Mets Merized Online » Joe D Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:12:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Latest Buzz: Angels and Royals Not Hot For Colon Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:20:49 +0000 bartolo colon

The latest on the Bartolo Colon front comes from Andy Martino of the Daily News. Sources tell him that the Angels and Royals both considered trying to trade for the veteran righy, but felt the cost in prospects and salary were too much.

Neither team is hot for Colon and overall interest in him seems to be waning.

Colon cleared waivers on Monday and can be traded to any team. However teams are apparently leery about taking on Bartolo Colon’s $11 million salary for 2015.

The Mets would have to kick in some money to facilitate any deal, but it appears more likely they’ll deal Colon in the offseason.

An executive from a team that was interested in Colon told Martino, “Everyone is scared of next year.”

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the Angels would be up against the $189 million luxury-tax threshold if they were to take on Colon’s salary for 2015, leaving them virtually no flexibility to pursue another free-agent next winter. 

The Mets have five days left to complete a deal. After August 31, Colon would be ineligible for a postseason roster, making him a lot less attractive to contenders.

As I’ve been maintaining all along, I still don’t see Colon being dealt until the offseason, if they deal him at all. I’m still not convinced they don’t hang onto Colon as a hedge against Harvey returning at full strength. That was WHY Alderson gave Colon that second guaranteed year in the first place

At least we now know that no team was willing to take on Colon and his salary even if it cost them no players in return. That speaks volumes…

August 24

Buster Olney of ESPN Insider touches on what I said yesterday:

“For the Angels to have a shot at Colon on waivers, he would have to pass through the entire National League without any team placing a claim — and the Dodgers would be a candidate to take a shot at him, given their injuries — and all the way through every other AL team, including the New York Yankees, who have been placing a lot of claims to block.”

Olney says that Colon could be auditioning for the Dodgers in his start against them on Sunday.

Also, a rival executive told Olney that the Mets would be ecstatic if a team claims Colon because they have a small-market payroll and need the financial flexibility. 

Finally, the San Francisco Giants may also be a strong suitor for Colon as Tim Lincecum is dangerously close to being removed from the rotation.

This is starting to get very interesting.

August 23

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Mets have placed Bartolo Colon on revocable waivers.

If Colon is claimed, the Mets can pull him back and be unable to trade him, work out a trade with the claiming team, or dump the $11 million contract for 2015 on the claiming club.

If Colon is claimed, the two teams have 48.5 hours to work out a trade.

He must pass through 28 teams before the Los Angeles Angels could get a crack at him, Rosenthal adds.

One team who could block the Angels are their division rivals, the Oakland A’s, who are one game behind them for first place in the AL West.

Lets see, the Dodgers, Mariners and Yankees may all have varying degrees of interest, and they each have better farm systems than the Angels….

Fasten your seat belts everybody…


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Alderson On Mets Staying Put In Las Vegas Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:58:27 +0000 cashman-field-vegas

With the Rochester Red Wings officially renewing their agreement with the Minnesota Twins in the International League, the Mets are officially stuck with Las Vegas as their Triple-A affiliate through the 2016 season.

“We’ve been happy in Las Vegas,” Sandy Alderson said Tuesday afternoon. “Some of the distance issues and so forth notwithstanding, we really have had a good relationship there. We haven’t had a lot of problems getting players here or wherever we may be because of the frequency of flights. So there are some positives there.”

Translation: This sucks, but I can’t force affiliates closer to home to like Jeff Wilpon.

August 25

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporter Todd Dewey of the Review Journal, that the Mets are likely to keep their Triple-A team in Las Vegas for two more seasons.

“That’s a very strong possibility,” Alderson said. “We have a great relationship with the 51s organization. I’ve known team president Don Logan a long time, and he runs an excellent operation.”

I’ve got a real good feeling we’re going to be back,” 51s manager Wally Backman added. “I don’t know that for sure, but I think we’ll be back.”

The Mets will probably sign another two-year player development contract with the Triple-A affiliate, according to Alderson.

The Mets moved their Triple-A team to Las Vegas beginning in the 2013 season after Buffalo decided not to renew their agreement with the Mets.

Lets face it, Las Vegas is the armpit of all minor league affiliates and no team wants to be there. The problem is that none of the other affiliates are reaching out to the Mets either, and I’m told by two excellent sources that it’s because they don’t want to work with Jeff Wilpon who was the leading factor as to why Norfolk cut ties with us as well.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Braves 2 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:09:22 +0000 juan lagares

Here’s a quick recap. The good news is that the Mets opened their homestand with a well-played 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves tonight at Citi Field.

Here’s the scoop:

Dillon Gee had his best start since the All Star break, holding the Braves to two runs in 6.2 innings of work while scattering six hits. He improves to 5-7 with a 3.77 ERA.

Juan Lagares had a huge game on defense with five spectacular catches and then he continued his recent hot streak at the plate going 2-for-3 including a huge two-run homer – his second in three games. This kid keeps getting better and better.

The Mets also got a two hit game from catcher Travis d’Arnaud who doubled and also scored a pair of runs. The beat goes on for TDA.

Jeurys Familia picked up his 14th hold with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. His ERA is now down to 1.93 for the season. This man is fearless…

Jenrry Mejia saved his 19th game of the season. Hey we won, cheer up!

Up next: Zack Wheeler (9-8, 3.48) will get the nod on Wednesday night against the Braves’ Julio Teheran (12-9, 2.96). Should be a nice matchup. First pitch is at 7:10 PM. Be there!

