Mets Merized Online » Logan Barer http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 Sandy Alderson Has Big Expectations For 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sandy-alderson-has-big-expectations-for-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sandy-alderson-has-big-expectations-for-2017.html/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:00:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231465 noah syndergaard matt harvey

Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News caught up with Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Sunday after the team’s first full-squad workout of the Spring, and he had some very straightforward things to say about the upcoming season.

“We’re all-in here,” he said about a payroll that is nearing $160 million dollars. “I think it’s a credit to ownership that our payroll is as high as it is now given where we’ve been as recent as two years ago and where our budget might have been. We’ve had the fortune here recently of being able to take advantage of opportunities or not have to make moves on the basis primarily of payroll. From that standpoint, I think we should all be pleased.”

As far as his expectations for the team goes, there was no hiding his enthusiasm and clearly anything less than a championship would be disappointment for Alderson who is now entering his seventh season as the team’s chief executive.

“I really think that we have the potential to be better than we have been. I think we’re all excited. I’m certainly as excited if not more so this spring than I have been since I’ve been here and that includes following a World Series appearance last year.”

This offseason it seemed like Sandy Alderson understood that the Mets had the pieces to make another World Series run as long as they all stayed healthy, unlike last year. He did a great job in retaining virtually the entire team he finished the season with – except for Kelly Johnson - but hey the Trade Deadline is only five months away. :-)

jay bruce curtis granderson

Manager Terry Collins also chimed in and he also had generally the same sentiments.

“What these guys did last year, persevered through the tough times, adversity, the injuries, all the doubters, all the things that happened, they better walk around with their heads up, they better have a little swagger.”

“They better talk winning and better play like they are going to win, they better act like they are going to win,” Terry said. “Obviously when Jake (deGrom) got hurt and he was out and after Steven Matz was out and Matt Harvey was out, I remember saying how we’re going to do this, they just rose up.”

The starting rotation, the deep depth chart, the strong back-end of the bullpen, even just Yoenis Cespedes by himself are all reasons to get excited for 2017. There are many more aspects of the New York Mets that get my blood pumping when I think about the upcoming season. There is of course that ever-present phrase, “If they stay healthy.” Well, just as the innocent are innocent until proven guilty, the healthy are healthy until proven injured.

As our fearless leader Joe D. likes to always tell us in private, you have to be a real ignoramus if you can’t look at this team objectively and come away thinking this is one of the most balanced teams the Mets have ever put together. I guess both Joe and Sandy seem to be seeing eye to eye on the Mets this season.

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Alderson Discussed Extension Deal With Walker’s Agent On Saturday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/neil-walker-and-mets-have-talked-extension.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/neil-walker-and-mets-have-talked-extension.html/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 20:45:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231213 neil walker

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters in Port St. Lucie on Sunday, that he spoke with the agent representing Neil Walker yesterday regarding a contract extension for the veteran second baseman.

Next on the agenda is to try and speak to Walker directly, which Sandy is hoping to do in the next day or two. Both of them have already discussed the possibility of an extension back in December.

Beat reporter Matt Ehalt has been covering this story for The Record, and he cites a source that confirmed the sides discussed a three-year deal in the range of $40 million dollars.

“We’ve had some discussions and nothing has come to fruition. For me, looking at this, there is no other place I’d want to be and looking down the road and looking at what’s here and what the potential next two, three, four years look like,” Walker said. “This is an exciting place to be as a big-league ball player.”

I totally agree with Ehalt, that at these numbers the deal seems fair for both parties, and he does a nice job of showing where Walker ranks among other MLB second basemen both statistically and financially.

But I wonder with what the Mets have coming in the pipeline plus that very reasonable $8.5 million option on Asdrubal Cabrera, if they really want to lock themselves up at second base with third base already in a quagmire. Especially with all our young pitchers now entering or already in their arbitration years.

Joe D.

Original Report – Feb 15

Neil Walker spoke with reporters today and mentioned that he and the Mets have discussed a contract extension.

Since the Mets traded prospect Dilson Herrera for Jay Bruce last summer, they have been without a high-level prospect at second base. An extension could solidify the position for years to come, however we at MMO just don’t see it happening.

The Mets won’t sign an extension deal until they see what they are getting for the $17.2 million dollars they’re paying him after he accepted a qualifying offer. If anything happens with an extension, it probably won’t before the All Star break.

Furthermore, the young Mets pitchers are starting to get paid so Alderson will probably look for cheaper position-player options for second base such as Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera, or Gavin Cecchini for additional payroll flexibility.

Walker said accepting the qualifying offer was an easy decision for him because he felt comfortable in New York and wants to be part of a winning team. “It seems like a confident group to me. We have the potential to do some damage this year.”

In 113 games for the Mets last season, Walker hit .282/.347/.476 with a career-high 23 home runs and 55 RBIs.

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Niese Signs Minor League Deal With Yankees http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jonathon-niese-signs-minor-league-deal-with-yankees.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jonathon-niese-signs-minor-league-deal-with-yankees.html/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 17:34:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231459 jon niese travis d'Arnaud

According to Joel Sherman on Twitter, the Yankees have signed Jon Niese to a minor league deal after a physical. Sherman also reports that the Yankees had been interested in lefties Boone Logan and Jerry Blevins but they were deemed too expensive.

Niese, 30, was ineffective with the Mets and Pirates this season, going 8-7 with a 5.50 ERA in 121 innings as a starter and reliever. In his career, the lefty has gone 69-68 with a 4.07 ERA and 4.02 FIP.

Last offseason the Mets traded Niese to the Pirates for second baseman Neil Walker, undoubtedly one of the better trades in Mets history. Sandy Alderson ended up trading failed experiment Antonio Bastardo back to the Pirates for Niese late in the 2016 season, but he was ineffective in a Mets uniform once again going 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA in 11 innings. Obviously it was the defense’s fault as he had a much better 8.15 FIP.

Niese will join the Yankees in Major League camp and they will look at him as either a starter or reliever.

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Source: Ty Kelly Clears Waivers, Outrighted To Triple-A Las Vegas http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/ty-kelly-clears-waivers-sent-to-triple-a-las-vegas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/ty-kelly-clears-waivers-sent-to-triple-a-las-vegas.html/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 01:51:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231101 ty kelly

According to what a source told MMO’s Michael Mayer, utility outfielder Ty Kelly has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Kelly had been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Jerry Blevins.

