in their teams’ ability to win, moves are usually made to shore up the possibility of a playoff run and increase the team’s chances.

With both the Braves or the Nationals unable to secure the top spot in the division, the Mets still have as good a chance as any other NL East team of making a strong and sustainable run as the first half comes to a close. But why not make that more attainable with a trade to help improve what has been a very inconsistent lineup? Sometimes Sandy Alderson confuses even the best of us.

It’s time to stop moving the goal posts and cut bait with the idea that “next year is our year” and finally make a trade of impact that benefits the Major League team both now and in the future.

If the Mets are around five games back in the division come late July, a trade needs to be made to not only help boost the current playoff run, but the future of the team as well. And by that I mean no one year rentals, but players that offer immediate impact now and remain a good fit in 2015 as well.

With a healthy Matt Harvey leading the Mets rotation next year, the further development of Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares, and the young power arms in the pen, this team could really be a significant force with the addition of just one big bat.

Possible targets could include Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Bautista just to name a few.

All of these players are All-Star caliber offensive players, though none of them will hurt the Mets defensively, either. It is not known, or set in stone at the moment, which players may actually become available come the trade deadline, though as the Rockies continue to fall, CarGo could certainly be made available.

The New York Mets should not hesitate to pull the trigger on a trade, as long as the demand is not astronomically high.

Possible prospects that the team could look to offer in a trade include Rafael Montero, Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera, Kevin Plawecki and possibly Noah Syndergaard – if a Stanton or Tulo become available.

Our biggest need as a franchise right now is a bona fide middle of the order type bat and there’s no immediate help on the way from the farm. Acquiring any of those above players would help this team immensely.

As a franchise that continues to fuel a feeling of apathy and mistrust from their fan base, acquiring a Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki type player would not only impact the team in a positive way, but would also show the fan base that winning is indeed a priority and that post season aspirations are entirely possible again in Queens.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Joe Santarelli-Hansen and initially submitted on June 12. While some of the names and points made may not be as relevant now as they were a month ago, the sentiment embodied in this post is as true now as it was back then.

Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Gil Hodges Belongs In The Hall Of Fame http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-gil-hodges-belongs-in-the-hall-of-fame-14in14.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mmo-fan-shot-gil-hodges-belongs-in-the-hall-of-fame-14in14.html/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 16:18:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159641 gil hodges bklyn

An MMO Fan Shot by Bill Hall

We support the election of Gil Hodges to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He is fully qualified under every one of the criteria set forth in the Hall’s own rules:

“Voting shall be based on player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

Gil Hodges was the premier first baseman in the National League during the Golden Era. He was an outstanding fielder, winning the first three Gold Gloves ever awarded in his final three seasons as a full-time regular. He was a dominant power hitter, topping twenty home runs for eleven consecutive seasons, and he totaled thirty or more homers in six of those years. He was an eight-time All Star. His on-the-field performance was a major factor in seven pennants and two World Championships during his fourteen seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was second in both home runs and runs batted in for the National League during the 1950s, was tenth on the all-time home run list at his retirement, and in third place among right-handed batters.

gil hodges aims

His career totals might have been even more impressive had he not spent three years in the Pacific with the U.S. Marines during World War II, where he earned the Bronze Star, which is awarded for acts of heroism or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Integrity, sportsmanship and character may be hard to quantify, but Hodges displayed these qualities in abundance. As both a player and manager, he won the universal respect of his teammates, the players he managed, opponents and fans. He was widely recognized as the only player never to be booed in Brooklyn. Hodges made his home in the heart of the community where he played and he was extremely generous with his time, showing a special dedication to youth. Jackie Robinson credited him as a key figure in easing his difficult role as the first African-American in the major leagues in the 20th century. As a first-time manager, Hodges dramatically improved the performance of the expansion Washington Senators. When he returned to New York as manager of the Mets, he brought 25 young men together as a unit that accomplished one of the most improbable and best remembered feats in baseball history: the 1969 World Series title.

gil hodges place 1969 Mets parade

His untimely death at age 47 in 1972 robbed baseball and its fans of many more years of his great skills and character. His reputation had endured and grown in the decades since that loss. He has earned one distinction his generations of admirers would dearly love to see become a historic footnote–accumulating more votes than any candidate not yet enshrined in the Hall. His achievements during the quarter-century he did spend in the game have richly earned him a place in baseball’s shrine.

Sign our petition now and please re-tweet this on Twitter with our hashtag #14in14.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Bill Hall. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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In the Scout’s Eye: Syndergaard, Plawecki, Reynolds (Updated) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/in-the-scouts-eye-syndergaard-plawecki-reynolds.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/in-the-scouts-eye-syndergaard-plawecki-reynolds.html/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 19:03:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159338 For some who misunderstood some of the comments about Thor, including him, it seems as he read the column.

The greater concern about his breaking his hands, was, as I mentioned, that I had not seen it before.  When combined with the action on his pitches, it had me, shall we say, interested, as to whether the recent few injuries had caused a change in his delivery.  As many of you know, that is always problematic for a pitcher because you never know what tiny change to try and reduce pain, or soreness, can lead to other injuries.  Or, whether that was something that the coaching staff had taught him.  If the latter, I’d love to hear why, but I’m sure Frankie V, as good as it gets, has great reasons for it that I don’t know right now.

Next, as I ALSO wrote in the article, Syndergaard is still a relative kid. He certainly looks like a man as he has a dominating presence on the mound, but it takes immensely talented guys like him, who have always dominated, a while to learn that they need to slow bats down sometimes, or just alter their arsenal one time through the lineup to keep good hitters off balance.

The hallmark of good major league hitters is that they can cover anyone’s fastball given a chance to get their timing.  It’s the reason you use the 2 seamer, and off speed stuff, in addition to trying to induce weak contact, obviously.

An MMO Fan Shot by Steve L.

A bit about me, and what I hope to do here. Over the years, before I retired from baseball, I worked in almost every part of the business in both the minor and major leagues for almost 20 years. From stadium operations, PR, legal, and what I hope to cover a bit of in these columns, scouting and coaching.

So, if you have any questions that you’d like me to write about, feel free to let me know.

I am certainly a fan of modern statistical analysis (I’m a full member of SABR), but in my view, many of the new stats are a) improperly understood; b) frequently misused; and, c) they reflect past performance, which is not the job of a scout whose goal is to try and predict future performance.

I am more than aware that opinions even among the best scouts differ, so I have no problems with disagreements, even extreme ones, but I do blanch at those whose first replies are personal insults.

I’ve already had some wonderful exchanges with members here, most recently posting pictures of Matt Harvey‘s delivery to try and explain what I felt led, in part, to his injury and why some of us were able to predict it. I will reprint that here after the first few columns.

Noah_Syndergaard

To start today, I wanted to give a few quick impressions based on being able to watch the 51′s game on Thursday night on the CBS Sports Network.

First, to Noah Syndergaard. Obviously, most of us, myself included, have not seen much of him, and what we did, came from spring training. During the spring, I noted what scouts term a “free and easy” delivery. What that means is fairly straightforward. No obvious hitches, proper trunk alignment and rotation, full extension during the delivery, etc.

It’s a critical point because, as I’m sure you’ve heard during Mets broadcasts, Ron Darling and Bobby Ojeda have frequently referred to Jenrry Mejia as a “max effort” guy. It’s those types of guys that scouts feel are more likely to get hurt, or even lose their stuff. Having a free and easy motion means that these things are less likely, and that you can probably dial it up, when necessary. Think Bartolo Colon, who looks as if he’s pitching in a weekend league, and I don’t mean because of his stomach!