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Giancarlo Stanton: Five Months Doesn’t Change Five Years Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:56:42 +0000 Giancarlo-Stanton-Marlins1

Last week when I floated that Giancarlo Stanton is not a sure bet to sign an extension with the Miami Marlins and could still become available, I got an earful from a contingent who said, “he’s not going anywhere.”

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, shared an exchange with Stanton, who was asked if the recent uptrend of the team made him more apt to signing an extension.

He raised his eyes and said, “Five months doesn’t change five years.”

Stanton, 24, who can be a free agent in two years, is looking like the odds on favorite to become the National League’s MVP. He is batting .299/.407/.564 with 28 doubles, 33 home runs and 97 RBI with 84 runs scored and ten stolen bases.

There has been buzz that the Marlins would pull all the stops to sign Stanton to a long-term contract, but Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports remains steadfast that the Marlins will not be able to afford him.

“I’m not taking it back — I still don’t think Stanton will sign long term with the Marlins, and I don’t think owner Jeffrey Loria will cough up the necessary $200 million-plus to make such a deal happen.”

Stanton loves Miami, but doesn’t trust the Marlins ownership. He does not want to make a longterm commitment to a team he believes could make him waste the best years of his career for an ownership who is not committed to winning.

“We’re definitely in a positive direction. But we have a month to go to make the playoffs. There’s still a long ways to go to be in the same conversation with the best of the best,” he said. “I’m hungry for that.”

I think the Marlins are wasting their time trying to sign Stanton to an extension. As much as money he wants to be a part of a winning culture and a perennial playoff contender.

The Marlins will ultimately trade Stanton, if not this offseason then certainly by the next one.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Mets could jump in and land him. Stanton has seen the Mets up close and personal these last five years and like all players knows full well that the Mets have their own set of financial issues.

Additionally, who actually believes the Mets are capable of committing $60-65 million a year to three players? They are hard-pressed to even afford Daniel Murphy at $8 million and are now desperate to move Bartolo Colon just to get some financial breathing room from an already bottom-five payroll.

The Mets definitely have the prospects to get Stanton, but unfortunately they lack the commitment, the creativity, and the dollars to make it happen.

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Reynolds and Plawecki Unlikely to Join Mets, Syndergaard Still Being Debated Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:48:20 +0000 matt reynoldsAccording to a report by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, while the Mets have yet to make an official announcement, it appears that catcher Kevin Plawecki and middle infielder Matt Reynolds will be not promoted to the major league roster on September 1.

Team insiders told Rubin that neither player needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, and with the Mets needing to protect several players before the offseason, this is why neither Plawecki or Reynolds will join the Mets after Las Vegas completes its playoff run.

The team is also discussing whether Noah Syndergaard gets a September call-up, a source said. Syndergaard needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter. However the argument against the promotion centers on “not rewarding Syndergaard for an uneven season.” He currently has a 4.85 ERA and 1.504 WHIP at Triple-A.

While I never expected to see Plawecki this season, I was hoping the Mets would give Reynolds a look if only to give a little clarity to a very cloudy situation at shortstop.

Through 120 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, Reynolds is hitting .347/.411/.457 with an .868 OPS. Over his last ten games for Vegas, the 2012 second rounder is batting .422 with two home runs, eight RBI and ten runs scored.

I think it would be in the Mets’ best interest to get Reynolds up here on September 1st, if only to see if his performance can translate to the majors, but it looks like that won’t happen.

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Collins Ready to Move Wright Out of the Three Spot Tue, 26 Aug 2014 01:45:09 +0000 david wright 2

Marc Carig of Newsday writes that for the first time in his career, Wright has statistically slipped into the realm of a below-average major-leaguer.

Additionally, with Wright locked in his slump, manger Terry Collins is finally ready to consider removing his struggling star out of the number three spot in the batting order – a move he’s resisted vehemently at times throughout the last two months.

“There’s not a segment of this team that isn’t talked about everyday, not a segment, who to play, and when to play. where to hit him, who should be hitting behind him, in front of him. Not a segment.”

Carig points out that hitting in the third spot, Wright leads the Mets with 310 RBI opportunities. But because he hasn’t hit for power, Wright has knocked in only 56 runs, 20 behind team leader Lucas Duda.

He also reports that Collins has explored moving Daniel Murphy into the third spot, with Wright changing places and hitting second for the first time since 2010. The drawback, however, is that Murphy and cleanup hitter Duda would be stacked back to back.

Keith Hernandez said something worth noting during the weekend.

“They keep calling this a slump. A slump can last two weeks, a month even. This isn’t a slump. You know what this is.”

Wright was pulled from Sunday’s game in the third inning with a muscle spasm on the right side of his neck. However, ESPN New York reports that Wright doesn’t expect to miss Tuesday’s series opener at Citi Field against Atlanta.

Look, you all know my thoughts on this.

Believe me I’m not pounding my chest. This sucks. I’m not happy about this, but you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s a couple of months too late, but whatever.

With less pressure to perform maybe something clicks for Wright.

That’s the hope.

August 24 – Get Wright Out of the Third Spot for His Sake and the Team

A month ago I took some flack when I suggested it was high time for the Mets to get David Wright out of the number three spot because he was suffocating the offense and desperately needed to work things out with his his swing and his mental approach in a less critical spot in the batting order.

