Mets Merized Online » Joe D Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:02:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trade Deadline Thread: Five Teams Still In On Alex Rios Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:10:39 +0000 I wanted to get an open thread going as we move closer to the non-waiver trade deadline which expires at 4:00 PM this afternoon.

There’s a lot of rumors circulating, much like very year, but with the Mets playing better of late, there’s a growing sense that the team is closer to relevancy and possibly in a position to add much needed upgrades at shortstop and left field.

That may be true, but most insiders believe the Mets sell-off a piece or two if a team is willing to overpay, or they’ll just stand pat. Nobody believes the Mets will add anyone significant by today’s deadline and even Sandy Alderson downplayed that he views the Mets as being buyers.

We’ll update this thread as things go down and feel free to discuss any rumors, ideas or anything else that’s relevant to today in this thread.

12:00 PM

The Royals, Giants and Mariners, and to a lesser degree the Reds and Indians, are in on Ranger outfielder Alex Rios, reports Jon Heyman. The Yankees or Mets do not seem to be involved at this point. Heyman says Rios is perhaps the best all-around outfielder on the market.

11:30 AM

The Royals have also inquired on Bartolo Colon, but got the sense that New York did not intend to move him.

Not long after acquiring Jon Lester from the Red Sox, the Twins have acquired lefty Tommy Milone from the A’s in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld, the teams have announced.

The Nationals, Blue Jays and two other clubs have been in contact with the Indians about switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.



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Trade Talks For Alex Rios Gaining Traction Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:28:41 +0000 Alex-Rios

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, trade talks for Rangers outfielder Alex Rios are “gaining traction” in several places.

The Rangers are willing to eat some of the remaining salary on Rios’ contract if that’s what it takes to move him.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that the Indians, Giants, Reds and Royals are among a bevy of suitors who have Rios on their radar, and he appears to be a lock to be traded before Thursday’s deadline at 4:00 PM EST.

The Rangers seem willing to absorb a significant amount of the $5 million remaining on his contract for this season, and part of the attraction is a $13.5 million team option for next season with a $1 million buyout. It makes him much more valuable than a typical two-month rental.

Rios is batting .305 this season with a .764 OPS. The 33-year old has a league-leading eight triples, 22 doubles, four home runs, 42 runs scored and 43 RBI on the season with 16 stolen bases. He bats right-handed and is slashing at .378/.413/.659 against lefthanded pitching.

Last season, Rios hit 18 home runs, drove in 82 runs and stole 42 bases while scoring 83 runs, and while his defense has dipped in center, he’s a solid defender in left or right field.

I wondered if the Mets could make a play for Rios a couple of weeks ago, and I see him as a player who’d be very well suited for a park like Citi Field.

An outfield of Curtis Granderson in left, Juan Lagares in center and Rios in right would make for one of the best defensive outfields in the league.

Additionally, Rios would give the Mets a true leadoff hitter that could free up Grandy to bat in the middle of the order which is why he got that $60 million deal from the Mets in the first place.

Sandy Alderson has said he’s not interested in trading for any two-month rentals and has his sights set on players who can help the team next season as well. 

“I don’t think we would deal significant prospects or significant value for somebody who is going to help us for a couple of months,” Alderson said. “We spent too much time improving our Minor League system and setting ourselves up for the future to commit significant resources to somebody in a deal that is only going to help us for a short period of time. In that sense, we would probably be looking for somebody who can help us longer term as well.”

Perhaps Rios is the kind of player that would appeal to Sandy.

(Updated 7/30)

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Harsh Realities: The Mets Are Stuck In The Spin-Cycle Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:17:54 +0000 It’s always fun debating all the possible ways the Mets can bring a superstar to Queens at this time of the year. Nobody wants to be a seller, that usually means your season is “over and out” and relevancy is still a year or more away.

As we close in on our sixth consecutive losing season, it’s become very clear that even the biggest proponents of a rebuild four years ago are getting tired of the waiting. Heck, even David Wright is telling reporters that now is the time to start adding those significant pieces, venturing in terrain he’s never navigated before. But of course the captain realizes that he isn’t getting any younger.

And while some of us discuss the potential to land a Troy Tulowitzki or a Carlos Gonzalez, there is a stark reality that clouds everything – the still stifling financial situation that has encumbered this team for over half a decade now.

wilpon aldersonOh how the Mets want you all to believe they are now on easy street, but even in a year when they promised to increase payroll, there they sit almost $10 million lower than 2013 levels, $20 million lower than 2012 levels, and an astounding $70 million lower than 2011 levels.

The Mets are led by a GM who is most famous for how little he says about anyone or anything. However, it’s how he crafts his jokes that really tell the story, always managing to use humor to convey the sad reality that payroll is not going to alter much over the next few years.

Alderson made his big “superstar plays” by signing David Wright to a deal that takes him into retirement, and then giving Curtis Granderson a cushy second generation contract worth four years and $60 million. Because Grandy’s deal was discounted in year one, his salary jumps from $13MM in 2014 to $16 million in 2015. That’s $36 million for two players and about $45 million left to fill the other 23 spots on the roster.

While someone in the organization (is that you Jeff?) keeps leaking things like the Mets are targeting Tulo and Gonzalez, Alderson used his dry wit to put that rumor neatly to bed.

When he was asked if the Mets even had the financial wherewithal to add one of those players he responded as such:

“We’ve got a 20 and 15,’’ he said referring to David Wright and Curtis Granderson. “So we go with a 20, 20, 15 and what? 22 dwarfs?’’

Yes, Mr. Alderson, point taken.

Sandy brings us back to “payroll concentration” a phrase he coined last offseason when he attempted to convey that two $15 million per year players is as good as it gets in Flushing.

It’s great to dream, and we’ll keep dreaming on MMO, but it’s important to understand that no matter what you think the financial landscape hasn’t changed much at all over the last few years.

Do you find it all befuddling that the only players in the “sell” conversation are those who are making some significant change like Daniel Murphy, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese? In 2-3 years it might be Matt Harvey, Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler needed to be moved because they’re getting “too pricey” another term made famous by our esteemed GM last offseason when he had this to say after arriving to dinner late at the Winter Meetings.

“Sorry I’m late” he told reporters. “I was upstairs stacking our money. But don’t get too excited. They were all fives.”

When asked how high the pile was, he said: “Not as high as some people expect.”

It must be tough for a man with such integrity and honor to keep up a variety of pretenses for his bosses, but don’t feel too bad for Sandy, he’s well paid and up to the task.