However, I was quite disturbed by what I saw from “Thor” that night.

The first thing that was immediately apparent was that he was breaking his hands very early in his delivery, particularly from the windup. Why is this important? Simple, any third base coach worth his salt can easily see his grip on the ball and call the pitches. The only advantage to Thor here is that he is so fastball dominant, it might not be as bad as for others. However, it may be part of the reason for his struggles.

I did not notice this during my very limited viewing of him during the spring so I can’t say if his motion has changed, or if it was changed due to his recent injuries or even due to coaching suggestions.

The next thing I saw was that his fastball was extremely flat. Frankly, I did not see him throw a 2 seamer, the pitch you use typically ahead in the count that from a righthander should break down and in to right-handed hitters and away from lefties.

That in itself was worrisome. Again, I don’t know if he didn’t throw it because of the previous elbow strain, but more worrisome, as I said, was the total lack of movement, and relative lack of command of his 4 seamer, the bread and butter of any power pitcher’s arsenal.

When he got into his inevitable trouble, he repeatedly waived off his new catcher Kevin Plawecki (more on him below) and just pumped more and more 4 seamers, which the Sacramento team had no trouble hitting once they got his timing.

This was less worrisome to me as he should be able to change this just from age and experience. We’ve all forgotten just how young Thor is, and typically, a kid like this, who has dominated everyone he’s played against, and always been able to rely on velocity to get out of trouble, takes a while to figure out that he needs location, change of speeds and different pitches to get big league hitters out consistently.

Finally, on his breaking stuff, he seemed to not be able to get on top, with a few exceptions (a nice K to end an inning for example). Again, with limited exposure to him, I don’t know if this is a regular problem or just last night. The flat fastball and the rather dull breaking balls may have been the result of the same problem, and again, may be a result of the forearm strain that he felt and so he is a bit cautious with his wrist action right now.

Let’s hope he’s not covering up some residual soreness from the team.

I have to say that I agree with the organization in quelling talk of a promotion as he clearly needs additional work.

kevin-plawecki-2

Next, are the new Vegas promotees, Matt Reynolds, and Kevin Plawecki.

I had not seen Reynolds before, so quickly, what I saw was a nice compact swing, with a good approach at the plate. It didn’t appear that he tries to do too much up there. He hits from a firm front leg and follows through nicely. I was impressed.

A little less so in the field. He looked to be a competent shortstop, with a decent first step, but limited range. I think he probably projects as a big league second baseman, but I did not see nearly enough plays to make anything else but a snap judgment.

As for Plawecki, I had seen him a bit in the spring as well, and he impressed me then. I have heard what some others have heard, i.e. that he was a bat with deficient defense.

I did not see that during the spring, and last night, catching a guy pumping 95-98, he looked fully in control.

His footwork and lateral movement behind the plate, was, for me, far superior to d’Arnaud’s. His weakness and where he is not as good as Travis, was in his setting a target, where d’Arnaud is excellent, and in ‘framing’, which many of TDA’s supporters overemphasize because it is a strength of his.

At the plate, I like what I had seen. Much like Reynolds he showed a nice, compact swing, with a firm front leg and excellent plate coverage. I happened to tune in just in time to see his homerun, and what was so key there was that it was a line drive, reflective of that even, flat swing.

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MMO Fan Shot: Keep Waving Those Towels http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-keep-waving-those-towels.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-keep-waving-those-towels.html/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:22:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159225 curtis granderson

An MMO Fan Shot by Matt Szatkowski

Tough.

When describing the Mets, over the past 7 years, this adjective has hardly been used. As the infamous curveball buckled Carlos Beltran’s knees, it also seemed to take down the team’s mental fortitude. The 2007 season would bring more frustration ending in an epic collapse, and there would be more heartbreak in 2008. The Madoff revelations and the financial constraints that followed sent the franchise into a seemingly endless downward spiral.

Now, here we are almost halfway through the season barely escaping the doldrums of the NL East cellar. After a miserable stretch plummeted the Mets record to a season-high nine games under .500, most fans were tossing in the towel.

Curtis Granderson, who is no stranger to winning, found a better use for all these newly discarded pieces. Thus, the Mets rally towel was born. This was a simple concept that led to a newfound sense of camaraderie not seen in these parts for many years.

When Granderson was signed, he was garnering comparisons to another free-agent power hitter that once patrolled Citi Field’s spacious outfield, before he even had one at bat. Nightmares of Jason Bay once again became the leading cause of insomnia in the Tri-State area. Granderson’s slow start earned him a chorus of boos every time he stepped up to the plate. This team, and its fans, have witnessed a myriad of former stars such as Bay, Francisco Rodriguez, and Luis Castillo falter and never regain their form. Granderson’s strikeouts, and Bartolo Colon’s shaky start, cast a state of dread over a noticeably empty Citi Field. A feeling of “Here we go again…” took over.

mets win towels

However, as the heat of summer starts to bear down on us, we can gander at the stats sheet and be pleasantly surprised. Colon has rattled off six wins, including two back-to-back spectacular performances. Granderson, who struggled to hit the Mendoza line, has seen his average creep up to .234 with ten homers, and a league leading 47 walks, to accompany it. There’s no denying that these two have been key contributors to the teams most recent success.

But more importantly they have brought a sense of toughness to this team. Even during his worst struggles Granderson never hid from the media, and remained consistently positive. Both he and Colon realized they are professionals and have been through hardships before. Their resilience has rejuvenated their seasons and put excitement back in the clubhouse.

Travis d’Arnaud was quoted yesterday saying “I forgot how fun it was to play this game.” Baseball will humble even the greatest of players. It’s the only sport where being successful 30% of the time means you’re having a fantastic season. It’s imperative to stay tough, persevere, and good things will come.

Colon and Granderson have given this team a sense that there is still plenty of season left and that there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets this season. Even when nothing seems to go right: those two keep fighting and are having some fun in the process. They keep the clubhouse loose. In a division that has is still up for grabs, who knows what could happen if more and more teammates take a page out of Colon and Granderson’s playbook.

Keep waving those towels. Let’s Go Mets!

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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO community member Matt Szatkowski. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Comparing MLB Payrolls Per Market http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-comparing-mlb-payrolls-per-market.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-comparing-mlb-payrolls-per-market.html/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:32:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159089 alg-wilpon-selig-jpg

An MMO Fan Shot by Jonathan (Mets Fan in Paris)

I thought I’d pass along some research I recently conducted on a topic you might be interested in debating on MMO. It’s another way to look at the current Mets payroll level in comparison with all the other MLB teams.

Rather than just looking at where the Mets rank based on each team’s total payroll obligations (currently 25th), I wanted to present it in a way that also considered the market each team plays in.

We often reference big market teams vs small market teams, and as Mets fans we are often frustrated that our team acts like a small market team while operating in the largest possible market in professional sports.

With that, I decided to break down each major league market by their Metropolitan area’s populations (using Wikipedia) and then each team’s payroll (using Deadspin.com). In attempting to make it a bit more accurate, I divided the city’s populations by two in two-team markets (NY, Chi, LA, SF/Oak, DC/Bal). Then I divided the individual team’s payroll by the population of their area to see what the payroll/resident was.