Back then I worked up a chart illustrating just how poorly he was doing compared to other No. 3 hitters in the majors:

mlb number 3 hitters 250

I’m sorry to report that things have only deteriorated in the weeks following, and Wright now ranks 30th or worse in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS which now stands at .698 for the season.

Things have gotten so bad that in last night’s 7-4 defeat, the Dodgers walked Daniel Murphy to put two men on base so that they could pitch to David Wright and snuff out a potential Mets rally.

Predictably, Wright proceeded to strike out, swinging wildly at three pitches including an 89 mph fastball that he was late on.

For the night, Wright finished 0-for-5 with two double plays and two strikeouts while leaving six runners stranded on base.

“When you go up there and you have a chance to impact the game in a positive way and you don’t get it done, it’s tough,” Wright said. “I have to find a way to get it done. No sense in hanging your head.”

Already on pace to post career lows in just about every major offensive category including on-base percentage, slugging and OPS, he continues to be hung out to dry batting third and snuffing out one scoring opportunity after another.

As I said last month, I’m not going to delve into the reasons behind Wright’s problems this season, is it age-related, is it his shoulder. is it Citi Field, is he suffering from a lack of protection… Nobody really knows…

But the fact remains that this team can no longer support such futility from the most important spot in the lineup. 

The third spot in the lineup is the most critical as far as directly impacting offensive results, more so than any other spot in the lineup. The three spot is the linchpin and what the rest of the lineup feeds off of.

We build such emotional connections with our favorite stars that sometimes we blind ourselves to deciphering results and we develop an unwillingness to change something we’ve become so accustomed to – in this case seeing Wright penciled into the three spot.

The problem with Wright now extends beyond his numbers. The eyeball-test, as Keith Hernandez calls it, shows a ongoing pattern of Wright no longer driving the ball as he once did and that is what accounts for his precipitous drop in run production.

After the game, a dejected Wright himself admitted what I’ve been saying all along on this matter.

“The other team can probably see that I don’t feel very good at the plate.”

That’s absolutely right, and last night you saw a perfect example of how rapidly things have deteriorated. When a team puts the tying runs on base, late in the game, so that they could face your team’s number three hitter, then it’s time for a new number three hitter.

“This is no fun. I’m not having any fun,” Wright says. “The team isn’t having any fun,” Wright said. “I want to get back to consistently feeling comfortable and feeling dangerous at the plate. Right now that’s not there.”

Again… This may come off as an indictment on David Wright, but it’s not. It’s about constructing a better lineup and scoring more runs. 

Unfortunately, manager Terry Collins is as stubborn and pig-headed as always, so don’t expect this situation to improve anytime soon. He even shot down a suggestion to give Wright a much-needed day off to try and get him straightened out.

“I don’t think the stars need days off. I think the stars realize they have to figure it out on the field and gotta get it done. He is the leader on this team. We need him out there.”

Wow… Just wow…

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Looks Like Syndergaard Will Not Be Called Up In September Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:45:46 +0000 noah syndergaard

On Friday night, Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, in six innings of work for Triple-A Las Vegas.

It now appears more and more likely that Syndergaard will not pitch in the majors in 2014.

“The results are just not there,” a Mets source told the Daily News on Friday. “We know he’s talented, but we just aren’t seeing the results yet. He’s young and it shows.”

Syndergaard has a 4.85 ERA in 24 starts for Las Vegas this season and has often claimed that he needs to become more consistent before he could confidently say he was ready to pitch in the big leagues.

Two weeks ago, pitching coach Frank Viola suggested that the Mets leave the 21-year old at Triple-A where he can continue developing as a pitcher. He believed that promoting him before he was mentally and physically ready can end up backfiring at a critical stage in a young pitcher’s development.

Additionally, Syndergaard has already has logged 124.1 innings – seven innings more than last season despite two separate stints on the disabled list including once for a strained forearm.

Terry Collins had this to say on Saturday. “He’s got to be a little more consistent. He’s had some good games. He’s had some rough games.”

Look… As I’ve maintained all season long, there really is no need to rush Syndergaard at this stage of the game.

However, I do find it appalling that so many people, including Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, believe Syndergaard should be promoted simply because it would be exciting for the fans.


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Mets Notes: Montero Optioned, DeGrom Returns To The Hill, A Six-Man Rotation Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:09:57 +0000 New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets optioned RHP Rafael Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas following last night’s game to make room for Jacob deGrom who will be activated in time for his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight.

DeGrom says he is pain-free and is looking forward to pitching through the end of the season. He was 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA when he was shut down with discomfort in his right shoulder.

“I’ve never played this long,” deGrom said. “So playing all the way into September is very important.”

The rookie right-hander will be allowed to throw roughly 40 more innings or 6-7 starts over the season’s final six weeks to reach a soft 185 innings cap. He will likely be limited to 100 pitches tonight.

DeGrom has emerged as a mainstay in the rotation, surpassing both Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard who were both expected to be fixtures in the rotation and ahead of deGrom last Spring.

“He’s been a huge part of our starting staff. This guy’s gotta be a candidate for rookie of the year with the job he’s done, with the numbers he’s put up,” manager Terry Collins told reporters.

There’s also a good chance that the Mets go to a six-man rotation once rosters expand. It should help keep Zack Wheeler and deGrom pitching straight through the end.

“If we do bring another starter up and we do go to a sixth man, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Collins said. “As long as we don’t have to skip him, as long as we don’t have to not pitch him, even if it’s every sixth day instead of every fifth day, he’ll still get through that last month and that will help him.”