Kelly does have the option of declining the assignment and becoming a free agent.

In 39 games for the Mets in 2016, the utility man hit .241/.352/.345 with one home run and seven RBIs. He saw time at every outfield position as well as first, second, and third base. The 28 year-old switch hitter has a career .280/.381/.380 Minor League slash line.

Kelly will be playing for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

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Six Things We Learned From Terry Collins Monday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/six-things-we-learned-from-terry-collins-monday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/six-things-we-learned-from-terry-collins-monday.html/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2017 23:44:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231085 terry collins

1. Zack Wheeler will be a starting pitcher in spring training and will be monitored closely. Terry Collins also said that he might end up being a reliever because they are expecting some sort of innings limit for him, and don’t want to be stuck with the obligation to shut him down late in the season. While Wheeler is a starter, he isn’t a lock for the rotation. Collins said that what he saw Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo do last season is still fresh in his mind, leaving an open competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

It will be exciting to see an open competition for the 5th spot in the rotation this spring as they’re all very talented pitchers. My money is on Rob Gsellman taking the 5th spot with Wheeler starting the season in the MLB bullpen so he can still pitch while limiting his innings. Later in the season, though, I’d expect to see Wheeler back in the rotation.
 

2. Collins raved about the front office and the great job they did in the offseason keeping the team as is. He loves the depth at his disposal, saying that players are bound to get dinged up but they now have quality Major League talent (namely Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes) to fill in. He also said that bringing back Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas were “huge” moves by the front office in keeping a strong bullpen.

The Mets didn’t bring in anyone new this offseason which says a lot about how much confidence the front office has in this Mets team. The only important player that has yet to be re-signed is Kelly Johnson, however with the Mets all around depth, I don’t see a place for him on the roster. 
 

3. The coaching staff is keeping a close eye on the pitchers this spring. They decided that they had been throwing too much too early in recent years, so they will be cutting back early in the spring. The pitchers won’t throw during pitching fielding drills for example, saving hundreds of throws a day. Matt Harvey feels great. Collins had a great quote, ”There are two kinds of players, those who’ve been humbled and those who will be.” He says that Harvey was humbled last year and he’s ready to come back in 2017 and make 2016 disappear.

Collins recognizes how important pitching is in winning games, so it is good to see them taking steps to make sure the staff is healthy. I love that quote as well and it certainly applies to Harvey. It’s of course uncertain how he will bounce back from this surgery, however his determination and ability make him a likely candidate for Comeback Player of the Year… Again. Zack Wheeler is also a possible candidate for that award. 
 

4. Michael Conforto will not be taking reps at first base as had been previously reported, as Collins says he has enough on his plate as is. He says that Conforto feels great and has trimmed down, with another coach saying he “looks like a center fielder.” In terms of whether or not he will make the team, Collins said that the best 25 guys will make the team out of spring training. The staff will make a decision about Conforto depending on how well he swings the bat in the next month.

I agree with the decision to keep Conforto in the outfield. He has enough to worry about in getting his bat to where he wants it to be, and learning a new position would only make it harder. I am a believer that Jay Bruce will be traded during spring training, but if he isn’t, it should be an interesting few weeks to see how well Conforto swings the bat. Whether or not Conforto is in the Majors will most likely come down to whether or not Bruce is on the team come April.
 

5. Cespedes spent the winter getting in great shape going to the Barwis facility three times a week. The strength and conditioning coaches rave about him and how hard he worked, and so did Collins. Terry also said that Cespedes can feel relaxed because he finally knows where he’s going to be next year and beyond. There won’t be trade rumors or anything to distract him, he can go to the park every day and focus on playing.

I have yet to hear anyone in a Mets uniform say anything less than praiseworthy about Yoenis Cespedes. Whatever rumors that swirled about him before his trade to New York seem to be either false or exaggerated. I think he will continue to bash baseballs this season and prove any and all haters wrong.
 

6. David Wright will be treated as day-to-day going forward. This spring they will get him plenty of at-bats and ground balls but they will be smart about it, making sure to keep him as healthy as possible. They also will get David into games earlier than last year so they can see what he’s got and what he can bring to the table, while being cautious at the same time.

We all tend to forget that The Captain is a great baseball player when healthy. The coaching and training staffs will work hard to keep him on the field as often as possible, but as Terry said above, the Mets have great depth and will be able to replace him on a daily basis with a quality MLB player, most likely Jose Reyes. 
 
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Nationals And First Baseman Adam Lind Agree To Contract http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/nationals-and-first-baseman-adam-lind-agree-to-contract.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/nationals-and-first-baseman-adam-lind-agree-to-contract.html/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2017 23:20:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231097 adam lind

According to multiple sources, the Nationals and first baseman Adam Lind have agreed on a one-year contract worth $1 million. The deal also includes an option for 2018 with a $500k buyout.

The 33 year-old slugger hit .239/.286/.431 last season, hitting 20 home runs and driving in 58. It was the sixth time in his career he has hit at least 20 home runs in a season and the second consecutive year. He is a career .287/.347/.502 hitter against right-handed pitching so he will likely form some sort of platoon with right-handed hitting Ryan Zimmerman.

This helps bolster the Nationals’ bench which, even after this signing, remains weak. He only provides offensive depth as he can really only play first base. He hasn’t played left field since 2010, a position at which he never excelled at. His career -10.5 dWAR will probably limit him to either starting at first base or late-game pinch-hitting duties against righties.

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One Prediction For Each MLB Team: AL West http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/one-prediction-for-each-mlb-team-al-west.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/one-prediction-for-each-mlb-team-al-west.html/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231056 carlos gomez

Baseball fans love predictions. They look at ZiPS, Fangraphs, and all kinds of sources to see what people are predicting about the upcoming season. While most of these predictions are based on mathematical algorithms, few are based on good old fashioned gut feelings. Of course, there needs to be a mix of statistics and actually watching these players, but this series of articles will make one prediction about each MLB team.

This article will look at the AL West, making one prediction about each team. The order in which they are listed is what I believe the final standings will be this season.

Texas Rangers

Joey Gallo will burst onto the scene. A batter must have less than 130 Major League at-bats to qualify for “rookie” status, and in the short stints Rangers prospect Gallo has had in the Majors, he has amassed 133. He is therefore ineligible to win Rookie of the Year, however I believe he will put up numbers worthy of such an award. With 152 minor league home runs in only 485 games, he could become a serious power threat sooner rather than later.