City Population Pop/Team Payroll Payroll Per Resident
New York (Yankees) 22,214,083 11,107,042 203,812,506 $18.35
(Mets) 11,107,042 89,051,758 $8.02
Los Angeles (Dodgers) 18,081,569 9,040,785 235,295,219 $26.03
(Angels) 9,040,785 155,692,000 $17.22
Chicago (White Sox) 9,729,825 4,864,913 91,159,254 $18.74
(Cubs) 4,864,913 89,051,758 $18.30
D.C. Area (Nationals) 8,718,083 4,359,042 134,704,437 $30.90
(Orioles) 4,359,042 107,406,623 $24.64
Boston 7,601,061 7,601,061 162,817,411 $21.42
San Francisco (Giants) 7,563,460 3,781,730 154,185,878 $40.77
(A’s) 3,781,730 83,401,400 $22.05
Dallas 6,887,383 6,887,383 136,036,172 $19.75
Philadelphia 6,562,287 6,562,287 180,052,723 $27.44
Houston 6,191,434 6,191,434 44,544,174 $7.19
Atlanta 5,712,148 5,712,148 110,897,341 $19.41
Miami 5,670,125 5,670,125 47,565,400 $8.39
Detroit 5,207,125 5,207,125 162,228,527 $31.16
Seattle 4,269,349 4,269,349 92,081,943 $21.57
Phoenix 4,263,236 4,263,236 112,688,666 $26.43
Minnesota 3,655,558 3,655,558 85,776,500 $23.46
Denver 3,157,520 3,157,520 95,832,071 $30.35
San Diego 3,140,069 3,140,069 90,094,196 $28.69
St. Louis 2,882,932 2,882,932 111,020,360 $38.51
Cleveland 2,871,084 2,871,084 82,534,800 $28.75
Tampa Bay 2,824,724 2,824,724 77,062,891 $27.28
Pittsburgh 2,450,281 2,450,281 78,111,667 $31.88
Cincinnati 2,179,965 2,179,965 112,390,772 $51.56
Kansas City 2,122,908 2,122,908 92,034,345 $43.35
Milwaukee 1,757,604 1,757,604 103,844,806 $59.08
Toronto 6,054,191 6,054,191 132,628,700 $21.91

If you couldn’t have guessed already, the Mets ended up ranking next to last spending $8.02 per New York City resident with only Houston spending less at ($7.19).

Please note that I divided NY’s population by two. The big spenders per citizen were Cincinnati coming in at $51.56 per citizen and Kansas City at $43.35 followed by Boston at $40.77.

By no means am I an expert in this and perhaps the methodology could be argued against, but I just wanted to get a more realistic idea of how bad the Wilpons’ lack of spending looks compared to all the other teams in the league and particularly those in larger markets.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Jonathan (Mets Fan in Paris). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Are the Odds Stacked Against Mets Prospects? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-are-the-odds-stacked-against-mets-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-are-the-odds-stacked-against-mets-prospects.html/#comments Sun, 15 Jun 2014 14:48:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=158616 wheeler d'arnaud

An MMO Fan Shot by Ryan Flanagan

The New York Mets are a team clearly building through the farm in their quest for success. They are a team forming a foundation of prospects to serve as the sole future of the team, in-lieu of spending big on big-ticket Free Agents in the offseason. So much is difficult to argue as the Mets payroll sits below $90 million for the first time in 14 years, when they spent $82.2 million in 2000 (Though it would actually be 113.2 million with 2014 inflation adjustments). That number is currently good for 22nd in baseball, looking up at teams like the San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers. This, while playing in the largest market in the nation with the most expansive buying power.

Met ownership has been force-feeding the future success of unknown prospects down Met fans’ throats in attempts to blind them from the present. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in the past seven seasons. In fact, the Mets are tied with the Padres with the 6th longest playoff drought in the MLB with that figure. The team hasn’t had a winning record in 5 seasons. Even worse, the Mets have had only 7 playoff appearances and have won only 4 pennants in their 52 year existence. That’s a success rate of 13.46% and 7.69%, respectively.

With the team’s inability and/or refusal to field a respectable payroll in 2014, they are relying almost entirely on the success of players acquired for letting big names and fan favorites walk out the door. The names of Syndergaard, Montero, Wheeler, Nimmo, Smith and d´Arnaud are some of the saviors that are promised to make this team a perennial contender. The strategy begs the question of what the odds are that these prospects will indeed pan out. Fortunately, Scott McKinney has done the legwork. Though slightly dated, the numbers in majority still hold true. If anything, pitching success rates have gone down with the prevalence of injury.

In an effort to calculate the success rates of prospects, Scott used a sample size of Baseball America’s top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003, stopping in ’03 because the prospects had mostly exhausted their cost-controlled years. Any prospect with fewer than 100 plate appearances and 25 innings was omitted from the study. In order to determine the “success” and “failure” of the prospect, he used the following standards:

chart 1

Using WAR as the measuring stick, Scott developed metrics into Bust, Superior and Success categories. His definition of success can certainly be argued, but his justification was that a player would have to be at least average in the MLB to be considered a “success.” I tend to agree. Below are graphs of the findings:

chart 2

The graph above shows the breakdown of both position players and pitchers, total, averaged over the 13-year study period. The “Rank” column signifies the prospect’s rank out of the top 100. Top-ten prospects had just over a 50% “Success” rate, i.e. 45% of Top 10 prospects had a WAR under 1.49. As the prospect ranks get higher, the results not shockingly deteriorate.

chart 3

The next graph shows only pitching prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 from 1990-2003. Looking at the numbers, top 10 pitching prospects have a “bust” percentage of 59.2%, meaning nearly six out of every ten Top 10 pitching prospects ended up with a WAR of less-than 1.49, i.e. ,can be considered failures. Like the total, the results get worse as the ranks increase.

chart 4

The final graph shows the success rates of position players in the top 100. The best position players show more promise than best pitchers, yielding a success rate of nearly 63%. That number falls dramatically however as the prospects rank increases, in-line with the total findings.

So what does this all mean? Our biggest prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 list include Noah Syndergaard (16), Travis d’Arnaud (38), Rafael Montero (68) and Dominic Smith (92).

Looking at the Total Findings graph solely, Syndergaard would have 50/50 odds of being successful in the league, TDA about a 31% chance, Montero a 22% chance and Dom Smith about a 25% chance. If you look at the position-specific graphs, Syndergaard would have success odds of 41%, TDA 36%, Montero 21% and Smith 33%.

Obviously, it’s far-fetched to put a literal percentage on a player’s value as a guarantee, but it groups them into the trends developed by similar prospects before them. Also, you can assume Smith’s ranking will likely be drastically higher when he’s close to coming to the big leagues, as he’s still years away.

I’m certainly not saying that these odds are correct and that we should absolutely expect the above to happen. I’m not saying TDA has a literal 31% chance of finding success in the MLB, I’m saying, according to this study and its definition of success, similar-ranked prospects have had a 31% success rate of fulfilling their expectations.

The study shows that when you average 13 seasons of prospects, the trends overwhelmingly highlight the reality that prospects fail much more than they succeed. That’s just the reality. Look no further than the Mets’ own recent history. I’m sure we all remember Aaron Heilman, the man who’s responsible for Molina’s Game 7 winning HR in the 2006 NLCS that started the “beginning of the end.” Well, Mr. Heilman was coveted at one time as the Mets second best prospect and Baseball America’s 45th best in its list of 100. How about Mike Pelfrey? He was ranked 20th in Baseball American’s Top 100, only four worse than Syndergaard’s current rank. I wouldn’t say Mike exactly lived up to the expectations.  I won’t bother with Generation K.