So while you hear me saying things about how optimistic I am about our future (and I am), and how I gloat over a farm system that both our current and former GM helped to build (and yes they both did), I’m still grounded in the reality that this team is tapped out, flat broke, and running on fumes.

Our organization still lacks any reasonable financial flexibility – especially for a franchise in this market. They can only add quality players after first jettisoning established (and well paid) players off the current roster to clear up room for them.

The fact is that nothing has changed much… We’ll still continue to trade quality players for prospects, hope that it’s enough to take us to the next level, but understanding that once any of these players become too good and too costly, they’ll simply get turned over for a newer crop of prospects who are 2-3 years away. The Mets are stuck in the Spin-Cycle and that may not change until the Wilpons are finally gone and as long as they take their crippling debt and decades of bad decision-making with them.

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Collins Doesn’t Sound Like A Big Fan Of Wilmer Flores Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:00:29 +0000 terry collins snarky

The following transcript is courtesy of Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. It’s a conversation that just concluded between reporters and Terry Collins at Citi Field:

Reporter: ”When you take a look at Wilmer Flores, when he was up here in May, when he played in five consecutive games, he hit. When he plays every other game he doesn’t hit. Is now the time to see what Flores can do on an everyday basis?”

Collins: ”It all depends where you’re going to play him.”

Reporter: ”You don’t have confidence in him at shortstop?”

Collins: ”No, no. I didn’t say that. The other kid [Tejada] is playing pretty good. I don’t know what games you’ve been watching, but we’ve been playing pretty good lately.”

Reporter: ”He’s 3-for-29.”

Collins: ”We’re playing pretty good lately. You know, Ike Davis wasn’t hitting and we were winning games. So you pick and choose your spots. Wilmer came up because Ruben got beaned, so we were concerned about having a backup. So that’s why he’s here. There were no instructions to play him everyday. We’re going to try to get him at-bats. That’s why he’s in there today.”

Reporter: ”What do you need to see from him to keep him in the lineup everyday?”

Collins: ”Nothing from him. We’ve got to figure out if he is going to be the shortstop, or if the other guy is going to be the shortstop.”

During Flores’ first call-up to the Mets, he hit a grand slam and drove in six against the Phillies to win the game. Afterward, Collins said the following about Flores:

“It’s not like he hit it against Cliff Lee.”

After sitting idle for 12 straight days, Collins was asked if that was harmful to Flores’ development. The Mets manager responded:

“I cant worry about developing players, I have games I’ve got to win.”

Last week, when asked if Flores would share time at short with Tejada, the Mets manager said:

“Lets understand that if Tejada didn’t get beaned, Flores is not even here right now. Got it?”

Cripes… Yeah, we got it…

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Sandy Has No Recollection Of La Russa’s Steroid Concerns… None, Zero, Nada… Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:29:01 +0000 tony la russa

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that if Tony La Russa came to him with suspicions about performance enhancing drug use when the two were with the Oakland A’s organization, he doesn’t remember it.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about those kinds of circumstances over the years, particularly eight or nine years ago, and I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of any such conversation,” Alderson said.

“If you go back and look at what I have said on the record, yes, I had my suspicions,” Alderson said. “I’m just here to respond to what Tony had to say and let’s leave it at that.”

Read more in the Daily News.

July 28

In an interview with the Daily News this weekend, 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa had some interesting things to say regarding the entire steroids era.

La Russa said he went to GM Sandy Alderson and the team’s ownership during that era about potential player steroid use, but nothing was done and he said he was confronted by “indifference” by the team’s brass.

“I knew our programs in Oakland were 100 percent clean,” La Russa told the Daily News. “But we had our suspicions — guys hitting stronger but not working out. I went to Sandy and ownership about this. And they told me flat off, ‘Right of privacy. It’s a collective bargaining issue.’”

Alderson is expected to respond to the allegations today at Citi Field before tonight’s game.

“I’m not going to comment on that until at least Monday,” said Alderson to the Daily News, presumably so he would not detract from HOF induction weekend.

La Russa also added:

“We have to acknowledge that that period for about 10 or 12 years, somewhere around the early ’90s to the early 2000s, was a black spot, a negative mark in our history.”

“If any manager had known for sure that his players were doing this and didn’t report it to the league, to me, that’s a breach of integrity and he shouldn’t be let in the Hall of Fame.”

La Russa believes that if Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get into the Hall, they should have asterisks. 

The Hall of Fame governing bodies just made changes to HOF voting system, reducing the number of years a player can remain on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. It’s being viewed as an attempt to block some of the steroids users who are currently on the ballot.

I would expect Alderson to say pretty much the same things he said in 2010 when he was confronted with this issue after being named the Mets GM.

After Alderson was interviewed by Congress and former Senator George Mitchell for a report on the subject, he told reporters:

“I guess in a nutshell, I suspected Jose Canseco of using steroids,” Alderson said. “I never suspected Mark McGwire. It was at a time when, as an organization, we actually had begun to emphasize weight training as part of our regimen.”

“But nonetheless it was new at that time and may have inadvertently gotten us involved with that steroid aspect of weight training and weight building, body building.”

“If you go back and put all that in perspective, do I wish I had done more?” he asked. “I think that’s almost always true with anything that we experience.”

Many have claimed that Oakland was Ground Zero for the growing steroid epidemic that has left an indelible stain on the game. It led to a controversial bestselling book by Oakland superstar Jose Canseco, who charged that the team knew everything, and that he and more than half of his teammates were all juicing.

Initially labelled as an opportunistic liar by Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and almost all of baseball, Canseco’s book blew the lid off the conspiracy to keep everything under wraps. A congressional hearing and a government oversight committee would eventually ensue and sweeping changes to the drug testing program and stronger and enforceable penalties would soon follow.

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Colon Unfazed By Rumors, Leaves To A Standing Ovation, Applauds The Fans Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:38:13 +0000 bartolo colon

A source told Andy Martino of the Daily News tweeted that “There’s absolutely nothing brewing on trade talks for Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon at the moment.”

Jon Heyman gives 5 reasons why the Mets will likely get stuck with Colon and the guaranteed contract they gave him for 2015.

1. He is 41 and will pitch at 42 next season (“At some point the end comes, and he’s going to be 42,” one AL scout pointed out);

2. While he has held up remarkably well he wouldn’t appear to be in tip-top shape (he’s listed as 283 pounds);

3. He is due to make $11 million next year;

4. The market is current flush with big names in their prime.

5. Among teams seen as having some interest, San Francisco already filled its rotation opening with Jake Peavy, while Seattle appears to be looking for the moment at the top-tier guys, including David PriceJon Lester and Cole Hamels.