Last season, the Rangers won 95 games with the help of a 20-20 season from shortstop-turned-outfielder Ian Desmond. They lost Desmond to free agency and haven’t made any large acquisitions, hoping the 23 year-old Gallo will fill the void in the lineup. With Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, and Tyson Ross leading a strong rotation as well as closer Sam Dyson anchoring a deep bullpen, the Rangers certainly have the pitching to get it done. With Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate, as well as youngsters Ryan Rua, Rougned Odor, and Nomar Mazara in the field, they have a strong offense as well. Carlos Gomez provides solid defense in center field, however his chronically inconsistent offense could be a problem.

Houston Astros

Dallas Keuchel will return to form after a down year, seeing him go 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA as well as miss some time due to injury. His peripherals all regressed, posting his highest H/9, BB/9, and HR/9 since 2013 as well as his lowest K/9 since 2014. However now at 29 years old, I believe he will return to the form that saw him win a Cy Young award in 2015 and post a 5.0 WAR in 2014. The rest of the rotation is fairly average, however there is potential in Lance McCullers to have a breakout season.

The Astros declined in the second half of 2016, however this offseason they went out and bolstered this lineup with the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Josh Reddick. Those players will provide much needed veteran leadership as well as solid offensive production. Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve make up the best middle infield in the Major Leagues, and with youngsters Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman manning the corners, they could have themselves a strong infield. Their bullpen is strong albeit shallow, with three or four solid relievers including closer Ken Giles.

Seattle Mariners

Closer Edwin Diaz will burst onto the scene as an elite closer. Diaz was a starter in the Mariners organization, however his high-velocity fastball and lack of changeup factored into a decision to make him a reliever. He ended up being made closer, a role in which he performed admirably. The flamethrower struck out 88 batters in 51.2 innings, pitching to a 2.79 ERA, 2.04 FIP, and 1.161 WHIP. His fastball averaged at 97 mph and he hit 101 on more than one occasion. This was his first year as a reliever, and as he is just 22 years old, he anchors a deep bullpen also featuring Nick Vincent, Steve Cishek, and Mark Rzepczynski.

The Mariners have a strong infield with Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, and Danny Valencia left to right, however their outfield is their weakness. They currently have Jarrod Dyson in left, Leonys Martin in center, and if the season were to start right now, rookie Mitch Haniger would be the best choice for right field. They have a powerful DH in Nelson Cruz who’s hit at least 40 home runs each of the past three seasons, however at age 36 that might be subject to change. Their potential Hall Of Fame-worthy ace Felix Hernandez had a down year in 2016, but still only 30 years old, there is no reason to think he won’t return to form and lead a strong Mariners team.

Albert-Pujols

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Albert Pujols will put up monster numbers, including career hit #3000 (he currently sits at 2825). The 37 year-old has been producing offensively, just not as much as his huge contract would suggest. However, with a stronger Angels lineup featuring Kole Calhoun, Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, and of course Mike Trout, he could have the protection necessary for him to actually get pitched to. He hit 31 home runs with 119 RBIs last season so he is certainly still capable of huge numbers, and I believe the three-time MVP will once again turn some heads in 2017. He better, as he still has five years and $140 million left on his contract.

Despite having the best position player in the Major Leagues in center field, the Angels still managed to lose 88 games in 2016. They have a ton of money tied up in Pujols which constricts them financially, however they managed to land Danny Espinosa for close to nothing as well as acquire Cameron Maybin. They have a relatively weak bullpen with Huston Street as their closer, and an average rotation featuring Garret Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco, and Matt Shoemaker. They have talent, however they always seem to find a way to lose. I think their bullpen will be their ultimate downfall in 2017.

Oakland Athletics

The Athletics will lose 95 games as well as trade Sonny Gray, Khris Davis, and perhaps even Rajai Davis at the deadline. They managed to win only 69 games last season, and with their only acquisition this offseason being 36 year-old Rajai Davis, they haven’t improved much. If they aren’t in total rebuilding mode already, they will be in July. Gray should rake in a serious haul of prospects, and if Khris Davis can come close to the 42 home runs and 2.8 WAR he featured in 2016, he will as well. Rajai Davis, who they signed to a one-year deal, could also be a valuable trade chip if they find a team in need of a speedy outfielder.

After Sonny Gray, their starting rotation is lacking. 26 year-old Kendall Graveman has some potential however he has yet to tap into it. Their bullpen is rather weak, featuring veteran Ryan Madson as the presumptive closer as well as lefty Sean Doolittle, who could also be dealt at the deadline. It seems like rookie Ryon Healy will be the designated hitter this season, and he could be a name to watch has he has a strong .293/.332/.452 slash line in four Minor League seasons.

Take a look at my predictions for the NL West and stay tuned for the rest of the divisions, culminating in the NL East!

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Blevins ‘Happy And Excited To Be Back’ In New York http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/blevins-happy-and-excited-to-be-back-in-new-york.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/blevins-happy-and-excited-to-be-back-in-new-york.html/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:25:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231079 jerry blevins

Speaking with Matt Ehalt of northjersey.com, Jerry Blevins voiced his pleasure in returning to the Mets. He joked that reporters weren’t the only ones bugging him about where he was signing this offseason, but family members and friends were doing it too. “They were like, ‘Where are you going? I know you know. What’s the inside information?’”

“Ultimately I ended up where I wanted to be. I am happy and excited to be back,” Blevins said. “We’re excited, ready to go. Pumped to be back with the Mets and ready to move on.”

It was widely reported that Blevins wanted a three-year deal going into this offseason, but that didn’t happen as the market turned out to be different than he had hoped. Blevins will be paid $5.5 million this season, and the Mets hold a $7 million option with a $1 million buyout for 2018.

“The deal I have I am extremely happy with. I think it’s fair for both sides,” Blevins said. “Again, I am where I wanted to be, too, so it worked out. I hope the Mets feel the same way.”

“Having familiarity pitching in a market like this is rare, so when you’ve done it before and have had success, it builds that confidence,” Blevins continued. “And confidence is the name of the game when coming out of the bullpen.”

Blevins will form a strong back-end of the bullpen with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, with Fernando Salas and Hansel Robles hoping to make impacts as well. In 2016, Blevins went 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA in a career-high 73 games, striking out 52 batters in 42 innings.