I’m totally looking forward to tonight’s game and seeing deGrom on the mound again. He’s been one of the bright spots for me this season.

Okay it’s 11 AM and I’ve churned out 3,000 words already this morning, and I still haven’t had any coffee. Later…

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Would Angels Part With Kole Calhoun or C.J. Cron To Get That Arm? Sat, 23 Aug 2014 14:20:18 +0000 kole calhoun

Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times shared some insight on all the Bartolo Colon to the Los Angeles Angels buzz from a west coast perspective:

In order to fill Richards’ spot in the rotation, the Angels could consider two New York Mets pitchers — Jon Niese (7-8, 3.50), who reportedly has cleared waivers, and Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85). According to the ERA+ statistic, Niese is a league-average pitcher, Colon a below-average pitcher.

Colon, 41, is owed $12.5 million through 2015. Niese, 27, is owed $18 million through 2016.

The Mets could let Colon go on waivers, sticking the Angels with the entire $12.5 million bill. Of course, since every other team knows the Angels need a starter, all it would take is one team to claim him and block the Angels from getting him.

The Oakland Athletics probably would want to keep Colon out of Anaheim — and, by having the best record in the American League, the Angels get last priority in claiming National League players.

Colon was activated from the bereavement list on Friday, fueling speculation that the Mets may try to sneak him through waivers with a week left until time runs out.

The better question is why didn’t the Mets place Colon on waivers in early August like most everyone else? What did they gain by holding off?

One other thing to ponder is Jon Niese… If he already cleared waivers, maybe he’s the one the Mets should trade?

Reportedly, the Angels are willing to swap major league pieces for a starting pitcher so it wouldn’t have to be for a prospect package. And lets face it, the Angels have nothing in their minor league system that would appeal to the Mets. Their cupboard is bare.

Better yet, Curtis Granderson has also passed through waivers. How about we unload him and Niese on the Angels and walk away with right fielder Kole Calhoun?

I really love the 26-year old Calhoun and he has a nice lefthanded power stroke. In 356 at-bats this season, he’s batting .289/.344/.478 with 24 doubles and 13 home runs. He’s also scored 65 runs, driven in 43, and has been very adept on the basepaths and in the field.

I’m sure the Angels would prefer to hang onto Calhoun, but these are desperate times for the Angels and their roster isn’t getting any younger.

24-year old first baseman C.J. Cron is another option. The former 2011 first-rounder also has a big power stroke but swings righthanded. He’d be a nice compliment for Lucas Duda at first. He tore right through the Angels system and is holding his own this season, batting .266/.296/.462 in 199 at-bats. He still has time to grow, but he certainly looks like he belongs.

The point is that the Mets have options here, and everything doesn’t have to hinge on Colon passing through waivers.

If you could unload Granderson and Niese and come away with Calhoun, and then trade Colon in the offseason, it’s like getting a do-over.

Not only do we clear $65 million in payroll, but we head into the offseason with Calhoun entrenched in RF and a whole bunch of cash to address shortstop and left field.

I’m pretty sure that neither Calhoun or Cron have passed through waivers, so if this was doable most likely the Mets would have to wait until after the season to reap their rewards.

It’s certainly something to ponder… And you know me… I love to ponder…

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Will We See Matt Reynolds In September? Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:21:25 +0000 I couldn’t help paying a little extra attention last night when Gary Cohen brought up the subject of shortstop after Wilmer Flores committed his second error of the game which led to three unearned Dodgers runs. What struck me as odd was when he downplayed the Mets promoting Matt Reynolds because he isn’t on the 40 man roster and that the Mets will likely need those spots to address other players they don’t want to risk losing in the Rule 5 Draft.

I completely get what Cohen was referring to, and you know what, to a certain extent he’s actually right. However the Mets will have until late November to lock in that 40 man roster, and for the time being their bigger priority is sorting out this current problem at shortstop.

wilmer floresLook, I’m not going to sit here this morning and pile on Wilmer Flores because he had a bad night in the field. Defensively, he’s shown off a solid arm and despite poor lateral range, he’s even made an occasional spectacular play.

But I think it’s very clear now that his future does not lie at shortstop. He simply does not possess the instincts that the position demands and you end up holding your breath everytime a ball is hit in his direction.

Hey look, I was one of those who wanted to see what Flores could do with some extended playing time at short, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s happening here. The experts were right, Flores is not a shortstop.

The other thing is Flores’ bat… Where is it? This was his time to show the Mets what he could do and by and large he’s been invisible. What’s concerning to me is that even in those few instances when he gets full extension and hits the ball hard and right on the sweet spot there’s no real power. His line drives frequently fall to the ground like dead quails. He rarely lifts anything past the warning track an there’s absolutely no power or momentum being generated from his lower body. He just stands there at the plate and waves at the ball – he’s all arms.

Anyway, enough on Flores.

matt reynoldsLast night Matt Reynolds continued his torrid pace at the plate going 4-for-4 with a walk to raise his average to .349 for the season. He doubled and stole third base for his 15th swipe of the season.

Through 117 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, Reynolds is hitting .352/.417/.465 with an .882 OPS. Over his last ten games for Vegas, the 2012 second rounder is batting .422 with two home runs, eight RBI and ten runs scored. 

I think it would be in the Mets’ best interest to get Reynolds up here on September 1st, if only to see if his performance can translate to the majors.

As we enter another offseason of uncertainty – particularly at the shortstop position – it’s imperative that we examine all of our options now, so that we can have as much information as possible before determining how we’ll proceed in 2015.