I truly hope Noah, Travis, Rafael, Dominic and all Met prospects become great players for this team, I just refuse to buy into the notion that they will all be great. Time will tell, but the odds are certainly stacked against them all panning out. Realistically, if only half the prospects worked out, it would be seen as above the average. The Mets need to start spending and do so wisely – relying too heavily on the farm is relying too heavily on unknowns. We are completely investing in an unknown, unproven future.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Ryan Flanagan. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Zen and the Misery of Being a Met Fan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-zen-and-the-misery-of-being-a-met-fan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/mmo-fan-shot-zen-and-the-misery-of-being-a-met-fan.html/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:00:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=157698 mets-fans

An MMO Fan Shot by Andy Love of Fair and Unbalanced.

Being a Met fan is not a choice.  As a recent study published in the New York Times confirmed, if your team wins a championship when you are between the ages of 8 and 12, you are far more likely to maintain a lifetime loyalty to that team.  In 1969, I was ten years old.  Quod erat demonstrandum.

If my parents had only waited and had me 8 years later, I would be an insufferable Yankees fan instead of a suffering Mets fan.  Alas, there is nothing to be done despite the unrelenting misery over the last six or seven years.  Who am I kidding, with rare exceptions, over the last 45-plus years.

By the time the Mets miraculously won the World Series in 1969, I was already hooked (thanks to my father, who adopted the Mets after being abandoned by the Brooklyn Dodgers) and was inured to their lovable losing ways. But, as David Searles wrote a while back, ”the miracle year of 1969 changed everything.”   Indeed.

jerry koosman 1969

“It was the first year where legitimate excitement surrounded the team,” when they “seemed to perform a new miracle every day down the stretch that season.” And after they won, it was never the same — losing would no longer be lovable.

I will always cherish that 1969 team — Tom Seaver, Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Tug McGraw, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote and the rest. And, only a few years later, with many of the same players, minus a few (like Agee) and some key additions (like John Milner, Jon Matlack, Rusty Staub, Felix Millan and even Willie Mays), they pulled off another miracle, winning their division after being in fifth place at the end of August, and then beating the mighty Reds in the playoffs before losing in seven games to the A’s in the World Series.

But that was it for a decade. Things got so bad that in 1979, the 10th Anniversary of The Miracle Mets, my friend Michael and I went to Old Timers’ Day at Shea Stadium and after watching our beloved 1969 stalwarts play a couple of ceremonial innings we left prior to the start of the “real” game. We simply couldn’t bear the stark contrast with the then-current team, led by the likes of Willie Montanez, Richie Hebner and the detritus from the catastrophic Tom Seaver trade two years earlier.

Finally, in 1983, despite another last place finish, there were some hopeful signs. Darryl Strawberry, with his great name and incredible talent made his debut, and in mid-season the Mets acquired a star from the Cardinals, Keith Hernandez. Then in 1984, after seven straight losing seasons, the Mets became a fun team to watch. With a full year from Keith, and a youth movement led by Strawberry and phenomenal rookie sensation Dwight Gooden, the Mets won 90 games and finished in second place.  And then, before the 1985 season, the Mets acquired the great Gary Carter, who had succeeded Johnny Bench as the dominant National League catcher.

gary-carter-2-e1329434354677

Of course, in 1986, the Mets won the World Series, with the help of Bill Buckner‘s wobbly legs, after a stunning playoff against Houston. Miracles abounded once again, and so did expectation. The Mets had a fabulous team filled with great young talent. But it was not to be. 1987 started with Dwight Gooden in drug rehab and 1988 ended with an excruciating loss to the Dodgers in the playoffs. After that, the Mets began dismantling the 1986 team, replacing iconic players like Len Dykstra, Strawberry and Mookie Wilson with spectacular underachievers like Juan Samuel, Bobby Bonilla and Vince Coleman (see Mets or Bust), resulting in six losing seasons in a row.

Even after signing Mike Piazza in 1998, the team would consistently cause heartburn and heartbreak. The Mets lost their last five games Piazza’s first year to miss the playoffs by one game, followed in 1999 with a defeat by the Braves in the playoffs after Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run of the deciding game. The 2000s were not much better, starting with the crushing loss to the Yankees in the World Series (Armando Benitez, anyone?) followed by several mediocre seasons.

An exciting 2006 team reached the playoffs but lost a devastating final seventh game to the Cardinals. Two searing images from that game form the perfect Met microcosm: Endy Chavez makes one of the most incredible catches ever in the post season in the 6th inning only to have Carlos Beltran strike out looking with the bases loaded three innings later to end the game.

And since then, historic collapses to miss the playoffs, baffling player moves, an unprecedented number of injuries to star and potential star players, culminating in the entanglement with Bernie Madoff, which has caused ownership to shrink payroll and behave like they own a small-market team.

So, to paraphrase legendary announcer Bob Murphy, here’s the “(un)happy recap”: The Mets were laughably bad until they won in 1969. By the mid-1970s they were awful again, and it wasn’t so cute. They peaked again in 1986, but couldn’t sustain their greatness, and in the 28 years since, if anything could go wrong it invariably did.

After Matt Harvey, the Mets’ dynamic young phenom, went down with an elbow injury last year at the height of his remarkable rookie season, I penned the Seven Stages of Being A Met Fan, which  starts with hope, works its way through anger and despair, and invariably reaches acceptance.

Despite the Mets better play of late, and the excitement surrounding the bevy of young arms in the system, I, along with many Met fans, am currently somewhere between anger and despair.  The owners, general manager and field manager have lost what little trust they had left.  They hire PR men instead of HR men.  They blame the fans for not showing up to support their lousy product.  They make bad choices when they finally ease the tightening of purse strings (e.g., Chris Young), they dither  interminably when it comes to choosing among the players they do have (e.g., the Lucas Duda-Ike Davis drama), they confuse promising youngsters by bringing them up only to bench them in favor of players they previously disparaged (e.g., Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada) or play mediocre veterans (e.g., Eric Young, Chris Young) instead of their very few exciting young players (e.g., Juan Lagares).

Confronting yet another season of misery and frustration, I need to somehow move past anger and despair and get to acceptance.  I need to remind myself that while there have been only two miraculous championship years, smaller miracles happen all the time – even now:  a Lagares catch, a Flores grand slam, a Mejia save, an Abreu double, a deGrom anything.  Being a Met fan is about expecting the worst, which will probably happen, although in ways that are unexpected; but it is also about reveling in these spectacular surprises and moments of beauty that make it all worthwhile.  Om shanti.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Andy Love of Fair and Unbalanced. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: The Mets 8-9-1 Has Been Abysmal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-fan-shot-the-mets-8-9-1-has-been-abysmal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-fan-shot-the-mets-8-9-1-has-been-abysmal.html/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 16:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155047 New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

An MMO Fan Shot by Ryan Flanagan

Agonizingly documented to the point of nauseam, the Mets situation at shortstop is one that has frustrated Met fans to the point of complete and total state of confusion. It’s is well known, well documented, and proven in the stat line that the two-headed SS platoon the Mets have been utilizing is one that boasts AAA or AAAA+ players at-best. While their gloves for the most part are solid, their offensive production is not only bad, it’s virtually nonexistent.

Ruben Tejada and or Omar Quintanilla may be useful as a 25th man on a deep roster. They are not, however, useful as everyday shortstops on a team starved for offense. While things started bad for the Met shortstops, the situation worsened and has completely fallen off a cliff.

The shortstops aren’t the only ones not producing. The pitchers spot in the lineup has been historically bad to-date with Mets pitchers yet to get a single hit five days into May. They are now an MLB record 0-for-54 on the season.