Colon, 41, pitched into the eighth inning Monday night and left the game to a standing ovation at Citi Field. In return, Colon applauded the fans as he disappeared into the dugout. He surrendered one run and lowered his ERA to 3.88 ERA for the season.

The veteran righthander sees and hears the rumors and says he is unfazed by them.

“I know there’s talk about it because it’s everywhere, but I don’t really pay attention to anything anyone is saying,” Colon said. “I’m happy here and would like to stay here, but it’s really not up to me.”

July 28

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the San Francisco Giants acquired Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitching prospects; Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.

The rumor mill was buzzing about a potential deal between the two teams over the last week or so. And on Friday FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Red Sox and Giants were in serious discussions.

This puts the kibosh on any chance the Mets had of trading Bartolo Colon to San Francisco, but there’s still quite a few suitors out there for the Mets to deal with.

The Mets are reportedly willing to pay some of Colon’s remaining $3.5 million salary this season, but are unwilling to pick up any of his $11 million due in 2015 when he turns 42. That makes Colon less attractive to teams as the Mets were the only ones willing to give him a guaranteed contract for two years.

The Mets have said they feel no pressure to move Colon and are content hanging onto him, but I’m not buying it. Are you?

July 22

Citing a source close to Bartolo Colon, ESPN Deportes is reporting that the San Francisco Giants have expressed interest in acquiring the 41-year-old right-hander.

Colon is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He is under contract for $9 million this season and $11 million in 2015.

Danny Knobler also heard the Mets are trying hard to move Colon. Sources have told ESPN New York that the Mets are receptive to trading Colon with the team considering itself deep at starting pitcher.

The Mets have Daisuke Matsuzaka they can turn to, Jeremy Hefner nearing a return from elbow surgery, and prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero in Triple-A. Plus Matt Harvey is due to return from Tommy John surgery next season.

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Phillies and Yankees Schedule Private Workouts With Cuban Phenom Rusney Castillo Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:29:35 +0000 Cuban Rusney Castillo arrives safely in

As was reported on Sunday, over a hundred scouts showed up and were very impressed with the showcase by Cuban phenom Rusney Castillo on Saturday. Now the serious teams are making their moves for the corner outfielder.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has confirmed that the New York Yankees have scheduled a private workout with Castillo, joining the Phillies and the Red Sox who were the first two teams to schedule one-on-ones.

The Houston Astros, who have plenty of money to spend after failing to sign their first rounder, is also a serious suitor.

July 27

According to Walter Villa of Baseball America, Cuban defector Rusney Castillo wowed all 28 teams in attendance during his showcase on Saturday and impressed the over 100 scouts who were on hand.

The 27-year old outfielder worked out for two hours and 45 minutes at the University of Miami as teams came to catch a glimpse of what could be the next great thing out of Cuba. Castillo fielded flyballs in the outfield as well as grounders at shortstop.

BA says the most pleasantly surprising aspect of Castillo’s game was the power he showed and the ability to hit to the opposite field with authority.

Running: Castillo ran the 60-yard dash somewhere between 6.4 seconds and 6.5, depending on which scout you asked. Castillo gave a slight “deke” before he started his sprint, which threw off some stop-watches. Either way, though, Castillo is a plus runner by consensus of various scouts.

Throwing: Castillo started out in right field, fielding base hits and firing to third base. He then took base hits and threw home. All his throws were on a line and hit the mark on the fly or on one hop. “He has a 50 arm,” said one scout. “It’s an average big league arm. He could be used in all three outfield spots in a pinch, but his arm plays more like a left fielder.”

Batting Practice: Castillo showed a natural lift to his hacks, upper-cutting balls with force. After a few minutes in the cage, Castillo took three rounds of batting practice on the field. This is where he made his biggest impression. “After his second round of batting practice, I would have stopped right there because I didn’t think he could improve on that,” one scout said. “But he did.” Another scout was also impressed with his hitting. “I like him,” the scout said. “He’s a major league player.”

Live Batting: Castillo hit live against 6-foot-3 righthander Nate Carter, 22, who was 4-1, 1.54 with eight saves for Division II Florida Southern this past season. Carter was asked how well he thought Castillo did with his pitches. “He’s a great hitter,” Carter said. “I threw some fastballs at the knees on the outside corner, and he hit them over the fence or close to it.” Castillo took 16 cuts, missing two and fouling off eight. Of the six he hit fair, only one was a likely out, a couple of shots were off the wall and a couple went over the fence.

July 25

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, scouts representing 11 MLB teams are flocking to Miami to watch free agent Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who has been said to be like “Brett Gardner with power.”

The Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Astros, Cubs, Braves, Giants, White Sox, Orioles and Marlins are all expected to be on hand Saturday at the University of Miami.

Considering how fellow Cubans Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and most recently Odrisamer Despaigne, have recently rewarded their signing teams, expect Castillo to be in high demand.

Castillo is short at 5’9″ but has a strong, athletic build. His speed is his calling card, and Baseball America says he is one of the best base stealers in Cuba and an aggressive, high-energy player with a line-drive stroke.

Heyman compares the 27-year old center fielder to Kenny Lofton and Jacoby Ellsbury, and scouts believe he could be in the big leagues by the end of this season.

He profiles as a leadoff or number two-type hitter.

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Alderson Says Blockbuster Deal Possible, But Wouldn’t Bet On It Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:04:11 +0000 sandy alderson 2

Sandy Alderson told reporters at Citi Field that it’s unlikely the Mets make a deal before the Trade Deadline – sort of.

“If I had to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen,” Alderson said. “But you never know what’s going to transpire in the next three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options might be. So I’d say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but we’re not inclined to at this point. It’s speculation, but I wouldn’t bet on something happening before the Deadline.”

When asked if he viewed his team as being sellers or buyers, Alderson responded, “When I say it’s unlikely that we’ll do anything, we’re not anxious to be sellers and we’re cautious about being buyers.”

Asked if he could envision dipping into his farm system to make a blockbuster deal (CarGo/Tulowitzki) happen in the future.

“That’s a possibility,” Alderson said of a significant deal to add offense. “In fact, to me that sounds more desirable than inching your way there, giving up prospects in more cautious transactions. So I wouldn’t rule that out. But it’s got to be the right time for the right player under the right circumstances.”

