Mets Merized Online » Joe D Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Watch Cespedes and Syndergaard on MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now! Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:33:14 +0000 cespedes syndergaard

New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was ranked 2nd on MLB Network’s Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now! program yesterday, while Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard was ranked 9th on the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now!.

Cespedes, 31, finished one spot ahead of the Pirates’ Starling Marte and one spot behind the Brewers’ Ryan Braun. Despite playing with a sore quad in the second half, Cespedes batted .280/.354/.530 with 25 doubles, 31 home runs, 86 RBI and a 133 OPS+ in 132 games for the Mets.

Syndergaard, 24, finished one spot ahead of the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke and one spot behind the Giants’ Johnny Cueto. He posted a 14-9 record last season, with a 2.60 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, 2.29 FIP,  10.7 K/9 and a 5.3 WAR.

Taking into account player performance over several seasons with an emphasis on 2016, a number of offensive and defensive metrics both advanced and traditional, and projected performance for the upcoming season, MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now series ranks the top players at each position heading into the 2017 season.

The complete rankings for left fielders and starting pitchers are listed below along with video recaps on Cespedes and Syndergaard.

Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now!

1.    Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

2.    Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

3.    Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

4.    Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics

5.    Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

6.    Randal Grichuk, St. Louis Cardinals

7.    Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers

8.    Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros

9.    Brett Gardner, New York Yankees

10.  Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds


Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now!

1.    Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

2.    Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

3.    Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

4.    Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs

5.    Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs

6.    Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

7.    Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

8.    Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants

9.    Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

10.  Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks


Now in its seventh season, MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now series is hosted by Brian Kenny with contributing analysis from MLB Network on-air personalities, Boston Red Sox senior advisor of baseball operations and renowned sabermetrician Bill James, President of SABR Vince Gennaro and analyst Mike Petriello.

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MMO Mailbag: How Many Games Will Mets Win In 2017? Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:00:27 +0000 degrom syndergaard

Adam asks….

How many games will the Mets win next season? We haven’t made any improvements to last year’s roster and the bullpen might even be worse off. Are we just going to fight five teams for a wild card spot again?

 Joe D. replies…

Almost every projection system and even most of the Las Vegas odds makers have the Washington Nationals (10-1) finishing ahead of the New York Mets (18-1). But what the hell do they know?

Last season, the Nationals took the division with 95 wins while the Mets finished 8.0 games back with 87 wins. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all those analysts, odds makers, and projection systems are all wrong. I fully expect the Mets to win 92 games in 2017, and let me explain why.

After a season decimated by injuries, a season that would see four starting pitchers lost for the year, a season that would have all four infielders log time on the disabled list, and a season which saw their top producing outfielder play the entire second half while hampered by a quad injury, somehow the Mets were still able to secure the top wild card and make the playoffs. Truth be told, many had written the Mets off by mid-July.

I’m actually very confident that we won’t have to endure another season like that one again. I’m very encouraged by all the early reports on Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz this offseason. They all feel great, but what sticks out the most for me is hearing all three talk like they have a chip on their shoulders. They are all chomping at the bit to get back on the mound in 2017 and put last season behind them. And even if one of them does suffer a setback or isn’t ready to start the season on time, I love what I saw from Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo during their trials by fire last Summer.

Walker Neil

Another thing the Mets have going for them is all the key players entering walk years in 2017. It’s no secret that ballplayers tend to see an uptick in their performance when they are playing for a new contract. We actually witnessed Neil Walker having the best season of his career before succumbing to a back injury. The Mets will have no shortage of players in their walk years in Walker, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson; Jose Reyes, Addison Reed, and potentially Asdrubal Cabrera who has a team option. That’s a lot of players chasing a big paycheck. I like that.

Some of you may have seen me talk very highly of Michael Conforto and Josh Smoker in previous articles and quite often in our comment threads. I project huge breakthrough seasons for both these players in 2017. I expect Conforto to bounce back in a big way, easily surpassing the numbers he posted in his rookie season. Look for him to also emerge as a leader in the clubhouse. He has that Curtis Granderson and David Wright gene in his DNA. Smoker, a former first rounder, always had the talent and potential, but saw his career slowed year after year by significant arm woes. That’s all behind him now and this is the year he puts it all together and emerges as a lethal weapon in the Mets bullpen. You read that here first.

yoenis cespedes conforto

Of course, the Mets’ biggest X-Factor and the straw that stirs the drink is left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. He’s the complete package and has found a home he loves in New York – and the fans in New York loves him. Complain about the slow Mets offseason all you want, as I said back in November all I cared about was getting his name on the dotted line and Sandy Alderson did just that. Despite playing hurt for half the season, Cespedes still finished 8th in the MVP voting and won himself a Silver Slugger. In his  1 1/2 seasons with the Mets, they are 106-74 with Cespedes in the starting lineup and 18-23 without him. That’s all you need to know.

So yes, I see this Mets team easily winning over 90 games and with a little luck they can win the NL East for the second time in three seasons. But whether they win the division or not, a third straight trip to the postseason is virtually assured. And to think, I never even mentioned Noah Syndergaard.  LGM

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MLB Draft Order Set, Mets Will Have 20th Overall Selection Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:59:24 +0000 MLB draft manfred

Now that all qualifying free agents have been signed, the order for June’s First Year Player Draft is officially set. The 40 rounds will run from June 12-14, and can be viewed on MLB Network or

Three teams have lost their first-round selections in the draft: the Cleveland Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion, the Colorado Rockies signed Ian Desmond, and the St. Louis Cardinals signed Dexter Fowler.