There’s no telling if Reynolds can continue to rake as he has at this level, but we have nothing to lose in bringing him up and giving this team a charge that it so desperately needs. My hunch is that Reynolds will impress both with his bat and his glove.

“I’m not going to wow you with my power, I’m not going to wow you with my speed,” he said. “But I guarantee that I’ll give it 100 percent and play the game right and play the game hard.”

There’s a lot of Wally Backman in this kid. He’s just as fiery and he can be a catalyst at times. I believe he deserves a shot and that he should be among the players that get called up when rosters expand next weekend.

ATTENTION: MMO is looking to revamp their minor league team. If you love covering the Mets minors and following our prospects, contact me at We’re also looking for a new senior editor to lead our minor league division, someone with a heavy statistical point of view, who enjoys analysis, and is an experienced writer. If you’re passionate about the Mets minor leagues and enjoy writing, drop me a line.

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Justin Turner Was On A Mission Last Night Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:30:55 +0000 justin turner

Dodgers utility man Justin Turner put on a heck of show last night, seemingly doing everything he could to beat his old teammates.

Turner turned two key double plays against the Mets, and was no slouch at the plate singling, doubling, drawing a walk and scoring a run. Turner also stole a base and nearly scored another run if not for a botched suicide squeeze by Dan Haren who failed to get down the bunt.

Always a high energy player, Turner is having a great season for the Dodgers in his utility role, batting .319 for the season with a .398 on-base and .826 OPS.

He’s also excelling as a pinch hitter, batting .409 with nine pinch-hits to lead the NL. He also has four game-winning hits for the Dodgers including a game winning home run against the Padres on Thursday night..

Before the game, Terry Collins had lots of praise for Turner. “He can hit,” Collins said with some enthusiasm. “Always could hit. He’s not the flashiest of the flashy, but he can walk up in any situation and hit.”

Turner was non-tendered by the Mets despite batting .280 in 214 plate appearances for them in 2013. The Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal and after a great Spring, won himself a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Gary Cohen said during the broadcast that letting Turner go was a bad decision that’s only been magnified given the poor results off the Mets bench this season.

“He was always ready for whatever we needed him for,” Collins said. “Play left field one day, third base, second base, whatever. It’s been a good situation with him over there [with the Dodgers].”

I was always a big Turner fan and loved the enthusiasm he had for the game and the fun he had on the field which was always refreshing to see.

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Red Sox and Rusney Castillo Agree To $72 Million Deal Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:22:08 +0000 Cuban Rusney Castillo arrives safely in

Ken Rosenthal of FOX reporting that Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo has agreed to sign with the Boston Red Sox for a record six-year, $72 million dollar contract.

Congratulations to the Red Sox who by all accounts have gotten themselves a very high-impact player who seems to have chosen a park perfectly suited for his skill set.

The Mets were just bystanders on this one so nobody expected them to swoop in and grab him despite needing help in the corner outfield and shortstop position, both of which Castillo plays.

General manager Sandy Alderson indicated to Mike Puma of the New York Post, that the money it will take to sign Castillo is not the issue.

“I think it’s a matter of there might be some scouting differences of opinion, and kind of where we are and what we’re going to do in the immediate future, so there are lots of issues involved,” Alderson said.

Alderson said basically the same thing about previous Cuban free agents, casting doubt on the majority of glowing scouting reports.

I believe it’s just his way of deflecting from the real issue which is that the Mets don’t have the financial wherewithal to invest in any of these amazing talents that are making their way from Cuba to the major leagues.

August 18

George A. King of the New York Post reports that after speaking to major league teams who are interested in signing free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo, most teams believe that the Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to land the Cuban phenom.

King says that it’s not unanimous, but it clearly shows a shift in momentum that had previously been with the New York Yankees.

Castillo is now narrowing down his offers, and while there’s no timetable for him to choose his team, a final decision could come soon. Sources have told King that the contractual guarantee will likely fall in the $40-55 million dollar range.

I’d still be very surprised if Castillo lands anywhere besides the Bronx, but after hearing Ruben Amaro Jr. speak last week, he clearly expressed a need for a young offensive bat for his outfield, and Castillo certainly sounds like he could fill that need.

The Mets have shown no interest in Castillo, other than a token appearance at his first public showcase.

The gifted 26 year old athlete is often compared to Ron Gant who finished his 16 year career with a .803 OPS and averaged about 30 homers, 20 stolen bases, 100 runs and 90 RBI per 162 games.

The Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Marlins, Astros, Yankees, Angels and Phillies are among the teams that are expected to be in the hunt for the young phenom’s services.

The Mets did attend the initial showcase, but never showed any real interest in Castillo – a sign that the team is still not ready to engage other teams in a bidding war – even one which won’t exceed $60 million according to most experts.

I thought this was cool comment by Long Suffering Fan who wrote:

I know this is a pipe dream, but…


1. He is only 26, so unlike the other free agents, Castillo will still be relatively young in year five or six of his contract.

2. He is not going to cost the Mets a first or second round draft pick, because he’s not coming off another team’s roster.

3. He can hit the cover off the ball, unlike any current Met, current prospect, or the current free agent class, and boy do we need a consistent hitter in the middle of the lineup..

4. He will permanently resolve our remaining corner outfield issue, leaving captain Kirk and MDD to fill out a strong outfield bench.