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Alderson: Conforto Could Start Season In Minors With Current Outfield Situation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/alderson-conforto-could-start-season-in-minors-with-current-outfield-situation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/alderson-conforto-could-start-season-in-minors-with-current-outfield-situation.html/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:50:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230776 sandy-alderson-2

Sandy Alderson was a guest on Baseball Night in New York and was asked if he sees a chance for Michael Conforto to get consistent at bats this year the way the team is built right now. Alderson replied:

“I think he has the potential to be a very versatile player and a good offensive player across the board. I don’t think we’re going to piecemeal him this year, again I don’t want to forecast what’s going to happen in spring training, but I don’t see him picking up at bats at first base, picking up at bats here or there… Michael Conforto is a long-term asset for us and given the situation we have, unless we can trade an outfielder for Carmelo Anthony… I think unless we have a clear avenue for Conforto to play on an almost every day basis that we’re going to have to make some decisions at the end of spring training.”

The most important part of that quote is the last sentence, in which Sandy strongly hints that with the current outfield situation, there is a decent chance that Conforto will start the season in the minor leagues, most likely Triple-A Las Vegas.

Conforto under-performed in 2016, batting just .220/.310/.414 with 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a 92 OPS+ in 109 games. If Sandy Alderson can’t trade one of the Mets outfielders, it is very likely that Conforto is sent to the minor leagues. Getting consistent at bats is paramount for the young outfielder, and if they need to be in Las Vegas, so be it.

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One Prediction For Each MLB Team: NL West http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/one-prediction-for-each-mlb-team-nl-west.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/one-prediction-for-each-mlb-team-nl-west.html/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:15:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230754 MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Baseball fans love predictions. They look at ZiPS, Fangraphs, and all kinds of sources to see what people are predicting about the upcoming season. While most of these predictions are based on mathematical algorithms, few are based on good old fashioned gut feelings. Of course, there needs to be a mix of statistics and actually watching these players, but this series of articles will make one prediction about each MLB team.

This article will look at the NL West, making one prediction about each team. The order in which they are listed is what I believe the final standings will be this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw will have one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher in history. That entails a combination of a few of his season totals. He will win at least 21 games, which he has done twice before. He will finish the season with a sub 2.00 ERA, which he has done three times before, and he will finish with a sub 1.000 WHIP which he has done five of the last six seasons. He will pitch at least 230 innings which he has done three times, and he will strike out 300 batters as he did in 2015. He is a Hall Of Famer and if it weren’t for an injury in 2016, he probably would have won his fourth Cy Young award at the age of 28. He finished 5th in voting and received two first place votes despite making only 21 starts, pitching 149 innings and striking out 172 batters. He posted a 1.69 ERA, 1.80 FIP, and 0.725 WHIP. He is the best pitcher on the planet and he will win his fourth Cy Young award this season.

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies will make the playoffs, but they will lose to either the Mets or Nationals in the NL Wild Card game. They have the offense and defense to carry them through the regular season, however their pitching is nowhere close to good enough to take them through the playoffs. They’ve acquired Ian Desmond to play first base, giving them an above-average hitter at each of their starting positions besides catcher (until they go out and sign Matt Wieters). They also signed Greg Holland to be their closer, who I believe will be outstanding as he has always been. Their bullpen is strong overall as it also includes former closers Adam Ottavino, Jason Motte, and Chad Qualls, as well as Mike Dunn and long man Jordan Lyles. They will win a lot of high-scoring games this year, but their obvious lack of starting pitching (with the exception of Jon Gray) will be their downfall.

San Fransisco Giants

The Giants will not make the playoffs in 2017 for the same reason they lost a lot of games in 2016: their bullpen. Yes, they did sign Mark Melancon who has emerged as a reliable closer. However, they lost Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, two consistently effective relievers with closing experience. They are down two and up one, and while that one is better than each of those two, they have yet to address bullpen depth. Fireballer Hunter Strickland should end up being pretty good for them as an 8th inning man, and while youngster Derek Law had a good year for them, he could still be regarded as unproven. They got lefty Will Smith from the Brewers late last season who can get lefties out, but other than them, they don’t have much. With all those pitchers last season (except Melancon), the Giants blew a franchise record 32 saves. One man does not make a bullpen, and while acquiring Melancon was a good first step, the Giants’ bullpen as it stands will not get the job done.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Shelby Miller will continue to be a bust. After an All Star season in 2015 with the Braves in which he pitched 205.1 innings, striking out 171 batters and posting a 3.02 ERA, the Diamondbacks traded for him in the hope that he would be a strong #2 starter behind Zack Greinke. Instead he was horrible, going 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA (4.87 FIP) striking out 70 batters in 101 innings. Many were surprised, however from 2012-2015, Miller had a career 3.82 FIP, 1.236 WHIP, and 7.6 K/9. Even in his All Star season, he had a very high 1.247 WHIP. The fluke is not that he was bad last season in hitter-friendly Arizona, but that he was overrated with a career 3.22 ERA, much lower than a more telling 3.82 FIP.

San Diego Padres

Of you’re a Padres fan, look away. Not just at this article, but the entire season. They will lose 100 games this season and trade one of their two good players, Yangervis Solarte, before the trade deadline. They just locked up first baseman Wil Meyers through the 2023 season in a smart move, but other than him and Solarte, the Padres quite frankly have nobody remotely capable of even making an All Star team. Each position, excepting the corner infield spots, are manned by below-average players. Their rotation and bullpen are both very weak, and their closer has a career 4.80 ERA (3.84 as a reliever).

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Wilmer Flores Felt Undervalued By Mets In Arbitration Process http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/wilmer-flores-felt-undervalued-by-mets-in-arbitration-process.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/wilmer-flores-felt-undervalued-by-mets-in-arbitration-process.html/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230769 wilmer flores hr

In an interview with NJ.com‘s Brendan Kuty, Wilmer Flores said he felt he was being low-balled by the Mets in the arbitration process. The Mets, who offered $1.8 million, and Flores, who filed at $2.2 million, could not reach an agreement before Sandy Alderson’s deadline. Flores won the arbitration case and will make $2.2 million in 2017.

Flores, 25, loves the Mets organization as he has been in the orange and blue since he was 16 years old. We all remember when he cried on the field when he thought he was traded away in 2015. This arbitration process, in which he had to directly oppose the Mets, was “one of the hardest things” he’s had to do.