As a result, the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs each gained a selection in the compensation round immediately following the first round. The official draft order is as follows:

2017 MLB Draft Order (First Round & Compensation Round)

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. San Diego Padres
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Atlanta Braves
6. Oakland Athletics
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Philadelphia Phillies
9. Milwaukee Brewers
10. Los Angeles Angels
11. Chicago White Sox
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
13. Miami Marlins
14. Kansas City Royals
15. Houston Astros
16. New York Yankees
17. Seattle Mariners
18. Detroit Tigers
19. San Francisco Giants
20. New York Mets
21. Baltimore Orioles
22. Toronto Blue Jays
23. Los Angeles Dodgers
24. Boston Red Sox
25. Washington Nationals
26. Texas Rangers
27. Chicago Cubs
28. Toronto Blue Jays (From Cleveland Indians Signing Edwin Encarnacion)
29. Texas Rangers (From Colorado Rockies Signing Ian Desmond)
30. Chicago Cubs (From St. Louis Cardinals Signing Dexter Fowler)

The New York Mets will have the 20th, 59th and 97th overall selections during the first three rounds of the draft as they look to add some fresh new talent to their farm system – which was recently ranked the seventh best in baseball by ESPN’ Keith Law.

Last year, the Mets’ Farm System was ranked 16 by ESPN and 21 by Baseball Prospectus. However the Mets loaded up on some highly viewed prospects in last year’s draft while seeing players like Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Thomas Szapucki and Tomas Nido make huge strides in 2016.

Additionally, the Mets have two rising stars in shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith, both of whom rank first and third respectively at their positions in the most recent MLB Pipeline rankings.

You have to give general manager Sandy Alderson, scouting director Tommy Tanous, and their talented scouting department a lot of credit for keeping the Mets farm system flush with talent and some exciting prospects, many of which are highly regarded and coveted by other MLB teams.

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Amed Rosario Getting Rave Reviews For His Bat and Glove Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:10:30 +0000 amed-rosario

Shortstop Amed Rosario might be the most exciting position-player prospect the Mets have had in the last decade, writes writes Sam Dykstra of MLB Pipeline as they roll out their projections for rookies during the 21017 season.

“The 21-year-old shortstop is coming off a season in which he made a huge offensive leap with a .324/.374/.459 line in 120 games between Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton and is considered a plus defender at one of the game’s toughest positions.”

Despite all the accolades Amed Rosario has received over the last 18 months, most agree he is still at least a year away. Here is how MLB Pipeline puts it”

“There is a legitimate case to be made that he’ll be the Minors’ best shortstop prospect on Opening Day. Pump those brakes, though. That’s not enough to push him straight to the Majors. Steamer sees Rosario as a below-average Major League hitter right now, and it should given his experience level and age. With Asdrubal Cabrera signed through 2017, the Mets don’t need to push Rosario, and certainly don’t plan to do so.”


Baseball America recently ranked Rosario as the Mets’ top prospect after a big season where he batted a combined .324/.376/.462 with 24 doubles, 13 triples, five homers 71 RBI and 19 stolen bases between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.

Amed was also named Defensive Player of the Year in both the Florida State League and the Eastern League. He is a potential 70-grade defender on the 20-80 scouting scale.

“He makes all plays look easy, even tough ones,” one scout said. “Swings the bat, makes adjustments with breaking pitches.”

“He can be an outstanding player, I think that’s why he’s considered our No. 1 prospect at a premium position,” Alderson said recently.

The Mets signed Rosario back in 2012 for $1.75 million, a franchise record for an international amateur, and worth every penny. He has had a quick rise through the minors and continues to impress more and more each year.

Rosario was added to the 40 man roster in November and many expect him to begin the 2017 season at Triple-A Las Vegas where he’ll be just one step away from his major league debut. That has yet to be confirmed by the Mets, but we should have some clarification on that next month when the Mets begin Spring Training. He was recently ranked as the No. 1 Mets Prospect on out MMO Top 30.

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So You Think You Know The Mets: 100 Run Seasons Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:27:04 +0000 Stengel Casey

Last week, 498 of you tried your luck at trying to name all the pitchers who won 15 or more games for the Mets in a season. You guys mostly did an outstanding job.

This week, I want you to name every player who delivered a 100 run season for the Mets. In 54 years, only 11 players have accomplished the feat for the Amazins.

You have only 3 minutes to try and name as many as you can. Think you have what it takes to earn a perfect score? Let’s find out…


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Rangers Sign Dillon Gee To Minor League Deal Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:10:29 +0000 dillon gee kc

The Texas Rangers announced that they have signed right-hander Dillon Gee to a minor league deal.

Gee, 30, is still recovering from thoracic outlet surgery — the same procedure that Matt Harvey is attempting to come back from this Spring.

A former New York Met, Gee is expected to compete for a fifth starter spot with Tyson Ross, A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Nick Martinez. Given his experience in relief, he could also win a job in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Last year, Gee made 33 appearances for the Kansas City Royals, 14 as a starter, and posted a 4.68 ERA, 1.464 WHIP, 5.25 FIP, and a 6.4 K/9 in 125 innings pitched.