The Mets have been shopping Bartolo Colon and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that even the team’s top prospect Noah Syndergaard is being dangled. There has been little interest in Colon, but that could change if the team is willing to eat some cash.

Alderson has already downplayed the possibility of trading second baseman Daniel Murphy, the team’s lone All-Star. Of course they’ll to listen to offers.

“We like the team as it’s developing,” Alderson said. “So I think that, in and of itself, would make us reluctant to move players at the Deadline.”

Thoughts from Joe D.

It’s obvious that Sandy believes his team is closer now than ever before to being relevant again. In the past he would brush off questions about trading for players like Stanton or Tulowitzki, but this time he says “it’s possible.” That’s a big step forward for him, but it’s still all talk until he makes something happen.

Alderson also keeps denying that any player is being shopped or available, but that’s what they all do now, it’s simply GM-speak. You can bet he was gleaming after Colon’s performance last night and that his only hope was fielding a dozen calls about him this morning.

As for Murphy, a different situation entirely. Sandy knows if he moves Murphy and doesn’t receive MLB-ready talent that can help the team immediately, it will be viewed as another setback and waving the white flag on this season. I don’t think Murphy’s going anywhere.

(Updated 7/29 with quotes from Anthony DiComo)

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Mets Prepared To Offer Syndergaard To Get Tulowitzki Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:01:44 +0000 Carlos+Gonzalez+Troy+Tulowitzki+San+Francisco+rUY3TpSfSyel

In the latest Troy Tulowitzki rumors, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that the Mets have reached out to Colorado and are prepared to offer top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a deal for the All Star shortstop.

Of course they’d likely have to include Plawecki and probably Nimmo too, but there ya go…

Passan speculates that the Rockies front office would move him if that’s what Tulo wants. He angered some in the front office when he spent Sunday at Yankee Stadium to watch his favorite player Derek Jeter.

The plot thickens…

July 27

Team insiders told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the Mets are not engaged in any substantive trade talks at present. However that does not mean something won’t materialize in the coming days and before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

A Mets source also “severely tempered” the recent buzz that the team inquired about Colorado superstars Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez. The team exec said the Mets worked hard over a few years to build up their young pitching and are “unlikely to part with multiple high-level pitching prospects in one deal” for a big-ticket item.

It was interesting to hear SNY’s Jim Duquette give his opinion on what it would take for the Mets to land Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez from the Rockies.

The former Mets GM said the cost for acquiring either player would be significant and speculated that any deal would begin with Zack WheelerRafael Montero, and Dominic Smith. Plus depending on if ot’s Tulo or CarGo at least one other player. Wow… That’s pretty steep…

Tulowitzki, 30, is owed $114 million through 2020 with a $15 million team option for 2021.

Gonzalez, 29, is owed $53 million through 2017 after which he becomes a free agent.

When word reached David Wright about the Tulo/CarGo rumor, it left the Mets captain wondering how that would even be possible. ”What are you willing to give to obtain that? And that is kind of an open-ended question.”

Despite embracing the opportunity to pay with someone like Tulowitzki who he’s befriended, Wright also downplayed the possibility of such a deal transpiring.

“Sandy Alderson has got a tough job because, yeah, I’m sure we’re interested, but I’m sure there’s 29 other teams that are interested, also. “What are you willing to give, because the Rockies are not going to be giving these guys away.”

“You’re talking about two of the better players in the game,” Wright said. “Ruben Tejada is starting to swing the bat better, so it’s no knock on any shortstop. It’s just that Tulowitzki hits like a corner infielder or corner outfielder and plays tremendous defense.”

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BP Scouts Michael Conforto Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:35:59 +0000 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus seems to agree with me regarding first round draft pick Michael Conforto and the decision to start his professional career with the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Short-Season NYPL.

Here is what Dr. Parks has to say:

Conforto is a man among boys in the New York-Penn League, as his polished game and field utility make him look like a major leaguer playing a pickup game in the park against weekend softball warriors.

The fact that he stands out is both good and bad; the former is great for the Mets, as they clearly drafted a player of merit, but the latter is bad for scouting, as it’s hard to get an accurate picture of the player when he is facing highly erratic talent that doesn’t offer much of a challenge.

I like the swing, as it’s fluid and easy, and the ball jumps off the bat with some volume. I like the raw, although I’d peg the power in the solid-average range rather than a middle-of-the-lineup masher with a plus or better distinction.

The defense in left field has been fine, as he shows off athleticism and an accurate arm. He isn’t a burner but he runs well enough for the position and while on base, and he carries himself like a player who not only knows the game of baseball from a fundamental level but brings those skills to the field on all fronts. But it’s difficult in this particular context to see how bright his star will really shine, and based on a limited three game sample, I’d say the profile will be more solid-average than star. 

For some reason the Mets have been starting all of their top college draft picks in Low-A and longtime MMO readers will remember my rants about this when the Mets dispatched Kevin Plawecki to Brooklyn after the former Boilermaker was drafted and signed.

I feel like it’s a waste of time to place these 21-22 year old players in a league that is less competitive than the college level competition they hail from. Especially when we are talking about Division 1 All-Americans – or in other words – the best of the best.

What’s to be gained by having them play in a league where the majority of players are anywhere from 3-4 years younger than them and the league presents no challenge?

By the way, I’ve been asked a few time if I believe Conforto will be going to the Arizona Fall League this season. While nothing official has been announced, I’d be very surprised if Conforto wasn’t there with all of the other top prospects in baseball.

But then again, the Mets have recently usurped the original purpose of the AFL which was intended to be a showcase of future stars. In recent years, the Mets have been using the AFL as some sort of half-assed rehab camp for their recovering players or minor league fodder that needs additional playing time.

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Remembering the “Disappointed But Not Devastated” Tom Glavine Sun, 27 Jul 2014 04:11:24 +0000 tom glavine

The Baseball Hall of Fame will induct its 2014 class today in Cooperstown, NY and standing among them will be two former Mets. Joe Torre, who was elected by the Veterans Committee, played for the Mets from 1975-1977, where he hit .267 with 12 home runs and 75 RBI in 254 games. Torre began his managerial career with the Mets in 1977 and skippered the team through 1981, going 286-420. LHP Tom Glavine will also be enshrined today. Glavine was 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA in five seasons (2004-2007) with New York.

To baseball fans, Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his generation.  He won 305 games over his 22-year career, including five 20-win seasons.  He finished in the top three in Cy Young Award balloting six times, while winning the award twice (1991, 1998).