“It was tough,” Flores said. “But we felt confident about it and we won it… It’s something that my team (of advisors) and I discussed and we had a good feeling about it and we went for it and we got it.”

In limited playing time with the Mets last season, Flores hit .267/.319/.469 with 16 home runs in 307 at bats. He is very valuable as he can play every infield position and demolishes left-handed pitching. Of course, he would prefer to start, but he performs his utility role admirably anyways.

“Last year was one of the hardest things I’ve had to work through in the utility role, but somehow I made it through,” he said. “I made the adjustment I had to make. This year, I’ll do the same thing. If I’m out there everyday, I’ll take it. If I’m not, I’ll just make the adjustment.”

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Intentional Walks, Strike Zone Changes Proposed By MLB To MLBPA http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/intentional-walks-strike-zone-changes-proposed-by-mlb-to-mlbpa.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/intentional-walks-strike-zone-changes-proposed-by-mlb-to-mlbpa.html/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 19:36:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230709 manfred-rob

Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that according to sources, Major League Baseball has made formal proposals to the MLB Players’ Union to raise the strike zone, as well as eliminating the requirement for pitchers to throw four pitches when issuing an intentional walk.

The first proposal would raise the bottom of the strike zone to the top of the batters’ knees, as opposed to “the hollow beneath the kneecap” as it’s been described since 1996. This move is no doubt an effort to increase offense in the game as umpires have seemingly been calling lower-than-normal strikes.

This rule would have a dramatic effect on gameplay, as it is engineered to create more balls in play and more baserunners. However, some believe that an umpire could have a similar strike zone that they do now, so many of those baserunners will get to first via walks because they’d take the same pitches at the knees as they did before.

The second proposal is an effort to decrease the time of game. When a pitcher wants to issue an intentional walk, they would no longer be required to throw four pitches before the batter is granted first base.

Stark writes, “Getting rid of the old-fashioned intentional walk would eliminate about a minute of dead time per walk. In an age in which intentional walks actually have been declining — there were just 932 all last season (or one every 5.2 games) — that time savings would be minimal. But MLB sees the practice of lobbing four meaningless pitches as antiquated, so eliminating them would serve as much as a statement as it would a practical attempt to speed up the game.”

These changes can not be implemented until they are voted upon by the MLB Players’ Union. While sources tell Stark the intentional walk rule is likely to be voted into practice for the 2017 season, the strike zone amendment is less likely as it helps batters but hurts pitchers.

Thoughts From The Author:

Leave the game alone. If a batter can’t hit a ball at his knees, he needs to change his hitting mechanics. The pitcher made a perfect pitch, he should be rewarded with a strike, not ball four. Second, as Stark said, eliminating the four pitches needed for an intentional walk would have a minimal effect on the length of games. Furthermore, it’s called an intentional walk for a reason. You are walking him, and the definition of a walk is four balls — Not a signal from the bench. The pitcher should have to make the pitches and literally walk him intentionally. If he throws it over the plate by accident, the batter can hit it (just ask Miguel Cabrera), and the possibilities of a wild pitch or stolen base loom as well. Leave the game alone.

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DeGrom Feels Great, Believes Mets Rotation Could Be Very Special http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jacob-degrom-excited-to-be-part-of-a-potentially-historic-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jacob-degrom-excited-to-be-part-of-a-potentially-historic-rotation.html/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230664 jacob degrom

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post caught up with Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom at spring training Saturday and was greeted with a smile. I would be smiling too if I was part of a starting rotation with as much potential as the Mets’.

“I think it could be a lot of fun,’’ deGrom told Kernan at Tradition Field. “I’m definitely looking forward to what it could be, and I think everybody else on the staff is, too.’’

The potential of this Mets staff blows Generation K out of the water. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler are all joining deGrom in a healthy rotation for the first time ever, with the promising young Robert Gsellman for insurance. All of those pitchers are capable of throwing a shutout on any given day, but injuries have always loomed over their heads.

Jacob deGrom had surgery in September to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. When asked about his progress, he said, “Since I’ve had the nerve moved, I haven’t had any of the pain that was there, so I would call it a success so far.”

If deGrom comes back healthy, he is capable of winning a Cy Young award. Noah Syndergaard is also capable, while Matt Harvey is harder to predict. Nobody is really sure how he will come back from surgery to remove a rib, however so far this offseason there have only been positive reports. If he comes back healthy, however, he is absolutely capable of winning the award.

Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Robert Gsellman, while less likely to win a Cy Young, are by all means formidable pitchers and round out what could be the best starting rotation in the Majors.

“We are healthy and we are ready to go,’’ deGrom said. “It should be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to it.’’

So am I, Jake… So am I.

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Dodgers Deal With Romo Not Quite Finished http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/dodgers-sign-reliever-sergio-romo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/dodgers-sign-reliever-sergio-romo.html/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2017 01:37:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230387 sergio romo

Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports chimes in and says that the Dodgers deal with reliever Sergio Romo has not been finalized yet despite earlier reports of the deal being done pending physical.

Earlier this week, Romo himself reported that the Mets had shown interest in signing the former San Francisco Giants closer. That interest presumably ended when the Mets re-signed right-handed reliever Fernando Salas earlier on Friday.

The Washington Nationals had interest in Romo too, and the theme continues for them as they miss out on another free agent reliever this offseason.

Previous Report - 6:00

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, reliever Sergio Romo is choosing between the Dodgers and a mystery team. Originally, Romo had said himself that the Mets and Nationals were on the list of teams interested (below), so it’s possible he is choosing between the Dodgers and one of those two teams.

Original Post – Feb 1st

On Twitter, MLB Network’s Casey Stern said that Sergio Romo told him the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals are “still on the list of teams showing interest.” Romo also said that he is interested in playing for those two teams as well, despite their being on the east coast.

The 33 year-old reliever has played for the Giants his entire career, amassing a 32-26 record with a 2.58 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 0.955 WHIP, 9.5 WAR and 498 strikeouts in 439.2 innings. He has tallied 84 saves in his career, as well as four in the Giants’ 2012 run to the World Series. He also has a career 10.2 SO/9, 1.8 BB/9, and 0.8 HR/9.