5. He will not cost quite as much as a free-agent veteran, because he brings no major league experience.

6. He won’t cost us any of our best prospects, best pitchers, or and player for that matter. We can continue to nurture our minor league talent that will be the future foundation of this team.

7. With Chris Young gone and possibly a Colon salary dump, the Mets can sign Castillo for around $10-$12 million a year and still have plenty left over for other Free Agents.

8. Wilpon has claimed that, with the Madoff mess cleared up, he is going to let Sandy Alderson spend some money. Here’s the chance to prove it.

9. It would really suck if the Yankees, Cubs, or Phillies sign Castillo, and he hits .300 with 20 HR and 90 RBI next season.

10. We’re not going to find another corner OF who can hit like him, so you might as well spend the money and make this team a winner.

11. There are no guarantees that anybody will succeed in New York (we’ve seen all the mistakes) so you might as well sign the guy with the highest ceiling AND who will cost the least.

12. Everything else that the Met’s have tried (for the past 10 years) has failed, so why not go out and try signing one of these Cuban stars? I hereby nominate Rusney Castillo as the Mets Opening Day left fielder in 2015.

Nice job… Another great nugget from the MMO community…

Unfortunately, the Mets are still in dire straits and they don’t have the gumption or the money to swing a deal like this. They’ll be on the sidelines just as they were for the last 4-5 Cuban signings while the big boys fight this one out.

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Difficult to See How Mets and Cubs Match Up For Trade Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:27:22 +0000 starlin castro

“It’s hard to see how we would actually match up,” a team official told Andy Martino of the Daily News when asked if the Cubs were ideal trade partners for the Mets..

The problem is that neither team is eager to part with its top prospects, and both would require a major haul to do so. In other words, the Mets will likely find the Cubs’ prices too high, and vice-versa.

Martino provides two examples:

1. The Mets might consider parting with Noah Syndergaard for shortstop prospect Addison Russell. That’s great, but we’re told that the Cubs would almost certainly want another top prospect. The Mets would consider that too steep. No deal.

2. The Mets consider Zack Wheeler, plus a “sweetener” like Wilmer Flores, a reasonable price for Starlin Castro. That does not mean that the Mets would definitely make that deal, just that they wouldn’t consider the request inappropriate. But guess what? The Cubs would say, “Ok, Wheeler and Flores. That’s a decent start. What else will you give us? Maybe Jacob deGrom? Syndergaard?”

One more important factor to note is that the Cubs are ready to spend significant money on pitching, so they don’t need to sacrifice any prospects.

The Mets on the other hand have no such luxury. Last offseason the Mets said they were ready to spend and instead cut payroll by another $10 million from the previous season.

Look, I believe the Mets are two significant pieces away from making some real noise in the NL East for the rest of this decade. However I have no faith that we have the dollars or commitment to see this through.

I hope I’m wrong.

August 20

With Chicago in town, John Harper of the Daily News has been talking with different front office people from both sides, asking what it would take for the Mets and Cubs to make a trade this winter.

Many baseball people speculate that it’s practically inevitable, considering the Cubs are loaded with shortstops and the Mets clearly need one, no matter how much they try to wish Wilmer Flores into being the answer there.

One source told him that the most obvious trade chip would be Starlin Castro, however the Mets seem reluctant to give up one of their top young pitchers for what they see as the “talented but flawed” shortstop.

The Mets would prefer to deal for Addison Russell, the 20-year-old Double-A shortstop acquired from the A’s in July in the Jeff Samardzija trade, who is expected to be major-league ready at some point next season. But as I’ve written before, it would require a major, major, overpay and that’s never been Sandy Alderson’s style.

Then you have Javier Baez, the power-hitting middle infielder who already has four home runs in 12 big-league games. But Harper learned that the Mets front office doesn’t believe the Cubs would trade him even if it was for Noah Syndergaard, who “they have scouted repeatedly.”

Unsurprisingly, another source believes that Mets may just hold onto their young pitchers and the plan will be the same as last offseason, trying to find s left fielder and shortstop upgrade in free agency.

On the trade front, the Mets would prefer to give up Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, or Rafael Montero, but none of them will attract any trade with the Cubs who will certainly want one of the high-end guys — Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom or Syndergaard.

But the bottom line is that if the Mets don’t give the Cubs the young high-ceiling pitcher they covet, there’s no shortage of teams in the majors that are also looking to get their hands on either Russell, Baez or Castro.

Also, I agree with Harper that Castro will be the one to go. I liken it to the Mets version of trading wanting to trade Gee and keeping Wheeler (Baez) and Thor (Russell).

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Mets To Have A Look At Cuban Shortstop Roberto Carlos Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:17:27 +0000 roberto carlos

General manager Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets will soon scout 28-year-old Cuban shortstop Roberto Carlos.

The Mets are paying attention to the market for Cuban defectors, Puma says, but it remains unlikely a star of Yasiel Puig’s magnitude will be arriving at Citi Field anytime soon.

“We scout them now, so it’s not as if we’re not aware of what is going on,” Sandy Alderson said. “It’s not like we’re not aware of who is out there.”

Carlos, a switch-hitting shortstop who has not played organized baseball in two years, defected from Cuba to Mexico in November 2012.

He slipped through the baseball cracks because he lacked any representation, a person familiar with the situation told Puma.

“We are not looking at that market necessarily to solve our problems. But you need to be active in all the player-acquisition markets — participate and be aware that you have those as options,” Alderson also said.

It seems we always end up with one of these obligatory, “Mets are interested in such and such a player” posts whenever a new name emerges in the baseball ether.