Mets fans might remember him for something different.  Some will remember Glavine for picking up his 300th career victory in 2007 as a member of the Mets. Others will remember his outstanding 2006 campaign; a year in which he finished with a 15-7 record in the regular season and followed that up with two more victories in the postseason, which included a sparkling 1.59 ERA in three starts.

Some of us will only remember Glavine for his final appearance in a Mets uniform…

On September 30, 2007, just one day after John Maine pitched his near no-hitter against the Marlins to help the Mets tie the Phillies in the standings going into the regular season finale, Glavine was only able to record one out against Florida in what would be the worst start of his career.

The veteran southpaw was tagged hard for seven runs – all earned – by the Marlins that day in a devastating 8-1 loss.  Coupled with Philadelphia’s victory over the Washington Nationals, the Mets failed to repeat as division champions in 2007 and the late-season collapse was etched in stone. With a seven-game division lead on September 12, the Mets lost 12 of their last 17 games in what is regarded as one of the worst collapses in MLB history.

If his poor performance against the Marlins wasn’t enough to enrage Mets fans, his post-game comments surely managed to do the trick when Glavine told reporters he was disappointed but not devastated.

“I spent a pretty big hunk of my career in New York. And I know at first I was just a guy coming in. But after a while, I became comfortable, and I think I was accepted. Winning the National League East in 2006 made it better, and then I won my 300th with the Mets. I felt I had the city behind me. If we had beaten the Marlins in the last game, I don’t think I would have lost any standing. But the way it worked out wasn’t as good as it could have been.”

As a baseball fan, I appreciate what Tom Glavine did on the baseball field.  While I rooted for him everyday as a Met. for some reason I never quite looked at him as a Met. Whenever I saw him I saw Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox. The Tomahawk Chop would be playing in my head. He’ll be joining his teammate Maddux this afternoon on that podium.

I want to congratulate Glavine, who was always a class act on and off the field. He was a great competitor, a quality postseason pitcher, and he was always a plus in the clubhouse. 

However, as a Mets fan, every time I think of the final 17 games of the 2007 season, I think of Tom Glavine. In many ways we are still trying to recover from that historic collapse.

Congratulations on your Hall of Fame enshrinement, Mr. Glavine.

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Dice-K Goes To DL With Elbow Inflamation, Carlyle Recalled Sat, 26 Jul 2014 18:11:49 +0000 matsuzaka

The Mets announced that pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has been placed on the DL with inflammation in his right elbow.

Terry Collins said he will not throw for 7-10 days to let the inflammation subside. There has been no talk about surgery or any structural damage, for now, but he will be examined again after inflammation diminishes.

“I’m sure it’s just from all the innings,” Collins said. “Like we know, you count up all those innings and throw all those pitches, there’s going to be damage. Can’t help it. I’m sure that’s how it is and I hope it’s not that severe where the rest and rehab will be fine.”

The Mets recalled reliever Buddy Carlyle to replace Dice-K in the bullpen.

July 25

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is in New York having his elbow examined according to manager Terry Collins. Dice-K felt pain in his elbow and will have an MRI.

Matsuzaka looked like he was in pain after pitching in the sixth inning of last night’s loss to the Brewers. His velocity was off and he was quickly tagged for three runs on a pair of homers off the bats of Khris Davis and Ryan Braun.

Dice-K could be seen shaking his arm and grabbing his elbow in the dugout afterward and looked to be in some sort of obvious distress.

However, when Terry Collins was asked about his pitcher after the game, he told reporters he wasn’t aware of any injury even though many in the dugout could be seen attending to Dice-K and trying to console him.

Matsuzaka, 33, has a 3.87 ERA in 28 appearances this season, which includes nine starts.

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Mets Would Trade Murphy For A Hefty Haul Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:56:11 +0000 daniel murphy

Despite reports that the Mets are not actively shopping Daniel Murphy, ESPN’s Jayson Stark said in a chat today, that the Mets second baseman is available if teams were willing to pay a high price.

“They’d definitely move him,” he writes. “But they want quality back. Sandy Alderson does a really good job of making these types of moves. And there are enough teams looking for a second baseman that I think that’s a real possibility.”

Nobody should be untouchable, especially when you’re on the verge of six straight losing seasons.

What Stark is saying here is neither revealing or insightful and could be said about almost any player on the Mets.

If a team is willing to overpay for any of our players, it would be negligent of us not to listen or even act if it makes the team significantly better.

11:00 AM

Marc Carig of Newsday reports that teams have reached out to the Mets about trading for second baseman Daniel Murphy. However, he adds that the front office is more likely to keep Murphy rather than deal him away.

Yesterday I mentioned that I can’t see the Mets trading Murphy mostly because it would send a signal that the team is still not ready to be competitive and is still rebuilding. The exact opposite of what Sandy Alderson is trying to convey.

Murphy, 29, made his first All-Star team this season and is batting .287/.335/.406 with 26 doubles, seven homers, 38 RBI, 57 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.

He is currently earning $5.7 million this year and will be eligible for his final year of arbitration this winter and could get about $8 million or a little more than what the Mets gave Chris Young for 2014.

The topic of trading Murphy has become a hot-button issue in the fan base, so I asked some of our writers to weigh in on this to give us a broader sense.

Destry – The Mets should absolutely lock up Daniel Murphy as soon as they possibly can.  He was quoted recently as saying something to the effect of “I’ve already made enough money for one lifetime.”  This tells me that he would sign a below market deal, and those just don’t happen for players that have already established themselves as an All Star caliber player.  He does everything the right way.  He’s done everything the team and the organization has ever asked of him, and he’s never complained once, about anything.  He’s a tireless worker, and an excellent role model for the young players and this franchise.  He’s also at or near the top of almost every major offensive category in the NL for the past year and a half.  With the exception of OBP, its uncanny how his numbers are virtually identical to league MVP Andrew McCutchen during that span.  Sign him up ASAP for 5 years and $47.5 mil. He could easily get $12 million per on the open market.

Roger – Daniel Murphy should be signed to an extension. Yes, the team has some really good second base prospects in the minors right now, but prospects are just that until they prove they can perform on the major league level. Most prospects don’t make it and even those that don’t – how many of them do you truly look back on 10 years down the line and say, “We never should have traded him away.” Odds are, you’re not trading a Future Hall of Famer. Murphy is a proven major league hitter. Why trade him in hope of a couple of years down the line one of the prospects eventually produces at the level Murphy currently is?