The All Star and three-time World Champion has been one of the most consistently effective relievers in the game, and 2016 was no exception. He pitched in 40 games, tallying 30.2 innings while striking out 33 batters with a 2.64 ERA, 3.80 FIP, and 1.076 WHIP.

If acquired, Romo would most likely have control of the 7th inning, with Addison Reed manning the 8th and Jeurys Familia locking it down in the 9th. The Mets and Jerry Blevins could be nearing a deal, and hopefully Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles would help round a very strong bullpen.

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Decision On Possible Familia Suspension Coming Before Opening Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/decision-on-possible-familia-suspension-coming-before-opening-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/decision-on-possible-familia-suspension-coming-before-opening-day.html/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:50:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230403 jeurys-familia

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says that the league will make a decision on the possible suspension of New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia before Opening Day according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

Familia pitched in the Dominican Winter League this offseason and is expected to play for the Dominican Republic in the WBC which starts next month.

Previous Report – Feb 2

Contrary to previous reports, MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem tells Christian Red of the New York Daily News that New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia and his wife Bianca Rivas are fully cooperating with Major League Baseball’s investigation. And went further to say this, “Any media reports to the contrary are inaccurate.”

In a tweet by Buster Olney of ESPN, Familia’s agent Seth Levinson states “Jeurys and his wife have been and will continue to be completely cooperative with MLB’s investigation.”

Earlier in the offseason it was reported that Familia could still be facing a suspension of at least 30 games despite the charges being dropped against him and the incident being expunged from his record.

Original Report – Feb 1

Bob Klapisch of NorthJersey.com says that Major League Baseball has been frustrated with their investigation of Jeurys Familia, reporting that a “higher-up” said of the case, “Everyone on (Familia’s) side has clammed up.”

While his domestic violence case was dismissed earlier this offseason and his criminal record expunged, commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are considering all available evidence in their own investigation. Their efforts are being hindered, however, because Familia’s wife as well as others close to the situation have refused to testify against the Mets closer.

Aroldis Chapman, who allegedly fired gunshots in his garage and choked his wife after an argument, was suspended 30 games to start 2016 despite his case being dropped as well. Most are estimating a suspension of the same length for Familia, which will most likely start on opening day and go through April.

Klapisch writes, “The simple assault charge Familia faced was the equivalent of a misdemeanor under New Jersey law. Had he been convicted, Familia would’ve faced a maximum of six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and two years’ probation.” Those charges were dropped so he is not facing that jail time or probation, however missing a month of play will result in his losing a much larger sum of money than $1000.

Familia will still be participating in Spring Training games as well as playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. In the likely event he is suspended, Addison Reed will assume closer duties until his return.

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MMO Exclusive: Craig Breslow Says Mets Have Reached Out And They Appeal To Him http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mmo-exclusive-craig-breslow-says-mets-have-reached-out-and-they-appeal-to-him.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mmo-exclusive-craig-breslow-says-mets-have-reached-out-and-they-appeal-to-him.html/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 21:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230465 craig breslow

Free agent left-handed reliever Craig Breslow held a showcase last month to give teams a look at his new arm angle which has been getting a lot of buzz. The New York Mets had two officials at the showcase as they continue to look for a lefty to add to their bullpen.

From 2014 to 2016, Breslow went 2-10 with a 4.93 ERA (5.16 FIP), striking out 90 batters in 133.1 innings. It was after he pitched only 14 innings for the Marlins last year he knew a change had to be made.

With the help of a “Raspodo Device,” the lefty has worked at improving his craft since last season. The device, which he downloaded on his iPad, tracks velocity, total spin, spin efficiency, and tilt axis. The most important change in his mechanics has been the dropping of his arm angle, producing movement on his pitches described as “sick” by one scout.

Since 2005, Breslow has gone 22-29 with a 3.35 ERA (4.06 FIP). In 535.1 innings he has struck out 419 batters and walked 212. However, if he has reinvented himself, his past statistics might not speak much to his future success. He could end up being a very valuable reliever for a team willing to take a chance on him, possibly filling the role of a lefty specialist.

(MMO) Logan: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. First of all, after being an good left-handed reliever for most of your career, 2014, ’15, and ’16 did not go as planned. Most chalked it up to age, but after last season, instead of retiring, you went back to the drawing board. Was that a hard decision to make, to retire or not?

Breslow: No, it was actually simple and straightforward. I still had the desire and passion to play as well as the drive to get better. I felt like I still had something left in the tank, I just recognized that what I had been doing, what I was used to doing to be successful wasn’t working anymore.

So rather than spend a ton of time pinpointing opportunities to tinker or hone very specific elements of my delivery, I kind of wiped the slate clean and relied on some feedback from members of some front offices, teammates, opposing hitters, about what I could do to be more successful – to add more deception to my delivery, to add more movement.

I ultimately came up with the idea of altering my delivery to throw with a much lower arm slot and then kind of using a scientific or analytical approach to measuring the differences or improvements.

Logan: You’ve historically been a fastball/slider/changeup pitcher. How have your mechanical tweaks affected each of those pitches? Have you tried throwing any new ones?

Breslow: I would say lowering my arm slot has allowed me to throw what I would consider to be a true sinker. I’ve utilized this device called a Rapsodo machine which captures spin rate, vertical and horizontal movement, gives me 3D flight paths of the ball out of my hand so i can see quantifiably just how much the ball is moving and I’ve been able to add a significant amount of sink and tail to my 2-seam fastball and so i think that’s probably going to be the predominant pitch that I use.

Logan: Is movement the only aspect of your game you’ve been working on, or have you also focused on other aspects such as velocity, command, etc?

Breslow: Sure, velocity is something that will or has come along with overall improving my conditioning, my strength. I’ve done some weighted ball work, I’ve done extensive shoulder cuff work, and then I also think lowering my arm slot has created a more efficient delivery. i think using my body better, using my forces better, I’ve seen an increase in velocity.

Logan: You’ve always had about the same success against lefties (.250 batting average against) and righties (.244 BAA). With the current state of relief pitching putting such a high value on lefty specialists, have you made any adjustments specifically with that in mind?

Breslow: I kind of undertook this with the idea that I needed to be more effective against left-handed hitters. As a left-handed reliever, my bread and butter needed to be dominating left-handed hitters and so lowering the arm slot gives me a different look, gives me more deception and movement. Particularly facing lefties it allows me to throw more of a sweeping breaking ball, more of a true left-on-left kind of swing-and-miss breaking ball from that lower slot so I think that will be a much more effective pitch for me when facing lefties.