The leadoff spot, prior to Lagares getting his shot, has likewise been void of production. The 8-9-1 turnover in the Met lineup has been as simple as a 1-2-3 inning for the opposition so far this year:

Shortstops:

In the Colorado series, Mets shortstops were an astonishing combined 0-for-18 with 4 strikeouts and 13 men left on base. Against the Marlins the futility continued going 0-for-9. That, my fellow Met fans, is beyond unacceptable. It’s borderline incomprehensible. I’ll go as far as to say it’s nearly offensive. So far this season, the two SS’s are:

  • Tejada: .179 BA, .304 OBP, .509 OPS, 4 R, 6 RBI
  • Quintanilla: .240 BA, .296 OBP, .576 OPS, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • 2014 SS Average: .194 BA, .303 OBP, .526 OPS

It really doesn’t get much worse than that. The issue is further compounded by what follows it in the order.

Pitchers:

Mets pitchers have set a new MLB high (or I guess low) for longest streak of at-bats without getting a hit. Obviously, pitchers are not relied on to be offensive contributors, but man, Mets pitchers haven’t even made things interesting. In fact, they have literally done nothing so far. They are an incredible 0-for-58 through 33 games with an .037 OBP and 3 RBI. The only word that comes to mind is “wow” and in a bad way. It’s indescribable how the Mets haven’t even accidentally had a pitcher get a hit by now. Whatever the reason, the ninth spot in the lineup is a virtual out so far this year.

Leadoff Spot:

The situation doesn’t improve much at the leadoff spot for the Mets either. However, Juan Lagares has shined since getting an opportunity to leadoff. In 28 plate appearances batting leadoff entering today’s game, Lagares is slashing at .407/.429/.474 with six doubles, a triple and a 1.142 OPS.

Terry has an unwavering admiration for Eric Young Jr. that few fans can seem to grasp. Young was back at leadoff duty to start the Miami series last night, even though Lagares had been destroying the ball in that role. But that’s another argument for another day…

EYJ has served as the primary leadoff man for the Mets this season, to a tune of a .216 BA with a .313 OBP, .581 OPS, 22 R and 4 RBI. While he is an absolute machine on the basepaths and is on pace to again steal a ton of bases, getting to first base still remains a huge issue for EY. He also has no ability to drive in runs, which has cost the Mets in many big spots. Prior to Lagares’ recent (and hopefully continued) success in the leadoff spot, the Mets have been getting little to no production from that critical spot in the lineup. Hopefully Terry has the foresight to see Lagares’ usefulness at the top of the order, but I won’t hold my breath.

Three Quick Outs:

The 8-9-1 turnover in the Mets order has been nothing short of a black hole. Averaged together, the 8-9-1 for the Mets this season (outside of pinch hitters) have contributed a combined:

.131 BA – .207 OBP – .337 OPS over 32 games

Essentially 1/3 of the Mets order has been utterly non-responsive. In the end, the Mets needs to improve this situation and fast.

One solution seems logical and that would be keeping Lagares at leadoff over EYJ. That has the potential to completely impact the lineup immediately. As for the pitchers, there may not be a single thing anyone can think of to resolve that issue beyond prayer.

However, when it comes to the shortstop, Stephen Drew is one option who remains available and could certainly provide more spark and give the Mets some proven production at a critical position. Is there any chance the Mets pick up the phone and give Boras a call? Or they can make a call to Wally Backman in Las Vegas and bring up Wilmer Flores who is already on the 40-man roster anyway.

The 8-9-1 has truly been dreadful and suffocating. We need to address this like yesterday.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Ryan Flanagan on May 6th. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: I’ve Run Out Of Time, But It’s Been A Blast http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-ive-run-out-of-time-but-its-been-a-blast.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-ive-run-out-of-time-but-its-been-a-blast.html/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 00:20:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154543 1962 mets

An MMO Fan Shot from Chago

I have been an avid baseball fan since the mid 1940′s a New York (baseball) Giants fan until they moved to San Fransisco . Then spent a few years displaced until 1962 when the New York Mets started playing ball , been a lifer since that time . I’ve seen the good and the bad and recently it seemed really bad again but to my surprise the team is playing well this year , real well . They couldn’t have made an old man happier than they have the last couple of weeks . Unfortunately it seems that I won’t be around to see how it ends . Or how Matz , Montero and Thor among others make their way .

Like we all do at one point or another in this life I have run out of time .Our most precious resource, yet one most of us take it for granted until it’s to late , me included . I have a couple of choices; one to let the doctors have their way with me, but my odds are under 15% and it would not be a cure and keep going proposition just a little extension in time but the trade off would be less quality of life for that extra time. The other is to live out the last month or two that I have left to the fullest.

I choose the latter.

I will be leaving for a fishing excursion deep into the Amazon river basin in a few days for a month and from there straight to the beaches of Phuket , Thailand after that if I am able I will end my time with a trip to Eilat , Israel. All these places I have been to on several occasions over the last 4 decades and are among my favorite places in the world so I figured why not spend my last days there.

Gary Carter

I would like to thank Joe DeCaro for providing us all with such a great Mets haven, and his staff as well especially Teddy Klein (love you brother), David Conde, Tommy Rothman, John Bernhardt and Connor O’Brien.

So many of you have been such fine friends to me: BBLB, Alex68, BailForNails, BarnRat, Benny, Mad Met, MLB GM, Hodges, Salty Gary, Don O’Brien, Damaja, pastline63, knicksjg16, Erin, They call him Mr. Dickey, NY Mammoths, Mets4Lyfe, Anthony, Trevordunn, Henry Johnson, Biggle Boy, Matt Mosher, TPT, Brian D, Met Fan in NC, Colorado Met Fan and Senor Jason.

And then of course are a few that stick out above all the rest El Verdadero Presidente (los veramos en el cielo otra ves amigo), Joey D (take care of MJ and yourself brother you both are shining lights), AlwaysAmazing (goodbye Eileen te amo), Bob Walsh (take that little one to the games my friend enjoy yourself), Mike Lloyd (my brother take good care of yourself we will meet again), the ever present Carlton Krinkle (keep everyone laughing my friend), and Matlack (one of the few people that you can be at opposite ends of the spectrum with and still have a civil enjoyable discussion, my hat is off to you brother).

casey stengel - Copy

It is a very liberating experience knowing you will expire soon. You don’t have to watch what you eat. You can spend like a drunken sailor (sorry Joe D lol) since there really is no tomorrow to save for. And knowing that soon you will be with your maker in a much better place than we are presently, makes for some very interesting thoughts and observations you never had before.

I want to thank each and everyone of you for all the good times and great conversation and laughs I cherish you all and the memories I have of us together.

Goodbye my friends. May God Bless you all.

Now let’s go out there and win this thing THIS YEAR. Root this team right into the World Series. I guarantee i’ll be watching. My favorite coach for decades now has been Jesus and it’s time for him to put me in.

No remorse, no regrets!

Chago

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MMO Fan Shot: Dave Hudgens and The Mets´ Way http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/dave-hudgens-and-the-mets-way.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/dave-hudgens-and-the-mets-way.html/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:20:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154019 sad mets bench

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave in Spain 

Dave Hudgens has been the Mets´ hitting coach since 2011. He and the Mets´ braintrust are proponents of a high- OBP approach, and being patiently aggressive.