In six seasons with the Mets, Gee had a 40-37 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.25 FIP and 6.45 K/9 in 110 starts and foure relief appearances.

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Mets Are Looking For Two Prospects In Exchange For Bruce Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:15:21 +0000 jay-bruce

According to a report by Philadelphia beat writer Jim Salisbury of, the New York Mets are holding out for two prospects in exchange for outfielder Jay Bruce.

The Phillies, he writes, have had longstanding interest in Bruce, however they are committed to hanging on to their prospects, and feel that they could sign Brandon Moss or Michael Saunders on a short-term deal without having to give up any of their prospects.

Last week, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Phillies are looking to add a bat to play a corner outfield position or first base and he too mentioned the Phillies had their eyes on Saunders and Moss.

He also added that the Phillies could be interested in a hitter like like Bruce, but they were not interested in moving more than a lower tier prospect for such a hitter.

As long as sluggers like Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista and Mike Napoli remain on the free agent market, it will be difficult for the Mets to deal Bruce, and it does not appear as though Sandy Alderson will simply move his excess corner outfielder is a straight salary dump. Rightfully so.

Incidentally, the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers are still reportedly interested in Bruce.

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Where Does The Mets Lineup Stack Up In 2017? Sun, 15 Jan 2017 16:42:32 +0000 mets-win-cespedes

Buster Olney, in an article exclusive to ESPN Insiders, concluded his offseason Top 10 feature by ranking the best lineups in major league baseball heading into the 2017 season. The ranking was based on input from executives representing all 30 MLB front offices. This latest entry in this series is entitled: Top MLB Lineups: Which Batting Orders Provide the Most Pop?

I knew right away this was going to be a fun read, one because I would get a comprehensive review of MLB’s top lineups, but also because I expected to see the Mets somewhere in the Top 10. After all, the New York Mets did finish 5th in MLB and 2nd in the NL with 218 home runs. If we’re talking about “pop” that ought to count for something, right? Wrong…

The Mets’ projected lineup for 2017 failed to make the Top 10 and didn’t even get any shade among the six Honorable Mentions.

MLB Top 10 Lineups

1. Boston Red Sox

2. Colorado Rockies

3. Chicago Cubs

4. Houston Astros

5. Seattle Mariners

6. Cleveland Indians

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

8. Washington nationals

9. St. Louis Cardinals

10. Detroit Tigers

Honorable Mentions: Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates

Did I miss something, where are the Mets?

I understand that lists like this are all subjective, but I still find it difficult to believe that 30 MLB executives and Buster Olney couldn’t fit the Mets offense in what essentially is a Top 16. Are the New York Mets really a bottom tier offense?

The Mets head into 2017 with essentially the same exact offense they ended the 2016 season with, and that was an offense that finished the year ranked 26th in Runs Scored, 17th in Slugging Pct., and 17th in OPS.

However, those ranking were greatly impacted by a slew of injuries to 7 of their 8 players in the team’s starting lineup. Only Curtis Granderson was able to avoid the disabled list in 2016. Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes all had a DL stint, while David Wright, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Neil Walker missed huge swaths of time and three of them were shutdown for the season.

If you were to look at the Mets’ MLB ranking in Runs Scored by Month, it tells the story of just how impacted the team was by all these injuries, but it also illustrates just how good they were in April, August and September when they were essentially at 80 percent or better strength.

April – 10th

May – 28th

June – 30th

July – 20th

August – 8th

September – 5th

After Cespedes, Reyes and Cabrera all returned from the DL, there was a five week span that began in mid August and lasted through mid September that the Mets were the number one ranked MLB offense in runs scored.

Now I’m pretty certain that injuries were not projected in compiling Olney’s 2017 Lineup Rankings given their unpredictability. So given that, exactly why were the Mets so easily overlooked, especially when you consider how strongly the team performed in the last two months of the season when they were relatively healthy?

Again, I understand that all these lists are very subjective, but give me a break, the Mets deserved a far better showing than what these guys came up with. In my opinion, if the Mets are healthy they are undoubtedly a top ten offense.

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Mets Current Payroll and Arbitration Recap Sat, 14 Jan 2017 14:30:00 +0000 jacob degrom

As the deadline for exchanging arbitration figures between the players and their teams came and went on Friday, the New York Mets had themselves quite a busy day.  With eight players still unsigned entering the day, the Mets came to settlements with seven players just before the team’s hard line “File and Trial” deadline.

Jeurys FamiliaMatt HarveyJacob deGromAddison ReedTravis d’Arnaud, and Josh Edgin all agreed to one year deals with the Mets.

However, the team failed to reach an agreement with utility infielder Wilmer Flores and the two sides will face-off in an arbitration hearing sometime in February. The Mets filed a $1.8MM contract while Flores countered with a $2.2MM deal. .

Entering Friday, the Mets had already come to terms with Zack Wheeler at $800K, Lucas Duda at $7.25MM, and Rene Rivera at $1.75MM.

The following chart tabulates all the arbitration figures including each player’s previous salary. Please note that the salary for Edgin is an estimate as his salary was not disclosed on Friday. Also, I went ahead with the higher of the two figures exchanged for Flores.

arbitration real

As you can see, Jacob deGrom was the biggest winner in arbitration, garnering himself a $3.443MM raise that can grow even higher if he reaches any of his performance bonuses. Jeurys Familia also gets a significant raise even though he has a suspension looming for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.