That said, if Carlos was half as good as a Rusney Castillo, Jose Abreu or Yasiel Puig, he wouldn’t have been without representation for over two years. The agents for these International Latin Market players are like vultures.

Additionally, Carlos does not possess any impact tools like his contemporaries who were all 3-5 tool players. It’s believed that he won’t fetch more than $25 million for a four year deal, or less than half what some of the more recent Cuban defectors have signed for.

There are also questions about his real age.

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Colon Was Never Placed On Waivers Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:20:32 +0000 bartolo colon m's

I hate to say I told you so, but much as I speculated on August 1, the Mets never placed Bartolo Colon on waivers as many had considered a foregone conclusion. Joel Sherman of the NY Post confirmed as much.

There were assertions made that Sandy Alderson was willing to give away Colon to any claiming team just to get the salary relief and with no players coming back to the Mets. As I said at the time, that was “preposterous.”

Here is what I wrote back then:

I never believed the Mets were simply going to let Colon go to anyone who would take his salary. I don’t know why everyone was running with that story which I initially called preposterous.

Sandy Alderson would never simply just give the guy away. As I’ve said repeatedly, it would reflect negatively on him as he did quite the sell job on the fan base after signing him and trying to justify that second guaranteed year.

Simply giving him away would also fan the flames that the Mets are STILL in financial distress, something they’ve been trying hard to extinguish.

I’m pretty certain Colon gets moved in the offseason which should be easier to do especially if he finishes the season off healthy and effective. Is it a risk? Of course it is, but Sandy knew that when he gambled on that second year – something no other team in the major leagues was willing to do.

Look, as a couple of my MMO colleagues already argued this month, there’s also nothing wrong with hanging onto Colon. There’s no guarantee that Harvey returns from Tommy John Surgery in his 2013 form. It may take a year to get back to that.

There are also concerns about Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, and quite frankly, if I were in Sandy’s shoes – those are the two I’d be shopping and you’ll likely get a lot more in return.

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Game Thread: Staten Island Yankees vs Brooklyn Cyclones, 7:10 PM Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:44:48 +0000 daisuke matsuzaka

New York Mets pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his final rehab start on Thursday for the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park when the Clones take on the Staten Island Yankees at 7:00 PM. The game will be televised on SNY or you can listen live here.

Matsuzaka, who is 3-3 with a 3.87 ERA this season, last pitched for the Mets on July 24 and was placed on the Disabled List on July 26 with inflammation in his right elbow. Thursday will mark his third rehab start.

michael conforto

Michael Conforto leads the team with a .318 batting average. The 2014 first rounder owns a .417 on-base and is slugging at a .427 clip to begin his pro career. When Conforto scores a run, the Cyclones are 14-2. The first round pick has scored 22 runs in 29 games with Brooklyn this season and has scored six runs in his last four games.

jhoan urena

Third baseman Jhoan Urena is the only player in the New York-Penn League to participate in all 64 games this season. The franchise record for most games in a single season is 74, set by OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis in 2008. Urena is

marcos molina

Marcos Molina, 19, is the ace of the rotation and is 6-2 with a 1.58 ERA in 10 starts and has yet to allow a home run. In 63.2 innings pitched, Molina has struck out 73 while walking 12. At the NYPL All Star Game, manager Tom Gamboa told 

“I just saw recently where he’s the No. 16 prospect in the Mets’ farm system. My answer to that is, if we have 15 players better than him, then the Mets are headed for the World Series in the not-too-distant future because I just see him on the fast track.”

The Cyclones are currently in second place in the McNamara Division with a 35-29 record. They are coming of a 14-2 loss to the Staten Island Yankees.


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Montero and Germen Likely To Be Demoted To Make Room For Colon and deGrom Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:30:19 +0000 bartolo colon

Adam Rubin surmises that the Mets will likely demote Gonzalez Germen and Rafael Montero when the Mets activate Jacob deGrom on Saturday and Bartolo Colon on Sunday.

There is also the possibility that the Mets could simply find a candidate who they could place on the DL, perhaps Jenrry Mejia who in addition to a knee and hernia issue is now dealing with a sore back.

August 20

Terry Collins told reporters that Bartolo Colon, who is on bereavement leave to mourn the death of his mother, will start for the Mets on Sunday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. After his start, Colon then will return to the Dominican Republic to attend his mother’s funeral.

This sets up the weekend rotation with Jon Niese on Friday, Jacob deGrom on Saturday, and Colon on Sunday.

The Mets will need to make two roster moves before activating deGrom and Colon. They also have Daisuke Matsuzaka nearing a return after his next rehab start.

Finally, the Dodgers have altered their pitching rotation to give Zack Greinke two extra days of rest. Clayton Kershaw, who was originally scheduled to start Friday against the Mets, will instead go Thursday against the San Diego Padres on his normal four days of rest. Big break for the Mets.

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Wright Still Frustrated, Alderson Says He’s Handling It Well Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:23:17 +0000 david wright

David Wright went 0-for-4 in yesterday’s finale against the Athletics, and is just 1-for-17 in his last five games while batting .268 this season.

In an interview with the Rockland Times, Wright said:

“No one is happy with the position we are in” and the team has missed opportunities to win games they should have won, but the team has young players “learning on the job…and that’s the best way to learn.”

Sandy Alderson addressed Wright’s current slump and his overall decline this season, in an interview with flagship stadium WOR.