Joe Spector – I love Murph. He’s turned into one of the best second basemen in the game. Obviously he’s an offensive player but he’s come a long way since first being asked to play second. Keep him. He’s not great enough to bring in a haul but he’s good enough to keep.

XtreemIcon – Impossible to answer without knowing the potential return or contract demands. Murphy is significantly overrated by Mets fans. That doesn’t make him bad or invaluable, but consider that there was very little buzz surrounding him at the Winter Meetings, the Astros declined a trade for him for a shortstop that they demoted to AAA and has a career OPS barely north of .600, and the only reported trade offer TO the Mets for him was one middle reliever. The league doesn’t seem to value him quite as highly as Mets fans do, and for good reason.

Michael Branda – It depends on what he wants. If he wants to be here until say 2017, then sign him. He comes off as a heart and soul type player and you can’t just find those guys easily. If they let him walk, they are basically guaranteeing themselves a downgrade at a position that is giving them some of their best offensive production. If they dealt him, their internal plan would be what? Wilmer Flores? So basically you’re trading an All-Star 2B and replacing him with a young player who isn’t ready to hit in the major leagues yet. That’s what rebuilding teams do.

Ed Marcus – I am a Murph supporter, but with Dilson Herrera in the pipeline and possibly two seasons away I feel the Mets should maybe give Murphy a short term extension or just avoid arbitration and trade him next midseason.

Stephanie – I feel that they should re-sign him to a two to four year deal. He’s been improving every season at second base and it would be a real shame to see him traded this year. He has deserved an extension but we should be extremely cautious of the years and money we are giving him after just one great season which still isn’t even over yet.

David Conde – Tough, tough one, because I really like what is coming up in the minors. I mean with Dilson Herrera tearing it up at every level and they still have Flores, and I really like Murphy, but signing him to an extension just closes the door on any chance these kids have. But trading Murphy now would mean that Flores gets a real opportunity this season. I’m a skeptic that if you’re building for the future then don’t block the way for the future to happen.

Robert Piersall – I am a huge Murphy supporter. We need to lock this guy up right now. He has worked his rear end off to become a quality defensive second baseman, and though he still has his occasional mishaps in the field, his hitting makes up for it 100%. Murphy is our most consistent hitter. Definitely think it would be a huge mistake to trade Murphy, unless it was a very overwhelming offer for another major league ready player who could make a difference for this team.

Gerry Silverman – The Murphy question is perhaps the most intriguing personnel decision that will need to be made. Clearly he has developed some legitimate value at his position but appears to stand in the way of the team’s top current offensive prospect. I love his grit and his spirit, but I gotta confess, I think Wilmer Flores could be the middle of the lineup bat that Murph won’t ever evolve into. I’m torn.

Connor O’Brien – It doesn’t matter. Either way, trading Murphy or extending him, you are going to get tremendous value. If he is signed to $8-10 million annually, that’s a huge steal. If Alderson uses him as a big piece in a deal for a slugger, he has a lot of trade value. I like Murphy, but this team can’t really go wrong trading him or extending him, unless he wants too much – like $15 million per of course.

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Rockies Are High On Mets’ Syndergaard, Matz, Herrera and Nimmo Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:00:01 +0000 Carlos+Gonzalez+Troy+Tulowitzki+San+Francisco+rUY3TpSfSyel

Two updates to the growing buzz on Tulo and CarGo…

First, contrary to what has been reported, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki does not have a no-trade clause in his contract according to Thomas Harding of

Second, the Rockies are said to be very high on Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz and Dilson Herrera.

Joel Sherman says that if the Mets are willing to part with some combination of those prospects, “they will will be factors for CarGo, Tulowitzki or any other star that comes onto the market.”

July 24

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the Mets have told the Colorado Rockies they would like to be involved with trade discussions if and when Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez become available.

Sherman says that Rockies ownership has strongly stated it does not want to deal CarGo and, especially, Tulowitzki. But the extended run of poor play by the franchise, the growing contracts of the two players and the teeming disenchantment of the fan base has moved many within the industry to believe that decision could change, if not now, then this offseason.

There’s no way that either will be moved this month, but if they do become available this Winter, the bidding will be fast and furious for either of these two difference-makers. 

Tulowitzki, 30, has a no-trade clause, wears No. 2 in honor of Derek Jeter and is considerably more interested in being a Yankee than a Met, Sherman adds. And Colorado already has expressed interest to the Yankees in their top pitching prospect, Luis Severino.

The Cardinals — owners of arguably the deepest farm system in the sport — are also enamored with Tulowitzki and would move significant pieces to land him. In fact, the market will be deep if Tulowitzki comes onto it, because he is viewed as one of the 10 best players in the majors.

CarGo, 29, would certainly fill the void in left field, but as I wrote earlier, I don’t know if Sandy Alderson has the chops to trade for a top talent like this. And then there’s the issue of money. Money which I don’t believe this team has.

I’d love to see the Mets acting like a big market team again, but inquiries like this we’ve seen before. It’s the follow-through and execution that has been lacking.

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Keith Law on deGrom, Thor and Marcos Molina Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:44:30 +0000 ESPN’s MLB Insider Keith Law should just call his weekly chat with Insider Subscribers, “Mets Chat”. These last few weeks have been incredibly full of Mets questions as the our farm system and top prospects continues to draw a lot of positive attention – and envy too.

Here are some nuggets I pulled out from Wednesday’s exchange:

Are you surprised by Dilson Herrera‘s 359./421./581. line in 30 games at Binghamton, so far? Is he a Top 100 candidate for next season?

I like Herrera quite a bit and he is a top 100 candidate, but 30 games at any level by any player is a blink of an eye.

Would it be in the Mets best interest to call-up Noah Syndergaard? Don’t they risk damaging his confidence or having him attempt to fix something that isn’t broken by letting him continue to pitch in that environment?

I talked to him before the Futures Game – he seems unfazed by the altitude out there and it’s not like he’s having bad results.

marcos molina

Is Marcos Molina someone Mets fans should be looking out for or is his delivery too much of a problem? Word is he has electric stuff.

I wrote about him a month ago – fastball is plus with good life, tough arm action for a starter between the low slot and ‘slinging’ delivery.

Is Jacob deGrom for real? He doesn’t seem to be they guy we watched in the minors. No complaints here.

Got a lot better this year. Late convert to pitching, found another gear with his secondary stuff post-TJ recovery. I had him as my #10 Mets prospect going into 2013 and Met fans said I was nuts to have him that high. I was *way* too light on him!