Let’s see how all of this adds up so we can determine where the Mets’ payroll stands at the moment. I’m listing the team’s guaranteed  contracts and I’m going to use a $600K salary for remaining pre-arbitration players.

Arbitration Contracts

10 players totalling $39,125,000 dollars.

Guaranteed Contracts

Yoenis Cespedes – $22,500,000

David Wright – $20,000,000

Neil Walker – $17,200,000

Curtis Granderson – $15,000,000

Jay Bruce – $13,000,000

Asdrubal Cabrera – $8,250,000

Juan Lagares – $4,500,000

Jose Reyes – $507,500

8 players totalling $100,957,500 dollars.

Pre-Arbitration Contracts

Noah Syndergaard

Steven Matz

Hansel Robles

Robert Gsellman

Seth Lugo

Josh Smoker

Michael Conforto

7 players totalling $4,200,000 dollars.

Total Payroll 

When you tally the contracts for all 25 players, the Mets’ current payroll stands at $144,282,500 dollars. Of course there’s still two months until Opening Day and you can bet we’ll have a few changes to roster between now and then.

Sandy Alderson said last month, that his goal is to keep the Opening Day payroll total under $150 million so he still has some wiggle room right now and even moreso if he’s able to deal outfielder Jay Bruce.

I know there’s a bunch of you that really get too hung up on the team’s payroll. But let me remind you that the Mets have gone to the postseason in two consecutive seasons, so Sandy Alderson and his staff have been doing something right with their allotted resources.

This team is never going to spend like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees so get that out of your heads. But as of this writing the Mets rank at No. 12 in payroll according to Spotrac, higher than the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, three other postseason teams. I can live with that.

Current Mets Payroll:  $144,282,500

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Wally Backman Claims Sandy Alderson Has It In For Him Wed, 11 Jan 2017 01:45:13 +0000 backman

In an exclusive interview with Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, Wally Backman had some explosive things to say about his parting of ways with the New York Mets including that he’s been blackballed by GM Sandy Alderson and betrayed by owner Jeff Wilpon.

“There’s been a bad roadblock, and I know where it’s coming from,” Backman said via phone to Klapisch. “In the last phone call I had with Sandy [in September] he said, ‘I will do anything I can to help you.’ But he is not an honest man. People are telling me, ‘Sandy has it in for you. You’re being blackballed.’ ”

“I’ve talked to several teams, and every one of them has said, ‘You’re overqualified.’ How can you be overqualified when you’re trying to win? No one is overqualified unless there’s something else going on.”

Klapisch reached out to Alderson, but he declined to respond to Backman’s charges. However, one member of the organization insisted that despite their differences, Alderson would never go as far as to deliberately sabotage Backman.

wally backman tim teufel

Backman shared details on his dismissal which left open the question if he was fired or if resigned.

“I got a phone call and was told if I didn’t resign I would be let go,” Backman said, hearing that he’d somehow mishandled Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo during their minor-league stints in Las Vegas.

Backman called them trumped up charges saying all he did was give Conforto a day off after playing 19 games in a row and batted Nimmo in the No. 1 or 2 spot on front office orders.

“The only thing I can think of is that I have a strong personality and Sandy didn’t want someone like me working for him anymore, even though I’d always treated him with total respect,” Backman said. “But no one was more loyal to this organization than me. No one wanted those kids to succeed more than I did.”

The one-time scrappy second baseman for the 1986 Mets also had harsh words for Jeff Wilpon.

“I’ve been betrayed” by the Wilpons — specifically Jeff, not his father, Fred. “Jeff didn’t stand up for me” despite winning 376 games managing in the Mets’ farm system, capturing two Pacific Coast South Division titles and being named the PCL Manager of the Year in 2014.”

Backman has agreed to manage the Monclova club in Mexico until something better comes along, adding that he’d take a job in the U.S. in a minute if offered one.

“What I’m worried about is being out of sight, out of mind. If I go to Mexico, I’ll be out of sight from the people I’m trying to connect with.”

A sad and sour ending between the Mets and Backman to be sure.

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Mets and Mejia Agree On $1.9MM Contract He’ll Never Collect Wed, 11 Jan 2017 01:09:24 +0000 jenry mejia

In what can only be deemed a ridiculous formality, suspended relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia and the New York Mets agreed on Tuesday to a one-year contract worth $1,976,000.

Because he was given a lifetime ban from baseball after testing positive for a PED for the third time, Mejia will not collect one red cent of this deal.

Mejia, 27, remains on the Mets restricted list and because he has four years of major league service he was eligible for salary arbitration. His salary was cut the maximum 20 percent from his $2.47 million salary last year.

Next month, Mejia can apply for reinstatement to Commissioner Rob Manfred. Even if he were to win his appeal, he would not be eligible to play until the 2018 season.

The former Mets closer appeared in 113 games with the Mets including 18 starts.

In 2014, Mejia had his best season with the Mets, posting a 3.65 ERA and saving 28 games, however he also had a very high 1.438 WHIP and 3.9 walk rate.

I can’t believe he’s only 27, what an idiot.