“First of all, no player is ever going to be at the top of his game consistently throughout a season, or over ‘X’ number of seasons. And part of dealing with the adversity is how it’s handled. David handles it very well. We certainly recognize this is a collective thing.”

Alderson is inferring that the problem is not Wright, but rather the team-wide effect which he believes is impacting Wright’s numbers.

“It’s been pretty much across the board, starting with the top of our lineup all the way through. When you only get three or four hits a night, there’s a collective issue. We’ve got some young players in the lineup who we’ve got to give some time, but I think it’s been a collective thing. I do believe that offensively we will get better. The question is how much better.”

Yes that is the question. It’s been the question for six years now.

August 19

David Wright is mired in another slump as his career worst season continues. The Mets Captain insists it’s not his shoulder.

“The shoulder is not an excuse. Again, when I go tell the manager that I’m good to play, I expect to produce. I’m not thinking about the shoulder. I’m not thinking about bad habits. I’m thinking about going out there and trying to excel and doing what I’m capable of doing, that I’ve proven I can do. When I don’t do that, I’m as frustrated as anybody.”

Wright returned to the lineup on Monday after sitting out a day with a sore shoulder and went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. Worse yet, were the resounding boos Wright heard in the ninth as he headed back to the dugout.  

“If I’m in the lineup, I expect to produce to a certain standard,” he said. “When I don’t, it’s frustrating.”

You can almost read the tension in every at-bat this season for Wright. Gone is that confident swagger he took to the plate, and in its place is a player searching for answers, swimming in doubt, and fighting to rediscover his former self.

Wright will turn 32 in December and he clearly is in the decline phase of his career. But there seems to be more going on here than just a gradual and typical decline. I am concerned that there’s more to his sore shoulder than he’s letting on. He’s altered his whole approach, has made several mechanical adjustments to his swing, and just last week he admitted that he can’t remember what it feels like to be in a good hitting groove.

I do believe that batting third is also adding undue pressure at a time when he’s battling the burden of a huge contract, playing through various injuries, aches and pains, while also coming to the realization that his skills are now declining.

As the Mets wrap up the final 35 games of what will be a sixth straight losing season, Wright will have all Winter to rest up and hopefully show up next Spring with the confidence we’ve come to expect from him, but more importantly the player the team needs him to be – and that is a reliable top-flight run producer in the middle of the lineup.

Additionally, Wright’s not getting any younger and even he understands that it’s time for Sandy Alderson to deliver on his promise of a better future.

“This offseason is going to be an important one,” Wright told the Daily News. “Because we have gotten to the point where I do think that we’re talking about a piece or two away from being a really, really good team.”

Of course the one or two pieces Wright speaks of will have to be difference makers, and that requires either a huge outlay of money or surrendering some top prospects, neither of which I believe the front office is prepared to do.

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Mets On Verge Of Setting Historic Streak Of Offensive Futility Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:22:15 +0000 terry collins dugout

All the leaves are brown… and the skies are gray…

If the Mets thought they had it rough against the woeful Chicago Cubs, they’re in for some real trouble this week as they head to the West Coast for some California reaming.

The Mets begin a five-game west coast swing with a pair of games starting tonight against the Oakland A’s before kicking off a weekend series with the first place Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

It’s the first three games of this road trip that will pose the biggest challenge for the Mets as they’ll face Scott Kazmir (13-5, 2.78), Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96) and Clayton Kershaw (14-3, 1.86) all in succession.

The Mets have seen their offense reach an all-time low, having totaled only four hits or less in their last five games – a level of futility that has not been duplicated in the major leagues in more than a decade.

If that streak continues against Kazmir and the A’s tonight, the Mets will become the first MLB team since 1900 to have a single-season streak of six games producing four or fewer hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. 

The Mets have been absolutely dreadful at the plate in August and aside from Daniel Murphy who is batting .297, the rest of the team is all struggling including Lucas Duda (.217), Curtis Granderson (.155), Eric Campbell (.087), Wilmer Flores (.239), Ruben Tejada (.174), Travis d’Arnaud (.218), Juan Lagares (.246) and David Wright (.258).

This is rock-bottom for the Mets and trying to break out of a slump against three of this season’s most elite pitchers will be quite the tall task for Terry Collins and company.

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Offensive Futility Reaches Epic Proportions For The Mets Tue, 19 Aug 2014 01:36:52 +0000 Mets

The Mets became the first team in the major leagues to have four or less hits for five consecutive games since 2004. Ironically, that futility was also last accomplished by the Mets.

Since the All Star break, the Mets are last in Runs per Game (3.0), Batting Average (.210) and Slugging Pct. (.304). Additionally, Mets hitters lead the majors with 239 strikeouts during that span.

The Mets have lost five of seven in this homestand and head to Oakland with a sluggish offense that still has too many unanswered questions.

Aside from Daniel Murphy, who may not even be here next season, and Lucas Duda, who has been a pleasant surprise, players who were expected to produce have struggled mightily and chief among them are David Wright and Curtis Granderson who comprise more than a third of the team’s payroll.

Rumors still buzz about how reluctant Sandy Alderson is to move an arm to bring in a young bat that could help the team for years to come – a reluctance that has only been heightened with the rise in injuries to pitchers including the Mets’ own Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner and Bobby Parnell.

At some point something’s gotta give and the Mets will have to do something if they expect to ever reach contender status or at the very least reach .500. Great pitching alone doesn’t win games as the Mets have seen time and time again during this frustrating season and especially in this just concluded homestand where several solid performances were squandered away.

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