Logan: As a free agent there are many factors in choosing your new team; How good they are, how strong the leadership is, the location, etc. Which factors are you most considering during this process?

Breslow: I think all of those are legitimate factors. I think certainly having been on some very good teams, some World Series Champion teams and some teams that have struggled to win, winning is much more enjoyable at this point in my career so I definitely place a priority on that.

At the same time I recognize I’ve got some unique experiences and some veteran leadership qualities under my belt, I would certainly be looking for an organization that would allow me to kind of be my own person, be able to share with some younger guys some of my experiences, some of the things that I’ve learned the same way that guys have done for me.

Obviously location, finance, all of things are factors but i think with different organizations, different variables become priority.

Logan: My readers would probably waterboard me if I didn’t ask you this, have the Mets reached out to you?

Breslow: We’ve had conversations with the Mets, yeah. And obviously I recognize where they are in terms of competing it seems as though they have this sort of sweet spot to compete for a World Series Championship and that has obvious appeal.

Logan: Good to hear! Well one last question that’s not quite baseball related but is still very important. You founded the Strike 3 Foundation. Can you tell me about what it does and why you started it?

Breslow: Sure, so briefly we raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research and treatment. My sister is a cancer survivor, she was 13 I was 11 at the time of her diagnosis and the impact that that had on my life was pretty significant.

I always thought I’d be a physician that I would kind of leave my mark on the medical community as a doctor but as I was able to establish my baseball career, I didn’t want to completely abandon this other thing that I had always felt passionately about and so the work that we do at Strike 3 allows me to stay connected to the medical world and medical community.

I feel like we’ve been able to fund some very meaningful research, I’ve gotten tremendous support from the baseball community. I think we’ve reached the point where we’re a sustainable organization, no longer strictly an event-drive fundraising-type organization, but one that can kind of sustain the long view and it’s something that I’m very proud of.

Logan: That’s wonderful. Well thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

Breslow: My pleasure.

If you would like to learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation and/or make a donation, click HERE

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Jose Reyes Looking Forward To Playing Outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jose-reyes-looking-forward-to-playing-outfield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/jose-reyes-looking-forward-to-playing-outfield.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 23:50:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230427 jose reyes

Speaking to Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com, Jose Reyes spoke about the prospect of playing some outfield for the Mets in 2017.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a new experience. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Reyes said. “I’m healthy right now, my body feels good, I’m in great shape. I don’t see why not.”

Reyes can already play shortstop, second base and third base, so adding the outfield to his repertoire only increases his value. He certainly has the tools to make the transition, namely his plus speed and strong, accurate arm.

“If they really want to work me there, we’ll work a lot during spring training. It’s going to be fine,” Reyes said. “I didn’t have any problems taking fly balls but we’ll see what happens. There is still a long way to go. I’m ready for the challenge and whatever Terry needs me to do to help this ballclub I’m going to be open to doing it.”

Working out in center field might have to do with a plan that Reyes will start in center field against lefties and sitting Curtis Granderson. This also points to the Mets continuing not to trust Juan Lagares, who would seem to be the logical choice to start in center field against lefties due to his stellar glove and solid splits.

Reyes will probably start at third base whenever David Wright needs a day off, but he could also see time at shortstop and second base. “We just want David on the ballclub and to be healthy,” Reyes said of his longtime teammate.

“I know if he’s healthy he’s going to help this ballclub and contribute. I’m looking forward to seeing him in spring training and hopefully he’s ready to go. He’s the third baseman for the New York Mets. I’m here to do whatever the manager asks me to do, whatever Terry asks me to do I’m going to be open to doing it.”

It is tough to determine exactly what Reyes’ role will be in 2017, but he will surely play a major role in the Mets path to the playoffs. Whatever that role will be, Reyes will do what needs to be done and, hopefully, produce along the way.

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SNY To Stream Live Mets Games On SNY.tv And NBC Sports App http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-to-stream-live-mets-games-on-sny-tv-and-nbc-sports-app.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/sny-to-stream-live-mets-games-on-sny-tv-and-nbc-sports-app.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 16:03:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230398 gkr gary keith ron sny

Per Andy Graziano on Twitter, SNY will begin streaming live Mets games as well as pre- and post-game shows starting on Opening Day. Per the tweet, the service will be available on SNY.tv and the NBC Sports app at no additional cost to authenticated SNY pay TV subscribers.

Speaking on the subject, President of SNY Steve Raab said, “As we prepare for another season of Mets baseball, it was very important to us at SNY that we have a streaming component ready for our fans in time for Opening Day. With this service now in place, we are excited to expand SNY’s scope and to deliver exclusive Mets coverage to our dedicated fans both at home and on the go.”

MLB.tv has already been streaming live games, however local fans have been frustrated because when they are within a certain distance of the team they want to watch, the game is “blacked out.” This development will allow Mets fans living in the Tri-State Area to watch games.

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Collins Says Mets Will Do Some Amazing Things In 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/collins-says-mets-will-do-some-amazing-things-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/collins-says-mets-will-do-some-amazing-things-in-2017.html/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230389 terry-collins

The Mets have never appeared in three straight postseasons, but according to Terry Collins, there is a first time for everything.

“We can do some amazing things,’’ Collins told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post. “Last year we showed so much character. Two years ago everything went our way. Last year we had to make it go our way. We’ve got some big pieces. You’ve got to say we’re a playoff team again. I want us to grasp those expectations that are in front of us, and run with them.’’

“I think this could be our most exciting year,’’ Collins said. “I just hope we don’t lose guys for three months. I told Dan [Warthen] the other day, wouldn’t it be exciting to see the guys go out and make 30 starts? We have the potential to have a Cy Young winner on this staff.’’ He continued, “Matt looks in great shape. His ability is still off the charts. He just lost his feel for both sides of the plate last year.’’

He compared the Mets to the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs (still getting used to typing that) saying, “The Cubs showed the value of athleticism. With Jose backing up that infield, you can give anybody a day off and not miss a beat, that’s important.’’

When most people around the league, even Mets fans, say the Mets can be contenders, they always add ‘if they can stay healthy’ at the end of their sentence. Collins knows this, saying, “The injury stuff was a huge subject but I am going to try to take that away early. Everybody’s healthy, let’s talk about being healthy. We are going to move on. Let’s figure out how to stay healthy.’’