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MMO Exclusive: Nelson Figueroa Weighs In On Bruce Situation, Starting Rotation, 2017 Mets Tue, 10 Jan 2017 18:30:50 +0000 figueroa_zhr7o6zt_bpzo9j0z

Former Mets pitcher and current SNY studio analyst Nelson Figueroa, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me on Monday. Brooklyn born and raised like myself, Figgy has an intimate and very passionate view of the game. Mets fans have come to love his crisp analysis after each Mets game and his strong opinions and sharp criticisms. You can follow him on Twitter at @FigSNY.

Today, we post Figgy’s thoughts on some of the questions about the upcoming Mets season. Please enjoy.

Joe D: How will this Jay Bruce situation play out in your opinion? Was it a bad idea to pick up that $13 million dollar option? Could you see any scenario in which he’s still with the Mets on Opening Day?

Figgy: The Jay Bruce situation will probably go down to the wire in spring training. I think ultimately they’re going to look to get the pieces that they need. As things usually shake out in spring training, someone somewhere is bound to get hurt and then you have yourself a very hot trade commodity.

You have to remember that Bruce is a 30 Home Run, 100 RBI candidate so the $13 million dollar option was a good fallback if Yoenis Cespedes didn’t end up returning to the Mets. I can see Bruce still being there on Opening Day because they are in a true salary dump situation with him at the moment.

Joe D: How would you categorize the state of the Mets catching right now? Can Travis d’Arnaud still cash in on all the potential the Mets saw when they acquired him? Did you see any positive signs from Kevin Plawecki?

Figgy: I think where the Mets suffered with their catching last year was they didn’t have a true catching coach like Bob Geren during the previous year. Now that Glenn Sherlock is the new catching coach I think you’ll see the attention to details return. Travis is someone I expect to have a bounce-back year this season. I think the talent and timing will finally meet. Rene Rivera was a very nice find last year and then locking up his contract so soon shows their confidence level in him. It seems Plawecki’s stock has fallen quite a bit since the previous year.


Joe D: Which two players need to step up the most in 2017 for the Mets?

Figgy: Without a doubt Lucas Duda and Matt Harvey are the two guys that need to step up. Both of their careers are at a crossroads and getting productive full seasons from both will help the Mets go a long way in 2017.

Joe D: Were you impressed by what you saw from Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo last season? Is one of them better suited to work out of the bullpen than the other?

Figgy: I was very impressed from what I saw from both Lugo and Gsellman. Their ability to compete at this level and also display the confidence in their stuff in tough situations really stood out.

For me, I think Lugo is better suited as a starter and Gsellman, being a two pitch pitcher using his much improved slider as a strikeout pitch, is a stronger candidate for the bullpen. Especially with Jeurys Familia likely out for a while.

Joe D: The Mets are relying on four pitchers coming off surgery to join Noah Syndergaard in the starting rotation this season. I don’t know about you but I’m not too confident that all four of them will make it through spring training without a setback. And Bartolo Colon and his 15 wins and 200 innings are now in Atlanta. How do you view the situation?

Figgy: This once promising can’t-miss rotation is now filled with a lot of question marks. Even Syndergaard with his bone spur is coming off a career high in innings pitched and POWER slider usage.

Will Harvey be ready for Opening Day and the mental aspect of not pitching like the “Dark Knight” in 2015?

Was Jacob deGgrom’s surgery just a tune up? Can Steven Matz go a full season without breaking down?

Who is Zack Wheeler? It’s been two years since he stepped on a big league mound in a Met uniform.

Modern medicine is being tested with this young Mets rotation, but the talent is still undeniable. Met fans know all too well the toll injuries can play on the brightest of starting rotations, remember Pulse, Izzy and Wilson?

Joe D: Tell me a little about Chai Lifeline and what motivated you to get behind them?

Figgy: Chai Lifeline was introduced to me by my friend Peri Finkelstein. She is an amazing young lady I met in 2009 at Citi Field. We reconnected last year where I learned of her involvement and the amazing accomplishment of walking 1,400 steps in the Miami Marathon. Peri has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. She has helped to raise over 120k for Team Peri which goes to send kids to Camp Simcha. This year she is training to walk a full mile and I will be walking a half marathon in support of Team Peri.

Joe D: How can Mets fans help support your charity?

Figgy: Before we leave NY I am having a benefit bowling event to help raise money and to have a fun evening of laughs and love to send Peri off to Florida. I am inviting family, friends and fans to join me. Check out my twitter page or Facebook @figsny for the links to click on and read more and for a small donation you van come bowl with us.

Also there is a huge 110 item auction on where we are offering unique experience packages and chances to meet and dine with celebrities from all walks of life who have donated their time to help us raise money.

Joe D: Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions that are on the minds of Mets fans and we all look forward to watching your excellent analysis on SNY or WPIX after each Mets game in 2017.

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So You Think You Know The Mets: 15 Game Winners Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:00:22 +0000 Stengel Casey

Here’s your chance to see just how much you know about the New York Mets. Each week we’ll post a new quiz that puts your Mets knowledge to the test. Have fun trying to solve each week’s challenge in this fun new Metsmerized Online feature.

Let’s start off with a simple challenge. Name every pitcher who has won 15 or more games in a single season for the New York Mets.

You have 5 minutes to try and name as many as you can. Think you have what it takes to earn a perfect score? Let’s find out…

Post your results in the thread below and may the best fan win!