Here is the progression of the ranking of Mets OBP in MLB under Hudgens´ tenure:

2011 – 6th
2012 – 20th
2013 – 25th
2014 – 26th (so far)

And here is the progression of OPS:

2011 – 13th
2012 – 23rd
2013 – 29th
2014 – 30th (so far)

I’ve heard the excuse that the Mets players just aren’t that good. The problem is, there are other teams with bad players too, yet the Mets are getting progressively worse in their specific target stats every year.

And now I hear that the brain-trust has invented some new esoteric pitch-per-something stat that they´re trying to apply throughout their system as a benchmark of success.

Writes Anthony DiComo at MLB.com:

Mets players received statistical breakdowns of their 2013 performances centered upon Bases Per Out, an internally developed metric that seeks to measure a player’s overall offensive production. Players with less than three years of service time were told that their BPOs would determine bonuses tacked onto future salary offers. Each base — one for a walk or single, two for a double — would earn them $200 more than what they would otherwise receive. Each out would slice off $100.

When Alderson first became GM, he and his staff made their views on hitting known, but did not enforce them to any great extent. That changed quickly. By last summer, coaches at each Minor League level were actually keeping score of their players through a point system, which had no correlation with traditional statistics. A hitter who worked a favorable count, for example, earned one point. A hitter who swung at a pitch out of the zone, regardless of the result, lost one. …

The only problem is that to date, the club’s offensive approach has not resulted in actual success. The Mets have scored dramatically fewer runs each year under [Sandy] Alderson, [Paul] DePodesta and [Dave] Hudgens, going from 718 in 2011 to 650 in ’12, down to 619 last season.

When will the madness stop?

When is it time to say ¨OK, maybe we were wrong and need a different approach?

I guess there´s one bright side to the declining OBP and OPS progressions: They will stop soon. They can´t go lower than 30th.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave in Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Why Do We Act So Surprised? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-why-do-we-act-so-surprised.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-why-do-we-act-so-surprised.html/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:58:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153315 sad mets bench

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave (FalseHustle)

I’m not going to do any research on the subject, but I’m confident in proclaiming that most of us around these MMO parts projected the Mets to be a 75-80 win team in 2014. Sure, there were some optimists who claimed .500 was within reach, and those blind loyalists who thought that it would only take a coin flip falling the right way for the Mets to land at 90 wins and a wild-card berth, and then, obviously, a World Series championship, because anything can happen in these short playoff series and the Mets pitching staff is solid, and…  But really, most of us understood that the team we are trotting out this year is at best marginally better than the squad that took the field last year. So why, day in and day out, do we act so surprised that they are playing like the 70-80 win team 95% of us predicted they would be?

The losses come horribly. Some of these losses have occurred in the most “Mets” way possible. The bullpen has imploded each and every game. Terry Collins has made multiple tactical blunders. We have had injuries to major players. We have made fielding errors, flailed at pitches out of the zone, looked mismatched in general. But that’s just the Mets, right?! This is what the Mets do.  We love the Mets, but we make fun of them all the time. We make fun of our AAAA starting players, our “fat” shortstop, our clueless manager, our double-talking GM and our greedy owners. We commiserate about the product on the field and commiserate about what must be done behind the scenes to improve the team we can’t help but suffer along with. Maybe it distracts us from the product that we are forced to stomach each and every night, but I believe we complain because it’s the only form of catharsis available to us.

But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this team is truly any worse than we all knew they were going to be. When we were all making our predictions before the season, what did we collectively believe a 75-win team looked like? A 75-win team trots out players who have no business in a major league uniform, just like the Mets do. They scrape the bottom of the barrel for free agents and pick up players off the scrap heap to keep the team afloat, just like the Mets do. They make numerous fielding and batting mistakes, just like the Mets do. They might have a manager who seems completely oblivious to in-game strategy, bungling pitcher/batter matchups and making bizarre roster moves based more on loyalty to veterans than to rookies in an ill-fated attempt to hang onto his job for just one more season, just like the Mets do.

After every game, I come to this site to see what like-minded fans think about the latest Mets’ debacle. And after reading the post-game comments, I’m often baffled. Not at the fact that we, as fans, are fed up. We hate that our team loses so embarrassingly so often, and can’t seem to get their act together, and we hate the ineptitude at seemingly every level, rightly questioning the motivation behind certain moves and the purported “plan” that was supposed to lift us into contention by 2014. I’m baffled because everyone seems so surprised that the Mets are playing the way they do. Why are we surprised when the bullpen blows it?  We never thought the bullpen was any good! Why do we moan and cry that Ike Davis and Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada and EYJ can’t seem to, as they say, hit the broadside of a barn? We never thought any of them were going to be worth anything!  Why are we surprised when Terry bungles simple in-game transitions, when for multiple seasons we have seen him do the same thing day in and day out?

I just don’t get why we are so shocked that the Mets are playing poorly.  I’m not saying to stop rooting for your team to win; of course that’s impossible.  I don’t think we should forgive the Mets’ front-office transgressions either- I think they’ve lied to us to protect themselves, but have done so in such a transparent and smug manner that we can’t help but feel personally betrayed by their every word.  I just think that we need to temper our continued anger at the day in/day out ineptitude of a team that none of us thought would go far.

They won’t lose 100 games, like some posters here now seem to think.  But they sure as hell aren’t going to win 90 games.  Can we at least set that one to rest?  Can we stop “cleverly” joking, “Hey Sandy, only 90 to go! Har har har”?  The guy got caught saying something stupid while trying to placate his clueless bosses.  Because he hasn’t fully delivered on his plans to extricate the Mets from their financial and competitive morass, we think he’s an idiot who is actually trying to make the team worse.  There’s no way Sandy (or, for that matter, David or Terry) thinks the Mets are winning 90 games (well, maybe Terry does; the guy truly is a mystery to me).  Furthermore, deep in our hearts, I don’t believe even one of us here on MMO thought the Mets would win 90.

I’m just trying to understand the lack of perspective.  I get the emotion- I have literally broken a chair and punched a hole through a wall after particularly tough Mets’ losses.  But I suppose I just can’t completely divorce my emotion from the logic of the situation.  This is exactly the sort of team I knew the Mets would field this year, and it’s exactly the sort of team you knew the Mets would field.  Going into each game with that knowledge makes it easier to roll your eyes at the on-field blunders and stay calm when the Mets “unexpectedly” blow another lead or forget to bowl over a catcher or walk in a run or whatever stupid Mets-esque thing they did that day.

Nobody likes watching their team play the way the Mets have, and we have every right to get on them for it.  But can’t we just go into each game knowing that while sometimes things will fall our way, more often than not we are going to play the way Vegas and many of our smart readers think we will play?  We shouldn’t be surprised that they lost all three to the Nationals, and we shouldn’t be surprised if we lose two out of three to the Reds.  This is who the Mets are.  And to quote Dennis Green (if you’ve read this far, you knew it was coming), “they are who we thought they were!”

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave (FalseHustle). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Despite All The Frustration, I’m Excited About Our Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-despite-all-the-frustration-im-excited-about-our-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-despite-all-the-frustration-im-excited-about-our-future.html/#comments Sat, 12 Apr 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153085  mets fans

An MMO Fan Shot by Marc M.

For most Mets fans, the past several years have been extremely frustrating and understandably so, having registered five consecutive losing seasons coming into 2014, following back-to-back epic collapses by the team in 2007 and 2008.

The prospect of a sixth consecutive losing season has been a subject that has stirred much debate on this site and others among Mets fans. After so many frustrating years, and with the same ownership in place that many have had issues with for years, it’s been argued that “our franchise cannot endure a sixth consecutive losing season.”

I disagree with that premise for two simple reasons.