The Mets haven’t added any new players, but will hopefully be getting more production out of players like Lucas Duda, David WrightNeil Walker, Matt Harvey, and others that missed a lot of time last year due to injury. They might also get increased production out of Michael Conforto, Travis d’Arnaud, and Jay Bruce, as well as benefit from a full season from Jose Reyes.

Terry Collins expects amazing things out of this team, and I do too. I am more excited about this team than any of the previous seasons, and let me tell you, that says a lot considering I am one of the most optimistic Mets fans you’ll meet. In my opinion, the Mets are one strong reliever away from being a team with no huge holes. If they sign Sergio Romo or Jerry Blevins, look out.

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Law Calls Tebow Worst AFL Player He’s Ever Seen In 10 Years http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/law-calls-tebow-worst-afl-player-hes-ever-seen-in-10-years.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/law-calls-tebow-worst-afl-player-hes-ever-seen-in-10-years.html/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:58:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230312 tim tebow

While some players are sent to the Minor Leagues to improve, ESPN’s Keith Law believes that list of players excludes Tim Tebow. While on a conference call to discuss his 2017 top prospect selections, he had some choice words to say about the former quarterback.

“I think Tim Tebow should stick to announcing and never play baseball again,” Law said. “He was the worst player I’ve ever seen in the 10 years I’ve been going to the Arizona Fall League.”

Law had bashed him in the past as well, as last October he wrote, “He might be better suited to playing in an Arizona high school league. His presence here is a farce, and he looks like an imposter pretending to have talent he does not possess.”

Playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Tebow hit .194/.296/.242 with zero home runs and two RBIs in 19 games. He hit three doubles and walked eight times while striking out in 20 of his 62 at bats. He also stole one base and was caught twice.

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What Will The 2017 Mets Lineup Look Like? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/what-will-the-2017-mets-lineup-look-like.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/what-will-the-2017-mets-lineup-look-like.html/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230266 david wright walkoff 2

Going into 2017, the Mets have a very good problem in that they have a surplus of talented players on their Major League roster. So many players, in fact, that it makes the every day starting lineup difficult to pin down. While there will surely be injuries of varying degrees as well as other factors, these are what the lineups could be against right and left-handed pitchers.

Vs. Right-Handed Pitchers

S – Jose Reyes – 3B
S – Neil Walker – 2B
R – Yoenis Cespedes – LF
L – Curtis Granderson – CF
L – Jay Bruce – RF
S – Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
L – Lucas Duda – 1B
R – Travis d’Arnaud – C
Pitcher

With David Wright‘s questionable health as well as his effectiveness against southpaws, it leads me to assume most of his starts will come against lefties. Jose Reyes, who showed he can play a passable third base, will provide a spark at the top of the lineup against righties. Neil Walker fits nicely into the second spot, posting a .282/.347/.476 slash line in 2016.

Deciding who hits fourth behind Cespedes is a tricky question, however, as they must be strong enough to make opponents regret pitching around him. I decided on Curtis Granderson, as that was where he was at his best in 2016, hitting .321 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 100 plate appearances.

Behind him is Jay Bruce, a perennial 30+ HR and 100+ RBI threat, and Asdrubal Cabrera who hit .280/.336/.474 last season. While I would prefer Cabrera hitting cleanup behind Cespedes, that would leave three lefties (Bruce, Granderson, and Duda) hitting consecutively in the order, making the Mets extra susceptible to a lefty specialist in late innings. Lucas Duda hits 7th, however if he proves that he can hit like he did in 2014 and 2015, he could definitely be moved up to the clean-up spot.

Unfortunately, Michael Conforto is left out of this lineup. It seems likely if both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce are on the Opening Day roster, Conforto will start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. It is imperative for him to get consistent at-bats, and while he would probably be better served recording them in the Bigs, it doesn’t seem likely.

cespedes lagares

Vs. Left-Handed Pitchers

R – David Wright – 3B
S – Neil Walker – 2B
R – Yoenis Cespedes – LF
R – Wilmer Flores – 1B
S – Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
L – Jay Bruce – RF
R – Juan Lagares – CF
R – Rene Rivera- C
Pitcher

This one might get me in some hot water, but before you scathe me in the comment section, hear me out. David Wright has a career .337/.430/.568 slash line against left-handed pitching, good for a .998 OPS. While his spinal stenosis might limit his power, he should still get on base at a more than respectable clip against lefties.

Next would again be Neil Walker for the same reasons as above. However, in this case, he hit .330/.391/.610 against left-handed pitching last season. That .391 on base percentage paired with Wright’s .430 should provide plenty of RBI opportunities for Yoenis Cespedes batting third.

I have Wilmer Flores in the cleanup spot against lefties, who has improved each of the last few years. He hit for a sneaky amount of power in 2016, smashing 16 home runs in 335 plate appearances. He is specifically successful against lefties, as he hit .340/.383/.710 with 11 HR against them last season. He would provide tremendous protection for Cespedes with a lefty pitching, and if/when the opposing manager brings in a right-handed reliever, Lucas Duda could pinch hit and play first base in Flores’ stead.

Another notable change is Juan Lagares starting in center field. He has slashed a respectable .276/.322/.412 against lefties in his career, better than Granderson’s .224/.297/.401 career mark. On the other side of the ball, Lagares provides elite defense in center field and his starting would give the 35 year-old Granderson some days off. The Mets have an elite starting pitching staff, and having Lagares in center field (as well as Cespedes in left) will definitely save some runs and increase the effectiveness of the pitching staff.

Until Travis d’Arnaud can prove he will hit, Rene Rivera should start against left handed pitching (as well as Noah Syndergaard‘s starts). In 2016, Rivera hit .314/.429/.514 against lefties while d’Arnaud hit only .190/.266/.190 against them. Rivera provides superior defense, so starting him against lefties would be prudent.

Both of these lineups will be subject to change on any given day. There will be days when Wright starts against righties, Duda starts against lefties, and even when Yoenis Cespedes needs to sit a spell. It is also possible that one of Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson are traded before the season begins. In any case, the Mets will have a very strong offense with a deep bench stretching into the Minor Leagues with names such as Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, T.J. Rivera, Ty Kelly and Matt Reynolds.

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