You’ve mentioned often that the Mets have several minor league affiliates (I’m thinking Savannah and Las Vegas) with unfavorable home environments. To what degree do those situations negatively impact the team’s ability to properly develop prospects?

I think they can cause two problems. One is players changing their approach to fit the park – e.g., a hitter over-swinging to try to hit homers in a park that depresses them, a pitcher trying too hard to miss bats because he’s afraid of contact. The other is internal evaluations – you have to be able to look past Syndergaard posting a 6 ERA in Vegas and realize he’s doing what you want him to do.

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Mets Want To See More Consistency From Syndergaard Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:39:35 +0000 noah Syndergaard

Almost echoing what I said yesterday, after the Mets wrapped up their series win in Seattle, they said they are not yet convinced that Noah Syndergaard is ready to make the move to the majors.

What the Mets player development people are looking for from their top pitching prospect is the “consistency” that I talked about yesterday.

Two front office people did admit to the Daily News that Syndergaard has improved enough that the possibility of him making his debut in 2014 is more likely now than it was a month ago.

But until he strings together 2-3 more starts in a row like that on Tuesday night, I expect that the 21-year old will remain in Las Vegas to continue to develop his overall game. 

Another team source said on Wednesday that while the Mets would ideally like to bring up prospect Noah Syndergaard to plug into the rotation, they are adamant that they will not let the status of the major-league rotation affect Syndergaard’s development.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will be kept ready to make a spot start if Bartolo Colon is dealt and any trade is not an indication that Syndergaard is being promoted.

Some in the organization think that having Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola will help Syndergaard find that consistency and get him ready to make the leap to the majors when the time comes.

It’s nice to see the Mets wearing their big-boy pants on this.

My biggest fear has always been that the Wilpons will latch onto the howls from some in the Mets fan base and blogosphere, and that they’ll use an unwarranted Syndergaard promotion as a marketing gimmick to sell some extra tickets.

As I stated yesterday, Syndergaard was rushed through Advanced-A and Double-A, making no more than 12 starts at either level before beginning the 2014 season in Triple-A a full six years younger than the league’s average age – six years younger.

Among all Pacific Coast League starting pitchers, Syndergaard ranks 39th with a 5.34 ERA (minimum 15 starts) and 37th with a 1.53 WHIP.

This season is the first time in his five year minor league career that he has allowed more hits than innings pitched and the league is batting .303 against him.

Starting rotation mates Jacob deGrom (2.34), Rafael Montero (3.64), Matthew Bowman (2.79), Darin Gorski (4.56) and Logan Verrett (4.58) have all outperformed Syndergaard pitching in Las Vegas this season.

Additionally, Syndergaard would need to be added to the 40 man roster at a time when the Mets have several other prospects they must add to the 40 after the season to keep from losing them.

So far the only reasons I’ve heard for promoting Syndergaard now is; “it would be totally cool”, “the Mets owe it to the fans”, “let him learn how to pitch here”, and the always popular: “think of how exciting it would be.”

Let’s not screw this up…

July 23

Noah Syndergaard tossed 6.1 dominant innings for Las Vegas on Tuesday night, in a 4-0 win over the Tacoma Rainiers. He struck out five batters while scattering four singles and three walks and throwing a season high 109 pitches.

Syndergaard improved to 8-5 for the season and lowered his ERA to 5.34. Trying to figure out our top pitching prospect this season has been a Herculean task. He wavers between Thor for 1-2 starts and his evil brother Loki for the next 1-2 starts. Even the experts are baffled.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Keith Law said Syndergaard is in the midst of an excellent season, while others have labeled him as either underwhelming, going through the normal growing pains, paying the price of pitching in Las Vegas, or in a word, confounding. 

Syndergaard has already given the Mets two injury scares this season, and one of them, the strained flexor tendon, sent some in the organization and the fan base into a virtual tizzy.

He was expected to make his big league debut this summer, but that is obviously on hold for now and according to Collins we shouldn’t hold our breaths, calling a promotion this season very unlikely.

In an interview last week with Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, the young righty said he’s had to do a lot of growing up this season, believing he was major league ready during spring camp and counting the days until the Super 2 deadline to make his debut.

“I was thinking about that [Super 2] almost constantly,” he admitted.

He now realizes that succeeding at the highest level requires more than a 100-mph fastball and a hook from hell. He said he understands that he lacks the maturity and knowledge which can only be attained with more and more experience.

Initially, Syndergaard believed he was following the same path as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but realizes they were older and more polished pitchers. ”They were ready at that point. And right now, I don’t think I’m ready.”

Still, last night’s performance was good to see. It was step in the right direction especially coming off one of the worst pitching performances of his professional career in his previous starts when he was tagged for seven earned runs.

It has been a relatively tough season for Syndergaard, but he’s clearly still working things out. With the team in no apparent need for pitching, perhaps finishing out the season in Vegas might be the best way to go for him and for the organization. What’s to be gained by letting him burn a year off the arbitration clock just to have him struggling at the major league level in what might end up being a meaningless season when all is said and done?

He’s only 21 and he’s never had more than 12 starts in either Advanced-A St. Lucie or Double-A Binghamton. There’s no need to rush him if he’s truly as good as most people think.

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Mets Cancel Ticket Fees For Remaining Regular Season Games Thu, 24 Jul 2014 01:30:53 +0000 citi field fireworks

The New York Mets today announced that the club – in the return of last year’s popular “No Fees” promotion – will pick up ticket fees for all 33 remaining regular season home games at Citi Field during a six-day sale starting tomorrow Thursday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m. through next Tuesday, July 29 on or by phone at 718-507-TIXX.

The covered fees will apply to any ticket purchased during this six-day period, regardless of the date of the game. Throughout the six days, fans will be able to purchase tickets to any of the remaining 2014 Mets regular season home games at Citi Field with the Mets covering the associated ticket fees.

For example, a fan purchasing two tickets online or over the phone on Thursday, July 24 for the Saturday, August 2 game against the San Francisco Giants will not be charged any ticket fee for placing that order and will also enjoy postgame fireworks that night.

Highlights include 19 games against National League East Division foes the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals; all Free Shirt Fridays, Family Sundays (including the postgame Mr. Met Dash where kids run the bases) and the following:

Saturday, August 2 vs. San Francisco Giants (7:10 p.m.)

Post-game Fireworks presented by Duane Reade

Sunday, August 3 vs. San Francisco Giants (1:10 p.m.)