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MMO Mailbag: Ranking the Sluggers on Trade Block Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:00:40 +0000 J.D. martinez

Carl asks…

I read over the weekend that the Minnesota Twins might be close to trading Brian Dozier who I wasn’t even aware he was available. What other power hitters are available right now in addition to Jay Bruce and how would you rank them in terms of value?

Joe D. replies…

There may be one or two players I may have missed, but the sluggers you keep hearing about the most are Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, Andrew McCutchen, J.D. Martinez and of course Jay Bruce. Let’s take those five and see where they rank in various categories. I included Steamer projections for the 2017 season.


.384 – J.D. Martinez
.370 – Brian Dozier
.340 – Jay Bruce (2 teams)
.329 – Andrew McCutchen
.326 – Todd Frazier


.546 – Brian Dozier
.535 – J.D. Martinez
.506 – Jay Bruce
.470 – Andrew McCutchen
.464 – Todd Frazier

wRC+ Actual (2016)

142 – J.D. Martinez
132 – Brian Dozier
111 – Jay Bruce
106 – Andrew McCutchen
102 – Todd Frazier

wRC+ Projected (2017)

129 – Andrew McCutchen
119 – J.D. Martinez
107 – Bran Dozier
101 – Todd Frazier
97 – Jay Bruce

Looking at those metrics, it looks like Martinez and Dozier are the top two options followed by Bruce, McCutchen and then Frazier holding up the rear. However, the Steamer projection paints a different story and they fully expect McCutchen to rebound significantly, while projecting Bruce to continue along the same trajectory he was on after he was traded to the Mets.

Financially, Dozier represents the best value as he’s owed $6MM in 2017 and $9MM in 2018. Frazier heads into his final year of arbitration after earning $7.5 million last season. J.D. Martinez is set to earn $11.4 million in 2017 and then becomes a free agent. Bruce has $13 million coming before he’s a free agent, and McCutchen is owed $14MM for ’17 and has a $14.5MM option for ’18.

Those are all the numbers, so take your pick.

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Braves Schedule Bartolo Colon Bobblehead Night When Mets Come To Town Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:00:05 +0000 bartolo-colon

MLB teams announced their bobblehead giveaways in celebration of National Bobblehead Day on Saturday. And wouldn’t you know it, the Atlanta Braves are planning a Bartolo Colon Bobblehead Night in 2017.

On June 9th, the New York Mets begin a three game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves in their new digs – SunTrust Park.

The Mets actually open the season against the Braves with a three game set beginning on Opening Day – April 4th. So there’s a very good chance we’ll see Bartolo Colon in that season opening series.

Colon, 43, went 15-8 with a 1.21 WHIP and 3.43 ERA in 33 starts with the Mets last season. Colon also became the oldest player in MLB history to produce his first career home run when he took James Shields deep in San Diego on May 7.

The Braves signed Colon to a one year deal worth $12.5 million dollars. He needs 11 wins to eclipse Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243 wins) for the most wins ever by a player born in the Dominican Republic.

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Teams Are Still Asking About Andrew McCutchen Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:35:50 +0000 mccutchen

Despite repeated statements by Pirates GM Neal Huntington that Andrew McCutchen is not available, teams continue to ask about the Bucs center fielder, according to what sources are telling Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cafardo says the Seattle Mariners could be one of those teams despite recently acquiring Jarrod Dyson after dealing Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles.

McCutchen, 30, is a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting every year from 2012-15, while actually winning the award in 2013.

However, last season was not very kind to McCutchen as he endured the worst season of his career, batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 homers and 79 RBI. His defense in center field has also reached an all time low.

McCutchen is owed $14 million in 2017 and he comes with a team option worth $14.5 million for the 2018 season. That’s not too bad for teams that may want to gamble that last year was a fluke and that Cutch will bounce back.

Huntington created a real problem for himself as it was no secret he was aggressively shopping McCutchen at the Winter Meetings. It’s going to tough to see a star like McCutchen, who wears his heart on his sleeve, face all those trade questions in spring training, and that’s why many believe there’s still a chance he will be dealt.

The Mets reportedly checked in on McCutchen last month, but there was never any traction between the two teams and talks never progressed to anything serious. One MLB insider told MMO that the Mets were simply “kicking the tires.”

With GM Sandy Alderson admitting that the team expects payroll to be lower than the current $150 million level by Opening Day, the Mets would have to move both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson to make room for McCutchen, and quite honestly they are having a problem just moving one of them.

Eventually, the Mets will find a team that will take Bruce off their hands even if they have to eat $5 million dollars. That will leave the Mets with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Michael Conforto in right, and a platoon of Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in center.

And you know what? I believe the Mets outfield will be one of the top producing outfields in 2017. Cespedes could have his best season yet, Conforto is too good not to bounce back with a breakthrough season, and a Grandy & Lagares platoon in center will be more productive than you think.

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Arbitration Profile: Lucas Duda, 1B Sat, 07 Jan 2017 21:43:15 +0000 lucas duda

With the deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary figures fast approaching on January 13, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the key players among the nine Mets who have filed for the 2017 season.

Arbitration eligible pitchers include Jacob deGrom, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Addison Reed and Zack Wheeler. Hitters include Wilmer Flores, Travis d’Arnaud and the focus of this article, first baseman Lucas Duda.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Mets have one of the best track records on settling with their players in all of baseball. I double checked, and last year they settled with five of their nine players by January 15, so I expect that next week we’ll see a bunch of settlement agreements. As you know, the Mets have already settled with backup catcher Rene Rivera for $1.7 million dollars.