First, while I remain hopeful that the Mets can turn the corner this year, it is just as likely (maybe more so) that we WILL have another losing season this year. And guess what, the team will still be here (and will still be primed for a serious run of success – but more on that later). Second, there are some things that just cannot be rushed. Rarely does anything in life go exactly according to plan, on a precise timetable. There are just too many variables in play. So, the notion that 2014 was the year that the Mets should return to a winning record is fool’s gold.

In baseball, there are so many things that you cannot neatly drop into a firm time table. For instance, (1) the rate at which prospects develop, (2) the availability of the right players at the right contracts in the free agency market in any given year (3) the availability of the right players in the trade market in any given year, and the Mets’ ability to match up with those trade partners. Timetables are useful tools for setting goals, but, to me, it is meaningless to treat them as anything more than loose estimates – it makes little sense to set some arbitrary date by which everything should occur to propel the Mets back into a winning team.

To me, I am concerned only with whether the Mets are heading in the right direction for BOTH short term and long term success.  And I think we are, with the definition of “short term” being intentionally vague as it is simply unknown. Will it be this year? Possibly, but if it’s not, does that change the fact that we have some seriously talented players making their way onto our big league club?

The answer is obviously “no.”

wheeler harvey

 

Our greatest risk is that all these promising young players fail miserably. While possible, the odds are strongly in our favor that not all will fail, and we will have the nucleus of a strong, young team upon which to compete for years to come. Some of these promising layers will certainly fail to live up to expectations. We just don’t know who. But between Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom as starters, you have to feel good that at least two (and very possibly three) will be stalwarts of our rotation for years to come.

The degree of their success is unknown. We could be sitting on three aces, or three mid-rotation starters, or some combination. But when you add in Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia, that is one heckuva nucleus of starting pitchers, with the “spare” parts serving either as trade chips or bullpen pieces (deGrom and possibly Mejia, though I really like Mejia as a starter). And this ignores Steven Matz and Michael Fulmer, either one or both of whom could be our next “breakout” pitchers literally following in the footsteps of Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard/Montero.

We have a boatload of young arms who can finally make our bullpen a strength. It may take a couple of years before some sort out their issues, but we have enough that you have to feel good about them too – guys like Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Gonzalez German, Josh Edgin, Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters, Adam Kolarek (and some more exciting arms behind them like (Rainy Lara, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Mateo, Domingo Tapia, Luis Cessa, Hansel Robles, Matt Koch, Beck Wheeler, Bret Mitchell and Akeel Morris).

We also have some decent positional prospects close to MLB ready (Cesar Puello, Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki) and a few others behind them to really be excited about (Brandon Nimmo, Dom Smith and Amed Rosario) who can fill gaps as well. Presumably, we will be able to trade from our SP strength to fill in any other gaps we may have.

the future

Bottom Line: It is impossible to put a precise timetable on things, but it is hard to argue that things are really looking up for our future – near term and long term. It will not necessarily be linear growth; in fact, it is more likely that we take a sudden leap forward as several players take that next step and begin to put it together.  Perhaps this year; more likely next year.

So, be frustrated at the past, and maybe even a little bit at the present (because Alderson has not been perfect with all his moves by any stretch), but be excited about our future.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Marc M. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Trades, Desperation and Learning to Let Go http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-trades-desperation-and-learning-to-let-go.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-trades-desperation-and-learning-to-let-go.html/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:51:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152581 sandy alderson

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave In Spain

Sometime this season the Mets may be faced with a difficult decision: Faced with dramatically declining attendance and fan outrage (or worse, apathy), do they give up a player who is a top prospect or fan favorite in order to acquire desperately needed improvements or radically re-structure the team? (Willingness to take on extra salary with an acquired player is a subject for another post.) Or do they let the brand continue to languish while waiting for prospects to develop?

Sandy Alderson´s history has been to assign a value to a player and stick with it come hell or high water. Whether it´s Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy, or Stephen Drew on the receiving end, he has so far been unwilling to budge.

But at what point does he say ¨Maybe I misjudged¨ or ¨Maybe it´s time to bend a little for the good of the organization as a whole¨? Or ¨Maybe this player just isn’t the player we thought he was¨.

The Mets have avoided desperation moves so far, but at what point do they bite the bullet and give up more than they feel is appropriate to improve the team or win back the fanbase?

With desperation comes loss of trade leverage– Sandy knows this and so do the other GMs. Other teams smell blood in the water, and salivate at the young pitching the Mets have. This isn´t going to get any better until the Mets start winning, but the Catch-22 is that the Mets might not start winning until they make some tough decisions as far as player acquisitions go.

And as fans, we too will have to learn to let go of a player who might be a personal favorite, like Murphy, Rafael Montero, or Zack Wheeler, if in the objective view a trade improves the team overall.

And we´ll have to recognize that it´s not always the individual players that matter, but how the whole roster is put together and whether that brings us closer to a championship.

You may not think that a player being acquired is worth what you give up, but maybe it´s a necessary deal to move the team forward.

It´s easy to see that something isn’t working with the Mets. The challenge in the end will be having the courage to make the hard decisions to change that dynamic and move the team forward rather than moving the goal posts.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave in Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Should Mets Have Made the Ike Davis for Matt Joyce Trade? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-should-mets-have-made-the-ike-davis-for-matt-joyce-trade.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-fan-shot-should-mets-have-made-the-ike-davis-for-matt-joyce-trade.html/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:20:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152101 matt joyce

An MMO Fan Shot by Adam AKA Schnitzer’s Marble Rye

Should the Mets have traded Ike Davis for Matt Joyce?

After watching a spring training filled with injuries, inconsistency, and still no clear cut answers at the first base position, I’m wondering if Sandy Alderson made a mistake by not pulling the trigger on a Matt Joyce for Ike Davis trade. In November, I read a post on MMO that the Rays had offered Joyce for Davis in an even swap. I then saw in a New York Post article in February that Sandy Alderson rejected a Joyce for Davis deal.

The Mets rejected the offer, and went on to sign OF Chris Young just a few days later to begin the process of improving the outfield (which I actually think could have been an even better signing with Joyce on the roster already..more on that shortly).

First, a quick summarization of the Duda/Davis saga – In a nutshell, Ike as we know can get raging hot, have a great streak or even half, but then OPS in the .500 or .600 range for extended periods of the time (aka the other half of the season). Duda has the lower ceiling, but is less likely to be a complete black hole in the lineup for long periods of time like Ike has often showed to be.

In all likelihood Duda or Davis full time vs. LHP & RHP would give you below average first base production in 2014 and beyond. They have similar splits vs. RHP/LHP, so either way a platoon is suggested. So hopefully Satin can continue to be good vs. LHP.

But it’s possible, dare I say likely, a Duda/Satin platoon in 2014 will give you a .750-800 OPS from the 1B position, and that’s not too bad. With Ike, the likelihood he’s going to at some point eat up a couple of hundred at-bats as a black hole in the lineup, is high. Platoon or not, with Ike I think it’s goodbye reasonably consistent first base production in 2014. Is that something the perceived-to-be offensively challenged Mets can really afford? I think the consensus is if the Mets could’ve got, or could get something decent for Ike, you pull the trigger — if Ike goes on to be an all star somewhere else, you tip your hat to the guy.

So would Matt Joyce have been “something decent” for Ike? Perhaps I’m being swayed by watching Ike flail hideously at breaking balls in today’s last spring training game, but I think so.

Matt Joyce is 29. Ike is 27. Both left-handed hitters. They’re due similar salaries in 2014. Basically, they’re somewhat comparable.