Toy Truck to first 15,000 presented by W.B. Mason

Saturday, August 16 vs. Chicago Cubs (7:10 p.m.)

Boyz II Men Post-game concert series presented by Duane Reade

Saturday, August 30 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:10 p.m.)

Curtis Granderson Bobblehead presented by Gold’s for first 20,000 fans

Saturday, September 13 vs. Washington Nationals (7:10 p.m.)

Post-game Fireworks presented by Duane Reade

Saturday, September 27 vs. Houston Astros (7:10 p.m.)

Austin Mahone Post-game concert series presented by Duane Reade

*The only fees not covered by the team during this promotion are Express Mailing, including mail and UPS.

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Can deGrom Win Rookie of the Year? Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:13:21 +0000 jacob degrom

Today’s buzz is all about Jacob deGrom, and thanks to manager Terry Collins, the question becomes can the 25-year old righthander come from behind and cop this year’s Rookie of the Year award.

“He’s always flown under the radar. He still is,” Terry Collins said after last night’s 3-1 win over the Mariners. “This guy has got numbers to match up with any rookie in the league, and you never hear his name mentioned.”

“We are seeing exactly what all the reports out of the minor leagues have ever said about this guy,” Collins said. “And that is: He keeps the ball down. He gets groundballs. Although he’s striking some guys out here because he’s learned how to do it a little bit, he keeps the ball in the ballpark. It’s really impressive to see.”

I usually implore you not to buy into much of what Collins’ says, mostly because he’s so often contradicting himself from one day to the next. But on the matter of deGrom possibly squeaking out enough of a great season to win the ROY? Count me in Camp Collins.

ESPN summarizes this year’s NL rookie of the month winners as Arizona’s Chris Owings, St. Louis’ Kolten Wong and Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. And one quick glance at this year’s rookie class gives me hope that deGrom can actually pull this off.

Last night, deGrom limited the Seattle Mariners to one run on five hits in seven innings and he now has a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts going back to June 21. Impressively, he has not allowed a home run in his last 52 2/3 innings. 

What stands out the most about deGrom, and regular MMO readers should already know this, is his swagger, confidence and pitching savvy. A year ago I felt that he could emerge as the best out of the big three; Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and himself, just on pitching smarts alone. This guy doesn’t beat you by throwing 98 mph, he’s a pitcher’s pitcher.

Nothing seems to faze this young man as he braves every situation with or without men in scoring position with such poise and consistency. He has a way about him that you just can’t teach, you either have it or you don’t.

Already owning a terrific fastball, curveball and slider combination, deGrom’s changeup is quickly becoming a killer pitch for him, nobody sees it coming and it hits the strike zone with such stealthy precision.

And can he battle? You bet he can, this kid refuses to give into anyone and as I said above, nothing fazes him.

He lowered his ERA to 3.01 ERA on Tuesday night and there’s still room for improvement. The nervous jitters that we saw in his first three starts have now been replaced with a confidence that’s resulting in fewer walks and his composure at this point is undeniable.

Perhaps a very impressed Lucas Duda said it best last night, “He’s beyond his years.” Duda is right, and it’s as simple as that.

Billy Hamilton is clearly the one to beat for the ROY award now that Chris Owings and Gregory Polanco have cooled down some. But after last night’s performance, deGrom is certainly in the family photo. His next 6-8 starts will need to be as good as his last six. If he can repeat the feat, my guess is we’re looking at the 2014 Rookie of the Year.

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Law Ranks Mets Fourth Best Farm System Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:45:41 +0000 jake degrom

Keith Law of ESPN ranked the New York Mets among his top five farm systems, slotting them fourth behind No. 1 Chicago Cubs, No. 2 Minnesota Twins and No. 3 Houston Astros. (ESPN Insider)

4. New York Mets

The Mets have graduated a few prospects to the majors — Travis d’Arnaud (No. 2 in the system coming into the year) and Jacob deGrom (No. 13) in particular — but the guys still in the system have nearly all taken steps forward. Noah Syndergaard (No. 1) has had an excellent year in the pitchers’ hell of Las Vegas. Brandon Nimmo (No. 5) is hitting for power now that he’s out of Savannah, a terrible park for left-handed power hitters. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (No. 6) continues to receive well, as expected, but he also has hit well enough to push himself up to Triple-A in his second full season.

Eighteen-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario doesn’t look out of place among older players in the New York-Penn League, and he has the instincts and reactions to stay at short if he can find some consistency in the field. And they added the most polished hitter in this year’s draft class, Michael Conforto, who led Division I in OBP. They still have a ton of arms but are heavier on bats at the corners than in the middle infield or center, although Rosario might eventually make up for Gavin Cecchini‘s .194/.269/.247 line in high Class A.

He didn’t even mention my latest favorites Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera and Dominic Smith… The Mets continue to shine with the quality of prospects they are accumulating in the minors. Hopefully that begins to manifest itself on the major league level in the not too distant future.

The major league team still struggles to score runs but thanks to Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia the bullpen seems to have turned a corner. Starting pitching has been middle of the pack, but there’s also reason for optimism with the return of Matt Harvey next season and developing young arms in Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler. Hot hitting Wilmer Flores has been ready for regular MLB at-bats for two years now, but is blocked by Ruben Tejada. Left Field also remains a sore spot for the team and is in some sort of 4-man merry-go-round.

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Mets Have Been Outscored 13-3 In Last Three Games Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:34:17 +0000 curtis granderson

During Monday night’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners, Curtis Granderson went 0-for-5 and struck out four times giving him 93 strikeouts for the season. He is on pace for 149 strikeouts this season and is batting  .235 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI in the first year of his four-year deal with the Mets.

The team as a whole struck out 12 times against the Mariners as they succumbed to their third straight loss on this road trip in which they were outscored 13-3.

These last three games certainly gives one pause for concern as it’s quite obvious we’re not watching the same energetic team we saw entering the All Star break. The slump hasn’t been just on offense, but the pitching hasn’t been as sharp and the defense hasn’t been as crisp.

My biggest fear after the Mets finished the second half with an 8-2 run, was the timing of their four-day break.

But then again, a team is never as good as it looks when it’s red hot, or as bad as it looks when in the throes of a horrendous slump. The Mets are still by and large a team that will struggle to play .500 ball, and this is exactly what the last four months have shown.

The Mets are seven games under .500 and nine games back with 63 games left to what could be their sixth straight losing season.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are not making progress, but things are moving a lot slower than anyone expected as even David Wright and Jeff Wilpon have recently pointed out.

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