Lucas Duda was limited to just 47 games in 2016 due to a stress fracture in his lower back. He opted for rest instead of surgery and actually returned for a couple of games at the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be fully recovered by spring training.

While it may have been injury related, Duda was in the midst of the worst season of his before landing on the disabled list. His .302 on-base percentage and .714 OPS were both career lows.

Duda, 31, is entering his final year of arbitration and is a free agent at the end of the 2017 season. The Mets are hoping that he returns to the form that saw him blast 57 home runs and 60 doubles over the 2014-2015 seasons with an OPS north of .830. But whatever happens, most now see Duda as a place holder for first base prospect Dominic Smith. Odds are Duda will be wearing another uniform in 2018.

A best case scenario for the Mets would be seeing Duda club 30 homers this season with 90 RBIs and a .260/.340/.475 slash and avoiding the disabled list. If that happens and Dominic Smith produces as expected in Las Vegas, the Mets will give Duda a qualifying offer and gain a comp pick in next year’s draft. Everybody’s happy.

We have two different arbitration projections for Duda. Pace Law School has Duda at $7.315 million, while MLB Trade Rumors counters with $6.725 million. I’ll predict the Mets and Duda settle for an even $7.0 million.

Note: Yes, I’m kind of snowed in and bored out of my mind. So you’re getting bonus Saturday content from me. Enjoy it while it lasts. Hee hee…

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Asdrubal Cabrera Was Far Better Than You Think Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:32:31 +0000 asdrubal cabrera

I really wasn’t planning on writing anything today, but a piece I read by ESPN’s Buster Olney really gnawed at me, and one of the benefits of being a blogger is that I can react whenever I feel like it and have something to say. So anyway, Olney has been rolling out this offseason feature, ranking the top 10 players position by position with input from other MLB evaluators. It’s a pretty cool feature.

On Friday, he posted his Top 10 Shortstops, and while I was hoping to see Asdrubal Cabrera on that list, I was shocked that he wasn’t even one of the eight shortstops listed among his honorable mentions. Are you kidding me?

I find it difficult to believe that Asdrubal Cabrera couldn’t crack a Top 18 List, and I decided to see how he ranked offensively last season among his peers.

Easily one of my favorite statistics for gauging overall offensive value, Asdrubal Cabrera ranked 4th in MLB with a 119 wRC+ behind only Carlos Correa (122), Manny Machado (129) and Corey Seager (137).

A better version of OBP, Cabrera ranked 6th in MLB with a .345 wOBA, just behind Xander Bogaerts who had a .349 wOBA.

Cabrera ranked 4th in MLB in Slugging Percentage with a very robust .474 mark, trailing only Brad Miller (.482), Corey Seager (.512) and Manny Machado (.523).

asdrubal cabrera

In addition to these impressive showings, Cabrera finished in the Top 10 in fWAR (3.0), Home Runs (23), RBI (66), OPS (.810) and Batting Average (.280). If not for a stint on the disabled list, he would have finished in the top five in hits, homers, RBIs and runs scored.

Cabrera, 31, surprised everyone and gave the Mets his best offensive season since 2012, and while UZR was not kind to him, those of us who watched him play day in and day out saw Cabrera solidify the shortstop position defensively after several years of porous and erratic defense.

Of the 30 qualified shortstops, 22 of them committed more errors than Cabrera’s 7 miscues, and his fielding percentage was the 4th best in the majors.

After Asdrubal returned from the disabled list on August 19, he became a mainstay in the number two hole in the order and batted .345 the rest of the way with a .406 on-base and 1.041 OPS in 165 plate appearances.

So I’ll end this by saying, shame on you Buster Olney and your MLB evaluators. Your omission of Asdrubal Cabrera among your top 18 shortstops was a glaring oversight. Better luck next time.

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Jose Reyes Will Join Jeurys Familia On Dominican Republic WBC Team Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:00:46 +0000 jose reyes

According to Anthony DiComo of, New York Mets infielder Jose Reyes will play for the Dominican Republic team in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This will be the fourth time that Reyes has played in the WBC for his home country.

He will join Mets closer Jeurys Familia on the squad. The Dominican roster also includes St. Louis Cardinals young pitcher Alex Reyes, Seattle Mariners sluggers Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Texas Rangers third basemen Adrian Beltre and Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado.

The Dominican team is in Pool C along with the United States, Canada and Team Colombia. Play begins on March 9 at Marlins Park in Miami with the Dominican Republic as the defending champs.

Previous Report – Dec 28

A day after teammates Seth Lugo and Ty Kelly were confirmed to be playing in the WBC, it has now been confirmed by sources that T.J. Rivera will also participate. Rivera, 28, will join Lugo on Team Puerto Rico, and Kelly will play for Team Israel.

In 2016, Rivera, hit .352 in 105 Minor League games and .333 in 33 Major League games.

Other players on Team Puerto Rico include Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.

Original Post – Dec 27

Here are a couple of New York Mets player updates regarding the upcoming Winter Baseball Classic.  According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, RHP Seth Lugo has agreed to play for Puerto Rico and Ty Kelly has agreed to play for Israel.