Without doing a detailed statistical analysis of every single player mentioned in this post, I must mention Joyce’s .835 career OPS vs. RHP. (Although they probably wouldn’t have if they traded for Joyce), let’s assume the Mets had still signed Chris Young. CY’s OPS vs. LHP career you ask? .837.

A platoon in RF of Joyce/Young could have been solid, giving you an .830 OPS out of the position. Hell, you could make the argument that trading Ike for Joyce would have been a better move than signing Chris Young at all. The majority of pitchers are right-handed, feeding more into Joyce strength – not CY’s.

If you want to make the argument that CY is a better glove than Joyce, and Citi Field is spacious and demands rangy outfielders, I get it. To be honest, I’m not all that familiar with Joyce’s defensive abilities. But if he’s been a major league outfielder for 6+ years, I’m guessing he’s a serviceable fielder at the very least. And besides, look at where the Mets are now, it’s March 29th, and they’re considering Lucas Duda in the outfield again.

But to wrap up the proposal of a possible Chris Young/Matt Joyce RF platoon, it could work. Because platoons work, with the right players who actually compliment their individual strengths. If Young is assumed to be a better fielder than Joyce, he becomes a defensive replacement late in games as well. And while I like Andrew Brown to a degree, I think CY off the bench is a better righthanded option.

The Oakland A’s have often used platoons and have been a much more successful team than the Mets have been in recent years for sure. I mean, even last year with CY having his worst season ever pretty much, the A’s still figured out a way to win 90+ games by using him in a platoon/part time situation.

Trading Ike could have put Duda at some ease as well. I know it wouldn’t be the popular choice to announce to the fans that Duda/Satin are are going to be our first basemen in 2014, but at least we could’ve avoided this embarrassing first base “competition.”

I’m no psychiatrist, but I’d probably say it would have been a good thing to tell Duda early on, “You’re our first baseman, at least vs. RHP.” Duda, while not perceived an amazing hitter by any means, still OPS’d .818 vs RHP over the last 3 seasons, and is .812 career vs. RHP in almost 1,000 career AB’s, a decent-sized sample size.

I’m generally an Alderson supporter, and tend to take the perspective that his biggest challenge is being handcuffed financially, but what do you guys think, did he make a mistake by not pulling the trigger on Ike Davis for Matt Joyce when he had the chance?

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Adam AKA Schnitzer’s Marble Rye. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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MMO Fan Shot: Can We Stop Being So Afraid for Matt Harvey Please? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-fan-shot-can-we-stop-being-so-afraid-for-matt-harvey-please.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-fan-shot-can-we-stop-being-so-afraid-for-matt-harvey-please.html/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 16:46:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151192 matt harvey i got this

A MMO Fan Shot by Salty Gary

Hi Mets fans, can we have a little discussion about our “Dark Night” Matt Harvey? The Mets’ front office and many fans alike don’t want Matt Harvey to be a headline this season. We generally agree that we should focus the discussion on the team that takes the field this season and their performance.

My question is what is driving the latest Matt Harvey storyline? Is it Harvey’s ego or is it our own paranoia? Are we the ones creating the headlines about Matt Harvey because we are afraid of losing him to SOMETHING? Oh no, not something! Something always does something! I hate something!

Do we manifest these fears because we relate them to the past behavior of previous Mets players?

As Mets fans we have become so accustomed to drama and turmoil and devastating news – driven in part by the exploits of the last few seasons. It’s as if we now expect something bad to occur. And sometimes we even need it to occur. After all, what else is there to talk about… winning?

While following the Mets has taken on all the allure of a TMZ driven franchise, is it because we want it that way? Because truth be told, it does not have to be that way.

Let’s look at some of the public off-the-field actions that have emblazoned Harvey in the headlines and the gossip columns:

  • Matt Harvey likes to go to hockey games and has been seen at games with fellow teammate Daniel Murphy whose favorite type of music is Christian Rock, and has stated that if he wasn’t playing baseball he would be a Christian Minister.
  • Matt Harvey scored himself a hot supermodel girlfriend for the year and got to travel the globe with her during the offseason.
  • Matt Harvey did a Jimmy Fallon appearance.
  • Matt Harvey loves Qualcomm so much that he called into the Dan Patrick Show and promoted them a bit too much… Okay, a bit too, too much.
  • Matt Harvey takes care of his body so well that ESPN the magazine selected him to be featured nude in their annual “Body Issue” last year.

What an ego on the guy, is he kidding me?

Harvey is evidently out of control, how can he possibly manage that kind of work-life balance? That kind of an ego can only lead to one thing – his downfall. Or maybe not… I remember other Mets doing these same kinds of things and somehow it didn’t ruin their focus or their on-field performance. In fact, quite the contrary.

dickey

Remember when R.A. Dickey did appearances with David Letterman, and the CBS Morning Show? Remember when he told the Mets brass that he was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and there was nothing they could do to stop him. Jeez, the ego on that guy.

reyes body issue

And how about Jose Reyes? He may be the one who paved the way for Matt Harvey. That ego-maniac posed nude for the ESPN body issue too, remember? And who can forget his annoying dancing on the field after scoring a run?

Those actions negatively impacted the performance of these players so much so, that Dickey ended up winning a Cy Young award. And that Reyes guy… Well he ended up winning the NL batting title.

Of course, there are also the real tragedies of some of our Mets stars like Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Coming up so quick and so promising they indulged and succumbed to their fame and it ultimately took away their greatest gift.

Matt Harvey is none of these people that I detailed. He can go on to do media tours and thrive or he can get caught up in his own fame and burn away. Whatever path he takes, our fear of the unknown is not going to change anything.

It is up to Harvey and the people around him to keep our injured ace focused on the primary goal at hand, which is to be a successful ballplayer and help this team win a title. It’s for this reason that I have no worries or reservations about him rehabilitating himself in New York. I actually encourage it.

If he was to rehabilitate at Port St. Lucie, he will be undoubtedly be surrounded by trainers that will help him in his process to get back on the field. However, he does have to leave the facility at the end of the day, and that is why I am empathetic to why he would rather be in New York. He’s a young guy and it’s irrational to expect him to stay cooped up in his St. Lucie apartment waiting to go back into rehab the next day. In Florida he will be away from his friends and family and there are only so many movies he can watch for five or six months. The last thing that I want to see is him pushing his rehab to get home sooner.

If he was to rehab in New York, Harvey would have access to some of the greatest trainers in America. He also grew up in New London, Connecticut which is about a 1.5 hour drive from Manhattan. Being in a familiar area, close to friends and family is exactly the type of environment we should want him in. Having him comfortable with support systems around, will keep him mentally in tune so he can focus his energy on his physical side. Just because it’s standard practice for all players to stay in Florida to rehabilitate, it doesn’t mean it’s the right policy for all players. That’s probably why the CBA gives all players the right to choose their rehab venue.

In Matt Harvey’s case, I believe being with his teammates, family and friends is the right way to go even if it’s not the way the Mets typically handle their rehabs. Make the exception, keep morale high, and be unafraid to think outside the box. Set aside any fears.

Mets fans we cannot put Matt Harvey in a cage and just yell out “Bring out the Gimp” every fifth day. That won’t keep him from doing what he wants. As fans we need to support him and stop being so afraid of what he is doing. Let the young man have some fun and promote himself if that’s a part of the fun for him. Only Harvey can control the excess around him and so far he is handling it like a professional.

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This Fan Shot was contributed by Salty Gary.. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to us at FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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