Lugo, 27, hails from Louisiana but has Puerto Rican roots on his father’s side of the family. Last season, Lugo was a nice surprise for the Mets, coming up after a rash of injuries and producing a 2.67 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in 17 late season appearances including eight starts.

Kelly, 27, has Jewish ancestry and was initially supposed to play in the qualifying rounds for Team Israel, but his September call-up prevented him from playing. Israel advanced anyway, and now Kelly will lend his talents to them. He played in 39 games for the Mets last season, posting a .241 average with a .697 OPS.

Other Mets expected to play in the WBC are SS Asdrubal Cabrera for Venezuela and RHP Jeurys Familia for the Dominican Republic. Both Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are on Team Italy’s preliminary roster, however it is unclear yet if either outfielder will play. RHP Noah Syndergaard, has already declined an invitation from Team USA.

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Reds Agree To One-Year Deal With Drew Storen Tue, 03 Jan 2017 21:34:53 +0000 drew storen 2

According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Cincinnati Reds have reached an agreement with free agent reliever Drew Storen on a one year deal worth $3 million dollars. He can earn an additional $1.5 million via incentives for appearances and games finished.

Storen, 29, had a down year in 2016, going 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA (4.21 FIP) and a 1.335 WHIP in 57 appearances for Toronto and Seattle. However, from 2010 to 2015 he was an integral part of the Washington Nationals bullpen, serving as their closer at times and posting a 3.02 ERA and 1.129 WHIP in 164 relief appearances while racking up 164 saves.

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Vladimir Guerrero Heads My Official “Unofficial” HOF Ballot Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:46:11 +0000 vladimir guerrero

It’s that time of the year again so here’s my Official Unofficial Hall of Fame Ballot for the Class of 2017. This year’s ballot wasn’t as cut and dry as you might think. There were a few players I left off simply because of the 10 man limitation, and while I’m not one of those guys who takes issue with PEDs, I do have issues with those who lie repeatedly about not using and act like douches. Still baseball is a numbers game. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my ballot:

1. Vladimir Guerrero: The first player that jumps out at me is Vladimir Guerrero, one of the most lethal sluggers of his era. From 1998 through 2010, Vlad won just one single MVP award, but he was in the conversation in everyone of those years. He walloped 449 homers in his career with a 140 OPS+ and never struck out 100 times in a season. Nine All Star selections and eight Silver Sluggers make him a no-brainer.

2. Jeff Bagwell: He has 1,500+ runs, 1,500+ RBI, 1,400 walks, a career .408 OBP and a 149 OPS+ so what’s the problem? Should have already been voted in, but got screwed by the immoral moral majority contingent in the BBWAA.

3. Ivan Rodriguez: The best defensive catcher I ever saw and it wasn’t just the 13 Gold Gloves that make Pudge so deserving. When you consider the 2,844 hits, 572 doubles, 311 homers, and seven Silver Sluggers, Pudge was the complete package behind the plate.

4. Edgar Martinez: Yes I get the whole DH thing, but I’m sorry, I can’t ignore a career .312/.418/.515 slash line and a 147 OPS+. He should have won an MVP in 1995 when he led the league with a .356 batting average, .479 OBP and 185 OPS+ while collecting 52 doubles, 29 homers and a league leading 121 runs scored.

5.  Barry Bonds: I’m burying the hatchet with this guy. He’s a big time douche bag but he’s also the best all-around talent I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. 232 walks including 120 intentional passes in one season, are you freaking shitting me? Bonds had his HOF resume carved out before he even started doping… You know all the gaudy numbers.

6. Jeff Kent: I know that many will disagree, but here we have a player who has eclipsed over a half dozen all-time marks for second basemen while playing in the vast expanses of Shea Stadium, AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium. You have everybody wanting Larry Walker ushered into the head of the class and yet Kent has over 200 more RBI and 300 more hits while playing a middle infield position. Would love to have seen what numbers Kent could have produced playing 10 years in Coors Field.

7.  Billy Wagner: Sorry, but Lee Smith and Trevor Hoffman were not better closers than Billy Wagner, I don’t care how many more saves they have. You could put those two in eventually, but Wagner has to go in first based on pure dominance and sheer shutdown stuff. With a career 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, and 187 ERA+ few pitchers not named Mariano can touch Wagner.

8. Roger Clemens: Sorry Mets fans, but just like Barry Bonds, Clemens had his HOF ticket punched long before he started doping. Among his many incredible accomplishments, The Rocket struck out 20 batters in a game twice, led the league in ERA seven times, won 354 games, and of course seven Cy Young Awards.

9. Mike Mussina: This one is my sentimental pick. That .638 winning percentage says more about Mussina than anything else. Forget the high-ish 3.68 ERA, you try pitching 18 years in the AL East.

10. Manny Ramirez: Come on, he batted .300 11 times, amassed a whopping 1,831 RBI in his career including 165 in 1999, and he owns a .996 OPS, 154 OPS+ and oh those 555 home runs. And lets admit it… Manny Being Manny was kind of fun wasn’t it? He was also a force in the postseason.

Honorable Mentions

I wish I had room for Tim Raines, but I couldn’t convince myself that he was more deserving than the players I went with. Larry Walker is a Hall of Famer but he can wait another year. And Curt Schilling was such an appalling ass this year, he can wait until 2018 too.

Let me know what you guys think.

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